Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

Good Enough is the New Perfect

Good Enough is the New PerfectI’ve been reading Hollee and Becky, as they are known on Twitter, for many months now, and they never fail to impress me.  Whether the topic is going back to work or giving up the guilt, they’re always there with an encouraging word.

Their new book, “Good Enough is the New Perfect,” brings their experiences interviewing over a hundred working mothers – and surveying over 800 more – about work, life, mothering, breathing space, and striving for the best that we can possibly be into a compact, easily digestible book that is a must for anyone beating themselves up over motherhood.  Or work.  Or the combination.

The book has hundreds of examples and showcases just as many ways of making it work.  It’s this decade’s compendium of how we’re making it work, and it’s a great read, browse, or just-carry-around-because-you’re-so-busy-book.  Check it out.  Take a breath.  And realize – you are working hard, and you can achieve great things.

Perfect is optional.

Disclosure: I was sent this book to review by Hollee and Becky (or their publicist – who remembers?); I received no compensation for this post.  Which is good, because it’s about two months late. 🙂

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Shutterfly holiday cards

You’re not going to believe this, but I’ve already got my holiday cards done this year.  Oh, not addressed and mailed or anything (it’s too soon!), but I have made and ordered them — and they might come today!

I’m so excited that I just had to tell someone! 

We did it the easy way this year.  Last week, we were all set to take pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes.  They were so adorable – Widget was a tiger and Little Bear dressed up like a dalmation puppy, with gentle puppy barks “ruff! ruff!” as he held his paws in front of him and hopped like our puppies did this summer.  Since this is the first year the kids have worn costumes, I lined ’em up and took a picture.  Since Grandma and Grandpa were here, I popped them in the picture too.  Then we took a family photo, since we hadn’t since June when Amie took our photos.  They came out so wonderfully that I decided to use them in our Christmas cards!

I hopped on Shutterfly last Monday, uploaded three family pictures, and cropped them so that even though none were perfect, there are three awesome photos on the card – one of all four of us, one a close-up of the boys (that was originally a picture with Grandma and Grandpa), and one a close-up of the hubs and me (where the kids were just not looking in the same directions).  I chose a template featuring the word JOY, added our names, and click! Done.

Done.

(There’s a lot to be said for done.)

I chose the 4×8 glossy cards this year, because of the pictures I had available, but I’ve been very happy with the 5×7 cards in years past.  There’s even a new cardstock option that seems quite elegant.  I haven’t used those before, but I ordered one with a coupon code (CARD4U) that I found on their site, and the quality is quite nice. 

My holiday cards should come today, and I can’t wait to see them!

Disclosure clause: This post is part of Shutterfly’s blogger outreach for their 2010 collection.  By including these links in the post I was going to write anyway, Shutterfly will send me a coupon for 50 free stationery cards.  Hope you don’t mind — I’ve used Shutterfly for every Christmas card we’ve sent since the kids were born, so you know I really do believe in their product.  I paid for the cards I’ve already ordered myself.

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The Melting Pot, D.C.

The lovely Miss Jessica asked me to dinner at The Melting Pot in Gaithersburg on Tuesday, and we motored up to join our friends in the private dining room. It was a good thing we had a room to ourselves, because if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that a room full of mombloggers can be ROWDY. Oh, I kid. We were perfectly well-behaved, if you don’t count a couple of extraneous squeals and overzealous hugs when a new friend or twelve walked in.

It was a wonderful night, gathering around the pots o’ cheese (I ate way too much fiesta cheese, but the Feng Shui melted cheese with white wine was awesomely delicious) with parenting expert and friend (lose the guilt!) Devra, Mother in Medicine KC, MamaLaw Justice Fergie (as seen in this month’s Southern Living!), and new friend (recently rediscovered?) Lindsay from RockandRollmama. The brilliant TeachMama, techie TechSavvyMama, “it girl” Jessica, and I posed for a photo and hashed out a bit of our BlogHer ’10 session on resource blogging. We all tried the main course, cooking shrimp, beef, chicken, and veggie pasta, but we quickly agreed that if we were going to go out together? We were much more interested in the cheese and chocolate. Particularly since not a few of us had had to cook for our children before we left for our own dinner. (Bygones.)

Between courses, I was thrilled to hug the neck of “Fried Apple Pies” Kristen; thoughtful Laurie Writes (who does, and who is available this summer if you need a writer); The Fabulous Miss S (who is, and I should visit her blog way more often!); Lara, who did not actually bring her Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom since dinner was being served, but who did tell me how she and Janine are starting to Bring it to Fruition; Jodifur, whose shoes I really should have noticed; neighbor and summerbuddy Stimey; and the sparkly Thien-Kim.

And then, the chocolate course. I still have a gooey warm feeling about consuming strawberries and bananas dipped in cookies and cream dark chocolate while catching up with Janine/@Twincident and Urbanmama, although I could have easily been distracted by the brownies dipped in amaretto. You know, since it was there and we mamas don’t like to waste food and all.

Anyways.  This post is a shout-out to my friends, who I had a lovely time with (if I didn’t mention you, please blame the chocolate), and something for me to remember:  If I lose a day (Hello, Wednesday) because I spent my spoons the night before, it’s totally worth it.

Disclosure: The Melting Pot D.C. hosted our band of mamas for dinner and dessert at no charge, with a take-home of white chocolate and spice; they’ve also set up a Girl’s Night Out package where you can enjoy exactly what we did, plus a salad I didn’t mention (because who mentions salad?), for $30/person.  Find them on Facebook. (This post cross-posted from Toddler Planet.)

Lymphedema Therapy in Washington, D.C.

Looking for a lymphedema therapist or physical therapist in Washington, D.C. or the surrounding area? I’ve seen a BUNCH of them, and these are my absolute favorite physical therapists who I would recommend to any breast cancer survivor (or new mom, cough cough) in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Washington, D.C.

Bretta FabianBretta Fabian. Bretta is my all-time favorite physical therapist. Her years of training and experience have helped her get directly to the root of the problem and know exactly what to do to help get the body back working the way it should be. Over the years, Bretta has eased the swelling in my arms, taught me manual lymph drainage techniques, stretched the cords of scar tissue running up and down my arms until they gently release (important both for lymph drainage and mobility), manipulated scar tissue on my chest (to relieve pain and unbind the muscles), put my back back in joint, and realigned my pelvis after childbirth (ooh, that was embarrasing to type. But if you’ve ever had that pain, you need to know there’s help out there, and it may only take one visit). Bretta is affiliated with the George Washington University Medical Center and works closely with their surgeons. The only drawback is that her practice does not take insurance or medicare, so you’re on your own. Bretta is at the Center for Wellness Solutions, 202-862-0770.

Vicki and Janice at The Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland. Adventist Rehab has five lymphedema specialists. I have been very happy with and can highly recommend Vicki, who trained under the founder of the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy. Vicki helped me understand how the lymph system works, both verbally and by referencing the instructive posters that surround the treatment area. Vicki is a master at lymphedema wrapping, has instructed both my husband and me in manual lymph drainage techniques, and has a cheerful, supportive demeanor in all that she does. Vicki is creative and helped me find lymphedema wrapping materials when I was allergic to everything she’d worked with before. She also returns phone calls from current patients and aids in ordering lymphedema sleeves, gloves, and nightwear garments. Adventist Rehab also has a half-dozen or more physical therapists at each site who are highly skilled in a number of different hands-on and rehabilitative therapy techniques. Janice in particular is a real treasure for hands-on work including scar tissue manipulation, muscle-energy techniques, and rehab to restore everyday function. (Both Vicki and Janice are referred to here by first name only, as they don’t have a web presence of their own.) Adventist accepts many forms of insurance with a physician’s referral. 240-864-6200.

Katina Marinos is the chief physical therapist at a small practice in Rockville called Manual and Sports Therapy. Her specialties, as you may be able to tell from the name, are manual work and sports medicine, although she worked for years with an orthopedic medicine group and has an exhaustive knowledge of the interplay between the bones and muscles, making treatment comprehensive and effective. Katina is a physical therapist who can take you from couch to marathon, as both she and her 70-some year old father have run marathons in the past few years; she trains people of all ages and abilities to run well and without injury. This family-run, woman-owned business is a comforting, encouraging place to heal, and Katina has been able to work wonders realigning my bones, neck to legs in the past few years. If your bones or muscles hurt, she’s absolutely wonderful. Katina accepts some insurance with a referral. 301-770-1613.

I’ve seen at least five other physical therapists around the area in the past three years, in a quest to find one to relieve the pain AND take my insurance, but these are my absolute favorites and it’s not fair to keep them to myself any longer. If you live outside the D.C. area, to find a lymphedema therapist, check out the National Lymphedema Network. If you need help affording lymphedema sleeves, gloves, and/or gauntlets, try the Marilyn Westbrook Garment Fund. If you think that insurance should cover these garments that cost $100-$1000 each that are necessary for breast cancer survivors and other edema suffers, please let your Congresspersons know that you support H.R. 4662, the Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost Saving Act of 2010, introduced February 23 by Congressman Larry Kissell (NC-8) and now cosponsored by Congressman Ron Paul (TX-14).

Nurture Shock

Nurture Shock, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, is a must-read. I’m still in the middle of it, but the mix of research and experience is pretty amazing. Curious about how your children learn and how to balance teaching them and letting them learn on their own? Me too. So I’m reading this book, now on sale at Amazon for $14.61.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book but was not in any way compensated for this post or the links.

Lymphedivas

Lymphediva, maker of fashionable lymphedema sleeves and gloves, has released a limited-edition sleeve with a gorgeous print that will make you feel good in several ways:

  1. Lymphedema control. That’s the key, of course, and the first requirement for a sleeve;
  2. Cool wicking fabric that keeps you comfortable even though it’s an additional layer;
  3. Gorgeous designs!
  4. For every YSC sleeve purchased, Lymphedivas will donate $10 back to the Young Survival Coalition, in honor of their 10th anniversary conference that Sarah wrote about here last week.
  5. And if you order before Monday, this fun sleeve is only $65 — but on Monday the price rises to $90.

I wore another pattern, the black paisley armsleeve, at my big meeting last week and I have to tell you, I felt totally badass. It looked like a tattoo sleeve! You know, if you’re into paisley tattoos.

Anyway, I feel like I just discovered a fashion secret for those of us with lymphedema, and I wanted to share. Lymphediva sleeves (Class I and Class II compression) and gauntlets are available at Lympehdiva.com, Lymphedema Products, and from other stores that sell products to manage lymphedema.

Disclosure: I have no marketing relationship with Lymphedivas or Lymphedema Products, and I was not compensated for this post. Lymphedivas was founded by two young breast cancer survivors with lymphedema, and I’ve been following the company’s success for several years. Now that they make Class II compression garments, I can actually own one. Or three.