Thursday, May 12, 2016

working things out

Exercising has become a surprisingly large part of my new life as a mom. I used to workout here and there starting in high school with friends, but it was a social thing. I did it again when DM (his name is David, middle name is Michael and I love middle names and abbreviating!) and I were planning our wedding. Now it has a whole new meaning for the new me. Giving birth to a child has made me so aware of my body and how quickly it changes -- in a not so pretty way. Skin is not so tight in areas, body parts sag a little. In fact, it's pretty gross and depressing. So working out is the only way to get it to be somewhat what it was before baby. Along with exercising (and harddddd exercising, not just walking and texting on a treadmill) comes healthy eating. Why would I want to waste all of that time, money and hard work just to go eat crap right after? By all means, I do spoil myself plenty, though as my grandmother always says -- EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!

When G was first born, we would go on long, long walks, exploring our neighborhood, looking at all the pretty old houses and I'd be sweating a whole heck of a lot since it was the beginning of July and well hormones and breastfeeding. Ultimately, it would end with me racing back on the verge of having a heart attack, listening to my newborn whaling to be nursed. Two years later, I think the next time around I'd just sit on a patch of grass and nurse him right then and there. I was just too new and too fresh to motherhood and didn't have the nerve. That was the extent of my exercise though. My sister told me all about her incredible gym and how they were opening one a location just down the road from me. She told me it would save my life and I could spend the whole day there. I found out the cost and almost gasped. And spend the whole day at a gym? That was so not me! She raved about the amenities, how beautiful it was inside, the daycare, the food, the indoor pool, the outdoor pool, everything. My sister is very good at selling things, but I was on the fence about this one. It didn't take long before DM and I took a tour and signed up before leaving the building. I went a couple of times a week, walking and texting on the treadmill, wandering from machine to machine. I took my time and thought I knew what I was doing. Fast forward to today, and my life is saved. It's no exaggeration. I've made so many new friends, I've learned so much, I am surrounded by driven people and I get out of the house every single morning. 

As a stay at home mum, I need to have things for myself, things to look forward to and some kind of routine to stay in check. The gym is that for me. It's a base for everything else we do that day. If nothing else happens that day, at least we both got out for those two hours. It gets us both up and dressed at a normal time to start the day off right. Without having something planned, it's awfully easy to let the morning slip away and before you know it, it's too late to go anywhere because it's nap time. This gets rid of that problem altogether.

I work out 5 days a week, for just an hour. But in just that hour, I feel like I am literally going to fall over and die. I didn't know I had so much strength, endurance, drive and sweat in me! I LOVE IT! Every session is beyond challenging. I'm in a small boot camp class three days a week and the other two days I usually take barre (or occasionally spinning). The weekends I take off and admire those who go 6-7 days a week. What are your favorite workouts? What motivates you? Is going to the gym part of your lifestyle, a burdon or part of a goal for an upcoming event? For me, it took a baby for me to make it part of my lifestyle.

One of the greatest motivations for me is the self challenge, but above all else, it's the gym's fantastic, dependable daycare. It's a nominal fee when you do the math for 2 hours a day, not to mention the pricelessness for the me time! I get to work out and shower -- ALONE! You cannot put a price on that. If that doesn't motivate you, I don't know what will. Graham has been going since he was about 6 months old. He started out loving it, being a clueless little munchkin, to completely aware of his mama's whereabouts, screaming while I left. The good news was, as long as someone held him, he stopped immediately! Everyone and their mother told me, "just stick with it! he will get used to it and start running inside eventually!" It was hard to believe them. There was never subtle progress. Like everything else with children, it happened in the blink of an eye. One day, he just did not care anymore. I left and he didn't look back. Now he does just what they assured me of -- he runs in just as happily as he runs out when I come and get him. I love dropping him off and throwing him in there just as much as I love returning to see that huge smile and happy mouse voice of his yelling "mommyyyyyyy!!!" He skips or trots down the hall if a friend is with him, moves at a snail's pace if it's only me and him, and he says "byeeeeeeeeee" to everyone at least 3x each. Only recently did I walk-train him. What's walk-training? Well...I just made that up. It's real though! It's like sleep training, except for walking. I spoil him and carry him everywhere when we're out, partially because he always wants to be held and partially because I just want to go and get where we're going. He's almost two, my back isn't any better than it was 10 years ago (I've always had back issues from car accidents and lifting my disabled mother as an adolescent -- she has multiple sclerosis [MS]), and if I wanna have another kid, he's gotta start walking! So one day, I endured the screams, along with every other turning head at the gym, and held my ground until we got all the way from point A to point B. It took 3 days and it progressively got easier. Now he walks like a big boy, holding my hand, from the car in the back row of the parking lot, all the way to the daycare -- and with a smile! It took some of the worst body-slamming-to-the-ground-tantrums I've ever seen, but boy was it worth it!

Every morning during breakfast, I make a smoothie (so long as I have the ingredients and haven't run out for the week) to have right after the class is over. It's a quick easy on-the-go meal. People are always asking me where I get it or how I make it. What powder do you use? My main rule is -- no powder! I just hate the taste no matter what else I put always has a taste of chemicals to me. My smoothies are all fresh and always delicious. To me, it is a treat that I cannot get sick of! G has even loved it for 18 months now! I've gone so far as to having to surrender the fight for it now, because I'd rather he get the nutrients than me. So I'd love to share my recipe (if you can really call it that) with the's really so so simple:

1 c   organic whole milk greek yogurt (I use the wallaby brand found at whole foods.
        whole is actually healthier than nonfat because it's healthy fats & has tons of protein)
1 c   organic orange juice (or less. just enough to make it liquidy enough to blend)
1      organic nana (sometimes I only get to put half of one because G sees me & steals
        the other half. I really should just start buying 2 bunches of nanas!)
1 lg  handful of organic frozen baby spinach (I buy it fresh and freeze it myself)
1 lg  organic carrot (I don't even peel it, just rinse and cut off the ends,
        which G knows to give to Charlie Bear -- our newfie -- for treats)
1 lg  handful of frozen blueberries (fresh is fine too, just won't be as cold.
        this is where you can get creative!! you can do fresh or frozen fruit
        of your choice -- mixed berries, mango, peaches, nectarines, kiwi, whatever
        you like and is available at your local market! I even leave the stems/leaves
        on my strawberries on because they are 100% edible and have their own nutrients!

Just throw it all in the blender and leave it on 'til it's a smoooooothie!

Graham calls it a "soom soom." I think because I always ask him if he wants "some?" I'm not sure but it only gets cuter every time he says it!!! :D Do you have a favorite recipe? Please share, I'd love to hear and try it!

here he is, holding my smoothie captive...

I have plenty of bad habits in my diet too. I never eat breakfast before I work out (literally nothing, not even coffee...I'm not a coffee drinker. I like coffee and cappuccinos sometimes, but don't need it. I love tea, but don't even need that either. -- go ahead, call me a freak!) Lately, I've been desperate for that "something else" shortly after dinner. I do not buy junk food, that is one thing that helps me stay in the game. If it's not in the house, I can't eat it -- no chips, no cookies, no chocolate, no candy. When I crave that "something else," it's pretty hard and I get really desperate. I end up resorting to peanut butter, raisins, dried cranberries or these really yummy dried broccoli things from trader joe's! Of course when we go out to eat, we get a molten chocolate cake or's in moderation though! What are your go to's for treating yourself???

And to boot all of this, I've been challenged by one of my friends to do 22 pushups a day for 22 days. I'm more than halfway through and it's to raise awareness to the fact that on average, 22 American veterans commit suicide each day. Ideally, you post the video of you doing them daily onto facebook and challenge someone new each day to do the same. It's similar to the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS. Sadly, only 2 people that I've challenged are actually doing it. Most people say they can't even do one, or another excuse. You can do any kind of pushups, even from your knees. :) I'm just at the point in my life where I try to come up with as little excuses as possible to say no or I can't. If someone challenges me, I do the best I can, to my best ability, and do it for myself and no one else...that goes for anything, not just the pushups. Here's my favorite video from day 9:

After day 1 of my push-ups, G and I watched it together the next morning. He took my phone and played it over and over and over, watching so closely. I didn't realize he was studying. 2 minutes later, he got down off the chair and said "i'm gonna do it."

and now for a lot of photos just because all they do otherwise is sit on my hard drive and get buried beneath thousands of other photos and videos.
gotta end the night right when we visit papa in the city!
when you're welcomed with the most beautiful spread by your friends.
brought a box to mail after lunch and realized I'd been carrying it around without the prepaid label I forgot to print. it was the first time I took him out to lunch just the 2 of us. he didn't take a single bite except for french fries. the food wasn't good and he was fussy the whole time. at least the day ended with his amazing babysitter coming over who Charlie bear completely adores!
a little miscommunication with open table.
I choose alcoholic beverages by their label and it turns out I picked the sister beer to DM's brewery. mfeo?
I always bring him to bed in the mornings and try to keep him there for as long as I possibly can.
I am NOT a morning person!
anxiously looking for plants to buy. it's an obsession.
getting one of my prints ready to mail out.

he woke up extra happy from his nap. it's a rare occasion with him! :/

he insisted that his new yoda sit next to him for dinner.
he's been fixing this chair for 2 weeks now.
he has screws he stole from his papa and is so clever with the way he uses them.
loving baby jack!
my cousins' nanny and g are head over heels for each other!
still fixing....
looking for bugs with Tina and Nate after 10 days of rain!
shhhhh!!! don't wake the dead frog!
they kept having very intense conversations.
he discovered he's very close to doing a full split.
my inlaws' rhododendron! omg!
grandpa giving him his first oral exam!

future classmates!
what a gentleman...
he usually likes to cook with me, but this time he insisted he put 15 of his toys right where I was trying to work. toddler's orders...
the only room I've been able to convince DM to paint all white (so far).
excited for sprinkler season!
love when you can prepare dinner in 2 minutes and your husband gets to cook it!
this was today. I gave up.
off to work. 
when your neighbor, who you never get to see anymore because their landlord put up his hideous fence between us, pops her kids up over the fence to say hi!
he was muddy from head to toe, so we stripped him and had a naked dinner.
learning about smoking chicken :)

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