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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

let it go, let it go!

maybe your children are like mine, and they belt out songs from frozen all the live long day!

of course, back when we first found out that m was deaf, one of the things i grieved the most was her not being able to hear music, and not being able to sing or know the joy of music. i had no idea just how verbal my deaf child would become- and how many times i would tell her to stop talking or singing, to quiet down and to use her indoor voice. people, my child is so, so nonstop with the talk-fest. even for me, it's easy to forget how incredibly miraculous it is that m can sing and talk and listen, and that she is also profoundly deaf.

maybe you know our family, and m's deafness and singing/talking/shouting/story telling is very normal, just as it is for us. but maybe you just found out your child or baby is deaf and you've decided that you want to pursue cochlear implants, and you wonder what life will look like down the road. if that's the case (or you don't have a deaf kiddo but you think my kid is awesome and you just want to hear m's version of let it go) then press play for one minute and nine seconds of the miraculous yet mundane.



(sidenote: if you are trying to learn the words of the song do not memorize this very incorrect, but very 6 year old version. oh believe me- i have tried to tell m what the right lyrics are, but of course i am wrong because i don't know anything about frozen. even though i have heard this song about 6,459 times in the past 6 months.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

birthday big, birthday small


these sweet handfuls have birthdays in april (little m) and may (ruby), with matt's birthday smack between them at the end of april. while m is decidedly an extrovert who believes a party is only a party if there are a ton of people and lots of decorations and special treats, ruby likes more low key events. in april and may we had a whole bunch of events that we either hosted or were pretty involved in, so way ahead of time i decided that a very small birthday would be best for ruby- both because i knew by the end of may we would be wiped out from a hectic schedule, and more importantly, because that's ruby's preference anyway.

so, first up? birthday big for our 6 year old:

m asked for a rainbow cake, so that became the overriding theme. at the time of her birthday (um, yes, this post is about a birthday way back in april- i realize it is now mid-june; better late than never) we had chosen to shop locally for the season of lent. (sidebar: that in and of itself probably deserves a post because it was much much harder than i thought it would be, and yet i also learned a lot form doing it. BUT it was not convenient when i was trying to plan a birthday party! no target, people! no party supply store! seriously, oakland? get it together!)

we decided to get a bounce house for her party, which we'd never done before. i swear it was the best $100 we've spent on a party. loads of high energy kids occupied for hours! we decided to put it out in our driveway to spare our brand new sod that matt had put down just two weeks before.
my kind friend nicole lent some pretty paper lanterns to add to my collection (since i couldn't leave oakland to buy some of my own!) and to complete my vision, which was really more like this, but the wind did not cooperate!
 new backyard ready for party time! lots to go, but we are getting there!

fun friends and colliding worlds, which i always love 


 plus aforementioned crazy kids happily bouncing for hours

 

i topped the cake with gumballs in the shape of a 6, and let me tell you, the rainbow cake never fails to delight!


i made cute little favors with chalk and little paper baskets (both from the dollar store); my requirement was that the favor had to be usable and not just more crappy plastic that would break in 5 seconds. they only cost about 25 cents each, the kids loved them, and i could use the leftover favors in our backyard! 
 at the end of the day, my girl was 6, we were exhausted, and so we took a family nap in the bounce house after the festivities.

next up? birthday small for our 4 year old:

ruby picked her favorite little girls to join her, and chose a tea party! their parents could drop them off, which kept them feeling like big girls and also kept the party feeling small. ruby's grandmas and some of her aunts also came, making it a real girls only tea party! 
i reused the paper lanterns i'd made for my sister-in-law-to-be's bridal shower the weekend before.
 we had fancy treats on fancy china
 matt's mom made cute cakepops that were the hit of the party! 
all of the girls opted for cakepops;
they might be big girls but they are still kind of little after all.




 each little girl got some fun and fancy jewelry, and their nametag was a faux teabag


 
 our activity was to go make headbands, 
since i know each of these little girls and they are not so much the hat type!
 it was so much fun!



 and for dessert?
a white cake with lemon curd filled layers and a lemon buttercream frosting.
yum!

 the sweet six who came to celebrate our ruby
their favors? lisa frank coloring books, because who doesn't like unicorns and horses and glamorous pictures to color in? especially if you're big enough to be dropped off at a tea party!
hooray for little girls, 
hooray for celebrating the lives of these daughters, 
hooray for life and health and cake and silly faces and friends and family 
and excuses to party, big or small!