Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Chicken Pox Debate

This is NOT a post to debate the relative merits and risks of vaccines.

This is NOT a post to judge others based on their beliefs about the relative merits and risks of vaccines.

This is simply a post about my experiences over the past few days. After extensive research and discussions with Ilya's doctor, Adam and I decided not to give Ilya the Chicken Pox vaccine. I'm not here to justify that decision. It is a personal decision. Its the decision we made.

A girl in our community came down with a case of chicken pox and we figured this would be a great time to expose Ilya. Being responsible parents we informed the community that we were exposing Ilya and that we would keep her separate from the other kids until the risk of contagion had passed.

This started a slew of emails from concerned parents who informed me they did NOT want their children exposed (well, duh. I was planning on having Ilya stick her fingers in their mouths, but now that you have expressed this desire, I guess I wont). That's fine. Whatever. Parents are worried about their children. I get that.

What I don't get is what happened next.

Chicken Pox will take AT LEAST 7 days after exposure to become contagious, but I was informed in no uncertain terms that Ilya was NOT invited into common spaces starting immediately. I was sent links about how irresponsible it was for parents to expose their children to chicken pox. I was refused entry into my friend's homes because "I might be a carrier" (not possible, by the way). This is a culture of fear. This is what happens when people allow fear and conjecture to run their lives rather than research and reason. This is a SCARY place to be.

If communities are little peep holes into the world, I worry about the human race.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Perk #239 of living in co-housing: Group Projects

I love the idea of doing elaborate holiday projects with my child, but when it comes time to actually DO the project, I begin to feel completely overwhelmed. There is so much planning and preping and cleaning involved its enough to drive anyone to put on a holiday movie and call it a day.

This is why I love my co-housing friends. We decided that we were going to make ornaments together. So, early one morning we gathered in the common house (4 mothers and 7 kids) and together tackled the messy fun project of making dough ornaments. It was great. While I gathered the materials, my friends herded the kids. Then we all moved from child to child helping them roll the dough and punch out the designs. When the kids were done and wanted to play, I was able to take them outside while my friends cleaned up.

I think they turned out really nice.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Which ones are for me?

Ilya is not the only one interested in Solstice.

Here is Milo looking innocent. Don't let him fool you.

"Hmmm. I wonder what's in there?"

"I don't care if it's not for me. I'm opening it!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Solstice Eve

We had a tradition growing up in my house that every Christmas eve we'd get to open one present. I remember being so excited watching the pile of gifts grow throughout the month of December, carefully shaking and prodding each gift to figure out which one would the "the one."

Now we celebrate Solstice so it made sense that Ilya would get to open one gift on Solstice eve. Being a child that lives firmly in the moment, I don't even think she remembered that there were presents under the tree for her. She immediately became fixated on the gift that she had just received in the mail. When we told her she could open one present, she grabbed it and started digging in.

The gift was from my father and all it took was one glimpse of that soft purple fabric to win her over.

Happy Solstice Eve!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Tuesday, December 13, 2011


There is nothing scarier to me than self-portraits. I'm completely at ease behind the camera focusing on others, but when that camera is turned around, a fear and discomfort rise up inside of me unlike anything I have ever experienced. In an effort to constantly better myself both as a person and as a photographer, I decided to dip my toes into the waters of self portraiture today. I took these in my bathroom, using my 50mm lens at 1.8

DPP Challenge

There is something completely terrifying about taking my own picture. I can't describe it, but I feel it deep inside of me. Today, I took the first step towards fighting this problem. Here is my very first self-portrait. Don't judge. Baby steps.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Living in a co-housing community has many benefits from shared resources ("hey, can I get a ride to the airport?") to connection with all 60 of your neighbors. One of my favorite parts about it, though, is co-parenting.

My friend, Rachel, and her family live two doors over from me and every week we swap childcare so that twice a month we get a date! While this in itself is not that unusual - lots of people do date night swaps - there is a way of relating to the kids in a co-housing community that is deeper and more meaningful than the way you relate with even your close friend's kids.

For example, tonight was Rachel and Jonathan's turn to have a date night so Adam and I took care of their children, Ethan and Eliana. We decided to go to a chorus concert and invited our other friends in the community, Mhari her husband Craig and their two children, to join us. So, between us there were four adults (Adam, myself, Mhari, and Craig) and five children (Ilya, Ethan, Ethan, Eliana, and Leila). While we watched the concert, Adam ended up holding Leila most of the time while Ethan and Eliana cuddled up next to me. Mhari and Craig took turns sitting next to the other Ethan and Ilya...but it was a very fluid thing. Kids moving from one parent to another as the four of us worked to keep them quiet and entertained. It was co-parenting at its best.

Here is the love of my life, looking a bit tired, but handsome as ever.

This is Rachel's son, Ethan.

This is Rachel's daughter, Eliana. She really is one of the cutest kids I've ever seen. Look at those curls!
Ilya and Ethan really love each other, and they play together so nicely.

Ilya: I'm a princess
Ethan: I want to be a princess
Ilya: You can't. Only girls can be princesses!
Ethan: But, I want to be a princess, too.
Ilya: OK, fine. You can be a boy princess. The green princess

I love the way preschoolers talk and work things out!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Photography Challenge day 5

Sunset on the beach in Seattle.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Photography Challenge day 4

This is Eliana, possibly one of the cutest little girls ever. I love her curls and enormous smile, and you should hear her talk. It is so cute, it will make you melt.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Photography Challenge day 3

This is one of my favorite people in the world and her family. They asked me to take their photo for holiday cards and in 500 shots this was the only one where they were all smiling at the same time. Phew. Who knew this photography thing would be so difficult?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Photography Challenge

December Photo Project

A blog that I enjoy reading has challenged its readers to post a new picture everyday in December and, in an effort to take even more pictures, I've accepted. In all fairness, I didn't read about the challenge until today (the 2nd) so I will have no picture on the 1st, but here is today's photo. This is my little girl swinging on her swing in 30 degree weather with no coat and a Hawaiian lei. Just because.