Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why We Have The "Mommy Wars"

A local morning television show posted the following on their facebook wall this morning:

"Actress Elizabeth Banks recently told a magazine reporter that moms of one child aren't "really moms". How do you feel about this comment?"

Aside from the fact that this was a snippet of a conversation (and thus taken out of context, and in fact not even what she said at all), it was posted for no other reason that to stir up a response.
Of course it was.  When you are trying to drum up comments and interaction, there is no other reason to post anything than to garner response.  It is the way of social media.

What followed was of course a lot of response.

What was amazing was the response it brought.  Within minutes I watched the thread fill up with comment after comment.  I watched women come together in support of motherhood.  Dozens of comments about how the number of children doesn't make you a mother, that you are a mother whether you have one child or many, on and on along those lines.
Yes!  Mothers supporting each other!  Love and encouragement!

And then this comment.
 "BS! We're better moms because we can give the child all they need in life without splitting the time amongst several other kids."

 Oh yeah.  That helps the cause.
Come on.  Can't we all just get along?

You just had a bunch of people supporting you choosing to have one child, no matter how many they have themselves and this is how you reply?

There were other comments that, while well-intentioned, missed the mark and reminded me why we have these issues in the first place.
A few people mentioned that anyone who carried a child inside them for nine months is a mother.
Well, yes, but my friends who have adopted children are just as much mothers as those who carried their children inside them.
A few people made comments about how breastfeeding their one child throughout the night for months made them very much a mother even though they only have one child.
Well, yes again, but I also know plenty of people who didn't breastfeed their children who are very much mothers.

I also know women who do not have any of their own children, but fill the role of "mother".

The original comment from Elizabeth Banks was as follows:

 “Two is very different from one. When you have one kid, you feel like you can jet set around and you can throw him on the hip and you get your life done,” the actress told People. “You don’t realize how easy one is until you have two. Now I’m really a mom. Oh, I am a mom now! This is for serious — I am responsible for two people now.”

Yeah.  The nerve of reflecting on her own personal experience! (please read my sarcasm)

Reflecting on my personal experience, I would have to agree.  You don't understand the complexities of multiple children until/unless you have multiple children.  But that's true of anything in life.  You don't truly understand what something is unless you have experienced it yourself.  And even if you have, you only understand your experience with it.  I have had children who were more work by themselves than two or three of my other children put together!  
Wait, did I just say that?
One child could be more difficult than two or three?
Yup.  I did.

And even with a pretty chill kid, there are challenges that come with having only one child that you don't have when you have multiple children.  I remember when Malia was 4 years old and I was expecting Jacob (#4) and I had a friend with just one child the same age as Malia.  She told me how lucky I was to have 3 kids so close together because they had each other.  She told me how difficult it was to ever get anything done because her one child always wanted her attention, always wanted her to play with him, never had anyone to play with besides her unless she arranged for a play date-and we lived in an area with very few children.  That had never even crossed my mind!  All I saw was how she had the convenience of only having to take one child to the store, to run errands, to clean up after...  It was a nice dose of perspective.

So does it matter that that one chick (who deleted her comment after a while!) thinks she's a better mom than me?  No.  Because I know that I am the best mom for these crazy kids.  And it's not because I popped them out of my body or because I breastfed them or any of those other things that so many people want to put of the checklist of what makes a "good" mom.  It's because I love them.

Love your kids.  And play nice with other mommies.  Be the supportive voice for good.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Running in 2013

In theory, this should be my biggest running year yet.

I have this pipe dream of a race calendar....anyone want to sponsor me?
I kid.
Kind of.
'Cause if someone really wants to pay for my races I won't argue that.

I was totally bummed when I got the email telling me that I didn't get into Ogden Marathon.  So imagine my joy when not all of those that did get in went forward to register and I landed in the second round drawing!  Yahoo!

So Ogden is a for sure on May 18th.
Also on the for sure list is the Wasatch Back Ragnar in June.  So. dang. excited.

And at this point, well, that's all that is for sure.  Aaron gave me the big fat thumb's up on another marathon in March, the one I mentioned I hadn't registered for yet.  I am training as though I will be running it, so hopefully we can make that work.  It would help if my sweet baby girl that was such a stellar sleeper when she was a few months old would get back to being a stellar sleeper so that I could get some sleep.  Or heck, just be an ok sleeper.  This whole up every 2hrs thing is ridiculous.

The pipe dream schedule for this year would be:

Sand Hollow Marathon - March
Red Mountain 50k - April
Ogden Marathon - May
Pony Express 5k - June
Drop 13 Half Marathon - June
Wasatch Back Ragnar - June
Layton Marathon - August
Big Cottonwood Half Marathon - September
St George Marathon - October
Pony Express Trail 50miler - October

With a couple of small local (shorter) races with the kids in the summer.

Yeah....I know.
Really I do.
Slightly ambitious.
Both physically and financially.  (but I am good at finding cheap races!  A marathon for $60!)
Like I said, pipe dream.
The likelihood of all of those actually happening is about as high as Congress making any headway this year.  Actually my odds are probably better than theirs.

But I am loving my current mindset of running these solely for fun, not for time.  I was so worried about finish time when I ran that first marathon (well, till I found out I was pregnant, then I wasn't quite as focused on time, though still super aware of what I hoped to hit).  It's kind of fun to just be out on training runs for the sake of running and not watching mile splits.  It's like I've jumped back to that place I finally arrived at while pregnant with Emily and I quit watching the clock.  It's definitely not making me any faster, but hey, you can't have everything.  Distance is increasing again and my body is cooperating, and that makes me happy.

I do need a new half PR for sure.  I feel like I've never really actually raced a half.  I've only actually done two, the first being my first double digit run ever and the second being 3 months after giving birth to my 9th child.  Yeah, I need to actually race one.  The Drop 13 Half and Big Cottonwood Half are the same course, a course on which I know I could kill my previous PR.  Gotta get one of those two in for sure.
St. George marathon is a lottery, so getting in there is a matter of keeping my fingers crossed.  I do have one (possibly two?!) of my kids that have expressed interest in doing that as well, so if that were to work out it would feed nicely into running that at a slow easy pace and using it as a training run for that ultra a couple of weeks later.

I definitely want to log my first ultra, though sadly the one I had planned (Goblin Valley) has been canceled indefinitely.  Serious bummer.

We'll see how things shape up.  Life always seems to throw a wrench into any plans I make, so I'm getting over my type A tendencies and flying by the seat of my pants.  Training with plans in mind and registering with just days to spare makes total sense, doesn't it?


Monday, January 14, 2013

My boy the foodie and reading bingo

Anyone who knows me well knows that I miss a lot of aspects of homeschooling.  They also know that I have the utmost appreciation for teachers, because I know how challenging it can be to teach a half a dozen kids who you know intimately and they are up to the challenge of taking on 30(ish) children every day who start out the school year as strangers.

I greatly appreciate teachers and teaching teams that make learning more than just a dull checklist of requirements for the kids to pass off.

I also appreciate things that help my children branch out a bit.
Taylor is a pretty typical 12 year old boy.  And as such he really enjoys graphic novels.
(I'm still baffled at the attraction there, but what do I know?)

In effort to get seventh graders to branch out a bit, the English teachers at our middle school do what they call Reading Bingo.  Instead of assigning specific books for this unit, the kids have a bingo card  and they must achieve bingo by reading the genres in their chosen row, with extra credit for blackout.

One of the options is a cookbook!

No, you don't have to read the whole thing, but you must read through a specified number of recipes and then make one of them.
You know I adore this.

It just so happens that something not so typical about my 12 year old son is that he knows his way around the kitchen.  The boy is a foodie in training.  Above all, the kid can bake!  Which you should also know I love.  Seriously, seriously love.

I'm still reconciling the fact that the kid took the cookie recipe I'm known for and somehow makes them just a little bit better.

Round two of reading bingo was capped off with the cookbook category again.  And he wanted an introduction to cheesecake.  Be still my heart.

Being the wise soul that he is, he chose a cookbook that includes some of my recipes.  Good boy.
He decided on Chocolate Chip Cheesecake.

One catch though-my recipe uses an Oreo cookie crumb crust and we were all out of Oreos.  Dang.
Time for a little improv.
I created a recipe for a chocolate shortbread crust and sent him to work.

He is always gets absolutely everything out before he starts.

The chocolate shortbread crust?

Completely Ah-mazing.  I will never use the Oreo crust again.

He paid close attention to the "add gradually while mixing" instructions as we discussed the magic of appropriately whipping the cream cheese.

And the artist in him was very picky about placing the top chocolate chips in perfect proximity to each other.

The finished product-not too shabby for a first cheesecake.
Yes, unfortunately we got the cracking, which I haven't experienced with this one before.  Next time I will teach him the art of the water bath and fix that.

The good news is that it tasted completely fabulous.
But really, how can you go wrong with chocolate chip cheesecake?


Thursday, January 10, 2013

I found my cold temperature running threshold

Bad news:  It didn't warm up this past weekend like it was supposed to.
At 9am it was -10.  Geez.

In effort to get my long run out of the way for the day, I waited an hour till it had warmed up a few degrees, layered myself up till I felt like the kid from Christmas Story and headed out.
Half a mile in my face mask was frozen stiff.
One mile out I was done.  Wasn't happening!
Of course that meant I had another mile to go to get back home, but that meant two less dreadmill miles.

Turns out it was still pretty cold.  -6 is officially too cold for me when it comes to running.

Pardon my finger in the way, it was frozen.
(and apparently I need to wax my face.  Or perhaps I should leave it for insulation for winter running?  And is that a snotsicle?)

Good news:  It did warm up a little more.  By the afternoon we were up to 10!  It felt practically balmy out there after my first venture out in the morning.  So I layered back up and headed out.  Ten degrees is doable.  Cold to be sure, but doable.
I would share a picture of how beautiful the frozen fields and hills that I ran through were, but my phone froze.
As did my water bottles.

But hey, 14 miles done!

I'll have to work on my treadmill aversion next week when it's supposed to get really cold.  Oh goodie.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lincoln goes to the hospital and we're all baffled

About a month and a half ago Lincoln woke up with a "bug bite" just below his knee.  It was annoying, but we thought not much of it as, well,  it happens.  The weather had been warmer again, kids had been playing outside soaking up every last minute of comfortable weather, we figured something got him there.  It was a little swollen, which is the norm for him.

But the next day it was really swollen.
And the third day it was gone.

Or rather, he called me in and said "mom-my bug bite moved!"
It had moved up on his thigh, no sign of anything where that "bug bite" had been.
It was obviously not a bug bite.

Then he mentioned that he had a few more "bug bites" on his back and one on his arm.

We kept a close eye on him, and after two days he had broken out in some pretty serious hives.

All over.

It was bad enough that we took him in to get checked out.  The dr we saw said it looked like something stemming from an oral allergy, but he hadn't had anything new, so we were a bit mystified.  We went the prednisone and benadryl route, saw improvement over the next few days and made an appointment with the first allergist that had a quick opening.
Basic food allergy testing revealed a big fat nothing.
I think the dr thought I was disappointed that he didn't have an answer for me, which I suppose it would have been convenient if he did, but mostly I was just happy that we could rule out those things as an issue.  Totally revamping Lincoln's eating was not something I wanted to mess with!

Fast forward two weeks.
"Mom, I feel kind of itchy."
Hmm.  A spot.  Another spot.

And then they started cropping up on his scalp.

They just kept coming.

Over about 8 hours they had gotten so bad that we knew this wasn't one to just wait out.

This was bad enough that we headed for the ER.  Which was a good thing, as over the course of the nearly an hour drive, he continued to get worse.
The crowning moment was when Aaron and Lincoln walked in, started the check in process (where it's always nice and calm and slow paced unless you have someone obviously dying), and upon them questioning if the reaction was severe Lincoln proceeded to puke all over the desk.  Nice.

The good news is he didn't die.
He ended up anaphlyactic, requiring two shots of epinepherine to calm the reaction because the first one just wasn't cutting it.
Some time in the PICU, some work with cardiologists after concern came up about his heart rhythms, and a bunch of totally baffled drs consumed the next couple of days.
Never a dull moment!
His poor face was so swollen!

He did thoroughly enjoy his stay in the hospital once he was feeling a little better.  The day I was there with him he was so excited to show me the call button for the nurses.  He said "watch this mom!  It's like they are servants!"  Um, well, not exactly so let's quit pushing that button kiddo!  They were sweet as could be and really spoiled him.  And while he was there he got a visit from a few of the Utah Jazz players, the Jazz Bear and a few of the dancers.
(not sure if this will work, but HERE at 2:30 is Lincoln)
Add to that free access to tv and video games and a menu to pick meals and snacks from and he was living pretty large.

All's well that ends well though, we've been in the clear for a few weeks.  We do keep epi pens on hand now just in case, especially since we have no clue what cause this or what could cause it again, but thankfully we haven't had need for them at this point.
We are still completely stumped.  We get to go do some follow up with and allergist and immunologist at the end of the week, so maybe we will get an idea there.  The weirdest thing is that there is a possibility that this all may have been due to a virus.  Strange.


Friday, January 4, 2013

It's cold

Which is a valid excuse for being non functional, right?

Well, not completely non functional.  My house is still standing, my kids successfully returned to school yesterday, everyone here is still alive...I've got the basics covered.  And we started prepping to paint parts of the house (read: filling the giant dents in all of the walls thanks to my herd of darlings), so I guess that's a step above basics.

Last winter allowed us to slip into sissy mode here.  It never really got cold.  Sure we spent plenty of time with below freezing temps, but it never got much colder than 20s-30s.  It was by far the warmest winter we've had since we moved here 7 years ago, and from what I remember the warmest for some time before that.
This year we've returned to cold.
Here was the balmy projected start to the year.

The next day the weather peeps realized that it was going to be a little colder.

Turns out that was optimistic.
Exceptionally optimistic!  On Wednesday we barely made it above zero, and yesterday we never did.  27??  What happened to 27?  That sounds like paradise right now!
Currently I'm looking at -8, with hopes of eeking above the teens for the weekend as the next snow storm rolls in.
We are back to the cold of a couple of years ago when I skipped the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving because it was 3.  Yes, three degrees.  In Novemeber.  My back door was frozen shut that day.  That was the year that our pipes inside the house froze.
After it being warm enough on December 1st to run in a skirt this is a rude return to reality.

We have this little game going on in our neighborhood where people share pictures from their car thermometers.
This is the lowest that hubby has been able to capture:

The winner so far this week:

Yep, that's -17.  What the?!?

When it was -15 the other night I made a comment to a friend that I'm glad I don't live where it gets really cold.  She told me that the current temperature in Barrow Alaska at that moment was -8.  Ouch.  But I am still grateful that I don't live where people are currently looking at -20 or colder, before windchill.  I'll take my little corner of the earth thank you!
Even if this is happening *inside* my house

I was able to start the year with an awesome run on Tuesday, even though temps were in the single digits.  I came home with ice on my eyelashes and cheeks (uh, time to get waxed perhaps?), but I was layered well enough that I was comfortable enough to be out there.
When it still below zero at noon yesterday I realized that I need to become better friends with my treadmill.

The good news is that it should warm up enough this weekend so I can do my long run outside.  I think I must have been dreaming of last winter when I decided that training for a March marathon as motivation to keep my running up over the winter was a great idea.  I can't decide if it is brilliance or cowardice that I haven't actually registered and paid for said marathon so I have an out if I can't hack it. It is the first step to big running plans this spring though, so I'm pushing forward and planning on it.

I hope you're warmer than I am!