Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, wishing you a very Merry day!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Using Downtime to Draft your Fitness Goals

AAAAAAAANNNNDDDDDD here come the New Years Resolution posts. Come on, we all them inside our minds! I usually aim for small goals throughout the year, but lately I have been struggling with my workout resolve. I still say the time change causes all problems: loss of daylight and ruins infant sleep. However, I'm more at peace with my decline in working out because you want to know something? I've been having FUN.

All plaid everything. Wasn't planned. It just felt right.

I got to spend time with some great friends this weekend. We celebrated Christmas upstate together and it was everything you could imagine: drinks, brunch, games, plaid and smiling babies (Who slept soundly like an angel...gosh this kid warms my heart!). I didn't pack running shoes, a sports bra or any form of workout wear. This was about spending time together for a quick overnight trip, and it was lovely. I think there's a time and place for working out, and in this hectic season, it's hard to balance that with the fun times. Dare I say I felt "normal", not like a frazzled new mom? I guess it's my "new normal". I feel like we've turned a corner recently, where I'm not as upset if things are all out of whack, where I can handle if he takes a thirty minute nap or if I'm covered in spit's okay. 

Always keeping me on my toes and melting my heart.

During this Christmas break, I plan on writing down some fitness goals. I will actually have plenty of time to workout since we will be visiting family who are more than happy to watch Henry while I get my sweat on! Plus, it's supposed to be unseasonably warm, which will up my chances of lacing up for some miles. I really want to enter this new season of my new normal with a plan. I seem to be failing at my plans lately, but I feel like I'm ready to stick to some things. 

Here are some of my thoughts about drafting my fitness goals:

  1. Start small. I seem to flounder after a couple of days, often due to outside circumstances. I plan to set some small goals to get me going.
  2. Find a partner. I'm calling on some girlfriends to keep me accountable. I don't think I'm ready for a big linked in group challenge, but a few close friends to encourage each other seems just right.
  3. Get out of the house. I am making it a goal to leave me home for some runs. I feel refreshed, motivated and accomplished when this happens. This will mean lots of night running, as our mornings STILL aren't consistent enough for me to say "I'll set my alarm for 5:15 AM and go running", because gosh darn it, Henry will be awake at 5:11 AM that day! I hope to meet friends, take a class or two, and go to the park more often. I even bought Henry a BOB Weather Shield! He is SO warm in his fleece snowsuit, but blocking the wind will keep him extra toasty!
How about you? Are you into making goals? Do you just sign up for races? Are you traveling AND working out during the holidays? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Myths about Postpartum Weight Loss

So, I love the Today Show. It's no secret that I love it. If you ask my family what I am usually doing around 7:00AM, they would unanimously say "Watching the Today Show!" My friends are probably sick of me starting sentences with "I saw _______________ on the Today Show..." However, my favorite show did me wrong the other day. Really wrong. I watched this segment about how celebrities aren't like us when it comes to taking off the baby weight. DUH. Consider this my "letter to the editor" if you will. Here were my problems with this study:

- The study included candidates who were overweight before they got pregnant. During the interview the expert communicates that most of the individuals in this study were overweight.
- The report stated women should gain 18-25 pounds during pregnancy. That is the recommendations for OVERWEIGHT women. Women with an average BMI gain an average of 25-35 pounds. So, when they say 50%of women had an extra ten pounds and 25% had an extra 20 pounds to lose, they're referring to a study done with predominantly overweight women. They only mentioned that once, leading me to believe all their statistics and studies included people like me, who had a VERY healthy lifestyle and average BMI.
- The report stated that women burn 280-500 calories EVERY TIME they nurse. Not true. Simply not true.
- At 2:05 in the video, the "expert" says we shouldn't base our feelings on celebrity weight loss but we can use it as motivation. The live interview expert had a very uncomfortable disapproving face when the camera panned to her because NO, celebrity's baby weight loss is not motivational. 

Decided to break up my rant with a little HenJo action. He's working on his tripod form. I give this a 10!

So, I did my own research. It took about ten minutes. Hello, Today Show, expert researcher and new mom for hire! (Note I did more than ten minutes of research but this was the best article I found.) I found a Q&A on WebMd with Elizabeth Ward MS RD. She seems legit. The Q&A featured some of my burning questions, so here are a few myths to bust:

1. Nursing will help you lose weight. Yes, nursing burns calories (280-500 a DAY, not per feed), but with those burned calories comes increased hunger. Just as with an active lifestyle, food should be fuel while nursing. Ward even states that you can gain weight while breastfeeding! The reason is because, although you could burn some calories and fat, your body protects some stores of fat for breastfeeding.

2. Counting calories will help you lose the baby weight. If you're not breastfeeding, go for it. Ward does not recommend doing that for breastfeeding moms. The energy it takes to breastfeed means limiting calories could zap you of even more energy. Fun fact: she states that the quality of milk is determined by the quality of your diet, the quantity is dependent on how often you nurse. (Note: some women simply have low milk supply, plain and simple.)

3. You will lose the baby weight in a year. Ward cautions that many breastfeeding moms do not lose the weight until they are finished breastfeeding. So, depending on how long you plan on nursing, keep this in mind. I hope to nurse Henry until one year (When he will hopefully transition to milk pending his allergy), so this helped me have a more realistic outlook on things.

Year. Made. And thanks Vaseline for following me...

Finally, to my lovely Savannah. She is simply the cutest. I loved watching her adorable prego self every morning, and I'm glad she's back! She was absolutely right when she said "I don't know how I feel about this study." After the expert stated gaining 18-25 pounds was average, she made a comment I would have made concerning putting on weight during pregnancy: 

"A lot of the advice you get is to start (being active/healthy) during your pregnancy so you don't put on so much weight, which by the way is really hard to do from someone who put on 42 pounds." 

You could just insert "38 pounds" and that would be something I would say. You see, I was active during my pregnancy, I was eating healthily, I am still active now and I am still eating healthily. Just as my feelings were about the onslaught of tips to avoid holiday weight gain, I think we need to back the heck off with the obsession with losing baby weight. It does no good for a mom's self esteem, whether you're a nationally televised news anchor or a stay at home mom. We all see the pictures, we know some people miraculously lose the weight, but we need to take a step back and be concerned with our own world, not the world around us. If I had known this information before I had my baby, I think I would have been handling my (What I have considered to be slow) progress better.

The takeaway from this is that everyone and everybody is different. Some women are going to lose their baby weight quickly, while others, like myself, will have weight stall after weight stall after weight stall. The important thing is putting healthy nourishment into your body, exerting a healthy amount of physical activity, and doing everything possible to raise this beautiful baby you've been blessed with. It took me a long time to get to this place, and I have my moments of "UGH I just want to fit into ALL my clothes again!" But Henry is the greatest thing I have ever done, and he's worth all the effort to get myself back into my best running shape.

How about you? Have you ever seen a television segment that irked you? Have you ever written a letter to an editor? Any myths you would like to bust? Tell me about it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 Gifts to Give Yourself

I am not the queen of gift guides. In fact, I love reading them! Ashley  and Jess posted some awesome gift guides for runners. I *think* I'm done shopping, and now there are nine days till Christmas, where we will be traveling (driving) a ton and visiting with family and friends. I decided to go for a quick run yesterday, cut even shorter by holiday traffic! My eight minute drive to the park took almost twenty minutes, go figure. I hadn't been to the park in a long time, and the weather was so perfect that I had to take advantage. While on my run, I started thinking about how things have been a  bit hectic lately, how I have been checking things off of my to do list, and I really haven't enjoyed the season as I usually do. So, I want to consciously enjoy the rest of 2014 in small simple ways. Here are 5 gifts I will give to myself to wrap up 2014:

1. Make time for friends. This is THE busiest time of year, but this is a great time to meet up with people and celebrate this past year, or to leave it behind! Parties don't always promote meaningful conversations (Though they are FUN), so I'm trying to have little dates with friends. I find it so easy to not go out, especially since it's cold. Henry, get ready to be bundled up in your bear suit! We're going to get together with some friends! 

Our Slafters were in town from the West Coast, SO glad we got to spend time together!

2. Do yoga. Take it or leave it, but yoga really does help you quiet down. Beautiful Belly Mommy and Me yoga helps me connect with Henry, but we haven't been doing it lately. I plan on trying to work this into our days as much as possible.

Bringing the Happy Baby Pose to a whole new level. SLIGHTLY jealous of his flexibility...Also: ROLLS.

3. Take the eating pressure off. If I see one more "Here's how to avoid gaining weight" segment on the Today Show I may scream! WE KNOW WE ARE EATING UNHEALTHY FOOD. WE KNOW HOW TO WORK OUT. IT'S OKAY TO INDULGE. Phew, glad I got that off my chest! "Everything in moderation" applies to eating AND exercise. Obviously there is a fine line between "I deserve a dozen cookies" and "I'm going to enjoy some cookies", but seriously? Let's all take a chill pill and relish our treats that come around once a year.

I was craving salad like whoa. Make no mistake, this salad was calorie loaded! Cookie with my coffee month probably made me crave veggies ;-)

4. Be present at events. Of course I will be taking pictures with my phone HELLO HENRY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS. However, I won't be scrolling through Insta or Facebook while enjoying family festivities. It's so easy to, but I really enjoyed putting my phone away during Thanksgiving. We took a few pictures and that was it. I had a great time with my family and I plan to replicate that for Christmas. There's nothing wrong with Latergrams!

My sweet baby with my sweet Grammy at Thanksgiving.

5. Run/walk somewhere festive. The lights of NYC have always been a calming force, and I really enjoy them at night! With Henry it's a bit more challenging to get into the city at night, but there are plenty of places around us to enjoy the sights and lights of the season. 

Astoria Park had a pretty tree!

Practicing our sitting up skills with two forms of motivation: Lambeau Puppy and the Christmas tree!

How about you? What gifts will you give to yourself this season? Do you ever go phone free? Yoga, yay or nay? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Challenge of Working home.

Motivation to workout can come from different sources. A goal, a workout buddy, an event or simply the feeling of working out can be the motivation for people to break a sweat. I have never had a problem working out at home. In fact, I haven't belonged to a gym in over two years. In my rose colored thoughts, I thought that I would EASILY get my workouts in when I became a stay at home mom. Not so much. We had some good running moments, some good workout moments, then a couple of twinges (tendinitis in my wrist, a broken pinky toe, which resulted in joint damage/soreness in my pinky toe) put a wrench in my forward motion. I find myself facing some hurdles on my way to breaking a sweat in my living room.

One hurdle is my environment. Are there dishes in the sink? Did I send in my article? It's still dark out and I'm sleeeeeeepy. These are just a few things that have deterred me from working out. I have an open invitation from Brian to run when he gets home from work, but by 6pm I'm SPENT. I can also be found putting dinner together at this time, Henry is often in his witching hour after six, so overall I just want to sit for a minute and breath. I'm struggling to find the motivation to lace up and go in the pitch black. 

Meal prepping. Left chicken is soy free, middle chicken is soy full, broccoli is SAFE!

Another hurdle is the season. Christmas is my favorite, and I'm still trying to wrap up my shopping! When I have a spare moment, you can often find me browsing gift guides online, checking store stocks and ordering from Amazon Prime. Curling up and watching a movie with Mr. Miller sounds a lot better than running outside. Between that, Christmas cards, and baking (Which I have done the smallest amount of EVER), I find myself wanting to do something festive versus doing high knees and burpees. 

Henry loves the tree. And the Packers.

My last hurdle is my body. Imagine that: my body isn't how I want it to be, so I don't want to workout?! How backwards thinking is that? Usually it would put a fire under my rear to get myself moving, but I have been finding myself lulled into inactivity. I think this is because it is overwhelming to think of the extra effort I usually have to put in to lose a few pounds, and it seems one hundred times worse postpartum. Did I mention we're taking a beach vacation in mid January? So yea, I should be motivated. Le sigh.

So, how can I overcome these hurdles? I have been taking baby steps. I have been doing T25 three times a week. I realize that I need to get this done first thing in the morning, or my motivation is shot. "I'll do it later" is like a death sentence for my workouts. Because of my tendinitis, I have to be careful how much floor action I am doing, so I am hoping to push it to five times a week soon. I also started a "12 Days of Christmas" challenge with some girlfriends. It's fun and requires no equipment! 

The 12 Days of Fitness Exercise Routine...LOVE these challenges for the month of December. Why wait until the New Year???

I've also been finding inspiration from YouTube. My friend Emily is a fantastic trainer in Buffalo, New York. She posted a couple of 15 minute workouts which I loved! These workouts work the largest muscle groups providing maximum results. I added a bit of difficulty for an added challenge. I added 20 kettlebell swings and held a kettlebell for a single leg lunge.

Emily Long does a bulgarian split squat at her gym TREO Sports & Fitness in West Seneca Wednesday, December 3, 2014.  (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)
Isn't she fab?! She has been a great source of inspiration to me!

Finally, I'm committing to being committed. This sounds simple, but my blase attitude has gone on long enough. I am motivated to put in the work. I want to reconnect with my love of (winter) running. I want to look at working out as a get to not a have to. I am going to add in some yoga for all its benefits; I always feel more at ease and ready for life when I do it!

How about you? Are you facing a holiday workout slump? Do you workout exclusively at home? What;s the best gift you've purchased? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Henry: 6 Months

Happy Christmas month! It's the most wonderful time of the year! Though I feel like December is flying by at warp speed, we're trying to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. This month we're celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary AND our six month old boy!!! Here's the scoop on this handsome little fella:

This onsie was purchased last January because of our Christmas card last year....

Last year's Christmas card! Henry was definitely worth the wait, and came at his estimated delivery!

  • Henry weighed 16.8 pounds at his last appointment, but tomorrow's appointment will be edited in.
  • He consistently rolls belly to back, but he gets stuck on his elbow from back to belly! Soon, oh so very soon...eek.
  • He laughs all the time. It's the best thing ever. I never want it to end.
  • Henry and Lambeau are now best friends. Like REALLY best friends. Daily Lambeau licks him, checks on him and allows him to touch him. Henry is pretty gentle for a six month old. He pulled a little too firmly on his hair today, and Lambeau just whined and looked to us for help. This is a complete 180 for our puppy who wanted nothing to do with him. 
  • Henry's sleep continues to be a roller coaster. He sleeps through the night (8pm-5/6am). Somehow he has gained a habit of waking at 4am and requires his pacifier. His naps still are no where near consistent but are getting better. He generally takes his longest nap first, between 1 1/2-2 hours long, then 45-60 minute naps late morning and afternoon.
  • We're beginning with solids. So far he doesn't like much of anything (Besides oatmeal and rice cereal), so we'll see where this journey takes us this month! Especially with holiday travel.
  • He has started squeaking (I call it squawking), and making really long sounds from his throat. He is noisy noisy noisy and I love it.
  • Henry is the happiest baby on the block. And I mean that. He met multiple people for the first time this weekend and smiled the whole time, not one fuss. He is such a lovey dovey guy. The dry cleaner, people at the grocery store, our mailman, everyone gets a smile out of him. 
  • He loves staring at our Christmas tree first thing in the morning. After he nurses we spend about ten minutes staring at it. He's so content and it melts my heart.
  • Henry is now front facing in his BOB stroller! It is so light I can't believe it. Car seat pushing is for the birds!

This Christmas is extra special. We look forward to creating new traditions and adding him to our existing ones. We're visiting both sides of our family, so we're excited to celebrate with those we love. I can't believe what a personality this guy is developing, and how much I enjoy spending time with him. I thank God everyday for the privilege to be his mom. 

Happy Six Months Little Lion Man!
Ladies, watch out for the bottom right!!!

Feel free to check out my posts on the Smart Mom blog!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dairy and Soy Free Thanksgiving!

My favorite holiday is coming. Now, I'm a Christmas NUT. Seriously. Watching the Rockefeller tree lighting is like a religion to me. But there is something special about Thanksgiving. Things like running my beloved  Manchester Road Race, eating delicious food, and spending time with family around desserts and coffee (mmmmm pie) make it a fantastic day. The best part is that it kicks off Christmas for me. I try SO hard to not listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, so Thanksgiving also kicks off my favorite music season as well!

I seriously love all Charlie Brown holiday movies. Source

This year's Thanksgiving comes with some challenges. Since I am dairy and soy free for Henry, several Thanksgiving favorites are completely off limits for me. I did some research and found some great substitutes! Here are some recipes that will I will be making this Thanksgiving:

Coconut oil pie crust. My mom has always made her own pie crust, but the shortening in it most likely has soy. I will be making my own version in little mini pans! Surprisingly, blueberry and cherry pie filling from the can are soy free! I can also have apple pie, which my mom has frozen apples from the orchard ready to be baked.
Coconut Oil Pie Crust

Basic Vegan Stuffing. I'm excited to try this one out, since I L-O-V-E stuffing! Smart Balance Better Butter is dairy AND soy free, so I will be using that here. Also, I was told by Kim that Trader Joe's vegetable broth is soy free, so I will be picking this up to use in it.

Italian Salad Dressing. Seriously, there are no soy free dressings in my life. I have been lazy and using EVOO and red wine vinegar daily. I'm excited to try out this dressing. Does anyone remember those packets? You had oil and vinegar in that glass dressing bottle? That was the best. I hope this tastes similar!!!

Now, here are a few things that are A-O-KAY for me to have on Thanksgiving:
- Mashed Potatoes (With almond milk and Smart Balance butter)
- Turkey (We will be having a butter soaked over cooked one as well as a fried one so I will be able to try the fried one. I'm nervous. We've never done it!)
- Butternut Squash
- Jello mold (It's amazing: apples, walnuts, cranberries, mmmm)
- Bacon brussel sprouts. This will be my contribution!!!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

How about you? What are your go to Thanksgiving favorites? Do you have any unique food dishes with your family? WHO IS RUNNING A TURKEY TROT?! Tell me about it!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lots of thoughts about weight loss

As I said to a friend recently: ish is hard. There are several things that make it hard. These factors  aren't exclusive to postpartum moms, but to everyone in a weight loss journey. I've been chewing on some thoughts about this recently, about why this process can be so arduous. Here's what I have come up with.

The Challenges of Weight Loss

The highs and lows. Oh. My. Gosh. THE SCALE MOVED! I'm definitely not married to the scale, but seeing a different number definitely feels like concrete proof that what I have been doing is working. This is a high, an inspiration to keep going. However, in my journey, I have continually followed high highs with lows. I'll feel fantastic, get my workouts in, eat a great balance of proteins and vegetables, and saw results. Then I don't. For a while. Which leads to the next challenge....

I had SO much fun at this Nike event! I haven't done a real workout since. 

Weight loss stall. Oh man, if this could be avoided, EVERYONE would nail their weight loss goals! I honestly have lost five pounds following my initial "baby came out" weight loss. Five pounds in five months. I've revolutionized my eating habits for my son, I don't eat anything processed (Is Cinnamon life processed? Well, if it is, then I eat that.), and I have been fairly active. Although I do have my fair share of wine (Hello Friday night viewing of Scandal, got to assimilate with Olivia to really get into it), my diet is healthy. I wish my activity was increased, which leads to my next challenge....

Henry be like "Weight loss stall? Not for me!" Babies are applauded for eating and gaining weight. They live the dream.

Exercise stall. You've probably been there during a comeback: You're on a fantastic streak, your push-ups are up to ten in a row, and you're finally excited about your daily sweat session. I was on SUCH a streak: getting in plyo, feeling stronger, and going on some short runs. Despite breaking my pinky toe the first day I ran a mile (I stubbed it that night...because, why not?!), I was feeling great. Until I suddenly didn't. I have worked through some pretty painful tendinitis in my wrist, keeping me from any and all upper body exercise. Then my foot with the pinky toe started hurting. I'm on my third week of rest for that and I have seen zero improvement, hence my appointment today to get it checked out. I didn't even bring my running sneakers to Connecticut this weekend. Who am I?
We ran a mile two weeks ago. Hokas made it pain free, but I can't ignore the discomfort I feel when walking barefoot. 

Social media. Now, you can take it or leave it. I'm usually not that crazy about social media comparisons etc, but when you're in the middle of a struggle, it can cause you to struggle even more. Dorothy candidly wrote about it here, and I have to agree. You can be having a day where you are teetering on discouragement, and suddenly someone posts a picture that causes self doubt in you. I wrote here about my stomach hiding Instagram faux pas: I'm not trying to hide my weight. Do I dress so that I'm not spilling out of my pants? Absolutely. I try to post real life Instagram photos without being negative (Because if I want to post negative crap, I can go on Facebook like the rest of the world). It's hard to see people at their best when you are not even close to your best. This is the antithesis of helpful:

There was a great dialogue about this tweet. I don't hate on thin ladies, they have their body and I have mine. I don't think this is inspirational compared to a strong everyday athlete who isn't paid to be in pictures. Related: I'm pretty sure sports bras are not allowed on golf courses per dress codes.... #reallife

So, how do you break through these challenges? That's what I'm navigating currently. Here is what has helped so far:

1. Manage expectations. I am slowly moving from "I need to lose the weight" to "Today I will do everything in my power to be healthy". THOSE actions and results are within my control.

2. Change up exercise and eating habits. Although I have definitely done the eating thing, I will continue to see what works. Instead of eating a few a couple of bites of coconut ice cream each night, I reserve the treat for one or two nights a week. Pending my foot status I will be building up my workouts again (Changing it up from none to some!)

3. Clean up social media. I stopped following some people that were bugging me. We all have people that bother us. It's okay to unfollow. If it's adding annoyance to your day, click the unfollow button and move on! It's actually very freeing. 

How about you? Have you ever struggled with weight loss? What do you do to bounce back after setbacks? Are you jealous of baby's lives of luxury? Hahaha TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dairy and Soy Elimination Diet: Part II

Here's the latest and greatest from the land free of soy and dairy:

We got a Costco membership! We usually tag along with friends to Costco, but when Living Social had a deal we snatched it up. Costco has really good produce prices, so we stocked up this weekend. Although a ton of the things I love to get at Costco contain soy or dairy (my favorite veggie burgers, garlic brown rice/quinoa packs, ANNIE'S MAC AND CHEESE etc), we were able to find some great items to add to our pantry and produce selections. Here are some ideas for what to make if you are living soy and dairy free!

 T-B, L-R: French Bread with veggie eggs and avocado. Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork with vinegar slaw. Taco Salad with ground turkey (Still looking for a taco seasoning without soy! Will need to make my own!) Slow cooker cilantro pulled pork with lime rice.
 T-B, L-R: Pumpkin Oatmeal. Grilled pork tenderloin (we marinated it in EVOO, salt and pepper) and brussel sprouts with roasted butternut squash. Veggie egg sandwich on sourdough with homemade sweet potato hash (Roasted with EVOO and Mrs. Dash Garlic and herb seasoning) Reused pork for a honey mustard pork sandwich with roasted asparagus and a bake sweet potato.

Remember how I said there were several names for soy? Well, I thought I was being vigilant, but Henry would have good days and bad days with his spitting up. I kept wracking my brain thinking "WHAT DID I EAT THAT COULD HAVE HAD SOY OR DAIRY?!" Well, remember that coconut ice cream that I loved? Turns out it has guar gum in it, which could be derived from soy. Not only did that have guar gum,but so did the honey mustard I had been making salad dressing! I felt horrible. The second I stopped eating those two items, his spitting up became minimal. You live, you learn, you eliminate. Thankfully Coconut Bliss coconut ice cream seems to be okay on Henry's stomach, so I will continue to cherish that treat once in a while. 

I have slowly been eating out. I didn't eat out (Except Chipotle, who has EXCELLENT ingredients lists and allergen resources on their website!) because I was scared to cross contaminate. Now, I'm getting bolder. I used to work in the restaurant industry, and I know how seriously I had to take someone's allergy order...I just didn't expect others to take it as seriously. Well, I have been pleasantly surprised! I have eaten out at Brooklyn Bagel, Panera, Bareburger and a Greek restaurant out in Long Island, and ALL were over the top helpful when it came to providing me with dairy and soy free options. While I do miss the ability to order a pizza or grab sushi, this has made me a more creative cook.

Speaking of being a creative cook: Thanksgiving. Yup. The holidays are coming, and I will not be able to eat most of the food. Thankfully my mom is a great cook and will do what she can to accommodate me. However, I will be going to CT early to spend time with family, providing me time to make my own Thanksgiving-ish food. Stay tuned: we will see how pie, mashed potatoes and stuffing is when it's soy and dairy free! Gobble gobble.

How about you? Do you host Thanksgiving? Have you ever cooked for someone with a food allergy? Do you shy away or boldly make special requests at restaurants? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Henry: Five Months

We're almost to Henry's half birthday! I don't usually celebrate that kind of stuff but sheesh, it's my first kid and he's a big boy! This month has been so much fun. Henry is revealing his personality more and more everyday, and he's a pretty fun guy! Here are some highlights from this month:

  • Henry continues to grow and now weighs 15lbs 12oz. Oy he's heavy sometimes.
  • HE LAUGHS AT ME NOW. I get about one laugh a day, and it's the best part of my day for sure.
  • Still no teeth, but sure signs of them coming are ever present: massive amounts of drool, gnawing on everything, especially his hands, and being just a bit crankier than usual.
  • Henry entered sleeping through the night and it is glorious. On the night before my birthday he slept from 8pm-7am without waking up. HAPPY.BIRTHDAY.TO.ME! Alas, the time change threw a wrench in his/my sweet spot of sleep, so we're back to 4am prayers of desperation rocking and soothing. I'm thankful for the sleep I get, I still shutter thinking about the early days.
  • We ran our first stroller race as a family! Henry BOB'ed it around Roosevelt Island with us for a 5k on my birthday and we had a lot of fun.
  • Henry went to the Today Show for Halloween as a lion! He appeared on their Twitter and Instagram page. Like a boss.
  • Puppy brother...oh puppy brother. What am I going to do with Lambeau!? He faked me out by being gentle, licking Henry, and letting Henry touch him. This resulted in Henry grabbing a large chunk of Lambeau's hair, which I calmly  quickly freed. Lambeau didn't freak out....because he snatched Sophie and tried to run away. It was all his master plan to get the squeaky giraffe. He's on a bad streak this week. Naughty puppy!
  • Henry is eating rice cereal like a pro. Sometimes he gets a lot down, and at other times he spits it out. Eh, I don't care, it's not his main source of food anyway. It's just teaching him how to handle something other than liquid in his mouth. 
  • He is SO close to rolling over. Part of me wants him to do it, but the other part of me does not. Once it starts you can never go back. Wahhhhhh.
  • He is very contemplative when we take walks, and he watches everyone in the apartment. Feeding him can be challenging because he is getting distracted (Re: Lambeau barking and whining).
Overall, we're really enjoying our time with him. He's a cool little man, so happy go lucky. He makes us laugh constantly and loves interacting with people. He doesn't seem to get scared of people or nervous when I'm not around, he just chills (Although I hear six months is when THAT fun stage starts!). We continue to count our blessings that we get to be his parents.

Happy Five Months Little Lion Man!
I have tripped over that darn rubber blue bone so many times it's ridiculous. It's a miracle I haven't broken something because of it.

Feel free to check out my articles on SmartMom! 
- Kids Doing Chores: A Great Lesson in Discipline
- The Importance of Extracurricular Activities in School
- The Truth About Girls and Math

Monday, November 3, 2014

November is a Great Gear Month

First of all: HUGE CONGRATS TO ALL YOU NYC MARATHONERS!!! And for that matter, all you fall marathoners. You're giving this runner the itch. Stay tuned and see if it gets scratched! 

The Queensboro climb. 

I love November. October is fantastic because you get those crisp mornings and warm afternoons. I felt like October was warmer than September this year! I love November because (usually) the second the calendar switches to this month, it becomes fully fall with cold mornings. With that colder weather comes layers, thumb holes and leggings...or rather compression socks and shorts these days.. Yes to all of it. I have been waiting to try out some gear from Fit Blog NYC, and this morning was the perfect opportunity! Here are a couple of my latest items I've been layering up with.

Eddie Bauer Incendiary 1/4 Zip Pullover  I was so excited to try out this shirt. I worked for Eddie Bauer for five years, and I know their items are always quality. Though their casual clothing isn't my style, their outerwear never disappoints (I still wear a jacket that I purchased nine years ago, and it keeps me toasty in the worst cold). This was a great top! Since it helps with staying warm I haven't had the right moment to try it until now. I decided to go with just the shirt, no tank underneath, and it was great! I didn't feel cold despite it being 46 degrees and staying in the shade (Henry hates the sun in his eyes!) It has great thumb holes too. The only thing I wish it had was a storage pocket.
Look! A bear! He's so cute.

"Clifton" shoe by Hoka. I was SO stoked when we were gifted these at Fit Blog NYC! Stephanie is a huge fan, as well as my sister (Who is running a 50 miler this weekend! EEK!). If I had gone through their site and chosen a shoe that I would get, it would have been this model. I took them out for a spin this morning, and they are crazy! SUPER light, like WAY lighter than my cross training minimalist shoes, and really supportive where they need to be. I felt that my feet were comfortably falling correctly on the pavement, like my mid sole strike was spot on! Sadly, this love affair only lasted a mile, as the bear decided to be grumpy, and we don't keep grumpy bears out. I'm excited to try them out again, but so far, I think these could be a great solution for my sore foot.
Lambeau was in his basket for the run. He hasn't made a blog appearance in a while. He has willingly licked his brother a handful of times. Progress from completely ignoring him!

Head Digital Sport Running Gloves. Alright, I'm a Costco lover! These were not gifted to me, and I feel like they were a fantastic find. Mr. Miller and I each purchased a pair from Costco for around $12 and they were 100% worth it! First of all, they carried women's size extra small. My hands are super small, like child sized small. These gloves actually fit my hands, allowing me to use my iPhone while wearing them! My finger doesn't go all the way to the end of the slot (Re: mini hands), but my iPhone still picks up the sensor and allows me to push buttons easily. They also have grips on the palm side, allowing me to use them for driving as well. Yup, I love gloves, and these were a great find! (In case you didn't know I love winter running, and getting all bundled up and running in the cold is my favorite.)

How about you? What are your latest and greatest gear finds? Do you loathe the cold? Have you found gloves that ACTUALLY efficiently work with your smart phone? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Disclaimer: I received the Eddie Bauer shirt and Hoka shoes while attending Fitness Magazine's Fit Blog NYC. I was not compensated for writing this, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Postpartum Workouts: Week 20

So, clearly I miscounted along the way. I think I started in week 8, but it was in fact the end of week 8. Oh well, back on track!!!

This will be my last postpartum workout post for a while. Although I have loved tracking my progress and looking back on what I have done, these posts have started to be less exciting and more dutiful to me. My tendinitis is basically healed up, but I see it flare up when I do too much too soon. Also, my foot still isn't right. I don't want to keep droning on and on...really it feels like giving to why I haven't been as consistent as I would like to be. I would rather post when I am really excited about a workout or a run than mechanically list them. 

I have had a lot of thoughts lately about "body after baby". Guess what? It's not like I thought it would be. I was all: I can work out all day because I won't be working! Uh, no. Not even close. Although I did find a great rhythm for a few weeks, and the initial days of being back at it were great, I have faced tons of bumps in the road, the least of which has been a weight stall. I was stuck at 18 pounds above my pre pregnancy weight for weeks, and slowly lost three more pounds. I'm still 15 pounds away from my pre pregnancy, not even CLOSE to where I thought I would be. So, for all you mamas out there who are muffin topping your jeans, clinging to the hope that sweater and legging season is close at hand, and love that flouncy tops are in, here are my thoughts on "body after baby".

1. It's different. Everyone says it, and we all nod and agree that we know it will be different, but the "different" is, well, different for everyone. I personally didn't have serious hip shift (From what I can tell), my chest isn't that much bigger, but my stomach. Oh my stomach. It's a baffling part of my body that won't change. I didn't think that it would disappear overnight, but man, it's hard (Actually, it's soft...)! 

2. Finding a healthy eating balance while breastfeeding is difficult. I never know if I'm eating too much or too little. I don't want to deprive myself which could affect my milk supply, but this hunger is intense! I was at a normal hunger level until around the time Henry turned four months, and then I was ravenous. Despite giving up soy and dairy, I haven't seen "incredible results". (Re: I need cheese in my life. Proof is in the pudding.)

3. The pressure I put on myself is loaded with other issues. My emotions were being dictated by my weight loss, and it wasn't pretty. Between my lack of "success" and the hormones still ever present, I was a hot mess. It's hard seeing people who effortlessly lose their baby weight, whereas I'm sitting here with plenty of it hanging on for dear life. Thankfully I have a husband and friends who talked me off some emotional ledges. But seriously, if you are reading this and you had a baby and you're upset about your weight loss etc, talk to someone about it. Get ALL your feelings out there. Don't bottle it up. 

4. The weight doesn't fall off if you're breastfeeding. Maybe for some people it does, but for me, no way. I have fought for every ounce I have lost. Yes, you burn calories when you breastfeed, but breastfeeding makes you hungry. Do they cancel each other out? I am not sure. What I am sure of, is that this is a very individualized process. All I can do it is eat as healthy as I can, provide food for my son, and do what I can to stay active.

5. It will always be worth it. ALWAYS. Throw that 20 pounds back on. He's worth it. Every single day he's worth it. I would rather skip runs to be with him than get a 5k PR. There is nothing more worth my time, energy, and body, than Henry Joseph Miller. It has helped me to remind myself of this in the moments when I am truly upset with my lack of progress.

So, on to a much lighter topic: my last workout rundown for a while! 

Weekly Workouts: 20 weeks Postpartum

Tuesday: I got in a morning run! After I put Henry back to sleep after his 5am wake up, I laced up and ran two miles. It felt great...minus the nauseous/pukey feeling I had! I forgot how hard it is for me to run in the morning, requiring that I eat SOMETHING beforehand. Half a banana wasn't enough apparently! I also got to participate in a fantastic Nike Women's NTC event! We did a great workout on the Highline. Great way to start my "birthday week"! 

 That little mini gal in the pink ran a FANTASTIC Chicago marathon!!! We always laugh together. She's great. Photo Credit: Nike

New and old fitness friends, thank you Nike for a fun event! Photo Credit: Nike

Saturday: It was my birthday! Mr. Miller and I got Henry all strapped in for his very first 5k! We had a great time running around Roosevelt Island in the NYC Runs Haunted Island 5k. They allowed the jogging stroller, but asked if we would start at the back. Well, that put us with a bunch of walkers and we had to do a ton of weaving on a very narrow course! Once we got past mile one it was mostly smooth sailing. Henry did great, watched the trees the whole time and didn't make a peep!

Pre race photo! Henry is creeping over the top!

 A beautiful lighthouse along the way! Holding up the requisite 3-0.

Secret: He was in Christmas jammies! Great costume choice, Henry!

So there you have it. Between the crazy rainy days last week and birthday celebrations, it was a nice easy week filled with some workouts, friends and time spent with my favorite guys.

How about you? Any revelations about your post baby body? Have you been enjoying some (ridiculously) warm weather running? Do you wear themed pajamas no matter the date? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Postpartum workouts: Week 18...or rather, Recovery Week

Unfortunately, this post doesn't have any workouts. Between my tendinitis and my formerly (?) broken toe acting up, I decided to rest until I felt better. Easier said than done. We experienced some pretty great weather, which got us out and walking, but nothing more. However, my recovery week was made completely tolerable with some really fun events.

We went out to a wedding! I *technically* exercised by dancing...and fueling with champagne. It was the first time we left Henry with a non-family member, and mama cut loose! So thankful to my girlfriend who took the best care of Henry.

Congrats Edward and Ashley!

I went to Fitness Magazine's Fitblog NYC! I was so excited to be able to attend this event! I've wanted to go for the past couple of years, but I can't take a day off from teaching and be tweeting and Instagramming all the fun things I'm doing. Uh no. So, this year I finally got the chance! Another amazing friend watched Henry. I'm so grateful for fun opportunities AND amazing friends! So happy to have the opportunity to reconnect with or make new blog friends Here are a few fantastic details from Fitblog NYC!

There were great speakers in the morning session. Trainer Holly Rilinger talked about fitness. Two biggest takeaways: You need sleep to be healthy, and we need to do more pulling than pushing in workouts to compensate for hunching at computers.
 I'll get right on that. Especially the sleep....HAHAHAHA

We got some pretty fantastic swag! These Hokas are ITCHING to be used, I can't wait to try them out! Hint, it will be very soon, my recovery week worked!
That bag was filled with goodies from Fitness Magazine. It was filled fantastic health, beauty, yummy, and creative items, and had to weigh 30lbs! Lambeau hopped on it the second I got home to get the most coveted item: stress balls. Well played Lambeau, well played.

A great big thank you to Fitness Magazine for putting on a fantastic event! I loved hearing the speakers, enjoying yummy treats and trying out fantastic products. It was my first big "mommy" outing without leaving my baby boy with his dad, and it was well worth it.

We went on our annual Bear Mountain trip! This year I couldn't complete the hike because of our young man, so my two girlfriends stayed with me while the boys hiked. We had a great time as always!

The back of that shirt says Bear Hug. It's the best. So is he.

I'm thankful for the results of my recovery week. I decided that taking a step back was better than taking many steps back. I'm feel a lot better in week 19, and I'm hoping to go onward and upward from here!

How about you? Do you tend to exercise through injury? Have you ever dealt with an overuse injury? Have you done any fun fall excursions lately? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Postpartum Workouts: Week 17

Mommy and me yoga? Try Puppy and me yoga! Lambeau didn't get the memo that Beautiful Belly is for human babies and mommies.

There's not much to write about. I was finally feeling like I was getting over my cold and got back to working out on Monday. I eased in with a 23 minutes yoga routine from Beautiful Belly, and we loved it! Tuesday I did a killer Fitzala workout and felt fantastic. But then, I didn't. My wrist and thumb started hurting. A lot. I blamed it on the dips and planks I had been doing over and over in my workout, so I took Wednesday off. Only the pain got worse. I winced simply trying to brush my hair, and I couldn't even turn the key in my car. At first I thought it was carpal tunnel, but then another mom heard my complaints and said, "Oh you have mommy wrist!" I was all WHAAAT?! But then I did some googling (Often not a smart thing to do when injured...) and found De Quervain's Syndrome, basically tendinitis from overuse, is a common thing in new moms. Combine awkward breastfeeding positions (re: I'm too lazy to get out my pillow), my workouts (which I was conditioned for), and the fact that I broke this wrist twice as a child seem to have been the perfect storm.

So, just when I thought I was crawling out of my cold setback, another one reared its ugly head. On top of that, Mr. Miller went out of town for a wedding this weekend, so pushing the stroller was not an option because of my pain level. I didn't want to overuse my left wrist by pushing the Bob, which was already compensating for my struggling right wrist. I'm not distraught like I thought I would be. I'm resting and trying to calm down my wrist/thumb pain. I have seen improvement, and I will be getting a brace to promote stability. My only sadness is that I can't really do much working out because so many things I do involve arms/hands/wrist action. We're brainstorming ways for me to start trying to run at night. Basically, I'm looking for the lemonade to make with these lemons! 
When life gives you lemons, sell them to buy wine
I definitely drank some wine this weekend. Source

I really enjoyed swimming in the summer. It was my "me time", I got out of the house, I got some exercise, and I was alone with my thoughts. I lost that once the pool closed, and now I'm starting to think I need that time. I love spending time with all my boys after Mr. Miller gets home from work, and I'm often cooking dinner while he's on baby duty. So this week will be one where we experiment with night running. I will report back to see how things go!

How about you? Have you ever felt like you're constantly injured? Are you a morning or night runner? Have you ever dealt with tendinitis? TELL ME ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Postpartum Workouts: 16 Weeks

Well, it finally happened. I got sick. I hadn't been sick since, oh, wayyyyy before I got pregnant (Minus the case of food poisoning  I got while seven months pregnant...that kind of sick is in a category of its own). I was healthier than I had ever been while sick, which is pretty crazy as a teacher who regularly gets colds. It started with a scratchy throat on Sunday and Monday, which I attributed to sleeping with the windows open etc. Nope. By Wednesday I was groggy/coughing and by Thursday night I had a full blown cold meltdown. Went to bed at 8:30...and this just so happened to be the night that Henry decided to start sleeping through the night. Thanks Henry Jo, you knew mommy needed it! Here's a recap of my workouts, from a high place to a low place.

Weekly Workouts: 16 Weeks Postpartum

  • Sunday: 5 MILE RUN! Furthest run postpartum. Henry had awoken bright and cheery at 5am, so I decided to "start our day": feed him, play with him, and then put him down for a nap. He was tired within an hour, and went right back to sleep. I decided not to go back to sleep and go for a run! I had wanted to run 5 miles, and I did it. I was SO happy.
No jogging stroller was a nice boost for this Postpartum PDR!

As close to a sunrise run as I'll get for a while!

  • Monday: Rest day. I had a baby fighting a nap. NOT. GOOD.
  • Tuesday: Fitzala workout! Three circuits, and each move had a number of reps. I like counting down so it was a great workout!!! 
  • Wednesday: Two mile walk. Starting to feel sick. In total denial.
  • Thursday: Fitzala workout in the morning, about two miles of walking in the afternoon. By 6pm I was SICK. 
  • Friday: Rest day. SICK.
  • Saturday: Rest day. SICK.
  • Sunday: Rest day, kind of feeling on the mend.
I'm kind of sad that I crashed and burned after a great start to the week. I'm excited to get out there and get some decent weekly mileage happening. Now that Henry is going to bed a bit earlier these days, I'm considering taking up night running. Stay tuned!

How about you? Are you in the taper?! Have you found yourself with a seasonal cold yet? Do you stick to running at one time of day? TELL ME ABOUT IT!