lifestyle

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.

__________________________________

Joining in with the lovely…

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A week in reflection: Moments to love & be thankful for.

It’s Friday. The weekend is nearly here, which means family time with the man of the house. It’s so much easier to keep all three of our children entertained when he’s at home. As much as I am enjoying having the girls all at home, I do have moments of feeling like I’m being held under ‘house arrest’ by my own children! There’s always someone that doesn’t want to go out, or a discussion about where we should go and why. Thankfully the house we are staying in is a very lovely environment to spend hours and hours, but I definitely need a couple of ‘outings’ to keep me sane – even if it’s down to the local village for a cup of coffee!

This week we had one outing which was particularly lovely, to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. We’ve been once before, enjoying the outdoor setting, water course, fort building and nature glen. This time around we discovered a ‘Planetarium’ and a new dinosaur discovery pit, where my junior palaeontologists got to work digging and brushing away the sand to reveal a skeleton. They enjoyed discussing what type of animal it would have been and whether it would have been a land, sea or air animal.

Dinosaur excavation at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

We were also opportune to visit on a day that an insect expert was sharing his knowledge. He had a ‘pet’ Vinegaroon to tell us about, otherwise known as a whipped tail scorpion (though it’s not a scorpion at all… See! I was paying attention!). He demonstrated the difference between six-legged insects and eight-legged arthropods and arachnids. He had some wonderful exhibits to show us and was so interesting to listen to.

After listening to him for a while, we made a speedy getaway as a big school group approached, thanking him for his time and feeling quite sorry for him as the crowd descended! We ducked into a fantastic display of more insects and bugs, trying to make our own spider web from a single piece of rope.

Learning at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Talking of rope, there’s been quite a lot of activity happening on the end of one too. Miss 7 has joined the Santa Barbara Rock Gym and, after her Dad took a belay course, she’s spending many an evening scaling the walls and hanging around. We all went along on Monday evening, with even young Miss 3 having a go – but she didn’t like wearing the climbing shoes or a harness, so had to be pulled back down the wall every time she climbed higher than my head!

The rock gym has a super friendly atmosphere and is definitely a great way to expel a little of Miss 7’s seemingly unstoppable energy (and there’s some good eye candy for me when the college lads are scaling the wall!). She went on Thursday evening as well, as a reward for working hard with her tutor that now visits twice a week; just for a couple of hours at a time.

Santa Barbara Rock Gym

I am so loving having a tutor in, to help with Miss 7’s learning. She’ll be eight by the end of this year and has only ever spent a total of two terms in formal school since turning five. It has been great for me to hear, from a professional teacher, that Miss 7 is achieving above average and not at all behind in any of her learning areas. She has a very ‘natural learning’ home environment, where I don’t so much ‘teach’ – rather I ‘facilitate’ her learning, with resources and encouragement. I see her reading, writing, applying mathematics in her every day life, as well as conversing confidently with people we meet in museums, cafes and so on, but do sometimes worry a little about ‘where we are heading’. Thankfully, I know a couple of inspirational people, through the blogging and homeschooling communities, that give me inspiration and faith to ‘trust in the process’. Nevertheless, I appreciate the input of a tutor.

The tutor brings in fresh ideas and energy, such as organising a fabulous practical experiment of ‘goo’ making on Halloween, tying in with the science of understanding the difference of a solid, a gas and a liquid, as well as sitting around the table doing formal learning.

Goo!

Our first ‘US’ Halloween was a very creative one and the evening was spent with lovely ‘Kiwi’ friends, enjoying ‘trick or treating’ in their friendly neighbourhood, where the home decorations were fantastic.

Trick of treating

Everywhere we went, in the weeks building up to Halloween, there were decorations in shop windows, cafes, restaurants – even the local Zoo!

Decorations

And of course the girls loved carving their own plump, orange, pumpkins – which are in very short supply in New Zealand in spring!

Pumpkins

The man of the house turned up to a very different office on Halloween too…

Halloween at work!

In the home this week my older daughters have loved designing and creating, both on paper with traditional pencils (which will probably be found only in a museum in another generation or so!) and on their computers. On paper they’ve been doing fashion design and looking at how fashion has changed over the last century. On their computers they’ve been designing virtual advent calendars on Minecraft.

Miss 3 has been doing lots of drawings and made a ‘turkey’ out of her hand and foot shapes. Her drawings always come with long explanations that I am asked to ‘write down, with arrows’!

Miss 3, 7 & 10, creating

She loves her drawings to be stuck into her ‘Dinosaur Book’ of treasures, that she likes us to read through every night before bed. She is quite taken with animals and dinosaurs at the moment, so we’ve been creating with play dough, as well as paints and drawing. She comes up with some interesting fictional species and tells me their behaviours, what they like to eat and the environments they live in.

Playdough creatures with Miss 3

Alongside her creativity Miss 3 has been showing great progress with recognising all the letters and sounds of the alphabet, numbers and doing simple addition with numbers under 10. She’s trying to write the letters of her name and creates letters with anything she has to hand – straws, play dough, skewers, in the sand or with water on the dry ground. When she’s not writing or drawing, she’s swimming and diving in the pool with great enthusiasm. She makes me smile with her wonderful imagination and living ‘in the moment’ – an art young children practice with ease.

Miss 3 picking me wild flowers and making me smile

So, that’s my week, the first since the clocks went back, throwing us into darkness from 5pm onwards. My body still thinks it is in New Zealand and expects spring sunshine and light till 9pm. I’m trying to compensate, with fairy lights and red wine… but feel totally confused and disorientated after over a decade of adapting to a southern hemisphere build up to the festive season. Thankfully Santa Barbara’s day time climate is beautiful, but I do miss getting out in the light of an evening, when the man of the house is home from work, for a run or some exercise by myself.

Ah well, candles and fairy lights are my friends for now (and my two bears, to make me feel close to my ‘two’ homes, where my heart sits, split in two, on opposite sides of the world).

Fairy lights and teddy bears

Loving – Finding contentment in the moment, whilst aching for New Zealand

Loving the time my daughters are sharing together. I haven’t seen my oldest two so close for years and our youngest is loving the constant interaction of having her older sisters around.

Sisters close through time well spent together

Loving the natural flow of our days, where ‘fitness’ is a swim in the pool, a bike ride to the village or a run on the beach. There’s no classes to dash to, or planned events, simply time for the children to be together and fill their time naturally – which they do with wonderful ease. Though of course they are missing so much from their lives in Wellington, New Zealand too. Our eldest misses her dance classes, her school friends and neighbourhood friends, her choir and singing lesson. At the age of ten, her friends are her world. As much as this experience here is wonderful too, she is keenly aware of missing the continuity of her happy life that she enjoyed so much in vibrant Wellington. The other children miss their close neighbours and friends. I miss my support networks and the friendships that have built up over the seventeen years we’ve spent living in New Zealand.

Where we are, right now, is a beautiful place, but the energy required to make it feel like ‘home’ is HUGE. Yes the weather is incredible here in Santa Barbara – but really that isn’t enough to trade up life-long friendships for and our children’s happiness! I can live with wind – in fact it makes me feel alive (the horizontal rain in the wind isn’t something I miss – but ‘all-weather gear’ helps to battle that!). Yes, the financial rewards of staying and career opportunities for the man of the house are incredible – but again – family, above all else, is so much more important and no value can be placed on that.

Family

So, in the meantime, we are taking each day as it comes. The girls are making the most of this time together as sisters. There is learning happening – but the children don’t call it that, until I point out that the game they’ve invented using a bingo wheel is maths, the songs they have written are ‘creative writing’ and the designs they made on a fashion App is ‘visual art and design’. They play board games, argue on strategy, practice their English grammar with games like ‘Mad Libs‘. They ask for my camera to take photographs of the lizards in the garden, they ask to go to the Zoo, so they can learn more about snakes (my oldest), I walk in on them reading a book at leisure or watching a nature documentary (or Merlin – a favourite at the moment).

When weekends come round, and the man of the house is on deck, we visit museums and parks, and their minds glitter with new interest and questions. During the week we make the most of places in our locality, learning happens everywhere. In the evenings, after work, their Daddy asks them maths problems in the spa pool.

Our youngest is learning the way the others did at the age of three, fast and enthusiastically, moving from cutting and drawing, painting and sticking, to counting her toy trains and ponies, observing sizes and shapes, letters and numbers, full of questions about the world about her, the animals that share the earth and where we are ‘in Space’. She is the best, out of all of us, at living in the moment. She stops to notice the flowers and asks to ‘Pick for Mumma’.

Flowers for Mumma

She sits with me in the garden and watches nature. She sees the woodpecker on the tree and the butterfly gliding overhead.

Woodpecker

We are trying to make the most of the time we have here, trying not to dwell on the aches in our hearts. I spent the first decade of our lives in New Zealand homesick for England, before finally recognising that New Zealand is actually where my home is – however much I will always ache for certain parts of England and the people I love who live there. Right now, I have a feeling of home sickness for two countries! I really don’t know how long term trailing spouses with children do it. I have absolute admiration for families working in diplomatic posts of three year durations at a time in various overseas posts.

This experience, for me, with children, is not at all easy, but I know we will look back on this time, the photographs, the happy moments and forget the pain and we shall feel proud of ourselves for giving this a shot. I can’t say how much I feel proud to be a Kiwi by residency and have three New Zealand born children.

This photograph I bought, whilst in San Francisco, last week, holds a lot of meaning to me.

America's Cup

____________________________________

Linking up this post with ‘Things I’m Loving’ hosted as ‘Catalina’s Cottage‘ this week

Gems of family life in Santa Barbara

Two weeks into staying in the house we have leased for a year we are beginning to feel a little more settled. We are finding our way, had friends round for drinks (all be it friends from New Zealand that are also setting out on this new journey with children in tow), been out for a meal at the local restaurant, enjoyed a couple of family weekends doing regular things and are all feeling more positive about embracing this adventure (the only downer is fitting all the fun around the man of the house’s work – they work HARD here in the USA and he has only four weeks annual leave – so we are making sure we fit plenty of exploring around the weekends!).

Thankfully we are living with beautiful beaches a short drive away and the climate is beautiful year round – so even though it’s officially ‘Fall’ (and our New Zealand minds are revved up for spring) we can still enjoy being out in the evenings, despite the sun setting earlier.

Summerland Beach, Santa Barbara

There’s a lovely pathway along the main waterfront of Santa Barbara – Cabrillo Boulevard – friendly to people on foot and wheels (and dogs – there’s always a lot of dogs here!). It’s my new favourite place to go for a jog – plus my Miss 7 (a keen roller-bladder) can come along too (though I’m mostly trailing her – not the other way round!). There’s always plenty to see (even the occasional wedding) and every Sunday there is a fabulous arts and crafts show (I just need a child free morning to explore the arts and crafts leisurely!).

Santa Barbara Waterfront

The warm, calm weather also makes playing, reading and painting outside a pleasure. I don’t have to clear up at night, just incase a howling gale force wind comes blasting through (oh, Wellington – don’t worry – I still love and miss you lots!). Came across this great book ‘Goodnight iPad’ (a parody of  ‘Goodnight Moon’) this week – had to get it – reading it sums up my ‘love / hate’ relationship with modern technology and parenting! It is a constant battle of awareness to balance out the time on electronic gadgets with time in nature, enjoying baking, crafts, reading and art.

reading

In the past week we’ve also found a couple of other new indulgences – not all beach and games.

The girls have sampled ‘Root beer float’ and think it’s kind of cool!

Root beer float

Whilst I have found a little time to enjoy playing the wonderful 100 year old piano in this house (with a little wine, naturally!). If this piano could sing it would surely have some amazing songs to tell!

piano

Then there’s plain ‘ole fun in the garden in the evening. The man of the house is definitely enjoying the BBQ weather, spa and pool. Most evenings he is out with the girls splashing around.

I’m enjoy stretching out with a little yoga every day (there’s even a local Santa Barbara yoga show on one of the many hundreds of channels on the TV here). Last night the whole family got into it (well, the man of the house nearly did – he spent the first half of it half in awe and half in fits of giggles at the ‘heavy breathing’ sounds – by the time he decided to join in the ‘meditation’ section had started – so he just lay down and did some of his own heavy breathing!).

There’s been some strange red ninja figure around the house too (the build up to Halloween starts early here – the pumpkins are everywhere, HUGE and plentiful).

Red ninja

And of course there’s been a lot of nail biting at the America’s Cup racing… not so sure the Kiwis will take home that cup now (but of course we have to keep strong!).

Still, we’ll get over it. There’s plenty of wine, good fruit and craft beers to keep us smiling here and ‘The Funk Zone‘ – that we really need to check out (without the children, preferably).

Man of the house

And we’ve found a good couple of playgrounds to keep the children swinging around like the three wise monkeys that they are – Alameda Park and Chase Palm Park the favourites to date (nothing compared to Wellington’s 102 top class playgrounds… but I shan’t get into that comparison expat game…!).

Alameda Playground

The Alameda Park is a great wooden, towering structure, combing fun and art – loved by Miss 3 & 7, but ‘too many bitey things’ for Miss 10 (it’s a tough job pleasing everyone all of the time!).

Alameda Park playground

Chase Palm Park, on the other hand, has the approval of all three children. It also has the benefit of being opposite the main waterfront of Santa Barbara, closer to eateries and other entertainment.

Chase Palm Park

So, there you go! Some little gems from our life here in Santa Barbara (oh, and don’t worry folks – the girls are learning and doing ‘school’ fine at home too xx).

We’re really looking forward to taking the coast road from Santa Barbara up to San Francisco this coming weekend, stopping at Monteray Bay and Aquarium. Dan will work Monday to Friday in San Francisco, whilst I give the children plenty of educational and fun adventures, and then we’ll take our time driving back to Santa Barbara the following weekend.

Oh, and BIG NEWS, our goodies from New Zealand have landed! We are waiting to see how quickly they can clear customs… but, with a bit of luck, we may have them delivered before we hit the road (would be great to have my decent camera for the trip – and a few extra jumpers for the cooler temperatures in San Francisco).

Hasta ahora, Sarah x

Decisions made & always some things to love!

What a crazy couple of weeks we have had here. We’ve finally settled into the house we’ll be based in for a year. It’s very pleasant here – the climate, the people, the environment – tick, tick, tick… but after spending over a decade of our lives making New Zealand our home, we don’t have our hearts in starting all over again. This time here is definitely an ‘adventure’, an ‘experience’, a ‘temporary thing’, not a permanent move, for sure (but then I’ve also learned to never say, ‘Never’… so who knows how we’ll feel in a year’s time).

IMG_7652

We have made a few big decisions this past week. Our eldest daughter, who is ten, was very committed to her schooling in New Zealand and so we’ve decided to continue with the NZ Curriculum and sign up to the Te Kura Correspondence School. Our middle daughter, age 7, is continuing with natural learning using the fabulous ESA Publications – such as ‘Start Right’, along with online learning on the likes of ‘Study Ladder’, ‘Mathletics’, ‘Sum Dog’ etc. Our youngest daughter, age 3 and a half, is happy living life and learning as she goes – every day is something new for her and she has a beautiful spirit.

IMG_7694

All this means we can travel with the man of the house on his various business trips around the USA and Europe over the coming year. We can be flexible with our learning and still feel a connection to our friends and the education system in New Zealand. Everyone is happy (and I’ve find a place that serves Latte just how I like it!).coffee French Press

We are beginning to make friendships and the climate here is very convivial to outdoor entertaining. There’s a positivity in our family that feels very hopeful, after the bleak feeling that felt so heavy. Adjustments take time. There will be peaks and troughs, but we are feeling more hopeful that the troughs won’t be deep or long lasting.

With such strong characters in our family, how can life not be interesting?!!

Three wise monkeys

Linking up with….

The Photo Gallery | ‘Selfie’

Me in California

Sunshine smiles in California. This is me looking happy on a good day. A day before we started to try and integrate two, of our three, children into a new school, in a new country. A day after getting a lovely new vehicle to cruise around town in – a sunshine red VW Convertible. A day after I’d been out for a run along a scenic cliff-top over looking the Pacific Ocean.

We’ve since moved into a house that we’ve leased for one year. It’s a beautiful house, fully furnished, with a swimming pool – a ‘paradise’ in a warm, sunny climate. At home the children’s voices are happy. They keep themselves entertained, with little outings and plentiful good food to help themselves to when they feel hungry. But, it’s not our home, our house back in New Zealand. It’s a gated house, like most of the other properties surrounding us in this affluent neighbourhood. We can hear other children playing – but can’t see them. It’s not the same as our friendly, close knit neighbourhood, where we had lived as a family for seven years, in Wellington. We are missing our home, our routines, our friends, our local ‘haunts’. We are trying to live each day positively – but there is a sense of ‘holding back’ from all of us, a knowing that this is only a temporary stay in our lives.

It would be easier to be on the road travelling, moving from one place to the next, in some ways. Perhaps that is the solution. We use this house merely as our base. We embrace the online public school opportunity that is available here in the US and travel as much as we can, accompanying the man of the house on various business trips. This is a time of finding our way, our pace, deciding on how best to focus our time whilst we are here.

I need to feel that smile, that was from the heart last week. I need that smile to sparkle in my eyes and override the well of tears that seem to rise all too easily when the integration into a local school feels at ill with our family. Thank goodness for options is all I can say – now to choose the best fit for us!

Sarah

xx

Joining in with….

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

The days before routines return

Tomorrow school starts for the year. Two of our three children will start at a new school, in a new country, in a completely different hemisphere. Our Miss 10 is coming from a private girls school in Wellington, New Zealand. Our Miss 7 is coming from a couple of years of free-spirited ‘natural learning’ (home schooling, but without the feel of school). The transition to the well respected local school, they will be going to whilst we’re living in the USA, will be interesting.

The school itself is fantastic, with a teacher to child ration of 1:17, specialist music, art, science and computing teachers. A great library, awesome technology available, wonderful open grounds and a strong community supporting the school. As parents, we couldn’t ask for more – but do expect a few bumps in the road as the girls adjust from over six weeks of travelling, being at home, hanging out with their beloved three year old sister and enjoying late nights with us and leisurely lie ins way past 9am every day.

IMG_4983

The past week has been so relaxed, going with the flow, eating and drinking when individuals feel like it, that it’s really going to be quite hard to get used to the routines initially…. but, we will hopefully get there without too long a transition (who am I kidding – it’s going to be an emotional, psychological nightmare!).

Recently Updated302

I’m just so relieved we have beautiful beaches to escape to and restore our sanity in the evenings. I shall be driving off into the sunset for a stress busting run on the beach several times in the next few weeks (or giving my arm a workout opening bottles of wine with a corkscrew… so out of practice since New Zealand turned to screw tops eons ago!), or simply hanging with my man and enjoying the laughter of our cute Miss 3 in the balmy evenings. No need to check the weather forecast here in Santa Barbara – it’s all sunshine, blue sky, heat and repeat (and if it does ever rain I shan’t be running for cover – far from it!).

Recently Updated301

 

First Impressions #1

20130813-132926.jpg

People are genuinely friendly here on the Californian coast – not a single, ‘Have a nice day!’, with a cheesy grin, yet to be encountered. People have time to help, and sometimes go out of their way to help with advice or assistance in a store or cafe – especially when they hear we are fresh arrivals!

We are quite a novelty; British parents, coming from New Zealand with three Kiwi born children. We are going to have to get used to answering the same questions every time we meet people – or hand out cards with answers to FAQ’s.

Unchanging sky of blue. Quickly learning that my British (& New Zealand) disposition to talk about the weather is something I shall have to ditch, unless I wish to sound very repetitive and obvious, ‘It’s another lovely day!’ … But then maybe I could come up with one hundred different ways to define ‘sunny blue sky’ and all the subtle blends of that – like the Eskimos describe different types of snow.

20130813-132637.jpg

Dry, desert like vegetation, palm trees, succulents. This is now the norm. Little rain here makes for a different landscape to the lush, vivid greens of New Zealand.

I am looking at spiders with more hesitation than in NZ, unsure yet of how to distinguish a poisonous species from a ‘safe’ one. The children are keenly interested too and I believe knowledge is power. So when a new species is encountered we are quick to ‘Google’, learn and discover!

I find myself looking at a treehouse with the fear of it harbouring a snake. Probably overly cautious here in the suburbs, but nevertheless…

We are enjoying the warm weather wardrobe. It’s so nice to walk around wearing little clothing!

There is a wonderful abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables here in Santa Barbara – and a good organics range too. If it wasn’t for the temptation of the Californian wines and craft beers I would be living exceptionally healthily (but then, everything in moderation!).

20130813-133015.jpg

Playing out the last weeks, Kiwi style.

The past few weeks have been filled with impromptu meet-ups and casually arranged gatherings with friends. It is very indicative of the way we’ve lived our lives here in New Zealand – a very relaxed, unstructured, casual, ‘go with the flow’, ‘she’ll be right, mate!’ kind of way. I still vividly remember having to adjust to the ‘Kiwi way’ in my early years here.

We soon got used to the ‘no flairs’ dress code, that ‘bare-feet’ were all good on almost any occasion and that ‘bring a plate’ and ‘pot luck dinners’ were all the rage. We learned to invite twice the number of people we expected to any BBQ, as Kiwis would casually roll up to the party – or not – depending on how they were ‘travelling’ on a given day – and that was ‘all good’, ‘no worries, mate’!

So, with the ‘big move’ looming on the calendar for the past few months, we’ve been asked, ‘Are you having a leaving doo?’ but have preferred to give the big ‘fanfare’ farewell a miss. Instead, we’ve spent quality time with small groups of friends, from all the different paths we’ve walked during our fifteen years or so of living in New Zealand.

I’m sure our friends won’t mind me sharing a few snapshots from the past few weeks. These photographs mean a lot to us, personally, but – from an outsiders perspective – they also shine a light on the relaxed way of life we’ve enjoyed living in Wellington, New Zealand.

There have been play-date days of gentle farewells at wonderful outdoor cafes…

Recently Updated291

Time on the beach to focus on the now and have a breather from the packing and boxes…

Recently Updated292

There have been casual evenings with old friends…

Recently Updated281

And fun nights with our wonderful neighbours, friends and people that have helped to support us in raising our little Kiwi born children… (It takes a village, you know!).

Recently Updated290

And whilst I’ve been at home, looking after our three children, my husband has been working hard to tie together all the logistics and administrative necessities of the big move (as well as holding down his job and being a great father!).  He has had Friday night drinks with his soccer team and old colleagues. Wellington is a close-knit business community and he’s made some amazing friendships over the years.

He has come home to countless requests for assistance with ‘MineCraft’ mods! Thankfully, he has incredible patience… often staying up till 11pm to spend quality time with his older daughters, after having been tied up with work all day.

IMG_6436

As well as entertaining his youngest daughter, with whatever game of the moment she is into… making cars and unicorns talk, or being rolled up like a sausage!

IMG_5944

It’s winter, but the sun has been mostly generous. The ground hasn’t been as calm – but living on the ‘shaky isles’ is something we made a choice to do – certainly keeps us on our toes and has a way of bringing the community closer – even having friends for to sleep over for an impromptu gathering after a rather strong quake!

Recently Updated282

So many happy moments of life, simply lived, over the past few weeks. Moments we will treasure always and hold close in our hearts whilst we live on the other side of the Pacific Plate, in California, USA.

From the simple, universal joy and magic of bubbles in the garden with a friend…

Recently Updated284

To an outing on Wellington’s beautiful waterfront, where two sisters have a laugh on electric cars and eating gelato…

Recently Updated294

IMG_6410We will be back in Wellington, one day, for sure… maybe in a year, or three, or more. We are open to where this adventure will take us and how each person in the family feels.

It’s not as easy as the ‘before children’ days – and the older our children get the more their opinions, as to where to live, matter!

They are so fortunate to have such opportunities to explore.

I am sure, once we’ve settled in Santa Barbara, California, our children will adapt with greater ease than myself!

We shall take every day, every week and every year as it comes…

IMG_5764 Follow on Bloglovin