Last Day of June

I just realized this and tonight’s sky show was amazing!  I love summer, don’t you?

I caught a glimpse of the “fireworks” as we were driving Juliana home from the last event of the evening.

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Tonight I was quite tired and just wanted to be home and not driving around, feeling grumpy and exhausted, until I looked up.  Things always seem better when we look up. 😉

Hope you had a good June – my favorite month!

Life’s Moments

Do you ever feel like sometimes life stands still and you actually get to stand back and take a snapshot and really see a moment?

Do you know what I’m talking about? 

Every so often, I feel like time stands still and I have clarity and can really see and be present in that exact moment. 

Today I had one of those.

Christian returned from his Caravan journey and it was such a touching and meaningful moment, that I almost missed. I was scheduled to play a finals USTA tennis match tonight at the exact same time of his arrival.  Before he left, I had asked him if he minded me missing his homecoming because of this big game, and of course he said no.  He knows how much I love playing tennis and that our team has been doing very well. As the week went by, I was feeling worse and worse about my selfish decision to play, even though I knew my team needed me. I was so torn. Then on Thursday, I ran into an angel at Charlie’s sports camp, who asked me if I was going to be there for his arrival and I told her my story. She said I really wouldn’t want to miss this moving experience and from that moment, I knew I couldn’t play.  Luckily, the night before last, I got an email with our team lineup and there was a backup player available to cover anyone who might have an issue.

I had an issue. I had mom guilt. I couldn’t play anymore. I knew I had to be there for his arrival and couldn’t be two places at once. I wanted to be there to greet Christian and to see his face and to hear his story about his journey, first hand. Luckily, I was given a pass.

I have been anticipating his arrival all week. Today I spent a couple hours deep cleaning his room, kind of like in preparation for his arrival, as if I was having a guest come over. I think I was nesting, just like what you do before you have a baby and you want everything to be just right for the baby’s arrival. Just this time, it was my big baby’s arrival back at home again.

I wanted to do something nice for him, so I decluttered, dusted and created a clean space for him. Juliana made a welcome home sign and hung it on our garage door that said, “Welcome Home, Christian.”  We were anticipating his arrival and were so excited.

We were at church, when the Caravan crew arrived. They opened the doors and the kids and all the advisors came in and walked past us seated on the benches, to the front of the church to their reserved seats, while we sang and clapped and I cried. I kept crying because I am overly emotional and feel so deeply.

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I cried for several reasons.

I cried because I was happy to see his face again.

I cried because I was so proud of him.

I cried because I couldn’t hug him right away and wanted to touch him.

I cried because I know he grew up this week and had a life changing experience without me, which is great and wonderful and perfect, but I still felt like I missed out. I am attached and am in the process of detaching as moms should do. I just didn’t know that this was happening right now. But now I do, and I’m ok with that.  Just weepy. 😉

I cried because I was fully aware that he is growing up and becoming more independent, doing exactly what he is supposed to do. And that means that my role is changing. I felt the transition tonight. And I cried for that too. Moms of grown kids – I know you get this. I’m just beginning. I get it.  I am feeling it and it’s really ok.

I am so thankful that I ran into Colleen and she guided me to be there for the homecoming tonight. Thank you, Colleen.

I am so thankful that we belong to such a great church community, filled with love and teaching my kids to be loving and giving and providing this wonderful service opportunity for them, that is also helping them to grow up with grace. 

I am thankful that Christian is home again and that he had such a remarkable experience. I loved hearing his stories about the people he met, the work he did, and the friends that he made.  

And my tennis team, they won tonight!! I stopped by at the end of the match and was able to witness our final win in a tie break, with the lady who took my place and my partner. They all understood me and get it – they are moms too. And we’re all in this thing together. Thank you Gloria and Reid – for being great captains and for supporting my last minute change of mind. You are the best!!

Life is good!

My Babies

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This is my baby girl who got a cute new haircut today.

My baby girl is really a teenager, but I still call her baby girl and think I always will.

My baby, who is almost double digits, tells me that he is the baby and always will be because he’s the youngest. I tell him that she is also my baby, even though she’s not a baby anymore.

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He gives me a big hug and tells me that he’s so glad he came out of my tummy, as he rubs it and squeezes me tighter. I squeeze him back and hold him a little longer saying, “ditto!”
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My oldest baby comes home tomorrow after being away for a week with our church youth group on a service trip, and I am so excited! I have missed him so much, even though I know he is safe and having the time of his life and is growing up and all that good stuff. But he’s still my baby and I like him safe in my nest. I’ve been feeling his absence and guess I’m getting a small sampling of what it will feel like when he moves out for college in a few short years. I can wait.

I am thankful for all my big babies!

What do you call your children? Will they always be thought of as your babies, like I do even when they are grown?

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Life is good.

Friday Night Rituals

Do you have one? We’ve had several and I just started thinking about this again after having lunch with my BFF this week.

She told me that they celebrate the end of the week as a family every Friday night. They go out for dinner and rent a movie together. I love that they do this, and can imagine them all snuggled on the couch together!! I love dedicated family bonding time in the midst of daily chaos.

Jeff and I used to have a Family Night on Fridays too, although our routine is to not keep to a routine, even though we try.

We started out with pizza and a movie on Fridays when the kids were younger. Then we moved to Boy Scouts with Christian and they met on Friday nights. So our routine changed. This lasted for awhile, until we joined a Parents Night Out co-op with other families from our church on Friday nights. We would drop our kids off for two hours and have a date night, while other nights we would stay with another couple and watch all the kids. This worked for awhile until our kids kind of outgrew the need for sitters.

We spend an incredible amount of time together as a family, so I hadn’t really thought about a dedicated family night until I was planning dinner tonight. For the past three weeks in a row, we’ve been attending a BBQ at our swim club with other friends. The club provides the meat, condiments, and paper and plastic goods. The members bring a side dish to share along with their own drinks, and some members volunteer to run the BBQ and serve everyone. It’s a great setup and I guess this has become our new family routine. I hope it lasts!

TGIF – have a great weekend!!

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Wanting to Be Several Places At The Same Time

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Ever have days like this? 

I wanted to be four places at the exact same time. I see this becoming a trend – at least this week and I’m struggling with making decisions.  One of my birthday goals this year was to be more decisive, more quickly. I tend to think of all the possibilities and what will make everyone happy or cause the least discomfort and sometimes (no most times) I have the hardest time making a single choice. I’m practicing. Isn’t that what this life thing is all about anyway? It’s the practice… no one really has it all figured out. We’re just practicing. Don’t you feel better just knowing that?

So today I had to drop off Charlie and then I wanted to watch the USA – Germany game, hike at Rancho San Antonio with Julie and play grass volleyball with the volleyball girlfriends, who I adore. I decided to do all three, but that didn’t work.

So I decided to actually hike while the weather was still comfortable and checked the game score on twitter wherever I got reception. I had to postpone playing volleyball another week and just hope the ladies will play again next week and I won’t have to miss out on the bumping, setting, and spiking!  It was a crystal clear day and a beautiful day to be up on the mountain.

It made me miss my BFF Michele who has recently moved and won’t be hiking with me weekly. That’s ok though, because we’ll just find new ways to explore nature and solve the worlds’ problems in the couple hours we’re disconnected from the “real” world.

Julie and I actually stopped at the top to sit on the little bench and just soak up the sun and magnificent views. Now that she’s a working woman, we don’t get much time to work out together like we used to. Working out together used to be our social time too. Luckily she has this summer off for us to play more and get stronger together!

We saw a few deer, lizards, a snake,

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birds, goats, and chipmunks while we were out.

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I especially loved the big oak trees too, that remind me of Thousand Oaks.

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Life is good and I’m glad I picked the hike today, especially since the USA lost. 

Hope you had a love filled day. xo

Summer Lovin’

I am loving summer!  I love that the days are long and that our routine has changed. I love the freedom that comes with summer and the ability to see more friends and spend time doing things we normally don’t have time to do during the busy school year.

We are still busy, of course, but a different kind of busy and I’m lovin’ every minute of it.

Today I was rushing around after dropping the kids off at their lessons. I went to the car wash and read a couple pages of my summer reading book while I waited for my car to be cleaned.  

My new BFF ( I have several BFFs that are all the best at something different and are all so unique) took me out to celebrate my birthday. We had a long, leisurely Korean lunch and then walked next door for a Chinese Foot massage. Thanks, R.  
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Gotta love Silicon Valley!

Have you ever had a Chinese Foot Massage? These are the coolest things ever. They don’t really just massage your feet.  Basically you pay $20 for an informal, rough, and deep massage, laying in a casual chair that reclines back and forth with 7 of your other friends or strangers in the same, dark room.  A little weird the first time you try it, but you get used to it really quickly.  They soak your feet in a bucket of water and while you’re soaking, they begin massaging your forehead, temples, and scalp. They move down to your neck, shoulders and then down one side of your body and up the other, flipping you over to do the same on the other side. They do spend quite some time on your feet too. They do this with your clothes on and with towels draped over your clothes. It is intense and so worth the experience. I think this was my 4th time going and definitely will be back sooner than later. You have to try this – go on a date night with your spouse, boyfriend or best friend. You’ll love it!  I left there fully relaxed and ready to take a nap, but actually went to hit tennis balls. I wonder if this defeats the purpose.  I definitely felt loser, so that must be a good thing.

After picking up the kids from school and camp, we came home and decluttered quickly before my other old BFF came over for happy hour. We sat outside with the kids and laughed and told jokes and did skits and just played.

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I laughed so hard teaching her girls how to do the “Chubba” skit and the “Bill in the button factory” skit. We were all laughing along together, enjoying the change from sunshine to sunset and feeling the cool air sweep over the patio.

When Jeff came home, we enjoyed a casual dinner and Jeff started drumming on the table. Charlie chimed in and Juliana joined too. I tried, but have no tone or rhythm so decided to take pictures instead.

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They were so good together. I wish I had musical talents, but instead I got to enjoy theirs, thank goodness!

During dinner my sister called, and lucky me, I got to excuse myself and ask that the kids clean up, while I got to sneak into the back room to catch up with her. With her busy schedule and mine, we hardly ever find the time to chat for more than 2 minutes. We laughed so hard and we were wishing we lived closer to each other so that we could laugh on the couch together and fall asleep. That’s our favorite thing to do together… so simple and boring.  Oh, we’re getting old!

 

I hope you’re getting outside, playing, laughing, enjoying friends and relaxing this summer.

Life is good, right now!

Sweet Rewards

We are working hard this summer. 

Juliana is taking an intense summer school class that is 6.5 hours per day. When she comes home, she typically has 1 to 3 hours of review work. That’s a lot of time and sheer willpower to stick with such an intense program and I admire her tenacity.  

We are setting morning alarm clocks again and making lunches and driving long distances to and from class. Luckily this too shall pass. 😉  

Christian is away on a service project with our church in Oklahoma. In May 2013, Oklahoma City was ravaged by a series of tornadoes. Our youth and advisors are working on projects of clean up, rebuilding, and working alongside the Red Cross and other church groups to service this devastated area and help the local people. I miss him so much and am sure he is learning and growing and experiencing something great. The youth are not using cell phones or technology this week, which makes us definitely disconnected and makes me long for his return even more.

Jeff is always working hard to provide for our family and is facing extra long commute times traveling through Silicon Valley. It feels like it has gotten much busier.  I have been in the car more during rush hour with the kids and have had a glimpse of what his long days just might be like. I am grateful for his dedication.

Charlie started sports camp this week and is spending the days being very busy playing, like a child should, and making new friends. I am so proud of him for being able to go into new groups and to make new friends quickly. Today he asked for pen and paper to get his new friend’s email address. I love it!

While the kids were gone, I finally had time to get to the gym again and to volunteer at our resale shop. I had some time to reorganize our garage and to pick up the house a bit before heading back out to do the carpool run. I think this counts as work?!?

So, after all this hard work, we decided to stop for our favorite summer time treat, Rick’s Ice Cream in Palo Alto. This is the creamiest, richest, smoothest ice cream I have ever had. They have so many yummy flavors to choose from and feels like a good old-fashioned ice cream parlor. The last time we went there was two years ago before we moved to Amsterdam and met up with our new friends that were also moving there. The visit today brought back great memories.

How was your day? I hear that happiness comes from working hard and being giving. It’s also sometimes exhausting, but usually meaningful work is. And maybe that’s where the real sweet reward comes from, feeling like we have a purpose. Hmmm…

Namaste

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