Day 55 – I Love Sunnyvale!

Where do you consider home?  

For so many years I longed to move home – to Thousand Oaks, where I grew up and where my extended family lives.  And then finally in 2002 I realized, home was no longer in Thousand Oaks and I needed to accept that we weren’t moving and that Sunnyvale was my home.  It’s now 2012 – and Sunnyvale is our home. We have roots here and family we created for ourselves. When my T.O. family comes to visit, we are blended with my Sunnyvale family. My friends and family in Sunnyvale all know my family from T.O. and we share dinners and celebrations and vacations together.  

My community is here – it’s where we hang out – from visiting with families and friends at our close-knit elementary school – Ponderosa, to hanging out at the baseball and soccer fields with families and friends from our team and teams from the past, to our church family, and PEO family, and tennis and Kona Kai friends, and neighbors, and Las Madres and Bunco/ Carmel moms, Mandarin speaking friends, and PELC preschool friends. It’s home now – we have roots here and depth and relationships that have grown over the years of being together. I love Sunnyvale.

Today was a day filled with celebrations. My parents were here to celebrate J’s graduation from elementary school. April was there too. We shared in her special day and were proud of not only her but her classmates and their families. Most of us have been together since Kindergarten and I felt pride seeing all these kids grow up together. We took pictures of J with her friend from PELC who used to carpool together and now they are off to middle school. I wonder if they’ll still be friends and together in high school when we come back.

I’m excited for our adventure, which feels more like an extended vacation because we plan to come back home again. We know we’ll still have our family and friends here and hopefully expand our circle with new international friends as well. And our home will be where we are – engaged with our community. Hopefully you’ll come over for coffee and still visit us wherever we are.  I’ll put the kettle on for you.  xo


Pezzella’s is a family run, Italian restaurant in Sunnyvale. We met the family at PELC many years ago and this is J’s favorite restaurant.


April and Me and J


Oma and Opa and J


Baseball friends – the best part of watching the game!!  

Did you know that Sunnyvale and Thousand Oaks are two of the top 10 cities in the Nation to raise your kids? How cool is that?

Day 56 – It’s a Small World

“One Kindergarten concert. One pot of Thai curry cooking on the stove. One set of parents coming to town for One special promotion ceremony tomorrow for One lucky girl. One exhausted husband flying home late tonight. One busy day. One good life.” – My Facebook Status today says it all.


At dinner tonight, we went around the table sharing the best part of our day. We each took a turn and smiled and laughed and connected our stories. There were so many great parts to my day but the best part was going to April’s daughter’s kindergarten concert. Seeing how happy and proud she was made me remember all three of mine graduating from kindergarten. It made me realize how fast the time goes by. I enjoyed the innocence of little ones – watching them squirm around and annunciate the words to the songs, holding hands,waving and smiling. I loved seeing all the parents enjoy their children – taking pictures and capturing videos, feeling the same things I did, I’m sure.  I loved the community feeling in the room. I loved seeing the kindergarten teachers show off their success stories – the little butterflies flitting off to first grade… we all bloom and change and grow and say goodbye.  It’s all good.  Thanks lil’ J for inviting me to your special concert.  And thanks April & Steve for sharing your special family with me. I love you like my own!! xo

Day 57 – Really Relocating?!?

Oh what a journey — if only all the answers could be found in a nice little glossy covered pamphlet!


Today I had someone come to our house to conduct a survey of our belongings to help us with the relocation. For some reason, this really bothered me. We walked through the house, trying to identify what we’d like to move and how much of it we’d like to move. This would seem like a simple task, but it felt really strange and I’ll explain why.

We’ve agreed to go for one year – since we’re planning to go for one year, we don’t need to bring all our stuff with us. We’re keeping our house as is – meaning we’re not planning on taking our furniture or beds but mainly our clothes and our shoes, and our comfort items – oh yeah, and the mini van!  We’re not taking all of our personal belongings – and when we walked by my treasured family canvases that are in the main living areas of our house  – it felt weird to think of leaving them and felt weird to think of taking them. So I felt this kind of limbo feeling.

And for the other stuff – if we don’t need it with us for a year, it made me think if we need it at all?  I mean, I guess when we come back we’ll need all the electronic devices that we can’t use in Europe – like the microwave, coffee grinder, and toaster oven. But what about the ten thousand pieces of plastic dishes and toys and stuff? And all the baskets and bags and dinglehoppers?  Hmm…

So there was all this yin and yang stuff pulling at me today. I felt a sense of freedom from my stuff and a sense of loss from leaving my stuff. I felt for my sisters who have gone through life changes and had to let go of their stuff – does it feel liberating to not have your stuff? Do you miss your stuff? After all, it’s just stuff – but that stuff provides a sense of comfort and attachment – and freedom and loss. So weird!! Can you relate?

It’ll all work itself out – just feels a little weird today.  Tomorrow I’ll be excited again to start cleaning out my stuff and keep to my minimalist plan.  If you have any advice or have been there, done that, I’d love to hear what you have learned along the way. Namaste.

Day 58: Frequent Flyers

We have been at Denver International Airport for several hours now and are finally getting ready to go home. We had a great visit, enjoying our family and friends and celebrating Memorial Day together.

PopPop graduated from West Point in 1943 and shared many stories with us. We are very proud of him and MamMam.


At DIA, the kids passed the time shopping at the toy store and sampling food at Jamba Juice, Pizza Hut, and Itza Bowl, Itza Wrap. Enjoying food was definitely a theme for the weekend!

Day 59: Wishing Flowers and Alpacas?


We’re in Colorado this weekend and our only plan was to spend time with Jeff’s grandparents and his Aunt Debbie and Ken. It’s kind of nice to not have any expectations except to be with family. Seriously. So simple and easy and we are thankful they want to spend time with us.

We had breakfast at the hotel and then went over to the Air Force Academy to see the visitors center and chapel again. I love the open space surrounded by the mountains. It brought back memories of Nate’s graduation 14 years ago! The chapel was stunning.


After the AF visit, we had lunch at Freddy’s Custard and Steakburgers. That place was so delicious. Custard is like a creamier and richer ice cream with a yogurt like texture. Yum!

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We met up with our Sunnyvale friends – the Myles family, who moved to the Springs a few years ago. The boys had fun hanging out and swimming together.

We had a great dinner together and talked about the infamous haunted house next door. Oooohhh… We got out the ghost radar app and tried to see how close the ghosts were! WTH?? Should make for great bed time stories tonight.

Are you wondering about this face? Ken has two alpacas on his property and I tried to feed and pet one. I was fascinated by them even being there on the property. J and I had fun picking flowers and wishing on the wishing flowers. I wonder what she wished for?

Day 60: Colorado Springs

We were up at 4:15 am to catch a 7 am flight this morning. The kids were dressed and ready before us. They each had their own backpacks loaded with electronic devices, books, paper and pens, gum and crackers. They are so easy to travel with now that they’re older.


We are in Colorado Springs to visit the kids great grandparents, and Aunt Debbie. It’s always so nice to visit them, especially on Memorial Day weekend. Jeff’s grandpa also went to West Point and served in WW2. They have so many stories to share that we appreciate and value.

A favorite activity wherever we travel is the swimming pool, much to Jeff’s chagrin! I totally get it and love how much fun they have together.


Hope you enjoy the long weekend!

Day 61 – Packing and Pleasure

Today was another busy day – the end of the school year is wrapping up with lots of festivities. J had a 5th grade pool party at Laurelwood Cabana Club. It was so cold and windy, I couldn’t believe the kids were in the pool. The chaperones were hanging out with our hoodies and hoping for sunshine to break through the clouds and wind!  The kids didn’t seem to notice too much and enjoyed playing and swimming, snacks and pizza.


After freezing on the pool deck, I went over to help out at the Peterson Middle School Recreation Day. I found C playing basketball with friends and supervised the Aquathon  – a mini bi-athalon with swimming and running. It was a gorgeous yet cool day up on the track. It was cool to be on campus and witnessing Junior High in action.


This is CJ’s favorite lunch time activity – today he got to play for 2 1/2 hours. He should sleep well tonight.


Check out the beautiful cloudscape – so pretty, right?


Tomorrow we are leaving for Colorado to visit Jeff’s grandparents. They are 88 and 92 years old. How cool is that? They are so wonderful and we are looking forward to visiting with them before we move to the Netherlands. There are so many people we want to visit before we move. Jeff is also planning on visiting his dad in Chicago. We have a trip planned to Thousand Oaks for a wedding and to be with family and a trip to Hawaii too. I’m hoping to see my BFFs too – you know who you are! Are you coming to see me or do I have to come see you??  As for places we want to go or see before we move – not that many, actually.  I’d like to take my paddle board up the Elkhorn Slough and along the Santa Cruz coastline again. I’d like to eat crab at Than Longh in San Francisco, and I’ve never been to The Counter on Santana Row for burgers. That’s about it.    Kinda a short list, wouldn’t you say?   

Time to go finish packing – hope you enjoy Memorial Day weekend and kiss a veteran!!  Our freedom isn’t free. 


Day 62 – Are you Awesome?

I ate my lunch in front of my computer and enjoyed a little TED talk today. I love learning and exploring and getting lost in connections from one site to the next. I don’t remember how I got to this talk today by Neil Pasricha, but if you have 17 minutes – I think you’ll enjoy his story. We can all relate to it.  Basically he shares the 3 A’s of Awesome – Attitude, Awareness and Authenticity.  Our lives are not easy. They’re complicated. There are lumps and bumps along the way and we’re not always going to feel happiness. BUT – we always have a choice to move forward and to follow our hearts to find fulfillment along a different path if the one we’re on is not the one of fulfillment.  Listen to his story –  I think you’ll love it as much as I did.

Today we celebrated two AWESOME teachers at Ponderosa school who are getting married. Current and former students were invited to the bridal shower. Can you see the love? The parents and teachers who organized the party are AWESOME too!


I started to write my blog to share my/our story about the path my family is on to take us over seas and to share the journey because several people were asking about it and wanting to know what it’s like and to live vicariously through me. I thought it’d be fun to learn more about blogging and to capture our story too.  I’ve found that I’m really enjoying taking the 10-15 minutes a day to slow down and reflect on the day and to share something positive – to express gratitude for the little things in my life that I love and to connect with friends and loved ones, and meeting new friends who share similar interests.  Thank you for reading my blog and sharing the journey. Life is much sweeter with you in it! xo


Day 63 – A little bit of this and a little bit of that


I’m not too busy! That’s my new motto. Today I found my newest card partner and I’m so excited! Playing cards is one of my favorite summer past-times and today we broke out the cards. Little does she know, she’s in for a challenge!  😉

Today I played tennis, talked with my new friend and expat consultant and gathered a few tips, cooked a savory family dinner that the kids loved, helped with math homework, took two kids to sports practice, and talked with an international moving consultant. I washed dishes and folded and put away laundry and decluttered the castle. I helped two new Stella & Dot Stylists and helped a Stella & Dot customer with her order. So that’s just a little bit of this and that from my non-busy day!  Now it’s time to go relax, and look… it’s not even midnight yet!!  Life is good!

Day 64 – Celebrations


Today J was recognized for a very important award. She was part of the Math Olympiad team at her public elementary school, and her school was one of 3,719 teams worldwide. Her team placed in the top 10% of the world for 4th and 5th grade students.  She also received an individual award for scoring in the top 50% of students in the world. We are so very proud of her and the volunteer teacher and parents who helped out every week to give them this opportunity!  This picture was taken of our family after the celebration in front of the school this afternoon.

I was also excited to celebrate Apryl Krakovsky’s success today. Apryl was my first mom-friend in San Francisco, whom I met when we were in Labor/Delivery classes together before our first babies were born. We’ve been friends ever since. She now lives in L.A. and has been recognized numerous times for a program she developed based on sharing her gifts and talents and passion for fitness and healthy living and kids. The program is called Overland in Motion (the name of the Elementary School) where she teaches a 15 minutes morning fitness program every school morning bringing together students, teachers, staff and community members. She started out with a vision to volunteer and help out and kept building on it. She just won $25,000 for her school and is headed to Washington next month. If she wins the National Level, she will win $100,000.  This is being sponsored by Blue Shield of California, The Active Schools Acceleration Project and a ChildObesity180 initiative in cooperation with the Partnership for a Healthier America which is sponsored by First Lady Michelle Obama.  It’s a BIG DEAL!! I’m excited about this, not because of the money, but because the money helps to validate Apryl’s story – one mom’s vision that became a reality. Apryl loved what she did and others did too. They followed her and wanted to be part of what she was doing. She’s working on a business plan now and has people sponsoring her innovative platform – and because of this, I’m proud of her – I love watching women follow their dreams and being the change they want to see in the world, despite every day challenges.  Way to go, girlfriend!  Can’t wait to see how far you go.

And on to smaller celebrations, today I felt myself smiling and soaking up the sun and warmth and friendship being outside, playing volleyball with my girlfriends on the grass. I am not too busy and the dishes can wait. I know I only have 64 days here and everyone keeps telling me to enjoy it and I am!  Celebrate the little things… they’re actually big. 

What did you celebrate today?