Wednesday, May 30, 2012

here comes the sun

dear summery weather even though it isn't technically* summer,
i love you.

(*since when am i technical about much of anything?)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

with a cluck, cluck here & a cluck, cluck there

matt logged some hours in our backyard this weekend,
so the girls had some hangtime with our chickens!
ruby trying to catch the chickens!
(luckily she failed to grab one)
(our backyard looks like an urban farm)

we need some chicken names!
any ideas?
so far we have one name: watermelon.

Monday, May 28, 2012

two is bigtime

last week our sweet ruby turned two!
since school is so far away,
ruby comes and stays with me while she is in class and at therapy,
so she is sort of an honorary student there 
(along with her other younger sibling pal, ella, whose big sister is in class too)

on thursday, ruby got to go up in front of morning music for a birthday serenade:
and one of the moms brought ruby a birthday cake!
(siednote: don't even get me started on how sad i will be when m is done at that school & 
we are not there all of the time.
if you had ever told me that i would be sad to no longer be attending a deaf school, 
much less a deaf school an hour from our house, i would've thought you were crazy.
but i'm already feeling the sadness,
and we still have a few weeks left of school!)
{ruby's happy cake face}

i jerry rigged some decorations for a family party
that included ruby's favorite, ice cream with toppings!
uncle aaron gives ruby her present from him and aunt sarah in spoken word with accompanying drum style:
we dined on cheap pizza from the corner pizza shop
(yes, we are foodies, but we also know how to rock dives too)
and then,
the moment that i didn't capture because my camera battery was dead, dead, dead 
(lucky for me matt went and bought me a new battery this weekend) 
so i have to commit it to memory before i forget it.

my two sweet girls
stood right in front of me as i held out ruby's cone with a candle on it
and they hugged and held each other,
m telling her, 
"you're two sweetie,
it's your birthday!"
and my two sweetpeas were snuggling and laughing
and my heart just about burst from how much i love these two girls.
the look on ruby's face when she saw the candle lit melted me even more
love ruby through and through: 
her determination, 
spunk, spirit, giggle, 
little voice calling "roy-ya, roy-ya" for her sister, 
the way she snuggles, 
how she can go from screaming her lungs out to fast asleep in seconds- 
as long as someone is holding her, 
her attempts to copy everything her sister does, 
her tumbling, falling bruiser body,
her big eyes and little dimples,
the way she sits & reads silently to herself,
her radar for getting into something she isn't supposed to touch,
the way she leaves a tornado trail behind her throughout the house,
her stubborn & sweet personality all rolled into one.

love these two.
love being a mom.

and of course, love me some ice cream.

Friday, May 25, 2012

friday i'm in love

no, this post isn't about the cure. (but is that song in your head now?)

today we went to santa cruz. this is how it went: matt and I got into a tiff as we were getting ready to go. I gave him the silent treatment for an hour on our drive. then i said, "let's be temporary friends but I am still 10% mad at you." and then, truce in place we had a great day at a favorite coffee shop, at the beach, with our friends, visiting great grandma, at a random park. and look at that, we're fine. marriage is funny like that. it was a dumb fight anyway.

also, i love my little family.

the end.
happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

birthday eve

tonight i said goodnight to my one year old for one last time-
my ruby will wake up (probably right around the time she was born in the mid sixes!) 
a two year old.

my little snuggler,
is going to be two.

i just realized that
two years ago tonight, when i was pretending i wasn't in labor, 
(who blogs when they are having contractions?!)
i forced matt to watch the season finale of grey's anatomy with me.
tonight, i watched this year's season finale of grey's anatomy with nancy & amy.

i guess some things never change: me watching totally unrealistic and shallow tv shows.
some things do: my girls are growing up!

my heart is going crunch a little bit tonight,
thinking about how quickly this little munchkin has become a toddler.
she's pretty great.

memo to everyone: yeah, i know, m is fantastic,
but my #2?
she's got spunk, spirit, personality & is kind of irrepressible.
she's pretty awesome.

i'm kind of sad there are no more babies in my house.

weekend roundup, on the lazy side

i know.

we had a busy, fun weekend, with some work & play mixed in.
who needs captions when you can just get a glimpse?
welcome to our weekend:

yum, yum good

i've had some technical difficulties this week blogging. i made a few attempts to edit via my phone, and that didn't turn out so well for the already written posts i had all ready to go. yup, it erased them.

i've been meaning to post a few spring/summer recipes,
so since those posts will take a while to re-do, i bring you food.
(right? isn't that what anyone in their right mind does to win people over? feed them? technically you have to do the cooking in this situation, but i promise these are easy recipes.)

i found this chicken one over ten years ago in cooking light & i love it. (as in, before i was even a married woman - back when i was rocking roommates and i think almost every recipe i made was out of cooking light.) easy, fast, flexible (ie easy to make lots of substitutions if you rock the salsa portion) and delicious.

last week i made the chicken along with my favorite new salad-kale salad with pinenuts & currants, that i discovered on epicurious earlier this year. 
have you ever heard your child say, "mom, can you please make kale salad tonight?" because i've heard it about 14 times since i first made this salad. you can find it here. (i promise- it is really good. as in every time i make it people ask for the recipe good & i swear my children pound it and ask for seconds.)

grilled chicken breast with plum salsa:
i did not take this lovely photo, 
because my camera is in need of some first aid, 
so i stole it from here

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Plum Salsa:
  • 1 cup chopped ripe plum (about 2 plums)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. To prepare chicken, combine the first 4 ingredients. Rub chicken with brown sugar mixture. (I just throw all of the ingredients in a ziplock and then throw the chicken in and shake it around until all of the chicken is evenly coated)
  2. Heat the oil in a grill pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, combine remaining salsa ingredients in a bowl. Serve with chicken.
happy cooking!
and more importantly, happy eating!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

oh, to be four

dear firstborn daughter,

i love your sense of fashion.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

how the unexpected becomes routine

last week i had a two and a half hour conversation with a mom whose 7 month old baby was born profoundly deaf. i haven't met her in person yet, but she had posted online with questions about the implant process, among other "i have a deaf baby" questions. it's already a sharp learning curve to have your first baby; throw in something unexpected, like profound hearing loss and it can be pretty overwhelming. 

the aspect of hearing loss that i think makes it even harder is that there is no clear and correct course of action. it is a choose your own adventure sort of thing where you have to make tons of decisions along the way, each of which affect your child's development in one way or another. that's a lot of pressure when you aren't even getting 7 hours of sleep a night. 

you don't just decide who your implant surgeon is going to be. first you need to see if your child is even eligible for implants. then you have to decide if you even want to get your child implants. you have to choose the mode of communication: total communication? auditory verbal? see sign? asl? which type of school? therapists? you decide. you are suddenly the expert in a world that you probably didn't even know existed.

and you have this little baby crying in your arms as you make your arsenal of phone calls,  sleeping in the car seat as you trek to doctor's offices, or nursing as you finish a therapy session. in a sense you are learning a new language, a new way of navigating the world as you simultaneously learn how to be a parent and process the fact that your baby is deaf.

it's a lot.

but you do it, because there is no other choice. 

the first time we walked up to this booth to register for m's audiology appointment she had already "referred" (ahem, failed) multiple newborn hearing tests. she was a brand new little baby, about a month old. the first day we walked up to this booth was the day they told us she was deaf. we left in a fog, with a screaming baby who couldn't hear her own cries or our voices soothing her.

now, four years later, we come back here, to children's hospital, to get her implant settings adjusted. it's just routine, and we adore the people who work here, so it is always fun to see our friends here. some days i see a couple with a little baby leaving their appointment, looking dazed or crying, and i want to run over and hug them or tell them it will be ok no matter what. but i don't, because this is a moment when they need their space. 

i thought i'd give you a glimpse of where m goes and what she does when her implants get adjusted from an appointment we had a few months ago. 
first we head up to audiology, and m plays with all of the toys in the waiting room as we wait for her audiologist to come out and get us. inevitably there are other kids with hearing aids or implants, which i love, since the only place where m sees those on kids is at her school. i love having another place where she sees kids like her. (since she always notices the second someone has implants)

we love, love, love her audiologist sarah, who happens to be the very same person who told us she was deaf. she has been with us from the beginning, back when i was a hot mess, nursing m in her office and trying to jam hearing aids in her tiny little three month ears. hot mess, you guys. really.

she is so patient with m, and always tracks down the best toys for her to "play" with while she checks all of her settings. appointments usually take a few hours, so the more to distract, the better. m is used to long appointments since this is all she has ever known, but that doesn't mean she is always very compliant.

this day m had already driven to school (1 hour), gone to school and therapy(3 1/2 hours) and driven home (1 hour), only to head straight to this appointment. that's a lot for a three year old.
sarah switches back and forth between "live" mode, where m can hear us, and computer mode, where she adjusts the sound levels internally and m can't hear anything else but those internal sounds. people, technology is crazy. that little laptop? it has every electrode on it that is strung into m's cochlea, and each electrode has an array or width of sound information. you can see how each one is slightly different. some of m's electrodes are shut off, because they were bothering her.
here m is in computer mode. when she hears a beep she stacks one of the toys.
here sarah checks her in live mode by telling her what ingredients to put on the pizza. 
all implant kiddos know this "game" well- hold the object to your ear until you hear the sound. then when you hear it...
put it down (on the pizza, in the bowl, on the stack, etc.) m gets bored pretty quickly with this activity, but that's good in a way, because she likes more complex listening games.
(so focused)

sarah really is amazing- 
she can figure out what m is hearing (or isn't hearing) from the slightest facial expression.
and she can distract m or keep her on task hours longer than i ever could. 
(of course she has three of her own kiddos, so she has experience)
i love seeing people doing their jobs when they love them- 
and she is such a good pediatric audiologist.
we so lucked out.
plus she's fun to hang out with in real life.

two and a half hours later m has happy new implant settings & she checks out the rest of the hospital from the audiology floor. 
these days we only have to go to children's once or twice a year, 
butwhen m was teeny tiny, we were there all the time.
when she was little it held such sadness to be going there,
but it also was a reminder to me of how many other families had children with cancer or severe impairments or children whose lifespans may be very brief.
it kind of put things in perspective back in those early days.

my little trooper!
i told m we could go on a date when she was all done,
so she (wisely) picked fenton's for some ice cream!
fenton's is actually a nightmare for a kiddo with implants- it has horrible acoustics and is incredibly LOUD, but when ice cream calls, ice cream calls:
a child size sundae- i tell you the truth.

a child after my own heart-scraping out her chocolate syrup to get every last drop.
killing me with her ice cream face.
about 30 seconds after getting in the car, this girl was sound asleep.
commuting, school, an implant mapping and ice cream 
meant that she was absolutely tired out. 
almost home!
long day, good day!

when i was talking to that mom last week, 
i realized how much of an expert i'd inadvertently become in a few brief years
on this little subculture of cochlear implants and deafness.
who knew that walking up to that audiology registration desk 
would so radically change my life?