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The Art of Running in the Rain

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

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southern california

Mira’s First Trip To Disneyland

Well in the bittersweet way that life often happens we found ourselves in Southern California last week when Dave’s grandma passed away. We spent the majority of time in Los Angelos, but we made our way down to Orange County on a couple of occasions, one of those occasions being Disneyland. I’m going to write a more detailed post about some of my favorite places in southern California (I’ve been meaning to do that since we lived down there), but for now let me tell you about our trip to Disneyland, or as I like to refer to it, Mira’s first trip to Disneyland. I was slightly apprehensive to go to Disneyland with a child under 5, but that was before I found myself 40 minutes away from Disneyland. That. Changed. Everything.

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Some of you may have agreed with my initial sentiment (especially those of you who have knowledge of child development….man, the skill set they expect you to have at Disneyland….patience, delayed gratification, etc….I know adults that don’t have that shit), but Mirabella had one of the best days of her life. I’m not even talking about how excited/happy she was, I’m talking about minimal-upset, falling asleep on dad, riding five rides and not being afraid of any (even the witch on Snow White, who was my dad’s biggest fear for a large part of his childhood).

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So now I’m of the mindset that it really depends on the child, I even think you could have an infant that would be good to go in Disneyland (as long as you have someone to watch them while you ride ALL the rides). One of my all time favorite rides is Pirates of the Caribbean, and this time the ride was even better! Mira spent the entire ride laying on me half asleep (she NEVER does that), it was just really amazing!

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My mom came down with us to Cali to help with watching Mira while I worked and Dave was occupied. It was nice having her with us and I know it made Mira happy. Flying with Mira is definitely a joint effort at this point, so it was nice to have her with us on the flight down when Dave was already in LA.

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One of my favorite parts about Disneyland are the treats and we tried a few new ones this time. I was ALL about the slushies, this was actually my second of the day (the first one I didn’t snap a pic of, but it was orange-lemonade and it was delicious).

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My mom tried the grey stuff, and apparently the dishes were correct, it’s delicious.

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Here’s a list of all the other things we had that I didn’t snap a picture of: Frito Pie (this is an off menu item that you can ask for at the refreshment corner – Dave reports it’s delicious), Clam Chowder Bread Bowl (I may have ate mine and Daves), Mickey Macaroons (OMG, so delicious), Jack Skellington Cake Pop (not my fav – too much white chocolate), and as always Pooh Sandwich (I think they renamed it Mickey Sandwich, but I’ll always know it as the Pooh Sandwich) – old picture for memories.

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I’d say Mira’s absolute favorite part of Disneyland was the characters, but it was perfect because she’s not at an age where she could say “I want to wait in line an hour to get their signature.” It was more of a, if we saw them we saw them, if not then who cares. When she saw Pooh she was in heaven, the funny part is it was really her first time seeing Winnie the Pooh (we didn’t even get to ride the ride because it was closed), she just really has an intense love of visually stimulating stuffed animals (aka ELNO!!!).

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I’m not going to lie to you, there was a lot of apprehension about taking our 16-month-old to Disneyland, and while I’m not saying it’s something everyone should do, I do think that it really depends on your child. Mira had a great time, and I have no ragrats!

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I’m excited for the time that we can go to Disney and Mira can form full sentences to tell us about what she’s seeing and how she feels about it!!!

Be well.

Take Advantage of Where You Live.

Dave and I woke up one Saturday morning a bit on the early side (we don’t have children yet, so waking at 7:30am on a Saturday is early for us), looked at each other and I said, “you wanna go to San Diego?” Because he’s always up for an adventure, Dave said “yes!”  That aspect of where we live is so awesome, it’s an hour south to San Diego, an hour north to Los Angeles, and an hour east to Palm Springs.   We hurriedly got dressed, walked/fed the dogs, jumped in the car and were off.  It’s pretty rare that we haven’t made plans, so I try to relish these moments when we can be spontaneous and go on a random day trip.

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The first stop was for food, we went to a place that I’d seen on another blog before called “Snooze an AM Eatery.”  I completely forgot to take pictures, and honestly I’m not super upset by that.  I found a hair in my burrito, which was a major bummer.  At this point I don’t even remember how it tasted and it just grosses me out to think about it.  Dave reports that his was tasty, but really heavy.   As I’m sure you could have guessed we won’t be going back.

We wanted to pick up a donut before we headed to our destination, but the donut bar was sold out!  They were super nice and gave us a coupon for a free donut so we’ll totally be back.  I hear their donuts are off the hook!  Then we off to explore the area near the San Diego zoo called “Balboa park,” and I’m soooooo glad we did (at first I wanted to go to the zoo because I love how amazing and progressive the San Diego zoo is, but we were just there a little while ago so Dave convinced me otherwise).  The first spot we scoped out was called the “Spanish Village Art Center,” and it was super beautiful.

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The ground is painted in this cool way, and it’s surrounded by cute little art shops.  I don’t know why, but I never feel grown up enough to go into art shops.  Maybe one day 😛

I can see why San Diego would be the place to be if you were an artist.  Dave was telling me that his uncle Jeff’s mom sold her art in this village.

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After exploring the art village we decided to check out more of the park.  I can’t even describe how cool it is, there is so much to see.  Some of the places you have to pay to get into (like the natural history museum), but a lot of the stuff is free.  There was this really neat botanical building.  I’ll start with a picture of the outside, which reminded me of Jurassic Park.

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This picture doesn’t do the size of it justice.  It felt like I was transported back in time, because you really don’t see buildings like this made of wood anymore.  Inside the ceiling felt so massive, and beautiful!IMG_2485.jpg

It’s been amazing being able to explore a completely different kind of nature and climate than the one I’ve been used to my whole life.  The PNW is full of evergreens, pine trees, and moss is everywhere; down here it’s more tropical with (obviously) palm trees everywhere.

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The smells in this building were amazing!

I wish I would have snagged a few more shots of the area surrounding all the different buildings.  You can tell that the landscape is really well taken care of, and there were a ton of people there so it seemed like a really popular spot.

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Some of the architecture reminded me of Spain, it was  just so beautiful!

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And some was scary! (San Diego doing it’s part by not having water coming out the mouth, or having their water fountains active, bonus points for water conservation).

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I can’t get enough of Spanish tiles, I want it in my house!

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Dave and his elephant friend!

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After we had explored all the free stuff we decided to pick a museum to check out, we settled on the natural history museum because it looked amazing on the outside and the inside didn’t disappoint.

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All in all it was a really fun day of exploration!  San Diego has always been this city that my heart has longed for, but I’ve never really spent an extensive amount of time there.  Now we have to go back, I mean we have a coupon for a free donut!!!!!  Hope you have an adventure this weekend.

Be well!

 

Girl’s Weekend…Errr Actually Jill’s Weekend

This weekend was the #2ndgirlsweekendpalmsprings (longest hashtag ever…we couldn’t figure our shit out), and it was simply the best!

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Abby was having a really good time 😉  I laughed so hard this weekend, if I had slightly worse bladder control, I would have peed myself multiple times.

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Jill has been such a good friend, and when I decided I wanted to post about this weekend it reminded me that I didn’t do a post on her visit back in October.  My OCD just won’t allow that…

In October these two lovely ladies came to see me and it was everything!

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We started our weekend off the right way….with donuts, and it’s safe to say that Ilee was happy!

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Then Charlie needed a cuddle.

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After Charlie was sufficiently cuddled we headed to the pool.

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The next day we took the ladies down to the Los Rios Historic District of San Juan Capistrano.  One of my favorite areas!  When we first moved down here I spent so much time at Hidden House Coffee shop.

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Ilee is sooooo adorable!

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Dave and I got such a kick out of her.

DSC_0031.JPGAfter exploring the area, we headed to San Clemente for some Pizza Port, beer+pizza=THE BEST!

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Then it was time for the beach.  I think Dave really loves taking friends and family to San Onofre because it means so much to him.  It’s where his dad taught him to surf, and he has so many fond memories.

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I love surf culture, I haven’t met a mean surfer.

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Ilee fell asleep before we even got there, look at this little bean!

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Jill and I jumped in to boogie board while Dave watched over a sleeping Ilee.

When she woke up we took advantage of her excitement and had ourselves a pretty good time.

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Alright, maybe I was the one who was extremely excited (if you couldn’t tell by that face)!

#Beautifulladies

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I mean, look at this face.

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Such a good time at the beach with a few of my favorites!  I’m so glad I’ve gotten to share so many special moments at this beach with Dave and friends!

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The next day was their last day 😦 but we were able to grab brunch and walk around Newport Beach before they headed out.  When we were about to leave I caught Dave and Ilee swapping stories….pretty adorable!

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I love these girls, and I’m so glad that they came down to visit!!!!  I can’t wait until the next visit (…Disneyland???)

Love you Jill & Ilee!

Be well.

 

 

Alzheimer’s

This post has definitely been a hard one to write.  It’s a combination of loss for words and avoiding sadness.

I’ll start with my first experience with Alzheimer’s.  I don’t recall the exact age, but I was very young, and received the news that my nonno (Italian for grandfather) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

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Here are the things I remember about my nonno: he had a sense of humor, he loved to sing, he loved to hunt (I’ll forgive him for that one because he loved dogs), and he cared very dearly about providing for his family.  He taught me the Italian songs that I still know how to sing.  I was young when he passed away, 18; but I still have good memories of times spent together, laughing, singing, and of course (we’re Italian) eating.

My nonna is a strong woman, she also has a sense of humor which can erupt an entire room into laughter (I will never forget the time nonna, staring directly at a young man who was about to pass out from being so drunk, made a gregarious hand gesture and yells, “You have a bit too much of da juice?”).

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I remember it being hard times for her when my nonno wasn’t doing so well.  She was stressed, sad, confused, and so many emotions which it feels unfair for such a spirit to have to endure.  I know that the love my nonna and nonno had for one another helped them through such a difficult time.  I’m not a religious person, but I believe they will see each other again one day, without the burdens of life’s difficulties.  Until then, I’m happy I still have my nonna here with me.

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Now for the part that seems so unfair to be true.  Would you imagine that this disease would affect this family once again?  Well, it has.  Almost one year from today my dad received the diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s.

I’m going to start by telling you the positive things: he is active, strives to eat healthy, has a positive outlook, he doesn’t smoke, he drinks one glass of red wine each night, and it’s early.  Now that list is suppose to make us all feel better.  I guess the most important thing to me is that my dad is happy and enjoying life.

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If you know me or you’ve read my posts, I’m a realist.  I’m also a speech language pathologist, I’ve worked with people who’ve had dementia, traumatic brain injury, dysphagia, etc. and I know all too well the various roads that could be ahead.  My dad is right though, we can’t worry about what’s ahead, we can only try and handle what’s right there in front of you.

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I’m telling you my story because you can help.  They’ve made so many advances in the area of Alzheimer’s; however, they still have not determined a cure and the medicine they are using to slow the progress is the same medicine they were using when I was in grad school 5 years ago.

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Please join me and my team to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s.  A few of my family members and I are doing a walk in Southern California on November 14th, 2015.  I invite you to join us on the walk and/or donate to help make a difference in the lives of so many.

Click here to donate or join our team, thanks!!

Be well.

Labor Day Weekend

Hope everyone had a great labor day weekend!!!  We had a lot of fun seeing family, friends, and some unexpected wildlife!

I definitely prefer to plan my weekends, but this time around Dave was adamant that we keep things low key and make very few plans….so we ended up doing a whole bunch and made a ton of plans ;P  It was glorious (don’t worry, Dave thought so too).  Friday we headed up to grandmas to try and get Scooters situation under control, to no avail.  We’ll be heading to the vet this Friday (my preference anyways, let the professionals help).

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Saturday morning we woke up and did a great hill run that I found on cakes and carrot’s blog.  It was very adaptable to the area around grandma’s since she lives at the top of a hill.  After that we went to a friends place for a block party, it was very relaxed and fun.   Sunday was definitely the low key day Dave was craving, we stayed home pretty much the entire day (save for a trip to get coffee, target, and softball practice).  We did some netflixing, watched Birdman and Tig’s HBO special “Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted,” both were amazing and I absolutely recommend them.

Monday turned out to be filled to the brim, but in the most excellent way!  First stop, Portola Coffee Lab the best coffee we’ve found in Orange County thus far (I say thus far, because we will be continuing the search).

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My aunt, uncle, and cousin ended up coming out to the beach for the day so we met up with them to hang out and catch up.

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It was great to see them!  Mika really enjoyed Dave’s story about the sting ray and looking at his scar.

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After meeting with them we headed to our friends house for a luau party she was throwing for her mom’s birthday.  She did such a great job with the decorations!

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Look at these cute sandals!!  She used icing and nutter butters, what a great idea.

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Dave has been craving, and I mean CRAVING, a pina colada.  As soon as we got there, Lena and him got down to business.

Dave & Lena

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Verdict = delicious!

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Picture time!  The selfie stick came out, I’ve never seen a selfie stick but this thing was pretty awesome.  The best was when Lena used it to take a regular photo.

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We finished off our labor day weekend with a visit from a most unique insect.  I’ve never seen a real life praying mantis, it didn’t like Dave’s foot but I really wanted a size comparison in the picture.  I love how you can tell that it’s looking at Dave’s foot and pretty much saying “woah, back off buddy!”

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Hope you guys had a great weekend too!!

Be well

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