Baby Leave A (Christmas) Light on For Me

(Yes, that was a direct Belinda Carlisle bite. Good ol' BC, the first rock star I ever loved. Because of this song. And her badass denim jacket and cowboy boots. Don't get me started on the Go-Gos. I'll get weak.)

Anyway... where was I? The holidays, yes! I guess I haven't been embracing the season like I should be as a parent of a young child. We don't celebrate Christmas in our house. Hanukkah, yes. But no Christmas. There will be no Santa round deez here parts which is fine by me. I'd rather Arch not have to deal with the whole "finding out the truth" thing. Because that's just rough. It was for me, at least.

I do miss having a Christmas tree, mainly because of the smell of pine and all those beautiful flashing lights. But we get to celebrate Christmas at my parent's house for a whole week, which is exciting, mainly because my brother and sister will be in town and all my cousins which is super news, indeed. Go, team!

Archer and I have been spending our afternoons at The Grove, which is a relatively new local mall, the likes of which I cursed during its construction because it seemed so tacky. So Disneyland meets Las Vegas. Which it is, of course. And yet, I hate to say it... But... I love it there. I love it secretly, quietly, knowing I should hate its guts for being pre-fab, a landmark of capitalism, etc. but there's something so comforting about it. One can grab a coffee and chill while their children are entertained by musical fountains and riding trolleys to nowhere for hours on end. I really can't explain my crush on such a place but this time of year, with its fake snow and Christmas music blasting from rock-speakers, it just seems so... cozy? (You are now free to roll your eyes at me. I do it all the time.)

The Grove isn't our only destination de festivity. We spent our evening at the Venice Beach canals, watching the annual boat parade on the water, which was the highlight of the season, maybe even the highlight of my entire life. Because I got to watch this for three hours:

Archer danced like a maniac as we stumbled by the various waterfront parties, high-fiving frat boys who embraced him as one of their own. Strangers passed-out candycanes, sticking them in the pockets of Archer's pea coat, an unprecedented look of gratitude his face. And of course, the cutest thing ever-ever: the "Whoaaa! Bo! Yay! Bo! Whoaaa!" as Archer watched the boats on the perimeter of the canals:

Archer's awe was complete and didn't waver, especially when it snowed soap-suds...

...And then, post-sunset, a light display unlike any other (this was where the faux-snow-machines were hard at work.)

I never knew how fabulous this insane-o season was until I saw the reflection of the light in Archer's big beautiful eyes:

Such wonder and magic and innocence. Such total and complete awe.

Shucks, man. I love being a mom. It's really just the best thing ever in the history of life.



Whit | 12:23 AM

Ha, I just wrote about The Grove the other day. I love it there too. It just feels safe and clean, which let's face it, aren't the most common feelings one gets in a lot of the cooler places in the area.

Don Mills Diva | 7:18 AM

Aww - those pictures and your descriptions brought a tear to my eye. That's what I love about being a mom - watching them get som excited over things and the good will that people around you extend just because they are touched by your child's excitement as well. It's just wonderful.

Fraulein | 8:10 AM

I LOVE these pictures!! So cute!

Badness Jones | 8:57 AM

oh, he's gorgeous...and you get all the holiday magic without snowsuits or snow...sigh. Wonder if Hubs is done shovelling us out of the latest foot of cold white hell yet?

Lindsay | 9:17 AM

I love the Grove as well. so easy. I think of it as a city centre, we can walk around, drink coffee, everything you said. I try not to buy anything then I feel better about being there and not promoting consumerism.

Unknown | 9:28 AM

Man, he looks like such a big boy in those amazing pictures. There's something so perfect about seeing that amazement and wonder in their eyes!!

Anonymous | 9:50 AM

The look of wonder in Archer's eyes just made my heart feel two sizes bigger. Thank you. It's been a rough Monday.

Jaime | 10:00 AM

Archer is ADORABLE!!! Such a cutie! Isn't that the best, watching the innocence of kids remind you what things are all about; and what we've taken for granted/forgotten?? :)
And I totally get your love of The Grove....even though I've never even been to Cali. I felt the same way about The Village at Merrick Park, when I lived in Ft.Lauderdale, and now I feel that way about the shops at Southpoint, in NC....ahhh, capitalism.

Anonymous | 10:37 AM

You've gotta read The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs... She goes into detail about why busy pedestrian-focussed streets, the kind replicated in the Grove, are the safest, awesomest places ever. Maybe the city planners should be taking their cues from the developers of malls, because it would be nice to have a democratic public space that people could take their kids to instead of the mall.

Meh. I'm probably preaching to the choir here.

clueless but hopeful mama | 11:05 AM

Love the second to last picture, with Archer all awestruck. So sweet!

Thanks for such a happy inspiring post.

Anonymous | 11:30 AM

i like the grove too... sounds from the comments like you're not alone :). have you ever been to Milk (ice cream place)? I've heard it's good but never been.

and i live not too far from those same canals, glad to hear Archer was in my hood :)


Milk is NEXT DOOR to my office! Well, my work space... Insomnia Cafe has been my spot for eight years. I'm there every day, pretty much working on secret project(s)... Come visit sometime and say hi! I'm usually there late afternoons and come January will be there early-afternoon while Arch is in preschool. Nights, too, sometimes.

Chicky | 2:34 PM

I am with you on the wonderment...I never get tired of hearing Cameron say "wow" at every turn. I totally get the Grove love too...although my first love will always be the promenade.

And Belinda Carlisle???? Rowr...

Cheryl | 4:59 PM

What great pictures! I might need to take my own son down to the canals this weekend... The look on your son's face reminds me of the look on my son's face, which totally made me cry. Because as you know, being a mom can do that to you.

Jen | 5:49 PM

Your boy is ungodly adorable.

Anonymous | 1:20 PM

i'm sorry but the best belinda song is "mad about you". best belinda song EVER!!

Meemo | 11:31 PM

What a beautiful post. Reminds me how much I like to be a mom. I forget sometimes when I'm tired and they won't stop.

Daisy | 4:17 PM

My favorites are the pictures of his expressions. He was so captivated that he didn't even care that the camera was on him!