Wednesday, June 30, 2010

can you hear me now?

matt refuses to get rid of his cell phone.

i make fun of him all the time for it, because he has had it for 6 years and it is (literally) falling apart.

as in, every time it happens to drop 2 inches it breaks into multiple pieces.

as in, the keys have been worn down so much that there are no numbers or letters on any of the buttons.

i hate using his phone because the buttons are kind of janky and it is hard to push them so they'll actually work.

but still, he refuses to upgrade. it may seem silly or stubborn when he could walk into a verizon store and walk out with a "free" phone, but the reason he refuses is because each one of our little cell phones (as well as our laptops, etc etc) contain minerals and metals that are likely from war torn congo. we get new gadgets that we like for about 5 seconds, and our gadgets help fuel their bloody conflict. so he is waiting for a phone that is certified conflict-free. i don't think one exists yet.

it seems pretty ridiculous that as consumers our voices could impact a deadly conflict that has claimed so many lives. obviously this would not erase the issues in the congo, but it could drastically reduce the funds that contribute to this ongoing bloodshed. it is pretty sobering to me to see the huge long lines for new iphones and realize the connection our hunger for new technology inadvertently has on human beings lives.

read this great article or watch this video for more information:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

this post doesn't even deserve a title because it's lame

(unrelated to anything in this post
but just cute of my mom and ruby.
reminds me of this picture of m when she was a newborn napping on matt)

i have multiple longer, more meaningful posts on my mind, but i am tired.
i need to sleep.
and i am just so behind in everything in life these days,
although i did pay all the bills yesterday
(i know, this is a gripping post, isn't it.)

i still haven't figured out the whole get everything done with two kids thing.
maybe i need to let go of the getting everything done.
but how about getting ANYTHING done? is that too much to ask?

and also, suddenly ants invaded our house. i hate ants.

{finally, happy anniversary to the ogdens & juliens!
happy 8th and 36th respectively!}

extra final note, this friday july 2nd is my mom's birthday.
so if you know her and you want to shower her with lovin',
you should.
because she deserves it.

super extra final note: i am telling you, these ants are everywhere.
an ant is crawling on my leg!
i hate these silly ants!!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

thinking about this quote today...

"the deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain" kahlil gibran


in between little ones' naps + nursing i am working on some new card ideas.
i am realizing that 2 kids + a deadline is a lot harder to pull off.
i do a lot of this.

sitting + thinking.
drawing a blank.
waiting for brilliance.
inspiration comes from putting in a lot of time getting very little accomplished,
but putting in the time nonetheless.
then all of a sudden all of those days of nothing come together
in a few hours of creating something that really works.
(or at least so i hope)

happy wednesday!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


(a few glimpses into life at my house right now)
queen's anne's lace
(which always reminds me of childhood summer vacations to peaks island, maine- where it flourishes- and evening family walks around the island where we kids would collect cans and bottles to recycle for money so that we could buy atomic fire balls and lemonheads at the island grocery store)finally getting to bake after months of packing, moving, unpacking, and giving birth.
(oh how i love to put ingredients together to make something new and delicious)
dishes, i don't love you so much.
little m seems to know the words "chocolate chips."
she saw this dough and declared, "chocolate chip cookies, mommy?"
grandma prinz and little m went adventuring and collected leaves and flowers
the nursing station next to my bed
little m's breakfast of cherries and yogurt
m's favorite spot in her room
baby ruby resting on our bed
matt & m spend some time in the backyard

Monday, June 21, 2010

one month

happy one month
sweet baby girl!

we love you
your big gray eyes
black hair
tiny hand holding onto my shirt
easy going disposition
(you really let your sister maul you)

you make our family better

ps i'm glad i'm not in labor anymore. because it hurts. but i'd do it all over again for you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

hey there...

hi gentle readers,

as father's day approaches this sunday, just wondering what special father's day traditions you have in your house- either now or when you were growing up? i'd love to expand on our ways to celebrate in our household!



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

how i know bono is my friend

when it comes to u2, my friend nancy says i am a superfan. (as my pal hannah would say- no judgey judgey. i know there are far cooler musicians to etch onto your heart, but i don't care. i love them.) i don't know about the term SUPERfan- i don't have a personalized U2 license plate, or a joshua tree tattoo. i don't wear old tour t-shirts or fly to ireland to watch their concert at slane castle or save money just to fly to half of the shows on their tour. (ah, which may sound crazy but plenty of U2 superfans do...)

but, she has at least a partial point:

i have been listening to u2 since i was about 10.
the first tape i bought was a U2 tape.
i did write an english essay my freshman year of high school based on the official biography of these four musicians.
i have been to every concert U2 has played in the bay area since 1991.
i used to camp out all night in line to buy tickets outside of the music store. and yes, for the past few tours i have waited in the general admission line (for more details on that check out this post) for over 24 hours (with all of the other superfans)
you may remember, i did drive to arizona with my brothers this fall to hear them in concert.
i can tell you most trivia facts about the band members. like, if you want to know bono's birthday, or how they became a band, or the edge's daughter's name? embarrassingly enough, i'm your girl.
and just maybe, i am convinced that at some point in my life, i will have my own personal concert with my friends bono, the edge, adam clayton & larry mullen jr. i'm not kidding. (i even know where the personal concert will be held. if you're lucky, i'll invite you.)

so it didn't seem that crazy to me when last fall, about a week after i'd driven to arizona to see U2 in concert, i bought general admission tickets for the newly announced oakland show. even though my due date for ruby was 3 weeks before the concert date. even though general admission tickets involve getting to the venue at an ungodly time- preferably at least 24 hours ahead of time to wait, and then once the venue is opened up, making a mad rush to get as close to the stage as possible without being stampeded, then waiting for a few more hours smashed in with hundreds of other superfans (no bathroom breaks, no moving from your spot.) i couldn't for the life of me figure out how i could work out nursing a 3 week old, sprinting across an entire stadium to mark my territory and then waiting without needing to head to the bathroom (trust me. those last two items on the list seem impossible mere weeks after birthing a baby. let's just say i'm still healing.)

so. i tried to work out a plan involving friends passing ruby off to me in line, making friends with security guards, pumping milk while i waited for the concert with 200 of my closest friends. um, all totally ridiculous attempts that would no way work.

and then,
bono proved to me that he is my pal.
the concert, which was supposed to be tonight, in postponed until 2011. much to the distress of many U2 fans, and to my sheer delight...bono jacked up his back a few weeks ago. so. he had emergency back surgery and physical therapy and rest (sorry about that bono) and as a result, this entire leg of the tour is postponed. which means, i can go next year without going to extreme measures. and just maybe, this will be the time i'm pulled up on stage to sing along & dance with bono. (i should clarify that i don't really have the need to dance with bono, it would just be the vehicle to have a conversation with him about how he is going to buy some of my paintings or send me to africa to work on some worthy project. i would way rather dance with my husband.)

one of the lyrics i repeated to myself while i was in labor was "always pain before the child is born" from the song yahweh. it kind of comforted me through contractions and pushing. serious. so, thanks to bono's back issues, i get to go to the concert next year. for now, i'm content to watch clips of them live.
(i love this song. you really should watch it:)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

proud mama

i usually don't post videos on here, but i couldn't resist posting little m's debut singing at her end of the year school talent show.

two years ago, when m was three months old, we visited the graduation/talent show festivities at her school for the deaf for the first time. i remember holding her teeny little body in my arms as we toured the school that morning. we didn't know what to expect. we peeked into classrooms and interacted with children wearing cochlear implants and hearing aids. i remember a little girl named mia walked up to us and said, "is your baby deaf?" as if it was the most normal thing in the world. no one had ever assumed our baby was deaf before. mia was deaf, had two cochlear implants, and was talking and listening to us. then we went to the talent show; deaf kids singing, playing the drums, talking. it was amazing.

and now, our daughter is one of those kids who is learning to listen and talk. she got up in front of all of the teachers, kids and parents and performed. i'm so proud of her. at first, i sang a song she likes from school, "stepping in and stepping out." suddenly doing the motions isn't quite enough for her, so she motions to me that she wants to sing itsy bitsy spider, grabs the microphone, and proceeds to sing her very own rendition of twinkle twinkle little star. (she is kind of quiet so you may want to turn your volume up)

matt and i both got teary as she sang the first two lines of twinkle twinkle over and over. the past two years have been so much work, so much energy, so many emotions and as she stood on that stage it all seemed like a miracle.

Monday, June 14, 2010


short blog today because i need a nap and right now two itty bitties are sound asleep.
here's one of them:
this is what we're up to around here-
sleeping/changing diapers/eating/and all over again.
oh, and playing.

{happy birthday today to kelli!
you are amazing...}

Friday, June 11, 2010

happy to you

little m hasn't quite mastered singing happy birthday. instead the variation she sings goes, "happy to you (fill in birthday girl or boy's name).."

she could sing happy to you to two very special friends of mine who celebrated another year of amazingness this week: kendra and hannah.

{hannah and her daughter vivian}
hannah and i have been friends for over a year now. our girls go to school together and little m and vivian constantly amaze us with their tenacity and spunk! hannah has taught me so much about perspective, kindness, and creativity. i love watching her as a mom - she is patient, silly, adventurous, persistent and a champion of her daughter. she comes up with super fun ways to spend her days with vivian, and reminds me to savor every moment of being a mommy. she has been such an encouragement and gift to me this last year & today i celebrate her inner and outer beauty, her resilience, her great style, her grace & authenticity, and her ability to love well. she may not teach in the classroom full time anymore, but she teaches me so much just by being herself. happy to you, sweet friend. i am so grateful for you (and your gift of a daughter. i love her snuggly, lovey, feisty self.)
{kendra with baby ruby}

i've known kendra for over 10 years now! (wow, crazy.) she, too, has taught me about being a good mom from her very first days of mothering twins. she is one of those people who makes parenting look effortless (even when she had TWO newborns!) she laughs so much with her kids, and she takes them on marvelous adventures just because. she is another mom who teaches me so much about how to love kids just by being herself. she made me want to be a mom by the ways she kept her identity but still rocked mom-hood with humor & creativity & sassiness. kendra is extremely thoughtful in big and little ways. i kid you not, she is even my personal shopper- calling me when she spots something that she thinks i'd like and picking it up for me. (i have a cute new pair of black flats thanks to her keen & bargain hunting eye!) she puts up with my tendency to text instead of call, and is ever so gracious to me. have you ever seen supercute jewelry on me? kendra probably made it. i'm so glad you are my friend and have been through many seasons of life (joyous and difficult.) you love deeply and you love well.

happy to you- two women who have made my life richer.
i am a better mom and friend because of you both.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

big girl

little m on the first day of school this year
...and this morning
on her last day of school

someone is a big girl!
and p.s. someone is also rocking a way cooler look than i am these days.
(outfit put together by her daddy.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

slow & steady

considering the fact that we moved in to our new house on may 9th and baby ruby was born may 24th, we haven't exactly made our house into a home...(yet)

the garage and downstairs laundry room and extra room are disaster zones with tons of unpacked boxes, we haven't hung much of anything on the walls (except for one single paintings in the entire house), and the list of initial to-do's is more than a page long.

my dear friend daphne, who lives far away in michigan keeps asking for updated photos, so as i can i'll post some.

here is the before of our livingroom....

and then the current state(i won't say "after" quite yet since it is a work in progress...):

once we get more done, i'll update these...

off to get very little sleep! xoxo

please pack your brushes & go

for those of you that have been friends with me for a long time but you are not an artist, you've heard (but not experienced) the art critiques i have been in for ages....all throughout undergrad and graduate school.

critiques are essentially what you may have seen on a show like project runway or top chef but with art instead of fashion or food: you make a piece of art, and then everyone in your crit- peers and professor- have the opportunity to pick apart what you have made. in my graduate program, i could expect that the critique around one of my paintings could last at least an hour, if not more. that means you, and your art, on the hot seat the whole time- fielding questions, listening to other people pick you apart, speaking in artspeak and defending your work.

some crits are a royal waste of time, others are brutal to one's ego or self esteem, and others are a valuable part of the artistic process. i will admit that i have been reduced to tears in a critique. crits are not for the faint of heart - you are getting reamed in front of friends and rivals. even the art stars in my midst experienced getting raked over the coals at least once, so in some ways it levels everyone, talented or not so much.

one reason i've always liked shows that are like project runway and top chef is that they remind me so much of being in a fine arts program. i can go through people that were in my graduate program and tell you who should be starring in an art reality program-from fellow artists to professors- since many art makers are larger than life, and well, quirky (and often full of themselves.) in fact, i remember sitting with friends & casting an imaginary art reality show with people from my master's program just a few years ago...

FINALLY my dream is coming true: an art reality show is beginning on bravo tonight, produced by sarah jessica parker. yay yay yay- i can't wait for the snarkiness, creating, and critiquing to begin!!! bring on the backstabbing (because let me tell you, there is a whole lot of that in the art world!)

Monday, June 7, 2010


somehow i make these babies that certainly know how to scream well.
this one is far far more mellow than her big sister was as a newborn,
but when she decides she wants attention,
she knows just what to do.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

welcome to the family

(sweet ruby,
all i can say is that i am doing my best to teach your sister to be gentle...
but she's a lover, just like her momma.)

my daughter likes to hug her new baby sister.
so far, no bruises, just some smashed newborn body parts here and there.
so, it all starts innocently with, "mommy, roro hold baby ruby"
she points out baby ruby's body parts...
and then goes in for the lovin'
a little closer
ruby begins to look kind of stressed
but is powerless to her big sister's 2 year old strength
finally, i intervene since ruby is completely smashed up
little m, happy as can be and oblivious to her poor sister's distress
apparently the pain isn't too bad because seconds later ruby is ready for a nap

Thursday, June 3, 2010


in my master's program for painting, one of my favorite courses (even though it involved a lot of mental gymnastics) was introduction to critical theory. in a very brief and inadequate definition, critical theory is the examination of culture/society.

bear with me for a moment as i get to what i am thinking about:

binary systems was one of the concepts we spent a great deal of time discussing and studying in critical theory, and refers (essentially) to pairs of polar opposites within a culture: male/female, presence/absence, civilized/savage, crazy/sane, rational/emotional. it is much easier for us as humans to categorize according to binary pairs rather than deal with the grey area that lies between these two places. in other words, we like to put people, emotions, situations into boxes or categories so we can simplify and deal with them more easily.

i've been thinking about this a lot as i think about monrovia. she is deaf, but she can hear and speak. still deaf though. it sort of puts her into this weird in-between place in which she isn't totally hearing or totally deaf. i wonder what her experience of processing who she is as someone in between the identity of "deaf" and "hearing" will be as she grows older.

i thought of it again as baby ruby took her newborn hearing screening in the hospital last week.
we didn't know if she would pass or fail.
we had so many mixed emotions.

when the screener came in, she said, "i'm just here to do a little hearing screening." of course, this had been the part that we had been anticipating, knowing that for us it wasn't "a little" hearing screening at all.

ever since m took her hearing screening 2 years ago and didn't pass, it has been something we've thought and talked about: when we would visit friends' new babies in the hospital and see the hearing test checked off the list of things to do before they checked out, when we saw a pamphlet about the screening lying around at a friend's house whose brand new baby had just come home, when we discussed whether we would have a second child (i actually envisioned the moment of the 2nd baby's hearing screening & played it through in my mind more than i did about labor.)

matt told the volunteer screener, "i just want you to know that our daughter is deaf, so we just want you to be aware that this will be very emotional for us no matter what the results are." she didn't really seem to hear him, because she said, "well, if she doesn't pass it's most likely she just has fluid in her ears and we'll just retest her a few times." (i wanted to say, um, if she doesn't pass it is probably because she is deaf just like her sister is, but i didn't say anything.) then she told us how valuable and important the newborn screening was for identifying hearing loss early. (which, for the record, i totally agree with, but i don't know that she needed to be telling us that considering the information matt had just given her.)

we sat on the bed looking out the window and squeezing each others hands, not knowing what either result would feel like once we heard it out loud.

the screener checked her right ear. she passed. and then the left, and she passed again. she showed us the results across the decibels on her little machine, and then she gave us a copy of the results and left, closing the door behind her.

and matt and i both started sobbing.

there was and is so much wrapped up in that hearing screening and in the results.
we didn't tell anyone the results all day.

it seemed to be something we just needed to keep for ourselves as we processed that ruby was not deaf.

you know, when little m was diagnosed with profound hearing loss it felt as if the world was caving in on us. we were so swamped, lost, suffocated in grief. we didn't know a way forward. i remember feeling emotionally numb, and i just wanted to escape into myself. i'm not sure how to express this exactly, but we were so, so incredibly sad and at the same time, we never wanted a different daughter. it wasn't sadness because she wasn't perfect, or because we had certain expectations for who she should be; we were grieving knowing that life would inevitably be harder for our daughter. and, as you know, life can already be pretty hard as it is. we were grieving the unknown. we were grieving what we saw as losses for her- not to be able to hear us sing to her lullabies or the birds outside her window or the million other sounds we take for granted. i think i was also scared- i felt like didn't know how to be a good mom, much less a good mom to a baby who couldn't hear me. yet even in the darkest moments, when we had just learned that m was deaf, we didn't want anyone other child in our family. and having her in our family meant having a deaf child.

so, because it was so hard for us, because we grieved her deafness so deeply, because we had talked and re-talked the potential outcomes of the impending hearing test, you would think that we would have been hoping and praying that ruby would pass the hearing screening.

but that isn't what we were hoping and praying. i think we wanted to have the grace and strength to know how to parent either way: two deaf children or one hearing, one deaf. both present complexities because parenting is inherently complex, whether your child(ren) have special needs or not.

it may sound odd, but part of me hoped our second child would be deaf. really. (of course if someone else said this to me, i wouldn't like it very much-unless they, too, had a deaf kid, but it's ok for me to say it myself.) in some ways, to have another deaf child would have given little m another sibling who doesn't quite fit into a box, or a binary opposite...just like her. the two of them could have each other to work through identity issues. matt and i are both hearing, so as much as we love m, we will never completely know what it is to be deaf but also be able to speak and listen with implants.

part of me hoped he or she would be hearing - just because it is easier, in so many ways (both for us and for our child). no barrage of appointments with doctors, therapists, the school district. no hearing aids, insurance companies, surgeries, countless medical bills & paperwork. and of course because then, aside from all of those logistical reasons, our child can hear.

to be perfectly honest, on one level to celebrate ruby passing her screening without recognizing these complexities feels a little bit like a betrayal to little m and the fact that she can't hear without cochlear implants. a betrayal i guess because to celebrate ruby's ability to hear implies that little m is deficient or that we are celebrating who she is not and can never be.

she so when people asked us whether ruby passed the test, we hesitated to answer right away. because we were and are grateful that ruby can hear, but regardless of whether the results were pass or fail, each road had the potential for the loss of some things and the gifts of others.

as we have grieved m's deafness, learned to see the many gifts that have come from raising her, and don't want another child besides little m, we have moved into a place where it isn't as neat as pass/fail. hearing/deaf. celebrate/grieve.

i don't know how much this makes sense or doesn't make sense, but it is just an acknowledgement that both of our daughters are a gift, one hearing, one deaf. that having a deaf daughter has been in some ways a treasure, even in its difficulty and hardness and grief. and the emotions that came rushing at us as we learned that ruby could hear don't really fit into a box. i am so, so grateful that ruby can hear - that she doesn't need implants to listen and speak.

nonetheless it was a whole lot of different feelings sloshing together, mixed up and messy.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

be still my beating heart

lately little m has been obsessed with drawing and coloring.

she goes and sits in her chair and colors away for long periods of time. she tends to stick with purple and red, and prefers markers to crayons. she is as particular as her mommy when it comes to how, where, and what she wants to draw. i love it. i feel like i am going back in time to when i was a very young girl and watching myself draw for hours. maybe we'll do a collaborative painting sometime soon!

donut date

this morning i took little m out on a special date with me, since essentially i am feeding her baby sister for 12 hours a day. that means waaaay less attention for her.

i figured she needed some one on one mommy time, so i took her to get a treat at the donut shop and left baby ruby home with matt.

after she happily polished off this chocolate sprinkle donut, she wooed her way to an extra donut hole from the woman working, and pranced and twirled her chocolate smeared face self into the hearts of the table full of older men sitting behind us. sugared up, we made up some silly songs on our drive home & came back laughing and with full tummies.

mission accomplished.