Tuesday, May 24, 2011


**I walked in the door from work and she was dressed like this. Bottle and sell this moment, please. Pure happy. Oh, and those boots? She avoided them all winter, but can't get enough of them now that it's 80 degrees outside.**

My Dad's side of the family had a reunion a few summer's ago. It was wonderful because I love my extended family to the moon and back and feel lucky to have them. I heard someone say recently that she thought sometimes God sent us to families with people we wouldn't have chosen to be in a family with, so we'd have to learn to get along with people unlike ourselves. That is surely many people's experience. It is not mine. I've long counted it an amazing blessing to have an extended family (on both sides) I couldn't have hand picked better. So, it's a joy to be together.

During the family talent show, we all sat crowded in my parents living room, sporting our white and orange reunion t-shirts, and laughing at the various acts (which may or may not have represented our truest talents).

Somewhere between a great showing of boy-band dancing and a rendition of 'jailbreak', I looked around the room and felt, for an instant, how much bigger my identity was than just me. 'I'm part of this', I thought. I'm part of these people, of these stories, of this history. And in that moment, I felt what it is to be a part of a chain, a part of a beautiful web, that extends backward and forward and sideways.

It felt like being put into context.

**Tiny, you are part of a lawn-mowing team. Daddy can't wait to share these responsibilities with you.**

And in the middle of a summer where I'd felt a little off-kilter, it was overwhelmingly powerful.

Do you ever have moments like that? Where you suddenly see yourself snapped into the puzzle, and you get a different view of your inner workings because of the things or people who surround you?

**You two are part of a team. I hope you'll feel that.**

And even if I had the type of family that left me wondering how or why we had ended up together, I think that idea would still hold true. It wasn't just a sense of how much I loved them, but a sense of how much my story is wrapped up in the story of others, and what I owe to those people in the way I live my life.

**I looked up today and couldn't see Drummer. He'd found his way back behind the bushes and he thought it was pretty hysterical.**

**Tiny, rocking her awesome tie-dyed pants, worried he'd walk into the sharp holly bush on his way out, so volunteered to go retrieve him.**


**Making their way back. I love to observe their evolving relationship. He's old enough to make it a two way street.**

Sometimes I glimpse that web of connection around me, and then other times I suddenly feel the roots below. Usually I feel that in relation to my faith. I'm going along, living my life, and then I'm confronted with a fork in the road. And one of those paths might be to go in a way that wouldn't honor what I think my faith would dictate. When I contemplate whether I could honestly take said path, I suddenly sense how deep my roots are: the depth of what I know that has developed over time. And in that moment, I know I can't be swayed by momentary ease or passing fancies. I am rooted in a long developed sense of truth and it centers me.

I'm grateful for the times I am made aware of the brush strokes in and around my self-portrait that give me color, strength and direction.

I am grateful for being put into context.


I'm also grateful for the two little people who call me 'mama' and help me sense more often the web and the roots.

**A 'two way street' means he's old enough to want whatever she has.**

**Which makes her old enough to tell him to try again later.**

**In a move of 'two can play this game', he attempts to point out something better she could play with.**

**Second in line for the lawn-mowing throne, and showing great potential...**

**A little distractable, but so cute!**

**I wish I knew what had caught his attention--I spied nothing obvious overhead.**

**Ice Cream fits perfectly in the context of summer, no?**

I'm grateful for a lot of things.

And before I say goodnight, I leave you with this. I was so sad when Azalea season was over.

But, suddenly: New Blossoms.

Sweet Dreams.

**Thank you for your comments on my last post. Your experiences and support always inspire me and cause me to think.**

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Buoyed Up

**Today I'm grateful for the simple joys. For family.**

My heart has been heavy these last few days. I am sad for a dear friend of mine who is grieving a tremendous loss.

And as we cried together over his pain, I felt anew the helplessness that comes when you so want to make something better, but know you are powerless to do so.

Then I heard a quote. “A shared burden is a lighter burden.”
And I wondered if that was true. That if by sharing in our friends burdens—by hearing their grief, by crying with them—one small part of that burden would be lifted.

I’m not sure. I hope so.

But if not, there is also this:
Rockstar left to serve a mission while I was in medical school. The time right after he left was difficult. I was worried about his safety and the two years apart. My friends gathered around me. They rented silly chick flicks and made me care packages. They gave me hugs and listened to my concerns and fears.

Soon after, the first “Lord of The Rings” movie came out. As I watched the end of the movie, I suddenly understood what they were doing.
While Frodo is carrying the ring to its final destination, his friend Sam is trying to support him. But Sam knows that he cannot carry the ring for his friend. That is Frodo’s burden alone. He says to him, “I can’t carry the ring for you…but I can carry you.”

‘That’s it’, I thought. My friends couldn’t make the time pass any faster, and they couldn’t promise me that everything would turn out just the way I wanted it. But they could carry me while I worked through a rough time, and it made a big difference.

When I asked my friend what he needed this week, he said he simply needed a critical mass of people who would be willing to talk every week or so. Just to check on him, to listen to him work through things.

And I could see it: If the grief our loved ones go through is a sea, threatening to overwhelm them, we need to be part of the boat. The thing that buoys them up and keeps them from drowning, while they take their difficult journey.

Grief is a heavy thing. Because of that, I’m grateful that there are forces to ease its weight. I’m grateful for the hope and lift that exists in community. For the Light of Faith. For a belief in eternal things.

Whether it is a patient, a friend, or a loved one, I hope I can find ways to better share burdens and to carry those who carry them.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kid #2 Turns 1

This week, Lil' Drummer turned one.
And that's just a whole lotta crazy, because I swear he was a sleepy babe in arms a few months ago. 2 or 3 at the most.
Do you get tired of hearing mothers say, "How can it already be 1 year (2 years, 3 years, 4 years, etc.,)?! I swear s/he was just born!"
Well, I'm guessing you're just going to have to get used to it. Because as long as women are having children, they will be remarking on the wildly rapid passage of time that goes along with it.

This little man has taught me a lot in his sojourn on earth so far.
Premiere among them: that I absolutely adore having a baby boy.

**I've learned that I love Paul Frank Birthday decor as much as I love princess birthday decor.**

But to get to that adoration, I had to wade through the uncertainty that surrounded bringing a second child into the world. I had no doubt that I wanted more than one child, but still, the idea made me nervous. Everyone reassured me that the love would come naturally just as it did the first time. But until he made his appearance, I couldn't be sure.

And then there was the whole matter of what everyone swore was 'more than double the work!' I was really enjoying motherhood so far. And I wondered if in adding another kid to the mix, that enjoyment would get lost in the drudgery or chaos of more responsibilities.

I tried to take solace in my sister's advice. She swore to me that having more kids might be more work, but it was also more fun.

And then he arrived, and Oh, how I fell in love with him!

**Who wouldn't love me?**

He stole into my heart with his big grin and lovely eyes, and I found myself amazed at the joy I found in this little soul. Loving a first child felt intuitive. But the fact that I was crazy over the moon about another one too? It still seems like such an amazing gift.

**Classic first birthday party. We all fawn over his gifts, while He fawns over a balloon.**

He is the type of baby who inspires me to break out into dance everytime I walk into his room to retrieve him from his crib. He makes me so happy it hurts. And no amount of diaper changing or mess cleaning could change that.

**I've learned that seeing my kid tote around a wagon of ugly dolls and pirates is as fun as seeing his sister push a doll stroller with Ariel inside.**

He's taught me that dressing boys is actually a lot of fun. I have friends with boys who do and don't agree with this. But for me? Finding a cute surfer outfit for my boy is tremendously satisfying.

**I'm totally in love with that Pirate doll. I don't know what my deal is.**

By virtue of being the second child, he's taught me how to relax into parenting a little more. To let go of my agenda a little and laugh at the imperfections of life. When I was very pregnant with Drummer, Tiny got her first ear infection. I didn't realize it until she kept waking up from her nap in panicked pain. She'd be fine until she laid down, then the pain would hit. In a groggy state, she'd flail about and call my name. I ultimately laid her on my chest, where she slept for an hour and a half.

It hit me how difficult this would have been if I'd also had a baby to tend to, and I called Rockstar in a panic. "What would I have done if I'd had a second child today??" As if this were proof that we were making a big mistake. He said, "Well, you could have called me, and I would've come home." Which says a lot about the kind of person he is, but may not have been practical at the time.

But in hindsight, I realized that I woud've just done the best that I could. And if she hadn't gotten her nap that day, and if the baby had been screaming in his Moses basket for 20 minutes, the world would not have stopped turning. I learned quickly after Drummer's birth that you meet the needs that you can, when you can, prioritizing as you go, then keep on swimming.

He's shown me a little more that I am capable.


He's taught me that I can make forays into creative baking! Okay, so this isn't something that Drummer has taught me per se, but check out those cupcakes!

The other day, Rockstar was talking to his mom on the phone, and asked me, "What are we doing for cake?"

And I thought about the monkey plates and napkins I'd bought, and said, "Monkey cupcakes."

At which point, I had to figure out how to make Monkey cupcakes.

But google is good for nothing if not producing several online tutorials for making monkey cupcakes, and I was able to find one that fit the bill. One Wilton Cake Decorating set later, and I was in business. I've never done anything like this before, but I'll admit it was kind of fun. I think I could handle doing something like this a few times a year.


Drummer has taught me how much I enjoy watching two siblings interact. For all the squawking Tiny makes over Drummer taking her toys, there is also this:

**That would be Drummer suddenly reaching for the open flame, and Tiny quickly blowing it out when she saw he was headed for danger.**

I've learned that I don't mind getting a little messy. You know what you do when your little boy prefers playing with his cupcake to eating it?



You laugh, and then you clean it up.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I wish I could go back and whisper into the ear of my pregnant self:
"Your mother is right. You'll love a boy. Your sister is right. Two is way more fun."

**Tuckered out from a long day of partying hard.**

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Something Old

You know what's cool? Seeing the doll that you adored as a child sitting next to your own little girl. And having your little girl be so happy about it. You know what's even cooler? The surprised delight I felt when my mom sent me out a package with the Samantha I'd thought was lost to the great Abyss of the Storage Unit.

I swore to my best friend when we were in grade school that if I got Samantha for my birthday, she could ever after count me out as a four square partner cause I'd be too busy playing with doll. It didn't work out quite like that, but boy did I love that doll.

Any other Samantha fans out there?


Well, since this week has been busier than normal, and since I don't have the energy to write much, I leave you with my favorite patient quote of the day.

A darling 11 year old boy was being seen for stomach pain. He laid down so I could press on his stomach. As he lifted his shirt, he said, "Sorry about my abs. They're too strong to really relax."

His Mom and I could not stop giggling. :)

Coming Soon: Office Talks on probiotics (thanks for the idea, Marse!) and Sunscreen.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Things I would like my children to know, Part I:

**Get used to doing chores. Bonus points for getting used to doing them with a smile on your face.**

**Try to include your siblings in your endeavors.**

**But when it doesn't go quite as planned, that's okay too.**

**Attempt new things that appear hard.**

**But don't be afraid to ask for help when they are harder than your confidence or skills allow for.**

**Spend a lot of time thinking outside. It does wonders for the soul. And the Vitamin D level.**

**Don't underestimate the power of a good meal. And eat your fruits and vegetables.**

**Find good friends, then hold onto their hands tight. You'll need them.**

**Wear facepaint. Avoid pictures (ahem, tattos), that don't wash off at the end of the day.**

**Let your mom kiss your cheek whenever she wants. It is good medicine for her.**

**Whatever your vantage point....enjoy the view.**

Wishing everyone a lovely start to your week! xo

Friday, May 6, 2011


**If you are Tiny, you Dance your terrible, no good, very bad days away**

Yesterday was a terrible, no good, very bad kind of work day. It was the kind of day where I got so frustrated at, you know, the system (just to clarify, not my patients), that a sense of defeat crept in. And sometimes when I feel defeated, it's easy to think in a fit of frustration, "I'm done! Done, I tell you!" Because I know the universe doesn't mind my moment of melodrama. :)

And then I offered up a harried prayer. "Remind me why I am doing this."

I arrived back at work today a little worse for the wear. Then due to a scheduling snafu, the morning got a little crazy. So when lunch came around, I slumped down into my desk, and sighed. My work was feeling a lot like a job and less so like a calling.

I tried to figure out how to best use the few minutes of lunch time that I had, and decided that I would call the mother of a patient I'd seen two days ago rather than wait until the end of the day.

The patient is a teenager who I saw for sore throat two days ago. After we'd discussed the intial complaint, the mom said, "I promise I never ask about more than one problem at the doctor, but would you mind taking a look at his arm?" They'd been to a specialist that morning who had brushed some swelling off as a sunburn or mild sports injury. But when I looked at it, I thought it looked like neither of those things. I ordered an ultrasound that revealed a serious clot, which led to a CT scan, which led to the discovery of more serious, potentially life threatning clots and a referral to a different specialist.

So, as you might imagine, this has been an emotional week for them.

And as Mom and I talked today, she got pretty tearful. I can imagine that being so directly confronted with your child's mortality would do that to you.

And in the course of the conversation, she said to me, "I want you to know how grateful I am that you ordered that test." And I'm thinking, 'But it's what anyone would have done!' Then she started crying harder, "And I want you to know that I know that God sent you to us that day so that we could find this."

Quite suddenly, my work felt like a calling again. Whether or not she was right (and because of my faith and past experience, I believe that God pays attention to such things), my efforts meant to something someone.

Theirs wasn't the only prayer answered this week.

Most days, I actively enjoy the busy rhythm--work and play--of my days. But sometimes the grind, the frustrations, the fatigue of life will get me down. I yell at the sky, "I. AM. DONE!"

But, I've learned that when I ask to be reminded why I'm doing what I'm doing, reminded I will be.

So often, at the point when I feel most discouraged, there comes a rejuvenating moment. One well-placed comment, one toddler who finally shares with a friend, one jubilant 'you're the best mommy in the world'. And that one moment casts all the other moments in a completely different light.

So today I am grateful for the mix of bitter and sweet. For the frustration that paints in bold relief the beauty of discovering why I do what I do in all aspects of my life. And for the gentle reminders and answers to prayer along the way.

Monday, May 2, 2011


**Teething is hard work.**

I remember once being told that I would have to work long and hard in the pursuit of my goals.

And tonight, when I sit here in front of my computer, letting my mind wander over a day that has been a day, I think:
Yep, long and hard.

But you know what? That's not a complaint. It's a satisfied exhalation.

**Sometimes a mother's work is putting on a wedding party.**

My Poppa (mom's dad) is a great philosopher. Growing up, he was always stretching our minds with thought-provoking questions. One time he asked a bunch of us cousins what we were afraid of. He was most impressed, appropriately so, with my cousin Lindsay's answer.

She said that she was afraid of going to bed at night and realizing that she hadn't accomplished anything with her day. Given that she was about 13 at the time, it was a pretty sophisticated reply.


I've thought a lot about that reply, and I've realized that working hard grants me immunity to that feeling. Working hard makes me feel spent, yes, but also full in the best kind of way. Whether it's a day at the office, or a day (night?) of taking care of Tiny and Drummer, a day of work gives me a sense of progressing.

I've read all the recent studies about how adults without children are supposedly more happy than those who slave away changing diapers and driving to soccer practices. They postulate that without all the responsibilities of childrearing, there is more time for relaxation and self-care. Well, sure. And I can certainly testify that kids do bring about a steady stream of work. But without pointing out the numerous flaws in such studies (a post for another day!), and without pointing out the incredibly joys of parenting that are hard to quantify, I just have to say this:

The more effort I put into worthy causes, the more joy I seem to reap. We all need regular breaks and relaxation. Of course.
But in general, I am willing to put in more labor for better fruits.



I am willing to work hard taking care of my precious kids and my patients, if I can have the sweetness that comes when I sit down on the couch at the end of the day, and savor a well-earned rest. I am willing to push through fatigue and inertia to find a better, more selfless, more experienced version of myself.

When I work hard, I feel like I am laying the groundwork for great things, whatever they may be.

When I work hard--emotionally or physically--I can lay my head down on my pillow, and know that though while my efforts were surely imperfect, efforts they were. And many times, I think that's exactly what matters.

**Our royal wedding party cake**