Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Channeling Tina Fey

My friend Teabelly has been reading Tina Fey's Bossypants and sent me this excerpt. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry (the bit about acting was especially poignant for me!) - why is Tina Fey so awesome?

The Mother's Prayer for her Daughter

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered,
May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half
And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock N’ Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.
Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes
And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.
Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long,
For Childhood is short -- a Tiger Flower blooming
Magenta for one day --
And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever,
That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers
And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister,
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord,
That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck.
“My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental note to call me. And she will forget.

But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
~ Arthur Ashe

Thank you to Dad who served this country in the Army.
Thank you to Grampa who served as a Navy Seabee during World War II.
And thank you to all American veterans who have served and sacrificed to preserve our freedoms.

We hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend enjoying the freedom that comes with living in this wonderful country.

The Birth Survey

Shortly after discovering I was pregnant with my first child, I decided I wanted an unmedicated birth. I had hoped to use a midwife for my prenatal care, but that was not an option covered by my insurance, so I started asking around for doctors. But in this land of scheduled inductions and through-the-roof C-sections, I was hard-pressed to find a doctor who really supported my birth goals.

That's when a resource like The Birth Survey would have been invaluable. 

The Birth Survey is part of the Transparency in Maternity Care project run by Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, a volunteer group dedicated to ensuring public access to quality-of-care information specifically related to maternity care providers and institutions. The survey is intended to extend transparency in health care into the maternity-care arena by providing information that will help women make fully informed maternity-care decisions.

The survey asks women who have given birth in the past three years to provide feedback about their birth experience with a particular doctor or midwife and within a specific birth environment. Responses are then made available online to other women in their community who are deciding where and with whom to birth. Paired with this experiential data is official statistics from state departments of health listing obstetrical intervention rates at the facility level.

The survey is a little lengthy--it took me nearly 40 minutes to complete--but I felt like it was my duty to fill it out if it helps other women out there.

If you'd like to participate, take the survey. You can also check out survey results or intervention rates in your area.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meditation: Ambiguity

I wanted a perfect ending.
Now I've learned, the hard way,
that some poems don't rhyme,
and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change,
...taking the moment and making the best of it,
without knowing what's going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.
~Gilda Radner

Do you ever find that the hardest part is simply NOT knowing? Through all of our fertility struggles I've always felt that I could bear anything with patience if I just knew what the outcome would be. If I had known it would take three rounds of IVF before we conceived Mayumi, I think I could have endured those horrible treatments with a little more grace. It always seemed to be the unknown... the fear that I may have to go through the process indefinitely, never knowing how the story ended, lost in IVF limbo. But then we got our little sweet pea and everything seemed worth it.

I am trying to remember that as we continue through this process yet again. I am trying to banish fear. I am trying to live with courage in the middle of the story and have faith that there will be a happy ending. Or at least some closure. And I am trying to remember to count my blessings and be grateful for what I do have - and try to find something to appreciate about this journey...

Mayumi's in Mama's belly, back in 2007. Keep fingers crossed that we get another one of these happy ultrasounds!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Best Kind of Playground

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them...
~ Robert Frost
The other day I spent the morning at The American Horticultural Society's River Farm and was reminded of M's earlier post about the simplicity of play.

They have the loveliest children's garden there where we can spend hours and hours enjoying all of the beautiful nooks and crannies that encourage imagination and exploration.
After every visit (and we try to go regularly) I am always inspired to try to add some new feature to my own small garden, and I often wish that the urban playgrounds that we have easy access to were more than just metal slide/swing sets standing like a solitary skeleton atop some rubbarized mulch. Yes, those kinds of swings and slides can be great fun, but only for a while. Wouldn't it be so much nicer to have tire swings hanging from great tree branches and mini log cabins and flower mazes and viney arbors and weeping willows?

Dugout dens and digging pits and kid-sized picnic tables?

Remember in the "olden days" when kids just went outside to play and explore and didn't need fancy toys or expensive swingsets? Isn't it awesome when they can identify flowers and birds or pretend that they are butterflies or can watch the honeybees collecting nectar? When they can find a small private corner and have conversations with the insects and fairies?

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but that is the best kind of play, I think.

Friday, May 27, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by Soulemama).
A single photo--no words--capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Making Friends

Nothing like spending an afternoon with a new friend, catching rolly-pollies.

Am feeling grateful for:
a little girl who loves to be outside and isn't afraid to play with bugs or get dirty
the warm sunshine on my shoulders
sweet five year olds who are kind to my three year old
making it home safely
staying close no matter how many miles separate us

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

As a mother, I've found that my daughter can be quite an accurate reflection of myself. It warms my heart to see her play pretend with her dolls and bears, swaddling them in blankets, rocking them and nursing them. But other times, it makes me cringe a bit with guilt.

The other day was an example of this: Lucy threw her bear into her room, screamed, "No! Dop!! TIME OUT!!!" then she slammed the door shut and stomped away.

All I was thinking (besides what in the world did her bear do to deserve such punishment) was, "Do I sound like that?" Perhaps I should learn to be a little more gentle with Lucy's time outs.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Life's a Peach

How well does my husband know me? Well, when he was out for a walk on Sunday afternoon and saw that the one of the vendors at the farmer's market were giving away baskets of bruised and unsold peaches, he thought to himself "my wife could surely do something with those."
Three humongous baskets of early season peaches... I couldn't be more excited.
The possibilities are endless: jams, pies, chutneys... I'm open to suggestions and recipes. PLEASE!?
If only it hadn't suddenly turned miserably hot. And only May!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Everyday play

Sometimes I wonder if I'm teaching my toddler daughter enough. Most days I feel like Olive and I do many of the same activities over and over again: read books, play at the park or build block towers, to name a few. Some of the activities don't even involve interaction with her, like when she's in the baby carrier on my back while I vacuum or dancing at my legs while I cook dinner.

To help me get more creative, I signed up for Productive Parenting emails that give me age-specific activities to do with my one-and-a-half-year old. I was a bit disappointed, but also relieved when I started receiving the activity recommendations--things like read a book, make a fort, put objects in a bucket--things I was already doing!

It helped me realize that children's activities don't have to be well thought out, formal or elaborate. They can be improvised and include exposing, explaining and allowing your child to have everyday experiences. They may include parent-child interaction, but also allow plenty of room for solo play. They allow your child to learn through doing.

Mama D, Mama Q and I saw this in action when we recently took our girls to a "discovery" museum, where they pretty much played in a kid-sized town for hours. Maya, Lucy and Olive were thrilled to play pretend, interact with or observe the other kids, and try new toys.


There really wasn't anything super fancy about the place--it was just a new setting with lots of objects for the girls to experience. For the most part, we mamas just sat back and watched, letting the girls' imaginations run wild. It was a good reminder that everyday play goes a long way and that it's simpler than many of us think to help our kiddos learn.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Girl After My Own Heart

While in Utah visiting the sisters I stopped by a local yarn store and found some lovely, soft wool to work on my little Totoro bonnet. It had the requisite colorful yarn wall with lots of juicy choices, but it wasn't one of those trendy new stores that have popped up in the past few years with the nouveau knitting craze. It is an institution that has been around for decades with lots of old-school granny crafts on display. I loved it.

I spent part of Sunday afternoon trying to figure out a figure-8 cast on, as the pattern demands. Lots of unraveling and frustrated sighs on my part, but I think I finally got it.

Mayumi was romping around the playground while I enjoyed the blissful spring weather when she plopped down beside me and insisted that she wanted to knit, too.

At three and a half she doesn't quite have the motor skills or patience to get very far, but my heart soared at her interest and effort. Mommy/Daughter projects could be just around the corner! Woohoo!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sweet Treat

We consider ourselves conscientious mamas who try to feed our families wholesome, natural, nutrient-rich foods.
But occasionally there's room for indulgence.

 Like when you are walking by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and feel like you would die unless you ate a caramel apple right this instant!

Do they make extra-strength toothpaste? Or do you make up for this by eating only vegetables for the next three meals in a row? Oh boy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

{this moment}

A Friday ritual (inspired by Soulemama).
A single photo--no words--capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your "moment" in the comments for all to find and see.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mmmmmm.... Chocolate!

My friend, Nancy, maintains a gorgeous blog about gourmet dark chocolate and throughout our friendship I have learned bits and pieces about the wonders of that little bean. Since we were in this neck of the woods, we had to make a stop in at the Amano Chocolate Factory Store.

Though this designer (DELICIOUS) chocolate was a bit beyond our normal price range I was inspired by Nancy to host a little homegrown chocolate tasting of our own.

By the time we actually had time to have a tasting, Uncle Chris and all the daddies weren't around. Sorry guys! But the sisters (and the kiddos!) didn't want to miss our chance at some dark chocolate decadence.

I unwrapped and broke off pieces of five different bars and divided them into five bowls so that it could be a bit more anonymous. The girls could hardly wait...

In a chocolate tasting you want to use all five senses. First you examine the piece and observe the texture and appearance. Then you break it and listen to the snap. Next, inhale that chocolatey aroma and note what other smells it reminds you of. Let it melt for a second between your fingers and feel the texture.

Then comes time to actually taste it. Put it in your mouth and let in melt on your tongue, noting any notes or flavors it brings to mind. Sometimes it help to take notes.

We could never claim to be foodies (though we LOVE eating) - our chocolate experience has mostly been limited to M&Ms and Kit Kats. So I admit there were a few exclamations of "This smells like armpit" and "Oh, this is DISGUSTING!" We're working on refining our palates...

The consensus?
MamaQ: I adore the Amano Madagascar chocolate. Deep, complex, and fruity. Way more sophisticated than milk chocolate any day - and it better be at $8 a bar!
MamaM: My preference is for the cheap stuff - lots of sugar and cream for me, please!
MamaD: I think I need to work on my sense of taste...

Oh, brother!
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Feel Pretty

I am not a painted nails kind of girl, but how could I object when Mayumi wanted some primping time with her AuntieM?

Pretty Sunday dress, floral headband and pink fingers and toes... my little wild thing was all of a sudden a girly-girl! I guess it's been a week of glamorous transformation.

Melts my heart. Thanks AuntieM!
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