Friday, August 30, 2013

indulge me

this first week of kindergarten for little m, which means a post on that is on its way, and i ran into some old pictures that had me stumbling down memory lane. so since i can't quite bear to get to that kindergarten post? i'll hit you with this pictures from a few years ago.

(this might just be my favorite: m "nursing" her baby)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

on the shallow side

guilty: i watch all of these shows. does it make it better that it's when i'm working on freelance? probably not. do I get extra credit for watching it all online since we don't have a tv? doubt it.

so, what mindless entertainment are you excited about? on this list or otherwise? (ahem, i love me some parenthood.)

i'm a complicated woman, my friends- social justice, mom talk, celebrity trash, deaf advocacy, good food, deep relationships and tv all mixed up together into one mush pot.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


i want to freeze the very best moments in time so that i fully internalize them and don't forget all the beauty and the goodness and the laughter. as i write this my girls are smashed together on our couch, making up stories from scratch, as they go, for each other. i'm sitting at the table drinking coffee, and the morning couldn't be more perfect.

(no need to watch all six minutes of my girl's multiple stories, but just a snippet gives you a peek)

as a sidenote? just can't believe sometimes how amazing cochlear implants are.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

these. two.

dear girls,

this was the day a few weeks ago that you decided you both wanted to wear a scarf like me.  so i wrapped one on each of you, and you giggled and smiled at each other. then you wanted me to put on a scarf too, and walk around with you so we were all matching.

and my heart about burst wide open with that moment, and with how much i love you.

right now, even though you pick out your own clothes and have fierce opinions about how things should be (for example, m always rolls up her leggings just so and ruby refuses to wear jeans or clips in her hair), you also still want to be like me. or near me, or talking to me, or snuggling with me. and i won't lie, i am savoring every moment of it.

i know that a day will come soon that you will likely want to do the opposite of whatever i suggest, that you will value the opinions of your friends, teachers and strangers over my own, that you will distance yourself from me in public, or hide away in your room at home with a "do not enter" sign slapped up on the door. those days are coming, as they always do, and they may last for a while. my heart will probably break because of you a thousand different times- sometimes you'll do it on purpose and sometimes you won't even know you're doing it at all.

but i want you to know - my sweet, creative, delightful children - that i love you no matter what.

my job is, among other things, to raise you to be kind, to be brave, to love even the unloveable, to look past surface things to the heart, to put others before yourself, to persevere. so i need to show you how to do that by loving you the same way, unconditionally, through the seasons when you like me and the seasons when it feels like you are rejecting everything about who i am and what i think.

i don't want to raise mini-me's. even though there are ways that you look or act or think like me, you're not me. that's a good thing. those times even now when i am about ready to scream (ahem, or maybe i am screaming a teensy little bit?) because you refuse to wear jeans when that's exactly what i want you to do? it's kind of ok. in fact, there is a part of me that is glad you are asserting your individuality and perspective. i want you to know that it's ok if someday who you are and who i am looks really different. if your preferences and mine don't align. if you love math and hate art.

right now, you tell me that i look supercute and your favorite kind of day is one spent with me. i love it and selfishly i don't want that to change. but for you to grow up? it kind of has to.

as your world expands and contracts and expands again, and as you grow into who you want to be, just remember: i'll always be your mom. i'll always be your champion. i'll always love you, even when you think i'm crazy or old school or irrelevant.  even when it seems like we'll never wear matching scarves again. hopefully, when all is said and done, you'll circle back again, to where i've been standing the whole time, waiting for you.

your mommy

p.s. you both look so cute in those scarves. like ridiculously cute.

(and unrelated but so important...
a very happy birthday to my friend and neighbor, 
an amazing woman in so many ways, kacie!)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

won't you be my neighbor?

one of the gifts of matt's job is that he gets four weeks of vacation, so we often use them all in the month of august! this year we went away for a week in june and now we are using the rest of the time. it's a really wonderful benefit that i don't take for granted, especially since someday it might not be like that. we are always scurrying to find cheap or free places to stay, or enjoying some non-work time at home as a family (aka staycationing)

we try to be home on the first tuesday night of august for national night out, which is a big potluck with all of the neighbors on our block. this year oakland had over 650 block parties registered for national night out, which means a whole lot of what mr. rogers envisioned - neighbors getting out of their houses and getting to know each other.

my neighbor tweaked these national night out posters for our block party. how fun are they?

a lot of times people ask me why i live where i do, in a city known for violence and crime.

a lot of it, or the primary reason, is that matt and i both feel propelled by the life and teachings of jesus to seek the common good, and to care for forgotten places and people. but a shorter, non-jesus-y, answer is that there is so much more to where i live than what gets flashed on the news.

that isn't to ignore or pretend that there are not scary things that happen where i live; they are things that i don't think should happen anywhere or to anyone. and they happen often, and sometimes way closer to my house than i would prefer. for instance, and not safety related but just aesthetically related, i don't love that the front window in the house across the street from us is boarded over with a huge piece of plywood. but i also know the story behind why it is, and i have enough of a relationship with our neighbor who lives there that my relationship with him has become more important than the fact that i think his boarded up window is janky and ugly.

perhaps at some point we will decide that we are not safe and we'll have to decide what that means for our family. for now, and hopefully for a long time, we will live on our street, love our neighbors as ourselves and actively work towards making our neighborhood a safe, beautiful and thriving home for everyone

i think one of the most beautiful things about where i live is that my family has the opportunity to hang out with all kind of different people- all ages, ethnicities, classes and backgrounds. neighbors who have lived there a long time (over 58 years!) and not so long (just moved in). this tuesday that meant people who were willing to spill out of their houses for a night to mix and mingle on the sidewalk. to me, there is something magical about talking with someone who looks nothing like you and connecting with them through a conversation. invisible but powerful walls come down, and community is created.

on tuesday i talked for a long time with a 22 year old guy named brent who lives up the block from me with his grandma. he works at a retirement community, and told me all about how it's basically like a high school for old people: the socialites, the gossips, the student council types, the nerds, the rebels (who gather in their rooms and have martinis before dinner)...he was cracking me up as he told me stories of the hijinks with his elderly residents. brent and i don't probably have much in common, but just by interacting with each other for 15 minutes we now know each other's names and a sliver of each other's story.

true confession: sometimes i am sad that i don't live on a homogeneous block where there are a bunch of young families with little kids, in which we've had similar life experiences and can naturally connect on liking the same kind of stuff. or i'm sad that my street has graffiti, potholes, a boarded up window, and illegal dumping. after all, i like people who are like me, and i love pretty places and things. (and there's nothing wrong with that!) i do question if the energy expended for living in an urban, diverse neighborhood is really doing anything more than making me tired. but then i think about how for me to love my neighbor as myself means i need to know my neighbor and care about the things he or she cares for, how beautiful a night like our block party is, and how the best way to change a city like oakland is for more neighbors to move toward each other and work together for goodness instead of becoming increasingly isolated or fleeing.
here's to more parties in the street, 
to making friends with the people next door and up and down the street, 
and to sharing treats with neighbors...
no matter what kind of a neighborhood you or I live in! 

(and selfishly here is to hoping that by the next national night out the window across the street is replaced with a big huge pane of brand new glass!)