The Art of Running in the Rain

"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift." -Prefontaine



Advent of Activities Part I – 2018

Ever since Mira was born I’ve been on a kick for family traditions. I received an e-mail from the PEPs foundation discussing the importance of traditions and recommending this book. After reading through it I was hooked on the idea of creating as many traditions with my family as possible.

Last year I started our “Advent of Activities” and even with a six month old it was a blast, so it has stuck. The nice thing about this type of advent calendar is that the prep work is moderate up front but then the rest is cake. In early-mid November I spend about two-three hours researching events and activities happening in Seattle during the holiday season and I enter them into my google calendar. Once I’ve got the timing worked out (e.g., dates of activities/events and our schedule) I write them down on little pieces of paper and put them in our advent calendar.


One of the pictures from last year (we went to the Seattle Center to see the little village and decorations).


I decided I’m going to go over the first half of our advent calendar with you guys and then follow up with the second half in an upcoming post.

December 1st – West Seattle Christmas Tree Lighting. Unfortunately I couldn’t be here for this one, but Dave and Mira attended without me and had a blast.


December 2nd – Coffee Shop Date With Papa.


December 3rd – Christmas Ornament. Mira loves Moana so we hung a new ornament on the tree.


December 4th – Christmas Stocking. Mira was super excited to see her stocking for the first time.


December 5th – Christmas Treat. This one was more for me because Dave was on a sugar strike and Mira doesn’t really eat sugar.


December 6th – Treat With Mama. Mira and I went to Bakery Nouveau and enjoyed a yummy and entertaining date.


December 7th – Christmas Carolers in Westlake Center. This one has been my favorite so far. Mira loves music and she was sooooo into all the singers. Everyone did such a great job.


December 8th – Greenlake Pathway of Lights. Unfortunately this event was a bit of a let down. It was nice to be able to take Oliver with us, but it was so crowded I thought Oli was going to get trampled. Although, It was amazing to see a hot air balloon in the middle of Seattle.


December 9th – Cookie Decorating. Mira enjoyed a frosting-less cookie (**Me: Mira doesn’t eat sugar. Also me: Here, have this cookie Mira**), but I enjoyed the cookie decorating. It was my first time making royal icing and I was pretty proud.


December 10th – Christmas Socks. Mira and I went to pick out socks, we had a conference and decided that because her and I already had enough socks, and Dave was in need of socks, we would donate our pairs to him. It was really cute when I asked her “Should we just get papa a bunch of socks?” and she shook her head ‘yeah.’ Already so thoughtful.


December 11th – Walk With Mama. Sometimes when it’s cold out we can forget to enjoy the outdoors, so I like a good reminder to get outside.

December 12th – Bellevue Garden D’lights. This was absolutely beautiful! I’m sharing two pictures because not only were the lights awesome, but the gingerbread display gave me serious cookie decorating envy!



December 13th – Coffee Shop Date With Mama & Papa.


It’s been so much fun so far and I can’t even wait for some of the events that are to come.

Oh, and in case you were wondering just how deep the Moana love is…(don’t judge my attempts at singing this song…I think my voice is a little tired from belting it out).


Merry Christmas!!!!

Be well.

Happiness Course Week 1-2

I’m having such a great time learning about the psychology of happiness.  Every time I work on a course I’m taken aback by the fact that UC Berkley offers it for free!  We’re on week 3, so I’m not sure how it works on joining, but I highly recommend it if you’ve got 4-5 hours a week (I try to do it on Sundays in the afternoon/evening).



I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell.  I have enjoyed quite a few of his books, but my favorite by far was Blink.  I love the way it gives you a ton of researched information in easy to read vignettes.  I will read research articles from time to time (especially for professional development in the area of speech pathology); however, Blink’s format is by far my favorite way to gain knowledge about new research.  I think quite a few people are like this because I often see things on googlefacts/uberfacts which are essentially lists of current facts (e.g., Google was originally called Backrub) some are funny and some are just informative.  So I wanted to share with you some of the facts and research they discussed in the first two weeks of my course.

Week 1 “What is happiness?” facts

  1. What determines our happiness? 50% genetics, 10% life circumstance (e.g., attractiveness, SES, etc.), and 40% intentional activity (e.g., stable fulfilling relationship, expressing gratitude, etc.).
  2. What is Hedonic Adaptation? The observation that humans return to their baseline of happiness no matter what they do.
  3. Human beings are NOT good at predicting what will and will not make them happy (e.g., having more money, break ups, etc.).
  4. When it comes to having more money, research found that once basic needs are met (e.g., food, shelter, etc.) money no longer increases happiness.  The magic number, $75,000 yearly

Week 2 “Social Connectedness” facts

  1. The same area in the brain that activates when someone feels pain activates when someone is excluded from a group. – No wonder I don’t like spending time with people that exhibit that behavior
  2. Attachment styles (e.g., secure, anxious, avoidant) play a large role in happiness.  These form in infancy.
  3. Oxytocin, which is produced in the body when we are happy, produces trust towards others, increases monogamy, and reduces stress.
  4. Touch therapy can increase birth weight of premature babies, reduce depression in individuals with Alzheimer’s, doubles the likelihood that children will speak in class, and may boost the amount a child uses the library.
  5. John Gottman found that these four behaviors (coined “The Four Horsemen”), when exhibited together in a relationship, increase the likelihood of divorce/separation to 92%. Contempt, Criticism, Stone wall, and Defensiveness.
  6. To combat the four horsemen, use these strategies: Humor & Play, Gratitude, Forgiveness, and Disclosure.
  7. Parents are happy!!! They are finding that when it is a choice, becoming a parent can be a happy thing.
  8. The following factors influence being a happy parent: Age (older = happier), Gender (fathers gain more emotional benefit), Parenting style, and Emotional bond with child.
  9. The following (child) factors influence being happy as a parent: Child’s temperament and problems, child’s age (birth, older = happier, 1-5 yrs = not so happy).
  10. Friendships release Oxytocin!!!!!
  11. Empathy makes you more capable of sharing joy and achievement, allows you to have close friendships, and increases the likelihood that you will empathize with others when they feel pain and they will support you.
  12. Habits of highly empathetic people: Cultivate curiosity about strangers, Challenge prejudices, Try another person’s life, Listen hard and open up, Inspire mass action.
  13. How to become more empathetic: Become an active listener, Share in other peoples joy, Look for commonalities, Read fiction, Pay attention to faces.

I hope you enjoyed all these facts!!  I find that with each lesson I am compelled to learn more.   I was inspired to take the class because of my love for psychology and how we develop as humans; however, I’m finding the suggestions and facts interesting to put them in the context of my life and the people closest to me.

Be well.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Sigmund Freud.


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