Meet Filipino-Danish Mom Isadora living in LA
As way of on intro to me, I’m a multi-racial (Filipino-Danish) multicultural (grew up on four continents) who was lucky enough to find her prince charming who is also multi-racial (Indian-German). My son managed to get our blond/blue eyed recessive genes, so doesn’t look like my husband or I. J Being exposed to different cultures has been very important; it not only shaped me, but has informed my aesthetic style and my eye as a photographer. I am the photographer behind THOMPSON and SPRING photography, and I specialize in modern, lifestyle, family photography in Los Angeles.
What kind of house do you live in, are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you all terribly miss …?
Los Angeles is a very big city with no real center. One of the things we love about our house is that we are a 15 minute drive to most places so never have to spend too much time in the car. We live in a duplex (a building which legally has two dwellings) but we converted it into a single family home so that we could have more space. Many duplexes in the area have small yards, but ours is quite large, with plenty of room for our son to run around. We’ve been happy here, but having grown up in Europe as a pedestrian we miss living close to a proper high street.
Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?
In another life I think I would be an interior designer. We’ve lived in our house for over five years now, and I have redecorate most rooms at least twice not only because my style has changed over the years, but so have our needs.
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
I loved reading Domino magazine; I still can’t believe it folded. My other favorite magazines are UK’s Elle Decoration and Living Etc. and the French Cote Sud. Of course, I’m an avid blog and website reader from décorpad, to designsponge and décor8 and bloesem.
What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
Currently my son’s favorite item in the house is the bed cover on my bed. He likes to make a “tent” under it and hide.
What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?
Since ours is not really a pedestrian neighborhood, the place that we like going to nearby is Larchmont Village. It has a lovely weekend Farmer’s Market, cute little boutiques and restaurants. It still retains a small town feel.
What's it like to raise a child in your town?
Since becoming a parent I’ve actually discovered a whole new side of Los Angeles that I never knew before. There are a surprising number of parks and playgrounds scattered all over town, and because the weather is nice most of the year we can really enjoy the outdoors, especially going to the beach. My son is only 2 ½ years old, but I already have visions of him becoming a surfer boy.
Who do you consider is a good example for your children?
My husband is actually the best role model I can think of for my son. He’s super intelligent yet sensitive, focused and hardworking yet gentle and sensible.
What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
My perfect day would start with me sleeping in… but that won’t happen for a few more years. That would be followed by a morning of playing at the beach, with lunch at a cute restaurant. Then the afternoon would be fun activity like baking with dinner in the garden, capped off with movie viewing outdoors with our outdoor projector.
Can you tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made or happened?
Recently my son woke up from his afternoon nap and said, “Buy house.” I asked him where, he replied “In Paris.” Of course it made me smile, especially as he later told me that the house was for me, but what I still can’t quite understand is how he came up with the idea of buying a house, let alone a house in Paris!
Are their any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?
When I was pregnant I read a couple of books on pregnancy, but haven’t really read any books on child rearing. I tried the sleep books, but I’m still co-sleeping. I borrowed a potty training book, but didn’t read it… just decided to stop using diapers cold turkey and it’s worked quite well. The one book I did read that resonated with me was “Raising Boys” by Steve Biddulph. As a mother/woman, I don’t know what it’s like to be a boy and this book provided some valuable insights into the male world.
Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ values?
I’m a very affectionate person, so I’m a very affectionate mother. I believe there is no such thing as “giving your kids too much love”. I try not to over analyze myself or my parenting style. I give my son a lot of freedom within certain boundaries and try not to be too fussy. I will make mistakes, he will be naughty… that’s life.
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
I’ve always been a visual person, probably one of the reasons I’m a photographer, so I love to draw and paint with him and see what he comes up with. Of course, like every parent, I see genius in every scribble J
Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
With painting, I like to do it outdoors on a blanket. It’s nice to get the fresh air and that way there’s no paint on furniture. When inside I like to do it on the floor on a large office plastic mat. It’s intended for a desk, but we use it as a “get dirty” play surface.
Are you a crafter or DIY person?
I’m both. I got myself my first cordless drill when I was eighteen, so I’m definitely not afraid of getting dirty; I’ve re-upholstered flea-market furniture, rewired thrift store lamps. I also love to make things whether jewelry, or personalized stationery and custom wrapping paper. I just wish I were better at sewing.
Books, websites, local shops you can recommend to get tips and ideas for kids crafting?
I like this place called Scribble Press (Scribblepress.com) in Santa Monica that helps you create books from your own drawings/photographs. My son thrives at Creative Seeds (growcreativeseeds.com), they do special projects for everything ranging from Chinese New Year with a finger painted tiger, to Mardi Gras “beads” with macaroni. I also recently discovered the blog, the Artful Parent (artfulparent.typepade.com), with some great ideas for art and crafting with kids.
What do you do with all the projects your children made at home or in school?
My son has just started coming home with projects, so I have yet to do this but I plan on creating a rotating gallery wall. We have a hallway upstairs that is quite bare. My plan is to use magnetic paint, then use magnets to hang and showcase different projects throughout the year. I’m not big on covering my fridge with stuff. I want a gallery space that he knows was created to celebrate his creativity.
Any nice decoration ideas how to hang them, keep them or use them as presents?
Scribble Press in Santa Monica is great. Bring them a stack of drawings and paintings and they will transform them into a beautiful keepsake book.
How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
I love setting the table for a special dinner or birthday. I’m big on tablescapes, from choosing the right linens to creating flower arrangements. I used to work in PR for luxury brands and planned many swanky events, so I guess I still have an event planner in me.
What are favorite games in your home?
When we have friends over for dinner we love to play Catchphrase, but with my son, I’d say he’s favorite game is “Hide” not “Hide and Seek”, just “Hide”.
What kind of sports do your children like to do and are you very involved?
For now nothing yet, he’s still too young but soon I’m hoping he’ll start doing karate or some other martial art sport.
Are there musical instruments in your house?
In another life my husband would have been a professional musician, so we have a keyboard, two guitars, a bass and a saxophone; all of which my husband knows how to play well. I’m visual but not at all musical so my husband makes sure he teaches our son how to play and appreciate music.
What are all time favorite books for the children?
My son loves Cool Car, as well as Bee Bim Bop, a cute little kid’s book about how to make this Korean dish. No one in the family is Korean, but we sure know what it takes to make a Bee Bim Bop! I personally love Iggy is an Architect, but my son doesn’t appreciate it yet.
What are nice activities you can do with children in your place and what could you recommend when people are visiting?
We live near the Los Angeles County Museum and we love going there. The grounds are kid friendly, the exhibits are great and they have a new Boone Kids gallery where you can paint and they have a great program called Next Gen that gives my son free membership to the museum until he is 18 and entitles him to be accompanied by one adult. That’s a great way to get him to appreciate art. We also like hikes in Franklin Canyon, or going to the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica.
What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?
My son is a typical boy and LOOOVES the Pixar animated film “Cars”, personally I’d love to show him the “Sound of Music” but it might be too girly and too retro for him.
How do they prefer to spend their leisure time?
At this point since he’s not yet school aged I’d say it’s still mostly leisure J
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food’ lover or both?
Both. I love to cook but since my mother moved in with us a few years ago I haven’t cooked as much. Everyone in the family loves food and going out to discover new restaurants. My son has been going to restaurants since he was an infant and loves eating out, especially going to eat Japanese.
What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and or without the children?
If my husband and I spend time alone, we’re usually only away for a long weekend, San Francisco and Palm Springs are our favorite nearby destinations. Since most of our family is in Europe when we do take time to travel it’s to go back “home” either to France or England. It’s a long trip for a kid so we only do it if we can go for at least two weeks.
Do you keep some sort of travel journal with the children?
Nope, not yet but that’s a great idea as I plan on him discovering the world. He has a big map above his bed and can already identify a few places.
What kind of souvenir can they bring back home?
My son has already developed a fascination for the camera, so I imagine he will soon be snapping his own photos.
How do you prepare for a trip, any useful tips?
I just tell him we are going on a trip and he helps me pack his bag. That seems to get him excited!
What place do your children love to go to?
My son loves the merry-go-round at the Trocadero in Paris. It’s super old-school, not one of those new rides with tons of bells and whistles. Plus with a view of the Eiffel Tower you can’t do much better than that.
Tips for traveling with a plane or a long-time trip on the road with children?
Have something new (a book, or toy) that will engage their attention for a while. Bring a portable DVD player with their favorite movie and a change of clothes. I didn’t bring a change of clothes for our first transatlantic fight and I lived to regret it.
Thank you very much Isadora!