A Few Photos of Paris

la tour eiffel

I have been to Paris quite a few times – long trips, weekend trips, with my parents, with my husband and kids, and I can never forget that first trip with my tour group which introduced me to this beautiful city. I can’t actually recall how many times I have been here, but I fell in love with Paris that first trip and have enjoyed returning here for 20 years now- oh my I am slowly aging– but having been able to visit here in my younger years I have only learned to appreciate Paris even more as I become older.

I have always enjoyed visiting Paris with others too – showing them around my favorite spots and always finding new places along the way. It has been particularly fun visiting Paris with Max as we both visited here separately in our 20’s and have fun showing each other some of our favorite spots around town. But when we visit here now it is all about the kids so we spend more time in parks than anywhere else. The kids know I love Paris and they too are fans of the city.. I could so see Malina living here one day when she is older. As my blogging year slowly comes to a close I had to go back in my archives one last time to revisit my favorite city.

visiting the eiffel tower

le jardin du luxembourg

le sacre coeur (church)

pizza hut!

le pont alex III (bridge)

le pere lachaise (cemetery)

les bateaux mouches

(day 355)


Thanksgiving at Knott’s Berry Farm

Sally / Woodstock

We had planned on spending Thanksgiving at Knott’s Berry Farm a few weeks ago… and then rain came into the forecast. A few days prior to the holiday the rain prediction disappeared. We do not have much family in the Los Angeles area and usually head down to San Diego to be with friends.

This year we decided to stay at home and spend the day doing something local that the kids would enjoy. It was a great day. My feet were a little sore from the walk in flip flops the day prior, but I survived. We headed home after a successful day at Knott’s Berry Farm – and even better I purchased season passes so we can visit whenever we want in 2014! Yeah!!

camp bus

roller coaster

the cars

soaring ride

air mail

The kids went on many rides and when we first arrived we did not have to wait long to ride anything. It was great. I even went on a somewhat “super spinny” ride which I usually avoid – since those rides can make me sick! I had to do it or the kids would not be able to go on the ride. I survived.. as did the kids. Always something fun to ride at Knott’s Berry Farm.

turkey leg lunch

Now this is a Thanksgiving lunch!

salon girls bench


we love snoopy!

Wandering around the park

(day 354)

The long walk

the surfer statue

It was an afternoon off to spend with the kids. It was a super sunny and warm day for it being the end of November. I drove past the ocean on my way home from work and I knew that I wanted to go back.. and we had the time. After eating lunch with Max we headed to the beach. The goal was to walk from the Manhattan Beach Pier to the Hermosa Beach Pier (3.4 miles) – something I used to do on a regular basis when I was in my early 20’s. It was a somewhat ambitious walk to do with the kids, but we do some serious hiking and this was a relaxing walk. They both had tennis shoes on and I wore flip flops- I am not sure why I did not have tennis shoes on… note to self – next time wear tennis shoes for support.

Christmas Tree on HB Pier

It was a gorgeous day. There were people everywhere as we slowly made our way to the Hermosa Beach Pier. At the base of the pier was a decorated Christmas tree. We also saw our favorite surfer statue and the kids spent a good 5 minutes climbing on him.

At some point I looked over towards the ocean and saw that kids were sliding down a man-made hill of sand on saucers and other items (sledding without snow). I asked two little girls if Malina and Matteo could borrow their saucers to go down the hill. They loved it!

Manhattan Beach Pier-Lights

It was a big walk back to the Manhattan Beach Pier and because it was late afternoon we were able to see the sun set. We also saw some Christmas lights out. What we did not see were the trees on the Manhattan Beach Pier that were there only 5 days ago. Thank goodness I took the photos I did over the weekend.

Eventually we made our way home with a few stops along the way. My feet were super sore and the kids fell asleep within minutes of putting their heads to the pillow.

(day 353)

Thanksgiving week

It is time for another holiday already. Wasn’t it Halloween just last week? We had plans of going to the amusement park on Thursday, but it is supposed to rain. Who knows, we might melt. But seriously Matteo and I have been fighting a bad cough so we will not brave the rain. What will we end up doing? That is still to be determined, but I am sure whatever we end up doing will be enjoyable.

For now we still have school and work – and homework. Homework is so hard. I never knew 2nd grade could be so challenging. Studying for tests is hard too; I can’t imagine how we will figure this out for the next 11 years with Malina. I take it back, I know the answer – we will hire a tutor at some point. A friend was telling me about a task that she has to do help her daughter complete. It is a rather complicated family tree project that must be done in Spanish. I was thinking immediately that I am glad that I will not have to tackle that project! Then I came home from work and saw that Malina has a project for the holidays as well – still not as hard as the family tree, so I will not complain!

Parent teacher conferences are coming up next week- already. I continue to be challenged with Malina’s school and it looks like we’ll be here for a while longer since there are no openings at the other school we like. So the Thanksgiving break is coming right on time. Today is a half day for her and she has the rest of the week off. I treasure these family moments because I know one day the kids will be much older and out of the house. How did my parents manage it all?

laundry basekt

I found this old photo searching through my archives last night. Both of the kids can’t sit in this small laundry basket anymore – but they do still fit in separate baskets. I enjoy the holidays… it is a time to make memories with my family and I look forward to making those memories this week. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate this holiday.

(day 351)

Christmas Trees on the Pier (Manhattan Beach)

Manhattan Beach Pier

It was a typical weekend at the beach – spending time with my favorite “little man” while his big sister played volleyball. Looking towards the pier I saw that there were Christmas trees up; we had to check them out a little closer.

It was a beautiful morning and I don’t know why I did not wear shorts because it was that warm outside! Anyways we made our way closer. The Manhattan Beach Pier is decorated so simple yet elegant with trees up and down the pier and lights on the aquarium at the end of the pier. I enjoyed spending some time with Matteo exploring the pier – looking at the trees, the surfers and the fishermen. I hope to check it all out at night with everything lit up at some point this week.

the telesccope

stooping by tree

about to sprint

emptying sand

the aquarium


(day 350)

Going under the Big Top with “Cirque Du Soleil’s TOTEM”

outside the venue

I was recently contacted by a friend telling me that his show with Cirque Du Soleil would be in town. At that moment I thought it would be great to see “Totem” with Max and the kids at some point during the 6 month period that it would be in Southern California. Fast forward a few months and he notified me that he would be leaving the show at the end of the year to pursue other career opportunities. With that being said we would need to go see the show in Irvine if we wanted to see him perform. I am one of those people who just gets up and does things – so less than a week later we went to the show before all the craziness of the holidays settles in.

Once again the show is called “Totem” and it is nothing less than AMAZING. It was my first Cirque Du Soleil show, but I had spent a season ushering for the “Cavalia” horse show back in 2005 so I could view the show for free. That show was created by another gentleman from Montreal who was one of the co-founders of Cirque Du Soleil.

There was so much going on here- great artists (music, acrobatics, comedians), a great set, great atmosphere.. I could go on and on and on. Backing up a bit on this story I brought the kids and my girlfriend to the show for an early Christmas present. The kids did not know where we were going… it was another one of those surprises that I sprung on them. They had never been to the circus before – so I will say that they started out big going to the French circus. Eventually we will make it to a traditional circus too.

After the show we went backstage! My friend met us behind the scenes when the show was over. That was so much fun and very informative. It was soo nice to see him as it had been a good 12 years since we had last seen each other. He was the same and funny like always. He was great with the kids and showed us how daily life is for the performers. I took some photos and soaked up all the information that he told us. It was really fun see “Totem” and to go behind the scenes after the show. I highly recommend going to check out “Totem” if it makes it to your part of the world.

the big top

Backstage photos

backstage with friends

posing with a "frog"

monkey masks


One last shot before we left..

the big top at night

(day 349)