California is Rad

2 Sep

So contrary to the naysayers who thought we’d never make it once they heard we were planning to drive from Indiana to Utah without stopping for the night, we have made it. We are all safe, alive and Californians. We’re missing our friends in Indiana but adjusting well here. Mostly. I’m sweating like a pig. More on that later.

I’ll abridge our trip out here, mostly because everything has been so busy lately that I’ve forgotten most of it. The drive went well though. We picked my dad up in Chicago and kept on driving. The kids were so happy to have him with us. We drove for a few hours and then stopped at a parking lot in nowhere Illinois to let the kids stretch their legs. There was a tall hill that Finn ran up. Rhett and Lucy took off after him but kept slipping. Everytime they did, they’d roll a few feet down the hill before catching themselves. It was awesome. Stopping every few hours was crucial to success. Once we’d stop, the kids would run around happy as clams and then climb back in the van contented and babble or sleep for a while. Making the drive in one shot would have been impossible without a third person. The kids would have been miserable and so would we. Anyways, we made it to Utah in just under 30 hours, right in time to put the kids to bed and have an amazing steak dinner that LeAnn prepared for us, complete with orange rolls, which might be one of my dad’s favorite things ever. The next day we drove up to the mountains and let the kids and Grandpa run wild. It was beautiful up there.

Anyways, after a few days in Utah, we spent a day driving to California. I was getting nervous as we passed Vegas and entered California with the temperature gauge reading 115+. As we got over the mountains in into the Claremont area though, it cooled down a bit. We met our landlords and saw our house for the first time the next morning. I was a little nervous that we’d be living in a total pit. We were very pleasantly surprised though. The house is really spacious and kinda perfect for our family. It has a huge playroom for the kids, a gorgeous backyard with fruit trees, and a gigantic kitchen with tons of counterspace. I’ll take pictures in the morning when it’s brighter and post them.

But surely there must be some negatives, you say. Let me direct you back to the sweating like a pig reference. We don’t have air-conditioning. WE DON’T HAVE AIR-CONDITIONING. I know, I know, a/c is a luxury, blah blah blah. Can it.  I thought California was supposed to be so temperate, so when I found out we were a/c-less I said, hey we’ll make it work. Well August is not one of those temperate months. Instead its freakin’ hot and I spent the first two weeks sweating. We’ve learned how to strategically open certain windows at different times of the day so as to maximize airflow and you can’t swing a toddler by the tail without hitting a fan, so we survived. Things finally cooled off this week and it’s actually been gorgeous the last few days.

We’ve met a few people. Our church ward has been incredibly welcoming. The first Sunday we went was an odd day for them. An active family in the ward had been flying to Utah earlier in the week and their plane crashed, killing them all. An entire family, wiped out. It was a very emotional meeting and everyone was just kind of stunned. They went out of their way to welcome us though and we’ve had several people over to say hi. Today I met a few more young mothers at a swimming party.

Yesterday I ventured to a local park with the kids to join up with a playgroup I found online. The park was incredible! It reminded me of Hyde Park in London with wide grassy spaces and winding shady paths. The playground was maybe the most well-thought out playground I’ve ever been to. It had something for all ages, for both structured play and the more adventurous explorer type stuff. There was tons of sand to dig in and it was on a slight hill so kids could roll in all directions. There was a train set up which Finn was just in heaven with. The moms I met were really nice and their kids and Finn got along well so I think we’ll keep going to this group.

Anyways, that great experience made me high on Claremont. That plus the fact that the weather meant everyone was out on their bikes and walking and happy and Claremont itself is very Stars Hollowy. In fact, coming up on 9-7-11, the city has declared Zip Code Day. (Our zipcode is 91711, as you might have deduced). There are all kinds of fantastic activities, local bands playing, and residents are all invited to the park downtown for a town picture. Seriously! This place is adorable!  Also they have a parade on the 4th of July that all the kids decorate their bikes and ride in.

So in keeping with the fun outdoorsy mood here, today I bought myself a bike and a trailer for the kids to ride in. I’m super excited about it.The grocery store and Trader Joe’s (another thing I’ve fallen in love with) are within biking distance, as is the Village, the quaint downtown area of Claremont. So I can just put the kids in the trailer and bike wherever we need to go. I think the laid-back family friendly community around here and I are going to get along well.

That is, unless the coyotes eat us.


One Response to “California is Rad”

  1. Aprillee September 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    I am so glad that everything is working out so nicely. It sounds great! We have been eyeing some bike trailers as well. I love riding bikes. Hope Patrick is liking his new job too.

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