My Mom and Dad

My mom and dad came to visit me today.  Just me.  Here’s our selfie to prove it:


Well, that’s not really true, but a girl can pretend she’s an only child and had them all to herself, which was true for an hour or two.

I am so lucky to have such loving parents that love everyone, not just me. So many people admire them and look up to them and want to be in their company.  Are you wondering why?  So glad you asked. I’ll tell you.

Here are 11 reasons, because I like odd numbers.

1. They are authentic and real.

2. They are unconditionally loving and funny.

3. They are unselfish and giving.

4. They go out of their way to take care of others. Always.

5. They always welcome friends and family to their home. They never are “busy” and the door is always open.

6. They make good coffee and their home is very gezellig (this is a Dutch word that doesn’t have an English translation, but basically means warm and cozy and welcoming.)

7. They make good bread and cookies and spaghetti sauce.

8. They always see the good in people and lift others up.

9. They love and take care of their family and extended family, always, without any expectations.

10. They make the time to attend the special life events of their friends and family, even driving long distances.

11. They call me everyday and keep in touch and keep the love flowing.  They just get the meaning of life.

I am so thankful that they chose to come spend a few days with us and I guess I’ll share them.  I wish that everyone could have parents like mine. The world would be a better place with such loving people spreading joy to all. Hey, maybe they are Santa Claus?  😉

The coffee is on… door is open. Come on over, BeLoveRs.  xo

Families Living Together

My parents have been staying with us for 11 days and will be with us for another week. They live 6 hours away from us, and so having them with us for an extended period of time is a gift, and a dance. I call it a dance, because we are learning how to all fit into place and to take care of each other and ourselves while we spend this extended quality time together, while not stepping on each others’ toes.

My mama is so helpful and wants to take care of us. She helps me clean my house, cooks dinner, makes coffee for us to share in the middle of the day, volunteers with me at school, loves on my kids and keeps me company. She also keeps the laundry flowing and put away, and I’m sure I’m forgetting 103 other things. Oh and did I mention she helped me unpack and sort and organize our 73 boxes from Holland?

My pops finds house projects to do to help us out and to keep busy. Our screen door that kept falling off the tracks now glides so easily thanks to some candle wax and a clean track. The sliding door is now easy to slide open too. The workbench has been cleared off and all tool related stuff has been organized too. Today my dad built me a paddle board cart so I can easily carry my board from my car to the water without having to carry them over my shoulder.

He helps my kids with their math homework and is teaching them discipline, helping to raise them to be responsible and intelligent. It takes a village. He also walks Charlie to school and has dropped off and picked up the other two too. He also helps with the dishes after dinner, and washed my dirty car. Tomorrow he is going to take Charlie to his soccer practice and the kids out to dinner, while my mom and I go to a meeting. How lucky am I?

I am thankful they are here and that they are able to share their love and gifts with us. It makes me aware how important family is and how so many of us, especially as Expats or living in Silicon Valley, are not living closely to our extended family. We miss out on this family connection and village support that helps us to raise our kids and share our lives and learn and grow together. I don’t think there is a real substitute for this, especially when your family is functional. I am going to miss them when they leave. But for now I’m going to sit and enjoy them a little longer.

Hugs and thanks mom and dad, for sharing your lives, time and love with us!



The busyness of life continues.

Luckily, I was able to take a break and bring my parents to Shoreline for a long walk in the sunshine along the San Francisco Bay today. The weather was so warm and comfortable and reminds me how much I love California.
This is a great place to be outdoors, despite the stinky smells from the bay and nearby landfill/dump.

There are several walking trails with people out bird watching, walking, running, skating, painting, and participating in water sports.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather. We spent a good hour walking and then stopped at the Lakeshore cafe for lunch out on the patio overlooking the lake.


Life is good, especially when you take the time to slow down and enjoy it. How was your day?

Being Loved

Being loved is the best feeling. Period. There is nothing better. Nothing.

This post is a bit personal, but aren’t most? We’re still resettling and it’s the honeymoon stage, and I’m loving all the attention being showered on my family. Thank you for all your shared calls, emails, texts and love and visits.

My parents drove up to my house to prepare for our arrival this week, as I’ve already mentioned. Seeing my kids love on them and tell them how much they’ve missed them and love them, is so nice to see and hear. The love dance is swirling through my house in little moments and details and it fills my soul. For example, I loved just watching Charlie work with my dad on fix-it projects around the house.

My friend Julie had coffee and snacks waiting for us this morning at her house. The kids played while the women chatted and sat and enjoyed her beautifully remodeled house and sunshine out on her patio. I’ve missed days like today and am so happy to be back and in her kitchen again…the best part of the home!

Tracy came by with her kids on bikes and asked if Charlie wanted to go to her house and play. Of course, he gladly went off and had a great time with his friends, riding his bike with them. Thank you, Tracy!

Julie and her kids stopped by with my favorite artichoke dip and stayed to chat for awhile before we headed to the pool.

Our swim club has a Friday night potluck BBQ that we all enjoyed with April and her family. I learned to play Bocce ball with the little ones and made some new friends while playing. Mom and dad joined us too, and it was great to sit outside and NOT have to cook or clean!!



Marilynne stopped by and dropped off a dinner for us. She’s been making a new Japanese curry and told me about it and I had mentioned I wanted to try it sometime. There she was with a delivery on my porch! Thank you ML! You spoiled us and it was quite delicious!

And the best part of my day was when my sisters and nieces arrived from Thousand Oaks. They drove 6 hours to come and see us and met us at the swim club. We went out to the parking lot to greet them and couldn’t stop hugging! It’s been almost a year, you know! Way too long for me! I’m thankful they drove the distance to be with us.



Reunited and it feels so good!

I am loved and I am thankful! Love y’all!


Homecoming Joys


It’s very nice coming home. I had anxiety the first day, but it’s already gone. I didn’t make a lot of plans and didn’t have many expectations, and just have been letting the days unfold. So far, so good.

I’ve loved all your emails and texts and phone calls. Thank you to my friends who have stopped by with flowers, candy, cookies, crumb cake, red velvet cake and dinner! Thank you to April for picking us up from the airport and making us a beautiful welcome home sign. And thank you to my parents for stocking the fridge and pantry and helping us to settle back in, making coffee for visitors and helping me to get some rest. It’s so nice to be loved.

Today Marcia and Lisa stopped by and we sat on the back patio for hours, when they were just planning to stop by for a few minutes. No one wanted to leave, as we chatted and caught up and shared stories. I love my friends.

The kids had friends running in and out of the house, playing basketball and shooting Nerf guns at each other. I loved hearing them play and having a house full again. This has always been my dream… All the kids and friends hanging out at my house. I loved this!

I was craving Mexican food and today was my lucky day! We went to our favorite little authentic, Mexican food place – Taqueria Latina for lunch and I’m still full! We enjoyed the best burritos and quesadillas, chips and salsa!


Right now I’m sitting by the pool with my mom and dad, watching the kids swim with their friends and playing basketball in between sessions of adult swim time when they are kicked out for awhile. These are the best days of summer…just hanging out by the pool and being with friends.



Life is good. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.


P.S. Thank you to all of you who have shared your comments, both privately and publicly about your thoughts on my blog and encouraging me to keep on writing. You inspire me! xo

Isn’t California so beautiful?? I love it here!!

Day 348: I Am Home



It’s weird to think I woke up in my Holland house this morning, and I’ll be going to bed in my Sunnyvale home in a couple hours.




It’s 2:30 am Holland time and just before dinner at home. I’m feeling a bit delirious, yet trying to stay awake for at least a couple more hours.


I am happy to be home again, although I have to be honest and say I felt really confused coming back. I am feeling the transition, feeling sad as I let go of my house, community and friends in Holland and leaving Jeff behind for two more weeks. And then happy as can be, seeing my parents and April and my home and my neighbors and the neighborhood friends dropping by.

Julie came by for a cup of tea and biscuits, and the kids walked to the park and went swimming and rode bikes like we never left. They just picked up where they left off almost a year ago.

Mom made a pot of her spaghetti sauce and the whole house smelled good and welcoming.


I cried as we were landing at SFO, afraid to land and seeing the airplane crash remains still on the runway. I felt really sad, thinking of what I am leaving behind and a bit anxious about the transition back to life as it used to be but isn’t anymore the same. I know it’ll all come together, as it always does…just breathe and relax, right? It’s all good. Life is good!!

And I have the most amazing friends and family all around the world now. Can’t wait to catch up again! xoxo



Day 145: First Day of Vacation – Let’s Go to the Movies

Today was the first day of winter break, and we set an alarm clock for 6:30 am!!  My Mom and Dad had an early morning flight back to California. I was fine with the transition until we got to the airport before the sun rose.  Looking in my mama’s eyes made me cry. And then again more tears flowed as I hugged my dad goodbye.  We are going to miss them being here with us!!

Luckily, my friend Jane was thinking ahead and planning outings for this week.  We met up with Jane, Kim, Cami, Patti Beth and a couple other new friends and their kids to see our first movie at a theater in Amsterdam.



The movie was in 3D and was produced in English with Dutch subtitles, popping out in 3-D as well.  The movie was really cute and I’m glad that we had something to do to get us out of the house.   After the movie, we walked along the Singel and I had heard about a great, Indonesian restaurant, called Sampurna that was on the flower market.  We decided to try and it and enjoyed a noisy family meal that included Sayur Lodeh, Rendang, Bami Goreng, Rice, Satay Ayam, and Krupruk!! Trying to take 3 kids to a quiet restaurant and expecting them to sit still and quiet is a joke!  Once the food arrived, all was well again and we all enjoyed our delicious meal.

Today was good after all. Mom and dad arrived safely in Los Angeles and are very excited to see my nieces and sisters and brother and their own house and own bed again!  Welcome home, Mama and Pops!  Slaap lekker!!

Day 144: One Last Hurrah

My mom and dad leave tomorrow, after being with us for 2 months. I haven’t been together with my parents for this long since my college days. And living under one roof, as one big, happy family wasn’t all that hard. We’re all ready for the change and to get back to “normal” and our own space, but we’ve all really enjoyed the shared journey and are thankful for the experience.

Tonight we had a going away party for them. While mom and I were out shopping for the dinner tonight at our local Jumbo (the Dutch supermarket that is actually open on Sunday!), we were given a fun surprise! As I was gathering my groceries after we paid, a man comes up to me with a big red box and a huge smile on his face. He said something to me in Dutch, but my translator(aka my mom) had already left for the parking lot. I told him I didn’t speak Dutch and he said that was ok, and “Congratulations! You are the 1000th customer.” He handed me the sealed and decorated box and I left with a smile that matched his. I love winning things and being lucky, no matter what it is. I just love the shear joy of it and the excitement.

The box was filled with various items including snacks, cookies, shampoo and soaps, non-alcoholic drinks, and Christmas decor. I loved it!

Our company arrived just as we got home. We enjoyed a great afternoon and early evening with loved ones, and a simple Dutch dinner of soft rolls with deli meats and cheeses, along with salad and fruit and chips. A simple dinner, and a simple evening at home, that was simply perfect. We all are going to miss my parents and can’t wait to see them again! xoxoxo

Day 114: My Mama and the Marketplace


Watching my mom at the marketplace today made me happy. She was in her glory.

She was like a kid at Disneyland, going from ride to ride, excited by what she might see next, and oblivious to the cold weather. She walked ahead and smiled and waited for us to come join her. She shared what she fancied and spoke in Dutch to the sellers. She tasted the cheese samples and was excited to buy some warm frites! I think she gasped and giggled when she saw the dead fish on display, sharing how her mom used to love mackerel like the fishmonger was selling.

She stopped at the candy stand and picked treats to bring back home with her. Bread and fruit was purchased, as well as roasted chickens for dinner tomorrow night so we don’t have to cook. I like the way she thinks!

When the organ cart music player started to play, my mom started to dance. Her eyes were smiling and she was visibly happy.

My dad and I just admired her joy and passion. We were happy just seeing her BEING happy.

She was happy just being there, at home, with her people, with us, her culture, her language, her food, and entertained by the movement of the marketplace. So simple. She was happy just being. And afterwards, she was filled with gratitude – for her life and her blessings and being together.

She IS content. We should all be so lucky to feel what she felt today.

Life is good and I love her so much. I’m thankful that she and my dad are here with us for still another month.

I hope you fill your weekend with joy and passion, and I’d love to hear about what makes you happiest. xo

Day 94: Florence


We are in Florence today, the place known for the Renaissance and rebirth and “humanism.” I didn’t even have to step off the train to feel “it.”

We took the train from Rome to Florence and had such a pleasant trip. We sat by a great family and shared snacks and toys and conversation. The mother was a Muslim woman, from London, who just relocated to Rome. She is an expat just like me. She was traveling with her two kids and two guinea pigs and husband. She had just celebrated Eid late into the evening last night and was tired. We talked about her holy celebration, helping our children to settle into new locations and finding ways to help them feel comfortable. We talked about religion and peer pressure and discrimination. Our families played together and switched seats to be near one another. We hugged each other when we departed and I think we both felt a connection, even though we didn’t even share our names. There was a human connection, and understanding of what it’s like to be a mother, to raise children with manners and respect and religion and kindness and love, and to show them the world.

Even though we practice different faiths, and dressed very differently, I felt the same way she did. I felt her spirit and kindness and wish more people were like her. And I wish I knew her name. Namaste.