Fun at the Orange Grove

Our family is up here at the orange grove having a special weekend together since Luna starts kindergarten in a little over a week and Nico will soon start pre-school. That may not seem like a big deal – and in the bigger scheme of things it isn’t – but I know from experience with my own children that starting “big-kid” school is a major life shift.  Luna will be gone every day from 8 – 3:30 or 4 and will soon have weekends busy with play dates and her new friends’ birthday parties. Nico’s life won’t be that different with the addition of 2 days per week of preschool, but Luna’s will. Her school has all sorts of pre-school get-togethers planned for kids and parents before the first day of class starts and that is just the beginning. Because this is a Spanish immersion program, with 90% Spanish from Day One, there may be a few more social events than in a regular kindergarten.  Whatever, the case, Ray and I are enjoying a good dose of our kids and grandkids before life gets a bit more hectic.

This morning, Luna helped me make a honey-sweetened banana pudding.  We made it early because it’s warm up here and we are working in a non-air conditioned free-standing kitchen.  We popped the pudding in the fridge to get nice and cold so we could have it for dinner.  I also made spiced chicken legs in the Instant Pot and made a big batch of potato salad. After all of that, it started to get really hot (low 90s with not much breeze) so we hopped in the car and drove to Ventura, which is twelve miles away and about 20 degrees cooler because of the ocean. There, we headed into an air-conditioned movie theater to see Hotel Transylvania 3, which was surprisingly entertaining.  Then, we had a late lunch before returning to Ojai and taking the kids to the city park, which has an exceptional playground.  We stayed there until the kids were pink-cheeked from running and were getting appropriately tired out, then we came back to the orange grove. By that time, it was around 6 and the temperature was slowly heading back down.  We all immediately ate our banana pudding, which was delicious if I say so myself.  After that, we sat around and talked until around 9. It is now 9:23 pm and it’s currently 76 degrees and due to hit 65 tonight.  We are back to being comfortable for the night.

Tomorrow, I hear we may go to the swimming pool in the afternoon. Sounds fun to me.

Life gets very simple when you have a 5-year-old and a 2 1/2-year-old.  There’s something grounding and comforting about that reality.  I feel very lucky to have the chance to enjoy these little ones like this. They feel completely comfortable zipping all over the orange grove, which makes both Ray and me very happy. This was our vision from the beginning with this place – a spot where our children and their families could feel as relaxed and happy as we do here.

On that note, I’ll bid you all adieu.  I’ll be checking back in again tomorrow.

Luna and Nico doing their part to make that carousel move at the park today.


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