Day 25: Summer

Today I decided to go up to San Francisco for the day. 2 of the 3 kids decided they wanted to join, and the last one came anyway, wishing he had more of a say in the decision. 

Only 25 days into summer and I’ve finally got the hang of this work/life/mothering teens/summer staycation thing (at least in this moment.) It helps that I work with a really cool team and don’t mind waking up super early to get my work done first thing in the morning before the kids get up.  

While being in SF, I liked being in a global city in our own backyard where people gather from all over the world. I loved seeing people walking around with their suitcases trailing behind them, which reminded me of our expat life and monthly travels. I loved seeing the tall Dutch women, exchanging dollar bills and the other traveling tourists and interesting characters. My only objective was to walk around and explore and people watch and the city didn’t disappoint. One of us wanted to seek out a bubble tea shop, while another wanted to see the Japanese tea gardens and a magic shop near Golden Gate park, and another of us wanted to see where the Bison Paddock was.  Having these destination points helped to guide our journey.

April gave me another idea of exploring the painted tile steps, which is something we hadn’t seen before and as we were driving through the West Portal, we realized they were close by and on the way to Golden Gate Park. Some of us wanted to stop, while others wanted to stick with the original plan. We practiced the art of negotiation and being kind to each other as we discussed our strong opinions in a small, confined space. I like to wander and flow with what we discover, as we discover it and not wait for another day. Luckily they all finally agreed to make me happy, which actually made them happy too. 

We also got to visit the desired bubble tea location, saw the Bison roaming, and walked outside the Japanese tea garden, but when we got to the magic shop, it was unfortunately closed this week for the 4th holiday week. Overall, it was a great and cold day to be in the city.

Life is beautiful!

Chaperoning in Chinatown

I got to chaperone a field trip to Chinatown in San Francisco today and am thankful.

I’m thankful that Charlie wanted me to go with him. I’m thankful that he was excited to go on this trip with his classmates and I loved hearing his anticipation about possibly getting a straw hat all week. 

I enjoyed the car ride with the other chaperones and was thankful I wasn’t riding the bus with all the kids.

I loved letting my little group lead and negotiate which direction we should head and which shops and sites we should visit, while I watched over all of them and kept them safe and together.

The weather was gorgeous in the city today and I loved the break in my routine. 

I am thankful for my flexible work schedule that allowed me to chaperone without feeling guilty.

And I’m thankful that Charlie found joy with his new straw hat. It’s the little things worthy of celebrating!

Today was good. 

How was your day? What made you feel thankful, wise one?


This Moment

Are you living it up? Are you doing exactly what you want to be doing? If not this moment, then when? 

I believe in living in the moment and maximizing doing what I love, every day in addition to the work required to keep things flowing, of course.

I’ve realized that my favorite things to do are spending time with family and friends doing whatever and usually that means eating and traveling and exercising and experiencing new things and helping others. So I guess those are my favorite things…  What are your favorite ways of spending the day?

Today my friends were gathering in the city so I drove up to be with them and to enjoy their presence. I adore them and was so happy to have a few hours together. 

While I was gone, my boys got started painting a room which made me very happy. I came home to help with the finishing touches for day 1 and the first coat before we had dinner together.

I love this moment, this life, right now. And you. And you? 


wishing you love and peace.


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.




Wanderlust in San Francisco

Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.”  – Oxford Dictionaries Online

Wanderlust is in my soul. I love to wander from place to place and today we wandered around one of our favorite cities, San Francisco.  We used to live in this wonderful city and there are so many fascinating neighborhoods and pockets to explore.

I love going to the city and just wandering without a set mission of what we want to see or do. I asked Jeff to look up a new place for us to discover and mentioned that I’d like to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, if there was time. The last time we did that was 15 years ago and the views are spectacular.

The first place he took me was Grandview Park in the Inner Sunset.

This is not a typical tourist destination and it was quiet, clear, gorgeous and serene.  

I was so happy walking around here, discovering something so breathtaking and new, that my wanderlust spirit was filled and it was only the beginning of our date.


After wandering around the rocky and sandy terrain, we walked through the neighborhood and just enjoyed seeing the cool houses, narrow streets and parrots flying and squawking overhead.

We got back in the car and traversed down the hill, noticing the street names of just staircases that lead to upper streets.  We ended up down on Irving Street to grab a drink and use the restroom. My favorite little SF boutique, Ambiance, just happened to be open and I couldn’t resist looking around and trying on some things.  This is what I love most about just wandering without a plan. When you see something you like, you just stop and pull over and enjoy the moment.

Our next stop was the Presidio.  Before we got there, we drove down Haight street and took in the familiar sites. We drove down by where I used to take Christian to Gymboree with Apryl and Alex and felt nostalgic that it has been replaced with a City Target and Best Buy.  It was still fun to see the changes that have happened over the past several years.

Jeff had discovered a new Mexican restaurant in the Presidio Officer’s Club that had recently opened and we decided to give it a try. At Arguello, you order your food at the bar and then they bring you your order whether you choose to sit inside or out.  It was sunny and warm without any wind, so we sat on the terrace. The food was ok and the experience was great and relaxing.

After lunch, we had a volunteer docent give us a tour of the Presidio Officer’s Club which was interesting and entertaining. Again, we weren’t looking to explore a museum today, but it was offered to us and we decided to follow along.  

The Presidio Visitor’s Center was also open today and so we walked through there too, as Jeff has always wanted to see it. There wasn’t much to see, but the views from the Presidio and the open space are all really appealing.

We walked back to our car and drove over near the bridge, where we paid to park. We got out and found our way to the North entrance of the Bridge and enjoyed the 1.7 mile walk across to the Marin Headlands and then turned around and headed back.

It was a warm day on the bridge and the sun shine and visibility were stunning.  

We saw what we thought to be dolphins under the bridge, but soon discovered they were harbor porpoises that have returned to the bay, after we talked with a research scientist who was photographing and tracking the animals as he was working on identifying them.


We couldn’t have picked a better day to be exploring one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.


What are some of your favorite San Francisco locations?

Life is good.

California Staycation

California is one of my favorite places and I love living here. Today we decided to be tourists of San Francisco. The kids had never been to Alcatraz and we had never been to Angel Island before. We got up early like it was a school day and packed a picnic lunch. We left the house by 7:45 am in time to drive up to the city and find parking before arriving for our 9:30 am departure.

It was very cold and even with our multiple layers we were still freezing. When it wasn’t windy, we felt fine and when the sun eventually peeked out, we were quite comfortable.

Here are some pictures from our Staycation.




Being in Alcatraz and listening to the stories while walking through the prison cells and hallways made me thankful for my freedom. It made me wonder why and how some people become so hardened and can hate life so much that they don’t want to follow the rules and will accept the loss of their freedom in exchange for their choice of rejecting societal norms.

Some people may not have the ability to weigh the pros and cons of their choices and be able to look past the current moment to see that they might end up in a worse place if they choose to act in a certain way. The human mind fascinates me.

Seeing the small cells where men lived and hearing how the space became part of them was so surreal.

The solitary confinement units where the worst of the worst inmates were placed in the dark for 24 hours at a time would make most people go insane. Hearing the audio tour as you walk through the exhibits really makes you feel and experience what it might have been like before 1963 when the last inmate was released from Alcatraz.

It’s actually a beautiful place to visit and to take in another view of the city from the water.


From Alcatraz, we took another ferry over to Angel Island. The sun was out by now and it was a beautiful journey. We ate our picnic lunch from the boat deck and enjoyed watching all the sailboats sail by. Once we arrived at Angel Island, we took a tram ride around the island that lasted one hour.





It turned out to be a perfect day of sunshine. We all loved the island and hope to come back and rent bikes one day and tour around again and explore this gorgeous place. We took a ferry back to San Francisco and finished our day with a walk to the Ferry Building. From there we started to head back to our car and discovered the stairway to Coit Tower. Even though we were tired, we still rallied and hiked the 400+ steps to the top because I was curious and wanted to try something new. More beauty was experienced and I was thankful that we all made it despite a few grumblings. I kept telling my kids that we didn’t have any wimps in our family and I guess they believed me!

My phone battery had died by the time we got to the steps so I was unable to take anymore pictures. Jeff took this one of me playing in this flower tree that made me smile.


There was a beautiful secret garden we discovered, quaint little homes and a cute black cat. The Filbert steps are definitely worth taking if you ever have the chance .

We are definitely tired now after more than walking 19,000+ steps, but in a good way.

I love San Francisco and life is good!

Following the Light

I am fascinated by light and water. I wanted to go to the beach today and see the ocean, but the rest of the family was happy just relaxing at home. Even though I desired going out, I’m also happy when everyone else is happy and I’d rather be with everyone than be alone enjoying the beach.

So instead, I enjoyed playing cards with my sister for four hours, knowing we had no where we had to be and nothing we had to do. This was liberating! Today truly felt like vacation. Jeff read his new books, CJ played on the computer, and the younger ones were content just playing and hanging out together. We went for a bike ride and the kids played in the park, appreciating the warm air and bright, California winter sunshine.


Around 4pm, we decided to get dressed and to go watch the sunset. We all loaded up in the car and ended up following the light through Silicon Valley, down through Half Moon Bay, and ending up in San Francisco. In the end, I got to see the beach after all. Thanks guys!!




I love this life, right now. And happy birthday to my BFF!!