Community Connections and Friendship

Today was filled with love.

I started the day with a special breakfast at Charlie’s school, called Moments with Moms. It was my last one as Charlie is graduating this year, so it was extra special. I loved sitting with him and his friends and mine, soaking it all in and enjoying every minute and all the kids and moms and teachers and principal.  

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I love our school and our international community and my baby boy.  I was filled with joy.

After breakfast and doing a few chores, I went to meet my volleyball girls out on the grass for some outdoor volleyball fun. I hadn’t been out for over a month, since I’ve been fighting pain in my neck and back. I received an “internal memo” from our team captain, who always makes us laugh with her spirit and creativity.  She pretends that we are an official team and sends out weekly reminders of upcoming events and helps to coordinate our schedules and encourages us to get outside and play. I adore her!  Here is what her memo stated:

Internal Memo To: A. Hartley
From:  WBVC Management
Regarding:  The Hartley Shuffle aka Happy Dance
Dear Ms. Hartley,
Please be reminded that according to your contractual agreement with the WBVC you will need to ensure that you
fulfill your 2015 public appearance schedule and perform your signature move “the Hartley Shuffle”
aka “Happy Dance”(listed per your, “Publicity Branding”) as specified in the language found in paragraph 4, addendum 23.8.
We are currently renegotiating our sub leases and incentives with our DVD sponsorship and we need to ensure that “the Hartley Shuffle” will be performed during the high season.  Therefore,you will need to rehab your shoulder in short order and provide a timetable for your future appearances.
For your reference note that as per the contract, “Player will cooperate with the news media, and will participate upon request in reasonable activities to promote the Club and the League.”
The Top 7 Sports Signature Moves:
1.) Colin Kaepernick’s “Bicep Kiss”
2.) Dennis Rodman’s “Jersey Toss”
3.) Jason Kidd “Blows a Kiss”
4.) The Bash Brothers’ “Forearm Smash”
5.) Deion Sanders’ “Prime Time Dance”
6.) Lebron James’ “Powder Toss”
7.) Adriana Hartley’s “the Hartley Shuffle”
Thank you,
The WBVC Management
The shortened version of this memo from M and others reads, where is Adriana and how did that happy dance go?  We need
the happy dance back to which management was requested to send a memo asap.  BTW All members reading said memo should attend all practices weekly as your schedule permits.

It was soooo good to be out on the field again with my friends, playing in the sunshine, sharing stories and catching up while working out with my girls. I was nervous at first to play again, and was on the injured list, which gave me a few privileges, such as extra serves.  After about an hour or so, I warmed up and the pain was less. I was so happy that N encouraged me to come out and play again, as this made me very happy.

The rest of the day was filled with catching up with laundry and work, before getting ready for the potluck dinner with our Japanese students and host families back at school. Every family brought something to share, which made for a fabulous dinner. We made bagel pizza bites and the girls made gluten free chocolate frosted cupcakes.

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The Japanese students provided entertainment that made me very happy.

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My favorite part of the night was watching. The kids perform. The Japanese kids practiced their English, acting as the MCs and directing the agenda for the evening. I loved the boys group dancing, the drama scene, the group song, and most especially watching  Akie perform a solo ballet performance to my favorite Frozen tune, “Let it Go.”  

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She was absolutely stunning and beautiful and graceful. I was so proud of her (as my daughter!) I left from filming, saying to my friends, “that’s my girl!!.” They giggled.

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Seeing and feeling the appreciation and gratitude and love between the students, the schools, and the families made my day.

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This is truly a remarkable experience and I recommend hosting a foreign exchange student in your house, if you have the means. We are all loving her and sharing in this journey, creating connections and friendships that we would never have had otherwise.

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I am thankful!!

The Happiest Place on Earth

I am content.

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This weekend my husband is taking good care of our kids and I am enjoying a mini-vacation with my volleyball friends in Laguna Beach.

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I am thankful!!

Hope you all are living it up and having a wonderful weekend filled with love and laughter and happiness.

xoxo

Exercise

What’s your favorite form of exercise?

How often do you work out? And for how long? Do you make exercise a priority?

Some people I know exercise every day. Others, not at all. And some just sometimes. Are all sets happy? Yes, I think so. It makes me curious why some people feel like they HAVE to exercise, some don’t want to at all and others are happy either way.

I love exercise just because I love it. I am happy whether I do or don’t and don’t feel like I have to exercise to be happy. The opposite is true for others and I find this fascinating.

I choose to exercise because I enjoy the social and fitness aspects of it. I do a mix of group and individual sports and am happier when I’m working out with friends and sharing that social component. I learn so much from my friends and feel like when we’re exercising and chatting, we’re sharing an experience and time together, and are figuring life out and it makes it all a little sweeter.

Why do you workout? What do you do? Do you switch things up or stick to one or two things?

Today I ran 3 miles alone and then later walked with a friend. Yesterday I did a power yoga group class and tomorrow I will play tennis with friends. All of these forms make me happy. I feel like I exercise because it’s the right thing to do and I want to stay fit, strong and healthy, and to be a good role model to my kids. I don’t think I lose any weight from working out, but maybe that’s more because my eating habits are out of whack! I’m working on those too, but that story is for another post.

Good night. xx

Life is Full

Today was a full day with a morning game of grass volleyball with friends, a long chat with my best San Francisco friend, another trip to the ortho, playdates with friends, baking, and a haircut with my old hairdresser. Lots of stories, smiles and hugs were shared.

We ended our first week of school on a family date with friends in downtown Mountain View. It was great to be out in a fun, vibrant town and trying out a new restaurant. I love discovering new places and always have a sense of wanderlust, especially after living overseas for a year. The highlight was bumping into Jess and Soosh and their kids on the street. This is the part I love about being home. I have a sense of place and a sense that I belong here. Running into people I know wherever I go feels great. I love the smiles we share and the stories we tell.

I also loved singing along with this woman playing her guitar outside the bookstore.

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She wasn’t collecting tips, as she was just sharing her joy and talents. I loved this magical moment. Magic surrounds us if we are aware and looking. What magic did you discover today?

Day 107: Luxembourg

This expat lifestyle is pretty fun, and tiring, but I’m not complaining. We’re taking advantage of the opportunities that surround us and seeing as much of Europe as possible. Everything is new to us, so it’s hard to say no to anything that presents itself. We’re more like, sure, why not?

We are in Luxembourg tonight to be with Juliana and her volleyball team. Since she travels to new countries, we have decided to come along and travel with her to support her and to satisfy our curiosity about seeing new places. We would never have thought to come to Luxembourg otherwise, even though I’ve heard it’s a beautiful city.

In Lux, they speak French, German, a little English and Luxembourgish. We went to dinner tonight and I kept responding in Dutch and Spanish and eventually a few French words came out too! I was a little confused.
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We got to town tonight in time to see Juliana win her game. Her team is in first place, after winning all day! Tomorrow are the finals and we’ll have several games to watch! I can’t wait! I absolutely love watching her play and seeing her with her friends. She is one lucky girl!!

We’re staying in a budget hotel – since we needed three rooms for two nights with my parents and the kids. Char thinks its the best place ever! The entertainment tonight was a shower with a digital light in the shower head that kept changing colors while he showered. It was pretty cool. And he’s never slept at a hotel with a bunk bed.

Oh the little things that make us happy. Maybe I’ll have to try that shower next!

Namaste.

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Day 58: Cultural Exchange

When I was 11, I traveled from Los Angeles to Tahiti and Australia with my soccer team, as part of a cultural exchange program.

Today my 11 year old traveled from Holland to Germany with her volleyball team and is staying overnight with a host family, just like I did. I’m so proud of her.

Bonn, Germany is a 3 hour drive from our new home, so the boys and I drove up tonight and are staying at a hotel so we can see her morning game tomorrow.

The highlights for the boys tonight was trying out the German McDonald’s and the McRib sandwich.
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Somehow both Christian and Jeff knew that you could ask for beer there, that wasn’t on the menu. Surprisingly, they came out from behind with two beers and poured them into cups for the adults! That was a fun difference!
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The McD’s was more like a warm, cafe, and was quite popular.
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After we hung out, we drove to find the location for the game tomorrow, and then to Cologne to find this magnificent church.
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Oh my goodness!! How did they ever build something so grand?
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I was in awe and am so glad we decided to stay up late to see it lit up at night. Both Jeff and Christian had done research before we traveled and both had excellent tips to share. They are both so curious and wicked smart!

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Day 22: Lucky

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“One of these days my luck is bound to change but for now I’ll savor the moment and the chocolate gelato.” – Emily Dodson, FB status 7/3/12

This is how I feel lately – just incredibly lucky and I know it won’t last forever, but for now the ride is so good, I want to savor every moment and don’t want to stop!

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My doctor said I need to exercise at least 15 minutes a day to help with stress and to stay healthy. So I listened today and played volleyball with my friends for two hours. Does that mean I’m done for the week? J.k. I don’t know what I loved the most, being outside in the sunshine and not packing or cleaning, actually playing grass volleyball while watching my kids run around the park, or just hanging out with my girlfriends? I guess it was just an awesome triple play of goodness!!

Day 79: A Day at the Beach

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I’m hoping when I get to Holland, I’ll get a bike like this guys to carry my board with me to the canals. He made me smile.

It was a beautiful day in Capitola today. We had our annual “team meeting” on the beach, playing volleyball followed by a potluck lunch. It’s important for women to come together and have fun and enjoy being outdoors together with no agenda – if the mama ain’t happy, no one’s happy. Or Happy Wife, Happy Life! So true, right?

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Still waiting to hear back on the house – maybe tomorrow!

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Blooming red roses in my yard today. Life is good.  Have a great week!