Glamping in California

 
I grew up camping and I am so thankful my parents decided to come up to visit us again as they begin their summer vacation.

I was able to find a last-minute glamping spot with all the perks, close to the coast and we quickly packed up and got on the road. Charlie is so in love with his grandpa, whom we call, Opa. He decided he would drive with Opa and I drove with Oma in my car and with the other two kids. 

We have a beautiful, relaxing spot to do nothing and anything for the next two days. I am beyond content.

I love seeing the kids play and ride bikes and do puzzles and hang out together with my parents with no agenda. I am loving on my parents too and enjoying their company.

Life is so good. Live it up, friends. Now is the time to BE. Here I am.

   
    

lichen on the bridge

  
   

A Legal Marriage

Our marriage is officially legal – we’re 18 years married happily ever after! 

I love this picture because it represents us. I like to take a picture in front of this bush every year on our anniversary and he wants to hurry up and get it over with. It has become a joke. And now the bush is spotty and patchy and kinda funny looking, but today he played with me after getting frustrated, of course, and I got my memory photos.  Thank you, honey!! You’re a good sport.

He’s the yin to my yang and I adore him.  He makes me feel safe and he adores me and our kids. We enjoy each other’s company and just being together. 

So that’s what we did today.  We celebrated Father’s Day with the kids this morning with breakfast at home. We played a board game together and just hung out.

Afterwards, we celebrated our anniversary by driving up to the city, just the two of us.  We love just driving together and exploring and walking and talking and just being a couple. So that’s what we did. We wandered and explored and discovered the Cellermaker Brewery that Jeff has been wanting to visit and had our first little date.

  
 

cool fence door

We wandered on to explore the renewed Hayes Valley and loved popping into the little stores and seeing public art being created in a garden area for Burning Man.

   
  


The sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day to wander and explore.

   

We found this fun little clothing shop with this cool display of air plants which I love. We were chatting with the  sales ladies and talking about my birthday week and Father’s Day and our anniversary and they asked us if we wanted to take photos in their photo booth since they were also celebrating their store’s birthday. Of course we said yes!! I love photo props and playing.

  
It’s hard to believe the fun continued and we just kept living it up.  

We had a romantic dinner at Abisenthe in a cozy little booth and then walked over to see The Book of Mormon at the Orpheum Theater.  That was an interesting experience and I’ll leave it at that.

   
  
 

Thanks honey for spending the day with me and our kids. Happy Father’s Day! Happy Anniversary!  Happy Life!! I love you!

Happy Father’s Day to all the loving papa’s!! Thank you for loving your kids and their mama’s.

nAMaste

xoxo

  

Ready for Summer 

  

We had a pool party today to celebrate the end of the school year.  I loved seeing Charlie in his new tank top and munching on juicy watermelon.

I also loved that the parent chaperones set out a fruit table for the first snack break before lunch with no other junk food options.  This was a brilliant idea and all the kids filled their plates with healthy food. 

  
The lifeguards had the kids swim across the shallow end to earn a wristband if they could get to the other side without touching the bottom or the sides that entitled them to swim in the deep end. Charlie was the first one in and was successful.  I love the shadow of the tree reflecting on the still water in front of him.   
Pools and watermelon and sweet, fresh fruit are getting me excited for summer vacation, that felt like it began today, even though we have one more week left of school scheduling.  

What do you have planned to do this summer?

Have a great weekend and Happy Birthday to my BFF Michele and my sister cousin Laurie!! I’m so glad you both were born.  xoxo

nAMaste

Play for Teens and InBetweens and Adults Too

When was the last time you stopped to play? Do you play anymore? I still play nearly every day but for not enough time, that’s for sure. I’m still goofy, but probably not as goofy as I used to be. ūüėČ

Being creative and playing are so important for all of us, yet somehow we forget when we get all grown up and stuff. This life stuff and school stuff puts so many demands on us. Let us never forget to let out the steam and to lighten up.

I got to thinking about this topic while we discussed and I defended the craziness of the Stanford (Marching) Band (SMB) at dinner last night. If you’ve ever seen the SMB, you’ll know what I’m talking about. ¬†They are just plain silly and playful and are the mirror opposite of what their school represents. They are the epitome of yin and yang. ¬†They don’t follow the normal rules. Actually, they were behaving badly and have been recently banned from performing at away games for this upcoming season for violating school policies. I’m all for fun and games and being silly and lightening up a bit, but I do still believe in being respectful and following the rules. Here are a couple of links to stories about the history of the irreverence of the band and the recent trouble they’ve gotten into:

Scatter Band 

Stanford Band Behaving Badly

Lsjumb_scatteringSource: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lsjumb_scattering.jpg

Another playful thing that people are talking about are coloring books for adults.

Have you heard about this latest rage? Well, I don’t know if it’s a rage, but “The Secret Garden” is on the Amazon best seller list lately, so there must be a demand for tehse adult coloring pages. ¬†We need time to relax and make pretty things just because we can. ¬†I love it and even have one, with new markers too, thanks to my sister! ¬†I think we need to get off our electronic devices too and play and color again.

Here’s a link to a recent story about adult coloring books:

Adult Coloring Books

Another¬†connection I noticed¬†recently is that¬†adults who are needing to and wanting to celebrate life and to go outside and play at places such as the¬†recent Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco. Grown people are dressing up and laughing and playing and talking to strangers, dressed up strangely themselves, and they’re happy and maybe drunk too. But they need to go outside and dress up and run and to laugh with their friends. ¬† Here is a link to the wikipedia about the infamous race:

Bay to Breakers

I thought I was done with my list but two more ideas popped up and these are the Muddy Buddy races and Burning Man. Adults are needing to play in the dirt and sunshine with their friends and they want to be out in nature, dressing up and being free to celebrate living with no expectations of who they are supposed to be, for a weekend in the dessert.  This is fascinating to me.

Here is a link to a Muddy Buddy Race:  Muddy Buddy

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photo credit: IMG_1526 via photopin (license)

And here is one to Burning Man:  Burning Man

Dillon Bracken attends the Burning Man 2014 "Caravansary" arts and music festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, August 30, 2014. Over 65,000 people from all over the world have gathered at the sold out festival to spend a week in the remote desert cut off from much of the outside world to experience art, music and the unique community that develops. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY) FOR USE WITH BURNING MAN RELATED REPORTING ONLY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS

Dillon Bracken attends the Burning Man 2014 “Caravansary” arts and music festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, August 30, 2014. Over 65,000 people from all over the world have gathered at the sold out festival to spend a week in the remote desert cut off from much of the outside world to experience art, music and the unique community that develops. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart (UNITED STATES – Tags: SOCIETY) FOR USE WITH BURNING MAN RELATED REPORTING ONLY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS ¬†Source: http://burningman.org/

Have you been to any of these events or colored in a book lately? What do you like to do to play and feel alive?

Play is good.

Life is good.

nAMaste BEloveRs  xoxo

Untraditional Traditions

My family is weird. Our tradition is to not have a tradition. We carry some traditions, but we are not wedded to any. 

We do what we love and we are happy.  Our family does not live close to us, so we don’t feel a sense of obligation to be together. We come together when we want and that’s a pretty cool thing.

Today is Easter and we celebrated at home! Yay, for being home.

Charlie loves the holidays and we were up by 6:30 am to see if the Easter bunny came.

  

 

 We still partook in the Easter tradition of waking up early to see if the baskets were filled and the eggs hidden throughout the house and yard.  The Easter bunny did not disappoint!  

   

 

However, the big kids were wishing to have slept in.

We made bagels with lox and toppings for breakfast and then we headed out to church at 9am. 

  

 It was an early start to the day, but felt good to be out and about early this morning. I loved hearing the message of how Jesus rose from the dead, and how his mother Mary suffered by his grave and weeped. She represents all women, especially those who have lost a child. And she provides hope and love for us all that one day, all will be well.

After church, our family decided to be weird and I loved it. Jeff and the boys went to an Earthquakes soccer game with friends and I prepared an untraditional Easter feast, to be prepared whenever everyone came home again. 

We made yakitori, rice, seaweed salad, broccoli and mini wontons.  Doesn’t that just sound delicious? None of us were in the mood for another ham.

Juliana and I had the time of our lives. We saw on Instagram that Yoga Girl, Rachel Brathen,  was hosting a top secret yoga class and only 40 people would be able to attend. We thought we had no chance, but we emailed the secret contact and were chosen to be the guests!! 

  

We were so happy and hurried up at home so that we could make the late afternoon drive to the East Bay.  I had met the instructor @OGYogini at the end of class yesterday in San Francisco, and when she saw me today, she gave me a big hug and told me she was glad I was there. I love our little world.  I loved seeing Rachel again and sharing yoga with Juliana. We enjoyed the car ride together, just the two of us alone and then the yoga experience.

I loved that the guys got to go out and play and Juliana and I got to be out together too, and then we all came back together again to have a late dinner all together again. 

 It was a perfectly imperfect and weird Easter. We went with the flow and did what we enjoyed and everyone was happy. 

 Life is good. 

 Life is beautiful. 

 Life is what we make it.

Take time to dream and to make time for what you love and take good care of wonderful you! 

 nAMaste BeLoveRs.  You are loved!!

xoxo

My Birthday

It’s not my birthday. But I felt like it was. ¬†My favorites are in town. ¬†I got to just hang out with them all day and night and I felt like it was my birthday celebration weekend. ¬†This is my dream come true.

The kids. The moms. The sisters. The Husband. All mixed together, playing and enjoying each other. That’s it. This is what makes me glow from the inside, so thankful, so filled with joy.

The littles were running around the house with trucks and small toys, making noise, chasing each other, banging on the drums and dancing.

The middle one made pancakes.

The big one slept in.

My loves enjoyed coffee together in the breakfast nook.

We didn’t have a plan and then one just came together.

We enjoyed the day unfolding, meeting everyones’ needs and just flowing. I love days like today.

We were at the soccer field, watching Charlie’s first match of the season, all of us sitting together on blankets and chairs in the sunshine and cheering and enjoying the journey.

IMG_6972

IMG_7017We made raclette party food for dinner, everyone pitching in and loving the shared experience.

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The middle girls baked meringue cookies and we stayed up way past our bed times again.

THIS is the life. Pinch me.  I love it. I love them.

I am¬†so happy they are here to celebrate my “birthday.’

Life is good.  Namaste.

The Old Mom

I am now the old mom with BIG kids.

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When did this happen? I see it. I know it. But it’s still hard to believe and I love this stage and I love my kids and danced around the kitchen in my jammies this morning, singing to them, “All you need is love.” I know they think I’m crazy yet luckily they laughed and thought I was funny and little do they know how much I adore them. ¬†I am so in love with my teens and almost tween and love this stage of life. I know they’ll be leaving soon and I am enjoying every minute with them, so be it.

I read the BEST parenting article today by one of my favorite authors, Jen Hatmaker, that made me cry.  Check her out here:

http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/i-wish-someone-wouldve-warned-me-about-these-big-feelings

You’ll cry too, because she’s funny, real, authentic, and totally gets this parenting thing like no one else. ¬†And she loves women too, just like me and wants to lift each other up and support one another and buy each other wine and high five each other at Target when the littles are throwing temper tantrums.I love her and so does everyone else. ¬†She gets life and is really funny.

I love being a mom. It’s what I always wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be financially independent, knowing I could take care of myself and my family if I had to, and then I wanted to stay at home and raise our babies. Here I am. Living the dream. I love what I do, despite the stress and chaos and craziness that surrounds me some days.

I love being in the car with them and their friends and taking them to and from – most days! Last week, was another story, but today I was good. I took Juliana to her ortho appointment and then we went to get a bubble tea and fried snacks because that sounded like fun to them after school. I didn’t want to be busy. I wanted to soak them in and spoil them while I can. I always struggle with that – not wanting to spoil them and wanting to spoil them at the same time. They were thankful and we had fun together.

When we came home, Juliana was busy tutoring a little girl so Charlie and I went to hide away in his “apartment.” We sat on his couch and ate our snacks and played Mastermind together, which brought back memories for me when my dad and I used to play together. We are usually running around with way too much to do, and yet today we slowed down and just played. Can I even tell you how sweet this was? I am so thankful that Juliana needed a quiet house and that Charlie and I got to hide away together for an hour.

I know I’m writing a lot – but seriously, I really do like and enjoy my kids and today was one of those BIG FEELINGS days. We were at a funeral on Friday, and at a Special Needs Brunch on Sunday and I am still missing Chase every day and am fully aware that life is fleeting and messy so while it’s good, I plan to love on them and live it up every day while I can.

Charlie made me cry tonight when he decided to make dinner for himself and Christian. He wanted special plates to make the meal look fancy. We cooked tempura shrimp and he molded rice in little cups to neatly place on the special plates.  He placed the shrimp in a star pattern and used a brush to place the sauce decoratively on the plate. He was so proud of himself and served his brother in his room, while he studied. He was like a little, proud, Master Chef, Jr. I loved this connection and loved that they share this bond together.

This old mom is content. Life is good and IS¬†what you make it to be and I’m okay with things changing and aging. I am living it up today and everyday and loving this one life right now. And you? Are you living it up and loving it out wherever you are right now?

Namaste.