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!”
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!
Here we are! The second half of “Dressing Boys for the Holidays” (see the first part here). This time, I relied on my old stand-by, Crewcuts, to give me ideas about what the dudes will be wearing (but most kids stores have pieces that work in the same way). To get them dressed and out the door with minimal complaining, I’m going to use the “trick them with comfort” ploy. However, with the super dressed up outfit I might have to go straight candy…
THE NUTCRACKER – Fancy all the way with a slight twist – it’s hard to feel stuffy in blue velvet.
SCHOOL HOLIDAY SING: Traditional, but with some unexpected pattern mixing that makes him stand out.
SANTA PHOTO OP: Who says hanging with Santa needs to be a formal event? The sweater pulls it together, but the relaxed feel of everything else makes standing in line a lot easier.
CLASS PARTY: Free dress day practically screams jeans, pair them with a festive t-shirt and a jolly flannel and he’ll look like he tried with out actually trying.
CHRISTMAS MORNING: Christmas pjs are a tradition in our house, but I try to get them ones that don’t look silly when they’re still wearing them in February.
Final Tip: I’ve found that when I make sure the boys’ clothes actually fit properly, it makes a world of difference in how “together” they look. Even the nicest trouser and button-down combo looks sloppy when it’s too big!
Here is Miles with his twin cousins, Betty and Alex. They were all dressed up for Gailma and Pop’s annual tree trimming party. The twins had recently moved to LA, and Miles was totally thrilled to have cousins his age to play with! It was all very festive and cute, and a total blast. Note: My sister, who is not the sort of Mom that would encourage a “Santa Dress”, put her own fashion ideas aside and allowed Betty to choose her outfit for the party. As you can see from Miles’ ensemble, I was not so generous…
P.S. Speaking of twins – look how angelic Dilyn’s kids – Dash, Finley and Clover – look in the below picture from the party. Despite the bad influences in the middle, they are calm and smiling beautifully. Now, that’s some good parenting.
Claudia you are way too kind. I think they were all smiles because they were waiting for pizza!
This is one of my favorite Christmas pictures because he looks SO HAPPY and that’s what Christmas is all about. The joy it brings. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of it all, but we do it for the little smiling faces and the joy it brings them. I also love this picture because he’s so happy with the picture ornament that he made in preschool that year. That was him putting it on the tree! (every year he still likes to put it on the tree) Merry, Merry!!!
Claudia and Dilyn, WCM
Have you ever been stuck on the starch part of dinner? Bored of rice? Tired of pasta? Sick of the same potatoes, quinoa, and couscous? Feel like having fun? Well, then go to the Trader Joe’s frozen food section and pick up some Trader Potato Tots. Yes, these will remind you of the school lunches and TV dinners from your childhood, but because they’re from TJ’s the bad stuff is gone and only delicious, crunchiness remains. Be the dinnertime hero and go for tots – your kids will be impressed!
“What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set
aside on the 4th Thursday ofNovember, when no one diets.
I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?”
~ Erma Bombeck