Five months! When you were still tiny and new and we came across older babies, I sometimes thought, “I can’t wait until she's older.” I would scold myself for wishing time away, and focus on enjoying you in the moment. Now that we’re here, I wouldn’t go back—I love this age more than any previous—and I already feel myself mourning its end. It's a good thing you can't wish for time to pass faster than it already does. You also can’t go back, which is why mamas’ hearts burst open as their babies grow.

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eight weeks

eight weeks

We gave you your first sink bath yesterday evening, and you loved it. And we dried you by the fire and you loved that too. We've been washing you in the shower, which is equally adorable, but harder to photograph. I think these photos really capture what a chill and content little being you are. Besides the bath, the shower, and in bed with us in the morning, the changing table is your favorite place. You love looking at us through the mirror. You probably love it because up there you have twice as many parents, which is awesome. 

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Hawaii's Big Island // December 2016

Hawaii's Big Island // December 2016

Some images from our trip home in December. Highlights include: a couple nights away on the Kona side and an incredible hike to Makalawena beach, memorable meals at Village Burger in Waimea and Lotus Cafe in Kona, quality time with my family (and time with my mom in her quilting studio), a Christmas feast and cooperative family portrait (thank you tri-pod!), and photographing and listing my parent's new airbnb studio. It's definitely a challenge living so far away from my parents, but I'd like to think we make the most out of our visits and never take any of it for granted. Until next time, Big Island!

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Modern Motherhood // Interview with April

April is mom to Lucette, age 6, and Arley, age 3.

What did you love most about being a kid?

I grew up in a small town about eleven miles from Nevada City called Weimar. My parents had ten acres. They were part of the whole “back to the land” movement—my dad is from Stockton, my mom is from Sacramento—and they moved to this land so we could have goats and chickens. We drank goat's milk and ate fresh eggs. It’s beautiful out there. There’re two ponds on the property and it’s really wild—they’re not landscapers, they kind of left the land untouched—and we spent a lot of time outside. I have two older sisters and a little brother. My older sisters and I played outside a lot. We were very imaginative children. One whole hillside was our pretend house. When we crossed a little stream that divides the property, we would enter our wooded refuge. It was this whole beautiful, imaginary world that we’d come back to each day. Certain bushes were designated as the kitchen, a thicket of old manzanitas were the bedrooms. We’d also spend a lot of time playing in the pond and I have really vivid memories of catching pollywogs, and naming them, and seeing them go through their cycles, and hearing the frogs sing at night and really feeling the cycle of the seasons. We didn’t have TV growing up, I think that when I was born they got one channel, if you held the antenna right [Laughs] but we didn’t watch TV. We were more fascinated by going up on the hillside and listening to our echoes as the sun went down. Being in nature was a huge part of my childhood and having sweet relationships with our animals—our dogs were definitely like part of the family.

Did it feel like there was anything missing?

There were definitely things we longed for, we longed for playing with other children. In college, one of my friends grew up on a cul de sac in Salt Lake City, and I remember asking her to tell me about the night games she played as a kid, because that was a big deal—all the kids would funnel into the cul de sac at night and play night games. Things like that I think I missed a little bit, growing up in the country. Now assessing it as an adult, there were many advantages living like we did. I think it was very informative to who I have become.

What did you think about your mom when you were little?

I adored my mom. I absolutely adored her. She was a very devoted, very loving mother. I remember her always wearing these really long floral skirts, and I would hide under her skirt whenever we were in social settings. I remember that little tent underneath my mama’s skirt as being really safe. She was incredibly nurturing. I think my mom has that gene, that need-to-nurture gene. She was a stay-at-home-mom, but when I was about sixteen she went back to nursing school, and now she’s a nurse.

How did your feelings about her change as you grew older?

My parents divorced when I was sixteen, and I think our roles changed at that point. I kind of became the one who held our family together. I remember the first Christmas after my dad had left, my mom didn’t bring out the Christmas stuff like usual. A friend and I went to this old, abandoned Christmas tree farm and cut down a tree and held it on top of her car and went to my mom’s house and set it up, and I was like, we’re doing this. My brother was still young. I kind of felt like I had to take over preserving of our family’s traditions and rhythms. I’ve kind of always been like that, even to my older sisters, I’ve taken on that roll of being the one that organizes Thanksgiving and the holidays. My mom and everyone will talk about it and be excited, but I’m the one that’s like okay, we’re going to make this happen and I’ll cook the food, put on the christmas albums or find the Thanksgiving parade on TV so we can watch it all together—like we did when we were young.

Tell me about your path to motherhood. Did you always know you wanted to have kids? How did you know you were ready?

Yes, I definitely always wanted to have children, I would sing about it as a little girl. I had a cute little song

when I grow up I want to be a mother / one little two little three little children of my own

I would sing at the top of my lungs. I was raised Mormon, and that maternal role was ingrained in me, but I think naturally I just love kids. I wanted to have six kids, that was my dream. I taught preschool through college and I worked with a lot of different child development organizations after college. Michael and I, when we decided to get married, the thing that triggered that conversation was this feeling that I had regarding my future as a mother. I was living in Taiwan at the time and we were dating long distance. I was working there for six months teaching English at a preschool. After six months I was planning to go home and we would continue our relationship. But I decided I wanted to stay for another six months, I was at this life juncture. I had this guy that I really really loved, and asking him to wait another six months for me....I just didn’t know. I think I was 24. I felt really strongly about staying in Taiwan and had developed relationships with the kids and the families, and I thought, I’m here, I feel like I should really see it through and stay for six more months. It was going so well and I was saving money to pay off student loans. I remember I went to the beach one day. And he knew that I was trying to decide what to do, whether I would come back and we’d continue dating or I’d stay and we didn’t know what would happen. I went to the beach in Taiwan and stayed out there for a really long day, and rode my bike home as the sun was setting. I had this really strong feeling that I was going to have a daughter. And that Michael was going to be my partner. And I needed to talk to him about that to see if he really was that person. The idea of this future little girl kind of got us to talk about the seriousness of our relationship. We were definitely more at the beginning phase of our relationship, but it jumped us into something more serious, and he was like, I want to be that person that helps you raise this future child. It made us examine what is this future that we have together and should we pursue it? I had decided that my future would involve having a child at some point, but I did want to stay in Taiwan, so we actually got married. We went to Spain and got married and then we both returned to Taiwan for six months, which was really wonderful for us. I think it set a precedence for who we are in our relationship together, that we are very adventurous and take the path less chosen.

And then we were married for six years before we had Lucette! But I don’t think there was ever a feeling of me wanting to start the family right away or visa versa. We had found each other, we knew we’d make a family together one day and it felt really wonderful. I think it’s been good to develop our relationship. We traveled a lot and have had many great adventures. Then, it was right before I was graduating from Columbia University with my master’s degree, I was working on my thesis and I had a funny feeling. My husband is a software engineer, so he was in another room of our apartment, working. I snuck down and went to the pharmacy and bought a pregnancy test. I just had this feeling. I knew I was pregnant. A friend asked, were you trying? I think ever since we got married we were open to it. We weren’t trying for six years but we were always open to it and felt like we could embrace a new life when it came. I’m grateful that before she did come, that we had six years together to strengthen our bond. We have those adventures under our belt and know that we work really well together, so taking on parenting together has been pretty seamless. We have this track record for getting through stuff together well. For us it just worked out really nicely.

What are some of your favorite things about being a mom?

I love the joy that my kids have for life. Both my kids are really bright, joyful children, and they get so excited about each day. They wake up thrilled to be alive and it brings such a fun energy into our home. I love getting excited about pollywogs again, and ducklings, and the seasons. When I was little the seasons were really big in my life, and that has surfaced again now that I’m a mama. We do so many seasonal things in our home. We have little stories for each season and songs that we sing.

One of the big reasons why we left New York was I wanted my children to have spontaneous interactions with nature and to experience life uncurated. In the city things are very structured, and [I wanted] to see things happen naturally in a natural environment. It’s been cool to see them get a little wild since we moved from New York. I think children are very sensitive to different energies in their environment. When we go to the beach one of my favorite things is to watch Lucette—the minute her feet touch the sand she’s completely transformed, she absorbs the energy of the ocean. She will run up and down the beach and she starts telling this story and she’s following the wind, and her body’s just like—it’s so beautiful to see someone so willing to be vulnerable and open to this magical force that the ocean is, and completely aware of it. It’s one of my favorite things. And when we go to the river, both of them are transformed and they get so into it. It’s inspiring to see how children can be so present. They’re not thinking about anything else. The only thing they’re thinking about is what’s in their hands or how the water feels on their feet, just the simple things that are right there happening then and now, and that’s been the most wonderful thing, and a beautiful reminder for me. Michael and I are always telling ourselves, be present, be focused, just enjoy now. As adults I think we’re trained to think about the future, and multitasking has overtaken everyone. [Children] are such a good example of being here now and just being alive and enjoying it.


How has the relationship with your husband changed since having kids?

Michael is very respectful of me and makes a conscious effort to instill this in our children, just as his father did for him. As a child, when he or his siblings would act up, his dad would say, do you know how hard it was for me to convince your mom to marry me? Don’t you guys mess it up for me!—She was always treated with such love and respect, and so, now, Michael does that for our children. It just feels incredible to have these two littles that he’s teaching to adore me. It’s definitely strengthened our bond and branched it out into new directions that have been really exciting and meaningful.

What have you learned about yourself since becoming a mother?

There are magical, unexplainable things that happen when you’re a mother caring for young children. There’s also this incredible feeling of victory and confidence that settles in after days, week, and years of navigating challenges with creativity and intuition.

Are there any societal pressures on motherhood that you feel more than others?

I think the big thing for mothers of my generation is trying to navigate the work/life balance. I graduated with my Master’s degree just a few weeks before my first baby arrived. It felt amazing to have made it through my schooling before she arrived. While living in New York, I found wonderful work opportunities. Now that we live here and have had a second child, I’m devoting all my energy to my home life. While it’s a choice I’m making and I’m so grateful that I can be home with my babies, I sometimes feel the pressure to be using my degree.

What are some of the biggest differences between your childhood and the one you’re creating for your children?

It’s been interesting recently returning to the where I grew up. We moved back from New York City two years ago. My mom still lives in my childhood home in Weimar. I see my children running, hopping, swimming and daydreaming where I once did. It’s lovely to see your child wade in a pond, the very pond that you spent hours and hours catching tadpoles in, throwing rocks in and seeing your reflection in. So in that sense there are a lot of similarities.

One of the biggest differences is the parenting dynamic that existed between my parents compared to me and Michael. With modern parenting, fathers are strong figures in the home and incredibly involved. I feel like that’s a relatively new thing. [Now] there seems to be this really intentional collaboration between the parents. Michael and I have a strong sense of how we feel about parenting. We work really hard to support each other and spend a lot of time reflecting on situations and communicating.

How has your relationship with your parents changed since becoming a mother?

I feel like I see my own parents in a new light since becoming a parent myself. I feel a lot of compassion, gratitude and understanding. I believe they did their best. Now that I’m going through it myself. [Even when] I make decisions to do things differently, I can still have an understanding of why they did it their way. As an adult I’m grateful for the work ethic my dad ingrained in us. He has always been an incredibly hard worker. I remember witnessing that as a child and as an adult—it's a quality of his that has remained constant. 

What inspires you?

I love creating art with my children. I’ve always tried to balance my life with some sort of artistic project. In college I always had at least one art class on my schedule and I had a second major in art. It’s the best way to balance my life. I have strong feelings about how art should be introduced to children. I believe it’s more about the process—presenting them with different materials and letting their natural creativity and curiosity guide them. It’s been wonderful presenting artistic explorations for my kids. I enjoy thinking of different materials or different ways to present the materials. Sometimes I’ll set up a project in a spot they wouldn’t expect to find it in, like outside under the camellia bush, and they’ll stumble upon it—I don’t know when, but they will—and to see them find it and feel totally confident, like, I’m going to do something with this! and start creating—it is so gratifying!

What is one part of motherhood that you struggle with?

I think one of the hardest things has been shifting from the intimate, insular life of mothering babies, with much of your time spent at home, to the unexpected situations that arise as your child spends more and more time away from home interacting with new people and new situations. To see the ones you love in the outside world, there for everyone else’s interpretation can be hard. This little child that you feel so protective of and you know so intimately—you know every little detail. You’ve invested so much love into them and then to have other people not understand them, or only get five minutes with them, whether it’s their best five minutes or their worst—that’s all they get. Then having that feeling of no no no, you don’t really know them, and also feeling bad for that person because they don’t get to know the magnitude of how amazing this child is!

What are your hopes for your children?

I want them to feel confident and I want them to feel loved. I want them to learn to trust in themselves. I want them to know that in our home they’re always going to have a place that they can find love and acceptance. When they leave home, I want them to feel confident that they can interact in the world, no matter where they are, with respect, empathy and curiosity.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Gosh. I don’t know...especially knowing Michael and I, and the way we adventure through the world. [Laughs] So, today we bought our house, which is a huge milestone for us. When Lucette is in 4th grade we would like to take our kids for a year sabbatical and travel around the world. Buying the house was the first step in that plan. We buy a house, save some money, our kids have their early years in this sweet little town, then we will travel and show them that there’s a whole world out there. That’s something that’s really important to us. After that we kind of have it open, we don't know how a year of travel is going to affect our family narrative. It could change where we want to live. Who knows. I don’t know where we’ll be in 10 years, but I think we’ll be somewhere fun and adventurous.

Thank you April!  ♥♥♥

To see the other interviews in this series, click here

Little Boy Flowers

Back in April I had to opportunity to visit Little Boy Flowers in Nevada City and photograph Angie and her team. Taking photographs on a flower farm fulfilled a long term dream of mine. AND it was peak ranunculus season! There is something magical about being in a place where everyone is working to create something beautiful. The place is incredible. 

Thank you Angie for letting me into your world. You can find them online at their beautiful website and on instagram (@littleboyflowers).

Modern Motherhood // An Interview with Suuzi

Suuzi is mom to Axel (3) and Guy (2 months).

What did you love most about being a kid?

Nature. Being outside and just rambling around alone…in the forest and on the farm…just thinking and being really free and experiencing my senses.

What did you think about your mom when you were little?

My mom was someone that I wanted more of. She did a lot of housework...(I’m trying to find a way to say this so that it doesn’t sound critical of her). Now that I’m a mom I understand what she was doing, but as a kid being very selfish—not selfish in a bad way, but selfish in the way that children are—I just couldn’t understand that…and I was pissed. I was like, what the heck. Just play with me already. 

Also, I didn’t really relate to my mom very well. We have some really major differences, and as adults we relate to each other really well, but when I was a child, lacking in any sort of social skills or compassion for others, I had a really hard time relating to her. Our relationship was kind of rocky when I was a kid.

How did your feelings about her change as you got older?

As I got older I developed some really excellent coping skills for managing my strong and passionate feelings and my very dynamic personality, and with that I also developed compassion and an ability to relate to other people who were different from me. That helped me appreciate my mom more, and then that went to a whole other level when I gave birth to my first child. I was overwhelmed with gratitude towards my mom that she did all the stuff for me that I was doing for my son—keeping this little person alive. And according to my mom, I was a very similar baby to my son, (who was a challenging baby). I just felt so much gratitude and my heart really really opened to my mom and I felt so much love and respect for her. That’s how things stand now, we’re extremely, extremely close. 

Tell me about your path to motherhood. Did you always know you wanted to have kids? How did you know you were ready?

When I was a little girl I was very into it, breastfeeding my stuffed animals and all that. Then as I got older I became very restless and dissatisfied with our world—plus, motherhood isn’t really encouraged for young women. In my experience the dialogue was more about fear of unwanted pregnancy, [getting] your career going—that kind of thing was more emphasized. To me, motherhood was [seen as] an afterthought. Anyways, I was dissatisfied with the world, had those thoughts, do I want to bring a child into this terrible world? That’s a reasonable thought to have. But then, at a certain point, after being in a long distance relationship for six years, then finally moving down here and getting married, I think it was about three years when we just stopped using protection. We still didn’t quite have the guts to say to each other, “okay, we’re ready to have a baby now,” but we knew what we were doing. And we got pregnant really fast—after being in a relationship and having sex a lot for nine years. That almost kind of surprised me, because it’s really impressive how well birth control can work.

What are some of your favorite things about being a mom?

My favorite things about being a mom are when—oh gosh, there’s so many—I guess when myself and my children are really harmonious together. Even right now would be a good example. I’m doing something that’s meaningful to me, and both of the boys are doing something that’s meaningful to them: Guy is napping and Axel is interacting with his grandpa. We’re all in harmony, and that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re interacting with each other. 

Another thing that I really love about being a mom is I really love teaching politeness—I’m obsessed with it. It’s a really big deal for me and I’m very happy that my son has responded really well—that’s not to say he’s perfect, but he really tries. I can see how that’s going to benefit him as he gets older, in the sense of his own personal confidence and in his ability to interact in a positive way with other people. Politeness and manners are a really, really big deal around here. I also love being outside with the kids and watching them when they’re playing, especially in a larger group, and just seeing how their energy flows and the bizarre, funky little things that they do, I just love watching that.  

What is one part of motherhood that you struggle with?

I’m an HSP, a Highly Sensitive Person. That’s probably another reason why politeness is so important to me—I don’t handle it very well when people are assholes, and kids can really be like that. That’s probably why I’m a lot more strict than some moms. I don’t tolerate bad behavior well.

Can I tell you a really crazy story? Yesterday I picked up my son from preschool at 2:30—that’s a tiring time of the day already, people really should be taking a little break around then—but I picked him up, and I had my infant son sleeping in the carseat. I normally never do another errand, I just go straight home, but I’d ordered a case of Kerrygold grass-fed butter at the Briar Patch and I am out of butter and I wanted that butter. So we drove to the grocery store and when we got there I got my son out of his carseat and I said, “okay Axel, we’re going into the grocery store and this is a time for you to sit quietly in the shopping cart and I don’t want you to ask for anything.” (Sometimes in the grocery store he’ll be begging and demanding and it’s intolerable.) I said, “we are going to get one thing for you, we’re going to get coconut water for you.” And he said, “mommy, what else can I have?” And I said, “Axel, I’m not getting you anything else, it’s just the coconut water”—“but mommy, I want a get a gluten free cookie!”—“No, Axel, just the coconut water”—“mommy, but what else can I have?” and I could just see him starting to spiral out of control, and I also recognized this is why I don’t take him on errands after preschool. So he pretty much started melting down into a tantrum in the parking lot—that was good, because then I could just put him back in the car and drive home. I am not going to be doing tantrums in public. I just can’t do that. 

So you didn’t get your butter?

No, but that’s not the bad part. That’s nothing. So we get in the car and he starts screaming. His voice is so loud…and the pitch, it just penetrates your skull. He’s screaming, “MOMMY, I WANT A COCONUT WATER!! I WANT A COCONUT WATER!! MOMMY, MOMMY!!” Thankfully my other son is really calm so he just keeps sleeping. I turn up the music really loud—Daft Punk. Mommy I want a coconut water, then he starts to settle down a little bit. Then he thinks of something else he likes: Larabars. Goes right back up to full volume, “MOMMY, I WANT A LARABAR! MOMMY I WANT A LARABAR!”  That goes on, cause it’s about an eight minute drive home. After a while that goes back down, then, Mommy, I don’t like the movie Frozen. So then he’s just screaming, “Mommy, I don’t like Frozen, Mommy, I don’t like Frozen,” by the time we get home I’m really trying to stay calm but I’m having a hard time. So I get him out of his carseat and when he gets home it’s time for his nap. Well, he’s just losing it. He’s kicking, he’s screaming, he’s starting to hit me. I’m trying to get him up to his bed for a nap, which he absolutely needs. This becomes a fifteen minute experience with an insane level of volume and physical force. Eventually I find myself in my underwear drawer getting out belts, because I’m trying to tie him up. And I bring out these two belts, leather belts—I’m not going to hit him with the belts, but I’m planning on tying him up. I tried to get him in the high chair to stop him, I tried to get him in his stroller outside, just to restrain him, cause he’s going that insane. If I had a door here with a lock I would have just locked him in there for a little while, cause both of us were so hot, and it was so crazy. I was trying to walk away from him but he would just keep coming at me, and I couldn’t escape from him and I just needed to—so anyways, I’ve got these two belts, and I’m holding him down on the ground…and then, thank God, I have an idea, a better idea. I say, “Axel, if you don’t quiet down and take your nap, I’m going to call the police and they’re going to put you in jail.” And he just settled right down and took his nap.

Good one. I’m exhaling for you. 

Thanks. Roseann, it was really terrible. It was really fucked up. The biggest struggle is where everyone has lost their patience and the good parenting techniques are no longer viable or workable. But then those moments pass and it’s okay. I think a really important thing for me is to let go of those moments quickly. What happened there wasn’t an incidence of bad behavior really, it was just an incidence of exhaustion, and an incidence of me using poor judgement. I shouldn’t have taken him to the store. At the same time, I’m not going to blame myself for that because I’m just a woman who has some chores to do. You know, I just tried to go to the grocery store, so sue me!

What have you learned about yourself since becoming a mother?

I have become a much stronger person. I have really learned how to say no. I’ve learned how to harmonize people’s needs. That doesn’t mean I’m putting my kids first, it actually means I’m putting my marriage first…and also meeting their needs. I’ve learned how to be a stronger person. I’ve learned to be more dominating and self-confident. There are some qualities that I really needed to work on. You know when moms say, “my kid is my greatest teacher,” and I used to think, that’s really annoying. I’m actually realizing it’s true. Not because I’m like, oh, look at you beautiful little spirit, playing in the grass, no, you taught me how to take your toy away, tell you no, and send you to your room. It has really helped me become more confident and also trust my inner voice more, because I call on that voice a lot in situations like what I described from yesterday. That’s where I got the idea to tell my son he was going to go to jail. [Laughing]

What has surprised you about motherhood? 

I thought that becoming parents was going to bring my husband and I closer together, and it really drove us apart. That really surprised me. We’re recovering from that really well now, but the time between my sons births, about three and a half years, were some dark days for our relationship. I had this romantic idea that we were both going to love our child together, and it would bring us closer together—and that was stupid. I wish that was more of a social dialogue—but maybe it is and I just didn’t pick up on it. I didn’t think it would be easy, I actually expected parenting to be more stressful than it turned out to be. Essentially we both kind of polarized into these different roles, and he wasn’t as involved as I thought he would be, and I started shutting my heart to him. Then he was really pissed off because I wasn’t sexually receptive towards him—which I think is relatively normal with giving birth and breastfeeding—but I think it could have come back a lot faster if we hadn’t been on different pages emotionally. 

Are there any societal pressures on motherhood that you feel more than others?

Well, I feel those pressures but I really try not to give into them. I do notice that I have a strong desire not to be embarrassed by my child. Even though I know that if my son did have that full on tantrum at the grocery store, other moms would have just smiled knowingly at me, and maybe someone would have patted me on the back or something and people would have been nice. I still don’t want to have to be that person. Maybe my own personal need for approval now extends to my children’s behavior in public. In general, I actually feel okay about that, because I think that people’s need for approval from each other is just part of being the highly social organisms that we are. We need to show respect for each other and take care of each other. In general I think that pressure is actually positive. 

What are some of the biggest differences between your childhood and the one you’re creating for your children?

In our household there’s a lot more emotional authenticity. That isn’t something I blame my parents for at all, it’s just the way the world was. It was the eighties, they’d been raised in the fifties and sixties, it was pretty normal that there was a whole emotional life going on under the surface that was very different from what was happening in public. I’m not saying that I’m inviting my children to be privy to my private, personal life, but what I am saying is that my private, personal life and my public persona are pretty much the same thing. I’m not going to tell everyone the details of my sex life, but also, I wouldn’t be embarrassed to if it came up or it was relevant or if it was helpful information for someone else to have. With my kids—and I’m sure this is part of a larger social zeitgeist—there’s not that same sense that there’s this secret underlying something, and this is who we are in the world. There’s more harmony between those two worlds. 

How has your relationship with your parents changed since becoming a mother?

It has become a lot closer. From their point of view, they respect me more and see me more as an adult. From my point of view, I respect them more and feel more gratitude and appreciation towards them for what they did for me. There’s just a lot more respect and appreciation. We’ve come onto a level playing field where we’re all adults. Whereas before I had children, I was definitely still the kid. I couldn’t understand. They were also frustrated with—I was a lot more immature. Not to say that my behavior was significantly different, but emotionally I had never been responsible for someone else’s care and I think that really matures a person pretty darn fast. My relationship with my parents is so much better now. 

Can you talk a little about your husband, maybe sing some of his praises?

I fell in love with my husband when he was on stage playing guitar in a band that I was a fan of. So that was pretty fucking awesome. It was like a high school sex fantasy that ended up culminating in a marriage. So sweet. So, so great. My husband is very dynamic and hardworking. I have never—I guess I’ve met a couple other people that work at his level, but not a lot—he’s extremely focused and whatever he wants to do he will make it happen no matter how challenging or frustrating or seemingly impossible. It’s pretty impressive and it’s very entertaining to be around. I just get to see him doing all these difficult, bizarre, fascinating things all the time, it’s very exciting. He was a professional musician from when he was 18 until he was about 28, and very successful. He traveled around the world many times, and made good money. [He] worked with a lot of big names in that industry and had a really good reputation. Then that band broke up and he transitioned into the automotive industry, which was also a passion of his. European and performance cars and driving. So now he works for Volkswagen of America in the marketing side of things and he also is a race driving instructor and a driver, on the more recreational side. He also restores vintage rare european cars as a fun hobby. He still plays music, but his focus is more in the car world now.

What’s your favorite part about your husband’s relationship with his boys?

All the guy stuff he can teach them to do. It’s so fantastic having sons and then having a dad who can do all the “guy stuff”: fixing a car, wiring electrical, doing plumbing, putting up a fence, woodworking. My husband can do everything and he’s very good at it and it’s just so wonderful seeing my son learning those skills, which I don’t see being carried forward as much as I would like in the younger generations. It’s just wonderful to see them doing that and growing together and also knowing that those skills are going to be something that my son will have to bring to the table. 

How does technology impact motherhood?

It’s wonderful because you can connect with other moms and friends through social media and it can really help you feel less isolated and bored at home. But it can also suck because then instead of being present with your kids you’re thinking about each moment as, can I instagram this?  And that is lame. I actually am really toying with the thought of no longer featuring my children in my social media at all, just because I thought to myself, let them wait until they have their own Facebook and instagram and they can do it themselves. I don’t know if people need to hear about that from me and I also don’t know if that’s fair to their personal privacy. It’s been about a week since I’ve put up a picture of a kid, and I’m really considering not doing it anymore. I think what was hard for me is that I love putting them online because I get a lot of positive social feedback, because they’re very cute.

What are your hopes for your children?

I hope that they will be functioning members of society who have personal happiness and fulfillment. That could mean a lot of different things. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I think I’ve thought forward to the next five years but not ten. Axel will be a teenager, almost…Guy will be a young kid…it’s going to be really fun. I’m going to have a lot more personal freedom. I expect to have a lot more freedom financially at that time also, I think the house will be paid off and my business will be in a whole other stage, and I hope to have a lot more freedom of movement. Maybe take a few trips, but also probably still be here a lot, I love doing this farm and I plan to keep doing that. As far as my own personal body, I just want to keep living and exercising. 

Thank you Suuzi!! ♥ 

To see more from this series, click here.

A Birthday on Tomales Bay

Last weekend we joined Marina at the Inn on Tomales Bay in Marshall for her birthday, celebrating with too many oysters Rockefeller and games of Scrabble (is there such a thing?), cappuccino It's-its, daffodils, leisurely breakfasts and dinners, long walks, and new friends. That woman sure knows how to live. I took some impromptu birthday portraits on Sunday and I'm so glad I did. Happy birthday darling, I love you!

Modern Motherhood // Interview with Sarah from Electric Sun Creatives

Sarah and I met a few years ago when I first started nannying. I was taking over her position with a family in Berkeley and I went on a "ride-along" with her and the two little girls I would be watching. She is a seriously talented metal artist and creative and is currently making and selling beautiful brass and wood wall hangings. Harper is 2 years old. 

What did you love most about being a kid?

The first thing I think of is being barefoot in our backyard, the sun shining, and getting dirty…that carefree aspect that my parents really fostered. My parents put a lot of time and effort into making our backyard a kid’s dream, with a sandpit, trampoline, garden and a huge lawn. When the lawn needed mowing, my Dad would make crazy zigzag patterns so that we could play a lava-like tag game where you can’t touch the un-mowed areas. That game was everything for us kids. My parents were highly invested in our neighborhood, [which was] packed with young families and kiddos my age. It was like “everybody go over to the Goddard’s house!” I think of all that…being barefoot and surrounded by community.

What did you think about your mom when you were little? How have your feelings changed as you’ve gotten older?

I thought she was a killer business woman [laughs] and she still is. She has a very driven personality, which I really respect. She gets stuff done. But she's nurturing and loving too, of course. She always had the priority to be home with us after school and arranged for her job to work around what us kids were doing. She’d take us to school and pick us up; she was always present, even with a full-time job. I really value that to this day. It’s interesting growing up and then having a child of my own…I have so much more respect for my parents and especially for my mom, like, holy smokes, you did all of that for me, and you CONTINUE to do all of that for me.

Tell me about your path to motherhood. Did you always know you wanted to have kids?

When we were engaged and even dating we talked about having kids and it was always a five-year plan. And so we got married and it was still a five-year plan, and then it became the six-year plan, and then the seven-year plan…but then she was a surprise! So it became a 2-and-a-half, almost three-year plan [laughs]. We can’t imagine life without her! She’s the greatest gift.

Becoming a mom wasn’t much of a thought or priority in my life, so the surprise was really a surprise. It was the greatest surprise of our lives! 

What are some of your favorite things about being a mom?

Oh man, getting to witness the blossoming of this little human; seeing her play…her creativity and her excitement for life is the best. I love having a front row seat to her world that’s growing by the day. 

I have a lot of friends who love babies. They see a baby in a room and they don’t even know the person whose baby it is and they’re like give me the baby. I was never like that. It’s this age that I love and that I find myself thriving in. It’s the interaction and communication that’s just so exciting. This age and season of motherhood is my favorite (so far). 

What is one part of motherhood you struggle with?

The hardest thing is the work/life balance. I’m a stay-at-home Mama, but I'm also running a business from my at-home studio. Time management and expectations of naptime work sessions have been my biggest struggle. Previously, I would expect to work when Harper was napping, but we all know how unpredictable that can be. I would find myself so bummed when she would wake up earlier than I hoped. I’m trying to learn from this by shifting my perspective and expectations, and by compartmentalizing my time. There are “Mama/Harper Days” and there are “Studio Days.” On days with her, that is our time. If she naps an hour, that’s ok, if she happens to nap two hours, that’s ok too, I wasn’t expecting to be in the studio anyway. 

What have you learned about yourself since becoming a mother?

How much I need community. The first 16 months were so trying for me. With sleep deprivation (it’s real, people), figuring out the wonderful-crazy nursing relationship and caring for a beautiful little human that poops endlessly; it was really hard. Enter the people in my life that made me feel a little less crazy. They would tell me that I was a doing a great job, make us delicious food, they would hold Harper so I could focus on other things and they gave me the soundest advice. Community is huge. And I’m so grateful for mine, especially during that time.

Who do you turn to for advice?

My pals Vanessa and Britany are two incredibly wise woman that I can turn to for anything parenting related and beyond. They’re not just wise, they’re vulnerable and open. They relate and make me feel a little less alone in this wild journey of life and motherhood. 

What has surprised you about motherhood?

I was surprised by how much I would love it, almost 2 1/2 years in. I didn’t quite think about how great it would be, because she was a surprise. I almost didn’t have time to think what is this really going to look like? A year out, two years out, and beyond? We just went. And, gosh, I’m so grateful for our daughter. It is such a gift being her Mama.

Also, Patrick and I have always valued community, recognizing that if you don’t have community, oh my gosh, what are you doing? We were surprised by how much a catalyst for community [Harper] has been because you can instantly connect with other parents—and people just love kids, and they love Harper, they adore Harper. When I’m in the grocery store and she’s sitting in the cart, people can’t help but stop and talk to her and talk to me. I get to connect with people that I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.

Are there any societal pressures on motherhood that you feel more than others?

The pressure to have it all together and the pressure to have a pristine home. But, I am definitely learning to let that go. I have some pretty rad women around me, with older kiddos, that have gone before me and have encouraged me that none of that matters. All that matters is you’re doing your best and your child is healthy. I think it’s easy to get sucked up into anything that society expects you to do, but if you have a community that reminds you to put the first things first, that perspective changes everything.

How does technology impact motherhood? In which ways does it connect us and in which ways does it isolate us?

Oh man, technology is cray. I love it for the opportunities it has brought my way— to connect with working artists all over the world and even seeing how other mothers do things. But, I definitely struggle with it taking my time and presence from being with Harper. I’m currently working on that balance. 

What are some of the biggest differences between your childhood and the one you’re creating for your daughter?

I had a really really great childhood. My parents were awesome—they very much cared about our need to be kids—letting us romp around in our backyard, exploring and using our imaginations. I feel like we’re doing that. A difference is living in these artist lofts with a bunch of interesting, creative people as our neighbors. What’s really exciting about raising her here is that she gets to meet so many different people. And having a home in an urban core, in downtown Sacramento, she’s encountering all kinds of different cultures and people with different professions. It’s so varied.

How has your relationship with your mom changed since becoming a mother?

When you’re a kid, you look at your mom and she’s just your mom, but now I can say that as a fellow Mama, we’re in the same club. I realize that she also cried at 2 a.m. with a babe in her arms, she experienced the joys and pains of toddlerhood, and she knows the intense, all-consuming love for a child. We can relate on so much more. 

Can you tell me a little bit about your husband? How has your relationship with Patrick changed since having Harper?

I love that guy. He is an incredible father, incredible father. He reminds me of what my dad was like with me. My dad thought that the sun rose and set on me. I definitely see that is how he views Harper, which is so so so so good for my heart. He’s very intentional with Harper and I’m just so grateful that Harper gets the experience of having a dad who thinks she’s the raddest kid. How has our relationship changed? It’s gotten better for sure. We talked about that a lot when I was pregnant, about what the dynamic would be like. Kiddos can put a lot of strain on a relationship because it’s a whole new thing and you’re having to figure it out. We definitely had that in our minds that [the relationship between us] is number one because she benefits from that. It’s not like we’re putting her on the back burner, but we have to make sure we’re good and simultaneously love her like crazy.

What are your hopes for Harper?

I hope that she is secure in her identity—that she is of great value, is loved, and that it’s not contingent on anything she does. She just is.

Patrick and I believe that everyone is created to be creative, and that it’s not just a title that a fine artist can hold, but that we all have it inside of us. It’s how we’re wired—the ability to bring things to life from our imaginations. It’s a lifestyle choice, really. We hope that she taps into that and is present in that. We hope that in tapping into her God-given creativity, she can contribute amazing, life-giving things to the world. And I hope that she is kind and continues to care about other people deeply.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? You’ll have a twelve-year old.

Errrgh! That’s crazy! But so exciting and so fun to think about. We’re only planning on having one kiddo, so I would be grateful to be living our life as a family of three and investing in her. I hope that we will continue to be creative together as a family, me with my business, Patrick with his bike building and investing in whatever Harper finds to do with her heart and hands. Is it real that someday we will have a twelve-year-old? That’s bonkers.

Thank you Sarah and Harper (and Patrick)! You can shop Sarah's incredible wall hangings on Etsy and follow along with her new creations on instagram

To see the first segment in this series, click here