Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Re-charged. Re-entry. Re-ality.

 
Re-charged.
 
We are just back from a wonderful week in "the desert" for Spring Break. 
 
It was JUST what we needed after the long, cold, and wettest winter on record in Seattle. We stayed at the Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage and almost didn't need to leave except to see some good friends from Seattle. The resort was very family-friendly and provided just what we needed to unwind and re-charge. I am so grateful for this family time and can't wait to go back.
 
We spent hours in the lazy river and on the water slides - a huge hit for all of us. 

 

We exercised together - which was awesome!
 
 
 
We read a lot!


We played with friends. We planned a surprise play date for Sofia and one of her BFs, Ava. Their shock and excitement were priceless.
 

We hiked with friends!
 

We hung out at this swanky pad where our friends were staying. See pics here. Amazing!



We relaxed.





Thank you, Palm Springs. Until next time!

Re-entry.

Re-entry is never easy. The emails, the laundry, grocery shopping, meal planning and prep, 6 a.m. alarms, homework... LIFE. I'm still digging out.

Upon re-entry on Sunday, life hit me hard. First with this this blog about the prognosis of a little girl with Leukemia who I know through Obliteride. No words....

Then more heartbreaking news about a mom of young children and communications professional who I also met through Obliteride. She lost her battle on Sunday night. Heartbreaking.... Again, no words.

Then my client at Obliteride asked me to review this blog post she wrote about her encounters over Spring Break that re-ignited her passion and urgency to help raise as much as we can to help cure cancer faster. 

Of course this all makes me think of my friend Scott - I will always ride for Scott.

Re-ality.

Re-ality sets in quickly.

Life - and death - hit me hard upon re-entry and have inspired me to work harder, play harder, pray harder, ride harder, love harder, hug harder.

On vacation, I read a great book: The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. In a nutshell, it urges us to simplify and focus on what matters most by asking yourself ONE important question:

"What's the ONE thing I can do today such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"
  
On Monday, my ONE thing was to go for a bike ride. I rode hard and fast for Abby (the mom mentioned above).

On Tuesday, my ONE thing was to meditate. If you're looking for a great guided meditation, I highly recommend this Loving Kindness meditation.                             

Today, my ONE thing is to publish this blog post.

Of course, I'm not just doing ONE thing every day. I still have work, family, life. But by prioritizing my ONE most important thing, I'm feeling more grounded and focused.

Orange = HOPE!

I want to leave you on a positive note with this beautiful orange poppy I saw on my walk this morning.

Please consider making a donation to my Obliteride this August to help further cures at Fred Hutch. They can't happen fast enough. We are losing best friends, children, and young mothers to this horrid disease.


Thanks for reading friends.

xoxo,

Amy

Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy International Colour Day!



March 21 is International Colour Day. Who knew?

It's not a coincidence that International Colour Day corresponds with the equinox – aequus (equal) + nox (night). Around this date, day and night are equally long, symbolically juxtaposing the complementary nature of light and dark, illumination and shadow that are expressed in all cultures and in color.

Here are five fun and easy ways to celebrate International Colour Day and the beginning of spring - my favorite season.

  1. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers. My favorites for spring are tulips and daffodils.
  2. Peruse the glassybaby website.
  3. Google "color" and see what awesome images come up.
  4. Sign up for The Color Run aka "The Happiest 5K on the Planet." Sofia and I are doing it together in Seattle on Mother's Day again this year.
  5. Follow my color guru, Leatrice Eiseman, on Facebook for a daily does of color from the world's leading expert on color.


Leave a comment below and let me know how you are celebrating color/colour today!

Have a great week friends.

xoxo,

Amy

Thursday, March 10, 2016

India Through a Child's Life

Sofia in her colorful Indian outfit for one of the wedding parties.
 
A lot of people have asked me how Sofia (age 8) liked India. When she's being p.c. she says it was "interesting." Sometimes she says it was "horrible." But in the next breath she says she misses it. She quickly clarifies she misses the wedding festivities and her cousin, Lars, her travel buddy. 

She doesn't miss the noise, the pollution, the massive amounts of people, Old Delhi or the food. She didn't like the food and she pretty much went on a food strike. As a result she lost five pounds. That's a lot for a 50 lb frame. This was stressful for me, but thankfully she's healthy and I'm pretty sure she's gained it back. 

Overall, she was a trooper, but it was hard and exhausting. We were gone for 18 days and our days were very full and the travel was hard. But I think she will remember it as a positive, enriching experience, as will I. 

She put together a presentation of her highlights from our trip for her third-grade class. Just like with our trip to Jordan and Israel, I think it's fascinating to see what her highlights were. And I'm so grateful she is being exposed to cultures that are so very different from ours. 

Let's start in Old Delhi....LOTS of cows everywhere!


Hindu goddesses....




Old Delhi wiring, wow!


Modes of transportation... bike rickshaw.


Tuk tuk....


A highlight for the kids was their ride on our tour guide's motorcycle through the streets of Old Delhi... no helmets!



Cars and people everywhere!


In the middle of our first week in Delhi we escaped the crowds and the pollution and spent two days visiting the erotic temples in Khajuraho. Good thing the kids mostly didn't know what they were looking at!


Back in Delhi, our days were packed and we took in all of the major sites. Here are a few of Sofia's favorites.









Celebrating Christmas in India was certainly interesting. You can read all about it here.  The kids were excited to see Santa! 


Sofia loved traveling with her cousins Lars (8) and Ingrid (2 1/2) from Iowa.



And her grandparents from Oakland, veteran travelers to India. This was their fourth trip!
 

And she was so excited to meet the beautiful bride, Eli, who is from Italy.

 
The henna party was a huge highlight. All of the ladies, including Sofia, got their hands adorned in henna for the wedding.
 

 

 
Here we are all dressed up for the wedding festivities. It was a colorful family affair!

 
The groom arrived in his father's vintage Chevrolet not the storied white horse!


Here are a few more of Sofia's favorite photos from the various wedding celebrations.






After the five days of wedding celebrations in New Delhi we headed to Rajasthan. We were in Jodhpur for New Year's Eve. This camel was all dressed up and ready to party!


Jodhpur is known as the "blue city." Many of the houses and buildings, which you can see in the distance, are painted blue.


We were in Jaipur on New Year's Day. The elephants had been painted to ring in the new year!


Here's Sofia riding an elephant up to the Amber Fort in Jaipur.


One of the most famous sites in the state of Rajasthan is Jaipur's pink city fa├žade.


We ended our trip with the granddaddy of them all!! Sofia tells people the Taj Majal was "small" and not that exciting. It was day 17 so I think we were all a little desensitized (and exhausted) by then. It's still pretty cool that she can say she's visited the Taj Majal!
 




Here's our adventurous group of nine Andersons! We survived India!!


The icing on the cake was a seven-hour layover in Paris on our way home. We sped into the city on the Air France bus (well not really, it took an hour and 45 minutes) but it was worth  it for the macarons, croissants, cappuccino and a quick visit with a friend!!