A Place to Launch and Land: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: obsequies Flickr via Compfight cc

 

When you first get pregnant some people refer to the pregnant woman and family as “expecting.” There are so many dreams, assumptions and expectations wrapped up in parenthood, especially with the first child.

I could never have anticipated a baby that didn’t sleep, at all really for almost a year. After successfully nursing my first, I never thought I’d have two boys who each had their own kind of feeding issues that resulted in obsessive weight tracking, and nursing and pumping around the clock. I didn’t imagine I’d be a homeschool mom with an elementary aged reluctant reader and a preschool early reader, at the same time.  That after four years of telling myself my son is just an active boy that I’d be finally getting him evaluated for cognitive processing and other sensory issues; both hopeful and fearful of what I will be told.

As a natural overachiever, I’ve had to learn to lower my expectations as a mom. Because childhood isn’t a race and parenthood isn’t a contest. It shouldn’t matter how my kids and my life match up against others. (Though I’d by lying if I said I don’t still play the comparison game at times).

I read a book recently that had a tag line I’ve tried to embrace.

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I’m still figuring out what this looks like now, with small children. At times it means being honest with my kids when I’m struggling. Remind them I love them, even if their behavior is hurtful to me. Attempting to help them navigate the balance between needed time alone and the realities of living with others.  I expect that we will continue to have difficult seasons in our house. But I also believe I will be granted the strength and grace that I need. I know where I am weak, and it is in those areas where I most expect to see God show up; that when I succeed it may be credited to his might rather than mine.

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Fit2B 6 X 6: Week 2

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Each workout is a little longer this week, but still not too bad. I’m still really struggling with getting 6 workouts in 6 days. (It tends to be six in seven or eight days).
Goal: 6 Fit2B routines in 6 days for just 16+ minutes

Pilates & Yoga Loaded
A long time favorite, I was able to use a heavier weight for this, for the majority of the workout. However I had to be especially cautious of keeping my core properly engaged and using modifications as recommended.

 

Kelly’s Core Cardio

It’s been a while and it felt great to be doing this workout again. Because of her background in ab rehab, I really appreciate the extra effort Kelly puts in to core engagement and the stretching portions of this workout. Plus, you definitely won’t find anything else on Fit2B that includes phantom hula hooping!

 

Hipster Chair Moves

I tend avoid this workout because it never feels like it is challenging enough.. One of those neither core, nor cardio nor weights and I don’t quite know what to do with it. But part of the point of 6 X 6 is the consistency, not necessarily the intensity. This provided important hamstring stretches that I’ve been neglecting. I especially like the way this workout reaches the inner hip ligaments (what we used to call the turnout muscles in ballet). Since we don’t have any chairs downstairs where I usually workout, I hauled my laptop to the living room and grabbed a kitchen chair. It worked wonderfully while my kids were downstairs for their regularly scheduled afternoon screen time. I may have to try it again soon.

 

Balanced

I was pleased that I was able to do at least a portion of this workout with my heavier 6 lb weights, though not all of it. Since I’ve hit a wall with my core, I’m trying to be cautious about increasing my difficulty but I don’t want to give up entirely. I like this workout because even though it is a full body, it still leans heavily (ha ha) on weights as the primary source of adding difficulty.

 

Body Sculpting
I love this workout. I like that it has a heavy weight component but also has a slight cardio feel as well. It definitely qualifies for my list of effective full body workouts without being too long or overly intense. I think it may also have made it to my list of returning favorites.

 

Hold It!

Whenever I see this workout come up in the rotation, I sigh a little bit. Because usually I don’t like this workout. But today when I was bumming about the state of my core and feeling a ton of stress in other areas of my life, I was able to really focus on the benefits of this workout. The slow sustained nature of the workouts allowed me to better concentrate on engaging my core, maintaining my alignment and breathing. Don’t underestimate the benefits of breathing and engaging your core when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Despite being interrupted multiple times by my son, I still felt more relaxed and in better alignment after this one.
Two weeks down, four to go. I’m definitely have consistency issues but I’m refusing to give up. Just because I can’t do it perfectly doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it at all. I miss when I used to workout consistently 30-60 minutes, five times a week. But if that’s not where I’m at right now, that’s Ok. I’m also feeling the strange urge to run again, but I don’t want to start doing that until my core is better healed and I’ve built up my upper body muscles a little bit more. So I’ll stick with working towards the consistency of the 6 X 6 for now.

Week 3

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Fit2B 6 X 6: Week 1

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This week starts slow, which is good because trying to do 6 days in a row isn’t going to be easy for me. But 10-15 minutes is very attainable.

Goal: 6 Fit2B routines in 6 days for just 10+ minutes

 

The Big {Little} Band Workout  

I’ve always loved this little workout because I’ve always preferred stretchy bands to weights. While I’ve learned the benefits of weights and I’m looking forward to exploring them further as I improve my witness level, this is still one of my favorites.

 

Wall Workout with Beth

It was a lot harder to do this workout this time around, because I barely had any wall to work with. (It’s temporary until we can get some more boxes unpacked and out of the way). I appreciate how Beth provides modifications for this workout. I’ve been having to scale back the level of challenge I give my core while recovering from a bad two week cough. I was especially glad for her cues and reminders for how to keep the movements simpler while my core recovers.

 

Insane Upper Body

I’m still using a combination of 3 and 6 lb weights for this workout. I’ve fallen off the exercise wagon and not been able to increase my strength as I’d hope. However, I’m not willing to give up yet. Short workouts like this are a great opportunity to increase the intensity, because naturally it’s easy to do that for shorter duration.

 

Ab Attack

I haven’t done with one in more than a year. It’s great if you miss traditional Pilates style ab workouts. It’s totally tummy safe but still employs versions of many of those movements. Also a good opportunity to get down on the floor, since many of my favorite workouts are done entirely standing up.

 

Body Sculpting II

This little workout packs a punch. This was day where I had been too busy to workout but I thought I’d just squeeze it in before my kids got home from their evening program. It got my heart rate up, but could still do it at the end of a long day without feeling like I was immediately so exhausted that I had to go to bed.

 

Bag a Better Booty

I really do enjoy this workout but I can’t seem to find the right size bag to use. I often end up struggling to maintain my alignment and still be able to get the bag off the floor and perform each exercise as suggested. But it is definitely effective.
I really appreciate that this week is made up of such short workouts. (In the interests of honesty, it took me longer than 6 days to do this because I couldn’t manage to fit in a workout every day.) It can be so hard to build a consistent exercise habit, so starting with these short, but still appropriately intense workout makes consistency easier to attain.

On to Week 2, hopefully a little stronger now.

 

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Visiting Our Marriage: Five Minute Friday

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It’s official, last week it was 14 years. It feels like a long time and yet barely scratching the surface. In the beginning, the early years, it was like striking oil; new and exciting things to share. Now it’s more like digging and pumping through layers of rock. There is more, I believe even more than we can imagine, but it will be harder work to get to it than in the past.

It feels funny that we have to schedule visits just to be together. But without it, we are so easily distracted and pulled into all the things that busy us. We both have minds that are constantly spinning both with the day to day requirements (at least for me), existential wonderings (that’s mostly hubby) and then our creative sides. Because we both have very creative sides that often have to be deferred if not suppressed during this consuming season of raising little ones. Without the luxury of the budget to pay regular sitters we try to decide carefully how to devote our few kid free hours every couple of months. Is a movie worth it? For me, only if it’s followed by dinner so we can discuss and connect.

It is work that I believe is worth doing, but so often it seems like the universe conspires against us having an uninterrupted sentence let alone finish a complete thought or have an intelligent discussion. (I can remind my five year old every day, multiple times a day not to interrupt when Daddy and I are trying to talk, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still happen. Every single day, every single conversation, every single sentence. Basically every time I take an inhale that communicates I might be planning to use more than three words at a time.)

But we keep trying. Because for us, sharing what makes us unique, and the crazy way our minds work is an important part of emotional intimacy. A friend, whose children are older than mine, refers to the time after the littlest years are over as the Renaissance. After the dark ages of night time feedings and ten diaper changes a day, there is time and energy, sometimes even money for art, cultural, creativity and enlightenment. Sad as I am to see the end of the baby years, I look forward with hopeful anticipation.

We’ve spent all these years trying to stay connected, even if by a thread at times, believing that there will be time to learn and grow together again. Hoping the next 14-50 years is full of lots of it.

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Photo courtesy of Laura Mounts

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6 X 6 Pathway at Fit2B Studio

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6 X 6

What do I do when I’ve fallen off the exercise wagon? What I always do, find a new Fit2B Studio pathway to explore. This is one of the few pathways I haven’t tried yet on Fit2B, so I’m very excited to see how it works for me.

The goal of the 6 X 6 pathway is to do 6 videos in 6 days for 6 weeks. I’m usually a 4-5 workout a week kind of gal, so disciplining myself with prioritizing fitness 6 days out of the week will be a challenge for me.
However, if you feel like 6 workouts a week just too many, guess what? You can take longer, 10 days, two weeks, whatever works for you.

I had planned to provide an update on my fitness and weight loss journey. Except I haven’t made much progress. Ok, that isn’t fair. I have definitely increased my stamina and in general I feel better. But my diet has been awful. (To summarize; too many birthdays, too many holidays, too much cake). So I’m taking steps toward making healthy eating easier and generally trying to be more aware of my choices. (Meaning that when I eat cookies I am well aware that they are not the best choice for me and then I eat them anyway. Seriously though, I have significantly increased my leafy greens intake, so that’s something.)

I’ve also been disappointed with the nasty, coughing cold that left my middle squishy and my separation pulled open again. So I’m being extra careful to listen to Beth’s cues and modify as needed moving forward. While I haven’t done as well at this as I’d like, I need to begin prioritizing my sleep again. I just can’t seem to get to bed at a decent hour and thus hauling myself out of bed with the kids in the morning hasn’t been much fun. I need to find a new routine that I can stick with.

It’s healthy to continually reevaluate our health and fitness situations. Sometimes we need to set new goals, or return to old goals. One of reason I stay a member of Fit2B is the need for new challenges and I always find that with Beth Learn. I can always find a pathway I haven’t yet explored or a series of new routines I haven’t tried. When I get into a fitness rut, there is always something to peak my interest again.
So join me as I review the 6 X 6 pathway. It starts out slow, just 10-15 minutes a day. We can handle that right?

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

 

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Motherhood; Costly But Strategic: Five Minute Friday

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photo courtesy of Twinkle Photo

I was recently able to share with my MOPS group some of my thoughts on motherhood and my inspiration came from a strange source; the story Biblical story of Abraham burying his wife. Surely, not an obvious connection.

But the part that spoke to me most was when Abraham insisted on paying full price for his wife Sarah’s tomb, before knew what that price was. This, to me, is a picture of motherhood. Some of us dreamed and planned for years before becoming mothers. For others it was a surprise and perhaps not an entirely welcome one. Yet none of us could be prepared for what becoming mothers would cost us. Motherhood is expensive not just financially but in terms of time, energy and often dignity

For me, it meant difficult pregnancies and deliveries. When I choose to stay at home that meant, culturally speaking, I lost my individual identity. Without a product to provide or a quantifiable service, or drawing a paycheck; I suddenly became ill defined. I was “just” a mom. Forever more I will be recognized, at least in part if not in whole, as a parent rather than a person with goals, dreams and aspirations of my own.

I had no idea all that being a mom would cost me and yet I agreed to it gladly and I would do it again (at least most days). But I am also working through the process of recognizing how my motherhood is a tool for my growth rather than a barrier to my development.

Another detail I love from Abraham’s story is that he buried his wife facing the land of the promise, the land where his descendants would thrive and become a great nation. He made a strategic choice, looking to the future. I believe parenthood is a strategic thing as well. Some of it is our own strategy, to carry on our values, culture and genetic material. But I believe that much of it is an act of God.

 

The Bible says God places us into families and I firmly believe that our children are part of God’s strategy. No matter how our families are formed, whether through birth, adoption, blending with remarriage or otherwise; it is part of God’s deliberate plan. Our children are not ours by accident. But rather with great intention, both for us and for them.

On those days when I feel most ill equipped, I try to remember that as hopeless as I feel at this job, I was intended to be their mother. That as the Lord Almighty was numbering my days, he saw fit to give me these children. Which means he will also provide me the strength I need to bring them up and help them to become who they are supposed to be.  They are also part of my own redemptive process as I am molded and shaped into the person I am supposed to be. Because I am never “just a mom” but being a mother can be a crucial asset for growth in all the other parts of me and reaffirm to me who I am.

(Full disclosure: I was on a roll today and wrote for longer than five minutes. I hope you enjoyed it anyway).

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But What If It Isn’t Normal?: The Case for Abdominal and Pelvic Floor Rehab

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photos courtesy of The Tummy Team

 

My social media feed is full of it. Moms lamenting peeing their pants and the belly that just hangs and won’t budge no matter how many crunches they do or how long they diet. With Mother’s Day coming up there are even cute little memes about “Call your mom, she wets herself because of you.”

Except a part of me doesn’t find it cute. I’m glad for awareness and openness for discussing this important aspect of women’s health. But I just can’t get behind making a serious medical issue into the punchline of a joke. Pelvic floor and core weakness are certainly common side affects for women who have been pregnant and/or given birth. But I would hesitate to call them normal and they certainly aren’t healthy.

 

When I got to hear Beth Learn from Fit2B Studio speak in person last year, she talked about how our bodies were made to birth babies, and also made to heal. But our lifestyles have changed, and most of our lives no longer contain the kinds of healthy movement to used to help women recover from pregnancy and child birth. While modern medicine has brought us many wonderful things in the area of OBGYN care, this has not been one of them. Talking about the ability to heal has nothing to do with shame at the symptoms, but rather to produce empowerment at the possibility for recovery.

 

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This is why I love The Tummy Team. Kelly Dean’s own story provides inspiration. She talks about how her training as a physical therapist didn’t prepare her for the side effects of multiple pregnancies and deliveries. Her broken body left her feeling discouraged. Other than surgery she could find any practical solutions. But she searched until she found someone who offered real hope.

 

While Kelly agrees that hands on help is best, there are a limited number of trained core and pelvic rehabilitation specialists in the United States, and indeed the world. To that end she created online rehab programs through her office, The Tummy Team.

 

I completed the Core Foundations with The Tummy Team three years ago, and then the Prenatal program two years ago when I was pregnant with my third child. I found both programs to be educational, and encouraging as I went through my healing process. I’ve also done a Skype session with Kelly and found it hugely helpful in making sure I was learning proper alignment and a chance to ask any questions. While today I wouldn’t call my core entirely healed (the result of a difficult third pregnancy and delivery), I gained so many important tools through the course that I find myself returning to when my abs need a little bit of extra attention and support.

 

In honor of Mother’s Day, the Tummy Team is offering 25% off all of their programs and services, May 8-22. (If you don’t want to start now, you can purchase a gift certificate at sale price, and start your rehab later).

 

This Mother’s Day, consider investing in yourself (or your mom) and consider healing through the wonderful ladies at The Tummy Team.

 

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