ahhhhh...yesss.....this is my absolute favourite time of the year....well, now and the next six months or so. mmm...the sun...the surf...the warmth...so very sensual!
Yesterday we had our first good swim in the surf for the season! The weather is warm and dry though the humidity is starting to build. I hope the wet season gets a late start this year. Oh my golly...the beaches here are so freaking beautiful!! So clean, so clear, the water changing from turquoise to a darker blue where it gets deeper, the pale gold sand oh so soft. And never crowded. I know I've raved about the beaches here before, but they still delight me....and I appreciate being here more than words can say.
After our play at the beach yesterday, we walked across the road back to our home....got dressed...had a simple dinner....and then sat out the front of our place. The boys playing with friends around us, Sam chatting with us about some of the facebook posts that were coming through on her news feed, Cary enjoying a cigar, and me sipping a cointreau & ice. We watched the blue sky get slowly darker, and the stars appear. We lit a couple of candles and stayed out there, chatting to each other, and to neighbours as they passed by, totally enjoying our family just being together, the warm night, the perfection of the moment. The kind of moment you want to bottle, but you know you can't so you just savour every single part of it.
It's school holidays at the moment so the park we live in has loads of extra kids. Our boys are out and playing as soon as they get up, and they keep going until dark, often bringing new friends back here for a while, or grabbing a quick bite before heading out again.
When I lived in Australia before I moved to the USA, I always thought I'd end up living in this state when I decided to settle down, but I thought I'd be further north. I never even considered this area as it has a reputation for being touristy, glitzy and too busy. I had not spent time on the southern end of this stretch which is where we have lived mostly for the last 4.5 years. It's nothing like the glitzy, busy area just 30 minutes north of us, but is like a laid-back beach town. It is such a fantastic place to be....not just for the beautiful beaches, or the lush hinterland close by, or the sub-tropical weather, or all of the great facilities - libraries, shops, theme parks, wildlife sanctuary, ...I could go on and on... but also, every school holidays, the city council provides tons of free or low-cost activities for kids of all ages. Actually, they have activities for people of all ages throughout the year (including free yoga and tai chi classes at local parks). But they really step it up during school holidays. Sam goes to a place that is dedicated to youth (ages 12-25). They have free activities all day every Monday to Friday and provide free lunch as well. Activities like painting classes, tie-dying, dragon boating, football, cooking, jewelry making, candle making, swimming, etc. Luckily, that place is only a few km's from our place, so she can easily go there every day.
There are lots of activities for the boys to choose from at different locations around the coast. This morning they went to a free stand-up paddleboarding and sand games play activity for a couple of hours. Had a blast! Afterwards, I went to the grocery store by myself for a few things. The checkout operator rolled her eyes and said "school holidays - so many kids around!". I said with a huge grin "I know...isn't it fantastic!!". She thought I was nuts, but I just thought about how much I love my kids, and I love being with them, and I love that we live in a way that they have lots of other kids to play with. I used to think about moving further away, on a little farm, but I think I like being around other people too much to do that....ok, and the beach too!