Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall is here!

Wow. Where did the summer go? It has been a crazy whirlwind of travel and excitement, including a wedding, a tournament in Argentina, and the arrival of my puppy! As I sit here in the brisk fall weather, I realize I've been so busy, that I barely had time to stop and enjoy the warm summer months! But I love the fall, and I am excited for all the wonderful things it brings along with it! Pumpkins and everything pumpkin smelling and tasting! The beautiful fall colors and changing leaves. The hay rides, corn field mazes, haunted houses and Halloween. (I am especially excited for these things in Lancaster!) Apple cider, yum! AND since we don't have any more tournaments for the rest of the year, I will be settled (FINALLY) in Lancaster to enjoy all of these activities and adventures!

Before fall gets underway, I want to share a little recap of the end of my summer, because it was quite an amazing month! :)

One of my best friends in the whole wide world got married on September 6th, and it was absolutely beautiful!!! A huge congrats to Sterling and her husband Keegan!! They are both such amazing people who have touched my life in so many ways, not only by being great friends, but by leading through their actions in faith. I thank you for all you have done for me and I wish you all the best in the future because I know God has some great things in store for you two! Love ya!

A week after the wedding, I headed off to Argentina with Team USA for the Pan American Cup! I hope you were following us while we were down there competing!! We played in Mendoza, and stayed at the same hotel we've stayed at each time we've been played there (my third time, at least!). But it was perfectly cozy and we already knew where all the shops were and the park for our pre-game walk/stretch! The whole tournament was a lot of fun and I think it was the best I've seen our team play. We won all 3 of our pool play games against Mexico, Chile, and Uruguay before we defeated Canada in the semi-finals. Without surprise, we faced Argentina in the final, on their home turf, in their brand new stadium. The crowd was packed and they were rocking. It was one of the loudest stadiums I have ever played in, but I sure do love that atmosphere!!! It is always fun playing in front of a crowd that loves the sport and loves to see it played at the highest level. Those are the games we play for. Those are the games that get my adrenaline pumping! It was a hard fought game from both sides, and unfortunately for us, Argentina was the only team to put a goal in the back of the net. Although we were disappointed with a 1-0 loss, we have a lot of positives to take away from that tournament going forward and a very bright outlook for next summer in the Netherlands. Despite the loss, we still earned ourselves a spot in the WORLD CUP in the Hague, Netherlands in May/June 2014!!! This is a huge accomplishment for our team and we are extremely excited for that opportunity! We will be ready! And hope to face Argentina again! :)

And last, but not least..... on return to the USA from the Pan Am Cup, I got to pick up my PUPPY!!! Her name is Kora! She is a pitbull from Tom Garner Kennels! And she is amazing, and I love her so much! :) She is a sweetheart who loves to cuddle! She is playful (of course, she is only 3 months old, still a puppy!) and happy! She is so smart and already knows how to sit, and in less than a week, she is almost fully housebroken! Shout out to my boyfriend Eli for teaching her to sit while I was in Argentina! Oh and shout out to my roommate, Stefanie Fee for teaching her how to go down the stairs! Good work guys! Now... to teach her the fun tricks... like how to ride a skateboard and pull me on a sled... haha ;) Those mayyy take a little longer to learn... just maybe though.

So many pictures! You will definitely see a lot more of her!!

Also, check out her crate!! She loves it! Eli and I made it! (Okay, Eli did most of the work... he's so talented!!)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Settled.... Sort Of!

If you read my last post, then you know I have been all over the place this year! Just over a week ago, I finally moved into my new residence near Lancaster, PA! I can't believe I finally have a home again!! It really is such a nice feeling to finally be settled, have my own bed and furniture back in my room! (Honestly, it has been over a year since I've had all of these things in one place!)

BUT.... our field is still not ready yet at the Spooky Nook Sports facility we will soon call home. If all goes according to planned, it will all be finished and ready for us to break it in, in just a few short weeks. Yet, of course, these weeks feel like an eternity! Although we are moved in, we are not quite completely settled yet! So... back to Penn State we have come for two more weeks of training.

I want to give a quick thank you to everyone at Penn State for being so accommodating to our team over this transitional period! They have been extremely welcoming and made sure we have had all facilities we need available to us. Also, a big thank you to the Country Inn & Suites, where we have made friends with all of the wonderful people who work here! They are helping to make us feel "at home" since by the end of this training period, we will have been here for over a month!! When was the last time you lived in a hotel for a month?

Although we are eager to get to our new "home" and make it just that, ours, we still have our sights set on the Pan Am Cup in September. Despite the obstacles we have been given, our training right now is very important to our build up to a World Cup qualifying tournament. If we win in Argentina, we secure ourselves a spot in the 2013 World Cup next summer in the Hague, Netherlands. This is huge for us! So although we have many distractions outside of the field, on the field we are focused and we will be prepared!

I am excited to continue this journey our team has started. We continue to grow with our new coaches and new players (along with some veterans). We have been working extremely hard and I know it will all pay off. Keep following us and supporting us as we prepare for the Pan Am Cup in less than one month!!!


Getting ROBUST in the weight room:

A little sneak peak into the gym at Spooky Nook!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Being a nomad

It is July and I continue to live out of a suitcase. I live a crazy lifestyle where I travel to compete many months out of the year, but this year has been especially hectic. Even when I have been with the team in the States training, I have not had a permanent home. With the transition from California to Pennsylvania, our team has been on the move a lot.

I started the year at home in North Carolina before I headed out to California. I went to World League 2 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil and took a quick trip back to NC before heading out to Cali again. After a short training stint I made my way to New Zealand for a 4 nation tournament. Returning to the States for a few days off and a short trip to Dallas before starting training in Cali once more. Then I headed back to NC and up to VA for the high performance National Championships. Hopped over to Ohio for the weekend, then to New Jersey for training before World League 3 in London. After WL3 I spent some more time in Ohio before heading to Lancaster, PA to get acclimated with our new city! And after one insane half a year, I came back to NC for the weekend to get grounded by my family before I go back to this crazy lifestyle that I thrive on.

In short:
NC->OH->PA->NC->PA..... can you keep up?

I have been on a plane every single month this year (multiple times certain months) and have spent countless hours in the car or on a bus.

With all that being said, this is the most I have ever traveled and as hard as it can be at times, I am thankful everyday to have the opportunity to play the sport I love and see so many different parts of the world. BUT, I am ecstatic to be getting closer to being settled once again and having a routine and consistent practice schedule in Lancaster! The facilities at Spooky Nook are absolutely breathtaking and everyone in the area is so friendly. I know I am going to settle in nicely with the community there and I can't wait to get that journey of my life started!

In a couple weeks time, I will finally be able to unpack my suitcase for good. Well.... that is until our next trip, the Pan Am Cup in late September!! :) But I wouldn't have it any other way!

Here are a few pictures from some of my journeys this year!


Friday, May 17, 2013

California Dreaming...


The day has finally arrived. We have left California for good. Bittersweet doesn't even begin to explain the emotions I felt as I walked on to the plane Wednesday afternoon in sunny San Diego. After 5+ years of living, training, exploring, and loving life in SoCal, our journey to the Spooky Nook in Lancaster, PA has arrived.

As one door closes, another one opens. I would like to think that although this "chapter" in my life has come to an end, the door will never be closed to my life in San Diego. I have made so many lifelong friends that I know I am sure to return for many visits to the sunny, beach city that helped me grow into the person I am today.

There are so many things I will miss about the great city of San Diego, but mostly I will miss the most amazing people I've met. I will never be able to explain just how fortunate and thankful I am for all of the people who opened their homes and families to me over the years! But, I will do my best right now to give a few special shout outs to those that went above and beyond.

First and foremost, my family. My cousin Billy, his wife Rachel, and their daughter Makaela (and their dogs Harley and Bleu!). And more recently, my aunt Chris. One of the best parts of my time in California was being able to spend countless hours, days, weeks at your house. It was the best escape from a hard days training. Just knowing I had family right around the corner, and a home cooked meal was a few minutes away always put my mind at ease. Not to mention how much I have enjoyed watching and being a part of Makaela growing up. Somehow I made her birthday almost every year! From her 4th birthday, to her 9th, what an adventure it has been! I sure am going to miss backyard soccer games (yes, even if I was always tried after practice). I hope she can find some new competition! :) I am so thankful for all of you and I will really miss my trips to Poway!

Next, I have to thank the Gementera family. Where do I even start? You opened your home to Maren, Pfeiff, and myself after meeting us a handful of times. You welcomed us as a part of your family with open arms. Then, you opened your doors to me again these last couple weeks. I really enjoyed all of the time I spent under your roof. Laughing, relaxing, and discussing life. I will miss Gavin's sweet disposition and goofy jokes, Malia's abundance of energy (and her fashion expertise!), Danielle's stories and advice, and Glenn's love for the Lakers (even though I think I've influenced him towards CP3)! I will miss snuggle time with little Kita (even though Glenn would give me dirty looks because he thought I was going to steal her!) and loving nips from my main man Buddy! I know you will take good care of CJ, I'm sure he will continue to bring you lots of luck! And I'm sure I will get constant updates/snapchats from Malia. I will miss you all very much! Maybe plan a trip to the East Coast sometime?!

Finally, I can't forget the families of Cremona! Although, I only got a year with all of you, I wish it never had to end! The best neighbors we could have ever asked for! I loved being greeted by all the kids and dogs each evening as we returned from a grueling Olympic year training session. All my cares left when I saw Molly and Tenley's smiling faces pushing their dolls around in their strollers! Making up new games with Jacob and throwing Ace his tennis ball never seemed to get old, no matter how tired I was! I will miss neighborhood cookouts, bouncy castles (that OD and I jumped in with the kids!), late night bonfires with s'mores, and country music listening when the power goes out. Monica, Sumner, Nichole, Steve, and Nana thank you for being so gracious to all of us, making us feel right at home in our big empty house. Can't wait to see all the Cremona kids grow up! (We are still growing up too! ;) ).

There are so many other people I could mention as well that I met along my journey and adventures in Cali, and I am grateful for all of you. I will carry these memories with me for the rest of my life. I will always look back on these last 5 years as some of the best years, where I lived and learned A LOT. I definitely grew up a lot and learned so much about myself and who I want to become. Thanks for being a big part of my journey!

SAN DIEGO. Where dreams were made and dreams came true. I will always fondly remember my time spent in Chula-juana. Although there are so many great things about the city of San Diego, the people are really what make a place so special. And to me, San Diego is one freaking special place!

What a ride.
Here's to new adventures, new friends, new family, and another great ride in PA!

One last thing.... KEEP IN TOUCH!!! You know where to find me! Cell phone, social media and/or Skype! :)

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the last few months on the West Coast...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year, New Resolutions

I have never been big on New Years Resolutions, because I believe if you want to change something in your life, you don't have to wait until the new year to do it! I think you can make realistic goals any time of the year. But there are certain occasions, such as New Years that causes more reflection on your life and how you are living it. First and foremost, I must say that I am thankful for another year and another opportunity to pursue my dreams.

As for resolutions, I couldn't think of anything I drastically need to change. As I listened to my brothers laundry list (big and small) of resolutions, I thought to myself, what could I resolve to do this year that I haven't in the past?

I decided that I would pick something that would be challenging, but worthwhile. I don't want something easy, or something I already do and just want to do more often (or be more consistent).

I found this idea on Pinterest, and I absolutely love it!! Every day for all of 2013 (well I'm starting a week late, but it will still work!) I am going to write down one thing that was good about that day, or one thing I am thankful for that day. I will keep all my daily notes in a big jar. Then, at the end of 2013, I will read everything I wrote to help me better reflect on the year!

I think it will be a challenge for me to find the good in every day. To constantly be reminded of what I am thankful for. And mostly, to remember to do it every day and keep them all in one place! That will take some effort with all the random places I'm sure to go! But I am very excited for this resolution and all the adventures 2013 will surely bring! Maybe, I'll share some of my notes throughout the year too!

In 2013, I also want to make more of a difference and share my experiences with others. So these are a few resolutions, which may be a bit harder to measure:
I want to volunteer more.
Take more pictures. (Some people probably think I already take a lot. But I'll be thankful down the road when I have these to remind me of good times and good people!)
I want to blog more. Yes, that means you all get to follow more of my adventures!

What is your New Years Resolution? How are you going to achieve it? What will make it difficult?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Simple lessons

During the holiday season I wanted to post some simple lessons that I have learned over the years. I was going to post these over a few day time span, but of course I was so busy with family that I didn't really have time to do that! So as 2013 begins, here are some lessons I am sharing for everyone to take with them this new year! To me, these are the most important things in life. Feel free to comment and share your stories and lessons learned, too!

1. Choose how you react to situations. Choose to be happy. 
We can't always predict what will happen to us, in fact, we rarely can. So as much as we plan ahead and think about what we would do in certain situations, things don't turn out as we've planned. Good or bad, things happen! What is most important though, is how we CHOOSE to react. It's not always easy to find a way to make the best out of a difficult situation, but it sure does make it a lot easier to deal with. The more we choose to be happy (even when we really don't want to be), the happier we will truly be.

2. Find what you are passionate about and do that.
We hear stories about family, friends, acquaintances, or maybe even ourselves, who are not happy in their job or their life. We all have different talents and yes, some pay more than others, but to truly be happy with life, I think you need to do what you are passionate about. Maybe you can't change jobs, but you do have a choice about what you do with your time outside of that. Volunteer with animals or kids. Maybe start a non-profit or get involved at a local gym. If you have something you are passionate about, it makes hard work easy. It will drive you forward every day and it won't feel like work. I am fortunate enough to have found that in field hockey, which I get to call my job.

3. Tell the ones you love and care about how you feel every single chance you get.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, CT, we cannot be reminded of this more. Life is unpredictable. We never imagine bad things happening to us or the ones we love, but sometimes they do. At the least, we can let our love be known. If not for the chance we may never see them again, but to really build that relationship and bond between people. The more we love each other and let each other know, the better we feel about each other and ourselves, and the more we can help one another when times get hard. It may seems silly at times, but you really never know when you might be able to see someone again.

4. Know what is best for you. You know yourself best, follow your heart and your mind.
Be yourself and trust in who you are. Don't try to be like anyone else. We are all original and we should embrace that. As much as we want to "fit in" and "be liked", others will like you best when you are yourself. We come to many crossroads in life, trust yourself to know what is best for you. Don't rely on others to make your life decisions. Your mind will make sense of it all, but your heart will lead you to where you truly want to be.

5. Giving truly is better than receiving.
This is often highlighted during the holiday season, which is fantastic. BUT, I think it is something we should seek to do throughout the entire year. Find somewhere to volunteer, once a week, once a month, whenever you have time. Giving doesn't always mean money and gifts, time and energy can often be more than enough. As we are all very different, passionate about different things, skilled in different areas, I ask you to just give what you can. If you can give money, that's great. If you can give time, even better. Best of all, give energy, bring life and excitement with you, and give that to others!

6. Be thankful. Be humble.
This sort of encompasses all the other lessons. Be thankful for all that you have, all that you've been given, and all the opportunities that have yet to come. Be thankful for the people in your life. The ones you love, and the ones who love you. Be thankful for those who are no longer in your life, for they have taught you something and helped shape you into who you are today. Be thankful for your health and your life. You can be thankful for the material things you own, but in all honesty, if you were to lose all of those things today, you would still have much more to be thankful for. The intangible things are what really make life important. And be humble. No one can achieve success on their own. Many people, from family, friends, educators, mentors, competitors, to even complete strangers, have played a part in getting you to where you are today.

7. Be happy. Be kind. Be generous. Be loyal. Be compassionate. Be giving. Be you. Most of all, be thankful.

If we take these things to heart, not only will be happy, we will be surrounded by love, passion, and thanks. We will not only be making our own lives better, but we'll be making the world around us a better place too. So as you reflect on the holidays and the year that has passed, find the good things to take forward with you. Look into the new year, remembering the good, but resolving to make it better. All of these are simple things, yet they make a world of difference.