Thursday, July 2, 2015

Water Baby

I have two big kids who cry when they accidentally get their faces wet while swimming, who refuse to play in splash pads, and who only recently decided they are brave enough to run through sprinklers.
And then, I have a water baby.
I cannot get over this little man. He is fearless, uncomplaining, and go-get-'em. At a park today, he was trying to drink from the sprinklers and got his mouth stuck on the sprinkler head (yep, I'm a super good Mom). The moment I pried his screaming face off the sprinkler, he punch-kicked his way out of my arms and back over to get another drink.
He knows what he wants, and what he wants is WATER, gosh darn it!
And who can blame him? According to the weatherman it's ONE BAZILLION degrees in Salt Lake City everyday this month!
Wow! What an amazing and real weather forecast!
(Question: Are there still weathermen? Or just apps that tell you weather?)
I'm excited to get out of this sun-baked valley this weekend and head up to Idaho with my in-laws. I suspect my baby will throw himself head first into a lake. He'll just have to wear a life jacket at all times, even when he's sleeping.



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mountain Lake Campin'

Last weekend, Travis described to me a recent work trip he'd taken into a beautiful national forest - full of mountain lakes and tall trees. "I wish we could go together!" he said. 
"Well, let's go now then," I said.  This was approximately 24 hours after getting my new life-changing diagnoses of Celiacs disease, and frankly- sitting at home, perusing the grocery store, or being visited by sympathetic friends all sounded miserable. 
I made a quick grocery list. Fruits, veggies, chips and salsa, hot dogs (bunless), marshmallows (graham crackerless) and oatmeal, and we were ready to go. Gluten free, check. We didn't actually head up to Ashley National Forest, deciding that the three hour trip wasn't worth it for the overnight trip- instead we drove about an hour and a half north to Washington Lake. We drove up to the campground at 4:30pm, pitched our tent on the last available campsite, and got to work climbing on all the rocks and stumps, building fires, and wandering around the lake. 
Basically, it was perfect and beautiful. 









Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Small Wonder Quilt

Over the summer last year, I visited a bunch of family members in Minnesota. At my grandma's house, hung casually over the stairwell- I found the most beautiful quilt I'd ever seen. It was my favorite quilt she'd ever made. Usually I see quilts and I want them (without the effort of making them, thanks) but I looked at this quilt and thought, "I want to make that."
I loved the bright, jewel tones that my grandma had used and the way they contrasted with the creamy background - but I could picture it, almost instantly, in my own scraps. Fabrics I'd hoarded and saved over the years. The thought made me dreamy and excited.
The quilt was ambitious for me, full of small pieces and points that lined up, but I was determined to make it- and not just that, but to make it big enough for my bed. So I took a bunch of pictures, and when I got home, I sat down with my graphing paper and calculator.


I actually love the process of designing a quilt. Often- if I can't get my mind off of a grisly thought or recent horrible news article as I'm falling asleep- I distract myself by trying to do quilt math in my head.
(Okay, if I want the quilt to be a hundred inches wide, and I have a 5 inch block, minus a half inch per block, I need 22 blocks. If each block is a pinwheel, made of four half-square triangles, then each HST needs to be...)
Let's just say, I did an insane amount of math to figure this quilt out. It probably isn't really that tricky, but - give me a break!- I was an English major in college.
I designed it to be a bit different than my grandma's version of the quilt, after all- but it is perfect. It's easily the most beautiful thing I've ever made. It's so huge that I couldn't quilt it myself, but I asked the long-arm quilter who did it to just keep it simple with  randomly spaced hand-drawn lines, to give it the simplicity it deserved and lend attention to my almost-perfectly pieced little triangles.
It isn't quite a square, but it nearly is, one side is just about 6 inches longer than the other. I also became pretty paranoid that I would finish the quilt, wash it (shrink it) and find that it was just barely too small for my bed, so I over compensated. This quilt turned out gigantic! It will easily fit a king-sized bed. I also added a big border around all four sides, again- trying to make sure it was big enough for my bed. I wasn't 100% sure of my math abilities!





Are you sick of pictures of this beautiful quilt, yet? (Impossible!)
Okay, now using poor iPhone pictures, I will give you a tutorial on how to make your own Small Wonder Quilt. (By which I mean, I will not, you can sew these squares together. I will give you the MATH to make your own!)

The quilt is made of four different blocks. I was surprised that the best way to make each star is by dividing it into quarters! 
Then, when I decided I wanted each square (around the pinwheels) to be complete and not go to the edge of the quilt, I had to design "edge blocks."
I'll give you the basics for the quilt, and the measurements to make either a throw or queen:

First, here are your blocks:

The two half-star blocks are trimmed to 6.5 x 12.5 " (6 x 12 finished), the other two blocks are both 12.5" square (12" finished).
They are made entirely of squares cut to 3.5" 
I made all my half-square triangles (HSTs) based on {this method} to make four at a time. I cut the original squares out 5.25" inches.






Block 1 is made of 11 HSTs and 5 white squares.

Block 2 is made of 8 HSTs and 8 white squares. 

Star Halves are made of 3 HSTs and 5 white squares.

Here's an example of how it's laid out (Sorry I was terrible at taking pictures during the actual sewing-process.)

 

 

To Make a Small Wonder Quilt Throw (60 x 72"):

Block 1: 16
Block 2: 4
Half-Star 1: 4
Half-Star 2: 4

3.5" White Squares: 152
HSTs: 208
Two-toned HSTs: 24
If you make the HSTs using the four-at-once method, you'll need to cut out 52 white and 58 colored 5.25" squares.

Note, you will also need 4 pieces of white fabric, about 6.5 x 12.5" to go in each corner of the quilt.)








To Make a Small Wonder Quilt Queen (96 x 84):
(I like my quilts extra big, so I added a border in addition to this. If you are worried about shrinking or anything, I would recommend adding a while border to some or all sides.)

Block 1: 36
Block 2: 12
Half-Star 1: 6
Half-Star 2: 6

3.5" White Squares: 336
HSTs: 516
Two-toned HSTs: 48
If you make the HSTs using the four-at-once method, you'll need to cut out 129 white and 141 colored 5.25" squares.

Note, you will also need 4 pieces of white fabric, about 6.5 x 12.5" to go in each corner of the quilt.)





As far as method goes, I sewed together four blocks at a time using a really scant 1/4" seam so I had lots of wiggle room to square them up perfectly to 12.5"
I ironed all my seams open. 
It was actually a pretty easy quilt, considering that it's just squares!
If you make this quilt, please comment with a link or tag me on instagram! @becky.pitcher. 
If anyone notices any problems with my math (inevitable!) please correct me so I can fix it in this "pattern."


Good luck and happy sewing!


Monday, June 29, 2015

Boy Portraits 26

My kids are doing yoga, which takes about 15 minutes. I have already used most of those precious child-distracted-minutes by taking a shower and putting some beans in a crockpot. So I've only got 3 minutes left, give or take thirty seconds. I've promised them we'll do "a science project" as soon as yoga is done. (According to Grey, "A project is when you make something, a science experiment is when you see how to make things change.") So I don't have time to tell  you things. I only have time to say this: Look at my childrens!

Grey:

Swinging high on the neighbor's "fun swing."

Micah:

Once a week for his entire life, Micah gets sick for 36 hours. He lies on the couch and cries or sleeps, he sometimes gets a rash or diarrhea. He used to throw up, but hasn't since we took him off milk. He gets a fever and complains that "his bones hurt."
And doctors have told me, "Some kids just get sick a lot." Bull crap.
Guess what, I've diagnosed him. Celiacs.
Let's see what happens when he goes gluten-free, shall we?
 
August:

My sweet happy boy! He loves to run to the sprinklers, splash in the pool, and even lets his brothers spray him with a hose!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Family Conversations



The boys (mostly Grey) have recently started to notice people (especially women) around them who have different colored skin. When we saw two women who looked Indian (or Middle Eastern perhaps?) Grey pointed them out and said, "Mom! Look! They look like they're from China, like Mulan!"
Since there aren't a lot of people in Salt Lake that aren't white, it's a big deal every time they see someone. I felt embarrassed when we were at Costco and a woman with very dark skin passed us, "Mom! Look at her!" Grey yelled and pointed at her. I smiled at her and said, "She's wearing scrubs, I bet she's a doctor or nurse." Grey nodded and whispered, "She's so beautiful. She's so, so beautiful."
"You should tell her!" I said, feeling relieved that he had pointed at her because she was so beautiful and not because she was so black. "I don't want to," he said, very embarrassed.
Then later at Ikea with Travis, Grey again pointed out some women (this time Hispanic). "Look how beautiful they are!" he said. "People like when you say kind things to them," Travis said. "If you have something unkind to say, you should keep it to yourself, but if you have something nice to say you should share it."
Again, Grey was too bashful.
"I'll tell them!" Micah offered, and raced over to the women.
"HI!" he said excitedly. Then after a few long moments he said, "So. I spilled my milk. Haha! My dad cleaned it up. Okay, bye!"
And raced back to Travis, where he proudly announced that he had done it.
Great job, man.
Any suggestions on how to talk to kids about race? Or is it even really necessary unless theres a problem? I don't want them to think being a different race is a thing or a big deal, though we do talk about different cultures a lot. Especially when Travis takes a long trip to Africa. I assume it's normal for kids to notice race and wonder about it, and I'm glad that when the boys do mention it, it's almost always just to say that other people are so beautiful.  Anyway, I'd love any thoughts from you mamas out there, especially any of you who are a minority or have members of your family of different or mixed races.

And now? On to other quotes!

Grey: Mom! Micah bit my foot!
Me: Why? What did you do?
Grey: I kicked him in the mouth.
Me: So what you're saying is, when your foot went into his mouth- it touched Micah's teeth.
Grey: Yes.
Me: That seems like it's your fault and Micah is the one who can complain.
Grey: No. I'm going to complain.

Grey: I can't wait! Can you can't wait too?

Grey: I love Tigerlily!
Me: Me too! She's so brave and strong and smart.
Grey: Hmm, I just love her because she's beautiful. Don't you think she's beautiful?

Grey: I am so thirsty!
Micah: I am sixty thirsty!
Grey: I am as thirsty as a giant height!
Micah: I am thirsty to outer space!
Grey: I am thirsty out of this world!

Me: You need to eat the dinner I gave you.
Grey: I don't like it! I like pasta and 'zanya (lasagna), and I like Zanya (Sonja) Hazel's mom, not the food. And I like sandwiches but not worms.

Grey: Is air made of atoms?
Me: Yes, but the atoms are spaced so far apart, that's why we can move through them.
Grey: The air I'm walking through is warm.
Micah: The air I'm walking through is four years old.

Grey: Sometimes, when I need to think, I close my eyes tight and press my hands over my eyes like this. Then it's all black and I start to see lots of beautiful shapes and stars. Ooooowee, it's all so beautiful. Wow! Look at the shapes in my eyes!

Micah: I like you to tell me when I have owies or bruises on my body that I can't see.
Me: Do you think there are places where you're hurt and don't know it?
Micah: Yes. Maybe my chin. I can't see that.
Grey: I have an owie on my eye, and I cannot see it. But I can feel it.
Micah: I can see it.
Grey: Exactly.

Grey: Is everything made up of tiny little blocks (atoms)?
Me: Yep!
Grey: Is my arm made of tiny little blocks I can't see?
Me: Yes!
Grey: But I can see my arm. Hmm. Is our car made of tiny little blocks we can't see?
Me: Yes, everything is.
Grey: What about lightening?
Me: Um...
Grey: What about rainbows?

Micah: Can I drink August's water?
Grey: NO! Do you want to taste like babies smell?

Grey: I can't do it! I think this sign says "Only Dads can do this, not kids."
Micah: Yeah, and people with magic.
Grey: But we have a little magic! So why can't I do this?

Micah: I had a dream and I was nine years old and had a pet snake. The snake did everything I did, and people were scared, but I said "Don't be scared- this is a good snake." Grandma Polly said, "Ah! A snake!" And I said, "This is my snake, you can pet him and he will not bite you." and the snake loved me and I took very good care of him.

Me: I will give you a bowl of cereal, but only if you will lie down on the couch for some quiet time as soon as you're done.
Grey: I give you my word!
Me: Do you know what that means?
Grey: Oh. Maybe not.
Me: It means that you're making a promise and you have to follow through, even if you don't want to.
Grey: Okay, yes. I did know that, then.

Micah: Mom, I feel so sick today. I think I ate too much gluten!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

My Elder Children


People ask me regularly which of the boys was born first. 
I hate that question. I don't plan on telling my kids who is "older."
It has not occurred to them yet that one of them might be older than his brother, and I certainly don't want it to! 
Whenever people ask, I just say "They're the same age! They're twins!"
"No, no. Who was born first?" people always clarify, as if there was a possibility I didn't understand their question. Sometimes, to pacify people, I wink and point at whichever of my children is closest. But for real. They are one minute apart in age. No one here is older.
Although, I do actually refer to Grey sometimes as my "elder child" and Micah as my "middle child," but only when they're acting the part!
When I took August's 14 month update photos this week, it occurred to me that I haven't gotten good portraits of the elder children in a while!
Using cookies as bribery, I got them to take some pictures for me. 


(P.S. If you have never used a cookie to bribe a child,  you might not realize how susceptible they are to it. They are terrifyingly susceptible to it. Sometimes we have conversations like this:
"What if someone tells you they have a treat for you, and you have to come in their house."
"I will say, I have to ask my mom!"
"That's right! But what if they say, Just come in really quick, and then run home."
"Then that's okay and I will just go inside really quick!"
NO. You are confused. There are many scenarios in which pretend bad guys could successfully lure my children away using desserts.)

Anyway. I used desserts to take advantage and manipulate my children into taking photos.


 Grey first. Because he's older. ;)
(I feel really dumb when I use emoticons on the blog. Should I write "winky face" or say nothing? How do you know that I'm cracking jokes? Le sigh. Who knows?)





I love this picture of Grey smiling. He is so blasted cute. He's going to grow up and be so handsome. He's very pensive and considerate. He's a story teller and thinker. I just really, really like him.

 In the above picture, it's Grey on the left, Micah the right. This pose cracked me up! Grey thought I might like it.


 I said to Micah, "Do a picture where you look at me and don't smile," to qhich he promptly responded, "I want to smile all the time, I love to smile."
Micah is so funny and personable, he is cheerful and passionate and a serious lover. Speaking with a friend the other day, she said. "Your boys are so easy to tell apart- but I can't tell if it's because they actually look different from each other, or if they just make different facial expressions and have different personalities."
And basically, I wonder that every day.
These little people of mine. They're good ones.
And even better in the summer, when their hair is white and their eyes are sparkly. Dang, they're cute!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

14 Months Old


Oh my word, this happy boy is such a delight. Recently, Travis said "I think the word that best describes August is bright." And he is bright in every sense. He is very smart and curious, always trying to figure out how things work or what they're for, always copying everything we do- if he spills his milk, he'll run get a rag to wipe it up, if we brush our teeth, he'll insist that he brush his and wants it wet with toothpaste, just like his brothers. Today for the first time, I laid him in Grey's bed for both his naps instead of in his crib, and both times he laid right down and went to sleep! No whining or crying! 
Two things that I am very impressed with (but maybe aren't that impressive, I just know Grey and Micah couldn't do it at this age!) are that he looks wherever we point and that he knows to switch toys to his other hand if he's getting dressed. 
Grey and Micah were at least two before they figured out looking where I point, otherwise they would look right at my hand or just stare around aimlessly! August understands pointing!
And when I get him dressed, he switches his toys or cups from the hand that needs to go through a sleeve instead of gripping it tighter and trying to squeeze it through his clothes. 



He is very patient if he knows that we are getting him something, and will wait quietly until his turn. For example, if we are driving on a long trip he will start to whine and cry eventually- but the moment we pull over, he stops crying. Travis will get out and fill up the gas tank or something and then get back in, and then August will start to cry again. As long as he thought he was about to get out, he didn't mind waiting. Likewise, our friends recently babysat and took all the kids to get slurpees. August sat patiently waiting in his stroller while each of the other five kids got slurpees. It was only when they turned to leave and he realized that he didn't have a slurpee himself that he became upset.
When he is upset, (like if another child takes a toy of his) he doesn't cry- he sounds an alarm! He starts this panciked whine like a baby siren "Eeeeeeeh Eeeeeeh Eeeeeeeeh!" It's so funny! (And a bit annoying.)


He loves to go outside, and loves to wear his shoes. He has two pairs of shoes and he carries them around all the time. He will actually come running if I say "Let's get on your shoes!" He even says shoes and it so cute. Its more like "Juice/chews" combined than the words shoes, though.
He also says book, truck, dog, duck, mama, Grey, Micah, Dad (or, more often Da) and a handful of animal sounds. I'm not sure if he can actually tell his brothers apart or not, though.
August still takes two naps a day and sleeps from about 7:30pm-6:30am every night. He is now officially and completely off of the breast, and thinks he gets to be out of a high chair, too! He wants to sit at the big table so badly, and play with the big toys, and drink out of big cups. He feeds himself completely with a spoon - very rarely using his fingers if he can use a utensil.
He can climb on to the table now, and will climb up and throw off anything up there, yelling "UH-OH!" each time he tosses a crayon or paper on to the floor.



His hair is so crazy in these pictures because Micah had sprayed him with the hose and we "toweled" his head off with his shirt. I think it's so funny and cute when his hair is crazy because it's so fine and his head is so big. He looks like Bill Murray!
Recently I've told several people that he is one, and immediately they press "How many months is he?" No one believes that he is only thirteen (now fourteen months) because he's so tall, his head is so big, and he's so smart and capable. Apparently most other fourteen month olds don't climb the ladders at the park!
This little boy is so sweet and bright that he lights up the whole room when he's in it. I love him so much and am delighted to be his mama.




Monday, June 22, 2015

Portraits of my Boys 25 + A Prognosis

So, I have Celiacs disease.
I am currently feeling overwhelmed with a combination of grief, gratitude, and determination (with some other emotions mixed in there, too.)
Grief for the foods that I cannot eat ever again. Like, never ever. Smore's. Crusty bread. My grandma's cinnamon rolls. Peanut butter M&Ms! Cap'n Crunch! Anyway. That list doesn't look that pathetic, but it's much longer than that and includes things like all take-out Chinese food and fluffy, normal pancakes. 
Gratitude that I finally know what's going on and can start the journey towards feeling better. Even if I don't eat a single crumb of gluten for the rest of my life, it will still take my body months (possibly even years) to heal from the gluten I've been ingesting for so long. I will probably have this never-ending headache and brain fog for weeks. Irritable bowels for months. Sleep and weight problems, struggles with depression, lack of menstruation. All of these things are to blame on my newly-diagnosed disease, which is so much worse than an allergy or "intolerance." And even if I am super careful forever, I will almost inevitably take in gluten regularly for the rest of my life. 
But again, I feel gratitude, that maybe this can end. (As I told a friend this week, I love bread, but I hate being sick. It's close, but I think I hate being sick slightly more than I love bread. So I'm going to make this work.)
I am also grateful that I love to cook. While this disease is inconvenient to my love of baking- my love of baking is a convenience to my Celiacs.

Over the weekend, I was able to make myself food with relative ease, including a tasty apricot crisp in which I could easily substitute gluten free flours and oats for the flours and oats in my kitchen.
Travis and I also began to de-gluten the kitchen, a project which is going to take a while.  Gone are all my beloved cake pans and cookie sheets, anything wooden or plastic, and about 15 half-eaten boxes of cereal (to be replaced with kitchen supplies that have never touched gluten and all the Rice Chex.)
My new least favorite words in the world are "This product was processed in a facility that also processes wheat."
Good bye chocolate chips, raisins, corn chips, oatmeal and many other things that ought to be gluten-free. I will go to the store and buy more-expensive versions of you. (Anybody got tips on where to find such things for not a bazillion dollars?)
Going to the grocery store right now takes about a million times longer, since I have to spend all my time reading labels while my children hide from me or beg for fruit snacks, and I spend half my time on my phone Googling things like "What hotdog brands are certified gluten-free?"
But we will do this.
People keep saying to me, "Oh Becky! This will be so hard" or worse! "But you were such a good baker!"
Excuse me. I am not dead. I am still a really good baker. And yeah, this will be hard- but life is hard, and I would like to continue to be alive. I'm really good at doing hard things (unless those things are running or pull-ups). In fact, it was so hard to function and care for myself and family over the last year while I was so sick, that I think this is a challenge I'd much rather face.
So now I will continue to be the exact same human being as before, except I will not get to eat gluten. I still love a good book, I still get giddy when a shipment of fabric or cookbooks arrives on my doorstep. I still relish in making meal plans and grocery-lists, and I spent a long time scrolling through Pinterest desserts on Saturday night. I still think my kids are cute, I try to budget, I am excitedly planning costumes for my family for the upcoming Harry Potter Birthday party, I still use cloth diapers on my baby, and buy organic meat from a local farm.
Celiacs is a footnote.
Next time you come over for dinner, you will eat a gluten-free meal off of my gluten-free plates and you will not think "This tastes really good for a gluten-free meal."
You will think "This tastes really good! I want the recipe and you're amazing, etc."
Thank you. I am. And I will continue to be.
And now, here are some pictures of my kids- because they are also amazing and I really like them:

Grey:


Micah:

(Just doing some Star Wars Yoga)

August:




Saturday, June 20, 2015

I am Mother

Over the weekend, my amazing in-laws took Grey and Micah overnight. They took them to a parade, a carnival, let them stay up late to watch fireworks and basically did everything that I never, ever want to have to do with my children. 
Grandparents are the best! 
The boys had so much fun, and it was nice to spend time with just August. But every time Travis and I were out with him, I felt borderline dishonest. This isn't real, I wanted to stop everyone we saw and tell them, I have four year old twins. I don't just have one baby.

Because I am who I am. And who I am is a mom of three boys. 


Admission: sometimes I feel annoyed when I see people say things like, "I got so swept up in being a mother/wife/etc that I forgot who I was before. I forgot who I am, and stopped making time for me."
Guess what, YOU don't exist outside your relationships. No man is an island. Stop complaining that your life has changed you- that is life's job. From your first breath to your last, every single thing that you hear, see, and do has the potential to change you. You don't live in a vacuum. You live on planet Earth, you are surrounded by people. If, at forty, you are the same person that you were at 20- something is wrong.  

(Sorry. That got angrier than I intended. Here's a nicer bit:)
Now, that is not to say that you shouldn't make time for yourself. I'm not saying that you should stop having hobbies or doing things for personal satisfaction or pleasure, I'm just wondering: why do we feel that ourselves as individuals and ourselves as members of families are mutually exclusive? 
Can't I be a mom of three who quilts, bakes, and reads excessively? When I am not with my children, but am instead loitering in Barnes and Noble after a relaxing pedicure- I am still their mother. I am not reverting back to a single version of myself. It's okay for me to think about them and miss them, I spend every waking moment with them, it would be weird if I could just block them out. 

Sometimes I feel similarly frustrated when people complain about motherhood (or their marriage) "being hard." 
Here's the non-romantic truth: all relationships are hard. Even having a relationship with yourself is hard. It's hard to have a best friend, it's hard to have a mother, it's hard to have an uncle or a sister or anyone. Because you can't control every aspect of the world or what people do, say or think. 
But it's worse to be alone. So stop whining and make it worth it, because it is also fun to have a best friend, comforting to have a mother, fun to have an uncle, and a pleasure to have a sister. 
Being a mother "is hard" because life is hard. But being a mother is also so good. 
Being a mother is everything I hoped and prayed that it would be. 
And so is being married. Being married "is hard" because life is hard. But if I wasn't married, life would be so much harder and sadder,  I am grateful a hundred times a day that I have Travis. 

So I'm sorry I got a bit ranty. I didn't mean to. Sometimes my blog gets away from me. I started writing this post merely because I had these two cute pictures of me being a mother and I wanted to share them. 
But really, what I guess I'm getting at is: I am Mother. 
It's who I am. 
I am a wife and a mom, so much more than I am just Beckyalone.

And I don't ever want to make time for me to be the person I was before I was a wife and mother. Because that version of me wasn't nearly as strong, beautiful, interesting, passionate or talented as this version of me.
Let's be honest. She was a sassy teenager.
I'd rather be a sassy grownup with a baby on my lap. 



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tomorrow I am getting a Colonoscopy

(Should I have a safe word?)

I wrote this blog post on Sunday night, and scheduled it for Friday. Since then, I got really sick again. So I have a colonoscopy scheduled for tomorrow. I'm a little freaked out, but also hopeful that I'll actually get some answers! Say some prayers for me. Anyway. Here you go:

A couple weeks ago, after a long bought of pretty gross symptoms- I finally went to the doctor.
It's hard to go to the doctor when you're a mom, because you have to be really sick in order for the struggle to find a sitter (or the hassle of bringing your children with you) to be worth it.
And even though I'd been feeling sick on and off for about a year- it was never TOO sick or for TOO long. Every time I'd think, "Okay, it's time. I'm going in to the doctor this week" I'd recover and feel fine again and decide I didn't really want to go to the doctor after all.
I'm being vague, because my troubles were... Gastric and digestive in nature. And thereby, totally gross.
And yet I finally went and sat in a waiting room, and then a nurse led me back to the doctors office and had me step on a scale in the hallway. The scale flashed in kilograms and not pounds.
"What's my weight, then?" I asked.
"114 pounds," said the nurse. She said it so casually, without even looking up.
And I felt sick. Crippling, panic-induced nausea washed over me.
One hundred and fourteen pounds.
The only acceptable reason for me to weigh so little is because I am dying.
She told me my weight and I suddenly became much more worried about my health.

I am five foot, seven inches.
When I graduated high school I weighed between 120-125. When I was 20 years old and got married, I was 145ish. (Hello, Freshman 15... Or 20. Come on in, stay awhile.)
At my most-pregnant, I was about 165, and in between pregnancies I've stayed between 125-130.
There you go.
Those are my weights.
It is horrible and weird, personal and frightening to share your weight with other people- even when you're thin.
Sometimes I feel guilty telling people my weight because I'm thin, since I'm pretty sure it's just genetics. 
It's true I don't drink alcohol (or really even soda), and I don't eat fast food. But I do eat a lot of homemade bread and butter, freshly baked cakes and cookies, and I try to avoid all exercise at all costs.
But I haven't weighed 114 since I was fifteen years old.
That's anorexic teenager weight. That's unacceptable for child-bearing mothers who are making milk and hauling toddlers.
I don't actually know what's wrong yet, but I don't think you should be too worried. I was given an extremely broad range of possibilities from Krohns and cancer on down to parasites and salmonella (with things like Celiacs and thyroid troubles in the middle).
But my doctor did say that essentially, I'm malnourished. Despite eating, my body is starving. I'm not taking in nutrients the way I should and am wasting away.
He said all these things, and he said the words "114 pounds" and he told me I haven't been getting my period, not because I'm growing a tiny person- but because I can't even take care of my own person.
And I know all those things are true. I know that they are facts.

And then, I look in the mirror and I think "This is the thinnest you've ever been, it is gross. It's unhealthy. You look sallow. I want to be a healthy weight, I want to weigh 130- but I don't want to be fatter than this."
I went hiking with my baby strapped to my back and I felt tired and weak while I climbed up a mountain and yet, I also found myself looking down at where the straps from the baby carrier normally cut into the flesh of my stomach and thinking "Look at how flat your stomach is. That's awesome."
These thoughts are contradictory. It doesn't even make sense that I can think them at the same time.
How can I possibly know and understand that I am unhealthy, that I can't have more children until this is fixed, that I NEED to gain weight, and yet be afraid and kind of grossed out by gaining weight?

For the record, I don't suffer from anorexia or bulimia- but over the last few weeks as I've processed my new sickly-information, I started to understand these women who want to be thin so badly that they let themselves be sick- because I experienced a new fear of getting fat. Of being ordered by my doctor to eat double the amount of food I normally take in, and understanding and agreeing that I needed to do that, but also being grossed out.
and honestly, it makes me mad.

I feel angry at a society that tells women that we should be unhealthy, that the physical ideals that we hold are more important than being capable and strong.
I didn't realize that I was even influenced by these stupid societal rules, because I'm self-confident. Because I see other women who are strong, healthy, and not thin and I think "You're gorgeous. You're amazing." I have never felt uncomfortable in my own skin- whether I was 165 and hugely pregnant or 120 and skinny-mini.
But the truth is, maybe I didn't care about societal norms, because I basically fit them. Tall and thin? Yep.
I don't need to be depressed when I see magazine covers because I am shaped like those women. Sure, my breasts are tiny and wrinkled from nursing, but big breasts are a pain and at least my thighs don't touch.
What is wrong with us? Why do women do this to themselves? Even now, writing this, I feel afraid of the response that it could get- because I know there are probably women who wish they got sick and lost 20 pounds. I feel afraid of gaining weight, I feel afraid of being the weight that I am.

We actually don't own a scale, and never have.
We might have gotten one at our wedding, but it was promptly returned to the store.
I don't care what my weight is. Not really.
Or maybe, I do care- and know I shouldn't, so I deprive myself of the means of weighing myself.
But whatever the reason, I've tried hard to never determine my self worth by those numbers. 

I want to be happy. I want to be comfortable in my own skin.
I want people to stop declaring "real women have curves." And to stop telling me "You look amazing, you're so thin!" when I actually look kind of sickly. Just let everybody be their own weight without commentary!

I almost never see people and think "She could do with losing a few pounds" or any variance on that.
Our own worst critics are ourselves. The only people holding us to society's demands are ourselves. And I want to be healthy. I want to be strong. I want to carry my baby up a mountain. I want to grow another person. I want to run and not be weary, walk and not faint.
And that is more important than my weight. It is more important for me to be strong than to be able to squeeze into my skinniest jeans.
I wanted to share this, even though it's uncomfortable and a bit damning, so that you know- it doesn't matter what your body looks like, we all still feel this way. We all still feel like we are not thin enough, like we don't look the way we expected. I weigh less than I did when I went to junior prom and I still feel stressed about gaining weight back that I had just a few months ago.
And honestly, this blog is my sounding board, because when I write all these things down- I'm not afraid anymore. When I get my feelings written down in all their contradictory glory, I can look objectively and say, "Oh, right. That's crazy talk."
And when I have people reading and commenting and saying "You go girl!" I feel stronger and better and more capable. It holds me accountable to make the right choice with my body.

But I can do this.
And we, as women, can do this. We can fix it.
We can choose to be healthy and strong over having weak, socially acceptable bodies. We can teach our children to love themselves by not insulting our own shapes or theirs.
I am going to show my kids, it doesn't matter what the numbers on the scale say: I will find the best, healthiest version of myself and I will be her. (As long as that version doesn't have to run and is allowed to make chocolate cakes.)

I will give myself pep-talks like this blog post every time I am not living up to my ideals. And when I am afraid of gaining weight (or losing weight) I will look at my strong, amazing, beautiful girl friends who are phenomenal mothers, sisters, friends and try to be more like them. Because those are the societal requirements I wish I was expected to live up to.