Tuesday, January 31, 2012

short & sweet

what, you say? you can't handle all of the posts i've been throwing out into the blogosphere? well, who knows how long it will last. as you know. sometimes i blog a lot, and sometimes...not so much.

i'm going to finish up the month with the last photos of the month.
hey, in the very least i stuck to a photo a day for the month of january!

saturday evening was our church community's annual crab feed, 
which is held at the elk's lodge (hence this handsome fellow)
a couple of crab feed thoughts: 
i don't eat creatures of the sea in any form, 
so lucky me- i get chicken every year instead; 
i also don't really like cake, 
but i made a cake for the dessert auction, and oh my freaking goodness it was good! 
like, really, really, you don't want to know how much butter was in it, good. 
(want to know where i found it? i'll post it later with a picture with my less pretty version.)

{sunday (see here)}


and today,
the last day of january

i'm once again on the road 
with my girls 
back & forth to school 

(but full of gratitude for the help i got last week from matt's mom & sister
so that i could stay home and work on my studio!)

this is about 40 minutes into our morning commute, with 20-30 minutes left to go:
more work to do tonight,
but instead i am succumbing to the cozy lure of my bed upstairs.
night, all!

(for the record, i think this is the most posts i've ever done in a single month. yay me!)


january 29, 2012
{a little daddy daughter coloring to bide our time before we got a little family lunch}

this perfect and peaceful moment is just before ruby chewed a hole in her styrofoam cup and water spilled all over the entire table, which, incidentally we were sharing with strangers. oh, never a dull moment- but lots of sweet ones like this one here. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

my personal assistants

these two lovely ladies took it upon themselves 
to lick the spoon clean when i made a cake this weekend. 
i'd say they're naturals...


my friend amy tells me that these are the following words i use all the time:

awesome. amazing. rad. true story.

matt would add in supercute as one of my favorite word choices as well.

i have no leg to stand on here, since I am guilty as charged. 
of course you already know that since you read my blog.

that said, this picture of ruby that i stumbled upon is all of those things:
awesome. amazing. rad. and supercute.
true story.

(i apologize in advance to ruby who will discover this photo of herself 
in all of her glory someday, and not be too pleased that i posted it on the internets.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

my husband hooks me up

{friday, january 27, 2012}

i promise this is the last of my president of matt fan club posts for awhile. 
a. because he never comments when i post about him 
b. there's been enough about that around these parts lately

one last post for now:
husband = my personal beverage concierge: from barista to mixologist.

my morning coffee
a delicious adult beverage
happy friday!

i want to remember

january 26. 2012"the days are long but the years are short"

hop to it!

january 25

sneak peek of almost finished studio!matt's mom has been taking the girls in the mornings all week 
so i could work on finishing my studio.
it is near impossible with little ones underfoot to get much done, as i'm sure many of you know.

behold the power of alone time!

let's revisit it, why don't we?
  • unpack all my art stuff
  • organize studio
  • workout every morning with my bff jillian
  • drink coffee (see? already done. look at me, taking names)
  • blog every day (ditto)
  • get girls up, dressed, fed & out the door with snacks & lunches (i'm so awesome. done, done & done.)
  • finish sketches for 3 upcoming papyrus commissions: anniversary, aunt birthday & mom to daughter birthday
  • finish inside card artwork & envelope liner artwork for grandpa birthday card
  • come up with some brilliant & wonderful mother's day card ideas and sketches (due monday)
  • make 9 pieces of art for my mail art group & mail it out
  • do the dishes (ok, to be honest, i know i only rocked this line item like one time, but i did do a lot of laundry & to be fair, matt is really the king of dishes in our house)
  • clean out art storage unit & get artwork photographed
i'd say the week has been successful, no?
no one is going to read or comment on this since i'm about to do three blog posts in a row and it's the weekend, but despite that, i'm pretty freaking proud of myself.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

did you think i'd forgotten?

dear birthday, you are the best.
even though another year means, well, 
another year
of more wrinkles
grey hair 
other assorted old person maladies,
it also means more wonderfulness.

last year matt made me a lovely little birthday dinner with friends,
which i loved,
so i asked for a repeat!

did you know that birthdays are an excuse for decorations?
(my friend anne hoppe always used to say,
"streamers make a party!")
so of course i had streamers
and also lots of candles!
and shiny sparkly garland things!
and confetti!
 i had had time that day to do some crafting (my box of treats to have on hand to give as gifts was woefully low),
so i restocked it, plus put a little take home fanciness on the place setting!
decorations + friends + food= a party!
(note: there are no photos of an extra member of the party: little m. she REALLY wanted to come down & join us, so she kept creeping to the top of the stairs, whining for me, stalling, and trying to sneak down the stairs)

matt kind of outdid himself.
like, for reals.
nancy's husband keith came to sous chef & dishwash for a while, which was glorious.

here's the rundown!
i missed out on taking pictures of the appetizers & bread matt made, 
but suffice it to say, they were good.
 cream of cauliflower soup with homemade croutons & beet chips
(it's from thomas keller's ad hoc at home cookbook & you can find it here, among other places)
 parsley salad
 (ahem, note streamers) 
helpful keith
 homemade pasta with herbed ricotta & mushroom ragu
 matt grilled pork chops in our fireplace!
crazy, right?
they were so good-
we had a lot left over so i was dining on the best pork chops ever all week.
he also made pickled onions & the most amazing potato gratin ever
 the view from the kitchen

 i put these up early in the week to have birthday shiny love all week long!
never underestimate the power of shiny, my friends.
 matt made grapefruit campari sorbet in candied grapefruit "bowls" as a palette cleanser
(i told you my husband is crazy)
matt made me one.
it only took him about three days,
and let me tell you,
i died.
so. good.

 we had a little dessert toast
birthday, thanks for coming back around again!

yay for food, friends, my husband and birthdays!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

hardly able to contain my excitement. yup, that's me.

january 23
i am finally (for the love)
unpacking and moving into my studio!
i will post pics, i promise, when i am all done.
here is a sneak peek as i began to unpack my books & magazines:(do you know that i first fell for matt because he had great books on his bookcase? 
oh yes i did. 
i didn't hurt that i also thought he was this cute, smart, alterno soccer player. 
he also inadvertently wooed me with his top secret chocolate cookie recipe, which was amazing deliciousness. 
{ahem, soooo secret that he didn't tell me what it was until we were on our honeymoon!
 i'm not kidding.} 
i was instantly smitten.
he thought i was some random girl who told really long stories with no point. 
ah, some things never change!)

last night i was up late working on a new papyrus project
and then on some art for my mail art club
(in progress below)

as i was working, i happened to start chatting online 
with one of my very dearest friends from high school. 
so good to talk for a long time.
(matt corrected me when i said we talked for an hour; 
"it is not talking, it is chatting on the computer." 
same difference- tomay-to, tomah-to.)
it made me think about history,
about having a past,
a rootedness in the thing or the people
that have come before this moment right now.

so i made four little paintings of twisted and unfurling roots.
sometimes one of the most lifegiving things for me 
is re-connecting with friends
from long gone seasons of my life. 
there is something about still being able to talk with people who knew you years ago;
even if your lives look radically different now,
there is a gift in having shared life in the past.
off to finish the studio!
(i can hardly believe it!)

can't even handle this awesomeness

january 23, 2012

on monday m did her first self portrait (that i know of)
notice her blinged out hand-
an artist has to have style, right?
here she is in all of her glory. 
she told me those are her implants (see them on each side in the ear area) 
and that the circle in the middle is, nope, not her mouth, but her "big belly."
the next one still had implants but- thank heavens- no big belly.

i love my daughter.
i love watching her draw.
i love that she sees herself with implants and that it is who she is.
a whole lotta love.

(speaking of love, can you believe i am posting multiple times this morning? loving the blog action? i kind of am.)

snuggle up

january 22

sunday was a full day
ruby fell asleep on my friend andrea after church 
and yet
still took a very substantial nap

i snapped this as she fell asleep against me in the evening.
she just wanted to be held & snuggled 
so i let her fall asleep in my arms instead of putting her in her crib to fall asleep
(i should've seen the signs at this point)

once she was sound asleep 
i finally put her down in her crib

a couple of hours later she woke up
and with a temp
of 103.1

it was a long night
with a sick girl
calling "mama, mama" every so often from her crib

sweet girl
somehow there is nothing better than having your mom take care of you when you are sick,
and now i'm somebody's mom

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

getting ready to rumble in my studio

matt's mom is here for the week to help me so i get some studio time, 
 during the mornings this week
 take these two lovely kiddos out of the picture,
 and it's just me.

just (maybe) i often have unrealistic expectations for my time (insert my husband's laughter here and a sarcastic comment like "ya think?!"), and think i'm going to accomplish as much in 20 hours as someone like gwenyth paltrow does before breakfast. silly, silly me.

but hey, it's good to aspire, right?

on my list to get done between 7:30 am and 1 pm today through friday? 
ok to be completely honest i'm not going to share my whole, entire completely unrealistic list, because you would just laugh, and i get enough of that from matt. (although seriously? he's the pot calling the kettle black, since he usually carries 49 books around with him at any given time, because he expects he'll have time to read them) i also like to add a few easy things to the list to feel accomplished right off the bat, you know what i'm saying?
  • unpack all my art stuff
  • organize studio
  • workout every morning with my bff jillian
  • drink coffee (see? already done. look at me, taking names)
  • blog every day (ditto)
  • get girls up, dressed, fed & out the door with snacks & lunches (i'm so awesome. done, done & done.)
  • finish sketches for 3 upcoming papyrus commissions: anniversary, aunt birthday & mom to daughter birthday
  • finish inside card artwork & envelope liner artwork for grandpa birthday card
  • come up with some brilliant & wonderful mother's day card ideas and sketches (due monday)
  • make 9 pieces of art for my mail art group & mail it out
  • do the dishes
  • clean out art storage unit & get artwork photographed
(my real list would also include things like finish christmas & birthday thank you notes, deep clean the house, hang artwork & mirrors, hang curtains in guest room, wash windows, organize closet, clean hall closet, etc etc)

we all know i'll get like two things done from my first list and nothing done from my unabridged list, but we all have to start somewhere, right?

off to take on the world!

Monday, January 23, 2012

working hard or hardly working

a guy i worked with in college used to say to me that all the time. i always thought, "seriously? we are the same age. you sound like you are in your 40's." also, he thought he was pretty awesome so please inject that into the tone of his voice as he'd head into the office and smile like a politician & say "workin' hard or hardly working?" anyway, I digress.

january 22, 2012

two of my loves work side by side at the table:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

rainy friday

january 20, 2012

(ruby waiting to go outside)

Friday, January 20, 2012

in which a parent's heart breaks a little

we have lots of talks with m about being deaf.
obviously she is in a category which is sort of in the middle of norms- 
she is deaf but with her implants she hears.
but sometimes 
she thinks that when she grows up she will have typical hearing and not have to wear implants.
sometimes she forgets that other people can still hear in the bathtub or in bed, unlike her.
sometimes she asks when ruby will have her surgery for implants.
so we bring it up in conversation often:
"remember how when you were born..."

plus we want her to have a solid identity knowing that her deafness is part of who she is,
so that as she is older and mainstreamed that if it comes up in conversation then she'll be ok.

sometimes there are just things that 
make my heart go crunch.
and sometimes that i can tell make her heart go crunch too.

like over christmas
we went to this great park 
that happened to have a super high slide.

we are pretty cautious with m's implants on plastic slides, because (rarely) static can build up and knock out the implant's program. once in a while (although it doesn't happen much now) the static essentially knocks out the internal component, and you have to have a new surgery. so, on really big slides, m takes off her implants and goes without. she is usually fine and could care less, since it is her normal. but what happens a lot is that strangers are talking to her while she is up there and she looks at them, trying to understand, or they call to her from behind and she doesn't hear them. 

there was another family playing on this slide at the same time (you can see them in the picture hanging out.) their kids were younger than m, and were taking a very long time, so they kept shouting to m to pass them, to go ahead of their kids. m of course couldn't hear a word they were saying; she was standing behind them, waiting her turn. they kept calling and calling from the ground and one of the dads who was standing behind her was calling to her too. i was trying to get her attention and sign to her, but she wasn't looking down to see me. 

finally i just said in a friendly voice, "it's ok. she can't hear you. she's deaf." they stared at me and said, "i'm so sorry" and as soon as their kids slid down headed to another part of the park. i suppose they could be saying "i'm sorry we were yelling up to your kid when we didn't know she was deaf" but it felt a lot more like "i'm so sorry she's deaf." to which i don't know how to respond.

m slid down, happy as can be and ran back up to go down again, and i smiled and waved at her even though the interaction had made me emotional and sad. sad that someone would say "i'm sorry your child is deaf", even though i don't know what i would say either if it was me. 

and then today,
a rainy day,
m heads to her mainstream preschool,
which she loves.
matt took her, all suited up in her rain jacket and rainboots.
she can't go in the rain with her implants on.
but her little girlfriends that she always plays with wanted to go play outside in the rain.
matt and the director of the school were trying to figure out options for her- ways she could stay dry.

meanwhile m was getting really quiet and looking down at the ground. matt said it was one of those moments when she realizes that she is different - that she isn't just like her other friends who don't worry about expensive devices to help them hear. he could tell she was sad. he was sad too, fighting back tears in front of her.

three years old and so many expectations to advocate for herself, to be responsible for her equipment, to keep up with everyone else.

so one of those moments
trying to figure it all out:
we tell m that she is different, that she is deaf, that she will always be deaf! and that she is wonderful.

and then she experiences these moments in which she is different and it doesn't feel so wonderful.

sure - all kids, all grown-ups have these times of feeling left out or different from everyone else.
but that doesn't make it any easier on this mama's heart on this rainy morning.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

i don't get it

i want to eat her, she's so cute.

tonight, as i was half-way through reading a book to the girls, m interrupts me and says, "mom, i don't get this book." i was like, "you don't get it? what do you mean?" i thought maybe she had missed a word in her sentence or something. nope, she knew exactly what she was saying:

she repeats, "i don't get it, like i don't understand it. can we read something else instead?"

this falls into the category of when words come out of my daughter's mouth and they seem too grown up for her little three year old self.

this same category includes moments like when m says to ruby, "seriously? ruby, i need some space right now!" or "mom, debbie (ahem, one of her imaginary friends) saw that on facebook." um, what?! i don't think she even knows what facebook is, but somehow she's overheard conversation about it & now incorporates it into her pretend play.


next thing she'll be slamming her door on me and texting her best friend about how annoying i am.


january 19, 2012.
workout thwarted by children. so frustrating that when i'm actually motivated i get roadblocked in the form of two delightful girls, who suddenly need to play, interact and have non-stop physical contact with me. rad.

smartypants & snack attack

january 18, 2012

another day= another morning at school.

wednesday was parent education at m's school.
i usually take a lot of notes
(especially today, since m's amazing therapist sharon was co-leading the session. 
she is so, so experienced and fantastic.)
love it- 
always so many tidbits to take home & use with both of my girls, 
even though ruby doesn't have hearing loss.
i love the emphasis on cognition for language & development.
as another mom said yesterday,
"i never would've ended up here if my daughter didn't have hearing loss. 
but i feel like this stuff is important for any parent with kids, right?
shouldn't all parents be learning this?"
yup- sometimes i am so grateful for how hearing loss has made me a better parent with more tools.
one of those things i never would have guessed i'd be saying!
notice ruby is always in the mix. 
that's her with the saggy bottom in the middle of parent ed.
in the old days, or i should say, pre-ruby on the move days, parent ed was peaceful. 
take notes, listen, comment, soak up wisdom.
now it is a little more like this:
take notes while rummaging through bag for ruby's snacks, climbing over other people's children to race after ruby when she escapes down the hallway every three minutes, grab the snacks ruby just stole from another child to give her her own food, comment, pull ruby's sippy cup out of another child's hands, find some new toys for ruby to play with, sip some coffee, scribble more notes, race back down the hallway...and so on for about an hour.

after school we head back to oakland
my girls eat lunch in the car.
which brings me to this question:
i am rocking kid lunches/snacks 5 days a week, as most of you probably are too.
any fun (but simple) food ideas i could use/steal from you?
(keep in mind that three of the days my kids are eating in the car
& that m rejects any meat/poultry situation)
i feel like we rock the same combinations week after week.
consider this your suggestion box & click on the comment link to give me some new ideas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

january 17, 2012

ruby & i log a lot of hours hanging while m is at her school for the deaf.
i used to work all morning; i'd bring freelance with me, or blog.
now that ruby is all action all the time, our mornings may look less productive,
 but we get to spend them together.
this shot is typical for us-
killing time with our families in the school's family center.
also typical?that backpack is not hers.  
ruby is always stealing snacks or toys from other kids. awesome.
crafty time!
m was star of the week at school,
so we made her poster last night
& she went up in front of the school today!
ah, so big girl, it's making my mama heart go crunch!

Monday, January 16, 2012

january 16, 2012

january 16th
today we honor the life of dr. martin luther king jr. -
a brave man whose life was cut short.

his story is one that we often only know minimally, 
although it is one that we naturally absorb because his legacy surrounds us.
we often are missing many pieces of his life and of his work beyond the i have a dream speech.

today i went to a gathering that honored his life while also speaking about some of the enduring issues that king addressed.
it was moving
people of different ages, ethnicities and socio-economic levels gathered in one room; 
it was beautiful.
yet simultaneously so many reminders that our society still needs to work towards equality and justice for all god's children.