My Little Sunnyvale

IMG_6202I live in a nice, semi-little town of 147,055 people.  After all, it’s called Sunnyvale, which conjures up great images of a sunny little town, doesn’t it? It fits my personality and I love living here for so many reasons.

It’s not fancy and it’s not pretentious. It’s the Heart of Silicon Valley and things work really well here.  The city streets are nicely laid out and it’s easy to get around the 24 square miles that make up this city, even at rush hour. There are beautiful parks and public tennis courts and golf courses, a library, and a quaint, little downtown. If you need emergency assistance, help is on it’s way literally within minutes.  The CalTrain runs through the downtown and connects all the cities up and down the South Bay, Peninsula and into San Francisco.  There is a lot of growth happening around the city and hopefully one day our downtown will be completely revitalized. We’ve been waiting for over 10 years for them to finish the project and hopefully the lawyers finally figure out how to call a truce and get on with things that are long past due.

We have great community sports teams, schools, churches, theaters, public services and places to shop.  We have great diversity, with 26 different languages spoken at home from our elementary school students.

I love my neighbors and knowing that we all support one another and watch out for each others’ kids. We carpool together and have potluck dinners and our kids play in the park together.  We work together to teach our kids right from wrong and support one another when there are disagreements. We tailgate together at Stanford Football games and go to each others’ kids events.  We share stories and learn from each other, because there isn’t a parenting manual and usually our friends know best or have been there, done that, or going through it right now too. I love that we’re going through this life journey together.

In the heart of Silicon Valley, there are still good old fashioned families like ours, who love being home and hanging out and BBQing, volunteering in our schools and in our community, and driving kids to and from their various events.

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The parents enjoy chatting with each other and catching up on the field, on the courts and at the school events, and even waving as we pass each other.  Even though we’re busy, we still make time to connect and help one another, and for this I am thankful.

I am thankful for all the moms and dads who share the journey with me and help me to raise my kids. Like the dad who brought Charlie home from practice tonight and came in my kitchen to discuss whether we should let our boys bike to practice or not. I enjoyed the discussion and sharing ideas about whether this was a good idea or not. I liked that we listened to each other and decided to wait giving them this freedom and to continue carpooling to protect their safety.  I love that Juliana went to a friend’s house to bake cookies for another friend’s birthday today. And I love that Christian got a ride home from a friend after his practice.

I am thankful for the public schools and the teachers and administrators who are very passionate and willing to help teach our kids and go the extra mile, even sponsoring and chaperoning trips to Japan! How cool is this?

I love that Sunnyvale is our home and that we have built a foundation here, filled with love, neighbors and a community of friends who I enjoy seeing and running into across town everyday.

What do you love about your community and where you live? What part do you contribute to making your town great?

I hope you had a good day and are living it up, right now, right where you are.  Are you??  😉

Big Sur

I love California and feel refreshed and relaxed being outdoors and soaking in the sunshine and natural beauty, especially when we are near the ocean.

Today we explored the coast and the majesty of Big Sur. We stopped at Nepenthe to see what everyone was talking about and it didn’t disappoint.

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I just thought I’d share some moments from the day.

We enjoyed watching the fog roll in and watching the sun set. It’s the simple things, really that make life great.

Life is good. Be well, BeLoveRs.

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Fall

I sent the kids out to capture some photos that represented fall to them that I could use for my blog tonight, while I was busy preparing dinner and working in the kitchen.

I loved that the two younger ones were up for the challenge and loved all their selfies that came along with the fall foliage shots.

Happy first day of Fall! It’s a time for new beginnings and do-overs and to rest before the craziness of the holiday season is upon us!! I hope the rain comes soon too, to fill our lakes and reservoirs and end the California drought. Namaste.

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California Staycation

California is one of my favorite places and I love living here. Today we decided to be tourists of San Francisco. The kids had never been to Alcatraz and we had never been to Angel Island before. We got up early like it was a school day and packed a picnic lunch. We left the house by 7:45 am in time to drive up to the city and find parking before arriving for our 9:30 am departure.

It was very cold and even with our multiple layers we were still freezing. When it wasn’t windy, we felt fine and when the sun eventually peeked out, we were quite comfortable.

Here are some pictures from our Staycation.

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Being in Alcatraz and listening to the stories while walking through the prison cells and hallways made me thankful for my freedom. It made me wonder why and how some people become so hardened and can hate life so much that they don’t want to follow the rules and will accept the loss of their freedom in exchange for their choice of rejecting societal norms.

Some people may not have the ability to weigh the pros and cons of their choices and be able to look past the current moment to see that they might end up in a worse place if they choose to act in a certain way. The human mind fascinates me.

Seeing the small cells where men lived and hearing how the space became part of them was so surreal.
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The solitary confinement units where the worst of the worst inmates were placed in the dark for 24 hours at a time would make most people go insane. Hearing the audio tour as you walk through the exhibits really makes you feel and experience what it might have been like before 1963 when the last inmate was released from Alcatraz.

It’s actually a beautiful place to visit and to take in another view of the city from the water.

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From Alcatraz, we took another ferry over to Angel Island. The sun was out by now and it was a beautiful journey. We ate our picnic lunch from the boat deck and enjoyed watching all the sailboats sail by. Once we arrived at Angel Island, we took a tram ride around the island that lasted one hour.

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It turned out to be a perfect day of sunshine. We all loved the island and hope to come back and rent bikes one day and tour around again and explore this gorgeous place. We took a ferry back to San Francisco and finished our day with a walk to the Ferry Building. From there we started to head back to our car and discovered the stairway to Coit Tower. Even though we were tired, we still rallied and hiked the 400+ steps to the top because I was curious and wanted to try something new. More beauty was experienced and I was thankful that we all made it despite a few grumblings. I kept telling my kids that we didn’t have any wimps in our family and I guess they believed me!

My phone battery had died by the time we got to the steps so I was unable to take anymore pictures. Jeff took this one of me playing in this flower tree that made me smile.

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There was a beautiful secret garden we discovered, quaint little homes and a cute black cat. The Filbert steps are definitely worth taking if you ever have the chance .

We are definitely tired now after more than walking 19,000+ steps, but in a good way.

I love San Francisco and life is good!

California Sunshine

Today Cami and Corby posted that the sun was shining in Amsterdam and everyone was out enjoying the nice weather in March. Because the sun doesn’t shine as often as most would like, when it does shine, it’s a big deal and people don’t want to miss it. They want to be outside and enjoy the gift while it lasts. There is a scarcity to the sunshine and thus the value seems much higher or maybe more appreciated to those in Amsterdam than to those in California where the sun shines almost daily.

Having lived in Holland, I now really appreciate the sunshine we receive and I’m grateful. For example, this morning I went outside at 7am to get the newspaper and the sun was rising. I took a moment to feel it’s warmth on my face and stretched before heading back inside.

Jeff and I went for a walk around the block, with our 2nd cup of coffee after Charlie’s basketball game, and enjoyed the sunshine again before heading back indoors. I noticed the tulips blooming in the neighbors yard and smelled the blossoms on the trees.
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Spring is in the air.

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In fact, tonight is daylight savings and we spring the clocks forward to gain an extra hour of sunlight. I am ecstatic! I love the long days of spring and summer and feel so much happier in the light. I don’t mind losing an hour of sleep and look forward to the longer, warmer days.

Life is good!

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California girl in her flip flops on her Dutch bike after riding home from Starbucks.