First Day of School – 2023

First day of school for Olivia (11th) and Lucas (9th). It’s hard to believe we have two high-schoolers! It’s also bittersweet that Liv will be driving them both to school.

We had a parent social at school so we walked Lucas all the way in and Grace gave him a big kiss goodbye inside the school. That was a bold move with potentially tragic consequences. Lucas is so new to high school, he didn’t seem to mind.

It’s going to be a great year!

6 Photos

Summer Travel: Paso Robles

Olivia has always had a love of animals. Through her school, she learned about Conservation Amassadors, which is a wild and exotic animal rescue. She spent last week interning there for six days and had an amazing experience.

One challenge of gaining this experience is that they’re located down in Paso Robles, about three hours from home. As they don’t provide housing, we rented a house for the week and made a family trip out of it. This was our first time exploring this part of California and it was beautiful with many great food experiences. While Olivia was working hard, the rest of us were providing moral support from the golf course, which was also grueling. Grace, Lucas and I also took a side trip down to Pismo Beach, which was also a first.

The highlight of the trip, aside from a sea otter sighting (my second favorite animal), was a private tour of the campus. It was so cool to be up close to so many wild animals, including a black bear, bald eagles, peacocks, porcupine, lemurs, lynx, mountain lion. The cutest were the baby kangaroo, baby monkey, and baby bobcat.

One night, Olivia declared that she understood now why people come home from work and crack open a cold beer. This was definitely her first introduction to “work,” which included cleaning, feeding, and being pooped on by these beautiful creatures. It was also 109 degrees on her last day. We’re all thankful for a fulfilling week together.

Note: The first animal photos are by Olivia.

70 Photos

Olivia’s Surprise 16th Birthday Party

Olivia hasn’t had very many birthday parties with friends over the years because her birthday lands during the holidays. Her very thoughtful and sweet friends threw her a surprise birthday party. She was in on some discussion for an impromptu party a couple weeks ago, but that never materialized.

On Sunday, while her friend took her to lunch, a bunch of friends came over to the house to decorate and set up. There was enough misdirection that Olivia really had no idea. When she came home, she was truly surprised and overwhelmed.

We can’t thank her friends (and their parents) enough for making this happen. We’re all very fortunate that she has such a kind friend group and we love having them all over. Happy Birthday again, Olivia!

31 Photos

Olivia’s 16th Birthday

We celebrated this sweet 16-year-old at home this year, which is rare as we’re usually traveling somewhere. It’s hard to imagine that Olivia would need anything just a few days after Christmas, but her generous family always sends  her such thoughtful gifts. It was extra special to have my mom, aunt Jen and Blue here to celebrate together.

We braved the rain and took everyone to Che Fico in San Francisco. I thought it was even better than the first time and every dish was amazing. While not a big party with her friends, we hope she enjoyed spending the day with her family who loves her very much.

Happy 16th Birthday, Olivia!

17 Photos

Olivia’s 14th Birthday

Like most of us who have had to celebrate our birthdays during the pandemic, Olivia took it in stride and actually enjoyed being at home and relaxing. Usually we’re traveling, or worse, en route on her birthday.

She hasn’t been out of the house in days, so we took a quick trip downtown for Salt & Straw. We celebrated with our pandemic pod family, the Lees, for dinner. Olivia, being very patient, didn’t open any gifts until almost 10pm. She’s very appreciative of all of her thoughtful family and friends.

Happy Birthday, Olivia! We couldn’t love you and your kind spirit more.

15 Photos

© 2023