Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Today: DirtyGirl Mud Run 2014 and being a beginner again.

I’m usually partial to good, clean fun.  Mostly because I am lazy and don’t like cleaning up messes.  This weekend, however, was a bit of a departure.  My sister and I ran our first DirtyGirl 5k on Saturday morning and I swear, I am still smiling.  Also: 4 showers later, I am still finding mud in various places.  Like way inside my ear.

I’ve participated in one other mud run before, and it happened to be on the same course at the Amesbury Sports Park.  Nick and I ran together, and by together, I mean that he blazed ahead and I met him at the finish line six hours 30 minutes after he started his celebration beer.  It had rained quite a bit before the event, and the narrow and steep trails felt, welp… super dangerous.  People were falling left and right and on one another.  The obstacles were fun, but it was hard to run between them due to the thick mud.  Basically, I fell from one obstacle to the next.  I was happy I participated, but not eager to sign up for another event.

When the folks at DirtyGirl reached out to me, however, I was starting to run again (this was shortly after Grace was born, but before I broke my toe… I think) and was looking for a race to train for.  I convinced my sister to join me and figured if nothing else, we’d have fun together.  And did we ever.

Before and After (and yes.. that is mud ON MY TEETH.)

I hadn’t run since the whole toe thing, so to say I was undertrained would be an understatement.  At the same time, carrying around a 13 lb. baby in a 35 lb. car seat and practicing inversions while she sleeps has paid off, making those climbing obstacles a breeze.  I tried my best to keep up with my sister (who actually, you know, works out), but if nothing else, those walking breaks served as great motivation to be thoughtful about future goals and training.

Getting back into shape (whatever that means, seeing as I feel like I am a totally different shape) after having Grace has been humbling, which is both challenging and freeing.  The slate is wiped clean, so to speak.  After dropping my sister off, I took a ridiculously long shower and then promptly downloaded the Couch to 5k app.  Having completed two marathons and countless other races, it bruises my ego a bit to think of myself as a beginner, but hey… that’s where I am right now.  I think my new mantra has something to do with meeting myself where I am, not where I was.  Also:  I’m okay, you’re okay, we’re all okay.

Back to the mud: At one point, I was doubled over with laugher when my sister looked at me and yelled “AAAAH!  You have a mustache!”  I had nothing clean to wipe my face with, so on we went.  I swear, I laughed for the full 5k.  Which explains how I got mud on my teeth.  Gross.  I have never been so eager to see the professional photos from an event.

I kept thinking, I wish every workout could be this fun.  While there can’t always be giant inflatable obstacles and tutu-clad competitors alongside me, I bet infusing some of that playfulness into my training or yoga practice would do some good.

DirtyGirl Mud Run 2014: The Highlights

  • The course was the perfect balance of muddy, yet still run-able.  While I had take breaks to walk here and there (those hills are no joke), you really could run this course.  It took us just under 40 minutes to complete the 3.1 mile loop, including obstacles… and two laughing induced asthma attacks.
  • The obstacles were so much fun.  They were challenging, but not impossible and unlike similar events, you can opt-out, if you choose.
  • No offense, dudes, but there’s just something about an all female event…
  • The event had a really positive, supportive vibe.  Fellow runners cheered one another on and staff and volunteers were helpful and friendly.
  • From the parking and shuttle bus to the post-race showers and everything in between, the event was so well managed.

My sister and I are already looking forward to next year’s event (we’ve started recruiting teammates and designing our outfits… there may be sloths involved muhaha). To save on your registration to an upcoming Dirty Girl 5k, use the code BLOGFRIEND.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary entry to this event in exchange for writing articles for the DirtyGirl blog.  All the dirt shared here is my own.  Get it… dirt…?

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your current mantra?

Today: Bet on Better with me.

Shocking news: Grace will be five months old this weekend.  She celebrated early with 6 consecutive hours of sleep last night.  Meanwhile, I got up every 6 minutes to check on her, starring in disbelief as the baby who rarely slept more than 3 hours in a row continued to sleep soundly in her crib.  Is this what the next 20 years will be like?  Me peeking around corners, tiptoeing in the darkness, and spying on my own child to ensure everything’s okay?  I should probably invest in a periscope.  Or maybe some Spy-Tech (coolest 80’s toys, hands down).

Now that Grace’s schedule is starting to level off, I’ve got some catching up to do.

I don’t know why, but I had this ridiculous idea that once I went back to work (12 weeks after Grace was born), I would be sleeping through the night, eating something other than a handful of Fritos and an entire quart of raspberries for dinner (i.e. my sixteenth one-handed meal of the day), working out regularly at the gym, and oh, I don’t know, fitting into non-stretchy pants.  Needless to say: not happening.  Not yet.  Or at least, not all in the same day.

The combination of sheer exhaustion and a desire to spend every second (that I am not working, or like, showering) with our little family has made working out… challenging.  Throw in the broken toe (which is nearly healed, and almost looks like a regular toe again), and you’ve got a recipe for disaster the perfect excuse.  I eat reasonably well and have fit in daily walks and some great spinning and yoga classes over the past few months, but I feel like it’s time to really make a commitment to my health and wellness.  Life is not going to get less busy.  As the months pass, it may not be any easier to eat thoughtful meals, or sleep longer than a few hours in a row, or balance work and family time.  It may not get easier, but judging by how our lives continue to change, especially recently, it will get better and better.  

In an effort to stay accountable and motivated, and to build community around making the best possible choices for ourselves and those we love, I am hosting my first DietBet.  I’ve named it “Bet On Better” because, for me, it’s not simply about losing a few pounds (though I do look forward to fitting into real pants).  It’s about making better choices for myself across the board, choices that will help me honor my commitment to a healthy, happy, and well-lived life.

If you’re new to DietBet, you can read my full run-down here, but essentially each 4-week game includes an initial bet (in this case, $35) which goes into the pot.  Participants who successfully (and safely, please!) lose 4% of their weight during the game split the pot.  You also have the option to donate your winnings to charity, which I find to be great motivation.  I have participated in games before, and really enjoyed the community fostered among players.  As a host, I will be providing a little extra motivation, support, and helpful resources throughout the 4 weeks.  The game begins on July 8th.  I hope you will join me and consider bringing a few friends along (this is definitely one of those the more, the bigger pot merrier cases)!

Click here to join (or learn more about) the Bet On Better DietBet!

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your best source of motivation when it comes to making better choices?

Today: FenwaYoga and taking my OM outdoors.

Shortly after writing up my little Summer Bucket List, I got an incredible invitation from KIND.  Did I want to join them for yoga with Mandy Ingber at Fenway Park?  A thousand percent yes (it didn’t hurt that I read their email while snacking on a Healthy Grains bar in between meetings).  KIND sponsored the 2nd annual FenwaYoga event, which benefitted the Red Sox Foundation’s Red Sox Scholars and RBI Youth Baseball and Softball programs.

I was looking forward to checking off “practice yoga outside” from my bucket list, but never expected to have the chance to roll out my mat on the warning track along the Green Monster.

It was such an awesome experience.  Mandy lead a fun but challenging class (made slightly more challenging by the mid-morning sun) from the pitcher’s mound, while yoga teachers from the area provided additional guidance from the outfield.  I made fast friends with the woman next to me, as we swapped iPhones to grab photos of one another goofing off inside the park.

The yoga community in Boston was out in full force and everyone, especially the folks from KIND, made me feel so welcome and grateful to be a part of such an incredible day.

I really thought I’d be itching to get back to CrossFit once Grace was born, but lately I’ve been craving yoga even more.  I appreciate balance of gentleness and strength that yoga gives me, and love that Grace can squirm around beside me on her activity mat while I practice at the beginning or end of the day.  Now that she’s discovered her toes and is holding onto them for dear life, I can’t help but fit in happy baby pose whenever possible.

If you’re looking to take your om outdoors, here are a few ongoing opportunities in the area:

Also On Tap for Today:

What sort of workout have you been craving lately?

 

Today: Summer Bucket List and some sweet shades.

Let’s start with a question: Where did the expression bucket list come from? (Please pause while I Google…)  Hmm.  Not a fruitful search.  Ohhhhh….. it must have something to do with kicking the bucket, and like… things you want to do before that fateful day.  One thing that is not on my summer bucket list: kicking the bucket.

Morbidity (and flaky inner monologue) aside, here are a few things I am hoping to accomplish before Labor Day rolls around.

The coolest bro ever.

Summer Bucket List

  1. A little road trip with my little family - I’m toying with Montreal, would love to see Niagra Falls again, and have also been keeping an eye on the new Nova Star.  Oh, and I read about a library in Vermont that sits directly on the border and does not yet have a copy of Bobby Orr’s autobiography.  I feel like that’s a problem I can remedy with my dogeared copy.   Apparently, I’m feeling the call of Canada.
  2. Hiking in the Blue Hills - and by hiking, I likely mean the family friendly paved path… and a peek at the otters at the Trailside Museum.
  3. Yoga outside - and lots of it.
  4. SUP – Bonus points for SUP yoga.  Side bar:  I am convinced my sister, our cousin and I invented SUP.  We used to take our families’ ocean kayaks out on the Cape, stand up, and think we were incredibly cool (we were).  We called it “stand upon kayaking”… but maybe if we had abbreviated it to SUK it would have caught on?  No.
  5. See Wait Wait in person – Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is going to be at Tanglewood in late August.  I want to be there. Badly.
  6. Run a new race – my broken toe is nearly unbroken, so I think it’s time to set my sights on a new goal and get training.  Also, can I just say, broken toes are no joke.  I like to think I have a pretty high pain tolerance (hello, labor and delivery), but maaaaaaan.  You know when you stub your toe, and you get that feeling of I might throw up or I might pee?  And then the feeling goes away and you’re fine (and hopefully you neither threw up nor peed)?  It doesn’t go away when your toe is broken.  And you have to wear an ugly boot.  And suddenly this bucket list became a pity party.
  7. Tackle unfinished (or in some cases, un-started) home projects – I have grand plans for our pantry and a few art projects in mind for Grace’s nursery.  I’m looking forward to spending a few Summer Fridays getting crafty.
  8. Go to a hot air balloon festival - according to the Internet, there are a bunch in New England this summer.  This might be a reach, but I think it would be so cool to see a sky full of balloons.  There used to be a few that would float over our house when I was growing up.  It always felt like we were witnessing something magical (real magic… not the creepy, weird magician kind..).
  9. Volunteer - Clark and I took some time off from our pet therapy visits in the weeks leading up to, and following, Grace’s arrival.  I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of things at the hospital, and finding other ways to support our community.
  10. Track 12 weeks of food and fitness – I’ve only ever successfully tracked my food intake for more than a day, like, once.  It was back in my food allergy/elimination diet/what is wrong with my stomach days, and honestly… it was not fun.  At the same time, it helped me see the choices I was making and the patterns I had fallen into, and how food affects my overall wellbeing.  I think a bit of accountability and self-awareness will go a long way, especially as I try to make the best possible choices for me and Grace.

Welp, there you have it folks: my I hope I go to a ballon festival before kicking the bucket list.

P.S. I recently received a complimentary pair of Nectar sunnies.  They’re fun and a bit flashy and very reasonably priced ($30 for a polarized pair, $20 for non-polarized).  In other words, they’re the perfect accessory for checking off summer bucket list items.  They were a bit big on Clark, but fit me perfectly. Looking for a pair of your own?  Click here and use the code ‘lovenectar’ for 10% off

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Planting a few more herbs for our little deck garden
  • My new obsession: produce bouquets
  • Packing for a day trip to DC

What’s on your summer bucket list?

 

Today: 100 days of Grace.

It’s been exactly 100 days since Grace was born.

There are moments when it feels like she has just arrived, and others when I can’t believe she hasn’t been with us all along.  Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation, but there are times when I cannot imagine life before that instant when she was placed on my chest in the delivery room and everything changed.

Left: Grace is 6 hours old. Right: Grace is 100 days and 6 hours old. Both: I am overjoyed, overtired, and in need of a hairbrush.

We started going to a new moms’ group when Grace was almost three weeks old.  I am so grateful for that community.  And I want all eight of our babies to grow up and be college roommates.  Or live on an organic farm together.  Or something.

At our last formal meeting, the group’s facilitator asked us to share something that is going well, something that is challenging, and something that has changed.  What stood out to me was the confidence I had gained over those first weeks.  And how much we’ve grown and developed and changed together.  And how I love her more than I could ever adequately express.

In honor of Grace’s first 100 days, 50 thoughts and reflections on life with our beautiful baby… I would have given you 100, but let’s be serious:

  1. I think the first thing I noticed about Grace was her nose.  It is so tiny and sweet, I kiss it all the time.
  2. I’ve found so much love and support in both expected and unexpected places.
  3. More so than ever, I need other people.  I need help.  I need support.  I need to be told that my crazy hair and (unintentionally) tight pants look good.
  4. It’s all very humbling, especially for someone who has always preferred to just do it myself.
  5. I am more grateful than ever for Nick, for our families and friends, and everyone who has been so kind and gentle and supportive to us.
  6. Having a community of new moms, sharing similar experiences, has been invaluable.  (If you live in the Boston area and are expecting or have children, I highly recommend Mama and Me in JP.)
  7. We were discharged from the hospital on a Friday evening, but had to see our pediatrician early the next morning (I love that they’re open on weekends) for a weight check and some testing.  The only thing more overwhelming than being sent home with a very new, very small, very needy baby… is packing her up and taking her back out in the world less than a day later.
  8.  … but because we needed to, we figured it out.  There wasn’t much time for panic or worry, and eventually necessity lead to competence (sort of… once I had the child locks on, got in the back seat to move Grace from her car seat to the Ergo… and then got trapped inside my own car).
  9. After I made a few solo trips to the doctor without, like, losing our child, Grace and I started going to more fun places, too.
  10. I made it my goal to get out of the condo at least once a day while on maternity leave.
  11. We spent Thursdays at my parents’ house, walked to Castle Island when it was warm enough, spent a shameful amount of both time and money in the stationary aisle at Target, and even got our first library card.  Start ‘em young.
  12. I am so grateful to have good health care.
  13. Same goes for a wonderful pediatrician and group practice.  They have been so helpful and supportive.  And they don’t make me feel like a nutty first time parent.  Even though I am a nutty first time parent.
  14. Breastfeeding is hard.  Pumping at work isn’t exactly a walk in the park, either.  But, for me, it’s worth it.
  15. I say, “Let’s take this one day at a time” to myself a lot lately.
  16. I am convinced the face babies make after they eat is the secret to world peace.
  17. I can’t remember the last time I’ve slept for more than 2-3 hours at once.  I do remember the first time I slept long enough to have a dream after Grace was born though.  I dreamt that President Obama was making a very important speech about Olympic figure skating.
  18. I don’t know why I thought this, but I was certain both Grace and I would be sleeping through the night before I returned to work.  She wakes to be fed 2-3 times each night, meanwhile I have friends whose babies were sleeping through the night after a couple of weeks.  It’s all very mysterious.
  19. I ‘m embracing our middle-of-the-night wakings as our time.
  20. Grace’s smile can stop me in my tracks.  Even (or especially) at 3 AM.
  21. It’s the best gift.
  22. When I was pregnant, it was obvious (except at the beginning, when it was a little more like… maybe she’s pregnant, maybe she ate six pizzas).  Especially towards the end, even complete strangers were nicer to me.  People wanted to know when I was due, if I was having a girl or boy, how I was feeling.  I appreciate that more now than I did a the time.
  23. I attract similarly well-intentioned attention when I am out with Grace, but when I’m by myself, I sort of feel a bit adrift.  Like that I want to tell the mailman I have a baby, or I nearly tell the lady in line ahead of me that I am a mom, too.
  24. I guess I hadn’t given much thought to what navigating a new identity would be like, and in that way, I sort of miss being pregnant.  Sort of.
  25. I like that we are creating new rituals and traditions with our sweet girl and our family.
  26. Children’s books either totally awesome, or totally weird.  I’ve yet to find anything in between.
  27. Aaaaand I have yet to make it through Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You without crying.
  28. It feels like I’m softer (and I’m not just talking about my mid-section) than before.
  29. And at the same time, becoming a mother has definitely made me tougher.  I feel a stronger instinct to protect and defend.  I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got more to lose.
  30. I sing to Grace all the time, but the only songs I seem to actually know the words to are Christmas songs.
  31. Clark has been so good.  We’re really lucky.
  32. He has started trying to play with Grace, bringing toys and dropping them beside her, or gently nudging her when she’s on her activity mat.
  33. There is no sense in getting dressed until Grace is safely strapped into her car seat and we’re just about to head out the door.  Any sooner is just asking to be, welp, puked on.
  34. I do not miss my maternity clothes.
  35. I consigned them all the first chance I had.
  36. Uh… except for my maternity jeans.  I am saving those for Thanksgiving (or any other day when eating my body weight in potatoes seems like a real possibility).
  37. I wish I had Grace’s wardrobe.  Cotton everything.  Stretchy pants.  Cuffins and built-in socks.  Kimono tops.  Please.
  38. The underwear you get at the hospital is, like, the best underwear ever.
  39. My favorite thing to wear, though: my baby.  Babywearing is the best.
  40. Same goes for skin-to-skin contact.
  41. I could stare at Grace all day long.
  42. Being away from her during the day has been challenging (but not nearly as challenging as I imagined), and I find myself wanting to hold her all night, even if it means I risk waking her up.
  43. I am thankful that I have both a family and a career.
  44. But I struggle a bit, wondering if I am doing enough as a wife, a mother and a worker.
  45. I’ve always been in awe of my parents, but even more so now that I am one.
  46. Nick is an incredible father.  It’s like he’s known what to do right from the start.
  47. Labor and delivery was amazing.  I’ve heard people compare the experience to all sorts of things (marathons and WODs and whitewater rafting, for example) and I can firmly say this: nothing compares.
  48. It was painful and long and, at times, a bit scary (and I am pretty sure I had it relatively easy after hearing others’ birth stories), but all of that fell away the second Grace was born.
  49. Some day I’ll tell you what it was like to ride an elevator with a bunch of dudes in suits on their way to work while my water was breaking.  Maybe.
  50. After three months, I love that we’re starting to see and know Grace’s personality.  She’s curious and busy, and definitely a morning person.

I wouldn’t trade a minute of any of these past 100 days for anything in the world.

Life with Grace just keeps getting better.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you celebrating today?

Today: My grocery staples and a Dairy Pure giveaway.

My diet has changed a lot in the past year.  When I was pregnant, I ate around the clock to keep morning sickness at bay.  I was able to tolerate gluten again, mostly (there was a week in August when all I wanted was bread… so all I ate was bread).  I tried to form a fan club for Whole Foods mashed potatoes.  I gave up caffeine and tried to cut back on anything especially spicy or acidic (holy heartburn).

Now that Grace is three months old, I am eating more like, well, myself.  One changed that has stuck, however: I am drinking milk again.  Not almond milk, not cashew milk, not goat’s milk… straight up cow’s milk.

When we were kids, we drank milk with dinner every night and lived close enough to a dairy farm to have it delivered by the cold, glass bottleful.  (Believe it or not, I grew up in Greater Boston in the 80’s, not in a Little House on the Prairie.)  At some point, though, once I was out on my own, I stopped drinking milk altogether.  When I started seeing a registered dietitian and embarked on one elimination diet after another, dairy was often the first to go.  And then I would miss cheese (real talk).  I skipped the milk, however, until I was pregnant.  It was one of the few cravings I had during those nine months.  It’s been a personal choice (and one I researched and discussed with my midwife), but adding several servings of milk to my diet has been a healthy way to help meet my calcium, protein and vitamin needs.

In addition to milk, here are few of my other weekly grocery staples:

  • Salad mix (usually baby greens with herbs)
  • Fresh vegetables for salads and snacks (bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, onions, sugar snap peas and radishes)
  • Tomatoes, bananas, apples, and berries
  • The magical fruit Beans, nut butter, hummus
  • Couscous, quinoa, rice
  • Guacamole (which, in my opinion, should be its own food group) – I usually buy single serve portions – a bit more expensive, but less goes to waste for us
  • Cheese (duh)
  • Fresh herbs
  • Cut flowers (always)

With so much non-food being added to our actual food these days, I think it requires a bit of extra effort to shop these days.  I started drinking Dairy Pure milk this winter, so when the company reached out a few weeks ago with information about their new Worry-Free Flip Caps, I was happy to share their info with you.

All Dairy Pure milk passes a 5-point Purity Checklist, ensuring the following:

  1. Dairy Pure farmers pledge to use no artificial growth hormones
  2. All milk is tested for antibiotics
  3. Milk is continuously quality tested to ensure purity
  4. Milk comes only from cows fed a nutritious diet
  5. Milk is cold-shipped fresh from a trusted dairy within hours

The new caps, which stay on the bottle and keep milk fresher, give me even more peace of mind when shopping the dairy aisle.  To find Dairy Pure milk at a market near you, click here.

Dairy Pure is giving away 5 of their insulated shopping totes for your next trip to the market.  To enter, simply leave a comment below.  I will select 5 random winners on Saturday, May 10.

Disclosure: I received a gift card to cover the cost of purchasing Dairy Pure milk at my local market.  I was not compensated for this post, nor for my comments about the product.  I only review products and services that I feel good about (obvi… I hope).

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your take on dairy?  Care to share your usual shopping list?

 

Today: Streamlining my mornings.

I have partnered with belVita and Dannon to help promote the belVita and Dannon partnership.  I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes writing about the promotion and product.  However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

For the past (nearly) three months, my routine has been… welp… a total lack of routine.  It seems like the second I started to get comfortable, and Grace and I had fallen into a pattern of sorts, things changed.  She started eating more.  Or less.  She started sleeping more.  Or less.  Morning was the best time for us to get out for a walk or do a few errands.  And then afternoon became a better time for that.  Some days I’d be showered, dressed and out on the town (or more accurately, cruising around Southie with Grace in her stroller or baby carrier) by 8:30 AM.  Other days, I’d be in pajamas until 8:30… PM.

The sole constant:  We’ve been figuring it all out together.  Me, Nick, and Grace (and Clark, but let’s be serious… he’s a go with the flow little guy).  Becoming a parent has been challenging, exhausting, and at times, overwhelming.  It’s also been the single most amazing experience, and I know I am better for it.  The time we’ve had together these past few months, and all of those transitions from one non-routine to the next, have been so special, so sacred.

Tomorrow we make our next big transition, as I head back to work and Grace begins daycare.  In a perfect world, we could do it all and have it all.  We’d be together all day long, be attentive parents, and be productive while enjoying our fulfilling careers.  We’d achieve the perfect balance.  But the world isn’t perfect. (Duh, lady.)  I know I am lucky to have both a beautiful family and a career that challenges and excites me.  As anxious as I am about the changes to come, I know we made these choices for all the right reasons.  We are so lucky to have options.

Um… this post was supposed to be about breakfast.  Not feelings. (I’m sure I will have much more to say about being a workin’ mom once I have more than 15 seconds of experience as one.)

Back on task.  Breakfast.  Mornings.

While there are plenty of new challenges we’ll need to navigate in the coming days, weeks, and months, I am hoping that making a plan for how we start each day, and making an effort to streamline our mornings, will help.  I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater, much to the chagrin of my parents, my husband, people that I flip off in traffic, my primary care physician… you get the point.  Despite having good intentions, sitting down for a healthy meal at the start of the day always seemed to fall by the wayside when faced with a time crunch.  I can skip breakfast, but I can’t (in good conscience) skip walking the dog.  Or, like, bathing.  Having someone else depending on me in such a real way has been the ultimate game changer.  More than ever it’s clear: I need to take care of myself in order take care of other people.

BelVita and Dannon have partnered to get me (and my fellow Americans) to ditch the excuses and make time for a quick breakfast that boasts 12 grams of protein and nutritious, steady energy (…maybe we can have it all.  Just kidding.  Too soon.  Pass the Kleenex.).  I’ve been pairing Dannon Oikos 0% vanilla Greek yogurt with apple cinnamon Crunchy belVita Breakfast Biscuits, along with an apple, in the mornings.  The combination is delicious and convenient and is sure to become part of my workday routine (bonus: if when I forget a spoon for my yogurt, a biscuit is the perfect stand in).

Are you looking to streamline your mornings?  Laura Stack, “The Productivity Pro”, offers the following tips for getting the most of your morning:

  • Do as much as you can the night before.  Leave as little preparation as possible until the last minute — you’ll thank yourself in the morning.
  • Spend 20 minutes at the end of each day planning your to-do list.  When you download the next day’s activities beforehand, you can devote your morning to enjoyment rather than stress.
  • Be sure to start your morning with a delicious, balanced breakfast.  Together, the nutritious steady energy of belVita and 12 grams of protein in Dannon Oikos Green nonfat yogurt along with a piece of fruit will help you get more out of your morning.

Welp, my breakfast is set for tomorrow… our bags are packed… I guess we’re ready?

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you streamline your morning?  Favorite breakfast ideas for busy folks excuse makers?

Today: Fear is not productive.

For the record, this post is supposed to be suitable for all  humans.  It isn’t supposed to be about being a mom.  Or boobs.  Or CPR.  It just starts that way, so like… bear with me.

 We took a bunch of classes in an effort to prepare for Grace’s arrival.  Infant CPR felt both helpful and necessary.  Breastfeeding Basics was, well, basically useless.  None of it made sense until I actually started breastfeeding, and at that point, I had the invaluable support of lactation consultants in the hospital.  They helped me figure that cool stuff out.  During the class itself, we watched some weird slide shows (I have never seen so many boobs in my life, nor do I expect to, ever ever again), and a movie with credits that included a thank you “to the women of Bulgaria.”  I am still not sure what to make of that.  Our instructor for Child Safety went a bit rogue, so the class was more about how weird babies can look when their born, and less about… safety.

Fortunately, the gaps left by the safety class were more than filled in when I had an appointment with a Boston Police officer to have our car seat inspected, just two days before Grace made her early arrival.  What I thought would be a two minute check of our car seat (which Nick had expertly installed) turned into 90 minutes of me learning how to actually use our car seat (little did I know how soon I be putting this new found knowledge to work), how many air bags my car has, which items in the trunk could turn into projectiles if (God forbid) I got into an accident, how to safely flee an emergency by car with an infant in tow, how to use a car seat without a base if I were to flee an emergency by taxi, and the importance of actually reading safety manuals.

Our childbirth class was cut short by a blizzard, so while we learned a bit about labor, we never learned about delivery.  Needless to say, when it came time to deliver Grace… Nick and I both had a lot of questions.  And I am certain our attending midwife and nurses had several questions about us.

Anyway, in an ongoing effort to get my life together before going back to work in just a short time (don’t get me started, I am almost out of Kleenexes), I was sorting through various info packets from the aforementioned classes, and I came across a page of notes I had taken.  In all caps, I had written,

Fear is not productive.

I remember one of the instructors mentioning that fear (and anxiety and worry) can slow down labor.  I am pretty sure I wrote this sentence down so that I could remember it if I went into labor and we were stuck in traffic.  Or in an elevator.  Like, I would look at pictures of clowns (or something equally terrifying) and the fear would persuade our baby to wait until we were safely at the hospital.

I think, at the time, I missed the point.  The instructor meant that being informed, making preparations, and feeling a sense of control would have the opposite effect.  Fear is not productive.  Being empowered is.  With seemingly so much more to worry about, to be anxious about, and to feel doubtful about these days, I needed this reminder.

Sure, in certain cases, fear probably is quite productive.  Say, if I were a cavewoman and a lion came into my cave to eat my cheese doodles, and I saw the lion, and I felt afraid… and that fear caused me to take my doodles (you can’t leave them behind, I imagine they were really hard to come by in those days) and run?  Productive.  Or that time I went skydiving with my ex-boyfriend in college (that should totally be the name of a Lifetime move: Skydiving with My Ex…. and  maybe on the way to the airfield, before she actually skydives, the main character would find out that she had been switched at birth, just to keep things realistic interesting.  Feel free to steal and pitch this idea to the network.), and I felt fear overwhelm me as I prepared to jump.  That’s productive.  People really shouldn’t jump out of planes for no reason.  Fortunately, I survived, but I did lose a contact lens during free fall.

Real, physical fear — the kind that has helped us stay alive as a species for so long — aside, the kind of fear that has us trying to predict the future, or read others’ minds, or play out all possible scenarios, is not productive.  Worrying about whether or not Grace will be happy at day care is not going to make her any more or less happy.  Getting anxious about making time to fit everything into the day is not going to fold the laundry, preside over meetings, pick out a semi-normal outfit for me to wear, and finish a workout.  That kind of fear is just not productive.  It wastes time.  It wastes energy.  And it leads to more fear.

As much as I love cop shows (which is to say, a lot), I’ve always been squeamish when it comes to the violent parts.  I like the intrigue, the plotting, and the cool police lingo, but I’ve always tended to cover my eyes during any of the real action.  I got into the habit, jokingly, of covering Clark’s eyes, too and telling him to “guard his spirit.”  This has always made Nick laugh, but I’ve caught myself saying this hippy b.s. more and more… and sort of seriously.  And most often to, well, myself.

When that unproductive fear creeps in, we’ve got to guard our spirits.  And with that, I am off to legally change my name to Soleil Moon Frye Dreamcatcher Incense Flower.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have any unusual fears?  What was the caveperson version of cheese doodles?

Today: Floating through the week with Reebok Skyscape.

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.

Remember those cotton tennis shoes we all wore in the early 90’s?  They were adorable, but by early summer, I had already worn through the soles.  And as good as they looked on (with three pairs of tube socks of varying colors, rolled down… why did we do that?), they felt even better… well, off.

While my running and CrossFit kicks are both comfortable and good looking, my everyday shoes all seem to be one… but not the other.  I have clogs so comfortable I could dance a jig (or just, like, do normal things) in them all day long, but they’re hideous.  And I have heels so beautiful they belong in a museum, but by the time I slip them off, I’m in so much pain that I Google things like “DIY foot amputation.”

I was able to back away from both my clogs and Google’s search results the minute I slipped into my pair of hot pink Reebok Skyscapes.  They’re comfortable and good looking, and I’ve barely taken them off since they arrived.

 Floating through the week with Reebok Skyscape

I tend to be a shoes off the second I walk in the door girl, but I’ve found this pair to be so comfortable and lightweight that I’ve kept them on long after a post-yoga coffee run, a visit to the market for flowers (I’m taking a floral arranging class this month), a walk along the water with Clark, a trip to the doctor’s with Grace, and a short road trip to my parents’ house.  I’ve been wearing them mostly with jeans or leggings (my maternity leave wardrobe), but I’ve seen more fashionable ladies wearing them with spring dresses, too.

Made with a seamless foam upper and a low profile, the Skyscape is designed to be flexible, supportive, and stylish.  And unlike the kicks of our childhood, you won’t need to stop at the drug store to stock up on various blister remedies.  Or multi-colored tube socks.  Reebok Skyscape is available online, in Reebok FitHub and Outlet locations, and in select Kohls stores.

Also On Tap for Today:

If you had to wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what would they look like?

 

Today: Flywheelin’ with ClassPass.

My midwife cleared me for yoga and “brisk walking” (which sounded super fun until I briskly wiped out on my neighbor’s icy sidewalk) two weeks after Grace was born.  When I was still feeling (relatively) great two weeks later, she encouraged me to engage in “moderate exercise.”    My CrossFit Southie membership is on hold for another week or so (and as anxious as I am to be back, I want to be sure I am as careful about returning to CrossFit as I was about CrossFitting while pregnant), and though I love a good workout DVD as much as the next girl, it felt important to get out of the condo.  And see other people.  Like, other than the post office people.  I think they have grown weary of my chatty visits.

One of the upsides to being overtired is that I have much less energy to think rationally and/or talk myself out of things.  When I received an invitation to the ClassPass Boston launch at Flywheel, I probably should have asked myself the following questions:

  1. How might sitting on a spinning bike feel mere weeks after giving birth? (Don’t ask, I won’t tell…. Okay, I will.  The first minute or so felt like an atomic wedgie of death… and then I remembered to adjust the seat height on my bike and all was right in the world.  Obviously, the post-partum experience is different for everyone, but I am guessing there are more gentle re-entries into the world of exercise.)
  2. Do I have any business whatsoever at a place as cool as Flywheel?
  3. Can I ride a stationary bike? (It’s been ages.)
  4. What if I fall off?
  5. What will my mental state be at 7:30 PM, after being up all night and all day?  Safe for human interaction?  Acceptable for the public domain?
  6. Do I own clothes other than these three bathrobes I’ve been rotating and have become weirdly attached to?

Instead, I just RSVP’d Very much yes.

And I’m so glad I did.  In addition to the much needed normal (the others, not me) human  interaction with some of my favorite Boston girls (Caroline, Sarah and Sarah), I got a great workout and maaaaan, did that feel good.  I loved everything about Flywheel, from the friendly staff to the stadium-style set up, and the high-tech TorqBoard to the freedom to control how intense (or un-intense?) my workout would be.  Added bonus: I did not fall off anything.  Our instructor, Ann, had the best energy and chose the perfect soundtrack for our 45 minute ride.  I can’t wait to take another class with her.

Lucky for me, I don’t have to wait long.  Shortly after Tuesday’s event, the lovely Jenna at ClassPass reached out with the generous offer of a complimentary one month membership.  I immediately (after saying thank you, obviously) booked another class with Ann at Flywheel and checked out the other classes available in and around Boston.

ClassPass

For $99/month, members can take up to 10 classes at partnering studios and gyms (up to 3 classes at a given studio per month, for example: 3 of your 10 classes can be at Flywheel).  There is no long-term commitment required.  You can find all the details here, but here’s my take:

  • While $99 isn’t chump change, the $10/class you’d pay with ClassPass is often much less than the cost of individual or drop-in classes at the participating gyms and studios (a single ride at Flywheel is $28… a bit rich for my wallet… but to be fair, this includes amenities such as shoes and lockers). #chaching
  • The variety of classes available (spinning, yoga, HIIT, etc.) is fantastic, and the participating studios and gyms are some of the city’s most popular venues (I love a good map: Boston studios, New York studios).
  • I love that you have to reserve your classes in advance.  I know this will keep me accountable, while ensuring I am carving out time to take care of myself
  • ClassPass’ website is very user-friendly.  Members have access to information about each class, studio and instructor, as well as a review system for sharing post-workout tips and experiences.

In addition to scheduling Ann’s class, I took a post-baby fitness class in the Back Bay this morning, and may also fit in a restorative yoga class (which I am hoping amounts to adult nap time… so tired) for later this week.  In the meantime, I’m going to make a list of things normal people talk about (i.e. not diapers) and practice chitchatting with Clark.

Full monty disclosure: I attended a free class at Flywheel and received a complimentary month-long membership to ClassPass.  All opinions and thoughts shared are my own.  Especially the part about the wedgie.

Also On Tap for Today:

Who is your favorite fitness instructor?  Do you have a class to recommend?  What’s your favorite thing to talk about with other grown-ups?