Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Here Comes Santa Claus!

On Sunday Dale and I went to Rogers Gardens in Newport Beach.  We picked one of the coldest nights of the year so far to do it, but it was beautiful.  It was so festive walking around in the wonderland of lit up trees in the garden.  There weren't very many people there that night and as we were strolling around towards  the back of the garden, out by the gazebo, we were very surprised to see Santa sitting way out there all by himself!  A very friendly but bored Santa, happy to see some visitors!  I wanted to take his picture but he said only if I was sitting on his lap.  So here I am after I don't know how many years, sitting on Santa's lap.  I've been very very good this year so I think that it was the best possible time to check back in with the big guy.  I am looking forward to a very Merry Christmas, Santa said so!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Hooray Autumn and Brett flew down for Thanksgiving and stayed with us a few days! Unfortunately the day of our celebration I came down with a bad cold which kept me out of the kitchen.  But Hooray again for Autumn, Brett and Becky for stepping up and making a delicious meal with home made pies and everything!  You guys rock!

Everything was delicious....and came seasoned with a dash of goofball!

Melody, Tim, Jaina and Gavin, the adorable Rosemeyer family!  It was so hard for me to keep my distance from everyone, but I didn't want to share the bug!

Auntie Autumn and Uncle Brett met Gavin for the first time.

Autumn sets up the table,

while Auntie Becky delights Jaina with how to ride a bucking turtle!

Cowgirl Jaina takes a turtle ride!
Finally a few quiet moments for Auntie Becky with Jaina! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm Dreaming of a Nutcracker Christmas....

It started innocently enough.   I remember very clearly (although Becky denies this), when she was a young girl of about 10 or so, Becky picking up a nutcracker in a store and proclaiming something along the lines  of "oh this is so cute?"   "How come we don't have one of these?"  I was some what surprised by the comment as I have always found nutcrackers to be fairly ugly and creepy with their nut eating mouths.  None the less being the attentive and resourceful mother that I am when after Christmas I spotted a package of 4 small nutcrackers, each about 4 inches tall and a good 50% off,  I picked up a box as a special surprise for Becky the next year.    Much to my dismay the following year, Becky picked up the package of nutcrackers and proclaimed them to be " the most hideous things on the planet".  "That is what I have always thought" I said in my defense.  And of course this was followed by her next question of "then why would you ever buy them".  I launched into my explanation of being a good and resourceful mother and that it all traced back to her original comment, but she of course wanted no part of it and denied that she would have ever uttered such a thing.  And so the question of what to do with the nutcrackers quickly arose.  A solution was found (and I can't honestly say who started this) when they began to show up with regular frequency in unexpected places. I found one buckled into my car, dangling from the chandelier,  hanging around my pitcher of Ice Tea, and inside my purse while I was out shopping.  The next day (or more likely later the same morning)  I put one under her pillow, hung one on the shower head, put one in her school backpack and one in her shoe.     Revenge came fast and furious with no one in the house safe from being "nutcrackered".  We surprised each other with them daily for the rest of the holiday season, and started a family tradition that held steady for each of the following years.

Becky lived at home her first year of college, but I was already formulating a tentative idea for the next year.  Unfortunately Dale and I had to take a trip during the month of December and we were gone for over a week.  When we returned home Becky and Autumn had been very busy turning our bedroom into a nutcracker wonderland.  Nutcrackers proved to be rather expensive but they had come up with the clever idea of making them from terra cotta pots, but when this turned too expensive they used paper cups stacked on each other and painted a pile of them to look like nutcrackers.  Hideous as they were it was also all very charming and of course I was stuck with them in my bedroom for the rest of the season.  

I knew that by the next Christmas Becky would be in her own place so being the resourceful and lucky mother that I am, when I happened into Target on the day of their 90% off clearance of all Christmas items and saw their piles of leftover nutcrackers too hideous to have already been purchased, well I just had to get me a cart full.  Oh the post holiday joy I felt loading that cart full of true treasures all at 90% off, why that was practically free, and so I felt completely justified in hitting up the next closest target for another cart full.  I had a lesson to teach...don't mess with Momma!  I also happily came upon (After a great deal of searching) on some nutcracker fabric with nice sized nutcrackers that could be cut out and appliqued on just about anything....and so I did.  Pillows, potholders, kitchen towels, stockings...whatever I could get my hands on.   That year I rang in the preseason with a lot of painting projects too.  Her apartment had a loft which I thought would be the perfect place for a nutcracker arcade..and so I created a few clever games all with a big ole nutcracker painted as the target.  I scored a bin full of nutcracker ornaments all heavily discounted prior to that year too.  With the help of her roommate who left the key out for me to get into her apartment (and later regretted this decision) her apartment was bedecked with wreaths and trees and swags of nutcracker garlands and nutcrackers everywhere!  Such a merry good time.  

The following year was rather busy with Becky's impending move to Chicago and not a lot of nutcrackering was done, but as a happy coincidence of that move out of her last apartment, I am now in possession of all of the nutcrackers.  What to do, what to do?  Becky's current place is well within a nutcrackering driving zone, and she has bemoaned her current lack of decor in the place..........still she has said she feels the place is a little bit dismal and really wants to use the holidays to fix it up cute.  The fate of the nutcrackers this year is yet to be determined but I guess I just want to point out to her the warmth and value from strong family traditions.  Traditions are what the holidays are all about....try to keep that in mind Becky!  

Is it just my imagination...or does Becky look more and more like a nutcracker every year?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Love L.A.!

Last night Becky and I went out to eat at this beautiful Japanese restaurant, Yamishiro, that sits  high on a hill in Hollywood.  We sat looking out at this incredible view while we had a cocktail and ate some dinner.  What was left of the stress from the drive up to Hollywood melted away and I felt very happy to be there enjoying that special moment with my lovely daughter.  I had driven to Hollywood to watch Becky's improv show at IO.  I left the house at 4:50 and barely squeaked in a couple of minutes after the show had started at 7:30.  Traffic stinks!!!  When I left the house I had envisioned arriving about a half an hour early and unwinding and relaxing while enjoying a glass of wine in the bar that is the entryway to the theater.  A perfect introduction to a comedy show.  Instead I self consciously crept in riddled with tension and a grumpy inner voice I had to quell that was grumbling "just try to make me laugh, suckers!"  Pretty much exactly the kind of audience member I envision all comedians want to perform for.  In spite of my irritable inner child, I did enjoy the show very much and had a wonderful time afterwards.   Turns out my fussy inner child settles down very nicely when given a nice white wine "bobby",  a pretty city view "mobile", and a darling little playmate to talk to.   Definitely worth the hassle to be part of the fun and enjoy time with Becky. 

 Fortunately coming home the roads were wide open and I got back in about 45 minutes.  Next time I go up by myself  I will leave even earlier and plan on finding a nice coffee house to hang out in for a bit.   

We loved this very pretty koi pond room at the restaurant.  We took a moment to decide if we wanted to eat in here, it is so cute, but in the end the beautiful city view won out.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Take me out to the ball game!

Saturday we brought our honorary nieces Lauren and Emily with us and Becky met up with us for a play day at Dodger's Stadium.  It was a fundraiser for C5 LA a great organization that supports kids in the inner city with leadership development programs and with very special summer programs on a ranch in Wyoming.  Dale is on the board of directors.  C5LA has a phenomenal success ratio, with 100% of the graduating group last year going on to attend college.

Batter Up!  The brave among us (Lauren, Becky and Dale),  hit a few balls pitched by Dodgers on the field.  First Lauren hit a couple, then Becky had a few good hits.

The Mighty Dale at  bat.  Dale had quite a few good hits!  I love how his tongue is sticking out a bit in this photo.  That is Dale's look when he is concentrating in sports. ( It totally cracked me up when we were taking ballroom dance lessons a few years ago and I would look up at him with his tongue out..very suave!)

After loading up on dodger dogs, soda and Cracker Jacks, the girls took a few moments to enjoy running around on the field, and we got a behind the scenes tour of Dodger stadium.

Afterwards we went over to The Grove to have dinner and check out the sights, especially the American Girl Doll Store, which we love!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

I love a reason to celebrate and last night was Halloween and so much fun!   My niece Melody and her husband Tim came over with little Jaina and baby Gavin and they really lit the place up.  We are all about trick or treating at our house.  I have a few strings of Orange and Yellow lights that I hang up and a giant pumpkin that really lights up the neighborhood.  I usually wait till the day of Halloween to hang them up.  This year while I was using my broomstick to reach the lights on the hooks I was thinking  how appropriate, me and my broomstick ride again!  My normally sweet and supportive husband Dale metamorphoses into the Grinch every year at the first sign of hanging outdoor lighting.  These were just a few strands of Halloween lights but he still managed to have to take a few very important business calls on Sunday, that got him completely out of helping.  Of course when the work was all done (and he knew it) he made a point of asking me if I needed any help.  Last year I left the lights up for a week and then convinced Dale when the the Halloween lights came down we should just put the Christmas lights up and not plug them in for a couple of weeks.  Which we did and I was glad to get it done but Becky was soooo disappointed.  She loves to be there when Dale has to deal with the lighting...totally cracks her up!   It was so inspiring she actually started writing a Christmas musical the year before....hope she finishes that one day, it was great.  Guess I better make sure we wait for her this year.  It's a slow process with Dale grumbling and Becky laughing and taking notes but it's tradition!

 Jaina was totally into trick or treating this year and Melody and I had a great time taking her around the neighborhood.  When we got home she really enjoyed working the door and would run for the candy bucket when she heard the door and gleefully proclaim "Here Pick one!"  Too cute!

We always have a couple of huge tubs of candy to give out on Halloween.  Dale is a two fisted door watcher and just loads them up when they come to the house.  It's always hard to calculate how much to buy.  Plus I have to figure in how much we are all going to eat that night...which is also a lot! Jaina had been hitting the candy pretty hard and her mom was telling her..."Jaina you have to eat some dinner if you are going to eat anymore candy!"  She had a bowl of spaghetti noodles that she had been ignoring.  It pretty much summed up the consumption of the night when I looked over and saw that she was eating the noodles but using a Kit Kat Chocolate bar as her fork!  

Gavin and my guy