Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Love Letter to the Past

Wanna take a walk down memory lane?

I saw this video on design mom today where the producers asked people their favorite memories.

It got me thinking about how I'd answer that question.

I don't know how I'd ever choose one favorite memory, thanks to my previously mentioned case of nostalgia. For today, I decided to reach back to memories in the 'land before children'. Here are a few that surfaced as I started turning over old memories in my mind:

*Sitting next to my dad before bed while he played the piano and I'd sing. I'd always ask him for just a few more, and he'd almost always oblige. I used to wish it never had to end.


*Pulling into the shore of Mykonos with Rockstar, and realizing that there was a real place that matched exactly the magical image of a Greek Island that I held in my imagination.


*Walking across the stage to receive my medical diploma. (not a single good picture of this).

*Bachelor marathons at Kath's house with my girls during med school.
**A moveable feast of friendship.**

*Sleeping in the same bedroom as my siblings on Christmas Eve.


*Checking out scads of Nancy Drew books with Marce as kids, then reading them all day long, side by side.

*Taking an adventurous journey by myself out to Jane Austen's house while studying abroad in England. The way it felt to walk, lost, in the countryside, so far removed from anything familiar, and yet so close to myself.

**And the fact that I get to take my adventures now with such a rockstar.**

*Trips to Williamsburg with Nance in pursuit of coziness.
**kindred spirits from day one**

*Saturday morning Donuts with Poppa.
**And ski trips with Grammy.**

*Taking 'the long way' to the creamery while on a pure chocolate diet with Lisey (don't ask).

**I'm richly blessed on the cousin front.**

*The feeling of being on stage during a play/musical, and having the audience clapping.


And the best part? Knowing that those just begin to scratch the surface of the wonderful memories I have of people, places and moments. It's been so fun to sift through old pictures and wander through old chapters of my life to answer this question. Maybe we all should deliberately do that once in a while--wrap ourselves up in a warm blanket of remembrance made up of all the good things from our past.

Instead of coming up with more memories all afternoon (I could!), I'll pose the question to you? What's your favorite memory?

***A few of you asked why Drummer is off Dairy right now. He's had digestive issues since March. Taking him off dairy helped initially, though the symptoms came back. We've kept him off while experimenting with other things. Initial tests run by his doctor were fine. Now he mainly drinks almond milk, and he seems to be doing pretty well. I'll probably re-introduce dairy at some point to see how he does.**

Monday, September 19, 2011

This and That

**He may be off dairy, but cones are fair game!**

*When I'm tired, I put off blogging. I love to write and organize my thoughts around a particular topic, but it takes energy. And I've been staying up too late to have enough energy for that this last week. I should probably go re-read my post about going to bed early. In the meantime, here are a few scattershot thoughts/links I wanted to share:

*Only watch these hair videos if you are prepared for your world to be rocked. Seriously, the trick in the first video has revolutionized my hair routine. I'm a night-showerer (this started back when I was rising pre-dawn for hospital rounds and couldn't tolerate getting out of bed one milisecond before I had to.) So now I just let it air dry most of the way in the evening, then take 4 minutes to flip it around a headband before bed. I sleep on it and wake up to curls that really stay all day. Fabulous.

I also figured out after seeing a picture of a hairstyle like this:


that I could just use a similar technique to rock a renaissance look during the day. It's crazy simple, but looks kind of fancy. I love it.


*I've been on a crusade against diet soda for years. Maybe crusade is too strong a word. Let's say I always caution my patients against it. This article just adds fuel to my fire. I've always believed that we wren't really tricking the body with such a super-sweet stimulus--of course it spikes the blood sugar!

*I decided to do some mild color-blocking for work today. I paired my large pink rose earrings with a bold red sweater. I thought, "Some people are going to think this looks stylish, and the rest are going to think I got ready in the dark." But that's half the fun, right? :)

*Much is made of women being mean to each other. I was just reading a few articles about how women can be so cruel to each other. But you know what? Women also get each other's backs. While Tiny was in preschool last week, I stopped by Nordstrom Rack with Drummer. I tried on a few items, then raced to the register before Drummer could start protesting. I was standing in line when I heard a woman whisper behind me, "Um, m'am? Your sweater is on inside out." She was so quiet at first, that I almost didn't hear. I turned around. She leaned in and said it again in a whisper. I appreciated her attempts at discretion.

I thanked her and switched my cardigan back around. The two women in front of me in line smiled. One of them said, "Honey, don't be embarrassed! That stuff happens to me all the time, but no one ever takes the time to tell me!" We all laughed about it and I left the store happy for the moment of solidarity I'd experienced in an unlikely place.

*Have you listened to Patty Griffin? Her voice cuts straight to the heart of the matter. I love it.

Hope you all had a lovely Monday!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Playing to Our Strengths

**She was way more ready for this day than I was.**

I'm sitting at my computer and it's very quiet. I took Tiny to preschool for the very.first.time today (sniffle) and Drummer is taking his morning nap. Weird.

So while I listen to the steady drip, drip, drip outside, I'm letting the swirl of thoughts I've had this week settle.

Today I'm thinking about how easy it is to feel inadequate as a parent when I look outside of my family. For example, I was reading this article by a mom yesterday who was giving a list of several (admittedly great) tips for raising kids and activities to do with them. She seemed so on top of her game.

**Tiny claims she's helping Drummer stay on top of his climbing game, but she somehow just ends up on top of him.**

When I read the article, I thought, "Gosh, she's such a good mom! Full of lists and plans and energy to execute it all.' And there was this instant where I panicked--where I thought of all the ways I must be falling short because I wasn't mothering like she was.

**I often worry he'll fall short when he scales our play structure.**

As I continued down this path of thinking, I suddenly pulled myself up short. I have faith in myself as a mother, imperfect as I am, and it didn't feel healthy to berate myself for not being 'enough' when compared to somebody else. Just because I recognize and can learn from what she does well, doesn't mean I have to mother like she does to be a success.

**Pretty much always a success.**

I decided this: I'm only ever going to succeed at--or be happy being--the kind of mom that's authentic for me. Which means I have to let go of trying to be one of the other kinds of amazing moms I see on blogs and in magazines. I'm not saying that I'll never borrow some of their ideas, but I need not worry about comparing my sum total experience to theirs. There are lots of ways to raise healthy, happy children.

**"Why would you ever doubt?"**

I'm never going to be the mom with the quilted family mission statement, elaborate job charts, amazing craft afternoons, alphabetized summer activity days or gourmet meals on the table.

And that's okay. People do what they enjoy and what works for their families. My friends who do more of those things do it because it satisfies them and helps them reach their goals. It's who they are.

My mom wasn't a super-PTA kind of mom. Her strengths weren't in a lot of the domestic parts of mothering, though she valiantly did what needed to be done. She was really good at being present, at teaching and talking to us, and helping us to think. I have such lovely memories of that: of sitting down after school, eating a run-of-the-mill snack, and just talking to her about all kinds of interesting things. Or of her staying up late with me while I was working on a school project, reviewing the events of the day. It always felt like enough because I was with her and it was the fruits of who she was. And mostly, it was enough because I knew I was loved.

**Drummer's feeling pretty loved right about now.**

But what a gift! Through being true to herself, she gave her kids many wonderful things:a desire to learn, a love of communication, the urge to gather information and think critically about things, the seeds of faith.

I'm glad she didn't spend her energy trying to be somebody else.

She knew her strengths were in her mind--her teaching ability, the way she thirsted for knowledge--and she used those to shape our family life. That is not to say she never pushed herself in pursuit of meeting our needs, though, and I have a hand sewn Scarlett O'hara costume to prove it!

When she first had kids she says she ran around trying to figure out how to quilt and can fruit because she thought that's what made a good mother. Then she realized she just needed to amplify her own God-given talents in behalf of her children, and trust that we'd get our fill of other motherly skills like quilting or baking from other moms (thanks Teresa and Karen!).

Me? I have a good bit of my mother in me. There's also a lot of inherited characteristics from my dad in there, and things that are just my own.

**I see a lot of those parts of myself in this little gal.**

And I think as I focus on amplifying those things in a positive way, and as I keep in mind my overarching goals for our family, things will fall into place.

I love to read and write. To talk. I have strong faith in God. I love the arts and travel. I like music and dancing. Spontaneity and adventure. A little baking and some simple crafts. Being silly. For things to feel relaxed and flexible. That whole doctor thing. :)

And as the home maker around these parts, these are the influences that will shape our day to day. These are my strengths and my interests. This is the context wherein I'll find the best mom for my family.

**My love for these little people gives shape and color to our day to day.**

And the things I don't do? Well, I'll be grateful that I'm surrounded by women who fill in the gaps.

So next time I read about a mom who excels in ways that I don't, I'm just going to be glad that she's out there, and hope that my kids will benefit from someone like her. I'll learn what I can from her example, and still feel secure in the fact that I'm successfully rocking this motherhood thing in my very own way.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Motivating Patient Quote of the Week

**She loves it when we let her have her own jam session on daddy's drum set.**

I met a 77 year old woman this week who looked in very good health. She told me, however, that she'd always intended to die when she was 76. In her charming southern accent, she said:

"I always told my kids, when I turn 76, I'm out of here. My husband died at 76. My momma died at age 76. I don't like pain and suffering. I wanted to get out of here before I got too old and sick."

Clearly, she had surpassed her own dead(ha!)line, and I mentioned that she didn't seem too upset about it.

**We're all allowed to change the beat of our own drum.**

"I started eating right and exercising some," she explained with a smile. "And then I just felt so damn good, I decided to aim for 90."

Well, shoot, that sounds like pretty good sense to me.

Here's to eating right and exercising.

Here's to feeling d*mn good.

Happy Weekend!

**Our Street Sweeper is always up for a little exercise.**