A Real Vacation

Hello Friends!  Did you miss me? I missed you.  It felt really strange to not write for a few days and it felt totally liberating too.  I enjoyed a real vacation and wanted to savor the moments with my girlfriends and to keep everything private, during the time I was away. 

I went on a yoga retreat with one of my very best friends in Cabo, San Lucas, Mexico. 

Everything was awesome and words can’t describe the fabulous experience. I am filled with gratitude and came back rested and relaxed and filled with joy.

My parents came to stay with my kids and to support Jeff, getting them to and from school, fed, loved, and to all their appointments. They were so lucky to have 5 days with their grandparents, being spoiled and loved day after day. I was thankful that they took the time to be here and that my kids were well taken care of. I was able to enjoy myself without worry because I knew my job was covered.

Stacey and I have been friends for 18 years, which is hard to believe since we’re only “29.”  We both lead busy lives and don’t talk as often as we’d like, but when we get together, it’s like no time has passed at all. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing – we just enjoy each other’s company, sharing stories and laughing and playing together.  Being on vacation with her and 8 other girlfriends was just magical.  I am so thankful that she invited me to join her in Cabo to create and share more memories together.

We enjoyed doing several hours of yoga each day, listening to the sounds of the ocean and wind, feeling the warmth of the air, and practicing with amazingly strong women. We called ourselves the Yoga Mafia and laughed at the silliness of it all. These girls are amazingly strong, beautiful and graceful yogis.

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We ate delicious Mexican food and drank homemade watermelon juice everyday.

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We sat by the pool, drank shots together, ate chips and guacamole and enjoyed each other’s company.

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We paddle boarded and did yoga on the water in La Paz, even while being scared by jelly fish, puffer fish and sting rays.
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We were pampered with outdoor massages in the privacy of our house.

We danced the night away at Cabo Wabo, and danced in the moonlight on the beach until 3 am.

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Life is good. Love this life. Love my girlfriends and family and am ever so thankful, especially for my BFF.

Hope you have a wonderful week and take good care of yourself. xo

Namaste.

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.
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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.

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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!!

Namaste

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Day 329: Goodbyes Suck

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Letting go… namaste

I had the best day again today.

Yet I am fully aware of the change that is looming.

As I live in the moment and enjoy these last 3 weeks in Europe and the last few days of school, I am feeling the heaviness of what’s to come.

I feel extreme joy in the celebration of life with good friends, fully aware of the loss I’m going to feel when we say goodbye for the summer… for the school year… for the end of this journey.

Today I went paddling for 1 1/2 hours with Barbara and enjoyed being on the water. Afterwards, we swung from a rope swing over and into the water and swam to the dock, just like kids.  Can you see the smile that was on my face? I did yoga on the board before coming in and the picture above is me relaxing and letting go. What a perfect way to spend the morning.  Thank you, my friend!

Jen invited me to join her for a sushi lunch. I learned from her that sometimes it takes awhile for friendships to bloom and a year just isn’t long enough!  But once you establish roots, I think you can go anywhere and pick up where you left off, right Jen? I’m going to believe that! And if Lucy can Facetime with you from Russia, surely I can figure out how to keep in touch from America.

Finally, we had a swim party for the kids to celebrate with their friends and mine. What kids don’t like swimming? They were all so happy and the parents enjoyed chatting and relaxing too while the kids played. I received a wonderful, personalized, handmade pottery gift from Bob that really meant a lot to me. He’s been taking a pottery class and took the time to create something special for our family.  I’d share it, but it has an inscription with our address, that I’ll save to share after we move. Thank you, Bob!  What a cool and unique gift!! I love it.  As we left the pool, two friends came home with us for a pizza dinner and a sleepover. I’ve got to make sure they are living it up too and bending all the rules. Change is good!

I know change is coming and I’m ok with that, but it doesn’t change how I feel about it. It sucks to have to say goodbye, yet I know we have to and I know we can keep in touch and possibly see our friends again, but our day to day lives together are about to change. And that makes me sad, even though I know what waits for us back home is good.

It’s that yin and yang thing again… the constant in life. The constant balancing and rebalancing and adapting. I think I’m getting the hang of it, and know how to do it, but I’m feeling it. Can you feel it? Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s probably no different for the mama’s sending their babies off to college this year… it’s the right thing to do, change is happening, growth is occurring and new stages are developing, but not without a sense of loss and letting go.

So today I wish us all the peace to let go, and to know how and when, and to breathe, and to feel it and to smile and to move on with grace. The way we are supposed to, even when it’s hard and it sucks and it’s ok.

Namaste.

Day 282: Running and Supping

Who knew that today would be so beautiful? I got to run and SUP … what could be better?

I hadn’t planned on going for a run today, but the sun was shining and no wind was blowing and it was too gorgeous to be indoors. I ran 3.4 miles in 33 minutes with several stops to smell the roses, so to speak. I wanted to share the beauty around me on my run through the forests, and plus the breaks gave me a chance to catch my breath. Running isn’t easy for me… But I keep doing it. I hope you enjoy the views…

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So that’s why my run was a bit slower… I had to enjoy my surroundings. Gorgeous, right?

After my run, I showered and got dressed and rode my bike to the Friday market to buy a birthday present, and some things for dinner. I came home and assembled my favorites right now: celery root mashed with creme fraiche and salt and pepper… so delicious, thanks Patti Beth for introducing me to a food I would have never noticed. I also made a roasted beet salad with goat cheese, toasted pine nuts and balsamic vinegar. yum! These were side dishes for the grilling team! We went over to Barbara’s house for dinner and to paddle together. We couldn’t have asked for any better conditions. The sun was warm, the wind was non existent, and the water was smooth as glass. We supped before and after dinner at sunset. I was so happy. I love being on the water. Thanks to Barbara and D for hosting all of us. We loved your company and dinner was great!

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Day 269: SUPing in the Wind and Art, Wine and Cheese Fair

We had a great busy day. The kids don’t have sports this season, so our weekends are free. Free for me to play, and play I did. Jeff and I went for a run together in the morning. He’s a lot faster than me now and has been running more regularly. I am so proud of him.

I brought my new paddle board onto the water today. Jeff helped me find the place and park our car and unload my board. It’s quite large and bulky, and a bit heavy, but actually lighter than my board back home. Too bad the wind was so strong. I did have fun, but it was a struggle to paddle upwind. I was afraid I was going to fall in. Two of the other paddlers did take a dive!! We ended up not doing the tour as planned because it was just too choppy. At least the sun was out!!

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We rushed back afterwards to get ready for an art, wine, and cheese fundraiser. It was a great evening with Jeff and my girlfriends!! Life is good!!

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Day 252: SUP Dubai

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The warm weather, water, sun, sand and SUP made me happy today. I love being on the water, especially when it’s hot out. We took a taxi out to the one place we could find where we could rent a board. The municipality laws changed in Dubai two weeks ago and they’ve outlawed rentals on public beaches. Luckily for me, Jeff found this place that I had missed in my Google search for Sup in Dubai.

Life is good!

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When I’m out on the water, I just feel at peace. Usually I’m alone taking in the sites, feeling the sun, working up a sweat, listening to the sounds of the water lapping at the front of my board, and enjoying the mysteries of the ocean, and feeling the water on my toes. Don’t you want to come supping with me? It’s the best!

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We also rented one of those banana boat inner tube things and all five of us went out behind a ski boat for 20 minutes. I laughed and smiled the entire time. I can’t say the ride was experienced quite the same way for someone else on the banana! The views from the water were amazing and bouncing around on top of the water just made my day.

Tomorrow we are heading home, where the weather is more than half the temperature of Dubai’s. :-(. Goodbye, bathing suit. Hello, down coat.

Day 241: Really Cold Weather & SUP Dreams

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It’s cold and windy in Holland and I’m over it. Even with my long down coat, wool socks, jeans and accessories, I am still freezing and uncomfortable. I know they say there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad dressers, but that statement doesn’t work for me. I don’t know why it feels colder now than it did with snow on the ground. Is it because of the humidity and the wind? Why is it so cold? Please warm up… I like it a bit warmer, thank you!

I spent the day mostly indoors, up at the crack of dawn, for no real reason except that I keep waking up early! What is this insomnia business as I get older?

I have been working all day on trying to organize my digital photos and clean up some old emails with attachments. My iPhoto library is full and I’m out of disk space on my computer so I’m trying to figure it all out and it isn’t easy!! Wish me (Jeff) luck! The best part was seeing old pictures of friends from home and the first few weeks of living in Holland. We’ve experienced so much and are so thankful!

The kids had birthday parties this afternoon. Charlie went to a bowling party

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Juliana went on a scavenger hunt with a team of friends at the Amstelveen mall, after taking a tram ride together. She had so much fun and is growing up so fast. The highlight from her scavenger hunt was finding pre-colored Easter eggs at Hema (kind of like Target!). She had never seen anything like it before.

Jeff and I went to run errands and on the way back he drove me through more parts of Ouderkerk, my favorite city in Holland. I wished we would have chosen to live there, but we didn’t really know about it when we were looking for housing. We did look at houses on the Amstel, but none were quite right for us. The house we chose is perfect for us. We picked a house with lots of natural light, a huge open kitchen with an American sized refrigerator and oven, and a great room with a view into a small back yard and a beautiful open view of a canal out front. It is perfect for our lifestyle with a place to park right outside our front door. I love that the Ouderkerk is nearby. What I love about this city includes the wide river, prominent church steeples, bakeries, ice cream shop, store fronts and restaurants with outdoor seating right on the water. It has a small town feel which I love.

Today I searched for places where I could park my car, lift my board off the racks and walk a short distance to launch. I found it! Now I just have to wait for the weather to warm up. Any day now… I hope.

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