Dear Kieran

It was six years ago yesterday. You are the only student I’ve lost and I still don’t understand it.

What a waste.

What a loss.

You would have been the most amazing young man. You were so funny and bright. If I could tell you anything, I would let you know that your family and friends sorely miss you. Losing you completely changed each of them. Your family moved out of state to start a new life. Your sister is a beautiful impressive college student. She is still a spitfire too. Your mom and dad, against the odds, are still together and I can tell they love each other with a depth that most of us will never know.

Since I’ll never understand why, I want to offer some important information instead:

Suicide is much more common than people realize. In May 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that more people die from suicide than car accidents each year. An average of one person dies from suicide every 13 minutes (though many go unreported). For young people ages 15-24 it is the second leading cause of death. The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression but 80% of people treated for depression are treated successfully. The families and survivors of suicide live with a stigma about it. It’s important that society becomes more comfortable talking about it.

I will always remember your jokes and my extra time tutoring you after school. You are one of the first kids I drove around before I had my own. That was a big deal for me. I wish I could’ve been there for you when you needed it most.

If you are in immediate danger because of thoughts of suicide, call 9-1-1.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-784-2433.

Run Happy

Cascade Group Run
Location: Bothell Landing to Kenmore
Distance: 3.1 miles
Playlist: “Turn Down For What” on Pandora

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It was a beautiful crisp morning for a run with the Cascade Running Club. My friend Celeste was kind enough to invite me to join her and the group. I’m still dusting off the cobwebs since taking a bit of a running break in the fall so I was a little nervous about keeping up with everyone. This was confirmed when I realized half the runners today were boys under 18. Man, those kids can fly!

I happily accepted my role as sweeper and made my way (with Celeste faithfully next to me). I mean, one of those boys could fall and need assistance and believe me, that’s the only way I could possibly catch up to them.

I’ve started thinking about goals for 2015. I, like many of us, have made unrealistic resolutions in the past and have grown much more gentle with myself nowadays. Two goals so far: I’m running a half marathon in March and I want to learn how to do the Running Man. That’s a pretty good start I think.

The rest of the day is all about enjoying family. What are your goals for next year?

Thanks for reading!

Handmade Holiday

I had the chance to make a few fun gifts this year. I love it when my Pinterest addiction pays off. Love this.

State and String Art

These turned out so pretty!

Ombre Painted Pinecones 

Super easy!

Paint Stick Garden Stakes

IKEA blanket Ikea wrapping paper and free printable cuteness

IKEA Blanket Hack

Golden Girls crosstitch

Golden Girls Cross Stitch

Tasteful yet motivational crosstitch

Saucy Motivational Cross Stitch

The kids also had a chance to get crafty. I snatched these two ideas from the Michaels Kids Club flyer. They were easy enough to figure out at home.

Canvas, acrylic paint, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and a red nose = Rudolph!

Canvas, acrylic paint, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and a red nose = Rudolph!

Easy and fun!

Easy and fun!

Happy Holidaze

The craziness of the holidays is here. In my house that looks like car repairs, cleaning house, last minute stocking stuffers, and praying the refrigerator repair guy actually shows up before the ice in the coolers that are holding all of our food melts. My friends aren’t fairing much better. Two friends desperately texted me from Costco. One requested that if she isn’t home by 5pm to call the authorities and tell her mother she loved her. I also heard from a pal who needed to be talked down because her mother-in-law is taking over Christmas and all of her holiday plans. Finally, we empathized with my husband’s coworker. His entire family (including 6 kids) is on it’s second round of the flu and he is contemplating just burning the house down at this point. Life doesn’t slow down for the holidays and it is easy to absorb the stress and negativity that this season brings.

I started my day at the gym. My girlfriend Sara ran a Total Body Conditioning class. I’m glad I didn’t really understand what that meant before I showed up. As class started, Sara told me she had created a whole playlist of Christmas songs to accompany her workout but that it hadn’t saved to her phone. I told her that nobody was there to hear Christmas music. We all needed some heavy bass and a butt whoopin’. Well, that’s what she gave us. She themed the hour-long workout: The Twelve Days of Fitmas.

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We started with running the gym, moved to bicep curls, inch worms, planks, dead lifts, squats with weights, lunges with weights, planks with knee lifts, some band work on our arms, burpees and bear crawls. The reps for each task grew incrementally. After completing each station, we then had to make our way back down the workouts each time. I couldn’t even lift my arms by the time we finished. I also didn’t think about any of the stresses in my life for the whole hour. The rest of the day I have been Bruce Willis from the ‘80s.

So chill.

So chill.

My goal this week is to take time for myself every day. For me, that will be daily workouts or runs. I hope you find ways to make yourself a priority too. Let’s be Bruce Willis together.