Some of you may already be aware that we went to visit family in Santa Cruz for Easter this past week. And though it may well be considered poor form to wait until after the vacation to post any of the pictures, I just didn’t want to take the time away from being in the vacation to post them sooner. So here is a smattering of yummy moments from our last week. I hope you can enjoy the images of them even a millionth as much we enjoyed the moments themselves.
It’s been a rainy spring for Santa Cruz this year, so the flowers were extra amazing — especially in comparison to chilly Missoula where the only flowers brave enough to be up right now are the hearty spring harbingers like tulips and crocuses.
In Santa Cruz, we were greeted by azaleas, rhododendrons, roses, orange blossoms, sweet alyssum, wisteria, nasturtium, and jasmine among resplendent others. The air itself hung heavily loaded with the strange and wonderful scents of unseen minions of fragrant blossoms.
We were, of course, also greeted by loved ones in all shapes and sizes, because Santa Cruz doesn’t just mean verdant gardens exploding with rainbows of flowers and cornucopias of fragrance. Santa Cruz also means family.
And Natalie and Emily’s “bother from another mother”, Jeff, who’s been a friend of the family for 20 years. We also saw (and are kicking ourselves for not having photos of) Natalie’s two grandmothers, two of her aunts, a cousin and her three kids, and an uncle. It’s a wonderful steeping in family love every time we go to Santa Cruz, and this time was no different. But that’s not all…
Santa Cruz also means play dates. Bella and Xi didn’t come with us this time (as they had their own Easter adventure together with their moms) but all three girls have friends and cousins in Santa Cruz that they love to catch up with, and jump back into play with, each time that we are there. Echo and Seiji, Jeff’s son, got to have a few good sessions together on this trip.
Unfortunately, the water was only warm enough for a quick dip by only the bravest dippers — that is, only Natalie and I, and a toe of Echo. Nevertheless, the sand and sun were warm and so satisfying.
Santa Cruz also means strange and wonderful animals, sometimes pets, that can live outside all year. We visited this tortoise (in someone’s front yard), who apparently loves strawberries (in addition to the grass he’s being fed above). There were also birds and squirrels that Gramma Bonnie and Juju tamed to visit them every morning for almond treats, emus out behind Grammy’s yard, huge snails everywhere, a stray raccoon, and,
at the Seymore Marine Discovery Center, a host of local aquatic animals on display, and some available for petting! We saw leopard sharks, monkey-faced eels, starfish, anemones, shrimp, and hermit crabs galore.
The farmer’s market comes with face paint, too. Here is Echo doing her impression of the quintessential Santa Cruz-er (of two generations older), sporting floral muumuu, matching floral face paint, and local, sun-warmed strawberry.
And no trip to Santa Cruz wold be complete without some special treatments from Juju. Here Echo is getting one of a few delux manicure/pedicure treatments she received this time — something to which she looks forward every time.
We did miss the big sisters, and we did wish the fun would last longer than a blink, but all in all we could not have asked for a better trip. Though, I think that next time, I’m eating nothing but local produce!