I have very few relics from my past, if anything – photos, records, old concert tees, clothes, yearbooks, artwork. My parents moved out of our childhood house when I was living on the West Coast and couldn’t bring a lot with them to the smaller apartment they were moving into at the time so I’m assuming most of my stuff got trashed since I wasn’t there to save anything.
I don’t miss much and in a way there’s something to be said of having to remember things from memory and not through material bits of old relics and ephemera, but I must admit, sometimes I miss the objects of my childhood, particularly my high school years (records!!!).
The few items that I have include the drawings that are framed and hung in my mom’s house, a vintage sweater whose color I’ve called salmonberry because it’s a particular super bright coral pink color that seem to be only found in vintage knitwear – do you know what I’m talking about? The Thriller record, a heart necklace given to me by my best friend from high school…and now this crystal pendant that I recently found again.
Did I ever tell you I made jewelry during my time in art school? For 3 years I played around with crystals, beads, silver wire, semi precious stones and sold them on consignment in stores, in flea markets (I sold at the flea market that rents from my kids’ school, a crazy full circle moment), as a street vendor, at events. My necklaces even went down the runway once at a fashion show held at a night club. I think my hands and eyes got burnt out after 3 years of handling tiny little beads and findings and such. When I moved out to the Northwest, I abandoned all jewelry making. I never kept any of the pieces, except this tiny single point amethyst necklace.
I found it at the bottom of a jewelry box I rarely open the other day. I don’t know… something made me pick it up and put it on again. It was strangely comforting, you know? Like a link to some past I don’t have much connection with anymore, like a good luck charm.
It’s interesting to see that crystal jewelry is popular again right now. I never thought it would comeback! It almost makes me want to pick up jewelry making again, to make things with my hands.
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It really was. Probably one of the nicest Christmases we’ve had in recent memory, despite all odds. We opened gifts and then went to the movies. I think the adults in the audience got more out of the Muppet Movie than the kids since it sort of revolved around the whole nostalgia factor (except I curse the movie for reminding me that “We Built This City” ever existed and now I can’t unhear that song when I had totally forgotten it existed, argh). Who didn’t get excited when the Muppet Show came on at 7:30 in the evening? We tried to explain to the kids what a big deal it was back then.
Mark finally got in the kitchen that afternoon after the movie and cooked a proper meal, something he hadn’t done in all of December. Roasted vegetables, roasted garlic, lamb, mashed potatoes, a mashup of Korean food. Oh, and bread pudding which is becoming our Christmas dessert of choice.
And…we finally opened our iPad which had been sitting on top of a dresser for about a month. Talk about self control! Incidentally, we ordered it so long ago that the iPad cover, which came in a separate package, is nowhere to be found because we put it away somewhere for “safekeeping” except we have no idea where it is. Hm…
So now that we have an iPad, what do we do with it except break up fights between the kids over how much time they get to use it? What apps should we get?
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There is one tradition that we have that I completely forgot to tell you about, but sometimes traditions are like that. You don’t realize that you do something year after year until a few years pass and you finally make a note of it. I remember the first year we went to Ippudo after our first holiday season 4 years ago. We dropped off our last delivery in the East Village and headed over to what would become an annual celebratory dinner – our company Christmas party, ha! (and actually, did I tell you that Mia and Claudine did in fact help assemble over a hundred flat packed gift boxes this year? They took the job super seriously). Ippudo is one of those places where people start lining up at least a half hour before it opens and we don’t go there often if at all the rest of the year, so it always feels special.
Back home to hot chocolate and nibbles off this insane chocolate house my mom brought over a few weeks ago. Watching the Nutcracker on TV. Mark’s first night doing nothing on the couch in well over a month. A perfect start to Christmas vacation.
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Claudine’s kindergarten class had the sweetest holiday party at school this week. The class parents decorated the room and set out a packet of confetti for each child to throw up in the air when we all counted down from 10 to yell “Happy New Year!” (ok, Miss C elected to just dump hers from the bag onto the floor in a most uncelebratory way).
A Christmas cracker filled with homemade silly putty, an organic lollipop (haaa, this is Park Slope, Brooklyn after all), and a tiny origami crane was set at each desk, and we made an edible craft project with bananas and tiny chocolate chips.
The kids made the parents Christmas cards (I’m the one in the yellow dress reaching up to the light switch to turn the tree lights on!) and bookmarks.
I am so thrilled at how well Claudine has adjusted to Kindergarten and so happy with her class and 2 teachers, but now that I realize Christmas vacation is a mere few hours away, the school year is nearly half over? How can that be?
I spent a few hours yesterday picking up last minute gifts and wrapping them all. I picked up the girls and we took a bus over to the Flea to visit Mark on the last day since the girls hadn’t seen him at all the last 2 days. Mia kept saying that she was so excited that Christmas was a few days away. I asked her what she was excited for and of course she blurted out “presents!”. It made me think about what Christmas means, what we’re doing for the kids. I’m not going to lie. I’m one of those people who get a bit melancholy over the holidays. I guess there have been enough unhappy and strange Christmases in my childhood that it sort of fills me with some level of anxiety and dread. But I do remember that sheer excitement as a kid, and getting together with our whole extended family on Christmas Eve for a party with all my cousins is what defined my childhood holiday memories.
I’m still trying to figure out how to make the holidays special for the girls. It used to be that Mark would work every Christmas when he was still a Pastry Chef. It made Christmas rather depressing, actually, to be alone with 2 babies on that day. Now that we have the business, it’s all craziness up until Christmas Eve. There isn’t a big family gathering. Christmas is often quiet. We’re still trying to figure out our own traditions, the ones that define the holidays when the girls look back on their childhoods.
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Looking at these photos from the lakehouse this past summer is like being enveloped in warm sunshine – a welcome feeling right now, not just because it’s winter (although it’s not – the mild temps still persist in the city), but also because it’s a happy time and I need all the happy time thoughts in my life right now.
But there’s another reason why I dug up these photos from the summer. Our friends Sara and Thor officially adopted their foster daughter who came to live with them and their son a year ago. Do you remember my Pink Party in the Woods post? It was to celebrate this little girl’s birthday. We weren’t able to show any photos of Rylie or even reveal her name – until now. So all the photos from the lakehouse, of her pink party in the woods, of the weekend that we spent at their house on the San Juan Islands in Washington, had to be cropped or shot in a way as not to show her face.
I can’t even tell you how happy I am for my friends and what an honor it is to know them and witness this incredible journey over the past year.
If you’d like a little piece of the Jensens in your life, Sara is having a fab.com sale on her tote bags (the pomegranate print!) and new fragrances. Help support my friends who, like us, are also a dual freelance income family trying to make a living on their terms while raising 2 awesome kids. If you don’t have a Fab account follow this link and I’ll invite you (ok, full disclosure – I get credits by inviting people…but you should have a fab account anyway because you’ll thank me later and then we both win!).
Oh, and Sara sent me this necklace in the mail a few days ago. It’s half of a “Best Friends” heart necklace, kind of like the kind you’d give your friend in high school. True, I’ve only known Sara for 18 months, but there are some people who you feel like you’ve known your whole life. And I’m totally wearing the necklace right now. I’m hereby declaring it my good luck charm to ward off negative spirits and bad things that are swirling around me right now. Take that, bad stuff!!
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It’s been awhile, but random quotes!
Claudine: “I had 4 things touching my butt today: underwear, leggings, a leotard and this bench.”
Mia: “I’m full, but I want a taste in my mouth. That’s what I mean when I say I’m hungry sometimes.”
Claudine: “I want to be alive for a ton of days. But when you’re 100 you don’t have a birthday because you’re dead.”
Me: “Are you going to have kids?”
Claudine: “No. Because they are too whiny.”
Claudine: “Are you going to have another kid when Mia, daddy and me die?”
Claudine: “I want to be an artist but I don’t want move to France. I don’t want to speak another language. I have to move to France because Frances is my middle name.”
Mia: “Then move to Canada. You want to live near me?”
Claudine: “Can I move with you?”
Mia: “I’m moving to Hawaii.”
Claudine: “Oh. me too!”
Mia: “It’s nice there. And there are parties everyday.”
Claudine: Whenever I sleep with Blanky, it feels like Tobi’s fur and I feel like I’m petting him.”
Mia: “When I live in Hawaii when I get older, I’m going to adopt 6 cats. Their names will be Fluffy, Cutie, Cuddle, Smooch, Fuzz and Flop.”
Me: “Do you want to grow your hair long?”
Claudine: “Yes, but if it wasn’t for my big fat head, it’d be perfect.”
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