Friday, February 27, 2015

that was then, this is now

i haven't posted much about monrovia's deafness lately, partly because i've been in a bit of a lull posting...and partly because life just rolls along, and her deafness is just part of our normal. i was thinking about it the other day, when i was texting with her deaf teacher about a couple of issues that have come up at school. overall? we couldn't ask for a better outcome. at the same time, we field little hearing loss related things every week that have just become part of our life rhythm as a family.

monrovia is completely mainstreamed, and thriving in her classroom. she has a speech therapist that works with her once a week, a deaf teacher that comes in twice a week to address any classroom issues, and her teacher wears an fm system so that her voice can go directly into monrovia's implants. most of the time things go smoothly. so much of what we think about with her implants and deafness is invisible to anyone outside of our family. she's learned to advocate for herself, and we've learned to choose when to speak up and when to let things work themselves out.

this week we celebrated the 6th anniversary of when monrovia got her surgery for her cochlear implants! i cannot believe it's been SIX years since this day happened.

i had so many fears when i wrote for the very first time about her potential diagnosis. then we moved on from grief to action, and life with a delightful baby! there was lots of this with very little results:

those powerful hearing aids just couldn't make the sound loud enough for our baby. remember those days? the little pilot hat snug on her head because she would pull those teensy hearing aids out to chew on them? therapy back then was really more to teach matt and i how to teach speech and language to a deaf child than it was helpful to her.

then, after those silly hearing aids and a very long and hard fight with insurance, we won! on february 24, 2009, our little bambino had her surgery. in retrospect she was so small! look at her snuggling up with that pacifier! i remember feeling so at peace as the surgeons worked on her for hours.

so much has happened since, of course. so many milestones and celebrations! our beautiful, smart, kind deaf girl loves these implants more than anything. in a few weeks we celebrate her hearing birthday: the day her implants got activated for the first time and she heard her first sounds, including her name, our voices, and the words "we love you." a pretty remarkable six years, i'd say; there's not much that could make me take back a day of it. proud and grateful for this journey, and somehow i become more proud as each year passes.
(someone was very excited to discover this week that her two implants 
make the shape of a heart when she puts them together)

some awesome for your weekend

a little bit of this and a little bit of that for your friday...
  • here in oakland we have lots of sun (sorry east coast,) so i'm trying to make the most of it!

if you're local, our orange tree has about 3 billion oranges, so come on by and harvest some! 
also, our chickens are finally laying again so you might even get to take a few eggs home!

  • i have some new cards out, but they might be harder to spot than my usual suspects because they look different than my usual designs, so here's a few of them: 

these are available wherever marcel schurman products are sold!
(i think it's easiest to grab them off of website so you don't have to hunt, but they are available at retailers nationwide)

  • i realize i control so much of what my children eat for every meal, but not what they wear.  if you've seen my children, they have quite the mishmash of ensembles. always. lately ruby is into multiple shirts plus a dress and a skirt and leggings and mismatched socks and a few accessories for good measure.
exhibit a:
in light of that? this mom is rad for what she lets her kid do for a week. would you dare? 
i would be wearing 43 layers i think.

  • have you seen this website before? i love it and so do my girls. so many great videos on a huge range of topics: art, science, animals, etc... for them (and for grownups too!) it is way more manageable than looking for things on youtube or even on a site like pbskids. my girls loved this video, and i loved this one. (it actually made me tear up. who knew an astronaut could bring me to tears!)

  • this video is perfect for a friday morning. click on it. no, really. (you're welcome!)

have a good weekend!

sugar mama

i feel like childhood can be summed up as one massive sugar explosion rolling into the next sugar volcano. halloween into christmas into valentine's day into birthday treats every time someone turns a year older...treats from the grandparents, treats after school, treats on a play date...treats, treats, treats! 

so i spotted this cute alternative to a candy packed easter basket and sighed, ah yes: 
(picture via

i feel like my girls get more than enough sugar and treats, and yet in their minds what they get is never enough. i swear they ask me constantly for a little something. it doesn't seem to matter how many times we talk about "sometimes" or "once-in-a-while" foods, they still ask for them. incessantly. 

granted, they eat really healthy food too. yesterday they were nibbling on stalks of broccoli that they pulled out of one of our planter beds, and i can always tell when they've been grazing in the kale in our garden because they come inside with their faces stained green. they love salad and vegetables and fruit and all of that anytime-category of food.


i've worked hard not to allow treats or food to be a reward or for it to represent love or as a filler for sad times or as a symbol of happy times. that doesn't mean they don't get that message from other places, but as much as possible i've worked hard not to have food represent something that fills the parts of your soul that need filling.

and yet?

it's wearing me out, this constant begging for shugs. it feels like a daily ask on their part. so i wonder, wise ones, if you have some smart way that you speak to your kids about sugar or treats? i feel like it is EVERYWHERE. i don't want to limit them completely, because a.that's pretty impossible b.i think no treats would lead them to want them even more and c.did i mention it would be really close to impossible? 

wisdom? insight? advice? 
happy weekend to you.
now that you've stopped by, say hello in the comments :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015


feels like life has been hurtling by, in all of its glorious messiness and mayhem. am i right?

(ruby sleeping last week, with her friends little house + richard scarry)

time feels precious to me lately. i walked into the girls room last night and they were both sprawled out, legs splayed and covers twisted around their bodies every which way. the hallway light fell on their sleeping faces, and i just wanted to gather them up into my arms and hold them.

i dropped monrovia off at school this morning; as we walked up the hill to get there, her hand in mine, she told me all about what they'd learned about the day before for black history month. it felt like a sacred moment, and one that would soon be gone. i know after not too long she won't want to be holding my hand in public.

ruby has been so clingy lately, saying, "Uppy, uppy!" like a little baby to get me to carry her around. i was getting frustrated with her about it; it just seemed like i could hardly move a couple feet without her pulling on me or wrapping herself around my legs. and then i thought, it's going to be done soon. this part of life with children. so slow yourself down and pick that girl up while you still can, susannah.

i wish everything was unicorns and rainbows around our house, but i won't lie. it's been a battle lately, this parenting thing. i want to teach my girls appropriate boundaries for pushing back at me as their mom, and boy are they testing those boundaries. sometimes at about 5 pm i'm ready to call it a day and ship everyone off to bed, including myself. this morning i had barely put breakfast on the table before i was ready to call a time out. i mean, COME ON, how many times can you say no or complain within the first hour of waking up? i don't know, but my children are the current world record holders i think.

so. left hand? sweet slivers of time that will be gone way too soon: like their chubby little bodies finally at rest, or holding their little hands in mine, or their cute little pieces of artwork that they thrust into my face for approval. right hand? button pushing, screaming, whining, complaining meltdowns on repeat.

the challenge for me is to hold both of those hands open. know that to grow up well they have to do both and that my job as a good mom is to nurture the snuggling moments, and to allow and shape the crazy moments without losing my %&$#. man, it's hard. so despite the running on empty i'm forging ahead (because ha! what choice to i have!) and trying to breathe deep, love these little humans while teaching them what behavior is ok and what is not so much.

meanwhile, i'm learning what mommy behavior is ok and what not so much: when to reprimand, when to hug, when to give space, when to push in and let them be a mess. (feel free to insert your wisdom in the comments section)

lord, have mercy.

because most days i have to hope i'm making the right choices in how i'm loving them. and then the other days i just figure they'll end up in years of therapy.

Monday, February 2, 2015

happy february!

for the love, january is over! usually i love january- since it's my birthday after all, and i adore my birthday. but this january was full of hard stuff: from the little, like the cold that just knocked me out cold (pardon the pun) to the flu that hit everyone in our family to the big, the passing of long-time wise and kind members of our church community. like i wrote last week, it wasn't the way i imagined going into my 40's, but hey, life is unpredictable!

and at least around here...february means that everything is beginning to blossom!
this weekend was beautiful, and i started it off by taking on a section of our elementary school that has been driving me crazy for the last two years! i worked with two other mamas, nancy and sarah, to rehab this sad and sorry little section near the kindergarten entrance. viola! after two hours of digging and watering and pulling and rearranging and replanting?
this sad patch looks much happier. it made me so thankful for teamwork, and for living in a warm, sunny place where at the end of january we can dig in the dirt with the temperature hitting the 70's. oh, and for feeling healthy again! hooray!  
bottom line? i'm happy it's a new month.
are you looking forward to february? have you started your kids' valentines?
i haven't!

oh, also?
today is the birthday of my dear friend karen,
who is one of the hottest mamas i know.
she's also a kind-hearted, generous, wise, funny, saucy, smartypants, witty, strong, loyal, thoughtful, incredible wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend. happy to YOU, karen!
i don't know what i'm doing in this photo, but let's move along, shall we?

happy february!!!!