Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Class Act

My place of employment is offering a bunch of great incentives as part of their wellness initiative. One is that we can get money back for participating in various classes.  This week is week 3 of 8 that I will be attending a stress management and resilience class.  I an also starting a 12 week nutrition and exercise class.  If we complete the classes we get $100 per class at the end of the year.  How's THAT for incentive?!?!

I am excited to see what the nutrition and exercise class offers.  I am hoping to be able to really implement a lot of it into my daily life, especially the nutrition information.  I feel like we are working hard on making better choices, but would love to learn more about the science of healthy choices and work on that as well. 

As for the stress management, it is going well.  We have learned various breathing techniques (many of which I already knew from my voice training), we are also talking a lot about being mindful of ourselves.  We are encouraged to journal about things, and I thought what better platform for that then right here. 

I have to admit, I am struggling with this class some. The teacher is great and the content is amazing but I didn't really want to take the class right now, but my boss did.  Then she guilted me into doing it because she is so stressed and wouldn't do it alone. Now I almost dread the classes because I have to go sit for an hour trying to relax but being very aware of my boss and her "stress" next to me (we can't sit separately) and then for the remainder of the afternoon about how she is "being mindful" of this or that (mindfulness was last weeks topic). 

I don't know that I will be any less stresses at the end of this, but at least I will have tools in my arsenal to practice outside of work hours.  Hopefully, THAT can help!

Friday, April 18, 2014

My Kiddos

my babies

Look at these two faces...OMG they make my heart full and happy!  They are the driving force behind my wanting to get healthier and in better shape.  They inspire me, motivate me, make me crazy at times, but they are the reasons I wake up in the morning!  I am so blessed to be able to be their Mom and want to be around for them for a long, LONG time! 

My focus since starting this blog has really been about them.  It has been to inspire them to be healthy and fit.  To show them "See Mommy and Dadoo are doing it, you can too!"  They are both active in their own ways but I feel like we need more.  They both play soccer.  My oldest on our local city travel team and on a premier level mini in a "munchkin" league (too cute), plus they will play and practice together.
my girls enjoying the sunshine as they play together
My oldest also does horse back riding.  She LOVES it.  She smiles through her entire lesson.  She is prepping to starting jumping in the next few weeks (nervous Momma) and for her first show this summer.  She has been riding for six years and the strength she gets from it (both physically and mentally) is amazing!
sorry its blurry, its through the glass in the observation room

My mini me is still doing her swim classes which she really enjoys.  She is a natural born "floater" which is the exact opposite of her sister.  She will do pretty much whatever the teacher says as long as Mom isn't watching.  If I am there, she refuses to put her head under.  If she thinks I'm not watching and I catch her dive from the side and go under she insists I saw it incorrectly.  The little stinker.
Momma's little floater
Mini is also still dancing.  After the Christmas holiday we stepped it up a notch from just tap and ballet to tap, ballet and acro.  She is too cute learning cartwheels and back bends.  She is starting to really like all three components to her "dance" class now.  They are too darn cute with their recital dance too.  OMG!
my little dancer is on the left
As any parent would, I have concern about making sure they are getting enough activity and the right food to fuel their ever growing bodies.  My oldest was concerned after her last physical that she was on the high end of the BMI scale.  Mini had the same high BMI at her 4 year check up, but as I said when I posted about pediatrician puts NO stock in BMI calculators.  This got me thinking though, could I be doing more for them? 

Then one night while my hubby was working out, mini was playing on nick junior on the computer.  Every few minutes she was asking for a snack.  This went on for the entire 50 minutes he worked out.  Once he was done he watched  a few minutes of the computer time with her to find that she most likely kept asking for treats and snacks because every few minutes there were commercials most of which were focused on snacks.  Can you say RED FLAG????  Couple this with my 12 year olds obsession with both her iPod and kindle and locking herself in her room as most tweens seem to do...

Then as in response to this new found fact, I get an email from Fitness Magazine the next day with the subject line How Healthy is Your Family?  I like to think that we keep the kids fairly active, as well as ourselves but now I'm nervous.  With both of the girls BMI;s being higher than normal, should I be making them do more?  This article said that "a new study suggests short bursts of exercise-as little as 15 minutes-can dramatically reduce your child's risk of Type 2 diabetes."  That night I was putting away laundry and mini asked to help.  We had  a lot of laundry to out away, I mean a of the apocalypse DIDN'T happen so now I need to do something for clean underwear a lot, and she wanted to help.  She ran back and forth from my room to hers as she only likes to out away 1 thing at a time.  SUCCESS!  That took her close to 20 minutes of running back and forth.  Then on "family dog walk" she wanted to walk and not be pushed along in the stroller.  SUCCESS!  Before I even had a chance to worry about the big girl, her soccer coaches (on both teams) have instituted a new conditioning format at practices.  The hubs watched last night and said its running with bursts of "Insanity like" exercises.  Hopefully these steps will make a difference. 

We (the hubs and I) have also committed to adding in more family exercise...jogs in the park coupled with bike rides...the kids, the parents and the pup are all en route to healthier lives.  I am loving it! 

Now if I could just kick this cough and give my workouts 100% I'd be SUPER happy, but hey...I'm still pushing through...even 60% is better than 0%!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

I like to move it, move it

Yesterday was a big day for me step wise.  I always laugh at how many more steps I get at home on the weekends as compares to during the week at work.  I laugh because my parking garage is a quarter mile walk from my building so I do that twice a day, I work on the 3rd floor so I do those stairs at least twice a day, I am up moving around to and from meetings, other offices, the restroom...and some days I am lucky to hit my goal of 11K.  Even with workouts, some nights I find myself jogging in place until I feel that sweet little vibration on my wrist saying that fitbit captured my 11K steps for the day. 

Yesterday was a perfect reminder of how much more active I am at home.  This badge is the one I earned yesterday.  I hit (and exceeded) 20K steps in one day.  It was a gorgeous day, sunny with a nice breeze, 78 degrees, so we set to spring cleaning and airing out the house, got the kiddos outside playing, did a lot of yard clean up from the winter...all for not as it is supposed to snow again tonight.  Don't even get me started on that one though. 

mini me enjoying the sandbox

my girls kicking the soccer ball around together
It was SO nice out.  We spent all day Saturday (another beautiful day) enjoying the big kid in 2 soccer games.  Mini me had a nice sideline game going herself with me for a bit, then Dadoo, then Papa...then another little girl who was there watching her big sister play.  After we got home though it was snack and bedtime, and my mini me was NOT happy.  She didn't get to do anything that SHE wanted to do, so we made a mental list and set to it Sunday morning.  Some things were added as we went along because she hadn't even thought of them.  How did I get 20K steps (outside of cleaning and laundry)...this is how:
Mini Me's Nice Day Wishlist
  • play Polly Pockets
  • play Littlest Pet Shop
  • play cots (aka school...she likes setting up for naptime)
  • ride bike
  • ride big wheel
  • ride scooter
  • build a fort
  • play soccer in the front yard
  • play in the sand box
  • play in the yard
  • do chalk drawings
By the end of the day we had dinner and a bath and were pretty tired out.  The past few nights bedtime ahs been a meltdown because we were at THAT point of overtired.  Last night, we hit the meltdown at bath time, so by the time we were jammied, teeth brushed, and ready to go...she snuggle next to me in bed and was out literally in 5 minutes.  I am excited that (sporadically) the nice weather is here and we will have many more days like yesterday.  I would say that Sunday was a success for both of us.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

From the mouths of babes..a learning curve

I used to be really into all of the "extreme makeover" shows.  The weight loss, the homes, the general makeovers...but after a while they all lost their luster.  It's all just too good to be true for some people and I don't live in that world.  But yesterday as my mini was playing a game on the computer and I sat channel surfing I was at a loss for anything to enjoy so I decided to see what on in our on demand line up from TV shows I may have missed.  I found one episode of Extreme Makeover Weight Loss edition, and thought...why not?

The episode I watched was about a young woman named Ashley.  She was someone who dealt with feelings of guilt and loss by turning to food.  At 26 years old and 5'2" tall (the same height as me), she found herself at 325 pounds.  I can't even begin to imagine going through what she did.  The near loss of a sibling, then the loss of a child.  It's terrible.  Especially because she blamed herself for the loss of her daughter.

I tried very hard when my older daughter was little to train myself to not say things like "I'm fat" or "Do I look fat" because I didn't want that idea in her head.  I tried hard to make sure when my hubby and I were trying different diets that we referred to it as trying different eating choices.  Now that she is almost 13, she in inundated with all of it.  She has been for quite some time actually as we can't protect our kids from everything they see and hear in the media, but I tried to keep home as safe as I could in the world of self image.

So with this mindset already built up pretty well, imagine my surprise when my mini turns around to see what Momma is watching and asks me "Why is she so fat?"  WHAT?!?!?!  I was in shock!!!  I took a minute to regain my composure and knew that this was a pivotal moment for her, so I decided to try and make it a teaching opportunity.  Everyone is made differently and sometimes we forget to make time to take care of ourselves and make sure we get all the good, healthy food we need or to exercise and get our hearts happy and healthy.  I explained why saying that was not the nicest way to express the idea that someone may be bigger then someone else, and how would she like it if someone said something not nice about her. 

It was a nice way to segue way too into our need to go to the grocery store and get lots of good healthy foods that would help fuel our bodies so they will grow strong and make us able to run and play and do our workouts.  So we made a grocery list.  I pulled up a pin from one of my boards and we looked at fruits and veggies that are in season in spring and I had her choose some that she thought we should get at the store.  She was so happy to help pick out what we were getting she even asked to write some of the list and put her choices down. 

my mini's written grocery list

Victory!  We took what started a s a negative comment about someone else and turned it into a learning activity that resulted in a fabulous dinner.  Roasted chicken breast, roasted brussel sprouts (for mom and dad...celery, carrots and dip for the kiddos), and cous cous.  Each little victory makes me feel like we have the kids on the right path.  Especially with my 4, sorry 4 and a half (she reminds me constantly that I forget the and a half) she is becoming very aware of what her body needs and how to make it the very best it can be, which will make her the very best SHE can be!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Steps Ahoy

I found this image online today and just loved it!  I knew I had to share it with you and that it would fit perfectly with this post.  SO...if you have been with me for a while you know I like a good competition.  Its healthy.  Its fun.  Its has limits.  I am a firm believer in competition, which is why as a parent I am having a hard time with this new idea of "everyone wins" that people want to teach their children.  It's okay for kids to learn how to take defeat, its necessary.  Life wont always be a silver platter...but I digress as that is another post for another day.  I am teaching my girls that it isn't about winning or losing, its about being gracious and humble at the end.  It's about proving to your self that you did your best, and working as a team to reach a goal.  If at the end of the game your team doesn't take home the should at least take home a sense of success that you gave your all.

With only 21 weeks left until our beach vacation, I am doing my best to make sure I get in all my workouts and stuck to my calories.  I have said before, its important to acknowledge ALL types of exercise...whether its walking the dog or doing all counts!  So, when my friend Maura started talking smack about my steps on triggered that old sense of competition.  So now my friends, its on like Donkey Kong.

Back in the day when I was being super diligent about just getting in my steps, I was averaging 15K a day.  15k!  But according to my Fitbit I am barely getting in 10K.  Now, I know some of this is because I am focusing on workouts rather than steps, but in all honesty, I should be focusing on both right?!?!  So last night my phone rings and its my fiend Maura (also planning a beach vacay) and she tells me to sit on my couch and quit walking because she is going to beat me today. Since I had been asleep when the phone rang, I knew she was right.  :)  But then today she emails me at work that she is jogging 100 steps in place every time she has to get up at work.  WHAT!  Ok, I can play this game too.   So there you have it, healthy competition.  Literally because we are working o being healthier through our steps and exercising! 
So who wants to issue the next challenge?  How many steps can YOU get in one day?!?!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Not So Guilty Pleasures

Good bye guilt!  I can honestly say that I never thought I would be able think those words, let alone say them out loud.  I have always been an "all in" kind of gal, so when I make a plan of attack and it doesn't follow through 100% I always tended to chuck it all as a failure.  I would feel so guilty about missing a workout, or eating more calories then I allotted myself for a day that I would go on a bender and wallow in my guilt and depression over it.  I always come back to you though, my readers and I feel a sense of loyalty to you.  To explain why I failed or how I am going to succeed (fingers crossed) next time. 

So the hubs has been sick and I have just been feeling  out of sorts, so my workouts have been less then stellar, as in I remembered that counting taking the dog for a walk counts as SOMETHING!  food wise I have been okay though for the most part, a little over on a few days, but diligently  tracking.  Last night though I was in shock and a bit terrified to input my dinner.    We went to a new (to us) restaurant and the special was an Italian buffet.  As I have been avoiding gluten I was worried about my tummy first and foremost, but then all that cheese and sauce and deliciousness and quite frankly my mouth started to water at the thought of lasagna.

After trying (small GO ME) portions of various things, and devouring my salad, I ended up doing ok for the night.  It was the ice cream cone after my 12 year olds band concert that pushed my calories over the top for the day (totally worth it BTW).  What was most shocking was even while I was eating, I thought to myself...tomorrow is another day.  You don't have to be perfect all the time.

This line of thought s still new to me, but the fact that I am getting there makes me believe that this time the journey is different.  I think I will be MUCH more successful at my attempts this time.  We are back on track today calorie wise, have a few good workouts lined up for the next few days.  I'm ready to rock!
How do you handle guilt on your journey?

Friday, March 14, 2014

hAPPy Friday

A long time ago I wrote a post about apps that I was loving at the time.  The nice thing is I still rely on almost all of the original ones I wrote about. My fitness pal is a staple.  I got the hubs on it now too and its gotten so much easier.  I used to freak if I forgot to enter something, but now its just part of my daily routine...bad choices and all.

Overdrive media console.  I <3 U!  My commute to work is about 30 minutes each way.  With the winter we have had though, that has ranged anywhere from the standard 30 minutes to upwards of 90.  THANK GOODNESS for Overdrive Media.  It allows me to select audio books from the library to enjoy through my iPhone.  I just plug my phone into my cars speaker system and away we go. (PS I am looking for suggestions for good books right now).

I was a big Pandora fan until I discovered the joy of Spotify.  You can ask it for a specific artist and get THAT artist...not just ones that are believed to be similar.  Sorry Pandora, you have been replaced.

My newest addiction is the calories burned calculator app.  I <3 it because after a great workout the last thing I want (or sometimes can even manage to think about) is figuring out how to enter my workout on Fitbit.  This app has everything I have done so far from The Biggest Loser to Insanity.  I enter my weight, amount of time and then select the activity and I have a calorie burn to enter. 

Finally, my fav.  My sweet, pink Fitbit.  I was sad when I first got my Fitbit Flex because I had an iPhone 4 and found out that I couldn't sync via my phone.  I carried my sync dongle back and forth to work with me because I couldn't wait until I got home to see how I was doing each day.  Now that I have been able to get my upgrade I enjoy synching whenever and wherever I want.

What are some of your favorite apps for living healthy?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Trying to (vitamin)D-feat sickness

I am over winter!  I love snow and all, it's very pretty for Christmas, but by mid-March...I am over it. Especially since this year has been crazy.  We have temps in the 60's  one day, then negative teens the next.  Sadly, I am not even exaggerating for dramatic flair.  It's been a long, hard winter here in northeast Ohio.  With all the bitter cold, and then the fluctuations people are bound to get sick.  I feel like a part of me (and most of the people I know) have actually suffered some this year from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) just from it being SO cold you couldn't be outside. 

So with warm days promised earlier this week (not today, today beings yet another Snowpocolypse) I had visions of grandeur with the kiddos.  Being outside, riding bikes, roller skating, walking the dog as a family...but alas and alack...the temperature jumps and drops hit our house and I was home Monday with two sick kiddos.

Mini me was just a congested, snotty mess.  You've seen it at daycare, the nose running non-stop yet somehow the voice comes out all congested and sad.  No fever, no need for meds, but also no sleep which makes for a miserable kiddo and miserable parents.  My big girl started in with a cough late last week that was up and down with how she felt but then was on overdrive by Sunday (of course...the pediatrician isn't open then right). 

So bright and early Monday morning we are on the road to the doc.  Doc listens to her lungs and has her try to blow a pinwheel.  Sad.  Doc says, "That sounds terrible in there."  So they decide to give her a breathing treatment. 

double whammy to a 12.5 year old...breathing treatment inn a farmyard room

Doc comes back 10 minutes later and big girl can make the pinwheel go around with out coughing.  We go home with an inhaler to use until feeling better.  My poor sweetie.

So later that day, since it was SO nice outside, I decide to go clean up after the pup in the yard.  All the melted snow has left a treasure trove of "doggy surprises" in the yard.  Since it was sunny and warm...and made the girls come outside with me for a bit.  They were confused about being outside when sick, well for the pre-teen confused is the wrong word...aggravated that I pulled her from her bed and kindle seems more accurate. 

I told them they needed some fresh air and Vitamin D.  I expected the look of confusion from my mini, but I KNOW I have talked to big girl about this.  Did they get a HUGE amount of Vitamin D from sitting on our porch steps for 30 minutes in NE Ohio in March...probably not but they should have gotten at least some, and couple that with the fresh air...I think that is why BOTH were feeling much better by bedtime.  A little modern medicine, a little Mother Nature, and a lot of love from Mom!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Baby Fever Part 1

I feel like everywhere I turn, people are announcing that they are having babies.  Three moms from dance, the daughter of a co-worker, an old college friend, 2 amazing bloggers.  It is such an amazing and exciting time and one that I remember with such fondness.  I loved being pregnant.  It was one of the most amazing, rewarding, humbling, perfect experiences of my life.  When my mini was born, it was bittersweet to me as I knew how much I was going to miss being pregnant, but how happy I was to finally, FINALLY hold that sweet baby girl in my arms. 

 I have found that most women either LOVE being pregnant (that was me) or hate it.  There isn't much of a middle ground.  This is so strange to me, but I also realize that everyone's experience is different.  Looking back now, I smile with every memory.  Every moment of fear, cravings, nausea, tears...all of it!  So in the spirit of all things baby lately, I thought I'd  share my experience.  Maybe it will help one of you out there going through your own journey with bambino...maybe it will entertain you, maybe you will just be like WTH!  I mean, seriously..who knows, one of the joys of motherhood is the hormone roller coaster right?!!?!

When the hubs and I decided it was time to expand our family, we did just that.  We made the decision at the start of December and by the end I was prego!  I had a feeling I was too.  I remember thinking that our lives were going to change, and sure enough I was right.  We had a regular Sunday morning with the hubs making eggs, sausage and toast and I remember thinking "Why would he do that?  Why would he make something so disgusting?"  The smell of the sausage set me off.  Clue #1.  We had a post-Christmas pre-New Years brunch with fiends and I found myself staying away from the rum punch on instinct.  Now anyone who knows me knows that I must be part pirate that way I heart rum!  I just couldn't do it, something kept me away.  Clue #2.  Same thing on New Years Eve.  We had a fabulous time with friends and I somehow managed to spill my entire drink and stuck to soda and water.  Clue #3.

Finally my "friend" didn't arrive so we bought a home test (or 2).  I took it, waited and started to cry.  If I wasn't pregnant how could all these things be happening?  It didn't make sense.  My wonderful hubby reminded me that its rare to actually get pregnant on the first try.  But I had been SO certain.  It just made no sense.  I found myself sitting in the bathroom staring at the test, and thinking why isn't that second line darker.  It's just so faint.  I can barely see it.  Clue #4.  I said all this to my hubby and he looked too and then he waivered.  It was barely visible, but it was there.  Could it be?  Well, I could only be sure with a 2nd test right?  Right!  So test box #2 was ripped open, I was chugging water, and then finally....same thing.  A barely visible little line.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! 

I ended up getting one of those fancy digital kits and whammo!  It barely took 10 seconds before that sweet little box said PREGNANT!  I was thrilled!  I was terrified!  I was complete!  I called the doc to make it officially official!  The nurse and I were talking and she asked the basic questions, "Are you late? How late?"  When I told her about the multitude of tests, she just kind of giggled and told me "No matter how faint, a line is a line."  I had to laugh with her.

And that is where the journey began.  I got myself on prenatals, cut back my caffeine, and kept up with my workouts.  A very focused and healthy business as usual.  I was doing great, no reason for people to know until we were ready to tell them.  Had my first prenatal visit where the doctor confirmed (one last time for me) that we were in fact pregnant!  My amazing hubby came to all those first appointments, until finally the sameness of them was enough that I felt bad and gave him the ok to skip.  He of course came to all the big ones...first time we heard that fluttering heart beat, first time we saw her sweet little face.

We were golden...until the night in the Mexican restaurant.  We have two dear, dear friends that we love and who have been blessed with 13 grandchildren so far.  We were at dinner having Mexican (I love me some Mexican), and I was eating chips and salsa like ti was my job.  I had been talking about the fajitas I was going to eat all day (throughout my pregnancy I was all about protein), and when that delicious sizzling plate was put down before me I turned green and made a dash for the bathroom.  That was all it took.  The cat was out of the bag.  Experienced grandparents KNOW that when you have that quick of an aversion...there is only one explanation.

to be continued...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

BMEye...a new point of view

I am the mother of an (almost) teen.  There.  I admit it.  It's true.  It terrifies me, makes me happy, makes me crazy.  My dear big girl is 12, 12 and a half next week.  She is beautiful, smart, funny, quirky and perfect.  She is my oldest and the first to fill my heart in the way that only a child can.  She encourages me, loves me, and is my friend.

My 12 year old has always been quiet but confident.  She is the type that comes across as shy and reserved until she gets to know you, then look out.  Its open season on crazy. :)  She has one of the most tender hearts I have ever witnessed (much like her uncle-my lil bro), and she keeps her feelings bottled up most of the time.  This is getting to be more and more as she inches ever closer to the actual, official teen years.  We spend many days yelling through her (slammed) closed door while she blocks us out with ear buds and iPods, but at the end of the day (literally) she snuggles on the couch with me, resting her head on my shoulder, and for that short window of time, she is my little girl again.

She has seen me struggle with my own body issues.  I never wanted to be the mom that said "I'm fat" in front of my kids, but I admit it has happened.  She is always quick to negate my sentiments though and reassure me that the image I (think) I see in the mirror is not reality.  We all have a slightly distorted reflection I think, society has made us that way.  But this week it came full circle on me.

I have never been a fan of the BMI scale, I have made that clear I think.  But now I can hate it for a whole new reason.  My oldest is an amazing soccer player.  She plays on both club and premier level teams.  She is also an equestrian.  To see her in the saddle is amazing.  She is unbelievably strong and incredibly fit.  She runs with soccer 2-3 days a week and the amount of strength riding takes is shocking.  I mean, you have to control a horse with your body. 

Last week my big girl had a friend over and they played the Wii.  When they did the fit test, that rotten son of a biscuit machine told her that her BMI was in the overweight range.  Now, is there anything wrong with being overweight or addressing the fact if you are?  NO!  But when you aren't, and you are being told you are (especially at an impressionable age) because your boxes on the big chart don't fall where some random person thinks they should, I have to say it's just plan wrong.  I knew it bothered her because I wasn't actually in the room when they did it, she mentioned it later in passing.  Her teen-angst way of making me aware that she was upset (I am getting good already at reading her signals).

So this week we had her well child visit at the pediatrician, and I asked her if she wanted to talk to the doc about the Wii.  The doc jumped right in with, "Did that stupid thing say you were overweight?"  The shocked look on my daughters face let me know that she wasn't expecting that kind of response from the doc.  Our wonderful doc explained again (as she did during the mini's visit) how against it she is.  How muscle is heavier and that she wouldn't be able to do the things she does if she was on the lower end of the spectrum.  Can I just say I LOVE our doc!

So as I move forward with my own fitness and health self-discovery I am seeing how what I project along with the world is effecting my girls.  Bye bye BMI!