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Heading back to the land of the long white cloud!

We’re packing up. Boxes are everywhere. In six weeks time we will land back in New Zealand, just in time for Daylight Savings to start!

It’s been quite a year of travel and adventure living in Santa Barbara, California, but we are now looking forward to getting back to our home in New Zealand.

Our oldest daughter can’t wait to rejoin her friends at school, our middle daughter (who has been learning at home till now) is keen to start school at the beginning of 2015 and our youngest daughter (4) will probably continue to enjoy natural learning for a while.

Hubby is saying goodbye to the big corporate scene in the USA and looking forward to returning to the hub of technology in Wellington.

I’ll be blogging back at Catching The Magic – http://www.catchingthemagic.com from now on. See you there!

❤ 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…