Alright, let me update you, cliffs notes style. We are starting to settle into routines here on the West Coast. The kids are in school, we gather for dinner every night whether around our dining table or picnic table. We have found a parish, a grocery store (along with an incredible bakery, a juice place which I believe several members of my family have become addicted to, some awesome ethnic food, and a children's book store which I already know is going to be the end of any budgeting attempts, because I have no greater weakness than good children's literature), and a really amazing babysitter. All those little things that start to make a place feel familiar.
The twins are at a pretty adorable age. They are talking *a lot* and suddenly have realized that they communication unlocks an entirely new world. They are sweet and cuddly one minute, and a little like feral kittens the next, wrestling and pouncing on one another, and just when I think that maybe this particular twin game is not going to end well, they both burst into laughter. Oh my goodness, it is like reading a gripping, unpredictable, terrifying, and then hilarious novel, being with these two. I really love it.
We spend a lot of time outside-- biking to school, walking to the park, hiking, scootering in the neighborhood, or hanging out in the back yard. We have had just enough weeks of cool and lovely mornings followed by warm afternoons, and then breezy evenings, that even I have been scoffing at this 100 degree temperature we have seen the past few days. California, what is this? We demand nothing less than perfection from you.
There is fruit everywhere. Literally hanging from trees (that no one picks! Like, a tree filled with apricots in the middle of the street, or a tree with ripe asian pears, or a fig tree). On many occasions we have made a snack of it, reaching up and plucking a piece of fruit on our way. And then the farmers markets are amazing and cheap and plentiful (much more so than the grocery store, actually).
One beautiful, incredible, unexpected thing about this big family of ours is the complete security and sense of place that the children feel simply in the context of being with one another. There's a way that our family functions as a little community. Our kids play with each other a lot. There is always something going on, someone to talk to, someone who is willing to pay your imaginary game of choice. Don't get me wrong, we really miss the friends we've left behind, our neighborhood, our school, our church, and most of all our family. That part of things will be hard no matter what. But I take such comfort in watching our family pick up the ropes in an entirely new place with a sense of purpose and resolution on the other coast of this large country of ours. I'm proud of them for their resilience and flexibility, for their openness to new experiences and appreciation of unexpected beauty. I couldn't imagine another group of people I would rather be doing this with.
And speaking of children, guess what. I'm pregnant! 22 weeks (!), feeling amazing, and officially entering that stage of pregnancy where I sleep with something like nine pillows to try to help obscure the fact that side sleeping is the worst (stomach sleeping all the way guys!). Tonight at bedtime I told Hugo he could talk to the baby and the baby would hear and understand. He looked up earnestly. "I want to tell the baby the secrets of nature." And then, leaning in to my stomach, whispering at a barely audible volume, "A spider monkey has no thumbs." Oh my goodness, you guys, this is one lucky baby, to be entrusted with that type of information. We are totally smitten, excited, and Clara and Dorothy are ready to start smothering this baby with love immediately. Six! Can you believe it?!