Palo Alto Stroll

  
Juliana and I enjoyed getting out of the house for a little bit today. We walked down University Avenue in Palo Alto as we had a return to make. It was a gorgeous day and we were happy to be outside and to shop together.  

The way I got dressed up was to put on a little mascara, along with my yoga pants and T-shirt. Super casual is how I role, oh and no shower and I forgot earrings! This is my imperfect normal. Last minute planning and I loved it.  I’ve learned that I don’t really care what I’m doing, as long as I’m sharing time with loved ones. 

Today was good, just being together with Juliana and enjoying our time together. 

Life is good. How was your day?

Feel Good

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What makes you feel good? Do you know?

I love this type of art and light. It makes me smile and feels like a conversation piece. We found this wall covering at Cisco Home in Palo Alto today, as we wandered around. I had never been in this store before and felt such a draw to touch and feel all the furnishings. I loved the urban, rustic, neutral feel the store pulled together.

I felt good wandering with my family into the Tin Pot Creamery and taking our creamy home made ice cream outside and sitting on wooden benches while the sun shined on my face. This was totally unexpected and enjoyable.

I felt good finding a real bookstore and wandering from section to section touching the books and flipping through the pages and wanting to stay for hours. I enjoyed seeing what the kids found interesting too.

We ended our day spontaneously walking into the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Juliana’s birthday dinner tonight and luckily only had a fifteen minute wait. My baby girl is growing up into a beautiful young lady both inside and out and this makes me proud.

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I feel good!

Happy New Year! I hope you feel good too!

Sweet Rewards

We are working hard this summer. 

Juliana is taking an intense summer school class that is 6.5 hours per day. When she comes home, she typically has 1 to 3 hours of review work. That’s a lot of time and sheer willpower to stick with such an intense program and I admire her tenacity.  

We are setting morning alarm clocks again and making lunches and driving long distances to and from class. Luckily this too shall pass. 😉  

Christian is away on a service project with our church in Oklahoma. In May 2013, Oklahoma City was ravaged by a series of tornadoes. Our youth and advisors are working on projects of clean up, rebuilding, and working alongside the Red Cross and other church groups to service this devastated area and help the local people. I miss him so much and am sure he is learning and growing and experiencing something great. The youth are not using cell phones or technology this week, which makes us definitely disconnected and makes me long for his return even more.

Jeff is always working hard to provide for our family and is facing extra long commute times traveling through Silicon Valley. It feels like it has gotten much busier.  I have been in the car more during rush hour with the kids and have had a glimpse of what his long days just might be like. I am grateful for his dedication.

Charlie started sports camp this week and is spending the days being very busy playing, like a child should, and making new friends. I am so proud of him for being able to go into new groups and to make new friends quickly. Today he asked for pen and paper to get his new friend’s email address. I love it!

While the kids were gone, I finally had time to get to the gym again and to volunteer at our resale shop. I had some time to reorganize our garage and to pick up the house a bit before heading back out to do the carpool run. I think this counts as work?!?

So, after all this hard work, we decided to stop for our favorite summer time treat, Rick’s Ice Cream in Palo Alto. This is the creamiest, richest, smoothest ice cream I have ever had. They have so many yummy flavors to choose from and feels like a good old-fashioned ice cream parlor. The last time we went there was two years ago before we moved to Amsterdam and met up with our new friends that were also moving there. The visit today brought back great memories.

How was your day? I hear that happiness comes from working hard and being giving. It’s also sometimes exhausting, but usually meaningful work is. And maybe that’s where the real sweet reward comes from, feeling like we have a purpose. Hmmm…

Namaste

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What’s Old and New

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I was walking down a side street in Palo Alto today and flashed back to Europe. One of the things I realized I miss being back home again is discovering charming new places and being curious about what I might find around every corner.

Seeing this brick building with the enticing entrance sign and architectural lights hanging outside made me curious again. I didn’t even really care what was inside. I was just happy to be seeing something new and interesting, and feeling that feeling again.

The feeling of wonder and curiosity.

How was your day? Did you discover anything new?

Day 69 – Beautiful Things, Beautiful Women

Feel so much better today, knowing that it was just PMS!  Damn, hormones!! 

I had a busy and full day and I feel so lucky. I started today by volunteering at the Nearly New Shop (a local thrift shop) with my PEO sisters. PEO is a philanthropic educational organization where women celebrate the advancement of women, educating women through scholarships, grants, awards, and loans and helps women achieve their highest aspirations. I spent three hours, organizing the displays, categorizing the books, toys, jewelry displays, helping customers and working the cash register. I love being here and knowing that we are raising money for an important cause and I was working side by side with women I love. I left there with a big smile on my face.

Afterwards, I went over to Stanford Mall to buy a present and return a couple of things. I took a ton of pictures of all the beautiful floral displays. Here are a few:

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Aren’t they so pretty? And they’re all at the mall. Wouldn’t you love to be the gardner there?

Afterwards, I had more errands to run around downtown Palo Alto. I found an easy parking spot and enjoyed walking a few blocks, soaking in the sun and trying out a new yogurt place. Palo Alto has such a strong community feel – and it’s cozy and flat and has nice stores and restaurants, lots of trees and people young and old, outside walking all around. I love this feeling and think that is what Amstelveen and Amsterdam will feel like, with maybe a little less sunshine. 

After picking up C from school, we had our afternoon snacks and did some homework. We SKYPED with Jeff and looked at all his pictures of our new little neighborhood, while Christine stopped by to drop off a nice little gift and pretty flowers in the bag she was returning. Wow. Thank you. And the tile guy came by to fix some grout, we cooked some TJ’s Orange Chicken, and got ready for the baseball game. I asked my new good friend, Allison, to give the boys a ride home from the game, because I had a Stella & Dot show tonight. Again, I’m so thankful that I have such good friends that support me and my family. Without the help, it’d be really hard to do all the things I’m doing.  

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And I’m thankful that my kids are old enough to stay home alone now for a couple of hours, even though that still feels really weird. I called two neighbors to let them know I’d be gone and to check in on them. They did great and are such good friends. Lucky me, let’s hope it lasts.

And to just close out a great day, Elizabeth hosted a Stella & Dot trunk show with me at her beautiful home. I sell S&D jewelry for several reasons. First, I love Jessica Herrin and the company she’s built. It’s local – right here in San Carlos and she went to Stanford and is a mother of 2 – she’s inspirational and loving and beautiful and smart and giving and is helping to promote women in business and creating a community – things that I love!  I sell the jewelry as a hobby – to pay for my “habit” and to get out and meet new women. I love hearing their stories and seeing them try on jewelry and how they feel when they’re wearing it. I was never into jewelry and now love it and feel put together and cute when I’m wearing it. I love watching women admire me and want to be like me. That’s cool – I want women to feel powerful and beautiful and see their own beauty – whether they wear the jewelry or not.

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The women I met tonight were fun and smart and cute and were enjoying each other’s company. It was fun to hear their stories and to see the connections – one woman brought her mom. Another woman was about to give birth. There was a spunky and fun lawyer who almost moved to France as expats and another who brought her new baby. One mom brought her 11 year old son and his homework.  One came really late. One was the cute mom I used to admire at PELC and there she was again. One grew up in Sunnyvale, one was from my home town, One was from Canada and is an Expat Consultant. We’re gonna meet again for coffee. Several shared stories and now I’m bummed I’m moving but I know I’ll be back in a year! So they say…  

I’ll be back to enjoy and admire all these wonderful people in my life – because in the end, it’s all about our relationships and the love we give and receive.  I’ll be back… xo

 

xo