Day 342: This Moment

Today is my baby’s 14th birthday. That means 14 years ago I was in labor about to become a mama. My dream was to be a mama, and he gave me this title and gift. I was so in love with him and still am. As he grows and develops, I continue to learn how to do my job and learn how to let go and let him be who he is too. I adore him and love who he has become and admire him. He is kind and gentle and loving and is a good example for me and our family. He is truly my gift and I am thankful for his presence.

Today we celebrated his life in London and Amsterdam. He was happy getting to be with his Aunt and Uncle and his family. As we walked home from the tram spot, he realized how lucky he was to celebrate in two countries. We had a nice breakfast with Nate and Becky before they went to work, and then walked over to have lunch at Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant, The Narrow, near the Limehouse Marina in London. CJ loves food and chefs and he loved the experience and delicious food. Last night, we took him to Jamie Oliver’s Italian place too. And for dinner, he chose Indian food from Seven Spices in Holland. I think he’s been quite, well loved!!

Happy birthday, CJ! We love you!

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Selfies on the airplane.

Day 341: Tower of London and Tower Bridge

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We move a week from today!! I can’t believe it’s almost here. I feel like we were just planning the move overseas and now we’re enjoying the last days of vacation before the chaos of packing and moving begins.

Charlie is better today and we have been able to get out and show the kids a bit more of London. CJ wanted to see the Tower of London. We’ve just stopped into a Westfield shopping center for lunch and they have free wifi. Everyone is happy! We stopped at the world food court and sampled Chinese, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern food. Life is good!

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Day 340: Family + Sun + BBQ = Life is Good

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The sun was shining and it was so gorgeous out today in London. Nate and Becky have this fabulous roof deck and we sat outside nearly all day and soaked it all in.  Her family came to join us and we all enjoyed being together.

Becky is an amazing hostess and planned and organised a wonderful BBQ for us. I loved watching Juliana work with her auntie,  cutting fruit to make a fruit salad and slicing the bread and making a tomato and basil salad.  Seeing them work together made me aware how grown up my little girl is becoming, and watching them bond together reminded me of the importance of family and how much I miss them.

There was so much food and everyone was so content just being outside, that it was a double BBQ kinda day.  Jeff and Nate grilled twice and we never wanted to go in.  We celebrated CJs birthday and Ant and Emma’s anniversary and Nate and Becky’s new place.  Some people went for a walk around the marina and others went to the local pubs for a few pints, and Charlie fought his fever again all day.  All in all it was a wonderful day of togetherness. I am thankful.

 

Day 339: Staycation on Vacation

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I believe in accepting what ever comes your way, and even when you have a plan, expect the plan to change. This way you’re never really disappointed.
As we were leaving for London yesterday, Charlie said he wasn’t feeling well. I was wishfully thinking he was just overtired. But today the thermometer and the feel of his skin and his watery eyes told me otherwise.

So instead of touring around London as expected, I got to spend a relaxing day with my little boy sitting on the couch and watching a movie, playing Connect Four and just being a mama. When he fell asleep, I got to enjoy Nate and Becky’s beautiful roof top terrace and sat in the sun with my book and Becky’s iPad. There isn’t wifi here, so I’m unable to use my iPhone or iPad as usual, and thus cannot post pictures from the events this weekend unless I use Becky’s iPad to take photos or leverage some from Facebook!

When everyone else came back, they all joined me on the terrace, including Charlie for some snacks and a family game of Pictionary.

We had tickets for the theatre tonight and Jeff graciously volunteered to stay home with Charlie. Poor kid. It was so sad to leave him behind when he really wanted to go, but his fever had other plans. The theatre district in London includes several different theatres in a general vicinity. Juliana and I went to see Mathilda and Nate, Becky and Christian went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as we couldn’t get enough tickets for Mathilda, and Becky was able to find tickets for the other show at the same time for everyone else. Both shows were fantastic and we enjoyed the evening at the theatre. The weather is warm, like California and I loved being outside tonight. I’m hoping Charlie feels better tomorrow and his fever breaks so that we can enjoy Sunday,all together as a family.

How was your day?  Did things go as planned?  Hope it was a good one.  xx

Day 338: Greetings from London!

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No rest for the wicked…We are in London for the next few days, visiting with Uncle Nate and Aunt Becky. This is our last European vacation before we move back to California in 10 days!  We are so lucky to be able to travel and spend time with family in such a great city.

Today we were busy packing and cleaning and doing laundry and shopping. We took the 51 tram to Station Zuid and took a train to the airport. It’s so easy and inexpensive to travel this way. We flew into London City airport which is smaller and so much easier to travel through than Heathrow. We took the DLR train to Limehouse and walked in a light drizzle to see our family.

Life is good!

We had a wonderful Indian feast and enjoyed the views from Nate and Becky’s new place. Tomorrow we will explore more of the city. TGIF!!

Hope y’all have a good weekend!!  Goodnight, from London.

Day 46: Going Home

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The London Eye

Tonight we flew home from London to Amsterdam. The idea of going home felt a little bit strange. When I asked the kids if they felt like they were going home, they said no. They said that home was back in Sunnyvale. And when I asked if they were excited to see their friends, they were hesitant. Juliana said her friends were in Sunnyvale and she missed those friends. Not that she doesn’t have friends in Amsterdam, but she doesn’t have a history with the new friends yet – the history that makes you long for the shared experiences and casual laughter that feels normal. We still have to create those. And when we do, I think Amsterdam will feel more like home. We’ll have more of a sense of attachment, that we don’t currently have and I think that’s probably normal.

For me, I felt ready to go home (to NL) because this is where I’m creating our new routines, establishing connections, and getting settled. I have work to do, and I like to be busy and I’m eager to build new structures.  But it doesn’t quite feel like that home feeling like Sunnyvale does either – and by that I mean, our home here in NL doesn’t give us the comfort of returning to a familiar place when returning from afar. We’re still learning and adapting. It still felt nice walking in the door, and actually seeing a neighbor walking up to her door at the same time as we arrived, but it definitely had a different feel. So I feel like we’re in the process of making this our home, but our hearts are still in California. Does that make sense? 

P.S.  I forgot Trinity’s birthday while we were away – forgot to look at my birthday calendar and to even think of birthdays! So a belated, happy birthday, to my niece and I’m so sorry we forgot to call you!!  I hope you enjoyed your special day!! xo

Day 45: London

We couldn’t have asked for better weather in London.  The last time we were here the weather was great too – we like to think the sun is following us from California, like we have something to do with it!!

Nate and Becky and Winston have a beautiful home overlooking the water and have made us feel so welcome. They also are great planners and tour guides and took us through the city, showing us just a few highlights for our short weekend. We took the Underground Tube, went to Hamley’s, stopped by Buckingham Palace, walked by the Tower of London, shopped at Liberty and sat on the terrace watching people walk by. We’ll definitely come back for a longer stay where we can be more touristy – but this trip was mainly to spend time with our family.  Becky’s brother, Anthony and his girlfriend Emma, joined us for dinner, later in the day. I love how our families are integrating – the last time we were all together was last year at the BIG wedding.  Seeing Charlie get a piggy back ride on the back of Anthony’s back made me smile… he has a new ‘Uncle’!  Can’t wait for them all to come to Amsterdam next month!
 Charlie and Winston on the Terrace.

 

Tower of London

The Horse Guard, Heading to Buckingham Palace

Hamley’s Queen made out of Lego

Beautiful Sunset at Limehouse

 

Family Dinner at an Indian Restaurant