FOUR WEEKS! Has it really already been four weeks? What an incredible first month it has been. Days are starting to feel a lot more like normal life and I am really appreciating the nice relaxing pace of each day. Every day I learn something new and there are some things very different from Orange County that I am just eating up right now…
- We get to sleep in an extra hour every day so if perhaps I have too much wine (it is wine country after all), I get an extra hour to sleep it off.
- There are horses out of my bedroom window, not neighbors.
- EVERYONE waves to you when you drive or run by (I love this).
- My car is never clean and no one cares.
- Everything closes at 5pm and is not open on Sunday or Monday and I always forget this and try to get food or buy things but can’t so I am saving a ton of money and not eating as many calories.
- It is much colder at night here so I have finally been able to wear all the coats I have been hoarding for years.
- Cell service randomly drops all the time so if I am talking to someone I don’t want to talk to, the odds of their call being cut off is high.
- NO ONE owns a Labradoodle because designer dogs are not allowed here so if you are interested in one, let me know.
- I have gone through exactly three stop lights all week.
- Random women will pull over while you are running to tell your husband how pretty his wife is and that he better not look at anyone else and then will happily drive off with her plants in the front seat. She is obviously my favorite person in the valley so far.
The kids continue to surpass all my expectations when it comes to adjusting to a new town. I was told numerous times before we moved that kids are resilient but seeing it for myself is humbling. I think they may handle change better than us adults do. There have been moments when missing Orange County sets in (we all have these). Whether it is their family and friends, their old school or their old teams, they have been very open when those moments hit and I truly appreciate that they feel comfortable talking through it with Loren and I. All three continue to say how much they like it here, which is such a blessing, as I just wasn’t sure how this would all go. I am sure it helps that when having a playdate, horseback riding is an option. Our landlord is amazing and took my daughter and her friend out for a ride on Saturday and I am not sure who was smiling more, me or them. This is why we moved. These were the experiences and lifestyle we wanted for them and I love to see them embracing it all.
The eating continues each week and I finally made it over to S.Y. Kitchen for dinner on Monday night with some friends (yes, I have a small few here). It is one of those places we have always made sure to eat when we would vacation up here but haven’t set up a date night since arriving. If you come to the valley, you must try to put S.Y. Kitchen on your list. Monday night I indulged in the Charcuterie board, the Yellow Beet Salad and the T-Bone Truffle Sliders, topped off with some delicious wine. I rolled myself out of there as happy and as full as can be. You can view the menu details here.
I am certain no one is shocked that I have identified a number of incredible boutiques in the valley over the last four weeks. Some, like Plenty Boutique (above), Los Olivos General Store and Wendy Foster, I was already aware of and a frequent Instagram shopper. Others, like Heaven Scent, LadyBug Boutique, and Wildflower, have caught my eye and my love for pretty things. I am quite proud of the self control I have had considering some of these boutiques are only a mile from my house, though I may have picked up a new pair of sandals and an Easter dress…
This week was Performing Arts Week at the kids school so all the elementary grades put on plays for the parents. Baby girl owned her role as a Cowgirl in her 1st grade play Wednesday night (are we shocked about this?) while my Middle Man decided to take the behind the scenes role of Stage Director for his 3rd grade one on Thursday. I do love how hands on their school is and that it gets them involved in such diverse interests. Sports has always been a part of our family but I love that from the Community Service events each month to their Gardening classes, field trips all over the Central Coast to these performances, they are experiencing a variety of new things.
One thing I committed to when moving was spending more time in the kitchen. There are just too many farms with fresh produce and meats around here to not cook! I am a huge fan of both Cravings by Chrissy Teigen and the Love and Lemons cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio and her husband Jack Mathews. Between these two cookbooks I have been able to pull together so many delicious recipes that the entire family is enjoying. Cravings provides those indulgent foods we all love to eat while Love and Lemons offers vegetarian recipes filled with healthy ingredients. The above Sweet Potato Tacos with Apple Radish Slaw were a huge hit but so far, these Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins have been the most popular with the entire family. Both recipes are from the Love and Lemons cookbook.
These first four weeks have been such a blessing and I wake up every morning, look out my window at the mountains surrounding us and thank God that he has placed us here. I am taking none of this for granted. Now let Spring Break begin!