4 years ago today we moved to Amsterdam,with fear and excitement in our hearts. This was what prompted me to begin blogging and I have been enjoying sharing my days here for more than 4 years now.
Today we drove back from Southern California to our home in Northern California. It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye. We had a great vacation with family and wish we lived closer to each other.
Do you live close to your family? Would you choose to live close to your family if you could? I would, even though I am happy where I am.
I am happy that we got to celebrate Charlie’s birthday today with family, doing what he loves and feeling his joy of being an almost teenager.
We enjoyed donuts for breakfast, bowled in the afternoon, made pizzas for dinner and ate red velvet cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes for dessert.
Life is sweet! Today was good. Sending blessings of peace to you and your family, and especially to those in Munich today.
Happy Birthday, Charlie. You are loved! xo
We went outside to wave goodbye to our family, leaving us tonight to return home to England. We wish them a safe and uneventful flight, after a 5 hour delay.
I looked up to catch this beautiful, cloud-filled, dark sky before heading back inside.
Good night. It’s been a long and beautiful day.
I’ve been thinking about opinions lately.
In my family, we have lots of opinions and strong feelings and ideas. We are not afraid to share them and debate them and argue our sides. We are passionate and rather confident with what we each believe, which is healthy and great, but having lots of opinions can sometimes and most times, conflict and bounce against each other creating friction and tension.
I’m not even talking about philosophical opinions. Just basic and strong opinions, like which way the toilet paper roll should hang, or whether we should go for a hike. Sometimes they are over where people should sit. I mean these are really important things to feel strongly about and to discuss and debate, am I right?
The last couple of times I’ve been home, I’ve been practicing having less opinions and listening more than talking. Can I just tell you how much peace I experienced? Maybe I even offered peace to others through my stillness and acceptance of what was and by not reacting to opinions that were different than mine. I actually enjoyed listening to the debates and not partaking in the conversation, except as a listener, smiling and nodding. I didn’t feel any tension or stress and this was an A-HA moment. I let people be and didn’t try to move the ocean current of debate in any particular direction. I was just present.
I thought about the Girls’ trips I’ve been on and how much joy I experienced in this type of setting. One of the reasons why I love them so much, is because everyone just goes with the flow and the opinions about what to eat, where to go and what to do are carefree and easy and there is usually immediate group consensus without conflict. An A-HA connection! Our opinions are in alignment, almost immediately.
Now I’m not advocating being boring and a bump on a log without any feelings or expressions. I’m just wondering if we practice being a little bit more accepting and flowing with other people’s opinions without feeling as strongly about our own or thinking that they are wrong, that we might swirl our ideas together like dance partners and just enjoy being in the moments together a little longer, in sync. We might just celebrate our gifts versus our gaps. Just sayin’
Well, that’s just my opinion. 😉
We bought new board games this break and played together. This made me very happy! I loved watching the cousins play together at my parent’s house and I loved playing at my house too.
I absolutely love playing games and am so quietly competitive and have been my entire life. I silently laugh when I win and beat my kids and husband. That seems like such a bad trait, yet at least I’m good at something!
My favorite question tonight that my family had to answer for me, wondering what my opinion would be was, “if I could be the best in the world at something, what would I choose?”
What would you choose? What would you want to be the best at?
I thought about my answer while they wrote down their thoughts. I was happy with their ideas on what I might think I’d like to be the best at. They chose: teaching happiness, soccer, and wife/family woman.
They made me smile. I had to pick from their ideas and I chose wife/family woman as my top pick.
I am a wife and family woman and those roles make up my primary identity.
My choice was to be the best me I can be. Here I am.
Of course I picked the philosophical question – next time I’ll pick “what would be the weirdest job” and stump them! 🙂
Happy New Year. Don’t forget to play!
I still love the Christmas and Holiday card sharing tradition, even though we have social media and instant updates. Do you?
Do you send cards? Do you enjoy receiving cards? I do. I do.
I absolutely love this tradition and love it even more now that Juliana has been helping me. We have a Google Doc that we update every year keeping our addresses current and I love how organized the process has become. She likes to hand write the addresses and stuffs the cards inside the envelopes for me. She keeps them in alphabetical order and has them ready for me to see and touch, stamp and seal.
As I touch each card, I spend a moment thinking of the person or family that the card is going to and reflect on our relationship and connection and say a prayer for them. It’s a little sacred moment that I truly enjoy.
Thank you for your cards, thoughts and well wishes – whether digitally or physically. I love the anticipation of waiting for the cards to arrive each day and seeing and opening your cards. The kids know how much I love this and even though they want to open them, they wait for me to do it and watch. We hang them up on our kitchen wall so that we can all enjoy the lovely faces and friendships and recall stories of how we know one another. I love seeing how families grow up and change so magically from year to year.
Wishing you love and light and a Merry Christmas in only 5 more days.
Today I read a post on Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg that caught my interest.
He and his wife are expecting their first baby and he is planning on taking two months off from work to be with his child. I cheered out loud! Yes!! Yes!! Yes!!
He stated that this is a personal decision and that research shows that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.
Imagine that? When parents, especially dads, decide to invest their time in family bonding and learning and growing together from the very beginning, the outcomes are better. Isn’t that a great plan? I love that he’s able to and is making his family a priority.
Facebook offers their US employees up to 4 months of paid maternity or paternity leave which they can take throughout the year. I hope that he is a leader in corporate America and that other companies follow his lead.
Tonight Juliana and I were walking in Campbell and we saw a big, hunky guy sitting outside Starbucks by himself, except he was pushing a stroller back and forth. This made us both smile and warmed my heart. I loved this picture of a good looking guy, relaxing and pushing a stroller. This was another great image to me. I hope this guy becomes a role model for other men.
I think Mark’s story and seeing the guy with the stroller touched me because I love that men are caring about their wives and children this way. It makes me feel like they are interested in building their family foundation and legacy and this is valuable to me and to American society.
I love this way of thinking. Cheers to participative fathers!
I love surprises and unexpected attention.
Tonight I was sitting at my computer around 10 pm and Juliana was getting ready for bed. She came to me with a really hot wash cloth that had been warmed in the microwave to wash my face. She knows how much I love this ritual and how I don’t usually take the time to care for my skin the way I should. I’ve taught her to wash her face, but I don’t do such a good job of modeling this behavior. When I do heat up a wash cloth and put it on my face, it brings such great and simple joy and I melt into the comfort of the moment of the warmth, taking my breathe away.
When she unexpectedly brought me this gift tonight for no reason other than she loves me, I felt like it was my birthday. I felt cherished and was so happy that she surprised me and took care of me, knowing how much I would appreciate this simple gesture. She knows I’m tired and she took a moment to connect and to pamper me before going off to her room.
Thank you, Juliana. I’m the luckiest mama!
If you’ve never heated up a wet washcloth in the microwave and enjoyed the steam on your face, you’ll want to try it. I think you’ll love it too.
Wishing you love and sweet, simple, connections and comforts.
I want to use a swear word, but I’ll hold myself back.
Stuff happens all the time and we don’t always like it or know what to do with it, especially the stuff we didn’t choose to happen.
We tend to focus on the good stuff and we seem to know what to do with that. But what about the bad stuff? How do we know how to go on again and reclaim our future and redefine our new path and accept that it’s ok to move on from here?
It’s hard to know.
It’s coming up on the one year anniversary that Chase died and we’re feeling it. We’re not really sure what to do with the feelings and there are no simple solutions or one size, fits all remedy. We want to reach out and connect and console one another and talk about it, and it hurts. We want to offer comfort and care, and we’re not sure how best to do it. We want to give gifts and be together and share our stories and hear each other. Maybe we just have to be.
I lit a candle and said a prayer. I called and texted loved ones. All throughout the days, while I’m working and driving and thinking, I am sitting with and feeling the sadness and loss more so again this week and am trying to accept it. I wonder when the acceptance phase kicks in.
We don’t have all the answers.
To all who are hurting, I wish you love and peace and hope to carry on.
We love you Chase and miss you.
This is love.
I love this girl with all my heart. She is my soul sister and BFF.
It’s so nice to go through life with her as my passenger. I love the way she thinks and talks and laughs. I love being near her and feeling her presence and I’m so proud of her.
Today we didn’t have a plan and it was a perfect day. We got up early and had our coffee together. We ate a little breakfast and then decided to visit my happy place for a hike without the kids. Exercising together is the perfect way to start a day.
When we were done, we shopped together for lunch and dinner. We took the kids to the pool and enjoyed watching them enjoy one another.
Later, the little one danced and the next youngest played the drums, while we worked the kitchen.
It was a perfectly unplanned day and I loved it! I love her and am so glad she’s still here with me.
Life is good!! Who are your favorite peeps to be free with?