Tuesday, March 24, 2015

In Memory of Paul

As many of you know, I lost my older brother, Paul, to cancer last October. No matter how long you've had to think about it and grieve beforehand, there is so much grief after you lose someone you love.  After the initial shock wore off, I found myself lethargic about doing anything extra, like reading my Bible (or reading any books, for that matter), spending time with friends, and exercising - all things I normally love to do.

When January 1st came around, I resolved to work on each of these areas so I could begin feeling more like myself.  So I'm reading through The NIV Prayer Bible (a daily reading plan Bible with prayer-focused devotionals) that my mom gave me. I try to get together with friends once a week on my days off with Emma, and she enjoys having play dates with her friends, too!  And I've been running again and working up to a half marathon distance. 

I'm planning to run the Disneyland Tinker Bell half marathon on Mother's Day (May 10th). Running a Disneyland race has been on my bucket list for a while, since I've heard that they are lots of fun. I honestly haven't felt like running at all most days, and it has shown in my effort and pace. But I am continuing to plod along, hoping that I'll enjoy it again. 

To make it more meaningful and motivating for me, I have joined Alex's Lemonade Stand, and am raising funds to benefit childhood cancer research in Paul's memory. If you are inclined, all donations are tax-deductible and even a small amount will help to battle this deadly disease. More details are provided on my fundraising page (http://www.alexslemonade.org/mypage/1122175), as well as an online method to donate.  Thank you! 

Also, here are some cute old pictures of my family that my Dad scanned recently. You're welcome.

Friday, March 6, 2015

What Happened to February?

I blinked and February passed me by!  We were pretty busy, so no wonder it was a whirlwind.  Dan was out of town at a school administrator's conference for a few days.  His hotel was near Yosemite National Park, and I was wondering if he would have a view of the famous valley. But it turns out the hotel was right outside the park entrance - which is about 25 miles away from the center of the park where Half Dome and El Capitan are located. He and his coworker drove to the valley one afternoon just to see it, but it took them almost an hour and they didn't have time to do anything fun once they got there.  He really benefited from the conference, though, and was so glad he went.

Emma and I did some fun things while he was away to take our minds off of missing him. We joined some church friends for a mom & kid play time and went to Sea World one afternoon.  As many times as we've been, we've never run into anyone we know until that day. Emma and I saw some friends from our former church, the Neynabers, at Sea World a few minutes before closing time and had the chance to catch up a little bit with them.

Since Dan came back home right before Valentine's Day, we decided to postpone our Valentine's date until the following Monday (President's Day), which was a holiday for his school.  We dropped Emma off with her babysitter, Linda, and drove to Los Angeles for the day. We've been wanting to hike to the top of the Hollywood sign, and needed good weather and a full day to do it.  We ended up hiking 6 miles total and getting lots of fresh air and a great workout. It was definitely worth the trip, although after sitting in L.A. traffic to check this off our bucket list, I'm not sure there's any reason for us to drive back to L.A. again.

In other news, Emma has hit a growth spurt and I've upgraded her to size 3T shirts since the 2T shirts are starting to ride up her belly like Winnie the Pooh's.  She's still the most amazingly cute kid we know.  I've been running longer distances again and am thinking of registering for a half marathon soon to keep me motivated.  Dan has been singing and playing bass with the worship team at church once a month, and we both recently volunteered to help with Sunday School classes.  Emma always has a great time in her toddler class and we thought it would be fun for all of us if Dan and I volunteered in her class. Holy cow. First of all, a class of 12-15 toddlers is no joke. We had 5 volunteers total and we were drowning by the end! Also, Emma is going through the "Hey, that's mine!" stage, and she was not okay with HER mommy and daddy holding or playing with other kids.  The other Sunday School volunteers kept telling us how easy and good she usually is in the class, so apparently we were the cause of the worst experience she's had so far. But we will keep volunteering wherever they need us, because we have a new appreciation for the work that's done in Sunday School so that parents can listen to the sermon.

Here are some pictures from our month:

The picture Dan sent Emma and I from Yosemite Valley. 

Emma and I played at Sea World one afternoon while he was away

They bring out Elmo and one of his Sesame Street friends every day and it's always a highlight for Emma. She could've sat on Elmo's lap like this all day long.

Our friends, Judy, Chris, Ian, and Jon Neynaber were at Sea World that day, too, and it was great to see them!

Dan's and my Valentine's date/challenge. Hiking to the top of the Hollywood sign!

A view of the steep trail on our way up

We made it to the top! (You can see the back of the sign behind us)