25/52: Dancing


Ohhhh my Ruby girl,

We went out to see your cousins, Auntie Laura, and Uncle Marshall in Fresno back in May. Hazey was playing "Frozen" songs and even put the movie on one night. You have been OBSESSED (no exaggeration) ever since. Your favorite song, by far, is "Love is An Open Door," or, as you like to refer to it, "Door." You've begun to get the song stuck in your head and sometimes I'll peek over at you, reading or doing a puzzle, and you'll just start singing to yourself, "doooooo-or-or." I'll sing it to you while you're having breakfast and you fill in the blanks to all the words. Just too cute. 

Whenever I put the song actually ON you just lose it - twirling, clapping, stomping your feet; adding any number of self-choreographed moved each new time. Here you are, yesterday, in the backyard. Jammin' out as only my sweet, spunky Ruby tudes can. (Don't worry, lovebug, your arm wasn't disappearing - I just wanted you to see how smooth your moves were by slowing down the shutter speed).

I love you baby,

Mom

Featured on Life + Lens Blog | "Father's Day Inspiration."

The Warrior's took home the NBA Championship last night. I was woken up by a kiss from my amazing (and amazingly happy) husband. The girls were in great moods all morning and went down easily for nap. I flipped a perfect omelet and actually had my tea while still hot. How could this day get any sweeter, you might ask? How about getting FEATURED on Life + Lens Blog's "Father's Day Inspiration" post!

Two features in two weeks!? (okay, one day over two weeks but "two features in 15 days!" just didn't sound right). What an honor!

On Memorial Day, Joe, Ruby, Vera, and I walked up to the UC Berkeley campus, as it is a quick twenty minute walk down the street. On the way we stopped to grab sandwiches and when we got to the campus, laid out a blanket to have a low-key picnic on the grass. The girls had other plans! The moment they got out of their stroller, they were on the GO. Daddy, to the rescue, found a nook (California Hall) to read the girls a book in. But, that was short lived. I think the stairs were far too tempting. Then, as per usual, Ruby wasn't too happy about being put back in the stroller, so daddy caved and let her play some more. What a softie.

I'd have to say what made this day especially memorable was, as we were strolling through campus preparing to exit, we heard "The Star Spangled Banner" resounding from the bells of the Sather Tower. It was a lovely reminder of why we were able to spend the lovely day with one another.

Some more photos from Memorial Day:


23/52: Rule Of Thirds


Vee Vee,

Whenever anyone asks me something like, "What makes your girls' distinct? How are their personalities different from one another?" I always, first of all, think to myself "What kind of question is that?! I mean seriously, how the heck am I supposed to answer that while standing in line at the grocery store (or wherever we may be)?!" Then I take a deep breath, in an effort to gather my abbreviated version of just what makes you and your sis unique little humans. Then I usually look at you and say, "Well, Vera here *while stroking your hair* she is our bashful one; she has to get to know you before she opens up. But, once she does, she's the biggest goof ever!"

Now, that may be true when it comes to you and about 95% of the people you meet. But, NOT with your Uncle Nick. I swear, Vee, you not only have been smitten with your Uncle from the first moment you met, but, he brings out a side to you that your daddy and I have never seen before. One time you sung and spun around in circles (aka dancing) for an entire song (and, believe me I KNOW you would have stopped would it have not been for your Uncle Nicky watching). Very impressive. 

Yesterday your Uncle came over to watch the (amazing!!!) Warrior's game. We played in the backyard for a little while before the game started and as usual, Vee, you were showing off your skills -- this time of sitting at your picnic table like a *big kid* --  for precious Uncle Nick.

I love you you cutie pie,

Mom

For My Daughters: Twinheritance

Hi boo boos,

We had some friends over last night to watch the Warriors game. You two have really made progress in your reaction to daddy -- well, pretty much everyone in this case -- hootin' and hollerin' at the top of their lungs when something exciting happens in a game. In fact, you even joined in; flailing your arms up in the air and shouting "yeah! yeah!" when you noticed the commotion. Vera, you have always been especially sensitive to abrupt noises. I'll never forget, when you were just a few months old daddy had a little cough and you would WAIL each time he cleared his throat. It made for some long nights, but was certainly adorable. So NOW, your growing ability to pause and determine the type of reaction you have to those loud noises, it just makes me so proud of you.

 
 Here you are, Vavvy, strutting your stuff at Hazel's school carnival last month

Here you are, Vavvy, strutting your stuff at Hazel's school carnival last month

 
 Daddy asked you to pick out your own outfit on Saturday, Ru. You got SOOO excited and, when you did your fashion show for me, holding your plush doggie "Door" tight in your arms, you giggled with delight! Then daddy and I did too!

Daddy asked you to pick out your own outfit on Saturday, Ru. You got SOOO excited and, when you did your fashion show for me, holding your plush doggie "Door" tight in your arms, you giggled with delight! Then daddy and I did too!

Girls, I've had something on my mind lately that I want to share with you. Two days ago, on June 6th, you turned 21-months-old. I think for any other mom in the world they might say, "Today you girls are 21 month old! Only 3 more months until your 2nd birthday!" Something of that nature. But, for me, you girls turning 21-months old immediately made me think of one thing. My mom. Your Grandma Melody. 

I'm very sure, by the time you read this, you will have been told approximately 1,000,000,000 times that it is "sooooooo amazing" that you are twins that have a mommy that is a twin and uncles that are twins. Well, at the risk of sounding redundant, I will tell you that it truly is amazing, love bugs. In fact, back when mommy was just a few months old, your uncles, auntie, and I were photographed by the local newspaper in Fresno and your grandma and grandfather were interviewed for a little article about just how unusual it is to have two sets of twins! Kind of cool, huh?

 This article says "19 months," but I think your grandma may have been too tired to do the math. Oh well!

This article says "19 months," but I think your grandma may have been too tired to do the math. Oh well!

Aside from the sheer amazing-ness of you girls being twins, I often times ponder (and probably even more often am asked by strangers to ponder), "How in the world was your grandma able to manage so many children at once and (on days when your Great grandpa couldn't help) on her own?!" As, shortly after this, your grandfather was no longer in the picture. Then, sadly, my next thought is "I'm not sure she did manage."

Eight days old. Eight. Days. That is how old your siblings would be today if mommy (and daddy) had a second set of twins at exactly the same interval as your grandma Melody did. I've been thinking a lot about how it would be to incorporate two newborns into our family. Even with the wonderful support system our family has, it would be a struggle. A struggle financially? Sure. A struggle physically? YOU BET! A mental struggle? Let's just say, I am sure I would probably be too stressed for my own good. Period.

 You were so fascinated by your cousins' slinky, Vee. You knew you were being silly and just kept on doing it. I love that about you!

You were so fascinated by your cousins' slinky, Vee. You knew you were being silly and just kept on doing it. I love that about you!

 Ru, you want to be a big girl so bad! I think these girls were jealous of your sweet shoes ;)

Ru, you want to be a big girl so bad! I think these girls were jealous of your sweet shoes ;)

I think I may be subconsciously skirting the main reason I want to share this with you. So, I want to be frank. When I said that I am not sure your grandma was able to manage all four of us at once, what I am saying is that she allowed that stress to get the better of her.

Your grandma Melody had Bipolar Disorder.

Simply put, when she was up, she was up -- extremely energetic, creative, impulsive. It was during these "up" episodes that she would go on her vision quests, of sorts; once vanishing for a couple weeks, returning home to tell us she had been seeking out her biological family, spouting off tales of her adventures; never alluding to her real goal of trying to find understanding and acceptance of her own childhood struggles.

And, when she was down, she was down -- erratically violent and abusive, recklessly self-medicating, and deeply depressed. It was during this time that I would find myself pacing outside her room, told "LEAVE ME ALONE!" in my 8-year-old effort to comfort her as she loudly wept behind her locked bedroom door. My heart still breaks for her in recalling those low moments.

Because she is no longer living, the only way to recollect those very dynamic moods is through the hindsight of memory. Unfortunately, however, in an effort to protect both you girls as well as myself from the pain of my past, it's difficult for me to ruminate on your grandma's mental condition. So, for these thoughts to cross my mind, upon you girls reaching 21-month-old, I wanted to be open and honest about them with you.

I guess the big thing I want you to know is that you don't ever have to be ashamed of your feelings. Right now in your life you are both unabashedly honest about how you are feeling and what is on your mind. It is an admirable quality to be freely expressive of your emotions. Even if it is not the most positive of emotions sometimes.

One of your very favorite books is "Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You" by Nancy Tillman. Whenever we get to the page that reads, "So hold your head high and don't be afraid to march to the front of your own parade..." I repeat it emphatically, as the thought that you would choose to be anything other than YOU in an effort please others would be depriving the world of the unique marvel of Ruby Joan and the unparallelled wonder of Vera Kathleen. So, I'll reiterate it again:

 

 

Hold your head high

and don't be afraid

to march to the front

of your own parade.

If you're still my small babe

or you're all the way grown,

my promise to you

is you're never alone.

Promise promise.

 Being chased by daddy on the UC Berkeley campus. You are so beautiful Ruby!

Being chased by daddy on the UC Berkeley campus. You are so beautiful Ruby!

 I love this expression, Vee. You were NOT happy when we first arrived at Hazel's carnival (you CANNOT deal with no nap), so we left and decided to try going again after you girls had eaten and calmed down a bit. I'm so glad we did. You were roaming all over that elementary school lawn like you owned the place. Love that sass!

I love this expression, Vee. You were NOT happy when we first arrived at Hazel's carnival (you CANNOT deal with no nap), so we left and decided to try going again after you girls had eaten and calmed down a bit. I'm so glad we did. You were roaming all over that elementary school lawn like you owned the place. Love that sass!

 At Illum's 2nd birthday party, you girls wore your new swimsuits that your cousin gave to you. Ru, you were most excited to swim...

At Illum's 2nd birthday party, you girls wore your new swimsuits that your cousin gave to you. Ru, you were most excited to swim...

 and Vee, I think you were most excited to show off your new suit :)

and Vee, I think you were most excited to show off your new suit :)

I love you so much boo boos,

Mom

 

 

 

21/52: Clouds or Sky


Little tongue in cheek this week.

This is Skyler, otherwise known as "Sky." Sky has been a friend of my girls since they were all under four months old; *meeting* each other when I attended a local “new mom" group in January of 2014. Now, my girls almost 21 months and Sky just over 18 months, I have the privilege of witnessing not only the blossoming of their friendship but also that of each individual child's personality.


This past week we met up for a play date with a few of these moms group buddies (for what felt like the first time in waaaay too long) at a local park. It was almost surreal to see how so many of the teensy weensy babies I met nearly a year and a half ago are full on toddlers!

For My Daughters: Mommy's Special Day

Hi lovebugs,

Some say that when you pass away, scenes from your life flash before your eyes. If this is true, I like to imagine this as presenting in animated vignettes; spliced together from all of the significant, powerful, or inspirational moments of my life. It also might involve Joe Cocker's version of "With A Little Help From My Friends."

Yesterday was one of those days for me.

It was Mother's Day, and you two made it an unforgettable day, indeed. Now, I know *officially* it was my second Mother's Day, but I consider it my third, as when I had you two growing inside me, our strengthening bond was growing as well. I must say, though, with you two now being increasingly able to interact with the world around you, days like yesterday come to feel much more unpredictable; spontaneous; sublime. 

For eight of the nine or so months I was pregnant with you girls, we lived in Daly City, just south of where mommy was going to grad school, and north of where daddy was working. During the latter part of that time I would get wiped out pretty easily. On the weekends, feeling exhausted from the demands school, teaching and pregnancy had taken on my body during the week, I'd beg your daddy to take me to the beach. To me, there is nothing more centering than the ocean; its humbling expansiveness; its fresh, restorative breeze; its unhurried, lapping tempo helping to re-sync amidst the fast-paced rhythm of daily life.

As you can tell, I really liked to go to this beach.

 Vee, you showed me where that sound of crashing waves was coming from ;)

Vee, you showed me where that sound of crashing waves was coming from ;)

 Ru, tactile one you are, immediately dug your hands into the freezing, wet sand. I was sure you'd begin to cry.

Ru, tactile one you are, immediately dug your hands into the freezing, wet sand. I was sure you'd begin to cry.

 But I was mistaken.

But I was mistaken.

It became a regular routine. On Sundays, daddy and I would drive down to Pacifica, only about 10 minutes from where we lived, have crepes (and I'd have about a gallon of fresh orange juice) at The High Tide, and afterward, stroll down to the beach. It became a really nice ritual.

When we moved out here to Berkeley in August of 2013 and, shortly thereafter, when welcomed you beautiful girls into the world, that ritual quickly became a thing of the past; and, truthfully, the last thing we considered trying to fit into our new-twin-parent schedule.

That is, until yesterday. As a special Mother's Day excursion, your daddy and I brought you two to our special spot. We had breakfast at the High Tide and you two could not get enough of the beach (really though, Ru I think you brought back as much as you possible could with you!).

 There was a really nice woman sitting behind you, Ru, gushing over you two. I decided ask her take our photo. Vee, you were too busy with you banana pancakes to look up; I think that amused you, Ru :)

There was a really nice woman sitting behind you, Ru, gushing over you two. I decided ask her take our photo. Vee, you were too busy with you banana pancakes to look up; I think that amused you, Ru :)

 Vee, you've been SUPER into drinking your water out of a straw lately. You have a new technique where you bite down on the straw then purse your lips in and out while drinking.

Vee, you've been SUPER into drinking your water out of a straw lately. You have a new technique where you bite down on the straw then purse your lips in and out while drinking.

 In action.

In action.

 "Hey! What are you lookin' at me for?!"

"Hey! What are you lookin' at me for?!"

 Ru, you were content singing songs with your precious daddy!

Ru, you were content singing songs with your precious daddy!

 My sweet Ruby ♥

My sweet Ruby ♥

It was, by far, the best, most exhilarating time I had ever had at that beach. I look forward to many more.

Thank you for such a special day baby girls (and daddy).

I love you,

Mom




For My Daughters: Tuesday Tomfoolery

Hey boo boos,

You two have grown increasingly more sweet with one another over the past few months (thank. GOODNESS!). Now, unlike a few months ago, when daddy or I ask either of you to "give a [insert toy/snack/pacifier/musical instrument/book here] to your sissy" you actually DO! I'm afraid with your *terrible twos* rapidly approaching, that magnanimous attitude may change a bit, so I'm going to relish in it for now.

On Tuesday, you were being particularly silly and sweet. Quite a lovely combination of traits for me to witness. I decided it would be the day I would open up your Minnie Mouse instrument set you got as a gift for your first birthday. It said it was for ages 3+ so, being the worrywart you know I can be at times, I held off for a long time to open it up for you girls. Only thing is, it had a transparent case. You poor things had to stare at the maracas, whistle, castanets, A RECORDER; all without the ability to actually PLAY with them. So, when I finally pried open that case, you two were hysterically giddy...

 You were very inventive, Ru, utilizing the recorder as a drumstick. Much better grip. Vee, you weren't so taken with the innovation.

You were very inventive, Ru, utilizing the recorder as a drumstick. Much better grip. Vee, you weren't so taken with the innovation.

for about five minutes.

During those minutes, though, we sung and played "If You're Happy and You Know It..." because that's how mommy gets you girls to do silly commands like, "touch your nose, dance around," or, of course my favorite, "give sissy kisses!"

 Moments before a sissy smooch!

Moments before a sissy smooch!

You were battling a bit, Ru, with the whistle. I showed you how to play it several times. But, you just couldn't quite get it. After you got frustrated and threw it on the couch, sis took her opportunity to snatch it. Didn't look like you minded.

 There's a grin on that cutie face. Nice snatch, Vee!

There's a grin on that cutie face. Nice snatch, Vee!

 
 "I don't need no stickin' whistle!"

"I don't need no stickin' whistle!"

 

After a while I thought I'd try "If you're happy and you know it, pretend you're sleepy" 'cause you've been so silly with fake snoring lately; especially you, Vee. Instead, you girls did the SWEETEST thing. You laid your heads really gently on the couch and just looked right at mommy. I kept the camera down so my eyes weren't blocked by it (and hoping it wouldn't be a distraction). I could cry even right now just looking at the sweet expressions on your faces here:

The moment was short-lived.

You started up with the shenanigans once again.

When daddy walked in the door, he grabbed the camera, thinking the light looked cool on my face, and took these photos of me. I figure you might think they're silly.

mom.jpg

I love you,

Mom

16/52: Center Composition


Yesterday I did something that I rarely do. I strapped on my camera and purposefully (ON PURPOSE) headed to where I knew there would be crowds of peoples; The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. I know I live in Berkeley, but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself estranged from San Francisco enough to refer to myself as a tourist. Well, pathetically, I guess I was mistaken.

This weekend was the annual “ClickinWalk 2015.” This is a meetup activity put on by the popular women’s online photography community, Clickin Moms. As described in the info page, “ClickinWalk is an opportunity for women who know one another in the virtual world to come together in the physical world and bond with others who share their passion for photography.”

Pretty sweet, huh? Well, I’m sure it would have been, had I not gotten lost for the first 90 minutes I was there. Classic Melissa.

On the up side, though, I took that time to roam around, take a bunch of photos -- including this one in which I stood, primed to press the shutter for what felt like five minutes, waiting for this seagull to flap its wings -- and chat with a bunch of the sweet vendors at the market. Also, when I finally DID get my internal compass calibrated I had a chance to meet some very lovely fellow photo geeks. So, all in all, it was a good day.

For My Daughters: Temps

Hi lovebugs,

Yesterday was "Take Your Kids To Work" Day. So,  I decided that it would be fun to dress you up in band t-shirts and head over to daddy's work for the activities they had planned. What a fun day it was!

 First order of business: mess with the blinds.

First order of business: mess with the blinds.

 The sun was shining so brightly on your face here, Ruby. But, I wanted you both to see how elated your dad was to have you two (and mommy) come spend time with him at his office.

The sun was shining so brightly on your face here, Ruby. But, I wanted you both to see how elated your dad was to have you two (and mommy) come spend time with him at his office.

 Ru, you were fascinated by the enormous window overlooking the streets. We counted the cars and whenever I would get to 3, you'd say "niiii... ten!" A for effort, my love.

Ru, you were fascinated by the enormous window overlooking the streets. We counted the cars and whenever I would get to 3, you'd say "niiii... ten!" A for effort, my love.

There was a band there just for kids your age! They were called the "Alphabet Rockers" and performed songs all about things you girls love: animals, the ABC's, food... very heady stuff.

 Your first concert! You go INTO IT, Ru!

Your first concert! You go INTO IT, Ru!

Daddy's company brought in a frozen yogurt cart, as well. Needless to say, you two were ALL OVER that. Good thing there were plenty of distractions, otherwise I'm afraid, when I took away your yogurt, we would've seen the biggest tandem tantrum (you see what I did there?) in Schmidt history!

 Vera, your eyes were on your prey!

Vera, your eyes were on your prey!

 Cool kids with your Beatles and Bob Marley shirts.

Cool kids with your Beatles and Bob Marley shirts.

 Vee, you took a while to warm up to the whole new environment. You set in the comfort of daddy's lap for quite a while, but, as soon as you were acquainted with your surroundings, there was no stopping you (literally, you were running circles around your daddy and me!).

Vee, you took a while to warm up to the whole new environment. You set in the comfort of daddy's lap for quite a while, but, as soon as you were acquainted with your surroundings, there was no stopping you (literally, you were running circles around your daddy and me!).

 Daddy and his girlies.

Daddy and his girlies.

At one point, dad went downstairs to grab your diaper bag and I was chasing after both of you like a crazy person! One moment I stopped you, Ru, from pulling down a (very expensive yet unmanned) laptop from a table, then turned around to see you, Vee, about to take a sip of an abandoned, opened soda container. By the time your dad got back, I had worked up a sweat and, almost certainly, everyone in the place knew your names (middle included) from me bellowing them loud enough for you to know I meant business.

Chaotic as it is at time, there's no way your daddy or I would change a single thing about your exuberant, budding personalities.

I love you two crazies!

Mom