Well…while I’ve been thinking about how to get our family more connected into the community (making friends, going places, etc.), I  realized just how much we really have to be grateful for.
 One reader left a comment that this is an “adventure”, and the more I thought about the more I have to concur…it truly is an adventure – and yes, this is a stretch for me.  But it’s an adventure nonetheless– and it is a gift.
I must constantly remind myself that this job opportunity was an answer to years and years of prayer, and this entire move (though not in the least the type I would have originally wanted) is a gift from God.  He is the ultimate orchestrator in our lives, and I am daily yielding to His will, even if at first it feels a little scary.  There is always a blessing on the other side.  Plus, it’s not as if we are overseas (which, when I was younger, was the kind of move my parents and I had to live with).
So now that the excitement of getting here, getting unpacked and settled in is in process, I figure it’s time to really start enjoying life here.

So, here are some things I am grateful for this week

  1. Good weather.

First of all, the weather here has been extremely beautiful the past 2 days.  It’s typically a bit chilly over here on the Central Coast.
So of course, we had to play at the park.

Sisterly love
a little sand play    
2.  I am grateful for these parks nearby.  
It turns my kids’ school days into hours of fun.  Right after our lessons we can head out and enjoy beautiful scenery (even if the weather is cool, which is typical for this region). 

Maybe it’s  not so visible, but there are some folks out on the lake paddle boating.  It’s right next to the park and is just a peaceful view.
 3. Beautiful scenery, afternoon walks, nature, and the Pacific Ocean.
I’m smiling and shivering…it’s a little chilly
The Pacific Ocean
Striking a pose for Ny
4.)  Fun places to take the kids to eat

5.)  Another thing I am extremely grateful for is the natural, organic produce that is grown right here on this soil. 

Because there are so many organic farms which care about the way they raise their livestock and grow their crops, California has a lot of opportunity to offer some of the healthiest foods to the community- and the nation.  I didn’t realize how much of our foods back home were shipped directly from California.  I guess that also explains why some of the produce didn’t quite make it through (poor strawberries!)  They had a long shipping process.
So while I have this opportunity to frequent farmer’s markets (there are two big ones here), I’ve been picking up some items here and there.  Mostly I’ve been looking into changing my kids’ diets – eventually we’ll work on me and my husband!  Z seems to have a bit of eczema- it’s not a major deal, but it’s still bothersome and I wonder if Ny’s sinuses could also have something to do with her diet. There are some other issues I’ve noticed too, and I just wonder if changing our diets will do the trick.
I was talking to a friend who completely cut out the dairy in her diet and noticed a remarkable difference– so, I may start there.
I’m looking for starting points for a diet change right now.  Maybe we should visit a nutritionist or natural health specialist- another thing I am grateful for (the fact that there are holistic care practices on just about every corner here).
Anyhow, besides the few farmer’s market outings, here are some items I picked up at Whole Foods the other day.

Back home this would have cost about $10 or so.  This is 16 oz. of salad…but b/c lettuce is grown here so cheaply I paid about $4.99 from Whole Foods.
Healthy, healthy, healthy. 

The natural milk with cream rising to the top was quite a treat for my husband.  Different, to say the least.  It was rich, organic, and straight from the farm.  I’m not sure what the container fee was for (you have to pay for the glass container separately along with the price of the milk). They ask that you bring back the container to the store when you’re done.  This is all new and different for me.

Now the kefir was something I have been reading about for ages.  In another post soon, I’ll have to share with you some books I’m reading on natural health.  I’ve been reading Jordan Rubin for years now, and he highly recommends kefir which is extremely rich in active probiotics, good for digestive health.  It’s better than the sugary-laden yogurts we usually purchase, but because it has a bit of that sour, true-yogurt taste, it takes some getting used to for Ny who loves her sugary, strawberry (artificially) flavored yogurt cups.  Z, on the other hand, just gobbles it right up and asks for more.  With time I think we’ll all get used to it.
Now…whenever we start doing our elimination diet and remove the dairy we’ll say goodbye to the kefir for just a little while.
One non-dairy product we’ve been using for a long time is that almond milk you see pictured above.  The kids have grown to love this and prefer it over cow’s milk.  Now when they taste plain cow’s milk they wrinkle their noses and ask, “Mom…is this real milk?”
We tried that almond cheese you see in the pic above…BUT.  Uh…it tasted pretty bad.  I was able to fool the kids for one day only.  They ate the almond cheese in a turkey sandwhich and didn’t notice the difference.  But when Ny went into to the kitchen to fix herself some crackers and cheese one evening, she tasted the cheese by itself and had a hard time overcoming that awful taste!!!! 🙂 
To give it some credit, it does have a bit of a cheddar taste, but mostly it’s nutty (hence, almond cheese!)…so it’s definitely weird.

6.)  Oh, and speaking of Ny fixing herself a snack, here is another grateful moment.

Ny wakes up one morning this week and helps me make breakfast!
Toasted tuscan bread, scrambled eggs, with a side of grits and butter

Oh, did I mention how extremely difficult it is to find grits out here?  Yeah…I’m from the South.  Gotta have my grits.

Enjoying their meal
Building castles with blocks after breakfast

7.)  So, I’m grateful for kids that will pitch in and help mama out some mornings with breakfast, or running the vacuum, cleaning up, things like that.  I’m grateful that they trust me to teach them and lead them and that God gave them to me.  I am so grateful for my kids.

8.)  Oh, and I am grateful for the good times we are beginning to learn to have out here in our new city.

The fam eating pizza at Lover’s Point park.

I am sure more good times and grateful moments will follow in the days ahead.  Sometimes it’s about looking for the good and not the bad.  Even when we are tempted to complain or grouch, we have to realize, my goodness, God has been VERY good to all of us.
I told Ny just the other day, “I bet if you forget about all the things you really want and enjoy the things we already have, you’ll really start to enjoy yourself!”  And then I realized that my own statement applied to me, too.  Just look around.  Life is for the taking.  No time for self pity or worry or complaints.  Sure, there are a lot of things we have yet to do in order to get settled here…but oh my, how much WORSE could things have been!  We are blessed.  So I’m learning to complain less, worry less and enjoy life MORE. 🙂

Learning to be grateful.