Colorado

20140524-220025.jpg

I love the open space and tall mountains of Colorado. If I had to pick another state to live in, I might choose here. I love seeing the clouds and blue and grey skies and green fields.

We are here to celebrate Memorial Day with Jeff’s 93 (almost 94) year old grandfather and to remember his grandmother, who would have turned 90 today. Happy Birthday, MamMam. It’s so strange to be here without you. I didn’t want to sit in your chair and am feeling the emptiness of you not being with us. Still thankful to be with Aunt Debbie and PopPop and looking forward to a fun weekend together with Ken too and Megan and her family.

Happy Memorial Day weekend.

20140524-220043.jpg

Lean In?

I met the coolest women today playing tennis. One was an architect and the other ran non-profit organizations. They both recently gave up their careers to be with their kids full time and were adapting to this new life stage. I was fascinated by their stories and could have spent hours listening to how they made their choices and whether they were happy.

They described how they were still recovering from post traumatic stress. It sounds like they were working so hard to do it all and to be all they could be to their employers, clients, partners and kids and they were now in recovery. They had long commutes and clients that demanded their attention when they were home with their kids. They had nannies they relied on who did things differently than they would have done. They would make it home for a few hours with the kids in the evening, put them to bed and then work again from 10 – 2 am. Is this what they meant by lean in? They must have burned out.

I’m so happy that they have chosen to lean out and catch their breathes again, and were out playing tennis. I’m sure it’s an adjustment period and I’m sure they will find their groove, if they haven’t already. These are smart, strong, beautiful women.

There is a lot of pressure on women to do it all. I’m sure there is a lot of pressure on everyone who works hard, but as a mama, we have double duty and the work doesn’t end.

So my point in writing this, is to acknowledge women and the choices they make and to support one another along our different journeys. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for them to give up their careers, nor is it easy to stay home with kids either. I think it’s important for us to talk about this and that when we choose to work or quit, that it’s ok. I hope they feel supported and give themselves some slack as they figure out their new roles and daily responsibilities and make time for themselves. We are always adapting and changing and the good news is this is just a stage. If we don’t like it, we can change it. Or the kids will grow out of it and we’ll learn something new.

Namaste.

20140523-222307.jpg
These trees are in bloom all over town right now and catch my eye.

Happiness Is

Here I Am is my life story. It’s about just being – in the moment and the pursuit of happiness. I happen to spend a lot of my time being home with my kids and family and working out and volunteering and playing, so I share these type of daily events because that’s what I do. For some reason, I find joy in sharing this journey, hoping that maybe my one life might spark something in you that helps to add joy in your life, your way.

I love my life and am always seeking ways to make it even better and I’m constantly reading and learning and adapting and changing. I tend to share the joys because those make me smile and everyone has there own burdens and don’t need anymore. I don’t like drama so I don’t write about that, even though it’s there on a daily basis. I like to smooth over those messy parts and focus on the good.

I considered stopping writing after my vacation, thinking maybe my life is “boring” to others. It has more of a routine now that we are not expats anymore. Jeff reminded me that most of the news on TV and on the internet is boring and repetitive, yet we still watch it and read it. We learn new things and have opinions and feelings and share our ideas and thoughts, and make connections, based on what we see and learn.

I decided that I want to keep on writing, because I think I know something about positive living and the pursuit of happiness and I hear from so many of you that you like what I have to say. This is rewarding to me. I don’t have life all figured out, but I love that you write to me via comments or text or private Facebook messages and private conversations and validate what I share. I love the feedback loop and hearing about your lives too. We are connected and I love this. So thank you for continuing to follow along and for sharing this beautiful life with me. You are loved.

I hope you had a wonderful day. My day was simple and rewarding. I worked out, met with some people to plan the details of an 8th grade graduation dinner next week, had lunch with a friend who just had surgery, and then picked up my kids from school. My daughter and I played tennis together, and my son and I played Connect Four after dinner.

20140522-201851.jpg
No one had to be anywhere tonight and Jeff was home early because he has been sick. All my work is done for the day and it’s only 7:30 pm. This makes me extremely happy. I get to go to bed early tonight and catch up on sleep!! Life is good.

Have a great night!

Wish

Close your eyes and pretend there is a fountain behind you and a penny in your hand. Think really hard about your favorite wish and imagine throwing the penny over your shoulder and your wish will come true, especially if it lands in the middle.

20140521-210419.jpg
We threw several pennies into the fountain today and I think a couple landed in just the right spot. I think our wishes are going to come true!

This fountain brought back many memories as there used to be a toy store right by it when our big kids were little. We would always stop by and sometimes sit next to it, relaxing and eating snacks, throwing pennies in it, and making wishes.  

What we think about and what we talk about is what we create. We have the power to make our wishes come true.  

I hope all your dreams come true. Keep wishing. Keep dreaming. Keep creating.

Teacher Appreciation

Tonight we were invited to attend Charlie’s Classroom Celebration and Open House. We received a formal invitation with all the important details, and of course we gladly attended.

We love Charlie’s teacher for so many reasons. We have a shared history, as we first met her when she came to our school as Christian’s second grade student teacher from Stanford. Lucky for our family, she was hired on that summer and became Christian’s 3rd grade teacher.  Juliana also then had her for 3rd and 4th grade.  When we returned from Amsterdam and found out that she would also be Charlie’s teacher, we were elated. I think we are the first family where she’s had all 3 siblings.

I asked Christian and Juliana to join us at the celebration, so that they could see their teacher again too.  This was pretty special to me.
20140520-223321.jpg

Charlie gave us a tour of his classroom and walked us around the room, pointing out all the important details. My favorite sites were the Word Clouds that the students created for each other.

20140520-223405.jpg
I love positive recognition and seeing the good in everyone. This activity empowered the kids to practice kindness and celebrating each other. They all seemed to like their individual highlights.

Charlie was most proud of his writing portfolio.  

20140520-223645.jpg
This year he joined the newspaper staff and every month worked on an article for the school paper. I loved seeing his skills develop and how proud he has been. He loves to write and has a natural talent for creating interesting stories that flow. He types them himself, using Google Docs, and emails them to his advisor all on his own. After all the articles are turned in, the team meets to peer review and edit the articles before submission for the final paper. He says this year he’s learned how to indent paragraphs, and to use quotation marks properly. I’m still amazed how much a 4th grader can do and love seeing him enjoy learning.

I am thankful for all the amazing teachers and staff at our school.  We have passionate, smart, empathetic, kind and loving teachers. Our principal has also been supportive and has created an open environment where the synergy between multicultural students, teachers, staff and parents has thrived and has created a wonderful community.

I am happy to be back home again, living in the same, ol’ neighborhood, and getting to enjoy these last two years of elementary school at “our” school.

Love this life. Love our teachers. Thank you.  

A Real Vacation

Hello Friends!  Did you miss me? I missed you.  It felt really strange to not write for a few days and it felt totally liberating too.  I enjoyed a real vacation and wanted to savor the moments with my girlfriends and to keep everything private, during the time I was away. 

I went on a yoga retreat with one of my very best friends in Cabo, San Lucas, Mexico. 

Everything was awesome and words can’t describe the fabulous experience. I am filled with gratitude and came back rested and relaxed and filled with joy.

My parents came to stay with my kids and to support Jeff, getting them to and from school, fed, loved, and to all their appointments. They were so lucky to have 5 days with their grandparents, being spoiled and loved day after day. I was thankful that they took the time to be here and that my kids were well taken care of. I was able to enjoy myself without worry because I knew my job was covered.

Stacey and I have been friends for 18 years, which is hard to believe since we’re only “29.”  We both lead busy lives and don’t talk as often as we’d like, but when we get together, it’s like no time has passed at all. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing – we just enjoy each other’s company, sharing stories and laughing and playing together.  Being on vacation with her and 8 other girlfriends was just magical.  I am so thankful that she invited me to join her in Cabo to create and share more memories together.

We enjoyed doing several hours of yoga each day, listening to the sounds of the ocean and wind, feeling the warmth of the air, and practicing with amazingly strong women. We called ourselves the Yoga Mafia and laughed at the silliness of it all. These girls are amazingly strong, beautiful and graceful yogis.

20140519-231017.jpg
We ate delicious Mexican food and drank homemade watermelon juice everyday.

20140519-231230.jpg
We sat by the pool, drank shots together, ate chips and guacamole and enjoyed each other’s company.

20140519-231508.jpg
We paddle boarded and did yoga on the water in La Paz, even while being scared by jelly fish, puffer fish and sting rays.
20140519-231616.jpg
We were pampered with outdoor massages in the privacy of our house.

We danced the night away at Cabo Wabo, and danced in the moonlight on the beach until 3 am.

20140519-231847.jpg

20140519-231701.jpg
Life is good. Love this life. Love my girlfriends and family and am ever so thankful, especially for my BFF.

Hope you have a wonderful week and take good care of yourself. xo

Namaste.

Nesting

20140513-224414.jpg

Oh my gosh… I had such anxiety today.  I am going on vacation tomorrow and leaving everyone behind. This created such anxiety for me and I wish it didn’t. I am so excited to go away and yet I’m scared to leave and feel guilty, which is so stupid. I don’t believe in all this fear and worry, yet it swept over my body even when I was telling it to disappear. It was just there. Hello anxiety. I don’t like you. 

So I went to yoga first thing this morning to let go of the stress and felt great the whole time, even after I left the class. I went shopping to gather all the groceries for the week, and drinks for the baseball game tomorrow, because I’m the team mom and won’t be there. And then the anxiety creeped in. I want to go but I don’t want to leave my kids and family. All of a sudden, it took over and I found myself making dinner for everyone and stuff for lunch for the rest of the week for my gluten free child, in case no one would know what to make for her. I felt like I had to provide for everyone, have all the laundry done, and the house clean and in order before I leave, heck before I even packed!!

I was definitely nesting. That’s the feeling you get before you have your first baby, where you want to have all the comforts and food ready to go.  April came to the door to visit, unexpectedly, and asked me what I was doing. I told her I was nesting as I was sweating over a hot stove, not sure why I had 5 pans going at the same time, when it was a 100 degrees outside and there was a fundraiser dinner for the school tonight too that we could have gone to instead. I never cook like that. I made hard boiled eggs, gluten free pasta, brown rice, regular pasta, pasta jambalaya and steamed artichokes. Something is really wrong with me!  At least I was aware — that’s usually half the problem, right?  I was laughing at myself.  

I had all the laundry done and folded, even the mismatched sock basket, while cooking and washing dishes and chatting with April and Val, who also showed up. I laughed that two of my friends came by to visit today, who I haven’t seen in awhile and just enjoyed their company, instead of worrying and continuing to pack. I know I was being irrational and I actually really loved having the distraction, even though I knew I was procrastinating and still had to pack. Yin and yang. Living in the moment.  That’s what it looks like.

After they left, I was out of time and it was time to go and pick up the kids and run to an orthodontist appointment. And since it was 100+ degrees outside and the ice cream shop was right next door, of course we had to stop in and enjoy the moment. There was still time to pack. At least dinner was already ready to go. 😉

I came home and finished packing – ta da!!  Just in time to finish cleaning before my parents arrived. They came to town to take my place while I’m gone. I’m so, so thankful and lucky because they are so capable and willing and loving and helpful and my kids and husband love them.  I had lists written out with all the schedules for the next few days and I shared the details with them after dinner. Man, when you see your life in writing, it’s crazy to see all the logistics.  No wonder I feel anxious.  I have to let go of my responsibilities and it feels so weird.

But I’m good now. All is well. My parents arrived and Jeff came home from work and we all shared a nice dinner together. The kids are in bed and I leave first thing in the morning. I haven’t decided if I will write over the next 4 nights, but if I have internet access, I will do my best. I haven’t taken a break since I began blogging 785+ posts ago. 

Thanks for reading and sharing and laughing and listening. I hope you have a great rest of the week and feel good!  xo