Tuesday, March 24, 2015


this girl has taught me so much about how to be a good mom. how to advocate. how to be kind. how to be patient. how to exhale. how not to compare. how to be thankful.

yesterday morning we had her annual iep, which is when we meet with her team from the school district to decide what services she will need for the coming year. it is always stressful, and a bit of wearing my mama heart on my sleeve to have her strengths and areas of need evaluated. even though i want her to get services for her areas of deficiency, which, let's face it, are to be assumed since she is profoundly deaf,  it's also hard that she still struggles in areas after working so hard day in and day out.

we are really lucky to work with such great people at our school district. if you know much about our public schools here, you know that we have far fewer resources than many other districts. and because our district serves such a diversity of backgrounds, they are also juggling many demands and needs with those limited resources. that said, the people who work within our district are not doing it for the money or the kudos. they are in the trenches in a very real way, and helping kids who are struggling, who have special needs, or who are the most vulnerable. i adore our daughter's teacher of the deaf, and her speech language therapist. they are both itinerant, which means every day they are driving to schools all over oakland, working in hallways and closets and tiny offices and the backs of classrooms with the kids on their caseloads. we are lucky enough to have monrovia on their list of students. they truly go above and beyond to make sure she is getting everything she can out of her mainstream setting. i really feel- as you're supposed to if your child has an iep- that we are all on the same team. it's such a gift to know that when she is at school all day, that the people working with her truly want the same best for her that matt and i do.

yesterday morning matt, our principal, our daughter's teacher, her speech therapist, her teacher of the deaf and i all sat around a tiny table in the principal's office, hashing out what would help monrovia do best this next year in school. instead of having to negotiate and wrangle, we had a two hour fruitful, encouraging, frank discussion of our daughter's best coping strategies, her gifts (compassion and kindness), her areas of need (oh reading, you are killing us), how well she does on paper vs. in reality, different approaches that could help her reach her goals, and ways she's improved over the last year.

at the end of the meeting, i did something i've never done before in almost 7 years of having these meetings: i signed the iep. right away. without thinking about it, without holding out for something better, without having to assess whether it was enough, we came up with a plan that supports our daughter's best self and recognizes that she really needs support in some key ways.

it doesn't always go like that, and even with fantastic services in place there will be areas that monrovia will struggle. but i am thankful for the process of revisiting her needs, talking it through with professionals who support and know our daughter, and for the feeling of not having to be her only advocates.


Friday, March 13, 2015

taking names

husband was back east this week, helping his sister robyn our with her new baby and toddler. he was able to juggle work from a distance and uncle/brother duties while i was on the homefront juggling work and mama duties.
in the cons category: daylight savings (%&*$#), minimum days for m's school, solo parenting and a lot of deadlines for my freelance work.

in the pros category: mama daughter time, and matt getting to meet our new nephew while hanging out

it's friday and i am beyond exhausted, but this will be short and sweet because i have to sneak a run in while i can!

this week in a nutshell
(although i spared you the tantrum pictures, of which there were many. goodness these girls don't know the meaning of the words, "i really need you to cooperate."
ruby and myles playdate. fast forward ten years and this is their homecoming picture.
moms are creative so did a little childcare swapping to get more work done. i mean a WEEK of minimum days? 
i hooked my girls up with special adventures and treats and somehow they have amnesia and forget five minutes later and launch into, "what fun thing are we doing next?" add that to the below rant post.

ruby making backyard tea
(that girl plays so hard she's one shoe on, one shoe off)
homemade chicken soup (thanks, jo)
did a little front porch chalking with ruby

did i mention deadlines?
 my studio is a disaster zone, but i kept two children alive AND busted my butt working
 ruby fashion
 after school homework sesh at a cafe
 monrovia's friend lily had an audiology appointment in oakland so we got to meet up with her family for dinner at fentons! it was so much fun to see the girls together. monrovia brought her the graphic novel/memoir el deafo, and the two of them giggled over it and compared deaf stories. the cutest. 
these sweeties have known each other since they were itty bitties- and ruby and johnny since they were born!

we snuck in some facetime with daddy

and finally our chickens are laying eggs again! some of this week's bounty

honestly, this week was loooooooong and had some hard hours for sure. i'm tired, ready for matt to be home. ready to sleep. ready to co-parent again. but also grateful he could go, and thankful i survived the week. 

oh, and in terms of taking names?
yes, that was me.
too little sleep (way too little) but rocked a whole lot of everything. and my house is even mostly clean!

hallelujah it's friday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

rant break

taking a pause to rant for a moment.

consider the following:

  • daylight savings. yes, i love the evening light lasts longer blah blah blah, but i don't love this wreaking havoc on my night and morning thanks to kids who refuse to go to bed at night and refuse to wake up in the morning. my valiant attempts at guilt trips and bribery do nothing in the face of their internal body clocks which are set at, oh i don't know- THE OLD HOURS of the day. killing me.
  • this plague of 2015. is everyone you know currently sick, was sick, or getting sick?  killing me.
  • extra rant on that note: males with the plague of 2015. extra killing me and the significant other in their life.
  • eye rolling. oh i did my fair share of it to my own mother, but i swear i was in the double digits before i tried that sass out. my darlings? both on the eye roll action. to me. they are 4 and 6 you guys. killing me.
  • the ongoing fundraising at my children's school. hey friends and family, want to give me some money for their fill in the blank? oh, you just gave me money last week for a different fill in the blank at their school? yeah, i know. sorry about that. it's because we don't give our schools enough money to cover the basic necessities so i get to use some of my aforementioned but slightly different guilt trips and bribery to persuade the good people in my life to bankroll my children's education. insert cringing face here. killing me.
  • running. ouch. it's hard. i'm doing it everyone! i am doing the damn thing. my race is in 11 days! i know they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but...killing me. 
  • selfish parents at school drop off and pick up. yeah, we'd all love to double park and simplify our life with pulling right up to the front of the school. how convenient! except that would be a total traffic disaster, which is why in practically every week's school newsletter, back to school night and school assembly the principal talks about how you're not allowed to do that. and yet, every morning and every afternoon a few parents decide that they are above the law and get to skip the parking battle or the designated drop off zone and go straight to the entrance. and then those same parents who are backing up traffic and swerving to miss small children get mad if you, oh i don't know, roll your eyes at them. killing me. 
  • the bachelor. i've never watched this show before but watched a few episodes this season and all i can say is WHAT?!? is it 1913? maybe it's because i have daughters and the idea of one of them getting gussied up to prance across national tv, while pitting her against her own gender to gain some guy's affections, turning her into some human barbie doll that does different challenges to see how well she performs in different scenarios all while the guy evaluates her crushes my very soul. how on earth would i explain this stuff to my daughters? this does not mean that i didn't watch some of it. sadly, i did. BUT super killing me.

and that my friends, is it for now. but i'm sure you have some to offer, because ranting is fun. i'll be back to my kinder, gentler self next post.

ready, set, go in the comments and brighten my day!

p.s. i will add that as i was ranting away, one of my oldest, dearest friends showed up at my doorstep as a surprise! kind of hard to complain after that. happy wednesday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

moms rock

I am so grateful that I can work from my studio attached to my home, and have a great deal of flexibility regarding when I work. I'm luckier than many of my friends who have far more rigid schedules. Every week I attempt to knock out really good work and to be a good (or sometimes just as good as i can be) mom, wife, and friend. It's no joke.

Yes, it means I'm often working on a work deadline until midnight (like last night and every weeknight this week) but there are benefits: I also get to get my kids ready in the morning, volunteer at their schools, and pick them up after school is over. I rarely have to get them childcare during the day. My kids can come work alongside me in my studio. (Ok, to be honest- this sounds MUCH better in theory than it works out in actuality.) Sometimes I surprise even myself at how much I'm able to get done as a parent and employee at the same time. And for my friends who have jobs that are more structured than mine? I have no idea how you do it. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE.

It's always crazy to me when working moms aren't given flexibility and are seen as slacking off or less committed; the moms I know juggle so many things while working (paid and otherwise) and accomplishing phenomenal amounts every day. This is a great article on the value of giving moms flexibility and on how hard mamas are actually working!

"There’s a saying that “if you want something done then ask a busy person to do it.” That’s exactly why I like working with mothers now. Moms tell me when a project can be done and they give me very advanced notice when they have to take time off work. If they work from home, it doesn’t matter if a kid gets sick...but they can still be productive because they can work from home while keeping an eye on their child...Moms work hard to meet deadlines because they have a powerful motivation – they want to be sure they can make dinner, pick a child up from school, and yes, get to the gym for themselves."

Here's to you mamas out there who work incredibly hard, juggle things constantly, and still somehow manage to hold themselves together. You're rock stars, each and every one of you. Oh, me too. I'm a rock star too.

Monday, March 2, 2015

hurry up, slow down

it's funny, isn't it, how we compete with each other for how busy we are?

how we are trying to get more and more done? pack as much work as we can into a week? how rarely we sit still with nothing on the to do list? it's as if it's a moral failing to merely enjoy a day of rest.

i feel like i am constantly behind, and if i am accomplishing nothing than somehow i am failing.


when i was growing up, sundays were sacred spaces. the sabbath. that meant church in the morning, home for lunch- maybe with friends from church over, naps, and for most of my childhood, no tv, restaurants or homework. that shifted slightly as i got older, but for many years there were strict boundaries on what sundays looked like.

yesterday was a pretty perfect day and in terms of accomplishing things? i got nothing done. in the late afternoon matt and the girls and i went to the college campus that's about a mile from our house.
the girls rode bikes with matt trailing them, and i walked four miles. (remember? i somehow signed myself up for a race even though i don't run, so sundays are the light days in my training when i just walk.) living in the middle of a city it's kind of nice to escape to places like this, especially when they are so close to our house:

i walked for about an hour, and thought about how content i was. i could smell all of the trees in bloom, the sky was bright blue, my children were racing around on their bikes, my love was happily chasing after them and scooping them up after every tumble, my body was strong and healthy, i could hear the birds chirping and leaves rustling. a good afternoon. i'd usually feel guilty that i wasn't getting more done. and yet, why? who cares if my house is kind of messy? that i am not working every single day to make money? that my to do list isn't getting crossed off as quickly as i'd like?

to slowing down. to recharging. to being less efficient. to wasting time. to resting. to savoring the sounds and smells and tastes when i stop moving. to nurturing these quiet, still spaces. to a sabbath that recharges me for a very full week ahead.