Wednesday, April 27, 2011


**Tiny loves wagon rides.**

My whole life, my family has(kindly) told me that I should expect less in my reactions from people. Meaning, I tend to give exuberant reactions, and hence, I look for exuberance in return.
A typical conversation in my house growing up:
"Mom, I just found out such and such!!!"
"That's great, dear."
"That's great? Mom! C' can give me a better reaction than that!"
It has become, as it were, a bit of a family joke.

Come to think of it, maybe exuberance cleaves to exuberance, because a lot of my friends give great reactions, and I value it. I really do.

But it turns out that if I wanted frequent over-the-top excited reactions, I just had to wait for a daughter who is a mini-me in that respect.


"You're making cookies, mom? OOOHHHHHhhhhhhh!!!" Her fingers clench up under her chin, and her grin extends to infinity. A giggle erupts and she comes over to put her forehead against mine and discuss our excitement. It's rich. And often.

It's about a new t-shirt she loves or a trip to the library. It's about the promise of a new craft we're going to do or an upcoming playdate. It's about things little and things big, and I just

So if she gets excited about a trip to the park, can you imagine how she feels about the the fact that on Friday she's going to watch a real princess get married to a real prince?

**a REAL princess.**

Oh boy.

We're having a little mommy/daughter viewing party. And when we talk about the fact that there will be cake and crowns involved?

Her excitement is nearly apoplectic.

So as you watch the Royal Affair on Friday, know that while I will surely be enjoying the spectacle, the one in my own living room will be the one that really captures my heart.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Jumping In

**Twinkle lights! Rockstar knows if I am surrounded by twinkle lights, then I'm pretty close to my happy place. So he put them up around our patio. Is there anything cozier?**

Do you get the Sunday night blues? I totally do. I feel like the transition from the weekend back into the workaday world should be slow and steady, but the blues come from the knowledge that it will not be slow and steady. The gun will sound (or, the alarm) and I'll be off on a race through a busy day.

It's always the justaposition from slow-paced to fast-paced that catches me off guard, I guess, and a Holiday weekend adds an extra dose of wistfulness to the equation.

It reminds me of when I was younger and my best friend and I would dare each other to go swimming in her unheated swimming pool. We'd stand there at the waters edge, simultaneously dreading the shock of cold water, and looking forward to the swim. Finally, we'd get the courage to jump in, and when we'd surface, there would be a sharp intake of breath as our bodies tried to adjust. But minutes would pass, body temperatures would change, and soon the initial trepidation would be forgotten in the fun of an afternoon swim.

Today felt just like that. I suppose it's a good thing that the passage of time gives us no choice but to jump into a new week. Because, while I can't say I enjoyed the cold water in my face this morning, once I was in my groove--a morning routine with my kids and then seeing my patients--I thought, "I'm definitely enjoying the swim."

A few reasons why this weekend was hard to say goodbye to:

**A spontaneous BBQ when the rain clouds parted and we were suddenly left with a gorgeous evening. First corn on the cob!**

**Tiny's a fan.**

**Doesn't my backyard look lined in cotton candy? We bought our house during Azalea season, and I'm wondering if we were unduly influenced by the spectacular scenery. ;)**

**We planted a garden! Rather, Rockstar and his father planted a garden. A squarefoot garden seemed like a good place to start. I really can't take an ounce of credit for it, but I'm happy about it.**

**I got hooked on backissues of 'Birds & Blooms' when Tiny was a wee one, and I spent a lot of time in the pumping room at the Hospital. There was no other reading material, and suddenly I was coming home talking about bird species and soil pH. My short-lived fascination never amounted to anything, but now I'll finally get the chance to see if my thumb is green.**

**TJ's Chocolate Croissants!!! Do you have a Trader Joe's by you? If so, head directly to their frozen section, and buy these. You let them rise overnight (see above), then bake them into amazing deliciousness. They are, bar none, the best chocolate croissants I've ever had. They just might ease the Sunday night blues, you know...**

**Happy to find her basket--with a Jasmine costume inside! We bought it for Christmas, but decided to save it for when it would have more impact. A good decision, I think.**

**My little Buttercup.**

**Cute Mr. Drummer was good at wandering around the lawn with a basket in hand, less so at finding the eggs.**

Here's to a lovely swim, er, week, and as many good things to enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Doctor Thoughts and This and That

One of my good friends told me that one of the things she most appreciates about her pediatrician is that she makes her feel like she's doing a good job. "Every time I leave, I feel like she has affirmed me as a mom." I loved that. I wanted to give that gift to my patients. I hope I always have, but it's something I've been more conscious of since she said that. This last week I've had a bunch of families coming in for their kids' physicals. It's really so much fun. I love seeing the sibling interaction and talking to the moms about their concerns and their successes. Frequently I'll pick up some new parenting tip from the moms. I admire the families I take care of for so many reasons and I'm grateful to get to be part of their lives. And, hopefully, I communicate that so that they leave my office feeling like they are capable.

I have my own story to share sometime about what I appreciated as a patient, but I'd love to hear yours. What does your doctor do that you appreciate?

**This is the recipe for the black bean burger that my friend Kyra sent:

what you need:

•1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (a 15 oz. can very well drained)
•1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (very well drained, and there is a typo in the magazine, it calls for a 4.5 oz can, but that is incorrect)
•1 cup fresh cilantro or parsley (we used cilantro)
•1 teaspoon ground cumin
•1 clove garlic
•2 green onions
•2/3 cup shredded carrots
•1 3/4 cup rolled oats

Put all these ingredients in the food processor and turned it on. It helps if you pre-chop the veggies, smash the garlic, and really drain the tomatoes. Use a big dough scoop to make 8 patties, and press them flat on the tray. Bake on parchment paper or a silpat at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, carefully turn them over and bake another 15 minutes. Eat right away or let cool and freeze.

Eat on a whole wheat bun with lettuce and a little chipotle sauce, which is chipotle puree mixed with either ketchup, sour cream, or mayonnaise."

My notes: I used the cilantro, which I thought was great. Chipotle puree eluded me, so I went with a sour cream/salsa mix and avocado slices as a topper. Delicious. Also, if you have a convection oven like me, you may only need to cook them for twenty minutes total. Enjoy!

*That is how we spent last weekend's rainy day. An extended tea party at my in-laws. Today was similar-- tea parties, extended naps, and a little spring cleaning.


*This is a new discovery--she'll eat hardboiled eggs! Hooray for the egg-dyeing that led to this discovery.


*That (pulling the CD's off the shelf) is one of his favorite activities. That and climbing things. Heaven help us.


*This is where we were a year ago. How was that seriously a whole year ago, and yet, how was Drummer not there? Know what I mean?

**image by the amazing Nancy**

*That is my little girl last Easter.


She has grown up so much. I love this holiday. I love all of its fun traditions--eggs, Easter Bunnies, and candy. Most of all, I love the chance to celebrate that He is Risen.

Happy Easter Weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Kitchen

**image from here**

I guess you don't have to cook a lot to still love the kitchen. Cause I don't (cook a lot) but I do (love being in my kitchen).

Old habits die hard, and the residency years pushed my cooking to the backburner, and our routine into the 'tried and true' mode versus the 'trying new recipes' mode. Rockstar and I aim for efficient and mostly healthy as we try to get dinner on the table in the whirlwhind that is the just-home-from-work dinner hour before bed.

But while I'm thrilled that my husband helps with the cooking workload, and happy not to live in an era where food prep takes all day, sometimes I still catch a glimpse of the magic that can exist in a kitchen.

I think it can be a place where we slow down, come together, and make tactile memories. I think it can be meditative rather than stressful to cook.

I think it can be therapeutic to use my hands and to pause with my thoughts.

I think it can be a place that feels safe. Where we talk to each other or to our kids in ways we might not if we weren't held captive by hands covered in flour and sugar.

Most of my time is not spent in my kitchen. And most days I'm really happy about that. But there are other days when I re-discover what I love about my kitchen and the way I relate to my family there.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I stood at my window while I cooked and washed and thought about all the things I love about my kitchen.

I love my view:
**My family playing in a suddenly blooming yard. Seaglass to remind me of the beach**

I love my little helper who is so proud that she gets to dump the ingredients carefully into the bowl all by herself.
See? We are not just cooking. We are practicing fine motor skills, playing, and instilling confidence. We are also snitching even though we have been told not to. "I know mom, it has raw eggs in it," she says. Sometimes I let it slide.



I love the little bodies who play at me feet, sometimes calling out 'mamamama' because they want to see what's happening high on a counter top.

I love the ipod that plays tunes for us, and the spontaneous dance parties that we have between chopping this and dicing that. I love the look of surprise and delight on Tiny's face when I do a crazy jig, because she gets that it's a little unexpected for an adult to be so silly.


I love these cookies. I love the way they smell. I love the way Tiny can spot the smell immediately if she wakes from a nap while I'm baking them. "Is mommy baking cookies?" I hear her ask excitedly. I want her to remember me baking cookies when she is big and grown and has flown the coop.

I love that we made them before dinner yesterday, and even ate a few just to whet our appetite.

I love when a friend passes on a recipe that jumpstarts my 'kitchen loving' engine again and breaks me out of a cooking rut. I'm a person who responds well to feeling inspired. So, when Kyra sent me a rave review of a black bean burger recipe, I felt inspired. And it was a homerun. I love how fresh everything looks in my cuisinart.


I love how satisfying it feels to feed my family. To feed them something healthy and delicious. I love how it feels when Tiny says, "Thanks for making the burgers, mommy."


I remember when I was young saying, "Well, when I'm a mom, I would totally hire someone to cook all my family's meals if I could afford it. Then I could spend more time with my kids!" And most days, I'd probably say 'h to the eck, yeah' if someone offered to cook all of our meals. But then other days, when I've gotten a little more sleep (ha!), I think:

I like the magic that goes on here. The process is all part of the delicious result.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Early to Bed

**More sleep=more energy for swing pushing**

In Church yesterday, someone brought up the whole notion of 'early to bed, early to rise makes the body healthy and wise'. And several us talked afterwards about how we really do feel like we're more on our game when we try to live by this. If only I weren't so bad at it. When Rockstar approaches me around 9:45 and says, 'should we close up shop down here?', I generally look at him like he's crazy. 9:45! Who goes to bed at 9:45?! There is much to be done (blogging, working, reading, to-do-listing, etc.,) and at least an hour or two yet to use!

With a newborn, you have no choice about sleep deprivation. But now that Lil' Drummer generally(finally!!) sleeps well, I have myself to blame when I wake up feeling like I'm made of lead. Oh the eternal struggle:to give up some of those evening hours that are some of my only uninterrupted time to get things done/talk to my husband, or to rest up for the day ahead.

Some nights I sit there working on charts and watch the minutes on the clock tick by. On one hand, I want to finish the charts and feel better the next day with the kiddos because I won't have work hanging over my head. But when I stay up to finish the charts? I always suffer the consequences.

Saturday night, for example, Rockstar and I stayed up after midnight watching a movie that didn't end up being worth it. The kids woke up around 7:30, which isn't even early at this point in my life. But still, a nighttime teething interruption, combined with a late bedtime, and I was left feeling like movement out of my bed was akin to climbing Everest. I knew Rockstar was probably feeling the same, but I was too overcome with gratitude to feel selfish when he rolled downstairs with the kids and let me get a few more minutes of shut-eye.

**Too tired to worry about dinner? Pizza at the park!**

So then last night, I decided to get my act together. I stopped writing this blog post when the husband suggested we try to get to bed early and said, "okay." He looked so shocked. Poor man. He's lost a lot of sleep on my 'just push through the fatigue!' pep talks. I blame this tendency of mine to the forced 'push-through-it-ness' of medical training.

So we both fell asleep by 10:15 and nobody woke up all night long.
Amazing stuff.

I woke up before my alarm (!!!) at 6:15. I whispered, 'What time is it?' But I already knew the answer.

Because I know what 8 hours of sleep feels like to my body. It feels like a nagging itch that has finally been scratched. It feels like your cup of water filled back to the brim. It feels so, so good.

And I thought, 'There you are old friend. We should do this again soon.'

Because not only did I have more energy to face the day, I had:
more courage to handle a busy work schedule.
more optimism that I would enjoy it.
more joy in the little things along the way.

Am I making sleep sound like a cure-all?
Well darn it, today I'm thinking it just might be.

Now let's see if I can stick with it (and if the kids cooperate with my plan)...

**What about you...are you good at early-to-bed or more of a nightowl?**

**Blue nailpolish. Her choice, not mine.**

Friday, April 15, 2011

Office Talk: Dehydration and This and That

**You mean these viruses are still going around??**

Question: My child was just diagnosed with a stomach bug, and I'm wondering the best way to keep her hydrated.

Answer: There have been a lot of stomach viruses floating around these parts in the past few months, and summer will surely bring its own crop. When a child is losing a lot of fluids through vomiting or diarrhea, it can be hard to keep up. The best way to get fluids in a kid (or an adult for that matter) is to use small, frequent amounts. Small as in 1 teaspoon (5 mL), frequent as in ever 2-5 minutes. Being dehydrated can get a person pretty thirsty, but filling the stomach with too much liquid can trigger vomiting. So keep a small and steady stream going.

If your child won't eat anything, water alone just isn't enough. Remember that commercial oral rehydration solutions (like Pedialyte) really do have good science behind them. They have enough carbohydrate in them to keep the body going, without so much as to cause worsened diarrhea. Drinks like tea, fruit juice, sports drinks, and soft drinks actually have too little sodium and too many carbs in them, and can worsen diarrhea and put people at risk for sodium imbalance.

When you are starting back on food again, make sure to stick with the BRAT diet at first. That would be Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Tea/Toast. These are bland foods that are easy for the body to digest.

And always check with your doctor if you see signs of dehydration: decreased urine output, lethargy, physical signs of dryness (lack of saliva, decreased skin turgor, lack of tear film over the eyes etc.,) or if you have an infant with vomiting/diarrhea.

*This is how I wear my Coco Penny:

*That little teaser of spring is all I need. My Azaleas are almost in bloom!


*This is how we spent last Saturday. I'm not sure how we turned into gingerbread house makin' fools, but thus it is. We do Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Halloween Houses are the best.




**Tiny favored a high frosting to candy ratio**

**My MIL wins the prize for most candy on a house.**

*That little chica didn't get the memo about not talking on pretend cell phones while driving.


Happy Weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


**It's Red Wagon weather again, baby.**

You know what one of my favorite motherhood emotions is?

Feeling capable.

And I don't mean capable in the: 'my house is all put together and the kids are decorating seasonally appropriate cookies while a homemade meal simmers in the crockpot' kind of way. Cause that's not generally my M.O.

I mean capable in the:'life with kiddos can bring about some crazy scenarios and I feel capable when I handle them' sort of way.

**Drummer likes to turn everyday wagon rides into crazy scenarios by outsmarting the seatbelt.**

For example:

Last summer's trip to the Outer Banks was our first with two children in tow. Lil' Drummer was only 2 months old. We made a stop in Williamsburg on a particularly sweltering July day. The heat index topped out at 120 degrees. So, yeah. It was hot.

The kids' hair was sticking to their rosy faces and we were enjoying the Colonial atmosphere, albeit at a near boiling point. We had finally gotten the kids loaded up in their strollers and were halfway down DOG street in our quest for our favorite baked goods. That's when I realized that Tiny--a month from being fully potty trained--had a dirty diaper. And I didn't have a diaper on me.

What I wanted to do was walk as quickly as possible to the bakery, get a break from the heat, relax, and ignore the diaper. But I didn't really have a choice. I am a mama, and a diaper had to be changed.

So, sweltering heat or no sweltering heat, I turned Tiny around in her stroller and walked the half mile back to our car. Sweat dripped down my back and into my waistband. The back of our car was stuffed with suitcases, and I couldn't find the diapers. She whined while I sorted through bags and bags until I finally found them. There was no room on the cargo rack to change her, so I propped my squirmy toddler on the passenger seat, and with the door open, began the tricky job of swapping out a dirty diaper for a clean one.

Objectively, it was not a fun thing to do. But I remember so clearly what I was thinking at the exact moment that I stood in the hot sun, very aware of how uncomfortable the whole situation was:

I. am. capable.

**I am capable of calming tantrums. Some days.**

I thought that to my previous single self, this would've looked like the least possible enjoyable way to experience the 'burg: hot, sweaty, and wrangling a stinky toddler on her precarious perch.

But instead I felt like a mother bear: doing what needed to be done. And it was okay. It was humorous. All made bearable by my deep love for my daughter and my gratitude for the way my kids' presence pushes me to become more than I otherwise would. To do more than than I would choose to do.

So while I have many days where I don't feel so capable: where I'm still in my Pajamas at 10 am (and you better believe someone unexepctedly came to my door the last time that happened) and I am not keeping up with my long to-do list, there are many times where I feel a surge of pride in the fact that I am taking care of my babies.

It's not for doing anything particularly special. It's for the ordinary things: It's for rocking them when I'm tired and they're teething. It's for the clean-up of accidents and the patience with a tantrum. It's for the long waits in doctor's offices with squirmy, sick little ones. It's for the dirty diapers on the hot days.

It's just for doing what's required. For doing what motherhood requires.

Mamas are strong. Hear us roar our capable roar.

**You learn in Motherhood that, indeed, the show must go on.**

Tuesday, April 12, 2011



On our recent vacation, I got a chance to visit with one of my best friends from college days. This is the girl who picked me up when my pre-med spirits were low, and helped me to keep marching forwards toward our goal. She has stamina, intelligence, determination, and goodness in spades. She is also now a doctor with two little ones. It was wonderful to see her after years apart.

Our conversation turned to the difficulty of those residency years. Specifically, some of the darkest nights where extreme sleep deprivation threatened sanity.

She said, “I remember one night thinking….” and then she divulged one of those secret thoughts that you could only say to someone who’s been right where you have been, and understands your state of mind when thinking such thoughts.

“I remember thinking the exact same thing one night,” I said.
“Did you ever tell anyone?”
“No. You?”

And it got me thinking about secrets.

How when we talk about secrets, it often sounds like a dirty word. It connotes past mistakes or sins that you wouldn’t want the world to see because they are shameful. Or it connotes a person keeping something from someone that they probably should make known.

But it occurred to me that there are a different kind of secrets--secrets that might even be healthy to keep for a time or for always. These are the secrets hidden in a chamber of our souls, where I think it’s important that we keep a few things to ourselves. To ourselves and God. A place where we can grant a certain amnesty over our thoughts while we piece them together.

I should note that in general, I am very open. I process my thoughts by dialoguing, so there’s not much that Rockstar and my closest friends/family aren’t privy to.

But still sometimes, I think we all have the need to keep things close until we’ve worked them out in our minds.

There can be many things in this secret part of ourselves. There are many things in mine:

There are the things I’m not brave enough to share with the world—ideas, theories—that need time to germinate until they are ready to make their way into the open.

There are the thoughts I might not want someone to know I’ve thought. Because they don’t last long enough to become part of me, I don’t feel shameful for having thought them. But if they were said out loud, they’d become part of a more permanent record that they don’t merit.

There are the secret thoughts born of desperation or fatigue that you know you won’t hold onto, but seem cathartic to think, even for a second.

Some secrets stay inside until you find a key in someone you trust and has a shared experience—a mom, a fellow doctor.

Some are desires or dreams that seem too sacred to speak until the time is right.

Disappointments. Goals. Silliness. Whatever needs to be there. Always shifting as some secrets become shared and others disappear.

There is something powerful and necessary about keeping a little part of my thoughts just for me. A place where I can work things out. A place where I can better understand myself. A place where no one can judge.

So what did my friend and I discuss that we’d thought on one of those long, long residency nights?

Well now, that’s just our little secret.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Well, we're back. It was a wonderful week of vacation with lots of family and many friends. We're refeuled (emotionally). We're refreshed (work wise). We're tired (physically.)

**singing her anthems with gusto**

A few scattershot thoughts:

*Our house feels so quiet when we get home from a trip. I get blue every.single.time I part ways from family. This time was no different. And given that my mom had been visiting for three weeks before our trip, it was amplified. Don't get me wrong--I was happy to be in my own bed, to unpack our suitcases, and to get the kids into a regular sleep routine again. But their is a rich quality to being around many family members, and I always mourn its departure for a season.


*If you are looking for travel tips with kiddos, check out the comments section of my Macgyver Mom post. Some great ideas from some travelers who are for more seasoned than I. I just might have stolen a few of them for this trip.

**ticket to ride....or to buy junk at Chuck E. Cheese's**

*Before I left, I had a conversation with a patient about travel with kids. I told her that I always dread being the mom with the baby who screams for half an hour straight. She said, 'My sister's kids were vomiting on the airplane. As in, vomiting on themselves, their mom, and their fellow passengers. So if all you have to deal with is a crying kid, consider yourself lucky."

I thought about that as my poor nephew vomited 5 times on our return flight. But you know what? Every time, he made it into the barf bag. Which is pretty good for a 3 year old. And you know what else? He sat still for the duration of the plane ride. So, I'm rethinking if my patient was right...

*I might have gained a pound or two from all the good food we ate.


Then again, I might have burned off all those calories with all the skee ball we played.

**The reigning family champion. Rockstar is not invited to comment.**

**Champion in training.**

*I didn't look at my task list (my equivalent of an inbox with messages from patients, lab results, consult letters, etc.,) ALL WEEK! It felt amazing. I don't think that's ever happened with the exception of the week or two after my babe's were born. I brought my laptop, because I always check in on vacation. It's mostly selfish--I can't stand the thought of how long the list will be if I don't. But then Rockstar's Grandma didn't have internet at all (a possibility that never entered my brain), and I decided--to heck with it. I'm on VACATION! There are plenty of doctors to cover, and they have my cell if there is an urgent question.

We made one drive by use of Starbucks' free wi-fi (literally...I used the internet briefly from the passenger seat of our car), but remained otherwise unplugged. And it really made a difference in my ability to relax. My nurse seemed surprised/a little put out that I hadn't been working remotely (which is my fault, because I normally always do), and it suddenly struck me as completely bananas that this is the world we live in. As a doctor, I think I can say that this inability to step away from work is not healthy.

A day away keeps burnout at bay. Can I copyright that?

**You want time away? It's gonna cost you.**

*My little man is walking! What started as 3 steps four days ago was 16 steps today. He seems too little to be doing this, and I laugh every time he toddles across the floor. It is, of course, bittersweet. Sad: my sweet baby is growing up. Glad: He no longer has to have his paws on the dirty floor when we're out and about!

**Oh, the passage of time.**

So, for now, it's back into the dailiness. And you know what? As long as that includes a little bit of this:


and this:


Re-entry will be just fine.