Category Archives: Family

Celebrating Not Having Surgery (or Getting To Have Some Family Time)

Today was supposed to be my surgery day. I had planned out blog posts to write while I was going to be in the hospital and how to document my recovery the best way possible. I think I’m still in a bit of shock that the surgery was cancelled and that I’m not going to have to worry about all of that right now. There is still a chance I will be having surgery in the future, but unless something crazy happens soon it won’t be for at least another 6 months or so.

My entire family did so much planning to make sure that they would be able to help me as much as possible through surgery and recovery. While most of my family wasn’t going to be able to be in LA with me, my parents made plans to come to LA for a week to help me get through everything. My parents have come to LA in the past to take care of me after I’ve had surgeries, so I expected that they would do the same this time. But I’m still aware how lucky I am that my parents have the ability to come here to help me out when I need it.

Since the surgery was cancelled, a lot of things have changed but one thing hasn’t. My parents are still going to be in LA with me for the week. I don’t think my parents have ever spent a week with me in LA outside of taking care of me after a surgery, so this will be pretty cool. We are slowly filling our calendar with some fun things that we’ve been wanting to do so we can enjoy this weeklong hangout. I’m going to take a few days off of work since I banked so many hours so I can spend a lot of time with them. But I’ll also be working a little bit as well so I still have some hours saved if I need them in the future.

I think it will be pretty great getting to have this week with my parents here. Normally when they are in LA, they are only here for a day or so and we are pretty busy doing things. They haven’t really met any of my LA friends. But now, they will have a chance to meet all the people I hang out with (and blog about) while they are here. I think it will be pretty cool to get to have everyone meet each other. And my dad is going to join me for an Orangetheory workout too! He usually only does the Thanksgiving workouts, so this will be a nice bonus for him.

I will also be going to San Diego with my parents to visit my grandma. I won’t be in San Diego as long as originally planned (since I won’t be recovering with my parents and I want to work a bit), but I will get to spend a nice weekend with them. It will be much more relaxing this way than it would have been if I was in pain from surgery.

I just wanted to say thank you again to all of you who prayed for my tumors to shrink or put some awesome tumor shrinking thoughts out there. Since I shared the news that my surgery was cancelled, I got so many amazing messages on social media and emails telling me congratulations and how they were so happy for me. I’m so grateful that you all care about me and my health and that you were as excited about my news as I was!

While I won’t be blogging about surgery or recovery now, I’m glad I’ll have much more interesting things to share with you all in the coming weeks. I’m working on getting my social calendar filled up again since I was planning on taking time off. And so far, the things I think will be coming up are going to be so much fun and just a continuation of celebrating not needing surgery today!

Full Thanksgiving Week (or Lots Of Family Time)

I feel like I’m still decompressing from my Thanksgiving week. It was such a great week and even though it was the same length as most of my Thanksgiving trips, I felt like I got more family time this year than I have in the past.

I was able to get my work shifted to be a bit earlier during Thanksgiving week, so I could start my drive to San Diego 2 hours earlier than normal. That made a huge difference in my drive since I ended up missing the big rush of traffic and was able to get down to San Diego in about 2 1/2 hours (normal for me is 2 hours and last Thanksgiving was over 4). My drive got a bit delayed when I was almost to the rental house when I got pulled over by a cop. Turned out my loaner car from the mechanic didn’t have the current registration sticker on it! It took some time for the cop to write the ticket, but since I’m not the owner of the car it isn’t my ticket.

Even with the time spent waiting for the ticket, the drive was easy and fast and once I got to the rental house I relaxed. I felt like I was totally in vacation mode and the view we had from the house really helped.

first-sunset

And Tucker decided to make himself very comfortable by using me as his personal pillow. At least I know he loves me since he was always laying on my legs if I was on the ground or on my feet if I was sitting in a chair.

tucker

The day I arrived, we didn’t do too much. Most of us had gotten to San Diego that day, so we were fine with relaxing and not rushing around. My parents, brother, sister-in-law, and I went out to dinner that night which was nice since we were going to be around a ton of family the rest of the week.

On Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, I had to work from the rental house in the morning. There was a breakfast bar in the kitchen so I worked from there. It was a bit noisy, but it allowed me to still hang out with my family while I was working. I didn’t want to isolate myself so it worked out nicely! After my shift was done, I went with my dad to take the dog to a dog park (he needed to get out some energy). It was another pretty low-key day until dinnertime. We all headed over to my aunt’s house for dinner that night. Almost the entire family was there (we were only missing 1 person) and it was awesome!

It was a casual dinner which was nice. I ended up at a table with my brother, sister-in-law, cousin, and my cousin’s kids (so we were at a kids table), but that was fine. Eating dinner was pretty quick and most of the time we were there was spent in the living room talking. I was telling my grandma how you can look up census paperwork online and showed her how I found the paperwork her parents (my great-grandparents) filled out when she was little. Their maid was listed on their paperwork since she lived there and my grandma was telling us all stories about the maid and her parents. It was a really special thing to get to hear  since we don’t know a ton of stories from when my grandma was growing up.

Thanksgiving day was pretty busy. My morning included the family workout at Orangetheory (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite traditions!) and then I was trying to help out my mom with getting dinner ready. A lot of stuff was done in advance but there was still plenty to do the day of. One of my jobs was to help with the big table we were using, but unfortunately even with all of the muscle in the family, we weren’t able to get the extra leaf in the table. But we managed to get everyone in between the main table and a card table (for the little kids), so it worked out well.

table

On Thanksgiving Day, my cousin Adam and his girlfriend arrived and with them there we had the entire family at Thanksgiving for the first time in a very long time! It was a very full dinner, but it was incredible to have 17 people from 4 generations together.

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This was also the first time in 6 years that the 5 of us in my generation (my cousins, brother, and I) were all together. I’m hoping this will be happening more often, but we had to get a photo together just in case it is a few more years before we can do this again.

cousins

The day after Thanksgiving, I had to work a full shift for work. I was able to get my hours shifted early again, so I only had to work from 8am-1pm. And I worked in the kitchen so I was spending time with my family in between customers (we didn’t get a ton of people calling or using our chat system so there was a lot downtime). My brother and sister-in-law left to go back to Santa Barbara while I was working, but everyone else was going to be coming back to the house for dinner again that night.

That last night in San Diego had another incredible sunset and my mom and grandma pulled some chairs over to the big windows so they could relax and watch the sun go down. We also tried to see the green flash with the sunset, but it was a bit too cloudy.

family

After having leftovers for dinner, I got back into my loaner car to make the drive back to LA. It would have been nice to spend another day in San Diego, but I really needed to get back. I said goodbye to everyone (a lot of them I might not see again until next Thanksgiving) and made the drive back up. Fortunately, I had a very easy drive (and didn’t get pulled over again) and was home in time to unpack before needing to go to bed.

Overall, it was a pretty wonderful Thanksgiving week. I know that I’m so lucky that my family can get together like this and I’m very grateful that we all make the effort to continue this family tradition.

Thanksgiving Prep (or So Little Time)

Leading up to Thanksgiving, I knew there was a lot of stuff I had to get done and I was really trying to plan things out the best I could. Of course, things never work out the way you think they will. I’m just glad I got all my prep work done before I left last week!

The main part of my Thanksgiving prep was getting the food made that I knew I was bringing. I only was bringing 3 dishes with me, but when you have a tiny kitchen making 3 dishes can seem overwhelming! Especially when I don’t have multiples of the kitchen things I was using!

The first thing I made was banana bread. This has become a tradition over the past few years and I’m glad I’m able to make it to help out. It’s a pretty easy recipe to make and I happened to have some bananas that were overly ripe that I could use. I had almost all of the ingredients that I needed for the recipe at my house (except some of the dairy and the blueberries) and it was a quick thing to put together and get into the oven so I could make the 2 other things I needed to make.

The other dishes I was bringing were dips. I made the feta dip that is a tradition with the family (usually my mom makes it but it is now my thing to make). This is another easy thing to put together, but it is something that I usually don’t have the ingredients for in my house. But once you have everything you need, you just throw it all in the food processor and it is done! The other dip I made was a white bean dip that I found online. It was another really easy thing (just white beans, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and lemon) that was a food processor dip. The only complication I had was I only have one food processor bowl. So I made the feta dip, washed and dried the bowl, and made the other dip. Between the dips and the bread, I got everything done within about an hour.

thanksgiving-food

Packing was something else I tried to plan out, but it ended up being something that I was doing while I was working the day I was going to be driving to San Diego. My family now does casual Thanksgiving and that does make things easier with packing. But because I have lost a pretty significant amount of weight lately, I’ve been realizing that many of my clothes don’t fit anymore. So I grabbed all of the things I was thinking of packing and was trying them on between customers. I guess I should just feel lucky that my work is online chat and phones and my customers can’t see me!

Between packing and cooking, I felt like I had enough on my plate. But I also ended up having my liver MRI the night before driving to San Diego. I was at the hospital for a few hours getting it done so that was a bit of a time suck. The MRI itself wasn’t too horrible. Once the IV was in and I was in the machine, it was about 45 minutes. And at this hospital, you can listen to music while in the MRI tube. They had Pandora as an option and I requested the Broadway station. All the songs that played were things that I knew, but the best moment was when I heard my friend AJ singing on the “Heathers The Musical” soundtrack in-between 2 songs from “Hamilton”! That really made me happy and forget about all the stuff I had to do to prepare for San Diego the next morning.

And because all that craziness wasn’t enough leading up to San Diego, on Monday morning as I drove to my workout the power steering in my car died. I’ve never driven without power steering before and I knew that it was something that needed to be fixed before driving down. I took my car into the shop around 10am on Monday and discovered that the power steering in my car isn’t the standard one used so it would be tough to find a replacement part. They were hopeful that my car would be fixed by Friday, but that meant I wouldn’t have my car for Thanksgiving. Fortunately my mechanic offers free loaner cars so I got one of those and drove that to and from San Diego. As I’m writing this, my car still isn’t fixed. They got the replacement part in on Friday, but it’s still not fixing it. I’m hoping I’ll get my car back this week, but at least I have a loaner car to use so I don’t have to pay for a rental.

My Thanksgiving prep did end up being a bit stressful, but it all worked out in the end. I got everything done that I needed to (plus some things I wasn’t expecting) and I had an awesome Thanksgiving trip. But my Thanksgiving recap won’t be until tomorrow’s post!

Thanksgiving Workouts (or Continuing A Tradition)

This past week of workouts included some in LA and 1 in San Diego. It’s pretty much a once a year occurrence that I work out somewhere other than my Brentwood Orangetheory, but it was awesome to get to work out with my family in the middle of the week.

My workout on Monday was in LA and it was an endurance day. We had a lot of long push paces but I pushed myself a lot. I was preparing to work out with my dad and I wanted to make sure I was in the best running shape possible. For the 3 minute pushes, I did my 1 minute intervals. For all the pushes that were 2 minutes or under, I ran the entire time. We also had a progressive push for 4 minutes where we were supposed to get faster every minute. I know I can’t really run for 4 minutes yet, so I set up my own intervals. I did 90 seconds of running, 30 seconds of walking, and 90 seconds of running to get through that long segment. And when we had a 1 minute all out, I decided to go really fast to see what I would be able to get for my distance in class. And to find out I did 2 miles again was a nice confidence boost!

2-miles

For the floor on Monday, we had 2 blocks. And each of those blocks started with a 750 meter row. That’s a pretty decent distance to row and I knew it would be tough. But I still wanted to go as quickly as I could to see what I was able to do. I managed to get them done in 3:37.6 and 3:26.7 which isn’t bad at all! We also had a lot of arm work including chest presses and flies and using the straps to do rows and bicep work. By the end of the class, I felt pretty prepared for my Thanksgiving workout with my family.

My next workout was on Thanksgiving at the Orangetheory in La Jolla. As usual, my dad was able to join me (one of my aunts was supposed to come for the 3rd year, but she was dealing with some injuries that prevented her from working out). My aunt who came for her first class last year was also with us. My brother came back after missing the workout last year. And my cousin and sister-in-law were there for the first time! We had a pretty large group and our experience levels were a big range, but I was so excited about it. I think my cousin and sister-in-law were both a little nervous (and having me explain the workout wasn’t making it better), but I think everyone was happy that we were doing something to help burn off the calories we’d be eating later.

This workout was a 3G (or 3 group) workout like it is every Thanksgiving. We were able to start on the treadmill and it was an 8 minute distance challenge. My dad and I were on treadmills next to each other, but I knew he could go farther than I could since he can run pretty well. But it was cool to have my dad next to me since this was the first time he was getting to see me run. I did 2 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking for my intervals and I managed to get .6 miles done in those 8 minutes.  We were back on the treadmill one more time and we had a 5 minute block with pushes and all outs. Each segment was 90 seconds or under, so I was able to run the entire time for those.

We also had a bit of a partner workout between the rower and the floor. The people on the rower were rowing for distance while they waited for their partner on the floor to tag them out. On the floor, we had to do squats, squat half swings, and push ups. Because of how the partnering worked, none of my family was partnered with each other. But that might have been for the best because then we didn’t have to be mad at each other for taking too long to tag us out. On the other half of the partner workout, I didn’t end up having a partner (it wasn’t a full class). So we had 1 minute row sprints and then went over to the floor to do shoulder pressed, one leg deadlifts (I did them one-legged but held on with one hand) and more push ups.

For the end of the workout, we had 5 minute rotations where the rower was quick pushes and on the floor we did some plank work. It wasn’t an easy workout, but it wasn’t the worst I have done. But for my family who isn’t used to the pace or pattern, I know it was a bit tough on them. But fortunately everyone had a great time (my sister-in-law even said that she would join Orangetheory if there was one in Santa Barbara for her to go to) and I think that everyone will be joining us again for the workout next year.

And as always, we had to get a photo as a family with our coach. We had someone different this year (the past 2 years we happened to have the same coach each time), but this guy was awesome! I hope he will be our coach next year!

family-otf

We also got a silly picture after the workout. There had been an ongoing joke about if my brother would get sick from pushing himself too hard in the workout this year, so in the silly picture he is pretending to throw up (he’s hidden behind my dad’s arm).

silly-otf

I got back from Thanksgiving late on Friday, so my next workout in LA was on Saturday morning after work. It was a strength day and I was pretty glad for that. I was a bit tired from Thanksgiving and was happy to have a lot of walking during the treadmill time. But it ended up not being a standard strength treadmill day. We had 3 blocks on the treadmill and each started with a 90 second push pace at no incline. I ended up running for all of those. Then we had our hill climbs. Those ranged from 3 minutes to 90 seconds and I walked at an incline between 8-12% for all of those. Then we ended each block with an all out pace (between 30-90 seconds) and it was at a 4% incline. Normally, I wouldn’t run those, but I figured I’d try it because 4% is my walking flat road. Running at 4% isn’t easy, but I was able to do it and I’m glad that I tried.

On the floor, the first block was more focused on arms. We had push ups with weighted rows plus bicep curls (I was using 20 pounds for the bicep work) We also had some ab work in that first block. In the second block, we had lunges plus some strap work and then rowing. The rowing was between 300-400 meters so it was more like a sprint than some of my rowing in the beginning of the week. I was glad that I chose to do a workout on Saturday because it really helped me to get back into my normal schedule after being out-of-town for a few days. And I also knew I ate a bit more than normal over Thanksgiving so I wanted to make up for that.

For the next few weeks of workouts, I don’t think I have anything too crazy going on. There is a contest at my Orangetheory where you have to do 15 workouts in 6 weeks, so I know that should happen for me (if you get that done, you win tickets you can use for various drawings for prizes). I’ve heard there is a sprint dri-tri coming up, so I’m going to look into that and see if it fits with my schedule. But mainly I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing to make sure I end 2016 better than I started it!

Happy Thanksgiving! (or Time To Be Grateful)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that all of you are having a great day celebrating with whoever you choose to celebrate with. I am with 4 generations of my family (plus the dog) and I will post a recap of my Thanksgiving next week. But for today, I just wanted to do a short post of things I’m thankful for this year. Things have been so negative lately in the country (and the world) so I just wanted to put a little bit of positivity out there.

I’m so grateful for my family. I don’t get to see them that often, but spending time with them at Thanksgiving is very special to me. And this year, I also got to spend time with my dad’s side of my family. I don’t get to see them that often (because they are on the east coast) so it was really wonderful to spend any time I could with them. I’m hoping I can see them more often, but I know that with the difficulty for me to go back east (or for them to come out there) it might be a few more years before I see them again.

I’m beyond grateful for my friends. This year so far could have been a very difficult one for me, but because of my amazing friends that didn’t happen. I’ve had more fun adventures this year than I ever could have imagined and I know that more crazy outings are coming up for the end of this year and through next year.

I am grateful for my health. I’ve had a couple of health setbacks this year (I’ll have an update on my liver tumor next week after I see my liver surgeon again) but they are not life-threatening. Having a tumor isn’t great, but it is far from the worst thing that could be happening to me. And I know that whatever my surgeon says next week about what needs to happen next, it will be ok and I will not have any problems getting through it.

I’m grateful for my eating disorder recovery journey. The journey is not as easy as I would like, but I am seeing progress and things are getting better and easier over time. While I really wanted to be fully in recovery by the end of this year, I know now that it’s not realistic to have a timeline set in my head for recovery. It is coming to me when it comes to me and I just need to keep working on building my recovery skills so I can use them when I’m recovered.

I’m grateful for my fitness. This year, I started to run again. Not only did I start running at Orangetheory, I was doing a really great run/walk interval in my last 5K. And that run/walk plan got me my new PR! But it’s not just running that makes me grateful for my fitness. I’m lifting heavier weights and I’ve noticed that the strength I’m gaining has made more of my day-to-day stuff easier. This is just going to keep improving and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

And finally, like I say all the time, I’m grateful for this blog and my readers. This has been a great sounding board for me and I’ve gotten some incredible advice from you all. Thank you for joining me on my journey and hopefully you are all excited to see what the future will bring!

Now go and enjoy your Thanksgiving however you chose to celebrate the day!

Running For Cancer (or Health Supporting Health)

I’ve been a supporter of breast cancer research for a very long time. Even before my life was personally affected by it, I would do breast cancer walks and purchase things that donated a part of the profits to research. Once my mom was diagnosed, I started to do more research on what those donations go to and started to be a bit pickier (sadly, some of those organizations don’t really give much to research or charity). But the Susan G. Komen charity gives so much to programs and education so they are one charity that I’ve continued to support.

Through Sweat Pink Ambassadors, I was given the opportunity to run or walk miles for charity this month. I knew I’d be signing up to do it even before I knew what charities were going to be supported by it. And I was very happy to see that Susan G. Komen was one of the options to put my miles and donations toward. So I signed up and got ready to start tracking my miles!

Between my workouts and any runs I do on my own, I know I’ll get a bunch of miles this month. Going to Tahoe helped a lot too! This is a great motivation for me to keep up my workouts and doing as much as I can with my run/walks to get more and more miles on my counter.

But more importantly than the miles, I want to hit my fundraising goal of $250. I don’t think it’s a huge goal to have, but I know that money will be put to such great use. There is a lot known about breast cancer, but there is still so much more to learn and educate others about. I know that most people are aware of the BRCA gene mutation, but a lot of people don’t understand what that means or what choices they have if they find out they have the mutation. There are ways to stay on top of your health, but I know some people are scared to see what they may find out.

When I had my first mammogram, I was terrified. I knew I didn’t have a lot to worry about, but I was still scared. Since my mom’s cancer was when she was older, I don’t have that high of risk now. If her cancer is genetic, I probably wouldn’t get it until I was post-menopausal. But just because that cancer isn’t going to happen to a younger person doesn’t mean that I can’t have a different type of cancer. So the days leading up to my appointment were scary and I tried to avoid looking up things online since that always makes things worse.

The mammogram wasn’t fun (I was expecting it to hurt, but it hurt differently than I thought), but getting my clean bill of health was worth it. When I had my second mammogram, I wasn’t as scared as the first time and again I felt great finding out that I’m perfectly fine now. This year, I will be probably getting a breast MRI to check for cancer (I’ll write about that when if it happens) and again I am scared. But fortunately I have the knowledge and education to know what is happen and the slim likelihood that anything is wrong with me.

I’m fortunate that I was raised in a medical home and I know quite a bit about breast cancer now. I know what to expect and why I shouldn’t worry. But not everyone has that luxury and fear can make people put off medical testing. And putting off that testing can make cancer caught at a farther stage than it should have been. So I want to raise as much money as I can for Susan G. Komen to get more education out there and to help relieve the fear so more women will get their annual exams and tests.

I would love your support no matter how big or small. If everyone who reads this gives $1, I will be ecstatic! I promise to keep working this month to get more and more miles and I may add some challenge for each donation I get (maybe doing 10 burpees for each donation?). I just want to make sure I do whatever I can to help make breast cancer less scary and more treatable. I would love if the survival rate at any stage gets higher so more people can see their loved ones come through this disease with a smile on their face just like my mom did.

fck-cancer

A Tahoe Weekend (or Let It Snow!)

It had been a while since I was up to Lake Tahoe, so when my parents invited me to come up for a weekend in the fall I was really excited! The fall in Tahoe can be really nice and there is usually some really gorgeous foliage around the mountains to check out.

I was already pretty excited about the trip when my dad gave me a heads up a few days before I left to say that there was actually snow in the forecast! I hadn’t seen snow in several years so even the possibility of it was making me so happy. I tried to pack warm clothes and after work on Saturday I flew to Tahoe to meet up with my parents (and dog).

When we were driving from the Reno airport to Truckee, the fall foliage was already impressing me. The trees were so full of color that my mom pulled over the car so I could get a picture of the Aspen trees on the side of the road.

tahoe-trees

That first day in Tahoe we didn’t do too much. After I flew in, we drove to Truckee, we got some food, and got to my parents’ place; it was getting a bit late. I was pretty tired from getting up early that morning to work and even though I didn’t have a panic attack on the plane it still exhausted me to focus on staying calm. So I spent some time hanging out with my parents and I went to bed pretty early to get ready for the full day we had the next day.

The next morning I woke up to a beautiful view outside.

tahoe-morning

I was able to convince my dad to join me for some yoga in the morning, and then we all headed off to the unofficial dog park that Tucker loves in Truckee. The dog park is really a road behind the Truckee airport, but since it is gated and no cars can be on there, people let their dogs off leash to play. In the winter it can be a long walk, but when there isn’t snow you can park farther up the road.

Once we parked and started walking, Tucker was in heaven. He was enjoying all of the smells all around and he didn’t care too much that there were no other dogs for him to play with. Of course, as soon as we got back to the car, about 7 dogs and their owners showed up. We let Tucker play with the other dogs for a few minutes before we headed off to our next adventure for the day.

We drove for about 45 minutes to get to Spooner Lake. I’ve done this hike/walk before in the past. It’s a pretty flat road (although there are some uphill bits) and it’s about 2.5 miles around. Usually in the fall the trees are all super bright and yellow, but this time it wasn’t that way. But it was still a really nice day out.

spooner-lake

The walk around the lake took a while since Tucker had to be on leash and we had to keep stopping whenever he wanted to smell something exciting that he found. But it was fine that it was a slow walk since it gave us time to enjoy the view. I was also finding myself really out-of-breath quite a bit since I’m not used to the elevation that we were at. I always hate how I feel super out of shape when I’m in Tahoe since I can’t catch my breath as quickly as I can in LA, but I tried to not think about that too much.

After getting around the lake, we headed back toward my parents’ place to get some lunch at their favorite local Italian restaurant (they’ve been going there for almost 10 years but this was my first time there!). While we were eating, we noticed that the weather had changed from being nice and sunny to cloudy and overcast. And as we were finishing up it started to snow! After lunch we drove around and seeing the snow made me so happy!

snowing

In the snow, we weren’t going to do a ton of outside stuff so we headed back home and relaxed together. Tucker was pretty calm since he went to the dog park and had the walk around the lake. He wanted to hang out with us while we watched tv and decided to be a bit of a rule-breaker. He knows he can’t sit on the couch, but he can scoot back to the couch and he is so tall that his butt rests on it. I noticed him doing that and he gave me a dirty look when I asked Tucker if he was sitting on the couch.

tucker-on-couch

My last day in Tahoe started with seeing the snow that fell overnight!

backyard-snow

Originally, my dad had a couple of projects that he wanted me to help him with at their place. But because of the schedule and other things that happened our projects weren’t possible. But I was inspired by the snow and I told my dad that we should turn an old tree stake in their backyard into a snow stake so they can measure all the snow that falls this season! So my dad and I went outside in the cold with some electrical tape and a marker and we made a pretty impressive custom snow stake.

snow-stake

I helped my parents with a few other small projects and then we went out for a late lunch before they drove me back to the Reno airport so I could fly back home.

It was a quick trip (I was only there for 2 days) and we didn’t do a ton of stuff, but it was still a perfect weekend adventure and I’m so excited for when I get to go to Tahoe again!

A Day In San Diego (or Celebrating An Anniversary And A Birthday)

Even though I was out pretty late this past Saturday night, I got up early on Sunday morning so I could head out for the day. My parents were down in San Diego visiting my grandma and this past Sunday was their 34th anniversary! So since they were so close to me, I drove down so I could spend the day with them (and with my grandma and aunt).

Growing up, it was pretty cool that my parents’ anniversary was only 2 days before my birthday because we could celebrate them together or back to back. But I don’t think I’ve seen my parents on their anniversary since I moved to LA so this was a pretty special treat! Plus, as I joked to them, we all saved money on stamps not having to mail cards to each other.

My drive down was pretty uneventful (thankfully) and I got there just around lunch time. My parents had found an apartment to rent for the weekend so we had a nice place to hang out for the day. It was pretty close to where my grandma lives so my aunt was going to pick her up and bring her over to be with us. But before they got there, I got some time with my parents and the dog.

I know I just saw my parents 2 weeks ago, but it was really nice getting to see them. And I hadn’t seen Tucker since April and he seems to have gotten bigger since then! My grandma and aunt were supposed to arrive about 30 minutes after I got there, so my parents and I went for a walk in the neighborhood where they were staying so I could stretch my legs and the dog could get some energy out.

Tucker

It was a nice day for a walk and I loved being right next to the ocean. And of course Tucker loved getting to check out all the other dogs that were out on their lunchtime walk.

Right after we got back to where my parents were staying, my grandma and aunt showed up. We all hung out outside enjoying some food (I brought leftovers from the night before) and catching up with each other. I hadn’t seen my grandma or aunt for a while, so it was good to get to see them again (I won’t see either again until Thanksgiving but that’s not too long from now).

We all gave my parents their anniversary cards and they opened them and shared them with everyone. My parents do homemade cards for each other and we got to see what cards they made this year. And then I opened my birthday cards (I only opened the ones from my parents, grandma, and aunt since I didn’t bring the others with me) and shared them with everyone as well.

After opening cards (and thanking my grandma for my birthday check that will help me fix some more stuff on my car), we just spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying time as a family together. I’ve really come to appreciate the quiet time I get to spend with my family since so many times when we are together it is for an event and things are a bit crazy and hectic. Just being with each other is a nice change.

My mom cooked dinner that night (it’s easy and usually better than going out) and we had a pretty early dinner since my parents knew I didn’t want to drive back too late. My dad, aunt, and I discussed how we might have even more family joining us this year for our Thanksgiving morning workout at Orangetheory and we are pretty excited about that. It should be a fun workout (as always) and I’m so happy that we started this new tradition with the family.

After dinner we spent a little bit more time together and then it was time for my aunt to drive my grandma back home. After they left, I stuck around a bit longer because my parents were giving me their leftovers from what they had cooked that weekend in San Diego (I’ve been eating their leftovers all week!). They also had some stuff for me to take back home (mainly donations to take to My Friends Place) so they helped me pack up my car.

I should be seeing my parents again in October (I’m hoping to make it to Tahoe since it’s been a while since I’ve been out there) so it’s not going to be too long before I get to hang out with them again. And as I said, Thanksgiving is coming quickly and I know I’ll be with them for a few days then as well.

Overall, I’m so happy that my parents just happened to be in San Diego on their anniversary so I got to spend the day with them. It was a nice way to spend the day and since I’m used to driving to San Diego just for the day, it wasn’t bad to drive down and back within a few hours. And even though it wasn’t my birthday, it still felt like I got to celebrate my birthday with them which is something that hasn’t happened since I turned 18. Hopefully we can celebrate their anniversary and my birthday together before another 15 years pass.

The Rest Of My Maryland Trip (or More Family Time)

While the main event of my trip to Maryland was the family reunion, I also had all day Sunday there to spend with everyone. I started my day on Sunday with breakfast at Maria’s Love Point with my mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law. I can’t speak highly enough about Maria’s Love Point. My family were the only guests there so we had some really personalized attention. We had such an amazing breakfast every day and they asked us what we liked so they could make us things we would want. Every breakfast was fantastic and I’m just glad I didn’t gain a ton of weight from the trip!

After a relaxing breakfast at the B&B, we got into the car to head over to my Aunt Susan’s house where most of the family was gathering for breakfast and family time. It was a pretty short drive from where we were staying to her house, so everyone who was there was still there when we arrived. This was the first time I had seen my aunt’s house, so I got a quick tour from my dad and then spent the rest of my time there hanging out with my cousins.

I really was just so grateful that I’ve gotten to know my cousins as adults. I’ve had the privilege with my cousins on my mom’s side, but I see them every year. It’s not really possible for me to go back east every year or for my cousins to come to CA every year so our time together is really special to me. My cousin Danny is working on his PhD right now and he and I got into some really smart conversations. He sent me a couple of papers he’s worked on and while I knew he was smart I had no idea that he was that smart!

My conversation with my cousin Rachel, Alisa, cousin Janis (Rachel and Leah’s mom) and my mom was actually about childbirth and all the craziness that goes with it. I was the only one in the conversation without kids, but it was still fun hearing everyone’s stories. I’ve heard my birth story from my mom a couple of times, but it was fun watching my cousins listening to it and having their stories to share too. And while we had that conversation, everyone was taking a turn with Alisa and Danny’s brand new baby Hendrix (he was only a few weeks old). Everyone wanted to hold him because he’s just so cute, and finally I got my turn.

Hendrix

I’m so happy that I got to meet Hendrix, but I’m sad because I have no idea when I’ll see him (or Sebastian, his older brother) next. I’ve already been bugging Alisa and Danny that they need to come out to the west coast for a trip, so hopefully they will come visit soon!

After a few hours at my Aunt Susan’s house, it was time for us all to leave. My family headed back to the B&B where it was so hot out that the only thing we could think to do is to get back into the pool.

At The Pool

As you can tell from my photo, I got a bit of a sunburn while in Maryland. Only the parts of my body that were out of the pool (including my knees) got burnt and thankfully the sunburn is starting to fade now. I tried my best to protect my skin but I’m wondering if the humidity affected how the sunscreen worked on me. And yes, that is the bathing suit that I bought for Hawaii.

The pool was perfect and we spent a long time in there just hanging out as a family and enjoying our trip. It was nice to have some relaxing time together and I’m glad that we weren’t crazy over-scheduled while we were there.

After some time in the pool, we all got ready for dinner. We went out to a restaurant that was right on the water and we had a gorgeous view from our table.

Dinner View

After a nice dinner together, we headed back to the B&B and we all started packing to get ready to leave the next morning. My brother and sister-in-law were heading to Washington D.C. the next day and my parents were meeting with some friends to go camping. I had to get back to LA to get back to work, but it was nice that we were all leaving at the same time.

The next morning, we all headed to the airport together. The train station (for everyone else) was right next to the airport and we tried to arrange all of our transportation to be around the same time. I was the first one dropped off since I was flying and had to get through security. So I said goodbye to my family and headed into the Baltimore airport for my trip home.

I had 2 flights to get home with a few hour layover in between. My first flight was pretty uneventful. I had my window seat and the flight was full so every seat was taken. I spent most of my time reading my book and taking really quick naps (I think I slept for maybe 5 minutes at a time). My layover was spent getting some lunch and doing more reading. But when I got on the plane, I discovered that my seat was upgraded a bit!

Since I booked my tickets for this trip back in January, I’ve had several flight changes for my flights home. I think at one point I was getting flight or schedule changes every day. At one point, my new flights only had a layover of 30 minutes. I wasn’t ok with that so I called the airline to change it. I guess when I changed my flight but asked to keep my original seat number I got upgraded from economy to the fancier economy section!

The section I was in was only 3 rows of seats so it felt nice and small and I didn’t feel overwhelmed or panicky at all. I had a window seat with a ton of leg room and there was nobody sitting next to me so I stretched out on the flight.

Upgrade

It was so worth it to have the slightly upgraded seat (I would have loved to have been in first class, but that wasn’t in the cards for me), and I think having the extra room in front and next to me really helped to make this flight the most calm one I can remember having. If I have the option to upgrade to the nicer economy seats in the future (which I usually can’t do since I fly Southwest), I think I’m going to splurge on it because it was so much better for my mental health. I really am so happy that my flights were calm and I didn’t even take my meds for it. This is huge progress for me and I’m hoping that future flights go just as well.

Between the drive to the airport, my flights, my layover, and the time to drive back home I had traveled for 13 hours to get back to LA. The trip was totally worth it and I wouldn’t have changed any of it, but I was happy to be home.

I really hope that these family reunions will be more often in my future. I don’t want it to be another 5 or 16 years before I see people. I really do love my family and I want to be in their lives and not just through Facebook. Hopefully some of them can come out to visit me soon or I will have an opportunity to get back east again in the near future.

Going To Maryland (or A Cousin Reunion)

As I’ve mentioned, this past weekend I went to Maryland for a family reunion. I know it’s a bit crazy to fly back east just to be there for the weekend, but I had limited time I could take off and being there for the weekend is better than nothing!

My trip began on Friday (I was able to take both Friday and Saturday off from my box office job) when I flew to Baltimore. I was able to get on the same flight as my brother and sister-in-law so that was nice. Our flight was a bit delayed, so we grabbed some lunch at LAX before getting on the plane. It was a super packed flight and we couldn’t sit together, so I spent my flight reading and trying to not panic (I didn’t take any panic meds and I did great!).

When we landed, we got a cab out to Stevensville and arrived at Maria’s Love Point (the bed and breakfast my family was staying at) after midnight. We were all pretty tired so all we did was say hi to my parents, find our rooms, and go to bed. My room was perfect for me and I fell asleep pretty quickly that night (thankfully no jet-lag for me).

The next morning I woke up and had an amazing breakfast (seriously, Maria’s Love Point was the best B&B ever!) and went exploring around the B&B with my family. It was crazy hot and humid but we did want to go outside to check out the amazing view that the property had.

The View

There was a dock that went out into the water and we walked out to the end and back. I was shocked to see that the water was filled with jellyfish! Everywhere you looked you would see them so I was glad I was up on a dock and not walking along the edge of the water.

That day was the family reunion, but since it wasn’t starting until 1pm we tried to relax that morning. We all ended up spending a bit of time in the pool to try to beat the heat, but we were so grateful that the B&B had some really powerful air conditioning when we needed to cool off more inside.

Maria's Love Point

The family reunion was actually held at Maria’s Love Point, so that made things pretty convenient for us. We hung out in the pool until about noon and then we all started getting ready. It was being catered by a local restaurant and it was being held in a big room on the bottom floor (it was supposed to be outside but with the extra high temperatures and humidity we ended up moving it inside which was best).

I was pretty excited for this reunion! I went to the last big family reunion which was 16 years ago (half of my lifetime ago) but I hadn’t made it to any of the smaller reunions in the years since. I saw my aunt, uncle, cousin, and cousin’s girlfriend 5 years ago at my brother’s medical school graduation; but I hadn’t seen them since. I was in touch with a bunch of family through Facebook, but that’s not the same.

This reunion was a reunion of cousin’s on my dad’s mom’s side. It was my dad, his siblings, his 1st cousins, and all of the 1st cousins’ kids and grandkids. We were only missing a couple of people there but we had 30 cousins from 3 generations all in one place which was incredible!

3 Generations Of Cousins

It was really great seeing people again for the first time in years and I even got to meet some cousins that I had never met before! It was a bit overwhelming, but I think we were all thinking that so there was no awkwardness at all.

Even though I was super excited to see everyone, I think I was extra excited to see my cousins that I’ve been closest to over the years. My cousin Leah (who I believe is technically my second cousin but we always called her my third cousin) and I were super close as teenagers. She came to stay with my family for a month for a couple of summers and I stayed with her family for a few weeks one summer. She even came out to California (she lives in Pennsylvania) for my Sweet 16. We were pen-pals for a couple of years and we see each other on Facebook, but the last time I saw her in person was 16 years ago at that reunion. Since then she’s gotten married and has 2 kids!

I was also super excited to see my cousin Rachel (who is Leah’s sister). She and I weren’t as close before as Leah and I were (Leah and I are only a few months apart and Rachel is a bit younger), but we’ve stayed in touch through social media and we’ve got similar personalities and senses of humor. I know if we lived closer to each other that we would be super close and probably hanging out quite a bit. She’s also had a kid since the last time I saw her.

And Alisa is my first cousin Danny’s girlfriend. Before this reunion, I had only seen her once in person 5 years ago my brother’s medical school graduation. At the time, she was super pregnant with their first kid. She actually had him a few days after I met her. And since then, she and Danny have had another baby. Again, we see each other online all the time and we’ve become very close, but it had been years since I had seen her in person.

The four of us were hanging out quite a bit at the reunion and I had to get a selfie with my amazing cousins. None of them are my first cousins, but that doesn’t matter. I love them all so much and I am so incredibly lucky that I get to have them as my family.

My Cousins

5 years ago (when I last saw Danny and Alisa), we got a picture together since before that trip it had been over 10 years since I had seen Danny. Ross, Danny, Alisa, and I got a quick picture after dinner and I’ve loved having that picture. Since we were all together again, we had to recreate the photo with the 2 babies (one of whom is technically in that first picture in Alisa’s belly).

5 Years Later

I have to say, I don’t think we’ve really changed that much in 5 years!

Sadly, the reunion had to come to a close around 6pm. I loved spending time with everyone, but we only had the space for a certain time and we didn’t want to take advantage. There was still more family time (more on that tomorrow), so it was only goodbye for the night.

While my parents, brother, sister-in-law and I were relaxing that evening; we found out that the house next to the B&B was throwing a huge party that night and they would be having a fireworks show. They do this party once a year and it happened to be the night we were there! So after it got dark, we all headed out to the patio to check out the show from the next house.

Fireworks

By the time the fireworks were done, all of us were pretty tired from the big day and we all headed back to our rooms to get a good night sleep before the next day (and my last full day in Maryland). And I’ll write about that tomorrow!