Day 12: Today I would like to share my plans for my Final Gym Christmas activity:
My "investigate and share" project will be ongoing over the next few weeks as we travel north to visit family. I'd like to take some time to look through old family photos to see who Trudy looks like as she grows and develops. It's funny -- I've been thinking about this project for a while and I guess it's been on my Mom's mind too! Yesterday on Facebook she posted some pictures of me when I was little to compare with Trudy. Bryn's Mom also posted one of Bryn. I'll share their investigations so far, side-by-side with a picture of Trudy from last week:
Bryn (left); Trudy (middle); Jill (right)
I am excited to take a trip down memory lane over the holidays when we are reunited with family and to discover baby photos of Bryn that I've never seen (and that he's probably forgotten about!)
I will continue to investigate and will share my findings in a later blog (or perhaps several blog postings.)
If you ask me--and remember that I stare at her little mug everyday, sometimes ALL day--I think Trudy looks a heck of a lot like Bryn right now. I'm starting to see myself in her more and more as her face develops, but her little head and hair line and eyes SCREAM Bryn right now (in my opinion.)
Well then! I have completed my 12 Gym Days of Christmas for another year. I did mine back-to-back for a few reasons: 1) To provide examples of every activity as far in advance as possible to inspire you; 2) Because I'm an eager beaver; and 3) Because things are going to get a bit CRAZY for the Hughes-Bracken clan in the next week or so as we begin another epic trek to the mother country. Remember--tomorrow (December 13) is the LAST possible day to start Gym Christmas. It's not too late!
Here's a festive family photo of my family from back in the day:
And an awkward one to make you giggle:
I will still be posting every day to give folks the chance to check in via the blog (if you so choose.) They may not be substantive posts, but they will continue to each feature an awkward festive family photo! Stay tuned.
Now, we don't have cable so this morning I substituted *TV* for *radio.* (I was also inclined to make this substitution because I try not to have any TV shows (via Netflix or downloaded TV) on during the day because Trudy has recently become obsessed with moving pictures on bright screens. We're trying to keep her pure and innocent and "unhooked" as long as we can.) I have found that playing the radio (via our awesome Apple TV set-up; thanks to my brilliant husband) is a great alternative.
During commercial breaks on the radio this morning, I did a version of this work-out.
And to brighten your day, here's the most awkward family photo I could find. I think it really challenges the definition of "family." I wonder how long it took him to get that shirt on the dog:
Trudy is having a little lie-down right now and I am getting ready for us to head out to our Mama-Baby group in about 30 minutes or so! Happy Tuesday to you.
I'd like to start today's post with some exciting news. HOT OFF THE PRESSES! A chapter I co-wrote with the incomparable Betty Anne Younker (who is totally awesome and amazing) has been published in a book called Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra (published by GIA.) I just got my copy of the book and it is great to see something I co-wrote in print! Check it out:
Totally cool. Working with Betty Anne has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to my burgeoning career! She has taught me so much and has provided me with a lot of opportunities that wouldn't otherwise be available. For this chapter, I did the literature review and a few other small sections. Betty Anne did the bulk of the synthesis and discussion.
Day 9: Good thing I've got a dirty house because it's time to...
Today I'll be doing some cleaning around the house and am going to try to make it fun. Doesn't that sound like a tall order? Things I will do to make it fun:
- Crank up the tunes!
- Strap Trudy into her Ergo carrier and bring her around with me as I clean.
- Sing along to Trudy as we clean.
It will be fun and should help get this place back in order.
(Check out this earlier posting for some more ideas on making chores fun, most of which target parents with small-ish children.)
Ooh... and here's a creepy Santa to brighten your Monday!
Remember it's not too late to join Gym Christmas!
Simply complete the 12 activities before the end of December 24th.
This Gym Christmas activity is about removing something from your life that has a negative impact. I am going to tackle this activity in two ways: 1) identify and remove some "hazardous waste" in the short-term (easy to tackle), and 2) identify and work to remove some "hazardous waste" in the long-term (a bit more difficult).
My short-term hazardous waste is de-clutter-ifying my e-mail inbox. I have ended up on a lot of e-mail lists and receive many notices of sales and e-blasts about random events. Because we don't have a car, Bryn and I do a lot of at-home online shopping -- I think this is why I have ended up on a lot of e-distribution lists. Now, this may sound like a small nuisance but I find that the e-blasts are powerful: I am more likely to shop online when I hear about a sale or receive an e-coupon that saves me money. In an attempt to keep our finances on track and not be sucked-in by these tantalizing messages, I am going to unsubscribe from every e-blast that enters my inbox for as long as it takes. This will remove a kind of "hazardous waste" from my life that all-too-often leads to hasty and frivolous spending.
My long-term hazardous waste goal is a bit more substantial and, I fear, may be a lifelong struggle. Having a baby has forced me (in a good way!) to confront and abandon my need to obsessively organize my life. I am a planner. I like to be prepared. I like to think ahead. In many ways, this has helped me be successful in my life. It was also a survival tactic for quite some time. I had a really rough junior high experience (who didn't, I know...) because I was fat and angry and felt out of place with my peers. Organization was a way of controlling what elements of my environment that I could. But this organization can go too far when it starts to take away from things that matter and, as it sometimes does with me, leads to an inability to RELAX and enjoy life.
Breastfeeding has given me a lot of time to reflect on life and think about things. And because it physically grounds me for as long as Trudy wants, I have no choice but to sit and think. I use both hands while nursing to ensure proper technique (for me) so I can't really do much else. I've realized that I spend far too much time in a state of preparation for life and not living in my life. I want to learn to relax and I want to feel confident to respond to things in the moment. Again, I think this way of interacting with my world developed out of a period of my life when I felt completely inadequate and had incredibly low self-esteem. To survive, I would anticipate all possible scenarios and prepare for them. I need to now tone-down the preparation and amp up the just-in-time interaction and response. I need to trust that I am capable of facing the unexpected and free myself from feeling like I should or can (!!!) control life through preparation.
A tall order, I know.
And, yes, in case you're wondering, I've already done a test-pack for our trip to Canada (for which we leave in 12 days.)
LITERALLY... BABY STEPS! Trudy will guide me. I look at her little face and everything else fades away. And since I follow her lead for pretty much everything, I am learning to live in moderate chaos. I will still plan and prepare to a certain extent but I will not obsess. I will focus on the things that matter and not freak out if things go haywire. These are my long-term goals. Eliminating this hazardous waste from life will only help me and my loving family.
But it's gonna take time... a whole 'lot of precious time...
Day 8! Eight days in and sixteen more Gym Christmas-eligible days to go!
Today is a weigh-in day! It's also my half-birthday.
Today I am old-and-a-half.
I haven't done a weigh-in for a while; at my last one on October 30th, I tipped the scales at 187.2 pounds. In the month of October, I lost 12.5 pounds. I gave myself an extra week between weigh-ins because of Thanksgiving. With TWO epic dinners last week, I didn't think stepping on the scale was the best thing to do. I decided to give myself space and time to recover from these food celebrations!
I am happy to report this morning I weighed-in at 181.0 pounds! That is a loss of 6.2 pounds since my last weigh-in! I am SO thrilled with that number. I was really worried given the fact that I wasn't really mindful of my eating for four days last week. I am on my way to my goal of being under 180 pounds for Christmas. Here's hoping I can keep up this momentum.
So, what's been working?
I eat a lot of food in the morning and am usually done eating by 5:00pm.
I don't eat any dairy or gluten or refined sugar. I eat as little processed food as possible.
I eat avocados. I eat a lot of avocados and I love them. I also eat a lot of quinoa. And meat. And avocados, quinoa, and meat.
I take the weekend off... but have redefined "off." I still stick with my no dairy, no wheat plan, but allow myself to eat gluten-free stuff that I don't allow during the week: pastas, things made with replacement flours. I also allow myself to have a carbonated beverage or two (usually a delicious gluten-free, organic root beer from Whole Foods.)
I breastfeed like it's my job... because it is.
I haven't yet gotten into a hardcore exercise routine but walk 30-90 minutes every day and have started back into strength-training and other exercises (squats, lunges, planks) with Gym Christmas!
Not weighing myself every day. This once-a-week thing, with flexibility, has helped my mental state and ushered in a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race mentality.
My eating routine:
Breakfast (usually between 7am and 8am): Smoothie of banana, frozen strawberries and cranberries, spinach, veggie protein powder, and coconut water.
Second Breakfast (usually around 10am): Quinoa, some kind of meat (usually chicken), and veggies (usually broccoli or asparagus.)
Lunch/Dinner (usually between 2pm and 3pm): GF toast, avocado/guacamole, some kind of meat, salad.
Snacks (whenever I'm hungry): Prunes and almonds; an apple; macadamia nuts and dark chocolate; cut carrots and celery with almond butter.
I've stopped counting calories (so freeing!) and instead have limited my list but of allowable foods. I have the freedom within this list to eat to satiety. And so far, so good.
Bryn and I usually order Domino's pizza on the weekend. I so look forward to this because I can get a GF pizza without cheese. Sounds dull, yes? But it's actually quite delicious and totally satisfying. I'll try to remember to take a picture the next time we order it. And, yes, I usually get a 10-inch pizza and eat the whole thing.
Gym Christmas check-in!
Day 7: Today I will do some:
Our home gym is still under construction, so later today (once Trudy is awake!) I will do a routine around the house using Trudy as my weight! She hasn't been weighed in a while; I would guess that she now weighs around 15 pounds. We have her four-month check-up next week; we'll find out an exact number then!
A few pointers to keep in mind if you're going to use your baby to further your own work-out goals: make sure you do this when your baby is in a good mood (or I'm sure it could be torture) and make sure to do all of the lifts slowly and securely! And remember, as The Happy Baby Work-out site states, "It's not just a work-out for Mom, it's an enriching experience for baby!"
I should also point out that, as most Moms know already, these kinds of baby weight lifting exercises happen naturally throughout your day. I had a friend with a 30+ pound 18-month old tell me about how good her arms look just thanks to the effort it takes simply to lug her little one around from day-to-day. As my sister once told me, babies are perfect for weight-lifting because they increase their weight in a gradual manner, allowing you to adjust slowly and to build the strength necessary to tote them around!
Speaking of enriching experiences, I'm sure this family photo is one these kids will never forget:
Nothing says "Happy Holidays From The (X) Family" like a naked-together-shot in a hot tub.