[heading] by Amy Lehrer | photos by Soul of Photography [/heading]

Two punk rock kids with hearts in their eyes, Amy and Steve Hite-Ruecker, met during “The Film Experience” at UC Santa Cruz and both graduated in the mid-nineties. Steve received a fellowship to a PhD program at USC and later earned a teaching credential that enabled him to pursue a teaching career in San Dieguito. He currently teaches English and history at Earl Warren Middle School, and last year he became “Teacher of the Year.” In the summer, he teaches surf lessons at Eli Howard Surf School, and most evenings he attends to his latest album. Amy continued her studies in architecture, landscape design, and permaculture. Currently, Amy owns Organic Hammer, an ecological landscaping company specializing in sustainable urban farms, permaculture, and regenerative design.

Amy and Steve settled in Leucadia because it’s private, has a rural feel, Steve’s parents live nearby, and it seemed an ideal spot to raise children. Because they believe spending quality time outdoors is vital to living a happy, healthy life, they selected a lot that allows them to have their own farm, which includes gardening, beekeeping, and raising poultry. Their girls, Eden and Iris, let out and feed their chicken and duck flock every morning, and Amy often harvests food from the garden for the night’s delicious, organic meal. Amy’s mom also lives with them, which means they have three generations of women living in the same house. Amy mused, “It is wonderful for our family to have the wisdom of the old generation with the innocence of the youth all living under one roof.”

[pullquote_left]Amy emphatically states, “There are two rules in our family:  work hard and love harder!”[/pullquote_left]

For exercise, Amy and Steve avidly practice Black Tiger Claw kung fu at West Coast Martial Arts Academy in Encinitas. Interestingly enough, at a recent competition, they competed against each other in both hand and weapon forms. Unfortunately for Steve, Amy placed first in all events, and Steve placed second.

Both Amy and Steve believe in honest, simple living and letting their life be a reflection of their beliefs. To foster their children’s free flowing magical spirits, they limit external influences like media and organized activities. Instead, their children enjoy grass, swings, dirt, sand, water, puddles, sunshine, animals, art, music, gardening, swimming, karate, and playing. Also, Eden and Iris attend Sanderling Waldorf School because Amy and Steve believe it fosters their values. To conclude, Amy emphatically states, “There are two rules in our family: work hard and love harder!”

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Parents: Steve Ruecker (38) and Amy Hite (35)
Community: Leucadia
Year moved to community:  2005
Parents Hometown: Steve: Encinitas, Amy: Los Angeles
Parents Occupation: Steve: Teacher, Amy: Owner of Organic Hammer
Children: Eden Hite-Ruecker, age 7, grade 2, Sanderling Waldorf School; Iris Hite-Ruecker, age 5, kindergarten, Sanderling Waldorf School
Pets: 2 dogs (Sadie and Daisy); 5 chickens; 4 ducks; A pond full of koi and a three-legged turtle

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