Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Million Days of Christmas

We had nine Christmas celebrations this year, ten if you count my brothers birthday dinner (which is a holiday in itself). I'll describe each of them and include a few random pictures (sorry there weren't pictures at every party; we all know pictures are the best part of blog entries).

1. The first Christmas party was the Johnson side (C.J.'s mom's extended family). I was still finishing up school, so I had to spend a few hours at a local coffee shop to write a paper while Ceej enjoyed snowmobiling. I got to ride after my studies (such diligence, I know). It was so fun! Two surprises from the night: 1.) the power went out on the entire street and 2.) all the ladies got SNUGGIES. I was in heaven.

2. Second Christmas party was with the youth group that Ceej and I went to Convo with. We played Bananagrams and had tacos (my kind of night). We also exchanged white elephant gifts... one lucky kid got our wedding picture framed. He loved it.
3. Next "celebration" was my brother's Birthday dinner. We had pizza at Draganetti's. WONDERFUL. It was dreamy pizza and excellent wine. Great food and conversation as well! Happy Birthday big guy!
4. Third technical "Christmas" was the Thurner extended (C.J.'s dad's extended family) for the day at Chaos water park right here in Eau Claire. WHOA- the Eau C has really delivered on this one. It's quite the place! And, not to mention, the water is warm and there are 3 large water slides. Ceej and I were there for a few hours sliding and playing water basketball, but his family swam all day and night, staying at the Metropolis resort.
5. That same night we went to Andy & Mandy's first (annual?) Christmas party with our friends. We got all dressed up and had dinner with our close friends. It was a really lovely evening! We continued the night with a few games and a picture in Christmas Sweaters. It was really fun to be with these wonderful folks!

6. The next day was Thurner Extended Part II. The Thurners got together for the traditional meal and presents and games. We got to try out a new game like "Telephone" with drawing. It was great!
7. The eve of Christmas Eve was spent at Ceej's immediate family. We had yummy lobster and opened gifts. The kids got silly string and (obviously) enjoyed it! It was a nice, intimate time with close family.

8. Actual Christmas Eve was in Stillwater on a very snowy night. We drove there for dinner and gifts and then headed back in the rain/snow/beautiful yuck. After dinner we opened gifts and played Things. It was really fun, especially because 6 year old Mickeegan could play, too! My poor sister, Jenny, had the flu, so she couldn't make it. It was the first year my dad was to cook a turkey... I asked him how it was going and he said it was all done, just warming up. I peeked in the oven and saw the picture below. Yep, he had to get KFC because it was too frozen! A funny memory :).

9. Christmas day was spent at our house with my mom (my brother couldn't make it). We also invited our neighbor over who lives alone. We cooked pasta with herbs and olive oil, and shrimp, steak, pork, and chicken on a German grill that cooks on the table that we got from Ceej's parents as a gift. I'll totally chop the spelling, but it sounds kind of like "Grill-shine". It was a really nice night! We then had amazing vanilla bean cheesecake that Richard brought, played games, opened presents and chatted until late. A peaceful evening that was nice to not have to go anywhere for!
10. The day after Christmas was the Reich-Extended family Christmas back in Stillwater. We played games, ate, opened presents, and had some wine. Lots of laughs with all of the white elephant gifts!

As you can tell, the past couple weeks were wonderful but exhausting. We have literally slept in until 10 or 11 the past three days... which is way out of character for me. I think I have low iron, too, but that's beside the point. I love Christmas and it was so great to have so many wonderful family members to spend it with. I feel so blessed!

Ceej and I exchanged stockings on Christmas eve. We've been enjoying the winter wonderland and my time off of school by building a (beautiful) snowman the other day and sledding today. Unfortunately, our snowman's head was popped off today, cause unknown. It was a very sad moment for snowman.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Semester One: Check.

That's it, folks! As of 11:30pm last night, I am officially done with my first semester of grad school. YESSSS. It only gets worse from here on out, but I am definitely enjoying the next two weeks of freedom. A friend of mine asked an OT student who is in her 4th semester (so me, this fall) how it was going. Her response? Tears. Yep. SHE CRIED.

Anyway, for my last trip to Rochester I stayed with my cousin, Courtney, in Winona between Monday and Tuesday face-to-face classes (remember, my program is mostly online). We had a Spa Night, which turned into wine, weird pictures, Lifetime, pedicures, and, clearly, facials. Enjoy the pictures. We were celebrating her graduation as well. In other words, this is how a graduate student and teacher act in their spare time:


Holy snow we have! This is a late, albeit necessary post. Last week we got a whole lot of snow. Thankfully, my husband is an exceptional shovel-er. Equally thankfully, our neighbor has a snow-blower and let him use it if he did his drive way as well. It was gorgeous. Now it's cold, but at least we'll have a white Christmas after all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Well, what can I even say to that? The above was an answer to a journal question written by a little girl that I work with. I couldn't resist to post it, especially because my life is consumed by school lately, and I frankly just don't have much to share.

On that note, I actually did think I had superpowers at one point. I randomly thought of the following life-altering memory tonight and thought I'd share. I was just a little girl playing "Barbies in the Bathtub" (that was the title, not just the activity), lying on my belly in the tub. My mouth was underwater, my nose was above. We had a pool, so I knew that I was not supposed to be able to breathe underwater (I actually remember analyzing the situation in this way). My nose was above the water, so I was obviously breathing out of it... but I didn't realize it at the time. I remember thinking, "Wow... I can actually breathe underwater! I wonder if it'll work with my nose under, too." Well, I tried it, and let's just say it didn't. I guess I'm human after all.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our First Christmas Tree

Oh happy day! Ceej and I have our very own Christmas tree. This may not seem that amazing, but let me tell you: I have looked forward to this moment for the past 8 years. No joke. Since Ceej and I started dating we've given one another an ornament every year. A couple of years ago we also decided to get an ornament as a souvenir from every vacation. It was so great (and emotional!) to get out all of our stored away ornaments and reminisce. The one below is actually the first plastic ornament that Ceej ever gave me, and inside is a small flower he picked for me as we were walking up the mountain on our very first date!

T h a n k s g i v i n g

Ceej and I spent Thanksgiving with my family in Hartford, Wisconsin. As usual, we had an excellent holiday and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with everyone that we rarely get to see. It's always hard to leave because there's always too much time in between our visits. We have so much to thankful for; our lives are so full of blessings. I'm happy we were able to spend Thanksgiving giving thanks, especially because the next morning I was pretty disappointed when Menards was SOLD OUT of the generic Snuggies for $2.99. Black Friday was truly black for me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hunting Season

Oh what a season it has been! No deer have been shot thus far, but not for lack of trying (Ceej has been out at the crack of dawn every morning... and I mean CRACK. Like 3:30AM crack). To be honest, I was a little baffled as to the excitement in the whole ordeal, but I felt happy that he was enjoying it nonetheless. Today, my friends, I was given the experience. I have three words for you: I. am. hooked.

I needed a study break and Ceej needed an excuse to not go out hunting again this afternoon. We randomly decided to go out shooting at Big Falls. It was so much fun! I'm serious... you may be staring at a future hunter. I'm contemplating going to hunter's safety. Can you picture it? Deer will tremble when they hear my name!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recent Happenings

Here are some recent occurrences for the Thurners:

1. It was Ceej's 26th Birthday! We had a really fun, family-filled day. We had lunch with his little sisters at their school (it was pizza day), and then went to his parents for dinner with the whole family. We had dinner and then talked and hung out all night. I actually kind of dislike my own Birthday, so it was fun to celebrate his! I get all nostalgic and think about the snap shot of each Birthday for the rest of our lives. It makes me smile to think about being super old and looking back at our first Birthday being married. I'm such a dork, but I love it!

2. Ceej and I were leaders at Convo. Convo is a high school Christian weekend held in Wisconsin Dells at Chula Vista resort. For those of you who are familiar with Passion (a national conference for college students), it's basically that for teenagers. I went as a freshman in high school and loved it, so it was very cool to go as a leader. Overall the weekend was awesome! It had an awesome speaker who could really relate to the kids and adults, and Robbie Seay Band was there. Chula Vista was open JUST for Convo-goers from 10PM-12AM (can you imagine the raging hormones of hundred of teenagers all in their bathing suits? Whoa.). We loved being leaders at this event; what a great experience for both of us!

3. Our nephew, Alexander, has turned two!! He had a super fun Birthday party at Chaos water park in Eau Claire (didn't think the Eau C had a water park? Oh it does.). His Birthday-pizza was about 3 feet by 3 feet and tasted amazing, and he announced an extra-special event: he has a sibling coming! What a fun day!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Family Fun

On Saturday morning we made the trip to Stillwater to visit my family. It was a short trip, but we had so much fun! The day started with my dad's best breakfasts... the usual cheesy scrambled eggs, pancakes, french toast, and bacon. Because it was so nice out, we all got out and played a game of football. As you can see, the game got pretty intense. Apparently in my non-athletic family (myself DEFINITELY included), we have a secret football star!

After football we all went bowling. Mickeegan had passed two spelling tests and earned it, and we all enjoyed it. It was Elliana's FIRST-ever bowling experience (sadly, no pictures were taken), and fortunately (for her) she really didn't do that much worse than I did.

On a side note, because my sister's family is growing rapidly (remember, 2 boys and twin girls on the way), they are upsizing their vehicle to a van. They've gotten rid of a few (including some beloved ones). One vehicle, below, is in need of a little work before selling. It's the one with all the smoke.

Two Perfect Days of Halloween!!

As usual, Halloween lasted two wonderful days for Ceej and I. The first was in Madison with a bunch of friends. Below is a little picture-story of the night.

We stayed at Adam's house and felt VERY welcome. Adam was (obviously) a great host. We grilled out with everyone and then headed to State Street.

Ceej and I were the only ones of our group to dress up this night (we didnt' feel out of place as there were plenty of others on State, of course). After much thought and consideration, we decided on Peter the Pumpkin Eater and a pumpkin for this year's costume. It was easy, warm, and cheap, which are important considerations.

We started at the Irish Pub. Tyler and Timmy were visiting from Kentucky, so we were happy we got to see them as well!

Then we made our way to the Comedy Club where some others met up with us, including Alicia and her boyfriend, Stephen. I was so happy to see my ex-roomie! It had been awhile! We made our way throughout State Street for a long night of fun. It was an awesome night!

The next day Ceej, Mitch, and I drove home and got back around 5 (Mitch was selling his car until the afternoon). Ceej and I had planned to go to my dad's shop where he was hosting his first (annual?) Halloween bash. It sounded SO fun, but we were just exhausted and driving another 2 hours in one night would be brutal. Also, we figured a visit to Stillwater would be better if we could have more quality time with all of my family in a less-social, more-intimate setting. So ANYWAY, we stopped at his parents' for about an hour to visit and see his siblings' cute costumes before we headed home. That's right, we spent Saturday night getting caught up on our shows (grey's, private practice, project runway, runway models... we are losers...), ate too much of his mom's amazing caramel corn, and played Scrabble until about midnight. We passed up about 4 opportunities to go out again, and we loved it that way. No pictures were taken (although I'm sure we were sights to be seen). It was an awesome first Halloween married, and we wouldn't change a thing about it!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spooky Season!

Oh, how I love Halloween! If Christmas wasn't about Jesus' birth, Halloween would definitely be my favorite. Jesus always wins, so Christmas wins, too. Anyway, Ceej and I had an especially Halloween-y weekend. We carved pumpkins and went to a haunted house! It was wonderful. I may look super tough, but boy let me tell you, I was a screamer. For. sure. The haunted house here is ridiculously scary, and I love it that way! We still have to make it to an apple orchard. Then our traditions will be complete!

HELP! We need to figure out costumes!! Any suggestions?? We're spending Friday night in Madison and then heading to Stillwater for my dad's big Halloween bash! It will be so great; I'm just bursting with joy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not as Sad as I Should be

I posted my wedding dress on eBay because, well, that's where I bought it from. The thought of "losing" my dress was not really a big deal to me. I thought that we would have enough memories in photographs, and we could make more memories with the money from it (like take a vacation, go on a Mission Trip, etc.). Besides, I was NOT going to be one of those brides that says, "my daughter will probably wear it one day." Let's just be honest- that never ends up happening. Anyway, my dress sold and I was still feeling fine. I wore it around the house a few times and shipped it out with only a bit of sadness in my heart. Well, turns out it had a super teeny hole that I didn't even notice, and the buyer decided to send it back to me (after dry cleaning it, which was a HUGE perk). So there it is, hanging in the closet again (except clean this time), and I keep peaking over at it. I love that dress. And even though my future daughter won't be wearing it down the aisle, I can definitely picture her prancing around the house in it someday. I bet we'll take turns doing so :).

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Visit from Danasaur!

Last night my dear friend and ex-roommate from college, Dana, came to visit! Let me tell you- we had a great time! The two of us end up doing most things alone, and we always have so much fun that we love it that way. We spent a majority of the evening at Wigwam bar for Trivia Night. What a blast! We were the self-proclaimed "Wigwam Wuvers"... and we definitely did not win. After a great time at Wigwam we met Ceej down at Rolly's for a drink. This morning we enjoyed a nice long walk outside in the gorgeous FALL-like weather (since the silly snow melted), and then had lunch at Erbs and Gerbs before she headed back. What a perfect day!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kickin' up our heels

We've been loving the crisp, Fall weather! So much so that Ceej decided to play a game of football with his little brother and -whoops!- ends up breaking/straining his foot. The poor guy! This was last week (can you see how "miserable" he is?). He's still icing it and it is definitely discolored and very sore, but we don't really know if it's broken or not.

Since I've been a slave to the studies we decided to take a break Friday night and go out with some friends. We had so much fun! We all got together at Andy and Mandy's and played an intense game of Pictionary (Girls won. Again.) and Balderdash. Then headed over to Rolly's until bar close. It was GREAT to be with close friends and one another! Even though we're both home we don't actually "hang out" that much because I do homework pretty much constantly.

I got new glasses! My old right lens was not strong enough for my stinker right eye. Reading on the computer was giving me headaches, which is not okay in this profession of online student. I went to the eye doctor to renew my subscription and get the new guys and found out I have a virus in my eyes! Surprise! They were just a little sore so I thought nothing of it. They feel fine now, but I still have to lay off the contacts and put special drops in them for a few more days.

And last but certainly not least, we got our first snow fall! We woke up to these sweet little fluffs of love and couldn't resist taking a picture of the first snow on our first lawn! Oh how splendid!

Monday, October 5, 2009

We're Moving to Sweden!

Okay, not really. But I am definitely tempted, as will you be. This entry is dedicated to all of my blog-stalkers who are/ever will be parents: YOU need to move to Sweden. No joke. I was writing a comparative analysis on institutions in Sweden and their affect on how people interact with one another and participate in occupations within the institutions (which include religion, politics, family, education, economy, etc.) when I came across the following websites:

So, here's the deal: In order to increase the amount of people having babies, the government pay parents about $1000! Just for havin' babes. I can't believe it. AND, the most amazing thing, when babies are born parents are allowed 6 weeks off, oh wait that's the U.S., FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETY DAYS OFF OF WORK. What!? AND 390 of those days you get PAID 80% of your working income. HOLY CRAP. Peace out, Wisco. I'm movin' to Sweden.

So I don't get sued or anything, references are below (we don't want to mess with plagerism).

Sundelin, J. (2008). Paradise for Families? Guardian News and Media Limited.
Landes, D. (2009). 'Baby bonus' would pay Swedish parents to have children. The Local.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not such a bargain after all...

A few weeks ago I was thrilled to find a brand new hot water bottle at one of those "late-in-the-summer-rare-to-find-a-treasure" garage sales. The fact that it was about 20 years old was beside the point- it was $1! Seriously! A bargain for such a exceptional find! Last night our room was ice cold, which was probably due to the open window and fan on. Random fact: I LOVE sleeping in the cold when I am cozy under -literally- 8 blankets, but the "warming up" process can be dreadful. Last night I couldn't bare to slip in those frozen excuses for sheets, so I got the bright idea to sleep with my "new" hot water bottle (Since, remember, my hubby isn't around to spoon). Oh what a delight! I was pretty much in heaven with that warm bundle of love settled on my belly. I was smiling and thinking to myself, "gosh what a great invention this was! Poor Ceej will have to get used to sleeping with this when he gets home because I've found another life partner."

Well, let's just say that joy was short lived.

I woke up in ice cold, wet sheets! What a backfire THAT was. At first I thought someone had played a rude joke, but then remembered I was alone, and then I remembered that traitor-hot water bottle! Darn you!! Anyway I'll put it in a large Ziploc bag until I can make it to the store to pick up a replacement- it truly is an amazing companion if it doesn't leak all over you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home Alone

So that's me. Minus the creepsters in the background (well, hopefully). Ceej has gotten a GREAT opportunity to work two weeks straight 7pm to 7am two hours away. Although it's physically hard on him and emotionally hard on us to be so isolated from one another, we couldn't pass up the opportunity. He's been gone 2 days now, and I miss him like CRAZY! It's really lonely being all by myself! Especially since I have to be studying all the time and can't get out of the house to get my mind off of him. School has been going well, but I've been studying like a mad woman as it's EXTREMELY demanding. I've just given up the thought of having a social life for the next two years, although I really love what I'm learning. The more I learn about occupational therapy, the more I know it is definitely the only career I can imagine myself having. It's amazing stuff, I tell ya. I just have to work my booty off to get through this aspect of it. So in a sense this two week separation is good for me to 1. get some good study habits and 2. not feel guilty for studying all the time (I was feeling really bad for not being able to spend time with him, although of course he understands and appreciates me working hard). I just ache for him though! It's crazy to think about when I was going to school in Madison and having there be even greater lapses of time without being together. I was so much stronger and younger back then. I guess with age comes weakness (Just trickin').

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wait, there's two?!

Congratulations to my sister Jamie and her beautiful family, as I recently found out that they are expecting TWINS in about 6 months. We are thrilled for all of them and can't wait to meet the new additions!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Our First Camping Trip

This Labor day weekend Ceej and I had our very first camping trip, and we absolutely loved it!! We went to Chetek and went all out- we cooked everything over the fire, relaxed, played an intense game of Scrabble that ended with a 309 to 309 tie, went for a run, read, and fished. We had a really wonderful weekend together, so much so that we declined several invitations to join our "camping neighbors" for a boat ride and at their bonfire because we were having so much fun on our own! It was nice to get away and just enjoy life's simple blessings. What a perfect weekend!

Puffer Tent

As a celebration for Ceej passing his test we had a very special date night. Ceej and I went out for a delicious dinner at Houligan's Steak House, stopped back at our house for ice cream and warmer clothes, and then we went miniature golfing at Action City. We had so much fun and were the only ones on the course (perhaps because it was so cold). That night we made a Puffer Tent to sleep in, which is pretty much the coolest thing ever. Take two large sheets and clothes-pin them together all the way around an air mattress (him mom sewed these sheets together). Put a fan at one end and then clothes-pin the sheets tightly around it and ta-da! An amazing Puffer Tent! It was a great evening to celebrate a great accomplishment.