Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Peace on Earth

I finally did it. I subscribed to the New York Times. A newspaper, like a grown up person! Oh, and I'm stepping away from Facebook for awhile.
Over there, on Facebook, I feel like I'm perpetuating an echo chamber. I post an article and my friends who always agree with me "like" it and then Facebook algorithms show articles that I share only to the people who "like" them. It's an endless loop of people who think like me. My perfectly crafted bubble. Judging from the silence of my friends whose views are quite different, they unfollowed my feed long ago. And, to be honest, I've unfollowed people who consistently post stuff that makes me blisteringly angry. I want to have real conversations with people face to face. You know, where I can get furious to their face. Just kidding! Kinda.
I am throwing myself into my community. Into my family. Into my writing. Into my work. Advent is here and I, you guys, I freaking love Advent. It's a very meaningful time of year for me. Sending out Christmas cards is something I love to do and I haven't done for two years because last year I didn't have time and the year before I had a baby mid-December. And I desperately want to do that this year.
There is sadness too. I love my Facebook groups. My babywearing group, my biking group, my Homeschool Alumni group, the groups where I learn about social justice and how to use my Instant Pot. And, Oh! Special Books by Special Kids!  Facebook was my lifeline during the time of upheaval that followed our move to SF and my fall into post-partum depression. Friends were just a click away during my lowest times. But it's time for a break now.
Life is full and my family deserves all my attention. I need to choose when to consume news. I need skip the buzzfeed listicles and the "Which Jane Austen character are you?" quizzes. (As much as I lurv a good "which character are you" quiz"!!!) Peace on earth starts with peace at home. Peace in my heart, in my family, in my community, in my city, in my country, in the whole earth. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Poem to Myself

Go out to a nice restaurant alone sometime.
Feel the pity
They don't know
It is with purpose
You dine alone

Squeal in delight when you get an orchid blossom with your meal.
Enjoy completely
Your mouth full
The silence of your table
The food tastes so loud

Think about all the things that you want to.
No interruptions
No questions asked
By anyone but

Be happy when it is time to return home.
Walk at night
Chasing no one
Kiss sleeping eyes
Go to bed

Monday, March 21, 2016

Today in the Sunset.

The man outside the window at Starbucks is peering in. He's smoking a joint, eating a burrito, and dancing. Can he hear the big band swing that's playing in here? Probably not. He's probably got rhythm in his soul. I'd have rhythm in my soul too if I was smoking a joint and eating a burrito. At least, I think so. I've never smoked a joint, but I HAVE eaten a burrito and it's pretty much the most soul rhythm inducing thing ever.

All the taquerias here in San Francisco are are super sketchy looking and feel grimy but dear baby gophers! They are amazing! Actually, all the food here is amazing. I'm partial to Thai food these days. It is my take-out of choice. But the Pakistani/Indian place around the corner is delicious too and Silas prefers it to Thai. The boys like the deli in the liquor store on the corner. If we ask them they say "The sandwich place!!!"

A woman just gave the man outside the window a to-go box of food. He turned around and shared it with the two other homeless guys sitting on the sidewalk with him. They are all dancing and laughing now. I'm jealous. I'm here pondering solutions to the problems that I need to solve this week. Money problems, transportation problems, scheduling problems, parenting problems, relationship problems, and I will at least take a gamble at listening to NPR to hear about the world's problems. In an hour I'm going to put on my super respectable rain coat and walk home in my super respectable rain coat, worried about all this and more. I will even worry about these guys on the street and where they will sleep tonight.

I'm trying to sum up these thoughts in a way that makes sense because they feel very connected in my heart. Or maybe there just isn't a good way to sum up these thoughts. Something I love about the city is that it's all with you all the time. The sadness and the joy. The worry and the wild abandon. And at any moment you can walk out your door and witness it and ponder it.

Monday, March 7, 2016

An hour.

I have an hour. An hour! An hour! My very own hour. This hour.

In one hour I'm going to see my counselor, then I'll run out the door and try to make the bike ride from the Mission to Gideon's school in Western Addition in 20 minutes (It takes 35). I love riding so fast.

Then it's lunch for me and the big boy and then a ride to the Embarcadero to the dentist. I have to get a filling. Which means several shots. I comfort myself with the knowledge that I can pay $75 and get laughing gas to ease the needle phobia. It will still suck. But at least I'll be in an altered state for most of it.

In the hours after I'll still have to bike home, help with homework, hug babies (which really is no trouble), make dinner, and try to maintain peace until Silas gets home (he's working late again). Then after bedtimes I will need to clean the kitchen, get donations ready for the JBBP Gala, pack a lunch, and lay our clothes for the morning. But that's not this hour.

I was supposed to be doing our budget during this hour. A date with me and my laptop at a coffee shop with my double espresso over ice. I add course sugar. But my bank's website is down. My children are at school (where I volunteered this morning) or with our sitter. And now I have this surprise gift of my own hour!

What would you do with your very own hour? If I were at home I would clean. Or do laundry. Or organize the garage. I have phone calls I want to make. But I can't really do that from a coffee shop. I didn't bring my ipad to work on my illustrations because I wasn't expecting this hour! But oh, I could write! And oh, I could plan! And oh, I could even pray!

Now if I could just be present enough to take advantage of this hour without thinking about all the hours before and all the hours to come.

Nevermind, the bank's website is back up.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lake Hike

So, before I moved to San Francisco I assumed that Golden Gate Park was, like, a park. Like, a play ground, maybe a fountain, a dog park. Nope. It is, in fact, 20 percent larger than Central Park. It contains a series of lakes, a bison paddock, a couple of museums, botanical garden, tea garden, and more. I refer you here to the Wikipedia page. And yet, despite my ignorance, I'm lucky enough to live across the street from it.

Today we decided to adventure into the park. We bike through it every day and I always let the kids choose which way we go. Frequently, Gideon will choose to go around the lake (Zeke likes to go the museum or waterfall way) and the kids always ask to hike up the hill island. I'd been promising we'd do the hike since last week so today we locked up the bike at the boat house and headed out!
Miri loved the geese.
 The boys tried to fish with whatever vines and plants they found.
 Had to make Miri get in the carrier because she wouldn't stop throwing herself into mud puddles with wild abandon. 
 It's amazing how isolated it is up here, even in the middle of the city.
 Almost to the top! I was starting to flag at that point and so was Zeke but Gideon remained determined and chanted "You can do it! You can do it!" and Zeke said "My love dat song, tanks Geeyon!"
 When we finally reached the top Miri needed a quick milk break.
 She is impossible to contain! Girlfriend loves to explore.
 I don't know how this big cement castlesque ruin got up here, but the boy dig it. They played knights for quite awhile before raiding my bag for cliff bars and fruit leathers.
 The sun! San Fran has been experiencing some desperately needed rain for the past two months and I never thought I'd miss the sun but I did!
 We took the stairs down the waterfall since Zeke started complaining about having to walk having to walk.
 Oh, hi, Pacific Ocean!
 And hi, bay!
I think I said "Hold onto the railing!" About 25 times. 
Once we reached the bottom of the falls it was a simple hike back to the bike but certain children decided they were too tired to walk so it took about 35 minutes to go a couple hundred yards, crawling, waddling, and crab walking.  But all in all, a fun day was had by all. We live in a beautiful place! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hello from the other side.

Oh, hi.  What's that you say? It's been a year? The longest break I've ever taken from this blog. And I've thought about it, oh, so many times! I'd think to myself "I should blog" and then I couldn't bear to. A tweet, a picture to instagram, a slightly longer facebook post, but I hadn't the capacity to write it all. I finally can, so this is what happened.
The week we moved into out apartment. Right before I got really sick.
In March we moved into our lovely little 700sqft apartment. Our stuff from Seattle arrived. I unpacked most of our stuff. The 5 year anniversary of Jason's death come around. Then I had a nervous breakdown and didn't get out of bed or stop crying for a week. After that I was afraid to leave our apartment for another week, two weeks, three weeks. I saw a doctor and got my post partum depression diagnosis. It's such a deceiving title because PPD is so much more than depression. For me it also meant anxiety, paranoia, unexplained rage, and an inability to keep track of time in any form. My brain chemistry was off, I wasn't thinking right. I knew it but I couldn't fix it.
Miriam's first bike ride!
We did everything we knew to do. We found a good doctor and counselor. We hired a once a week babysitter so I could go to dr. appointments, run errands, and just try to get healthy. We decided to eat out as much as we needed to and order our groceries delivered. We only did the necessary. I stopped doing anything except making sure everyone safe, fed, and clothed. Slowly, things got better. Once I got back on my bike things got better faster.
On a trip to the Academy of science.
I started building my village again. We kept exploring the city. I became involved with the local babywearing group, an active member of a mom's group, and church too. I became vegan, both to cope with Miri's allergies and to move towards a simpler diet for me. I caught up on 5 years of dental work. It took months and months, but life got better bit by bit. With every change and every effort. With every week that went by there was improvement.
Light of my life.
Zeke turned 3 and is himself every single day. Gideon turned 5 and started school at an amazing public school here in the city which we all love. Miriam started walking at 8 months old. We got rid of our car and I bike 15-20 miles a day now. And it's wonderful. I struggle with anxiety still. On bad days I find some hills to climb to work it all out. Luckily, there's no shortage of hills here in SF.
On a bike ride to the zoo.
Now that life is manageable again, Silas and I are going out together once a week. We are currently on a mission to visit all the good restaurants and bookstores in the city. Each week we check one off the list. We really love city living and it's so wonderful to explore the city together.
Out and about.
Some pictures popped up from last year. And they brought tears to my eyes. The memories are still a bit raw. Last year was such a difficult year. A painful year. A terrible year. But it was a year of profound growth in our lives. I would not relive it if you paid me and I'm so glad it is over. But it definitely changed me for the better.
On a visit to one of our favorite places, the Japanese tea garden.
Having now experienced days were I could not function. Where I pretty much poured cereal on the floor in front of the tv and crawled back into bed. Where I took my kids to the park and dumped them in the sand while I tried to pay bills on my phone. Where all three of my kids were not only crying, but screaming in the grocery store. Where I put all my kids to bed and then sobbed into my pillow that motherhood isn't fun anymore. If I ever judged anyone for anything, I am sorry. I've probably done almost every thing I ever judged anyone for this year. And that's been good for me and my pride.
Heading out for a day in the city.
We're coasting now. Things are good. God is good. San Francisco is good. We're gonna be ok! Motherhood is fun again and I'm enjoying my kids like I used to before I got sick. Every day that ends and I'm not completely comatose or melting down is kind of a surprise to me now, and a gift. What a gift. To be well. This is the other side. And it's 100x better than I could have imagined when I was in the darkest place, when I forgot it was possible to not feel terrible all the time.
My three.
So that's what happened. That's why I dropped off the face of the planet. That's why you haven't heard from me. And I hope that never happens again. But if it does, I know it gets better. I hope you are well, friends, and if not, I hope you find the support you need. Peace.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snider Updates

Silas found us an apartment! That's the news of the day. And it's so perfect. It's a tiny, tiny two bedroom on the ground floor with no dishwasher or bathtub BUT it has private laundry, an attached garage, and a fenced in backyard. A huge yard. You don't get a yard in San Francisco. But somehow we got one. Silas filled out dozens of applications over the past two weeks and we didn't so much as get a call back. But our landlord took a shine to Silas and let us know as soon as the open house was over. We signed the lease last night and our stuff will arrive in the next two weeks! It's exactly what we were looking for to fit the minimalistic lifestyle we've been striving towards.
The kids are adjusting to SF. They aren't there yet, but I am hoping so hard that this is the worst of it. Zeke is a sobbing mess about half the time and begging to be held the other half. I don't know everything he's thinking, if it's the move, or the new baby, or just his developmental stage, but he's dealing with big feelings. Remaining calm and offering hugs is usually all he needs but I have a hard time remaining calm when I would also like to be throwing an adult tantrum about my own feelings. And I don't always have the free hands for hugs. So I ordered a toddler carrier for him because he kept asking to be worn but was too big for my baby carrier. I already don't know how I managed without it.
Miriam is just a fun little person to be around. She had been sleeping through the night since she was a couple weeks old but just recently decided to get up and party at 5 am every morning. Since I cut out dairy AND eggs she's hardly ever fussy as long as she can be held. She gives smiles freely. She haaaates her car seat. Her breath smells sweet and amazing and I sniff it whenever I can.
Gideon is fun, and sassy, and giggly, and stubborn, and thinks a lot about how things work. He appreciates beauty in many things and frequently asks me to take pictures of things he finds pretty. He loves making art. Drawing, painting, and glitter glueing are his favorites. He asks so many questions I don't know the answers to and has big opinions. He's really excited about getting a bunk bed for the new apartment and getting to sleep on the top bunk.
That's pretty much it for now. I've had a lot on my mind about mothering but hardly any time to think deeply or further develop some thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head. I don't care for being alone but I do miss having space in my brain for thinking about anything other than keeping my kids fed, clothed, and content. I can't wait to get back on my bike, as that's usually where I do a lot of thinking. I don't know how to end this post so I'll leave you with a quote I recently came across.

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling...”  Aldous Huxley

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day now.

Valentine's Day now is different than Valentine's Day past.

I love Valentine's Day. I love love. I love showing people that I care about them and taking a moment to ponder how thankful I am for the people in my life. The kids and I spend the days leading up to it making valentines for our friends, decorating the house, and making heart shaped cookies. I start my yearly fruitless search for a gift for Silas that will be as nice as his gift to me will be.The first Valentine's Day Silas and I were together we were long distance and he told me he loved me for the first time. I send him a mix cd. Thereafter, he has always gotten me a gift far better than whatever gift I gave him. And we go out for dinner, just the two of us, which we very rarely do.

Last Valentine's Day Silas initiated "Valentide" where he bought me a gift and an accompanying kindle book for every day of the week leading up to Valentine's Day!

This Valentine's Day has not been been like any Valentine's Day before.  Silas has been so busy at work that he did not order me a present. The elaborate gift I ordered Silas appears to be lost in the mail, and most importantly, Zeke has been feverish and throwing up for 3 days. Silas took yesterday off to catch puke and wash 87 loads of laundry with me. He did the grocery shopping for me. Among the food for next week and the sick goodies (gatorade, ginger ale, saltines, a thermometer) were a dozen roses for me. A romantic Hollywood gesture in the middle of our really unpleasant reality.

This year we were given the gift of the opportunity to show sacrificial love to each other and our children through service and patience. We bickered some (it's hard not to when your child's vomit and diarrhea is all over yourself and the entire dining room) and we were sad for pouty, grumpy, Zeke. We also laughed a lot. Gideon has recently been talking about all the things he's going to do when he grows up, and it's hilarious. We watched Parks and Rec and laughed until we were laughing at each other laughing.  We hovered over Miriam and smiled at her smiles.

Today was supposed to be kind of a date. We had hired a sitter and we were going house hunting with a rental agent so we can get out of corporate housing. It's actually super nice temp housing but we're sleeping on a queen bed and it's taking its toll. There's a reason we have a king sized bed. But we had to cancel the sitter due to barfy child and so I'm home while Silas is out, hopefully, securing housing for us. I trust him to pick out an apartment, just like he picked our first apartment when we got married and our first house in Seattle when I had given up in frustration.

Things change. Bleaching pukey towels and sheets is more desirable than all the chocolate in the world. Spending the day apart so that we can move into our own apartment as soon as possible is much better for us, at this point, than a romantic dinner out. And the fact that at the end of the day we still want to crawl into bed, exhausted, and fall asleep next to each other, even in a queen bed, is better than anything that comes in a little blue box.

Monday, February 2, 2015

San Francisco

Shortly before Miriam was born Silas was given the opportunity to accept an amazing job. The caveat was that we would have to move to the Bay Area. Just a few months before this Silas and I were discussing buying a forever house and raising our children in Seattle. And with one business trip it all changed.
So here we are. We flew in in Saturday afternoon and for the third time in the 5 years we've been married we're moving across the country and starting our lives all over again. I'm having a hard time with it. The Seahawks lost the Super Bowl last night and I cried. Not because they lost but because I
felt so disconnected from the city I have grown to love so much and that has been such a good fit for
our family.
Zeke tripped on a curb yesterday and broke his toe and is now hobbling around pathetically. So today's plans for exploring the city have been put off until a stroller arrives from Amazon tomorrow.
We are in corporate housing until we find an apartment. It's this amazing 2 bedroom luxury condo with a dishwasher and laundry in unit that's much nicer than anything we'll be able to afford. I'm soaking in the urban glory of the giant windows with a view of downtown. I really hope we can find housing in the city because I really don't like driving and would like to be able to bike everywhere.
Miriam is a complete joy. She's patient, good natured, and sleeps 5-8 hours every night. Unfortunately, like Zeke, she is extremely sensitive to dairy. At first it was just milk and cheese I had to avoid eating, but it's become clear (after eating some lime flavored chips with whey powder in them) that her poor belly can't handle any dairy at all.
Most of the time she just rides around on my back while I take care of the boys, like a baby monkey. She looks just like me and every so often I think to myself that she just looks so familiar, and it's because I see so much of myself in her.
Anyway, here we are in San Francisco, finding our way. I'll update you all soon. Our current tasks are finding a church (we visited one yesterday we are excited about), finding a neighborhood and apartment that are a good fit, and establishing a social circle. I, especially, would like to find my mama tribe. So if you'd like to send some good thoughts and prayers in our direction that these things would be accomplished we'd appreciate it.