Holidays

Low Key Christmas Fun

The Holidays were low key around here. After being home on Maui, it was nice to just relax at home for the holidays. Though there was a bit of wrapping/shipping frenzy before the actual holiday! I didn't take many photos, I think I just enjoyed being in the moment. Imagine that!

HarperPiano1 HaperPiano2We were invited to my second cousin's house for a Christmas Eve party, which is something they've been doing in their family since her parents got married in 1958! Amazing that she's kept up the tradition. Makes me feel squishy about not having a tradition like that. Time to start making some! Harper enjoyed the party, so many kids to play with, and seemed to enjoy the piano a whole lot. She sat and played "Jazz improv" (as someone we were talking to said) for a while. The sheet music was a Christmas carol and there was a pencil on the little shelf. Harper would play then pick up the pencil and write on the music (something the other kids had been doing). She looked like a tiny composer working on a piece.

 

For our actual Christmas day, Harper got a stocking full of Pez, just as she had asked Santa for. She (and we) also got many wonderful gifts and were very grateful to all the Santas in our lives!

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Happy New Year!

SparklersWelcome to 2016!

Every new year is full of promise and hope. I have many goals and plans, much of which continue through from last year, with a few new ones thrown in. I won't give you a list, I'll just summarize by saying there will be various short films that will be produced and distributed, scripts to finish and produce, a novel I'm planning on writing as well as financial and investing goals that will start this month.

Now that Harper is not so much a toddler, but a big girl, there will be travel to places other than Maui. Really excited about that!

And as ever, better health and fitness. I started a great fitness program last year and while various things took me away from it in December, I'm back on track today.

I have a lot on my plate and will stay focused. I pride myself in walking my talk and the year will reflect that.

All the best to you and yours!

 


Darkest Day Of The Year

Winter-solstice-tree-galleryToday is the Winter Solstice, the shortest and therefore darkest day of the year. It's been kind of a dark December overall and I'm looking forward to there being more light in the world.

December is the month Jen was born so her birthday is a reminder of what was lost. And while the 13th is an especially specific reminder, of course I'm reminded every day of what I've lost, what we've all lost. But as Grace so wonderfully said, it's nice to get special messages on Jen's birthday because we would all be bombarding Jen on Facebook with birthday wishes if she were here. Different than that dark day in April.

This December had the death of my cousin Adam who only found out he had cancer a few months ago. Darkness. Brutal tough darkness for all of his most loved ones. And many more of us by extension remembering him and others we've lost.

Winter Solstice (Yule) is celebrated with fire to symbolize the rebirth of the sun, of hope, of light. But some Decembers it's really hard to find that little flame of hope. But find it we must to go on and on with whatever time we have left, with our families and friends, with our passions and hopes and dreams.

We can never let that fire die out.

 


Fall Fun in SoCal 2015

Harper and I spent the last two weekends doing some traditional Fall activities. (Poor Kurt had to work.) First it was apple picking then a Fall Festival at the U-pick farm that we frequent throughout the year.

The apple farm we chose was Riley's Farm in Oak Glen. That's about a two hour drive without traffic. We got there right when they opened and thank goodness we did. It turned out to be the last day of apples (Granny Smiths) for the season and also pumpkin patch time for them.

We went first for apples.

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Then wandered around the pumpkin patch before heading back to the Hawks Head Tavern for an early lunch of Ye Olde Grilled Cheese.
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The food took a while so we made ourselves busy with selfies.

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Finally, lunch was eaten and then it was time to make a speech.

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We then left and I was so glad we'd gotten there early as the two lane road leading the farm was JAMMED on both sides for about 1/4 mile.

The next day we made apple pie. It was delicious! Before and After:

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I look forward to going back to that farm next year earlier in the season to get some red apples. 

I'm not the most crafty person in the world, don't know how to sew nor do I own a glue gun. But I actually made a Halloween Craft this year! Sewing and glue gun not required! It's small, only 10" around, but I love it. Harper helped me paint the snakes.

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Today was all about the Pumpkin Situation at our regular farm Underwood Family Farm. They have a full on Fall Festival every October with rides and games and and food and music along with all their regular farm fun stuff.

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The most fun for both of us was the Bean Box - an enclosed, shaded "Playpen" full of beans and various scoopers and cups. Harper could have stayed for hours. We were there for about 40 minutes. It was heaven.

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Holi Harper At Happyland

Harper's preschool celebrated the Indian holiday of Holi yesterday. It is a Hindu spring holiday celebrating love and colors. If you've seen people in India dressed in white throwing colorful powders at each other, that is Holi.

I think Harper had a good time! (Her teacher took these pics)

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By the time I got her, she was mostly cleaned up: clean shirt, clean face, etc. However, her hair was pretty well still colored in. It seemed like a great day at the preschool. I'm so glad she gets to be there.

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Halloween Round Up And A Bit More

Kids change your life, blah blah, you've heard it all before. The one part that I didn't anticipate was how my blog writing life would suffer. I mainly default to pictures of Harper simply because that's quick and easy. Okay okay I admit she's pretty cute too so I know it's not toooo horrible for you. (It's not, right??)

But I sometimes miss my really bloggy life. Writing about my time in Belfast on Game of Thrones - OMG that was five years ago this month. I miss writing about LA, events, music, food, wacky stuff. Remember when I walked the entirety of Western Ave in the Fall of 2008? That was amazing.

Even just random LA things "ICME" = It Caught My Eye stuff. Like this one:

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Saw on a car during one of my morning Constitutionals. Awesome.

 

 

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You know what I'm obsessed with lately? Serial Podcast. From the amazing people who do This American Life. I first heard about Serial no TAL, and thought - really? One Story for hours and hours? Now I am HOOKED! I wrote them fan mail. I can't wait to listen to today's episode! I can't wait to see what comes of it all and I can't wait to know what their next Serial story will be! How can they top this? It makes for great exercise listening as you don't want to STOP until the whole hour is done.

 

 

I like to garden, not a ton, but planting tomatoes and beans is fun every spring. Harper liked picking beans and eating them right off the shrub. For fall I planted a whole bunch of kale. It was doing great and I was excited to pick some to eat. Then Harper got sick, I got sick, Halloween, etc. So I went out to look and...uh...WTF!?

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Caterpillars!! Well, I hope there are lots and lots of beautifully healthy butterflies out there somewhere soon. Silver lining is, there are tiny sprouts of new leaves coming in the middle so maybe they got the first crop and there will be a second one coming along soon?

Fall seemed to arrive in late October. (Though today it's going to be 90 so whatever.) In the few moments we had cool weather, I introduced Harper to tea. (Plus I think it was nice for her cough roughened throat.) Chamomile and honey. I think she really liked the whole process including the teapot. Child sized Monkey teacups also helped.

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And then of course there was Halloween.

Kurt carved a pumpkin under Harper's watchful eye.

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She seemed to then  -- what's that phrase? -- look askance at it. But can you ever really trust a Jack-o-Lantern?

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At Harper's Preschool they had dress up day on the 30th. Harper had two costume choices and chose Princess Leia for that School Day. Of course she didn't want to put it on after all. But being wiser than I ever expected myself to be, I took it to school and, well, what do you know? She wanted to wear her costume after seeing everyone else dressed up!

Big Ups to Uncle Tom Ford for the costume. Best Princess Costume Ever! (Elsa who?)

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And the big night itself. We had a hand-me-down Tinkerbell costume that Harper also liked, but she was still being fussy about wearing it or the Leia costume for the actual night. I told her no trick or treating and especially, NO CANDY unless she put one of them on. She picked Tinkerbell and I just jammed it on her and we left.

We met up with the Other Harper and had two blocks of fun candy gathering. These first two pictures were taken by Other Harper's mom, Mercie. She is a fantastic photographer!

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This was just me with my iphone...

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Harper enjoyed herself quite a bit. And when we got home, I knew that she was going to love Halloween a lot from now on.

I quote Harper: "THIS IS ALL MINE!" while wrapping her arms around her haul. That's my girl!

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Easter Egg Hunt!

Okay it's almost two weeks gone now, but Easter was fun! We invited the "Other Harper" and her cousin Chloe for Harper's first Easter egg hunt. I went a bit overboard with Easter buckets and treats and about 40 eggs that we hid. (Plastic eggs with little toys inside.) Not much chocolate, she'll learn about that next year or the year after...

It was cute trying to explain to her that you take this bucket and all over the yard there are eggs for you to pick up. But she got the hang of it and collected her share. I did find one rogue egg in the yard yesterday, that made me laugh.

I remember one Easter when my parents were still married, so I was five or younger, and the day after Easter, all my sisters were at school and mom said, "come here, look under this" and she lifted up small BBQ cover and there were three chocolate eggs that no one had found. It was such a sweet moment between me and my mom. I loved that.

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Here she is after the hunt, enjoying her well deserved bagel. (Special Sunday treat!)

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