Wednesday, May 4, 2016

today



i found this format a while ago from this blog, so thought i'd come back to it as i blog again...

Outside my window...the twittering of birds, the camellia bush in full bloom, the sound of the garbage truck winding its' way up our street. spring is exploding in our yard, and i love it!

I am thinking....about the gift of human connection. this morning at school dropoff, two separate people told me about their dads passing away this week. it makes me remember that relationship is a tender, beautiful thing, and that i need to nurture the relationships i have. i think of grief and how it comes in waves over time. that made me think about how even though after almost 8 years of not having contact with my dad it remains the healthiest, least toxic choice for me, but the reality is that once in a while i, too, really miss having a dad. out of nowhere things make me think of him: the expression on my own face in the mirror or something small - like making easter baskets for my kids the night before easter or when the driver in front of me doesn't use their turn signal & i hear his voice in my head, "your blinker can be on your left hand side of the steering column" - and wonder how he is doing. i think about how grateful i am for the family and friends that filled in that empty space in my heart with love, and how i don't take them for granted. my tribe is rich and scattered and precious.

I am thankful for....my studio, and how i get to work in a space that i love, creating and making and failing and trying and dreaming.

From the kitchen...black coffee and lemons on the counter. (plus i'm doing a second whole30 so lots of prepping & chopping, y'all! see you in 26 days, oh glass of wine. i miss you already...)

One of my favorite things...watching my children do something kind, brave, or loving when they think no one is looking


 

I am wearing...studio gear! my oilcloth apron, a feathered blue hoodie, a shirt from my kids' school, skinny jeans, and my studio danskos

I am creating... three new paintings! they are currently at a stage where i love them, but you never know...by tomorrow i might think they're crap again. 

I am going...to say yes to myself. what i mean by that is that i am not so great at self-care. it's hard to justify making time and space for myself when there are so many needs from my family and others. but guess what? i'm a better me when i take the time to sleep, exercise, read, be still, play with my kids instead of cleaning the house. 


I am reading...between the world and me by ta-nehisi coates, and just finished the nightingale by kristin hannah; and just started reading the chronicles of narnia to the girls at bedtime

I am hoping...to get stronger and healthier! 


i just finished an 8 week bootcamp that kicked my butt in all the most painful and best ways, and i haven't felt this strong in years. when i am thinking i will die in the middle of a workout i think two things: 1. i pushed out two kids and it hurt so bad but i survived! i can do anything for an hour! and 2. my kids are learning that it is good to move and be strong and try hard things. also, did i mention that it starts at 5:45 am? people, i am not a lover of the morning, but this is worth it i tell myself!


I am hearing...one of the new lumineers songs on pandora, and earlier i was listening to election coverage on my very favorite new app: npr one! it's like podcasts and radio all rolled into one. it's fantastic.

Around the house...clean laundry waiting patiently to be put away, little reminders of my children's play, books in tiny piles in every room, light streaming in through the curtains & falling on our wood floors

A few plans for the rest of the week: baking cookies for the girls' teachers & writing them notes, finishing these paintings, running the lake, maybe putting away the aforementioned laundry


 happy wednesday! what's up in your world?





Tuesday, May 3, 2016

teachers are crazy amazing (& a free little something for teacher appreciation)


this week is teacher appreciation week at our kids' school, so we are putting lots of effort into saying thank you to the teachers who work with our kids all day every day. 

i love teachers! after all, i come from a family full of educators! my mom taught high school for 27 years, and all three of my siblings work in elementary schools. some of my closest friends and extended family are teachers. i even taught for a bit: my first year out of college i worked- for better or worse- in a 4th/5th grade combination class. i quickly learned that i wasn't cut out to teach (of course it might have had something to do with the fact that i was 21 years old, had my emergency credential, and knew nothing about standards, classroom management, bilingual education or 4th or 5th grade!) that experience made me incredibly thankful for good teachers, because let's face it! that year i wasn't one. 

when monrovia was born deaf, it changed our timeline for entering school pretty dramatically. in order for her to mainstream with her peers in kindergarten, she began going to oral deaf school as a baby (yep! 7 months old!) where her teachers were incredible. they were patient, calm, energetic and creative. the philosophy of her deaf school was for parents to learn as much as possible since as parents we are the educators 24-7. i learned so much, and i often think that having a deaf child and starting out at that school made me a much more intentional and better parent. 

this year both of my girls have phenomenal, seasoned teachers, and they are thriving. 
        
they also have classes full of unique, at times squirrely, kids with a range of abilities and needs, and somehow they manage to teach them real, actual information like punctuation and addition. some days i can't even get my two kids to put their shoes on before they get out of the house, so the fact that they can impart real knowledge to twelve times as many children for an entire day much less 180 days? pretty crazy. so i'm pretty sure they deserve a thank you.

teachers? 
thank you for your patience. 
for putting up with low pay, lots of expectations, too much paperwork, and most of all, parents! 
thank you for spending your own money on our kids. 
for loving the ones who are difficult. 
for following iep's. 
for teaching the same thing over and over in different ways. 
for answering emails, staying up late to grade homework, and for putting in extra time for the kids who need it. 
thank you for bearing gracefully with helicopter parents and with checked-out parents.
thank you for recognizing the hurdles that so many kids face every day to show up to school and learn. 
thank you for hoping in our children. 
thank you for resolving conflicts all day long- from teeny tiny ones to great big ones.
thank you for continuing even on hard days.
thank you for going to long meetings and coming back at night for open house and back to school. 
for hugging our germy kids day after day. 
for dreaming up ways to take kids on field trips even though you don't have to. 
thank you for continually learning more so you can teach new things. 
for offering a safe place for kids in your classroom who might not have that at home.
for listening to children who might not have another adult's attention. 
thank you for knowing when to challenge a kid and for when to ease up.
thank you for spending 5 days a week with other people's children.
thank you for bringing the world of knowledge alive, and for creating little learners!

we see you. we appreciate you. we need you in our neighborhoods and our cities and our country.

parents?
don't forget to say thank you. 

and to the teachers in my own life? i think you are pretty amazing. each of you works so hard for your students and loves them even when they don't deserve it. i love hearing your stories about students in your life. you are so inspiring to me as a parent and human, and i hope that i bring the same intentionality, love and stamina as a mom as you bring to the classroom every day.

hooray for teachers!
(if you want this little printable that i made, click here to download it & print!)



Monday, May 2, 2016

making lemonade out of lemons, and no that isn't a beyonce reference

it's actually about cake.

let's say you make a six layer rainbow cake for a fancy dessert auction.
this time, you had your crap together and you made sure the levels were all completely even, and you froze the cake layers before frosting so it would be all ready to make the journey from your house to the fancy restaurant with its' white tablecloths and candles.

it looks so pretty, with tons of homemade cream cheese frosting. 
but your kitchen is 90 degrees.
and the layers start to slip and slide a little bit.
so you decide to throw the entire cake into the freezer just to make sure it's going to stay perfectly tall and white and martha stewart-worthy.

an hour or so later you slowly open the freezer door and NO. NO. NO. NO!!!!!!
the top layers have slid in three different directions, and the cake has had an avalanche of sorts, and there is really, truly no way to salvage it for the auction, or for any destination.
did this hypothetical happen yesterday in my very own kitchen?
yes. yes it did.

honestly i couldn't really fix it for the auction. so i went back to hanging out with my family instead of freaking out, and by the end of the evening i decided to go for plan b. 

i looked at that sad pitiful falling apart cake and chopped it up into pieces on a platter for the teachers at the girls' school. one platter had blue and purple chunks of the rainbow, and one had red-orange-yellow-green chunks of the rainbow. not the most amazing thing ever, but hey! lemonade out of lemons! 
i've been thinking a lot lately about expectations vs. reality, especially because so much of what is smacked up onto facebook or instagram or pinterest is a perfect, idealized version of what is really happening in our lives, and it can feel defeating. comparison looms large, and it can feel like your own life is a little less shiny than everyone else's. 

some parts of my life don't look the way i expected my life would look at 41 years old. some weeks i end up getting almost nothing i planned done. some days feel like one massive, unproductive failure. so how do i shift my perspective to make what i have work? how do i chop up the failures, put them on a platter and lean into that being the new plan? as i sit working in my studio today, that's what i'm wrestling with. 

thoughts?





oh hey!

sidebar: once upon a time i wrote this post. january 1st, to be exact, but apparently i never posted it. 
it just languished here in the land of drafts and i forgot to hit the publish button. 
oops! 
be kind, rewind and check out this time capsule from 4 months ago.

happy january! 
while we are here whooping it up and grandma and papa's house, let's take stock.

goodbye to these parts of 2015: 
-procrastination 
-apologizing too much 
-those extra pounds that joined my other extra pounds
-wasting too much time on social media
-trips to the grocery store with my children between 4-5:30 PM
-staying up too late
-yelling at my kids 

hello 2016! this year i want more of this:
-blogging
-grace
-sweating it out 
-problem solving with my children
-play
-big ole paintings
-backyard happy hours
-dance parties
-listening
-long dinners with friends
-loungy time with magazines

here's to a new year, my friends! wishing you less of (fill in the blank) and more of (same same)

what's up your sleeve for the new year?




Sunday, May 1, 2016

hello....

hello, it's me.
i was wondering if after all these years....

i should blog again.
i miss it!
instagram is great and all but i miss the word part of blogging.
so, hello from the other side.
i'm going to attempt 30 posts in 30 days!

join me back here in 2008 where the blogposts flow freely!
talk to me right down there in the comments section.
you know, like a conversation instead of a monthlong monologue from me.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

twinkle twinkle

merry, happy, joyous everything!
for my remaining two blog readers (thanks mom), you may remember that in past years i've done an experiential advent calendar with the girls; you can see a couple of them here, here and here.

this year i did nothing. that's right, nothing. i mean, we lugged all of the christmas gear out (later than usual), including the girls' many christmas books and decorations. and then.....nothing. sorry, kids, mama just doesn't have it in her this year. that said, we have done some of our annual advent activities, just not on a schedule. 

we have a tradition of going to a rural country tree lot, and hiking into the woods until we find the perfect tree, cutting it down, then carrying it back through the woods to our car driving to home depot. see? here we were a few years ago! it may not be very romantic, but it's convenient and....does it count as local?
        
        
        
then home to decorate! the girls wanted to help, so they did...and then i rearranged after bedtime. 
ruby doesn't want the ornaments to get lonely, so she bunches them in groups of two or three so they aren't alone. so sweet. so ruby. and then, yes, i still move them around into solo, lonesome ornaments after she goes to sleep. of course the next morning she comes downstairs, sees the rearranged tree, and puts them back with their "friends". 
the twinkling tree is so pretty. i love it.
we also went to our friends' house to have latkes and light the menorah. i think my children ate their weight in latkes (who wouldn't?)
        
on sunday the girls and i made these sparkly ornaments. 
        
they turned out pretty, but the process was anything but. how did i think that microglitter, liquid glue, glass ornaments and a very small opening for the microglitter to enter was a good idea with a five and seven year old? i mean really truly what was i thinking?! in the end the girls will not remember me shrieking at them, the glass shattering all over the floor, my impatience and frustration, and the fact that i did 78% of the crafting. so hopefully the holiday mayhem will be forgotten and warm, treasured memories substituted.         
                                                                                                    
oh, how could i forget? ruby also informed me that last week she told one of her fellow kindergarteners that santa doesn't exist, that it's just parents pretending. 
we are definitely going to be favorites among the parents in her grade. oops!

how about at your house? are you celebrating? is it a hot mess that kind of blurs into cozy holiday time like around these parts? are you making fun plans for next week? are you dreading the holiday? excited for it?


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

and on the 7th day they rested

sunday afternoon a few weeks ago:
one of the significant markers of my childhood was the way we spent our sundays. 

in our house, we practiced the sabbath in the christian tradition. there aren't a lot of specifications on what that means, aside from resting, but what that meant in our house was some iteration of the following: we went to worship at church on sunday morning, then came home and had a big meal- maybe friends from church came and joined us or we just ate as a family, then nap time for everyone in the afternoon, then hanging out as a family, then a supper from leftovers and if there was a church service at night, we went to that too.

some of sunday shifted and evolved as we got older, but in my most formative years it also meant NO TV, no homework, no housework, no shopping, no eating out. my brother wasn't allowed to play on sports teams that played games on sundays. if i went on a sleepover? my mom would pick me up in the morning to take me to church. it sounds like a lot of 'no's" but it felt more like a kind of vacation from life's routines in a house of four kids and two busy parents.

sometimes it was a huge pain, like when i really wanted to go to an event with a friend from school or when i hadn't finished a school project. group projects in high school? nope- wasn't allowed to go work on them on sundays. fun friend who wanted me to come over? off limits, unless it was a friend from church and i was going over to hang out with their family for the afternoon.

sometimes it was the best excuse- like aforementioned group projects in high school or when i didn't really want to go over to someone's house but i didn't feel like i could say "sorry, i don't really want to."

most of the time it was awesome. it was a mellow, restful day in the midst of a busy life. it was time to hang out without feeling guilty that i wasn't doing my homework. when i got older it was forced but organic hang-out with my siblings and parents, which i think it was actually really wonderful as the eldest sibling. it was freedom to play and rest and accomplish nothing at all. 

what's funny is that when i moved away to college i kept to much of the schedule, including naps in the afternoon and not doing any schoolwork. i still rarely do housework or work on sundays, and i love taking a nap or reading the paper on a sunday afternoon. 

i think my parents truly gave me a gift with the structure and rules we had, and as an adult, even as much as i race from one thing to the next during the week, it is my at-home feeling to have a sabbath. it feels like my childhood, and it feels right in my bones. matt and i have, since the beginning of our marriage, tried to make sunday a day of rest as much as possible, but we are leaning in to it even more right now. as we intentionally try to maintain a sabbath practice(with different guidelines - but the intent to rest, not work, allow ourselves to be still and enjoy doing nothing), i realize how counter cultural it is to stop feeding the machine of activity. it's hard! and yet, it does something deep inside of me. it gives me license to slow down. it feels like a radical act to spend a day of my week in which i am not consuming, not producing, not racing around, not in constant motion. my girls love it, because we play, read, cook, talk with them without the interruptions of our laptops, housework, phones. don't get me wrong- everything beckons: my to do list is just as long on sunday! but we are trying to make it a practice that gives our family the spiritual and emotional reserves to carry on life the other 6 days of the week.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

On right now

This Fall has been a transition time, as both my girls are in school all day now, and for the first time since both of my children were born I have five days to work. Over the last couple of years Ruby came home at 12, and was in preschool at the most 4 days a week, so my work time had begun to evolve slowly, but it was still pretty choppy. 

I had this idea that this Fall  (cue angels singing) I would suddenly knock out so much work: paintings, illustration concepts, a book rough concept, blog, update my website, and come up with some longer term goals for making art. Um........

It hasn't turned out the way I imagined. (Cut the angelic voices and insert the crickets)

The thing about my girls being in school is that somehow I've signed up for doing more at their school: field trips, helping run an art event, volunteering in their class...plus there have been about 68 minimum days and vacation days, which all adds up to way less productive time in the studio than I thought. 

So I am at a point where I am trying to figure out when and where to give my time, where to allow volunteering to cut in to my work schedule, what goals to lean hard into and what dreams or short term plans to let go for now. Historically I have said yes to too many things, and loved giving of myself, but then in retrospect felt that I was so available to others that I forgot to create space for my own work and needs.

I don't have any concrete answers right now, but I know that part of this soul searching is connected to feeling very 40, and realizing that there are things I want to accomplish that I haven't yet, and that I'm going to have to work hard and intentionally if I want these goals to happen. Suddenly I look around and I realize peers are mid-career, and I wonder what I am doing with my life. I'm not saying that in terms of comparison, because I very much have an internal voice pushing me towards making and doing. I am saying that out loud because being self employed and being an artist can be a very isolating endeavor in which you declare your own benchmarks and goals without community input or accountability, so here I am saying.... I'm trying to figure it out. 

How can I make and do right now with....what time I have, with the season I find myself in, with the resources I have or don't have, with the gift and responsibility of being a mother to two amazing girls? I'll keep you posted.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Snippets of fall

can't believe that it's almost Thanksgiving. This fall has raced by and somehow between my schedule and Instagram, I've once again allowed this blog to remain silent. Here are some moments capturing how this fall has sped by the last few weeks. 

Honestly it felt like summer until last week. It was still so hot here and it didn't feel at all like fall. Suddenly it rained hard all night long and most of the day, and almost as if someone turned on a switch it felt like fall. Blustery, a little chillier, windy, brisk air, cold enough at night for layers of blankets & the down comforters. Our house isn't insulated, so despite the fact that it isn't actually that cold out compared to many places, inside our house is freezing! 

A few glimpses....

Simple soup that I ate all last week! I call this handful soup because I throw in handfuls of whatever is in the cupboard or fridge.
I got an ear infection this weekend, so took some space for myself on the couch with some tea and trashy tv. (And yes we have a deaf child so I always watch subtitles… I just got into the habit even if she's not watching with me)
Went with my dear friends to Monrovia's deaf school gala. All I see in this picture (besides the two lovelies on the left,) are that my head looks gargantuan and I can see in my eyes and face the ear infection/head cold that I was battling hard! I love celebrating this school that was such a gift to our daughter and got her ready to mainstream. So grateful for the foundation of knowledge and support that has surrounded our family thanks to this incredible school.
Monrovia had her last soccer game! She scored a goal and had so much fun. I never would have predicted how much she'd love it. 
Fall colors! We don't get much out here, so don't laugh East Coasters.
Typical scene: my children taking over my bed!
Beautiful view of San Francisco from soccer practice
Time with family from both sides!
Morning traffic routine, exacerbated by the first rain. 
My girls setting up camp in my studio. Someday I'll forget that they take over and steal my best art supples, and I will reminisce about my small people hanging out with me while I made art.
Face timing with birthday cousin! File under: technology is incredible 
On the sidelines...
Birthday party action at perhaps Dante's unnamed tenth circle of hell: Chuck E. Cheese. (Or maybe it's just in one of my circles of hell.)
Kindergarten homework al fresco!
Post soccer
Matt has been surfing on Friday mornings- good for his soul, so therefore good for our family. 
We played hookie a couple of weeks ago and escaped to Stintson Beach!
Remembering those who have gone before us on All Saints Day
Monrovia has a straight up incredible teacher this year. I feel humbled that both of our girls have such good educators, and I would hope that all of our children would have the gift of teachers who are gifted, kind, and good at their jobs!
We've had countless amazing sunsets this Fall.
Rain?!? What? This drought is no joke. My kids' raincoats and boots totally don't fit  them, because of course it rains once a year here.
Molasses Lemon Curd Vanilla ice cream  Boom.
New bedroom color! I love it. Dramatic, brooding, cozy, dark...
Drop off routine, y'all. These kids are the cutest! I love our girls' school, in all of its strengths and weaknesses.
Ferns!
Tantrums. All the time everybody! 
Prepping canvases
Moving.
Sketching & listening to podcasts.

So bring on the Fall.