Archives for category: Running

Today it is pushing 90 degrees where I live. I am not complaining! After the terrible, long, brutal, 50 below 0 winter we had, I welcome the sunshine and warmth on my face! But being pregnant in summer is far different than being pregnant in winter. Jackson is a February baby. I was in the nitty gritty of pregnancy in much cooler weather with him. This time I get the joy of a summer pregnancy. Both have their perks I think and both have their challenges.

I wanted to share some summer (and not necessarily summer) pregnancy essentials that I am obsessed with.

1. I used this with my first pregnancy and I escaped stretch mark free! I swore by it, I swear by it, and I share it with most new preggos I know. Bella B Tummy Honey Butter.
photo 3 (1)It always soothes an itchy belly for me. I usually use it twice a day. It can be a bit greasy feeling initially but the way I see it is, it soothes the itching and I was stretch mark free. So far I am as well. Greasiness is a small price to pay for both of those! You can find it on their site or Amazon. I am a fiend for ordering it from there. This is my current tub and I have two or three more stored in a cabinet. Just watch the price on Amazon. I have sometimes noticed it to be priced higher than their retail price.

2. My Gap Maternity jean shorts. I have two pairs that I love. They are so comfortable. They are the same pair but different dyes of jean. Unfortunately it appears that the darker wash I own is no longer anywhere on their site!

photo 4I am wearing the lighter wash in this photo. I was 16 weeks here. I am a few days into 24 weeks now and I am comfortable wearing them today. They are still loose but comfy! I also like that they are a panel at the waist and not a full panel. I wore full panel shorts one hot day recently. We walked to the park. That was a mistake. I was so hot, sweaty, and itchy that as soon as I walked in the door off they came. Never again!

3. Three goes hand in hand with the above photo. I am obsessed with any kind of ribbed tank. The one above is also from Gap. One of their Essential Tanks. I also have the white one I linked to. I am again wearing this tank today at 24 weeks and it is still way comfy and fitting. I have ribbed tanks from A Pea in the Pod too.

IMG_5657This was Memorial Day. Also, note the shorts ;-) These kinds of tops are just so comfy and keep me cool. Plus they show off my shoulders and arms. They are fitted so I don’t feel overly billowy. Tank tops are just a must have summer pregnancy staple for me.

4. Be Maternity BeBand. I know I said I hate full panels, and that is true, unless I am running! I need the belly support. I have found that two of these or one with a full panel maternity running capri keep me supported enough to not have any ligament pain in my low abs during runs. I have 4 of these. Two white and two black. Not that colors matter for me because I wear them under a fitness top. I have tried another band, a more elaborate one but right now, at this stage, it was more cumbersome than helpful. Perhaps as I get bigger in the next 3 months I will be switching. But for now, these rock my running world.

5. Pacifica Kona Coffee Sugar Scrub. This stuff smells so good I could almost eat it in the shower! Ha! Just kidding but really it smells fantastic, if the smell of coffee doesn’t bother you. I find it amazing.photo 2 (2)

This product leaves my skin so fresh and smooth. It is the last thing I use in the shower. I go through it quickly because I use it all over my body. So, it can be a bit of a splurge. But it is so relaxing and refreshing to start my day with this. I initially found it at Ulta. I have also ordered it directly from Pacifica. I also have read that Target carries this brand. I keep forgetting to look for it when I am there, so I cannot confirm or deny if they have this specifically.  Like I said, it is a splurge that it is worth it for my pregnant self.

6. On the same brand note, I am loving their Coconut Crushed Pearl shimmer lotion.photo 4 (1)

It gives a nice sparkle to your skin. It is also very moisturizing. I was playing in the pool with my husband yesterday and he kept trying to grab my arms and legs. I was swimming away. Each time I was able to slip right from his hands. I bragged about how I can get away because of all my lotion! Ha! It leaves me glowing and moisturized. It smells lovely as well!

7. Ok, this is the last Pacifica product…..for now! Indian Coconut Nectar hand cream is a must for bedtime for me. I put it on every night.photo 1 (2)

I will also use it in the morning after getting ready and before I put on my rings. It keeps my hands soft and smelling lovely. I wash my hands so much between a 3 year old who is potty trained, but sometimes needs help, and the washing of the dishes or cleaning in general, that they get dry even in summer. I also have the Tuscan Blood Orange. It smells lovely too!

8. This is by far my favorite foot lotion, pregnant or not! I have been using it for years. It feels especially nice before bed after a long day. H2O Softening Mint Foot Rub.photo 5 (1)

It is cooling and moisturizing. I will usually sit with my feet up on a pillow in bed for a few moments after and the cooling feeling is so refreshing. That is especially important as a pregnant lady in the summer! I usually buy it at Ulta, but you can also order it directly from H2O or go to one of their stores.

9. A reusable water bottle of your choice. I am on the go so much with the little man. I have an assortment of water bottles I can fill and take with me. Especially if we are walking to the park. You have to stay hydrated while pregnant and even more so in the summer heat.

10. Pilates/yoga/birth ball. Ahhhh!! Again, one of your choice. I love to do pelvic tilts and circles on mine at the end of a workout. It is also a great way to stretch. I am planning a medication free labor/delivery and I will be bringing it to the hospital as a birth ball as well. It is so versatile. It is not just for pregnancy either. It can easily be used for anytime workouts! I have had mine for a few years. I love it.

11. A good swimsuit of your choice. I have played around with a one piece and several tankinis. I was so miserable in them! I always felt puffier than I am sure I appear to everyone else. I am just a bikini kind of gal. I love them for swimming. I feel so much more free in the water when I wear one. photo (6)

I actually found a non maternity top that fits me nicely. On the clearance rack at target. I am normally a small but I bought a medium for my much larger chest (two freakin cup sizes!) Those bottoms are maternity bottoms from Target as well. I happened to buy them to go with the aforementioned tankini tops. A bikini during pregnancy may not make you feel more comfortable, and that is fine! That is why you just need to find one that makes you feel sexy and beautiful. Getting in the pool while pregnant, any time of the year, is so wonderful. You feel weightless. You can float on your belly! You can get in a workout. You can cool off. It can even help with water retention. I usually have to pee a ton by the time I get out of our pool. So if you don’t have one, check your local Y or gym for a prenatal swim class. I did that with my first pregnancy. This one, we have an indoor pool so I lucked out. I just train myself in there.

Do you have any pregnancy essentials? Anything you could not live without during your maternity time? 

 

Saturday will bring me into my 6th month of pregnancy. I continually say this pregnancy feels like it is going much faster than my first. I am just far more busy and active than the first time around. I already know what having a child is like. I already have a million child raising tasks to complete each day. My sweetheart keeps me distracted. It is easily the best distraction possible.

I always make time for myself. Part of my parenting motto is that you have to take care of mom to teach your kids that self care and respect is important. I especially make time for my fitness. Jackson knows that mommy has to get her workout in. He is so great about me fitting these times in. He often hangs out with my in my Pilates room. He even tries a few things himself. I am happy to take a moment to help teach him a move or snap an adorable photo.

My fitness has taken no break since becoming pregnant. Certain techniques may have changed over time, but I still workout nearly every day. If I take a rest day I am sure to be active in some other manner that day. I walk to the park or deep clean the floors. I keep on moving. I have even started working with a private Pilates instructor once a week. I know I am a certified instructor, but it is nice to take a break from having to think about what I need to do that day. It is nice to get suggestions from another instructor. It is nice to have someone else correct my form and imbalances.

My diet has remained very clean and healthy. I have little to no cravings for anything junky. I crave limes, vinegar, fruit, carrots, all sorts of healthy things. My first pregnancy wasn’t the same. I loved junk! My husband has been so disappointed this time. He was certain he was entering another 9 months of me approved junk food runs. No such luck. Which I am thrilled about! It is much nicer to satisfy a craving for limes.

I did prenatal swim classes with my first pregnancy. I had a nice purple tankini that billowed around me. This time around I bought a few tankinis again. We have an indoor pool, so we are swimming quite often. I felt pretty miserable and gross in these swimsuits. I really enjoy bikinis. I finally decided to go ahead and get a bikini. I found a size medium cute bikini top on the clearance rack at Target. I had some bottoms from the tankinis I already had. I feel SO much more confident now. I don’t feel sloppy or frumpy. I have decided to embrace my round belly in a bikini this time around. My husband likes me in a bikini, pregnant or not. He prefers it to the tankinis I was wearing! Plus, I do Pilates almost daily! I swim. When I am not battling the worst cold of my life (have been for over 2 weeks) I run, I walk to and from the park pushing a 36lb preschooler in a stroller, I run/play/dance/move with that preschooler, and often I carry that preschooler. I do a lot of physical activity and I eat very clean. So why not accept my pregnant healthy body?

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So there you have it. 6 months of baby belly in a bikini! Baby #2 that is. I know I still have a bit to go and this belly is going to get larger but I am feeling pretty good right now. As a matter of fact in the past week and a half I have counted 8 people who have been in shock that I am as far along as I am. I will take it all as compliments. I would rather hear that than people saying they swore I was ready to pop at this stage.

How do/did you stay fit during your pregnancy? Did you wear a bikini if you happened to be in a situation that called for swimming?

I have heard that each pregnancy is often very different and unique. I have to admit, I stubbornly thought that was ridiculous until I experienced it myself. Regardless of the fact that I am having another boy, this pregnancy has been a lot different. I won’t go into each detail though. I do want to focus on one super cool aspect.

I felt this baby, Alexander, move MUCH earlier than I ever felt Jacky move. I am 18 weeks pregnant and I have been feeling him wiggling around in there for weeks now. It started off very faint. To the point where I wasn’t even convinced that is what I was feeling. As the days passed I began to understand exactly what I was feeling again. Now I feel him move every day, multiple times a day!

One of the coolest things I can do is actually make him move with some Pilates. It all started with a prenatal mat series I did on my vacation.

It starts with a series of half roll downs with bent legs. Roll halfway down, then all the way back up. You continue to build on that. You move onto rolling halfway down, holding, then tiny pulses up. The next part of the series is rolling halfway down, holding, then twisting to the right (obliques!) for several counts. Coming through center, hold, twist left for several counts, come center, roll up. Repeat.

Immediately after that you lie down for bridging. Once I articulate up into a bridge the little man moves to the very front of my lower abdomen. I can actually feel a little ball of a baby. I can feel him shifting around as an entire unit in there! It becomes so pronounced that my husband was able to feel the little baby ball (as I call it) as well! It never fails. I have done this series multiple times now and I can always count on him to wiggle his way to the front of my body and say hello to me!

It is no secret that I love fitness (um my blog name!) So when I find something even extra cool about it, I am overjoyed. I would do that series regardless of finding baby Alex in there, but the added bonus is a few moments of utter connection with my sweet unborn son. I love having this body awareness that Pilates (and proper fitness) provides you. Sometimes it feels like I am walking through this world with an extra sense. Or a more intense sense of feeling. Not emotional feelings, but a the actual physical sense of feeling within my own body and person.

Prenatal fitness is so important to me. Not just for myself. I advocate it to all women I know. I am probably annoying to those who don’t enjoy working out (which that concept is beyond my ability to comprehend, haha!) I truly feeling that staying active is vital to a long and healthy life. It gave me a nice healthy pregnancy the first time around. I didn’t know what I was doing then as well as I do now, with my added education in this field, but I found classes and videos. I searched for the answers then. The day I went into labor (past my due date!) I attended my prenatal swim class. I know every body is different and some women are severely restricted while pregnant, but if you are not, get up and move. Groove, dance, run, walk, find a class, do some planks, swim, just move. It is good for you. It is good for baby. And maybe, just maybe, your little one will poke to the front of your belly and say “hey momma! Thanks for moving and grooving this morning!”

On that note I will go up to my Pilates room and move myself. Tonight, we have plans for a swim in our pool. On top of chasing around a 3 year old boy! Moving is all I do. Ha!

Happy May! It has nearly been a month since I last wrote. Yowza! In all fairness we were on vacation for almost 2 weeks out of that month. I was hard pressed to sit down and write when I had lots of fun things to be doing with my family. Like playing in the ocean, sailing, or exploring the Smokey Mountains.

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Tomorrow will mark 18 weeks of pregnancy. I cannot believe that I am about 1/2 way through this adventure! It seems to be going by much faster than the 1st. I am sure that is because Jacky keeps me busy busy busy every day. He is such a wonderful and full of life 3 year old! He still talks about his little brother Alexander daily. He asks me a ton of questions and always wants to buy new things for his little brother. Yesterday, he informed me that our cat had a fuzz hanging from her mouth. He was very serious about me getting it out. He is going to be one helpful eye around here with a little one toddling around.

I am over the moon that I am having another boy. I have always wanted two boys and my wish has been fulfilled. Yesterday was my birthday. Alexander spent the day being an extra wiggle worm. It started with my Pilates Chair/Reformer workout and continued all day. It was the most I have felt him move in one day! Definitely and extra special birthday treat. He is going to be one active little boy, just like his big brother!

As fat as this pregnancy goes….

Exercise:

Still running, several miles each time I run. Usually a couple times a week.

Pilates. Mat, Chair, Reformer. I just modify my work based on how far along I am. I also sometimes watch some Prenatal videos on PilatesAnytime. I mostly do Chair and Reformer.

Swimming. I also incorporate water aerobics/Pilates into my swims. I have some equipment for that

Barre. I am going to be starting some Barre classes tomorrow. I miss Barre!!! I incorporate it at home, but I haven’t been to an actual class outside of my home in a while.

Cravings:

Limes! I love lime juice on everything. Rice. Fruit, grapes, bananas, apples, honeydew. Shrimp. Oh my gawwwd. If I could eat shrimp every day without worrying about mercury, I would. I have to limit myself and that is hard. Cottage cheese. Spinach, cilantro, arugula, veggies!!! I cannot get enough veggies in my dinners.

This is all much different than Jackson as well. I wanted to much junk with him. Or maybe I have learned how to eat better with pregnancy after going through it once. Either way, I am not complaining!

This was last week. I haven’t take one this week because we have been busy getting home and unpacking and celebrating my birthday. Plus, what’s a better background to a belly photo than the Atlantic Ocean?

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Now I am off to workout. Debating a run or Pilates. Choices are hard ;-) Just wanted a fast update, since it has been so long. I didn’t vanish again. I swear! I was just busy enjoying life outside of blogging for a bit. That happens and is good.

 

This morning I woke up at 5:20AM wide awake. I was craving a run. A serious legitimate craving to go outside and run until my legs were too tired to make another lap around my subdivision. Running is where I work a lot of things out. I get a lot of thinking done when I run. It is just you and your head. Maybe some tunes, but really, you get to be alone with your thoughts. I could use some time like that right now. Yesterday we got nearly a foot of snow. Maybe more, maybe less? I am not certain I didn’t follow the news. I just know we were predicted to get between 6-12 and it snowed a lot.

So the weather is nasty. I have had the flu of some sort for over a week now. It migrated to my chest a bit. I also have mild asthma in general. My nose is still congested. When I blow it chunks of something comes out with lots of blood. And occasionally I cough. All of that being said, running in the winter cold is not the best idea. So I likely wont get to hit the pavement today. I was wide awake. There was no falling back asleep for me. This happened a lot with Jack too. But I will say, if these are the kinds of reasons unborn #2 wakes me up at ungodly hours, then we will get on just fine.

Speaking of that. I cannot get enough veggies. I find any dinner jam packed with veggies to be mouthwatering delicious. I was thinking last night that this baby will be born and the first thing he/she will ask for is some “broccoli and kale kind sir” I am hoping it stays this way. I remember how quickly I had an aversion to fish with Jack. Veggies without something unhealthy all over it weren’t so appealing either. I had a sudden hatred for nut butters. Not this time so far.

Dinner Wednesday night:

Salmon, baked garlic/lemon zucchini, and garlic roasted red potatoes

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Dinner Thursday Night:

A pan sautéed steak with grape tomatoes, steamed broccoli, and smoked paprika baked sweet potato fries.

IMG_3281Friday night:

I ate it too fast to photograph, but I made a Paleo sweet potato chili. I even make my own homemade broth to cook it with. I topped it with some cilantro, avocado, and Greek yogurt. It was heavenly. It was the tastiest meal ever. I have a sneaky feeling I will be making it a lot.

Saturday night:

Whole wheat linguini with broccoli, red peppers, spinach/kale/chard, with some mild turkey sausage. I removed the casings. Next time I may use ground white meat turkey I season/cook myself. There was too much dark meat in there for my liking but the veggies were so good! I sprinkled it with fresh basil and Italian parsley. So many nutrients in one little bowl!

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I just cannot stop eating broccoli. It tastes so good in my mouth! Ha! And garlic. Today is Superbowl Sunday. My parents are coming by. I am making those yummy garlic roasted potatoes, green beans, and this pretty healthy bbq pulled beef. I bought regular buns the other day but I may run to Whole Foods and grab some whole wheat ones for myself. Fresh Market didn’t have whole wheat ones when I stopped there for stuff on Friday. If I feel crazy, maybe I will roast some broccoli with garlic/lime/chili powder! mmmm

I have to say, both my husband and son really wanted pizza for dinner last night. I was strong and kept suggesting this pasta dish I had purchased all the ingredients for. I was tired. It was a long day. Hormonal day, to say the least. I could have just said sure. It would have been easier. My husband knew deep down I just wanted my veggies. so he joined the healthy side and said just make the pasta! Jack had to deal. We all ate lots of good food for dinner.

What kinds of exercise or food do/did you crave while pregnant? 

 

 

I have a big and not so pleasant anniversary quickly approaching. Monday, the 22nd, will mark the 1 year anniversary of my IBS diagnosis. It has kind of put me in a weird place this last week. You see, the doctor’s only prescribed treatment was to toss a small sheet of paper at me and say “This is a new diet that they are trying out to manage IBS you could try this. There is really little else that can be done” I took it to heart. I drastically altered my life and my diet. It is called “Low FODMAP” I stick to it religiously. I do not eat wheat, dairy, sugar, and an assortment of wonderful fruits and veggies it restricts. These include garlic, onions, nectarines, apples, and many more. The list is constantly changing. I have become exhausted with it. I still wasn’t feeling perfect. Do we ever?

I recently started turning to Eastern medicine for managing my chronic digestive illness. My Western doctor wasn’t overly helpful or caring. I was marked off a list because I tested negative for everything else, so it must be IBS, right? Here is this list they are working on in Australia and it could help. Sigh. I went to my 6th acupuncture appointment yesterday. I love my acupuncturist. She is phenomenal. At my 5th appointment we had a lengthy discussion about how at this one year mark maybe I need to take my digestion and health into my own hands. Since, I said that I still had a lot of digestive woes regardless of following this diet for a year! I thought about it and I decided she is right. I already started with essential oils and acupuncture.

Since starting acupuncture I have noticed a gradual improvement in my digestion. It wasn’t over night. It has however started to slowly improve. Without going into too much detail, I have had more better days than bad days. Especially in the past week. I see her once a week. I have started trying foods again, with caution. But I have allowed myself to cross that threshold. Something I would never do before. I have been researching the crap out of things. My BFF sent me some info about Aloe Vera for IBS. I looked into it, liked the findings, and I tried it. I have a fresh aloe plant that I cut and add the innards to my smoothies. I have noticed even more improvement! That was nowhere on any piece of info my Gastro gave me. When I explained this to my acupuncturist she was so happy that I have started to give myself to freedom to change or at least try.

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Another big thing….running. I was a runner. A daily avid runner and racer. My last race was Mother’s Day 2012. I placed SIXTH in my age group! After this diet restriction I ended up giving it up. I turned strictly to Pilates. Running drained me. At first I had no idea how to fuel myself and maintain my running. I abruptly took all of my pasta and bread away. Yet I was still running 3-3.5 miles on an almost daily basis. After extreme exhaustion that happened after each run, I decided to quit. Last night, I went for a run. My studio has a running group that recently started. I showed up. I ran. I actually ran at the front of the group the whole time. Muscle memory. My master teacher also goes on the runs. She commented to me that I run beautifully. My torso is in a great position, my hips stay square, and my legs just kind of float underneath me. My coworker, who is running this program, is a very seasoned marathoner, a ton of them under her belt. She ran the Boston Marathon this year. It wasn’t her first time running that one. She commented after that I have a really great pace. She wanted me to come run with her again right then. It is a beginner program that the studio is offering. It is building up to a 5k we are sponsoring this fall. It will get harder each week. I was tempted to go. I could have easily ran more. I said no though because little man was sick and my husband had stayed home to take care of him while I worked, went my appointments, went to my running club, etc. Maybe next Wednesday though.

pink  Brooks are back in business

pink Brooks are back in business

I am a runner at heart. Pilates has strengthened my entire body to keep me in running shape without running. I have not felt this amazing in a while. I am getting anxiously happy just writing about last night. I have missed running. More than I even realized. I am not saying I am not a Pilates fanatic. That is still my world. But like my heart for my family, there is room enough for more than one major fitness love of my life.

It is very hard to lead such a restrictive lifestyle. Especially when it is not by choice. I am feeling really positive that I have begun to allow myself some freedoms to take my own health into my hands. I have lived in this terrified state regarding foods and food prep for a year. That is hard. It is hard on me and my family. I am not jumping right in gobbling up everything I see. No, I am taking baby steps. But like my acupuncturist said, the point is that I am trying.

I have begun to lose faith in the Low FODMAP concept. It hasn’t exactly served me very well over the past year. I do know there are foods on the list that bother me but there are many that don’t. They say you should only eat 1 cup of berries at a time. I can eat berries, especially blueberries until my heart is content. The list is always changing. They used to say Tahini was okay, and then suddenly halfway through my year of this, they took that back. Well I had been eating Tahini often, as an alternative for other dips etc. So I haven’t had a bite of it since then. Sweet potatoes were A-ok when I first got the list. Then they changed it to only a small amount at a time. I stopped eating them as frequently after I read that. One more restrictive thing. It gets in my head that it will harm me and then I freak out, afraid to try it. Or suddenly I feel a little off because I did try something on the said no list. Last night I made baked sweet potato fries with dinner. I gobbled them up. Not counting or measuring. I feel perfectly fine today. I felt perfectly fine after. In fact, I ate frozen grapes after. Without counting. They limit those to about 8 grapes at a time, or so I read at one time. So I think, from this point on, I am not going to be checking for updates. I am going to take my time trying foods here and there. I am going to continue to do my  research of alternative methods. I am going to continue to tailor my digestive needs specifically to me, and not to some list created by well meaning scientists in Australia. Healing is not a one size fits all program. That is why I am falling in love with Eastern methods. It centers around the person specifically. It has been making a positive change in my life. I am feeling happier than I have in a while. I am feeling in charge.

Christmas is over. My husband returned to work today. It is rare for him to ever take a day off, so yesterday was a treat. The living room is still a half disaster. The dining room table, forget about it. I started trying to clear it of all the new things, but I didn’t finish. I hope today I get that done.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Daddy breaking my no treats rule....

Daddy breaking my no treats rule….

Christmas was amazing though. I had such a wonderful time. I loved watching Jack. He was so into it. Very into presents. Loves opening them. It truly did blow last year out of the water. I loved watching him play with his new things. He is so grown up. Not a baby anymore. His face looked older and he would quietly concentrate on his new things. In his own world, playing with his wonderful new stuff. I just sat near him a lot, watching, and being totally over the moon. I covered his squishy cheeks in tons of kisses because I couldn’t get over how amazing he is.

Christmas morning!

Christmas morning!

He is very good about immediately cleaning up the paper

He is very good about immediately cleaning up the paper

If I had to dream up a perfect Christmas I am pretty sure it would have went along the lines of this year. I just am over the moon for my two guys. We really had a great family time together. There were minimal tantrums. None really, in all honesty. The worst of it was late on Christmas Day at my aunt’s house. Jack was just clingy. He didn’t want me out of his sight. That really isn’t bad. Considering he is a month shy of 2 years old.

We had to stop mid opening to read his new book, he insisted!

We had to stop mid opening to read his new book, he insisted!

Daddy and Jack playing with a Handy Manny tool book

Daddy and Jack playing with a Handy Manny tool book

Now we move on to New Years Eve. No big plans for that. A lot of people make resolutions. I do not do that. I find them pointless. People never follow through with them. The way I see it is, if you really, really want to change your life you will start the moment you want to change things. You don’t wait for a Monday to start a new healthy lifestyle and you don’t wait for a New Year to do it either. I haven’t always been so strict with my healthy living. It was something that I refined and honed in on over several years. It started in my early 20′s when I stopped drinking pop and I started to run on a regular basis. Over time I got sucked into this lifestyle more and more. It became part of me. Intertwined to the point where I could not function if I had to stop living how I live right this second. It is me and I am it. So for me, the concept of a total overhaul on anything in life starting January 1st seems doomed to failure. I think we need to give ourselves time to change. Let it consume your life slowly, like a lava. Slow moving, yet so very powerful and consuming. That is the key to true lifestyle change. There are no quick fixes, if there were, we would all be perfect human specimens. I wouldn’t have a temper. I would snap my fingers and never be short tempered again. I also wouldn’t bite my nails, my one big vice. And maybe just maybe I wouldn’t love shopping as much as I do. Ok, scratch that, I wouldn’t change that part of me for the world. Ha!

My point is, don’t set yourself up for failure by putting so much pressure on yourself. January 1st is not some special day where all the stars align and make it easier to change yourself. You can find that path any day of the year. Also, change may take more than one year. A true lifestyle overhaul probably will. My temper is much better since getting pregnant and having a child. I used to not have to care about it. Then I had a child, and now it matters how I respond to things. So I have developed this immense patience over time. I am not perfect and I still get frustrated, we all do. But over all, I can listen to the same cars song 100 times and still not get frustrated. I can be asked the same word over and over. I can handle a tantrum in the store, for the most part, without losing my cool. Sure, I will have a day where I too am cranky, and then maybe I will yell at my child, but I try my hardest to have less of those days and more of the patient ones. It is a practice and I  have to work at it all the time, not just starting on New Years Day and then watch the gumption of my declaration fade out slowly over the next month or maybe two.

That is my advice on New Year’s resolutions. You don’t have to take it. We are all different. That is just my view from my life experiences.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or any holiday you celebrate. I love this time of year because it is all about family. That is what is important, focusing on your loved ones. We did that to the nth degree in our home. I hope New Year’s Eve and Day go wonderfully for everyone. I won’t be putting on a skimpy hot dress and hitting the town. I will curl up with my boys in our living room and spend it with them. That is perfect for me. I may even go out and get some party hats for the 3 of us to wear! Jack is a night owl and I bet, if we let him, he will make it until midnight!

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? Do you go out? Or do you stay home with your family and celebrate from your living room like we are? Do you feel how I feel about resolutions? 

I love Pilates Mat work. I have this deep passion for it. I have mentioned this before in previous posts. There is this grace and beauty in it. Especially as you begin to truly practice Pilates. Once you begin to find preciseness in the moves, it is like a dance on the mat.

My mom introduced me to Mat class when I was in high school. She took my aunt and me to a class through the park district. Full disclosure here, I am 27. I will be 28 at the end of April. So, you can see how long that it has been part of my world. I usually don’t like admitting my age. I am dreading the 3-0! I fell in love after the very first class we went to. As time has passed I have discovered the true beauty of it.

I love that if you break it down to it’s most classic form, you don’t need much more than your own body. Sure, a mat would be nice for comfort on the spine and to assist with not slipping, but beyond that, you don’t need all the accessories. I enjoy the accessories a lot, but if you are in a pinch, you can do a good and tough session anywhere. You are using your own body to tone your own body. Your body is finding the grace in the work. If you think I am exaggerating then I dare you to lay down and come up into a full teaser right now. That is not easy and it takes practice and strength to achieve that.

I always used to mix mat work in with my running. I quit running almost 6 months ago. I have entirely replaced it with mat work. I do some Reformer at times, as well as Cadillac work. But, ahhh, Mat work, is nearly daily for me. I have never felt or been so strong in my life. I thought running was the thing for me. Run run run and then run some more. I didn’t truly get to appreciate the long lines and defined muscles of my body until I started really focusing on my Mat dedication. I am more limber and loose. I have used the word grace(ful) over and over in this post, but truly, that is the word to describe this work.

I want to pass the love of Mat on to other people. I want everyone in the world to feel this way about it. That is a big want, and unattainable, but a gal can try, can’t she? Today I plan to do 50-60 minutes of mat work. It is Sunday. The husband is home. If the toddler wakes  up, they can be buds. I can take some peaceful time for myself. I tend to do quicker sessions during the week, in the morning. Between 30-40 minutes. Today I am taking time for myself.

Mat work yesterday. I had no idea my husband was taking this photo (creeper!) But he actually did a good job and it came out well

Mat work yesterday. I had no idea my husband was taking this photo (creeper!) But he actually did a good job and it came out well

Christmas Eve/Day is less than 2 weeks away. It is that time of year for holiday gatherings. For us, that begins this weekend. We are attending a Radio City Christmas show on Saturday night. Sunday my inlaws come over to celebrate Christmas with us. My sister in law lives in SC and this is the year they go down there for Christmas. So we adjust our Christmas celebration with my husband’s parents at times.

We will go by my parent’s for Christmas Eve. Christmas Day will be the three of us at our home until about 3pm. Then we will head to my aunt’s home to celebrate with my aunt’s/cousins. On the 29th we have an extended family Christmas with my family as well. On New Years Eve my parents/siblings will be coming over to celebrate both the New Year as well as mini Christmas. One of my brothers is heading to Texas for actual Christmas. His long time girlfriend is from there, so this year they are visiting her family. The celebrations go on long before and after the actual Eve/Day of Christmas. Plus, every other normal day to day activity. Teacher training for me, being at home with an almost 2 year old, Jack’s classes, taking my almost 2 year old out and about besides his 2 classes (today we head to a Children’s Museum), and my husband being the owner of a successful software company. We never stop. We are always doing a million things. ornament

I suspect we are not the only family in the world that has a holiday schedule like this. So, it is no mystery why I have been inundated with articles about how to keep your workouts during the holidays. I have seen probably 10 or more of them this week. I have to be honest. I have not read even one of them. Why? Because I do not believe there is any trick to maintaining your fitness during the holidays. I am going to be brutally honest here. You just do it. You just workout as your normally would. You find the time. If you really want to, you will. If preparing a gut busting meal is that important so is keeping to your fitness regime. I do it, and I have for many years. Even with a baby and now toddler. Maybe you wake up 30 minutes earlier, to fit it in. You do not have to do a 2 hour gym session. Squeeze in 30-60 minutes, surely we can manage that, can’t we?

I am so busy on a day to day basis, but I always make the time to workout. It is no different during the holidays. If that means Christmas dinner is at 5:30 instead of 5:00, then so be it. This year I started a cold on Thanksgiving. I still did a 40 minute Mat workout. The only exception in the last 5 or 6 years of me missing a workout around the holidays was this year on Black Friday. It was day 2 of a week long cold. I didn’t even want to be awake, but I had to go do some observation at the studio, so I went there. But I skipped any Mat or Reformer work for myself. Had I not been sick, I would have gotten up even earlier to fit in a Mat session at home. Then I would have went to the studio by 8:30am. On Saturday, I did mat work before we left for our trip to Wisconsin. I was still sick. I actually did a few Mat sessions at home while sick. I took off a couple days, which is abnormal for me, but I still fit it in a few times. Sick or busy, I still find some moments to workout.

It has to be important enough to you for you to MAKE the time to workout around the holidays. That is the only secret. You have to remember that your fitness and health are as equally as important as making sure all the gifts are wrapped under the tree.

This year, having a toddler has made things extra crazy. Here is what I have done to keep on top of things, which will make making time for my workout on our actual holiday days easier.

  • Shopping online. You can do it whenever. Amazon is my BFF. Free shipping? Often, cheaper prices? YES PLEASE
  • I have been wrapping gifts as I get them. All of my son’s gifts are wrapped and hidden in our room. I did that during nap times or after bedtime. All of the gifts for other family members? Wrapped and under the tree. I did that while he was awake. I let him “help” me. A lot of people have tape on their gifts. But it got done.
  • Workouts in the morning. That way I don’t have an I am too tired excuse by the end of the day.
  • We have already started meal planning for Christmas Eve. I know what I need to buy, 2 weeks in advance!
  • I have been cleaning the house spotless daily. Yesterday it was while Jack was still up. This way things do not get backed up.
  • I make time 5-7 days a week for Pilates. Especially my mat work. I just do it.

I really do not mean to sound preachy or witchy, but for me, this is the plain truth. I feel very passionate about this. In order to successfully stay on top of your fitness during the holidays, it has to be as equally important to you as everything else is. It is your body, your health, and your well being, so take control of that. Not to mention, exercise is a stress reliever. The holidays can be so stressful, why not be proactive and get your workout in, to help maintain a semblance of normalcy during these hectic times.

I have come to the conclusion that Pilates is in the blood. I have successfully passed on the Pilates gene to my almost 2 year old son! He regularly explores the equipment I have. Yesterday he pulled out and unrolled my mat all on his own. I have a few different sized balls and he also plays with those constantly. You can even ask him to show you his work out. Or ask him to stretch. He has different responses and actions for both of those.

I do take him to both Gymnastics and swim classes. And I talk about Pilates to him. I never tell him he cannot explore my workout stuff. Except the weights, for obvious safety reasons. I love to foster his exploration, creativity, and discovery. My fitness stuff is absolutely no exception! When he has a hard time rolling up from laying down to sitting I have gone over the explanation of how to engage his core. If I tell him to pull his belly button to his spine he says “spine!”  He also says Pilates. It puts a big smile on my face. I have a feeling he will be teaching his preschool classmates how to engage their cores.

Helping me give my mom a mat session

Helping me give my mom a mat session

I did not ask him to come on over and help out. He watched what I was doing and then jumped in to do similar things. He is very helpful and encouraging. He has an empathetic side, he makes a great instructor!

At gymnastics

At gymnastics

I know this is not quite Pilates, but it is physical, it is a sport, and he truly loves this class. He gets so excited to go and usually he does not want to leave. They have him doing all sorts of gymnastics things. Each week it is different. Anyway I can encourage him to have a love of movement makes me happy.

One of his stretches

One of his stretches

Go ahead, ask him to stretch his legs wide. This is the response you will get. With a big smile too. He will also say “streeeeeeeeehhhhtch” He is better about stretching than I am sometimes. Sometimes he stops what he is doing and tells me to stretch, while he also stretches. See, he is already a mindful instructor.

booty barre?

booty barre?

This is my husband’s dip station. Jack uses it as his barre of sorts. He does all sorts of “workouts” here. He will show you a whole class if he is by it and you ask him to show you his workout. He has a pretty good lunge form, especially for a 22 month old!

walk your hands to your feet

walk your hands to your feet

The child naturally has excellent form. He probably looks better doing this than I do. My hammys are usually tight, even if I try to open them. All that running I used to do! Like I said, I need my personal instructor around to remind me to get my stretching in.

teaser prep?

teaser prep?

Teaser is an advanced and tough move, especially with your legs in the air! We are working on his shelf position, but he gets major credit for even wanting to try it this way!

leg circles

leg circles

Ah the dreaded leg circles, for me at least. Again, tight everything in my legs from all that running. I am working it out slowly, now that I have quit being a runner. Eventually I know this move will get easier for me. For Jack, though, it is simple. Notice how he is prepping by giving that leg pointing to the ceiling a little stretch first. Also his chubby toddler toes are the cutest toes I have ever seen in Pilates!

A little ball work

A little ball work

This was yesterday. He pulled this out on his own and started doing some balance work. He couldn’t get enough of it. I stored my big ball in the dip station. He also requested that I take that down for him. He said big ball? Pilates is expanding his vocabulary and understanding of the spatial world. Joseph would  be proud!

I have to point out that every single one of these photos, I captured on the fly. He chose to do these things and I grabbed my phone to make sure I captured these memories. I did not ask him to do even one of these positions, moves, or stretches. They have also all been taken over the last 2 or 3 months. It is in the blood, I am telling you.

It makes me happy as a fitness momma that what I do does not go unnoticed by my child. That I have inadvertently taught him to enjoy exercise, fitness, PILATES, and moving in general. I do come from an athletic family. Both of my brothers still play football/softball/etc in leagues and whatnot. I am thisclose to being a Pilates instructor, I was a hardcore runner, and all that jazz. As a matter of fact I went to see Twilight with my mom and both brothers a couple weekends ago. The 3 of us, her kids, all decided to race to the car after the movie. I lost. I had on my knit Ugg boots, which are not good for running. I felt like they were falling off. I am also nearly a foot shorter than both of them. My brothers also sprint like the jaguars. I would kill them long distance, but not in a sprint. But my point is, we are still athletic and competitive. My dad is in his late 50′s and he has still played on baseball leagues with other guys his age. As you saw, my mom lets me teach her Pilates. She is a big walker as well. So is it any surprise that Jack has a natural knack for the fitness world? Probably not. I still feel like I am doing something right. Especially in today’s America, where childhood obesity has become an epidemic of sorts. Getting my child up and moving won’t be as difficult, because he has this base enjoyment of these things. In a world of blogging, video games, Facebook, 700 tv channels, and funny cat videos/memes, it is easy to sit on the couch for hours on end. Sadly, I have done it. I did it a lot while pregnant. In fact, I am doing it now, writing this post. Sometimes sitting just feels nice. But counter balancing it with movement is important.

How do you get your children up and moving? Do your kids naturally like physical activity like Jack does? Are you a fit parent who has shared the joy with your family? How have you done it?

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