Christmas again

This has been one whirlwind of a month. From Disneyland to preparing and hosting a bridal shower, December seemed to have slipped away from me.

I was struggling to find time to have “me time.” Laundry day kept getting pushed back. I was up late many nights baking Christmas cookies and wrapping presents.

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I started to feel a little “ugh” about the holiday season. I was constantly exhausted. My rest time occurred more at work (while actually working) than during my home time since I was hardly at home and was busy doing a million things on my to do list.

But, here it is. Christmas day.

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Going on a run with some of my family, even if it meant slowing my pace way down. Laughing until everything hurts. Meticulously crafting our gingerbread houses. Seeing my cousins open the gifts that I carefully picked out for them.

 

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All of that sleep deprivation. All of that pre-Christmas business.

Everything makes it all worth it.

Because, I am with my loved ones.

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Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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Always thankful

It’s funny to think that it takes a holiday  — where we all gather to eat a lot of food — to think about what we are thankful for.

When really, we should be thinking about these things, these people, on a daily basis.

We should always be thankful. And, not only that, we should always give thanks.

But, life happens. We get busy. We’re trying to tackle the ga-zillion things on our to-do lists.

So, no matter where you are or what you are doing, stop and think about what you’re thankful for. It doesn’t have to be right this second. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow. But, when you have a chance, do it and you will be happy you did.

 

– Making new friends as an adult.

 

– Maintaining strong relationships with old friends as an adult.

 

– My nearby family and the fact that I will get to see 99 percent of my extended family this Christmas and New Years.

 

– My tenacious attitude that won’t let me give up on my marathon goal of sub-4 hours.

 

– My healthy body that allows me to run whenever I want to.

 

– This one person who is always there for me.

 

– The means to travel.

 

– The wonderful city of Seattle.

 

That is a full list. I could go on and on but I am full and I haven’t even had Thanksgiving dinner yet.

My life is full and I am very thankful.

(And, thank you for reading this).

 

 

Disneyland in October

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you may recall my 24 hours at Disneyland stint in 2012.

Then there was last year when I went to Disneyland to experience all the Christmas-y things it had to offer.

This year I went during the park’s Halloween Time!

Do I ever get tired of Disneyland? No. It’s the happiest place on earth, after all.

Where else can you go where you feel like time has stopped and everything about life is good?

Maybe I’ve always loved Disneyland because I grew up watching Disney movies and memorizing the lyrics to the songs. I’ve never had any desire to go to any other theme park (nor have I been to any others). But, (in my biased opinion,) Disneyland is different.

At Disneyland, if a cast member walks by and greets you and your cousins as “princesses,” it’s not creepy. You all just smile and laugh about it. Because, at Disneyland everyone is a prince or princess. (Or, heck, you can be a villain if you really want to!)

I had a blast at Disneyland last November when all the Christmas decorations were up and even though I’m not big on Halloween, it was a pretty neat treat to see all the pumpkins and orange and yellow decorations everywhere. Added bonus: Space Mountain was transformed into a “Ghost Galaxy” which sort of scared me the first time but I think Marissa and I ended up riding it three times throughout the weekend.

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Not only did I grow up watching and singing all things Disney, I grew up going to Disneyland with my family. My parents took me to Tokyo Disneyland when I was little, like maybe around age 4. There’s a video of my mom and I riding the tea cups together. Even though my mom would never go on that ride now (she says she gets too dizzy), nor does she even care for the theme park anymore, I still love the tea cups. My many other Disneyland memories are with my aunts and cousins. (And, more recently with my close friends).

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Even though waiting in lines for rides can be a pain and a drain, everything is worth it at Disneyland. Staying up on my feet from 7 a.m. to 12 midnight was well worth it. I was sore when I returned from my Disney trip Monday. (Yes, I know! I just ran a marathon but my quads were sore from all the walking!) I had the best of times hanging with my cousins at the most magical and happiest place on earth.

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None of the roller coasters were closed.

I was able to ride Indiana Jones four times throughout the weekend.

I survived California Screamin’ twice.

I soaked in the California sun.

And now I am trying to recover and get back to reality.

Because, sometimes Disneyland doesn’t seem real.

But, it is.

It’s the happiest place on earth.

Today, 19 years ago

Nineteen years ago today, Marissa was born. I would tell you her life story. But, it’s only just begun.

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The above is a photo of my cousin Marissa during a trip to the Big Island. She’s from Hawaii (Oahu) but this was my first trip to an “outer-island.” She was as excited about the “invisible cows” as I was! This trip was nearly six years ago.

Happy 19th Birthday, Marissa!

2011 Picture of the Day: A full year in photos includes lots of rain, running and smiles

Here it is folks. The highly anticipated 2011 POD.

But, before I disclose the secret link to all my wonderful photos that document the year, you have to read my wonderful prose. (If you decide to scroll down without reading, your keyboard will give you an electric shock. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you).

What is a pod you ask? It stands for Picture Of The Day. Yes, I took at least one photo each day in the year 2011. However, if you notice that I am in the photo with other people, then yes, you are correct, I am a liar and I did not personally click the button on the camera. So, POD 2011 is made up of mostly photos I took with some taken by others with my camera. (OK, I lie there too. Some photos are taken with my work camera, or my dad’s camera. But I was present for every single photo taken).

January 11: Guess where this is (correctly,) and I'll give you a crispy dollar

January 29: Tell me why Chris is doing a squat and I'll give you a high-five

And, you may be really observant and wonder why there are 367 photos in the album. It wasn’t a leap year. But, go through all the photos and you will figure out why there are not 365.

If you are really super observant, you will notice that I missed one day in the year. I cannot for the love of baby Jesus know what I did on this day. I have checked every personal planner, work schedule, family calendar to remind myself what I did that day. I rampaged through all my photos on my hard drive, on my dad’s computer, through Facebook and nothing. But, I make up for this “missed” day — which you will have to find by going through all the photos.

July 13: What are we advertising? (Not for a new printer!)

Why document the year through photos? It’s something a high school friend of mine — who is pictured a few times throughout the album — started.  And I’m a sucker for following the lead of those I admire. I did a full Picture of the Day in 2007 and then in 2009. Both of those, I printed and made into a physical album. This year we went digital. We’re high-tech now! Also of note in case you are interested, 2010 I was lazy and this is how the year was documented.

September 12: Can you tell me what time of day this photo was captured?

December 16: Why do we (try to) spell out H-O-F whenever we are together?

OK, enough with my ramblings. Hopefully, the above photos have intrigued you enough to check out the whole album. (Or, maybe you want the answers to the questions in the captions! If that is the case, you are in luck! Most of the answers are just a click away!)

Picture of the Day was made possible by the letter U and number 2011. Thanks for making the year a memorable one even if I did dismiss it at times. And, by no means does the number of times an individual person, place or thing appear in the album indicate how much love I possess for him, her or it. S/he or it was just at the right place at the right time — when yours truly had a camera!

Enjoy

[That right there above is the link to said photos in case you were confused.]

What my dad has taught me

What my dad has taught me. Note, the list is not in order of importance  — just what I can remember right now.

  • Always lock the front door — even if you’re at home.
  • How to shoot lay-ups and free throws. (I gave up on dunking).
  • To insert a double space after periods in word documents, which is actually the format for writing with typewriters. In journalism school, they re-taught me to use one space.
  • Always call your mom.
  • [In the time of land lines] Always state your name when making a phone call, even if you’re calling your friend’s home.
  • Don’t forget to write “thank-you” notes.
  • I am (pretty) good at writing family Christmas letters. If it wasn’t for his lack of skills in that department, I would never have known!
  • Set the emergency brake, even if you’re not parking on hills.
  • Be responsible.
  • Never use debit. Always use credit. 
  • Family. First.
  • Shred all documents that have your name and/or address printed on them —even if it’s junk mail. If not, you will get your identity stolen.
  • “You can be a gardener, Kristin. Learn!”

Of course, the above is not a comprehensive list. That list would go on for pages. Happy Father’s Day, daddy — and to all fathers and those who play a fatherly role.