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March 2012

Goodbye Grandpa...

"Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."
- Eskimo Proverb

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My grandfather passed away on last Wednesday.
And the first thing I said to my brother as he told me the news is "... he taught us how to ride a bike, remember that?"

That was the first thing that popped in my head, a clear memory of him, pushing our bikes on Ashford Street and telling me he's gonna let  go and I yelled with pure adrenaline and excitement "Let go grandpa!!!" He clapped his hands as I flew down the street on two wheels.  Then I stopped to see him helping my brother, and he is yelling "Don't let me go, grandpa!" with this look of fear in his eyes. He shakes his head at him...

I was always the fearless one... I think that's what he loved about me the most.

Then we turn into these self loathing teenagers... who did not want anything from "old people".. All that mattered was our friends, social life, and going out in our cars, new clothes, and boyfriends/girlfriends. We spent countless days a part but living in the same house.

But it wasn't till my first son came along when I was 17 that I saw that same twinkle in my grandfather's eyes. He loved watching him crawl, walk, or talk... He picked him effortlessly and placed him on his knee while he sat outside and fed the birds. By this time, my adolocsent days were over, even though I was just a kid myself. And I was no longer absorbed in petty things, but realized I needed my family.


Then I left them. I left Hawaii to raise my own family. I said good-bye many times in between the years with each visit and kept in touch with a Christmas card here and there. Years passed and my grandparents get old, my parents get older. I've buried my grandmother, my father, and now my grandfather..

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Proof.. that time keeps moving forward no matter how much you want it to slow down.

 I'm so glad I flew back home in January to see him one last time. My only regret is not telling him how I remembered about the bike lessons but I'm sure he knows. He lived a long & happy life, he was 95 when he passed. Even up till his final days (when I went to visit him) he refused to let old age get the best of him. He tried so hard to walk without the canes and not use the wheelchair. Stubborn is what my mom used to say. But I called it a strong will.

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I will be flying back home once again in a few days not only for my grandfather's funeral but for my mother as well. She has made a turn for the worst...  and I will be at her bedside for a month. My family will be meeting me there in a few weeks and head home without me. I'm not sure what's going to happen, but all I know is that I need to be with my mother right now.  Please keep us in your prayers, as this is probably one of the hardest things I have had to go through (along with losing my father several years ago). I am still constantly trying to find the strength to keep it all together. Many thanks to my wonderful supportive family and my friends who have given me that shoulder to cry one, more times than I can count... You guys are amazing and I am blessed!

Until then...

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.




Project Life | The Process & Week 10 & 11


Before starting this project I thought I could just "wing it".  You know grab a few photos, print them, and throw some scraps and journaling in there and call it good. But, that's not the kind of person I am, I guess.

I am such a planner. I wish I could be the "wing-it" kind of person.. but I find myself meticulously, (drawing out to detail) on how my page will look. (proof below).


I even printed out all the different page protectors that I have, so I can plan my layouts even better so I'm not constantly looking at all the packs I have.

Theres a printed out calendar I keep next to my planning calendar to refer to what week I'm on and jot down little notes of the day.

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On my computer, I have a 2012 folder.
Inside this folder I have all the weeks thus far.
The highlighted folders mean they are completed.


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In these folder are all the photos I took that day.


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There are days I take quite a bit of photos.
BTW, I've been using my iPhone for most, if not ALL the photos. *I really need to bring out the other cameras!
But even with this many photos, not all will make the cut, even after they have been printed in a collage.

Another thing I always do (since week 7) is pick out a few pieces of matching patterns for the particular week. I cut them into 4x6's (1 sheet will give me 6 of them) which is enough to complete the week). So having a color scheme or an idea of it, makes creating the page quickly.

After a few weeks of jotting down notes, sketching my layouts, I thought I would start "winging it" but I think this works for me, I like the slight organization (even though my desk looks like a bomb went off) and I find that I'm even quicker in getting my layouts done when I fully pay attention to what I'm doing.





This week I decided to do one page.. there was not a lot going on, or photos either.. so one page was perfect.



I started Week 10 with a 6x12 page protector, with 3 4x6 openings (6 total) because I knew I had a lot more photos to share that week.


Back of the 6x12 (blurry, sorry, but too tired to take another photo).
I use collages when I know I have quite a bit of good photos I want to share about that week..
In a 4x6 template, you could use your crop tool at 2x2 and get 6 photos on there.


And here is the rest of Week 10.


I've used some of Marcy Penners printables for journaling HERE:  *She has a shop, but it looks like she's on vacation right now, so the shop is closed? Not sure.
I also use a lot of Paislee Press templates: HERE
She types a lot of her journaling.. believe me I would like to that.. but I'm really trying to embrace my handwriting.. cause it does take time to type some of the journaling especially when you are well equipped with journaling cards from the kit with Project Life.


So... so far so good.
I'm glad to sort of be caught up. But it is process that is constantly changing..


Ready, Set, Brr..

Just when you don't think you have it in you... you surprise yourself.


That was me, not even 24 hours ago.. I crossed the finish line yelling "Yes! Yes!"

In that single moment, I have never felt more alive..
At that very moment, it all made sense..
The hard work, the hours, the pain, the miles, the sweat, the tears, the fighting with my worst enemy, myself.
At that moment, I ran "Self-Doubt" into the ground..
And I knew.. I could do anything.
I was .. unstoppable.


I just beat my previous Personal Record from a few weeks ago in February's Frostbite Footrace of 28:53.
Today, I came in at 26:19.

As runners, we are always trying to do top our previous records. And even though I didn't intentionally try to beat any records, I've been lacking sleep editing late at night and the night before, I just ran 6 miles... I really thought I didn't have it in me.

But when your surrounded by all these athletes all huddled (well freezing our butts off together) doing something we all love.. you can't help but feel inspired.

(we are strategically placed behind the speediest lady I've come across #1000, she likes to win all the races).

So although I went in thinking, I'm just gonna do my best and try to keep up..I changed my attitude into, "Hell, these races don't come often... I paid $35 not to run mediocre.. It's only a little over 3 miles.. It's not gonna kill me to do better than my best... "

The first mile... always KILLS me. I can't explain that love/hate relationship I have with Mile one. I don't think I've ever started a run thinking.. Oh yeah I love it!  Nope. It's always, "what the heck am I doing.. this hurts.. oh gosh it's freezing.. oh my feet are killing me already... "  So I dub the first mile to be my official "warm-up".  It will never be a friendly mile that will put a smile on my face.. But catch me at mile 4-5 and I'm as happy as can be.


My focus was every where when we started.. checking out all the other runners wearing green, to what kind of shoes they have, to how tall everyone is.. But I learned with my previous races, I have to focus on one person that is slightly ahead of me. I literally zoom in.. I find this tall lanky guy who seems to run like he's gonna fall but he was pretty quick. I focus on him always trying to catch up to him and get closer to his pace. When I start to feel my rhythm, I run next to him for a quarter mile, take a deep breath, and pass him.


On to my next focus point. I found a gal with stripe socks and tried to keep up with her, but I knew she was booking at probably 9 min/miles.. And that sent me huffing & puffing. But I passed her. Then just when I thought we were almost there, I see a sign on the ground that says 1 Mile, one more mile, we take a turn and I see a lovely hill! 


Leave it to Skinny Raven to set a hill before we cross the finish line. Hills are my worst enemy, my calves & quads will attest to that.. On this hill, I literally was gasping for air. I even looked around to make sure there were people standing along the race trail to help me just in case I collapsed. That is how hard I pushed myself. The hill was a tough one for me, but I imagined my grandfather who is in critical condition as of last night, who will probably not make it.. I imagine him laying in that hospital bed fighting for another day in his 95 years of life... And I think, this pain is temporary and I pushed harder than I ever have.. (Who knew I could do that?) And at that last turn, I sprinted my butt to the finish line.. Just in time to see that I scored a new PR :)






Light Chasers.


Last week, on the 8th of March.. we had a light show in our backyard! 
I kept hearing the Northern LIghts were out and everyone on my FB feed was going out at 11pm in search of them..
We've been here long enough that everytime we've heard that the aurora borealis were dancing in the night sky, we did head out in search of them.. only to not find any or just a faint green light, I often wondered if it indeed was the Northern Lights..

So on this night, I headed out in just my sweatpants and a jacket (dumb) and I almost left my big camera home, thinkiing we weren't gonna find any.. Luckily, hubby said "Where's the Camera?"

We were stunned to see them the minute we got out of our driveway!
BUT BUT BUT.. this dumbass photographer forgot her tripod!! ARRGHH!

BUt I got.. some.. blurry, but I got some..
And that above photo (with my son) was featured over and over again on our local news, it made their Facebook Fanpage and the news for several nights :) He's pretty stoked about being "famous".  LOL

If you've ever tried to shoot the Northern Lights.. or just in the dark.. It is hard as heck!! With nothing for the camera to focus on, it makes it next to impossible to shoot anythiing.. But man, look at them behind me... just dancing the night away.

This shot, I layed on my back and looked up.. as the kids were yelling.. "Look up!!"


And here's my son.. texting like crazy.. while the lights were dancing behind him :)

I marveled at the sight of these lights shining in the sky.. It was absolultely breath taking...
What an experience :)



Spring Forward, Trail Running, & Running Buddies...

Even though we are knee head deep in snow, the extra hour of daylight makes a big difference. You almost see the light at the end (you know the one where all the snow melts and we are basking in the sun on our lawn chairs with the grill going and the kids playing jump rope at 9pm).. Soon, I can see it :)

Lately, I've been in this "rut" where you know big changes are coming and I'm like sitting on my ass waiitng for it to come and take over.. basically, put my life on hold till I know for sure what's gonna happen. And I realize, that is not how I want to spend my days.. If change does come and we have to leave our AK home, I want to know I made the most of my days here.. So I moped around for a week. But I think I'm coming around..

I never imagined myself as an outdoorsy person.. well, don't quote me on that one.. I'm not like a full on "Sportsman Warehouse" chick.. But I never thought I'd find joy in the great outdoors.. (It partly has to do with not having a big city life, you really just get accostomed to your surroundings--adapt).  But I love our daily outings with Kai. There are days, I'm not sure who is having more fun, me or the dog. And then I've discovered (last year) the joy of trail-running. It's not a run I'd do on my own, I'm too much of a "fraidy-cat" to try and fend off wild life on my own.. so when the oppurtunity comes when I can run outdoors with a friend, I will take it. So today, the first day of Springing Forward,  I laced up my running shoes and headed to the "unknown" with  my good running friend, Rebecca :)



We had this narrow path to run on with deep snow on either side, we were surrounded by the sound of vast trees echoing with the wind and "little remains" of wilid life aka moose poop all along the trail.. and of course on our start of our run, we come across a family of moose just hanging out.. we quickly passed them but on our way back, they were right on the trail..  After flying down hill, we realized, we needed to go back "up hill" and find another route back to our car... Ah the joys of running in the wild life.. But the view.. It's all worth it at the end, when your legs are burning and your quads are killing you :)







People come into your life for a reason, don't they?
Rebecca introduced me to a whole new world when she took me on my first trail run last year at the Kincaid Park for my first ever, Tuesday Night Runs.. To this day, whenever I find myself down in the dumps.. I always smile at my first experience of a trail run, in one of the hardest courses (hilly) Kincaid Park.. I just remember climbing up and down my first hills with her, splashing through mud, feeling that brisk 45 degree evening, and looking ahead at the colors of fall.. It was beauty and pain at it's finest.  I could barely walk the next day, but every time I went up and down those stairs, I smiled.. thinking of those golden/orange leaves that burned bright against the sunset. 

Fast forward, we are taking runs through snow, chilly temps, and did I say through snow :)  Granted, the beginning of winter was hard on us, it got to those single digits quick and dipped well below 0 for the longest time (look at me talking like it's over).. so our winter trail runs were seldom and few..

But today.. was one of those days, that I will close my eyes and smile...
What a great day to kick off our Springing Forward..
Here's to more Outdoor Runs :)

Sumethin' Bout' The Sun..


... & blue skies that make it all okay. That make you some how, (if you don't stare at the 6 ft of snow that covers your lawn) makes you forget what a "snowy" winter we've had.  We are just 6 inches shy of making a record... and quite honestly, let's make that record, so all of this snow was done in vain.. ?  Not sure what that meant.. but by golly I wanna say, years down the road.. "Ahh remember the winter of 2011 when we were buried in snow?"


So lately, Kai & I have been soaking up that sun (in my Northface Jacket!).. nonetheless, it is bright. And to top it off, the sun has been hanging out longer.. so long are the days of watching that sun set at 3pm!  If it wasn't so "white" outside, I'd say I feel like Spring is around the corner.. (when I close my eyes).  So while it's still bright out at 6pm, there is almost a hop in my step around the kitchen feeling that our longer days are here!  (Then I shut the window, because it's damn cold) 


The other day hubby surprised me by having lunch with me (although my entire day was shifted a bit.. I had planned to watch Las Vegas while folding laundry, usually what I do around 11-12.. shhh) and we headed to our fave, Snow City

*right here, I'm a bit to intrigued by the new iPad, I never thought I would need one, let me rephrase that, want one.. but I'm starting to think I would like one :)



I devoured my Eggs Benedict (and counted my calories after)

Speaking of counting my calories.. yes I do count them with the app, Lose It. I love that app, you can scan your food in as well, as long as it has a bar code, so you don't have to search for it.  It makes me a lot more aware of my eating habits (weaknesses) and it pushes me to work out because the more calories you burn, the more I can eat :) I'm not necessarily   trying to lose weight, just manage it.  It's all about a healthy lifestyle :)


*I love this photo of him.. despite the nosy guy behind him.. :) LOL.. My hubby hates when I take photos of him, he's always makes funny faces but here I caught him as he was talking.

Sumethin' about this man.. that has got me thinking how lucky I am lately... I know he's super busy right now, he's in a class that takes up ALL his time but he always tries his best to make sure I'm happy. When he's in "study-mode" I try to steer clear and become more independent, but I do love his company.


And then there's this guy..
Love my little 4 legged baby.. There's something about him that seems to take all the troubles away. His carefree spirit, or just because everyday is a new beginning for him.. When I'm with him, I know everything will be alright.  Although my heart has been heavy.. thinking when we do move, Hawaii has a stupid quarantine law!  I know.. you all are tthinking, he's just a dog. Stop it right there.. cause he's not!  He's my baby!!! And I just can't bear the thought of a 120 day quarantine for him!! So I am working hard to get all his bloodwork and shot records up to date so that he will only be looking at a 5 day quarantine. Still, 5 days is still too much for me.


Well, here's to Spring Break, it officially starts today in 15 minutes when the first kid rolls in :)




So Into...

Hashtags # at the moment...

What? Yeah I just said that.. I know random, right? But I've been like hashtagging everything!
Just when did this little symbol become the basis to being able to finding anything in the entire world.. Okay not really, just on social media.


I mean you get my point... You get on FB and it's fun to hashtag!  Get on Instagram and you put a hashtag in ther to find all the other crazy dog owners who love their labs #lovemylab.  Get on twitter and I can hashtag Dwyane Wade and find everything everybody has said about him!

Obviously I have a lot of time to think about this things.. LOL. I'm the most random person you will ever come across.. I literally jump from one thing to another without warning!


I'm also into Instagram and less into Facebooking..
I may get on FB to post my runs :) Or post that I need to run... but I don't find myself on there as much as I used to be. I mean I used to let you all know what I was eating, where I was eating, and tag eveyone I was eating with :) LOL. Now I find myself on the Instagram scene. It adds to the creative juices. I love the challenges they put up. I actually completed February Photo A Day Challenge (pat on back).  Now I'm diong March. It's a way to get you out of your rut and try capturing something new.


Try it out.. Well I'm sure your on Instagram already (I mean, gasp.. who wouldn't be?)  LOL! 


These songs are currently on three-peat

Gavin Degraw's latest... Not Over You
Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger, What Doesnt Kill You.."
All of Adele's albums, still..
Nicki Minaj's "Starships"


Cobalt Blue Nail Polish.
Well it's chipping already.. but it was nice while it lasted.

Wrist Tattoos.
I'm SO gonna do it.. I'm sure it will hurt like heck.. but I can't stop thinking about it. Thinking of putting hubby's name across, (ouch)...

Food Gawker.
Like Pinterest without all the other distractions.. strictly food recipes.. I've already tried several of the recipes..


That was totally random.. :)   

Project Life | Week 06 - 08

Just some catching up, which I totally needed.
Forget sleep this weekend, that's what my Rockstar is for :)


WEEK 06.




WEEK 07.


WEEK 08.
I used an 8.5 x 11 insert to throw in a large photo of her dance group and on the back, photo strips of her dances.


I finally got my Page Protectors from Becky Higgins, Style A & D.. they have been out for the longest time and I when I heard they were in a few weeks ago, I jumped on that and bought a pack!  I'm so glad I waited for it to complete the week.. I love the little pockets!!!


I'm still REALLY enjoying this project and so GLAD I decided to jump on that bandwagon. I'm realizing that most if not, all my photos are from my iPhone. But the print quality is not bad at all, as long as I'm not blowing it up to an 8x10 I should be fine. The iPhone is convenient and printing at home has never been easier. There really is no excuse for not having a single photo for the week :)




All Over The Place...

My mind that is.

It's like my mind is constantly racing 10 steps ahead and I tend to lose sight of what's going on right now.
I know we haven't moved yet or even turned the paper work in, everything is still up (way up) in the air... yet I'm already thinking what I want to get rid of in the garage. I get in this "mode" this "oh-crap-change-is-coming" mode. Almost in a panic but yet calm  "mama-bearish".  Not even sure that makes any sense but I know military moms go through this all the time, and for us, it's just been a while. We were fortunate to have lived here as long as we have, it's pretty rare in the military. (There I go, talking like we are leaving tomorrow...) 

Breathe. One step at a time.


I wrote those few sentences a few days ago, left the tab open and everything, in hopes I'll come back and finish it. But.. I just couldn't get myself to click Publish. I really had a lot to write about, my head is filled with stuff to say. But like I said, my mind is all over the place.

But for now, gonna enjoy the day.. Snow & All.