Health, Love & Fire: July 2013


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I try to approach every situation with an open mind and an open heart, something that can be difficult for me at times. I am a very passionate and opinionated person, two traits that can get in my trouble sometimes. But I am also very loyal and caring, and will do anything to support the people I love and care about. I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while now, and decided that instead of writing every post about the great things going on in my life, I needed to be honest and share all of me, not just the good stuff. Reading blogs where people seem perfect, is great, but really unrealistic and unrelatable after a while. So here’s a little bit of why my posts have been less frequent.

Three weeks ago today, I was on the phone with my hubby on my way home from work. He was at the station on a 24-hour shift, so we usually try to talk during the drive on those days. He mentioned that my mom had called him and he wondered what for. We had plans to go to their house the next day so I thought she was probably just calling to see what veggies we could get from our community garden to eat with dinner. Since I was hitting the spot in my drive where I loose reception, I told him to call her and I’d call him once I got to a better spot. When I called him back he acted a little off, but I just thought he seemed distracted. We talked the rest of the way home and I told him I’d give him a call later after dinner.

When I hung up the phone with him I noticed my mom had sent me a text that said “call me when you get home”. I dialed her number immediately and could tell by her voice when she said hello that something was wrong. She had found out that my Aunt had breast cancer. Honestly, I was in shock. Between tears, and anger, and fear, I tried to comfort my mom as best I could. She is her younger sister, if you didn’t know any better, her twin, and her sibling she practically raised. Once it sunk in a bit, I started to get really scared.

Cancer has been too close to my life the last few years. My grandma was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer exactly a month after my wedding, and passed away less than two months after that. I spent the last year and a half working for the American Cancer Society, where cancer was a part of my life every day. I’ve seen people struggle, and triumph, and be defeated. While I search for words to explain how I’m feeling, I’m just left with a childhood feeling of it’s not fair. It’s easy to sit and think about the prognosis and her treatment plan, but I think it’s important to focus on the fact that we are all here now and we have an opportunity to fight this. Since her diagnosis, I have spent a lot of time thinking about life and what’s important. My Aunt is a fighter, and ready to tackle this obstacle and get on with her life. Its uplifting and powerful to see her strength and determination, and it makes me look at life so much different.

This is me at the Breast Cancer Walk in Portland this past May while working for the American Cancer Society 

The last three weeks we’ve spent countless hours waiting for news, and anxiously reading emails. My Aunt is only 48 and has no children. My brother and I are like their kids. They just moved to Chicago, and are about 2500 miles away from us. This distance feels huge in times like these. Our family has spread out a lot the past few years, and its situations like these that make me really miss the closeness. I am thankful for the time I have gotten to spend with them growing up, and look forward to the good times ahead. I was lucky enough to get to spend a few days with them in May at my cousin’s wedding, and I am so glad I did! No matter how close or how far apart we are, our family will continue to love and support each other through any obstacle.
              This is my Aunt and Uncle with Dan and I at my Cousin's wedding in Colorado 

While I know this topic isn’t inspirational, uplifting, or creative…. Writing about my feelings and my life help me process things. After spending the last year working with Cancer Survivors, Caregivers, and people just wanting to make a difference, I know how important the support and understanding can be. Every journey through cancer is different, and I hope my Aunt’s is a positive one, but support and positivity is key. So far we know she’s stage 3. They have already started her treatment process, and we are trying to be the best support system we can be from afar. My family is amazing, and I am so thankful for their love and relationships. We will get through this, and we will do it together!

We are each wearing positivity bracelets to remind ourselves to think of the good memories and keep a positive outlook. Having people there to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to make you laugh are so important in situations like these. Look what my sweet hubby left for me this morning. I am so lucky to have someone who constantly makes me smile! I’m thankful for the friends and family around me, and for the support system I have! Thanks for letting me share and reflect on these past few weeks. 

Whirlwind Weekend!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Another summer weekend is history. I can’t believe how quickly the summer is rolling by, and how soon it will be August. I think August is our busiest month as far as what we have already scheduled. We only have one weekend free and it’s this coming weekend. There are a lot of fun and exciting things planning, but I am still sad to see it all passing by so quickly!

This weekend was fun but also really busy. It was the weekend of our towns annual summer festival which includes a parade, fireworks, vendors, a court, and lots of people watching. In high school, I was on the court for the festival, so every year it brings back lots of memories. Here's a picture of me from Coronation at the festival in 2005. 

Saturday, Dan had to work, but because his station is a block from the festival, he spends most of his day there. My dad and I always watch the parade together from the fire department parking lot, and this year was no different. It’s nice because unless Dan is on calls, he can watch the parade with us. The parade was really long this year, but a fun way to kickoff the weekend.

I spent the afternoon at a friend’s house lounging in the pool and soaking up the sun. In the evening, one of my best friends, who happens to be a former coworker came over. She and I hung out and caught up, went to dinner, and watched the fireworks together. I love that she and I have remained close, even though we don’t see each other everyday. I am lucky to have made some amazing friendships through my last job!

Sunday we started the day with a nice long run. I needed to get in at least 6 miles, and it was the perfect day for it! My dad ended up joining us for half the run, which was really cool. I always love spending time with my two favorite men! All in all, I got about 6 and ½ miles done and I felt pretty good! Just need to keep increasing my mileage and my hill training to get ready for hood to coast and my half marathon in less than a month! Eeeek!!!

Sunday afternoon we went back down to the festival and walked through the antique fire apparatus show with my dad. It’s really neat to have Dan there to explain things, and to learn about some of the history around his job. I love listening to him share with my dad some of the in’s and out’s of his job!

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed with some lounging on the house, dinner and pool time at our friends, and some catching up on Big Brother. I’m not ready for the weekend to be over, but hoping to have some BBQ time this week as well. Hope everyone’s week goes quickly! 

Five Friday Favorites

Friday, July 26, 2013

This week has been pretty busy, and seeing as it’s almost 3pm on Friday afternoon, I haven’t had time to link up for my five on Friday this week. I was catching up with some of my favorite blogs and came across one from Lauren Conrad (yes I’m still in love with her from Laguna Beach & The Hills), which inspired me to post my own favorites for the week.

Favorite Fruit.......YUM!

Favorite Daydream. . . .I wish I could be somewhere like this right now! 

Favorite Decoration, I love these lanterns in a teal color from Z Gallery! 

Favorite Blooms....Lilacs always taken me back to my childhood with my grandparents. 

Favorite Moment.... getting to spend an afternoon floating in the water, relaxing with the husband! 

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! 

What time is THE right time?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Last night, Dan and I were sitting on the couch, enjoying a little down time together while watching some tv and we just started chatting about life and plans. We have been together nearly seven years, and married for a little over three. We’ve gotten to the point where nearly every person has gone from asking us how married life is, to asking us when we are going to start a family. All this questioning makes us start to wonder and question ourselves.

When we got married, our dream was to travel first, be stable in our jobs, and be in a good place financially before we started a family. Honestly, when people say your life speeds up as you get older, they really weren’t kidding. These last three years have completely flown by, and I’m not quite sure where they went. While we have traveled some, and both gotten secure full time jobs, we are still feeling like it isn’t the right time.

When I got home last night, Dan’s parents asked us to walk through a house they were looking at to see what we thought. They want to sell their current house and find something a little newer, that’s bigger, and has a smaller yard to take care of. Walking through this gorgeous home and talking with the relator got us thinking about moving. We had toyed with the idea earlier this year, but decided we needed to wait till we had more equity in our current house, and had more finances paid off, basically it wasn’t the right time.

So what is the right time to make these major life changes? And do you ever really get to a place where it’s the perfect moment to do something? It’s like all these romantic movies that make everything look like it just happens perfectly every time, or wedding shows where when you put on the perfect dress you just know it. I never had that moment with my wedding dress, and our relationship wasn’t completely perfect, but at the end of the day even without it happening perfectly, I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Do you ever really know when the perfect moment is to start a family, or buy a bigger house, or travel the world? Do we sit around waiting for that time to come, or do we take a leap of faith and trust that with love, support, and stability we can get through even difficult times. I’m not writing this post because Dan and I plan on starting a family or selling our house tomorrow, or even in the next few months, but lately I find myself sitting and thinking about when the right time will be for a lot of important decisions. Once you leave college and enter the real world, there’s no textbook, course schedule, or road map to follow. You write your own story, and it’s scary to think about making the right decision. No matter what happens, I know we will meet every new adventure together, holding hands, and supporting each other. And while we will do our best to make those decisions at the right time, life isn’t perfect, and neither are we, so all we can do is do what feels right for us. 

Summer Checklist

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

With summer speeding by so quickly, I thought it was a good idea to come up with a list (since I’m obsessed with lists) of things to do before it starts to rain again! 

1. Go Camping
2. Go to a farmers market
3. Work in our community garden
4. Go on a hike
5. Can/Preserve lots of fresh food
6. Host a BBQ
7. Fix up the beach house
8. Run Hood To Coast
9. Spend the day floating a river or Hagg Lake with friends
10. Go to Old Fashioned Festival - our local festival 
11. Go to a Tunes on Tuesday
12. Have a Picnic
13. Start blogging about local wineries
14. Spend time taking pictures
15. Ride the Portland Brew Cycle

I don’t want to make this list too long since summer is quickly skipping by, so I’ll leave it at 15 wishes. Hopefully I’ll be able to cross off most if not all of these items by the time Fall hits and make a new checklist for fall (my favorite season)!