Thursday, September 25, 2014

and we're back


it's fall.

i sort of dropped the blog ball, no?
since i was last here 
school has started for m
and for ruby

to be honest i am in a bit of a funk this week. i am finally back in my studio and so much is on my mind: the loss of a friend earlier this month, which is still very heavy on my heart, what i am up to professionally as an artist and illustrator and where to focus my energy, the roller coaster of emotions that is parenting (i am not kidding you, monrovia is pushing my buttons in so many ways. 6 1/2 is killing me!!!), some rough relational stuff that i can't shake, my (seemingly) lifelong battle with staying healthy and strong despite pretty strong genetic predispositions to being overweight (um, and not helpful that THREE females in the last month have asked if i am pregnant. really people? do i really look pregnant?!) and last but not least the looming fact that i am turning 40 in a few months.

i recognize that no one really reads blogs anymore, or writes on them much either, but headed back here today to start writing again. and now off to work out some of my angst in the form of studio time.

say hello if you've swung by?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bedazzled sunnies & a link about yours truly!

It's been a busy month- really full; my brother just got married last weekend so here's a sneak peek at those festivities!

Meanwhile, our family and our journey with monrovia got profiled on this hearing loss blog: http://www.deafandhohkids.com/good-but-hard-blog.html
Just in case you want to check it out! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

why it matters

this month i've been driving our girls down to redwood city for summer camp at the oral deaf school where m went from when she was 7 months old until she headed to mainstream preschool at 4.

it's a schlep of course, but so worth it. worth it for her to connect with her friends with hearing loss, worth it for ruby to be around lots of kids who are like her sister, worth it for m to see littler kiddos with hearing loss who are learning to listen and speak.

i love little moments we've had this month:
morning music every morning
which takes me back to when m was tiny, barely talking, and would come to music
the play after camp is over. the kids play for at least an hour, and i love this free time for them to be with each other and build, create, problem solve, resolve conflict, laugh, and be crazy silly.
the safety and comfort that comes with being with kids that m has known since she was a baby, and ruby since she was born. it fills my heart. i wish our kids lived closer, but they also have each other as a home base, and that is a gift.

why it matters? as in why i don't mind the drive, and the time, and the expense:

monrovia has loved getting to see adults with implants, since two of the parents have implants this summer. and she always loves being around other people with hearing loss. she asked me one day this month why there couldn't be more kids at her school with implants like her. i want her to stay connected to her friends who also navigate the hearing world, but are also a little "different" from their typical hearing peers, like her.

this week on the drive down ruby asked, "why does monrovia need to wear implants?" i was a little taken aback- after all, every single day in the morning we say, "monrovia can't hear you; she doesn't have her implants on yet." and m talks about being deaf all the time. but i realized ruby needed me to connect the dots more for her, so i explained the hearing test that newborn babies take, and how monrovia didn't pass hers, and how we found out that she was deaf and that meant she can't hear anything. at the end of explaining it all, i asked her if she ever wished she had implants too. she said, "yes, and mine would be yellow with sunflowers."

it matters because monrovia is deaf, and always will be. it matters because matt and i am not, and yet i want to give her soft places to land, as many opportunities for connection with other kids who have hearing loss too, and as many times as possible for ruby to understand the world monrovia lives in.

um, plus? i've gotten three hours to myself every monday, wednesday, and friday, and i won't lie: it's been awesome.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

oh, backyard, i love you.

i keep meaning to post pictures of the progress of our backyard, because it's changed so much since we first moved in to our home.

it used to look like this! and, wow! monrovia used to look like that too. teeny, tiny and two. this is when i was super-really-about-to-pop-pregnant with ruby and we had just moved in to our house.

now that same part of the yard looks like this:
and even though we have a ways to go, it is my favorite to be out there because we play and host and hang and make space for those who don't have their own and eat and drink and make merry and make bubbles and swing and hang from the monkey bars and garden and harvest and...it is good.

maybe i'll do a backyard tour sometime, but this is a glimpse of just the last week out there for now! it's a busy spot:
lots and lots of play
working on an interactive art piece for our neighborhood block party
 sky watching above our orange tree
 hosting a meal for youth from oakland leadership center
and just because tutus were involved and so that makes it cuter,
we made tutus and ate ice cream sundaes at a preschool ballerina party!
plus just sitting of course, because we all need to rest!

here's to rest, and places to just be, and home that feels like a landing place.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

dangling legs

this.

my favorite kind of parenting moment.
unplanned.
fleeting.
sweet.

my girls sitting on the kitchen counter, 
legs swinging and grins on their faces
as i make dinner 
and all they do is hang out.

i think playdates and fun experiences are great and all,
but i love the unscheduled; it feels like a precious thing.
and i feel like my girls thrive when given time that is free and open 
where they can play, sit, hang out, pretend, goof around, imagine, fritter time away.

(and as i think of it
that's also pretty great for my soul too.)

(what's a favorite mundane moment you've had with your kiddo?)

Monday, July 7, 2014

for today

i've borrowed this format, and it felt like a good way to come back to the blog after vacation.

FOR TODAY

Outside my window...cars racing by, a bright blue sky filled with streaks of clouds, empty cafe tables + chairs

I am thinking...about how to have good family and personal rhythms, how quickly time passes by, how wonderful it is that no matter where you live or how much money you have you can look up and see the beauty of the sky, about how i should plan the rest of my week, and what to make for dinner

I am thankful...for my daughters, for the peace of my backyard, for the rest that comes with summer months, for health insurance, for good laughs, for a bit of time to be alone, for friends with history

In the kitchen...fruit flies on the attack! otherwise, i need some new recipes for summer fruit and veggies. we have a garden full of summer harvest and i'd love some good ideas.

I am wearing...workout clothes (knocked out a brisk hour walk this morning without kids and it felt so refreshing!) 

I am creating...space to do things that are life-giving for me this summer: working out, reading, painting, hanging out in backyard.

I am going...to celebrate the points of joy each day brings; feels easy lately to be worn down by relational conflict or obligations. i want to be grateful for the goodness each day brings, and for the beauty around me.

I am wondering...what my girls will be like when they are all grown up. any guesses? 

I am reading...americanah! i actually just finished it last night. matt bought it for me for mother's day; the main character is a nigerian who emigrates to the us. i loved it! i need a new summer book recommendation!

I am hoping...that matt recovers quickly and easily from knee surgery so he can surf, run, and chase our girls around in no time. he had surgery this morning and is now resting on the couch. (ouch)

I am looking forward to...my girls being back at m's oral deaf school for summer camp. it's sort or a home base even though we've been gone for a couple of years. there is something about going back to a place where we were for such a formative season, and something precious about m getting to be with peers who have hearing loss too.

I am learning...to be patient. photoshop! to shut my mouth and listen. to plan ahead (as much as this non-planner can)

Around the house...various states of unpacking from being here and there and not quite all-the-way putting everything away, some laundry to fold, artichoke flowers on the table, new growth on my succulents on the kitchen windowsill, a summery white quilt on our bed.

A favorite quote for today...
"the way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice." peggy o'mara

One of my favorite things...
little bare feet pattering across the floor, hot coffee first thing in the morning, the sunday new york times, hearing from a long distance friend, drinking bubbly


A few plans for the rest of the week:
clean my studio, trim my succulents, take the girls to summer camp, make a new recipe, catch up on freelance, watch an episode or two of mad men, walk a new trail.

A peek into my day...
7 am. bright and early we got in the car and drove an hour to summer "camp"!
my happy girl, surrounded by old friends and new ones, 
and content to be with lots of kids just like her.
so?
new recipes?
books?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

vacay week recap plus a question!

last week we had a wonderful time away in morro bay. it was the perfect vacation for our family, and exactly what we needed. when we are at home our lives are so, so full with different obligations and relationships: preschool co-op (which is LOTS of work), monrovia's school, church, old friends, neighborhood work, our intentional community, family, staying connected to friends from deaf school... we have a lot going on. 

sometimes we vacation with others, sometimes (more rarely) alone as a family. i've decided that having at least a few days together with just the four of us is my favorite- it's just the respite we need after going, going, going week after week. last week was just right for where i was at: feeling weary, tired from our schedule, wanting to be present and not racing around, a little beat up emotionally. 

(probably too many pictures follow but you can just scroll on down past them for more words, or go slowly and enjoy the scenery and my cute offspring)

once we made the drive down, during which (miraculously) the ratio to happy as can be moments to fighting or quarreling moments was a lot to a little...
we got to our destination! morro bay. 
if i was awesome, and spent a few minutes photoshopping out that inconvenient white car growing out of my daughter's shoulder, this would be an awesome picture. 
just pretend it isn't there, and that my children are one with nature.
in this case, a really big rock.
 
we were so, so lucky that the home we stayed at was generously shared with us for the week. it was such a peaceful space.
and extra needed since our tax bill this year wiped out a big ole chunk of change 
(and then some!)
this is what our days looked like:

matt up early to surf + beach + working out + biking neighborhood + family walks + "school" time for the girls + drawing + happy hour + world cup watching + blogging for me + naps (holy two hour naps every day for my girls!) + morro bay exploring + a movie or mad men episode after the girls went down to sleep + hanging out + reading.

yep, that pretty much covers every day!
same stuff + different days = perfect.

biking..
newsflash: ruby can ride a bike! 
i'd like to take a brief moment to dwell on the fact that this momma taught both girls to bike on the annual preschool camping trip!
monrovia learned last year and ruby this year!
yay for me, but really yay for them.

beach time 
 it was windy and cold, y'all
 
 i love this moment of my girl playing in the water
 

 

being cool in the car
 
art time
plus school time every day
 more beach time
 4 year old fashion
 i got some great solo beach walks in
 more surfing

 tiny treasures
 neighborhood discovery walks
 learning how to play uno!
 holy awesome succulents, morro bay
 we found some good playgrounds,
because you know, we have kids and all.
 
 the girls shared a bed and we slept in the room right next to them.
basically they got to snuggle all the time. 
can you tell how miserable they were?
oh, that's gigi in the middle.
 my girls made a library to check out books
ice cream run! 
yes, we are the best parents ever.
 happy hour on the balcony for matt & me!
that would be a negroni, my friends.
 lots of family reading times
 exploring the downtown shops +
i loved this spot with so many cool succulents!
um, maybe i already own most of these varieties though...
i have an issue.
 we made the drive to matt's all time favorite steak spot: jocko's.
it's super old school, and amazing.
happy girls on teh ebach
 
we had so much time to play
 and hang
it was perfect.

i've realized what feels like vacation to me: no schedule, working out every day, blogging, reading, slow meals, and little daily adventures whether that is a walk or somewhere more amazing like the beach. not having to rush, not having to check off a big list. 

one thing that helps our family is that as we drive to our destination we write down a list of what expectations we all have for the week. yes, even our girls add to the list! this might seem counter to what i just said about not liking obligations or checking off a list. but this feels different to me - it's verbalizing and knowing what feels good to each of us for that time away. we might not get to do it all, but at least then we can honor what is life giving or fun for the whole family; the vacation isn't then driven by one personalities preference, and we can figure out the time and space to make different expectations happen throughout the time. 

i'm curious what makes a vacation feel good to you? what things are restful or special or fill in the blank for you or for your family? do you find that you and your partner vacation differently? (that's a topic for another time, but believe you me, over the years we have definitely had moments of not being on the same vacation page!) talk to me, people.