Friday, April 29, 2011

i can't help it, i love it.

guess what my daughter and i did first thing this morning (as evidenced by my halo of bedhead)...

sitting on the couch watching the royal wedding!

a. i can't believe matt is letting her
b. don't judge
c. what did you think of the dress? (because i know you've already seen it.)

i know it is ridiculous, but hear me out:
maybe, just maybe, as a child i checked the massive coffee table book about princess diana out from the elkins park library about 238 times. who knows how many hours i spent poring over the pages of that book- i can still see so many of the pictures emblazoned on my memory: the one of diana falling asleep during a state event, the one where she is standing next to charles pre-wedding and looking shyly to the ground, the one where she is leaning over to talk to one of her flower girls as they stand on the balcony after the wedding. i also proceeded to draw thousands (i am not exaggerating, even if i am sometimes prone to hyperbole) versions of her wedding dress and her other outfits. my early love of princess di launched a whole lot of artistic inspiration and imagination in my young life.

so, fast forward almost twenty years, and my husband smiles to himself (some may say the expression is more accurately described as a smirk) and occasionally chuckles as i sit here on the couch, explaining to little m who everyone is, what they are saying, and what's happening now.

but i love it.

and just so you know, so does she.

to quote her: "can you show me another video please? can you show me their shoes? i can't hear her voice [when she was saying vows]! i need her to talk louder. i want to see the kids [the flower girls and ring bearers] again. i need to see the girl in the dress; i can't see her."

(and for the record i am not a super-crazy, meaning i did not send the royal couple greetings even though yahoo asked me if i wanted to, i am not purchasing royal souvenirs, and i did not wake up early or host a viewing party to watch the wedding live.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


dear sunshine,
you were just what i needed.
please stay for awhile?

oyster bliss and purple cupcakes

matt's favorite wine shop in berkeley has a quarterly event in their parking lot, which pairs some of their wines with delicious food & dessert. somehow we almost always have something going on on the saturdays that they have an event, and with two kids it has become a lot harder to make it since it usually runs right during the girls' naps. 

we had already had a full morning this last time, which was "oyster bliss", and really should've gone straight home instead of risking double daughter meltdown by going. matt and i were driving home in separate cars when i drove up to his and motioned "let's just go!" it was crazy and irresponsible, but my philosophy is that sometimes what is best for your kids is more what is best for the parents. i felt kind of giddy driving there, because i knew we may be making a really bad decision, but it felt like something that would be good for matt and me. some days you need to just go for it, for your own well-being which then makes you more patient as a parent.

oysters & wine for lots of people...

and then sausages for people like me, who are not fans of creatures of the sea:

 and then, miraculously, the girl who will not touch any meat, poultry or fish (except for bacon)
wanted to eat an oyster.

crazy girl.

my favorite part is always dessert. 
so so good:
 here is our attempt at a family photo. 
notice i am holding up bread to try to get ruby to look at the camera.
 typical mom & girls photos in which 
a. i look ancient and 
b. my kids do not mutually cooperate with the camera lens.
here's the thing. they were tired by the end and took very late naps, 
but it was worth it to go enjoy some good food & wine & music together as a family.
a gamble that paid off!

i keep meaning to post pictures of m's third b-day at school:
 purple (of course) cupcakes

two classes came together to toast m:

 (adam was insanely cute and kept diving into the frosting)

 viv could not spare any of the frosting (smart girl!)
after all, i got the recipe from her mom
 my happy 3 year old...

and the post-cupcake mess:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

lovely & amazing

last week i was working with some friends on creating an experimental experience with elements of a traditional seder as well as a riff on maundy thursday (which marks the last supper, or passover meal that jesus shared with his disciples, and includes foot washing & communion). the evening was broken into three experiences, and the final included some video that we projected on the wall, as well as an ode to olafur eliasson (see above photo). i got obsessed with looking for time-lapse nature videos and found these amazing, breathtaking videos. i can't stop watching them.

the first is footage from the icelandic volcano last year & fittingly features jonsi, one of my fave musicians.

Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull - May 1st and 2nd, 2010 from Sean Stiegemeier on Vimeo.

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

(and as a funny aside, maybe time-lapse is in the air, because i spotted this last video on my friend nicole's blog after i'd written this post. funny.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

blood, sweat, (pee) and tears

(first: we have great news!!!)
we spent the morning at children's hospital, where ruby took blood tests, a sweat test, urine tests and shed a few tears (what baby likes getting electrodes attached or needles stuck in them?)

it was so deja vu to the first months of m's life when we were going to children's and doctors all the time for ct scans, mri's, renal ultrasounds, etc. it was completely exhausting. we've been waiting to hear back and we just got the news from our doctor that ruby tested negative for cystic fibrosis, which was her huge concern- she showed some of the markers for it, which is why she wanted her tested so quickly. she also tested negative for kidney, thyroid or liver disease/abnormalities.

we are exhausted, emotional and so grateful.

i think being back in a place where we already took so many tests two years ago made this even more intense.

for the next two weeks we have to try and plump our baby up with lots of calories and fat. if she still isn't gaining weight, or continues to lose weight (she currently weighs less than when she was 4 months old,) then we will head in to some specialists to see if there is another issue. ( i should add that the dr. didn't just rush us in for serious tests because ruby was losing weight. i resisted googling cystic fibrosis at the suggestion of our dr. until the results were back, but when i looked up the symptoms yesterday, ruby had symptoms that were spot on for cf, and if you diagnosed just based on symptoms on the internet, she would definitely look like she had cystic fibrosis. now i get why our dr. was so insistent that we get her checked the next morning. good thing i didn't do a little internet research before her results came back, because i would've been even more freaked out.)

thank you for all of your kind emails, texts and comments. they mean so much and i am so grateful for the community of support and friendship we have. thank you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

not good, not good but hard, just hard.

today didn't go the way i expected. the morning started out great with a visit to a dear friend and her sweet little boys. it went downhill from there.

took ruby in for her regular 9 month checkup (a little behind schedule,) and the dr. had some concerns about her weight in addition to some other factors. m was climbing the walls of the office and wreaking havoc as i tried to balance ruby on my lap, grab m from using the entire bottle of hand sanitizer on her arm, and listen to some very serious potential issues ruby's little body may have. our dr. told me not to do any internet research until we got some results, so i am just waiting for tomorrow morning, when ruby goes through a battery of tests and we hear what is going on with her to share more details.

suffice it to say, my heart is kind of breaking and my head hurts in a cry real hard for short periods of time kind of way. 

this night before tests feeling is so familiar- reminds us of the first weeks and months of m's life as we waited to hear about her hearing loss; the dread of tests sits in our guts tonight like a weight. matt said it feels like post traumatic stress disorder. 

we head to children's hospital tomorrow, hoping and praying that we are just going through these tests as a precautionary measure, and that really our baby is healthy. keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

um, seriously?

m playing with aunt sarah's iphone

this weekend m's cochlear implant fell off (it stays on her little ear with wig tape; when the tape loses its stickiness-like after being taken off and back on after naps, etc. her implant can fall off) and onto the ground.

m was running around playing and so when it fell off she just left it on the floor.

me: "m! you can't just leave your implant on the ground! you're going to accidentally step on it and break it, and then you won't be able to hear if it's broken."

moments later, as i was sitting on the floor to be down at her level to get her implant back on, she looks at my phone on the floor next to me and says, "mommy, if you leave your phone on the ground and then you step on it, it will break and you won't be able to text."

um, ok. 

and now as i write she is saying, "1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11 and it's time to get off the computer!"
so, bye all and happy monday!

Friday, April 15, 2011

happy friday!

i love friday!

matt's day off
no school to drive an hour to
lots of family time
a signed iep

i'm ignoring that this morning also included an extremely early wake-up from child #1,
who decided that it would be fun to get up in the darkness of the fives.
as in 5 a.m.

back to the fact that the rest of the day is goodness.

(have a great friday)

any fun weekend plans?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

(right now)

Outside my window...dreary, with the promise of blue skies and sunshine later today

I am thinking...about how much i like sleep. sleep is awesome, and i just don't understand how my daughters do not glory in and relish sleep, but instead wake up as early as possible, only to have melt downs early and often.

I am thankful for...brunch at my sister's house, the sound of my daughters giggling in their room, so many colors of paint, phone conversations with friends during naptime, silly grandparents who love my kids

From the kitchen...roasted asparagus (not for breakfast, but for dinner last night.) my friends, please tell me you are taking advantage of asparagus season. if not, go forth and do so now.

I am wearing...a cozy, silkscreened scarf, black long sleeved shirt, jeans, and sweater boots that my sister gave me (they are my go to warm-me-up-in-one-fell-swoop clothing item.)

I am creating...a home full of laughter and creativity and stories and play, little paintings on paper, and less than i want to be, but more than i give myself credit for.

I am celebrate small small that i finished a bunch of deadlines before rebooting for the next round due in a few days!

I am reading...cutting for stone (our new book club book)

I am hoping...that my studio gets done soon so i can paint large paintings again, that parenthood gets renewed for another season (love that show. so good.)

I am hearing...piped in classical music (i stole away to peet's coffee for an hour,) background laughter and conversation around the cafe, espresso machines clanging and whirring and beeping

Around the house...multiple loads of clean laundry to fold-the story of my life, stacks of paper and tubes of paint scattered on our dining room table, the bunting still hanging from m's family b-day party this weekend

One of my favorite things...when matt walks through the door.

A few plans for the rest of the week: fold and put away aforementioned laundry, do some freelance, hang some artwork on our walls, go to m's open house at school, make treats for our neighborhood school's staff

what are 
you doing right now?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

our miracle, aka the one where i learned a lesson, aka the post with a lot of sidenotes

sorry, friends, i never really finished our iep story. i've been slammed with work (which is good) and staying up until 2 am many days in a row (that part is not good,) so i haven't been posting much. i won't draw it out any longer.

here is my version of short* and sweet:
(*matt might contest that i ever say anything in a way that resembles a short version)

work with our district to get m appropriate services for the rest of this school year and next year by m's third birthday. (which was yesterday) i had MAJOR nervous belly.

it was a big meeting:
matt + 
his mom pam + 
m's therapist + 
m's teacher + 
all of the district people
(psychologist + program coordinator + speech/language pathologist + 
 teacher of the deaf +diagnostic center specialist + auditory specialist) +
me =
ELEVEN people
all around one table
to discuss my daughter

the program coordinator
(who, as a sidenote, always has the cutest shoes-every single time i see her i want her shoes)
diffused some of the stress by reminding us that this shouldn't be stressful,
and that we had time to end up on the same page.

we went first, and after matt talked (because i made him-i knew i would cry)
i ended up talking too- and of course (shocking,) i cried.
what can i say?
i cry.

everyone took turns sharing their assessment and evaluation of m. 
(this took a while)
we still had no idea what was going to be offered,
so as nice as everyone was, i was still anxious and emotional.
besides, hearing two hours of evaluations of your child is kind of stressful,
even if you're used to being in that context.

i'll spare you the many details and get to the punchline.
at the end the program coordinator (aka cute shoes) said,
we were going to offer you this 
(and she rattled through a quick list which did not include m staying at her current school-
in fact it did not offer her any school at all)
i read your parent assessment before the meeting
and i hear your concerns.
i think what you are asking for is appropriate
and i am going to recommend instead
that m
continue her existing services
(which means we got exactly what m needed & what we recommended:
3 days a week of school and therapy at her school for the deaf!)"

i was shocked.
then cute shoes went on to say
she thought m needed 2 more days of school a week at a mainstream preschool to get ready for transitioning next year into a mainstream setting full-time.
and that this would be a big transition so even though we legally don't need to meet for another year she wants to meet every 4 months or so to check in and make sure m is doing ok in two school contexts.

(sidenote: this part i did not like so much since it means 5 days a week of school for my little three year old who i like a lot & like being with rather than just shuttling her to school. add in getting out the door for church sunday mornings and that makes 6 days a week that my toddler has to head out of the house with a purpose. i'm working through this aspect of our iep since it was a very strong recommendation from cute shoes, and was even written into the iep as one of the conditions for her continued services at her current school.)

so in the end we are getting great services for m to get her ready for going to a mainstream preschool in a year:
*3 days a week school at her current school
*3 sessions therapy a week at her current school
*1 time a month an itinerant teacher will check in & work with her 
at the mainstream pre-school co-op she'll be at
*an fm system for her to use at the mainstream preschool to help her hear the teacher better

(and we are waiting to hear if we'll get reimbursed for our transportation to her current school, 
which adds up - especially these days and covers gas but not the bridge toll)

so you want to know why i subtitled this one "the one where i learned a lesson"?
because i went into this iep with a worst case scenario mindset 
(it's my usual coping mechanism in stressful situations.)
i was proven 
there, i said it.
we got the best services possible.
 my worst case scenario routine has now failed me multiple times in the last few months;
in circumstances i had predicted and assumed the absolute worst would happen, 
only to be completely shocked by a positive outcome.
so maybe (just maybe) i should go into situations 
with higher expectations, less worry and a little more hope.

(but don't quote me on that, especially you, husband!)

(final sidenote- yesterday, when someone from the district stopped by for us to sign the revised iep, 
i asked her a couple of questions about logistics for our file going forward; she kind of shrugged and said, "to be honest i don't really know. you are kind of an unusual situation. this never really happens that we continue paying for another program, so i don't know. this is a very unusual circumstance." 
so here's to cute shoes, best case scenarios and little miracles, like m's iep.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


three years ago today
this little one 
made me a mommy.

suddenly she seems so grown-up-
surely not a baby anymore, 
every day that passes she seems less like a toddler and more like a girl.

on the way home from school she exclaimed,
"mom, you're the best ever! thanks for packing this snack for me"
(*sidenote-matt actually packed the snack, so he's the best ever- not me)
and i couldn't help but start laughing
at my funny, expressive little girl
who talks & sings non-stop.
(birthday outfit curated by m)

don't get me wrong,
at 7:30 tonight i was about ready to pull my hair out, frustrated with my independent, stubborn daughter who was melting down at the slightest thing after a day full of attention and cupcakes.

and then,
moments after the hour long get-into-bed-fight was over,
after she was finally in bed 
and i was giving ruby an extra snuggle,
m crawled out from under her blanket,
put her little arms around my legs
and buried her head against me. 

and my frustration
melted a bit
i scooped her up and burrowed her head into my neck for a minute.
i love those moments.

i can't imagine life without this little person who has changed me, softened me, bettered me.
three years of absolutely wonderful.
love this girl.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

better late than never

(m with her sweet friend henry, looking like they are 18 and not two.)

m's iep.
(for those of you not in the world of education, or who don't have a child who needs additional services, and iep is basically what the school district comes up with to provide your child with equal access to education. 

here is how the government describes it: 
Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability.)

at 3 years old, a child transitions from an ifsp (individualized family service plan) to an iep, and it can be a very dramatic change in services (one reason? the pot of money funding it changes.) if you are in this world of hearing loss very long you hear many stories of awful iep's and difficult battles with the district, lawyers, etc. i have friends who have fought for a very long time for their child to receive appropriate services. (hence why i was so nervous.)

as you may remember, i was feeling kind of nervous.

i'm going to break this into two posts so that it isn't super long...
m had been evaluated by SO many people: her teacher, therapist, and then from the district a team of professionals - a teacher of the deaf, a psychologist, an auditory specialist and a speech and language pathologist. some of them had tested her multiple times. m does fantastic in one on one testing; she's been doing it since she was born (literally,) so she performs for adults who test her speech and language. i had one person from the district say, "wow- she should be in a commercial for cochlear implants" and another say, "this is so fun! i've never done such a fast speech sample!" i think m assumes that all children "play" in small rooms with double sided windows, vocabulary flashcards and adults who like to ask questions.

i was kind of expecting that the district would see the areas in which m is thriving and then ignore (or minimize) our areas of concern. i had very low expectations and i was gearing up emotionally to be frustrated, misunderstood and disappointed.

i had had a few parents tell me that one of the best things they did was write up their own parent assessment (since by the way, all of the aforementioned teachers, therapists, etc. had each written assessments on m to go along with their observation.) i waffled back and forth over whether i should write one- after all, matt and i were going to be there, and the parents are always able to share about their child and what they see. was it overkill? was i being too hands on? at the last minute i decided that matt and i knew her best and that i should write about her strengths and our concerns. the night before our iep i took a couple of parent write ups (thanks to my friend katie, whose daughter sam is in m's class, and julia, a blogging friend whose son ben is a year ahead of m) and modified them for m. i ended up staying up super late working on it, but it turns out that it was a key part of our iep! my mother-in-law, who had flown up to go to the iep with us, suggested i email it to the iep team before the actual meeting so they could look over it. again, i'm so glad i sent it to them ahead of time. (i'd requested copies of their evaluations ahead of time, which they gave me.)

more on the rest of the iep to come in the next post...

(sneak peek)

been working like crazy
here are a couple of quick peeks
of cards in the very beginning stages

the rest was mailed off yesterday
(father's day and graduation for next year)
so you'll have to wait 
until it's in the store!

or instead of waiting an entire year, buy one of my mother's day cards that is out now!
here are a couple you can buy you can buy wherever papyrus cards are sold or at independent retailers nationwide.: like this one or this one 
two of my favorite mother's day cards i've done.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

smorgasbord post

i'll write something about m's iep this morning (i promise!)
but for now a little hodge podge:

a. how have i just now discovered pinterest? it's amazing.

b. i should have an entire series of posts on things i get worse at as i get older, but for today we'll just stick to one: thank you cards. i used to rock thank you's right after a birthday, holiday, delicious meal, kind gesture. now, i am so far behind that it is laughable. or depressing. you've probably done something awesome for me in the last year and i probably owe you a thank you, stamped and pretty in your mailbox. but don't know if it will happen anytime soon, so here's a thank you to tide you over.

c. the other day m and ruby's cousin sadie came over to play. my attempt at a photo of m and sadie (ruby was having none of it)

silly girls.

d. last night, as i worked on freelance and matt read, things were quiet (once we the girls finally fell asleep!) there was a tap-tap-tap on the door at about 9 pm, just about when my mind was thinking i needed a little treat. how convenient! my mom stopped by with fenton's ice cream. um, what? that's right- my mom is amazing. turns out she picked up ice cream for us, for my brother & his wife up the street, and for my sister and her family. we all got late night dessert drops, and really, what could be better than that?

e. in a week i will have a three year old.
kind of blowing my mind.

f. i love the sunshine, and i'm so happy it has been warm and wonderful the past week or so. to all of you who are still languishing in wintery, blustery weather, my apologies...i promise to go outside barefoot for you today!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

yep, i'm talking to you!

conversation i had this week:

them: "i always want to comment on your blog, but i don't want to sign up for another account."
me: "you don't have to! you can comment without a blogger account. for reals. "
what are you waiting for?

here's how. it's easy, i promise.

1. click on the link at the bottom of each post where it says # comments, to the left of that little pencil icon:

2. type a brilliant, funny, insightful, etc. comment or question into the box:

3. after you write your comment, choose one of the following identities:
if you already have a blogger or gmail account & want to log in and comment that way, you can. otherwise, just click on name/url and write your name:

4. then hit publish!

(i'm trying to respond to comments in the comment section more than i have in the past, so peek back in after posting...but if you have a specific question or just want to say hello, feel free to also email me)

now, no excuses!

Friday, April 1, 2011

happy weekend!

happy weekend!
i love the sunshine!
see you monday, my friends.

(via tumblr)