Health, Love & Fire: June 2013

Throwback Thursday

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday! This week is going by pretty quickly which is really nice. Look at other people’s Throwback Thursday pictures got be looking back at some of my old photos. I came across some pictures from Senior Prom, and since I’m having dinner with one of my high school girlfriends tonight who was in a lot of those pictures, it seemed only fitting to use those images for this post.

Senior year was by far my favorite year in school. Moving over 3000 miles away from the only place I had ever called home and starting my freshman year at a brand new school was really difficult. By senior year, I finally felt like I had found my place and I had a strong group of really great friends. I also think that by the time you are a senior, you realize what you’re soon leaving behind, so it pushes you to try new things and attend as many events and games with your friends as you can before it all comes to and end. By all means there are things that didn’t go perfectly, and I probably missed out on some things, but all in all it was a pretty great year!

Here are a couple pictures from my growing up years. My mom was one of the coolest moms and created an entire box full of dress up clothes for me as a really young child. My house turned in to the place all the other girls wanted to hang out at and play dress up and fashion model. I’m pretty sure all that time in fancy dresses only added to the excitement I had for proms and homecoming dances! 

Me growing up playing dress up                         Elyse, Me, Lindsay, & Sylvia before Senior Prom 2006

Lindsey & Me, May 2013 at the Portland Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

Hope everyone has a great Thursday! 

The beginning...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So I have tried to start blogging several times over the past few years. I honestly sit and read other people’s blogs on a daily basis and am one of those people who checks back to see if certain bloggers have posted anything new yet. I figured since I’m one of those people and I love to write, I might as well start keeping record of it myself. I don’t know how many people will turn in to the type of reader I am with my blog, but who knows who it can reach until you try it right?!?

I’ll end this with a saying that I walk over every morning on my walk in to work . . .

               “ True hope is swift, and flies with swallows wings.” William Shakespeare 

Spreading My Wings . . .

First week at a brand new job and all the change has really made me think about life and the future and where I want to be. It has been so long since I’ve written on here and after following several blogs religiously lately, I decided it was my turn to start writing again. I know there are going to be several pieces of my blogs that don’t make a ton of sense since I haven’t written in so long, but I feel like it would take forever to update everyone on all that’s happened in the last two years. That and I don’t know that anyone even reads this anymore, so it’s more for me.
This week has been a bit of a tough transition. After many hours of contemplation and talks with my coworkers and husband, I decided it was time to leave the American Cancer Society. I had been then for a year and a half, and made bonds with coworkers and volunteers that will definitely continue on my journey with me. Leaving the comfort and support of the work environment I was in was really difficult. I made some of my closest friends while working at ACS, who I think will continue to be some of my closest. But I don’t do that well with change, even though I am always a fan of redecorating or rearranging furniture. I find comfort in close relationships and in knowing what I’m doing and how to be successful. I could have never guessed the things I would learn about myself and about others when I started that position. It’s pretty amazing how life really seems to work out how it’s supposed to. Even though we go through many trials and tribulations, when you get to a point where you can look back and reflect, it seems to all make sense.
The last two years have been a real reflection and soul searching point for me. After searching a few years ago for my birth parents and slowly finding and connecting with them, it has given me a more complete feeling. Fostering and building those relationships, while it hasn’t always been easy, has been rewarding and insightful. I’ve learned I’m not as great at communicating as I thought (I should be better about answering text messages and checking emails). I learned that even as my family grows (not baby wise, even though my parents and brother would love that), that family will always have your back and it holds a special connection. And lastly, I am continually reminded of how lucky I am to have such an amazing husband by my side through the ups and downs of life. We are a good balance to each other. I support and worry about him while he leaves on a fire or the possibility of a dangerous call, and he supports me and loves me even when I am a stress ball of a mess  (and I definitely am a lot of the time!)
Leaving ACS was bittersweet. I left some of the greatest friends. There aren’t many jobs where you’re lucky enough to miss your coworkers and look forward to going to work on Monday just to see them and talk to them. Doing the job of a CRM puts you in a special category and almost creates a special bond. As I move on to a new step in my career, I am going to dearly miss the women I have spent the last year and a half laughing, talking, and crying with! 

These are just a few pictures from memories and life lessons that will last a lifetime! 

A break from reality . . .

This last week has cruised by quickly. As I sit here in my new office with a little dimmer lighting due to the dreary day, I can’t believe that tomorrow will be the end to my second week at my new job. Part of the speediness of the week can be attested to the fact that Dan and I were out of town for much of it. It really worked out perfectly as far as timing. It was nice to have a few days away after starting the new job. It gave me a chance to sort of process everything I had learned and experienced the first week and just sort of take a mental break.

We had decided about a month ago that we really wanted to try to make it to a Braves game this year (being as we didn’t make it last year, and our only option was going to be a week in June). We had made the decision to go before we found out about my new job, and my boss was really accommodating and allowed me to take a few days off after I started.

Dan and I left on Saturday and flew in that morning to San Diego. We rented a car and drove up to Anaheim and went to Disney for the first two days of the trip. It’s amazing how even at almost 30 how Disneyland really has a way of making you feel like a kid again. We had a really great time exploring the park just the two of us and going on some new and old favorite rides. One thing we tried this time was the single passenger line that a cast member informed us about for the Cars Land ride. We ended up trying that line for California Screaming, Cars Land, and Soaring over California. On all of those rides we actually ended up in the same group anyways in about a tenth of the time. I definitely recommend trying the single passenger line out for anyone who is traveling as a couple who doesn’t mind possibly not sitting next to each other.Here are some pictures from our time at Disney!

For the second part of our trip we drove back down to San Diego. After doing a lot of searching around online, we finally chose a hotel near the marina and bay. It was a pretty view, and also a great location. The whole reason for the trip was so that we could go to see some Braves games since they were in town to play the San Diego Padres. We bought tickets to all three games (Monday night, Tuesday night, and Wednesday afternoon). Unfortunately they lost all three games, but we still had fun seeing the players and enjoying some baseball.

Monday before the game we spent the afternoon by the pool. It was the perfect day for it! Their pool overlooks the Marina so we could watch all the boats come in and out. We also had the entire pool area to ourselves so it was the perfect way to relax our feet and unwind from a busy couple days at Disneyland.

Tuesday we decided that we wanted to do a bit of exploring, so we took the ferry to Coronado Island. We had lunch at a yummy brewery there (I mean let’s be honest; we can’t go anywhere without Dan scoping out the closest brewery). After lunch we made our way to the Hotel del Coronado, where we lounged on the beach listening to the waves and enjoying the sunshine for a couple hours. Perfect way to spend the day on vacation!

Add in a few baseball games and some sightseeing throughout downtown San Diego and you have our few day getaway. I am so thankful every day that I have such an amazing person to share travels and life with. We are already talking about where our next adventure will be! 

Sun, Berries, and Dads

Happy Monday! This weekend we were lucky enough to get some beautiful Oregon weather. The spring here is really hit and miss when it comes to sunshine or rain. Saturday was gorgeous! I was able to spend some time outside in the sun with Cooper (the dog). Unfortunately Dan had to work, but I was happy for a day off with nowhere to be.

Sunday (yesterday) was Father’s Day, so we spent the morning and afternoon with my dad and then went to my in-laws for Dinner. All in all it was a good day, but it went by too quickly. This is a pretty busy week for both Dan and I, so I am hoping the week will go by fast too!

With my new job, I have been doing a lot of research and reading about healthy food and sustainability. It has gotten me thinking more about joining a community garden and really watching what I put in my body. With my curiosity sparked, Dan, my Dad and I went berry picking yesterday morning. We picked 23lbs of strawberries, and about 10lbs of raspberries. I love eating fresh foods and knowing the work that went in to it. We used the strawberries and made shortcake for dessert with my in-laws last night, and today Dan spent the morning canning fresh strawberry jam. The raspberries are just for me to eat and put on some yogurt or I may freeze some for morning smoothies. Of course we finished out our afternoon with some local wine tasting and lunch (we did go to one of the top sustainable wineries in the area). 

I am really blessed with the Men I have in my life. My Dad is one of my best friends, and someone I always enjoy spending time with. Growing up, my parents both worked really opposite schedules so that my brother and I didn’t have to go to daycare. While our family time all together wasn’t as often, I feel blessed for the time I got to spend with each of them individually. From dates at our favorite breakfast restaurant, to picnics and walks down by the lake, and of course time spent watching our favorite movies while roasting marshmallows in the fireplace, my Dad has always been one of the most fun people I know!

Not only am I lucky to have the greatest father, I am also blessed to have several other amazing men in my life. Nearly four years ago, I reached out and found my birth father. For those of you who don’t know, I was adopted when I was very young and had never had any contact with either of my birth parents. Growing up, I always wondered who they were, what my background was, and how their lives were now. After lots of searching, I was able to locate them both, and it was the best outcome I could have hoped for. Since both my biological parents married different people, I am blessed with two other important men in my life, my birth father and my birth mother’s husband. I hope each of them knows how much I treasure their presence in my life and the support and love they so willingly provide.

Lastly and obviously not least, my husband who is an amazing Dad to our pets, and of course someday our kids. He is the most supportive, loving, kind, and sweet man I could have ever asked for. And of course, I definitely have his dad (my father in-law) to thank for that as well.  

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, and you to them." - Desmond Tutu 

What did you do for father’s day? How do you celebrate the important men in your life?

My Runner's World

Monday, June 24, 2013

I am excited to share my running journey with the blog world in my quest to build my endurance and become a more seasoned runner.

I think because of my upbringing, I am destined to run. From about age 1, I have been around running. Running is present in most of the people on my Mom’s side of the family. My grandmother ran her first marathon at age 60, and another at 65 (how many grandmas can say that?!? Pretty awesome!) My parents were avid runners and would always take me in the baby jogger along with them on their runs. I can remember many a weekend, as I got older, where I would start the day off riding my bike along side one of my parents running. My mom ran her first marathon for her 40th birthday, and my dad ran his for his 50th. Needless to say, both of my parents and my grandma are amazing!

After Dan (my husband) spent some time around my parents, he too got in to running. Watching Dan complete his first half marathon really motivated me to join all of them. My mom and I ran my first race on Mother’s day weekend. We completed the Hippie Chick Half Marathon. Finishing a race like that is one of the coolest feelings, and doing it with my mom was even better. Since then I have run a couple 5k’s and two more half marathons, but I have never been completely satisfied with my times.

(Dan & Me after his Pacific Crest Half Marathon) 

This year, I decided to push myself a bit more. Dan and I joined a team to run Hood To Coast, which is a 299 mile relay race from Mt Hood to the Oregon Coast. After my three legs of running, I will have completed about 17 miles. If that wasn’t enough, I decided that since I will have already trained for that race, I might as well run the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon the next weekend with both of my parents. I’m not crazy right?
(This is Mom, Dan, & I after the Wine Country Half last September) 

Growing up around running, and watching your family and loved ones complete races with ease can be really motivating, but can also be discouraging. While we all know that it takes hard work and dedication to complete any accomplishments, we can sometimes forget that when looking from the outside. Sure I’ve completed a few races, but during all of them I think to myself how if I had trained more or kept up my consistency, it wouldn’t be so difficult. The past few years, after all of my races I just stop running for a while, I loose my motivation, and a lose my endurance. Once I get motivated to start running again, it is really difficult to get to the point where it’s easy and enjoyable.
(The is right before my second half marathon - The Eugene Women's Half) 

As a health educator and a public health advocate, I want to be proud on a daily basis of the way I live my life. I’ve decided I’m sick of thinking about making a change; I want to make it and be better for it! This summer Dan and I are joining a community garden to incorporate more fresh sustainable food practices in to our lives. Along with that, I want to incorporate running more into my life, and get to the point where it isn’t so difficult. So along with starting my blog to get writing and recording our lives, I also want to keep track of my running accomplishments. My goal is to not only motivate myself through blogging and keeping myself accountable, but to hopefully motivate other new runners as well. 

Favorite Things

I have always loved watching Oprah’s Favorite Things show or Ellen’s 12 Days of Giveaways…I think it’s something about the craziness of all of the stuff they give to their audience. As I sit there watching these shows, I think so myself, what are my favorite things that I would give to people? So that’s when I came up with this post of five of my current favorite things . . . .

1. Anthropologie Mugs: I have 3 of them. . . . and secretly wish I had more names so that I could buy more. We have the L for my name, the D for my husband, and then the B for our last name. Maybe I should buy the H for my maiden name and the R and J for my parents names  . . .  that’s not too over the top right?

2. Harney and Sons Paris Tea – This is my favorite morning, afternoon, or evening drink. I came across this tea at Dutch Bros. It is amazing hot and iced! I love it hot during the winter with some non-fat milk in it (I apparently think I’m English), and in the summer I love it iced with some peach flavoring in it! AMAZE!! I already purchased peach syrup for home, but I may have to order some of this tea online as well to save me some time and money in the mornings. Let me know if you try it and how you like it?

3. My Own Pet Balloon – If you know me, or you continue to read my blog for a while you’ll soon learn that I am a sucker for little things that make me smile throughout the day. One day, my coworker was having a tough day and had been struggling with some events and just feeling down. In an effort to cheer her up we thought we would get her a balloon and some flowers or chocolates. We didn’t like any of the pre-inflated balloons so we looked through their balloon book, and there she was! They had these inflatable balloon animals. Obviously we were going to get the inflatable dog over the “we’re proud of you” balloon. She became a member of our “team” and would travel from desk to desk for months. Honestly it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made in a long time! Next time I need a pick-me-up, I may just have to find some more of these amazing faux animals! Check out their website if you want to see all the amazing options there are!!

4. Canon 60D – A few years ago, my father in-law let my husband and I borrow one of his cannon cameras so we could take better photos of my brother’s senior year of football. He had several extra, so letting us borrow one was no hardship to him. We took lots of football pictures, and it soon just became a necessary accessory to any day trip or vacation. After thousands of pictures and hours of use, the camera stopped working. We called several camera places and repair shops but found it would be more expensive to fix it than it was worth. To my surprise, my parents had been planning on getting me a camera for my college graduation gift. Since then, I have fallen even more in love with this model than the 20D I was using. I continue to learn more about the different functions and settings, but love every minute of it!

5. Bird Necklace - If you know me, you know I am almost always wearing something with a bird on it. Birds have always been a symbol of my grandparents to all of my family members, so I like to have one on me most of the time. As a new job gift, my mom got me a new bird themed necklace and I LOVE it. It’s a small round bead with two birds sitting on branches carved out of it. I wear it all the time! It’s simple and small, but still lets me have that piece of my grandparents with me at all times. My mom found it on Etsy, and I am so glad that she did!

Take a few minutes and create a list of five of your favorites and share them either in the comments or your own blog post. Just make sure to let me know, so I can check out what your favorites are! 

Five On Friday

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Friday! Week 3 of my new job is complete and I am enjoying it more and more as the time passes. I was reading another blog who was doing a 5 on Friday and I decided that would be pretty fun to do. Here are my 5 for today…

I am excited that it is finally the weekend and that I get to spend it with Dan. He worked extra this week and had a night meeting so we haven’t spent much time together. He talked me in to doing a garage sale on Saturday, which I wasn’t too excited about, but it’s growing on me. At least it will give us a reason to just hang out in the sun and get the garage organized and get rid of all our extra “stuff”. I can’t wait to sleep in on Sunday and possibly go out on the boat my father in-law is thinking about buying. All in all, I am just looking forward to some relaxing time with the hubby.
Here’s a picture of me and my sweet fireman :) 
I’m looking forward to going to the Relay For Life of McMinnville tonight after work. This is one of the events I staffed before my new job and I am looking forward to going to support my former committee and friends. They have done such an amazing job this year, and I am so proud of all of their accomplishments. They are going in to the event at over $53,000 already raised!! I couldn’t be happier for the entire committee, teams, and participants! They are truly an inspiration, and it is because of amazing volunteers like them that we will one day put an end to cancer.

I’m looking forward to getting some new work clothes this weekend. I’m sure the hubby is pretty excited for me to drag him shopping with me, but I really need some new clothes for my new office. Finding some new work clothes is at the top of my list of to do’s lately. I have spent a bunch of time on pinterest searching for ideas and inspiration, so I am hoping to have a successful trip to the outlets this weekend. Starting my new job has been great, but a whole different realm and environment than I’m used to, and a new wardrobe, or at least some more professional pieces is necessary. Hopefully I will find some great pieces and hopefully some deals as well.

Any suggestions for work attire?
Any ideas on how to look older or more professional?

Here are some of the ideas I’ve pinned that I’m thinking of trying to find . . .

I’m excited that today is the first full day of summer!! I love the summer time and the warm weather. Hopefully Dan & I will get to do some camping, take some trips to the beach, and do some exploring of Oregon this summer together!

I am excited because I have been trying to update my blog and follow other bloggers and just become more a part of the blogging world lately. I have spent countless hours reading, writing, researching, and editing this week and hope to now try to get more followers. Any suggestions on changes or improvements are much appreciated!! And please follow me! 

Hope you all have a GREAT weekend!!!