Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Growing up, I completely took where I live for granted. All I wanted was out of here. I counted down the moments until I could go somewhere that wasn't here. And I did. For an entire year before coming home. Since then, I've realized how lucky I am to live here. It is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

We have the beach, the river, the huge trees, and the mountains. On Monday, I spent my day at the beach. 

We hiked down to that little cove in the picture and parked it for the afternoon. It was sheltered from the wind and basically perfect weather.

The cows on the hillside stared at us. They were probably wondering what us crazy kids were doing. We had the entire beach to ourselves.

Not two minutes after being there, my friend pointed out a whale dancing in the waves about 500 feet from us. It was pure magic. There ended up being 7 of them and they were feeding. They would stick their huge mouths in the air and eat before returning to the sea. I soaked it all in without technology because to bring out a cellphone to take pictures in that moment felt incredibly wrong.

My friends and I finally tore ourselves away from watching them dance. We sat and talked and laughed.

We also listened to some live music.

The entire day felt like pure magic. It felt like something out of a fairy tale. After some exploring down the beach, we finally hiked back up to the parking lot to get a better view of the sunset.

I have watched the sun set more this week than I have in a very, very long time. It is better than a lot of things in life. 

I had never experienced seeing whales in real life before, so Monday was amazing. Yesterday, I got to spend more time with this little one, so it's safe to say that I've been having some pretty good days.

Have you ever seen whales??

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Soul Cleansing

I didn't realize how much I needed some soul cleansing until I have started turning off technology and started living. As I stated in my last post, stuff has been going on. Keeping busy is one of the best ways of dealing with it. I also have realized that I can get sucked into the virtual world and that makes me feel kind of upset with myself sometimes. That said, I have been really enjoying on being attached to social media.

Friday night was a night of Phò and ended with a bon fire. It was a lovely night all around. Saturday morning kicked off Memorial Day Weekend. It is a tradition here to have something called the Kinetic Sculpture Race. It's super goofy and bizarre, but it's so normal to me that it cracks me up when out-of-towners don't understand it. 

Saturday was the start of the race. Kinetic Sculptures are literally pieces of art on bikes. They also have to be able to float because they go in the bay and across a river. They race from the plaza in my college town and end up in the town where my theater is, about 20 miles. It literally lasts 3 days. Everyone has such a great time.

I usually just go to the plaza and check out the sculptures. Then I forget about it for the rest of the weekend while I go camping. This year, however, I didn't go camping. So, my friends and I followed them to the beach.

We parked it on the beach for a good two hours. It was a beautiful day and the beach is incredibly soul cleansing for me.

Then, we went disc golfing. I am a terrible disc golfer, but I love it for the nature and the walk. Especially with views like this.

The day ended at the beach again. We watched the sunset and it was one of the most beautiful I've seen in a very long time. It made me feel very at peace with myself and life in general.

Today, my friend and I ended up at the water launch of the race. Once again, this was a first for me.

Apparently I got a picture of an old man picking his nose too. Almost as good as the sculptures.  We hung out for about a half an hour before I headed to my most favorite, most soul cleansing place on earth: the river.

Summer truly begins with my first trip to the river. It is honestly my favorite place to spend the day. I took a 45 minute nap in the sun before heading into the water.

This little one is growing up on the river just like her mom and aunt did.

What we thought was going to be a picture of our 15th year at the river together turned into a Maxim photo shoot.

Luckily, we did end up with a cute one too. Not that he's not cute......? My friend is marrying him in less than 30 days!

My day ended with a run outside. Yet another soul cleansing activity. Tomorrow I am hoping to get a hike in or maybe more river time. I hope everyone has been enjoying their days to the fullest!!!

What cleanses your soul?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

So, So Busy

I promise I haven't fallen off of the planet. I've just been excruciatingly busy this week. Some stuff has happened that I may blog about in the future, but until then... I'll tell you what I've been doing in a list form.

1. Working- I'm a teacher now, so I've been working teacher hours. I've been coming in early and staying late. It's exhausting, but I am truly loving every single minute of it.

2. Naturing. Yes. I did just make tht word up. I've been outside the majority of the time that I am not at work. I've hardly opened my laptop in the last week and a half. It's so liberating and feels so freeing. I need nature to survive.

3. Running- I've recently met someone who is an incredibly fast runner, so I've been meeting up with them for runs. We ran at the track on Monday and I was convinced to do a little bit of speed work. It hurt, but in a good way. It's nice to has someone to run with who actually enjoys it!

4. Lifting- Since my half marathon, my motivation to run a lot of miles has diminished A LOT. So, my weekly mileage is lower than it has been in a very long time. But my lifting has increased. Running less miles gives me more energy to lift heavier, and I love it.

5. Laughing- I have been laughing a lot lately. It's safe to say that I am in a really good space emotionally. For awhile there, I was feeling a little depressed and down. No real reason, I just felt as though I wasn't living. Now that I've been getting out and doing things and focusing my energy on things other than my computer and my bed, I'm in a good space. I also got a really good laugh when I saw this picture my cousin posted of his daughter doing the "Rachel face." I've never been more proud.

So that's that. I'm so sorry I've been MIA! 

Catch me up! What have you been up to??

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Graduates

Graduation weekend snuck up on me. I've been so busy and my life has been so crazy that I didn't even realize that my entire family was going to be here THIS weekend until Friday, when they were here.

They were really in town to see my brother graduate from undergrad, but I like to pretend they came to see me graduate with my teaching credential.

My brother's ceremony was at 8:30am, so the morning started off bright and early. He got ready and I photobombed every picture he tried to take.

As usual, the ceremony was long and boring. But we kept ourselves occupied.

His major was just recently added to our school, so he went last. Very last. Finally, he was done and we stopped at the field for some pictures.

We had reservations for brunch at our local country club. We had a pretty mostly crew.

Don't worry, the siblings all called each other to make sure we matched, because it would be super embarrassing if we didn't. ;-)

This cutie found a balloon.

Suddenly, it was my turn. I was completely unprepared. I borrowed my brother's gown and my mom's cap from when she got her masters two years ago.   I met up with the ladies and we were ready.

The sun had come out in full force by the time our ceremony began. It was hot! 

I definitely rolled up the sleeves of my gown. I've heard that's fashionable head days.

Walking across the stage was a total blur.

Finally, we were officially teachers!

It was time to go home and party!

My name was actually on the four pound gluten-free chocolate cake!

My brother and I spent some time lounging in Hawaii. We deserved it.

My best friend is back in town and I got to catch up with her! She just finished her first year of law school!

The night ended with lots and lots of dancing. It was an amazing day!

How was your Saturday?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I'm done?!

As of yesterday, I'm officially done with the coursework for my preliminary special education credential. It's been a long, tough, tiring year. It seems like just yesterday I was so scared to become a student again.

I have learned so much valuable information. I have expanded my horizons and fell in love with a population of students than I never thought I would. I spent hours stressing over papers, learning how to write the perfect IEP, pondering my career choice because of all of the laws.

I met the greatest people. I have made life-long friendships. I finally found people who are just like me. Beautiful, talented, hilarious, amazing women who are going to make a huge difference in the lives of the students they teach. They are my rocks and they got me through some very difficult moments.

I was blessed with three amazing mentor teachers. They taught me more than I could ever imagine. I will forever be indebted to them. 

Now it's time to take the next step and apply for jobs. I can't wait to see what the future holds. But first, a big graduation party!

What is one of your biggest accomplishments?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Weekend

To say I've been busy would be an understatement. Last week was my first week in my new placement and it was crazy. I came in early and left late each day and I still had school work on top of that. I am love, love, loving what I'm doing. Let's just say that I am probably the most lucky student teacher in the world.

So needless to say, I was exhausted by Friday. Boyfriend's grandma moved away this weekend (this is extremely sad as I LOVE his grandma and enjoyed having brunch with her every Sunday), so we went down to her house to say goodbye. Then I was in bed the minute we got home.

Saturday, I did homework for several hours before forcing boyfriend to the gym.

This happens so rarely that it has to be documented. We worked on arms and did some couples ab exercises. We were probably the cutes kids in the gym.

Saturday night, we had plans at my friend's house. We were having a goodbye party for our friend who has gotten a teaching job out of the area. My good friend had us in tears laughing when she tried do show us her card "illusions."

This morning, I was up a little early because my mom and I were going to run the annual Mother's Day race. As the 10:00 start time got closer and closer, I realized that I did not want to run fast and if I was racing, I'd be pushing myself to go fast. My legs are still smoked from last weekend. So we went here instead.

Luckily, my mom wanted to go hiking instead of racing also. It was gorgeous outside, yet a little windy. And by a little, I mean a lot.

We started by hiking around the beach. Mom and I tried not to get blown away.

Boyfriend climbed things because that's what he does.

He also took some really good pictures from way up there.

From the beach, we continued our adventure in the redwoods.

My mom didn't want to spend all day in the forest since it was so sunny, but we found out that it was actually much warmer under the trees away from the wind.

We eventually found my brother who had been at school all day finishing up final projects. He graduates on Saturday from undergrad. It's a running joke that I'm the one graduating and he's crashing my party. I keep telling him my name will be on the cake and his will be really small underneath. My graduation ceremony is at 3:30 while his is at 8:00am, so I keep telling my family they should just come to mine. 

The day ended with boyfriend and me making dinner for our moms.

It was a lovely weekend. Basically the calm before the storm that this week will be. Tomorrow I am going back to the middle school for one more day because I had already committed to subbing before my big offer came up. Then we have our last class on Tuesday. My entire family comes into town on Friday and Saturday is graduation! I am in major denial that school is over and I am going to be a credentialed teacher.

How was your Sunday? Anyone else extremely busy??