Wednesday, December 27, 2006

greetings from rancho mirage


so much of what i love about this area is gone. replaced by strip malls. and more strip malls.

but there are still vestiges of what it was

and it is a treat to be with family that i rarely see. cousins who are now parents too. and eight kids who are meeting together for the first time. two eight year olds, two five year olds, two four year olds and two two year olds. perfect.

hope yours was as noisy and wonderful as ours!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

wishing you all


happy holidays from our house to yours. . .

see you in the new year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

wow. thank you all so much. i don't get near my sewing machine nearly as often as i would like and it is extremely gratifying to get so much positive feedback! thank you!

things are winding down. not necessarily because i want them to but because tomorrow my mom arrives and i don't want a long list of things to do once she is here. (though i still do want to try and get nightgowns sewn for the girls. a tradition that we have established - and one from my own childhood.)

tradition. i think so important to the season. we are trying hard to move away from the commercial aspects and to more spiritual. together time. established memories. i remember carefully unwrapping decorations from my youth and placing them on our tree much more clearly than what i unwrapped from under the tree.


this angel adds to that. over 50 years ago a woman on our street - long since moved away - decided to try and get everyone into the spirit of things. to have each street in our neighborhood "themed" to the season - "Candy Cane Lane", "Candlelight Lane" and "Avenue of the Bells". ours being the latter. each house was outfitted with a decoration to that theme. our street was once lined with angels ringing bells. every house was lit and the area became a destination during the holiday season. there have been murmurs of a decline. complaints of too many "inflatables" etc. the angels are disappearing, replaced with giant Rudolphs, Grinches and Santas. this year about half a dozen grace our neighbors yards. when our dear neighbor moved away this past summer she gave us her angel, and we promised we would use it, though she was missing her bell. (we bought our home from the original owner, who was jewish, and also mentioned to us this holiday tradition, and how the homes where hanukkah was celebrated would deck out in blue lights, and she even placed a giant menorah on her front lawn.) by luck, another neighbor and friend mentioned last week that they had a bell, but were missing their angel and would gladly pass theirs to us. kismet. i love it. tradition.

what are you passing on?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

it may be true

that no one cares what one has for lunch. . .
(although I beg to differ)

but perhaps we could agree that it is important what one carries their lunch in?

lunchbags for wee nieces

we went through this debate when the big bug went off to school. which got me to thinking. and i decided in the spirit of making gifts as much as i could this year, that we would address that issue again. i think it was stephanie that mentioned that her household had used oilcloth bags. so i set to work. one for each of my nieces. and a water bottle too. (the girls use these bottles and i think they are really really great - "totally inert lining that won't leach harmful chemicals", so easy to clean, and cute to boot.)

lunchbag & bottle for older nieces

hanukkah down. christmas to go. . .

Friday, December 15, 2006

tonight at sundown

at sundown

i don't talk about it much. doesn't seem to be that important. it is just the way it is. it has never really been an issue. both our families have made it easy. {thank you families!} as the big bug says: "My family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas; because my dad is Jewish and my mom is Canadian." {Anglican too.}

i love that we have embraced both. i love the history that judaism brings to christianity. i love celebrating holidays that have been around for so many many years. d is not observant. but i am. and celebrating both works for us. we don't chrismukkah it. we try and keep them as separate as we can. {tough some years, such as this one, where the calendar deems otherwise.} but anyway. it works for us.

may the holiday bring peace, joy and light to all

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

night on the town {shameless promotion}


as i have said before. we don't get out too much. and i miss it. so when d's dear cousin and his bride-to-be passed through town yesterday {on their way to Yale - congrats again Jesse!} we decided it was the perfect excuse to get the whole family together and head to dinner. where? d's brother and sister-in-law's {she's the pastry chef} restaurant of course.

table for 21 under the neon and stars thank you very much. the company awesome. {this big overwhelming loud family has become a love of my life.} and the food {of course} was amazing!

party of 22

on the subject of shameless promotions - has anyone else fallen for these? environmentally friendly, sweet-smelling, crackly fire goodness they are in heavy rotation at our house on these chilly socal winter nights.

Monday, December 11, 2006

slowing down / looking up

so many events of last week threw me for a loop. as they did to others as well. such sadness. and inspiration. a mix of emotions. and a reevaluation. especially poignant this time of year.

so while things may have been quiet here in this "virtual" space. they haven't been so in my "real" world. last week was a whirlwind of school and preschool events. too much really. but oh so good to be part of at the same time. parties, concerts. and this coming weekend doesn't look much better. worse in fact. 'tis the season.

our saturday was full too. and wonderful. a trip to the scholastic warehouse sale with e's school librarian. a holiday gift from the pta to the school. a trip to felt club and dinner at fred62 with dear dear friends/neighbours. (so great to finally meet lizette in person, and chebang too.)

sunday we played catch-up. the second sunday in advent. a tree. a long nap. hot cocoa and sitting by the fire. the look on k's face when she awoke from said nap and came around the corner.

sunday was the way i wish it all could be. not worrying about what comes next. what hasn't gotten done. just savouring the day and (at the back of my mind) knowing what needs to get done will, and what doesn't, well, it won't. and that is ok too. e worried that our advent activities would end too soon as we haven't finished our stockings. i assured her that we would still do the activities. that was the important part. not the delivery. but the content. i know that the events of last week reminded me of that. let go. enjoy. savour. peace. make the time to be with those i love the most. (the most important thing to make on my list this year.)

thanks so much for all your comments on d's bench. i am so very proud of all he does. and thank you too for the teacher gift suggestions. we are planning on a combo, gift card, zippered pouch, portrait by e. will let you know how it goes! have a lovely monday.

just read amanda's post. perfect.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

give the man a hammer

and he will build it.

built by d view2

in all honesty he built it about a year and a half ago. but we only now got around to doing the upholstery. i thought i would do it myself. we had the fabric (you know it steph!). but my little machine wasn't up for the challenge. and quite frankly with all that is going on neither was i. (the little time i have for sewing i try to fill with manageable and fun projects. things i can get done in an evening for two and reap that immediate satisfaction! pillows to go here are on that list.)

so for a year and half it has been a stage platform for the girls. many theatrical productions have debuted here. and it has been much needed storage for puzzles and games and lego and lego and lego. and gift wrap. (my own special long drawer for gift wrap!)

built by d view3

i thought the girls might miss the stage. but they love the space to cuddle, lounge, nap, read and more, more. we have another couch around the corner - in front of the fireplace - but this space here is meant to be very kid-friendly. a spot to hang out in while i'm in the kitchen.

it is just what i imagined it would be. goes with the other storage solutions too. and just in time for the holidays. thanks d. along with the hammer i'll give you a big kiss. you deserve it!

on a completely unrelated note i need your help. what do you give to the teachers in your life for the holidays? last year we made these - which e loved putting together. i think that they were well-received but i never really know. i'd love to add some ideas to our arsenal... thanks!

Monday, December 04, 2006

twas 21 nights before christmas

and so the countdown begins . . .


the advent activities have begun:
day one - hot chocolate with all the fixings
day two - paint everyone's toenails (green was the color of choice this year)
day three - decadent bubble bath in the new tub! . . .


and my childhood favorite - that standby of Clement Clarke Moore, illustrated by Florence Sara Winship - has been pulled out for reading. i know it by heart. can sing it even. the girls pour over the illustrations as my brother and i did what seems not-so-long-ago. (he was always the mouse sticking out his tongue. mine was always the pink boot stocking.)

Daddy Buddy

hold on tight to your family. and keep this family in your thoughts and prayers...
12.04 good news
12.06 james kim has been found deceased in the oregon wildernenss. prayers and peace to his family and friends. . . donations may be made here. and watch for other ways to help the family from lisa, stephanie and their mom.