It’s time to Learn to Love Travel Again

Here’s a page I made for My Mind’s Eye for April.

And here’s the full journaling:
I’ve now worked at Google for almost nine years. In those nine years, the only travel I’ve done was a short trip to NYC over eight years ago. In the Chrome team, there wasn’t a lot of reason to travel so it didn’t even cross my mind. However, since I took the Transit team job, I knew travel would be a part of my new position. Even though I was nervous about how it would work out, I was prepared to take the chance in order to get to experience working for a different team.

Since taking the job, not even six months ago, I’ve already flown to Zurich twice and NYC once. And there’s probably at least one trip to Seattle and another one to Zurich on the agenda before this year is out. That’s five trips in a year, three of which are international. Insane compared to my one in the last eight years.

I remember packing for my first trip to Switzerland in December. I was so worried about everything. I had no idea if I would find my way to the hotel (I did.) or from the hotel to work (I could see the work building from my hotel.) I wasn’t sure if the team would be nice (They were.) or if I would get along with them. (Yes, I would.) I had no idea what to pack. (I packed too warmly. It’s way too hot in the office.) And most of all, I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the trip. (It so was!)

Those were just my worries about work. I also had a collection of concerns about back home. I had no idea if Jake would be able to handle the kids for the whole week I would be gone. (He so could!!) I had never left them for more than a day.

I was very anxious. I dreaded leaving. I whined and whined until the moment I got on the plane. But, of course, once I landed, I was completely focused on work. I did spend time chatting briefly with the kids each day but, for the most part, I wasn’t anxious at all once I was there. I went to meetings, I talked to my team mates, and I worked hard to not let jet lag get to me.

Each of the three trips came with dread but each of them was also incredibly useful, productive and completely worthwhile. I came back from each trip with a long list of work that excites me, tighter connections with my team members, and inspired to get to work.

I will admit that I still am not a fan of the time spent on airplanes and I would much rather be with my kids and sleep in my bed. But if a few weeks of traveling means I can continue to work from home, I think it’s a great deal. Even if I am out of town three weeks of the year, it still means I get to spend the other 49 weeks, at home, able to drop off and pick up my kids from school. I think that alone is worth all the travel I’ve been doing.

I know that, like most things, over time, I will find a way to make this whole experience more smooth. I will worry less. Who knows, I might even start looking forward to these trips one day. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch for now, but, at least, I get to bring back lots of delicious Swiss chocolate. Can’t beat that!

Sweet Nathaniel

This is a layout I did for My Mind’s Eye for March.

The right side says: sweet Nathaniel: Today was such a lovely day. We spent the morning together and you made me smile and laugh. You are one of my favorite people in the world. I love you!

Journaling says:
Sweet Nathaniel. This morning, we both woke up really early. 5:46am. I usually spend Saturday mornings surfing the internet and not getting anything done. But this morning, I wanted to spend some together time with you. So I asked you if you’d like to go to Cafe Borrone and sit there until they start serving food. And you said, yes, of course. You always says yes!

I can talk about all the work we did while we sat there and went through your workbook, but this story is not about what we did. It’s about who you are. We sat at Cafe Borrone for ninety minutes. During that time, we worked hard on things you didn’t know but instead of getting tired, you were happy and upbeat the whole time. You joked, you laughed, and you even danced a bit.

At some point, I took out my camera and tried to take photos of you working and you started giggling. Then you started making silly faces. And then you started moving around while giggling and laughing and making faces. You just got happier and sillier with each click.

My first instinct was to tell you to be quiet and sit so I could get a serious photo. I even said “Nathaniel, let me get one normal one and then you can be silly.” But you were so busy having fun that you hardly heard me. That’s when it dawned on me that you were being normal. There was nothing wrong with the way you were being. You weren’t disruptive, you weren’t throwing tantrums, you weren’t bothering anyone. You were being your sweet, happy, funny self.

You were being you.

Nathaniel, one of the best things about you is how full of joy you are. When others’ look at you they can’t help but smile because you’re overflowing with happiness. You’re always so sweet and bouncy and happy that it infects those around you. I can’t tell you the number of people who’ve come up to me and told me how awesome you are. And, they are so right. You are awesome.

You are awesome.

In that moment, when I was taking photos and wishing that you were quieter, more still and subdued, I realized that if I got that photo, it wouldn’t be a photo of you. It would be a posed photo of this kid in my head. The one who’s not nearly as interesting or lovely as you. The one who would pale in comparison to the rainbow that you are. The photo of the quiet, working boy would be such a small sliver of the story of who you are that it’s not even worth telling.

The best part of your story is these blurred photos that burst with energy, joy and giggles. They are what makes you, you. They are what makes us wonder what we did to get so lucky to have you in our lives. I love you with all my heart, my sweet son.

Thank you for Filling our life with Music

This is a January layout for My Mind’s Eye:

Journaling reads:
Dear David,

When I was a little girl, I asked my mom if I could learn to play the piano. She said no. I am not sure why since she rarely said no to things, but she did to this one. Almost thirty years later, I still wish she’d let me take lessons. Over the years, I’ve tried to learn an instrument. In NY, I took saxophone lessons and tried to learn how to read music.

But I never succeeded.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve given up on the music and taken up other ways to enjoy my time. I also promised myself that if either of my kids ever asked for musical instrument lessons, I’d make a point to say yes.

A few years ago, I asked you if you’d like to learn guitar and you said yes but then decided, at the last minute, that you didn’t want to after all. I was disappointed but I didn’t say anything. Last year, after you sang at the school talent show, I asked you again. This time you said, yes.

I emailed your music teacher who had been unavailable last time we asked her and she said she was happy to do it this time. So we bought you a guitar, some picks, and a stand.

And the lessons began.

Sometimes it’s a challenge to get you to practice and when I ask you to do it, you sulk a bunch. And you whine when you remember that your teacher is about to come over. But when you actually start playing the guitar, most of that vanishes. You have already learned several songs by heart and I can see you working your way through several more.

One of my favorite things to do is to watch you play. To hear the beautiful sounds you can make with the instrument. The way you get excited about learning to play a new song that you love to sing. The way you’re always so in the momentum of it all when your teacher leaves that you always ask if you can keep practicing. The way your face lights up when you get a chord right.

My love, this hobby might end up going nowhere or you might keep it up and become a wonderful guitar player. Either way, I am enjoying it for as long as I can. Thank you for filling our house with music and for making the little girl in me so very happy. I am so proud of you and I love you with all my heart.

2015 – Here I come

This is a December layout for My Mind’s Eye:

Journaling reads:
As the year comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about my life and the upcoming year and what I want for myself in 2015. For the last few weeks, I’ve been wanting to plan my projects for the next year and revisit my core desires to see if they are still the same or whether new ones speak to me, now.

Last week, I finally curled up with the book and started answering the questions. I already knew my word for 2015 would be brave which is also going to be one of my Core Desired Feelings for the year. But then I looked through all my journaling and tried to pick out other words that jumped at me.

Serene has been with me for all of 2014 but I know that I am not willing to let that one go. Serenity is really all I seek in the world. As I move to a new job, start getting older and as David starts transitioning out of elementary school, I need to be serene more than ever. I thought briefly about picking equanimity but decided serene is the exact word that speaks to my soul.

The next word that jumped out at me was alive. I want to feel alive. To me, this is even more than engaged. I want to feel fully alive. I want to do things that scare me. I want to have experiences that overwhelm me in all the good ways. I want to feel fully awake and alive in my body. I want to be present for all my days. I want to smile wide, embrace all of myself, and suck out all the marrow of my life.

The next two words belong together. The first one of the two was the one that came to me first. Abundance. I want to have a mentality of abundance. I want to feel the opposite of constricted. I want to feel expansive. I want to feel like there’s so much much more of everything I worry about, time, worthiness, friends, money, opportunities, kindness, and success. I want to feel like we each get our own full pie and that I want to share mine with everyone. With the whole world. I want the kindness and ease that comes with the feeling of abundance. The generosity of life and spirit.

And then, I also want the opposite. I want to be open to receive. I want to be open to others. Open to the universe. Open to the possibilities. I want to allow others to help. Allow others to love me. To cherish me. I want to allow myself to feel everyone’s love and awe and kindness and generosity. I don’t want to question these things, I don’t want to feel undeserving or unworthy or not-belonging. I want to feel open to everyone. To everything. Wide open.

So here are my core desires for 2015. Sort of similar to the ones from 2014 but not completely. I want 2015 to be the year I fully stepped into being myself. The year I fell in love with myself, with everyone around me, with life, with the universe. I want 2015 to be the year I let the serenity spread from the inside out. I want it to be the year I feel abundantly alive and open myself up to life. And I think brave is just the right word for this year since all of these things will require much courage.

I am ready. Bring it on.

The Joy and Love of Family is Unlike Any Other

Here’s a layout I made for My Mind’s Eye for September.

Journaling reads:
My sweet boys,

As it worked out, both Daddy and I live away from our parents. After we moved to California and started to grow into a family, traveling long hours with two little kids felt overwhelming so we let others visit us instead. We did this for so long that it got comfortable and I never felt like I was ready to take you on these long trips.

In 2012, my sister’s boys had their Bar-Mitzvah and the occasion forced my hand to take a leap. After much fretting and planning, the four of us took the long trip to Istanbul.

And, of course, you guys were wonderful the whole time.

You watched movies, read, and slept pretty much the whole way. When we arrived, you didn’t even suffer from jetlag. The whole time we were there was joyful but I especially liked watching you with your cousins, whom you hadn’t seen in person in over ten years. You guys bonded as if you were already friends.

At the beginning of 2013, my family asked me if I would be willing to come over again. My dad was turning sixty and and he wanted all of his grandkids together. So I decided to take the plunge once more. I got braver this time and we went just the three of us. Once more, it was a blast.

When we came back from Bodrum, I felt the calmest I’d had in a long time. I loved processing all the photos we took while we were there and seeing the joy in your faces. I loved seeing my family together and happy. I decided there and then that we would make this a tradition for as long as we could. I also decided we needed to show up for your dad’s family, too.

So, this year, we went to Bodrum to see my family and to Martha’s Vineyard to be with Daddy’s family. Both trips were long and complicated. I did not enjoy the travel and both times, I craved alone time and quiet. I had some tough moments.

But I also had the best moments of my life watching the whole family come together. I loved seeing you play football with your cousins. I loved watching you talk about videogames and books. I loved hearing all the laughter.

But, most of all, I loved how easy it was for you to all love each other.

Remember This – Week 34

My July My Mind’s Eye assignment is also May’s One Little Word assignment. I decided to take the wonderful little MME cards and then use their embellishment packs to add a layer and then I painted a bunch on each and then I stamped a bunch.

And a little more paint.

And finally I wrote my journaling and this is what I ended up with.

All the journaling is about what I am thinking about and trying at this moment.

Still can’t get enough of that Gold.

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

I love you and I am so proud of You

My sweet David,

Over the last few years, I’ve seen you change and grow so much in so many ways. You’ve developed a very distinct taste in music and you’ve started playing sports. You’ve become a more confident writer and an avid reader. So much of your personality has changed and grown in just two years. And I’ve loved watching all of it. I’ve been so proud of the person you’re growing into and so impressed with your courage and individuality.

But, more than anything, I’ve been blown away by your love of science.

Ever since first grade, I’ve watched you grow from a boy who knew nothing about science to a boy who is deeply knowledgeable and insatiably curious. You have devoured all the Richard Feynman books in our house and even encouraged us to buy a few new ones.

You’ve checked out books from the library, looked up facts in wikipedia and other websites. You’ve listened to lectures, science shows and even read articles in magazines to satiate your thirst for learning science. The amount of information you’ve accumulated in third grade surpasses what I know in my 30s.

When we visited your third grade class a few weeks ago, I read your nonfiction paper on quantum physics with awe and pride. It was well put-together, accurate, and interesting. Most importantly, I was clear that this was the product of a kid who loves science and is interested in going above and beyond to expand his knowledge any way he can. I felt so proud of you and so honored to be your mother.

David, I’ve always loved learning and have shared so much of it with you. I’ve taught you how to read. We did a lot of math together. And now, we’re learning languages together. But, science has never been my forte. I’ve never done much to encourage you in that direction. At best, I just got out of your way.

This one is all on you, my son.

You managed to find something you love and embraced it wholeheartedly. And while I can’t promise you that I will teach you things about physics, here’s what I can promise you, my son:

I promise you that I will forever support your passions in every way I can. I will take you to any exhibit, place, or show I can. I will buy you any books we can find. I will take you to the library each week if you’d like. I will tape whatever science shows we can find that you might like and I will sit with you and try to learn alongside you if it will help. I want you to know that I adore you and will be your number one supporter in the world. I love you with all my heart my son and I am so proud of you.

Remember This – Week 31

Life Book week twenty-one was taught by JenniBellie. As it seems to be the trend lately, my art has nothing to do with what Jenni taught. I loved her lesson but I didn’t want to do it.

So I decided to couple it with my August My Mind’s Eye Assignment. I used the awesome wood paper they have in the Essentials line and I took the girl and journaling idea from Jenni’s lesson.

I painted my girl with acrylics. Painted the edges brown and then the whole background gold. A few lovely MMe embellishments and I was done with what I wanted.

The last touches were adding lines to the background so I could journal all over my page. It’s about remembering that today, this very day, is the most important day.

Something I know but have a hard time remembering.

Yes, still in love with the gold. Look at all that shimmer, how could I not be?

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Remember This – Week 29

Another break from Life Book to show you a page I made for My Mind’s Eye. I really liked all their new cards and wanted to just have fun with the beautiful colors and all the gold. I can’t get enough of gold these days. I want to use it more and more.

This page says: you and me, we are perfect together.

This page is about my husband and how wonderful he is. How he’s always patient with me. And how deeply he loves me and how right he is for me. Of course, we have our tough moments but again and again, he reminds me that I got so very, incredibly lucky when I met this man.

I love you my wonderful husband.

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Mix and Match – July

Here’s my Mix and Match page for My Mind’s Eye for July.

My sweet boys,

Today, you two decided it would be fun to do some sidewalk chalk. You two grabbed the box and I took a chair, my camera, and my ipad so I could sit outside and watch you while I read. You two started out by playing individually at first. David wrote some formulas and Nathaniel drew some sheep.

Then David had this idea of tracing his footsteps from the house to the sidewalk. And when he was done, Nathaniel wanted to do it, too. So then he made his footsteps from the other side so they could meet in the middle. And then where they met, you drew a little rainbow with a heart on it.

And then you were so happy that you hugged each other and asked me to take pictures.

And I did. I so did.

As I snapped each photo, my heart grew bigger and bigger.

My sons, I have many, many wishes for each of you, but one of my biggest wishes for both of you is that you love each other deeply and support each other throughout your whole lives.

Having a sibling means there’s this other person who has shared all of your childhood memories with you. It means there’s a person who will be there for you no matter what. It means this person will love you unconditionally. You will have many different friends in your lifetime. Some will come and some will go, but you get to have this one sibling and he will be there forever. He will be the one consistent person in your life.

And my wish for you is that the two of you never take that for granted.

I hope that years from now, you still turn to each other in times of joy and sorrow. That you are not only siblings but also friends. That you spend time together and that your kids play with each other. I hope that you never stop playing together or hugging each other.

When I look back upon my life, some of my fondest memories include my sister. Today, she is the person I trust above all and the person I can turn to for honesty, kindness, and support. She is the person who loves me unconditionally. The person with whom I belong forever.

And that’s what I want for the two of you. I hope that you will always remember that you belong with each other and that I love you both with all my heart.

Remember This – Week 26

We take a little break from Life Book this week, to look at a page I made for My Mind’s Eye. I liked their new flairs and decided to just have fun with them. It’s a simple, quick page. But It was fun. Sometimes doing art is just about having fun. Sometimes it’s quick and fun.

The text on the sticker says: It’s the Little Things that Make Life Worth Living

Isn’t that true? We forget that so often. But it’s really the deepest truth there is. Life is all about the tiny little moments. The ones that are full of joy.

so here we are.

Remember This is a project for 2014. You can read more about it here.

Mix and Match – June

Here’s my Mix and Match for My Mind’s Eye for June:

Journaling Reads:

My little boy,

I remember when your Daddy and I were discussing how David needed a sibling. I remember when we decided to see if we could expand our family so we could be four and not three. I remember when I carried you for nine months in my belly and I was so sick for so many months. I remember when you came to this world right on time and so very quickly.

I remember what a sweet baby you were the whole time. You loved your brother so much and adored all the attention he gave you. All the times he read to you or put on puppet shows for you. I remember the big, huge smiles you gave to all of us all day, every day. The funny way you crawled with you legs not bent at all.

I remember the big blanket you wouldn’t sleep without (it’s become so tiny now but you still won’t go to sleep without it!) and I remember the first day you walked. The first words. Your laughter. Your first birthday and all the ones after that.

When I look back on the five years since you’ve joined our family, I remember so many joyful moments. You have brought so much laughter and love into our lives. You never hesitate to give hugs and kisses to any of us. You are always generous and sweet.

Nathaniel, on this fifth year of your life, here are some facts:,you love playing with magnets and legos. You really enjoy the Pigeon books and the Elephant and Piggie ones. Since the beginning of this year, you’ve been reading a book a week to me and your reading has improved tremendously. You don’t like to wear socks and take them off the minute you get home from school. You don’t like veggies or oatmeal but eat them anyway. You’re a pretty picky eater. You like to have backwards day where you’re wearing your clothes backwards (not inside out but front to back.)

You are excellent at math and ask Daddy to give you some multiplication and division questions each night. Your favorite movies are the Lego movie and the Iron Giant. Your favorite book is The Pigeon needs a Bath, you like to read it again and again. You snuggle up with me and like the brown covers and let me hug and kiss you as much as I like (I love that!) Your favorite games to play are Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and Minecraft, which you love to play with your brother. You have a few good friends at school: Kyle, Aiden, Jordan, Tejas, Daniel and Esan. You are very friendly and also love being funny.

My sweet boy, the last five years with you has been truly wonderful and I cannot imagine our family without you. All of us love you so very much and are so very thankful to you.

Happy, happy birthday my son, here’s to many more. I love you madly.