Miles’ first day of school: 2nd Grade, Los Gatos, California

Miles got off to his first day of second grade in California. He did great getting ready this morning, but his little sister went to drop off in her pajamas and robe! Thankfully she doesn’t have school until September because she is still on Summer sleep in schedule!

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Miles hates photos but is learning to appease me with a few quick grins.

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My two guys are off for a great day!

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Miles’ school is a brand new facility on 4 acres in the foot hills of Los Gatos. It’s a gorgeous property and I love that it’s a fresh start for everybody, not just Miles! Busses aren’t really a thing here, so I had to drive him, but I have to say that the drive is gorgeous. It went just fine, even with hopping into a bit of Silicon Valley rush hour traffic.

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Bless this boy for being so brave and taking off with an open heart to our new world. I’m learning from him everyday in this big adventure of ours.

waves of change

The other day I popped into Starbucks to treat myself to a double latte and the kids to a smoothie. We had been in the thick of unpacking and I was feeling overwhelmed and drained. As we settled in with our treats, I said to the kids:

“Kids, you have gone through a lot this summer and I just want to tell you how proud I am of you.”

Without hesitation, Miles looked at me and said, “What are you talking about? We haven’t gone through a lot.”

In that moment I realized just how resilient kids are and that I’m the fragile one, flinching as the waves of change come crashing down on me. Kids are like dogs at the beach, jumping face first into the waves and rolling with it all.

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So let me rephrase that. “Betsy, you have gone through a lot this summer and I’m really proud of you.”

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Now go get yourself another double latte…

  • August 11, 2014 - 4:33 pm

    Sherry Smith - had to erase my thoughts..just I miss you.

  • August 13, 2014 - 4:12 pm

    Lori Fisher - Hi guys! It’s your former Bluewater neighbor Lori! We sure do miss you ‘all. So glad to hear you are settling in okay there. They are blessed to have you!

Jocelyn’s fourth birthday: the first to celebrate in California

Jocelyn’s birthday fell five days after the moving truck delivered our furniture and boxes (upon boxes) to our new home in Los Gatos, California. Not only was life crazy from moving in, but I also had the genius idea of getting a play house for Jocelyn’s birthday and the assembly needed for said playhouse was INSANELY time consuming and challenging. (WHAT was I thinking?) Well, I know what I was thinking, I was thinking of my daughter and how her eyes lit up at a playhouse she saw at a house we almost got in another town and I wanted to recreate that in the home we chose. So bless John, in his exhaustion and amongst the chaos of our move, he was working as fast as he could to assemble the house before her birthday. Despite us managing to find the tools he needed amongst the 300 boxes jammed in our garage, he didn’t get it put together in time for the little party we threw, but as you can imagine, it was still a sweet day of celebration and he did get the four walls and roof up. (What a guy!)

We have a handful of friends here in Silicon Valley already and the Harvey Family is one of them. They are actually a family we followed from Fort Wayne to Apple a couple years after they moved. It’s a huge blessing that our kids have some instant friends here who only live about twenty minutes away. I knew I couldn’t throw one of my usual grand birthday parties (Next year, it’s back on!) but I figured I could manage ordering a cake and pizza and the Harvey kids would make it magical. So join us for Jocelyn’s birthday, her first in California!

Jocelyn woke up to a mountain of presents from my mom and aunt. It felt like Christmas morning, especially since they tucked in goodies for the rest of us too. (Thanks mom!!!) The celebration continued later at our apartment, where we had some gifts stashed from us and John’s parents. I had wrapped Jocelyn’s gifts in some scarves and purses from my closet at the apartment since I was in such a pinch from moving craziness. Joss was NOT impressed with my eco-friendly wrapping style, but she loved the gifts. Miles was bored, as you can see.

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The day after her actual birthday we had the party at our house. Here’s the crew of kiddos! (Sorry, couldn’t get all the kids in. Our house is a bit smaller now, not as much room to back up for a photo. Ha!)

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Joss changed her mind at the last minute from a Hello Kitty cake to a Peace sign cake that looks straight out of Justice. Good gracious girl, you are like a little tween already! (Yikes!)

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Bi9a7274The cake came from a local bakery here in Los Gatos, Icing on the Cake. Not only was it gorgeous and exactly what Jocelyn asked for, but it tasted amazing! The berry frosting tasted just like strawberry ice cream, which pretty much blew my mind. Frosting that doesn’t taste like Crisco? I didn’t even think it could be done. I’m hooked.

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After cake and pizza, we set the kids free on the house to play, play, play with the grown ups chilled.

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Paper-Rock-Scissors stand off between Miles and Jenna in the hallway. Adorable to see these two expressive kiddos play.

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Happy birthday to our precious Jossy sauce! We love you so much and think you are growing up to be such a vibrant, loving and creative little firecracker!

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Jocelyn is such a joy and blessing in our life. I found this photo of her as a baby and her infectious laughter will always be one of my first memories that stand out in my mind. She’s our little exclamation mark.

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  • August 7, 2014 - 8:53 am

    Gail - Oh it looks like you guys had a BLAST! I’m so happy you have some built-in friends out there. I’ve been thinking of you often, knowing I need to start getting emails your way. I MISS YOU…so much. Just know I think of you at least several times a day, hoping you’re doing well (no doubt you are!)

  • August 7, 2014 - 9:54 am

    meghan premuda - that cake is so many kinds of awesome! california wins, once again! cheers to many more happy birthdays for your little exclamation mark!

  • August 8, 2014 - 2:51 pm

    Sherry Smith - Both kids are growing up way to fast… love them so much.. Thanks for the update..

shrugging off the moving fog

Ok, so my intention this summer was to blog about what it’s like to move from the midwest to California. However, one thing I couldn’t forecast was how exhausted I would be during this process, that I would have zero babysitting (hello-zero personal time!) or how my computer would be in boxes for weeks. (Never mind the fact that I’m supposed to be updating my website for my graphic designer right now. cringe So much work to do!) So I’ve been expressing my emotions over Facebook and Instagram via my phone mostly. Looking back at my time in Indiana prepping for this whole experience, I knew there would be challenges, and people who had moved before would try to explain them to me, but there’s no way of knowing until you are in the middle of it.

Moving to California has been such a mixture of excitement, fear, second guesses, disbelief that this is all real and thankfulness for this adventure. We are now in our new home in Los Gatos, California. It’s ranch style home with wood floors, a cute backyard and a nice shady patio. It really is such a gem that I’m amazed we found. I”ll be posting photos of it soon. The place pretty much looks like a home with the furniture in place and some of our decor in place, but with plenty of boxes yet to unpack. Every day we are struggling to find something and figure out where we had tucked it away or which box it might be hidden in. It’s neat to see how our furniture looks in a new house. Of course, it doesn’t all work in this new space and we are still trying to figure it all out. We are still using beach towels as I haven’t found the box of bath towels but at least I have pots and pans unpacked so I can start working on cooking like a productive human being again. (SO much pizza has been eaten this month.) Though where on earth are our cutting boards? I just miraculously made a crock pot meal using a dinner plate as a cutting board and still have all my fingers. YES! I’m so excited we’ll have an actual home cooked meal in our home tonight. That’s a first in about ten days!

Things are definitely looking up around here. I’ve been shrugging off the fog that living in the temporary apartment surrounded me in. I realize now how living in a place temporarily and not building anything really bothered me. I mean, of course it was necessary, we had to land somewhere while we found our home, but as much as I say I’m a hermit, I’m also a pack animal that relies on knowing her surroundings and finding her favorite nooks in a city that feel like home. So even though we were in a gorgeous apartment complex and I had my family around me, I started to wither up a bit emotionally. Homesickness settled in and I was getting short fused and was exhausted all the time. However, the more we are in Los Gatos and the incredible charms of this town show themselves to me, I’m starting to feel lighter and definitely happier. With every new store, park, pool, library and school checked out I’m starting to feel more and more invested into our future here. With each connection made, I’m digging my feet in a bit deeper into this soil.

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Sometimes I would get panicky and think about everything I built in Fort Wayne and was walking away from. Our house was beautiful, our schools were excellent, our friends were amazing and I had built a business based solely on word of mouth. I kept picturing myself walking away from a sandcastle I had built and kept asking myself, “Is this ok? Is it ok to build something so beautiful and just walk away from it?” I’m still wondering, is it ok to let that castle go, let it succumb to the sea of change to be solely a memory to be reshaped elsewhere? These are questions I still ask myself as I process this all. Every time I question it, I look around and I see all the beauty, the opportunities and the adventure and I feel more secure in all this change.

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This week I’ve really felt the shift though. We venture out farther every day to explore Los Gatos and it’s so beautiful, the people are so incredibly laid back and friendly and it feels so safe here. We keep saying, “We live in California now. Can you believe it?” Then we stop what we are doing and just marvel at that. It still blows my mind.Kidsstreet

John LOVES Apple and he’s been taking the Apple shuttle most days so he doesn’t have to drive in rush house traffic. He’s doing great, but of course we are still getting used to seeing him less. It sure makes our evenings and weekends just that much more precious. Tomorrow we are going to go have breakfast with him at Apple’s Cafe Mac’s for his birthday. The kids are going to FLIP over the campus! I can’t take any photos there though, which will drive me crazy!

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I’ve been lucky enough to have four Indiana friends come visit me already! Oh my goodness, It was AWESOME seeing familiar faces again! I was like that dog who fainted from happiness when seeing it’s owner again. So if you are Northern California, look me up. I LOVE visitors!!!

Ok, I’ve let the kids have a Garfield show marathon while I wrote this, so I must go. Speaking of Garfield, Miles is suddenly CRAZY about Garfield. Like obsessed. You can hear him laughing out loud at his comic books, which is adorable. I’ve been trolling Ebay for the perfect stuffed Garfield to surprise him with. The only bummer about Garfield is you would hope your child’s favorite character wouldn’t be so lazy and apathetic and now, thanks to Garfield “hating” Mondays, I’m trying to get the kids to stop using the word “hate.” I could have worse issues I suppose. : )

All right, I really need to go. We have library books that need returning!

  • July 31, 2014 - 4:50 pm

    Sherry Smith - Thank you for the beautiful pictures..without them I know I would sink beyond return into deeper depression…I am lucky you are so very talented and share it with us. I love you..MOM

  • July 31, 2014 - 5:38 pm

    Amy T - As a native Northern Californian its so interesting to see (read) California through your eyes. I hope you continue to love it. As much as I can get down on it (its so expensive to live here!, and the traffic!) it really is so special. You have the city, the wine country, the beach, the mountains, everything at your fingertips. Los Gatos is a charming little town.

  • July 31, 2014 - 7:12 pm

    Christen - Oh Betsy, you have been in my thoughts (and my feeble prayers) so much. I can’t imagine the change you all are undergoing. And you are strong and lovely and all will be well and all is going to be so well…and already is so well! (references to one of my favorite mystics, Julian of Norwich). I so wish I could just drop in for a cup of coffee at Mocha Lounge with you and talk parenting and talk transitions and laugh together. Although we didn’t see one another as often as I’d like in FW, your absence is with me. At your encouragement of Miles with Garfield comics my Mom got Grayson some at the library. It has been wonderful in encouraging him to practice reading more, so thank you! We miss the four Kings.

an evening at the park in San Jose

We spent the first two weeks in California house hunting in Silicon Valley and yes, we found a house, but getting settled in our permanent home takes time. So in the meantime, we have been continuing to live in the apartment complex, which has it’s inconveniences (i.e. late night fire alarms going off, parking garages and third floor dog potty runs) but it has also had it’s perks. The evenings are when the complex comes alive. We’ve enjoyed walks to our community’s park and the kids have loved riding along all the smooth paths. I finally got out my real camera to (attempt) to catch my kids in action. Join us on one of our evening adventures.

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By the way, this precious pumpkin turns four on the 26th this week!

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  • July 23, 2014 - 9:20 am

    Gail - These are SO sweet! I really love Joss’s dress here! CANNOT BELIEVE SHE’S ALMOST FOUR!

  • July 23, 2014 - 1:56 pm

    Megan D - Four?!? Not possible!!!! Your kids look so happy Bets! Thanks for sharing. :) xoxo

  • July 23, 2014 - 10:46 pm

    Ben - Your family is awesome. I can’t wait to meet them sometime. That one of Joss with the amazing light and the one of Miles one footing on his scooter are my favorites.