This is Piedmont, CA.
It is a great neighborhood to live in. The community is very much like the one we left behind in Phoenix. I feel like we lucked out in finding this gem. Quincy and Paloma look forward to playing in the cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids every evening after dinner. Paloma loves all the beautiful flowers that line the sidewalks around us.
Our neighbors are awesome. They have brought us dinner, taken me to coffee, kept an eye on my kids when Solon was out of town and I had a meeting at preschool, they have shared their treats with us, and even hired me to bake cupcakes for their son's birthday. We are getting to know them, and are already so grateful to be in the middle of a great group of neighbors.
The schools are fabulous. Forrest, Paloma, and I walk Quincy to school every day. And when we pick him up in the afternoon, he tells me how today was even better than the day before. In first grade he is only in school until 1:45pm, and instead of 5 days a week, Paloma's preschool only offers 3 days a week, which is a bit challenging for me, because I was so used to a fuller schedule for both kids. But we are working on it, and will soon be in a groove with that.
We are close to everything (15 minutes to the airport, 25 minutes into San Francisco, 10 minutes to Berkeley, 20 minutes to Costco, less than 30 minute drive to National parks, etc). And we are about a 30 minute drive from my dear friend Liz who (along with her husband Sean) helped us out TREMENDOUSLY during those first couple horrible weeks of this transition. Coming home to a house that was more than half unpacked (thanks to them) was seriously such a blessing. (Thank you Meltzers!!!)
I have been inspired to cook even more out here. With so many unique ingredients readily available, and so many specialty stores to choose from, my love of reading cookbooks, and watching Food Network has been reignited, and we have been eating well. And wine... the wine selection alone in California is enough to make you want to move here!
Honestly, now that we have had a month to really get settled in the house, I can say with certainty that I do like it here, very much. The only thing that would make it even more awesome is if the rest of our family was here too. =)
I have good days, and bad days. I miss my mom like crazy. I thought FaceTime would make the distance easier, but honestly, it makes it harder, because I can see her face, but I can't hug her. And she can see the kids, but I can't drop them off at her house for weekend sleepovers. And Quincy misses his Grandpa. He doesn't understand that Grandpa can't come back. He woke up the other morning asking me if it was just a dream, or was Grandpa really gone? He asked me who we could ask to help us bring my dad back. Were there "Heaven Helpers" that could retrieve him for us? I asked him if he dreamed that, and he said yes, and that he dreamed about Grandpa every night. In his dreams, they were mostly sitting together watching Godzilla movies, but also, sitting at the table eating pancakes, and going for long walks around the block (clearly, Quincy's fondest memories of times spent with my dad).
It still doesn't feel real to me. It all happened so fast. But it still doesn't feel fair. My quiet thinker, tender-hearted Quincy reminds me every day how unfair it is (if Grandpa REALLY CAN'T come back). And we've been talking a lot about death lately. A lot. We are just taking it one day at a time.
We are looking forward to Fall in California. Apple-picking, Pumpkin Patches, Harvest Festivals, exploring the surrounding nature, and the Bay's cooler temperatures. I am taking time out each day to ask God to continue to carry me through this time as I experience the many stages of the grieving process, all while trying to be my authentic, happy self, every day, and doing my absolute best to take care of my husband and children as well through this new change in our life. I am looking forward to this weekend when (my wonderful mother-in-law) Lisa and Tony come to town - it will really start to feel like home when I can entertain. =) So visitors are welcome!!
P.S. Thank you to all our family and friends who have continued to show us support and love through this transition, and with the loss of my dad. I wish I could thank each of you individually (and I hope to eventually), but please know that your cards, calls, emails, poems, etc have truly helped us through every day. Thank you for loving us so much. Seriously. You rock. And we love you.