Friday, May 22, 2009

happy weekend!

so, i thought i'd supplement my serious posts this week with a quick and amazingly delicious pie recipe. you know, for that superfun barbecue you are going to on monday. or perhaps you don't have any weekend plans, but just for yumminess sake you decide to bake. first, i should declare that before i ate this pie i was not gung ho rah rah rah about blueberry pie. i mean, nothing against it, i just probably would never order it in a restaurant or anything. and then, a few years ago, on a trip back to visit family and friends in philadelphia, i encountered this incredible pie. it is such a quick and easy recipe (you do most of it on the stove top in about ten minutes & then bake it for ten minutes more); with such delicious results; why not try it?

  • 1 baked pie shell (follow directions on packaging if you use a pre-made frozen one, or use simple pie crust recipe & bake)
  • 4 cups blueberries, divided (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Put 2 cups blueberries into baked pie shell, reserving the others. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cook remaining ingredients (2 reserved cups blueberries through water) on medium in saucepan on stove and heat until thick (do not get impatient and remove from heat while mixture is still watery; you will have a watery pie). Add tablespoon of butter and cool.
Pour cooled mixture over blueberries in piecrust.

Combine following ingredients either in food processor or by crumbling together with fingers to form crumb topping:
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks
Sprinkle crumbs evenly over blueberry mixture. Bake at 425 for ten minutes. Cool.

Hello, a mere ten minutes to the land of delicious? That's right, my friends; once your belly is full, feel free to leave your thank yous in the comment section.

survival + a fog

(little m at a month old)
this week i have been thinking about how it felt back in the beginning, a little over a year ago, when we had learned our baby was deaf. it felt so inescapably sad. i had no idea that a year later, life would feel pretty normal. that we would still experience moments of grieving her deafness, but that we would also discover the goodness that lies in the hard. that we would laugh again - deeply and often, and learn how to cope and move forward. that some days we wouldn't even think about deafness. that our daughter would be incredibly joyful & content & silly.

one of the things that first helped me was reading the blogs of other families who had deaf children, or of connecting with people who knew how this type of loss felt. so i am including an excerpt from my journal today, from one week after our baby's diagnosis. it's pretty raw, but maybe someone who has just found out their baby is deaf will read it and know that it's ok to feel such sadness, and hear that life will be good, and rich, and wonderful again. or maybe you just need a reminder today that sometimes we are in seasons of grief, and then over time we are able to move out of that season into beauty and joy.

"A week since we found out about M’s hearing loss. It seems so foreign she is deaf. I feel like Matt and I are sort of wandering and in a fog this week – a mixture of grief and weight and the inability to move forward. She is so beautiful. She is perfect. She is deaf. 

Right now Matt and I are both grieving, and in different ways: my endless crying and quietness; Matt’s hours in the garden and on runs. So much of me screams, I can’t do this! 

What is the best, most informed and thought-through decision? I feel like I am always asking that in life already, and now there is so much more to ask “what’s the best” about? Sign language (if so, which type?), total communication, auditory verbal, hearing aids, cochlear implants, kind of schooling, etc. So many decisions to make. It is so hard. I just want to feed my baby, sleep, snuggle her. Instead I am running this gauntlet of choices.

It feels like all I think about is this: M is deaf. Everything else is survival and a fog: whether she is sleeping or eating or crying – it is a fog. 

What if we make the wrong decision? What if we are sucky parents to her? There is a part of me that feels like I am never going to paint again, or have my regular self back- that my new life will be all focused on helping M with hearing stuff. Then Matt gets mad at me for feeling that way, because he says that we are both in this together: why do I think that every part of raising her & dealing with her being deaf is on my shoulders? 

Adriane came by and just sat with me and cried with me. It was kind of all I needed. I wanted to say everything I was feeling without someone telling me how I should feel, or how things would be better soon. She reminded me, gently, that Matt will anticipate and take care of areas of m’s needs in ways that I’d never even think of. She also said that even though it feels inconceivable right now, that someday we’ll be able to talk about her hearing loss without crying and sadness. And that in the end, even though we have so much support and so much love, that it is hard: it really is just Matt and I who are in this – which is how it feels right now. We are here in sadness, and everyone can leave and go back to life as normal and think about other things. We have no escape. And I wonder if I am up to it? Can I be a good mom, wife, artist, friend? Right now it feels like I can't possibly. Especially when I am getting so little sleep and I feel emotionally exhausted. 

I still have this small hope that M's ears will be healed. That this can be reversed. I try to pray, and I say God. Please heal my little girl. I want her to her this world of noise you've made. I want her to hear the birds outside. I want her to be able to dance and shout and whisper - and to hear our voices when we are singing or talking to her or praying or reading her stories or saying that we love her. Please." 

Thursday, May 21, 2009


(little m at 3 weeks old)
i've been thinking lately how much has changed in the year since we discovered little m's deafness. so this week i'm writing a few posts about my thoughts. here is the first:

i don't remember much from the first days after our baby was diagnosed as being deaf. 

but i still remember sitting across from sarah, the audiologist at children's hospital, seconds after she had told us that our baby had profound hearing loss. she had actually said "after taking (insert multiple test names here), m has severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss." even in the haze of her words i knew she was being gentle in saying it was severe to profound; i was looking right at the charts she was showing me that said severe hearing loss can hear in the range of 71-90 decibels, and i was listening to the results she was telling us, and i knew there was nothing severe about it. in one single frequency, little m could hear at 90 decibels. 

all i remember saying is, "this level of hearing loss - is that what we would commonly describe as being deaf?" and sarah nodded. and i suppressed tears with everything that was in me, and everything else became static. she said something about if we wanted to talk to any families that were a little further down the road than we were, and how if we ever wanted to talk to anyone she could get me in contact with others who knew what it felt like. i didn't take any numbers. i didn't want to talk to anyone. i didn't want this to become even more real than it was already. somehow we left her office and walked to the car and drove in the right direction.

we stopped at peet's on the way home for iced coffee, just to do something normal. it was really hot out; i remember that little m was tired and hot and hungry and screaming, which she always did when she was so small. while i was inside getting our coffee a stranger decided to inform matt that our baby was screaming because she was in the sun, and that he should cross the street and hold her under an awning so she would stop crying. he didn't say you have no idea, and you have no right. she always cries - she just does, she is hungry & tired, she just took 3 hours of tests, she can't hear me comforting her, she hates being in the car seat... and we just found out she is deaf. he just smiled weakly and kept holding her, bouncing her to calm her.

it feels surreal now, how few of the details i remember from the first couple of days. i just remember how i felt - that the whole world was crushing in on me but i wanted to be alone. i didn't want to talk to anyone, not even matt. i didn't even want to be with little m, but matt would force me to go hold her, because he knew her light would pierce into my grief and relieve it a little. when i was nursing her or changing her or rocking her i knew i had to pull up out of and push through my sadness, even if only briefly, to be her mom.

if i am completely honest, i had never been someone to say in pregnancy, "we just hope the baby is healthy." maybe i uttered those words, but i don't think i actually meant them in the deepest parts of me: i just assumed our baby would be okay, and that by saying we hoped he or she would be healthy would kind of ensure he or she was healthy. or even by throwing out different possibilities of things that could go wrong, that we would avert those issues. it doesn't really work that way. other things may have been in the back of my head in a theoretical way, but deafness? deaf was not on my radar.

when little m was hours old and didn't pass the hearing screening at the hospital, matt was asking the screening volunteer questions about how to proceed with the next battery of tests, and twice he said, "the results don't matter. if she can't hear, it doesn't matter." as he said those words outloud, i thought, it's so silly to even say that, she'll pass the hearing screening. she can hear. she either still has fluid in her ears or it's because she is screaming so much. but it's nice that he is saying that. i love my husband. 

and then a couple of weeks later, a couple of tests later - each one diminishing my belief that she could hear until the final one that proved she was in silence - we stood together in front of peet's coffee, next to our car, holding our baby who wouldn't stop screaming at the top of her lungs.

i just wanted to evaporate or rewind time to those moments before everything changed. but there we were. standing on the street, holding our deaf baby.

Monday, May 18, 2009

hello supercute, nice to meet you

saw this pretty headband on my lavalier's etsy shop.
so cute.
don't need it,
but want it.

(hit the road)

sometimes you just need to get away.
that is exactly what i am doing, my lovelies, in a secret location!

and it is glorious.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

welcome back saturday morning! i missed you.

i am feeling content at the moment:

listening to the weepies & the innocence mission & regina spektor.

just read a blog entry that reminded me that my daughter knows i love her even when she can't hear me. 

my little girl is taking a nap; she's pulled her blanket up to her chin and she is absolutely still, which is a rarity. 

my husband is drinking tea and reading the new york times in our front room.

the sun is shining, the sky is clear, and i am looking out our window at matt's garden, which is kind of overgrown right now...but even in its' neglect, its' wildness, its' peas and beans which have sadly grown too large & fibrous to eat - it is alive and green and beautiful.

i am barefoot.

i can hear the washer and dryer working, which means clean laundry later. i love stacks of folded laundry (i just hate putting them all away.)

this morning i read a lovely email from my aunt, and a blog comment from my cousin. both of them are far too far away, but somehow their words on a computer screen warm my heart. i've had this feeling more than once this week- and not just from a blood related relative. it is a gift to have people in your life who speak into your day, however briefly. it is a reminder: we are family, we are friends that are like family, we are connected to something larger than ourselves, we are woven together with a common history even if our lives are happening miles apart from each other.

our house is a mess but i am happy that it is saturday. my tea is cold and it's time to warm it up. soon little m will be up with a startle and we will be off to fix some final things at the house and then to the farmer's market. 

hope your saturday is warm and wonderful, no matter where you are.

Friday, May 15, 2009


(pretty pretty foyer)
love love love)

so, i told you we've been working day and night to finish working to get my parent's house ready to sell. sadly, they are in the process of divorce, and my mom just can't afford this house; after all that has happened, she doesn't really want to live there even if she could afford to on her wildy extravagant private high school teacher's salary. 

let's just say it didn't look like this when we started (hence the day and night work for 2 months straight.) for instance, my sweet husband worked 17 hours on. his. birthday. 

do you love the baseboards & all the pretty white woodwork? 
um, not that i am compliment hunting (ok maybe a little), because i prepped it, primed it, and painted it all twice. the woodwork in the upstairs of the house acted as my bff's for about a week since we spent so much quality time together. it was just the two of us and this american life podcasts sustaining me. (sigh, thanks ira glass, i love you.) um, you never notice how much woodwork there is until you have to paint every single inch of it.
(um, i don't know why this chunk of text is a weird color but i can't change it, 
so i'm going to embrace it)

i can't even tell you how many hours this bathroom took multiple people working in to look so amazing.
 for a lot of reasons. 
hours and hours and hours.
if i could give out a purple heart for bathroom renovation, 
there would be some recipients for this stellar job.

i was going to blog all about how so many people came to help my mom, and get this house ready, and truly transform it into this beautiful home, but well, it's friday afternoon, and my baby is cute, and so is my husband, and i'd rather go play in the overgrown backyard with them than sit in front of a screen, my sweet darlings. so, instead, you get pictures of this pretty, amazing, glorious house. 

it feels surreal that after two months we are finally done. surreal but oh-so-nice. i hope, hope, hope that the house sells quickly even though it is a not-so-good time for selling houses. anyone out there have secret buckets of money hiding somewhere that you want to exchange for a really beautiful home? if so, do i have the place for you...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

someone's going to be...

a cousin!
a mama!

little m has been a little lonely, 
but her aunt rebecca and uncle mark are expecting 
their own little monkey come the end of october, 
so now little m will have a cousin
to play with & teach the ropes of life! 

we can't wait to meet your new little one, and welcome him or her into the family!


is my friend kim's birthday.
here she is with her jeremy.

she is kind of amazing:
warm, funny, wise, silly, tenderhearted, beautiful, passionate, soulful, the queen of all multi-taskers, nurturing, a handful (like me), a good crying partner if you need a cry, a good laughing partner if you need to laugh, partial to good coffee and good desserts (you wonder why we are friends?!), one of those friends who has shared life with you for a good long while and isn't going anywhere. oh, and she leaves pretty fantastic & long messages on my phone that make me feel like we just had an entire heart to heart conversation.
she is so much more than this little list i just wrote.

she is kind of far away.
i miss her.
but there is a strong chance my daughter may marry one of her sons
so i'm not too worried about the long term consequences of living half of california away.

happy day, kimmie!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

may 12th

(checking out the book selection in daddy's office)

today little m turned 13 whole months old!

as i write this she is sprawled across her crib, sound asleep, peaceful as can be. of course, she spends her waking hours in a constant state of movement: she is a little explosion of energy! every day she is closer and closer to actual, for reals walking; she is taking a step or two and then reaching out her arms as far as they can possibly reach before plopping her little bum down on the floor. she is still obsessed with books- especially ones that have flaps or textures, and she's also a huge fan of all toys that emit sound. if you had asked me a year ago, before her birth, if i would be all about noisy baby toys? i would have said, um, NO. alas, we have a cacophony of battery operated plastic noise producing toys. kind of funny.

in all of the mayhem of working on my parents' house i haven't had the chance to share all of the moments of hearing that little m has had since her cochlear implants were activated almost two months ago. it still amazes me when an airplane passes overhead and she pauses because she has heard it. or when someone knocks at the front door and she turns to look at the door. or when she hits the chicken button on her musical farm from her auntie lydia and she starts dancing to the music. or when i say bye-bye and she starts waving with just the verbal cue. or when i say her name and she turns towards me. or when she starts babbling mamamamama. it is a miracle every time. it is these "mundane" moments, many of which i would hardly recognize (much less celebrate) if little m had been born a typical hearing child, that are gifts. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

around the world... 80 clicks!

as you know, matt and i (and others) have been feverishly working around the clock to get my parent's 100 year old (very big, lots of issues, but beautiful bones) house on the market so that it can get sold. it is a much longer story, as my friend nancy would say, but it has taken all of our time. i have a list that is pages long of things to do...including blog posts that i have been putting off! about a month ago, i got tagged by deliajude, whose blog i love for lots of reasons, in the quest to get around the blogging world in 80 clicks answering the following question:

what 5 things do you love about being a mom?

1. i love the morning with my daughter. i am NOT a morning person, but when i hear little m making her noises in the crib in the morning, i go in to pull her out and change her diaper, she is standing up, dancing back and forth, and laughing outloud! all because she sees me! it's kind of an amazing miracle to see that much joy when i open up the door every morning.

2. i love comforting my daughter. little m is, much to my chagrin, not a snuggler. but when she freaks out in the middle of the night or if she is super tired, and i pick her up, she snuggles right into my chest, lays her hands on my shoulders and surrenders. those moments, that no one else ever sees, those moments in which everything else in life kind of fades out and i am just a mom holding my baby, are treasures.

3. i love rolling with the punches. little m is fiery. and opinionated. she has been from the day she came into the world! and her opinions are everchanging- i kind of love learning her new favorites and those that are now passe (the puzzle is less enchanting now; it's all about her musical farm, and when it comes to food? cheerios are so february), and keeping up with what makes her laugh.

4. i love looking at the world from a child's eyes. suddenly the most mundane part of your day (the garbage truck, the magic of the microwave, the lights at night) becomes brand new and mystifying. it makes me slow down, savor, and take joy in the little things.

5. i love that as a mom, i am part of a bigger community than just myself. it is a gift to watch my mom, matt's mom, my friends, strangers, as they mother my daughter and/or their own brood. i feel like i am constantly learning what it means to love this little person, what it means to raise her, listen to her, teach her about faith and hope and love. no one is a perfect mom. we are flawed as human beings, and i love learning from the women in my life. it makes me more whole as a mom.

i absolutely love being a mom. i don't think i realized how much i would truly enjoy being a mother. despite the hardness of this past year, i feel like the amount of joy in my life has just exploded with my daughter.

and now, i tag five other moms (sorry, for no notice, but you are moms and used to things coming at you from out of nowhere) , to hear what they love: benbo, nyquist new branch, three bay b chicks, {{avoiding the inevitable}}, life with lucas.

a little supercute to start your day

i have a special place in my heart for artichokes. 

many years ago, when matt and i were hanging out in the emotional wasteland between friendship and dating, we were working in his garden one afternoon. well, to be accurate, i was sitting on a stump talking (shocking, i know), while he was weeding, harvesting and otherwise attending to his vegetables. {it kind of works the same way years later, in case you are wondering. i am pretty good at sitting and talking to him to this very day.} at some point in the afternoon, matt gave me the first flower of our relationship: a blooming artichoke flower. i think i had stopped overanalyzing his every move at this point - are we just friends? or more than friends?- and so when we headed back down to the house for dinner, i abandoned the flower on the stump, and forgot about it.

a couple of years later, when matt proposed (an entire day's worth of treasure hunting, which included a lot of adventuring, snacking, & little present opening!!!), one of the gifts i opened was that very same artichoke. matt had dried it, saved it, and wrapped it up for me. we still have it, and i walk by it every day in our hallway; it reminds me of so many parts of matt that i first fell (& am still knee deep) in love with. 

our wedding invitations were little books: letterpressed on the cover was an artichoke & enclosed in the book was our story of wandering from friendship towards marriage...

well, our friends luke and jennifer {who you may remember from here + here because they are in our book club} are both thoughtful and generous, and they got little m the cutest freaking onesie this weekend! it hails from a little lark in portland, oregon, and it has an artichoke silkscreened on it! (i kind of love it.) you know how when you buy something new and cute you wear it the second you get home? well, i put this on little m less than 12 hours after luke and jennifer brought it over. and just maybe most of those 12 hours involved little m sound asleep. it is that cute, people.

see? i told you.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

{a thank you to all kinds of "moms"}

here's to moms:

brand new moms,

moms who have been moms longer than i have been on this earth,
our friends who journey as moms along side us,
moms who we adopt,
or who adopt us,
moms who birth us,
love us,
know us, 
live different lives because of those they mother,
put up with us through many stages {not all of them good ones},
pray for us,
make us lunches, tie our shoes, & change our diapers,
play with us, 
balance their dreams and our own,
hold us while we cry & laugh with us in the ridiculous,
moms who champion us despite our insecurities,
teach us to live courageously,
who forgive us in the many times we fail,
who mother again and again across bloodline & generation,
and who model grace, beauty and strength to us through the integrity of their daily lives.

{happy mother's day}

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

happy teeth=happy me

bright and early this morning my brother aaron rang the doorbell. he was on little m duty while matt drove me to the oral surgeon to have my wisdom teeth pulled! it went quickly, and i feel asleep second after they popped the mask on my face. we were home around 8 o'clock, and little m was up and playing away with her uncle aaron.

i've spent the rest of the day sleeping, and probably will roll right back into bed, but wanted to say hello! all is well, but here's hoping my cheeks don't puff up like a balloon in the next few days!

gold stars to my caretaker-husband, and babysitting brother and mom.
lots of gold stars...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


i got slammed by a toothache on sunday night. 
couldn't sleep all night and then the pain just got worse yesterday, but luckily my dentist squeezed me in between patients long enough to say, "well at least you can open your mouth..." (um, BARELY) actually she was very, very nice and after examining me, she immediately sent me off to the surgeon to schedule an emergency wisdom tooth removal. unfortunately, i had to go straight to the surgeon; no time to pass go or collect the vicodin and antibiotics that she'd prescribed.

so, good thing i was off to take care of the problem at the root of it all (literally), but the pain just kept getting worse. i was in so much pain at appointment number two with the surgeon that i threw up all over. yes- it was not high on my list of proud moments; the nurse stepped out to get me a 7-up after i said i felt queasy and all of a sudden i threw up: in my hands and all over the nice carpet. sorry to be graphic.

{wow. kind of humiliating. so now tack on embarrassment to pain. throw in some guilt too: the fact that i had planned on getting my wisdom teeth pulled after m was born but hadn't gotten round to it in the midst of last year's craziness and now i was in lots of pain because i hadn't?}

i met with the very nice surgeon, who told me how jacked up my teeth were since i'd never gotten the wisdom teeth removed, which i already knew, but it is always demoralizing to hear it from an expert. (mental note: one more reason i hope little m gets matt's metabolism and pretty, straight teeth)

so now first thing tomorrow morning- bright and early at 6 am, i will get all 4 wisdom teeth pulled. the timing feels pretty ridiculous, since we are in the home stretch with all of the house stuff, and this week was supposed to be the final push, but what can i do?

things i am thankful for today:
  • dentists
  • vicodin
  • antibiotics
  • a brother who emergency babysat so that i could go to the dentist sans little m
  • a husband who takes care of me when i feel like death
  • a mom who came and rocked little m time so that i could sleep all afternoon and night
  • a sister who brings me treats: trashy celebrity magazines and fun movies to watch
  • my bed
  • amazing dental coverage (who knew!?) so that out of the $2500 surgery i only have to pay $130
hope you are having a happy, pain free tuesday! 
don't forget to floss!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

i heart you oakland, yes i do

as you know, 
i love oakland.
{issues and all}
and so, apparently, 
does the new york times.

Friday, May 1, 2009

happy friday!

{let us sit small small + talk about life: about everything and nothing at all}
{until the light fades and the lights twinkle above us}

wishing you that kind of weekend.