Happiness is

For some reason those license plate frames that read ‘Happiness is (fill in the blank)’ have always erked me for some reason. But last night, I seriously had a moment where I thought to myself, Now this is happiness.

I was driving to get frozen yogurt at a shop I used to visit often before the yogurt craze began. As a kid, it was a family ritual to grab yogurt on hot summer evenings, or even on brisk winter nights. My mom was even a pro at memorizing the daily yogurt flavors, without even needing to call to confirm. Our new house is conveniently in the very neighborhood of this shop. Closer than my parents house even.

But as I made the familiar drive, I realized our new house is in a neighborhood of my fondest childhood memories. Happy, happy memories that I am overwhelmingly thrilled to relive again! The yogurt shop. The grocery store we once shopped in regularly. The park that leads to the river. The local pizza place my childhood best friend introduced to me. The list continues. I feel like I’m breathing in all these old memories and it brings me such joy. Especially because now new memories will be made here in this very place.

The new house we live in brings me such pure joy. My main wish list item was a big backyard because my childhood home had the best backyard. As I gaze from my kitchen table, I see such possibilities if the memories that are to come. Chris and I continue to add to the already large list of ideas to make this backyard amazing. I’m dying to just lounge under an umbrella and daydream about our future in that backyard.

So though those license plate frames may cause me to roll my eyes from time to time, I guess I can finally say I get it. I have found that happiness.

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Run now, sleep later

I awoke this morning already sweating.

Sacramento is experiencing a heat wave that we usually don’t get in June.

Multiple days of over 105 degrees, and no relief in sight.

It’s summer vacation – I should really be sleeping in.

Most people would have looked at the clock,

which read 6:56, and rolled back over and forced themselves back to sleep.

Me, on the other hand, decided that I’d much rather sweat while running

than sweat as I unsuccessfully attempt to go back to sleep.

(For my adorable little apartment does not have central AC.)

Though this early morning run was far from cool,

it was, in my opinion, the best way to start this day.

Since returning to running from an injury,

I haven’t quite gotten that feeling yet that I’m back where I used to be.

There was a time that I was approaching 9:15 minute miles

and was close to making that my norm for my training runs.

I was on the edge of breaking a 2 hour half marathon

and 3 miles was a joke of an easy run.

But now, my pace has slowed to a respectable 10:15-10:30 mile

but 3 and 4 miles are definitely challenges at times.

However, today was the first day that I ever felt like I could return to the runner I once was.

My knees did not ache, my pace was up, and I never felt tired.

I’m not sure if it was the haze of the heat or if my mind was just in the right place,

but this morning was one of the best runs I’ve had in a very long time –

to the point that I said a little prayer of thanksgiving when it was over.

Thank you for this run.

This run makes me feel clarity, feel strength, feel peace.

I feel ready for this day!

So cheers to feeling like the runner I once was,

and hopefully the runner I’ll always be.

Strong. Healthy. Free.

And now I will retreat to my couch,

where I can feel the cool breeze from the wall AC unit

and return to slumber.

Go Kings!

My heart is swelling with pride.

I’m glued to local television coverage of the Sacramento Kings

Long Live the Kings Rally.

As a Kings fan, we’ve been in turmoil and a haze of wonder for the past few years.

Would our team stay?  Or would they go?

And finally, I can finally sit here with immense pride

not only for my beloved team, but for my city.

photo-22I have so many amazing memories of this team.

Above is just a small picture of the years I’ve spent cheering for this time

beside my family, and now, my husband to be.

I’ve been attending games for as long as I can remember.

My brother and I made friends with the long time usher in our section,

and we even have developed our own pre and post game rituals.

And if Dad comes with, there’s always the after game jog to the car,

just so we can hear Gary Gerould’s final commentary following the game.

The Kings came to Sacramento in 1984, the year I was born.

And my life has been filled with Sacramento Kings memories since then.

My high school graduation party guests sat glued to the television

as the Kings (sadly) lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Another season, my brother and I found ourselves on the Jumbo-tron

with a giant poster for Beno Udrich – “Beno es Bueno.”

And one of my favorite memories was my first date with

the soon-to-be Mr.

See!  I even saved our tickets from that night.

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Then there are the memories of sitting in the arena

during the two “Final Games” in 2011 and 2013,

where we didn’t know if this would be the final time

we’d watch Sacramento Kings basketball.

Both were two, very different nights with different emotions, but both held uncertainty.

But the end is here!  The Kings are here to stay!

So, long live the Kings!

For this is only the beginning of more memories to come.

I can’t wait for the day that Chris and I get to take our kids

to a Sacramento Kings game.

Though as a city, we’ve been through a rollercoaster of emotions,

the best are ahead.

Never been prouder to be a Kings fan!

Go Kings!

Beautiful, Beautiful Books

photo-21This picture was my happy place today.

No time in the school day brings me more joy

than our moments after lunch when we read our chapter book together.

My class is about two thirds of the way through our last novel of the year,

Holes, by Louis Sachar.

The best part is, I actually have a class set of this one.

My heart does a little pitter patter every time I see my students

get comfy with their copy as they follow along.

One girl loves to rest her chin on her desk with her eyes on the text.

Another boy likes to rest his forehead on the desk with the book in his lap.

Another is literally consumed by his book because it practically covers his face.

Just when I think I’ll catch one off task, I realize, they’re just getting in their cozy spot.

They’re bonding with their books!

So as we read today, I had a lightbulb moment.

Wouldn’t it be cool to see all the books we’ve read together in one big stack?

As the students traded turns reading pages,

I did a quick rummage around the room to collect them all.

Eight in all, and what a beautiful pile of books!

I wish you could have seen two of my girls who sit in back

oohing and ahhing at the sight.

Those are our books!  We’ve read them all this year! one whispered.

Wait, let me count them! the other joined in.

I’m telling you, books have bonded us together.

As I look at each title, I am reminded of a different time frame of the year.

It reminds me of the journey we’ve taken through this school year.

And it makes my heart feel so full.

There’s already a countdown in the teachers lounge

for number of school days left until sweet summer begins.

And I’m not going to lie, I’m more than ready.

But today, that stack of books brought me the bit of joy I needed.

Nothing can stop me now

I felt like a little girl on Christmas Eve.

I knew it was well past time for bed,

but I just couldn’t sleep.

For the excitement for the coming day kept me awake,

but then again, so did the never-ending question, Is this really a good idea?

Sooner or later slumber greeted me, but morning arrived quickly.

photo-17Since returning to running I’ve been sticking to a slow and steady return.

April and May were meant to be ‘run for fun’ months

so that I could build up a base and really test my legs to see if they were ready.

But when my aunt invited me to run a Race for the Cure 5k with her,

I just couldn’t resist.  I signed up.

It was just a 5k, right?  I’d be fine. I prayed my legs wouldn’t fail me.

race for the cure

Brewing a small cup of coffee, the zing of race day surged inside me.

I couldn’t wait to arrive and be among the people.

Though I always arrive way earlier than I should to races,

there’s something about the atmosphere that calms me.

The pre-race music, the people watching, and the children running about.

As I walked around the sea of people, my nerves became calm.

I started to feel more and more ready.

Bring it on!

This race definitely felt different.

For once, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about my overall time,

rather just curious what pace I could hold.

I decided to let my aunt do the pacing, and I was just along for the ride.

I wanted to take it in, and return to this happy place of mine.

Gliding along the pavement, and letting my mind run free.

The first mile and a half felt amazing!

We were zipping through the course,

and I could tell by my breathing that I was actually ready for this.

Then mile two hit, and I had to really get serious.

I started to feel tired, but I just couldn’t slow down.

I had to reach that finish line and feel good about it.

Push. I’d tell myself. Push.

I reminded myself to push because I knew I could hang on,

not because I wanted to push myself faster.

I just wanted to run, and keep running.

The finish line grew closer and I could feel the relief inside me.

I’d made it and I had no care to even look at my watch.

It’d been a year since I’d crossed a finish line.

But in that moment, I felt more unstoppable than ever.

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My PR for a 5k is 28:04. Looks like I almost broke a PR on accident! Not too shabby!

The name of the game is still slow and steady

as far as training is concerned.

But it makes me feel good to know I still got it!

What will be your Space Jam?

Inspiration comes from funny places sometimes.

This week marks our first week of state testing

and I have to say, I feel just as exhausted as the kids.

Not to mention, stress levels are a little high around campus.

So in an attempt to hide from the negativity and the stress

I hid in my classroom, threw on some Iron and Wine Pandora,

and checked my email.

And there was this happy little gem of inspiration.

The perfect encouraging video to brighten my day.

Today I showed this video to my kids

as a method to lighten the mood amidst the anxiety of testing

and remind my kids life goes on beyond this almighty test.

I have to admit, as I sat at my back table, and enjoyed this video with them

I did get a little teary eyed.

Every kid was glued to these words from Kid President

and genuinely enjoyed every minute of his words.

Sometimes when we feel like giving up,

its the exact moment we just need a little push to keep going.

A little bit of inspiration from an unexpected place.

Thanks, Kid President.  Thanks for your pep talk.

Let it not be the Last

 April 13th, 2011

is a day I remember pretty vividly,

yet the parts of the day that stick out most

are the early morning and the late evening.

It was the “Last Game” that the Sacramento Kings

were supposedly going to play in Arco Arena

ever.

My day began listening to old Kings memories on the radio

as my old favorite morning show (that is no longer)

reminisced the days of old, the Good Times with the Kings.

Tearfully as I entered the parking lot to work,

I just had to call Dad.

My boyfriend and I had tickets to the game

and so did my brother and his girlfriend.

But Dad’s plan was to sit at home and watch the game.

It just didn’t feel right.

I couldn’t imagine that the team he’d taught me to love

would be playing without him in the seats watching.

Flash forward –

That night, I took in every moment.

Would this really be the last time I’d cheer my heart out for this team?

I sat in the upper deck, with a perfect view of our season ticket seats.

As the warmups began, I couldn’t help but replay memories

of my childhood memories in that place.

The game turned out to be a nail-biter, with the Kings losing in the final minutes

to our eternal rival, the Lakers.

But it was a good one.

And when it was all over, I had a hard time leaving.

How could I get up and leave?  Leave these memories behind?

Two years later,

and the story isn’t much different.

Tomorrow is the season finale for the Sacramento Kings.

Yes, they’re still here.  But our future is still unknown.

We’re still waiting for an answer.  For clarity.

Still waiting, for the confirmation that our team is here to stay.

The newspapers around here report a different story every day.

We really have no idea.  There are still so many questions that go unanswered.

Yet tomorrow I know there won’t be tears,

because this time I go to the game with hope.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a fan of the underdog

and I’m pulling for the underdog in this case.

I’m hoping that the nation and the NBA will finally wake up

and see what an amazing franchise the Sacramento Kings really is

and that they will let the team stay where it belongs.

But the most important thing, is that if it really is the “Last Game”

everything will be okay,

because Dad will be in the stands with me

watching our team to the very end.

Go Kings!