We’ve settled into a lovely rhythm in our Santa Cruzian life. And now, the days mete out their joyful goings-on in pretty cycles to which we’re all starting to sway and dance. Every day has it’s own tidal minutia — meals and habits and schedules come up the shore and we meet them at their “usual” time. And the days of the week have each gotten their own hashtags and themes and recurring pleasures as well. So here’s a look at the ins and outs of our current comings and goings!
There’s been a whole lotta Lego-ing going on. The girls have constructed buildings, cities, vehicles, and even animals from the set they inherited from Natalie and her sister Emily (via Juju). The girls also do some kind of art every day. Lately they’ve been into drawing and painting still-lifes that we’ve set up for them on the living room table. Many games of solitaire are also being played — though it’s often a team sport. And a nearly ceaseless stream of imaginative role-plays perforates every other activity.
On Mondays, Great Gramma Alice comes over for a spell. Natalie makes a sit-down lunch, the kids play at Gramma’s feet, or read to her, and we just sit and talk and bask in the delicate glow of this venerable matriarch of the Christensen family. Tuesday afternoons are Grammie and Rupert time! Natalie’s mom comes and picks up the girls and takes them back to her place where they play, hang out, joke around with Rupert, and do fun painting projects with Grammie, and then have dinner together. Xi has had a couple sleep-overs thus far. Echo has done some “pre-sleep-overs”, where she gets completely ready for bed and even joins in on story-time with Xi and Grammie, before Rupert brings her back home to us.
Wednesdays and Saturdays we go to farmers’ markets. Often, we meet Juju there, or we go in tandem with Juju and Bonnie together. And for a Montana man and his family, the markets are the most surreal pleasure afforded here this time of year. In Missoula, we’re lucky to get the middle of May to the middle of October for farmers’ markets, and the season is always bookended by scant produce in frigid morning air. Here in Santa Cruz, in February, the stalls are awash with veggies of all kinds, every variety of citrus you could want, apples, dates, berries, guavas, dried apricots, walnuts… and the list goes on and on! Henry gets to go on a hike pretty much every day with Juju and Bonnie. And sometimes he ends up doing two walks in a day because we go on a hike or other stroll with him as well! We’ve been doing regular hikes in DeLaveaga Park, just a stone’s throw from home (or “Garden Pearl” as we call her…). I’ll do a post sharing more of our hike photos soon, so stay tuned for that… Of course, audio-stories are still a big part of our daily life, as well as live readings with Mama and Papa… and Juju and Grammie and Great Gramma… There are some “children’s classics” on the book shelves at Garden Pearl; Echo decided to go for Robin Hood (no surprise there really…), and Xi and I are doing Tom Sawyer together. What a weird book that is from a modern perspective. Wrestle-sessions, rough-housing, and other physical gymnastics are still part of the daily groove. But now there are also impromptu shoulder and face rubs from Juju; going for manis and pedis with Bonnie; or snuggling with Grammie or Great Gramma as well! And then
there’s the flowers… Marveling at all that grows and blossoms here in the middle of so-called winter on our daily meanderings… It’s absolutely one of my favorite parts of being here and now. I mean, I’ve never lived anywhere that has also been home to outdoor Jade bushes(!), let alone O.J.B. covered in petite starfish flowers. I’ve also never lived in a place where Japanese Magnolia blooms as big as your outstretched palm litter the tree-lined air and ground before, either!In addition to all of the above and below, we make time for fooling around with selfies, too. And more Legos… This one is Henry — see the little white tail, and two yellow ears? Here’s the stairway leading to the school and work room where we all convene daily. Here’s the desk and station Xi has for working on school stuff… Here she is on the floor actually doing the school work… And here she is in context on the floor doing her school work… The horse pasture between us is some of what Echo was working on that day during school/work time. On the right is the desk and desk-top computer where Natalie usually works, and across from it on the left is the desk and laptop I usually use (right now, in fact…). Standing in the same place but turning to the left, there’s this cozy little gable-nook — another of the many stupendous play-sites at the Garden Pearl — Paradise Gardens Compound. Here Xi and Henry and I are at Branciforte Creek right down the hill from the back of Garden Pearl. Another excellent “stone’s-throw jaunt” we like to take.I don’t yet have pictures from the girls’ weekly Juju and Bonnie time, but that happens on Fridays. They go on adventures (like to Natural Bridges and the tide pools there) or just hang around all together at Juju and Bonnie’s house (that’s “Paradise Gardens”, for those of you keeping track of the house names…). I also don’t have more pictures from Top-a-lot, because I don’t want to torture you, but that’s a weekly stop as well (thank heavens!). And of course, although we’re making plenty of time for them on any day we need, I’m also not including pictures of all the empathy, and hugs, and help we’re doling out on a weekly basis for our sweet girls (and ourselves) having all the feelings we all naturally have — even when the days are amazing and the weeks are glorious… You wouldn’t want me to pause a much needed hug to snap a quick shot of a little tear-streaked face just to show you that part anyway, would you?!
So, week days, we start with work and school until early afternoon. Then we do fun stuff all together and/or hand off the kids to the bit-chomping grandparents eagerly awaiting their next turn. On weekends we do pretty much the same thing — just in an even more relaxed fashion. We’re eating amazing food. We’re seeing fantastical sights. We spending quality time with family and friends. And we’re steeped in love and joy. Every day and every week.
See why we’re wearing these silly grins so much of the time, lately?
I hope you’re finding room in your daily rhythms to follow your bliss too!