Gold-rushing- part 1

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that we’ve recently moved from Ohio to California. Recently, as in, we moved this past week. I’ve been posting photos on facebook because I just wanted to share them as we went. But now I’m going to put them in context.

When Rob took the job at Twilio and we came to San Francisco together to search for a home, we came with open minds about where to live. We considered looking in the city proper but I couldn’t figure out where we’d put our canoe, and how the school system works. So East Bay it was. Searching for a home was both stressful and exciting, and we narrowed the towns down to Orinda and Pleasanton. Some of the people Rob works with were joking that we moved from Ohio to Ohio in California, but there are big differences. The weather for one thing! But also there are tons of thriving local businesses, smaller yards, and much higher home costs.

We applied to rent a small home near downtown Pleasanton and a larger but older home in Orinda. We didn’t get the house in Orinda, someone else got it over us, and the small home in Pleasanton just wasn’t sitting well with Rob. We had no more time to look at houses, and we were literally on the plane home when Rob emailed our realtor asking her to look at a larger house we hadn’t had the chance to see in town. Long story short, we applied to rent it sight-unseen and got it.

Thus began the frantic transition to California. Rob left Ohio on August 15th, and the girls and I planned to take a cross country drive beginning September 9th. My mom volunteered to come along as we made the trek, stopping in South Dakota, and Wyoming on the way.

The voyage was amazing, and I really feel like we’re striking it rich here in the Golden State. I’ll tell the story of our trip in at least two more installments coming up in the next week or so. Hope you’ll come back as check in to see all the amazingness we discovered.


Way back at Christmas time Rob’s dad gave us their hand-me-down canoe which they kept at the Grandparents’ house in Virginia. We finally picked it up and drove it home to our garage over Spring Break.

On an angsty day in the late spring I complained that I never get to do anything fun, not even take out our own canoe because I’m always home doing the day to day stuff. So I named the canoe Barefoot-in-the-kitchen, and got a babysitter for the day and Rob’s sister Molly and I took Barefoot-in-the-kitchen out for a ride down the Cuyahoga River. We had a leisurely day out exploring the strip of wilderness which runs between Kent and Waterworks Park. There were deer with their fawns, herons, geese and goslings and groundhogs. There was quiet and peace, and moderate adventure. It was completely worth the trouble of loading Barefoot up and taking it  back down.

I hadn’t had the chance to take the kids out yet, so I brought it to an end of the year picnic with some Redeemer families. The river was flooded over the banks so it wasn’t safe to take the kids out, but I just couldn’t resist. We pulled it over to a section of the parking lot which flooded and canoed around the puddle instead. It wasn’t exactly an adventure, but at least I knew all my kids, even Cressida were sea ready. They followed the rules and stayed in their seats.

So when we left to go on our annual Mom/kid-only camping trip with our friends the Penns (Colleen from Clever Nesting), I brought Barefoot with us. We spent three days in Hocking Hills State Park. On the second day we took Barefoot out on Lake Logan. Two moms and 5 kids.

This guy saw us unloading Barefoot and said, “Where are your men?” I chuckled, “Our men travel for a living so we have fun without them.” The man chuckled back and said, “Ah, revenge.” It’s not exactly revenge… more like not giving up and being boring just because it’s hard. When you’re a kid, challenging adventures are worth doing because a lot of the things you have to do are already challenging, you might as well put up with more challenges so you can have some fun. Once you become a grown-up you know how to avoid the challenges and walk the easier route. There’s so much to do, you don’t always have time for the challenge. But I’m finding that the stuff my kids enjoy doing as a family the most are the things that take the most effort and patience on my part. Also, I’d rather be out on Barefoot-in-the-kitchen than be at home, barefoot, in the kitchen.

The challenge is worth it.

And then when we come home and spend the whole next day on the couch playing Minecraft, I don’t feel so guilty.