Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's back

I recently got into a debate with one of my coworkers that fall things (including pumpkin things) should not be acknowledged until September. He disagreed and said the start of college football marks the start of fall for him.

You say Tomato I say Tomato.

My point is, for me September = Fall. I believe our calendars say that Autumn begins on Monday, September 22nd if we are being all official and stuff, but whatever.

You better believe I've already broken into some pumpkin beer.

Andrew had the brilliant idea that we should head to West Virginia after work on Friday and do some camping - something we had never done as a couple. The weather was perfect, our campsite was beautiful, I'm still so happy that he suggested it.

I snapped some cool shots, ate some s'mores, and we both tried hard to maintain an impressive fire which quickly became unimpressive.

The s'mores got cooked, that's all that matters.

While I sat there watching the sun fade and reflect off the water, all cozy in my sweatpants, I couldn't help but think about why fall is one of my favorites (cliche, I know, I know). I don't know what it is, but I feel a slight shifting in my soul with the onset of fall. It's a little bit of calming down as crazy summer starts to wave goodbye, mixed with excitement for the relaunch of football, beautiful colors, crisp cool runs, and of course the impending holidays.

Then there's the whole planning to switch from a Miss to a Mrs. That's pretty cool to look forward to I guess...

(263 Days. The Knot counts down for me I swear I don't have it memorized)

Anyways, this is just my obligatory "welcome to fall" post. We've got a busy three weeks coming up -we are traveling/on the road 8 of the next 18 days. It will be amazing to see my future bro & sis in law say
I do 
out in Cali, as well as to make a quick trip out to CO to do some wedding stuff of our own.

In short, hang tight. Fall is coming in hot (or hopefully cool, if mother nature figures it out) and it's looking to take our breath away.

Cheers - 

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Dad

I don’t often write too many personal things on here; a lot of random thoughts and stories, sure, but 
nothing uber personal.

We are about to get personal, ready?

My dad is not someone who I have mentioned on here often; hardly at all actually.  But growing up he was a huge influence in my life, in a lot of positive ways. He supported and encouraged me, and is a large part of the reason I chose to pursue becoming a college athlete, and have continued to push myself in life afterwards.

I spy Jane hiding in the background
A bit over a year ago now my dad was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s. In short, it’s a more aggressive form of Alzheimer’s that people are diagnosed with before the age of 65. My dad just turned 59 about a week ago, and when diagnosed it was estimated that he may have had the disease for up to eight years at that point.

Equally difficult to watching my dad lose his memory and becoming increasingly confused has been trying to be there for my mom, as her role shifted from wife to full-time caretaker when she is home. On top of working a full-time job.

my amazing mom
The disease is staggering and life shattering, and it’s been especially hard trying to figure out how to be a support piece to my family halfway across the country. My mom’s family and dad’s sister have been amazing thus far through the battle, and I’m forever grateful for them. I’m also extremely grateful for Without Warning, a support group through Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago. 

The center is one of 27 Alzheimer’s disease research centers across the country designated and funded by the National Institute on Aging. My mom attends the group on a monthly basis and it has helped her immensely through the struggle, reminding her that she is not alone in this, while receiving support and suggestions from other families going through similar experiences.

Since Younger Onset Alzheimer's is such an unknown disease, there are few resources out there around education and awareness. Recently, Without Warning launched plans to produce a special documentary and companion website with the goal of reaching a national audience and making it not so unknown.

So, just like the ALS movement, I’m asking that you give to this cause if you feel prompted to. They need to raise $80,000 to produce the documentary, which in the grand scheme of things shouldn't be hard to make happen, right? I’m not good at asking for money, or putting super personal things out here like this. But I owe it to my parents, my family, and everyone suffering. There is nothing fun related to this donation cause – I mean I guess if you want to dump ice water on your head, that’s cool, I dig that.  I don’t really care what you do; to be honest if you made it this far into the post I’m pretty happy that you’re at least aware. Now if you donate, that’s an extra cherry on top knowing that you’re helping out my family in an awesome way. 

Thanks for reading, and hearing me out.  I tried to keep the emotional throw-up to a minimum, but it’s by far the hardest thing my family has faced, and I could go on about it forever… but we’ll leave it at this.

Thanks Guys -