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I’m Baaa-aaack!

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Goodness gracious! I haven’t blogged in NINE days! I sure have missed the blogosphere, but to be honest, I didn’t have too much to tell you guys.

As you know, I was in class for three weeks. [Hopefully, my last summer classes ever.] Then, I got home last Friday, June 28, and we left for Smith Mountain Lake at the crack of noon on Saturday. SML has been one of my family’s favorite vacation spots since I was in elementary school. Most families are either lake people or river people or beach people; I like to think we’re all three 😉

We stayed at Covered Porches, by far the most beautiful and generously furnished vacation home we have ever rented. It doesn’t take much to impress this old gal, but Covered Porches was everything I was expecting and then some. It was even the perfect size for ten people. This is depressing for me to admit, but this vacation was possibly my last full-blown family excursion before Ian and I tie the knot. Eeeeek! Mr. and Mrs. Giles going on vacation 😉

I am so grateful that Ian was able to join us for the entire week between “bouts” of med school, and so were a few college friends. It was quite the fiesta with the Lew Crew!

The weather was actually pretty crappy all week, with either rain, storms, or gloomy skies every single day. No matter; it didn’t slow us down one bit.

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We spent the week laughing hysterically playing “Cheers, Gov’nah,”

organizing splash contests,

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lounging by the lake,

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playing Blackjack with beer bottle caps as currency,

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tubing (which is quite a workout, by the way!),

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hunting down four-leaf clovers,

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frolicking on the dock,

playing cornhole,

swimming and paddling around,

chatting around the campfire,

and simply enjoying the lake life.

I would be remiss if I glossed over how I ate while on vacay. I always like to think that my grad school lifestyle will carry over while I’m out of my routine, and it almost never does. I feel as though if it were truly one hundred percent my lifestyle, I wouldn’t have trouble maintaining it when I’m out of my norm. However, I also believe that sometimes it’s okay to indulge. That may not be the appropriate term to use to describe this week… Maybe gorge is more accurate. I ate my body weight in s’mores one night, and in tacos another. I also drank enough Seagram’s and Bud Light Lime to float a small fleet of battleships.

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It’s not that my family doesn’t eat nutritiously — quite the contrary, actually. For example, one night we planned DIY mini pizzas with whole wheat shells, low-fat cheeses, and veggies galore; one night we sautéed Polish sausages with green peppers, onions, and sauerkraut; and each morning there was Chobani, oatmeal, whole grain cereals, and “skinny” bacon available. I just seemed to be a bottomless pit this week! Next week, as I always vow post-vacation, I’ll get back into the swing of things and plan delicious, nutritious meals. I’ll also jump back onto the workout horse.

That reminds me, though…

Being on vacation and being away from the gym does not equate with being sedentary in my book. Between running back and forth from the house to the dock (uphill, both ways, in the snow), swimming, canoeing, tubing, swinging, paddling, and numerous intense games of volleyball, I certainly don’t feel that I lacked for heart-pounding, BP-elevating action!

In other, completely unrelated news, one of my favorite parts of vacation with my family is that TV is hardly a thought. Unless the weather is so bad that playing outside is not an option (or the Orioles are playing ;-)), the remote collects dust. And that’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it.

Well, there you have it folks. The reason for my hiatus: fun, sun, family, friends, celebration, and relaxation. After a trip to OBX, two summer classes, my sister’s 21st birthday party, a week of refresher training for my summer job, and a trip to SML, my summer may finally settle into a regular routine. Well, except for nursery duty at Vacation Bible School next week…

Also, I said I had news regarding the half-marathon my tubing buddy Lauren and I are running, and I do! Stay tuned! 🙂

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Susan G. Komen 5k ‘13 Race Recap + Weekend

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Well, blends, nothing too exciting has been going on over here with the Lew Crew. We still do not have Internet; I am penning this post on Saturday afternoon, which marks our eighth day sans Web. I apologize for my prolonged blogging absence – because I’m just sure you’ve missed me terribly – but there hasn’t been much I could do. It’s been weird being able to access social media via my iPhone but not being able to blog. I’m sure some of my more tech-savvy counterparts would find a way, but I’m just not that hardcore 😉 I’m not sure when this will be published, but I wanted to write about a few subjects today.

No. 1: The First Week Home

Whenever I come home (Richmond, VA) for an extended stay, the first week home is always the most difficult “adjusting” week. By this I mean, there are many, many opportunities for me to make healthy choices… and I almost never do. Sweet Frog? Sure! Chick-Fil-A salad? Haven’t had one in awhile. Late-night Taco Bell on a whim? It is hard to resist those DLTs…

Truly needless to say, I haven’t made choices I’m proud of this week. My sister Caroline and I went to the gym both Monday and Tuesday and I ran about 6 miles total, but Wednesday and Thursday were flops. Caroline’s boyfriend Rob is visiting, and we’ve more than taken advantage of his presence as an excuse not to get out and move. I can’t and won’t deny that I am soaking up every minute of lazy relaxation before my summer gets can’t-stop-for-one-minute hectic, but I don’t feel good about myself when I look back on this week. (Two cups of coffee a morning, real Coke, French fries, Woodchuck, and cupcakes don’t exactly make an aspiring half-marathoner feel like a rock star.)

Of course, Friday I had planned to rest, so rest I did. I got up early, did some stuff around the house, sipped coffee and discussed wedding biz with Mama Lew, and caught up on a few episodes of The Office and Parks & Rec. Friday night was my dad’s final team party with the high school golf team he coaches, so we all went to support him. This party was at least the fourth one I’ve attended, and I love to hear the stories Coach tells about his golfers and the awards he presents. The food ain’t half bad, either 😉 Of course, there was the obligatory froyo trip afterward – contributing nothing but guilt to my week-long binge of crap.

Allow me to insert here that I made some healthy choices this week. I did run two days in preparation for the 5k and in the spirit of training for the half. I also ate breakfasts consisting of whole-grain cereal, Chobani, and fresh fruit. The dinners we ate at home consisted mostly of vegetables and lean meats, including a variation on quinoa bowls one night!

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[Shredded lettuce bed, parmesan couscous, black beans, steamed corn cut off the cob, sauteed green pepper and yellow onion, Jack’s Special Salsa, and fat-free sour cream]

In general, though, next week needs to look (and feel) a helluva lot better. Which brings me to…

No. 2: Race Recap

Saturday morning was in the low 70s and partly cloudy here in RVA. Perfect running weather, if you ask me. I was up and at ‘em at the ungodly hour of 7:00, but eight solid hours of shut-eye didn’t hurt. I was too excited to hydrate much, but I downed a Chobani, a bowl of Banana Nut Cheerios, and a few sips of coffee before our half-asleep troupe spilled out the door.

We got downtown and found parking a bit later than we would have liked, but there was still plenty of time to use those oh-so-fresh-and-clean “restrooms,” stretch, and find a place toward the front of the pack.

My dad’s and my goal was to complete the race in 34 minutes or under. Our goals have almost always been 35 minutes for 5ks, so I decided we needed to challenge ourselves a bit more.

We started off strong, barreling downhill, weaving around women with strollers and walkers who had decided to start in the first few waves. The first mile passed before I even knew what was happening in just 10:15 – our fastest mile time to date!

The second mile felt as if it dragged on for centuries. As my sister put it, I “wear the watch in this relationship” (i.e. I keep the time, and Dad is happy with knowing or not knowing). This was where I began to feel the full brunt of those French fries, the lack of water, and the heaviness of the food I had been consuming. I had a small stitch in one side as we crossed some uphill sections, but nothing that required stopping (read: I absolutely wanted to stop, but I refused to let myself). Just past the 2-mile marker, I finally conceded to taking a drink, but I didn’t stop running.

The third mile breezed by even more quickly than the first. I knew we needed to haul ass on an uphill stretch, then book it down a steep section, round the final corner, and sprint to the finish. When I saw that we had just 4 minutes left to complete our goal but I could not see the steep downhill segment, I wasn’t sure we would make it. Then, we began descending, and I felt almost as if my body and my rubber-legs were propelling themselves.

As we rounded the final corner, I said to Dad, “We have 30 seconds. We can do this. We can DO this!”

And do it, we did. We kicked it into high gear, full-tilt sprinting past my mom, who was snapping pictures on my iPhone as fast as she could.

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The finish line was in sight and no one was blocking my way as I pulled away from Dad. I crossed in 34:12 and he in 34:15, just shy of our goal. The victory was sweet finishing that closely to our goal, but not as sweet as if we had crossed the finish line together. He did not care that I pulled away and finished ahead of him, but there is something so much more rewarding to me about finishing with my running buddy.

We collected our pink medals and bottles of water and sat down in some shaded grass to stretch out and to rest. After a few minutes, we joined mom about 50 yards from the finish line to watch Caroline and Rob finish. She, too, pulled away, and they ran across the finish line one-and-two. Great sisters run alike, I suppose 😉

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After we hydrated thoroughly and took too many smiley pictures displaying our medals,

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we walked to a local favorite, Third Street Diner, for brunch.

 It’s always strange to me to have accomplished so much and be ready for another meal by 10 a.m. on race days. I was too hungry to snap pictures, but I chowed down on a tri-veggie omelette, an English muffin, fried apples, and OJ.

Well, I guess it’s about time I wrapped this up and ran a few errands. Hopefully we’ll talk soon, blends! Thanks for stickin’ around Sarcasm while I’ve been away!

Surrendering: Part 2

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This weekend was both busy and relaxing. If that’s even a thing.

Friday, I blew into town, powered by Dayquil, Halls, Ibuprofen, and sheer willpower. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of pizza for lunch because I feel like I’ve eaten far too much of it lately. But, Ian had a gift card that was about to expire for this great little joint across the street from his apartment building, so we had lunch with our friend Mark before he hit the road for Easter weekend. Thankfully, I had time to sneak in a nap!

I was determined that Ian and I were going to conduct our wedding business and then enjoy a nice dinner with my parents at — where else? — Capital Ale House. I literally felt as though someone had stuffed my ears full of cotton, and then was trying to put so much pressure on my head that it would implode. Nevertheless, we had an incredible dinner, and we even popped in at a friend’s birthday party before finally hitting the hay.

Saturday morning, we slept in for the first time in awhile, and it was blissful. We did absolutely nothing the entire day, and it was exactly what I needed to recuperate. Mom made a phenomenal Easter dinner of spiral honey-glazed ham, corn pudding, green bean casserole, biscuits, mashed sweet potatoes, salad, and cream cheese pie for dessert! (I’ve been amazed that through all this cold/allergy business, I haven’t lost my sense of taste.)

We took off about 8:00 to hit this little wine and beer place Ian can’t get enough of, Once Upon a Vine. They carry the Fox Barrel pear cider I like so much at Cap Ale, so I satisfied my craving 😉 We took our libations to our good friends’ new apartment for their housewarming party. It’s always so much fun to reunite college friends and old and new friends. It was a pretty late night, but well worth the journey down to “the Fan.”

Sunday, of course, was Easter! We dressed up in our finery for church, which is one of my favorite services of the year. I love all the bright colors and the decorations. Afterward, we had lunch at the Tobacco Company, a Richmond landmark and one hell of a restaurant. It has a lot of character, but it also has really great food. Sunday, I was back to feeling pretty crappy, and combined with the rainy weather, it was the perfect day for a nice long siesta. Because I don’t have Practicum this week, I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home one more night.

Despite feeling like utter shit pretty awful most of the weekend, it was a wonderful weekend full of food, family, and the perfect amount of R&R.

Now, on to the real subject of today’s post…

I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t follow up about my foray into the personal counseling world. To be quite honest, I still have not sought counseling, either at my campus’s counseling center or elsewhere. I know that my counseling experience (or lack thereof, as the case may be) is nobody else’s business, but I believe in an honest and direct approach to blogging. The reason I have not sought counseling is simply because I have been too lazy to do anything about it. I’m not going to make the excuse that I’ve been too busy or tell you that all my stressors have melted away. I fell into the trap that so many adults fall victim to, thus perpetuating the cycle that never ends (at a counselor’s office). If that isn’t firsthand experience of what my future clients will experience, I don’t know what is. I’ve been learning a valuable lesson about the premium people put on their health when they push problems aside instead of dealing with them, and I recognize that I am by no means setting a positive example for those considering seeking counseling.

I still absolutely have every intention of seeking personal counseling, as well as couples counseling prior to Ian’s and my wedding. It’s all part of my journey toward deepening my awareness of myself and areas where I need to focus as I become a counselor. I just wanted to “come clean,” so to speak, and not mislead you in any way. Honesty is the best policy, after all.

P.S. If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking around. If you’re new to SwaSoV, welcome!

Gettin’ Physical

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Getting a physical, anyway.

I texted my mom last week to ask her when was the last time I had a complete physical. Yes, I am 24 years old and I still allow — nay, encourage — my mother to be in charge of my medical records. Turns out, I haven’t “gotten physical” since 2006… Oops. Well, I scheduled one for this morning, which consequently meant a trip home to Richmond in the middle of the week on my only day off. It also meant driving 2 hours in the dark after class last night, and then another 2 hours in the rain this afternoon… I don’t mind driving solo at night, but Mother is paranoid about deer. And lonely, winding country roads. And flat tires. And crazed lunatics who likely run rampant between here and Richmond, simply lying in wait for innocent Hyundai drivers to amble by… You get the idea — she doesn’t like me driving alone at night.

If you know me, you can vouch for this — I do not like it when the game plan changes. In other words, even though I made the appointment a week ahead of time, I was still anxious about sacrificing my day off from class and Practicum (which I normally fill with household chores, grocery shopping, and working ahead on assignments) for a stinkin’ doctor’s appointment. I also don’t like doctor’s appointments. Especially fasting doctor’s appointments, and especially doctor’s appointments when I knew they’re going to draw blood.

Of course, as everyone else knew while I was mentally exaggerating everything, the appointment was fine. My PCP reported that I have the slow, steady heartbeat of someone who exercises regularly 😉 My eyes, ears, nose and reflexes were great — always good to know. My blood pressure wasn’t high for once! I have textbook White Coat Syndrome, but that doesn’t stop any of my doctors from admonishing me about having it checked more regularly.

My bloodwork and urine results will be mailed to me in a few days, and I’m actually really curious to see my cholesterol readings and my blood sugar levels. My doctor said that she likes her patients to have a cholesterol screening once between ages 20 and 30, so I’m covered for the next six years. Woohoo! I discussed with her my constant hunger, for which I had seen her a few months ago and had bloodwork done. She recommended bumping up my protein and fiber intakes. I’ll level with you — I was beyond thrilled that she complimented me on recording my eats and my nutritional intake for a week to try to determine the hunger culprit, and that she congratulated my choices in food. When a doctor tells you “you’re doing all the right things,” you might actually be doing something right 😉 We also discussed my weight — my concern, not hers — and how it has completely plateaued. We calculated my “ideal” one-size-fits-all BMI, and it looks like I have less weight than I thought to lose to reach this goal: about 32 pounds. That’s totally doable! Now, if I could just get over this plateau…

There were a few positives to this whole doctor-visit-in-the-middle-of-the-week shit-uation: I got to spend a few hours last night and a few hours today with my mom, I got to spend a few hours with my fiance Ian (the day before, not on, Valentine’s Day, no less), and I got to have lunch at what I have decided is the best burger joint in Richmond — Burger Bach (surprisingly pronounced “batch”) in Carytown.

My favorite sandwich is called the Italian Chick, and it is to die for. So is the pomegranate green tea. So are the fries and their many, many dipping sauces. Okay, so is every single thing I’ve ever tried at Burger Bach. (Wonder if they cater weddings… I kid.) I actually remembered to take pictures before scarfing this time, but for some reason I can’t upload them. Oh, well.

I’m excited about what’s coming up on SWASOV, so stay tuned! I promise, the relevance of today’s physical will become clear eventually…

12/13/12

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Whew! I feel like I’ve been away from blogging for eons! Truthfully, the past few days have been a whirlwind, so I’m going to write about what’s been going on in one gargantuan post. Please bear with me; today’s post is the best and most long-awaited news I’ve ever shared with you!

On Wednesday, my boyfriend Ian completed his first semester of medical school by achieving competency — fancy shmancy terms for passing — in Anatomy. I met him downtown at his apartment to celebrate. One of his classmates and his girlfriend were supposed to join us for dinner, but we ended up having a private Date Night at Capital Ale House. I’m always impressed by the service and the beverage selection there. I tried a pear-flavored cider that was absolutely delicious, and I really splurged on dinner: a real hamburger, mixed greens with a ginger vinaigrette, beer-based German cheese spread with pretzel chips, and a brownie sundae-type dessert. Of course, alongside a fabulous dinner, we discussed engagement and marriage. I don’t remember how long we’ve been talking about getting married, but the innumerable conversations probably began just a few months into our three-year relationship. I think it began as a joke, but the more we learned about each other, the more we realized how incredibly compatible we are and how aligned our goals for the future were. Let me back up a bit…

As more and more of my sorority sisters became engaged when we were undergrads and celebrated their happiness with one of our Alpha Delta Pi chapter’s traditions, the beloved Candlelight ceremony, the more I grew discouraged that Ian and I would never be engaged. (Dramatic much?) In reality, he was a junior when I was a senior, and we were nowhere near ready to make that kind of emotional or financial commitment. He was trying to focus on whether or not to play football his senior year, manage his responsibilities as an RA, prepare to take the MCAT, and give of himself fully to all of his extracurriculars without overextending himself. I was trying to decide which grad school best suited my needs, focus on graduating, and live up my senior year with my sorority sisters and best friends. As much as I wanted what it seemed everyone else had, I knew in my heart neither of us was ready for The Next Step. Now fast forward a bit…

In May of this year, just a few weeks after the end of my first year of graduate school and Ian’s senior year at Hampden-Sydney, his family took me for the third time on their annual trip to the Outer Banks. We were sitting on the beach late one afternoon when Ian casually mentioned that he felt ready for engagement, and that he had been since February. I was completely taken aback, because I had always felt like our previous conversations about The Future were awkward and forced. As much as I wanted to be ready, I didn’t feel ready. But, because I’m way too schedule-oriented to just leave things at that, we agreed that we would become engaged between our anniversary in November of this year and our fourth anniversary in 2013. I felt satisfied with that arrangement… for a few months. I know that patience is a virtue, but it is evidently not one I possess. I determined in August that I felt emotionally and mentally prepared to take The Next Step with him.

In June of this year, we took our time shopping at five different jewelry stores before we found the perfect ring at Littman Jewelers. What makes it so perfect? Ian and I didn’t (wholeheartedly) agree on a single other ring, for one reason or another. This ring spoke to us, and we both knew it was the ring I was meant to wear. Maybe most women want their fiance to pick out their ring and surprise them, but again — I’m unconventional, and I’m a control freak. Our “plan” had been to pick out several rings at a few stores and have Ian choose among them to sort-of surprise me. In the end, we knew that we had both fallen in love with the Littman ring. Fast forward again to November…

I’m not even going to deny it anymore — I flat-out ruined Ian’s and my anniversary dinner last month. I also may have made it sound a little rosier than it really was… We celebrated at P.F. Chang’s with all of my favorites: lettuce wraps, spring rolls, Ma Po Tofu, and even complimentary champagne. I was so convinced that November 9th would be the date of our engagement that I ruined what would have been a completely perfect celebration if I hadn’t been expecting anything. I had curled my hair in loose ringlets, carefully selected one of my favorite outfits, painstakingly painted my nails, and perfectly applied my makeup so that any photos we took would look pristine. I kept trying to nonchalantly look for a square-shaped object in his pockets, but I knew that his taking me up on my offer to drive, combined with his insistence that he didn’t need a jacket nor did he need anything from his car before we left, were signs that my hope was indeed false. Boy, did I feel stupid. Ian had told me many times that I wouldn’t know when the proposal was coming… and he was exactly right.

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Since Christmas of 2009, when Ian and I exchanged gifts for the first time — and after having known each other for just two months — we have had our own private Christmas. This year, he was bound and determined to have “our Christmas” this past Thursday. To be blunt, I thought it was a stupid idea; my sister and her best friend Rob were expected home Thursday evening, and I knew things would be frenzied trying to get dinner ready with six hungry people in the kitchen. I kept trying to suggest that we have Christmas at any other time — Friday before our company arrived, Saturday before the U of R basketball game, Sunday after church, or Monday morning before he left for home. But he wouldn’t have it. Finally I consented to Thursday, but I pestered him about it all day. He was insistent that we wait until it was dark outside. Actually, he wanted my sister and Rob to be home, and for us to sneak away from the rousing game of Monopoly we were supposed to get started. I thought that would be kind of awkward and non sequitur, so finally I pestered him into opening presents around 3:45 Thursday afternoon. Nothing was going on, and only my mom was home. It was quiet and laid-back, and I thought we’d have our Christmas and be ready to greet Rob and Caroline when they arrived.

We gathered our gifts for each other and sat on the floor of my bedroom. I made him open two of his first before I opened his family’s Christmas presents for me. Then he opened his other two, and we sat talking for a bit about our gifts and the thought behind them. I thought I had done a decent job this year, even though I hadn’t stuck to the $50-limit we had set for ourselves. When we were done raving about our gifts, I barely noticed that he got up and walked out of the room while I was admiring the lightweight running jacket his mom had thoughtfully selected for me. When he came back, he had a small black box in his hands. He got down on one knee, and then on both knees since I was still sitting on the floor. His voice shook as he opened the box to reveal the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and said, “Will you be my wife tonight? Will you marry me tonight?” I knew he was nervous, but he looked so confident and so hopeful. I immediately squealed, “YES!” and threw my arms around him. For those of you who know me — and who know I do not have tear ducts — or for those of you who are wondering, yes, I cried. Then he said, “I went a little over budget…” I kept repeating, “Ohmygosh, we’re engaged!” interspersed with, “We’re getting married!” He just kept smiling at me and saying “yes, we are” over and over again while I tried to catch my breath. It’s been nearly 72 hours since he proposed, and I still don’t think I’ve fully absorbed that I am engaged to be married.

I could not stop staring at my left hand as we gathered up the tissue paper and packed up our gifts from my bedroom. I was preparing to put the tissue paper in the gift-wrapping closet in the loft when I saw my mom below me in the living room. She said, “Are you wrapping or unwrapping?” and in response, I screamed at her, “We’re engaged!!”

Evidently, she and my dad had known for several days. Ian had asked my dad out to lunch on Monday so he could officially ask for my dad’s blessing. He won’t tell anyone when he actually purchased the ring, but he brought it with him to lunch to show it to my dad before asking permission to marry me. This was something Ian and I had discussed, but not something I suspected whatsoever had already occurred. In fact, on Wednesday evening at Cap Ale, I even said to Ian, “I know you haven’t already talked to my dad, but when you do, maybe you ought to ask him not to tell my mom. She doesn’t lie and she’s not very good at keeping secrets, so I’m afraid she’ll give it away.” He’s a sly dog; he just laughed and said, “Okay.” Sorry, Mom 😉

Little did I know, my parents had chilled champagne waiting for us.

Cheers!

Cheers!

Ian had wanted to wait until dark to have our Christmas because he wanted my entire family to be home. I think it worked out perfectly the way it happened, because if you know me, you know it’s just not my style to wait or to be patient. Plus, I was able to collect myself and get the majority of at least a few of my squeals out of the way before my sister and Rob rolled in. I was literally jumping up and down in the kitchen when they walked in, saying, “We’ve been waiting for you to get here!” Caroline was on her phone texting or SnapChatting or Heytelling someone or whatever, so I wiggled my fingers near her cell until she noticed and screamed. There was hugging and everyone talking over one another for a good ten minutes — typical of our family. I officially asked her to be my MOH, something we have been excitedly discussing since we were little girls. I finally allowed Ian (who was bursting at the seams) to post “She said yes…” on Facebook with a picture of the ring on my finger.

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I have never been so overwhelmed by love and congratulations and well wishes! I still cannot believe the outpouring of love I have received from friends and family, and especially my beautiful Alpha Delta Pi sisters. One of my pledge sisters gave me advice that evening via text which I will carry with me until we are married: Enjoy this moment! It’s one you will always remember 🙂 don’t let social media and text messages take away from it 🙂 She’s exactly right, though I can’t deny that I have cherished each and every text, tweet, call, and Facebook “like” we have received. I was wearing jeans, an ADPi tee, no makeup, and my hair in a messy ponytail when Ian proposed. And you know what? It didn’t matter one little bit. Every moment was completely perfect. Everyone keeps asking Ian the significance of December 13th, but he just smiles. I guess there are a few things I’m okay with him keeping from me!

Well, I’d better go finish getting ready. This evening, we are celebrating my birthday and our engagement at the Tobacco Company in Richmond. There will be martinis and steaks and smiles all around! To be honest, I haven’t stopped smiling since 4:30 on Thursday 😉

Thursday Thrills #3

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Well, I guess this week’s edition of Thursday Thrills is better late than never…

I know I’ve been terrible about posting pictures. With the close of the semester and preparing to “winterize” my apartment, I’ve been a little preoccupied. Maybe this video, courtesty of Ian, can suffice 😉

Nickelback Parody — Look at This Instagram

Which brings me to…

First, I am SO excited that the semester is over! As soon as I complete a take-home exam, I am halfway finished earning my Master’s degree!!

Secondly, I am home, in the beautiful city of Richmond, for 6 whole weeks of blissful vacation from papers, projects, and the premature graying of my hair. My dad asked me earlier what I plan to do with such a lengthy break, and I cheerily responded, “Nothing!” (That’s not entirely true, but I do plan to kick back and allow myself to relax.)

Third, though perhaps most importantly, it’s birthday month! I know I’m not the only person out there who believes the entire month in which one’s birthday occurs should be dedicated to her and celebrated as such. I share my month with J.C., as well as Hanukkah, New Year’s, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and pretty much every other frickin’ holiday they thought they’d cram into one month… And this year, let’s not forget that the world is ending! I’ll have been 24 for 4 days when that event occurs. [Psst! Are you taking note? Hint: my birthday is December 17.] Unfortunately this year, December has thus far felt more like May, but I can’t have my cake and eat it, too. Except on December 17th 😉

Fourth, my godsister, Mallory, is returning home in two weeks from a year spent doing missionary work in Uganda! Literally, the love she has for her fellow human beings and the generosity she has demonstrated through her work put my everyday actions to shame. But that’s neither here nor there. I’m just so excited to see her in person! Last year we Skyped on my birthday, but this year, hearing her stories and seeing how she has changed through her experience will be an incredible gift.

Finally, I’m running in my third 5k this year on Sunday. I’m happy that my dad and I can support Toys 4 Tots, but I’m also just excited to participate in another race. [I’ll let you in on a little secret — my goal for 2013 is 10 races! Resolution post TBA.]

So, that’s it for this week’s Thursday Thrills! I hope your Thursday was thrilling, as well!

Oh, Black Friday

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…is the bane of my existence.

…is the most anticipated and yet most dreaded, belabored day of my shopping life.

…is the reason my bank account is weeping.

…is one of the least efficient days to be bustling around busy malls.

…is the first day I find it acceptable to listen to Christmas carols.

…causes my blood pressure to rise higher with each store I visit (especially Target).

…does not excite me quite enough to wake up before the sun.

…makes me feel humbled by and grateful for all of the blessings in my life.

…causes me inexplicable stress, even though I have a meticulous Excel spreadsheet logging every item purchased and every penny spent.

…somehow excuses me from proper driving etiquette, granting me permission to lay on the horn for any reason.

…makes me wish Christmas were tomorrow — I absolutely love gift-giving!

…prepares me adequately for the next 30 days of frenzied holiday madness.

…is the day before my family and I pick out the most perfect Christmas tree (from a lot). When Ian and I first started dating, I told him that we go out into the wilderness every year and cut down a tree ourselves with a lumberjack saw. Oops 😉

…is one of my favorite days of the year!

What did you spend your Black Friday doing?