This was the highlight of my day. My kids came out for a hike with me, even though some thought this was a horrible idea. I wanted us to get out for some fresh air, to move our bodies and to share conversation along the way, away from other distractions. There was some complaining and whining at the beginning and I kept focused on being grateful and patient, thankful that we were all together enjoying the crisp, fresh air and muddy puddles. I loved watching them taking pictures, bird watching and deer and squirrel watching too. They laughed and danced and ran up and down the hills, teasing each other too.
This was a great way to end our Thanksgiving holiday break. I am thankful for my family, near and far, for traveling and being together sharing meals and conversation and chaos, and for being back home again.
I hope you all enjoyed your holiday, making memories and celebrating with those you love and like!
The kids didn’t have water polo or soccer practice on this particular day. I had to run an errand at the mall and they decided they wanted to come with me. Both wanted to come along. I kinda wanted to go by myself. One wanted to come with just me and to leave the other behind. The other one insisted their homework was complete and that they really wanted to come along and to spend some time together. How could I resist? But there was going to be some conflict. Isn’t there always a little conflict?
I decided to invite both to join me for some family practice time. We had to practice getting along and working together and figuring out how to get along without bugging each other. Isn’t that what families are about?
They got in the car and I set the agenda, letting my captive audience know what to expect and requesting that they silence their electronic devices. Can you imagine no Snapchat? Tonight we were having a family practice night, instead of soccer practice or polo practice. Tonight we were going to practice listening and cooperating and being patient and kind. Boy, did we practice. And as you know, with practice, there is a lot of repetition.
We practiced several drills, such as choosing our words, taking turns, ignoring the endless snaps and texts that vied for our attention. We practiced patience and listening and not requesting everything we saw. We practiced waiting and not competing with each other. We practiced delaying gratification and not always getting what we want when we want it. We practiced not rolling our eyes and saying, “Gosh” all the time. We practiced holding hands, going with the flow, and putting our arms around each other. And we practiced breaking bread together.
All in all it was a good night, mixed with a little resistance along the way. I am thankful that my not so little ones wanted to join me on this night for some family togetherness and practicing all that is good.
After all, aren’t we all just practicing in this dress rehearsal called life?
What are you practicing with your family? I wish you success, peace and love!
Have a good week! xoxo
It’s been a week, no months, of pushing and watching and questioning and wondering and flexing and letting go and accepting what is to be and flowing with it.
On Thursday, it began. Christian, my high school senior, came home early from school for our lunch date, but I had a work meeting. He went and picked up lunch for us and while I was working, he decided he was going to finally work on his college applications. I’ve been pushing and questioning and wondering and exploring and asking him to own this process since the beginning of summer. He decided that he wanted to go to community college and didn’t want to go through the college app process, and that he was happy with staying local. I accept my kids’ choices and yet I always push them to the edge and maybe over their comfort zone and I question their motivation and intention. I am okay with their decisions and I want to be sure they think through the costs and benefits and risks, every step they take. I ask the hard questions, set up challenges, and then give them space to own their decisions and the path they choose to take.
Well, on Thursday he decided he was going to apply to the University of Iowa and he decided he was going to fill out the application that day. While I was wrapping up work, he requested that I push my computer aside so that I could look over his online application on his laptop. Let me just say I was surprised and curious and supportive and perplexed and thankful and scared. I helped validate the form and gave my credit card number to pay for the application fee, all while wondering where did this come from? I was proud that he (finally) decided to begin the process before the almost deadline. We clicked send and then I wondered, “what if?”
Flash forward to today, when I was busy working again to put money away for the kids’ college fund, when I received a text:
And just like that, our thoughts have shifted and the opportunity is in front of us and we are thankful and curious and shocked and excited for the possibilities. Who knows what will come next, but for now I am thankful for the journey and know that whatever will be will be…and I am proud of Christian and wish him well as he navigates this next stage. Congratulations!! Be still my heart.
The rain came and it was a perfect day to nestle inside. I was thankful for the rain and for choosing to slow down and to let the day unfold.
I was looking through recipes in the family room and heard Charlie playing on his drums. I came to his room and invited myself in to listen and observe, which I normally don’t do. I’m usually telling him to close his door and complaining that it’s too loud.
He smiled and I think he enjoyed my company, even though he was confused when I told him I was excited for his performance. He asked, “what performance?” Obviously, because he was just playing to play. I was joking, but I was happy to just sit and watch him play, and to be present in this moment with him, with no expectations. He had his headphones on and no one was telling him to be quiet or to close his door and we all let him play freely. He played and jammed and I smiled.
Soon Juliana came in to listen as well. She say me enjoying him and she soon wanted to play too. My little cutie let her in and tried to teach her a little rhythm and my heart was full.
I noticed how much fun they were having and it made me want to play too, even though I have no rhythm at all and was a little fearful to even try. He told me which drum to hit on which count and then praised my drumming attempt. We switched spots and it was really cool!
I was laughing my head off and Charlie grabbed my phone to take videos.
This was a fun, morning, pajama jam session! Thank you Charlie for sharing your passion with us. You made my day.
How was your day? What moment did you really enjoy? Hope you have a good week. xo
I picked up the phone today and called a friend. She didn’t answer and usually I would hang up, but today I left a message and I Am happy that I did.
I told her that I would be near her house this afternoon and would love to drop by and see her, if her schedule was open at all. Lucky for me, she noticed that I called, checked her message and called me back, right as I was getting ready to go out again and we were able to connect.
She invited Jeff and I to her house and we enjoyed an hour or so together, chit chatting and catching up right at dinner time and before her PTA meeting and between our kids’ soccer practice and polo matches. While we were talking, she whipped up fish tacos for her family and insisted that we eat with her and that she had plenty.
I can’t tell you (well, actually I guess I am sharing right now) how cool this moment was. This was living happily ever after right now, and saying yes, and not being too busy, or too tired or too anything (even though we are). We showed up, sat around the table and enjoyed each other’s company in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. I loved this, can you tell?
Thank you Susanne! You made my day.
If you’re thinking of a friend, try calling them. They just might make your day and dinner. xoxo
P.S. Thank you Charlie for inspiring me to write tonight and asking me what made me happy today.
I was sleeping and sitting up in my rocking chair because my head was congested and I couldn’t sleep lying down last night.
My perspective was shifted, as he walked into the kitchen and I could see him through the darkness and dawn’s early light from my chair. I liked this image.
I enjoyed this new view and waking up to him, watching him get his favorite morning meal, a bowl of cereal and milk by himself, which he normally does, but I’m usually busy moving and doing and miss the observing part. He is taller now and I noticed him growing up right there, in this moment.
It’s not that I don’t recognize the changes normally, it’s just that I had a different perspective this morning and I wasn’t in a rush and I was just observing the morning and him being there, growing up just like, that and eating simple cereal.
I noticed the piles of laundry waiting to be sorted and the cat sprawled out in the bean bag chair. (It still seems strange to me that we live with animals.) The laundry can wait.
In this moment, I was content and thankful to be aware and to notice that my baby is growing up, even with my stuffy head! Sometimes it’s cool to switch your perspective and to see things differently.
Life is good.
Seriously? Has it been 65 days already? By counting the days, I’m fully aware of time passing and how long summer vacation actually is. I will be ready for the school year to begin again this week. This was a transition summer for our family, with me working from home, and with the two teenagers starting their first summer jobs as lifeguards and practicing with their sports’ teams. This summer, we stayed closer to home and did more afternoon and day trips around our more complex schedules. The kids slept in while I worked, and we enjoyed our friends and hanging out together during the afternoons.
I realized that we had a “free” day with no commitments today and wanted to do something all together as a family. After much discussion and debate, we decided to visit the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz and packed a picnic lunch to take with us. Have you ever been to the iconic Mystery Spot before?
We enjoyed the mystery of the optical illusions and the feelings of anti-gravity and like we just got off a rollercoaster.
Our tour guide was funny and entertaining and we enjoyed the experience of doing something new together and laughing at the craziness of it all.
The Mystery Spot is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After we finished our tour, we left the redwood trees and took our picnic to the beach, where we enjoyed watching the surfers and locals walk by as we ate. It was a gorgeous day to be by the beach. I loved today, and being with my crazy family. I am thankful that we made it happen.
Life is good.
I am holding on to the last few days of summer and being with my babies when I can.
Today we stopped for boba tea drinks and I convinced them to go for a walk in the park with me. We did some geocaching along the way and then they decided to play for a few minutes. I hope they never lose their youthful spirit!
Life is good.
A week from today, the kids will be back in school. Summer is winding down. While I’ve mostly enjoyed the unstructured afternoons, I’m looking forward to a more normal and expected schedule that the school year provides for our family. As I practice living in the moment and being thankful for what is, here are three events that filled me with joy today.
I enjoyed a lunch break with Jeff and Juliana between our work schedules. We chose to get falafels and schwarma wraps for lunch and it was all delicious. We wondered if my parents might like this food and wanted to share it with them when they come to visit soon.
After work, Jeff and I enjoyed going for a walk and doing a kettle bell workout together.
As we waited for the rice to finish cooking as part of our dinner, Jeff and I sat on our comfy outdoor couch with a drink and listened to the water fountain, while we relaxed and chatted about parenting teens. We are growing up!
What three things brought you joy today?
here I am, happily taking the back seat.
With her dad in the front seat by her side, I was definitely the back seat driver and had a hard time keeping my mouth shut.
Today was another new moment and I could see my baby girl growing up and doing things her way.
While we were out teaching her to drive, Charie cooked dinner for us after I started the rice in the rice cooker. We came home and all enjoyed a delicious dinner out on the patio togetherZ
When I forget whether I enjoyed this summer Staycation at the end of summer, remind me of this moment, and the time and space we shared slowing down and enjoying whatever came our way.
Life is good.