Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

The story I’m about to share is written as a part of an ongoing partnership with Yoplait. Enjoy! 

“Please excuse the mess we’re…”

Actually, no, I won’t excuse our mess anymore.

Some time ago, while I was huffing and puffing about our house being messy, my daughter overheard me complaining and gave me some advice:

“If it’s a messy house that means it’s a fun house,” she told me. “So don’t feel bad mama!”

We’ve all heard the phrase “Excuse the mess, our children are making memories!” I’m hesitant to use this phrase because though I know what it’s trying to convey, I can see how it can make people feel one of two ways:

1. Shamed for having a clean house because then you “must not be making memories” (honestly, I don’t know how anyone could feel bad or shamed about having a clean house but I hear this is a thing).

2. Validated, or excused for actually having a messy house, regardless of the amount of memories you’re making. I mean, let’s just be honest, we don’t like cleaning.

Is it so bad to admit that? Some people rocked at breastfeeding, others skipped the epidural. Some people are all about the healthy home-cooked organic meals every night, and some people have really, really clean homes.

If we’re taking a tally I’ve earned like one point in the supermom scorecard (If you’re counting all of the natural and “picture perfect” ideals as supermom). But you know what? I still think I’m a pretty awesome mom. And thankfully my kids back me up on that.

Mom On

I was watching The Bachelorette earlier this week and one of the commercials caught my eye. A commercial with a mom nursing her baby on a park bench when an older couple walked by giving her the stankeye. “Someone’s always judging” she said.

It ends with the phrase “Mom On” which I think is a beautiful mantra we can all take. I’m still working on my insecurities — not being what some, or I would consider a “perfect mom” (by the way I have one friend who I think is textbook-perfect mom, I know she’ll tell me she’s not, but I’m convinced she never loses her cool and does everything right). I’m trying my best and I think at least in some ways I’m doing even better than my parents! That’s something!

This year I’m partnering with Yoplait on their Mom On campaign. I’ll be giving you glimpses into ways I think I’m kicking butt, and things I’m still working on improving. I hope you’ll join me in my journey to Mom On!

I spent more than an hour getting my kids all dolled up and ready for our annual bluebonnet photos. We drove out to our loyal wildflower spot but instead of a field full of beautiful purple flowers, it was tall grass and a sporadic patch of blue flowers.

I wanted to cry. My frustration boiled over and I spent the next hour barking orders at my kids to sit, stand, cuddle, jump, and for heaven’s sake look like they were having fun. But how could they? I was making it anything but fun.

As I scrolled through the photos I took I was disappointed all over again. The vibrant blue background just wasn’t there like it had been in the past. I came too late in the year. I was out of town when they were in full bloom and I missed it.

“I’ll just photoshop it” I thought. If it’s that important to me, I could plop in some flowers from a previous year. Make it look better than it really was.

But then I thought, maybe there’s a lesson in this. I wasn’t sure what yet. The early bird gets the worm? Cherish the moment before it’s gone? Or maybe a lesson in honesty?

Yesterday, I had just ended a bluetooth phone call with my husband when my 11-year-old sister took a sigh of relief.

“He seems so nice,” she said sarcastically.

“He is really nice,” I retorted. “Just doesn’t always sound like it on the phone.”

“Well he seems scary,” she said. “Why did you choose him again?”

“Because he’s really funny, he’s nice, he cheers me up when I’m sad…”

“Mommy, do you ever cry?” My daughter piped in from the back seat. The three of us were driving home from the hospital. I did a quick check in the rearview mirror to see if I had dried tear stains on my face.

“Yes, baby, I cry,” I told her. “Daddy cheers me up when I’m crying.”

“But I’ve never seen you cry,” she continued. “When do you cry?”

I’d been crying a lot lately. But I didn’t want her to know. I don’t know why that is. Motherly instincts? Pride?

The truth

Earlier this year my mom and I were talking about how we’d celebrate her 50th birthday this year. She wants to take an international trip, and she asked me to help her come up with 50 things to do in her 50th year.

Now we’re about a month out from her birthday and our girl chats in her chic office have been moved to her stuffy hospital room.

It’s a long, complicated story and not one I’m going to delve into, but this whole situation has knocked me off my feet.

My mom has been in the hospital before. But 10 days and counting with no definite foreseeable release time. My little sister has stayed with us for an extended period before. But not because of our mom’s health. I’ve cried about my mom before but that was more than a decade ago, when I was angry or frustrated, not because I was worried about her.

My 20-year-old sister just went back to school and she was sort of like the glue holding everything together. We could hand tasks off to each other and sort of tag-team, but now that she’s gone it feels like so much is falling apart. Like I’m falling apart.

I remember when I first got pregnant with my daughter, I had this intense feeling of my life never being the same again. Everything was changing. This was HUGE. And yet… The world kept spinning. After sharing the exciting news with my husband I went to work, and had a day just like any other day. Except everything felt different to me on the inside.

Keeping it together

Despite the heartache I’m feeling the world continues to spin. I still have deadlines to meet, a little sister to comfort, homeschool to teach, children to feed and hide my tears from.

If they see me crying they’ll worry and feel bad, and that’s the last thing I want on top of all of this.

I don’t like talking about all of this because I don’t like to complain. People deal with their children getting sick and going to the hospital–A torment I can’t even begin to imagine. So many of my friends have lost a parent.–A grief I hope I don’t have to experience for a very very long time.

We all have problems. I know I don’t need to put mine on a scale opposite of someone else’s’ to see if it’s more or less worth grieving. It’s hard right now but I’m going to be ok.

That “scary” man that is my husband is my rock. It’s times like these that I fall to my knees and thank the Lord for finding me a husband so unbelievably caring, nurturing, and willing to duke it out for me.

My mom is going to be fine. I’m not saying that to sound like I’m convincing myself. She really is. We’ve been on a roller coaster ride but we’ll be getting off soon enough. And we’ll have plenty of time to work on her 50 at 50 list.

Things are rough right now, but the world still spins.

I guess I’ve written all this to say, my life isn’t perfect. In case I’ve ever given that false impression. I don’t feel obligated to share every detail of my life on my blog, but I want to keep it real too. I think there is danger in hiding all of the bad stuff. After all, that’s the stuff that helps us appreciate all of the good.

Oh, and here’s the real photo of that crappy bluebonnet field. I guess it taught me a lesson after all.

Sometimes I like to dig through my old blog posts and see what kinds of gems I can find. After all this space has served as a sort of diary for me. Well sometimes I stumble upon junk, trash even. And I don’t know whether to shake my head, laugh, or cry at some of the things I put to pen.

Several years ago, way before I had kids, I wrote a blog post asking what stay at home moms did all day. Feast your eyes on this snippet: “It’s not like you don’t have a choice in the matter, and at the end of the day many say it’s the best job in the world. The best?… Maybe. The hardest?… Not buying it.”

Ouch right? I went on about how all you have to do is feed the kids, bathe them, maybe clean up a little, try to teach them a thing or two and play with them. As if all those things could be done in half and hour and then you could sit down and enjoy a book.

I hadn’t a clue.

I’m still getting hate mail for that post.

Not only did I not stay at home but I didn’t even have kids. I didn’t realize that just because you can stay in your PJs all day, doesn’t mean you have an easy job to do.

As a teenager, I worked in a daycare for a few years with kids between the ages of one and three. I suppose this made me feel like I was qualified to guess what motherhood was like. I followed a schedule stapled to a bulletin board and had nothing to do but focus on the kids 100%. We did a daily craft, sang songs, played games, had snacks and lunch. I even put all 8 to 13 kids down for naps by myself. How could motherhood be much harder?

Honestly, I still don’t know how.

But it is.

Cleaning at home isn’t as simple as dumping toys in a plastic bin and disposing of food scraps in the cafeteria. And oh yea, I wasn’t even in charge of the menu or food prep back then.

After just one year into my adventures of being home with my two kids, I was singing a different tune. I quickly learned in that same eight-hour span of being awake with my kids, answering their every question, finding ways to entertain them, giving them food and snacks, I was stretched pretty thin.

Perhaps part of this is because I care so much. I liked the kids I watched every day at the daycare, but I was no one compared to their own mothers. I was a stand-in that hugged away boo boos, changed diapers, and kept babies happy while their moms took care of work for 40-50 hours a week. But I wasn’t mom. The kids knew it, the moms knew it, and so did I.

How to take a DSLR selfie: Self portrait photography ideas and ways to get in the picture with your kids. Remote DSLR tutorial.

Love alone is exhausting. It’s tiring caring so much about these little people I’ve created. Caring about what they eat, what they watch, answering my daughter’s every question because I don’t want her to think I’m ignoring her. Picking my son up any time he asks because he won’t be this small forever.

This is my official apology to any stay-at-home moms I may have offended. I’m one of you now — and it’s not as easy as I thought.

My 6-year-old Skypes with friends in Italy. She knows the difference between Snapchat filters and Instagram stories; a Facebook post versus a blog post; a vlog for youtube versus a live stream video on Facebook or Periscope, and she doesn’t even have a cell phone. I guess this is just one of the new realities of millennial motherhood.

She likes to save fun ideas to her birthday party Pinterest board and she just started recording and editing her own videos on Final Cut Pro (I just gave her her first lesson this weekend and she’s hooked!).

Because of what I do, my children are well aware of many of the workings of social media. My daughter understands people read what I write and respond. She isn’t to the point of asking how people are responding to to her images or parts in the vlog. She’s more interested in watching the videos back, or listening to a story about herself.

As my children get older, their schedules get bigger and getting their own cell phones become more of a necessity… I’m becoming more aware of how I’m using my devices.

“We can’t be on our phones all evening in front of our kids,” I tell my husband. First of all, I don’t want their memories of family dinner time to be of us staring at our phones. And second of all, (and likely most concerning) I don’t want to set a bad precedent for when they have their own phones.

Responsibility starts with me. I need to demonstrate the behavior I want my kids to have.

Research shows that 60% of 10 years olds have a cell phone. Doctor Gilboa, who is on the Responsibility.org Advisory Board and also writes the blog Ask Doctor G has some good advice for parents as we learn to navigate this rocky terrain.

“Think about the where, when and what of cell phones,” she said.

If you feel your tween needs a phone, what about a “dumb” phone phone that doesn’t have internet access? If you feel that internet access is truly necessary, then set up clear boundaries for where and when phones can and can’t be used. Make sure those phones are charging from an hour before bedtime, in a parent’s bedroom. Keep a few spaces sacred, like the dinner table and bed. Don’t use a cell phone in a way that you don’t want your child to use a cell phone when they are an adult. And monitor content, even though it’s hard!

I’m trying to keep the lines of communication open so they feel comfortable coming to me with questions. As many as my daughter asks me on a daily basis right now, I’m hoping that won’t be a problem.

A method I use for tough questions right now is a “pre-test” approach. Where I answer my daughter’s questions with questions, to see how much she understands about a topic. From there I fill in the blanks honestly. I’d rather they get truthful information from me, then a hodgepodge of information from peers. We’ll use this in chats about things from race, movies, to alcohol to sex (my palms are sweaty just thinking about it though–yikes!)

My daughter may be getting a crash course in social media at the ripe age of 6. I’m either raising a genius or a monster. Only time will tell which one. But I’m working to be with her every step of the way, so when she’s old enough to take it on herself, she’s ready.


*I’m passionate about building strong relationships with our children and being there for the important conversations. That is why I partnered with #TalkEarly on this post. Stay tuned in the coming months for more on this important topic. 

This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I received the included Carter’s clothing as compensation.

Sometimes I feel like my kids are magic. They sure believe in it. Their wild imaginations are a big reason why they both wind up crowding me in my bed at night.

Watching my children play is like magic. Raising biracial children. A millennial mom blog.

It’s not unusual to find my son creating funny dialog with a Barbie doll in his hand, or my daughter running around with a daddy dinosaur playing a game of prehistoric house. When it comes to playing, they’re happy to do it together no matter what it is. And yea, sometimes that means my son’s dinosaur is “eating” my daughter’s doll.

Their favorite kind of play however goes beyond dollhouse walls, even beyond the walls of our home.

“Let’s go for a walk,” I called after a long day inside homeschooling and reading lots and lots of books. We can travel far and wide through text on a book, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still get outside.

Watching my children play is like magic. Raising biracial children. A millennial mom blog.

Watching my children play is like magic. Raising biracial children. A millennial mom blog.

I told them to change their clothes (it was one of those days we opted to stay in PJs all day) and get their shoes on. They ran to their rooms. Lil’ J helped her brother pull on his new pair of shorts. They were both comfy in Carter’s clothes we racked up at a sale at Kohl’s. Lil’ J was in a skort because “I can’t ride a bike in a dress” but of course she can’t just wear plain shorts either. That’s not her style.

My son in pink because she likes to have her brother match her, and because he’s totally cool in pink.

They hopped on their bikes and I jogged close behind them, enjoying their smiles and the fresh air.

Watching my children play is like magic. Raising biracial children. A millennial mom blog.

“Have you ever played Freeze Tag?” I asked as we reached the park.

“No, what’s that?” My daughter asked. My 11-year-old sister was there to help break it down.

“It’s like regular tag but when the person who is it tags you, you have to freeze in place,” she explained.

I was it first, and the evening was full of belly laughs and side aches.

I’m constantly amazed by their imaginations. I mean, I have a pretty big imagination but they are something else. Climbing on a simple rock wall isn’t just that… It is a castle they’re climbing and jumping off of and onto their dragons so they can fly away and escape the bad guys.

playful-biracial-children-blog

Watching my children play is like magic. Raising biracial children. A millennial mom blog.

It’s a magic of youth I wish I could conjure up more myself. A magic I love soaking in as I watch them. A magic I hope they never completely lose grip of. A beautiful magic.


We are big believers in having fun and being comfortable while doing it, which is why we partnered with Kohl’s on this post. Kohl’s is having a sale on Carter’s clothing from 3/17 – 4/2 $10 off a $40 purchase with promo code KIDSALE10!

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies. These affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.All opinions are my own.

Teaching children to dream big and use their imaginations.

“It worked mama!” My daughter exclaimed. “I saw a ladybug and I wished on it and my wish came true!”

She told me she wished to learn how to ride her bike that afternoon. On two wheels that is.

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

We set out to check the mail. My son asked if he could bring his bike–A balance bike. And my daughter wanted to bring hers too.

My husband took the training wheels off of it a couple of weeks ago, but they hadn’t had much time to practice together.

“Do you want to teach her?” I had asked him. “It’s sort of one of those Daddy right of passages.”

“Yea, I’ll teach her!” He said.

But we had a few cold days, followed by a family vacation and then he was back to work. I wasn’t sure how likely it was she’d actually master the process in a day but what the heck, it was worth a shot. Or we could at least get some practice in.

She tiptoed on her bike a half a mile to the playground. She felt discouraged on the way there because every time she tried to lift her legs and pedal she’d quickly lose her balance.

“It’s much harder to learn on this uneven sidewalk,” I told her. “Just wait until we get to the playground and have more space.”

The sidewalks have cracks, bumps, uneven areas and cars blocking the way. It was a challenging course for any rider.

Once we reached the playground her brother tossed off his helmet and ran to the slides. I asked Lil’ J if she wanted to play or keep practicing and she said she wanted to keep trying to ride her bike.

I ran down the sidewalk with her two, three, four times. Each time she went a little further. She crashed and burned a couple of times but she’d get back up, determined to try again.

Finally, after about six runs I gave her an initial push but let her take it from there. She didn’t stop. I ran behind her to the end of the sidewalk cheering her on. She pedaled backwards and came to a stop and I gave her a high five. She beamed with pride.

She did it a few more times and once she got comfortable I took out my camera to take pictures of the occasion.

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

As I watched her determination and tried to capture the moment as best as I could, I noted the date–February 18th, also my brother’s birthday–My daughter learned how to ride her bike. She balanced on two wheels for the first time.

Then it struck me… Her firsts are slowing down. Her first smile, first word, first steps, first time using the potty, first day of school… They’re all behind us. How many more will we have?

Not many.

So we celebrated. I told her this was a big deal in need of a treat and we went out for ice cream.

Losing her first tooth, first daddy/daughter dance, her picking up a book to read for her own leisure, first tryouts, first time driving a car… There are more to look forward to but I can sense they’re slowing down. I don’t want them to end or become less sweet.

I don’t know how many more “firsts” will have her jumping up and down with excitement or pining for ice cream. But I know I’m going to cherish each one.

Fun ways to celebrate your kid's milestones so you can remember and cherish forever.

Tracking Pixel

I’ve partnered with the Vaseline team to share a few ideas I have about me time.

How is your start to the year going so far? Keeping those new year goals? Admittedly I haven’t been 100% with mine. I am drinking a lot more water but I’d still like to drink more. *Takes a quick chug break*. When it comes to waking up earlier… I haven’t done a fantastic job of that so far. But I have been practicing piano every day and improving. Want proof? Ok ok you twisted my arm… This will serve as my January progress share. Name that tune:

Other than these things, the kids and I have gotten more involved in giving back in our community, and we are reading an immense amount of books together.

I feel like this month of homeschool has gone smoothly as it’s been the first month in a while that we haven’t traveled anywhere. Some days when we are done with our schoolwork we’ll still spend hours sitting and reading together, or out exploring at a park. I’m loving the experiences I’m getting with my kids but it’s been difficult for me to carve out time for myself.

When my daughter was in school full time I felt like she could use a break when she got home. So I was fine letting her watch the iPad while I got some work done. Now I feel like I could and should always be doing something more to help them learn. So even when school is over and done I feel guilty pulling away.

Then after homeschool, deadlines, activities, dinner and bedtime I’m completely wiped out. By the end of the day I’m debating which sounds most appealing: Me time, or sleep. Sleep almost always wins. Problem is, I think it’s making me feel more stressed and overwhelmed. It’s back to back tasks, sleep, repeat. I think I need some breaks in there.
I’ve thought of a few things I can do for myself when I’m debating a nap or early bedtime. These don’t need to take a lot of time, but I think it’ll help me decompress from the day before I jump back in again.

Cherish 365: The days are long but the years are short. A project to making moments last and cherish every day.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

1. Physical activity: A walk, short workout, a game of Just Dance, or as my husband is trying to get me into–Kickboxing. Hitting my activity goal is going to be an item on my “me time list” (but if I’m keeping it real, it probably won’t be my main go-to). But those endorphins though…
2. Bubble bath + Netflix: Actually washing my makeup off, exfoliating followed by moisturizing my skin to make it buttery smooth. I’m not getting any younger and I need to take better care of my skin so I can still look 30 when I’m 50. I believe Vaseline® Intensive Care™ Cocoa Radiant™ and a lot of water will help.
3. Daily gratitude: I’ve been on and off working in a gratitude journal. Last Sunday I taught a lesson to the youth at church about noticing God’s hand in our lives and taking note. I can be so forgetful of the special events that happen each day but I don’t want to be. I want to look back and remember them, so I need to jot them down.

Journal-keeping tips. Places to store special cards and notes.

Meditation is another habit I want to work in. But I need to do it when I’m not completely exhausted to make sure I don’t fall asleep in the process.

What do you do when you get some time alone?


I think it’s important to make time to refresh and rejuvenate so I can bounce back into our daily hustle, that’s why I partnered with Vaseline® Intensive Care™ Cocoa Radiant™ to give myself a much-needed reminder about self-care. With pure cocoa butter and Vaseline Jelly, it moisturizes to help heal dry skin to reveal its natural glow. It absorbs fast for a non-greasy feel and every purchase of Vaseline® lotion (or jelly) in the U.S. will help support Direct Relief through a buy one to help heal one promotion!

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Growing up my parents didn’t spend a lot of time educating us on Black history. What we did learn, we learned in school… Which wasn’t much. And was often uncomfortable. When you’re the only black kid in class and topics like slavery and civil rights are being discussed things get weird.
I don’t want that for my kids. I want them to grow up knowing, understanding and appreciating Black History–Never feeling uncomfortable discussing it with peers, but empowered.

This school year has turned into a subtle year of Black History studies. It’s not like we purposely study it every day (we are actually studying about early pioneers officially but bouncing around thanks to our fascination with the Hamilton musical) but it’s come up a lot.

I knew this year I’d be going to do the MLK march with kids. I’d done them in college, and a couple since, but I wanted to start the tradition with my own children. This year for the first time I brought my kids downtown to the MLK March to the Texas Capitol and we had the time of our lives. I hope this is a tradition we keep for many years to come.

I’m going to back up for a minute to our visit to  Washington D.C. a few months ago, where we say the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial and where he gave his infamous speech.

Visiting DC

Washington DC with kids

We visited the new African American History museum in Washington D.C., the MLK Memorial and stood in the spot where he gave his I Have a Dream speech.

washington-dc_0388-copy

Washington DC with kids

Homeschool

Then several of our books about Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and the Lovings are easily some of our go-tos. Beyond that, last week I randomly picked up an American Girl story on CD from the library. It’s Addy’s story. Lil’ J fell in LOVE with these stories. We’re already on book 5 of 6. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s about a little girl who was born into slavery, and the story of her family escaping and trying to reunite.

It’s opened the doors to a lot of conversations about the history of our country, and some candid yet very casual conversations about skin color and differences. She LOVES Dr. King, and she had his birthday circled on her calendar.

A day after her birthday is our nations birthday and we get fireworks. The day after my birthday is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. We get to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how we can help bring even more unity in the world.

MLK March with Kids

In the past we’ve done little crafts and celebrated with “Peace Pie” (a simple dessert tradition we started). This year we added in the kids’ first MLK march to the state capitol building. I packed my son’s balance bike in the car before we left (best decision ever) and they had a blast! We brought canned foods to donate to the Capital Area Food bank. Did you know MLK Day is also now known as a national day of service?

mommy and me mlk

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

We can’t wait to go next year.

Listening and Reading

When we got home we watched the I Have a Dream speech twice and followed along in a beautiful illustrated storybook I picked up at Half Priced Books for $3! I just checked to see if it’s on Amazon but it looks like it’s only available through scholastic.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Talking and Tasting

We put together some snacks and listened/read the speech while they filled their bellies. Afterwards we called Grandma Nan (my grandmother) and talked to her about some of what she remembers from that day. She told us she was in high school and wanted to go hear the speech but her dad wouldn’t let her! Lil’ J could not understand why he didn’t let her go.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Feeling

Before we cut into our third annual Peace Pie after dinner my daughter said we each needed to say something we’re thankful that Dr. King helped bring about.

“That he taught love, not hate,” my sweet daughter said.

She’s getting it.

I hope it’s one of those days they remember for a long time. I know it will be for me.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

And now I photo dump the rest of our day all over you. Forgive me/ enjoy!

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids. Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids.
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with kids. MLK March with kids.

 

If you made it this far let me know if you did anything to celebrate, or your plans for next year!

Why I took my kids to an MLK march (and you should too!)

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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Then and now: Sports fandom 11 years later