Family Practice

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!

nAMaste, BeLoveRs.

Have a good week!  xoxo


Playing and Exploring at Stanford

Here I am. There You are!! How are you? I hope you’re enjoying the last few days of 2015.

Here I am, playing and exploring and relaxing with my family this afternoon on the Stanford campus, downtown Palo Alto and at home sweet home.  I want to share with you some of the beautiful and fun things we discovered while wandering and exploring and geocaching.

The oval.

   Gorgeous light on a naked tree in a green field.   

  Exploring the new arts building.

Gorgeous planters around campus.  
Exercise as play.   
  Charlie found the smallest geocache ever and was so proud and excited! 

  Playing with shapes. 
Hoover Tower as the sun went down.

Playing together at home.

Life is good.

Happy almost New Year. Wishing you lots of love and peace!


The Best Kind of Day

My sister and my niece came to visit us this weekend and this was my (welcome) sign. It was a play on words that included them with me to create the we and the plural of Here I Am. I loved this very thought from before they even arrived. I sat on my porch last night, waiting and anticipating their arrival with excitement.  

I love being in their presence and when we are together, it doesn’t matter what we do. I feel comfortable and content and truly myself and I have no agenda except to soak in all their love and share it back with them, doing everything and nothing. Seriously. 

These are the best kind of days. We just flowed in and out, together and with the kids, and alone and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  We were up early and shared coffee and breakfast. We took the kids where they needed to go. We rested and read and fed the kids and shopped. We watched Charlie’s soccer game and made friends. We cooked dinner together and cleaned up together. We laughed and teased each other and shared stories of our lives, the ones we don’t find the time to share over brief, interrupted phone calls and texts. 

There’s no substitute for face to face time. I got to hug her and really see her and share in the joys of our kids playing together and loving one another and growing up together.
I am thankful that she chose to come visit (me) us and took the time  to make love grow. 

Here We Are. 

Word Art

I love word art and gravitate towards it everywhere I go. I have a few pieces hanging around my house and love seeing the little reminders.

I saw this piece in a furniture shop this afternoon and loved it.  It says, “While we try to teach our children about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

I think of my family sort of like roommates. We all coexist in this small space and we all share and learn and grow and work together to coexist mostly peacefully. Sometimes we are leaders and sometimes we are followers. Sometimes I am the teacher and other times they are. I am always open to their opinions and ways of doing things and try to not get stuck in just my way.

I love learning from my kids and my husband. Today I watched, well actually listened, to the two little ones baking together. I loved how they collaborated and and came up with what to bake and how to bake colorful cupcakes with fancy rainbow designs. I stay out of their way and listen and direct ever so gently when redirection is necessary maybe 2% of the time. Otherwise, they are all on their own and they work well together, from the planning and shopping, to the baking, decorating and even the clean up. My goal is to raise independent thinkers and little kind and compassionate humans and I think they are doing a great job.  I love that I get to be a mentor and witness to their development and that they are mine.  I listen to how they treat each other and am aware of their interactions. I love being a part of their lives, even just listening and observing and learning and loving them being who they are.  They are great people and I am thankful that I get to learn from them every day – how to be kind and patient and loving and cooperative and to finish things. They’ve got this!

How do you enjoy your family? What do your kids teach you?



Chase Varney

Tomorrow we will celebrate the life of Chase Varney, who is one of our family

Click here to read about Chase: Chase’s Legacy

Today we skipped school and sports and drove 6 hours to be with family, so that we could be together and be ready for tomorrow morning.

We have felt lots of stress and anxiety and fear this week, as well as love and uncertainty. We’ve laughed and cried, sat silently and yelled, missed assignments and appointments and forgot the ice cream in the car. We are a mess.

Losing Chase has affected so many, from friends to loved ones, and to those who didn’t even know him. We are filled with sorrow. With his passing, we are keenly aware that life is uncertain, unpredictable, and unfair, even when you do what’s right. This is not comforting and yet it’s raw and real and we are vulnerable. There are no guarantees, which is why we try to live life to the fullest with love and laughter every day.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Chase and hold on to each other for comfort, as we navigate the next steps that are to come.

Godspeed, Chase. We love and miss you so much and we wish your family the strength to carry on.


The Family Dinner

I LOVE the family dinner. I fight for this time and try to do whatever I can to make this a nightly routine, despite our hectic schedules. It doesn’t always work out and then I resort to the family breakfast, but that’s even more chaotic at 6:45 a.m.

Right now I’m holding on and don’t want to let go. I want us all together, in our safe little cocoon, together for the 15 -30 minutes that it lasts. I value this time of us all being together, doing the same thing at the same time. That is peaceful to me.

I skipped volunteering this afternoon so that I could have dinner cooked and prepared for when we all got home from our activities, as we had a full day. I had plastic, reusable containers filled with Mexican food ready to take out of the refrigerator and reheat when we could gather again.  While the food was warming, we worked together to set the table and fill drink glasses, and finished washing the pots and pans and emptying the dishwasher – multitasking and checking off the chore list before the next round of work began and doing it together.

We all assembled our plates and brought them to the table and then we held hands in a circle across the table and said a brief prayer. We were connected. We stood still and held each other for 30 seconds, while we expressed gratitude for all that is good and for healing for all that is bad.  We shared a few stories, a few laughs, a few disciplinary recommendations, and enjoyed each other and the comfort that the food and family time provided.

I chose to be late to my meeting, so that I could sit around the table with the most important people in my life. I am choosing to be present and to not be busy, even when I am.

We need to slow down and be present, even when it feels like we can’t.

Make the time, BeLoveRs. How will you choose to slow down and enjoy your loved ones this week?


I am thankful

Wedding on a Golf Course


California is such a big place. Yesterday we were celebrating a wedding on the beach in Santa Cruz and today we drove 3 hours to Auburn, to celebrate another family union on a beautiful golf course under a huge, old, oak tree.

I loved seeing more of my cousins and my aunts tonight and being a witness to love. I am a big sap and love wedding vows and all they stand for. I love that family and friends came together to be part of something wonderful.

The wedding ceremony was one of the shortest I’ve heard in a long time. Short but sweet.

We went inside the reception hall and had drinks and fruit while we waited for the wedding party to take pictures. The DJ announced the wedding party as they came in the hall and everyone cheered for them. Then a dinner buffet was served and table by table was excused to go through the dinner line to fill their plates with BBQ chicken, beef, corn on the cobb, pasta, Caesar salad and rolls.

Toasts were shared by the wedding party, honoring their relationships with the bride and groom. Next came the first dance and honorary dances with loved ones that made me cry.

In between we snuck away to take pictures in the photo booth.

Feels like we just did this!! Oh yeah, we did! But fun, nevertheless.

Cake was served and more dancing fun happened. And then it was time for hugs and goodbyes and dreams of getting together again sooner than later.

Another full day is done. I’d say it was a good one!