At the aquarium
Wow, much has happened in seven days! We left AZ one week ago with teary goodbyes to parents/grandparents, and then stayed a couple of nights in hotels along the way to our new home in the Central Coast. We did stop at Long Beach aquarium for a little fun reprieve for the kids. The touch tanks were a particularly big hit - we started calling T the "shark whisperer" as he was all over petting the tiger sharks. W also enjoyed sticking his hands in, though his salty, wet hands often ended up in his mouth directly after :/ He did get car sick later on that afternoon, but who knows if the water from the starfish tank could be to blame. B loved the sea lions and then spent a good amount of energy trying to negotiate a trip to the gift shop. The timing was bad since we had just been quickly reminded of the ridiculous amount of stuff we (read: she) already has as the truck was being loaded. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun to go back to a place we hadn't been to since we lived in CA several years before.
On the 29th we arrived to our new home which is absolutely wonderful! If you remember our experiences with apartment renting in Pasadena this is especially significant. It is a great space and fits us quite well. Our landlords are unbelievably kind and thoughtful. They built the house themselves (literally, not the way J and I have 'built' spec homes). It has gorgeous details like a fireplace and crown-moulding and wainscoting. The neighborhood is like nothing we have experienced - very quaint and rural in nature - two doors down they have a horse, our next-door neighbors have what appears to be Mater parked on their side yard, and certain homes seem to have taken the whole HOA-free thing and run with it. All of the neighbors are very kind. Many of them have lived here for decades. On day one the elderly man across the street came and told J his insulin schedule immediately. Then the 13 year old boy from the next house over told J he doesn't speak to said elderly man because he started a rumor that his mother was running a brothel out of her house. This was a lot of information to take in on your first day in town. The lady on the other side came over and told me her somewhat sorrowful life-story within moments of meeting us, and the guys who unloaded our stuff were wearing wranglers and saying, "How d'ya do, ma'am?" to me. I felt renewed in Christ's calling to love people, regardless of their background and how different they are from me. I have always known that is what Christ calls us to and attempted to do it, but I guess in my previous context I just didn't have as many opportunities right around me to get uncomfortable. I think I'm realizing that different can be good even if it only slightly moves me out of my HOA-stucco-coated-track-home comfort zone. And, we have since met several families at the park and the local children's museum who live in our area and absolutely love it.
Our house from the backyard (didn't have a front pic to share!)
J is really enjoying his job which is so exciting and confirming that we are in the right place right now. They are doing great things at his organization and his talents are a great fit for where they are headed. We are so proud of him. B even made him a "congrats on the new job, hope you have a good year." picture today. :) He has also been great with me and my emotional swings through this. Moving is intense...I seem to forget that even though we have done it rather frequently. I think interstate moving takes it up a notch though for sure.
The backyard Behind the backyard near the creek and berry bushes.
The kids have done really well - they love the backyard, the land behind the yard, the park down the street, the stairs, and the fact that we were able to go spend the day at the beach on Monday. We found a gorgeous cove beach about 40 minutes away. The big kids got almost completely submerged though it was still cold and they were wearing winter clothes. B went home in her shirt and undies, T however had to wear his sandy wet pants, because upon arrival we discovered he had neglected to wear undies that day. All that being said, they have mentioned multiple times missing their family and friends in AZ, and I can certainly relate.
We are starting to meet people which is good because B and I desperately need friends, acquaintances, people who know our name...anyone really! She has been really nervous about school and wrote up a list of her worries to give to her teacher. It absolutely broke my heart to read her being worried about "if no one likes me, if I can't find the bathroom, if I have to cry, etc." Since then, I have almost accosted every little girl we see who looks kindergarten age and "encouraged" her to be B's friend. We did find a little girl in kindergarten at her school who she played with at a museum, so that was huge. Next week she will have her first day, so I am praying for fast friends. People keep raving about the school and apparently she got the best kinder teacher so I'm happy about that! Stay-tuned for the first day of school and adventures in unpacking (exciting, I know...) Thanks for the emails, texts, fb messages...they definitely help this girl when I am feeling homesick!