Monday, November 23, 2015

That sounds miserable, so I'm totally in

If you're a long time reader, you remember how I have raised funds for the Semper Fi Fund through racing. I haven't focused much energy on it this year, and I'd like to change that, or at least start 2016 with a bang by raising some money for injured Marines and their families.

On 30 January 2015, I will participate in the Endless Winter 6 Hour race. If this sounds familiar, it's because I do the Endless Summer 6 Hour race every July. They decided to hold a winter event this year, not for profit, but to raise money for the Link Maryland Food Bank. Running in a 4 mile loop in the dead of winter sounds miserable, so I'm totally stoked to do this.

I just ran the Richmond Half Marathon last weekend (1:58 for those keeping track at home) and that's given me a false sense of running ability.

I'll be thrilled to get any donations to the Semper Fi Fund, and I'm also taking suggestions for a blog-hosted fundraiser. I did a guessing game the last time I ran a 6 hour race where it cost $5 for a guess and the person who got the closest to my actual mileage won a prize. I also did a raffle before, which was mostly running related gear.

Which would be your choice, a mileage guessing game, or a raffle?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sugar Fest 2015 with Aquafresh®

It's been well documented that I love Halloween.

It's the most exciting day of the year

Halloween might be the perfect holiday because you get the enjoy the anticipation and planning (what costume to wear!) but there is no gift buying stress or travel involved. Really though, we all know the real reason I love Halloween so much.

In prior years, I lucked out with the candy haul because the kids were too small to even care.

Dazed and confused

Now that the kids are old enough to care about eating their own candy, it's time for me to evaluate my priorities as a mother.

I have a few choices:

1. Channel my inner evil stepmother and deny the kids any enjoyment in the form of sugar. I know I can do this, remember how Cordelia celebrated with olives last year?

My life is the worst

2. Hide most of the candy. If they don't see it, then I can eat it whenever I can find a moment to myself.

3. Stock up on surplus candy so the kids can enjoy their own stash without parents partaking.

Yeah, I agree. #3 is just silly.

I do have some helpful tips for handing out candy. I don't actually do most of this, but that's because I'm one of those people who just leaves a bowl of candy out on the porch. I don't want to stay home and hand out candy and chance missing out on priceless childhood moments like the time that Cordelia just full out waltzed into someone's house like she lived there when they opened the door for trick or treaters.

1. Have some small toys for the really little kids. One of our neighbors hands out tiny seasonal rubber ducks to the toddlers and it's a huge hit. We still have that duck two years later.

2. Prepackage the candy. Instead of letting the kids hem and haw over the decision while they stand on your porch, you can just put two or three pieces of candy in a bag for easy distribution.

3. Scare the crap out of the older kids. I have such grand plans for this once my kids are old enough to think it's uncool to have me along for trick or treating.

For all of this Halloween fun, I feel better knowing that my kids can protect their teeth from any sugar damage by brushing with a toothpaste like Aquafresh®. In fact, I think Halloween night is probably the most important day of the year for your toothbrush.

I don't brush my teeth. Smell my breath. SMELL IT.

How are you planning on protecting your teeth this Halloween? Leave a comment for a chance to win $100!
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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's only a thing if you make it a thing

In general, I don't really buy into making some kind of social statement via my children. If your little boy wants Elsa toys and you get them for him, then add a gold star to your "Reasonable Human" chart. If you take his interest in "girl" stuff as a chance to dress him up as a princess and plaster that all over social media to "normalize it" or "feed on attention" then maybe look at your motivations.

That being said, my five year old is obsessed with "boy" things. I don't really agree that super heroes and Star Wars are limited to boys because I grew up as a fan too. She's limited on clothing with her favorite characters, so I just get her stuff from the boy's section. I'm not making a statement here, I'm just getting her something she likes.

For Halloween, Faith asked to be Spiderman. Of course after I got the costume, she changed her mind and wanted to be a Storm Trooper, but we compromised by agreeing that she can be a Storm Trooper next year instead. She doesn't want to be Spider Girl (because that's super lame) so I got her a boy's costume. She loves it.

Over the weekend I took Faith to a local Halloween event and went to Target after we were done. During that outing, Faith got so many comments from strangers on her costume choice. Here's the thing: almost every comment was positive "you go girl" statement, so I'm not saying people were negative about it. BUT (there is always but) before this, Faith had absolutely no idea that she was doing anything noteworthy and I don't think she needs to have that pointed out to her. We aren't making a statement, we are just letting her have autonomy of choice for simple things like clothing and costumes and encouraging her to like what she likes.

For what it's worth, princess-obsessed Cordelia picked out a Hulk costume for Saturday. I'm just riding on this bus, not steering it.

My little warrior princess

So let's stop making things into things. Kids are weird, let them be weird and don't point it out to them. Unless they won't stop picking their nose. That shit is nasty and they need to stop already.

Thoughts? Opinions? Let's discuss how the Spiderman costume comes with a six pack, but the princess costumes don't come with a nice rack.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Current Mood

In a breaking news report from Captain Obvious, my ability to concentrate on blog posts has been a little spotty lately. It's a combination of censoring myself and also feeling like I haven't done it enough and now there is too much to say. It's a mental bottleneck.

Also, my mood at night lately hasn't been very productive to "doing things".

I've been reasonably productive in life. I even won my Fit Bit challenge week thing for the first time, so basically I'm a bad ass.

I also ran a small 5K and felt like a special snowflake for a brief moment in time.

But seriously, my time was almost 3 minutes off my PR, so while I'm excited that I won 2nd overall, I'm not going to mark it on my list of lifetime accomplishments.

We've been to a lot of pumpkin patches recently. It's the thing to do in October with small kids.

Cordelia's birthday party later this month will involve more pumpkins, which fits in nicely with the "Basic White Girl" theme I picked for it. Ok, in all seriousness the theme is actually "Superhero Princess Bouncy Castle". If you spent five minutes with Cordelia, you'd hear all about it. Life lesson: don't tell a toddler about a birthday party more than 24 hours in advance. Learn from me.

My kids have hit a sweet patch of really getting along. I'm not sure how long it will last, or if it's the new normal. Either way, I'm enjoying. Until they gang up on me.

We know which one is the mastermind

I have a half marathon next month, so at some point I should do a post on my training for that. It involves a lot of walking. I'll have to report back on the success of that approach. I'm essentially doing the mileage of a traditional half marathon training plan, but with only one day of actual running. No clue on if that will work.

As a parting note, I love these and whenever I need a laugh, I look at these two:

What's your current mood? I'm feeling like that couch raccoon.

Monday, October 5, 2015

My Bit is getting so Fit

Since at heart I'm a lemming, I recently got a Fit Bit. I had all of these lofty ideas that having a Fit Bit would encourage me to take the long way to the bathroom at work and walk the dog at night after the kids go to bed. It turns out that the Fit Bit doesn't change anything I do, but it does make me feel resentful and angry about my normal level of activity.

On a normal work day, I'm up at 5am working out. Then I get myself ready for work and the kids ready for school. It's a pretty basic morning routine. However basic, there isn't room for adding any additional activity unless they come out with a Flintstones style minivan.

So now instead of being satisfied with myself for getting up early to workout, I instead start the day feel vaguely cheated because the Fit Bit didn't count all my treadmill steps. Sure, it counted a lot of them, but not ALL. What's the point of doing anything if you don't get full credit??

Pretty much the bulk of my time with my Fit Bit has involved me calling it a liar. If I wake up and feel like I got shitty sleep, I don't need some smug piece of technology to say "Great night of sleep, you met your goal!"

After two weeks of Fit Bit ownership, here are my overall thoughts:

  • I really move my arms a lot when I talk. I never noticed before, but now I'm oddly self conscious about it.
  • I don't move my left arm much when I run with Peanut. I took Peanut for a 7 mile run on Saturday and got Fit Bit credit for 4 miles.

  • Fit Bit Challenge groups are hilariously fun. Just owning a Fit Bit didn't motivate me, but fucking with friends makes all that extra effort worthwhile. Even if I know I'm too busy at work to put up a good fight, I love seeing other people being insane about steps.
  • I really want to compare the kids. I want to make Faith wear the Fit Bit for a day, and then Cordelia. For science.
So far I don't regret joining the Fit Bit craze. If nothing else, it's motivated me to figure out how to work the walking treadmill desk station at work. I feel like a huge dumbass using it and I'm the weirdo who is sweaty in her work clothes from walking 2.0mph, but considering that it's about 15 steps the bathroom from my office, it's this or just sitting all day.

Which kid do you think would win the daily step count? Logically, I'd say Faith because at 5, she runs a lot faster. But since the currency is steps, I don't want to rule out Cordelia and her tiny little stride.

Who came up with the 10,000 step goal? Why is that the magic number? I've googled and found nothing scientific.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Snarking Blackhole

If you're reading this, you're probably a fan of reading blogs. If you read blogs, then you probably know about the snark site GOMI. I've blogged about the practice of hate reading before and I've never made a secret of my habit of keeping up with many of the threads on that site. As I became bored with hate reading, I spent more time on the "Members Only" threads about TV shows and other non-blog related topics.

Recently, a schism occurred and several hundred users migrated over to a subform called "Blog Snark" on Reddit. I only knew about it because I saw one of the links on a thread before they were all deleted.

What was the catalyst for this?

In my opinion, this was bound to happen and I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. GOMI was fun at first, but like some of the popular subreddits (like r/music), it is susceptible to group think and circular logic. On Reddit, if the "hive mind" doesn't agree with a certain sentiment, they will downvote it into oblivion. On GOMI, dissenters are often called "white knights" when they offer a contrary viewpoint or justify the actions of a blogger, even simple things like pointing out overlooked facts.

I think the primary catalyst for this Reddit move is two-fold:

1. The issues with the site. A main reason that I only read GOMI occasionally is that the site is so slow and has so many issues. A few times of typing out a long comment and having it disappear was enough to make me stop participating and just lurk instead.

2. Bannings. For a site that was founded on the principle of being an open forum for airing criticisms, there have been a disturbing amount of reports of users being banned for questioning things or angering the wrong person.

Why would I believe that someone could be banned from GOMI for a small infraction? I'm one to question my sources and I like to think I have some critical thinking skills. I'm inclined to believe it because I got banned from GOMI chat.

This was a few years ago, but the gist of it was that I didn't realize that the chat auto-loaded when I logged on to the site. I never used the chat feature until one day I got a message from a GOMI user asking me "Why are you always lurking about in chat??" and when I logged in after that I got a message that I was banned. I didn't care because I didn't use chat anyway, but I thought it was weird because usually I earn things like banning and I know exactly why.

Do I agree with the move to Reddit?

Honestly, I'm just an observer and I'm not Team GOMI or Team Reddit.

GOMI threads get boring (yet weird) because the users get each other so riled up about trivial stuff. It's like in an attempt to keep the conversation going, they go over the line from reasonable criticism to "I went through XX blogger's trash and she has been LYING about recycling her plastics!"

The Reddit board isn't perfect either. The users are too focused (in my opinion) on the admin of GOMI and her personal life. It overshadows the legitimate complaints of poor site performance and shady past dealings like the shutdown of Smugnom.

I prefer Reddit as a whole to most other places online, so to that effect I would prefer a Reddit board for blog snark. I haven't commented on the r/blogsnark yet, mostly because I don't want people combing through my Reddit history and realizing how deep my nerdiness goes. I expect to see the reddit subforum to branch off shortly, much like the division on Reddit between the people who just watch the show Game of Thrones and the people who obsess about tiny details in the books (seriously, some people write essays on book-based theories). I don't even care if outsiders think that's weird, I'm totally on board with Clegane-bowl hype.

Why are you writing about this?

Well, because I figure a good amount of my readers (whoever is left) are interested in this, and it was either this topic or a boring weekend recap. This is also a fun test to see if I can get myself banned from GOMI.

Were you aware of the GOMI/Reddit issues? What are your thoughts? I don't even know how to ban people from my blog, so go crazy in the comments.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

8 Things to Never Ask a SAHM

I wrote a follow up post for my 8 Things to Never Ask a Working Mother over a Fit Bottomed Mamas. Hopefully this will also be accused of furthering the Mommy Wars, which sounds fun, like Risk but with organic snacks.

8 Things to Never Ask a Stay at Home Mother

If you read my first post about things to never ask a working mom, you’re prepared for the “stay at home mom” edition. I held that prestigious job title for five years so I had a chance to hear a wide variety of reactions. In my experience, I had a pretty positive reception to telling people that I wasn’t working, which is interesting on a anthropological level. Why are we harder on working moms than SAHMs? That may have been just my experience, so let’s get to the list:

1. So what do you do all day?

Do you honestly want a detailed blow by blow of our day, or are you just trying to remind me that you can’t even fathom what it’s like to not have a job? Do you ask the same question of someone who works full time in a daycare? Spoiler: we do basically the same fucking thing, but with less oversight and a whole lot less pay.  

2. Oh, since you’re at home during the week, you can do [fill in the blank errand].

Read the rest over at Fit Bottomed Mama