The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

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Week 1 – South Street & Smith Memorial Park

We started out at my sister’s house. My niece had a day off of work so we grabbed her and headed to South Street. The last time I’d been there was probably 20+ years ago and it wasn’t the same but we had fun.

We happened upon the Magic Gardens:

Outside The Magic Gardens

M was pretty grumpy as we’d just flown in the night before and it was pretty hot. Ok forget the excuses – that’s her default mood.

We had lunch at this largely empty pub. Free air hockey and a local cider, what more could you ask for?

Rachel and me at a pub

After lunch we headed to Smith Memorial Playground. Acres of playground


When I was a kid we at times sprayed furniture polish on the wooden floor, put socks on and slid back & forth. Some genius translated this to a slide!

You grab a gunny sack, run around the walkway and WHEEEEEEEEEEEEeeee down you go!

This little fellow helped us up at the bottom.

Texting & sliding.

No texts were harmed in the filming of this slide.

Not a bad “Intro to Summer Vacation.”

Found Sticks Christmas Tree

This is so cute. There are many variations on Pinterest. I think the original idea came from the Free People blog which is worth looking at.

I had these animals – they were plastic animals in a tube called Safari Ltd Arctic Animals Toob

I was going to make some necklaces with them but never got around to it.

First they need some bling.

My girls started blinging out the rest of the animals in the house.

When they ran out of animals they took the dinosaurs out of the garage and got them done up too!

Basically I hot glued any tiny beads, felt, sequins, fine yarns or cording/string onto the animals – really anything I liked. I stuck to a blue/silver/white color scheme. Kids refused to adhere to that so their animals are not welcome on my tree. I had some old moss from Michael’s from a few years ago so I used that too. Oh and tiny pine cones from Clover Park.

Tiny white lights would be cute if I didn’t have to go shopping for them etc. etc. I have a tiny set but the battery pack is huge and I’m afraid its weight will tear the whole shebang off the wall.

Here’s what I used:

- 4 or 5 animals embellished (you don’t have to but it’s fun!)
- sequins/beads/string/felt/fabric scraps etc for embellishment
- small to large sticks. Thick enough to hold some stuff on them. I was lucky – I collected so many I didn’t have to cut any.
- thumb tacks
- hot glue gun & tons of glue sticks
- moss
- tiny seeds/pinecones etc that can be found outside

You can get anything at Michael’s that can’t be found outside.

1. I laid out the sticks on the table.

2. I held them to the wall one at a time to see how they would best lay against the wall. I picked two spots that would touch the wall and squirted a big blob of hot glue there and stuck the back of the thumbtack in the blob. Then I used a hammer to hammer the whole kit and caboodle to the wall. Sometimes the thumbtack cracked off or fell off but at least I had the placement and could just hammer the thumbtack into the wall then hot glut the stick onto the thumbtack again.

3. I made the little star out of some tiny twigs I had – I just wrapped yard around them to hold them together. Kind of like starting a God’s eye. You could also make a tiny stick star and paint it gold etc! Or make a yellow/gold god’s eye! Add glitter!!!

4. Now the fun part, add moss/seeds/shells/nuts etc. with hot glue. Finally glue your animals on. Mine are Narnia inspired.

I love how it came out!

Top 3 Gifts Every New Parent Needs

I have like 5 posts started that I can’t seem to finish so I decided to be more concise.

Instead of onesies, baby blankets and tiny socks get your new parent friends these:

1. Dustbuster. Maddie was about 4 months old when G gave me a Dustbuster for Christmas. At the time I was so mad at him. What a TERRIBLE gift. As if I am expected to do all the housework! 6 years later I still have it and I don’t know what I’d do with out.

2. Headlamp. You don’t need any lamps in your bedroom for a few years of you plan to co-sleep. How many nights did I end up in bed around 7:30pm with the baby? Was I ready to sleep? No way. We had one of those babies that demanded to be held and bounced for hours on end. (I know, operator error…) With my headlamp I was able to read my stacks of New Yorkers while bouncing her on the exercise ball. I just put the magazine on the bed and was able to pass the time. Headlamps are also great if you need to get up in the middle of the night (and you will) without waking the other two or three people in the room.

3. Last but not least Ear Plugs. Our first baby was the wake up shrieking type. After a year of sleeping no more than 1-2 hours in a row I was hallucinating and planning to fake my own kidnapping when G picked up some earplugs from Rite Aid. We started taking turns sleeping with her but we both wore earplugs to dull the shocking wake ups. Now I wear them to drown out G’s snoring, breathing or any signs up human life, Root Beer’s wee hour barking forays in the backyard and the kids cries. Yes, over a year ago I instructed both kids that I am to be woken only if they are covered in vomit or their room is on fire.

That’s it for now!

I’ll be back

I’ve been gone but miss writing my blog. Our family has needed us this year. Also, I’m trying to get some kind of third career going so that by the time the kids are in school I can make a little income.

In the midst of “being busy” (and wondering how much of this busy-ness is a choice?) I remember working crazy hours the year my mom got sick. I worked so much that if I ever got home “early” (like at 9PM) I had no idea what to do with myself. I worked most weekends too. Unless it was a client dinner I had no idea how to socialize or have fun. One night I had an anxiety dream in which my family was driving away from me and I couldn’t get to the car to get in before they left. Shortly after that my mom’s cancer was diagnosed and three months later she was gone.

Our friends have just suffered a huge loss – of a young mom/wife. We are in shock. Our hearts are broken and keep breaking for them.

By December I should have some free time back and I plan to protect it for important things.

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or of a season?

-Robert Frost

From “Reluctance”



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