Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Thanks

What a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! I've decided that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love that it is the least commercialized holiday (besides Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Flag day, I suppose), and it is literally about thanking God for close family and friends. Because this year I am thankful amidst a ton of papers and projects (actually I had four due the Monday and Tuesday after this short break), I decided to spend Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family an hour and a half away from Madison in Hartford, WI and return to Madison Friday night to pump out some projects. Ceej had been planning on working Friday, so he was going to meet me in Madison that night to keep me company while my 6 roommates were away.

So Wednesday night rolls around and I'm taking a "study break" to clean (because I love cleaning) and watch Private Practice when I hear a knock on my door. For those of you who don't know, I am a major chicken when it comes to being alone at night, and I immediately assumed it was a robber coming to kidnap me. My eyes bulged out of their sockets, my heart started pounding out of my chest, and sweat was forming around my face (pathetic, I know). It got worse when I looked out the peephole of the front door to see a man with his hood up, a cap on, and looking toward the ground! After a few seconds of debating if it was Ceej or not, I called his phone and -low and behold- it was! After recovering physiologically from my near-death experience, I felt absolutely thrilled that I could spend the holiday weekend with one of the things I am most thankful for.

Thursday morning we drove to Hartford and had a day filled with great food, family, and fun! My cousin, Courtney, and I agreed that this year our already-close extended family felt especially unified. We talked, laughed, and played an intense game of Apples-to-Apples.

That night Ceej and I stayed with my cousin Lindsay and her husband, Shane, in their beautiful, newly built home. It made Ceej and I really excited to decorate our own little apartment in the upcoming months (the details of which are yet to be unveiled by you-know-who (God)). While we didn't make it out shopping for Black Friday (we were busy being treated amazingly well by our hosts... complete with chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast!), I found out later that my dad was able to take full advantage of the bargains. This man who hates lines and busy malls camped out in front of Best Buy from 8pm Thursday night to 5am Friday morning to get a laptop for $500. He said that while it was quite cold, it was worth it (although he doubts that he would do it again). I'm proud of his ambition, and I now realize where my bargain-hunting ability comes from!

Friday night Ceej and I relaxed to the movie Schindler's List; I had never seen it and it came highly encouraged by his parents, for good reason! It made me even more thankful for everything I have... how blessed I am with family and friends as well as the opportunities I have been given and often take for granted. Saturday my wonderful fiance went grocery shopping for me and cooked me dinner while I did homework, being so respectful and supporting of my obligations. After a scrumptious dinner we went to the hockey game against Michigan (Badgers won!) and to the Comedy Club on State Street. My roommates will tell you that I am slightly obsessed with the Comedy Club here--it's one of my favorite things to do in this city! It was such a fun night; we just have so much fun together! The weekend high was extended when I came home from the library tonight to an apartment decked out with Christmas cheer. We now have a decorated tree, stockings with our names on it, lights, snowflakes, you name it. It makes me so happy to be home!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Sweet Home

For Ceej's Birthday I went back to the Eau C to spend the weekend with him. We had so much fun! I decided last minute on Thursday afternoon that I couldn't function anymore without seeing him (I had been stressed, burnt out, and crabby pretty much all week), so I skipped class and went to see him then instead of waiting until Friday afternoon. After the weekend at home, I can honestly say that I feel like a different person. I was really dreading the next month (it's my last month of undergrad filled with an insane amount of exams and projects, and I have the added pressure of needing to do well for grad school), and after "recuperating" at home I have a totally different attitude. I look at this next month as a mountain to climb rather than an ocean to drown in. It's weird how seeing one person can make you feel balanced, reminding you of why you're working so hard to begin with.

Back to the weekend, on Friday night we went out for dinner at Manny's Mexican Cantina with our parents. We enjoyed margaritas, good food, and great conversation. It was nice to be able to spend time with everyone in an intimate setting. After dinner, Ceej and I went to the movie Saw V. It was very well done, but not for those of you who are ultra-sensitive. We both love scary movies, so it was right up our ally!

On Saturday night Ceej and I went out for dinner at Tokyo (a Hibachi-style Japanese restaurant) and then went to the play, "Tuesdays with Morrie." We were without a doubt the youngest couple at the play, but really liked it nonetheless. We pretended we were on our first date and asked eachother questions to "get to know" one another again. We also did the whole "I want to hold your hand but I'm afraid of making the first move" thing (i.e., we put our hands on our own knees and slowly crept them toward the other's). It's funny to remember actually doing that! After the play we went to Rolly's with Ceej's uncle Mark and his girlfriend Angie. We also met up with Andy, Mandy, and Mitch for Ceej's Birthday!

We had a lot of fun at good ol' Rolly's (the famous bar of Altoona), and we were both really glad everyone could make it out!
On Sunday was our nephew's first Birthday party (it's fun to say "our")! Alex had a lot of people at his party and seemed to have fun (he REALLY enjoyed the Jello Poke Cake)! It was so fun that the little guy got zonked out and fell asleep for a little while before opening his presents. It was quite the party!

We also took a Thurner family picture while everyone was around. I feel so blessed to be marrying into such a great family!
Actually, I'm pretty blessed in general.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For the Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday, Love Boat! I wish I could have spent today with you, but I am so very happy to be able to celebrate with you this weekend! Remember the picture below? It was on your 18th Birthday riding on the bus back from Fall Camp Castaway. As a whopping 14 year old, I specifically remember thinking how OLD 18 sounded, and I also remember how sick of pictures you were by the time this one was taken (some things don't change). As I look at this picture and reflect on the last 7 years, I am so in awe of the man you've become. Ceej, I am so in love with you! I am thrilled to be spending the next hundred years together, and I look forward to our marriage and learning even more about you.
Love, Your Future Wife

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christmas Lover

I love Christmas. I love everything about it, whether it's going to church and being in awe of Christ's blessings, baking cookies and spending too much time decorating them, shopping for or making gifts unique to each person, and (yes) spending lots of time with the many people whom I love. I can honestly say that I enjoy picking out my gifts for other people more than I enjoy getting gifts myself. For those of you who know me well, you know that I have a big, semi-complicated family situation. My family has already been tossing around Christmas plans in an effort to organize our many options. To give you a little taste of what I'm talking about, Ceej and I need to organize Christmas at mom's, dad's, mom's relatives, my step-dad's relatives, dad's relatives, Ceej's parents, Ceej's mom's relatives, Ceej's dad's relatives... whoa! Needless to say, there is no physical way that we can make it to everyone's, but we do as much as we can because we truly love to spend this amazing season with our amazing family. I'm writing this entry because I'm sure that I'm not the only person on earth who has to organize where to spend Christmas and with whom, and I know that it can get stressful. Whenever I feel a little drained at the thought of going from this Christmas celebration to that Christmas celebration (you know what I'm talking about), I remind myself how truly blessed I am.

Christmas time is unfortunately a time that MANY people around the world feel more lonely, sad, or depressed than any other time of year. Here I am, having to organize my many Christmas' because I have so many people whom I love and who love me. I feel so humbled by this thought, and I wanted to share it because I know we all get so caught up in the party-planning, gift-giving, financial-strain of this season that we forget the true meaning, which is the birth of our Savior meant to be celebrated with family and friends.

Below is a link to an awesome video put together by some Stewards at Blackhawk, my church here in Madison. It really impacted me and the reasons why I'm anticipating the upcoming holidays, and I hope it does the same for you.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Spooktakular Halloween in Madison!

For my last Halloween as a UW student, Ceej and some of our friends from Altoona came to spend the weekend with Dana and I (most of my roommates were out of town). For those of you who aren't from around here, Halloween in Madison (AKA "Freakfest") is quite the event and even has a place in Wikipedia, so you know it is of great importance ( This year 38,300 people purchased tickets to State Street, which doesn't even take into consideration the visitors who just come to go to the bars! Dana and I were exceptionally excited for the weekend and spent two weeks preparing (and by "preparing" I mean "anticipating"). We made some decorations and put up spider webs... successfully making out apartment extremely scary.

We had a great time dressing up as a brick house and a brick layer (we just can't get enough of the couple costumes... although it didn't surpass our costume last year of the milk man and a pregnant housewife). Did you notice the cool facial hair that Ceej grew out to complete his costume? It was wonderful to spend some time together and with the A-Town boys, although (as usual) the weekend went by so fast!

Saturday was absolutely beautiful! We spent a majority of the afternoon having a few drinks right here on my front steps. It was just lovely! As the night went on, we played a game of "Apples to Apples" before heading down to State Street to go to a few favorite bars and experience Halloween Madison-style. We danced at Frida's and Brats, enjoyed a Fish Bowl at Wandos, and just laughed a ton. As is typical in early November, the walk home was freezing. I was thankful that Ceej was gracious enough to let me wear his outer layer (he always as at least a few). For some reason on this particular evening I ended up in many random belongings and articles of clothing. In the picture below, which was taken in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I am wearing Ceej's costume over my own, Adam's hat, Evan's lei, and Mitch's mustache! It was definitely a successful weekend!