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!

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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

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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

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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?

 

 

 

 

Day 65: Planning

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Jeff came home safely from Amsterdam and was able to stay awake until 7 pm. I made a pot of yellow Thai curry and we all enjoyed a family dinner together. The kids were very hyper today and overly excited I think, driving me a bit crazy!!

Jeff was showing them pictures of the new house. They began arguing over who would get each room and we all seemed to have different opinions. I began to make a list of things we might want to bring with us to the new house, hoping to leave as much behind as possible. I thought CJ would want to bring all his Legos, but instead he surprised me saying he didn’t really play with them anymore. When did that change and how did I miss it? I think the PS3 and Minecraft have replaced his Legos.

J said she’d bring the flag pendant from her room and maybe some art supplies, along with my old Miss America Barbie and the Dutch doll that sits on her shelf.

C will want to bring his cars and stuffed animals and all his sports gear, I’m sure.

And for me, I want to bring my Stella & Dot collection, my paddle board and my tennis racket, my Kindle and iPhone and Mac, along with my measuring cups and spoons and a few photo albums. I guess that tells you what I love.

Tomorrow I plan to confirm the taco truck guy for our going away party, and book Laser Quest for C’s birthday party. It’s all coming together, slowly but surely. So much to still do in 65 days and I want to do it all!

Day 66: The Eclipse

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We had an impromptu block party with some thick, dark glass and another set of viewing tools: dark sunglasses and a welder’s mask to view the sun and see the Ring of Fire. We also tried the bucket of water trick to see the suns’ reflection in the water so we wouldn’t have to directly look at it, but it didn’t work that great. The kids all had fun taking turns catching a glimpse, and running around, playing with Nerf Guns and kicking a soccer ball around.Image

The Eclipse happened today – the Sun, Moon and Earth all lined up. It’s the first time in 18 years that an eclipse has been seen from the United States and we all got to see it and experience it. I guess the planets aligned for us!  

And in Netherlands News, The Office, The House, and the School are all lined up. The Bank Account is open, the Company is established and we’re hanging out in the shadows – wrapping up things on the home front for another 66 days!  Jeff comes home tomorrow. Few more days of school left. Tomorrow is a Furlough Day – so I get to enjoy the kids at home and they can go with me to the airport to pick up their Daddy. We all miss him and are ready for him to come home.

Did you see the Eclipse? What did you think? Hope your personal planets are aligning this week too!  xo

Day 67: A Broad Abroad

At my Stella & Dot Trunk Show on Thursday, I met a woman who is an Expat from Canada and an Expat Consultant. How lucky was I? I joined Stella & Dot to meet new friends and now Marian and I are meeting for coffee next week.  Lucky me!

After the party, she emailed me a list of moving companies, books, and websites to check out. Today I downloaded the book, A Broad Abroad – and have been reading it all day on my Kindle, while at the boys soccer and baseball games!  It’s always nice to learn from others who have been there, done that, and I’ve already gotten so many great tips from the author. They say that a successful expat experience depends on the wife’s happiness and independence. So far, so good. 

A highlight of my day was choosing to stay home with the kids tonight to cook and bake together. Since J isn’t playing sports this season due to her broken elbow, we decided baking could be her sport. So the boys had to come and watch her play, just like she came and watched them all day. She’s into fondant and baking cakes. The boys are having fun with her too, as active observers, cheering her on.  They’re now anxiously waiting to bite in after the decorating is done.  Much better than playdoh!

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Day 68: TGIF

Don’t you love Fridays?   It’s one of my favorite days of the week. Everyone is happy from finishing up the week and excited, anticipating the weekend.

Today I enjoyed C’s field trip to the Magic Garden. We walked and took the City Bus with 29 kids and several chaperones and his teacher. The kids had a great time touching and tasting and feeling and smelling all the wonders that surrounded them, including worms, nests, chickens, snails, nasturtiums, and fruiting mulberry bushes to name a few. 

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Looking up at the underbelly of the shade tree – so pretty!

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Have you ever seen an Almond Tree? 

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These roses were beautiful climbing roses, but without much scent. The kids enjoyed walking through the gateway and into the magical garden. I liked it too.

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Look… April and I actually got to hang out today! Thank goodness for field trips!!  🙂

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From the city bus stop with the second graders, I walked half way back to school and then left the kids with the other chaperones so that I could run ahead to meet the school bus that was bringing J home from Science Camp. I was so excited to see her and have her back in my nest. I’m not ready to let her go, even though I know she’s growing up and I have to let out the leash a little more and more. It felt really good to reel her back in, close to me. We all missed her and our family dynamic was just not the same without her.  Now we just have to wait for Jeff to get back from London to have us all back together. I’m happy for him though, that he gets to spend time with his brother before heading home again.

And to finish off the day, we had a quick visit and dinner with Michele and the kids. We were all so tired that we made it an early night. She had this great little gadget on her counter that made us laugh and smile and maybe you will too.  In case you ever wonder, here’s a little Emergency Affirmation you can give yourself – when you press the smiley face, it plays a drum roll and tells you that you are amazing! Something everyone should hear at least once a day!!  Go ahead, press it! You are Amazing!! xo

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