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!
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.
What made you happy today?
I love the little things.
Today Jeff helped me to fix my fountain. My fountain tends to get clogged and hasn’t been working forever. I asked Jeff to fix it with me today and he did. We got the shopvac out and vacuumed out the dirt and leaves. We washed the filter screen and reassembled the parts and then filled the fountain with water to test it. The best part was that Jeff stayed calm throughout the process, which was a miracle!! He hates hassles and he didn’t complain, which made me as happy as the fountain working.
This made me so happy! I love that my fountain is working again and the sound of water fills my yard.
We enjoyed the rest of our steakation, sitting on our outdoor sectional couch and planning to go to the new Whole Foods to get delicious, juicy steaks to grill out for dinner.
We had to try the Mochi ice creams before dinner, because it’s summer time and we can have dessert before a late dinner.
Life is good!
I hope you’re enjoying your weekend!
What was your favorite part of the day?
My favorite part of the day was when all 10 of us were in the pool at the same time. All the cousins and aunties and uncle were together in the water and this made me happy.
I didn’t take a single picture today and that is rare for me, especially with so many fun moments.
By not taking pictures and not being on my phone, I felt more fully present.
At dinner tonight, we all agreed to leave our phones down and it made a big difference to the experience. I know this should be obvious, but it’s not in my family, and I enjoyed us all being in the moment together with limited interruptions.
Life is good. Keep on loving each other and lifting each other up. I hope you had a good day.
I didn’t take any pictures today, although there were some beautiful sites along our journey.
Today I am thankful for my sisters who welcomed us home and made us a wonderful dinner with literally an hour’s notice of our arrival. Jeff just returned from Europe and is jet lagged and I’ve been a a working, solo parent for the past week plus. We were both too exhausted to think and they did the thinking, planning, shopping, prepping and cooking dinner for us and this gift was priceless and much enjoyed.
It’s great to be loved! Thanks, sisters!!
How was your day? Did anyone spoil you? Did you spoil anyone?
Life is good.
Today I decided to go up to San Francisco for the day. 2 of the 3 kids decided they wanted to join, and the last one came anyway, wishing he had more of a say in the decision.
Only 25 days into summer and I’ve finally got the hang of this work/life/mothering teens/summer staycation thing (at least in this moment.) It helps that I work with a really cool team and don’t mind waking up super early to get my work done first thing in the morning before the kids get up.
While being in SF, I liked being in a global city in our own backyard where people gather from all over the world. I loved seeing people walking around with their suitcases trailing behind them, which reminded me of our expat life and monthly travels. I loved seeing the tall Dutch women, exchanging dollar bills and the other traveling tourists and interesting characters. My only objective was to walk around and explore and people watch and the city didn’t disappoint. One of us wanted to seek out a bubble tea shop, while another wanted to see the Japanese tea gardens and a magic shop near Golden Gate park, and another of us wanted to see where the Bison Paddock was. Having these destination points helped to guide our journey.
April gave me another idea of exploring the painted tile steps, which is something we hadn’t seen before and as we were driving through the West Portal, we realized they were close by and on the way to Golden Gate Park. Some of us wanted to stop, while others wanted to stick with the original plan. We practiced the art of negotiation and being kind to each other as we discussed our strong opinions in a small, confined space. I like to wander and flow with what we discover, as we discover it and not wait for another day. Luckily they all finally agreed to make me happy, which actually made them happy too.
We also got to visit the desired bubble tea location, saw the Bison roaming, and walked outside the Japanese tea garden, but when we got to the magic shop, it was unfortunately closed this week for the 4th holiday week. Overall, it was a great and cold day to be in the city.
Life is beautiful!
This staycation keeps getting better! Who says you need to travel far to enjoy summer vacation? I still want to go away, but not just yet.
These two sawed pieces of scrap wood and practiced writing with their new wood burning tool, while I worked from home. I had to come see their work and play a little too. This was fun!! Charlie painted a sign for his room and Juliana did the lettering for him.
Charlie was craving Vietnamese pho for dinner and Christian wanted Korean BBQ. I told my international kids we could cook together instead of going out and save some money. I had them chopping and dicing and we prepared a bit of both, and stopped at the Korean market to buy a few side dishes to go with our homemade meal, that we enjoyed out on our patio.
The cool thing about this staycation thing is that the days and nights are long!! We are not in a rush and the crazy thing is that when you’re not rushing, time slows down and we seem to have more time to do all the things we wish to do. It’s really ironic what you can learn when you slow down.
What did you enjoy today? How is your summer going and are you enjoying your moment?
Life is good.
These are the words that I repeat daily in my mind and out loud with my family.
Today my husband said the words, as if they were his original thoughts. This is a huge compliment. They stuck and mean something to him too and I loved this moment.
I sometimes have a tendency to focus on the gaps, the little things that frustrate me, instead of the gifts that my family bring to my life. I want to stay in the space of creating connections and happiness and seeing the gifted moments and living happily ever after, day by day. When I focus on the gaps, I get stuck in a negative place and I don’t like that. So this is a daily practice to overlook the gaps, to let go, and to get back to joy as quickly as possible.
When my kids are arguing with each other, I ask them if they are creating connections or conflict with one another and if they don’t answer with connections, I ask them what they can do to create a connection instead of a conflict. It empowers them to choose and to take ownership of their actions and to focus on creating peace, just as soon as possible. Our goal is to create happiness and to take care of each other, all the time.
This is how we find and create happiness day by day.
We get to choose every day!!
What will you choose tomorrow?
Yosemite is a majestic place that takes your breathe away! I love being here and feeling so small compared to the huge mountains, tall trees, granite walls and rushing waterfalls. Life is beautiful.
First time skiing together
My big baby!
Love the light
Horsetail Falls right before sunset
Today was exhilarating. I am happy and exhausted.
Hope you had a good day!