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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The end of an era

photo-31So, great news!

Chris and I are officially homeowners!!

The process was actually quick and painless.

We looked online, chose a list of houses,

and our relator took us through them.

House number 6 out of 7 was the one

so we put in an offer – and – long story short,

it’s ours!!

Of course, yesterday when we got the keys

I was out the door loading boxes into my little Honda.

But after the last load for the night was packed,

I looked around my apartment

and was met with unsuspecting tears falling from my face.

It’s the end of an era.

This apartment was a symbol of my independence.

And though I am ecstatic to start my newest journey and adventure,

it is a little hard to say goodbye.

5 years ago when I moved in to my first and only apartment without roommates,

I had no idea what adventures would come my way.

This apartment has seen me through the ups and downs of starting a career.

I subbed in every nearing district, praying for a job, but soon,

the downturn of the economy and lack of teaching jobs led to a stint of unemployment.

But this apartment also was the scene of the phone call

with news I’d been hired for my first teaching job.

This place was my safe haven during a crazy breakup,

a place to party during my single party girl phase,

and the place Chris picked me up for our first date.

I feel like so much has happened here.

I feel like I’ve grown up into the person I want to be in this place.

They say, “When one door closes, another one opens.”

Well, the door to my single girl life is closing,

and the door to an exciting future as Mrs. DiPlacito is opening.

When I look at it that way, it makes it hard to be sad.

The era of my Q street apartment ends here,

but may the memories never fade.

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.

Summer Farewell

What are these happy little bags for, you ask?

Well, tomorrow is the day we leave for our last vacation of the summer.

Disneyland!

These bags hold the contents of a road trip tradition.

I simply flipped two grocery bags inside out,

gave them a little Disney lovin’

and wha-lah!

This marks our 4th time going to Disneyland since we’ve started dating.

And every time we go, we always bring little surprises to open each hour on the road.

Well, this trip is going to be extra special because

we’re celebrating my boyfriend’s 30th birthday.

Stay tuned to see what’s inside!

I title this ‘Summer Farewell’

because this feels like it’s the end.

When we get back, there will only be a weekend and a day

left of my “Best Summer Ever” summer vacation.

I feel like it’s been a good one, and certainly lived up to the name

though I always have wishes of things I still want to do.

I will say that I feel that I’ve stuck to my bucket list

and been able to squeeze in some extra fun and adventures.

And so begins

my weeklong goodbye

to the best summer ever!

my summer mottos

Having all this extra time to do anything and everything I want

feels like a life of perfection.

In a earlier post this summer, I wrote about being thankful.

I feel like this summer has had two common themes for me:

being thankful and being brave.

My summer mottos, if you will.

Yesterday I tried paddle boarding for the first time.

I knew I would love it, but I didn’t really have any idea how much.

We put our boards in at Negro Bar, which is a part of the American River.

As we traveled upstream, I found myself just taking it all in

remembering how much I loved the river, and how much I’ve missed it.

I grew up on this river.  Bike riding.  Rafting.  Skipping Rocks.

Some of my favorite memories with my family are on this river.

Especially with my dad.

And it’s been so long since I’ve actually spent a lot of time here.

I felt so lucky that these were my memories.  And I wanted them to be my reality again.

I had made a promise to myself that I would on my Summer Bucket List

but it’s crazy to me that it’s taken this long to actually do it.

After about a mile of paddling, we took a break on some rocks

just beyond the Rainbow Bridge.

I was already sweating from the heat, and the warm breeze wasn’t helping.

My friend challenged me to jump in, though she herself wasn’t looking so brave.

The water looked so appetizing, but I could already tell I’d be on my own on this one.

I teetered back and forth deciding, but finally

I just had one of those “what the hell moments.”

So I did it.  I was brave.

Ahhhhh, and it was so refreshing!  I was proud of my courage

to stand alone and just do something because I honestly wanted to

and didn’t have a single care of what anyone else thought of me.

It was awesome.

Be Brave and Be Thankful.

This really is the best summer ever!!!

sweet summer

I decided today would be a perfect day

to make use of that adorable pitcher I bought a few weeks back.

I’m on a saving money kick and I needed something to occupy my afternoon.

I picked some fresh lemons from the tree at my apartment,

used the fresh strawberries from my boyfriend’s aunt’s garden,

pinned a strawberry lemonade recipe,

and here we have it!

Sweet Summer Lemonade.

Ingredients needed:

-1 cup fresh lemon juice

-1 cup sugar

-2 cups sliced strawberries

Directions:

1. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a blender and blend for about 30 seconds to combine.

2. Add the strawberries and puree or pulse until the strawberries are at the desired chunkiness.

3. Pour the lemon/strawberry mixture into a pitcher and add 4 cups of cold water.

4. Mix well and serve chilled. (Makes about 8 glasses)

So easy, right?

Mine turned out a smudge tart, but I’m okay with that.

Not to mention I only had 1/2 cup sugar in the cupboard,

but I had already started my Pinterest adventure!

 Off enjoying a glass of this summer treat!

And crossing yet another “Summer Bucket List” item off the list!