Thursday, May 18, 2017

Moving in.......

Hello Everyone,

Happy belated Mother's Day to all you fabulous, amazing, incredible mothers out there.  For our Mother's day we started off the morning with a wonderful 10 mile hike with Tristan's boy scout troop.  Tristan and his friend were in charge to lead the trek.  It is a wonderful beginning to the day.  Kava and Ariel were able to join us with their dog Ruby so Bula would have a friend to tag along with.  Kava and Rel hiked with the old woman the whole way.  Well I ended up peeling off a little early so that I could go get the trailer ready and buy lunches for our picnic.

I am having the best time and get the biggest kick out of all the new people we are meeting and how wonderful the community is up there.  I think I have mentioned in the past but I can't say enough how amazing it is to talk with the most random people up there and discover how interconnected and the history they all have with each other.  I know it is a small town but the people there have connections that span back to the gold rush days and their grandparents or as they say "relations" coming over on wagon trains and helping the settlers bring lumber down from the saw mills drawn by horse and cart...

It seems that we have stepped back in time.  If you have read Stephen Kings, 11/22/63, you will know how I feel.  Chris and I have been talking to a number of people about getting work done on the property, advice for development, insurance, and getting supplies delivered.  When I first started calling around I spoke to a farmers insurance agent out of Jackson, which is about 15 miles from our property.  We ended up talking about how his grandparents names are Veautaw and they came over with the gold rush and the road we are living on "Votaw" is named after them and they have relations all over the county.  Chris and I are looking to get gravel and sand delivered to the property for the volleyball court and to layer for the driveway to help prepare for the winter and keeping the dust down.  So I called Kenny at plymouth sand and gravel and was explaining where it would need to be delivered and he said, "Oh Herb's old place, the sheep shed.  I used to go up there and help with the sheep and repair fences and hang out with him."  Then he explained that he doesn't have road base and so I should call Mitch to get both delivered and that he knows Mitch will get the sand from him and then the road base gravel from someone else.  In talking to Mitch he also used to go up to the sheep shed and play in the creek and roam the property and help with the sheep.  I guess the Farnham's (who we bought the land from) used to own a ton of acres up in the Plymouth and Fiddletown area... Rob Farnham's Uncle used to own the saw mill up in Fiddletown and the road that they wagons would use to transport the lumber to the gold mines and connected Fiddletown to plymouth in the gold rush days went right past our property.   I am just loving talking to all these guys and finding the small connections they all have.

It is refreshing to hear the old fashioned good ole neighbor network and the systems they put in place to make sure everyone gets their share of the work.  Also, everyone operates by snail mail and either cash or check still.  I asked Mitch how can I pay you and he says, "Well I live right around the corner from you.  Just go on past the walnut grove, past the little vineyard, down the dip, cross the creek and then on the right will be a pipe fence painted white... go on down the driveway and my wife Donna will be there... just go on and hand her a check."  No street address needed.  I am sure I will find it. Hee Hee.

I have been looking forward to this day for awhile.  We were able to get our eye sore trailer out of the driveway here in Lafayette and moved up to the property.  I think she is really happy up there... I can't wait to join her over memorial day weekend.

We had a great time playing on the tractor,

getting the trailer all balanced and set up

Tristan exhausted or just bored.. not sure which.

and then playing a little imaginary volleyball and badminton on our new court.  I am having a bunch of sand delivered today so that we can spread it for some play time on memorial day weekend.

Alina loves playing in all the dirt mounds left behind when the roads were cut out and the volleyball court was made.

Gotta have a few swings to hang out in.   

Alexia and Tristan love driving the truck around the property....

One of the best spots on the property is on top of a little knoll with a large oak tree and some granite... It faces the west and overlooks the vineyard.  This particular spot grabbed my attention immediately.  I couldn't wait to put a bench and some adirondack chairs and a little table and sit there and watch the sunset.

And then Monday was the Boy scout Mother's Day tea where the boys bring you flowers and serve you tea and cookies and then stand up in front of everyone and say how much you mean to them and why they love you.... most of the boys say they love their mom's because they feed them excellent food, drive them everywhere and do their laundry.... Hmmm... sounds like we need to do less for these little treasures.  The things we do for all of our kids.

Hope all is well and hugs to everyone,


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hello Everyone,

It is funny how when you start a new adventure, you get so consumed with learning as much as you can in as little time as you can.  The property is set to close tomorrow and officially be in our name.  Chris and I have been in so many discussions regarding planning the layout of the land, solar vs. PGE, researching trucks, tractors and trailers.  So with all the research Chris has down in the last 48 hours... this weekend we bought a truck and a trailer.  We have been toying with the ideas of tents vs. modern conveniences of building our Ag Shed/Apt... then we decided to look last minute at the travel trailers.

We found a Ford F250 1997 with 112,000 miles on it and grabbed it.  It came with a lot of accessories that we thought we could use like the 4x4, lumber rack, bed liner, 2 tool cases and best of all... a winch to help move the trees around for us...

We were going to try to build some sleep sheds so that we could enjoy the property but realized that the most convenient and the fastest route is to get a little travel trailer to park up there and then we would have a bed and a kitchen and a place for the kids to sleep.  We still want to build some 10x12 sleeping sheds with bunks for the kids but for now this will do until we can get them done.  Alexia is excited to throw a tarp over the back of the truck and make a make shift tent in the back and sleep in the bed of it... we will see.

So the fun story about the camper is the couple we bought it from... Stacy and Mike from Alaska.  Chris came across the camper literally last night.  It had only been posted for 2 hours and they were leaving today to move back to Alaska.  They had actually sold the camper the day before and the family that was coming down to pick it up got in an accident and totaled their truck and they didn't have insurance and now couldn't afford to buy the camper.  Everyone is okay...  but now they still needed to sell it in a day.

Mike came down here to work as a lineman (electrical, not football) and bought the trailer from the original owner in December and then recently he got called back to a job in Alaska.  This is a 1998 Wonderer by Thor and all systems work, brakes just done, new tires and full of propane.  They have been living in it for 6 months and this is what especially appealed to us because things have to work when you live on board.

Not only have they been living in it but they are from Alaska and are used to living off the grid and they know how to take care of the campers systems.  I felt like we were talking to our cruising couples but instead of talking about pelagic fishing they are talking about ice fishing.  Instead of talking about lobster hunting they were in a rush to get back home because it is bear hunting season.  We had such a good time talking to them.  The first time we stepped into the trailer she apologized to us for the smell because she had just cooked MOOSE BACON... Now she is talking my language.  It was soooooo good!

Mike is a pilot up there and has his own plane and a harley and he and his son often fly the plane into the remote locations to go bear or moose hunting then pack up their goods and return to the plane and fly home.  We are looking forward to an alaskan road trip to go visit them... and have more of that Moose Bacon.  They did part with a jar of canned wild Alaskan salmon and a jar of canned Moose Meat... Anyone, Anyone?

 The trailer has a 12' slide out area so it allows for us all to have a place to hang and then the couches and tables fold down to beds... or the floor.  At least we can fit most of the kids until we get the sleeping sheds built.  I just love all the gold trim... and it has a cassette player.  Does anyone have any cassettes laying around... so cool!  It also has a solar panel to help keep the batteries charged and run the lights.

Now the only problem is we need to be able to get it up into the property.  Right now the property has only one drive entrance into a small holding pen for the cows... release the cows.

This picture was from today from Denise our real estate agent that lives up there.  She went to check on things and was greeted with a number of happy faces... We just aren't sure who they belong too.  She is looking into that.  In the mean time I hope they eat as much grass as they possibly can to keep the fire hazard down.  and frankly I love it.  It looks like by the picture that we need to run some new fencing... we need 2,000 Linear Feet of 7' Deer Fencing... and that is only the back, the front of the property has this old fence so for now we will have to install in stages.  The vinyard and the people on both sides of us have installed deer fencing so we just need to back up to what they have already have up...

We are now trying to figure out how to get it onto the property.  The incline is to steep and the ground is a bit mushy still.  We will need to have a driveway graded and installed so that we have a level spot to set up.  Once we have the driveway and jogging path graded around the property by Allan (Denise's brother-in-law) we are hoping to get a bush mower to help clear more of the grass.  The cows are great but we need a shorter lawn to help us see the rattlesnakes.  The property has not been used in a very long time, so it seems every local person that comes up to give us a quote or a bid is asking us if we have a shotgun to kill the rattlers.  "There is going to be a lot of them, hee hee".  Okay not so funny.  I have woken up in panic attacks about these little guys.  So let the learning begin.  I have found out that the owls (we need to build lots of owl boxes), red tail hawks, and our new flock of Guinea Fowl... I just have to raise them hear first so the hawks and owls don't get the babies.

Guinea fowl will eat snakes, okay maybe just peck at them or because they are loud and scratch will chase them away.  Either way I will try it.  I am going to get a few of these beautiful birds.  They eat all the bad insects like ticks in your garden without ruining any of your plants.  I love it.  I just bought a book about gardening with guineas.  Sounds fun and they are really cute, but they are supposedly loud.  We will see. Some more research is needed and then we may place an order.  
We have to keep the cut the grass short in the areas that we are in and teach the kids not to climb on the rocks.  Most often the rattlers bite because they are stepped on or a hand is put down on them.  They don't always rattle for a warning especially if you step on them.  You can put a snake fencing around a small area just to have a safe spot... UGH.. I didn't buy the property to fence it all up... so I have to figure this out.  Maybe a little rattlesnake stew.... Yum.  

The good news is they aren't aggressive and don't come looking for us... we just need to be able to see them and stay away.  They are usually out in the early morning or dusk till dawn especially when it is really hot.  They like wood piles and hay bales and shady spots and long grass... They react defensively not offensive, typically, so we need to educate the kids and ourselves on awareness and sounds....  I also have to get Bula with a local dog trainer that teaches the dogs to stay away from them... Snakes are NOT FOOD.  

Again, I feel that this consumes all of our time.  It becomes overwhelming with what we need to learn.  So we write our lists and cross them off and then add to them... we try to stay on track with goals of what we need to prioritize and what is reasonable.  Then we get back on track and start our list over again.  Our goals for this week are to get the trailer up to plymouth and out of our driveway, figure out the grading options for the property driveway, finalize the well details and put down a deposit to lock in a date and then the fun stuff... to look at a tractor that Chris has found in Lincoln.  

Hugs and love to everyone and hope you had a wonderful weekend.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

A new beginning....California Dream'in

Hello Everyone,

It has been awhile since we have thought about the blog.  It is funny how your life can be so dependent on writing for the blog and how it felt like a long lost friend that you needed to visit to keep your sanity and to feel at least remotely connected to your friends, family and your old life.  On the boat I constantly dreamed about coming home and the simplicity of living with luxuries.  Now that we are here back in the throws of life in the burbs we are dreaming of our quiet place back out at anchor living in screen saver land.  It has been amazing coming to the realization of how much we loved our simple life on the boat and the connection we felt as a family.  Life rapidly becomes a whirlwind that I feel swirls around me and I am just trying to hang on to the events as they pass by.

All the kids are re-acclimated and back to the routine of things.  Mykaela is going to school and pretty much working full time.  Kava and Ariel are moving back to the neighborhood (or really close by) and in the thick of wedding plans.  We are soooo excited for them and crossing our fingers that jobs come through sooner than later.  Tristan just got back from a trip to Ecuador with the GSE program and loved it.  He is already looking forward to next years trip with them to Nicaragua.  Alexia just returned from Washington DC with the History teacher and about 80 of her closest classmates.  She was so moved and touched by all she saw there.  They toured museums, cemeteries, historical battlefields... everything.  It was a whirlwind but now she wants to take the family back so that we all can see it together.  The little girls are shining and more imaginative than I remember.  Amaia is still obsessed with greek mythology, reading and now architecture and flipping homes.  I think she has decided to do that when she grows up.  Alina is playing a different part/character every minute of the day.  She rolls through the house singing and twirling, she cracks us up.  I see her on stage one day.

We have been running around trying to see family as much as our schedules allow.  I really missed them on the trip and it has been wonderful to just be able to load up the kids in the car and take a drive to visit.

It took me a long time to  adjust coming back and get back into the swing of things.  I may have been depressed and overwhelmed but in the end I am so glad that we took this journey together as a family and have all those memories tied.  It has been wonderful reminiscing with the kids and often they will bring up the remember when stories... thank god for that since Chris and I both feel like we are quickly forgetting much of the detailed memories of the trip.  After I got home one of my favorite gifts to myself was to print out my blog so that we can grab a book and read a chapter of our life and start the remember whens all over again.

Now it is time to start again.  I feel that some of my sadness when I got back was the feeling of being lost and not knowing what I was going to do when I grew up.  I felt really detached here and just couldn't get in the groove and getting my roots planted.  I guess after taking 10 years to plan, think and obsess about a trip I was feeling like I was stalled in a time warp.  It is really hard to explain except for really feeling like I didn't care to be home but didn't have anywhere else to go.

Soooooo Chris and I started to dream again.  It is funny since the beginning of our relationship we had a common dream of wanting to have a vineyard with alpacas and some lavender.   Lately we have been trying to plan out our retirement and how we would want that to look like and what would make us happy.  We both know that we love the sea and the beach but we also love nature and getting our hands in the soil and watching something grow.  For us there is nothing like the loud sounds of nature in silence...   Amaia calls it ocean grass when you hear the wind whispering through the blades, the birds in the trees, the oaks creaking from swaying back and forth in the wind... woodpeckers busy on the old dead trees... you get the picture.  The absence of city sound is music to my ears.

We are buying 40 acres outside of Sacramento in the Shenandoah Valley.  We are super excited.  It is in the heart of the wine country, rolling meadows, lots of oaks, granite boulders, a seasonal creek and plenty of areas to choose from to build our house (houses) for the family compound.  It is nestled between an 80 acre vineyard to the south, and empty ridge line to the north, on the east is 160 acres of grazing land and then we have our closest neighbors are on the west with 40 acre spot and one diagonal.  It is pretty quiet and surreal.  When we are there on the land you can't see a house or a building in a 360 degree view... I love it and hope it stays that way for a long time.  We would like to have some orchards, lavender, olives, honey, vines (for lexi) and a possible wedding venue for down the road... we do have 4 girls in the family!....

We will be the 3rd owners of this property since 1885.  The gentleman we are buying it from, his grandfather bought it in 1954 from the original owner that received the land from the government during/after the gold rush.  We are in the heart of the gold rush area next to Sutter Creek and Jackson.  This area is rich in history and often you can still hear the stories from the 3rd generation of original settlers of the area.  We have learned what a small community it is and in a way it feels like the sailing community.  They are all super helpful and love to share their knowledge with us.  Now if only we could break into that good ole (boy)neighbor network.  I know that takes time (often years) but hopefully eventually (soon) we will be accepted and will show them how we love the land and just want to be a part of it.

Of course .... we didn't pick land that was already developed, it is completely bare. No well, septic and the nearest power pole is 2000ft away from where we need to pull power from and that isn't even getting it onto our property yet.  We like a challenge.... and thought it would be fun to come up with our own plan.  Funny thing is that we actually had only been to this area one weekend and that is the weekend we found this spot and put an offer in.  It was definitely love at first sight and we just knew it was right for us. (crossing fingers)

We have brought the kids up to the property and they are so excited and can't wait till we can start building on it.  Of course their list of priorities is a zip line over the creek, the gold panning sluice, bocce ball court, art studio, mountain bike path, remote control car racing venue, golf range, pond to swim in with a dock and frogs, swings, and it goes on and on... it is fun to see them dreaming along with us.

We are currently in the process of meeting with all the septic, well, grading, power, etc.. county officials, planning department etc... we are learning about soil tests, climate zones, frost patterns, tractors, 4x4 mules, trucks, barns, sheds, garages, old title records (some so old they are in pencil and nobody can read them anymore) property lines, easements, grazing animals, lavender, olive trees, bees, vines, and the list goes on.  I keep hearing Chris giggle and say "It's a whole nother world out thar"... hee hee.

Every time Chris and I return to the property it just verifies what we already know.  WE LOVE IT THERE!  We are so at peace and can breathe.  We are looking forward to developing this spot over the next 10 years and then we will see where we end up.  I believe it will be there but of course Chris is already mentioning a boat fund.  Did I mention that the property has money trees... yep it just falls from the sky.  Hee Hee.

Hugs and love to all,


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Re-acclimating to life on land....

Hello Everyone,

I want to start off with a huge thank you to our family and all of the help and support they gave us on coming home.  It was so amazing.  Everyone had a HUGE part in making our transition home incredible.  They moved us out of storage and into our home, not only moved boxes but helped us unpack and put things away... they went to Costco, Safeway, and Ikea and set up furniture in our rooms for us so that we had beds to sleep on and food to eat.  We were so overwhelmed and tired from leaving the boat that I can't tell you how much that meant to me to have these huge items checked off.  It was one part of coming home that I was dreading.  I had been moving and packing and cleaning the boat for a month so it was so amazing to not have to do it again when we arrived.  The kids had 5 days to acclimate and jump into school.  We had to register them and get their classes and then a little school shopping but not much.  Everything was done prior to us arrive and everyone in Family Circus was so happy to be able to just be at the house and get used to being home.  It was way more overwhelming than I ever imagined.  SO THANK YOU TO ALL MY AMAZING, LOVELY FAMILY AND EXTENDED FAMILY WHO HELPED US TO MOVE BACK IN.  It melted and warmed my heart more than you will ever know!

We have been able to go to my sister Morgan's house in Petaluma and see all the hard work they have put into their amazing plot of land.  I love all the animals and the improvements they have made.  It is a little slice of heaven and something that I would love to have in the future.  I can see why it is a staycation for them.  It is so wonderful and peaceful that you can truly relax on the front porch in the rocking chair while watching the animals and horse gallop around.  According to all the kids little Mollie Mae is growing up in paradise.

We are up in Shasta spending time with my sister Piper and her kids.  It has been so nice to be able to call and have a weekend to meet up and spend time together.  Shasta is in the middle for us so it is a great meeting point so that we can see the kids and the cousins can be together.  I have missed all the little nieces and nephews and am so glad that I can spend time with them so that they get to know their aunty again.  I love all the little cuddles and messy kisses... it is hard to get my fill.

 Applesauce in the making...

This feels so strange.  We are currently up in Mt. Shasta with Oma and I finally feel like I could open this page.  For so many years this was my life line to my family and friends and in a way the blog itself was a friend that made me feel still attached to home.  As I opened it this morning I find myself detached and not knowing what to write, I feel sad that it is not such a part of me any longer.  I feel that I have had a very difficult time emotionally coming back to our old life.  Don't get me wrong I love it and am so excited to be back but it has been more difficult than I ever had imagined.  I am constantly in state of a tear shed and an emotional rollercoaster at home.  I put on a brave face when I am out of the house but at home the kids often say, "mom's crying again... "  I know it is short and I will get over this... the problem is that I can't tell you WHY I am crying or sad... I think it is just the shake up of losing the screen saver vacation life we lived for 2 years.  I miss the closeness of our family, the relaxed state we were all in.  I feel like I am more tense and anxious now and have a very difficult time with time management and multitasking.  This new part of me is disappointing to me because I feel like I used to be superwoman that could do everything at once and now I am just a shell of who I used to be.  I know it will all come back but it is something that I will need to work on.  I am not saying I am lazy but it is just a new me that I am learning to mold into something that I like.  I feel a little lost.  I thought when I got back home I would just step into my old life and everything would be so simple and familiar.  In my case I don't feel that it is true.  I feel disconnected and not as much a part of the community as when I had left.  Even though we were gone for only 2 years, in many ways nothing had changed in our community and you feel as if you had stepped back thru a time warp, but something is amiss and the feelings aren't the same.  I am chalking that up to the life experiences we went through on the boat and how, even though you don't feel that you are changing as a person, your ideals, facing your fears, growing stronger and weaker at the same time, in many ways that I can't express (because I don't understand them yet).  I often feel myself choking back tears that seem to come out of know where and for seems to be no reason at all.  I know that things will come around full circle and be back to normal and crazy... but for now I am just surfing a new wave and looking for the changes in weather so to speak as they come along. 

In regards to the kids and their experiences in joining land life again.... it seems for them it has been a seamless process.  They always say that kids are so moldable and flexible and will adapt to so many situations given the opportunity.  I have to admit that I am always amazed at these guys and how they seem to take charge and go with the flow.  They had some fears about coming back to their home and going back into a full time school commitment and all the pressures that come with that.   With anticipation and anxiety all wrapped up into one they trudged on to school.  Some showing their worries more than others and in their own ways. 

Alexia and Tristan had wonderful friends to come back to and help them with the transition and all the new set of rules that they needed to learn from social media to school.  Over all for both of them they are having a blast, love the school, their classes, teachers (finally... hee hee the ones they had for the last 2 years were a bit grumpy) and having their friends around.  Alexia is still very interested in wine making and her and Chris have started to make wine at home. 

Both Alexia and Tristan have the travel bug so they both have signed up for trips through the school for spring break.  Alexia will be going on a historical tour of Washington D.C and Tristan will be traveling to Ecuador to help the environment and plant trees.  They are both so excited to get back out there and see more of what the world has to offer... Who knows with the upcoming election it may be safer in Ecuador and Washington D.C. may be more of a jungle.

In terms of how they have changed from our adventure... I am not quite sure if it is an impact of the trip or just who they are but what I can say is they all get along so well.  Yes, there are the occasional pokes or jokes about each other but for the most part they have become best friends with each other and really look out for each other.  They all have a different perspective of the world and what poverty really is and how happy you can be without the material items that we used to have too much of.  Now when I say finish your plate because there are kids starving out there... they understand that it is true.  They know how lucky they are just to have a roof over their, floor underneath and a bed to sleep in (with a blanket) and a fully stocked grocery store down the road.  They often comment how nice it is to have running water, a shower and a refrigerator and freezer that works all the time.  They are responsible in doing their own laundry and are often helping around the house or asking if I need help.  They are more likely to step out of their comfort zones and participate in something that they are unsure of, just to try it.  They feel they are more independent and confident enough to be on their own or venture out on their own.  They don't feel it necessary to have friends around at all times, they are used to being by themselves and are just fine.  They are much more easy going and non judge mental.  They are used to all kinds of people and realize that you never know the story behind someone and their choices so who are we to judge them.  They enjoy conversations with adults and are often sitting with us when people stop by and like to take part in conversations and be a part of the group.  They are often talking about world issues that they have read about and seem to have more interest in the global world around them not just our immediate area they are in.  They are asking questions and want to know more about finances, how mortgages, credit cards, debt and other economic issues and how they impact them or how and when they can and will start their own accounts.  

Overall, to me they just seem more mature, attentive and appreciative to their surroundings and how we impact our world and what they can do or not do to have an impact on it.  We often had these conversations on the boat.... I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to maintain these or if the interest would still be there when we got home so I am glad that we still get to dive into some of these issues with them.  They are still kids and like to hibernate in their rooms, listening to music and watching movies at times... Alexia still likes to write and Tristan is focusing on school and we are enjoying the down time of just being home and not being scheduled.  I believe this has helped our transition enormously by keeping our life as simple as possible and not being over scheduled.  We love to spend the time with the kids and they still need the down time after school just to chill.  Coming back to land life is full of noise and overstimulation from what we were used to and it is somewhat exhausting.  We don't mind it and are having a great time but it does makes us more tired than it used to.  So the down time is wonderful to have.

Amaia and Alina have both readjusted great.  They are really enjoying their classes and teachers and have been able to adjust to the school rules along the way.  Alina has only participated in school thru a transitional kindergarten program so a full day of school was all new to her.  She didn't know what to expect, how to act, or what to do... all of her worries seem to disappear after the first day of school and she had 3 girls in her class that she knew from TK and our daisy troop before we left.  It was really nice to have them in class with her to help her relax.  Amaia was put into class with one of her best friends (Fiona) and so she was really looking forward to it.  She had a lot of anxiety before school started about whether she would be prepared enough or smart enough for 4th grade.  I tried to reassure her that the amount of school we did she would be fine.  I also tried to explain that she learned so much just being out and discovering through our trip than she would ever know, but still in her mind she was unsure.  First day of school she walked with Fiona and when we got to class she immediately went for the books grabbed a few and sat down. 

I believe it was her way of being a fly on the wall and she was in her comfort place.  By then end of the first day the girls were champs and were convinced they were fine and would be successful in school and that it wasn't such a scary place.  They are both on a soccer team and are making new friends and have really stepped back into our old life beautifully.  They are really happy to be home.

Mykaela is home with us and starting a few jobs and registering for school winter term.  She will be finishing her AA degree and then starting school to be an sonography technician.  It is nice to have her home with us and seeing her smile and dance and spend time with the kids.  They all really missed her as well and it is nice to have her home and bonding with them again.

Kava announced right before we got home that he proposed to Ariel.  We are so excited to have her join our family.  She is just a doll that we treasure and the kids are all super stoked to have a new sister.  We all just love her and seeing Kava sooooo happy and excited is worth its weight in gold.

Chris is on a mission right now looking for a job.  It is amazing how many appointments and meetings he is setting up with people all over trying to find a fit for him and our family values.  He truly would love to find a balance that keeps our family time and work time balanced for him.  We love the family dinners together every night and still keep that as an important part of our day.  

We have a new member of the family now.  We adopted Bula Bear from a rescue in Modesto and he is now our new dog.  He is half German Shepard and have Siberian Husky.  We just adore him and he is flourishing with us.  The kids are having the best time with him and he is just the best puppy to have.  He loves being with the kids and everyone, is smart and affectionate and loves people.  The hardest part for us is that he is only 3 months so without those puppy shots we can't take him out of the house.  The kids are anxious to be able to take him out for walks and traveling with us.  My sister brought our cat Oliver back that she loved to have in their family while we were gone.  I feel bad for having to ask for him back but we missed him so much and the kids were looking forward to having him home.  

We are getting the house set up back to the way we had it.  Have stripped the backyard, bought a trampoline, made a garden and got some chickens and I just started our pond up again and will be getting some fish for it this week.

We have been very busy making our home again but also taking our time and working on the things that bring us joy and putting off the ones that don't.  I am volunteering up at the little girls school once in awhile, going on my walks in the mornings with the moms and dads taking the kids to school.  

There are a few new families in the hood and it has been so much fun getting to know them and spending time with the kids.  I really treasure our little extended neighborhood family and our spontaneous get togethers for dinner, a coffee or a quick glass of wine.  It takes a village these days to raise our kids and after seeing how happy and adjusted so many of the village kids are I really appreciate the comfort our children have in all these homes up and down the street and their sense of security and belonging that will encourage their independence and confidence for years to come.

Thank you for following us on our adventures across the Pacific.  It is sad that that adventure has come to an end but a new one is already stirring.  We did sell the boat so she will continue on with a new family Chris and Sayo and their little girls.  I am so excited for them to be able to have an amazing adventure and give their kids the the opportunity to live life outside of the box.  It was truly amazing for us and something that we would like to do in the future maybe even for half the year... maybe we just continue to charter for now and see where life takes us.

Chris and I have dreams now of vineyards, lavender, alpacas and tractors... Alexia is still enthusiastic about making wine and becoming a vintner so we are hoping to be able to help her achieve her dreams... The kids love animals and farm life and so it would be nice in a few years to be able to share my upbringing with them.  We will see what life brings but for now we are dreaming big or going home... either way we win and you never know we made the last one come true... crossing fingers.

Hugs and Love,