Simplicity

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

  
 

I am so happy to be home. We had a great, family vacation in Yosemite and I’m still smiling. However, after spending 3 nights in a small hotel room with five of us plus snow gear, suitcases, coolers and visitors, I am really appreciating being back home in our own space and am ready to sleep in our own beds in our own rooms again.  It’s the little things…

It’s Sunday once more. I hope you enjoyed your family today and got to rest before the week begins again tomorrow. Wishing you well… have a great week!

 xo Adriana

 

 

Home Again 

I love California and am happy to be home again.

I love the cool air coming through the open windows. 

I love the light and sunshine that radiates.

I loved sleeping in my own bed again and waking up to coffee already made when the timer went off.

I loved taking things slowly today, catching up with loads and loads of laundry and talking with friends and family.

I enjoyed easily knowing where to go to get groceries and bubble teas to make everyone happy.

I loved seeing the kids hanging out with their friends and being outside and bringing them snacks.

  
I love traveling and I love coming home and appreciate this wonderfully, perfectly,  imperfect life.

Life is good.

Movie Night

Tonight we are all snuggled in together and watching a movie.

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I love that we’re all home and just doing nothing but sitting in the same room.

It sometimes takes going away to appreciate the simplicity and comforts of home.

Life is good.

How do you like spending your vacation time?

We have another week off from school and I’m curious what we’ll do next, as we don’t have any definite plans. I think most of us are tired from being in the car all week, but who knows where our dreams will take us.

I hope you enjoy this last week of the year and I wish you enough.

Namaste.

Comfort Food

Today I made a big pot of soup for my family. Soup is the ultimate comfort food to me.

I have been gone for over a week and am happy to be home. I enjoyed my family and friends and all of our celebrations and travels and today I was happy to wake up in my own bed.

I played tennis this morning in the 50 degrees of cool, crisp sunshine. I was so happy to be out exercising again with friends, and moving my body. I forget how important exercise is to me and was thankful to be back on the court again.

Afterwards, I filled up a shopping cart at Trader Joes with good eats for the next few days and ingredients to cook some tasty meals.

We celebrated our own little family
Christmas, just the five of us and then Juliana and I decided to cook dinner together. I am so thankful that my kids like to hang out with us and I choose to enjoy every moment with them that they give me. Christian even helped me make the soup and this made me happy too.

We made a kale, white bean and sausage soup that we saw in a magazine that we picked up in San Luis Obispo yesterday. Juliana made a chicken fried rice too, because that was what she was craving. She typically prefers baking and I was just glad that we were working side by side and chatting about life together, while we cooked. I am teaching her how to be flexible with a recipe and how to modify them to her own tastes and available ingredients. This is a challenge to her as she is a rule follower and likes to be precise. I think this is why she prefers baking and I don’t but I think she actually enjoyed creating a tasty dish on her own. I am so proud of her.

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Home sweet home. I love it here.

What is your favorite comfort food? What do you love to do at home?

GGG – Day 16 – Home

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” – Jane Austen

My family just wants to be home. I understand. I get it and I’ve decided to join them. I’m the one that usually wants to plan family outings and shared experiences. The kids have told me we have enough togetherness and don’t really need any more special outings every weekend. I understand, really I do. At first, I felt a bit sad and disappointed. But I listen to them and know that you can’t force things and cling on to things as they are changing, and they are growing up. I don’t always want to push my agenda and so I adapt. And guess what? Life is really good that way, for all of us.

Soccer season just ended and we didn’t have any plans to go anywhere. I decided to embrace home life and just being home. I love to cook and try new things and so that’s what I decided to do today. I opened my Julia Child’s cookbook and spent the day cooking Beef Bourguignon. It takes several hours to prepare and cook this dish and the entire house has smelled delicious all day. It brought back wonderful memories of Marco and Kathy back at business school, when Marco would cook this dish and spoil us. I loved being in the kitchen and having my family come in to see what I was doing and to tell me how good it smelled.
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While I was cooking, Charlie and Juliana were outside playing in the front yard with the fallen leaves and creating huge piles on the grass with our neighbor friends. They were so cute working for hours together, creating their stock pile and jumping on their mountain. They played hide the turkey and threw leaves in the air, laughing and diving in the piles. I enjoyed hearing them play and had to go outside to take pictures and share their joy.

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Juliana and J came in to make carmel brownies for dessert and April and Steve came over to join us for a laid-back, casual/fancy slow-cooked meal.

And so today I’m thankful for my family for teaching me to relax and to just enjoy being home without having to go anywhere. And learning that sometimes what you’re trying to create can just come naturally and be so simple. Everyone was happy and relaxed and got to do what they wanted to do. And in the end, togetherness just happened. I am happy, at home. Life is good.

How did you spend your day? What do you love most about your home?

Home Sweet Home

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Jeff came home today!! Our family is complete. I was glad that we came home first and got settled and over jet lag and that he stayed back to close up shop, so to speak. He handled the packers and movers and cleaners and final walk through. I am blessed to have a great life partner and I’m so thankful he’s home with us again. I bet I’ll be able to sleep better now!

We had a wonderful homecoming dinner with our family friends and our beloved shared Traeger smoker!!

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Life is good and simple!

Day 96: Being Home

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It’s nice to travel but its even nicer to be home. I think we have to leave sometimes to appreciate the comforts and normalcy that home has to offer. I was happy that everyone was happy to be home in Amstelveen, and that this place actually felt like home, if that makes any sense. I enjoyed hearing and seeing their excitement, just walking through the front door and settling back in.

I enjoyed grocery shopping today, for the first time. I was happy to see my friends at school and to share stories together. And I was happy to go to Juliana’s volleyball game tonight.

I think by leaving you get a break from your routine which makes you actually appreciate it again once you return.

I am happy to be home.

*** Sending warm thoughts to family and friends on the East Coast, battling through hurricane Sandy. Stay dry and safe!!

Day 31: What Defines Home

It’s been a month ago today that we arrived in Holland.  The best part of being here is the friends we’ve already made and the family with whom we’ve reconnected.  I think that is what makes us feel at home. Of course, we miss our friends and family back at our first home, but we’re creating new bonds and making new friendships that make the days fun and memorable. Before we left, a couple friends that moved to our neighborhood had wished for me that I would meet someone in our new home town to make us feel welcome and a part of the community, as they had when they moved from France and Michigan to Sunnyvale. When you have someone that welcomes you, and shares tips and best practices,  and invites you to coffee or dinner or a beer, you no longer feel like a stranger in a strange land.  Well, those wishes came true. Thank you, Anouk and Megan for your well wishes. And thank you, Pauline for introducing me to Birgitta.

We were invited to Birgitta and Frank’s house for a BBQ tonight. They are local residents here where we live and invited my entire family over for dinner. Their kids are in college and so I felt even more honored that they included all of us, and made the little ones feel welcome too.  The kids brought their bathing suits and went in the hot tub, in the rain.  The dinner was fabulous and tasty and everyone enjoyed every bite. We all had such a good time, enjoying conversation, dessert, wine and coffee, that we didn’t leave until after 11 pm!  I was so happy that the kids were good and behaved and that we could enjoy some adult time with new friends.  Thank you Birgitta and Frank for your hospitality and making us feel so welcome, not only to your home but also to Holland.

Today I also joined Holland Homies – a Facebook Group for local Amstelveen/Amsterdam friends that are there to share ideas and resources. Inga told me about the group while we were at lunch on Friday. I posted a question about how to see American TV and heard back from several people. I have some places to look now without having to reinvent the wheel. Thanks, girlfriends! And I found a couple friends there that I had seen at school, but didn’t have their contact information. Now I do, and we’re going to get together next week. I love these type of connections.

For me, what defines home is my family and friends. That’s what I miss about home in Sunnyvale, home in Thousand Oaks, and that’s what I love about Holland. Here’s to home! 

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Rainy day today

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Rainy day art made out of packing materials at home today!  

 

Day 22: Our Shipment Arrived!

Today was much better, thanks for asking!  I don’t mind bad days because they are part of life and I don’t expect everything to always be a-ok. It’s normal, I get it. And I just have to wait it out (like I did) and wait for the sun to shine again (which it did!)

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Early this morning, the truck arrived with our stuff. Now we didn’t ship all our stuff and the truck that brought our stuff was really big and understuffed, which is a good thing! You see there isn’t that much storage space in this big house. And I kind of was enjoying living with little, but I know our stuff will bring comfort. Like our rug and rocking chair and bean bag chair. Ahh… soft and cozy, and gezellig! I like comfy places and it’s getting there.

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We had 63 boxes total – including 1 big orange bike, 2 chairs, a stool, a rug and other miscellaneous stuff that makes us feel comfy. That’s not that much for 5 people and an international move, right? We left our furniture at our old house as a guest house and hope our friends and family enjoy staying there from time to time.  Now we just have to wait for our table and couch to be delivered – hopefully tomorrow and then we’ll be ready for you to come and visit!!  😉

Actually, while I was unpacking, Ruth came to visit. She is Simone’s sister-in-law, and lives in the area. 3 minutes away, in fact… how crazy is that? Simone, is Debbie’s Dutch friend, who I met before moving here. And today she asked Ruth to stop by to bring us flowers as a welcome. How cool is that??  I am so touched. I am all about relationships and can really give a crap about stuff. And seeing Ruth at my door, carrying a beautiful flower basket just touched my heart. And that she went out of her way to greet us… wow. Thank you. I love them and love that you both reached out to make us feel welcome. Thank you Ruth and Simone!!

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Oh, and there’s a story about the wooden shoes too. You see Jeff and I came to Holland 14 years ago and these wooden shoes were made especially for me by Helma’s brother who runs a wooden shoe factory. We toured the factory and he shaped these to fit my feet. How cool is that? They have been sitting on my porch at home in Sunnyvale for the past 12 years so everyone would know I’m Dutch! And because I love them. So now they’re back on Dutch soil to great our guests at our front door. Doesn’t that make you want to come over for a cup of coffee. Just show up and I’ll make you a cup.  😉

We worked all day to unpack and to make our house feel more like a home until it was time to go meet the Petersons again. The kids really wanted to see each other to celebrate Ben’s birthday and to do a sleepover. We joined them for cake and ice cream and then brought their boys over here for one last sleepover before they leave Holland tomorrow. Happy Birthday Ben!!  Image