Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Very Rough Sketch

I keep telling people that we've been here for to weeks.  As in, "When did you move to California."  "Two weeks ago."  Which doesn't seem at all strange to me, but my children have started pointing out that no, it's actually been a bit longer than that.  Maybe a lot longer than that.  Coming up on a month?  More than a month?  Is that possible?  There's something about these in between times that are so full of new things, so full of change, and adapting, and transitions that a sense of time is lost altogether. 

California is pretty beautiful.  I could tell you about the dry yellow mountains that we see to the east of us, or the lush green hills to the south of us, or the cool air on the coast, or the perfectly flat valley (really, truly flat, like nothing on the East coast other than Florida maybe) that we live in.  I was just reading with the girls outside before sending them to bed, and we were all snuggled under a blanket, and Zosia said, "I just don't know why it is so cold out!" and Lily said, "Well, this is California after all."  And so it is, cool in the morning and evening, and often quite hot in the middle of the day, but dry, and we have not once complained of the unseasonably hot weather, because you guys, let me tell you what it is like back East!  Humidity!  Mosquitoes!  I try to explain to these Californians how easy they have it, but I don't know they will ever understand until they experience it. 

I can tell you that the people here have been incredibly warm and kind and loving.  We have spent a good part of the past month making new friends and getting to know neighbors and seeing friends from the past, and that is the single thing that has probably started to make this place start to feel like home the most.  The kids scooter with neighborhood kids and we all walk to school together, and it's just lovely, all of it.

On the home front, my days have been busy.  First there were the days that I was just trying to unpack as many boxes as humanly possible, followed by a couple of weeks when my parents were here helping us get settled in, and then the next week the girls started school, and my goodness, my head is still spinning with all of it.  Through those crazy days, I kept remembering Ben's mantra before we moved.  "Adele, life is going to be easier out there."  He would say it, and all I could really see was a big cross country move and the many logistics involved in such a thing.  How could it be easier?  There were some busy, crazy days in there for sure.  But now that the dust has settled, all I can say is that I see how he was right.  This is a wonderful place to be spending this chapter of our family's life.  We are outside all of the time, and are eating some pretty amazing food, and have a lot of support, and my goodness, it is beautiful here.  I can't wait to try to show you all of it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

West Coast!


You guys, we made it!  The left coast, the West Coast, or as our West Coast friends used to snarkily tell these tried and true East Coasters, "The Best Coast" (don't worry, East Coasters, I won't be calling it that, although I must admit it *is* pretty great).  It has been a whirlwind of a few weeks here.  There was packing, too many goodbyes, emptying out that sweet little house that we called home for so many years, and then our big trip (along with six stitches and a broken arm thrown in there for good measure).

When we first shared with friends that we were moving to California, some of our very dearest friends sent us a note and suggested that maybe, while our stuff was traveling across the country, we could come and visit their little corner of the world-- a beautiful island on the Puget Sound only accessible by ferry where they have set up home with their now three little ones.  We had dreamed of going to visit them for years, and always filed it away with the other "Things To Do Later."  But, you guys, this is the year of travel!  This is the year of adventure!  This is the year of crazy things!  Besides, it sort of made sense.  We would pack up our house, fly to Seattle, hang out with them for a week, and then take a (much shorter) flight down to California to hopefully meet our stuff.  

Can I just say that Washington state is beautiful?  Like, beyond-my-wildest-dreams-I-thought-things-only-looked-like-this-in-fairy-tales-beautiful.  The rocky beaches, the moss, the harbor, the quaint little coffee shops (with the best coffee I have ever tasted.  There is a bit of a debate about Seattle Coffee verses San Francisco coffee, and I'm sorry, San Fran, but Seattle wins big time).  It was so wonderful to just rest and eat delicious food (which is literally just growing on trees, or vines, everywhere!) and be in the company of some really incredible people and their children.  Isn't it the best when your kids love the kids of people you love?  It was nurturing and restful and I think we all forgot that we were in the midst of a major cross country move.

And now, we are here!  California!  Our stuff has arrived (albeit still largely in boxes), we have started to settle in, and the kids have made fast friends in the neighborhood.  This place has a beauty and a magic of its own.  I have yet to pull out my camera and take any pictures, but our windows are wide open, and there is a cool breeze, and there are no bugs, and in the evenings we sit under our orange tree and muse, "How did we get here??"  and we are oh so thankful.  My parents are here for a couple of weeks helping us get settled in, and I know that after the denial that they are ever leaving wears away, I will be very homesick.  But for now there are boxes to unpack, and laundry to flip, and a third cup of coffee to drink, because it's still before noon over here.  Cheers!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Books, Summer Food, Fireflies, and Remembering Things

::Summer reading is in full swing, and it seems like a lot of our books are ones we've already read!  I'm reading The End of the Affair, which I last read what feels a lifetime ago, when I was pregnant with Zosia.  It's beautiful, well written, and insightful, and luckily my memory is so bad that I feel as though I were reading it for the first time!  Ben is reading The Hobbit, which seems perfectly fitting given that we're about to embark upon our own adventure (and for the record, Ben remembers books perfectly, but will often choose to reread a book simply because he knows he likes it).  We're reading The Penderwicks at Point Mouette with the girls, which really, truly is the *perfect* book for summer (although if you're new to this series, start at the beginning!).  And the babies love anything with animals: I Am A bunny is a favorite along with Oh What a Busy Day!  I seriously could read these really good children's books again every single day and never grow tired of them.
 ::No clue where Clara found these, but she insists upon wearing them often.  Given the fact that she is usually our style maven, I am going to have to find her something a little more chic, or she will never forgive me!
::There is something about losing someone close to you which forces you to re-examine a lot of things about your life.  Am I doing things right?  Are there things I would look back upon my life and regret?  Am I spending my time and energy on the things that matter the most in life?  Ben and I have had so many wonderful, fruitful, and soul searching conversations over the past few weeks, which I will always hold in a special place in my heart.  One random thing that we both agreed upon is that we would like to be more intentional about remembering special days (birthdays, anniversaries) of loved ones.  Truth be told, we are usually so scatter brained, we're lucky to remember our own childrens' birthdays!  A few days after we had the conversation, a birthday calendar arrived in the mail, which Ben has hung up in our kitchen.  I am feeling so good about this resolution, and am hoping we will do a better job of remembering and celebrating the people we love most!

::One thing I love about living in a place which such distinct seasons is that I notice that the way we eat shifts so drastically from season to season.  We're definitely not strict "seasonal eaters" "local eaters" "organic eaters" or anything else that fancy (whew, looking at our run of the mill grocery bill, I'm having a hard time imagining how people swing that sort of thing!), but we do buy food that is ripe and cheap, and as close to whole as possible. We also avoid using the oven on hot days (or use it extra on cold days!) which means that desserts in particular are either chilled or unbaked in the summer.  This morning I threw together some chilled granola bars loosely based on this recipe (reeaaaally loosely, but they turned out fine!), and they were a big hit with the kids.  And don't worry, I made sure to even out that half of a granola bar up there-- that's what moms are for, right? (Oh, and Clara prefers to feed herself these days.  I think you'll agree she seems pretty capable!).

::When Ben and I were newly married, we started gathering up National Geographic field guides.  If we saw one in a thrift store, we would buy it.  We would buy one for one another for Christmas.  By the time the kids came around, we had a bona fide collection, and it's one of the best purchases we've ever made.  I love that as our kids become interested in nature, they have easy access to beautiful pictures and facts to help their exploration.  One Father's Day or birthday or something I bought Ben a bird feeder, and I would say that is one of my other best long term purchases.  He's actually really diligent about keeping it filled, and we are graced with the loveliest variety of birds, and the kids really enjoy trying to identify each one!  

:: The season of fireflies is upon us!  I have distinct childhood memories of catching fireflies in the summer, and love watching my own little ones participating in the seasonal ritual.

I still can't quite believe in only two weeks we'll be on another coast entirely.  Are there fireflies in California?  I sure hope so.  I imagine we'll be discovering a new set of wonders out there, but in the meantime, I am savoring every last moment right where we are.