Things I’m Loving

Things I’m Loving | Catching some air in San Francisco!

The children discovered there was a ‘House of Air‘, in an old airplane hanger, in Crissy Field Park, San Francisco…

House of Air in Crissy Field Park

Our first visit was in the evening, when the older girls could play an exciting game of ball tag on a dozen trampolines, but our youngest had missed out on the younger children’s bounce session, so had to catch some air in another way… So I happily spent an hour kite flying in the park opposite (luckily I’d had the forethought to bring a kite with me!), whilst the man of the house got hot and sweaty with Miss 8 and 10 on the trampolines.

It was one of the most picturesque places I’ve flown a kite; overlooking the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. There were some kite surfers in the harbour having their own fun with the wind, whilst Miss 4 ran up and down catching the wind.

Miss 4 catching air in Crissy Field Park, San Francisco

The next day, after such a wonderful evening, there was only one place all the girls wanted to go – ‘The House of Air’ – again! They knew it opened at 2pm and they opted to walk from our hotel, near Fisherman’s Wharf, along the scenic waterfront of San Francisco. The walk was around 4 miles long, but they were up for it and we part jogged, part walked, pushing Miss 4 along in the buggy (to her delight).

The scenery is beautiful. I love San Francisco. It reminds me of our home city, Wellington, in New Zealand, with its hilly terrain and ever changing views dropping down into bays. The air has a freshness to it that is refreshing; and the temperatures, in northern California, are much more to my personal liking – than the often dry heat of Southern California (though it’s nice to have the choice!).

Once at the ‘House of Air’ the girls booked in for a couple of hours of fun. I was in awe of their energy (and the friendly, fun and energetic staff). There was a great cafe in the old airplane hanger too – which did a Latte to take me back to my Wellington, coffee loving, days. Miss 4 was so thrilled that a bounce house was open for her to go on – and she had a turn on the big trampolines too. What a great place! I loved it – and the setting over looking the Golden Gate Bridge made it all the more perfect.

Here’s a little video of love for San Francisco that hubbie discovered on Vimeo. We saw most of these sights in our week’s stay and I definitely left a little piece of my heart in San Francisco. A very special place indeed.

“I Left My Heart” SF Timelapse Project from Marc Donahue on Vimeo.

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Linking up this post with the wonderful….

and

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Things I’m Loving

A few gems I’ve loved this week…

❤ Watching my daughters and dear ‘hubbie’, on a Sunday avo at a local school field, being active, having fun and keeping fit together (and eating pizza together al fresco).

Family fun at the school field

❤ An afternoon visit to the marina and maritime museum in Santa Barbara with my three daughters.

Santa Barbara marina

❤ Loving seeing Miss 4 master motor skills like cutting and stapling (got to celebrate the little things!). She made me a cool hat at the museum. Also love how encouraging and supportive her older sisters are.

Miss 4 masters cutting

❤ Miss 4 is starting to write and read too, as well as continuing to draw pictures to make her own ‘story books’ for her home library.

Miss 4 painting, writing and drawing

❤ Yoga on the beach. That was how I started my Sunday morning. Bliss. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photographs – not easy to multi-task a downward dog with a camera!

IMG_3944

❤ Swimming in the rain (rain is so rare here in Santa Barbara that we get extremely excited when it falls!).

Swimming in the rain

And finally…

❤ Zachary Levi and Sesame Street‘s Bert team up, with a song for the summer, that has an important message about turning off the gadgets – because, as the chorus goes…

The Bees are always buzzing ’bout the flowers they have seen.
And every tree is trending,
I don’t miss my little screen, because
The sky won’t need a filter
And the birds tweet just to say:
You should really take a walk on this lovely
sunny day.

Take a watch of the full song… and take a walk on a lovely sunny day 🙂

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Linking up with…

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…

❤ Things I’m Loving; Having a Kiwi friend to stay!

After an amazing week in Disneyland California with our friend Frances, visiting from New Zealand, we returned back to our temporary home in Santa Barbara.We made a pit stop at Universal Studios Hollywood – where it was great to see New Zealand spinning on the globe outside the park – and gave Frances a chance to get some ‘minion’ action.

New Zealand spinning on the Universal Studios globe

There was a great new water play area at Universal Studios too. Miss 8 and 4 LOVED it, whilst Miss 10 took Frances on all the rides.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Back at our temporary home the man of the house returned to work, all be it reluctantly, whilst the girls and I returned to our status quo (with Frances for great company). The status quo this week, after a week of absence, has been all about Minecraft (even Miss 4 is getting in on it – with Miss 10 designing a safe, peaceful, world for her to play on).

Minecraft sisters

Frances and I have been trying to encourage all three girls out the door,wherever possible, to try and prevent a complete Minecraft overload! We’ve had some nice little trips out to the local Zoo here in Santa Barbara and playgrounds in the neighbourhood.

A visit to Santa Barbara Zoo with Frances.

A visit to Santa Barbara Zoo with Frances.

Miss 8 and Miss 4 also balance out their Minecrafting with swimming in the pool, tumbling on the exercise mat and riding their bikes down the lane. There’s been some fun water gun fights with Frances too!

Frances looking cheeky with a water gun at hand!

Frances looking cheeky with a water gun at hand!

Frances and I took Miss 4 to Stearns Wharf – and the marine education centre, where Alice enjoyed giving Frances a tour, including a puppet show, a quick story, some star fish touching, decorated crab handling, jelly-fish observing and swell shark stroking!

Frances enjoying a tour of the Marine Education Center on Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, with Miss 4.

Frances enjoying a tour of the Marine Education Center on Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, with Miss 4.

Of course we couldn’t leave without having an ice-cream too!

Our Kiwi friend, Frances, sharing an ice-cream with Miss 4 on Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara.

Our Kiwi friend, Frances, sharing an ice-cream with Miss 4 on Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara.

Then there’s been lots of drawing and artwork from Miss 4, whilst Miss 8 has been writing about her trip to Disneyland and California Adventures.

Miss 10 has been amazing us with her Minecraft skills, recreating the music of ‘Let it Go’ through music blocks (unfortunately I can’t explain much more than that, but it sounded great to me – and she used the original music script – reading the musical notes and transposing them into Minecraft language).

I have loved having the company of our friend Frances, whilst Miss 4 has been getting in all the cuddles she possibly can.

Hubbie and I have actually managed a couple of drinks out, just the two of us (a miracle!). It’s so rare we get the chance and it’s always such a laugh when we do.

I have been nursing a sore ankle for most of the past fortnight (stupidly overran in Vibram Five Fingers, tensing up my calf muscles – which I continued to run on – and then screwed up the achilles tendon on my right ankle) and have been really frustrated at not being able to run. I’m scheduled to run a half marathon this Saturday, 10 May, to raise funds for my little buddy Elijah, who suffers daily pain with rare Prune Belly Syndrome, among other conditions, and know that my performance – or indeed my ability to even finish the 13.1 miles without seriously injuring myself – is seriously compromised right now. Nevertheless, I will be at the start line and give it my best, proudly wearing the great running tags Elijah and his Mummy sent me!

Running tags from ElijahThe good news is I know I can run a half marathon, as I’ve done it in training, the bad news is – my ankle might not let me finish the run this Saturday.

The great news, most importantly, is that thanks to amazing sponsors, there’s been NZ $680 raised for Elijah on Give a Little NZ!

Thank you so, so much! x

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Linking up with wonderful Meghan…

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…

❤ 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!

What’s the theme tune of your life?

This popped up in my Facebook feed and I’ve had so much fun looking up the tunes that were number 1 in the UK charts on some of my Birthdays (especially apt with my big 40 approaching this month!).

Check it out and enjoy reminiscing on ‘What’s The Theme Tune Of Your Life?‘!

When I was born…
Terry Jacks – Seasons in the Sun



When I was 12…
George Michael – A Different Corner



When I was 14…
Pet Shop Boys – Heart



When I was 16…
Madonna – Vogue



When I was 18…
Right Said Fred – Deeply Dippy



When I was 21…
Take That – Back For Good

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

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 ❤