Go Stanford!      

My favorite part of going to Stanford football games is the pre-party, tailgating with family and friends. It feels like we’re speed-camping without the sleepover part. I love watching the kids play in a safe environment outside near by the adults.  I love setting up tables with an abundance of food and sharing a communal table.


Being in the stadium is exciting too, watching all the action, cheering with friends, and just hanging out together, especially when Stanford wins.


Life is good. 

Tailgating and Football

The highlight of today was tailgating and watching American Football. Stanford is ranked #5 and is so much fun to watch. We love gathering with friends out in the Eucalyptus Forest before the game against Washington and just chilling outside together.

Nothing better than finding a big stick and getting dirty!

Red Solo Cup…. I keep hearing Leland singing karaoke about his dear friend!

Best buddies.

Once we finish the party out in the field, we continue the celebration inside the stadium. Tonight’s game began right away with a Stanford touchdown which set the pace for the rest of the game. Here’s a little video clip so you can feel what it’s like to be there.

Tonight was so warm and comfortable to be outside all night long and we never got cold. It was a great evening and Stanford won!

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!!

Football and Tailgating Season Begins

Tonight began our tailgating and football season with an 8 pm game at Stanford vs. San Jose State University.

We all love this tradition we started about 4 years ago and were glad to be kicking off the season again after our year away. In a way, I feel like we are camping with half the amount of work and stuff, and no uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

April and I plan a menu, shop together and help prepare dinner for our family and friends. The boys bring a portable Weber barbecue and we set up bar height tables and chairs and set out a spread of delicious food and drinks. The kids like to draw and make signs for the game and toss the football around the parking lot and get all dusty before the game.


Tonight we had tri-tip on torta rolls, coleslaw, watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, broccoli salad, and cilantro shrimp. We also had several appetizers to share and munch while relaxing with good friends before the game as well as several desserts!

It was an especially warm night and we didn’t need any sweatshirts until the end of the night. The game was excellent and it was great to be in the stands again.

One highlight of the game was seeing Ms. Maehara in the crowd. She is a teacher from our school who has taught all our kids and is one of the most passionate teachers I’ve ever met. Tonight at half time they honored educators who graduated from Stanford, and she came and brought our kids with her out onto the field with her. What a treat!! I think they all enjoyed the experience and we’re thankful for our amazing and dedicated teacher.

We also loved watching the Stanford band and the new female drum major, dressed as Dorothy from Wizard Of Oz, with Toto on her baton that she waived through the air as she lead the band through the night.

It’s a late night but was so much fun. Stanford beat San Jose 34-13. I’m glad we got to share it with my parents, Leland and his family and April and Steve and their family too.

Hope you have a great rest of the weekend!!


Fighting for Family Time


I feel like I’m doing a lot of talking lately. My kids seem to have very different opinions than mine and have forgotten who is the matriarch and strategic leader of this family who knows best, or at least thinks she knows best. There is an expectation gap that I’m trying to fill and to garner buy in, and it is taking a bit more work than I’d like. I’m sure the mamas with older kids understand my dilemma.

Today’s struggle was rather simple. We didn’t have any kids’ sporting events just yet and our day was wide open. Jeff decided he wanted to attend the Stanford Football Open House event. I agreed, thinking this would be a fun way to get us back in the spirit of tailgating in the fall, which is fast approaching and give us all something to do. We all really enjoy this family tradition, but today they had other ideas. Juliana wanted to bake. Christian wanted to bike ride and hang out with his friend and Charlie was wanting to wage a Nerf gun battle with his neighborhood friends. Secretly, I really wanted to head to the beach on my paddle board. But none of these activities were really bringing us all together to share family time, and typically if we stay home, I end up cleaning, cooking and dropping off and picking up after everyone. The one thing we would all enjoy was Jeff’s plan, but the individual wills were batting with the family will. Luckily, we didn’t give in to the demands and temper tantrums and logic explaining away our strategy. We stuck together and lead our team to victory. The end brought us to Stanford, to enjoy watching the team practice and hearing Coach Shaw address the crowd. We watched the divers practicing at the nearby pool. We got a chance to run on the the field, and even saw Juliana successfully kick her first field goal.


Afterwards, we got posters and had fun collecting autographs and meeting as many of the football players as we could, including the quarterback and the coach.


We ended up staying there all day, longer than we anticipated because we all were having fun. Imagine that.

And to end the afternoon, we had a late lunch and early dinner at the best sandwich place on the planet. If you haven’t been to Ike’s yet, find your way there as quickly as possible. There is one on the Stanford campus, and others near the University of Santa Clara, De Anza college in Cupertino and San Francisco to name a few.

A touchdown for Team Hartley today.

Oh, and P.S., we got home in plenty of times for neighborhood Nerf gun battles, bike rides and evening play. We all win!

How did you spend your day?