Brrrr, it’s (genuinely) cold outside

Nov 16th, 2015 Boyhood, Life

Hard to believe, but it’s cold here in LA today.  The woolly hats entirely necessary.  No faux hipster styling here.  No beanie and scarf, while simultaneously wearing a T-shirt shenanigans.  It was genuinely cold.

Trying to get Skyer into a jacket was a challenge.  The hat even more so.  As he currently tends to do, he takes his steer from Jaxon, who, thankfully in this instance, is pretty tuned in to his personal comfort level.  As soon as Jaxon got a hint that it was fresh outside.  He bundled up.

Chilly Kids LA

Beachwood Boys Bundled up

Kids in Batman Hat

I have to say that personally, I’m sort of into this seasonal weather.  For one thing it gives me an opportunity to dig out some of my long neglected sweaters and jackets myself.  For another, there is more than something to be said for experiencing the “rhythm of the seasons”.  Maybe I am just still too cynical but I frequently find the irrepressible heat and sunshine taxing.  Like the bubbly travel companion who won’t stop talking, is always peppy and puts a positive spin on everything, LA weather tends to grind me down sometimes.  Jeez – I really am channeling the cynical today. And all it took was a hint of British weather to do it.  Guess we are all products of our environment.  Still, needn’t worry I’m told that it’l  be back up to 80 degrees by mid-week.  Crisis averted.

Jaxon really got into character with the whole biker jacket and NY hat attitude.

Cool kids fashion

Skyer needs little, or no, excuse to strike up a pose.  I’m not quite sure what this is.  Part yoga, part karate, part…who knows what…

Great leg stance though Sky.

Cool Kids Fashion

Off to school we go boys – “enjoy” this cold snap while it lasts.

Cool Kids Fashion

Halloween 2015: a tale of two costumes

Nov 4th, 2015 Entertainment, Life

I am personally a late comer to the whole phenomenon of Halloween.  Growing up in England it was not that big of a deal.  Now however.  Having kids.  In Southern California.  October 31st is a date that looms large on the calendar.

Trick or Treat is an institution here.  There is something undeniably magical and wondrous about walking around the neighborhood and being literally swamped by wave upon wave of miniature sized Batmans, Supermans, princesses and ghosts – of all ages – as you wander from one elaborately decorated house to another.  Each one more fantastical, welcoming and generous than the next.  As if there is an unspoken Halloweeners code to out-do each other.

It is impossible, for even the most cynical of hearts, not to be swept up in the theatricality of the whole event.  And it does feel like a real event.  As you join the masses of children shuffling along the sidewalk, and dodge the numerous children who are already experiencing sugar highs, it is impossible not to feel as though you are on the set of a Spielberg film.

For the first time – Jaxon had a costume change during the day.  Both boys began as rescue bots: Heatwave and Bumblebee respectively.

Heatwave and BumblebeeBumblebee Costume

Jaxon goes into fire truck mode as Heatwave.

Heatwave Costume

Skyer gets into racing car mode with Bumblebee.

Bumblebee Costume

By the afternoon, Jaxon had decided to ring the changes and – still embracing the whole rescue / helping theme that is so beloved of boys – became a policer officer.  An unarmed police officer it should be noted.  A sort of US / UK hybrid copper I guess.

Kids Police Costume

We began the afternoon at a party down the street.  It’s great to see all the kids compare costumes and swap accessories.  A plastic Captain America shield for a plastic Policeman’s badge. Sadly no plastic was lost or damaged as a result of these endeavors.

There was an attempt by the kids to “make mummies out of the mommies” and wrapt them up in toilet paper.  I decided to spare their blushes in this post.  In any case we the tables were quickly turned.

Jaxon broke free and exclaimed “I am the ice man!”

Kids Police Costume

We begin our pilgrimage for cheap confectionary that we will never actually eat.

Yes that is a giant inflatable black cat that visitors walked under to gain access to the house. Suitably spookily decked out inside I should add.  Don’t ask me what they do with the cat for the other 364 days of the year.  I don’t think it’s considered polite Halloween etiquette to ask.

Cool Halloween House

Surely some one engaged the services of a professional pumpkin carver at this house?  Or am I even less “crafty” than I previously thought?

Cool Pumpkin Display

It’s hard to capture how elaborate some these houses really are.  Here giant spiders, industrial amounts of fake cobwebs, tombstones and hanging ghouls lead the way.

Cool Halloween House

Skyer “on the streets” mid trick or treat.  Eyes firmly on the candy prize.  Pumpkin bucket locked and loaded.  I am not even going to attempt to wrestle with the mixed messages of accepting candy from strangers, begging for things in general, or, for that matter, the concept extortion (trick or treat?) that the night sends to kids!  My head will explode if I try.

Bumblebee Costume

Skyer’s Birthday

Nov 1st, 2015 Boyhood, Entertainment

So Skyer is now officially three.  Yikes.  It’s a truism to say it of course, but the time has flown by. Skyer’s turning three also means that we have been in LA for two and a half years.  That’s already half the time that we lived in New York.  Hand on heart, I can’t say that I feel half as connected to LA as I do NYC, but I guess you could argue that I am getting there.  In any case, and as we all know only too well, it’s not about you anymore.  In fact, it’s not really about you at all.  It’s about a collective.  And that’s a good thing.  In fact, it’s a great thing.

Events like this certainly help.  We took over a gazebo in one of our nearby parks and set up for our Lego themed celebration.  Word to the wise, if you are planning on hosting a children’s party first thing in a public park, be prepared to negotiate with the “locals” upon whose patch you might inadvertently be encroaching.

Without wishing to be too self-congratulatory, the party went off seamlessly and without a hitch. So, rather than philosophize about the passing years, or the yardstick that kids provide on measuring my own life, I’ll simply say we had a great time and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Lego BirthdayLego BirthdayLego BirthdayLego BirthdayLego BirthdayLego BirthdayLego Birthday

We got the help of some professionals in setting up the Lego play area – complete with a phenomenon I had never seen before – “springy” sports Lego.  Which actually made a little game of basketball, soccer or hockey almost possible.

Lego PartyLego Party

The Lego villages were also a great hit.

Lego PartyLego PartyLego Party

The puppy dog bounce house – a tried and tested party fave – also worked well and was – more importantly – bump, and tear free.  Although they do get pretty sticky and sweaty – even in October – in LA.

Lego partyBounce House

Cupcake and “happy birthday” time.

Lego Birthday

Then, what better way to burn off the sugar, than with some piñata thwacking?  This time it was poor old Emmet who was in the firing line.  The kids certainly seemed to rejoice in taking him down.

Kids PiñataKids Lego PiñataKids Lego Piñata

Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye and thank everyone for coming.

Lego Party FavorsLego Party Favors