Every year at this time the jacaranda trees in Los Angeles start to bloom. They only last for a couple of months, but while they’re in blossom the city is peppered, everywhere you look, with beautiful purple trees. They start to emerge slowly – one here, one there – then they’re all over the place, and finally around mid-July they start to fade and disappear for another year.
To celebrate this lovely cycle, the boys and I play a car based game called “Jacaranda!”* It entails looking out for the purple trees and yelling out “Jacaranda!” the second you see one. Whoever has seen the most by the time we get to our destination wins. It sounds ridiculous, but I like the game for a few reasons:
- It encourages the boys to take notice of nature and appreciate it’s ebbs and flows.
- It motivates Miles to sit up and pay attention to what’s going on around him – a subtle reminder that there’s more to life than baseball and Minecraft.
- It inspires lots of silliness and laughter and playful arguments about who saw what tree first.
Really, it’s a very basic game, with a very basic premise, but it adds a layer of fun to our usual errand runs and school drops and who can’t use a little more of that in their day?
*Note: This game is also played from the end of November to the end of December, but during that time it’s called “Christmas Lights!”
We are taking a break to enjoy all the merriment and insanity! Did I say insanity? Yes, but you know what I mean. Hope you have a wonderful holiday and see you back here in 2015.
Claudia and Dilyn, WCM
I was sharing with a co-worker the other day my knack for singing the wrong lyrics to songs, Christmas songs in particular. He told me about the book Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh. This adventure begins when Olive, the dog, is listening to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and confuses the lyric “All of the other reindeer ” with “Olive, the other reindeer”. Convinced she is supposed to be one of Santa’s helpers she heads to the North Pole. Olive enthusiastically joins Santa on his Christmas eve flight, helping him by using her doggy talents of sniffing, fetching and chewing to save the day.
I’m glad my blunder introduced me to Olive. We are already fans of Seibolds other book Mind Your Manners B.B. Wolf. Another clever and funny story about how the big bad wolf learns his manners.
This month in Real Simple, I read about some families that use the “something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read” idea of gift giving. I think it’s a really cool notion, so this year my Christmas list is inspired by that streamlined concept:
Something You Want: K Hall Design Peony candle – the perfect subtle scent of my favorite flower.
Something You Need: Well everyone NEEDS to wash up, right? Why not do it with really cool soap?
Something To Wear: With a puffer vest and sneakers – weekend ease,
with a blazer and heel – office ready. Love it when an outfit can do double duty!
Something To Read: One of my favorite authors – she cracks me up every time.
Well that’s my list – what’s yours?!
Have you ever been stuck without a present for the tutor/coach/babysitter? On your way to a holiday party, only to realize you have nothing for the hostess? Make sure that never happens again by picking up the above items the next time you’re at Trader Joe’s. Each holiday season TJ’s offers a delicious array of treats in super cute packaging that are just right for gifting. This year’s options are particularly alluring: the Trader Joe’s Jingle Jangle tin is a mix of dark and milk chocolate covered pretzels, chews, peanut butter cups, and popcorn – something for everyone and so good. The English Toffee with Nuts is crunchy, buttery, sweet perfection, and the Almond Snowman cookies are just right for little ones and big ones alike. Each one comes in a festive container that only needs the addition of a pretty ribbon to be presentation ready. Grab a few the next time you do the marketing and you’ll never be stuck empty handed again.
This week all three of my kids have their holiday performances at school and Friday begins our three week winter break. Holy crap….my plate is full, full of all the million things I need to do, get and be. It’s a lot! This time of year feels like a lot, topped off with you need to be grateful and appreciate every damn second because before you know it, it will be gone! Poof, just like that and you’ll be wishing for it all back. To be honest I feel that way December 26th some years. Like I should have done more Christmasy things with the kids, baked more, created more memories – oh and traditions!!
The pressure, Christmas can feel like a lot of pressure to do, get and be a lot!! Did I already mention that? I did and with that said, I am going to tattoo on my forehead a quote by Brene Brown that I love. “Is this a part of us or the show and must it go on?” This is going to be my mantra. Okay let’s be realistic I am going to try and have this be my mantra whenever I can remember it! The key being remembering it; because the truth is, so much of it can start to feel like it’s all about the stuff out there. Instead of what we all want right here, in the moment, in our hearts. Connection, connection with the people we love. We want to laugh and connect and feel a little joy. A small reprieve from the day to day life that just keeps on lifeing. (big deep breath and exhale) So as I’m about to start my week I will pause and ask myself is this a part of us or the show? Then I will try to stay true to “us”, because the “us” is the only thing that really matters! If I can do that to the best of my ability all the rest will fall into place.
Below a goofy picture of me and my family because nothing feels better than being goofy and laughing with them. ( Like how I’m being all smiles and they’ve decided to do funny….ahhhh)
Here’s to the Holidays, go forth and make them the best you can…. all of it!