Lifestyle

Our rainy day finds in Copenhagen

We were blessed with mostly sunshine on our visit to Copenhagen, but when it did rain we weren’t short of options (including scrumptious places to eat!). I was delighted to have a decent cup of coffee too (reminiscent of my Wellington, New Zealand, days – the Capital City of Coffee!).

There are numerous museums and art galleries to choose from; I would have loved to have spent a day to myself meandering around them… but with three children to entertain single handedly (each with their own unique interests) I sadly didn’t visit many. However, we did find a couple of rainy day gems; including a brilliant swimming pool –DGI-byen – with the bonus of a gymnasium with a giant bouncy pillow to play on (a school holiday addition).

The swimming pool has a dedicated diving pool – with a climbing wall, trampoline and various other platform, a wonderful children’s pool area, with toys and floating devices for free use, and a large oval lane swimming pool – with a rectangle pool in the centre! The girls loved it. Even our youngest daughter had a go diving in from the trampoline, and our eight year old managed a flip!

After a good swim we made use of the free access to the bouncy pillow. The girls burned off yet more energy bouncing, hula-hooping and playing ball. By the time we left the rain had let off a little and we walked back to the apartment for a well deserved rest.

On a rainy Sunday, when my eldest and I weren’t feeling well, my husband took our younger two to a great hands on science place called the Experimentarium in Copenhagen, located in the central city for two years (but usually located at Tuborg Havnevej, Hellerup). They had a lot of fun trying simulated winter sports and enjoying the outdoor exploration area. They didn’t take many photographs, as they were busy having fun – but there’s plenty of information on the website.

In the wonderful apartment we rented there was a homely feel that made us feel quite content to stay in and play some rainy day games too. The apartment was on the popular street Værnedamsvej – and we made frequent visits to the Granola Cafe, as well as Cafe Viggo!

The view out the living room window was over the street, whilst the kitchen looked down upon a courtyard, filled with bikes. The smell of restaurant food drifted up through the windows, combined with the scent of tobacco (smoking is still very popular in Copenhagen) and the sound of voices chatting and laughing over coffee or wine. When it did rain it felt cosy, homely and a good place to be. We shall remember our visit to Copenhagen very fondly. It’s a wonderful place to visit, rain or shine.

Parenting Moments to Love – whilst we lay low between travel adventures!

We’ve been very much home bodies after our exciting week away in San Francisco, with side trips to Santa Cruz and Monterey. It’s been nearly three weeks since we got back and we’ve been very self contained in the house we’re renting in Santa Barbara, till the end of August this year. The three girls are so content with their own projects that we rarely feel the need to get away from house and having a swimming pool in the backyard gives a wonderful release when indoors gets too much! I also think there’s an unconscious need to pace ourselves – as we tend to go ‘all out’ on exploring mode when we’re away; and we’ve recently had the news that we’ll be travelling to Europe in a week’s time!

Yes, we’re off to Copenhagen, in beautiful Denmark, for the first two weeks of July, followed by a week in North Wales, in the UK, visiting family and a week in Hampshire, south of London, in the UK, visiting more family. The first two weeks hubby will be working and I’ll be navigating the streets of Copenhagen with my three daughters (once we’ve got over the jet-lag!). Thankfully daylight hours extend to nearly midnight – so I’ll probably encourage the girls to lay low in the morning and party hard in the evening, once their Daddy has finished work!

All this travel is definitely exciting, but kind of exhausting with children too! So, when we’re not travelling, this is how we pass the time – and it’s pretty special too…

In between the crafting, imaginary play, rabbit chasing and Minecraft Skype sessions with friends, late into the night, there have been copious games in the swimming pool,  song writing, singing, reading and quieter moments to watch the birds nesting in the eaves of the house we’re staying. I’m going to miss this year of natural learning, without having to rush out the door to be somewhere at a particular time. It’s been wonderful to have all three girls at home, interacting, living, playing and being together.

I’ve enjoyed stretching out on the yoga mat, under the endless blue sky of southern California, and heading out the door for runs in the evening. The girls inspire me with their energy, often encouraging me to dive into the swimming pool with them, to try a new stretch or go for a run on the local running track. In the past few weeks they’ve been down the batting cage and to the climbing wall. There’s always something happening, but it’s all unscheduled, natural flowing action.

In preparation for our next trip away I have loaded up a Danish App on our gadgets, so we can use our manners in the native language whilst in Copenhagen! The girls are looking forward to the adventure and have been watching YouTube videos about Copenhagen and experimenting with the language. We’re staying in a lovely apartment, in central Copenhagen, near an area known as ‘Little Paris’ (good coffee and Danish pastries!).

Our travelling will soon take us back to New Zealand too, as after this trip we shall have a couple more months in California, USA, before heading back to our home in Wellington, New Zealand! It’s the birth place and home of our children. Our children, particularly our eldest daughter, very much miss their friends and their home. It will be good, in many ways, to get back to the community and good friends we know and love – but a part of me will miss the travelling! Thankfully, with my daughters getting older, I feel a few more independent trips of exploration on the horizon.

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Joining in with the lovely…

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Things I’m Loving – whilst I can’t run – WINE :)

It’s International Sauvignon Blanc Day in New Zealand – 16 May – and whilst I sit here sipping a local Napa Valley, Californian white, I came across this beautiful little video about the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wines (a fav spot of the hubbie and I – and the sweet spot where he proposed to me back in 1997!).

I’m out of action on the running front at the present time, with an ankle injury, but my wine glass tipping wrist is in perfect form and couldn’t be more delighted that I’m on a forced break from training (though I am feeling a little guilty at the lack of physical action and have hence signed myself up for a beach yoga class this coming Sunday – got to love this southern californian climate – where beach yoga is something that can be pre-scheduled and rarely need a ‘Plan B’, due to the almost constant blue sky, sunshine, minimal wind climate (though the Santa Ynez winds can be a nightmare, especially for the firefighters – currently fighting a seasonally early outbreak of fires around the San Diego area).

So, we have wine, yoga, beach, sunshine and running (when not injured) on the ‘Things I’m Loving’ agenda thus far.

I did try a brief run on Monday, with Miss 8, who was so enthused by my return from the half marathon race I did on Saturday (blog post here) that she’s signed herself up for a 5K in August (after checking out the community section of the Santa Barbara Running Company website)!

Unfortunately the mother-daughter run was short lived. After 2 km I needed to phone hubbie to pick us up, as my ankle gave way – too much, too soon.

She’ll have to stick to training around the house and with her Daddy for a couple of weeks!

Aside from wine and talk of exercise (as that’s all I’ve done this week, given my jaw a good work out!), I’m also trying to embrace a heat wave this week. I’m so not used to temperatures over 30 degrees C (86 F) and it’s been close to 40 degrees C this week! It’s great weather for being a lounge lizard, flouncing around in summer frocks, diving in the pool and drinking lots of aqua (and wine), but so hard to do anything (unless it’s in an air conditioned building – and our AC hasn’t been working this week – so that’s not been great…). In the face of no AC we did escape for a teensy spot of cafe and retail therapy (I sound like a complete wimp right now – especially to my buddies in Perth and on the Gold Coast, but hey – I’m a British lass at heart – that’s spent 17 plus years living in windy Welly).

My Miss 8 took a brief pic of me sporting a floaty summer frock, which I’m digging (especially as it was a bargain from Zulily online shopping).

Summer frocks

 

I’m loving the big sister patience of Miss 10 with Miss 4, as she enthuses over Minecraft architecture! Downside of all this Minecraft action is I end up with less time on my computer (it’s a hard life!). I sit alongside them, listening in on their chatter and enjoying the sound of rainfall in Minecraft land (seeing as rain is such an extreme rarity in drought stricken southern California!).

Also loving Miss 8’s every present energy and determination to keep everyone active (she’ll make a sterling personal trainer!).

Miss 4 is keeping me busy with her story telling talents. Every morning Miss 4 and I wake before the other girls to do the chores in the kitchen and laundry, whilst writing stories. I’m usually multi tasking between making coffee, breakfast and doing dishes, whilst she’s drawing pictures and telling me the story behind them – I then sit down and write up the story to accompany the drawing (she has a pretty wild imagination – as this morning there was a picture of ‘Mummy in a wood, jumping up a giant daisy and leaping off the stem onto the fuzzy chest of a wolf – who was a good wolf – but then Mummy got caught in a booby trap by a baddy and ended up in a cage – luckily the flowers came to the rescue….’). We then usually take a break (whilst I drink coffee) to read some books and play with some sand or play dough outside under the verandah. Bird watching is another fav activity that Miss 4 and I do whilst waiting for the night owls to finally awake from their lie ins!

Finally, we’re loving the memories of the past couple of weeks – having our good friend Frances visit from New Zealand. We miss our home there very much – the children miss their friends especially. We’re thankful to a good friend house sitting all this time we’ve been gone and having caring neighbours over in New Zealand too.

I was reflecting on some old pics earlier this evening and came across this sweet one of Miss 4 (would have been 2 turning 3 in this pic) in front of her play house in our Kiwi garden – of course in bare foot natural pose – the Kiwi way. Love x

Kiwi fun for a 2 year old

 

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Joining in with…

Country Kids – more like ‘Spy Kids’!!!

Okay, last weekend we had a blast. I turned forty in style, celebrating in Santa Monica, California.

Santa Monica

My daughters LOVED the beach gym that brings the community and tourists together for some active fun.

Beach gym Santa Monica

There were some serious gymnast types, flexing muscles on the ropes and swings cirque du soleil style. I was in awe of their strength and flexibility (also made for nice eye candy in the background of the holiday photo snaps I was taking of my children!).

Eye-candy in the background!

My children were amazing too (aren’t children always?!).

Hanging around at Santa Monica beach

I tried… but alas, it’s been too many years since I accomplished monkey bars – but if I had that set up on my door-step I would totally be enthused to get back to that place in my childhood when monkey bars were my best friend!

And they had swings that were super sized for adults to actually fit their arses in and feel like a kid all over again! Yes!!

Me going HIGH on the swings!

This video features a snippet of hubbie having a blast, as well as Miss 3 swinging ‘Tinkerbell’ style (and Miss 8 & 10 showing off their incredible strength!)…

And if you’re in for more action then here’s a video that my Miss 8 put together using iMovie (she threw together video clips from the past fortnight, not just shots from Santa Monica beach, but the video tells its own story… and what I’m living in every day with her being at home ‘unschooled’! What an active lass indeed – and yet, she can still read, write and do maths – just prefers to do it all standing on her head x ! )…

Hope you’ve found some outdoor fun to enjoy in your neck of the woods this past week. I didn’t manage to keep up with my children on the monkey bars, but I have ran my first half marathon in just over two hours (with a sore ankle to boot!), so I’m now feeling amped for chilling out a little, before running some more to earn my wine (just hoping the frozen pea and elevation treatment will work magic on my ankle!)!

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Linking up this post with the amazing Country Kids at Coombe Mills, where you can find tons of inspirational posts from folks who enjoy outdoor fun and action with their children!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Loving turning Forty in Santa Monica!

My Facebook feed was flooded with lovely messages of ‘welcome to the club’ and ‘forties are the best’ this weekend. It’s been like reliving turning eighteen again, as I’ve watched friends slightly older than me party into their forties and then, last weekend, it was my turn.

It was a fabulous weekend away in Santa Monica, staying at a beautiful hotel overlooking the beach and pier. We shared the weekend with a really wonderful family, that we know from Wellington, who are also living here for a spell, but hold New Zealand in their hearts as their ‘forever’ home. Their gorgeous 4 year old son is a very close friend of our Miss 4 – and their relationship got a little closer at my 40th dinner celebrations… (he proposed!!!!!!)….

So, there’s me feeling like a really old lady, having a daughter get engaged (ha, ha! ‘Watch this space’!) on the same weekend I turned forty… and yet, I felt so ready for this ‘milestone’ Birthday. Of course, I decided to face it head on, battle style. There was no way I was going to head into my forties without a fight. I signed up for a half marathon several weeks before and am running it on 10 May, three weeks fresh from turning forty. After spending my thirties breeding, nappy changing and breastfeeding, it’s great to enter my forties at a new stage in my life. My children are no longer babes and it’s exciting to be ‘growing’ with them (though of course my growing taller days are way behind me – just have to keep on running to keep up with them and earn my chocolate, cake and bubbly!).

Anyway, a fabulous weekend and I don’t feel any need for deep reflection on this milestone Birthday, I’m just so grateful for my health, my family, my friends and living a peaceful life with freedom of choice, that’s full of possibilities.

Thanks dear friends for all your lovely messages. I really do feel fabulous at forty and am looking forward to the adventures this decade in my life will bring.

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Joining in with…

Country Kids | Active snapshots from our week

Sharing some active snapshots from the past week of my three active daughters…

Swinging in the garden under a shady tree, with friendly lizards and birds for company –

Swinging in the garden

Climbing at the playground, with the agility of monkeys, the enthusiasm of bees chasing pollen, and the confidence of feeling comfortable in their own bodies –

Climbing at the playground

Active in the home, just as much as outdoors, even baking in the kitchen is interspersed with some door frame exercise!

Activity in the kitchen

Doing yoga in the garage, a full Mum and daughter activity!

Yoga time!

And even eating ice-creams they prefer to balance on a wall than sit on a seat!

Icecreams in the sun

Hope you’ve had a lovely week of active fun and enjoy a wonderful Easter. We are heading off to Santa Monica to celebrate Easter and my 40th Birthday! Going to have some active fun at the fairground on the pier! xx

Joining in with…

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

❤ Paper towel art, birds, snails, ice-cream, wine-tasting & running!

A few things I’m loving from the past week…

❤ Colourful paper-towel art – dipped with fascination, in food coloured water; observed in awe, as the paper towel absorbed the colours; unravelled with surprise, as the pattern was revealed; put out to dry with love and a toy animal, to stop the breeze blowing away the artwork; and finally taped up on the kitchen windows to enjoy in the light.

Colourful paper dye artwork

❤ Loving the ‘Scoop‘ in Montecito, for its amazing ice-cream, frozen yoghurt, gelato, fresh waffle cones and welcome, heart of the community vibe, plus a good latte  (much appreciated from a coffee loving Mum, used to only the finest; from the coolest little capital in the world – Wellington, New Zealand; recently mentioned, by CNN, as one of the world’s great coffee cities!).

We went along on Sunday for the Scoop’s tenth Anniversary celebrations and spent a very entertaining hour watching a fun magician. The man of the house, Miss 4 and Miss 8,  volunteered to be the magician’s assistants… well, the man of the house not so much volunteered – but wasn’t going to let the team down! Ha!

Entertainment at The Scoop

 Loving Miss 4 and her nurturing of animals, from Sea Monkeys she has grown from eggs to ‘pet’ snails she has taken in from the garden.

Miss 4 and her pet snail

❤ Loving the beautiful birds that visit the Santa Barbara garden of the house we’re renting.

Santa Barbara garden visitor

We love to watch them drinking and bathing in the water fountain.

A beautiful bird in the garden

❤ Loving a few hours of wine tasting, with a yummy Mummy friend, exploring the ‘Funk Zone’ of Santa Barbara and sampling some delicious wines.

We found a wonderful place called ‘The Lark‘, which reminded us of Wellington’s cafe and restaurant scene, in that it had such originality in its decor and ambiance – not just a run of the mill place. Every piece of furniture had a story to tell. There were old bath tubs overflowing with wild flowers, antique cutlery, picked piece by piece, from a pre-loved home.

At The Lark

The bill even came in a novel way – tucked inside an old book (I’m sure the title of the book was chosen dependent on the client – I received, ‘A Fat Old Englishman’, my friend, ‘The Road Less Travelled’). Inside the pages, there were only a few – most had long gone, people had written their comments on their own experience at ‘The Lark’. A wonderfully novel and entertaining idea!

A bill with a difference at The Lark

❤ Loving that Miss 8 and 10 entertain themselves so well and are getting on the best they ever have since they were preschoolers (school, unfortunately, put a wedge in their relationship for a while). They are still loving rainbow band looming and Minecraft gaming. They are super duper with Miss 4 too, who I spend most of my day with. She shadows me in the home, helping with all the daily tasks and filling them creativity, song and her smiling face.

❤ Loving running (but will be glad, in a way, when the training for the half marathon is done!). At the moment I am focused on getting in the miles and building strength and speed for the half marathon on 10th May. I’m amazed at how the progress is coming along. The hours I’ve put in have been well spent. I’m feeling fitter than I have in years (which is a great way to feel when my fortieth Birthday is only a few sleeps away!). I feel guilty when I stop to take a photograph and enjoy the scenery – as I’m just so focused on the training! I shall enjoy resuming normal ‘running’ for pleasure and fitness and the pure fun of it after the race!!

Running for half marathon training

Last night I was supposed to run 9 miles, but on the way back I became mesmerised by the full moon coming up on the horizon and had to stop on the beach to savour it.

Full moon on Santa Barbara beach

Tonight, I shall make up for those lost miles, but I’m still proud of myself for running nearly 6 miles last night, in under 8 and a half minutes a mile. That’s a big improvement on what I found do-able five weeks ago!

Running

Hope you are finding lots to love wherever you are in the world too x

Oh, and Miss 4 requested I share her sea monkeys with the world 😉

Weekend Fun Carpinteria & Santa Barbara

Some family weekends are golden and this was one of them, the highlight being a delicious meal at a local restaurant (Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro, Montecito) with all three daughters behaving charmingly.

Family dinner at Pierre La Fonds

It was an impromptu meal out (often preferred to a scheduled, overly anticipated evening) and the love around the table was brimming over (this doesn’t always happen… normally hubbie and I scoff down our food, trying to avoid indigestion, to escape as swiftly as possible without causing a scene!).

It was one of those dining experiences where the children were so good that we had time to request a second drink (and enjoy it, not neck it!) and even requested the desert menu – and followed through with ordering and enjoying every mouthful at a pace that allowed our taste buds to savour what we were eating.

A wonderful end to a beautiful day together (even if I hobbled around most of the day after my most challenging week of half marathon training yet!).

Half marathon training

We’d spent the morning around the pool and the afternoon at the beautiful beach town of Carpinteria, that lies between Santa Barbara and Ventura on the Californian Coast.

Carpinteria

We discovered the delightful Tomol Interpretive Play Area – which is written about in great, illustrated, detail on Michele’s wonderful website, ‘Fun Orange County Parks‘.

Interpretative play area in Carpinteria

Wonderful for younger children, or those that enjoy imaginative, creative play.

Tomol Interpretative play area

After playing for a while we strolled down the high street (Miss 4 with pedal power – more about that in this post). There are some gorgeous, independent, shops in Carpinteria, especially wonderful for arts and craft lovers, as well as some great surf shops (I couldn’t resist a couple of purchases!).

A beautiful town to visit and one that deserves a lot more of our weekend family time 🙂

Life is currently unfolding in a natural, easy way, with all three girls at home. It’s very nice not having the stress of school and copious hobbies in the mix! I’d much rather hang out with them all day than drive them around from x, y and z like a taxi driver. And I don’t miss having to hound them to do their homework, eat their breakfast in a hurry to get out the door for school and packing them lunches – they have become super self-efficient in the kitchen at preparing their own food this year.

Though it’s not all ‘living the dream’ – for every moment of chillaxing in the SoCal sunshine, there’s a daughter with a water pistol waiting to bring us back down to earth with a cold wake up call… as the man of the house was reminded this weekend!

Don't get too comfortable Daddy!

Let’s Go Ride! Miss 4 & Her New Cycling Adventures

She’s got pedal power and she’s not afraid to use it! She’s done her practice ‘miles’, with cycling around the house and down the lane. This week Miss 4 decided she had what was needed to make it from the house to the village, and back, on her wheels (with a stop for a bite to eat and something to drink mid-way at Pierre La Fonds).

The way there was up hill all the way – and dear Daddy aided her pedal power with some back crippling pushing (he totally deserved his poached eggs on toast).

On the return journey it was downhill all the way, but Miss 4 wasn’t interested in breaking any speed records. She was happier to enjoy the scenery, stopping every few minutes to point out a flower, take a drink, and eat some salad.

Pedal and point

A lizard was worth stopping for, a butterfly and a hummingbird too.

Flowers of every colour bordered the pathway and Miss 4 picked a small collection to make a posy for her Mummy.

Picking a posy of flowers for Mamma

A beautiful sunshine, Sunday morning, all the better on wheels!

Flowers of every colour

Go Miss 4! We look forward to many more pedal power adventures!

Linking up with ….

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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