Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 29

Today, I am thankful for my extended family.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my family? I have a very LARGE family.... my dad's parents had so many siblings that I don't even know if I can name them all. German Catholics. Yah, they know how to make babies I guess. 

When we went to a family reunion in Portland several years ago, my dad was the emcee. A guy that likes to be the center of attention and talks a lot... emcee? Really? He was awesome. But wanna know what was even more awesome? HUNDREDS of Voellers. So many people I had never even seen or heard of in my life. 

I love family reunions. With everyone so spread out, it makes it difficult to keep up with people you don't see on a regular basis. We used to have family reunions pretty regularly with my dad's siblings and their families. SO... MUCH... FUN. Those were some of the best memories I had growing up. Sand castle contests, talent shows, we always had the best time. After my uncle Kenn passed away, everything sort of fell apart.... literally. Unfortunately, we don't have any of those family reunions anymore, but that doesn't take away my love and thankfulness for my extended family-- aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc. I love them all dearly.

On my mom's side of the family, I also have several aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins. Family reunions in Montana at the annual pig roast and spending time out at my grandparents house on the lake were always so much fun. I miss my grandparents so much, but am thankful for the many memories we shared.

And finally, as part of my extended-family, I couldn't be more thankful for my in-laws. My mother-in-law Ghislaine, father-in-law Sellas, brother-in-law Romuald, sister-in-law Wendy, niece Alexi and SO many other aunts, uncles and cousins. I would be here a week if I listed out everyone!! I had the chance to meet a majority of the French family on Stefan's mom's side when we were in France several years ago and Stefan's dad's family when we went to a family reunion in North Carolina a few years ago. As our Christmas present this year, Stefan's parents are paying everyones way to go back to the Thorne family reunion next year. I couldn't be more excited! (And don't worry, I didn't spell my last name wrong.... that's a post for another day!) 

I love my family and extended family more than words could ever describe. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

It never fails...

I've been eyeing this fabulous desk in the Pottery Barn catalog for a few months now: 

Well, I finally got it. I've always loved white furniture and I read somewhere that a white desk is supposed to spark creativity. Really, I just love white furniture and I think it will look so good in our office.

We brought it home, I started taking it out of the boxes and putting the top piece together, and what do you know.... one of the pieces was defective. I swear this ALWAYS happens to us. Before we left the store, I even asked the guy, "are you SURE this is the WHITE BEDFORD CORNER DESK?" When I took everything out of the box and everything was the right color, I felt a sigh of relief. That's when I realized we had two pieces for the right side of the top piece instead of one left and one right. 

Instead of throwing a fit (like someone else in our house did), I calmly called the store and told them of the issue. In the nicest possible tone when they asked me to bring the piece back to the store, I told them that wasn't going to happen, and I would prefer if they could ship me the correct piece since taking it apart and putting it back in the styrofoam, plastic and cardboard box and then driving 40 minutes to Scottsdale was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my day.

The part will be here in 3 days. 

So now our office looks like a furniture explosion, but in a few days I will have my desk.... as long as they send the right piece. My luck, I'll probably get an extra drawer or something, or it'll be brown instead of white. 

I'll post a picture when the office looks back to normal. 

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 28

Today, I am thankful for holiday traditions.

Being Type A, I always love having a plan. When Stefan's mom was here this last weekend, I had a list of things to do for each day she was here. Even though she just came to "relax, eat, drink and shop" as she said on her first day, I can't just "let things happen" when someone comes to visit"... there HAS to be a plan. I think this type of mentality is why I absolutely LOVE family holiday traditions. Everything is planned! 

When we were living in Washington, there was no need to figure out what we we're doing on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day... I knew that on Christmas Eve we we're going to have a fabulous dinner at Stefan's parents house, which always includes escargot and a Christmas log (buche noel I think is the right term in French). On Christmas morning, my mom always makes a breakfast casserole. We would always come downstairs, open gifts first thing while the casserole was cooking and eat afterwards. Then we'd head over to Stefan's parents and do Christmas with his family. 

Holidays just aren't the same if you're not with family. Last year, we went outside of our normal traditions and spent Christmas in New York. Even though we didn't have escargot or breakfast casserole, we were able to spend the day with family in New Jersey (and I still had every day planned out). 

This year, we're not going back to Washington, but my parents are coming to spend Christmas in Arizona. I'm so thankful for my family, the traditions we've built over the years and the traditions we'll continue to create.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 27

Today, I am thankful for peace.

Peace can mean a lot of things. For this post, I'm thankful for the peace within myself. Thankful for my independence and for the time I am able to have alone sometimes, just enjoying that particular moment. While I love being in the company of others, sometimes it's nice to just be able to spend a few minutes or a few hours alone, just reflecting on things, relaxing or not thinking about anything else in the world. This type of peace is hard to find for some people, and I'm just thankful I've been able to find it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 26

Today, I am thankful for rainy days.

Have I ever mentioned the beauty of the northwest? Sure it rains a lot, but how do you think the trees get so green? Living in Arizona has allowed me to really appreciate rainy days. Listening to the rain hit the roof and staying inside, curling up on the couch with a good book is something I absolutely love. Since we don't get many of these days in Arizona, when it rains, it gives me a nice little taste of home. :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 25

Today, I am thankful for pictures.

I love taking pictures. I love looking through pictures. I could spend hours looking through pictures. Sometimes I'll find myself on photography websites just looking at pictures of other people. Looking at the scenery, the artistic talent of the photographer, and of course the people in the pictures. I love the way they can tell stories without any words. 

If I had the talent and artistic ability, I would love to be a photographer. In fact, the one thing on my wish list this year is a digital SLR camera. Not sure Stefan is on the same page as me with this one, but we'll see. :)

Here are some pictures of our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 24..... Happy Thanksgiving!


Today, I am thankful for my marriage.

Today not only marks the day that we should all give thanks, it also marks the 5-year anniversary of when Stefan proposed to me, which of course, I am very thankful for.

The day was a typical Thanksgiving for us... we spent the afternoon at my parents house, enjoying a wonderful thanksgiving meal, and then went over to Stefan's parents house a few hours later for our second meal of the day. (I love Thanksgiving, by the way). Since our parents are neighbors, it made it very convenient (and not out-of-the-ordinary) for Stefan's parents to invite my family over for dessert after we were done having dinner with his parents.

My parents, brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law all came over to Stefan's parents house, along with his brother and family and some other family friends. We were all enjoying our dessert in the living room (I had a slice of French apple pie and a slice of sweet potato pie), when Stefan said he had a few things to say. I was sitting next to my dad on the couch, thoroughly enjoying my pie. Stefan is known for giving speeches so I just figured he was going to thank everyone for coming over, blah blah blah... He started out by saying "Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful..." and I'll be honest, I sort of zoned out. It's not that I wasn't listening, I was just so into my dessert that when I looked up, (after my dad had been nudging me to listen) I saw tears in my mom's eyes and heard Stefan finish with "I'm thankful for you" and saw him on one knee with a gorgeous ring in his hand. After 6 years of being together, I had absolutely NO clue what was happening. After finishing my pie, and in the most fitting fashion, my mom immediately ran out to her car and brought me a gift... a wedding planning book.

It was the most perfect proposal, on the most perfect day, in the company of the most perfect people. I had always imagined the day he would propose, and I am so thankful he caught me off guard and made it so special, being in the company of the people I love the most. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!! 
Enjoy the day with the ones you love the most.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 23

Today, I am thankful for the ability to travel.

I absolutely LOVE to travel. Whether it's just a weekend trip to Vegas, or a trip across the country to see New York City at Christmas, I don't think there are many things better than seeing other parts of the country and other parts of the world (besides seeing this gorgeous sunset from last night):


I've had the ability to see Paris at Christmas and New York City at Christmas, two experiences I wouldn't trade for anything. We went to France when I was a freshman in college and spent two weeks in Paris and champagne country where Stefan's half-brother lives. Although I don't speak French, it was one of the most incredible experiences to see another part of the world at Christmas. 

Last year, we were able to go to New York City for Christmas. New York City WAS Christmas. It was so beautiful, I don't know that there's a better place to spend Christmas. Even though it was absolutely freezing, I don't think I would've changed anything about the trip.

I wish I could travel more... I'm so thankful that I'm not afraid to fly and that I've been able to see other parts of the country through traveling for work. Last year, I traveled for about 6 months straight, and while I saw some not-so-fun places, I was able to see some really beautiful and interesting places, too. 

I love interacting with people in different places. Dallas by far has the friendliest people (and the most fun accents!) NYC is probably my favorite vacation so far, but there's never wrong with a relaxing trip to Mexico on the beach! Our next trip is to Vegas in January for Stefan's birthday, and we're trying to plan a trip somewhere tropical for our 5-year anniversary in September. Africa is always in the back of my mind and always tops my bucket list, but I think I'll need to plan a couple years ahead of time because I want to make sure I get to see/do EVERYTHING... 

If only money grew on trees... 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 22

Today, I am thankful for my health.

I don't think anyone can really have "perfect" health... and if they say they do, I don't believe them. So despite any ailments or other hereditary medical issues, I am truly thankful for my health. I just got over a 4-week deal that went from the flu, to an annoying cough to a sprained neck from coughing so hard! My friend Amy told me that once I'm feeling back to normal, it'll make me really appreciate being healthy. I couldn't agree more since I'm finally on the tail end of this thing. While I'm definitely thankful for my physical health, I'm also thankful for my mental and emotional health as well. I'm so blessed to have such a wonderful husband, the best family in the world and amazing friends that provide the support for the mental and emotional aspect of my well-being. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 21

Today, I am thankful for my nieces and nephews.

I love having a big family, especially when it means I have 14 absolutely wonderful nieces and nephews. 11 from my side, and 3 from Stefan's side.

They are all so different in the best possible way. I love that I can see my siblings in each and every one of them... both in their looks and personalities. It's been so fun seeing them grow up. I'm incredibly proud of each of them and thankful I get to be their aunt.

Sarah, Derek, Chris, Jordan, Heather, Alexi, Kayla, Zak, Blake, Kaitlin, Alexa, Justine, Pierre, and Kylie... I love you guys!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 20

Today, I am thankful for the ability to see.

I'm thankful for all of my senses, but I'm most thankful for my sense of sight. I love music and the ability to hear, and we all know I love the taste of good food... I also appreciate the feeling of a good hug and the sense of touch. But I don't know what I would do if I wasn't able to see what this world has to offer. A simple smile, a gorgeous sunset, watching snow fall, rainbows, the Puget Sound, the ocean, the grand canyon, Mt. Rainier, the Eiffel Tower, New York at Christmas, the view from an airplane, skydiving, seeing my family and friends, the sweet faces of my animals, beautiful shoes... I could go on forever. After decorating our house for Christmas today, I am so thankful that I get to come home to see this for the next several weeks:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 19

Today, I am thankful for good music.

I'm not sure what I would do without music. All throughout school, I was never able to study in quiet places. The library was my least favorite place to be. I love having background noise whenever I'm doing anything whether it's studying, working, blogging or just sitting around doing nothing. Good music keeps me going and sometimes sparks that creative idea. I am the world's worst singer so I only sing (or rap) in the comfort of my own car/home with no one else around. Stefan's the only person that has heard me sing and I'm gonna keep it that way. But I love singing along to a good song... or rapping all the lyrics to my favorite Jay-Z song. Although I have no musical talent whatsoever, I can appreciate music for what it brings to my life and how it can instantly change my mood for the better.

While hip hop and rap are my favorites, I have an appreciation for all types of music. My iPod will probably surprise (or even frighten) you because of the random playlists. You may hear a song by the Dixie Chicks followed by Pearl Jam, Kenny G, Coldplay, or Snoop Dogg.

Like most kids growing up in Seattle, I definitely had a grunge era.... Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were my favorites. Then I quickly fell in love with hip hop. I'm not a big fan of the rap and hip hop you hear on the radio all the time. Some of those artists drive me crazy and I don't think they have as much talent as their ego tells them they do. I love hearing songs that come out for the first time, quickly picking my favorites and then not listening to the radio for fear that they'll play it out. I rarely listen to the radio (AM/FM) as it is. I prefer Sirius/XM where I can pick the genre and not have to worry about hearing the same song every 10 minutes.

Some of my favorite artists...

Amos Lee
Talib Kweli
Jazmine Sullivan
Anthony Hamilton
Alicia Keys
Mos Def
Raphael Saadiq
Jill Scott
Lalah Hathaway
Chrisette Michele
Musiq Soulchild
Dave Mathews Band
India Arie
Charlie Wilson
Tim McGraw
Notorious BIG

And pretty much any rap/hip hop/R&B from the 90's... I can never get sick of listening to that stuff... Snoop, Warren G, Nas, Salt n Pepa, Tupac, LL Cool J, Boyz to Men, En Vogue, The Dove Shack, Sir Mix-a-Lot, New Edition, Foxy Brown, Dr. Dre... I could go on forever. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 18

Today, I am thankful for our home.

Sure, I love our house, but what I love is that we can call it "home." It's the place where we feel comfortable, can be whoever we want to be, and can have fun entertaining our friends and family.

I love decorating each room. I love that we keep it clean. I love finding Oliver sitting at the top of the stairs when we come home. I love that our dogs have beds in more than one room. I love that it has air-conditioning. I love that it has heat. I love that we don't have to use the air-conditioning or heat this time of year. I love that we have 2 guest rooms available when people visit. I love the bar in the loft. I love that there is not a single white wall. I love the backyard. I love how the decor matches our personalities. I love that it's great for entertaining. I love the layout. I love how we match the air-fresheners to each room. I love that the animals have room to play.

I love that we call it home.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 17

Today, I am thankful for my friends.

"Friends are relatives you make for yourself" ~Eustache Deschamps

There's nothing quite like being in the company of good friends. Whether they're family friends, friends from childhood, new friends, or friends you consider family... true friends can form a wonderful support system.
Mutual trust is probably one of the most important components of any friendship... if the relationship is built on trust, it's designed to last. When that trust doesn't exist, there's no possibility for a friendship to form, let alone last for an extended amount of time.
I love my friends that make me laugh, laugh at my jokes, appreciate me for who I am, and allow me to appreciate them for who they are. I love that each friendship is unique and brings something different to my life. I wouldn't trade anything in the world for the friendships I've formed over the years and the people who have made such lasting impressions in my life.
Friends, you know who you are... thank you for being who you are and for being a special part of my life.