Day 13: Summer

When you’re counting the days, you’re more aware of time passing. I feel like the kids just got out of school, but we’re already going on two weeks out. The summer is going to fly by!

My favorite tree has a major broken limb. It’s still beautiful, just the way it is, perfectly imperfect, just like this one beautiful life we are living.


10 Minute Camping Trip

Tonight’s story is shared through playful text messages between my sister and I while I snuck away to play and lay in the sun, avoiding my responsibilities, and she got ready for the night shift.  This was a great way to relax and I adore you Tricia. Thank you for getting me and being you.


This was the happiest part of my day, laying in the “grass” for not even ten minutes to catch my breath, and to share the “quiet” moment with my people.  

The life! My perfectly imperfectly happily ever. Now I just have to remember that.

What was the happiest 10 minutes of your day?

The End!

Happy International Women’s Day

One Love.

I still dream of that every day.

I am still practicing, seeing everyone’s humanity and the gifts of our shared sisterhood and discovering ways to connect, through our confidence, vulnerabilities, bravery, abilities, gifts, grace, strength and perfectly imperfect ways of being human.

We all belong to each other.



Imperfectly Imperfect

Yep. They were imperfect from the very beginning and I didn’t really even want to make them anyway. Can you tell?  They were miscolored, slightly browned, kinda dry and not too sweet. Want one? 

Charlie wanted to make cookies this weekend. We found a recipe and refrigerated the dough for 4++hours, but we didn’t add the peppermint extract, thinking they would be better as sugar cookies.

The first thing that went wrong was that we didn’t have red dye. Neon pinkish purple is a good, secondary option, right?

Next, Charlie didn’t want to follow instructions for rolling them out and used his own methods, that frustrated me as we had thin ones and thick ones on the same tray.

Eventually we got tired with the baking process and started making flat, circle shapes with the left over dough, that were easier and quicker to make.

Charlie eventually walked away and I was left to finish the task and to wash the dishes.  I got the short end of the stick, I think.

He kept coming back to taste samples again and again and seemed to enjoy the final product, claiming he had homework to do. Maybe they’re perfectly imperfect after all. Jeff enjoyed them when he came home from work, but maybe he was just being nice.

Thank you to all who bake during the holiday season and share your treats. I have such respect for you!


Things Aren’t Always the Way They Seem

Be careful how much you read into other people’s photos or stories or headlines. Things aren’t always the way they seem and I think we need to remember this as we journey together through social media and the news.

I am a true idealist. I have big dreams, always. I create playlists in my head about how I think things should be.

Today I took the kids to Raging Waters because this was the wish of the little one. He wanted his siblings to spend the day with him and play and this was his dream, since he had a season pass. We made it happen and here is proof:

As I was taking this picture after we ate lunch, I was thinking of the morning and how the big ones protested. They didn’t want to go to a water park today. I know, crazy thought, but true. Who has to beg to bring kids to a water park to hang out and enjoy outdoor adventures together?  This is ridiculous, I know. But this was my truth and you’d never know from this picture of my happily ever after moment.  We are perfectly imperfect, remember?

I think this picture symbolizes probably a lot of other moments we see on our screens.  Everything looks happy yet there were arguments and frustrations before the snapshot. LB and I used to call these our Norman Rockwell moments where we had to take 50 shots to capture the one moment where we all looked happy at the same time so that we could remember what we envisioned in our heads.  This makes me laugh and I hope you can share this connection and say, “Yeah!! That’s so true and real and funny!”

We actually were enjoying THIS moment.  It was just the journey getting here that was frustrating, but of course that wouldn’t make for a happy story.

I did actually learn some things today about raising teenagers. I learned I need to make quicker decisions. I learned that even when they aren’t interested, they sometimes are. And I learned to practice patience. They all came around and we had a great day together, living in the sunshine.


Life is good. 

Here I Am Another Year Older

I still love birthdays. I think I always will. I love the excitement and anticipation of celebrating life, can you tell?  

Today was the first time I had limited expectations of how I wanted the day to unfold and having limited expectations created huge amounts of joy.

I was content and at peace and so very thankful.

I did everything I wanted to do. I enjoyed friends and family in several ways.  I loved all the phone calls and texts and cards and gifts and Facebook celebrations. 

Each member of my family made a homemade card. They decorated the kitchen and had coffee and breakfast ready for me when I got up along with very thoughtful gifts.

I got to play dodgeball and keep away, enjoyed lunch out with my kids, pedicures with my daughter, happy hour with friends,  being spoiled, watching the Warriors win, and having more friends come back for cake! 


I am happy and filled with gratitude for this one, beautiful, imperfect life I am living, perfectly imperfectly. 

nAMaste BeLoveRs


Wanderlust – California Coast

I wanted to see the ocean today and step my feet in the sand. I didn’t really have a plan except to be there, wherever there might be.

We all got up early to work on a service project at our church in honor of Martin Luther King day today. We bought and brought supplies to support our local homeless shelters and our town’s local community services center that provides clothing, school supplies, food, toiletries, towels, gloves and socks to provide warmth and comfort. We were going to help sort and bag the donations but by the time we arrived, 30 minutes after the event began, the work was mostly done. We were able to still write letters to soldiers and veterans which was humbling.


We finished earlier than expected which allowed us to drive over the hill to Santa Cruz. We went on yelp to find a new place to eat. The only suggestion I had from the family was they wanted seafood. We found a Hawaiian poke place that we enjoyed. It was kind of funky and different and probably a place we’ll only visit once, as the food sounded and looked better than it actually tasted.

I kind of liked not having a definite plan and no one to coordinate logistics with as we were able to just wander and see and discover what ever came our way.

Before you think this was a day in paradise, let me just tell you it wasn’t perfect. It was perfectly imperfect as I like to say, with lots of bickering and disagreements, trying to get everyone to agree and not touch one another nor say mean things. We are a modern family with lots of opinions if you know what I mean. We finally found our rhythm, but some days it takes awhile. Just keepin’ it real. And once we do, it’s awesome! Thank God for patience and perseverance!

We walked around downtown Santa Cruz and then headed North to admire the coastal views first along Cliff drive and then heading towards Davenport. We pulled off Highway 1 at one point, to walk along the cliffs. This was breathtakingly beautiful.



We walked down the path to the sandy part and Jeff walked through the arc.

This connects to my perfectly imperfect vision of life. I was so excited to get down to the water and discover the path through the arc and to the water but if you look behind Jeff, there is a dead whale! The smell was so bad, I almost cried! I had to get out of there before throwing up. So much for putting my feet in the water! I had to run!!

We were happy to get back in the car and to admire the coastline from a nicely enclosed space. We drove towards Pescadero and fondly remembered our first trip to Harley Goat Farm with Michele and her kids. We took the time to go say hi to the goats and to pick up some of the most delicious organic goat cheese. I love this place and the sweet memories of visiting here when our kids were little.






Our next stop was Half Moon Bay. We found this cute little shop called Oddyssea, which is an interactive retail shop with an outdoor creative garden. We had fun touching the toys and exploring and the kids made dog tags with hammering tin type letters into the metal tags and then rubbing black shoe polish into the debts to make the letters stand out. They had a lot of fun and it was something we didn’t expect to experience.




The craft project took a little longer than we thought and by the time we were done, the sun was setting and we missed watching it set, which was ok. We decided to drive back over the hill and had dinner at a place that Jeff has been wanting to take us to in Menlo Park, called Refuge. They are known for their pastrami and Belgian beer. It is definitely a guys place and was really loud. I’m glad we finally tried it but it was not my favorite place. I really loved their roasted root vegetable soup though.

We drove back home and all of us were tired and happy, having spent the day together trying and seeing new things. I’m glad that we had time to explore again, just like our days in Holland. I miss our expat days and am thankful to be able to enjoy our California.

Hope you had a good day and enjoyed California with me!!

Resilience and Permission to Fail

You’re ok.

Perfection is overrated.

You’re good enough.

I was just wondering if we are teaching our kids that it’s ok to make mistakes?  Are we giving our kids permission to fail and heaven forbid, not be the best?

There seems to be so much pressure on our society to be the best, to be the skinniest and the fittest, and the smartest and the fastest and the prettiest and the first and the whatever. What’s the race all about anyway? What about happiness and joy and just being ok with who we are right now, looking silly and maybe even sloppy? Is that even allowed any more?

I think we have to model for our kids how to not be perfect and I’m not trying to make excuses. I just want them to know that we’re ok too and I want us to be ok with being enough. We do our best and our best has to be good enough.

This is what I want to teach my kids. If they make a mistake, so what?  Acknowledge what went right. Acknowledge what didn’t work and fix it for next time. And then try again. It doesn’t have to be so complicated.  Keep learning and practicing this life thing and don’t be so hard on yourself. Repetition is good. And making mistakes means you’re trying and growing and learning. It’s ok. That’s what I want them to know. You have my permission to fail. Just learn from your mistakes so that life can carry on as smoothly as possible for yourself and everyone else around you, because our lives are really interconnected as much as we think we are on our own.

I want them to be ok right where they are, every day. I want them to make mistakes and I want them to figure out what’s important to them and to make the most of all their experiences and relationships – the good and bad and ugly.  I think this is the path to happiness. Accepting what is. Adapting and moving forward and liking themselves right now.

Carry on, resilient BeLoveRs. You’ve got this.

We are THaT Family

We are perfectly imperfect with quirks and craziness, wrapped in laughter and unconditional love.

My sister said it best, summarizing our night after our dad’s birthday party:

“This is my family. It may not always be perfect, but it’s my perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing. This family knows and exhibits what unconditional love is all about….We have all had our trials in life, and each member of this beautiful family has held each other up and has been the foundation for our strength since it began. ”

We always come together to celebrate life’s good moments, and to lift each other up during challenging times. We laugh and tease and argue and work together and play and best of all just love each other.

This love reaches out to our extended family and friends. We had probably 100 guests at the party and many more who couldn’t make it. I loved seeing everyone there and sharing stories throughout the evening, and missed those who couldn’t make it.

I loved getting ready for the party, almost as much as I enjoyed the party.

I loved making the flower arrangements with my sister and cousin and my kids. I loved seeing my boys work with my dad to assemble his new Traeger and then to hang out by the smoker with the guys as the tri-tips were prepared for the party. I loved that my other sister took all the kids to her house while we were getting ready for the party so the house could stay neat and the cousins could have cousin time. I love that I got to go shopping with my mom to pickup all the food for the gathering. I love that my brother and his wife made home made chicken taquitos, guacamole and salsa that we all devoured around the table. And I especially loved how happy my dad was with his special night.


Happy birthday Pops and thanks for having another birthday so we could celebrate you! Thank you for being you and for all you do to spread love and cheer!! You are loved!!

Life is good.

I know not all families are perfect and I hope you get to celebrate life’s moments with your loved ones too.


Perfectly Imperfect

I think acknowledging that I am perfectly imperfect is a way of admitting I make mistakes and that I choose to focus on learning and growing despite the experiences that are less than desirable.

We are human. We mess up. And so what? This is normal. We all do and it’s part of living and loving and learning and growing. And because I choose to focus on positive living, I choose to share the mostly positive stories along my journey, because I think that if we focus on what’s right and good, we will want to repeat these behaviors. I choose to learn from the chaos of life, focusing on solutions, forgiving, and moving on to loving and living it up as quickly as possible.

When I make mistakes, I like to acknowledge them quickly and to apologize for any actions that create discomfort for others so that we can quickly move on and begin to enjoy each other again. I love learning, even when it’s challenging and points out ways I need to grow. I like to tell my kids that I’m still learning when I make a mistake. I hope that this allows them to know its ok to make mistakes too, that adults aren’t perfect and that we always have ways to continue learning how to become better at this life thing.

When a family member makes a mistake, I like to do the same. I like to acknowledge the issue, address why it happened and discuss how to make things better and then forgive and move on. My philosophy is to let things go, as quickly as possible, and to let go of anger, frustration and/or the need to be right.

My sister is visiting us today and was surprised when she witnessed a family disagreement. Our family is passionate and we have loud opinions that sometimes clash. She was thankful that we are normal, and that I am crazy!! :-). After we all calmed down, we apologized for our melodramatic parts and understood why things escalated at the moment. Hugs and kisses were shared and we went back to living and loving again, just like that.

Simplicity. It doesn’t have to be ugly and complicated or embarrassing.

Perfectly imperfect. How was your day?