Tour de Favorites: 2nd Half of 2022

What’s a mom to do when 2022 is over and she realizes she has basically neglected the blog she’s been writing for over a dozen years for most of an entire year? Turn back time? (That would be cool!) Write over 20 posts to get caught up? (Also cool, but equally unlikely). Nope. What if she simply wrote a catch-all post and hits the highlights? Well, let’s see how that goes!

Now where did we leave off? That’s right: May 2022. Which happens to be the month of my birth, though I’m sure old age had nothing to do with the fact I fell off the blog wagon… While I’m sure a LOT happened in May, it feels like a lifetime ago, so we’ll just hit a few high points. The girls got in lots of laps around the block on bike and scooter, and I captured this loving hug:

What a nice way to start off! Now, meet one of the Pink Ladies. Zoe’s Girl Scout troop filmed a remake of a scene from Grease (“You’re the One that I Want“), where instead of going along with her new “look” she adopted to fit in, Sandy ditches the cigarette and heels and decides to be herself. You go, Sandy.

While the following didn’t all happen “in May”, I’m going to stick with the fact that for my 50th birthday (yes, that was last year), what I really wanted was a new, improved backyard. Last year I got a hot tub, which I still love, and this year brought something I’ve actually been begging to have for the past 7 years: A She-Shed. Now that Bart and I both work at home full-time, it finally made perfect sense. It helped that I also agreed to install solar this year, something Bart has wanted forever. It’s a win-win!

I’m still working on the “improved backyard”, since we love living in LA, but hate experiencing ongoing drought conditions that kill my grass… But let’s head on to June! My sweet mom came out to visit and also to hang out with the girls for a short weekend while we attended one of our favorite friend’s wedding in Cabo (love you, Sharon!). Following are some shots from that fun time, which included Bart’s birthday, and as you’ll see (and agree), he’s Out of This World! For years, I’ve joked with Bart that he’s an alien (those who know him have my back on that), so this year’s cake was particularly exciting to light up.

The dress you see above was custom made to celebrate Dad. Can you beat that? For those who’ve been watching, this is the year that Zoe really started to look like a grown up, which is disconcerting, but (and yes I’m biased), isn’t she lovely?

The girls also got to return to a somewhat normal Summer Camp this year, one they haven’t attended before called Steve & Kate’s, which offers lots of stations for creativity. They have a media lab, a sewing station, a bakery where they learn how to bake and a “makery” to encourage all kinds of arts and crafts. For helping out around the camp, they earn bracelets, and this summer Ella collected a bunch. Though some of these she traded and a few she found (don’t get me started), she ended up with…

And two front teeth. To wrap up the month, she also did some gardening. This kid is incredibly creative, with an an enviable imagination and the ability to build pretty much anything she can think of – it’s inspiring! Plus, she’s pretty darn cute.

What you see above is a trend that would have driven my grandmother crazy: Curtain Bangs. Unlike back in the day when my sister and I never seemed to mind the hair in our eyes, “curtain bangs” are actually a thing now – and Ella very much wants them. Now it drives ME crazy because it seems impossible that this new sheepdog look isn’t impeding her vision, amiright?! But I digress. Let’s get to July.

While July did happen (I was there), it mostly entailed construction on that She-Shed above, more Summer Camp, and it ended in one of my favorite places in the world: Hawaii. The company we work for owns a house on Oahu and raffles off a chance for employees to spend a week there; this year, we got a spot! My college roommate (also known as one of the kindest people on the planet) brought her family to share a fabulous week there, which yielded over 200 pictures. Here are a couple of my faves (you’re welcome for the heavy curation):

That second picture was a scam at Pearl Harbor where they let you “pick an oyster” and keep the pearl, for a very low price. Somehow they have pearls of all kinds in those oysters and share a little story about the one you end up with – then they try to guilt you into buying the jewelry to mount it in for hundreds of dollars… I chalk the experience up to a chance to teach the girls about value vs. experience. Ha.

In mid-August, Ella and Zoe started back to school as 2nd and 7th graders, respectively. We did the drill, as always, picking out the “perfect” backpack, lunchbox and first day outfit. They’re no longer at the same school, again creating exciting drop-off and pick-up processes, mostly handled by Taxi Driver Dad. Ask him about his tips (or lack of tips).

In addition to school shuttling, the girls have gymnastics (Zoe), karate (Ella), piano (both) and Dramamaniacs (Ella). This year Zoe auditioned (and was chosen!) for the Musical Theater program at her school. She attends a public middle school that offers a Performing Arts magnet program, and getting into musical theater requires performing a monologue and a song, then learning and delivering a dance live on the spot. She was ecstatic to get in! But more on that later. Let’s tackle September.

The month started with Zoe’s birthday on September 1, which involved her two closest friends, cash for a “thrifting” shopping trip, a conveyor belt sushi dinner at Kura where they got to sit at their own table, a sleepover, and a mushroom cake that was handmade by Bart and involved no mushrooms at all.

In case you missed it, Bart has made LOTS of birthday cakes, many featured here, usually one for both girls. While Ella did not get a custom cake this year, she did get a birthday party with lots of friends at a local park, a dragon cake she picked out herself, and a balloon artist.

We’re a birthday celebration kind of family. Speaking of family, September also included a quick family trip to Joshua Tree, just over 2 hours east of LA and one of the most interesting spots near here. Ella loves the crystal shops, and we even got a little thrifting in for Zoe at some eclectic shops.

Oh, and Mommy got something she likes, too:

Mommy also had a very busy October, traveling and hosting roundtables for senior design leaders in NY, LA, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago, all in a 5-week period. That experience kicked off late September in NY, where you just never know what you’re going to see next… check the background:

While October was a filled with travel for me, two bookends of that month were a trip to the Magic Castle for brunch on October 1st, thanks to our cool friends who are members (and magicians!), including a surprise visit from my awesome sister, and obligatory Halloween celebrations on October 31st. Angels, foxes and candy, oh my!

And that leads us to November (we’re almost done!), which kicked off with Zoe’s first official time on stage with her musical theater group. Once they get in the program, they have to audition for specific parts for two plays per school year, Fall and Summer. This Fall they put on a production of Newsies, which started as a Disney film (with Christian Bale) and led to a Broadway production, the version Zoe’s group put on. She was cast as “Mush“, one of the newsies, and had several lines, in addition to both song and dance performances. Here’s a shot from the end of her last show – pretty sure she had a blast:

In early December, Ella had her own stage debut with Dramamanics, a group that creates kid-led productions, where she was a werewolf. The story was all about a group of monsters and their feelings about humans; she was allowed to write her own monologue, which basically shared her conflicted feelings of BEING a human that just happened to turn into a werewolf. Oh, the drama.

Sorry to jump around, but sandwiched between those two performances was another visit from my mom for Thanksgiving, and this time we stayed local. In fact, we all went to Descanso Gardens with friends for their annual Enchanted exhibition. They light up the gardens (so lovely), and we all had a fabulous time.

And now for DECEMBER!! If you’ve made it this far, you’ll be pleased to know we’re almost finished, and possibly less pleased to know that our December was super busy… We started off with Zoe marching in a Christmas parade with her Girl Scout troop, all wearing vintage Girl Scout uniforms from the 1960s.

We followed that up with another exciting event: watching our friend Adam perform with the Angel City Chorale at UCLA’s gorgeous Royce Hall. As a bonus, the girls got to dress up, and I got to take lots of pictures on that lovely campus, then go to dinner with a group of friends we love.

On December 9th, Zoe wore that cute dress to her very first dance ever, with a cute mesh shirt underneath to meet the school’s dress code. She allowed me to walk her to the gate (*gasp*), where I got to see several other girls who were NOT matching that same dress code, with spaghetti straps, bare shoulders and OMG BUTTS HANGING OUT. As the hip mother that I am, I instantly said, “Hey, do you want to take off that mesh shirt?!” To which my incredible daughter said, “No, Mom. I’m good.” She also told us later about helping the teeny, tiny butt-hanging-out girls tie their shoes, because they couldn’t bend over without literally showing their butts… [insert giggles from MY mother, who regularly saw my butt hanging out in college]

In mid-December I got to go on a girls’ weekend getaway to Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley for wine tasting with friends. Yes, I am one lucky gal.

And to wrap up the Christmas season, we enjoyed two must-do outdoor Holiday events: Holiday Road in Calabasas and LA Zoo Lights, which we like to go to every year. There was face painting, music and lots of photo opportunities at Holiday Road, a kid-filled walking “road” with various light and sound shows. And for the Zoo, we got [gulp] RAIN. The kids loved that one, as they splashed in puddles and got to use actual UMBRELLAS. How festive. No, I also can’t believe we own working umbrellas.

Before you ask, yes, Santa came to our house this year, as did our Elf on the Shelf, Sparkle Heart Gem (origin story here from 2014). Phew.

While 2022 didn’t go “as planned”, the best gifts of all were the precious moments we spent with family and friends in an action-packed series of events. No wonder I didn’t have time to blog?! That said, I am hopeful to do better at blogging real(er)-time this year. I really enjoy documenting the stories that go along with the many, many pictures I take in better than photo caption format. Thanks for indulging me in this long, lean post to get caught up.

Wish me luck.

And speaking of wishes, I wish you all a fabulous 2023, filled with whatever brings you joy! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

4 thoughts on “Tour de Favorites: 2nd Half of 2022

  1. You Ave got to be exhausted! What a wonderful, awesome year. The girls are so beautiful and talented. Growing up way too fast but with fun, level heads! (Like their Mom & Dad!) Love, love, love y’all ❤️ Donna

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  2. Wow! Good job even REMEMBERING that far back! 2022 looks like a fun and busy year. And I love that zoomed in photo of Ella being a werewolf. Adorbs!

    1. I have my Favorites album in Photos to thank for jogging my memory. Zoe took that picture you love after taking several others as she chased her sister around to get action shots. Hugs!

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