Month: March 2014

Things I’m Loving: Orcas, Art, Running & Cake!

I’m joining in with the ‘Things I’m Loving’ linky over at my friend Meghan’s blog this week – celebrating those little things in life that shine. Sometimes it’s the things happening before my eyes, that fill my heart with love, like coffee, wine, or watching my family devour strawberries coated in chocolate…

strawberries and chocolate

Other times it’s a video someone has shared on social media; like this one of an Orca pod in the wild, where they should be, filmed in Karaka Bay, Wellington, within ‘touching distance’!

On the home front my three daughters have given me plenty of little moments to feel the love.

I love having them at home on this path of natural learning/unschooling, whilst we are living in the USA. Being a daily part of their lives and observing them live, play and learn, in their own unique way, feels like an absolute privilege.

Our youngest daughter is on an artistic learning curve at the moment (reminding me of when she was a baby – on sudden developmental surges in movement or language). She is always drawing, writing, asking questions about numbers and patterns, the world around her and how best to express it. Here’s some of her drawings and art from the week that have made the whole family smile.

Artwork by Miss 4

The older girls had a fun time decorating cakes last weekend, whilst our youngest painted the beautiful ‘magical, rainbow unicorn’ (as she describes it) in the photo above.

Cake decorators!

They were also spotted by a talent scout and invited to some Disney thing, where they were filmed reading a line and then put on the database – along with thousands (most probably) of other children – to be potentially called up at some future time… basically, it was one of those fun experiences that they enjoyed – regardless of whether or not it comes to anything – and they then had a fun time at ‘Six Flags’ with their Daddy afterwards.

Disney talent opp and Six flags fun with DadI have been continuing to enjoy getting ‘out there’ and running, in training for the half marathon I’m running on 10 May, to raise funds for a very poorly boy I know called Elijah. If you can spare a little please donate on Give a Little NZ – Running for Elijah. Many thanks x

RunningAnd the extra daylight hours that spring has brought to us are an absolute gift, which we celebrated this week by making a paper flower wreath decoration for the door (thanks to Paper-Source.com for the pre-cut flowers!).

spring flower decoration for the front doorHave a wonderful weekend, whether in the northern or southern hemisphere – or somewhere hot and humid on the equator!

Love, Sarah x

Signs of Spring in Santa Barbara (where the seasons aren’t easily identified!)

This is my first experience of spring in Southern California. I’ve spent the past decade or so seeing in spring in New Zealand, whilst the northern hemisphere starts getting their autumn / winter fashions out and decking the halls with holly.

This will be the first time in several years that I’ll see Easter in the spring (obviously living in NZ meant celebrating in autumn – but there were still plenty of fluffy chickens, chocolate eggs and bunnies in the shops). It’s also going to be the year I see in my Birthday, my 40th no less, on Easter Sunday (all the more chocolate for me, mwah, ha, ha, ha!).

But I digress from the focus of this post, ‘Signs of spring in my neighbourhood‘ – the fifth prompt on ‘Mama Kats’ wonderful ‘Writer’s Workshop’ this week.

It’s from a balmy winter we have emerged into spring here in Santa Barbara. Winter was far removed from the northern hemisphere winter of my childhood growing up in England. There were no visits from ‘Jack Frost’ and ‘dragon breath’ days were absent. The only real signs of winter were the short days and a few deciduous trees that cooperated and dropped their leaves.

Spring has arrived without much of a fanfare, other than longer days bringing about more freedom to get out the house in the light evenings (a huge high point for me – a lover of light and being outdoors). There are daffodils aplenty for sale in the supermarket and blossom trees are trooping the colour. The ‘strawberry man’ – as my daughters call him – has returned, selling massive trays of strawberries for $12 out the back of his truck.

Rose in the garden

The swimming pool in the garden of the house we’re renting is almost plunge worthy, without needing to be heated, and there’s been a rare day or two of rain. There’s even been some wind, to remind us of windy Wellington and our home in New Zealand (the locals get quite panicked by it here in Santa Barbara, but it’s nothing compared to the flying trampolines, car doors being ripped out of out hands and near death – by self propelling wheelie bins – that we are used to experiencing in Welly!).

On the rare rainy days my children have exuberantly celebrated being able to dance in the rain, with an umbrella not being turned inside out in a nano second or propelling them Mary Poppin’s style through the air.

Spring rain a novelty in Santa Barbara

Humming birds visit the fruit trees in the garden and Monarch Butterfly have emerged from overwintering in the eucalyptus trees of the warm southern Californian coast. Lizards are showing their faces once again, basking in the sun on the rocks around the succulent beds. Miss 4 is following their movements closely, determined to capture one for a pet.

lizard in the garden

The difference between day and night temperatures are less extreme and we are getting our sporting mojo on (in order to counter balance the undoubtedly successful BBQ season to come). I’m off running most days, training for my first half marathon on 10 May, whilst the man of the house has joined a soccer team and is playing a couple of times a week. The children are as active as ever, barely sit down!

Getting our sport mojo on!

Love spring.

Love the return of the light.

Love the extra hours to get out and play, eat and drink! x

Mama’s Losin’ It

The Photo Gallery | Sport

It’s a special week of celebration on Sticky Fingers blog’s ‘The Photo Gallery’ this week.  Parenting bloggers in the UK put their heads together to create an event for Sport Relief this year which had the whole of the community buzzing – the Team Honk Relay. Bloggers up and down the land joined together to travel the length of the UK to raise money and awareness.

180 bloggers all over the UK who took on the baton (along with their family and friends), from Land’s End to John O Groats, running, cycling, swimming, roller skating, scooting, pushing buggies. They raised more than £30,000 (donations to ‘Team Honk’ are still open here).

So, to mark this momentous achievement, this week the Photo Gallery theme is: Sport.

My photograph is of my three daughters riding their bikes together (our youngest has just learned to ride a bike with stabilisers). I had one of those ‘Mamma heart swell moments’, seeing them riding together, and was thankful for my camera phone in my pocket to capture the moment.

Sisters riding their bikes together

It hasn’t been easy for them to leave their home in Wellington, New Zealand, and move to California, USA, for a questionable length of time. Our eldest, in particular, left behind a school she loved. They all left behind friends they loved and the home they’ve known since they were babes. On the flip side, they’ve bonded like never before. After a tried, and failed, attempt at school in the USA we made the decision to try home schooling and are now on a path of natural living and learning, where every day is a new day. The biggest value of this experience has been putting family first. Their relationship, as sisters, is more united than it ever was. As a family we are stronger than ever.

The aren’t involved in any sport teams or clubs as such, but they run, play, swim, cycle, dance, sing, and breath the same air together! They are learning in ways that money can’t buy.

Sport is more than beating a personal best, or another team or player, it’s about being active and embracing life, with enthusiasm and fairness. Seeing the three of my daughters together, playing tag or encouraging one another to try a new dive in the pool or a stunt on the monkey bars, is thoroughly heart warming. Love, love, love!

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Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Prose for Thought & Writer’s Workshop | Something new I’m loving: I’m becoming a runner

There’s running gear going through the wash every day,
I’ll skip a latte for a smoothie or water.
The wine in the fridge is staying put longer,
When I sleep, it’s with complete mind-body exhaustion.

Goleta cliff top UCSB

I do stretches at random moments in the day,
and play my children at tag with greater guile.
I greet my running shoes with a welcome smile,
and head out the door without hesitation.

Stretching out on Butterfly Beach

On strong days I pump my arms like pistons,
powering my legs as I stride out thinking,
‘I am really feeling like a runner!’

There are other days when I feel weaker,
When my throat dries with thirst at every mile,
and my tongue licks salty lips in need of a drink.
The air I breath in is hot and suffocating,
as I learn to run, where the temperatures are hot,
the sun relentless, the shade hard to find.

Cliff top above Butterfly Beach

My muscles are still getting stronger,
new yet to running and easily tender.
I hold back from over doing it –
my training schedule keeping me straight.
So tempted to run and run on those strong days –
but the risk of injury could lay me up for weeks.

Stretchingout

I’m learning as I go, loving the freedom of being out in the open, running, just like I was born to do.

© Sarah Lee, March 2014

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Linking up with:

Prose for Thought
Mama’s Losin’ It

Things I’m Loving

Had a beautiful week with my daughters and escaping out for runs. The clocks have swung into spring time in the northern hemisphere and having an extra hour of daylight in the evening makes a huge difference to our available ‘play time’.

Sharing here a few loves from my week…

❤ Hanging out in the garden with Miss 4, making a lei with freshly picked flowers ❤

Lei making

❤ Beautiful scenery on my runs ❤

Friday night's run

❤ Seeing dolphins alongside a paddle boarder at Butterfly Beach on Friday evening (a perfect ending to my longest run yet!) ❤

Paddle boarder and dolphins at Butterfly Beach

❤ Cooling down at the end of a run with a splash in the surf and some yoga stretches with little Miss 4 ❤

Warrior pose with Miss 4 at Butterfly Beach

❤ Meeting up with hubbie and friends on Thursday evening at the beautiful Goleta Beach Park, fitting in a beautiful cliff top run, and then heading out for pizza and beer. ❤

Goleta Beach Park

❤ Sunsets, good health, happy family and the time to run ❤

Monday night's run

❤ The little things and how much they hold such fascination for our youngest daughter ❤

A moth rescued from the pool

❤ Sisterly love ❤

Creativity and sisterhood

❤ The reopening of a much loved playground on Tuesday evening, where hubbie took the girls for a play, whilst I ran and then met up with them after ❤

Ship wreck playground Tuesday night's run

❤ Loom Love continues for Miss 10, as well as countless other crafty ideas ❤

Loom Love

❤ Miss 4 adds to her drawing book ❤

Miss 4 drawing

❤ Miss 8 loves making hand-stitched clothes for her dolls, bookmarks and little hand-stitched bags ❤

Learning to hand stitch, making dolls clothes and bookmarks

❤ Miss 4 celebrates a new outfit by sneaking into the shop window, standing stock still, and surprising passers by, who stopped to take a photograph, or ‘jumped’ in shock! ❤

Little model!

❤ Saturday morning breakfast in the lovely La Arcada, Santa Barbara, with my family ❤

Breakfast in La Aracada, Santa Barbara

❤ Sharing the love and linking up with my Wellington, New Zealand, friend, Meghan – who has posted up a great collection of ‘loves’ this week ❤

The Photo Gallery | Yellow

Yellow, in the garden, drawing butterflies in –

In the garden

Yellow, in the setting sun, drawing my eyes to the horizon –

Yellow in the setting sun

Yellow, reflecting off the water, as I finish my evening run –

Sunset reflections

And yellow, of my youngest daughter’s pirate hat, blowing bubbles on a boat with her friend –

Yellow in my daughters pirate hat

Linking up with –

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Running the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon – for a good cause & other reasons…

I’m into my third week of training for my first half marathon and loving it. The run is on 10 May 2014 in Santa Barbara’s Wine Country. I will have turned forty the month before, making it a great event to really kick start this next decade of my life.

Santa Barbara harbour

I plan on making my forties full of action, to keep pace with my three active daughters, and to rediscover a slice of the ‘old me’ that was always running off exploring in my twenties (before I got busy with making babies in my thirties!).

Running Santa Barbara beach

I am running for a great cause – ‘Running for Elijah‘ – (certainly helps to keep me motivated and stick with the training!); whilst staving off a mid-life crisis (although it could be argued – by some of my friends – that running a half marathon is a mid-life crisis in itself!) and dependence on wine & chocolate… (of course those still figure in my life – I’m just trying to make them minor blips – not full feature spreads!).

Running in the heat of the day

I’m also running for my daughters, as there is no better way to teach than to lead by example. They are all active individuals already, but seeing their parents continue to be active throughout life will help to set in place that lifestyle for them too. We all motivate and spur each other on, in our own ways, and I’m so grateful that they realise how important exercise is for us all (thank you my girls – Mamma is a much happier Mamma when she can run!).

Santa Barbara beach

I’m also so thankful to my hubbie for making the extra effort to be there to look after his gorgeous daughters, whilst I go out running. Just tonight, we met him down the beach, near where he works, so I could run whilst they played around at the park.

I’m following a great training schedule, that’s building my strength and endurance gradually, without me risking an injury early on. I am so tempted, every day I go running, to run more and more, to keep going until I can’t move my legs anymore; but, the training schedule holds me back and keeps me from doing that.  It’s exciting to build up to race day and I’m enjoying not just the focus of having a ‘race day’, but making running and exercise a priority for me.

Santa Barbara bird reserve

I’m also loving the scenery and opportunity to explore parts of Santa Barbara, whilst I run. I’m grateful for the time to pause and take in the landscape around me.

Whale tail Santa Barbara harbour

I run on sand, on trails, on road and footpaths. I run whenever I’m free to run. I run because I love to run and running makes me feel free.

Santa Barbara

Things I’m Loving | A Pirate Lunch that rolls on all afternoon…

Ahoy me hearties!

It started with a treasure hunt, through dinosaur den, bamboo forest and pirate hideout; before quickly rolling into pin the tail on the tic-toc croc and find the gold doubloons in the sand.

Treasure hunt

There was blue jelly with orange boats sailing the high seas, a water melon doubling up as ship and a chocolate cake pirate hat, inspired by the Disney ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirate Party‘.

Pirate ship melon boat

The afternoon was full of pirate dancing and walking the rock (since we did’t have a plank). There was barely a dry pirate in sight.

Walk the rock!

Miss 4, our ‘Pirate Princess’ was delighted that her dashing pirate companion, Ollie, was there to ride the high seas with her; whilst the older pirates checked on the rum supplies and tried to keep the inflatables afloat in a storm of giggling, wriggling, little pirate limbs.

Pirate friend

Miss 8 and 10 led the younger pirates in their treasure hunting and game play, whilst practicing their knot tying skills on any unruly little scallywags (not that anyone was really a scallywag – a pirates were on top form – we were just glad the life-sized cardboard one on the front door didn’t come to life!).

Alice and the pirate

A pirate lunch should happen more often on a Sunday afternoon me thinks. Aye, it was pure gold me hearties!

Linking up with my friend Meghan at ‘The Adventures of MNMs’ for…