Mallory and I have spent a good deal of time talking about the terrors of becoming pregnant too soon after the first. I’ve repeatedly expressed that “two under two” (two kids under the age of two) is my worst nightmare.
When my husband and I finally decided to start trying to conceive (TTC) for our first child I was a little worried I’d have trouble getting pregnant. I have endometriosis (a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus) and have been receiving treatment for it for more than half my life. When my doctor gave me the green light to start trying I bought an ovulation monitor to help track my cycle to give us a better chance for conceiving. I loved how accurate the monitor was and I found it fascinating to track the changes in my body from day-to-day. The downside to using the monitor was peeing on a stick (POAS) every morning and buying a new test kit every month (there is a limited supply of one-use strips). I just looked back at my Amazon history and found that I spent hundreds of dollars on ovulation test kits over the course of our TTC period. I used multiple ovulation tests, took my basal body temperature every day, and even gave up alcohol and caffeine during the process. It took me almost a year to get pregnant. As much as I think it was worth it because it resulted in my beautiful daughter, I also think it is insane to spend that much time and money on baby-making, a thing that happens by accident to most people.
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that is easily overlooked when it comes to decorating and making a big fuss. You probably still have some Halloween candy lingering in the pantry and a decoration or two out that you’ve been too lazy to put away and are just calling it a “fall pumpkin”now instead of a Jack-o-lantern. Now is the time we start to rack our brains for Christmas gift ideas and Thanksgiving is just an event that falls in the middle of all this chaos.
My husband and I live on the opposite side of the country from our families so we won’t be able to celebrate and give thanks with them this year. I was almost going to ignore that Thanksgiving was even happening, but some of our dear friends, who we share this military life with, have invited us to spend the day with them and their family. It feels nice to have a place to go and share the day with friends and for that I am truly thankful.
So now I’m ready to get in the Thanksgiving mood. I pulled out all my fall napkins and tablecloth, but the house still doesn’t have that fall feel that I was hoping for…maybe it’s all the 90 degree days we have been having. I love FamilyFun‘s craft projects because they are usually pretty easy and I seem to always have the supplies lying around the house. For instance, I have 4 larges vases of pine cones sitting on my mantle from last Christmas. I’ve been trying to justify that it is an “all-year” decoration, but you and I both know I’m just lazy. FamilyFun Magazine gave me the idea to put those pine cones to good use by making a Fall Garland (see instructions below).
In our household, the time we get to spend reading to our son is very important. We always get our 20 minutes (at least) of reading in a day. Over the past two years of his young life, I’ve tried to bolster my son’s book collection on a budget. I mostly buy books when they are on sale and especially if I can find someone selling used books in bulk. When I do buy new books, It’s usually because I’m looking for something specific to fill a void in our collection–a certain topic, educational, or maybe a title reminiscent of my own childhood.
When I got a peek at The Barefoot Book of Children, I knew I wanted it on our bookshelf.
If you spend time regularly reading our antics on this blog, you’ve seen us mention our running club, Stroller Warriors, from time to time. We are regularly surrounded by women far more inspirational and athletically inclined than we will ever be. Proof of that is two of our fellow Badass Mother Runners who had the opportunity to run the Marine Corps Marathon last weekend.
We were wondering all about it, so asked them to share their experience with us:
I’m loving this “Fall-like” weather we’ve had recently in San Diego. It has made running in the morning a lot more enjoyable. Last week while my husband and I are were out at one of our favorite running spots, we encountered one of the local high school cross country teams. I think just seeing the kids out practicing put a pep in both of our steps. We both ran cross country in high school and college and just seeing the young runners float by made me miss those glory days. I remember when I liked running so hard it made me want to vomit. I ran through illnesses and injuries and pushed myself further than I probably should. If you told me it would be difficult or even impossible to accomplish, I’d be sure to prove you wrong. These days I run as fast as a snail and the slightest ache or pain has me making excuses. Having a running group to lean on has been so helpful and motivating, but more on that in a bit.
Running is a great time to reflect on your day, your week, or even your life. During this particular run I was thinking back on how fit and fast I used to be. I remember all the cute running shorts I used to have. Now I wouldn’t dare try to run in a pair of “booty” shorts. My poor thunder thighs would be so chaffed. After the third time the high school girls sprinted by me in their short shorts and sports bras, I stopped feeling bad about my current abilities and rather started feeling proud as I looked back on all that I’ve accomplished and all that I plan to do. I was out there on the same path, in the early morning, pushing a stroller and battling morning sickness with every stride. “These girls got nothing on me!” It has been amazing to watch my body change over the years through age, pregnancy, and child birth. I thought having a baby would slow me down and keep me from running, but it has really done the opposite. Since my baby was born 9 months ago I have completed a 10K, several 5Ks, a 4 Miler over a bridge, and a Half Marathon.
I feel like I’ve been comparing myself to younger girls my whole life and it really needs to stop. I will never forget my high school cross country coach, Mr. Reynolds, telling me the two reasons I would not make “All-State” my Senior year: 1) I was not one of the fastest high school runners in the state and 2) they were allowing middle schoolers to compete and from an anatomy stand point these girls were at an advantage because they hadn’t fully gone through puberty and their hips weren’t as wide as mine. I was shocked! I never expected him to actually tell me I did not have a chance, much less use my body shape to make his point. I realize now, after a few Google searches, that Mr. Reynolds wasn’t as full of bologna as I had believed. It’s known as the “obstetrics dilemma”: humans give birth to ginormous babies (compared to other species) and childbirth is easier for woman with much wider hips, but Anthropologists have believed for some time now that wide enough hips for childbirth is bad for bipedalism. However, a recent study by Kristi Lewton and her team at Boston University found no connection at all between hip width and efficiency: wide-hipped runners moved just as well as their narrow-hipped peers (you can find the full article here). I found this out for myself in 2004 when I shocked the hell out of Mr. Reynolds by beating the narrow-hipped middle schoolers, making the “All-State” team, and running my fastest 5K time ever, wide hips and all!
I’ve long since worried about my speed while running. I mostly focus now on my endurance and running long distances. I love seeing how far I can actually run. I have completed a few ultramarathons and would love to do more in the future. When I lived in Maryland I ran with an ultra trail group called the Frederick Steeplechasers. I’ve never met a group that loved running as much as they do. My husband and I were half the age of most of the runners and they could kick our butts on any given day. Some of these folks are running faster and farther in their 50s and 60s than they ever did in their 20s. It is amazing and encouraging to see such endurance and passion in other runners who are more senior. I can’t wait to see what I’m capable of at their age.
Claire and I are now a part of Stroller Warriors running club (like I mentioned in a previous post). We are a group of women with all abilities, shapes, and sizes. Some of the ladies are working on their first 5K while others are training for their first 50K! These women are so inspiring and I love that we keep each other accountable. Claire will be interviewing two ladies from the group who just ran the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. I’m excited to hear about their experience. Women are really taking over when it comes to marathons and longer distances. It turns out our bodies were made for it. Here are some fun facts about why women are good distance runners:
1. Women generally have a larger surface area to mass ratio, which enables heat to dissipate more easily, meaning women are generally better at coping with heat. (From ultrarunner, registered dietician and sports nutritionist, and Training Food author Renee McGregor)
2. Shorter legs (compared to men) are seen as advantage as they are more suited for a quicker turnover, and a faster cadence will ensure efficient use of the elastic energy created during our running stride. (From Running Reborn by Shane Benzie)
3. Women use about 75% more fat than men while running, this means consistent and almost limitless energy release. (From The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik)
I guess my point to all this rambling is this: I sure do miss running the way I did in high school, but when it comes to running, my glory days are not behind me. I plan on running many, many more miles with my wide hips, thunder thighs, and babies in tow. Running is just one of those things you can do at any point in your life and with a little bit of training you might not be too bad at it.