Back To School (or Getting Prepared For Another Of My Day Jobs)

Somehow, even though it feels like I have 1,000 different day jobs, I really have it down to 4. I have working at the box office during shows at the theater company where I used to do telesales, I have the survey coding job (which is the graveyard shift one right now), I have a new box office job from home that will be starting next week, and I have substitute teaching. I also have babysitting and dog sitting, but since those are few and far between, I’m not quite counting them.

I’ve been a substitute teacher with a small public school district by my house since 2007. I used to work more often, but when I did telesales I really didn’t have any days that I could work.

Now that a new school year is starting up, I’m getting prepared to possibly have some sub days in the future (although right now it looks like I can only work on Mondays).

Since I’ve been with my district, they’ve never really trained the subs. We were hired and then starting working as soon as possible. But they are trying to change that and make communication better between regular employees of the schools and the subs.

So this past Monday, I attended my first substitute training class. It was a half day in the morning (and we got paid to attend!), and I’m really glad that I got to go.

I really don’t know any of the subs so it was nice to meet some new people. And they did have some really helpful hints and tips for being more effective in the classroom that I know I will use if I get a chance to sub this year.

The three hour training went by pretty quickly, and when it was done, I had a chance to speak with the woman who pretty much organizes all the subs for the district. Part of the requirements for subbing include keeping your certification up to date (I pay every year to keep things current) and having a current TB test on file (which needs to be done every 4 years).

For me, the TB test can get a little annoying. I can’t do the standard skin test. In 2001, I tested positive for exposure to TB. I never had it (or any signs of having it) and they put me on medication for a year just to be sure. But as far as I know, my skin test will always come up positive. And I don’t want to have to deal with taking the medication again as a precaution.

So I get chest x-rays to prove that I don’t have TB. Sadly, my private health insurance won’t cover those. Even though a skin test is free, the chest x-rays would be about $500 to do.

Fortunately, my district is willing to pay for me to get tested at a clinic near the schools. So as soon as my meeting was done, I got my paperwork to get my chest x-ray and headed over to the clinic.

I lucked out getting there when I did because there was only one person ahead of me. Before I knew it, I was in the x-ray room getting ready (you keep your shirt on but have to remove any metal which for me was my necklace and bra).

The x-ray was really quick and the doctor at the clinic was able to review it right away. As expected, my chest x-ray was negative so I am cleared to work for the next 4 years in my district (I do still have to turn in my paperwork from the clinic, but I have 2 months before it’s due).

School in the district I work for starts next week. I don’t expect to have any sub days for the first few weeks, but you never know. At least I feel more prepared than I ever have for the coming school year!

Continuing The Birthday Celebrations (or A Birthday Twin Adventure)

On Friday evening, I got together with my birthday twin Joanna. It had actually been a while since we had seen each other.

But besides wanting to hang out again, we had a birthday tradition to uphold!

It was time for our free birthday meal at Truxton’s!

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This might be one of my favorite birthday traditions. Joanna and I have been doing this for years, and both of us look forward to it each year.

Truxton’s really does have one of the best birthday deals around, and it would be a shame if we didn’t take advantage of it.

So when Friday came around, I was ready to have an awesome meal (I had also saved up my calories so I could afford to have a meal like that).

Since we knew that our meal was going to be free, we both ordered without looking at the prices. I got a 1/4 chicken with some garlic fries (and they were super garlicky) and Joanna got the salmon.

While we waited for our food, we spent some time just catching up on each other’s lives. Since we are both actors, we both live pretty crazy lives. We both are always changing things around like our day jobs, representation, or other things like that.

Both of us have had some changes in our lives, so it was nice to have the time to fill each other in on what’s been going on. Since right now we only have 2 annual traditions (birthday and Christmastime) and somehow we never have the time to get together, over dinner we also decided that we are going to add a fall and spring tradition hangout. Right now we only know what we are doing for fall (Disneyland), but we have some time to plan out spring.

After dinner, we ordered our free desserts. We always get this one ice cream dessert that comes with churros so we only had to decide on the second dessert. We opted for a giant freshly baked cookie.

We each had 1/2 of each dessert, and I have to say that saving my calories (and working out like crazy at Orangetheory) was totally worth this splurge. It was so yummy!

When the bill came, we had a bit of a laugh at the difference between what Joanna’s meal would have cost versus my meal.

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Thank goodness it was all free! And since it was free, we were able to leave a nice tip (we left $30).

All in all, it was an awesome evening out. Not only was it a free meal, it was a meal with a good friend who I don’t see nearly often enough!

I’ve still got a few more birthday deals that I’m planning on taking advantage of, but my birthday month is going to be over before I know it!

Stronger And Stronger (or Week 7 Is Done!)

Week 7 of my Orangetheory challenge was another week where I tested myself to see how far I could go.

First of all, I did get myself signed up for a membership so that I can continue to go 3 times a week once my challenge is over after this week. My plan is to continue with the Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. That seems to be working well for me and it will fit in with my upcoming work schedule for the new day job.

To be totally honest, this past week of workouts was a bit of a blur for me. There were some run/row days that were tough and made my legs feel like jello. I tried to go faster on the treadmill, but my body wasn’t having it most of the time (I was able to push myself for a minute here and there, but not ongoing).

I continued to see how my body could do with trying to not to the modified workouts. I did burpees the right way (jumping my legs back and forward instead of stepping back and forth). I also did jump squats for the first time. Not only were they jump squats, they were unassisted (or without the TRX straps) jump squats. Those weren’t easy, but that workout only required doing 5 at a time so I managed.

I’m also picking up heavier and heavier weights. With the exception of some of the shoulder work, I’m no longer grabbing the 8 pound weights (which is what I started with). I’m now using the 10 or 12 pound weights depending on what strength move it is and how tired I’m feeling.

I’m doing better core work as well. I did some planks without shaking and did some crunches were you moved your legs and not your shoulders (I don’t remember what those were called) without having the do the modified workout.

I know that this isn’t the most interesting update about my challenge, but the fact that it isn’t interesting is what makes it interesting to me.

In the beginning, I remembered every single detail about every workout because everything was so new and weird to me. Now, it just feels like a part of my routine. I go in 3 times a week and put in my 1 hour. And during that hour, I push myself so hard that sometimes I wonder if I can make it through the workout. But I always do and I know that I’ll be back there doing the same thing again soon.

This is starting to become my new normal. Even with SoulCycle I never got this consistent. It never felt like a usual part of my day. Then, it felt like something special and unique. But to have it feel normal is so much better and makes me optimistic that this new habit of mine is something that I will continue to do for a long time.

Even though I don’t have specific stories to say about each workout, I do have my 3 photos to share with all of you.

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A Birthday Present For Me And My House (or Thank You Mom And Dad!)

My parents are pretty great at getting me awesome presents. They do ask me what I want, so that always helps.

A few weeks ago, my mom and I were talking about my birthday and I mentioned that I finally wanted to replace my old couch.

I had that couch in my old apartment before I moved into my house (I think I got it 7 years ago). The couch was actually part of a set of 3 pieces: the couch, the loveseat, and the armchair. The couch and armchair moved into my house with me. The loveseat was ruined by my last set of roommates at my apartment (one of the cushions got sliced open somehow), so I made them buy it off me.

I loved my couch, but it was starting to show some wear and tear.

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About 6 months ago, I saw a couch at IKEA that I loved. It was a couch with a lounge on it and it turned into a double bed! I tried it out then and thought it was super comfortable. I remembered it for future reference.

When I mentioned wanting to get a new couch, my mom decided that that would be my birthday present from my parents!

So earlier this week, I went to IKEA to check out the couch again. I went to sit on it, and it didn’t feel right. The back was super low. Turns out, they changed the couch. This one was similar to the old one I saw, but it was a different one with a different name (who remembers the names of IKEA pieces?).

I was pretty upset. I really wanted that couch. I called my mom and she encouraged me to go look at other furniture stores. You never know what else is out there.

I went around to 4 or 5 different stores with no luck. Either the couches were way too big, or they were way too expensive.

As I was driving home, I passed the storefront for Sofa Club. I’ve driven past it a million times, but I had never gone inside. I found some parking, walked inside, and right next to the door was my dream couch!

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It was exactly what I wanted (minus the sofa sleeper part but that’s ok)! The owner of the store gave me a great deal on it because I bought the floor model and Sofa Club is actually a custom furniture store. Then, I asked if she had any discounts for the beginning of the school year, and she said that if I was a teacher, she would give me free delivery and take another $20 off the price. I’ve never been so grateful that I keep my teacher ID card for substitute teaching in my purse.

The couch came a few hours later. The delivery men were nice enough to move my old couch and chair into my garage (a friend is taking the couch from me and I’m still looking for someone to buy my chair).

The couch looks amazing in my house!

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I am thinking of getting the back pillows switched out. The owner said if I wanted pillows without buttons, they would exchange the ones I have for new ones at no cost (they would just have to take a few days to make the new pillows). I’m pretty sure I will get the other pillows. While the buttons look cute, they aren’t the most comfortable to lean against.

My parents will be in town next week to visit me, so they will get to see the present they got me in person soon. I’m so grateful that my parents got me such an incredible gift. It’s the nicest piece of furniture I’ve owned. And it really makes my house look even better than it did before!

Getting Weighed In (or A New Orangetheory Challenge)

On Sunday, after recovering from my birthday parties, I went in to Orangetheory. This time, however, I was not there to work out.

I was getting weighed in for the start of the Orangetheory Weight Loss Challenge!

I’m still in my personal 8 week Orangetheory challenge (that goes through next week), but when I found out that there was a 6 week weight loss challenge, I wanted in. And when I found out that the male and female winners get $1000, I was totally in!

Because my weight loss has been slow, I’m trying to be cautious and just lose at my 2 pounds per week usual. The goal that was set for me was 15 pounds in 6 weeks. So that’s a little more than I’ve been losing, but it gives me something to strive for.

There are about 20 other women in the challenge (and only 7 men total), so there is a lot of competition. But I’m going to try my best and hardest and maybe I’ll come out victorious!

The weigh in process on Sunday was pretty simple. I had some paperwork to fill out and then I waited my turn for the scale.

I would have totally taken a picture of the weigh in, but it was done in the bathroom so you would have seen me standing on a scale next to a toilet. Not the prettiest picture.

The scale measured our weight (obviously), our body fat percentage, and the pounds of lean muscle mass that we have. For me, I want all of those numbers to be lower. I’d like my body fat percentage to be cut in half (the trainers there think that that is a very realistic long-term goal). And I’d like to keep as much lean muscle mass as possible (right now, I have 130 pounds of lean muscle).

After weighing in, there were some before photos taken (fortunately, not in the bathroom) and a quick interview about why I signed up for the challenge.

And that was it!

The rules of the challenge are that you have to work out 3 times a week (which I already am), be a member of Orangetheory (which I will be after next week), and pay a $25 entry fee (which I was fine paying because I don’t pay for classes yet and maybe I’ll get $1000 in return). Not too tough.

While I know that the weight will play a lot into who wins, I do want to see what I can do with my body fat percentage in 6 weeks. I did a little research online and it says that it’s recommended that people lose 1-2% of their body fat in a month. So I’d like to see maybe a 2-3% drop in my body fat percentage this month.

My scale at home only does weight. I used to own a fancy scale, but it died. I wanted something cheap, so I didn’t get one with a body fat measurement on it. I know that the scales with body fat and other measurements aren’t always accurate, but they are accurate against themselves. So maybe after these 6 weeks and getting weighed in on the Orangetheory scale, I’ll look into a nicer scale than the one that I own.

I’m halfway through the first week of this challenge, so I’ve got 5 1/2 weeks left. And in my original challenge, I’m coming up on the end of week 7! Holy moly! Time did really fly by!

How I Spent My Actual Birthday (or Friends, Friends, and More Friends)

Originally, my plans for my actual birthday were pretty up in the air. I had no idea what I was going to do, and there was a good chance that I would just spend the day hanging around my house reading and watching movies (which would have been awesome).

Instead, I got to spend a lot of time with lots of awesome people!

It started at brunch. My friend Kate and her boyfriend Nick just happened to be in LA that weekend (they had a wedding to go to the evening of my birthday). So Kate and Nick took me out to brunch that morning! They asked me ahead of time where my favorite brunch spot was, so they made reservations at Rush St. Rush St. is just down the street from my house and I’ve always thought that they have had one of the best brunches in LA (and they don’t have crazy lines out the door like some places).

I was trying to be good with my food choices (even though brunch was going to be my main meal of the day), so I got an omelet with tater tots on the side (I have to be able to splurge a little on my birthday!).

It was a nice casual brunch and I got to catch up with Kate and Nick which is always nice. Plus, Kate got me a super awesome birthday card so that made me happy!

After brunch, I just hung around my house for a little while. While hanging out and being lazy at home, I did get an awesome flower delivery from my parents.

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And before I knew it, it was time to head out again.

About 2 weeks before my birthday, my friends Marie and Chris put out an invitation on Facebook about another one of their awesome house parties. At first, I thought that maybe I’d end up making other plans for my birthday evening, but since I already had my outing to Bodega the night before, I figured why not go and hang out with a ton of my friends!

Of course, I wore the sparkly headband again.

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It really was the perfect way to spend my birthday evening. Lots of good friends, good food, and just a good time. There wasn’t anything special, but that’s ok with me.

And when I was heading out to leave at about 11pm (I was trying to leave at a responsible time), Marie and Chris led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday” to me.

That was pretty awesome.

I got home just before midnight and enjoyed the last few minutes of my birthday catching up on all the awesome Facebook messages I got during the day.

Even though it might seem like I didn’t do much for my birthday, honestly it was the perfect way to celebrate for me. Big parties and events stress me out and that’s not what I want to have for my birthday. Casual get-togethers where everyone is having fun is the best option for me.

And I’ve still got a few more birthday celebrations to go. Coming up next (most likely) will be my birthday meal with my birthday twin. And that’s one of my favorite traditions!

Celebration Time! (or Ending My Dirty 30 Year)

I had decided to have my birthday party on the day before my birthday.

This was for a couple of reasons. First of all, at Bodega, they require a minimum tab for parties on Saturdays. I didn’t want to have to deal with that (everyone has to pay on 1 credit card so that’s annoying). Also, there were a few friends who didn’t know if they could make it at all, but if they could it would only be on Friday. Also, I wasn’t quite sure what I really wanted to do on my birthday day, so I wanted to leave that evening open.

My day started with my workout at Orangetheory. After doing that, I knew that I had burned off enough calories to enjoy a few drinks while I was out.

I had a little bit of time at home to get showered and dressed before I headed out to DryBar. I went to the same one I went to last year for my birthday, and it was a better experience than the year before. But I have to say that the DryBar in NYC was still way better!

I decided that I wanted to have curls in my hair for the evening. That seems festive to me and it’s something that I can’t really do on my own. While it was getting done, it looked pretty great and I was happy while I walked out the door.

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Sadly, the curls didn’t last even though the hair stylist used 2 rounds of hairspray (which I later hated because it made my hair impossible to brush). But my hair still looked better than anything that I could do on my own.

Next it was time to head over to Bodega. I was a little worried that not a lot of people would show up, but I went with the mindset that I would have a great time with whoever was there.

And I’m glad I went in with that mindset because only 3 people could make it. Lots of other people wanted to come but had work/traffic/lack of money/lack of time issues.

But the 3 who were there (Rayshell, Rayshell’s boyfriend Paul, and Sarah) were awesome and I had the best time with all of them!

We ordered food and drinks and just chatted about whatever. It was so low key and chill and it was exactly what I wanted. I don’t know if it could have been the same vibe if more people attended.

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Rayshell and Paul had to leave around 10 but Sarah and I stuck around until about 11. It was the perfect hangout with friends.

Before I knew it, it was time for me to drive home. And yes, I did stay up until midnight so I could enjoy the first minutes of my actual birthday.

And there were fun things ahead for me on my birthday and I’ll share that with you all tomorrow!

My Last 3 Workouts Of Being 30 (Realizing I’m Stronger Than I Thought)

This past week was a week of celebrations for me at Orangetheory.

First of all, it marked the end of me being 30 years old! This past year has been one of the healthier years for me, but I know that this next year will be even better!

The second celebration I had at Orangetheory was related to my classes on Monday and Wednesday.

Both of those days were pretty tough workouts. They aren’t getting easier for me because I am continuing to push myself every time I’m there. I’m using heavier weights, trying to get more sets in, and making sure my form is improving every time.

One of the things that I haven’t been pushing myself on is the high-impact activities. Some of them, like jumping jacks, aren’t worth pushing myself on yet. They hurt so bad while I’m doing them and I can feel my hips getting worse as I try to do them. But there are some other higher impact things that I have started to push myself on.

For example, this week on Monday, I was able to properly do mountain climbers. Before this workout, I would step slowly with one leg and then the other while doing the mountain climbers. But on Monday, I pushed myself and realized that I could “run” while doing them. They were hard and I was totally out of breath after doing my set, but I did it!

I was pretty darn proud of myself after that class!

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On Wednesday, I got another chance to push myself again when we had to do plank jumps (or plank hops). Again, I decided to do the move full-out (instead of stepping to do the hops) and I was able to do it! Even JZ, the trainer for Wednesdays class, noticed that I was able to do that and she acknowledged my accomplishment when we chatted quickly after class.

Since I’m running low on ideas for photos after my workouts (only 6 more to go until I’m not required to do them), JZ and I decided to take a silly selfie since all my other photos were pretty normal.

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On Friday, I went to the 12:15 class for the first time. I had an appointment to get my hair done at 4pm so I couldn’t make my usual 4:15 class (more on my fun on Friday in another post). This class was taught by Bruce, who I’ve had in classes with me before but I had never taken one of his classes (he’s also made appearances in several of my post-workout photos including the one from this past Monday).

Since this was the workout closest to my birthday, I declared it my birthday class. I wanted to wear a tiara, but no matter how many pins I put in it, I couldn’t get it to stay in my hair. So I settled for a sparkly headband.

Bruce really helped to make the class awesome and special for me. When we were warming up, he pointed me out and let everyone know that I was celebrating my birthday class. He said it again during the cool down. And Bruce was so positive and encouraging during the entire workout.

It was a run/row day so I was sweating like crazy. But I loved that that is how I started my last day of being 30!

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I’ve got 2 more weeks of my initial challenge with Orangetheory. But this week I will be getting my membership paperwork done because I have no plans on stopping my workouts. I’m in such a good place with my 3 workouts a week (and to think that in the beginning I thought I couldn’t do 3 workouts a week) and the 4:15 class time will work for me even when I start my new job in a few weeks (it might affect me working in the box office, but I’m not going to worry about that yet since they won’t need me until maybe September).

I’ve also got some more exciting news about my journey with Orangetheory. Some of you who follow me on social media might have seen something about it. But I’m going to save that information until later this week!

Birthday Beauty Discounts (or Making My Birthday Last The Entire Month)

I’ve talked about birthday deals in the past and there are some that I enjoy every single year. And I’m learning to start asking stores that I frequent if they have any birthday deals.

And this year, even though my birthday isn’t until tomorrow, I’ve already enjoyed 2 birthday deals related to beauty!

The only birthday beauty deal I knew about in the past was at Sephora where you get something for free on your birthday (I haven’t gotten my postcard yet so I don’t know what I can get for free this year). I do take advantage of the Sephora deal, but I try not to spend too much on other things while I’m there (and I know that’s the reason for the freebie!).

Something that is a total freebie is at Benefit’s Brow Bars. I go to the one near Santa Monica to get my eyebrows done. It’s more expensive than the cheapie nail salon that I used to go to, but I think they do a way better job at waxing and shaping my brows and you even get a free makeup touch-up when they are done!

Around your birthday (I’m not sure if it has to be your birthday week or month), you get a free brow wax! And since I go there anyway, of course I scheduled a wax over the weekend to take advantage of that!

The brow wax is usually $20 (the cheapie nail salon was $10), so when I get my free wax, I am able to leave a big tip since I’m saving so much! This time, I left a $15 tip (I usually do $5).

Not only did a get a free brow wax, my eyebrows are going to look amazing for my birthday party (which is tonight!).

Another beauty birthday discount is at Queen Bee Salon and Spa. Sorry for my readers who aren’t in LA, but this is a salon that has one location in Culver City and another in Brentwood (I go to the Culver City one). I go here for bikini waxes and have been going for a little over a year now. Bikini waxes are never fun and they aren’t painless, but Queen Bee makes them more bearable. Plus, the waxer I go to, Jenn V., is super awesome and friendly. So we are normally chatting and gossiping while she works and it helps to distract me from the pain (taking a painkiller about an hour before I go helps too).

When I went in for my bikini wax last month I realized that my next wax would be around my birthday. So I asked if they had any birthday deals even though I had never heard of one there before. It turns out, they just created a birthday discount! If you get a service done either 4 days before or 4 days after your birthday you get 10% off!

So I scheduled my wax to be yesterday and I got a nice little discount on something that I would have done anyway!

I am going to DryBar today to get my hair done before my party, but when I looked at their deals, only people with memberships to DryBar get free blowouts on their birthdays. I definitely don’t get enough blowouts to make a membership worth it (nor do I have the money for something like that).

I’d love to find some more beauty birthday deals while it’s my birthday month! Those are so much better for my weight loss goals than all the food freebies (although I will be going to at least one of my free meals this month).

If anyone knows of a pedicure birthday deal, you would become one of my favorite people ever!

Happy Anniversary Mom And Dad (or Celebrating 32 Years Of Awesomeness)

Today is my parents 32nd anniversary. It’s also my cousin Adam’s 32nd birthday (yes, he was born on my parents’ wedding day). But sorry Adam, the focus on today’s post will be on my parents (but I’ve included you a bit at the end!).

For my entire life and in all my memories, my parents have been happy. Of course, there have been some sad and stressful times, but those have always been from outside circumstances and not from issues between my parents.

The fact that my parents have always been happy is probably why I’m so picky when it comes to dating. I’ve seen what a successful relationship is like and I don’t want to settle for anything less.

So in honor of my parents’ anniversary, I went through the photos I have and found some of my favorite ones. Mom and Dad, I want you to understand the effort it took for me to find photos of just the two of you and not with other people or with a dog (seriously almost every photo I have of you both is with a dog!).

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This picture is obviously from my parents’ wedding. I happen to have this one in my computer because I needed it for an anniversary present I made for my parents on their 25th anniversary (Mom and Dad, this blog post is your present this year. You know all about my lack of funds right now). I will never fit into my mom’s wedding dress (not only do I weigh more, I’m too tall), but my mom and I discussed randomly one time about me using parts of her wedding dress to incorporate into whatever wedding dress I buy when I eventually get married. So maybe one day, that dress will be part of my something old.

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This photo is one that I took when my parents were about to go to the prom that my dad’s hospital throws every year. The background behind them is a fountain at my parents’ house, and I remember insisting on taking a photo of them before they left for the prom. Plus, there are very few times that my dad wears a tux, so I wanted photo evidence of it.

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This photo is from my brother’s college graduation at USC. I used this photo along with their wedding photo in the anniversary present I made years ago. I just think it’s a nice photo of my parents.

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Of the photos I was able to find of my parents by themselves and without a dog, a majority of them came from my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding (and our week in Maui). This photo was taken on our first day in Maui right after we got to our rental house. Of course after traveling, the first thing we wanted to do is relax by the pool.

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This was from one of our neighborhood walks in Maui. I think it was a retaining wall from a house on the same street as our rental house. My parents have a friend who enjoys seeing hearts in nature, so my parents made me take this photo so they could share it with their friend. I also like how my mom is standing on a step so she looks the same height as my dad.

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This might be my absolute favorite photo of my parents. This was from the wedding (and possibly after a few drinks). I don’t remember ever seeing my parents dance before (I don’t know where I would have). And they were being so silly and fun. And considering that this was taken right before my mom had to start chemo, it reminds me that even when things are going to be stormy ahead, there’s no reason not to fully enjoy life every second.

I hope you all enjoyed seeing these photos of my parents.

And just so my cousin Adam isn’t completely left out, this is my favorite photo of Adam with our cousin Stephanie’s son Dalton. This was at Thanksgiving in 2007.

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So happy birthday Adam and happy anniversary Mom and Dad! I hope all of you have awesome and amazing days today!