Stories from 2018 – 08 – Thirteen!!!

And now I officially have a teenager. Where does the time go?! 

I arrived from Sydney on the morning of David’s thirteenth birthday. I’d missed his birthday last year due to another trip to Sydney so I wasn’t going to do that again. I booked my tickets so I’d make sure to be back and I landed around 7am so I told Jake to not even put David on the bus. We spent the day at home the three of us. David and Jake played a few games while I took a nap and then we opened presents and then we walked to Palo Alto and had some pizza and root beer. We walked and chatted and spent time with David.

Then it was time to get Nathaniel and David played some more games with his friends online. It was a quiet day but focused on him. And for the first time in almost ten years, he also opted to have a small birthday party this year. We invited four of his friends and they all went rock climbing together and then back to our house for some poker and pizza and cake.

It was really nice to see how nice and kind his friends are and a wonderful day for our wonderful boy! I am so grateful for David and can’t believe we are already all the way to thirteen. I hope time slows down a bit and we can soak in the joy of the days we have together.

Happy Birthday my wonderful son, you are the very best thing that ever happened to me and I am so so honored to get to be your mom.

Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stories from 2018 – 07 – Blue Blood Super Moon

The morning of the day I was scheduled to leave for Sydney was the magical line up of several rare occurrences. We got to have a blue moon (second full moon in a month), a red moon (full lunar eclipse) and a super moon (moon closest to earth) all at once.

The only downside was that this was scheduled to happen at 4:30am. Nathaniel was determined to see it and so we set our alarm clocks and went out to watch it happen at the crack of dawn. (or before really.) 

And it was magical. 

The red color was really amazing. So I had to look up why it’s red. Here’s what internet says:

The Moon does not have any light of its own—it shines because its surface reflects sunlight. During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth moves between the Sun and the Moon and cuts off the Moon’s light supply. When this happens, the surface of the Moon takes on a reddish glow instead of going completely dark. The reason why the Moon takes on a reddish color during totality is a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering. It is the same mechanism responsible for causing colorful sunrises and sunsets and the sky to look blue.

David slept in until about 5:30 but still got to see it. When we were watching, it was red but not really super big. After the kids went in to have breakfast, I drove to get some coffee and when I was on my way back, I saw it huge and red and it was even more magical.

I love sharing these moments with my little ones. What a wonder this world is!

Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stories from 2018 – 06 – The Whole 30 – Looking Back

As I type this, I have four more days left in this journey. As you read this, I will be a week past the Whole 30. I am writing it in advance because I will be in Australia and not sure of my schedule then. 

I spent the last month eating no sugar, no legumes, no dairy, no grains, and a few other nos. I also quit caffeine just to see what the impact would be. This was not about losing weight. It was about resetting after the holidays and getting back into a better cycle. It was also about seeing if I feel better without these foods in my system. And to see if I would have any of the non-scale victories.

Here’s the thing: Net-net, I don’t think I had huge tangible benefits from cutting out these foods. I was more regular and I fell asleep easily both of which were true when I was doing the Body Love book a while back. I haven’t been able to stay asleep this whole month. Hard to tell what that’s due to. My skin was better until I got my period so I am guessing that’s more hormonal. I haven’t gotten a surge of energy but I also started exercising every single day and that might be making me more tired. Not to mention the fact that I quit caffeine. So who knows what’s impacting my energy and my sleep. I have no idea on the weight changes because I didn’t weigh myself at the start and there’s no weighing during the elimination. But nothing was amazingly looser. (Though I wear stretchy clothes so who knows :))

Now, there are a few things I am glad about. Because I tried harder to drink more water, I experimented and really found one i liked finally. I don’t like anything fizzy (except Diet Coke) so I’ve been delighted to find I love the Hint Waters. I’ve now has Watermelon, Pineapple, Peach, Blackberry, Mango/Grapefruit and Blood Orange. My favorite is Pineapple but I also like Watermelon and Blackberry. I like them all actually. They are hard to find but I am lucky to have them at work. 

Another win has been thinking about Worth-it and not-worth-it mentality. I like that and plan to experiment with it. 

The weeks after Whole30 are supposed to be reintroduction period but I am getting on an airplane on January 31 so I am not going to do that this time. If it turns out I still want to do that, I am okay doing another Whole30 at that point. Considering I saw no positives, I don’t expect to be really impacted by a particular food group in an obvious way. But if I feel much worse in Sydney, I don’t mind trying it.

I plan to continue to eat my meals Fat-Fiber-Protein. I plan to eat as many veggies as possible and the veggies first. I also plan to go back to drinking lattes though I might stay caffeine free, that’s still in the air. What I miss most is the ritual of the coffee still. I don’t have many sugar cravings at the moment and I will keep an eye on them because I don’t want to get them back.

I’m glad I did it, it was a good way to show myself how strong I can be but in the end I am also glad it’s over.


Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stories from 2018 – 05 – Student-led Conferences

In our kids’ school, the mid-term and end-of-year conferences are student led. For the lower school the teachers are there and we also get a 20-min session alone with them and for the middle school, it’s our son and his advisors.

Today was conference day for both of the kids. It was Nathaniel’s first one since he started there this year. And he was very excited to play his part. He got to sit in the teacher’s chair and he told us how he’s been doing. It was wonderful to watch him deliver his results. It’s also wonderful to see the faith he has in his abilities. He’s such a wonderful little kid. And a total rockstar in math.

David’s conference was just as delightful. He has always been so self-aware and has a fantastic sense of who he wants to be. We are so proud of him as he excels in all of his classes and has been giving 110% this year in so many ways. It’s always a delight to listen to his reflections on how he’s been doing.

 We were both so grateful to be there and hear such positive feedback about our kids. We know this might not always be the case and we also know that it’s not something to take for granted. 


Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stories from 2018 – 04 – Two Days in San Diego

We didn’t go anywhere during the two-week Holiday break. We were home the whole time and everyone did a decent amount of work and a decent amount of relaxing. But there wasn’t much adventuring. 

So when a three day weekend came up right after we got back, we decided it was time for adventure. The night before we left, we made a reservation at a lovely hotel in San Diego and pulled the kids from school a bit early (like 30 mins) to beat traffic.

We still didn’t get there until midnight on Friday but we had two full days before it was time to drive back. 

We went to my favorite park: Torrey Pines State Reserve. And we went to our old neighborhood and to the beautiful La Jolla Shores beach and we smiled the whole time of course thinking of all of our memories from when we lived there.

I exercised every morning. 

Here’s the view from our hotel room: not too shabby.

We even walked into an amazon store!!

All in all, it was a wonderful two days. So glad to start 2018 with some adventure.

Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stories from 2018 – 03 – The Whole30

I’ve been following Melissa Hartwig on Instagram for a while and I’ve recently read the Food Freedom Forever book, so the idea of doing a Whole30 has been nagging at me for a while. I’ve looked into the Whole30 before and decided it wasn’t my cup of tea for a multitude of reasons but this time I felt like I could do it.

So since January 1, I’ve been doing the Whole30. I’ve also quit caffeine just to make it more fun. 

I am traveling to Sydney on January 31 so I figured that gives me exactly 30 days. The way the program works, you’re supposed to slowly introduce foods back after the 30th and see the impact they have on you, so we’ll see how much of that will be possible considering flights and international locations etc. but I am trying not to worry about that too much at the moment. 

For now the plan is to keep going the 30 days and see how I feel. On the first two days, I had very strong headaches (likely due to no caffeine) but since then it’s been okay. I don’t find it to be super hard. Unfortunately the cafeteria at work cooks the morning eggs with rice bran oil so I can’t have it, which is a bummer. Other than that, I haven’t had a lot of hiccups. I’ll be on vacation for a weekend so we’ll see how it goes but I have faith that I can keep this going at this point (hopefully I won’t be wrong.)

I miss the coffee the most I think. Mostly for the ritual of it. And chocolate though I’ll say I haven’t craved it. When the kids toast bread, the smell triggers a bit but I don’t miss toast at all. If I cooked it would be a lot easier to have variety but I don’t so I end up making a batch of veggies, chicken and steak and then eat some variety of avocado, veggies, egg/meat for each meal. That makes for a lot of avocados in a day so I do need to curb that a bit. 

So far, I don’t have huge benefits. My skin is a bit better, but that’s about it. I’ll report back at the end of the month.  If you’ve done a Whole30 and have advice, I’d always love it.


Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stories from 2018 – 02 – Marine Headlands

On the last day 2017, the kids and Jake and I decided to go on a mini adventure. Years and years ago, when I was pregnant with Nathaniel, I had taken a mindfulness course at work and it included a day-long meditation at the Marine Headlands. It was one of the most peaceful days of my life and I’ve remembered it forever even though I didn’t remember where it was. Just a few days ago, I finally looked up the email so I could find out where it was and asked Jake if we could take a trip there so I could enjoy it again. 

So on New Year’s eve, we got in the car and drove all the way to Marin. The drive was long but so, so, so worth it. We had lovely views of the Golden Gate Bridge and then drove up to the very top. We also tried to go to the lighthouse but it was closed. 

The very best part, bar none, was Rodeo Beach. Which is my new favorite place. This whole day was an absolutely wonderful way to end the year and I am already making plans to go back to the beach.

Here are a lot of photos from our lovely day. 

Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stories from 2018 – 01 – Still Hopeful

My boys are growing up which means they are spending more and more time bickering and arguing. Especially David, who is almost a teenager, is easily annoyed by the little boy. And, of course, all of this breaks my heart. I get sad watching them bicker. I get sad watching how cruelly David can speak to Nathaniel. I get sad watching their dynamic change and degrade. 

But then there are moments like this. Moments where Nathaniel is too sick to be in the cold weather outside and David is playing with his new Christmas toy outside but wants to share it with Nathaniel, too, so they write each other notes and communicate that way.

Moments where I remember that this is what it means to be a sibling. You argue all the time but you also share all the memories of your childhood together. And those years and years and years of shared memories bind you in ways nothing else can. In ways that you will remember and reminisce over for the rest of your life. And that bond is special. That bond is why we wanted to make sure to have two kids. 

And moments like this remind me that there’s still hope for the two of them. Slivers of joyous moments where they cherish each other’s company.  

Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.