Bye bye Los Angeles

Yup, then we are back to reality again...
We changed from almost summer mood straight into advent and Christmas mood. 
I have been dressing my home into a more festive costume today but need to add some christmas inspired flowers or green plants before completely satisfied.
Today has also been a day of contemplating and kind of summing up our week in Los Angeles
Did we have a wonderful week there?
Is there sand in the dessert?
So many nice things we have done and so many wonderful experiences to add to our memory bank. 
The weather, the food, the activities and the ambience...
Happy kids ( most of the times though), togetherness and family bonding.
Not to mention our beautiful friends who were such a big part in making this week so special. 
Big brother Alex was painfully missed but I guess not always being with us is part of growing older and I know that he also had a good time where he was. 
Feeling so lucky leaving that place with a heart filled of love and our whole trip wrapped in this blanket of beautiful friendship. 
Life is good:)

A Hollywood hike

Being in Los Angeles one have to do at least something associated with the Hollywood sign.
So why not trying to hike up there?!
It was a little bit too far for my youngest daughter to climb the whole way, although I have a feeling she has been a mountain goat in a former life, but we managed to do a decent trip anyway and with the sign constantly present in the corner of our eyes it still felt magical. 
Despite some grumpiness from the adult side of our family I'm so happy that we did this and got a chance to see a different LA. 
A dry, barren but still very beautiful terrain leading up to that wellknown landmark made me realise that beauty really comes in different forms.
To see the kids looking out for each other, giving a helping hand when needed and supporting words to encourage each other that is beauty on the highest level. 
And again I feel very grateful that I'm able to experience and share all this beauty with my family, with my friends and with all other millions of people that had the same idea as us:)

Along the beach...

Yesterday we were told to avoid taking the car due to terrible thanksgiving traffic.
Luckily we stay right on the beach of Santa Monica so what was better than to enjoy some time along this entertaining area. 
It was very windy so despite being almost blown away, being blinded by all the blowing sand and some grumpy kids we still managed to get in some quality time:)
I could not resist that happy feeling that was spreading out in my body seeing all those colourful additions to the buildings, to all the stands along the boardwalk with things for sale and to all those colourful minds that we're doing their best to entertain the people passing by.
So when all the sand was wiped away from the eyes ( I still must have had a whole sand dune in my eyes though not paying attention to that big pole shadowing my photo), the sour faces replaced by smiles and with the wind in our backs we all agreed that this place never looses its magic. 
Yup, a perfect activity when "stuck" on Santa Monica's beach:)

Jumping in Los Angeles

What can be better than hanging out with your kids and a friend that means tonnes to you while on vacation?!
To be able to share laughs, problems, sadness, happiness, yes everything that fits into the word life. 
To be able to grow tighter just because you are sharing...
I think friendship is pretty well reflected in our "jumping" session. 
Sometimes you have the same goals but not the same rhythm and therefore you jump at different times but if you don't give up you will find the balance and together you will be able to reach the stars. 
When I look at these pictures my heart overflows with love and happiness for being one of those people who are lucky enough to be surrounded by both a wonderful family and one of these beautiful friends that are striving to find that rhythm so we can jump together and maybe reach even higher...
Even in LA you don't need to do things in order to feel that life is pretty good. 
Family, friendship and maybe a little jump is all I need:)

A Californian adventure...

Time passes strangely enough also here in LA but meanwhile I fill it with family time, friends and sunshine. 
Yesterday Disneyland's Californian adventure was paid a visit 
To be clear I am only doing this for the kids. 
I am not a fan of roller coasters, tower of terrors or other vomit induced attractions but I love to watch the kids excitements and their big smiles after a ride. 
I love to see the kids bond and how they look after each other. 
I love to watch my husband spending some valuable father-daughter time...
And I love to share our experiences with our very special friends. 
The lines were too long for all the attractions which meant we did not manage to get on to so many rides but we met Olaf, we had cotton candy and we travelled deep down under the sea in the land of Ariel the little mermaid. 
A full day in the kids paradise.
Too many people and too long lines but it did not matter when you are surrounded by family and friends you love, laugh and share life with. 
We arrived in sunshine and left in the dark but with the sun still present in our hearts and mind. 

Our first day in LA

Los Angeles, here we are!
I had booked us all in at the spa for a massage when we arrived just to kickstart our holiday.
Oh my , that was a perfect way to start off this week.
After that we saw long-time-no-see friends at their home here in "da hood" end enjoyed both their warmth and friendship and shared big laughs and good food together. 
No complaints what so ever our first day here:)
This morning we all woke up with a desire to live the californian lifestyle and some of us went for a run along the beach down to Venice beach. 
Just because...
How wonderful is not this?
The best thing is that we now have the whole week in front of us ready to be filled with beautiful friends, fun things and relaxing times. 
Life is good!!!

A Friday before departure...

I can't help but loving Friday's. 
Especially fridays before a saturday departure to Los Angeles!
And Fridays before holiday times, family time and friendship times.
Before leaving I had to fill my house with flowers though...
Like a tribute to life, sunshine and happiness.
So unnecessary because we are leaving but still so beautiful and very effective considering keeping up the good mood, passing along positive vibes and beautifying the house:)
A perfect way to fuel the exciting bubbles in my veins, the butterflies in my stomach and the longing of seeing very special friends again. 
Los Angeles here we come! Whoop whoop!

Family and friends fun

Be prepared for a picture galore!
Some of the family spent the Sunday with friends in a sculpture park in the lower Hudson valley and I just found it hard to pick among all the photos I took...
Such a beautiful park to stroll around in while enjoying large-scale sculptures and installations of a contemporary spirit. 
Cool mirror installations that gave the reality a twist. 
The colour of love was present everywhere in the park, almost like a reminder to humanity...
Art in a "natural" form, above and under the water and just in the landscaping itself. 
Stunning, majestic and very touching. 
Challenging and fun...
And of course with all the walking an enormous appetite followed...
A sunny Storm King park gave us a perfect day for a picnic, some culture and some "watering" of friendships!

A gala for the children

Last night it was time for some glamour but with a serious cause. 
It was time for the annual Save the children gala that my husband's company supports and is involved in.
Every year I feel so much gratefulness to what this organisation accomplish and especially when the world is as up side down as it is at the moment. 
It makes my heart bleed knowing that so many kids are struggling with the every day living and that so many of them not even will survive.
At the same time my heart is filled with love for those who really contribute in trying to make these kids childhood to continue. 
The glamour was found in the venue, plaza hotel, all the beautiful people and in the host Jennifer Garner. 
A country singer, Brad Paisley and another actress , Olivia Wilde, also contributed to the sparkling evening.
Glamour in all its pride but it was the seriousness and the passion from these people, trying to change the future for these kids, that really made a stamp in my mind.
Three new goals from save the children has been set up:
To make sure no child under age 5 dies from preventable causes
To give all children a chance to learn from a quality basic education
And that violence against children will no longer be tolerated. 
And if it takes a nice dinner at a fancy place to get people to invest in these goals and in childhood, there is absolutely no harm in that:)

A bouncy Saturday.

Bouncing parties are very popular in Bella's age. 
This passed weekend one's had a glow-in-the-dark theme added to the usual bouncing. 
A "glowing" necklace and a bracelet, a group of kids and endless of dark bouncing areas and the success was given.
Patient the kids just stood in the line waiting for their turns, some of them dancing, some of them chewing their necklaces but most of them eagerly jumped up and down before they could let themselves go in that heaven of bouncing.
After the bouncing they need to recharge their batteries so a pizza, a cake and some fruit normally fulfill that need. Some extra attention for the birthday kid is also squeezed into that "pit stop". 
All activities are carefully timed at these party factories and it is normally a fast and furious experience.
As usual Bella in the end does not really care in what form the party is in but it's the hanging out with friends that seems to make her experience so positive. 
And to that I have nothing to object...
Happy kids are happy parents:)
Yup, one could say we had a bouncy start of our Saturday but luckily in a good way. 

Play time!

Despite whats happening around our world our globe still continues to spin. 
That is what we also need to do, not spin though, but continue to follow the love in our hearts, our values about freedom, equality and fraternity and never give up what that stands for.
The eight graders play that were performed this passed weekend added an extra dimension to my already confused mind. 
The yearning for answers about who we are and why we are here went like a red thread through the play (mixed in  with today's struggle and joys with technology) and after what happened in Europe that question really got accentuated. 
I must say that the actors were doing such wonderful job and seemed to really enjoy the acting. 
It was almost like they felt proud of what the play stood for and eager to share a bit of their own reality.
Two nights and one day of performances and then it's over and life for these kids goes back to normal.
I have a feeling Olivia will feel a little empty then with no rehearsals, no commitments and a whole lot of extra time.
And at the same time happy, releaved and proud to have been one of the chosen.
A terrible Friday in the world but a beautiful evening in Montclair. 
Life is unfortunately and sadly very unfair...

Verona park

When the "real" nature is nowhere to be find close to me, our parks in our neighbourhood is definitely a good enough choice for a walk, for contemplation or just to escape home for a little while. 
The colours are still so beutiful although I think it's on it's last breath. 
Its not the sea, it's not the mountains but the water and the green vegetation is such a beautiful combination and works just as fine when there is an itch in the "nature nerv". 
Without kids or actually without any company I so enjoyed my own little chaotic bubble in that magical kingdom of Verona park.
I got my pulse to beat, my legs to work , my brain to rest and my eyes to enjoy for an hour. 
A wonderful way to spend a sunny day.
Hippy happy weekend!

A difficult childhood

My youngest one went to see the doctor today.
While the doctor was chatting to my daughter I just sat there listening and happened to find out a few things about my daughter's childhood. 
I learnt that she has absolutely no toys...
I learnt that when she comes home from school there is nothing to do...
I learnt that the only thing I cook is salads...
And the only thing she eats is Nutella. She loves Nutella. And water melon.
I found out that her mean mom always send her to school despite tummy ache, cold or tiredness. 
That she is NEVER allowed to stay home from school.
The only day she was allowed to stay at home was when she had been vomiting the whole night and how fun was that then?!
I also learnt that I don't care about anything...
Well, maybe I care about her... and Alex, Olivia and Max. But nothing else.
I also found out that I'm always doing my homework. Always.
And that her dad does not like pets. At all.
All of these truth in less than 10 minutes
What a difficult childhood this little lady is having.
I cant wait for her to become a teenager...
Meanwhile I'm going to cuddle up with her, bury my nose in her neck and tell her how much I love her. 
In case she has never heard that before...

A friendship sprinkled with laughter

Today I saw another beautiful friend I have not seen for a couple of month. 
Whenever we see each other we hug and we eat.
We have gotten into a routine of trying out restaurants all over New Jersey ( well at least around here...) and today we ended up in Jersey city. 
A beautiful restaurant at one of the piers with a view of Manhattan. 
Despite the grey and rainy day it was still such wonderful experience with the skyline, the water and all the lanterns inside. The cloud almost gave it a dreamy look...
The food was good but the company was even better. 
I fuel'd up on my friend and got every hole in my soul covered.
So grateful for all this beautiful people around me.
And to have a friendship sprinkled with laughter, that makes even a raindrop look like a diamond.
Yup that was a Tuesday right up my alley:)

A farewell to choking...

Remember I went to a sleep study a couple a weeks ago to find out why I wake up with choking sensations?
So now i know why.
Tangled up in all those wires trying to sleep seemed to have been successful. 
My tounge is falling down and clogging the airways. 
It can apparently happen and is caused by gravity, age and weight gain (!).
And I seem to fit into that criteria like a hand in a glove...
Its not easy to grow old.
The fact that everything I like is rich in calories, fattening and absolutely wonderful to indulge but apparently make me choke is kind of sad.
Thats unfortunately also the only thing I'm in totally charge of.
I can't do anything about gravity ( but sleeping with an extra pillow), I can't do anything about ageing but I can actually do something about my food intake ( read chocolate, whipped cream and bagels).
I guess what I'm now writing is a farewell letter to salty caramel and chocolate balls, whipped cream on a hot chocolate and jumbo pretzels covered in chocolate.
Hopefully that is also a farewell to choking...
A new Monday and a new chapter in life for an ageing woman with a couple of extra " satisfaction weight"!
Wish me good luck!!!

Animal farm

So was this weekend gone!
Today was sunny but crispy and after all of us having watched the new Bond movie ( which I actually did not like so much) I felt as chilly in my soul as it was outside. 
So glad I have dressed two of my chairs in a warming winter outfit then...
When it's getting colder outside we need to bring in warmth in our homes and blankets, sheepskins and a lot of candles definitely do a good job regarding that. 
Even though it might look like you are living on an animal farm...😜
A new blank week lies in front of us ready to get filled with life, a "mindly" present mom and a whole lot of time I have not had for weeks. 
I definitely am ready for next week.
Bring on the Monday!
Tjing tjong


I am done!
Finished all my hysterical writing, analysing and interpretations of the stars energy regarding my certification in feng shui. 
Now its time to fill up the fridge so the kids have something to eat.
Its time to water my dying plants with water and my abandoned family with love...
So much work, so many new insights and so interesting. 
Not to mention all the fun...
If I pass ( or when) this certified feng shui consultant ( me) will create harmony in homes with a big big smile!!!
But first I need to get there:)
At least I have finished and accomplished something and can cross that from my list, and that my friend is also good feng shui.
While I'm waiting for the result I might as well start introducing myself to the world again after having been gone for so long. 
Hello world, I'm back 😜

The "nook"

This time of year is all about the book fair at MKA. 
A couple of weeks ago I set up the bulletin board and today it was time for the little nook. 
The theme is "peace, love and books" which has been so easy and so grateful to work with. 
I had flower power, peace signs, colours and happiness in mind and those ingredients I tried to pass on to the nook as well. 
And I think I did just that. 
Only by judging the happy look from the creator I can see how peaceful, loving and happy everyone is going to be sitting in that nook reading their books 😜.
I had wonderful help from volunteers who immediately executed every little wish or demand from me even if it was only about moving a part two inches up or down. 
Now there are only balloons missing on the book tables and of course all the students browsing all the books while feeling groovy. 
And in case they don't like my little nook I do have a feeling they will appreciate all the pillows I have provided...
Yup, that was my totally hippy happy Wednesday!

A boost of friendship

Last week in the middle of my certifikation work I had a long-time-no-see friend visiting!
Like an angel she stood outside my door with her arms wide open ready to embrace both me and our friendship. 
How great it is with that kind of friend you just start off where you ended last time.
Ok we actually did not know where to start because there was so many things that had filled our life between then and now but just seeing her created bubbles in my bloodstream. 
We went in to Soho, we lunched, we small talked, we walked, we laughed, we shopped, we dinnered, we deep talked, we brunched, we laughed more, we jumped and we did everything that filled our hearts with love, togetherness and friendship. 
And not only did I fuel up on my beautiful friend but I also got to know her other friend too so i feel like I won the lottery. Two for one:)
When my friend left on the Sunday I realised how lucky I am to have such beautiful friends all over the world. 
They are like flowers in a big big garden!
Unique, energy rising and so good for my soul!

Christmas is here!

We have just celebrated Halloween and suddenly my grocerystore has removed all spooky stuff and is now full of Christmas!
No wonder I feel time is just flying by...
There is no time in between to breathe or enjoy the actual feast for very long because focus is always what comes next. 
So now we are apparently only waiting for the snow to come since Santa and everything that comes with him already has arrived. 
Why are we in such a rush?
Why can we not just live in the moment and so called seize the day?
So now I'm going to cuddle up in the sofa writing wish lists for Santa and maybe already start planning the food for our Easter dinner cause I think I need to learn how to live fast so I don't risk missing anything. 
Or I can just make myself a nice cup of tea, put my feet on the table and enjoy this very moment in the silence of a Sunday night without any plans. 

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