Today: What’s in my Pocket, 2/24/14

I thought about putting together a Weekend According to Instagram post, but ever since Grace’s early arrival (and my coinciding early maternity leave), the weekends sort of feel like regular days.  And the regular days feel sort of like weekend days.  Mostly, the last three weeks have felt like one very long (albeit, wonderful) day of nursing, diaper changing, and snuggling… peppered with a few short naps.  And several showers necessitated by being thrown up on by a tiny human.  And some quick snack breaks.  Life has been incredibly wonderful.  My Instagram feed, however, has been incredibly boring.  Which, I am hoping, is a sign that I am doing something right.

Maybe next weekend will be different.  Don’t hold your breath.  (Really.  Don’t.  It’s bad for your health.)

In the meantime, I thought I’d share some late night reading I’ve been doing during those moments after I’ve carefully placed Grace in her co-sleeper, but before I am convinced she is actually asleep.

You’re likely familiar with Pocket, but if you’re not, Julie’s post is a good place to start. I’ve been saving posts and articles to read for later there, leaving with me with a more curated and manageable reading list than my overflowing Feedly, um, feed.  (Side note: Remember when Google Reader went extinct and I was this close to going into mourning?  Totally over it.)

Lest you think me completely vapid… a warning: most of this is very light reading (with the exception of the first article, perhaps).   I’m  fairly certain that’s all my brain can manage at the moment. 

Here’s what’s in my Pocket this week:

And now I have that “one hand in my pocket” song stuck in my head.  Oh, Alanis.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Taking a few photos of the now complete nursery to share later this week
  • Boston fitness professionals: check out this upcoming event
  • Why is it cold again?

What are you reading today?

Today: The SparkPeople Cookbook

Update:  Congrats to Sophie @ Life’s Philosophie!  And many thanks to all who entered.  This giveaway is now closed.

Late last year, I received a complimentary copy of The SparkPeople Cookbook.  I was familiar with the SparkPeople website and love their Instagram account, and had heard great things about that community from friends looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.  After spending some time enjoying the cookbook and perusing the hundreds of searchable recipes (including a special section for parties and seasonal dishes) on SparkRecipes, I’m hooked.

I’ve never been much of a meal planner.  While pregnant, I stuck with small, frequent meals and seemed to experience new food aversions daily (root beer, raspberries, mashed potatoes and cucumbers… those were my safe foods hahaha).  I’m still eating round the clock (and often with one hand), but have been so happy to crave actual meals again.  Whenever I get a new cookbook, I seem to spend hours marking pages that whet my appetite.  That way I can easily find meal inspiration when I’ve grown sick of, welp… raspberries and root beer.  (Bodies are so weird.)

The SparkPeople Cookbook is full of healthy recipes, along with really helpful instructions for healthy cooking techniques, inspirational stories from the SparkPeople community, ideas for ingredient swaps, and other educational content.

It’s the kind of cookbook you’ll want to actually read.

The lovely folks at SparkPeople are offering a copy of The Spark People Cookbook to one On Tap for Today reader in the U.S.  To enter, simply leave a comment below.  I will choose a winner (using random.org) at the end of the day on Monday, February 17th.

Full monty disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of The Spark People Cookbook.  I was not compensated for this review or giveaway.  As always, I’m happy to share my honest thoughts on products I enjoy.  Also, it’s been two weeks since my last sip of root beer.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your meal planning style?  Always prepared… or fly by the seat of your pants?

 

Today: When enough is… too much.

I left home precisely three times between Friday and Sunday evening.

  1. I went for a walk with Clark (before you report me to the ASPCA or Sarah McLachlan, rest assured that Nick picked up my slack)
  2. I made a trip to the pharmacy for cough drops (and crossword puzzles)
  3. I met with our friendly neighborhood police officer to have our car seat inspected (Last Minute Larry strikes again)

I spent the rest of the weekend asleep, trying to be asleep, moaning and groaning, being stumped by crossword puzzles, watching the Kill Cliff East Coast Championships online (while my ticket to the event mocked me from the coffee table), wondering if you can wear more than one Breathe Right strip, and starring in my own one-woman version of Les Miserables.  I don’t know if I should admit this (especially after promising you that you didn’t need to call animal welfare on me), but at one point I was so conked out that I drooled on my own dog.  He didn’t seem to mind (and he loves that I am on the same napping schedule as him), but I was mortified.

I went from feeling great for the better part of 36 weeks to, seemingly suddenly, feeling… not so great.  Our midwife encouraged me to slow down.  I wanted to, but I also felt like I had a ton of work to get done.  And I wanted to squeeze in one more workout before putting my CrossFit membership on hold.  Also, I finally remembered what I forgot to get at the store, and so I figured I should go get it.  And I had just one more big work event to pull off, so I worked late to ensure it went perfectly.  Several nights in a row.  And I wore heels to the event.  Plus, I scheduled a couple more meetings.  And I invented other things to add to my to do list.

While my ego tries to keep busy and be important, my body is saying, enough is enough.  I could do without this rotten cold, and I wish I wasn’t such a boob for letting myself get this run down, but I’m finally seeing how badly I do need to slow down during these last few weeks (or days?).

Enough is enough… but it’s also too much.  I can’t keep up.  I can’t do what I’ve always done.  And that’s okay (even if it’s been a bit of a challenge to accept).  After all, it’s not just about me any more.  

If you can learn this lesson without polishing off a box of Kleenexes, please do.  From here on out, I’m steering clear of my ego and listening to my tired, not-so-little body.

A few more things to avoid when you’re pregnant (or just a human, in general):

  • Other people:  (Sort of.)  People say really weird things to pregnant women.  I’ve heard some real doozies, from the security guard in Detroit who told me that she did voodoo on me, causing me to have twins (I was like, Maybe, use your voodoo for something more productive… like fixing Detroit?), to the man in my office building who asked, “Did you get fat, or are your pregnant?” or the woman at the supermarket who told me my doctor was wrong, and that I would have a baby before Christmas.  And it’s not just strangers.  People I know and love have said some bizarre things, too.  It’s sort of impractical to avoid people altogether (especially when you consider my next suggestion), but it’s important to develop some sound coping mechanisms for the inevitable weirdness.  Please don’t let the comments get to you.  They are likely coming from a good place.  I think.  
  • Too much alone time: I have never been so far inside my own head as I have been these past nine months.  I would likely be lost in there if I didn’t have a support system to field my questions, listen to my worries, offer suggestions, and laugh (in sort of a sad way) at me when I thought my belly button was connected to the baby’s belly button via the umbilical cord.  (Don’t ask, don’t tell.)
  • The internet:  I should be banned from WebMD.  In the past week alone, I’ve diagnosed myself with six different incurable diseases.  And I’ve cried about all six of them.  When I stopped crying, I went on BuzzFeed (usually a reliable source of laughter, i.e. the opposite of crying), only to stumble on this terribly sad cartoon about how dogs grieve for their scattered children.  I thought it would be something cute about grown-up dogs following their puppies on Instagram (shameless plug for @clarkthefrenchie), but it was actually devastating.  Please don’t read it.  Unless you want your day life ruined.
  • Comparison:  Every person is different.  Every pregnancy is different.  You’re probably doing it perfectly.  For you.

Oh.  And avoid soft cheese.  Which is just plain rude.  I want my first meal in the hospital to be an entire wheel of brie.  Maybe.  Actually, I think I want a root beer float.

Also On Tap for Today:

How did you spend your weekend?

Today: The weekend according to Instagram XXIV

Nick and I spent the better part of the weekend in various parenting and child safety classes.  Needless to say, not a whole lot of Intagramming (or housework, or real work, or napping, or Netflixing, or CrossFit) happened.  Sometimes adult responsibilities trump social media addictions.  That’s probably a good thing.  In fact, if I teach a parenting class one day… I’ll add that important note to the syllabus.

The weekend according to Instagram XXIV

  1. Clark loves being towel dried.  He enters some weird euphoric state as soon as one of us breaks out a towel for him.  It’s one of my favorite things to watch.
  2. I am making a concerted effort to finish a full month of fatmumslim’s photoaday challenge.  We shall see.  Saturday’s prompt was looking down.  While I try to take a fresh photo for each challenge, I woke up at 11:30 PM for a nearly-midnight snack and remembered that, welp… I had forgotten.  So I dug up this one from a few weeks back.  I only managed one workout last week and truthfully, I’ve felt pretty run down lately.  I’m proud of myself for CrossFitting and staying active through 35 weeks of pregnancy, but I am beginning to feel that it’s time to pull back a bit.  I’ve been trying to fit in as much as possible lately (at work, at home, at the gym and elsewhere), and I think it’s catching up to me.  This week’s m.o.: more rest, less stress running around like a nut.
  3. As I mentioned up top, Nick and I took two prenatal classes this weekend– one was on breastfeeding (can I just say, I was not prepared to see so many PowerPoint slides of boobs…), and the second was infant/child CPR and baby care and safety.  I supposed we are officially as ready as we’ll ever be.  The instructor for our second class was especially… um… free-spirited, and offered some pretty amazing advice.  One of my favorites: Worried someone’s not holding your baby properly?  Say something like, “In our home, we like to support our child’s head.”  We’re lucky to have such great healthcare, and really like our OB and midwife.  Which is good, because we’re seeing them at least once a week at this point.  We’ve taken advantage of many of the classes offered, including an early pregnancy class (which exists because when you find our you’re pregnant, you call the doctor and they’re like, “Cool.  See you in ten weeks.” And then you worry about all the things you can mess up during those ten weeks.), a tour of our hospital, and a one-day childbirth class.  Knowledge is power.  As long as you don’t faint while the knowledge is being imparted (there were a few close calls).
  4. Taco Tuesday Saturday.  Don’t these little guys look good?  I piled on Amy’s vegan refried beans with green chiles, spring mix with herbs, hot sauce, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and some lime juice.  And then I devoured them.  And then I went to bed at 7:15 PM.  Ole!
  5. Clearly Nick paid attention during the swaddling portion of class this weekend.
  6. And one last photoaday prompt: colorful.  You know how I feel about glitter, and you know how I feel about Martha Stewart.  In both cases, more is more.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: Last week’s workouts.

At 35 weeks pregnant, putting on pants feels like a workout.  Fortunately, I’m still feeling good enough to make it to CrossFit twice a week and have been carving out time for a little prenatal yoga in my makeshift studio (the baby’s room).  Actual workouts are a good thing.  Pants on the other hand… meh.

Tuesday and Friday: Prenatal yoga

I haven’t been sleeping much lately (no more than 1-2 hours at a time, which is making for a very delightful and pleasant Elizabeth), and nearly nodded off during savasana both days.  With so much floating around in my brain (a recent sampling: trying to get as much work done as possible before going on leave, trying to avoid googling various pregnancy symptoms, attempting to locate my keys, wondering), the quiet time yoga affords has been both challenging and exactly what I need.  The stretch feels good, too.

Thursday: 2014 WOD at CrossFit Southie

Nick and I rang in New Year’s Day at CrossFit Southie with lots of rowing and modified burpees.  And then I ate a donut.  Real talk.  Also: I like that the baby got a shout out on the whiteboard.

Saturday: CrossFit in the cold

My face nearly froze off on our way to the gym Saturday morning, but after being snowed in, it was good to get out of the condo.  All that rowing warmed me right up.

WOD: 1000m row, 30 pull-ups, 20 front squats, 10 wall climbs, 20 front squats, 30 pull-ups, 1000m row

I wasn’t sure I could hang for the full 2000m, and scaled the first row to 850m.  By the time I got on the rower for the second time, though, I knew I could finish out a full 1000m.  I scaled the pull-ups to jumping pull-ups and the wall climbs to elevated push-ups using a racked barbell.  No donut this time.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you staying warm this week?

Today: Hello, 2014.

And just like that, another year has flown by.

On New Year’s Days passed, I sat down to think through and write out my goals, my hopes, and my plans for the coming twelve months.  I’d look back the previous year’s highs and lows, and attempt to make some sense of it all.

This year, however, I am doing my best to just be here.  With our baby’s arrival mere weeks away, I feel a bit like a boat tied to the dock.  I’m as ready as I can be (which is to say… who knows) to leave the harbor; all that’s left to do is wait.

I am trying to pass this time, this wait, engaged — rather than idling.  I’m trying to soak up the quiet, the mundane, the simple.  And while I cannot wait to see what’s outside the harbor (I just can’t), I am enjoying being tied to the dock.

Life is such a gift.

Also On Tap for Today:

What does 2014 have in store for you?

Today: Last Minute Larry’s favorite grocery store gifts.

If you’re like me you are an incredible and wonderful creature have a tendency to leave things to the last minute.  For someone who loves to plan and make lists as long as my dog is cute, I have a real knack for procrastinating.  Fortunately, there is still time to pick up the perfect gift and a half gallon of milk at the same time.  Which reminds me: I forgot to buy milk this morning.

Last Minute Larry’s favorite grocery store gifts

DIY gift baskets

My late uncle lived in Florida and often sent boxes of citrus fruit up North this time of year– the perfect bit of sun and warmth for those of us hunkering down for another New England winter.  Plus, it’s always nice to have a few grapefruits and oranges on hand to balance out the ‘nog and cookies.

You could spend a fortune on next day shipping and order a gourmet gift online, or you could simply hit up the produce section of your local grocery store and pick up a few of your favorite fruits (perhaps include something new and different for a friend to try?) and wrap them in an inexpensive bowl or basket.

Fruit not your jam?  Try a printed recipe and dry ingredients, or spices and cooking utensils.  Package your favorite teas with honey, biscuits and a lovely mug.  There are pretty much no rules when it comes to making your own food-themed gift baskets.  Welp, maybe that’s not true.

A few rules to abide by, lest ye give your sister botulism for Christmas:

  1. Include no fish, raw meats, nor cheeses that require refrigeration
  2. Avoid anything that could go bad and/or stinky
  3. If it doesn’t sound delicious, don’t wrap it up and give it to someone (unless you’re trying to send a very un-Christmas-like message)

Toys

Our favorite Whole Foods Market (the one on River Street in Cambridge) has quite the selection of toys, books, apparel and other gift-worthy items in their Whole Body section.  Who doesn’t love a sock monkey?  Someone I don’t want to know, that’s who.

Chocolate

When in doubt, give the people what they want.  I am a big fan of local favorite, Mexcian style Taza Chocolate, but most markets offer a variety of interesting brands and flavors, all of which make a lovely gift or stocking stuffer.

Something unexpected

The big advantage to holiday shopping at the grocery store (besides the opportunity to buy — or forget to buy — milk) is the unexpected factor.  Keep an open mind while browsing the aisles, and just about anything may capture your imagination as gift-worthy.

My favorite “unexpected” items:

  • The above mushroom kit from Back to the Roots
  • Potted rosemary “trees” — they look like little Christmas trees and make a great gift for your favorite cook
  • Items from L.I.F.E. line fashion (sold at most Whole Foods Markets), a remarkable project of CTC International created to employ and empower mothers of children with special needs in Kenya
  • The Whole Planet calendar — 100% of proceeds go to the Whole Planet Foundation, and the calendar (which costs $4) includes over $40 worth of coupons #winwin

See you at the market, fellow Larrys.

P.S. For the record:  This is not a sponsored post.  I just happen to really, really like our grocery store. 

Also On Tap for Today:

 What is your favorite gift to give?

 

Today: The weekend according to Instagram XXIII.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!  I spent equal time napping, wrapping, and celebrating with family.  Did I mention napping?   As the third trimester has me slowing down a bit, I have adopted Clark’s preferred schedule lately: sleep as much as possible.  And then eat snacks.  And then go back to sleep.

The weekend according to Instagram XXIII

  1. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pair of slippers and after much searching, found this sparkly and furry pair at Target.  They are so cozy that I didn’t mind risking identity theft.  Just kidding.  Kind of
  2. I had every intention of going to CrossFit Southie with Nick on Saturday morning, but found myself craving a bit more sleep.  Clark was happy to keep me company.
  3. By Sunday morning, I was ready to get a move on, and set up a makeshift yoga studio in the baby’s room.  I love the Daily Burn’s prenatal yoga app (available for iPad), and got a great 40 minutes of stretching in.
  4. I picked up this “thinking happy thoughts” shirt at Old Navy a while back, and it’s still juuuuust big enough to fit over the bump.  I sort of love it.
  5. I overdid it on the bubbles (per usual), and gave our bathtub a giant bubble butt.  I crack myself up.  Get it… crack… 
  6. You know how I feel about sparkles, and have been adding glittery bows to every package I wrap.  Things were getting a bit tangled around here, so I dug into our cabinets for a suitable corral for all that ribbon.  This is probably not what bundt pans are for, but it did the trick.
  7. While I slacked a bit on the crossfitting, our elf went to work on his kettle bell swings.  You can find your own one pound baby bell, incidentally, at babykettlebell.com.
  8. I like wrapping presents almost as much as I like giving them.  Almost.
  9. I saved the best for last.  If you were born in the early 80′s (1980′s, just in case that warranted clarification), loved PBS, and celebrate Christmas, you just may remember the most amazing holiday movie of all time: The Muppet Family Christmas.  And maybe your parents taped the movie for you when it first aired in 1987, and then you and your siblings watched it so many times that the VHS broke.  Or you mistakenly thought something cooler came along (wrong) and taped over it (tragedy).  And then… you talked about this movie, and how it was impossible to find the original (You could find a weird edited version, yes… but hello, we want to see the Muppets watch family movies of themselves as Muppet babies.  Duh.) every single Christmas.  Welp.  My husband found the real deal and ordered DVDs for me and my three siblings.  It is a Christmas miracle almost as miraculous as the actual Christmas miracle.  And if you’ve seen the movie, you know I am not exaggerating.

Hallelujah.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

 

 

 

Today: Stocking stuffers for fit friends.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Koss.

Growing up, we opened our stockings before tackling our pile of presents.  I always loved the fun of reaching into the toe of those giant socks to pull out Lip Smackers, toothbrushes, card games, and other smaller gifts.  With Christmas fast approaching, I’m looking forward to putting together stockings for Nick and Clark (obvi), my secret Santa person (who shall remain nameless) and a few fit friends.

Stocking stuffers for fit friends

Koss Fit Series headphones

Koss’ Fit Series headphones were designed by a team of women (including Gold Medalist Dara Torres) specifically for women. The Fit Series features two models: FitBuds, which are great for everyday use (I wore them on a recent flight and found them super comfortable… and effective at blocking out the snorer seated next to me), and FitClips, clip-style buds ideal for workouts.  Available at Best Buy, Walgreens and Walmart (as well as online), these headphones come in a range of fun colors (hello, mint green) and sell for less than $30.

Tech-friendly running gloves

While the only marathon I’m training for this winter is labor and delivery, I’ve spent the last few years logging very cold miles in Boston.  Comfortable, wicking gloves with iPhone screen-friendly finger tips made those miles more bearable and are also great for commuters.  This pair is from New Balance (here’s a similar pair), but you can find great options at Target, too.

Slip-proof headbands

Katie recently sent me one of her adorable (and very wintry!) BAMR band to review.  I am forever on a mission to keep my unruly curls and fly-aways out of my face while at CrossFit, and this band certainly does the trick.  Like other non-slip bands, the underside is lined with velvet ribbon, which keeps the band in place and prevents the dreaded hair dent.  What I love most about the bands, though?  One dollar from each purchase benefits Every Mother Counts, an international organization committed to ending preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth.

With so many different designs and patterns to choose from, you’re bound to find something you a friend will love.

Other ideas:

  • Arnica gel
  • iTunes gift cards (great for fitness apps and new jams)
  • Socks
  • Digital magazine subscriptions
  • Nutrition bars, Gu, and other on-the-go fuel
  • A DIY “race day kit” – include extra safety pins, Chapstick, a small handheld water bottle, etc.

Happy stuffing!

Also On Tap for Today:

Today: Last week’s workouts.

I think the expression Better late than never! was invented as an act of charity towards people like me.  People who are just now realizing it’s Thursday.

I had a few really great workouts last week, one’s worthy of sharing, so let’s pretend I am not tardy to, like, every party.

Tuesday: Power Vinyasa Flow at NB Fitness Club with Susan G. Komen Massachusetts and New Balance Lace Up 365

Image courtesy of New Balance

I spent eight hours in Detroit last Monday (and exactly as many hours on planes or in airports), so when my alarm went off bright and early Tuesday, I considered spiking that thing volleyball-style across the room.  Instead, I got up, grabbed a great outfit from New Balance’s Lace Up For The Cure line (as part of a minimum $500,000 donation, 5% of proceeds from this line of athletic wear supports Susan G. Komen) and headed to Brighton.

New Balance hosted a number of special workouts this month, helping to raise awareness for their Lace Up 365 campaign.  I’d been looking forward to the yoga class for a while, but was so impressed with the overall experience.  Before class started, we heard from three breast cancer survivors, who joined us for an hour of Power Vinyasa Flow with Antoinette.  While I’d like to blame travel fatigue or pregnancy hormones, I teared up in the back row, listening as Peter, Theresa and Carol shared their stories because all three were so relatable, so honest, and so human.  And that’s what I love about the Lace Up 365 campaign.  It’s all about honoring those lives affected by breast cancer and ensuring that they are on our minds all year long, not just during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  In addition to news and information about breast cancer, you can also find information about dedicating your workouts to survivors on New Balance’s website.

The class itself was the perfect blend of challenging and restorative.  I made modifications here and there to accommodate my growing belly (and dwindling balance), and looked up often to see Peter, Theresa and Carol practicing in the row ahead of me.  I’m grateful to have been able to spend the morning with such courageous people.

Thursday: Thanksgiving WOD at CrossFit Southie

Nick and I managed to fit in a workout before hitting the road on Thanksgiving, visiting my parents south of the city and his parents north of the city.  I had planned to do my own thing while the rest of the class completed a partner WOD, but I ending up pairing up with our friend Kendra and completing the whole workout.  I made a few pregnancy-friendly modifications (squats and elevated push-ups in lieu of burpees, step-ups instead of box jumps), but was happy to crank out all the rowing, running, kettle bell swings and double-unders.

A few people have asked me about keeping up with CrossFit while pregnant, and while I am no expert, I think it all comes down to doing your research, consulting with coaches, and doing what feels good.  Thanksgiving’s WOD took just over 40 minutes for us to complete, and at a high intensity– this was definitely pushing it for me.  Knowing how to scale different workouts (whether for time, reps, intensity, etc.) is so important.  If you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Saturday: Hero WOD at CrossFit Southie


“Joe”
10 rounds
10 Thrusters 95#
10 Bar facing burpees
10 Pull-ups
57 Double unders

Saturday’s hero WOD honored Joe Lengel Jr., 57, of Toledo, OH, who died on November 19, 2012, of a gunshot wound sustained while opening his gym, Crossfit Intensity, early that morning.  I finished 8 +8 rounds (I believe the time cap was 35 minutes) and yes, my jump rope matches my Nanos.  Pro Regular person user tip: a bit of washi tape on your rope handles ensures your husband never mistakes your rope for his.

I’ve been fitting in long walks at lunch on off days, making sure to stay active despite the fact that my Spandex is getting tighter and tighter.  Meanwhile, this baby seems to be getting her own workouts in.  I think she’s partial to kickboxing…

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you a lone wolf or a workout buddy?