Thursday, March 31, 2011

more to come,
(i promise)
but this pretty much sums up how we feel about yesterday's iep for m:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

the birth of a word

can you imagine having 90,000 hours of video capturing your family's daily life from the moment you brought home your first child? (scary, right?)

for those of you with young children, and even more so for those of you who have children with hearing loss, this is a fascinating video about how we learn words and language.

it is pretty incredible as the speaker, deb roy, breaks down the development of language, maybe even more so for me because when using auditory/oral training with our deaf daughter we have been so focused on intentional language acquisition.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


(me, circa 1980)

not much to say,


i am grateful for
dinner out & life-giving conversation with my husband,
raised crumb donuts,
such faithful friends,
a long walk,
hot showers,
wisdom via blog & text,
snuggling with my girls on a toddler bed,
a quiet house.

Monday, March 28, 2011

big girl

sometimes m seems so grown-up.
 and sometimes she still seems so little.

suddenly she is almost three. i'm not even thinking of it as her birthday, i'm thinking of it as the date that she has her first iep. m's iep meeting(which is when we meet with the school district to determine the services appropriate for her needs as a deaf child) is this wednesday. 

she has received services since she was 7 months old through the early start program, which is for 0-3 year olds. when a child turns 3 years old, it is a whole new pot of money, so that child gets transitioned over to the school district. we're working with the same people (more or less) than we have been since she was a baby, so in some ways things won't be radically different. we've worked with great and very kind people at oakland, and even in the past when we have fought for other services, things have worked out. in light of that, i'd like to say that i feel confident and ready, that even if they deny her continued services (which is kind of what i am assuming will happen since she tests very well in quiet settings & with adults) that i will know what the next step is that we should take. but instead, i'm totally scared. 

i think she needs one more year of intentional auditory/oral training at her school. she needs another year of being around lots of kids who are deaf and have hearing loss. she needs to be with teachers who are used to troubleshooting cochlear implants, and who can tell that she is quiet because she can't hear, not just because she is being shy. she needs to learn how to listen in louder contexts, and how to survive in a larger/typical preschool context. she needs a bit more footing before she's launched out into the mainstream.

but on paper, she has great vocabulary and age appropriate mistakes for a typical hearing child. for that i am of course incredibly grateful. just really, really anxious about what is next and feeling like this time things may not go the way i think it should.

right now, hard. later, maybe good. who knows?

{a photo of little m from one of my first posts in spring of 2008}

when i was initially writing this blog, in the season when we had first gotten m's diagnosis of profound deafness and my dad left my mom (and ensuing family debacle,) this blog was more like "life is hard, but sometimes good." seemed like a lot more hard than good. i actually remember when my friend francesca commented in surprise at a post that was more good than hard. some seasons are like that- full of the weight and depth of grief or disappointment, or the loss of one's life plan disrupted. lately i feel like a lot of people who i love have been slammed with a change in plans- plans that they wouldn't choose. circumstances that, in my mind, seem all wrong & simply painful with no immediate redemptive reason. 

in 2008 (a year that will go down as mostly a whole lot of sucky,) i would've done anything to escape the shock of deafness, of losing my dad and all of the accompanying aftermath that was connected to losing him. last night i went to my bi-weekly counseling session, and as i drove there, i was thinking through how many personal issues i'd worked through (and continue to work through) in the past three years. some of the issues were just normal ways of coping for me, because i didn't have the tools to choose other ways to respond. in a lot of ways, even though i probably wouldn't choose either of those life detours, the path they have taken me on has made me a healthier, more whole woman, wife, mother, friend, and artist. i don't think it always happens that way. i know people who have gone through loss and who are bitter. besides, i still think the actual situations can remain horrible, without any down-the-road positive spin. but i guess it is really more about who we are becoming as people. 

i read this quote the other day from sadhu sundar singh, an indian christian who lived in the early 20th century:

"A silkworm was struggling out of the cocoon and an ignorant man saw it battling as if in pain, so he went and helped it to get free, but very soon after it fluttered and died. The other silkworms that struggled out without help suffered, but they came out into full life and beauty, with wings made strong for flight by their battle for fresh existence."

as we begin another week, here is to emerging out of our struggles into full life and beauty.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

hoping you can hang out 
enjoy the weekend!

Friday, March 25, 2011

a few of my favorite things

happy friday!

the weather is drears-ville here, so a few of random favorites to brighten the day:

1. it's no lie that i love oakland. (every though if we were friends on facebook our relationship status would be it's complicated.) this print made the blog rounds months ago, printed on fabric. it sold out faster than i could grab one and now it's back on annilygreen's etsy shop, letterpressed on paper.
2. mass mayhem. well, not really, but a highlight of the week was watching our friends' nancy and keith's kids micah and myles. i figured if my mom could rock 4 kids at once by the time she was 31, i could too. (luckily matt's mom was here too to lend me a hand)

here's a rare moment of calm:

 3. when matt cooks dinner. for example:
 strawberries & roasted beets
 steamed fennel
dandelion greens with bacon and a poached egg on top
(since i don't like eggs, mine was egg-free & delicious)

4. low maintenance instant makeover: mac lipglass in viva glam v. a perfect daily lipgloss. one swipe makes one look cuter, even if you haven't showered and are wearing the same outfit you wore the day before, and the day before that.
5. since the demise of domino magazine, one of my faves, i've been missing it popping up in my mailbox every month. enter a couple of my new favorites in the last year: lonny magazine (online and in print) and anthology magazine(bay area based, online and in print.) if you live in oakland or close to oakland, the very best magazine store is issues, off of piedmont avenue. they have so many obscure magazines; i love to go check out their art, food and design magazines.
6. new to me music- the head & the heart. discovered this band thanks to my friend hannah. love it. take a listen!
7. the feeling of organizing. last month i cleaned out our junk drawer, and this week i've slowly been working on our other cabinets and drawers. makes me happy every time i open the drawers:
(can you spot matt circa 1982 or so?)

8. the book i'm reading right now- the house at sugar beach. loving this memoir, written by a liberian woman, detailing the authors childhood in liberia, west africa in the early 80's.

have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

(the days are long)

the days are long, but the years are short...
(have you seen this video? 
i remember when my friend hannah posted it a couple of years ago. you can put it on mute to watch; the sound isn't necessary)

last night i went out to coffee and dessert with amy and nancy (aka my roommates)
and we were talking about, amongst countless other topics, being moms.
the reality of parenting vs. the ideas you've held about what your life would look like
& how many kids you'd have.

i always thought i'd have 3 or even 4 kids. 
i'm the oldest of four, and despite the inevitable sibling drama,
i loved being part of a big family.
as my poor siblings can attest, i've been a little mommy since i was little m's size.

now that i am a mom (legitimately and not through being the eldest,) i love it. 
i love every stage so far, 
from right out of my womb to m's independent almost-3-years-old.
i don't want it to race by, 
even though there are days that i feel like i've been steamrolled 
by a collective 45 pounds of energy, need, and whining.
i make a lot of mistakes, and half the time i don't know what i'm doing, 
but almost every day i feel like i am doing what i am supposed to be doing, 
even with all the personal sacrifices and losses 
(i.e. an uninterrupted phone conversation, furthering my artistic career, painting all day, sleeping in-much less sleep all night, or wandering the grocery aisles aimlessly.)

i love being a mom.
part of me still imagines having another little person in our family.
some days i can't imagine not inviting another child into our family,
other days i have no idea how we'd manage.

i have two amazing and wonderful daughters that keep my hands full all the time.
it's already so much harder with two than it was with one 
to juggle parenting with marriage, work, other relationships...
so, i don't know.
i really don't.
i feel like a little battle wages inside of me with different hopes & dreams, at each other with fisticuffs, and i'm just hoping it all sorts itself out.

i'm grateful for both of my daughters,
and the gift it is to be their mommy every day.

ruby is 10 months old!
likes: rolling all over the room to get around, 
grabbing anything and everything to explore via hand and mouth,
being held any chance she can get,
24 hour snuggle,
the opportunity to nurse at anytime,
pureed carrots, banana, squash & tofu, giggling with little m.

dislikes: not being a part of the action, 
pureed asparagus & peas, 
solo time, 
sleeping without being swaddled, 
sister stealing her toys,
sleeping through the night (killing. me. ruby, time to sleep!)

love. her.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

you can thank you me later

in the fall, when matt + i flew to nyc for a few days,
we ate well.
(good thing we walked like 42 miles a day or i would've gained 15 pounds. no exaggeration.)
at one of the dinner spots
we had these
nuggets of delicious
called devils on horseback.

when we were planning the menu for m's hearing party,
i remembered how good they were,
so i searched for a recipe online.
it popped up right away on martha stewart's website,
so i scanned it and added the ingredients to our shopping list:
prunes, cheese, bacon.

fast forward to our kitchen prep.
matt starts making them and says, "uh, sooz? these are supposed to be dates, not prunes."
we used the prunes anyway to see what would happen.

guess what?
they were so delicious
that i could've eaten half this tray.

so if you want the real recipe, martha has it here 
(plus an instructional video) 

or go freestyle, like we did, 
and do this (although we doubled it, and they are so good that if i were you, i'd double it too):

  • Devils on Horseback, Prinz version
  • 24 prunes
  • 12 slices bacon, halved crosswise
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Stilton cheese
  • toothpicks
  • parchment paper (not necessary, but helpful for clean-up)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place toothpicks in a small bowl filled with water; let soak 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have it) and fit with a wire rack; set aside.
  2. Halve prunes lengthwise being careful not to cut all the way through. Place a small amount of cheese in the center of each prune. Wrap a piece of bacon around each prune. Secure bacon with a toothpick.
  3. Place prunes on prepared baking sheet. Bake until bacon is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. 
    Proceed to eat way more than you really should, but enjoy every single bite.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

happy hearing birthday!

outside the weather was a little grey + rainy,

but inside it was the perfect day for a party!
 on saturday we celebrated 2 years since the first day m's cochlear implants were activated
and she heard her first sound.

we gathered music suggestions from friends near + far and compiled a big playlist of love...
i posted a huge list on one wall in case anyone wanted a peek 
at what other people had added to the list.
ironically, it was a listening party, but it was so noisy that it was hard to even hear the music.

it was so dreary outside this week that i envisioned an explosion of color inside.
paper products make me happy.

{other glimpses of rainbows}

 i was inspired by my friend hannah's chalkboard door in her kitchen, 
so matt painted the wall at the top of the stairs with chalkboard paint
so people could write or draw their favorite sound.
(or just scribble)
thanks to matt's parents + my mom, 
we had enough help with the girls and party prep to  somehow get everything ready in time.
 {matt's mom brought some colorful reminders of spring from her cutting garden}

fun people began to arrive to celebrate the miracle of sound!

we had little people food in case the littles didn't want what we made for grown-ups..
(including rainbow jello jigglers that my sister rocked.
i've actually never made m jello before, but i thought it would be fun for the kiddos. 
um, it was a huge hit.
apparently i underestimated the sheer delight that jello would bring the 7 and under set.)
and we had big people food
 including these amazing nuggets of goodness...devils on horseback. 
i'll post the recipe soon, because they were so.amazing.good.delicious.

matt made homemade lemonade & then for mixing adult beverages, homemade tonic.
taylor does a little taste testing

then for dessert we had three options:
 a shaker lemon tart that matt made from this recipe a la one of the pastry chefs at chez panisse.
very tart + marmaladey, but good.

and then my contributions, 

and this yummy  6 layer cake....

 with a fun surprise inside!

 a rainbow!
(i love m's expression in the background of this picture-
she had no idea that a rainbow was inside the cake.)
worth every minute of making it
(ahem, that meant i went to bed at 2 in the morning)
 i have to say, i am not a cake person, and it was really delicious as well as super fun to look at.

in summary:
it was perfect.
just take a look...

 (and included a never-before-performed-in-public rap by uncle aaron about m's bionic ears...
to be posted soon)

 as evidenced by ellis, our party was a rager, even for the 2 and under crowd.

 {love our girls}
finally for the 
 and as the hours passed...
the party wound down, the toddler meltdowns increased tenfold and we said goodbyes
 (why, yes, i am breastfeeding in this photo. 
it's called multi-tasking, although judah looks quite concerned.)
 jonas and ashlynn gave me a preview of life in a few years

and the rainbow gave way to gravity...

i'm not going to lie- 
it was a little crazy at our house...
there were children everywhere...
(i think the party was an extremely effective form of birth control
for any of my friends without kidlets)
general mayhem...
a ton of half-finished conversations...

and it was wonderful.
it was a true celebration of the miracle of m's cochlear implants.
matt and i felt so supported and loved by people who come from all different parts of our life,
but who came together to love on and rejoice with our daughter
who is deaf
but who can hear.

we are gifted by the richness of relationship.
{and so very grateful for those of you who were with us in spirit.}

if a party can stand as a reminder of anything,
it was this:
we can't do this alone.

of us,
in the depths and in the heights, 
need people around us, 
all up in our business.

so very thankful to have friends 
be a part of this journey
-of life, marriage, parenting, deafness-
making us better than we would be left to our own devices.