Milo had his 6th birthday and we invited two friends to play with Nerf guns. Mario had another award in Cub Scouts. I met some of the ladies from noon art committee. I remember we got together to say farewell to someone going back to China. Jared's 34th birthday was celebrated with brownies.
Living in the Bay Area was very depressing for me when I figured out how people really were. Big cities are great, but not with kids. I tried to keep the boys in a bubble but they started to notice things like what rich people do, the kids were raised by their nannies and had little respect, the teachers were burned out. You don't know your neighbors. It is a very impersonal place to live. The good part is that no one bothers you. You don't feel pressure to impress anyone because how could I? The kiss of death was to tell people that you were a stay at home mom. Love the restaurants, the technology, the cool activities, but I hated the people in the area.
We went to a ballroom dance. We had fun. I noticed that people were looking and judging us because we were not dancing the waltz the right way. I didn't care. I had a great time dancing, eating, and talking with people I would never see again. I took the boys to the library every week to pick up new books and there were always activities like magic, puppet shows, etc. I used to hang out at the library too because I hated to be in our tiny house. There was a feeling in that little house that was unsettling. Mario with his 3rd grade teacher. I can't remember her name but she was amazing and kind to Mario. I had a membership to the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Palo Alto. That place was full of "interesting" people. I would always invite new friends to come with me. This is Alexandra Antihi after our spinning classes. I didn't stop working out. The issue was that I was on heavy antidepressants and ate huge portions of healthy food.
We went to Universal Studios Hollywood this month. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was awesome 🧙♂️! We enjoyed the butter beer, the rides, and the ambiance of it all. We also liked visiting the Simpsons and the Jurassic Park ride.
It seems to me that every month we were sick with something. I think this month is croup. I used to take the boys to the museum once a week to learn about art. I wanted them to have an appreciation of art. I would take the boys mini golfing in Sunnyvale. It was only like 5 miles away but it felt like 30.
My life at this point was volunteering and trying to mentally survive. I just kept saying, "it will get better. It will get better". I had cookbook club in Palo Alto. Sometimes it was amazing; other times it was sooo uncomfortable that I would leave because my tolerance for passive aggressive behavior was gone. Monica was my dance instructor and sometimes my spinning instructor at the JCC. Mario and Milo at a hip-hop lesson after school. On the top right, those were the moms who helped with the cub scouts carnivals. I can't remember their names, but I do remember how they made me feel. They were great people 😊.
When Jared would get home from work he would sit outside with Chloe and eat cereal. This was his ritual everyday. That was his time to decompress. Chloe was going through her puppy uglies.
The best part of living in a place that you don't like is that you find reasons to travel everywhere. We went to Florida. I know. We stayed there for a week and visited all the parks. It was exhausting.
Universal Orlando. Harry Potter land was our favorite! After visiting both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando, we decided we like the park in California more, even though it's smaller. Also, the butter beer is much better in CA!
Milo was crying because he was too small to go on some rides. He is eating his chocolate frog and crying. Still breaks my heart.
First Easter that I didn't do anything really fancy. I was very tired. I got my braces adjusted. Took some photos of Chloe. Mario had another pinewood derby.
This was the year where I learned that it is okay to take ownership of your work and forget about that humble nonsense stuff. I was the noon art coordinator at the boys' school and pretty much was running the committee by myself. The principal asked me and one of the dads to help build this bus float to represent the school at the Palo Alto Parade. Well, I got all the materials and the dad disappeared. I pretty much built the whole thing by myself. At the end of the school day, the dad showed up and went to take credit for my work. This dad was a white man in his fifties. We were taking photos for the yearbook and the principal said, "we have to wait for Jenny. Jenny was the one that built it". The principal told me to "always speak up because people will take credit for my work, if I let them". It was a great lesson for me. I am still trying to teach my children to do the same. Be proud of your work and brag about it. When you are alone without support, you have to be your own cheerleader.
San Francisco: China town and the exploratorium. We went to a concert and stayed at a hotel. The next morning we walked around China town. Another cookbook club dinner.
AT&T Park. The boys got to sing the national anthem with their school for a nationally televised Giants game!
Last day of school. Summer is here!
Lemos farm and fun at Half Moon Bay State beach.
Summer Boho Cookbook dinner at my house. My bestie in the bay area Rikki Kafatou.
Every year we got invited to the Perry's 4th of July party. Another dinner with friends at Erica Andersen's house. She is the daughter-in-law of President Neil A. Andersen. Went for the first time to the Palo Alto Country Club. We got invited to swim.
Summer was full of restaurants, swimming at the pool, going to Half Moon Bay, visiting with the missionaries, and bowling. I started a new job at the Palo Alto Unified School District at the end of the month. I only worked part time but I made pretty decent money and kept my resume updated. The mailman Ween was Chloe's best friend. Mario was trying to earn some money by selling his drawings. He wasn't the most perfect artist. Mario was trying to sell his drawings and someone told him that "it wasn't worth what they paid for it". I was so mad. He is a little kid. I was telling my friend Elaine about it. She is an amazing botanical artist and sculptor (she made a living out of that). She asked me to bring Mario over. She gave him an amazing pep talk and bought his frog drawing for a dollar. That is kindness.
We would go and meet friends for dinner at their houses. Our boys loved the book fair. I went for the first time to a fancy hair salon (I spent the money I made working part time). I volunteered at the 4th grade school bake sale.
I had my birthday. I took the boys with me to the Nordstrom Cafe at the Stanford mall. Jared was working. Jared's parents came to visit. We had our ward Halloween party and later we went to a fund raiser for our children's school. It was 80's themed. One good thing about the Bay Area: everyone is always willing to meet at a restaurant, go dancing, anything.
Happy Birthday Mario! I took the boys to play laser tag in Redwood City to celebrate Mario's birthday. Let me tell you that two of them got lost, one had an anxiety attack, another didn't eat sugar, and another didn't eat meat. It was a very California group of kids 😂.
Cub Scout activity at Foothills Park. Palo Alto ward Primary program. Halloween Breakfast at the elementary school. Nighttime trick or treating in Palo Alto. We stopped at all the tech CEO houses and we got soo much candy. Hanging out with my friend Pramoda, and with Susie and her partner.
Sunday photo. Another of my gigs working as a translator for school groups. Cub Scout meeting. Farewell party for the Fansino twins.
For Thanksgiving we went to Mexico. Our stove was the home to many rats. It was disgusting. We just drove to Burbank, then to San Diego, and just chilled. In Mexico we met Martita and stayed at her Airbnb house. It was our first time in Mexicali. I had never been to that side of Mexico and it was amazing. At this point, I love my job but I hated my boss. She did not like me but tried soooo hard to be my friend. I didn't care about her too much. She wasn't my cup of tea. I think she thought I was after her job. She was making my life really miserable and I'm thankful for that. That pushed me to the decision to move to Utah. Anything had to be better than this, even Utah.
Family photo at Foothills Park.
I was already tired as you can see. We went to San Jose and took the boys to the Tech Interactive Museum. My favorite coworker and friend Stacey Davidson. My team at the Palo Alto Unified School District. I sadly quit my job in March 2018 after I had my jaw surgery. Not being able to eat makes my tolerance for taking crap from others totally gone. I missed the people I helped but I don't miss working for other people.
We went to New Mexico for Christmas. We drove to Utah on the way back and saw a few houses that we were interested in buying. I was so ready to leave the Bay Area and having more than one bathroom. Another thing I didn't have was a big house. I wanted a nice medium sized house close to all the trendy areas. Living in downtown Palo Alto was great. We would walk to all the restaurants and ride our bikes everywhere. There was a Thai restaurant two blocks from my house. I used to go there by myself and get the Shrimp mango salad 🤤. I wish the weather in SLC was like the weather in the Bay Area. Oh well. I will just have to learn how to love winter.