Being Sick And Being Quiet

My extended family has been together for days. We didn’t just come together for Thanksgiving, but the day before and the day after too.

My parents are amazing hosts and always welcoming to everyone. And everyone comes to be together. It’s quite amazing to be a part of and to observe.

I’ve had a cold for what seems like a week, so I’ve been more of a quiet observer which has been fascinating. I tend to have lots of opinions but this week I’ve practiced letting things be, and not reacting and not having an opinion and it’s been wonderful to go with the flow and to be quiet and to listen.

I’m not saying I like being sick, but I did enjoy being more of a listener than an entertainer and I sure enjoyed the family members who were quite good at sharing stories and jokes. I also enjoyed watching all the kids play together and doing the dishes quietly.

These are the simple things I enjoyed today while being sick and quiet. Oh, and I enjoyed the 3.3 mile walk with my sister and noticed all of the acorns on the ground, while walking in the fresh air. It was good to get out of the house and to exercise.

How was your day after Thanksgiving? Hope you are well.

Life is good, even when you’re sick.





My birthday succulents are blooming. I loved this little surprise, especially since we spent most of the day at home while Juliana continued to rest and recover.  Poor girl is still not feeling well.

I had fun baking a spaghetti pie, just for fun.  I felt like making something savory and it was good, although next time I’d add some ricotta cheese to make it a bit less dry. The boys still seemed to like it. 
This was one of the perks of staying home with a sick child. Plus the laundry is all done!! 🙂

But seriously, I was going stir crazy.  Jeff and I snuck away for a walk for awhile to get fresh air and exercise. This made me happy!  We went looking for the best grass alternative front yards and gathered a few ideas, with our few thousand steps.

The funny thing that happens when you slow down is that the day is really long. I guess we need to bloom where we’re planted.

Life is good, in sickness and in health.


Three Gifts

I am still sick but the good news is I was able to lift my head up today. I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick in my life. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel I think. My appetite came back a bit and I didn’t mind the sunshine coming in. I was able to focus a bit longer and actually could read my book.

I am reading Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine. I love this guy! And I love that I found him via Stella & Dot. He was the guest speaker this week at the Director’s Conference. Jessica Herrin, the CEO and founder of Stella & Dot, is a very positive, authentic, and influential woman. It’s fitting that she chose Shirzad to present to the leaders of the company and that they shared the video presentation with all Stylists.

The way we think creates our happiness and success. This is a premise I’ve carried all my life and keep practicing daily. This book teaches you how to increase your positive intelligence to achieve greater potential.

The part that relates to being sick today is that when we are presented with a bad situation, we have choices where we can turn the supposedly bad situation into a gift or opportunity. This is how I typically see things, and try to very quickly. I try not to dwell on the negative feelings and try to see things as gifts or opportunities. Shirzad calls this the three-gifts technique.

The three gifts from being sick this week for me are the following: (1). My kids are very resourceful and independent. They can make their own food, help with the chores, look out for each other and get their homework done without my nagging. They also do know how to be quiet!; (2) My friends and family are amazing and empathetic and giving and loving. It’s ok to receive help and I feel extremely grateful, especially to my husband who took over my duties in addition to his own; (3) I got to slow down, and let things go and relax and things didn’t really fall apart.

I am thankful that I had more energy today and hope this continues tomorrow, as I continue to take it easy. As Shirzad says so eloquently, “We can’t control or choose much of what happens in work or in life. We can, however, determine the impact that these events have on us by choosing how we respond.”

So if you’re facing a challenge this week, try and see if there is a hidden gift or opportunity that might come from your “bad” situation.



Let Go

Do you have a word for the year? A mantra that will bring you back to center and aligns your goals and dreams?

Is there a word or group of words that resonate with you?

I think my word(s) are Let Go. I want to let go this year of clutter, frustration, control, my need to be right, and my need to have a plan for everything. I want to just go with the flow and adapt to every moment that comes my way.

I loved the new Frozen movie and have my theme song, “Let it go.”

Yep, that’ll be my theme for this year.

What will yours be?

Right now I’m hoping to let go of this nasty bug that has taken over my body. Three days of doing nothing but laying down. I have no choice and I’ve let go of all plans and hopes this week. I sure hope I’m ready to go again tomorrow. Geez. This being sick thing is not for me.

Thank you for all the kindness shared via emails, texts, food, medicine, rides for my kids. Thanks to my husband for taking care of the kids and making me tea and bringing me medicine. I love our community and am so thankful for your love and support. xoxo

From Charlie

From Juliana

From Lisa, Julie and April. Dinner and meds and dessert.

Kate, Ling, and April, thank you for the rides for my kids.

Thank you for lifting me up and supporting my family. Life is good. I am blessed and am going to be well tomorrow. Crossing my fingers and saying a prayer for healing. xo


Maybe I am sick today so that I can slow down and sit still.

I am sitting in my bed, with my legs crossed and I am almost still except I’m still writing.

I have a restless soul and this is something I would like to master. Just being still.

Do you meditate? If so, how often and for how long?

I laid down to take a two hour nap today before picking up the kids from school, and think I slept for maybe 20 minutes. Even though I was sick, my mind was still restless.

We all have things we are trying to improve to make our life the best it can possibly be. I know, this is a high-class problem.

As I sit here with a stuffy, tired head and runny nose I just discovered something new already. I didn’t think I had the energy to write and I accidentally pressed the wrong button on my iPad, which lead to my new discovery: the talking and writing speaker function. How cool is that?

By sitting still, I found something new. Not something zen, but hey, it’s a start to slowing down.

I am speaking to my iPad and it is typing for me with a little wave line showing me that it is sensing my voice. Whoa. Jeff was talking about how he uses voice technology to type his text and emails now just this weekend. I guess I was subconsciously listening to him. And now that I took the time to sit still, I discovered (new) technology! I wish I would have learned this last year. But hey, there’s always time for learning.

So you know when I say my life is perfectly imperfect? This is one of those examples of not having a perfect day, but being okay with it. If you were in my house, or reading my texts or listening to me on the phone, you would really know how perfectly imperfect I really am. But I’m okay with that. I don’t expect perfection from myself or from my family or from anyone. We are all flawed, and what I expect is to flow with whatever comes my way, and to seek love everywhere, in every situation. No matter what.

I choose to share the highlights and lessons learned, every day with you. I choose to focus on the positive because negative stuff happens all the time. That’s drama. That’s what the media keeps showing us. That’s not what real life has to be all about. That’s not happiness. Ok, enough of the nots. I’m sure you understand what I’m saying.

I choose to share beauty and joy, positive experiences and peace on my blog and on my Facebook status updates. I choose to share the highlights and the best parts of my day, because that is what is good. That’s where I want to play and share and connect. Maybe boring, but it’s ok with me. 🙂

I believe there is good in every experience and that’s what I seek and look for every darn day. Do you do this too? If not, try it. Let go of anger and frustration. You’ll be amazed by how much better you feel and how much control you have over your own well being.

Namaste and good night.

Day 230: Sick Day

Charlie was sick before we left for our trip, but rallied through. When his ear was hurting on the plane, I knew he really was still sick. Luckily it felt better today, but he was still under the weather (isn’t that a funny expression?) and Jeff and I are a bit sick too with itchy ears, throats, and achy heads. So the three of us stayed home today…

And tried to rest.

I got to actually enjoy my little boy, who isn’t that little any more. He invited me to make a leprechaun trap. He’s hoping to catch the sneaky little guy on St. Patrick’s Day and has quite the plan. I loved hearing his ideas and seeing his imagination and creativity.

After the trap was complete and set up in a good spot, it was time for a snuggle. He wanted me to sit with him and watch a movie. The movie he picked was Brave. Have you seen it? It was such a great movie that changes the princess story to something that I love – the main character was a strong, independent, sporty woman with her own destiny, writing her own life script, with her wild and crazy hair and choosing her own path and partner. I could relate! I also loved the mother/daughter role and how they learned together. But most of all I just loved having time with my little buddy!

I Am happy we were home sick, yet hope we will be better tomorrow! Stay healthy! xo

Day 165: Triple Threat


Today was rough.

1. Woke up early to take Jeff to the airport. He didn’t sneak us in his luggage back to California!
2. Still sick, 3 days in a row… Ready for this to pass.
3. Charlie lost his new Christmas present from Santa – his iPod touch!

The thing that bothered me the most was the material thing, which is weird because I usually don’t care about stuff. I think being sick made me more emotional and that we’d have to tell Jeff made me even madder, and I already questioned myself whether or not he even needed/should have such a valuable item.

So there I was, lonely, sick and mad. And when I feel this way, I start cleaning! Isn’t that weird? In a sick way, I was hoping I’d find his device if I cleaned enough, but I really had a feeling he lost it while chasing the Dutch girls around the neighborhood, which also bugged me! I also went on icloud to track his device and it showed me that it was offline, which gave me a hint that it wasn’t in the house, otherwise it would have been connected to our wireless and shown us its location. I was able to turn on an alert on the phone to have the finder call me when it was found, but nothing was happening. So when I was done cleaning, and they were too… I wasn’t going to be the only one searching and scrubbing, the sun was out and we took the bikes out. We had to go back to the mall to recover the items he lost yesterday!! I called several stores and finally found the one that had his loot, so we were heading out to reclaim what was lost and to continue our search for the lost Apple.

On our search, we discovered where the Dutch girls lived and I rode up to them to apologize for my savages and to find out if they liked playing chase or not. One spoke English and the rest just Dutch. While we were chatting, a neighbor came out and helped translate. I explained our situation and introduced my beasts and hoped that the girls were having fun and didn’t feel threatened. All was well in the ‘hood and no worries. I then explained how my little monster lost his Apple while hunting and inquired if any of the beauties had perhaps picked it up. They had seen him tormenting them with it, taking their pictures like paparazzi, but did not see him drop it. I said my thanks and told them if they happened to find it while running around the village, that we would be most thankful for its return and well, if it didn’t show up again, hopefully next time he will listen to his mother and be nice to girls and leave his Apple at home!!

We went on our way, retracing his tracks and no luck. The one fenced off field where I would have to climb over a fence to go where they shouldn’t have been, I skipped since CJ said he’d already looked there 3 times and it was filled with weeds, sticks, overgrown bushes and detritus. Since the sun was out, I didn’t want to stop looking even though he swore he left it on my desk!! We kept searching and no luck. But the house is clean!!

I locked up our castle for the night, closed the curtains and was preparing dinner. We were still feeling quite upset over the loss and lessons learned the hard way and all that good stuff, when the doorbell rang. Two little angels were standing there with smiles on their faces and presented us with a shiny, dewy and cold gift. They had found the golden Apple in the fenced off field where they all had been playing, and they came by to rescue my little monster prince from his forlorn state of misery and sadness!

And all was good again. Charlie paid the beauties each 5 euros from his Christmas money to thank and reward them for his valuable lesson and for their kindness. They smiled and waved and ran off together excited by all the goodness!

Phew… Thank God they’re all going back to school tomorrow! It’s been a long 3 weeks off and we’re all ready to get back in a routine again!!


Day 100

Day 100 – Today was a busy day. This is an image of my desk which captures a little bit of my messy little world. It has my new Dutch book, dreaming of my first trip to Hawaii, a few Dropjes, my paper organizer that I still love, my Stella & Dot clutch/purse that carries my wallet and essentials and can be easily transferred from tennis bag, to car, to school, etc., fun sunglasses, and lots of papers! But back to my busy day…

This morning I had my first dutch lesson with Ilse. Finding Ilse was such a cool story. I was playing tennis with a friend and I mentioned we were moving to Holland. She asked if I knew Ilse and that she taught Dutch. I told her I had met Ilse at our church and had seen her at school, and riding her bike all over town, but I didn’t know she spoke Dutch and hadn’t really talked with her much. But the next day I saw Ilse at the Kindergarten playground and reintroduced myself, explaining my story and now the rest is history. She agreed to tutor me and today was my first lesson. She came to my house for an hour+ and we chatted in Dutch while drinking tea and coffee. I learned the alphabet and dipthongs, and practiced asking questions and used lots of repetition. My brain really had to think and I loved learning something new, even though it was challenging. The other cool thing about Ilse, is that she introduced me to another woman who is also moving to Amsterdam with her husband and 4 kids. I love how our little world is so connected. My new friend and I met a couple weeks ago and introduced our kids and will hopefully be neighbors in Amstelveen soon. I love my friends and how we’re all connected.

While Ilse was hear tutoring me, the gardner came to remove our favorite tree that has been infested with a nasty bug called thrips. This made me really sad because I loved this tree. Is it weird to love a tree? But really – it had character and was architecturally beautiful with great “bones” and has been with us for 11 years. But the tree had been dying for the last several years. I have great memories of C climbing to the top and J finding a middle branch to sit in and read a book. It used to provide a great shade canopy over our patio for our many BBQs and potluck dinners, but recently it just provided shadows. With the tree gone, our patio is very bright and the yard looks so much bigger. I guess that’s a good thing.

J was home from school today with a fever and double ear infection. I’m thankful that I was easily able to bring her to the doctor and get antibiotics for her within a few hours. This is one worry I have moving to Holland – will we be able to have as good and quick health care there and will I be able to communicate with the health care professionals? I guess I better keep practicing my Dutch.

And the sun was shining brightly today, so little C was able to go out to baseball practice this evening. I’m hyper aware of the sun shining and that my son gets to play baseball and that he probably won’t get to play in Holland. I’m aware of the changes that are coming and I feel a bit melancholy, even though I want the changes that are to come, I don’t want them to get here too fast. In a way, it makes me enjoy what is even more. I like that.

At the dinner table tonight, we talked about our 100 days left in the states and what we want to do before we leave. We came up with 3 more plans: 1) Big C decided that he wants to have his birthday party be a movie and sleepover party. 2) Little C came up with a guest list for his Laser Quest party and 3) We decided and booked tickets to Colorado to see Jeff’s grandparents and family before we move. It was a lively discussion and felt good. But now I’m exhausted. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get to play tennis and “relax” a bit!!

Good night. Sweet dreams. Tot ziens! – A.