If you’ve been keeping up with my latest posts, then you already know we’ve spent the last several weeks in a state of perpetual enjoyment. Snugged up as we are in the lap of Natalie’s family stomping grounds, we’ve been bouncing from loved one(s) to loved one(s), and from gorgeous space(s) to gorgeous space(s). Santa Cruz itself has been lovely and overtly kind to us, with astoundingly pleasant, bright, warm days; cool, dewy mornings and midnights; and a perfect mix of life-giving rain and sunlight. But the village of friends and family, here, and the delights of compound living have truly “taken the cake”!Of course, we have continued to enjoy our regularly weekly routines of visiting with Natalie’s relatives, and the family of her life-long friend, Jeff — having fun outings and “innings”, fireside hang-outs, and playdates of one form or another. But for the last week (and continuing until the coming weekend), we’ve had one of our favorite slices of Missoula brought right to our door.
Our neighbors, right around the corner from Gus (our Missoula home…), the Daniels, have come for a visit! And not only that — but out of the continually impressive generosity of Juju and Bonnie — our friends (all 5 of them) have gotten to stay right on site with us, barely 30 feet from our back door.
Now, imagine 5 kids between 10 months and 10 years of age, racing back and forth from building to building, from loving arms to more loving arms, finding toys, books, and snacks at all locations — bouncing like pinballs up and down the shared drive of the compound all day long… Here’s a schematic (below) to give you a more concrete mental image. You’ll have to fill in courtyards, grass, and the driveway, yourself, but you get the idea.
Our two families have essentially become one for these couple weeks. We’ve been hanging out en masse almost all day everyday, seeing the sights and enjoying Santa Cruz’s so-called “winter” together (while Missoula sits shivering under feet of snow…).
We only got to have Suresh, the Daniels’ Papa, for just shy of a week before he had to get back to work, but Romy and the girls have stayed on. This is what we look like heading out for the short stroll to Jeff’s family’s house.
Fitting us all in one vehicle has been a fun sort of Twister-Stuff, with kids helping buckle each other, entertaining Selah in her carseat, and negotiating the fair sharing of limited space. Trips to the beach have gotten even more entertaining. The still-frigid ocean can’t keep these kids at bay. And as usual, Henry is up for the challenge (of finding snacks and good spot to rest…)! Juju, Bonnie, and I have been sharing some fun garden chores; trimming off frozen bits, dead-heads, and extraneous limbs here and there. Echo has continued to follow Jeff’s every step on his weekly rounds doing various maintenance projects all over the compound. Now, there are two Daniel girls in-tow as well… Fortunately for us all, there seems to be plenty of Selah to go around… Juju, Bonnie, and Grammie instantly got three new granddaughters… Great Gramma Alice came over this morning as usual, and brought Uncle Don, who made the entire compound a belly full of pancakes. Xi came back from a sleep-over at Grammie’s, wearing a new waist-up combo she got from Grammie, and just in time for this sweet multi-generational shot. My favorite, is the gleeful, satisfied look on Natalie’s face…And then there’s this…
So that’s what the fun has been looking like around here as of late — A super-sweet, warm-fuzzy, all-around amazingly yummy mash-up of love. Deee-lish!!
Hope you’re finding fun ways to stay warm this winter, too!