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 creating...new 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 going...to 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.)

i just realized..

...that this means 7 more posts today.
get excited my friends!

eating my words

remember that whole 30 posts in 30 days promise that i made at the beginning of november? yes, i am behind, as if you didn't notice. of course my saving grace at this point is that i didn't say it would be a post every day, just that in 30 days there would ultimately be 30 posts. or at least that is what i am telling myself to justify the fact that i am going to be playing catch up for a few days!

meanwhile, my computer is freaking out & gobbling up photos like leftover thanksgiving pie. no fun. so photos have been hard to post. if anyone can find my entire photo library from july 24th-today, i'll be your best friend.

a few snippets to be expanded on later: thanksgiving was great. we saw both sides of the family & ate lots of good food! my baby still likes to wake up at all hours for snacks. i am exhausted. ruby screamed from 3-5 am last night. oh yes, we make stubborn baby girls with healthy lungs. more to follow...(and more gripping than this) i promise!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving!

i love thanksgiving. matt and i were talking about how it is one of the rare holidays that pretty much every american celebrates, and that almost no one works. it is beautiful outside today: crisp, clear fall weather and a lazy, do some work in the kitchen day inside.

this year has been one of many good things: ruby's birth, buying our home, m's language exploding, my brother's wedding, my friend's anniversary 5 years cancer-free, my mom buying a home a couple blocks away, good vacations with dear friends, spending every thursday night with a community of friends, 8 years of marriage, wonderful times with grandparents, new seasons of life with new friends and more time on life's journey with old friends, visits from extended family, and so much more.

and so i am extremely grateful, humble and thankful.

but i've been thinking a lot about how it isn't just about giving thanks when circumstances are ideal or the way we expected them to be. as we gather around the table at my mom's house later today i want to be mindful of being thankful in all circumstances. even if this next year is more sparing in its celebrations i want to be a person of gratitude and grace. when i was in middle school i went to a church youth group and the youth group leader would charge me 10 cents every time i complained. i complained a lot. i still do. i am so wary of inauthenticity and pretending that i err on the side of dwelling on the negatives before taking joy in the positives. i need to be more thankful. and say it outloud.

so here is to less complaining and more gratitude, in all types of circumstances, and throughout the other 364 days of the year.

(on this thanksgiving- i hope you eat, drink, and enjoy! i plan on trying all 3 kinds of pie we'll be having. so there.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

(6 months)

well, the last 4 months of my iphoto is still in limbo somewhere (until i rope my brother aaron into spending a bit of his thanksgiving helping me track those pictures down), so this is a photo of itty bitty ruby, when she was just about 2 months old.

i remember wondering if i could possibly love another baby the way i love my first one. tonight as i sat playing with ruby i was so so happy she was a part of our little world. today she is six months old!i want to plead with her to slow down and stop getting big already! i feel like she is already outgrowing the baby stage. as much as i can't say that i love waking up at all hours and being a one woman feeding machine, i do also simultaneously love so many of the moments that make this stage exhausting. i love snuggling in the middle of the night (even if i am falling asleep), her tiny hand on me as she nurses, the way that she has to express everything through laughter and tears because she can't talk yet. such a fleeting season, and i am trying to soak it up.

this afternoon my two daughters were on nap strikes. i went in multiple times (big mistake by the way), and every time i went in to check on them, my girls were wide awake. m was facing ruby laughing and saying silly things (which of course she can't even hear because her implants are off when she naps) and ruby, all swaddled up, had turned her head to face m and was giggling. yes, giggling. every time i went in these two were a.keeping each other wide awake during naptime and b. egging each other on towards more laughter. i desperately needed them to sleep so i could reach my work deadline (which i did by the skin of my teeth and no thanks to daughters #1 and #2), but they were so cute, giggling away at each other. it made my heart melt a little.

ruby's smile is infectious, and so is her sweet spirit. she has a stubborn streak-as does her big sister. she can scream at the top of her lungs for hours (i'm not being dramatic. really. hours. middle of the night hours-which is the worst!) and oh, does she love to snuggle with her mama. she is kind of intense for being so young. she gives m a run for her money when it comes to personality, and that is saying a lot.

and so 6 months in our family is changed for the better. we laugh more. we sleep less. i grow impatient more quickly, and shower a lot less frequently. but of course, at the end of the day, we love more deeply with this new baby in the house.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the very shortest version of our story

last weekend was the annual benefit to raise funds for m's school, jean weingarten peninsula oral school for the deaf. we were asked to be in the video and tell m's story. they used a couple of minutes of it in the video, so i thought i'd share. the video is 5 minutes long, and was the preface for the auction portion of the evening, so at the very end you'll see it is announcing the auction bidding. it was pretty emotional to share our story (as you see from my tears!) luckily he only included a short excerpt. thought you might want to see for yourselves:

sick day (and cookies)

here's our morning. me, in bed, while the girls play on top of me.
i went to bed at 7 last night in the hopes that my body would recuperate by 6 this morning so i could drive m down to school. alas, it didn't really work that way. in miraculous news, ruby must have sensed that i needed to sleep for a very long time- she slept until 1 in the morning, ate, and then went back to sleep until 4:55 am. ate again, then she went back to sleep again until 7. i know this isn't the most gripping blog material, but for those of you who have been also feeling the pain of little ones who wake up at all hours or who want to snack all the night long (yes, i'm talking about you nancy & jennifer), i had to share my good news.

meanwhile, i am behind in my 30 posts in 30 days promise. don't worry- i'll catch up with a flurry of posts. my iphoto is acting up so i need to find the pictures from the last few months that just up and disappeared on me.

i've posted the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. and i've posted the most amazing brownie recipe ever too. (seriously, don't even bother with any other ones, and just stick to these two.) then this morning my friend jenny asked if my recipe for ultimate cookies (a uc davis coffeehouse bakery treat) was on my blog. i checked, and lo and behold (as my mom would say), it isn't.

so here you go, my friends. the perfect wintery treat:
ultimate cookies

  • 1 cup (room temperature) butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons mint extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2-2 cups chocolate chips
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. in a small bowl combine flour & baking soda and set aside. (i actually never do this; i inevitable just dump in the flour & baking soda later and my cookies turn out just fine)
  3. in a large bowl cream butter and brown and white sugars. add vanilla, mint extract & egg and beat until fluffy.
  4. fold in milk & dry ingredients until blended. fold in chocolate chips.
  5. drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (and don't overbake!! these continue to harden up after you take them out of oven)
  6. don't forget to sample some dough & some finished cookies before you share them with the rest of the world. happy baking!

Friday, November 19, 2010


do you ever read nie nie?
here's a summary if you haven't read stephanie's story. shortest version: she and her husband (barely) survived a plane crash 2 years ago...
(after the crash) 
image from here
she blogged before the crash and blogs still, all while raising 4 kids and going through so much to heal (most of her body was burned in the crash.) she is a pretty incredible person.

i loved this post that she wrote this week. funny how we compare our lives, our bodies, our situations, our houses, our clothes, our kids, our struggles, our job (or lack thereof) to others'. somehow much easier to compare and wish than to celebrate and be thankful for the life we do have. i am often so guilty of this.

so for tonight- i am thankful for two daughters who bring me so much joy; i am thankful for dear family-close and far, young and old, blood related and deep down soul friends; i am thankful for rest after a very long day; i am thankful for a husband who is also my best friend, who makes me coffee in the morning and who champions me; i am thankful for the miracle that is m's ability to hear; i am thankful for a strong, healthy body and naturally wavy hair; i am thankful for hands that can draw what i see in my head.

what are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


i love this photo of my mommy holding ruby this weekend.
such wisdom & beauty in her face.

party in the park

best place for a kiddo party? the park. 

the grownups can chat
 or wear shark masks
while the kiddos run around celebrating.
 unless you are too small to run around. in that case, you get snuggled.
and then passed for some more snuggling.
(just one more snuggle)

rebecca and mark had a pinata for the bigger kids,
although they had various methods for attacking the zebra...
 amy & becca give a crash course in how to hit a pinata
micah tries to go the gentle route.

 monrovia acted like she was brushing its' mane the first time around, and then she got into it.
 the crook at the end of the stick was a little on the dangerous side, 
especially when the biggest kids got up to swing.
and finally,
down came the zebra
spilling open with toys and stickers and treats!
 judah didn't quite totally get the concept...
and wept over the broken zebra

 wearing loot from the pinata
 m helps sadie blow her candle out!
(judah appears to have recovered and is now doing his best mccauley culkin home alone impersonation in the background)
happy birthday little one!
 sadie dutifully destroys her birthday treat
 and for ruby, one last snuggle lead to falling asleep on grandma.

super fun party enjoying the park before the chill of late fall sets in!
(oh oakland, how i love your moderate weather)