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.
Tantrums. All the time everybody! 
Prepping canvases
Sketching & listening to podcasts.

So bring on the Fall. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Goodbye summer

Grateful for so many moments to play, run, rest, create, be still, race around, be with my girls, laugh, enjoy the goodness of the earth - the mountains and the beach and  even the desert. 

Another summer has drifted away 
and fall is beginning...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Two Mary Oliver Poems on a day that I need them both

This morning I found out that someone who I've known for many, many years passed away quite suddenly. I had found out within the last few weeks that he had cancer, and then two days ago that he was going on hospice. My history with him was somewhat complicated and closely connected to my history with my dad. I've known him since I was 12 years old, and he was someone I went to when my relationship with my dad was unraveling to get wisdom, direction and support. The past few months I had been processing how to contact and reconcile with him. I don't know that he knew the grief and need for reconciliation on my part. Maybe he did, or perhaps not. He added me as a friend on facebook this summer, and I left it be & didn't respond. He was on my mind so much, and the fact that he'd moved to Oakland & that I would see him every so often forced me to think through if and when I wanted to talk to him. On Thursday when I found out he was untreatable I sobbed in my studio for a couple of hours. It was a combination of many feelings: loss, grief, regret, anger, sadness. And today, at the news of his passing from this life into the next, I am incredibly sad. He was a really good man who loved and was loved by so many. I think he loved my dad so deeply and when my dad, for once, wasn't very loveable he still supported him. That had consequences for me, but at the heart of it I know he was doing what he thought was best. His life is a great loss, and I regret so much that I wasn't ready sooner to seek resolution. And so I turn to poetry, because like painting and music, I find God there. 
A Settlement
Therefore, dark past,
I’m about to do it.
I’m about to forgive you
for everything.

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

a short course on hearing loss in the classroom

this summer little m (now not so little 7!) asked if she could make a video for her new teacher explaining being deaf, her cochlear implants, and how to best help her in the classroom. we made it yesterday, just in time for the new schoolyear to start.

she first brainstormed a list with me about all the things she wanted to say, and then had me record her talking through each point. (i left out the one where she said sometimes she likes being deaf because she can take off her magnets and ignore people!) it made me incredibly proud of her, since one of our iep goals has been for her to become more of an advocate for herself. she covered so many of the things i would have had her say, and she spoke clearly and confidently. i am so thankful for this girl, and for all the ways she is learning and growing.

here's the video if you'd like to get schooled by a seven year old!

Friday, August 7, 2015

home sweet home

There is something about going home, to your people, your space, to whatever makes you feel rooted and whole. For Monrovia, we've found that one home for her is her old deaf school, where we took her from 7 months until she was almost 4. It is a trek for us, usually about an hour each way to get there, but it also is a place that changed our lives forever, and gave us an ongoing community of support and friendship that we still carry with us.

This summer we were able to go for one week of Alumni Camp, so every morning we piled into the car at 7 am to make the drive. As you can see, out of my two kids I have one morning person and one not-so-morning-person...
My favorite part of Alumni Camp is that feeling of going back to a place where you are known, and where other people share some of your experience. For Monrovia, she gets to be in a place where almost all of the kids have hearing loss- just like her. Since at her regular school she is the only kid with hearing loss (and she notices this), it is a special time.

Going into Camp with her friend Samantha...(Let me tell you how many times I have walked up and down the below stairs)
Morning Music started at 8:30, and even though Monrovia is now 7, she still loved it. And what can I say? I love it too. Monrovia used to sit in this same circle when she was barely walking. I love that she is now one of the old kids that the little ones can look up to, at the same time that she is singing and participating.

Monrovia's friend Kalia, who also lives in Oakland, was there for camp too. They were in class together when Monrovia was just 15 months old! Not so little anymore...
Monrovia's sweet class of kiddos, and their amazing teacher Lisa - who happens to be my dear friend and a mama to Monrovia's "sister" Lily. Her class theme was The Enchanted Forest, so they named themselves Peter Pan (in honor of the token boy in their class) and the Fairies. Love all of these sweet kiddos.
Monrovia and her friend Lily decided to be twins the first day, so they wore matching outfits, including headbands made to hold their cochlear implants. Melt my heart these two!
Meanwhile, while the big kids are at Camp all morning, the mamas had the younger siblings for a few hours. That usually (and historically) means hanging out at school, going to a park, going to Target and Whole Foods....After a long time apart, they old crew is back together!
Daily errands to the store...

Ruby with her first ever friend Ella. They've known each other since they were born, these two!
The big kids Enchanted Forest....

The kids made fairy houses
And made and wrote about their fairies...
Monrovia's friend Vivian led a cheer at Morning Music. People, these little kids yelling their little hearts out? All have hearing loss. I love it. It seriously never gets old.

Every day we would hang out after camp and eat lunch together. The mamas would talk and the kids would all play for as long as we would let them, running and chasing and imagining and shouting and throwing and being crazy.

Then back on the road, home to Oakland!
Here is the thing...my daughter, who is naturally a social, outgoing, friendly kid with lots fo friends, is most herself when she is back with her hearing loss friends. I can't quite explain it, but even though they are so young they are so at ease with each other. And for me, I get time with friends whose kids are on a similar journey. Even though people forget all the time that Monrovia is deaf, we never do. It is a part of our routine and family, and one that we wouldn't change. But when I see my mama friends, or to a degree Monrovia's former teachers and speech therapists, it is home for me too. We can cut out a lot of the explaining and just get right to the stuff that our kids are going through, the high and lows and the logistics of hearing loss that no one else really cares or knows about. So for a week, we got to go home to our people. To our history. To our roots. To safety for Monrovia and comfort for me. Grateful for a week of home.