gratitude

Our first week apart

My daughter Sabrina is having a great time before she settles into her school in London. After dropping off her stuff at storage, she finally had a chance to explore her new surroundings and her new school. She sent me some pictures of King’s College in London. It looks so majestic and regal! Watching her snaps on Snapchat of her adventures in London and on her trip is so exciting. What a cool vibe it is over there! Afterwards, she was on her way out to go on a mini vacay. She visited Dublin and had a great time. Her next stop was Prague with a slight layover in Amsterdam. I love Amsterdam!

Amsterdam. Photo cred to Sabrina

I still remember walking the streets of Amsterdam late at night with Sabrina in a stroller when we stayed in Amsterdam for a couple of days. She was only 18 months old. I bundled her up in her thick pink winter jacket and an extra blanket so that we can walk and explore Amsterdam (at night). It was a fun adventure. I remember it so vividly because it is one of my favorite memories. I would love to go back to Amsterdam with Sabrina!

After Amsterdam, Sabrina went to Munich. Her main reason for going to Munich was to attend Oktoberfest, a beer festival. I know that she was really looking forward to it and it seems that she had a great time.

How exciting for Sabrina to experience (and re-experience since she is an avid traveler) so many different cultures.

As for Josh, the first week for him was very hard. He missed his sister so very much. Sabrina made a picture frame with a couple of pictures of them together in it. When Josh misses her, he looks at that picture. He also placed it on the table near his bed so that he can look at it before he goes to sleep. Unfortunately, it makes him miss her even more.

He also looks into her room (so do I).

Where’s Sabrina…

When he misses her, he opens the envelopes that she left for him. So far, he has opened the “open when… you are sad” and “open when… you miss me”. It makes him feel a lot better. He also goes into the box that Sabrina made for me with all the little papers with sayings on it and picks one to read. He realizes that he keeps picking the same one which says “Have a great day”. It makes him smile.

Everyday, Sabrina and Josh and I text with each other. We also had a chance to video chat a few times. Josh looks forward to her texts. He loves texting with his sister and updating her on his life.

A few things that he texted to her:

He went to Red Lobster to eat his favorite, snow crab. While there, he took a picture of a lobster and sent it to her. I took a picture of his food (because that’s what foodies do). He loves the process of eating a crab. It’s so messy but fun.

and he ate every bite!

He tried out for flag football, picked out his jersey size, had his first practice and bought some really cool football gear. His favorite are the sticky football gloves. He can’t wait to wear his cleats.

oh, you fancy

He also went to a new dentist. This dental office is geared specifically for children. He liked going there because the hygienists are so gentle and so nice. He also liked watching a movie while he was having his teeth worked on. He watched Finding Nemo. Later the hygienist let him pick a movie and he picked Ice Age. We were there for almost 2 hours! But the good news is that he has no cavities. He especially enjoyed taking the panoramic x-ray of his teeth. He is excited that he might need braces. At the end, he got a toy! Wow.

Yes, that’s a smiley face on your lap

The first week was hard but Josh is doing much better now. Sabrina was so worried, but that’s what loving big sisters do.

Today I am grateful for loving big sisters, little brothers who love their big sisters, London, Amsterdam, adventures, different cultures, fond memories, snow crabs, sticky football gloves and smiley faces.

Goodbye Presents: She’s leaving on a London plane

My daughter Sabrina is leaving today for London. She is working on her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management at King’s College. She will be gone for a year.

We have been spending some good quality time together before she leaves. At the end of one of our days of fun, she gave me a goodbye present. It was a box that she decoupaged herself and filled with little pieces of paper with little sayings that she wrote and a cute little book called “Why You’re So Awesome”.

It was my turn to give her my goodbye present. I wrote quotes, advice, encouragement and praises on cards and pasted photos on the back. She loved them!

We love giving homemade gifts to each other!

She gave her brother a great goodbye gift too. They were envelopes filled with notes that he can “open when…” One is “open when you are happy”. Another one is “open when I leave”. She instructed me to make sure that he opens it when we get back from dropping her off to the airport.

Open when….

She is leaving today. We are leaving in an hour and a half to drop her off at the airport. We are very sad and will miss her terribly but we are so proud of her for following her dreams.

Dream big, Sabrina. Reach for the stars.

A morning filled with gratitude at Cafe Gratitude

My friends and I recently had a day of fun at Downtown LA. One of our stops was at Cafe Gratitude for breakfast. This wasn’t planned and was more of a spontanous decision being that we had a list of places that we wanted to hit that day. It ended up being one of my favorite stops of the day.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all. I’m such a hypocrite of that because I usually skip breakfast and ironically, breakfast is my favorite meal. So you can imagine my excitement when we chose this cafe for breakfast.

Cafe Gratitude serves up many great dishes, bakery items and drinks for breakfast. Everything is 100% organic and plant based.

We started off with drinks. We were told by the server that when we order, we can order (only if we wanted to) by saying “I am…” and stating the name of the drink or meal.

All of the meals and drinks are named after positive affirmations. I wanted an iced hibiscus tea which was called “love”. So I said to the waitress, “I am love”. One of my friends ordered the turmeric pepper tea and my other friend ordered the matcha green tea (both hot drinks). I can’t remember the name of their drinks but I tried a sip of each of them and they tasted so healthy. Yes, that’s my way of being positive because both of these drinks weren’t my cup of tea (haha, punny…)

We decided to get a couple of dishes and share them family style. We decided on the “I am open-hearted” buckwheat flax pancakes and they were good. We ordered cashew coconut whipped butter on the side and that was even better than the maple syrup it came with. We also ordered the breakfast toast which was named “I am peaceful”. I love toast for breakfast or anytime of the day. I wanted to try one of each so we got a breakfast toast sampler which was called “peaceful flight”. It had a smashed avocado toast, a chickpea frittata toast and a sliced banana toast. My favorite was the chickpea frittata toast. Just writing about it is making me hungry! Those spicy pickled vegetables were delicious and savory. It was a perfect compliment to our pancakes.

After we ordered the waitress left us with a question or thought of the day. Ours was “what are you looking forward to?” I was very excited to share my answer with my friends so I answered first. I said “today” which meant our day trip in DTLA.

We chit chatted while waiting for our food. When it arrived, our server put the food and drinks down in front of us and said “you are love”, “you are open hearted” and “you are peaceful”. Our server then went back to get us some plates since we were sharing and on the plates it stated “what are you grateful for?” We took turns answering. I loved hearing everyone’s answers.

What a great breakfast and such a great way to start off the day.Starting off your day with gratitude is the fastest path to happiness. I do it every morning. I list 3 things I am grateful for. I try to pick three different things but I admit that some mornings are a little harder than others and my list ends up being the same three things. Then there are some mornings when I can just go on and on. Those are the days that start off the best. I feel abundant which leads me to more happiness and gratitude.

I am happy and grateful for my friends and our fun adventures. I look forward to more adventures together.

Happy Friday,

Sweet Monday