Tag Archives: Fitness

On Weight Loss

Ah, yes, the subject of weight loss. What woman hasn’t spent a good portion of her life dealing with this? Not many. After having two kids, I realized something. My weight was up. I know, how could I not notice? I’ve always been a very active person. Being a competitive figure skater, a distance runner and a frequent visitor to my local gym, you’d think I would have nothing to worry about. Um, wrong.

I’ve often joked that I’m not the type of person who can just work out and eat whatever they want. It’s so unfair. I once ran 8 miles and stepped on the scale the next day to see that I’d actually gained weight. ARG!

I was always afraid of never losing the last of the baby weight. I knew my weight was up higher than I would’ve liked, but I figured it was only 5 pounds or so. Um, wrong again.

Then I was looking at pictures of our amazing family trip to Disneyworld in February and I was like, “oof.” There was no denying it.

Meetingdonald Meetingmickey

Oof. Upon further investigation when we returned home, I realized I was up a good 10-15 pounds from before getting pregnant with Riley in 2009. Not. Cool.

The stars seemed to align when I saw a Groupon for Weight Watchers Online for $20 for two months. Twenty bucks? I could give it a go for twenty bucks. I checked with my sister and she agreed to do it with me. The results.

It works.

huronlake parade

I’ve lost 14 pounds since April and I can’t believe how easy it was. Not easy easy. But easier than I thought it would be. So easy that I wish I had done it three years ago right after Charlotte was born. My sister has lost 40 pounds and is still losing! Her goal is to hit 100 pounds. Talk about life changing.

For me, the key was realizing what a portion size is. Hint – it’s much smaller than you think. So tracking what I ate with the app on my phone all day, every day just became a habit. Yes, it was kind of a pain, but I learned so much from doing it, that it was worth it. And seeing 1-2 pounds fall off every week was sooooo motivating.

Right now, I’m just working on maintaining what I’ve lost and staying at this normal weight forever. No, I’m not “skinny” but that’s fine by me. That’s never been my goal and never will be my goal. But if I can drop a pant size and do a double take when I catch my reflection in a store window, that’s really all I need.

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Tap, tap, tap

Last fall I started taking a tap dancing class. Yes, I am the queen of weird hobbies and it just made sense to start tapping. One of my friends and I had talked about taking a tap class for years and we finally found an adult, beginners class, so we signed up.

For the last six months I’ve been tapping every Thursday night all leading up to last week’s recital. I was reluctant to do it, especially because my friend couldn’t participate in the recital. Her husband was just living his dream running the Boston Marathon, so she thought her tapping should take second billing. Whatevs.

Anyway, I had to embark on the recital without my sidekick and with some older ladies. I was the youngest in the class by probably 10 years, but everyone was so nice and welcoming. They had all taken the class last year, so they knew what they were doing more than I was.

Recital day came, I put on my red sequinned halter top, and I was not really even nervous. Probably because it was too ridiculous for a 36 year old mother of two and to be nervous about a tap dancing recital. What?

I’m happy to report everything went great and even though I was blinded by the stage lights, I could see two tiny hands waving to me from the middle of the theater. I waved back, which you’re totally not supposed to do, but whatever. I wanted them to know that I saw them, that I knew they were proud of me and that even when you’re a grown up, you can still do the fun things you want to do.

According to Derek, Riley was squealing and squirming in the seat before my class took the stage. He said he was so excited to see me dance. That’s what I want them to tell stories about when they’re older. I want them to forget the times I raise my voice, or give them PB&Js for dinner and the dog hair tumbleweed that just may be rolling across our living room right now.

I want them to remember that their old mom did fun things because she wanted to do them. That it may even be kind of ….cool? Inspiring? Goofy? All of the above?

Either way, I had lots of hugs and “you were awesomes” afterwards and it felt great.


P.S. This little boy yelled to a girl in a different class that performed before mine, “You’re beautiful and I want to marry you!” We’re going to be in trouble with that one…

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Summer Recap

Well, it’s getting dark earlier, I wore a jacket to work this morning, and Riley has his first cold in months. No matter how hard I’ve tried to deny it, summer is over. I do like fall, but nothing compares to summer, in my opinion. I feel like I need to make the most of every minute of sunshine and every weekend that we can be outside without wearing a snowsuit. Because before I know it, the snow will be flying, it’ll be dark at 4:30 and we’ll all be cooped up inside the house.

But enough of that. The best way to celebrate this summer, is to look back. Through pictures of course. Enjoy.

Most summer evenings were spent just like this.

Most summer evenings were spent just like this.

IMG_0609

Thank you, Milwaukee!

 

Riley and Charlotte got to see their daddy’s band play for the first time at a summer music festival. After some encouraging, and that sweet bubble gun, Riley happily hopped up on Daddy’s drum stool. This picture is awesome for many reasons.

 

Happy boy just pet a sting ray.

Happy boy just pet a sting ray.

The sting ray exhibit at the Milwaukee County Zoo made this kid so happy, I couldn’t even believe it.

Beach Day. A summer tradition since 2010.

Beach Day. A summer tradition since 2010.

Then it was time for our first vacation as a family of four to Northern Wisconsin.

Happiest family vacation ever.

Happiest family vacation ever.

See? Happy.

See? Happy.

Very happy.

Very happy.

And then our little baby girl turned one! And we celebrated with rainbows, unicorns and a failed Pinterest rainbow cake that actually turned out good in the end. Stupid unrealistic standards, Pinterest.

Our little Char Char turned 1!

Our little Char Char turned 1!

She already knows how to share.

She already knows how to share.

But not everything was rainbows and unicorns this summer. Our 2005 Ford Escape blew the alternator while we were driving with the kids on a Sunday morning about an hour north of our home. Not cool. Luckily my dad came in and saved the day and towed us. And then we knew it was time to say goodbye to our “big white truck.”

Broken truck.

Broken truck.

New wheels!

New wheels!

Happily, this summer allowed for plenty of time for fun in the sun and water. And we discovered that yes, maybe babies ARE born with a natural swimming instinct. I put this girl in the water and she naturally started doing the doggy paddle with her arms and kicking with her legs. Who knew?

Swimming girl.

Swimming girl.

Boating boy.

Boating boy.

And then there was my scariest moment in parenting ever. My poor baby girl got first and second degree burns by spilling a hot cup of coffee on her chest. It was as awful as it sounds. But she was a trooper. She never fails to amaze all of us.

My poor baby.

My poor baby.

The summer concluded with me running my fourth half marathon, while Daddy pushed the kids in the double jogging stroller for the 5K portion.

The sweaty fam.

The sweaty fam.

And then it was time for Riley’s first day of K4, at a new school.

He looks about 8 years old. Honestly.

He looks about 8 years old. Honestly.

Goodbye, Summer 2013. You were awesome. You weren’t too incredibly hot. You were way too short. Hope to see you again soon.

 

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Race Recap: Lake Country Half Marathon

This was my fourth half marathon, and honestly, it was a lot harder to train for this one than any of the others I’ve done. I’m going to blame the whole going from 1 kid to 2 kids-thing. People aren’t lying, it’s nuts! But after months of training and even getting my sister to come over and watch the kids early on a Sunday morning so I could get in an 8 mile run, finally race day arrived.

Derek had also been prepping for this day, to run the 5K. While pushing both kids in the double jogging stroller. Yes, he’s crazy. We figure combined they weigh 60 pounds, plus the weight of the stroller meant he was probably pushing an extra 75 or 80 pounds. Tough daddy!

The other wrinkle that was kind of stressing me out was the 7 am start time. Believe me, it was for good reason because Saturday turned into a hot, humid day. But I really wasn’t looking forward to waking up when it was still dark, getting myself ready, then waking up a 4-year old and a 1-year old to get them ready and out the door.

Charlotte hadn’t been sleeping the best all week and she woke up at 3 a.m. I couldn’t get her back to sleep and was still awake at 4. My alarm was set for 5:20. I think I fell asleep for about 45 minutes before my alarm went off. Not cool!

But even though I was sleepy, I was really excited! I haven’t run an actual race in a long time, so I knew this was going to be fun.

We got ready, gathered the troops and headed off.

Yes, it's still dark out. Yes, he's excited.

Yes, it’s still dark out. Yes, he’s excited.

We got to the race site in about 35 minutes. The Lake Country Half Marathon is on a beautiful course through Oconomowoc’s scenic lakefront area. We ran around Lac La Belle, through nice, ritzy neighborhoods, through regular neighborhoods, past corn fields and through Oconomowoc’s downtown area. It’s SUPER well organized, great volunteers and plenty of water and gel along the course. If you’re in this area and are looking for a half marathon, THIS is the one you want to do. I’ve done it three times before and it’s been awesome every time.

Anyway, this year, they were starting the half marathon and the 5K at the same time. Not sure if it was because it was a smaller turnout this year or what, but Derek and I snapped a quick selfie, I kissed him and the kids goodbye, and was off.

I'm gonna go run for 2 hours! Weeee!

I’m gonna go run for 2 hours! Weeee!

The run started and I felt good. The run kept going and I felt good. I’ve been having shin splint issues so I was nervous about how I would hold up on this run, but I felt so good. I could tell I was running slower than I did pre-baby #2, but that was fine by me. My best half time is 2:05, and I would love to run a sub-2:00 half marathon. That will happen someday, but not right now. And that’s fine by me.

My friend Julie showed up along the course to snap some photos and bellow, “GO CHERI!” which was pretty much awesome. Her husband, an amazing runner and my “running coach” came in third overall. UNREAL!

derek runningIt’s a small pic from Julie, but you can see Derek pushing the gigantic double jogging stroller. Woohoo!

This race seemed to go by really quickly for me. Before I knew it, I was at mile 10. I hadn’t taken a walk break (except for grabbing some water at the water stations), so I was not about to start at mile 10. My goal was to finish this thing without walking.

Before I knew it, I passed a volunteer who said I had a mile and a half left. Really? That’s it? I felt so good, so I decided to pick up the pace. I passed people who had passed me earlier in the morning (the tortoise and the hare, baby! Ok, not really).

Finally, I could see the finish line and hear the music. I scanned the crowd and saw Derek, Riley, Charlotte, my mom, and Craig and Julie. I high-fived Derek and Charlotte, yelled to Riley and crossed the finish line.

It’s such a good feeling to be done with a half marathon. The jello legs. The salty skin. The relief that it’s over. The sense of accomplishment. It’s all great. It’s also great to let your 4-year old wear your medal.

The sweaty fam.

The sweaty fam.

Quote of the day: “Mommy, you were running a long time,” says Riley. True, kid. Very true.

 

 

 

 

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On Running

Last fall, I hurt my knee while training for a half marathon. I ran it anyway. Yeah, probably not too bright, but meh, I worked towards that goal and dammit, I was accomplishing it.

Afterwards, my knee started feeling worse and worse, so I stopped running. A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. Due to that fact and the fact that my knee needed to heal, I hung up the ole running shoes. And high heels. For a good 10 months.

But those days are over. Two weeks ago, I started running again. And it feels glorious.

I think it’s safe to say that if you don’t run, then you just don’t get it. I know I didn’t get it before I started running.

It’s a relatively easy thing to do. One foot in front of the other. No fancy equipment. No fuss, no muss, just RUN.

But it does something to my head. It clears out my brain for a while and gives me time to think about all sorts of things, or nothing at all.

Having not run for several months, I’ve been getting back into it very slowly. Run three minutes, walk two. Run three minutes, walk one. Lather, rinse, repeat. I thought I’d have to remind myself to slow down and take it easy since I don’t want to aggrivate my knee, but believe me, it’s slow-going. Not running for months on end will do that, apparently. I used to pride myself on my endurance. I could talk your ear off at mile 10. But the first couple times I ran, my lungs burned. It was not pretty. But by my run yesterday, my lungs felt good. Not burny. Hooray!

I guess more than anything, while I’m running these days, I feel a little bit more like myself. I think when you become a mom, it’s hard to maintain your identity. Am I more than a butt-wiper? More than a milk machine? More then a boo boo kisser? When I’m running, I definitely feel like I am. And that makes every drop of sweat and ache and pain worth it.

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My Must-Haves for Pregnancy #2

Being pregnant the second time around has been different from the first (could that mean that it’s a girl this time??). I’m exhausted, but have not taken a single nap in the 28 weeks I’ve been pregnant. Having a 3-year old (who also cannot nap these days), makes relaxing and taking it easy very difficult. I’ve found that I’m completely exhausted after working all day, coming home to make dinner, entertaining our little man and then putting him to bed. So I decided to compile a list of things that have made this pregnancy just a little bit easier for me. Enjoy.

Don’t worry, I will conveniently “forget” to include Oreos on this list. But really, why are they so good?

1. A memory-foam mattress topper.

Sleeping on either your left or right side gets old. Real quick. I was so tired of my hips going numb while I slept, that I knew something had to be done. We purchased this mattress topper:

Honestly, it’s made a difference. You can spend a small fortune on these bad boys and we got a lower-end one, but I would say it gets the job done. My only complaint is that it has kind of a nasty plastic-y smell so it really needs to be aired out for a few days before you put it on your bed. Buy one. Your hips will thank you.

2. Prenatal Yoga.

Back pain during pregnancy is no joke. At least for me it’s not. Yes, I’ve blogged/complained about this here before, so I will spare you. Taking a weekly prenatal yoga class has been great for my back pain and my sanity. And….it’s free. Do you know Destination Maternity offers FREE prenatal yoga classes? They also offer prenatal belly dancing and pilates and all sorts of other classes. Did I mention they’re FREE? I’ve really started looking forward to Thursday nights when I get to do something just for myself for a solid hour. I feel so relaxed afterwards. It’s really been a highlight of this pregnancy.

3. Cat/Cow pose.

As stated above (again…I’m not complaining…) the lower back pain I’ve been feeling is fo realz, yo. But the cat/cow pose has really helped! I’ll even do it on my lunch break when I’m feeling a lot of pain from sitting or standing too much at work. I learned this one in my prenatal yoga class and it’s one I’m so glad I found.

4. Disposable MakeUp Wipes.

I know, not earth-friendly at all. But here’s the thing. I. Get. So. Tired. The thought of having to wait for the warm water to flow through the faucet, suds up my face, wash it, then dry it is too much for me most nights. So temporarily, I’m using these bad boys:

Yeah, cuz why spend the extra on name brands? It’s just cleaning off the day’s makeup, people.

5. Nail Polish Remover Pad.

Ok, I’m sounding lazier and lazier as this post goes on (come on, I’m growing a human, cut me some slack). But I still want to have painted nails and look semi-fashionable/presentable. I’ve found that this super easy, cheap nail polish remover has saved me time and effort and that makes me happy.

This stuff looks like it was packaged in the 70’s, but trust me. You just twist your polished nails in a sponge soaked in polish remover and within seconds, your chipped nail polish is gone. Ah, it’s the little things that make me happy, apparently.

6. An Awesome Husband.

Luckily, I had one of those to start with. But seriously, there are few things as stressful as child-rearing. You find yourself physically and mentally exhausted, especially if you’re both working full time, and I’ve found that we need each other now more than ever. Until the baby comes and then I’m sure we’ll need each other more, more, more than ever. I’m jus thankful that I have a husband who will save me the last Oreo, say nothing when I buy another maternity dress (what? I can’t help it, they’re cute!), and bathe Riley because I’m just too tired.

 

Ugh, I don’t have a single, recent photo of just my husband and myself? I just made a mental note to change that soon.

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Motivation

Like most people, I can occasionally struggle with motivation when it comes to going to the gym. But unlike most people, I know the secret that will turn anyone into a gym regular.

Promise a toddler you will take him to the daycare at the gym.

A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of telling Riley when he woke up that we were going to the gym together that night. Allllllllll day he whined, “I want to go to the gym!” “Can we go to the gym now??” Wah wah wah.

I explained to him that we’d go after dinner.

I came home on lunch and of course, that only confused him more. After we had eaten, he begged and pleaded to go to the gym. He even said “Pretty please?” Ugh.

As soon as I walked in the door that night, I was greeted with, “Mommy, I want to go to the gym!”

So we scarfed down dinner and I told him it was finally time to go to the gym. He was giddy with excitement.

When we finally got there, an average person would have been disappointed in the 15-year old toys, the middle aged woman who looked less than thrilled to be there, and the dingy floor. But not my boy!

“A crane!” he shouted as he ran across the room and picked up a rickety plastic crane.

“A tractor!” he squealed as he dug a (broken) motorized tractor out of a giant toy box.

He barely acknowledged me as I told him I was leaving. I then enjoyed a quiet hour-long workout with my iPod. Ahhhh…

So I’ve been taking him to the daycare at the gym on a weekly basis. And any time I don’t feel like going, all I have to hear is the broken record of a 2-year old begging me to take him to the gym. Then I realize the only thing that will stop him is a trip to the gym. See? Perfect motivation! Get yourself a toddler and get to the gym!

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