Tag Archives: Family

Surf’s Up!

Another biggie gets checked off this week!

Surf Lessons: Last Saturday, I decided to drag out summer for another weekend and boarded a bus bound for the Jersey Shore.  My family gathered in Ocean City, NJ to celebrate three amazing things:

  • The kickoff of my Grandma’s 86th birthday-week
  • My niece’s first beach trip
  • And of course, my bucket list surf lesson

As always, it was amazing to spend time with my beautiful and supportive Grandma. She is literally the best. In preparation for my surf lesson, we discussed all of the other stupid/risky things I’ve done this year (running a ½ marathon without really training, jumping out of a plane, agreeing to go to Vegas with my parents, etc). Later that night we celebrated with cupcakes and carrot cake and sang Happy Birthday twice, which is a family tradition (one birthday wish just isn’t enough!).

 

Beach Day

Beach Day

My niece loved the beach! We built sand castles, which really just resembled sand mountains, and chanted, “fortify the castle” every time we made a trip for more water. We jumped waves, giggled ridiculously when the ocean splashed us, and listened to the lifeguards (that’s the rules). My aunt got us/Veda bubbles, and by the end of playtime Bubble Headquarters (me) was drenched in a sticky, soapy, grape-smelling goo.  My brother was most worried, that Veda would go destructo on another kid’s sandcastle, but instead she came up to my brother and asked, “Can I share my toys, Daddy? Pretty pretty please, can I share?” Kind of amazing.

 

Beach Girls

Beach Girls

My younger cousin was in town to celebrate birthday-week, and as I prepped for my surf lesson, we talked about my remaining Bucket List items and the likelihood that my surf instructor would be an 18-year-old bro rather than a 30-year-old stud. I hypothesized that I could be a surfing natural, and this first lesson may be the start of a new career as a professional surfer. Cowabunga!

On the way to the surf shop, I gave my mom specific instructions that she was not to bring up my bucket list in front of the surf instructor. Hard line.  Applause to her, she didn’t.

 

Slim

Slim

Turned out my instructor, Adam, was not 18 (thank goodness!) and I don’t think he was ‘bro’ either.  He grew up in OCNJ and went to college in CA. Now he’s a year-round instructor that spends the winters in Cali and the summers in OC. Oh, and he’s dreamy! Unfortunately, if I were to grant him a nickname it would be Slim, and that’s just not gonna work for me.

We wetsuit’d up, grabbed my board, and hit the beach with my mom/photographer trailing behind us. We did the standard on-sand practicing of the surfing pop-up motion, and I pretended to be confident that I could this.

 

Walk to the Water

Walk to the Water

The early September water felt amazing! Perfectly warm and free of the jellyfish babies that typically show up in August.  The tide was low and the wind was off-shore so conditions weren’t ideal for a newbie, but I trusted Adam to pick the right waves and not send me into a nose-dive.

My first few attempts were failures; I popped up with the wrong lead foot, I got whacked in the head by the board, and my chic pony tail came undone.  But eventually, I had success.

 

Surf's Up

Surf’s Up

Adam yelled, “You gotta pop up,” and I flew to my feet! My shock and elation at actually surfing caused me to scream the whole ride. Woohoo, I did it!

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Nike Women Half Marathon: Check!

It’s official! I can cross off one of the bucket list doozies!

Last weekend my Baltimore girls and my entire family gathered in Washington D.C. for the Nike Women Half Marathon.

Post-Race Glamour Shot!

Post-Race Glamour Shot!

I arrived in D.C. on Friday and enjoyed a low-key dinner with my oldest brother and his fiancé. We chose a BBQ restaurant as I felt I needed a good dose of Mac & Cheese and Green Bean Casserole to effectively “carb-up”. The meal, which included banana pudding for dessert, was quite tasty. However, mere moments after finishing his meal, my brother announced that he was feeling “nauseous”, which thus began an 8 hour anxiety-filled waiting period where I contemplated whether food poisoning would be a valid enough excuse to skip the race.

Fortunately, my meat chops (or ribs… whatever) stayed down, and by Saturday morning my only remaining get-out-of-jail-free-card excuse would be the “mother’s note” my mom indicated she would write for me. I can only assume her note would have been fashioned after a doctor’s note or the classic “sorry my child is late for school” note my younger brothers* and I often convinced Cindy to write for us. But even though she offered to officially excuse me from the race, and personally blog the excuse on my behalf, I knew I couldn’t disappoint myself or my fans (that’s you guys!) by backing out of this one.

Race packet pick-up in Georgetown on Saturday afternoon went smoothly, although I did ask the girls several times whether this was real life and whether we were actually going to go through with it. In the spirit of true carb-loading, I had a pre-dinner snack with the girls and then met my entire family for real dinner, or in this case, fourth meal.

Starting Line

Starting Line

I was up at 5:00AM on Race Day to nervously eat a small bowl of Wheaties, literally the breakfast of champions. I had just enough time for a last minute costume change due to weather conditions and to curl my hair into the cutest runner’s ponytail. My parents and my brother walked me down to the starting line, and I met up with KeriAnn and Kristyn in the corrals right as the race was starting.

I definitely started off faster than I expected, and texted my family impressive updates on my progress through mile 7. At mile 8 my NIKE RUNNING app restarted itself. Le bummer. By mile 9 I had strained my knee and was limping/running. My family was cheering at mile 10, and I sped up as I ran by them giving high fives and thumbs up, but as I rounded the bend at mile 11, I knew I’d be walking/limping the rest of the race. And finally about 20 feet before the finish line, I started an ugly painful-looking (and feeling) limp-run that took me across the finish line.

Runners be running

Runners be running

Basically I was an emotional wreck throughout the entire race. KeriAnn is notoriously known as a race puker (sorry, KeriAnn), and I think I unfortunately might be a race crier. I definitely got weirdly emotional reading some of the crowd’s signs. I almost gave myself an emotional asthma attack when I realized I had to start walking. And after I crossed the finish line, I was literally two deep breaths away from a becoming a crying mess. If a half marathon takes to me to the emotional edge, I’m pretty sure a full marathon would send me off the deep end.

Overall, the whole experience was both terrible and exhilarating. I’m definitely not a runner, but I finished a half marathon. It’s an accomplishment that opens your eyes to what you’re really physically and mentally capable of doing. I certainly didn’t come in first place, but I still felt like a winner crossing the finish-line.

I know it sounds crazy, but I think I could be persuaded to do it all over again. And next time I’ll know to bring tissues.

Cross it off the bucket list!

Cross it off the bucket list!

*I believe it’s necessary to reiterate that only my younger brothers and I would stoop so low as to have our mom sign Sickness and Lateness Rep Letters on our behalf, and a shout out to Bobby for being a studious young man who would never have considered faking sick or playing hooky.

My Easter Princess

Better to post a late update than none at all, right?

Prior to Easter my parents and I took my niece to see the Easter Bunny. The lead-up was filled with questions like, “what does the Easter Bunny eat?” and several renditions of Here comes Peter Cottontail (of which we only know the first verse).

En route

En route

The little girl in line in front of us, Virginia (yea, I know, right!), got both stage and Bunny fright. From the sidelines my neice offered encouraging, yet probably unwelcome, tips like “smile” and “say cheeseburger”.

In my niece’s official E.B. pictures, she had the classic creeped out kid face. But luckily I was able to snap a few smiles!

Easter Bunny

Easter Bunny

But the highlight of the weekend came later when my niece softly whispered to me, “you’re my princess.” Sweetest moment of my life!

"You're my princess"

“You’re my princess”

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

I haven’t had much progress to blog/brag about over the last month, but I did want to share some photos from a recent trip to Washington, D.C. My Texan uncle was visiting my parents, and as part of his east coast touring extravaganza we gathered in D.C. for the Cherry Blossom festival. The weekend was beautiful!

Mom and Me at the Newseum

Mom and Me at the Newseum

Our weekend included a compulsory tour of the monuments, delicious dinners (and drinks), a trip to the Newseum, and two cups of coffee spilled all over my back.

Hey, Buddy!

Hey, Buddy!

My family will be gathering in D.C. again on the weekend of April 27th to cheer me on (errr… carry me home) for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.

A view of the Capitol from the Newseum

A view of the Capitol from the Newseum