I’ve been hearing that October is coming for weeks now. Someone has been very excited and has been making plans for decorating our house for Halloween. He would probably start in September, but he knows I like to wait until the beginning of the month to begin celebrating any given holiday. He was well prepared and kept asking me when we could go up into the attic to get down the Halloween boxes and when we could go to the Spirit Halloween store.  He knew that this weekend was THE weekend and he had a plan.


I told him that we could go into the attic in the morning, after we had our coffee. Of course, as soon as his eyes had opened, he was asking if we had had our coffee yet. Have I told you that someone in our family is quite determined and a little planner?

Luckily he waited for us, however he couldn’t sit still and kept tapping the stick that pulls down the attic door. He was so excited that he was bouncing off the walls.

When we finally got up from the table and Jeff was ready to open the attic, he was asking if he could go up in the attic too. Jeff had the typical dad answer, which was “no,” until Charlie worked his magic. He informed us that he could do it now and that he was no longer 5.  He was now big and wanted to explore and to see what was up there and he had us convinced.  I loved watching him carefully climb up the ladder and grow up in that moment. He definitely is no longer 5 and I could literally see him growing up, right there. And the smile on his face showed all his success.

My no longer five year old, still loves the holidays and for this I am thankful. I received joy by watching him love the experience, tearing open the boxes once again with wonder and decorating our home.


I love that he is growing up before my eyes and that he still is my little boy.

Happy Fall, everyone!  I hope you enjoy October.


Happy Halloween!

This Halloween was different for me. My kids are growing up and our traditions have changed. I am aware.

We still had orange pumpkin pancakes for breakfast though.

<img src="https://hereiam123.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/img_1257.jpg" alt="IMG_1257.JPG" class="alignnone size-full” />

Our schedules are busier than ever now and we didn’t make time to carve pumpkins together as a family, so just Charlie and I carved alone this afternoon.


We didn’t do our annual dinner party and the kids split up, doing different things. My role handing out candy even changed.



I did enjoy our last Halloween parade at our local elementary school, even with the rain. This was bittersweet!



This Halloween made me aware of time passing and the kids getting older and how everything changes.

I am also remembering Taylor who was killed by a drunk driver on Halloween years ago and remembering Chase.

Hope you enjoyed giving away treats and/or receiving them tonight.


Halloween Fun

We are getting ready for Halloween.

Last night we celebrated at our elementary school with Halloween Happening. There were game booths, food booths and a pumpkin carving contest. This was our last year and it was fun to watch Charlie running free with his friends, being the oldest kid on campus. He didn’t even wear his costume this year. It’s normal and strange at the same time,watching your kids grow up and change.

We enjoyed seeing all the kids and being with friends. The best part of the night was when Juliana told Charlie that we were ready to leave and that he should use his remaining tickets to go buy some pizza. He had been busy just hanging out with his friends, that he didn’t end up using many of his tickets.  We didn’t actually know how many he had, until he showed up with 6 slices of pizza that shocked all of us.

Tonight we continued our Halloween celebration at our church where we participated in a Trunk or Treat event, where families decorated their trunks and handed out candy to kids in a safe environment.  We had fun decorating our trunk, handing out candy and seeing our friends and meeting new families.




It reminded us of our time trunk or treating in Holland two years ago. It’s so hard to believe that was already 2 years ago. Juliana had fun volunteering and working with her friends. Charlie loved running free and collecting candy.  It rained in the middle of the event, but we didn’t mind and were thankful that our trunk door provided some shelter.  I don’t the rain scared away many goblins. The kids were adorable and there were so many Frozen princess costumes tonight.

I love Halloween and all the costumes, imagination, and festivities and candy. Can’t wait until next week.

Hope you have a Happy Halloween!!

It’s Halloween!

I’m all about living in the moment, but I have to tell you, I’m glad this moment is over. This was one long moment. It started again at 5:45 am with a morning visitor, so excited that it was Halloween TODAY! And we had to know about it before the crack of dawn, just in case we forgot. I mean, we’ve been preparing for this moment since mid September, but were able to put off the minions and Scream character until October 1st – a more meaningful time to begin the anticipation and countdown until the BIG day, today!

Charlie was outside this morning setting up his graveyard in the grass to make our house more spooky. He had his costume packed to take with him to school for the afternoon costume parade and was filled with excitement all day.

I enjoyed the parade, seeing all the children dressed up with their teachers and parents and family witnessing the annual event in the hot autumn sunshine.

The little ones were my favorite. They still had cute and innocent costumes whereas the big kids were dressed in more spooky attire.

I spent the day getting ready for our annual Halloween dinner party. When the kids were little, we began hosting a dinner for all the neighbors so that not everyone had to cook and clean on Halloween night and we could celebrate together in out little community.

It was a fun way to start the celebration.


We’d gather at our house and then the kids would go out with their friends to collect treats with an adult or two.


I typically stay back and hand out candy and visit with whichever friends feel like staying. Tonight was no different. But this year, Jeff took the Beerfiets (also known as our Dutch Bike) to hand out adult treats along the way.


I think everyone had a great Halloween! I know I did… and now this mama is ready to rest. Just for a moment.

Happy Halloween!!



Halloween Homework

Charlie loves Halloween. So much so that he came in our room at 5:45 am this morning to tell us how excited he was that tomorrow is Halloween. I think we could have waited for that news, and probably could have told him that ourselves at a more decent hour!!

He has been planning all the details and knows what time I should pick him up from school tomorrow so he can fix up his graveyard out in our front yard. He had it all set up already on Sunday, but since the sprinklers would have disintegrated the cardboard construction, we convinced him to take them down until tomorrow. He’s been dreaming of it and telling us all about it for days. I think I’m excited for Halloween now too.

I have to appreciate his excitement, tenacity and focus. And so when the costume box came down from the attic tonight during math homework time, we allowed some flexibility and channelled Ben Franklin hoping for some inspiration and fun memories!!

Life is good and only one more sleep until Halloween and all the candy!! I can’t wait!!

Halloween Happening


Halloween is next week and tonight we began celebrating at our elementary school with our annual Halloween Happening event. Juliana dressed up as a minion with her girlfriends from Despicable Me 2 and they volunteered by face painting. Charlie changed in and out of his Halloween Scream costume. This is the first year I caved and let him be something that scares me.

Here are some pictures from our Halloween event, playing games, volunteering, friends and bake sale items.



20131025-222625.jpgBest costume of the night.





Happy Halloween!

Halloween Homework Club

ThIs afternoon I picked up the bike pool (like a carpool but on the bike) from school to bring our friends to our house for homework club.

We had three kids and their heavy backpacks in the front and Charlie on the back with a helmet and me pedaling. I wish I would have had someone take a picture. I felt like a bike taxi or a tuk-tuk, with the kids all giggling and wanting me to go faster and slower.

I had the table set with Halloween plates and cookies and grapes and drinks for when they all arrived.

They sat down at the table for a snack, followed by an hour’s worth of homework, with a few minor interruptions, but for the most part they stayed focused and worked together and independently, asking questions of one another and sharing stories. I loved being a part of their little circle, observing how smart they each are. I was impressed that they still had the discipline to sit still and work after a full day’s worth of school.

Afterwards we all went outside to play and get some sunshine. Aren’t these flowers beautiful?


They had a Nerf gun war, running and chasing and hiding, ducking, and dropping to avoid being hit. They climbed fences and ran around cars and came up with strategies. Kids are so creative and I love arching them interact and be outdoors playing.

They also played with Charlie’s new trash can figures that I don’t understand, but are all the rage in his mind. He bought them with a gift card he received for his birthday from Toys at Us. I’m trying to help him learn the value of a dollar and how to make choices with his money.

I like our neighborhood gang! They are great kids, all with such unique personalities.

Do your kids play in your neighborhood? What do they like to do?

Day 75: Rituals

Do you have any favorite rituals? Usually when I try to make something a ritual, I get bored and change it. Maybe change is my ritual. Although my favorite ritual is Jeff making me coffee in the morning. However, I’ve been getting up before him and really want coffee right away, so I’ve been making my own coffee.  See? There’s that change again. 

I’ve been thinking that I need a new morning ritual. My mom used to exercise, have dinner planned, sometimes prepared and cooked, and the house clean, and she was showered with her lipstick on before 10 am.  She was ready to go on with her day, whatever that looked like.  How did she do IT? I know how – she was and IS super organized and is not a procrastinator and doesn’t have ADD!  She also knows how to prioritize and doesn’t waste time on email or Facebook! I want to be like her when I grow up. 🙂

I was trying to think about what I actually want to do in the morning before the craziness of the day begins.  Of course, my list is a 100+ things long. So I started last night by actually going to bed before midnight so that I could get up comfortably and easily in the morning.  I decided that I’d get up at 6 am, do a few yoga stretches, drink a glass of water and then make my coffee – all before anyone else got up. And guess what? I did it this morning and it was a great start to the day. I’m going to try this one again tomorrow.  I’m also going to plan what to make for dinner first thing in the morning or the night before. (Want to know what’s for dinner tomorrow?  A baked pasta dish, as requested by my regular diners.  That was easy. And for exercise? A tennis lesson tomorrow.)  So simple, right?

Speaking of rituals, blogging has become a ritual. I have posted 200 posts – that means I’ve been writing every day for more than have a year. That’s crazy to me. I actually enjoy the process of writing at the end of the day. It’s sort of relaxing when I’m not trying to figure out what to share. But.. I’m considering changing this too. I don’t want my story to become stale, and I wonder if it’s starting to get boring, me talking every day. Maybe I’ll start counting my weeks or counting by 5’s. We’ll see. Thanks for following along with me on this crazy, journey. 

Tell me – what is your favorite [daily/Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/Birthday] ritual?  I’m curious…


A Halloween Ritual from Last Year


Day 69: Orange and Halloween

There are so many good things about the color orange:

It’s a happy color.

It’s warm.

It’s the color of the sun – at least in my drawings!

It’s bright and cheerful.

It’s the color of Holland and part of my nationality.

It’s one of my favorite colors (today).

It represents the changing of the seasons  – fall and holidays.

And it makes me think of Halloween! I love Halloween. And today, my other family sent us a care package filled with Halloween goodies that made us all so happy!! It was filled with candy and decorations and magazines and even our California mail!


I still have the best wife ever!! 😉 Thank you for making our day and spoiling us, April!! I wish you could have seen the kids’ faces. We love Halloween and we didn’t pack any of our holiday decor and I was starting to feel a little sad about that. Halloween isn’t celebrated in Holland, although the Americans at the school are putting on a Halloween event – nothing like Halloween Happening, I’m sure!  But at least we’ll get a taste of tricks and treats. Charlie wants to be a leprechaun!! I don’t know why, but that just makes me laugh! Wish me luck in pulling off that costume!

Back to colors – what is your favorite color?


I mentioned that mine is orange, and sometimes blue, oh, and purple and red too. But today – Orange.  Today, I looked through my closet and found these orange pieces – I have to wear these more often because they make me feel happy. I tend to wear black and neutrals, and workout clothes. I need to change this and dress it up a bit! I love to wear my orange Stella & Dot Olivia necklace – it’s my favorite piece from the Fall Collection.  Yes, I still love my Stella & Dot and wear it all over Holland. Hup, Holland!  

So what’s hanging in your closet? Are you shining in your favorite?