Life is Full

Today was a full day with a morning game of grass volleyball with friends, a long chat with my best San Francisco friend, another trip to the ortho, playdates with friends, baking, and a haircut with my old hairdresser. Lots of stories, smiles and hugs were shared.

We ended our first week of school on a family date with friends in downtown Mountain View. It was great to be out in a fun, vibrant town and trying out a new restaurant. I love discovering new places and always have a sense of wanderlust, especially after living overseas for a year. The highlight was bumping into Jess and Soosh and their kids on the street. This is the part I love about being home. I have a sense of place and a sense that I belong here. Running into people I know wherever I go feels great. I love the smiles we share and the stories we tell.

I also loved singing along with this woman playing her guitar outside the bookstore.

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She wasn’t collecting tips, as she was just sharing her joy and talents. I loved this magical moment. Magic surrounds us if we are aware and looking. What magic did you discover today?

Hanging Out & Phone Chats

I Am still resettling after being back home for 7 weeks. The kids are now back in school. Soccer practice has begun. Doctors and Dentists and Orthodontist visits have been made. Mail has been processed and caught up. Our shipment should be arriving next week. New routines and structures are now reforming this week, and I’m hoping to feel out of this funk hopefully very soon. They say it takes awhile to resettle.

One thing that has really helped me has been being in the same time zone as my family. It’s so much easier to pick up the phone when ever you want vs. having to wait and think if it was a good time or not. I’m really appreciating the reconnections in this way.

I’m also really enjoying the sunshine and just being outside. Today Charlie had soccer practice, and typically when I’m not coaching, I just drop him off and pick him up later. Twice this week I stayed at practice and enjoyed being outside. Juliana joined me today and we played around the track, stopping to do exercises at the various fitness stations along our walk. We played with my Stella&Dot scarf in the wind and took pictures and just kept laughing while semi-exercising. It’s a start and we’ll do the same next week, however I’ll dress more appropriately.

I think I like it here!

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Love and Responsibility

Here I Am.

I Am still writing.

I Am curious.

I Am learning and sharing and connecting and I’ve discovered I actually like writing.

Today I feel like I have a responsibility to write about love and compassion. I wonder if that’s why I’m still writing even after my journey abroad is over.

I hear all the messages about being the change you want to see in the world and I hope that my one way of living and writing is a testament to love and compassion. I am not perfect. I just am.

I am sad today reading about the death of Chris Lane in Oklahoma at the hands of our youth who thought it was ok to kill someone because they were bored. What were they thinking and how were they raised? Who are their parents? What were they missing in their lives? What causes people to behave in such uncivilized ways in the land of opportunity? I have lots of questions. Why is someone bored at 17 and 18? Do something. Work. Volunteer. There is no reason to be bored. I could go on and on. Rest in peace, Chris and I wish your family and fiancé the strength to move through this next phase of life without you.

I am sad about the man with mental illness in Georgia who felt like he didn’t have a reason to live and wanted to die and almost killed others.

I am inspired by Antoinette Tuff, the woman who confronted the 20 year old and made a connection with him by sharing her struggles and survival story and offering love and compassion, despite the death threat facing her. She saved lives. She is a hero. She went above and beyond her job or her duty to save others. She put others first and saved not only her own life but those of others as well.

There are so many mixed views on politics, religion, race, gun control and mental illness, just to name a few of the hot topics that seem to divide us.

I wonder, maybe naively, what would happen if we went back to loving ourselves, loving each other, listening, strengthening our communities and our homes by being more loving and accepting and giving, despite our differences, what might happen. Would we change our story and create a different kind of history? I wonder. I wonder if kids had to work harder and did more chores and had more responsibilities and accountability if they would have more of a sense of purpose and feel more a part of their family and community. Hmm.

I wonder if we talked more about the things we have in common and the good we see in the world, if it would work like positive discipline. That is, if we see the good and focus on the good, we might tend to follow and mimic each other and keep creating good things. We’d reward and recognize and see the good in each other and the good in ourselves and create a better place. I wonder if that works. And what if the media focused on these stories instead of all the drama, if our collective story might change? Would that be possible? Hmm.

I wish I could change the world. For now, I choose love. I choose to notice the good and to continue to try to live the best life possible. Perfectly imperfectly. And hopefully my one life will make a difference.

Namaste.

Day and Night

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This was the view from my morning hike with friends. Isn’t it gorgeous? I love these walks so much and feel so energized afterwards. We all loved having time together again with our kids back in school.

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This is the view from my night walk with Christian. He decided he wanted to go running, so we went out together. He ran around the track and I walked as I was still full from dinner. I’m loving this part of the transition and having a big kid. See, there are perks moving out of the golden years!!

Good night and good morning to all my Holland Friends! I hope you have a wonderful first day back at school and that you send pictures and share stories! Miss y’all!

First Day of School at 3 Different Schools

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I love the first day of school. I love the excitement and thrill that comes from change. I love back to school shopping and picking out new papers and pens and notebooks and clothes. I think I love the sense of newness and wonder and magic associated with starting over, anticipating what is to come. For the kids, they’re excited to find out who their teachers will be and what friends will be in their classes and who they will meet. It’s a bit scary not knowing and so there is a bit of anxiety as they begin again… just enough discomfort to help them keep their eyes open widely and observe and soak up all the newness. I absolutely love it and think they do too. We’ll see.

I loved getting up early and taking the kids to their new schools and helping them find their way, although they didn’t really need me. I just needed to be there a little bit.

Juliana was the first one to drop off at 7:20 am. She stood in line at the middle school quad outside and got her new schedule, and locker assignment. She shared it with me and found her friends, and off Jeff and I went. At lunch time, she texted me to tell me everything was great. And after school, she said how happy she was and excited to return tomorrow. That’s always good news.

Christian was next to drop off at high school!! WTH! That scares me. He’s not ready, I mean I’m not ready for high school. He’s more than ready. I dropped him off, even though he wasn’t sure where the quad was and he found a friend and together they went off to discover where to get their schedules and to settle into high school life. Just like that. His last four years in school are beginning and I’m fully aware of how fast four years goes by. He came home and was missing the ISA, wishing he was still there instead of here. I hope the newness turns into more comfort over the next few day and he finds his new rhythm. I’m sure he will. He did have several good stories to share.

After dropping off Christian, we dropped off the car at home to walk Charlie to elementary school. We anxiously waited at the corner for Jessie and Sydney to walk together. I had a minute to FaceTime with Jen in Amsterdam, and she shared well wishes for Charlie’s first day. That was really cool, especially for me, since I’m still “house” sick for Holland and missing my friends there. 😉 Thanks, Jen!!

Once we began the familiar walk down the street and to the elementary school, I started to feel at home again.

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It felt right. It felt exciting to be walking and watching and observing our routine, back in step again. I was so happy bringing him back where he wanted to be, like we were giving him a gift. I was excited walking into his classroom, the same classroom and teacher that both Christian and Juliana had before him with one of the best teachers around. I felt comforted and at peace and he was beyond thrilled and happy to be there too, especially with Sydney and Dylan and Thomas in his class. And at our family dinner tonight, he said he couldn’t wait to go back to school again tomorrow. Music to my ears. Don’t we all want our kids to find peace and happiness?

I Am Home.

I Am where we belong.

I Am (almost) content.

Actually, I was happy to drop them off and get them settled and actually had coffee with a friend.

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We then volunteered at the Junior High School for an hour, and then I did some grocery shopping. But then I felt so sad that they were gone. I wanted them back, noisy and chaotic and all. It’s kind of like when they were babies and I just wanted a break from them, and once I had an hour or two to myself and my thoughts, I was good to go and wanted them back again. The same feeling came over me today.

Yin and Yang.

The good thing that came from that feeling, was that I got the house back in somewhat order before they came home, and went to Trader Joe’s to pick up their favorite orange chicken for dinner tonight and I was well prepared and rested for their return. When I went back to pick them up, I was excited to see them and hear their stories and to love on them again. The joy was back.

And with that, we’re back. Back in school. Back to starting new routines. And ready for the world!

Hope y’all had a great day! I wish you well.

Namaste.

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Last Day of Summer

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Today was our last day of summer vacation. The kids all start at three different schools bright and early tomorrow morning. We are all excited and a bit anxious and sad to not be returning to our International School in Amsterdam and seeing all of our friends there again.

We enjoyed a day with friends down at the beach on the Santa Cruz Wharf, where Juliana participated in the Hawaiian Outrigger canoe paddle races.

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She was invited to try it out last week at Vasona Lake and really enjoyed being on the water with her friends. I think I would love it too, however I loved just watching her and being a proud mama today.

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We ate lunch at Woodies on the wharf, and then tried to stay on the beach for awhile, but picked a spot that wasn’t good for swimming and was covered in flies! Jeff had a bit of a cold, so we decided to take off around 2 pm and enjoyed a sandless and flyless drive along the coastline before heading back over the hill.

Of course, I waited until the last minute to get school supplies for the big kids, so we stopped at Target along with the rest of our town. Luckily it wasn’t too painful and we got to catch up with some old friends while scouring the aisles for deals. We spent so much less today than we did in Holland. Things are so much cheaper here and more readily accessible.

The kids got their backpacks and supplies ready and picked out clothes for the first day and laid them out so they would all be ready for the structured morning tomorrow. We shared an early dinner with our family – April and Steve and the girls, and talked about walking to school together in the morning. I can’t wait!

School begins and so does a little bit of quiet time with a few hours to myself! I hope everyone with school aged kids has an easy transition… especially the mamas with college kids beginning!!

Aaaaahhhhh……Namaste!

Birthday in Berkeley and Views of San Francisco

We celebrated our friend Christine’s 40th birthday today in Berkeley. It was nice to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in awhile and to hear and share stories of work, travel, literature, and new babies. I got my baby fix, holding C & A’s beautiful little one and watching Juliana hold an itty bitty little one. My favorite photo from the party was of two children ponied up to the bar, chatting away with the bartender. So innocent and cute, and don’t you love the bar sign all lit up?
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After the early afternoon party, we walked around the town a bit and then headed over the old Bay Bridge, paying our $5 weekend toll to experience probably our last ride over it before they open the new span next month.

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I never get tired of he views of and through the city. We spotted a cargo ship that might be carrying our container from Holland. It is scheduled for arrival today in the Oakland port. Let’s just hope one of them is ours. I’m really ready to resettle all the way back into my cozy nest.
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Jeff is so good about navigating through the city. We decided to drive over to the west side for an early dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Thanh Long, for garlic noodles and roasted crab. I kept taking pictures along the way and texting them to Tricia, reminding her of our city and where she used to live…I wish she still lived close by!!

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After dinner, We walked a block to our car. I needed my beach fix, so we then drove along Ocean Beach and up to Land’s End to soak up the sun and incredible views on a remarkably warm day.

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20130817-214734.jpgFlowers along the walk…I love walking, as you see so many more details than when you’re driving.

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We drove by Fort Funston and along Highway 1 into Petaluma and Moss Landing and through the new tunnel that is now open near Devils Slide. I had not been through it yet and it gave us something new to experience. It’s amazing how foggy, wet and damp it was in this part of town. Coming back over the mountain, the sun was shining again, so we cut over through Woodside and saw an incredible sunset filled pink sky. Silicon Valley is a gorgeous place to live.

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I Am (almost) happy to be home again…