Making A Big Life: Going Through The Door



9 years ago we only had 2 little kids.

9 years ago I was still in my mid-20s.

9 years ago I wasn’t homeschooling, I wasn’t blogging, I wasn’t raising 5 kids, we didn’t own a house and we were still figuring things out, especially as new parents.


This morning I spent some quiet time drinking coffee at my desk, that Ben found at an old dairy nearby, and reflecting on where we were 9 years ago when Ben  started working at Joyent, when it was just a couple of crazy dudes in a backyard in Marin.

9 years ago we were another start up in Silicon Valley, with crazy (emphasis on crazy) ideas, intense individuals and schedules that just wouldn’t quit.  It was a cowboy kind of lifestyle, just holding the reins and hoping the wild horse you were riding…didn’t die.


I remember the first time we went to a Joyent BBQ at David Young‘s house, and it was just David Young and his beautiful family, Jason Hoffman, and some other guys whose names I can’t even remember (Ben would remember).  I think I remember there were the duelling Josh’s. I loved that BBQ in Marin.  The sky was slightly overcast, the backyard was open and green.  One of David’s daughters was just learning how to use the toilet, at the time, and her mom, Maria, had her on a great schedule of going to the bathroom once an hour.  If you’re going to do it, this is the way to do it!

(for the record, I have never done this.)

That day I was wearing a light green, Celtic beaded dress I had gotten at the Scottish Games, and it was absolutely my favorite dress on earth. It turns out, it was David’s daughter’s favorite dress, too, and since they had just gotten back from Disneyland she was certain that I was a princess.  She lost her little mind when she believed that her parents ordered a princess for her, and was absolutely delightful company, and insisted that the princess take her to the bathroom when she needed to go.  Naturally, Maria tried to convince her daughter that I was just Ben’s wife…but I didn’t mind at all, and the little girl was just so excited to show me around her bathroom and how she washes her hands and uses the towel.  I don’t know why that moment stuck out so much, but it has always been one of those fond memories of the day.  Perhaps it was the sheer innocence of the event that touched me.

That was such a lovely BBQ getting to know everybody at Joyent.


Soon after that we realized that they didn’t have corporate health care, and I was denied coverage because of “pre-existing conditions,” even with a doctor’s note “clearing” me.  So, that catapulted the company into figuring out how to get corporate health coverage! (whew.)

Then came the long nights of working, the days on end spent building server rooms all over the world, the meetings, the planning, the building, the growing and the incredible innovation that was changing the world…and while I did absolutely none of this, I knew what Ben was doing all the time.  I loved hearing about brainstorming, anger storming, venture capitalist storming and office drama.

Hey, I don’t work there…I’m cool  😉





Listen, drama is just part of Start-Up Life…and if it’s too hot for you, then get out of the kitchen, Sugar.

We saw people come in to Start-Up Life, and run screaming when they realized what was really going on.

This is not corporate America, folks,  where you clock in at 9 and someone hands you your agenda for the day.  Start-Up life is when the CTO hasn’t been paid in 5 years, everyone is working out of a 700 sqft office with IKEA room dividers, and you will drink with the CEO at company parties, because dammit, you need a stiff drink after finishing the last insane project on time, too.  Schedules will change hourly, as will the overall vision of the company, depending on whom you are talking to.

Start-Up Life suits us, and I don’t know how to explain it.  The adrenaline is extreme, the days are exciting, and what you are doing means something.  You are building a team, and it is your team, and you put your heart and soul into it.


Joyent was an intense adventure.  There are no two ways about it.  The highs were very high.  The lows were….sucky.  But aren’t they all?


But the days of Joyent are over; at least for this family!  It is no longer a company that has friendly BBQs in backyards.   Now they make the news with every idea, every change and every success they have in their board rooms and corporate office.  They are a different company than the one we knew.  I mean, no one even knows who Jill is anymore.


139222095_001d3f6120Jill was Joyent’s masthead, at least in the beginning.

It is a different time now, and time for us to move on.

And when God moves us, he doesn’t mess around: because He is moving us to Seattle.




This is the decision that has kept us talking for weeks about where the future is taking our family.  This is the crux of what has kept us wondering what would the responsible decision be for our family.  We live in a very comfortable little town in California, where it doesn’t rain much and we don’t really know how to use a scarf, other than for decorative purposes.  We have our routines here, we have our communities here.  I am friends with the tiny feedstore owner whom I get my chicken feed from.  We have played at local parks ever since the kids have been born.  I have skated these streets and explored the city…

but it is time for us to start exploring somewhere else, and that is CRAZY awesome!


I have lived in California my whole life.  I grew up in LosAngeles and I spent my married life in the Bay Area.  I have camped all over California, and I could tell you how to get to this weird farm with emus off highway 49.  I remember stopping off at their little store to get water one summer, and a dad and his daughter drove up on their matching Ducati motorcycles, and Nova (who might have been a year an a half at the time) spent the whole time very excitedly showing them the goats.  They thought it was great…another really fond memory.

I have 35 years of California memories, and now we are going to start making memories in Washington.


This is just crazy to think about.  I never thought we would ever leave California; especially not the Bay Area!

But life is a funny thing 🙂


Making a big life change is totally scary.  Especially as parents, you spend all your time thinking about what is best for the kids’ future, as well as your own.

But what if life gives you open doors, and you never go through them?




How will you ever find out what is up the stairs and beyond the trees?

My curiosity is much greater than my need to stay and continue doing the same things forever.


So, that’s what we are doing, folks 🙂   We are making a big life for us, and we are going through the door.


3 thoughts on “Making A Big Life: Going Through The Door

  1. Derek

    Thanks for driving me around San Francisco that day. That was a really cool thing to do, and I always tell every one about it. You and Ben will be missed. Keep in touch,


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