Friday, December 31, 2010

oh blog part 2

i really didn't mean to dangle that "will you read this or won't you" and then disappear on you. really. i fully intended to write those posts (and i will), but the last week has been full, and i have barely been online (which is good, of course!)

so, i intend to respond to your sweet comments with some posts, but for today, the last of the year, i will be savoring our last moments with matt's sister and her husband (who head home to amsterdam in the morning), unpacking and cleaning up the house, cooking a meal for tonight and taking a nap! a little more low key than multiple party hopping escapades of other years. such is the season of small children, i suppose.

(p.s. i should add that both of these cuties are sick, and that the itty bitty one got her bleary, watery eyes, smoker's cough and nose that runs like a faucet from her big sister. it is cold #1 for her (cold #465 for big sister) and it is a little tragic to see her sweet 7 month old face look up at me like, what happened to the safe, cozy world where i eat every three hours and am snuggled to contentment whenever i so desire? why is my head suddenly exploding in pain? and what, pray tell, is that delicious sweet liquid candy you feed me from a little plastic syringey thing that makes the whole world better?) 

here is the sole christmas eve photo we got. ah, the stuff of memories!
five seconds later m smacked her little sister in the face and proceeded to downward spiral as only a 2 1/2 year old can, which included a lot of flailing and havoc-wreaking.

happy new year to you all,
and can't wait to share some of our fun december adventures with you!

Monday, December 27, 2010

oh blog

i'm still here. 
with lots to say, and lots to show. (shocking.)
but it's sort of one of those weeks when people go and frolic instead of surfing the internets.

so, what say you?
should i just call december done and done and wait til january?
or will anyone actually read posts if i write them this week?

i'm talking to you, all you non-commenters and commenters alike.

(uh, you realize you can comment as anonymous, right? which, when you think about it, really gives you no excuse. it's kind of like listening to public radio every day and never pledging, to blog read and never comment. ok, maybe not, but i thought if guilt worked for npr, maybe it would work for me.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

still here.

with so much to post!

my screwed up iphoto library is killing me!

much to come, my friends. and hopefully very soon!

Friday, December 10, 2010

advent loving, part 2

in addition to our daily advent activity, aunt becca made ruby and m an advent calendar this year! it is handmade, and is the very first thing m wants to do every morning! the calendar is on a sheet of metal that becca covered in papers to make a cute holiday scene & every day m can pick that day's magnetic object to put on the scene. 

becca put magnets on the back of the calendar so it can stick to any metal surface. 
the girls have lockers in their room, and so it is the perfect spot to stick the calendar, right by m's bed. 
 m moves the little objects around into all different configurations!
 the snowman is three days worth!
 these little ones are m and ruby. daddy and i have little representations too.
all of the days conveniently stick to the back of the calendar! 
so cute!
m loves to play make believe with it already- the biggest issue is that she of course wants to see all of the magnets at once & has a hard time waiting until the next day!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

advent activity calendar

this year as we go through the month of december, we are doing a couple of advent activities in anticipation and preparation for christmas! usually i feel like this entire just rushes by, 
so i wanted to build in some activities to celebrate along the way, 
and to talk about all different aspects of this season with m.
tomorrow i'll post the creative advent calendar my sister concocted for m. she adores it & it is the first thing we do every morning. 

i also made an interactive advent activity calendar, with an activity to do every day with m and ruby. (well, at this point ruby comes along for the ride!) i couldn't decide how to make it and then settled on using take out boxes with little slips of paper inside with an activity described. 
 i tried to make it into a christmas tree formation and added a few dot stickers as ornaments. 
i stuck it on the side of the fridge with magnets and every day after naptime, 
m gets to open a box and take out a slip of paper with a description of our daily adventure.
then we head off on our adventure! 
some activities are very low-key, and others are more involved, depending on what day of the week it is. (i checked our monthly calendar ahead of time to plan things out.)
 for example:
here's a list of some of the activities we are doing, compiled from other places online (for example, i found a great list on oh happy day), my mom-in-law, and my childhood. i plan on modifying the activities as m and ruby get older since they are itty bitties right now.

-drive to look at christmas lights (the best ones in oakland are at the mormon temple-one stop, lots of wonderful for a toddler to run in the midst of christmas lights!)
-make paper snowflakes & eat "snowflakes" (yogurt covered pretzels)
-get our christmas tree as a family
-count all the money in m's piggy bank; count & use money to buy socks for homeless
-string snowflakes into garland in girls' room.
-put shoes outside of girls' room at bedtime (for st. nicholas day-i filled them with treats)
-read story of st. nicholas & draw a picture for someone elderly or sick
-make salt dough ornaments for tree
-make peppermint hot chocolate & read christmas books
-make christmas art project
-make a gingerbread house
-go to living nativity
-read the christmas story (kids version) & color a picture of the nativity
-make wrapping paper (using stamps or markers on white kraft paper or large construction paper)
-go on an adventure with someone special
-draw on the windows (use something like this)
-call grandparents & sing a christmas song
-make popcorn balls (or if it's been a busy day, just popcorn)
-decorate sugar cookies
-act out the christmas story at our house
-go to zoo lights at oakland zoo
-read christmas stories & have snacktime by the christmas tree
-go to fenton's & get peppermint ice cream
-eat dinner by candlelight
-open christmas pj's!

in addition to these activities we are trying to prepare for christmas by reading lots of christmas books about the birth of jesus and we have a playmobil nativity set out by the tree that m plays with all the time. the other day i heard her say, "hi baby jesus! it's so good to see you today!"

any other good ideas?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

hope on tiptoe

just in case you couldn't get enough of me here, you can visit me over at the moxy project blog, which is home base for my friend michele. i've known michele for many years now; she's the one who taught me about bakery samples in college! (yum.) and who, a couple years my senior, endured my dramatic 18 year old self. if you think i'm dramatic now, you should've met me then. oh goodness, simmer down young susannah.

i did a guest post this week over at the moxy project. go visit! and share a comment or two.

(you should read michele's blog anyway, because i often glean good nuggets to apply to my moxy-filled life. and besides, she's funny.)

right now

(we all need time to sit small & rest)
Outside my window...darkness.

I am thinking...of how it is late, and how quickly the morning will come to begin another day.

I am thankful for...these moments of sitting on the couch next to matt, in the quiet of our livingroom as he reads and i write and the girls are sleeping upstairs.

From the kitchen...the low buzz of our refrigerator & one more round of dishes to wash (matt washed a few rounds already today-i take no credit)

I am wearing... a black sweatshirt, black legwarmers, cropped yoga pants, and over it all-a wooly blanket to keep me warm.

I am creating...even if i can't paint for hours every day in a studio on a huge canvas with oil paint. (oh, but i miss the smell of oil paint)

I am wonder how this season of life raced by so very quickly.
(reading with my mom and little brother 
when i was m's age and johnny was ruby's age.)

I am reading...our book club book-hopefully i can knock out the last hundred pages by the time we meet this weekend!

I am hoping...that i get some fantastic baked treats on my doorstep this week (hint, hint amy nicole)

I am hearing...the sound of aimee mann's christmas album on my headphones. oh yes, my friends, i am testing out christmas music. (thank you daphne for sending me multiple festive offerings to try out. anyone else want to send me a copy of your preferred tunes? i'll gladly give you my address...)

Around the house...half finished projects in various states of undone-ness. (editorial note: what's new- that is the story of my life.)

A few of my favorite things...a blank page & the time to fill it, getting a package in the mail, homemade caramel sauce, laughing with matt, alizarin crimson, when ruby rests her little head on my shoulder, the song 'o holy night'

A few plans for the rest of the week: figure out my kids art class for next week and my crafting/eating/hanging fest i'm hosting the weekend, a parent-teacher conference at m's school, catching up with friends i haven't talked to in a bit.

what are 
you doing right now? 

(format taken from here...the simple woman's daybook.)

Monday, December 6, 2010


this brief trailer is for a book called "if a tree falls," by jennifer rossner, who has two deaf daughters. i've included an article she's written on the topic before on this blog. when we first read this article it was so spot on that we just sobbed. suffice it to say that her words are powerful and beautifully written and resonate with me.

old school

(back in 2003 to get you in the mood for this post)

don't worry- just because i went from a flurry of posts to nothing at all doesn't mean i've disappeared. it just means that i'm playing hard to get. in the meantime, maybe you can peruse these ancient oldies but goodies from back in the day!

i don't think this has changed much at all. 

take that, rewind it back to two years ago!

alas, i don't think i've done much improving here...

and in case you don't know who would be at my celebrity sleepover

and finally, one of my original rants (and it still drives me crazypants!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

buy this, not that!

have you ever seen those "eat this, not that!" links or books? they offer you the healthier choices to pick at restaurants and fast food places.

well, in the midst of the shopping frenzy of this season, i offer you a few buy this, not that! options...
a few of my friends have etsy shops chock full of cuteness. what could be better than handmade gifts?

tricia is one of my sister's best friends, and sells the sweetest things for little ones. (the name of her shop, sweeter than sweets is appropriate!) my favorite are the hooded towel and washcloth sets, which are so reasonably priced and so cute!
so cute for a boy or girl-and only twenty dollars! love all of these.
there are also tons of cute clips

my friend ren handsews these adorable little soft friends.
m and ruby have quite a collection of these, and just love them. 
made out of felt, they are the only stuffed friends that populate m's room that i think are cute too!

if you don't need or want any more stuffed friends in your house, you can buy some little (but super strong) magnets:
i don't know about your little one, but m is obsessed with magnets these days!

last up, my friend nicole runs deliajude the shoppe!
i've raved before about her garland of the month club, because it is the easiest way to have joy pop up in your mailbox once a month. they are perfect to keep or pass along to a friend, and they slip right into a card for easy mailing to long distance friends. i love them.
you never know what kind of garland will show up!
she also has other great crafting odds and ends, 

(just a few options for non-big box shopping...happy gifting!)

do you have any favorite etsy shops i should know about?

Friday, December 3, 2010

be still my beating heart

"i'm an artist. i'm an artist just like you, mommy."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

go tell it on the mountain

i need some good christmas music.

i don't really like christmas music, but i feel like i should mix things up this year and at least try playing some here and there. (for those of you in my life who blast christmas music the second the turkey and stuffing are off of the table, please don't keel over in shock.)

so, what should i be listening to? besides the only christmas music i currently own: a burned sufjan stevens album and the over the rhine christmas cd that my friend holly sent me (after reading on an earlier post that i am all bah-humbug regarding the christmas muzak)

bring it in the comment section.

(and daphne? since you triple dog dared me via text message at 7 pm to get my 30 posts in? a. done and done. b. treats can be sent to my current address attention your favorite blogger. c. preferably sweet treats.)

happy december eve!
(and i'm serious about the christmas music)

frosty & fries

we don't frequent fast food restaurants unless we are on road trips, but last week (thanksgiving eve), matt suddenly had a craving for wendy's frosty and french fries. m and ruby were already snuggled in their pj's and we were heading home late after no dinner. we plopped m in the car, and introduced her to this salty sweet treat.
waiting for her treat & not sure what to expect...
she quickly became an expert at dipping her fries in the frosty
happy girl!
she only ate about 1/4 of the frosty, but she was in treat-heaven...

ps did you know you can now get vanilla frosties?


 walking to grandma's for thanksgiving!
 almost there...
 (the table is ready)
 adult table kid table mashup
 we did plenty of hanging out
 and then eating!
 m was a big fan of the rolls (that matt made from scratch)
shocking. my daughter never met a bread product she didn't love.
 more hanging, eating, chatting
and a few trips down to see newlywed aaron & sarah's new place eight doors down from my mom's.
(super cute with a little mini-house in the backyard- perfect for their nieces to play in!)
 love her.
 (grandma holding ruby)
 we needed some downtime before pie, 
so some lounged on the couch while others waxed philosophical
 or just drank wine
and then, we played games
have you ever played a game where jesus, carbon dating & lindsay lohan were involved?
well, maybe you need to come to our house next year.
and then, we ate pie. 
so good.
a day to be
thankful for so much.

right now

Outside my window...the street is dark, quiet, resting.

I am thinking...of how time passes so quickly, in a day, in one's life. i'm wondering how i can live life to soak it up and slow it down.

I am thankful for...a full day, smattered with points of joy and laughter. friends who are still everyday friends even when they live thousands of miles away.

From the kitchen...fenton's ice cream calling my name in the freezer. but so far, i resist.

I am wearing... red scarf, striped grey shirt, cozy black sweater, pj bottoms, and uggs. cozy over cute, my friends.

I am traditions, a safe place for my daughters to grow, learn, and make mistakes, a marriage based on trust and seeing who we can be, not just who we are right now.

I am celebrate this advent season with hope and expectation and simplicity.

I am reading...a stack of art and style magazines i bought this weekend.

I am hoping...that ruby sleeps all night long. (and that i do too)

I am hearing...the sound of the heater, music streaming on pandora, my daughter rolling around in her bed upstairs.

Around the house...m's books and little girl sweaters are scattered about, folded laundry sits waiting to find spots in drawers, dishes sit in the sink, and i am perfectly happy to be ignoring all of it to sit down.

One of my favorite things...when my mom plays the piano and i stand behind her with one hand on her shoulder, my sister next to me, and we sing old hymns.

A few plans for the rest of the week: finish my advent activity calendar for m and ruby, figure out christmas cards, finish my book club book, clean aforementioned messy house, snuggle up my daughters, go on a family walk.

what are
you doing right now? format taken from here...the simple woman's daybook.

cool, cooler, coolest

from a conversation with matt tonight:
"i know that being an artist is cooler than being a 'mother.' but what about 'artist-mother'? isn't that even cooler than just artist or mother?"

he laughed.

here's hoping that i get to do both. at the end of the day i think that art-making also fuels me to be a better mother. (and raising children informs and shapes how i make art.) but some days those worlds seem so far apart and hard to connect.

take that, rewind it back

two thursdays ago, we had our immigration stories meal with friends,
also known as our pre-thanksgiving meal.
(i wrote about it last year too)
i said it last year and i'll say it again, there is something rare and wonderful about sitting down for a meal with friends and delving deeper into each others stories. i think that in the old days (whenever that was), people often stayed in the same place for a long time. generations were born, lived, and died on the same soil, and so over time you didn't have to tell each other your stories because those stories were already known and experienced by the community around you. it doesn't usually work like that anymore. i probably live in a place that is the apex of transiency-people come and go around here. so to sit and talk for a few hours about snippets from our past is a gift.
chris gets the turkey ready for mass consumption.
(how kendra (chris' wife) always makes the very best meat/poultry despite being a vegetarian is a mystery to me. but seriously. her turkey was -as usual- so good.)
getting ready to dive in to food and stories...
ruby got to come along to hang out with us, 
even though it was past m's bedtime so she stayed home with grandma.
feeding frenzy, or at least a heavily laden plate, begins.
at this point the ratio is lots of food to less talk.
you have to have at least one posed picture. right?
connie & i getting ready to feast
connie and her fiance peter made steamed fish.
since the first thanksgiving probably rocked a healthy amount of creatures of the sea 
(or creek or other body of water), we were only trying to be authentic.
gratuitous turkey shot
even more importantly, a gratuitous stuffing shot.
yum, my mom's recipe-so delicious. 
(to be honest, i need no other thanksgiving item besides this stuffing)
once the meal was consumed we settled in to hear our stories of journey and history and place: how our ancestral families had come to america, how our immediate families had come to oakland, how we had come to be a part of this community of friends meeting on thursdays. i was sitting around a table with friends- most of whom i have known for years- and i learned something new about each one of them.

this year i think i was most struck how the many of the moments that had the most impact on our lives were small ones. it seemed like the trajectory of our lives weren't determined most often by a large and momentous occasion, but by the adding up of little decisions in our own lives or in the lives of others.

i shared about my dad's side of the family, and brought an old photograph along. it was bittersweet to think of this history i have- so many broken relationships, truths and promises in my lineage, and yet so much goodness has come despite from these moral and human failings. and that's what life is, isn't it- a jumble of brokenness and beauty, insignificant moments and forgettable days that end up changing everything.

in all, a reminder to linger over dinner longer, to ask those who are older and wiser about who you are and where you come from- even if you don't like the answer, and to tell our stories to each other.

(p.s. sorry the picture quality is so crappy. i accidentally uploaded a low resolution version.)