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!!

Beach Remedy


I finally got to the beach today with my traveling volleyball team.

Every few months we travel to play on the sand instead of the grass and today was the perfect day.

We played a few rounds of volleyball and then stopped to celebrate Stacey’s birthday. Dana always makes the best homemade cheesecake.


After warming up on the court and getting all sandy, we headed to the water for some paddling and body surfing. It was mind over matter for me, which allowed me to not worry about getting cold and wet to pass through the small waves to get out to the open sea. I loved paddling in the sunshine and seeing sea lions popping up next to me. It was a warm and gorgeous day. I need to get a GoPro to take pictures from the water.


After paddling for 40 minutes, I shared my board with Debbie and Norine. But first I had to paddle into shore and decided to try surfing in, unsuccessfully! Lucky for me, Stacey caught the glorious moment on my iPhone! Thanks for the laugh, and lunch and cake and friendship!!


Life is good.

Wedding on the Beach

We celebrated a family wedding tonight on the beach in Santa Cruz. It was really nice to see some of my aunts and uncles and cousins, as well as my parents. Plus, I had the added bonus of a date night. Tonight was one of those perks of repatriation and being back home again. I don’t have to miss out on family events and that feels really good.
I liked hearing the wedding vows and watching two people in love. I liked hearing the waves crash on the beach and hearing the seagulls and sea lions roaring.

Dancing with my family was a highlight of the evening. I also especially loved the photo booth and being silly. Those things just make me laugh and I kept finding different people to take pictures with me.

Congratulations to Denice and Jeff!

Life is beautiful.

Just Say Yes

Today I said Yes.

Yes, to my mama’s request to come meet her at the ocean to go kayaking and paddling together.
Yes, to myself to take a break from my duties to enjoy the moment and make memories.

Yes, it’s ok to play even when there will always be more work to do.

I Am so happy I said Yes when I thought I should say No.



We had such a great day together in the water. We launched from Santa Cruz harbor and paddled almost all the way to the wharf. We saw sea lions, seals, a sea otter eating a crab, pelicans, seagulls, jelly fish and fisherman catching HUGE fish from the rocks on the side of the harbor by the lighthouse. We saw kayakers and paddlers and boats passing by. It was so peaceful. Being by the ocean is my favorite place to be.

Thanks mama for asking me to join you and dad today! I’m so proud of you for journeying out into the ocean for the first time! It was so awesome!!

How did you make time for yourself today? It’s so important to find joy especially when life is crazy!! Just say yes!!



Last Day of Summer


Today was our last day of summer vacation. The kids all start at three different schools bright and early tomorrow morning. We are all excited and a bit anxious and sad to not be returning to our International School in Amsterdam and seeing all of our friends there again.

We enjoyed a day with friends down at the beach on the Santa Cruz Wharf, where Juliana participated in the Hawaiian Outrigger canoe paddle races.

She was invited to try it out last week at Vasona Lake and really enjoyed being on the water with her friends. I think I would love it too, however I loved just watching her and being a proud mama today.



We ate lunch at Woodies on the wharf, and then tried to stay on the beach for awhile, but picked a spot that wasn’t good for swimming and was covered in flies! Jeff had a bit of a cold, so we decided to take off around 2 pm and enjoyed a sandless and flyless drive along the coastline before heading back over the hill.

Of course, I waited until the last minute to get school supplies for the big kids, so we stopped at Target along with the rest of our town. Luckily it wasn’t too painful and we got to catch up with some old friends while scouring the aisles for deals. We spent so much less today than we did in Holland. Things are so much cheaper here and more readily accessible.

The kids got their backpacks and supplies ready and picked out clothes for the first day and laid them out so they would all be ready for the structured morning tomorrow. We shared an early dinner with our family – April and Steve and the girls, and talked about walking to school together in the morning. I can’t wait!

School begins and so does a little bit of quiet time with a few hours to myself! I hope everyone with school aged kids has an easy transition… especially the mamas with college kids beginning!!


Santa Cruz Boardwalk


There are just a few days left of summer vacation and I’m soaking in every minute with the kids. I’m excited for school to start again and to provide structure to our days, but at the same time I’m dreading it. With the end of summer, comes early morning wake up calls, rushed breakfasts, homework and sport schedules and the mad dash of it all. I’m not looking forward to all that busyness and having less time together. I actually really enjoy my kids and spending time together and am going to miss them when they go back next week. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll also enjoy my alone time again, but I’d much rather have them with me!

Today we were appointment free and headed to Santa Cruz to enjoy the kids’ pick of playing on the Boardwalk, riding the rides, playing in the arcade and eating fair food. I’d say life is good! I hope they enjoyed their time together as much as I did. I loved seeing and sharing their joy and excitement, and especially loved the Giant Dipper and Log Ride, even though I felt sick afterwards from the roller coaster. The weather was just perfect!

I Am Content.