Living out the last of our Californian days

It’s been a wonderful first week in our last rental home in California. We have one month in total here. It’s a beautiful home, with a lovely swimming pool, chickens in the garden, a great tree swing and in a friendly neighbourhood. A great place to finish up over a year of living in Santa Barbara.

Holiday house in Santa Barbara

All our belongings are now on a ship to New Zealand – and will arrive there in around six weeks time. In the meantime, this is how we are living our days…

Sisters so happy playing in the pool together

Mostly we can be found in the pool swimming, playing games, setting up obstacle courses, and, all up, having a lot of fun.

I sat by the side of the pool watching over them this Saturday evening, a glass of wine in hand, musing on how fortunate I am to have three happy, healthy daughters. They are so fortunate to have a life of freedom and opportunities. Most importantly, they have each other. This year, natural learning in California, they’ve lived in each other’s pockets and it’s been the best experience of our lives (at least I think so, as ‘mother hen’, but sincerely believe they will all look back and reflect on this the same – one day).

They have learned to be tolerant, patient, emphatic and kind. They haven’t always got along, but they have got on so much better because of having that expat feeling of ‘family is everything’. They have learned when to say, ‘I need space’ (though they don’t always say it as politely as I’d like!), they’ve recognised, and increasingly accepted, how they each learn differently – be it through visual guides, a friendly voice of knowledge and experience, or the written word.

They’ve sought out solutions and worked together to solve problems (be that with setting up a Minecraft server or working on a new rainbow loom creation). They’ve been so creative with their time and each other. I haven’t heard ‘I’m bored’ from any of them, as they haven’t become accustomed to having their time finely managed – but have learned that time is on their side to delve in deep on the things that interest them for hours on end – or days! And thank goodness for Skype, so they could keep in touch with friends in New Zealand – and make some new ones, over games of Minecraft, too!

Our youngest has been busy drawing, counting, spelling out words and making early steps in reading and writing.

Our middle daughter has been as active as ever, and was so delighted to win a medal (for participating) in a fun sand run at Ventura Beach (as part of the Ventura Marathon weekend events).

Ventura Kids Sand Run

And she made me so proud running her first official 5km race the other week, with me as her support buddy.

Mummy and Sophie 5km race

I was so proud of her positive attitude throughout the race. At the half way point her shoulder was causing her pain, but she kept going – alternating between walking and running. It was very hot and she did so well, finishing in 36 minutes – which is pretty good going on her little legs! There was a lovely mixture of runners and a real family atmosphere of parents and children running together (you can see us, in purple tops, on the right of this photo).

The start

There was no medal at the finish line, but a few goodies to eat and a scrumptious ice-cream.

McConnell's icecream

Which we enjoyed whilst soaking up the beautiful scenery at the Goleta beach park.

Goleta beach park

Our eldest has been happy counting down the days to our return to New Zealand, chatting with friends on Skype, creating new worlds on Minecraft, watching the new Doctor Who series and singing away (always a sign she’s happy!). I’m so proud of the way she’s held herself together this year. She had to leave behind so many good friends and a school she absolutely loved. She is now counting down, with great excitement, to returning to her friends, her school and her hobbies.

She’s also enjoyed a fabulous time at ‘Cloud 10‘ trampoline park here in Santa Barbara, along with her sisters…

Good times and making so many memories to cherish for a very, very long time xx

Linking up with ‘Mum of Three World’ this week, and other bloggers, for…

3 Children and It