Settling in

I'm feeling lucky today. The students are arriving on campus for move-in weekend and the girls are playing quietly behind the closed door of their bedroom.  I think I'll take the risk that they're painting the walls with nail polish and spend a few minutes documenting our first weeks in Santa Cruz...

School started almost as soon as we got here.  Getting the boys registered was a harrowing experience, to say the least.  Did you know that in CA they can turn you away from your neighborhood school because of overcrowding, even if you just spent every penny to your name- and quite a few pennies to your mother's name- to buy a house for the specific purpose of sending your kids to that school?  Fortunately I have a strong volunteer record and the boys have stellar grades/ discipline records, so that, combined with a few neighborhood connections, scored us seats.  Phew.

Hearts sank on our first official dip in the pacific ocean (I use the word "our" loosely), when those of us brave enough to go in (again, using "us" loosely) realized just how cold the water is, even with a wet suit on.  But as night fell, the stars came out and we huddled with new friends around a warm fire.  That, plus the presence of smores, helped us see that maybe this new way of beaching it wasn't so bad.

Eric took off to Utah for a few days for a "conference".  I'm sure there was lots of deeply intellectual discussion of economics during the activities we observed in the photostream:).  Fortunately for me, Laura and her new boyfriend Tom came up from L.A. to keep the kids and me company.  We took a train ride through the redwoods and spent lots of time talking and playing with all the presents she brought along.

We live in faculty housing on the UCSC campus.  There's a cute little playground for the kids, and we can see the ocean, the mountains and lots of trees and wildlife.  Every morning I run up to the university track, where I can see the sun rising over the mountains, the town and the beach.

 One of our first orders of business was to check out the boardwalk, Santa Cruz's old-fashioned beachside amusement park.  The boys went for "Texas donuts", while I had to try the friend artichoke hearts (did you know we're thirty minutes from artichoke country, where you can buy 12 for a dollar!?).

I was happy to hang out with Marley and Eleanor on the kiddie rides and the ferris wheel, while Eric and the boys tackled the serious stuff.  We stayed until I accidentally dumped a cup of chocolate sauce (for dipping the friend oreos in) on Ellie's head.  Ever since then, Marley has been asking, "when can we go back to that really fun party?"

Aside from that, we've been busy with soccer, swim lessons, scouts, preschool, mountain biking, running, and dreaming of all the things we can do to our house now that we're homeowners again.  And did I mention that we have a real, honest-to-goodness guest room now?  So keep your eye on flights to CA!


Missing you today

We're here.  And things are working out great so far.  The house (that we bought without ever seeing it in person), the neighborhood, the school, the University- I can already see how I'll one day come to love all those things, and never want to leave them.

But right now, today, the exhaustion of the last three weeks has hit me full force.  Marley was holding her picture of Graham and listening to her vacation bible school CD on repeat while I was drying my hair and I had to just stop and cry for a few minutes.  I sent a quick email to Tracy- nothing earth shattering- just to say I miss you a lot right now.  After I hit send, I saw her simultaneously sent email with the words "I'm really missing you today".  That's when the tears really started flowing, because despite how great and wonderful everything is, this hurts- a lot.

I miss my doorbell ringing 30 times a day with friends and neighborhood kids coming in and out.  I miss big leafy trees and properly green grass.  I miss the sound of the cars drowning out the music on my ipod as I run along Ponce.  I miss having a mailbox.

I miss Amy coming over with some treasure for Marley.  I miss Donna's updates on her (much more interesting than mine) personal life.  I miss Sara sitting on my living room floor feeding Austin and talking about our families.  I miss Tracy helping me and somehow managing to make me feel like I was doing her a favor.  And it cracks my heart in two when Marley tells me to save a cookie for Graham.

I miss Kaitlyn and Savannah and Mason and Carter and Zach and Eli and John and baby Austin and Paloma and Giri and Hank and Noah and Manfeild.

I miss Farm Burger and Flying Biscuit and Zyka.

I miss Fernbank and morning carpool traffic and walking to the school to eat lunch with my kids.  I miss the screams and laughs from the playground floating through my open windows in the afternoon.

It will be okay.

It really will.

I know that.

But still, I'm really missing you today.