Southern California

The Photo Gallery | Theme of the week ‘Up Close and Personal’

It’s scorching in southern California and this British Mamma & her Kiwi born daughters are seeking out ways to cool down (especially with the air conditioning broken and the temperature inside the house reading over 88°F 31.1°C!). Outside, around the swimming pool (thank the heavens hubbie rented a house with a pool!) it’s in the 90’s and there’s a choice of take shade or get wet! Miss 8 has the right idea… whilst I zoomed in with my camera to get up close!

Heatwave pool time!

My favourite place to sit is in the shade of the house’s verandah, watching the gorgeous little birds flitting about in the shade with me, building their nests. This little visitor was very friendly and photogenic.

Nest building is hot work for birds, taking a break in the shade

Miss 4 couldn’t quite decide what to do with herself in the heat, playing with the ribbon of a balloon she’d given me for Mother’s Day (or should I say, ‘Mom’s’ Day as it’s better known in the USA!). I don’t get out the camera and get up close enough, and this photograph reminded me that I should more often!

I love the beautiful green of her eyes…

Alice and Mom's Day Balloon

as much as her long lashes as she cherishes the balloon for a moment.

Miss 4 and the Mom Day balloon!

Before finally hitting the pool, Miss 4 joined her oldest sister, Miss 10, for a spell of Minecraft. Miss 10 is definitely more of a winter loving lass!

I love the way Miss 4 gets up on a surf board now (though she’s yet to sample a real wave in the sea on one!).

Miss 4 the surfer girl

Miss 8 really looks the part with her sun bleached Californian locks and tan!

Sophie surfer girl

All the swimming soon had Miss 4 asleep on the couch, enjoying a late avo siesta. Bless!

Siesta time!

She later woke up with energy to play with her best friend Ollie, who’d arrived whilst she was slumbering.

Miss 8 carried on surfing, splashing and cooling down in the water for the rest of the avo, whilst the rest of us sought out the shade (and a cool beer for Mamma and her visiting friend!).

Miss 8

Here’s hoping the air conditioning gets fixed soon, but at least we have ways to cool down – might have to put the bed sheets in the freezer before I go to sleep tonight though!!

Joining in with….

 

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rose in the garden

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

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

Spring rain a novelty in Santa Barbara

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

lizard in the garden

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

Getting our sport mojo on!

Love spring.

Love the return of the light.

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

Mama’s Losin’ It