Friends and Family

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This sign was hanging in the women’s restroom in San Luis Obispo.

In the men’s room, Jeff says the sign said, “Some call it chaos. we call it family.”

I think we have it all.

We spent a lot of time with extended family this weekend and I feel sad leaving them, even though I am happy to be going home again.

I love being together and embracing the chaos and love that swirl around us, tying us together through shared experiences and laughter.

There were several highlights from our time together, however my favorite was when friends and family gathered outside and held hands, all 26 of us, and shared a Thanksgiving prayer before dinner acknowledging our gifts and our heartbreaking loss of Chase this year. We were able to smile and cry together and it was a beautiful moment of being safe and authentic, vulnerable and real. We were happy to be together and sad to be missing a loved one. Yin and yang.

I love the unique gifts that each person brings to our family, quirks and all.

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I kept reminding myself that we all bring love to share in our own way.

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I am especially thankful to my parents for opening their home to everyone and making us welcome and embracing everyone with unconditional love.

We left their home this afternoon and headed home ourselves. My favorite place to be, besides home, is at the beach. My BFF ML also loves the beach and was at Pismo today. We were so lucky to be able to find each other on the beach and watched the sunset together with our families.

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This was such a great way to wrap up the day and I was so happy to see her and to be together on the beach!! Simple joys, I’m telling you!!

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Life is good!

I hope you enjoyed your own family and friends this giving thanks weekend, and always.

Wishing you peace and love! xo

I Am White

I am white, privileged they say. I am so much more than my skin color and so are you. I never refer to myself as white except on forms, and it’s uncomfortable to me to talk about race because I prefer to think of us all as humans, part of the human race.

I think I was the only white girl in my yoga class today in Silicon Valley. I was aware of our differences and being a minority, but this is normal to me where I live as there are 26 different languages spoken at the homes of the children in our local school.

At the end of our class, our teacher asked all 20+ of to sit in a circle. As it’s the week of Thanksgiving, she wanted us to take a moment to say our name and introduce ourselves to one another and share one thing we are thankful for. There were people of Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Indian,and European descents, that I could recognize and I’m sure there were more.

As we went around the circle, several names I cannot remember as they are different from the names I am familiar with and have never heard before. What was the same between us though, were our gifts of gratitude. We all expressed thanks for similar things such as family, health, love, our work, our beautiful lives and being present and thankful for our yoga class and instructor.

I Am privileged because I was surrounded by all these wonderful people who are different than me and yet we are the same. I felt a connection in our little, diverse yoga community. I see these people every week, but we don’t usually speak to one another, as it’s a one hour yoga class and I do not know the others. Sitting in this circle and sharing something about ourselves made a connection for me and for this I was thankful.

I Am in love with humanity and all that is good in all of us.

I Am sad for all who are in pain and suffering, and especially those in Ferguson.

Love sees no color.

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We all want the same things and we need to do the work to create the things we love. I want us all to be on the same team.

I Am sad that there are inequalities and unfairness in the world.

I was listening to Dj Boogie D from St. Louis this morning on NPR, as he was responding to the unrest in Ferguson. He said that we need to change and look forward, despite what has happened in the past, and he didn’t know what that change looked like just yet and was using his airways on the radio station to let peoples’ voices be heard.

I want to be part of the positive change in this world. We can celebrate our oneness, our sameness by embracing and seeing the good in each other and changing the conversation to lift each other up, to forgive one another and to help one another. I think we can take care of each other by being kind, loving, and respectful to ourselves and to each other, always, even when someone hurts us. I think this change comes from being curious about each other and wanting to know more and looking for the connections in our shared values and interests.

I wish for love and peace and justice in this fragmented world, BeLoveRs.

Namaste…the light in me honors the light in you.

Thank You

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It’s Thanksgiving week and I just want to say thank you for being here.

Thank you for your comments and opinions, both expressed online and privately.

I appreciate all of you who, and especially those of you who take the time to like my posts and write and share your thoughts with me.

I love that you’re reading and liking what you see and connecting. You inspire me and I thank you for that.

I love hearing that you’re sharing my stories with your daughters.  I love that you’re carrying the conversation and making it yours. We’re connecting and I absolutely LOVE this.

We have so much to be thankful for, despite our chaotic, imperfect, and painful lives.

So thank you for being you. Thank you for reading and writing, sharing and connecting. I appreciate each of you.

I hope you enjoy your families, good food and good health. Lots of love, and Happy Thanksgiving from California.

xo Adriana

Giving Thanks

I just got the Thanksgiving box down on Monday. In the box, I found some of our Thanksgiving thankfulness projects. We haven’t done something every year, but I do have a few mementos. In 2003, we made foam trees. I must have been inspired by a preschool project.

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In 2004, we were thankful that Charlie survived and didn’t take the time to create another project.

In 2005, we made placemats with each of our homemade trees of thanks. They are sitting around our table now and we are all getting a kick out of what we were thankful for back then.

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In 2006, we made bookmarks. I have these hanging on a mirror in another hallway.

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We must have been really busy living and were not that creative in the past 8 years!!  This year we are settling again and are ready for another thankfulness project.

We looked on Pinterest, and both Juliana and I gravitated independently toward the same 3D tree idea. This morning the aha light went on, and after yoga I went to the craft store to get supplies and came home and began building our Thankful Tree to surprise the kids before they came home.

Later while I was out running errands, Charlie decided to adopt the tree and made it his own. He decided our tree needed birds, and proceeded to find the ones he liked, printed them, cut them out and attached them to our tree before asking what anyone thought of his idea. I loved his creativity and independence, even though this idea was NOT on pinterest and was NOT mine! Juliana was clearly bothered by his creative freedom and wanted them removed. Even though I preferred our simple tree idea, I loved his personal touch and ownership of our family project and I didn’t want to take away from his creativity. The birds stayed.  

We are creating our leaves of thanks and adding them as we think of ideas. I can’t wait to see how our tree grows.

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We have so much to be thankful for. I hope the tree is overflowing in abundance and I wish you happiness, good health and peace.

What are you thankful for this year?

xo Happy Thanksgiving next week!  xo

GGG – Day 28 – Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in America.

Some of us started the day with a hike through beautiful Wildwood and enjoyed time together, exercise before the big dinner, and being out in nature.
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Today I am thankful that my parents opened their home up for 30 of us to gather and share a meal together. Thank you for cooking the turkey and cooking so many side dishes! The meal was fabulous and your gracious hospitality was so appreciated.

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I am thankful that my daughter shared her creative gifts and made personalized name tags for every guest. I loved seeing everyone’s names and thinking of each person that was gathered at the table.

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I am thankful for my cousins and their families that chose to join the festivities and brought appetizers and food to share.

I am thankful that all my siblings were together.

I am thankful for the new friends and old friends that joined together to celebrate today, because that’s what friends do.

I loved watching all the cousins playing together and seeing the guys sharing stories and the women working together and socializing too.

Thank you to Lenny and Zach for playing the guitar for us. Sing alongs are always fun and bring so much energy to a group.

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Our celebration brought us all together to share one day and for this, the abundant food and drink, the sweet moments and shared smiles and laughter and bonding, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Day 122: Thanksgiving in Holland – Round 2

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Tonight we celebrated Thanksgiving with some of our new friends in Holland, and with Mom and Dad. We all cooked and brought our dishes to Patty and Brian’s house, who graciously hosted all 20 of us. Tonight was really special and a great way to celebrate an American tradition in a new country.

I actually enjoyed the work to make the delicious food and to be able to share it with loved ones. We all worked as a team, brining and baking, cooking and shopping and eating!! My friends are good cooks!!

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In Holland, refrigerators and ovens are really small. This made it a challenge for anyone to cook a large turkey. We are fortunate to have a larger than usual oven and fridge and were the lucky ones to cook the turkey. We purchased a 22 pound turkey that cost a 100 euros!! It hardly fit in any container and made brining, refrigerating, cooking, presenting and transporting quite a challenge. But luckily today, it was all possible.

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Dinner was really delicious. Everyone put so much effort into making home made dishes, that tasted so savory. I think we all went back for seconds!! Desserts were filling too and no one went home hungry. There was chocolate cream pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin tartlets, pecan pie, apple crumble and vanilla ice cream. I think there was more than plenty!

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I think tryptophan took over my body here!! Good night!!

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I hope y’all are enjoying your holiday weekend, wherever you may be.

Day 120: The Thanksgiving That Was

I wasn’t planning on making a Thanksgiving dinner tonight and then April and Steve sent us a care package yesterday that inspired me to make one anyway!  It included stuffing, gravy, cranberries and pumpkin filling and spices.  I just had to add the fresh ingredients, no problem! I would have made a pie, but I couldn’t find a pie crust anywhere, and trying to make one from scratch just wasn’t on my fun list.

Jeff picked up the kids from school and practice so that I could get cooking a little earlier than normal. It was really nice to actually have a Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving, together as a family in Holland, especially since I’m really homesick this week. April was making Diane’s potato casserole tonight from the Ponderosa Cookbook, so I decided to make the same casserole so we could “share” a dish. It was the one cookbook I actually packed from home. We also had roasted turkey breast, fresh bread, cranberries, stuffing, the potato casserole, gravy, green beans with toasted almonds, and roasted brussel sprouts with bacon!  Mmm…I set the table with a candle for each person in honor of the lights that have gone out this year, along with a love note.  Dinner was yummy and my heart is content.

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We enjoyed chatting on Facetime with Dylan and his family, and chatting with Julie, and sharing  connections on Facebook – such great ways to stay connected with loved ones when we can’t be together. I’m thankful for technology!!

Wishing you all a great day with family and friends, thankful that we’re sharing this journey together.

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Namaste.

Day 119: Thanksgiving Week

It feels really different to be in Holland for Thanksgiving. I don’t think I’ve ever been out of the USA for this holiday and the feel and vibe is soooo different, of course. People aren’t frantically shopping and searching for the best deal on Turkeys. Instead, we’re calling the local butcher shops to see if they can even get us a turkey for 100 euros!! The stores aren’t any more crowded than usual, and the conversation at school isn’t about being excited for a shortened week or leaving the office early or planning a short vacation.  The vibe is different and I miss it – not the stress, but the feeling of the swirl and chaos that surround Thanksgiving. We’re still celebrating it here – just a bit differently this year, and that’s ok. I’m just missing home a wee bit!

Today the American Community from our International School hosted a  lovely Thanksgiving coffee with traditional Thanksgiving food to taste and sample.

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There were turkey sandwiches, cranberry sauce, stuffing, pumpkin pie and cookies and muffins, pecan chocolate pie, and on and on. The tables were beautifully decorated and the feeling of Thanksgiving permeated the room. I loved it, and this got me a little excited for the rest of the week.

Today we opened the Thanksgiving Care Package that arrived in the mail from April and Steve and J and S.

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You have no idea how thankful I am to receive such a thoughtful and meaningful gift. The box was filled with Thanksgiving day decorations, plates, candy, the kids favorite snacks, pumpkin filling and spices, gravy packages and even stuffing! How thoughtful, right? It’s hard to find such “gold” here! Last year April and I planned and cooked our Thanksgiving dinner together and it was really nice. I’m missing that this year!! ;-(

Tomorrow is a normal day in Holland with a full day of school and continued basketball tryouts afterwards. I bought two turkey breasts and plan to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for our family anyway. Anyone want to join us?  It won’t be served at 4, but probably more like 7 or 8 pm!! 

On Saturday, we’ll have a more traditional Thanksgiving gathering with some of our American friends. I’m excited for the potluck we’re pulling together and to not have to do it alone. I think Thanksgiving has to be shared – the whole feeling of family and friends gathering to share a special feast and to give thanks for fellowship and our blessings. 

Our family holidays are not traditional and our actual tradition is to not have a tradition. This simplifies things – as there are no expectations and anything goes. This year we’ll celebrate on Saturday instead of Thursday… never have done this before, so I’m continuing on with our tradition. 

Happy Thanksgiving – eat up and be merry!!

xo Adriana

 

Day 118: Thanksgiving, Giving Thanks

Today I’m thankful for all 98 of you who choose to follow my blog with me every day. It’s exciting to think that you’re interested in what I have to share and hopefully my life story connects with yours in some type of positive way.

I’m thankful for those that check in once in awhile and like what I have to say, and for those that send me personal emails and facebook messages too. You make me smile. It’s so nice to be loved and liked. 

I’m thankful for my husband who had the crazy idea to go on this journey in the first place. He works so hard to support our family and I appreciate all that he does to provide for us. Sounds so old-fashioned, but it works for us. I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom (and go on Wheel of Fortune or Price is Right) and because of him, I get to live my dream.  I wonder if I’ll ever get on TV??

I’m thankful for my kids who are such cool people, with loving spirits and funny personalities (and BIG opinions!) I enjoy their company and am so lucky that we get to live together and play together. I love hearing their stories at the dinner table, watching them interact with their friends, and seeing them mature and grow up in front of me. I am blessed.

I’m thankful for my parents who have been staying with us for a month already. They left tonight to stay with relatives for a couple nights and I already miss them. My dad has been busy in the kitchen making bread and cookies and helps our oldest with math homework every night. My mom makes dinner for us and cleans up and magically makes the laundry disappear. We play cards, shop, cook, eat french fries, explore Europe, drink coffee together in the morning and drink wine together at night. What could be better? I’m so lucky that they enjoy being with us and we enjoy being with them. What a gift to move to Holland and have them be with us for 1/6th of a year!  It will be weird when they leave us next month, but let’s not think of that just yet.

I’m thankful for my friends and sisters and family back home that keep in touch and call and text and write and send me cards and packages in the mail and let me know that they are holding my spot back home.  I long to hug them, and play tennis, volleyball, paddle and hike with them, and drink coffee!!

I’m thankful for the new friendships I’m making in Holland – that make the transition to a new place so sweet. It’s nice to come to school everyday to pick up the kids and to see familiar faces and to chat. Today the kids had practice until 5 pm and it was actually a joy to sit in the cafeteria, drinking coffee with the other mom friends and sharing stories. I’m excited to celebrate a Thanksgiving potluck dinner with a few of them!!  I’m looking forward to more shared experiences that help to build friendships too.

I’m thankful that the sun peeked out today. I realize how much I love and need the sunshine and when it shines, I’m beyond thrilled. Today I sat in the parking lot before going indoors to play tennis so that I could feel the sun on my face. I didn’t even want sunglasses on. It’s strange how when you don’t have something, you feel it and want it more!! I’m hoping for more days like today.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Love, Adriana

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