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A Birthday Party and Pennsylvania (Twice!)

I’m so lucky because my friends threw me a surprise birthday party the first weekend back at UMass and it was so much fun! When I got back to my house at night, all my pals were already there and ready to party- The house was decorated by Emily, and Julia and Molly got me a birthday cake! We took to the bars after hanging out at home for a while πŸ™‚

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My ladies πŸ™‚

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And we got a snow day, so even though I had to work in the morning, I got to go on a snow run afterwards (I had the whole path to myself!) Lately I’ve only been running 3 miles a day, and that just feels like enough. I’m trying to run when I feel like it instead of forcing it, which turns out to be everyday, but only 2-3 miles, for now! It’s been fun trying to do more strength work and taking the gym classes at UMass.

Then I caught up on homework and took a 2 hour nap πŸ™‚

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I needed to catch up because I would be spending the next two weekends in Pennsylvania! I never thought I would spend this much time there, but Ian and Kylie both chose to be there, so you can find me in Bethlehem and Philadelphia more weekends than you might think πŸ˜‰

Before I left for the drive on Friday I got to the gym at 6am to run 3 miles and do some strength work so I could leave early! The best part about being up before the rest of the school is that I can shamelessly take pictures of UMass in the snow.

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I was extra excited to visit Lehigh because Ian has found a few different coffee shops that he wanted to try out together.

The first coffee shop was called “Lit,” and I got tea instead of coffee! That was different for me, but I didn’t want to be caffeinated so I could take a nap. I got ginger tea and Ian got hot chocolate (served in a flower pot), it was super hipster…

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That first weekend I was in Pennsylvania was super bowl weekend, and as I started writing this post I realized that I took NO PICTURES (oops), besides this tea I got at the quirky coffee shop. That is very unlike me, but I guess that means I was having a really good time! We went to eat at a restaurant that changes their menu for every meal. They have really fresh ingredients and made meals with what they have until they run out and get different ingredients. It was really cool, and very tasty.

I was sad that the Patriots lost (especially being around Patriots-haters), but I moved on much faster than Ian did. I only just started to enjoy watching football so I guess wasn’t super attached yet! The positive side was that Ian and all his friends made food for the game and we got to hang out in their warm house all day while it was freezing temperatures outside πŸ™‚

This last Friday I did the same routine, getting to the gym early, and I got to Lehigh in the early afternoon πŸ™‚ This time I was making the trip because Sunday was our 5 year anniversary!! Last year I was in Spain for it, so we were really glad to be together this year. Ian had another coffee shop to try, and this time I definitely wanted coffee, not tea. I liked Deja Brew a lot better! The coffee was amazing, our order was really cheap, and there were tons of Lehigh decorations. I want to go back!

Ian cooked on Friday night and then we went out with his friends πŸ™‚

We had planned a hike for Saturday morning and needed to go on the early side because after the morning it was going to rain for the rest of the weekend. We hiked 3.1 miles and it was cool to see the trails that Ian likes to mountain bike on.

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After that we went to grab some coffee at The Wise Bean! I thought we would be able to sit but it was so much smaller than in the pictures, so we took our coffee to go. I love going out for coffee instead of meals because it’s a lot of fun for me and inexpensive too. Both weekends we went mostly went out for coffee and then make food at Ian’s house. Except for the tacos, details to come!

We walked around main street and went in the cutest book shop that was enormous. In addition to books they had a candy section and a bar in the back! If it was later in the afternoon maybe we would have gone πŸ™‚

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But that wasn’t an option because the library was next on the agenda! Ian had an exam on Monday and I needed to do homework so that when I got back to school I wouldn’t be so behind. I also signed up to do some mock interviews on Monday night, so I needed to practice making a specific resume and cover letter for those.

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We did our anniversary dinner on Saturday instead of Sunday (our actual anniversary), because Ian wanted to show me the 3rd best taco spot in the country! I haven’t tasted the others, but I don’t understand how these tacos aren’t #1. The restaurant was called “Aqui Es A Taste of Mexico.” We got three different kinds (steak, chicken and pork) and I could only finish 3 and a half before I was too full. It was really fun and the people that worked there were so kind! I usually don’t order tacos when I go out for Mexican, but these were so so good.

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We spent the rest of the night watching “Snatched,” it was pretty entertaining but not our favorite, maybe I was too tired to really focus!

Sunday was really rainy too, so we went to the library after we woke up to study and do more homework. I really didn’t mind though, because the Lehigh library is absolutely beautiful! There is a stained glass ceiling, and since we got there early, Ian and I got a really good spot.

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Eventually we needed fuel though, so we left the library around 1 and I learned that Ian has perfected cooking “eggs in a nest,” that we saw on the Binging With Babish youtube channel!

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Even though it was gray all weekend, I was in really good company with Ian and his friends, and I’d have to say it was one of the best weekends yet πŸ™‚ Tomorrow I hope to spend some time with my friends for Valentine’s Day, which is excellent motivation for finishing a research paper before that happens. And the next couple of weekends I plan on exploring Amherst more!

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Snippets from the Last College Winter Break (!!)

One of my favorite parts about being home is that when I wake up there is usually a pot of coffee ready and a free comfy chair to sit in for maybe a little too long, eventually getting out on a run, and then meeting up with Ian or friends later on! It’s my favorite routine, but unfortunately each day absolutely flew by 😦 I’m back at school and only forgot a few things (ummm- the sheets for my bed, what was I thinking??)

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I only went to the canal twice this break because it was pretty much a sheet of ice the whole time I was home. But on the random 50-degree day I really wanted to go for a walk while I had the chance!

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I also have a much harder time getting to 10,000 steps at home than I do at school. At school, I usually have hit that goal by 10am just from my run and then walking to classes. At home, my run doesn’t quite get me there – but Ian was willing to go on a few walks with me πŸ™‚ we could walk into the marshes because the mud was frozen solid! I’ve never done that before!

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And most of break was food, food, and more food! I need to get back on track this week πŸ™‚

The last night of break my family went to Antonio’s, which is almost 45 minutes from our house, but WELL worth the trip. My dad is obsessed with this place and lucky for us, we get to benefit from that πŸ™‚ Portuguese food for the win!! We got way too much and had plenty of leftovers. I wish I had remembered to take a picture before digging in.

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For Christmas Ian had a gift card to Fisherman’s View! We decided to go a few days before school started which was a great way to end break. I got swordfish with mashed potatoes and it was AMAZING. Ian got fish and chips (typical). It was really fun, I had only been there once before!

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We really don’t ever say goodbye until I’ve eaten some chocolate chip pancakes πŸ˜‰ The first time we left for college this is what we ate, and then we just kept doing that every time we parted. I love this tradition, and actually this is the second to last time we’ll do this after carrying it out all the way through college! Can you see how chocolate chip pancakes are a bittersweet food for me πŸ™‚ ?

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Today my roommate and I are going to an art museum and then getting started on some of the work we’ve already been assigned, it will for sure be a good first weekend back!

 

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Feelin’ 22

Luckily there was no major blizzard on my birthday this year (although it was pretty close!!)

I was so excited for the seventh this year because as a gift for Ian and I, his mom got us tickets to the Killers concert! We’ve both listened to them since probably the seventh grade so it was pretty exciting. I started off the day with a cup of coffee before the rest of my family was awake, and then once Morgan was awake we went downtown for Marylou’s coffee and to look at the canal. It was FREEZING so we sat in the car the whole time.

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I opened presents from my mom and got ready for the day- we left for Boston around 1!

After we checked into the Boston Park Plaza, we went to the Thinking Cup for, yes, another cup of coffee. I was over-caffeinated the whole day and was pretty happy about it. An americano for me (or coffee water as Ian called it) and a French hot chocolate for Ian! He normally wouldn’t want to sit in a coffee shop for as long as we did, but since it was my birthday I got my way πŸ™‚

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Then we went back to the hotel to catch up on the Jaguars game and get ready for dinner and the concert! I honestly can’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to, but it was a bit further from the Garden because everywhere near it had almost a 2-hour wait. Just a nice, healthy dinner for the two of us!

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I can’t even explain how awesome the concert was. The Killers are SO GOOD in person, and they played all my favorites (Mr. Brightside, Smile Like You Mean It, All These Things That I’ve Done, When You Were Young, …) and Ian knew the words to every song πŸ™‚ I’m so glad everyone stood the whole time because it’s way more fun that way- We were there for over 3 hours but it felt like a half hour, it flew by!

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After seeing the line for the T, we opted to walk back to the hotel in the cold. I was glad we did though because we got to walk through Boston Common at midnight with nowhere we needed to be!

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Safe to say that this was one of my favorite birthdays yet, filled with all my favorite things to do, and favorite people to be with! I’m very, very lucky πŸ™‚

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Washington D.C. and Hershey Park

I’ve left this recap waiting for way too long, but I remember everything we did so well because it was so much fun! Julia and I only had two full days to visit with Kayla, so we packed each day with stuff to do. It was great to see Kayla after leaving from Granada, we missed her so much!!

Our flight left Boston early on Saturday, so I left home extra-early, but I was excited and I knew Julia would be down to get coffee with me right when we got to the airport. The flight was so short and comfortable πŸ™‚

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Since we arrived in D.C. so early, we pretty much had the whole day to head into D.C. and look at some of the monuments. I’ve seen the monuments before but they’re still so fun to go admire and take some pictures.

Although it was freezing we stayed outdoors for a long time! But eventually we went to another coffee shop to warm up and get a snack.

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I could have sat in there for so long, but we had plans to go to the Simthsonian. I love that most of the museums in D.C. are free to go to, it makes for a much cheaper trip!

After spending some time there, we went to see the White House, the front side! I hadn’t realized that everytime I’ve been to D.C., I was looking at the back of the White House, weird.

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Since I was with my friends from Granada, we wanted to get tapas for dinner and found a wine bar called Barcelona! It was a very pretty restaurant, and despite the cold we ended up sitting outside by the heat lamps and with the blankets the waiters brought us. We ordered a smorgasbord and four different tapas to try.

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We got back and had wine in Kayla’s hot tub- really living the dream πŸ™‚

Sunday was all about chocolate! We went to Hershey Park, which had everything from lights to roller coasters to reindeer. If you ever go to Hershey Park, you have to get the hot chocolate because it was the best I have ever had! We asked one of the workers how they make it, and they told us it was just the mix and hot water – but it tasted SO much better than Swiss Miss.

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I actually almost went on one of these but chickened out at the last second…20171217_170345_Film2

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We didn’t need to leave until noon the next day, so we slept in and Kayla made cinnamon buns while we watched Home Alone πŸ™‚

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The flight home was just as easy as the flight there, and pretty soon we were back to Boston!

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Friendsgiving and the Hot Chocolate Run

The Works does all their coffee for $1.80 and on Monday mornings I am all about it, so when I have time I gather all my things and head here for a few hours at the start of every week. This week I finally have the time to go because last week was assignment-heavy. But here I am, two 10-page research papers, 2 short essays, and and exam later – still breathing!

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On Saturday I ran a quick 2.5 miles and went to Northampton at 10am to pick up Molly and my bib numbers for the Hot Chocolate run the next day! We wanted to get them early because although you can get them the day of the race, it is always chaotic and stressful because this race has thousands of participants. I went by myself, since the rest of the UMass world is dead on Saturday mornings. It was surprisingly easy to find a free parking spot, and after getting our race bib numbers, I gotΒ  a coffee from Share Coffee Roasters. I went window shopping with took me all the way around Northampton. All their Chrismas decorations are up and I just love it.

After work, Molly came over and we went to Friendsgiving! I made stuffing, and she brought cinnamon bread. Julia, Molly and Joo hosted it at their apartment, and there was so much more food than I was expecting!! We had veggie casserole, mac and cheese, stuffing, rotisseri chicken, mashed poatoes, rolls, and sweet potatoes. But that didn’t even include dessert. We had Molly’s cinnamon bread, pumpkin pie, mini apple pie muffins (with a cinnamon roll crust), and pudding shots! We also watched Elf while we ate and ended up having so many leftovers.

Molly and Julia set up with Cranberry Moscow Mules table and they were really good!

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On Sunday Molly and I headed back to Northampton for the Hot Chocolate Run!!! We did it last year and it was so much fun, so we made sure it was on our agenda again for 2017. The best part about the race is that it benefits Safe Passage, a domestic violence shelter. This year they raised $615,000 to battle domestic violence! They took my picture even though I looked like I haven’t slept in 10 years…

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I didn’t plan on running the race very hard, but once it got started I was running faster than I normally would, races are too exciting. There were a few steep hills going through Smith College around mile 2, but I kept moving and ended up finishing in 25:41, which is 8:15 per mile. I was pretty happy with that after having not run much since the marathon. I got my new mug and went to wait for Molly. She said she felt really good during that race too!! Maybe the cold weather is good for racing.

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Before I went to work for the afternoon we picked up Lindsey and got breakfast sandwiches at Brueggers. I ate like total crap this weekend so I’m really excited to eat some vegetable this week and get back on track. The holidays are such a hard time for me to balance healthy eating, and I did not do great with that this weekend. But I still had a lot of fun with all my friends, went to work twice, and got to run a 5k, so I won’t dwell on it too much!

Have a happy Monday everyone πŸ™‚

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Philadelphia Marathon Recap

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I need to write this all down before I forget everything! I RAN THE PHILADELPHIA MARATHON. That I will remember, but the little details not so much.

My training plan began way back at the end of July, when it was hot and sticky every day. I used the Hal Higdon Advanced 1 training plan, which I was nervous would be too much for me, but it was just challenging enough where I could tell I was getting better and stronger with longer distances each week. There was a long run once a week, which began at 8 miles and ended with 20 miles in the peak of training. I missed some workouts, I switched some days, but for the most part I followed the plan exactly.

The last two weeks of the plan were the taper. I thought I was going to love it- relaxing, eating a lot, and not running very much. I was resting, but I forgot that I hate to rest until that week came. I usually use running to get rid of my anxiety, but this was the one time that I couldn’t use it. But I trusted the plan and I was definitely rested by the time it was race weekend!

We planned a lot for the weekend before Thanksgiving- Ian got tickets to the Lehigh vs. Lafayette football game on Saturday at noon, and the marathon was the very next morning. It was raining all Saturday but still really fun because it is the oldest college rivalry in the country! Ian’s friends were all around to come with us, and I got a coffee to keep my hands warm while we watched.Β 20171118_132250_Film1

We left the game a little bit early to get on the subway to Philadelphia. It was an hour ride in, but much easier than dealing with traffic and parking, it also brought us right to the race expo which was super helpful! I had been nervous all week, but once we finally arrived in Philadelphia it was only excitement. I was talking so much (and shaking a little too). The race expo had our bib numbers, snacks, shirts, magnets, mugs, bags, headbands, socks, shoes, and anything else a runner could think of needing.

We ordered a pizza on the way back from the expo, I took a shower, and we slept at Kylie’s apartment that was only a short walk away from the start line. I thought I would be way too nervous to sleep that night, but I must have been really worn out from all the driving that Ian and I had already done that weekend.

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I fell asleep in seconds, and it only felt like a few more seconds when my alarm was going off at 4:45. I wanted to be up early to have a cup of coffee and a piece of toast with plenty of time before the start. Ian went with me to the start at 6:00, it was only a 10 minute walk but it was RAINING. It wasn’t supposed to, but there wasn’t much I could do, I just didn’t want to be too cold when the race began. Ian gave me a jacket to wear while I waited, but unfortunately I had to leave it behind when the race started. I waited in the porta-potty line until the race started, it was so stressful! As the race got closer, the lines were rearranged and people were starting to push and shove to get to the front. I finally got to the front and was able to get to the start line, with only 5 minutes to spare!

I took one picture before we began- 30,000 runners each with 26.2 miles to go! They sent us off in waves so people don’t trample each other, so the elites went off more than 10 minutes before me.

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My running hat flew off from the wind right at the beginning, and there was no going back for it unless I wanted to be trampled by a stampede of marathoners.

Miles 1-10 were actually fun! I know that sounds weird but there were so many fans lining the streets, and everything felt loud and upbeat. A lot have them had really funny and creative signs, my favorite was β€œrun like someone just called you a jogger!” Once I got to miles 10-13 there were a few hills, but nothing major. At the time it felt like a lot because it was such a flat course.

Once I got to mile 15 I started eating some of the energy gels I was carrying with me, by this time I hadn’t stopped at any water stops (which might have been a mistake looking back on it…) and then we began the long out-and-back part of the course that ran along the river. I didn’t really notice how windy it was until I got to this point. The 6.5 miles to the turnaround point felt like I was running in place against the wind. This stretch really made me feel the pain that the marathon is all about. I started to stop at each water stop and take in some Gatorade. The Gatorade helped a lot, and I think the sugar in it kept me going from water stop to water stop. I have never gotten sore during a run before, but I guess there has to be a first for everything! Everytime I started running again my legs were screaming NO.

The two miles from 23 to 25 felt like an eternity. I felt like I was going to keep moving forever and never reach the finish. Luckily by the time I got to mile 25 the crowds were picking up again, there were more fans, signs, sounds and cheering! I took out my headphones for the last mile because I wanted to take it all in. People were cheering my name (it was on my bib number) and the excitement of reaching the finish got my legs moving a bit faster again. I finished in 4 hours and 16 minutes, starting off at about an 8:45 pace and ending at almost a 10-minute pace. I definitely hit the wall too early, but I finished and that was the goal! I also got cold immediately after finishing, but during the race I was sweating and seeking out shade whenever possible. Morgan said I looked pale because there was so much salt on my face.

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After crossing the finish line I was the most sore I’ve ever been, and following my family to the brunch spot was kind of a struggle. I also had no appetite, which was a surprise because I really only ate a piece of toast the whole day. Instead I kind of felt like I was going to throw up, so I ordered an apple juice while everyone else got breakfast sandwiches. After we went to take a few more photos, we headed out on our 6-hour journey home. On the road I got a steak and cheese sub, chocolates, and tortilla chips. I got hungry so suddenly and wanted all things salty! I was so looking forward to sitting on the couch for the few days before Thanksgiving and catching up on Stranger Things.

It was such an incredible experience, and it was so fun to have my my family, Kylie, and Ian come to watch and make signs! Philadelphia was very good to us, despite the cold and the wind 😊 I haven’t run more than a mile since the race, and I don’t really plan on it for a few more weeks (except for the Hot Chocolate Run, of course).

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Happy Place

I took a week off before I started work again, and now we’re in the full swing of summer! It’s hot and humid, but I try not to complain too much because when we get back to school it’s pretty much 7 months of COLD.

This little blog I’ve been writing is really fun, and I love to go back and see all the things I’ve done (especially while abroad), but to be honest I’m on the free plan which means I’ve used up almost all the space I was allotted with pictures and text 😦 My dad and I will hopefully be able to build myself a website before I go back to school, but it takes more time than I had thought, and we are busy! So this will be it for blogging for a little while, but I wanted to put on some pictures from the beginning of the summer before I forget πŸ™‚

I’m all set with cold water, cold coffee, and ready to write.

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When I got home from Spain (a long two days of traveling), Ian picked me up at the airport with all my favorites: peanut butter pretzels, COLD coffee (finally!), and Take 5 bars. I was nervous about “reverse culture shock” but I have a lot to come home to, tons to do, and I feel totally happy being home. I’ve been able to run with my friends, take walks with my mom, celebrate my dad’s birthday, have fires with my friends, go to Chowderfest, watch fireworks, go to the beach with my family, sleep in late, swim, read a lot, visit my grandma, mini golf with Tristan and Amelia, take Ian’s dogs to the pond, and there’s still tons to do.

I missed you, East Sandy Beach!

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I missed my grandma too, especially the fantastic way she cooks bacon πŸ™‚IMG_5104

Starbucks gift cards come in handy when you work in Mashpee Commons πŸ™‚IMG_4936

We’ve been to the canal to run/bike a lot lately!Β IMG_4956IMG_4989

Nana at the beach πŸ™‚IMG_4991IMG_4992

Chowderfest was so fun! I thought Mattakeese Wharf had the best chowder (2nd place), Ian liked the BBC best (3rd place).IMG_5062

Mrs. McCartney’s birthday was overcast but that didn’t stop us from playing tennis and going to the beach at least for a little!IMG_5075

Some of our 4th of July crew! We started out in Scituate for the day and ended up in Sandwich for the fireworks. The parking lot was closed so we walked about a mile to the beach, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Plus on the way back we didn’t have to carry all the wood with us.IMG_5119IMG_5129

Thai food ❀IMG_5145

And the San Diego cousins came up, we missed them!!Β IMG_5155

Low tide in Scituate = walking out SO far and still only being up to your ankles.IMG_5168IMG_5176

Lucky Finn’s cafe in Scituate has the best cold-brew coffee. Sometimes I miss the Quarter Deck, but if anything had to replace it I would definitely choose a coffee shop.IMG_5192

I always ask Ian if we can take his dogs for a walk somewhere, and we finally got to go to the pond πŸ™‚ I don’t think he would have gone if Amelia hadn’t convinced him, but I’m glad we went because I got to see Ella with energy!! Ian said she doesn’t play fetch unless it’s in the water and he was so right.IMG_5222IMG_5227

I just think she’s so cute (and probably really sore now).IMG_5238

Father’s with Morgan!Β IMG_5285

Also, my marathon training began on Monday, and so far so good! Training right now is really hot, so I try to get it done early in the morning. I’m hoping that running in this heat and humidity will make runs feel so much easier when it cools down in September.

So far I’ve read 4 books I’ve read this summer, but I want to get to 8 or 9:

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And The Girl on the Train!

The past few days have been so humid, so when my mom went to work yesterday I dropped her off and wentΒ earlyΒ to the beach to go swimming. It felt so refreshing to swim in the morning and to have the whole place to myself.

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Goodbye for now! πŸ™‚ Hopefully I can find a way to blog again before the school year begins!