2017 Stories – 30 – The 100 Day Project

The night before The 100 Day Project started, I knew I wanted to participate. But I also knew that in the next 100 days I would be traveling internationally, and working super hard, and I just couldn’t commit to doing anything difficult.

Right before I gave up, I got this brilliant idea: I would post a photo on my instagram one photo of a moment of joy in my day, every day, for 100 days.

And that’s exactly what I did.








Best project ever!!


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 29 – Glow Class

I’m a fan of Karen Walrond and have taken classes from her over the years. When she announced she was offering a class called Glow:The 21-day course on claiming your light I decided it was a sign I had to take it. My word for 2017 is Shine after all and actually Glow sounds even nicer but either way it was just another word for my word and so I decided universe was telling me to take it.

Sometimes when you take a class from someone you’ve already taken a class from, you see a lot repeated and you don’t get a lot of value the second time. I worried this might happen with Karen’s class. But I signed up anyway.

I am so glad I did.

This class profoundly changed my life. It asked the right questions at the right time. It made me realize I had patterns in my life that I sort of knew but wasn’t embracing. 

I realized for example that I am always in a pattern of GROW : REFLECT : SHARE. As in I like to learn things, think about my learning and then share it with others by teaching or in other ways.

I also realized that the parts of my life I am so proud of are always when I live life on my own terms. I decide I will do something and I just do it. I am so proud of how often I’ve done this. How my life is so catered to what I want it to be. I am so proud of that, too. It also makes me feel strong, which I love. It allowed me to realize this about myself which I can remind myself every time I feel small and forget.

There’s so much more in this class. It’s wonderful, thoughtful and, for me, life changing. 


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 28 – Vacation in Australia

Since our kids were born, all the vacations we took have either been to Jake’s family’s home or my family’s home. We’re lucky enough to have beautiful homes in beautiful locations like Bodrum, Istanbul, Martha’s Vineyard and Boston so we’re not deprived in any way. And we’ve taken a lot of smaller vacations up and down the California coast and to Idaho or New York, etc. But we’ve not traveled internationally with the kids, except to go to Turkey. 

So when I realized mid-year that I could combine a work-trip to Sydney with a family trip, I suggested we visit Australia this summer. Jake didn’t turn the idea down 🙂 So despite it being winter there and despite being a bit (ok a lot) anxious about it, I hemmed and hawed and then finally booked us all tickets. Thanks to Quantas’ reduced fares for kids, our tickets were cheaper than going to Europe. 

We wanted to make sure we went to one more place while we were there but we were told New Zealand would have too little sunlight so we decided to go to Cairns instead where the Great Barrier Reef is. We were also advised to do AirBnB instead of Hotels since it was four of us and not two. Here are the instagram shots I took while there.

Above is my first week when I was there for work. I worked pretty long days but got a lot done.

This set is the kids and Jake coming over and all of us in Cairns. 

This set (and the very top set) are both from Sydney. 

Except for the first two which are in Sydney, the others are all at Blue Mountains which were stunning.

Most of these are from the Taronga Zoo!

And finally Manly Beach and us on our way back. The first AirBnb was a hit, the second was a miss. The car rentals all worked out. The flights were smooth and on time. We lost no luggage and no jackets. We got to snorkel in the great barrier reef, we got to feed kangaroos and hold koalas. We got to touch and watch crocodiles and feed birds. We saw magnificent butterflies, a Tazmanian devil, a ton of other marsupials. We went to countless beaches and had more scenic views than one can enjoy in such a short amount of time. We took buses, trains, cars, trams, ferries and planes. We walked for hours and hours. We ate a lot of toast and didn’t try vegemite. All in all, it was a fantastic vacation and I am looking forward to more adventures with this amazing family!


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 26 – Traveler’s Notebook

 

Over the years, I’ve had many different notebooks where I keep track of my life and my todos. For the last 5-6 years, I’d been using the Moleskine grid notebooks and I still love them. They are big enough to fit my needs but small enough to carry in my purse. But I always find myself looking at other options just to see what others use and see if I might want to try new things.

Over the last year, I kept coming back to the traveler’s notebook posts on pinterest, instagram, etc. I didn’t want to buy it just for the sake of buying since I’m pretty happy with my existing system and my one foray into planner-land last year reminded me that I like my system and I can easily spend a lot of money on a different system which ends up being a huge waste and I can’t stand wasting money. (or food!) 

After hemming and hawing for months, I finally decided to give it a try. I bought a notebook that seemed reasonably priced. I bought three inserts: grid, weekly planner, and blank (which I had read would be great for watercolor – it is not.) I told myself I could buy more if I used this for a month and liked it. 

After three weeks, I broke down and bought a few more things. The zipper pouch so I could store my pen and they wouldn’t keep falling off,  the note holder for my stickers, a few little pockets, and the watercolor insert.  All in all, it was still a lot less money (and time) than I invested into my planner which is sitting in a box. (Actually I have three planners, all of which are not being used.)

I’ve used the watercolor insert for my July (or august) art project.

I’ve used the grid insert for journaling and the weekly planner, you can see above. And here’s the pouch below. I only put 4-5 pens inside and it adds very minimal bulk to my notebook.

So far, I love love love this notebook and it’s making me really happy. For my trip to Sydney, I have some big plans for it so we’ll see if that works but even if it doesn’t, I love that I can have different books for different things I like to do. We’ll see if this system sticks around or if I go back to my trusty Moleskines.


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 25 – Overexcitabilities

This post is going to be a bit weird so feel free to skip it but since, for me, it’s an important story from 2017, I wanted to make sure to document it. 

My kids go to a school that focuses on “gifted” education. To get in, you need to score two standard deviations above the norm on an IQ test. And while none of us in this house believe in any value that comes from scoring higher on an IQ exam, this school happens to be a very good fit for my kids for a multitude of reasons so we look past the fact that it considers itself to be a school for the gifted. 

Two weeks ago, I was at the school for an all-day Parents’ Association meeting. On the agenda we received, it said that the day would culminate in a talk by our school’s activism teacher who would speak to what it means to be gifted. I figured I would sneak away right before the talk and drive to work instead.

As things worked out, there wasn’t an easy moment to escape so I stayed for the beginning of the talk and about ten minutes in, she said something that completely changed the way I saw my life. (My *own* life from when I was growing up, not my kids’ lives now.)

She put up the above slide on “overexcitabilities” which is a poorly worded name but what it means is that gifted kids/people experience the world in a qualitatively different manner. It’s not better or worse, it’s different. This might have been a “nothing” slide for many others in the room but it was a major shift for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a story around not belonging and not being like others. Especially around my childhood with my family and friends from that time.

What I realized looking at this slide was that I wasn’t just “feeling” different. I actually was experiencing life differently. It wasn’t a feeling, it was a fact.  I don’t really know how to put into words what this means for me and why it was such a jarring moment. It mostly made me realize that I was different and that was ok. It made me think differently about my belonging issues differently. Like I was trying to belong into a world that I wasn’t even experiencing the same way as the ones in it. As I said, hard for me to explain. 

I also feel obliged to take a moment here and point out that I am not saying I am gifted and aren’t I awesome and all that crap. All I am saying is that I was different. I actually was. And this came with a lot of suffering at the time for me. A lot of trying to reconcile the world people around me felt and the one I felt. Seeing this slide made it all come together for me. 

She then put up this other slide and while I have many of these (rapid speech, major issues with smell and sound, and definitely an intensified emotional connection to the world) it was hard for me to tell how generalizable these are. Maybe everyone falls into one or more of these buckets so I am not sure how much of a “thing” this is. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see a slide that talked about some of the quirks of my personality.

I didn’t get to stay for all of her talk because I had to drive back to work but I am so glad I was there for that one moment. Even if none of this revelation is true, I know that what matters most is not the truth but the way we think of life so if all this did was change my perspective, it’s exactly what I needed.

I will also say that I am not sure if any of this is true for my kids, but if they feel even a small bit of what I did as a kid, I am so grateful that they are going to a school that’s paying attention to the fact that people experience the world in different ways. 


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 24 – End of Sixth Grade

 

A week after the little boy finished second grade, this big boy finished sixth grade. Sixth grade! How did that even happen?! I can’t believe my kid is going to be a seventh grader! 

This was a milestone year for David. He started middle school at a brand new school and really stepped up his game. He went from having no homework to practically two hours a night. He completed a collection of challenging multi-month projects throughout the year and he learned so very much. He adjusted to the new school, the new expectations, and the new work beautifully. I couldn’t be prouder if I tried.

Monday night was his culmination, where we get to see some of the work he spent his time on during the second half of the year. We started the night at the Social Studies lab where we watched his video on the artifact he researched (The Enigma Machine.) On the way out, I took a photo of his previous math homework which studied patterns:

 

We then went to the library to see the monument he and his friend built in honor of Oppenheimer. (seeing a pattern?) 

And then all of his writing from the second half of the year. Poetry, creative writing, Washington D.C. observations, and more. As well a sculpture he did in art class.

 

We ended up at the cafeteria where he displayed his Solar House project. Where he researched, documented and built a solar house in the country he was studying (Puerto Rico). He was given a budget for this three-person house (a grandmother, a mother and a daughter.) He had to make the floorplan, calculate the angle at which the sun would hit the house, do all the math on how much he could spend on every bit of building the house (as well as the land.) Study Feng Shui on how to decorate the house, and design a brochure in Spanish. 

I think it’s fair to say he was quite proud of his end-product.

We even strung some lights to make it stand out and we built some mini-furniture for the bedrooms and the living room.

quite a fantastic ending to quite a fantastic year. Super super proud of you, my son! Onward to seventh grade!


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 23 – End of Second Grade

 

And just like that another school year is over. How is that even possible?! Nathaniel finished second grade this past Thursday. We then went to a class party at a friend’s house where the kids played and the adults chatted. I was quite sick but showed up any way. It was wonderful just to see Nathaniel experiencing so much joy.

This was our last year at his current school. So it was saying good-bye to second grade, to his friends, to his school all at once. We’ve loved this school and we also look forward to the next one.

Since I was a room-parent this year, the teachers got a mug for me and had each kid sign it. They also gave me a card and a Starbucks giftcard. It was so very kind of them.

i’ve loved every day of second grade and I hope the new school, the new class, the new grade proves to be just as amazing.

Onward, my wonderful boy!


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 22 – Fifteen Years

 

I started dating Jake in 1994. We have been together 23 years. I am 42 so that’s more than half my life. I’ve spent more time with Jake than any other human being. I’ve lived longer with Jake than I have in any home, in any city, in any country. Longer than I’ve had any job. The only person I’ve spent more time with is myself. 

This week, we celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary. We went to a lovely dinner on the way to the airport to pickup David from his DC trip. We didn’t do flowers, presents, fancy celebrations. We don’t tend to do that.  I have nothing against couples who do or those who don’t. I’ve just learned over the years that, for me, what matters most is that he’s stood by me in all of my moments. Good ones, bad ones, sad ones, crazy ones, incredible ones. He’s been there the whole time.

He held me, he sat with me, he made me laugh. 

He has made my life so so much better and I am grateful for every single moment we’ve spent together. Twenty-three years later, I am still as much (if not more) in love with him than I ever was.

Here’s to many many many more, my love.

Thank you for marrying me. I love you madly. 


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 21 – Saying Good-bye

There are four kids leaving Nathaniel’s class this year. Two of the moms got together and organized a Good-pie party (named after this book). The whole class brought pies (pizza, savory, sweet) and the kids each signed these lovely boards per kid.

Nathaniel got sick so we ended up having to go home early but this still was the most magical good-bye from his class.


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 20 – Take Your Kid to Work Day

Take your kid to work day was a few weeks ago and even though I was scheduled to take each kid, David decided he didn’t want to miss school. Nathaniel had no such concern so off we went!

We played with this fun Android emoji thing first.

You make a face and it turns it into an emoji.

Nathaniel had quite a bit of fun with it.

He kept trying to stick his tongue out which I think wasn’t a setting they had.

Then he built a lego robot. 

He was very attentive.

putting on the axels I think.

Almost there.

And here we are. He then got to race it down a lego track.

 

Next up was Coding with Chrome.  

He spent time chatting with all of them.

He got to code this robotic arm to pick up the chess pieces you see in the back and drop them to the green bucket. He did it in record time and it was awesome!

Then he made some paper parachutes and put them into a wind tunnel to see how well they did.

And then we looked at the dinos.

I told him he had to do a different pose and this is what I got.

But of course he can’t help himself 🙂

Looking for fossils.

He was in such a happy mood the whole time.

We went to see a bunch of animals they were showing (from Africa.)

And finally we went back to the cafe to have lunch with my friend Ramesh who was here from Sydney and then had some ice cream (him) and coffee (me) before it was time to head home.

We took some photos together and you can see he really had fun.

And that was it for Take Your Kid to Work Day. All in all, I think we can call it a success.

 


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 19 – Tech Challenge 2017

This was the third year David did the San Jose Tech Museum’s Tech Challenge. This year’s challenge was to cross two ravines. Which translated to crossing two tables without leaving any pieces behind. The second table was higher as well. The kids worked really really hard on this extremely tough challenge. 

As always they went to have an interview with the judge before the challenge itself where they were asked a lot of questions. We got to watch this from above. And then they did the challenge itself. Their amazing gondola made it through the first table but then fell on the way to the third. And then they ran out of time, so they didn’t get to fully complete it. 

They were all dejected as they walked away to get their medals and their photo taken. 

But we were all so proud of their incredibly unique design and creative thinking. and incredible work.

As it worked out, they ended up winning an award anyway. They won Outstanding Engineering Journal which was almost funny because it was such an uphill battle getting that journal together this year. 

In the end, it was all worth it and another year of wonderful memories, hard work, and very proud parents!


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.

2017 Stories – 18 – Happy Birthday Nathaniel!

Nathaniel turned a wonderful eight this week!! We started our celebrations with a big balloon and a cupcake to wake up to as we always do. 

I tried to take some fun photos as he ate his cupcake but he was too busy eating it and being mischievous.

Which is Nathaniel’s favorite thing to be.

He then got to open one present before school. This was a fidget cube we’d ordered for him months and months ago. It turned out to be a pretty popular gift.

 

 

While he was at school, I decided he needed more balloons so I went and got 8 colorful ones and waited for him at pickup with all of them. It was a hit and he was quite happy to have them!

We took some shots while we waited to pickup David.

When he came home from school, he got to open all of his other presents and have Oreo ice cream cake which was his choice (in the end he ate all the icing but none of the ice cream!)

 

I love this boy madly. 

Especially watching him laugh.

 

He got some legos, a circuit board, some other circuit board like toy, a remote-controlled car, and a book this year. He was quite delighted.

Over the weekend, we had a little party for him at a Jumping place and he was in a good mood as always!

How can you not love this boy!

Happy happy birthday little boy! Can’t believe you’re eight now!!


Stories from 2017 is a year-long project for 2017. You can read more about my projects for 2017 here.