First of all, thank you for your kind comments regarding our rough start. I didn’t think anyone actually read this little corner of the web anymore except the grandmas. I keep it up for my own records, but it’s nice to know there are still a few of you in this dying world of blogging.All of the chaos aside, we really are enjoying our new home. The pros are definitely outweighing the cons. Sometimes we can’t believe we really live in one of our all-time favorite places.
Here are our top ten favorite things about Southern California:
1. We haven’t turned on our heat or air conditioning once. The temperature really is that comfortable. On warmer days we open our windows to let in the breeze.
2. We live in a really beautiful community. It is so well manicured and everything is green and vibrant. There are hiking trails and mountains and grassy green belts and bike paths and orange and lemon groves all within walking distance of our house. Everywhere we look, it is just so pretty.
3. We have access to 10 pools, a splash pad, a skate park, tennis courts and parks with playground equipment on almost every corner. Blake and Nash are already itching to try out skateboarding. Some of the features won’t open until the summer, but we’ve already frequented one of the pools that is heated in the “winter.” And the park across the street is visited on a regular basis.
4. The boys spend at least two to three hours playing outside every afternoon. Blake has become a biking fanatic. As soon as we arrived and he saw other kids biking, he begged to have a bike with no training wheels. It took us a few weeks to pass down bikes and replace punctured tire tubes, but once his big bike was good to go, he learned how to balance instantly.
5. What we are lacking in housing size we certainly made up for in neighborhood friendliness. Our neighbors have been so welcoming. We’ve met everyone on our street and have been given plates of cookies and chocolate covered strawberries on multiple occasions. My neighbor right across the street moved from Utah recently too and has girls the same ages as Blake and Nash. Their bedroom windows face each other and they talk back and forth and hold up funny notes behind their screens.
There are oodles of kids in our neighborhood. Once the boys hear other kids pulling out their bikes and wagons and scooters and sports equipment, it is a challenge to ever get them and all of the contents of our garage back inside. I’m not complaining about the gorgeous weather and getting to socialize with adults while our kids play every day, but I sure am not getting anything done anymore.
6. We love Blake’s new school. He’s had to play a bit of catch-up. The teachers expect a lot from their students but it’s good for him to be pushed. He gets to eat lunch outside every day and he starts bright and early so he’s done by 2:20pm. I receive tons of email communication from the office staff and his teacher which I think is phenomenal. Best of all, he can walk to school. Dropping the carpool to and from a school that was three cities over has given me hours of my life back.
7. Every day after school while the babies are napping, I read to Blake and Nash on our front porch hammock. The sun beats down on the other side of the house during that time of day, so it is the perfect time to enjoy the shady breeze and unwind from school. The boys have been really into Magic Tree House books lately.
8. We live in a vacation destination. We no longer have the urge to travel somewhere warm. Everything (minus family and friends) we’d want from a vacation is right here. We have especially loved frequenting Disneyland and beach hopping around Orange County. I love that we can go to Disneyland for a few hours and not have the pressure of trying to fit everything in. I took all four boys by myself last week and declared it a shows/parades afternoon. I can’t exactly hold two babies in lines for rides by myself, but there are so many other things to do that we can save the rides for when we have a better adult/child ratio.
9. The Primary, or children’s organization at church, is enormous. Each age group is split into multiple Sunday School classes. I teach one of three five year old classes. We were one of the only families with young children at our old congregation so it’s nice that our boys aren’t the only ones making noise anymore. And Troy gets to sit on the bench to help with crowd control again instead of sitting next to the pulpit. That alone should be moved to the number one thing I love about living here!
10. Last but not least, we see Troy more often. That is why we made the major life change in the first place, and having him around in the evenings is 100% all that it is cracked up to be. We sure missed him the last seven years. And I’m not going to lie, the help with the bedtime routine is a lifesaver.