On Becoming Flexible

I can be a fairly inflexible person, both literally and figuratively. I like to have a plan, and once I make said plan I want to follow said plan (as a matter of fact, I just ordered a planner). If someone or something puts a dent in my plan I don’t always cope well. My muscles it seems are much like my plans – fairly inflexible. It takes some time to work the kinks out. Motherhood has helped some since infants tend to not give two sh*ts about plans, but that doesn’t mean I still haven’t attempted to dictate feeding and nap times down to the minute.

After I injured my back/hip a few months ago one of the first things the chiropractor told me was that I was going to have to start incorporating more cross training into my exercise routine. I took a weekly yoga class in college that I really enjoyed but fell out of the habit once I graduated. The last thing I want to do is risk re-injury so about a month ago I re-introduced weekly yoga practice.

Power Yoga has always been my class of choice. I enjoy and benefit from the stretching and breathing but if I’m going to exercise prefer to participate in something that is going to increase my heart rate. (Plus its the class I took in college so its more what I’m used to.) After brushing the dust bunnies and dog hair off of the yoga mat that’s been sitting in my downstairs closet for years (and coughing and sneezing a few times), I rolled it out and scrolled through my You Tube video options.

My first attempt was…..interesting. While my imagination had me mastering the crow (or crane) pose the reality was after two chaturanga’s my arms were shaking like leaves. The good news was I found I enjoyed it as much if not more than before. The bad news is it showed me just how stiff and weak much of my body really is. Because not only did I have to hang out in childs pose during several plank to chaturanga transitions, for the next two days? I was SORE. In fact, when I returned to the chiropractor two days later with that report, he laughed at me (obviously the man has never done yoga).

Two weeks ago, Bryan lost his job. My first reaction was, like usual, to panic. Walking around in a ball of anxiety I worried about our finances. To worry and prepare some makes sense but the reality is we are not likely to go broke during this temporary bout of unemployment. Money is something I tend fret about, often unnecessarily.

Coincidentally (or maybe not), I found myself able to let go of some of these over the top worries each week while on my mat. I even found myself saying “well isn’t that what savings is for?”. As someone who wants to put money into savings and NEVER EVER TOUCH IT, this was a big forward step. In addition to that, I found myself become stronger and more flexible physically even with only a months worth of weekly yoga “classes”. Last week I was able to hold the crow pose for a few seconds and do several plank to chaturanga transitions without fatiguing. It takes less and less time to warm up and I’m able to bend and twist further into poses.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to change my thought processes to be more flexible quite as quickly, but I try when I start fretting to bring myself back to reality, or to put it off until the next time I pull out the (now non dust covered) mat. The injury that frustrated me to no end at first is working its way into something positive. Without it, my mat would likely continue to be a home for spiders (ew).

(On a somewhat related note, I’m tweaking my New Years Resolutions. Since running 6 half marathons this year is likely not possible, my new goal is to be able to enter, exit and hold a forearm balance in a controlled manner. Stay tuned for updates on this :))

Life With Twins – Week 47

Almost every time the babies wake up, whether its in the morning or after a nap, Bryan has started saying “every time they wake up, they are different”.

There is a lot of truth to this. Miles is pulling up to standing on his own (using a toy or the baby gate) and has started cruising a little along the ballapalooza. It’s Abby’s turn now to get up on her knees, though she hasn’t made any more standing attempts since the straddle split incident of last week. Since she seems to be the social one I’m trying to teach her to say “mama” but she keeps responding with “dadadadadadada” or “hi”. She now has two teeth with a third pushing through on the top and has started doing this super cute smile where she scrunches up her nose.

Miles has been a bit of a mama’s boy this week – he just wants me to hold him or sit him on my lap. He’s started to respond to his name by making this funny grunting noise that sounds an awful lot like “huh?”and they’ve both started doing this thing where they are trying to squeal on an inhale. It’s difficult to explain and I haven’t been able to get it on video yet. Miles appears to be pretty proud of his ability to stand because he’ll often scream in victory afterwards. I think that Abby understands “come here” since she followed me out of the bathroom yesterday, but that could also be because she just didn’t want to be in the bathroom alone with the lights off. Hard to say.

We are starting to get to a point where they will both sit and listen to me read a short book. They still love to give me and the entire bathroom a free shower while they take a bath.

This week sucked sleep wise but for that I blame yet another round of viruses that somehow goes from baby to baby to me and skips Bryan. We also took our first trip to the Flowertown Festival where, we were naturally the center of a lot of attention until we were one upped by a set of triplets. (Blasphemy!)

Of course, they still LOVE food.

Now, onto everyones (at least mine anyway) favorite part:

  • Abby makes the most of a stuck situation
Chillin in a W

Chillin in a W

  • Miles stands up for himself
I demand to be let out of this joint!

I demand to be let out of this joint!

 

  • He finds some creative ways to sleep
Zzzzz

Zzzzz

Sleepin in style with an elephant pillow

Sleepin in style with an elephant pillow

  • He gets cold feet
Hobo Toe

Hobo Toe

  • Abby plays some hide and seek
Where is the baby?

Where is the baby?

  • And swears if I take the pacifiers, she’ll survive somehow
Paci?

Paci?

  • For those who just INSIST they can’t tell my BOY/GIRL twins apart, I’ll let you in on a little secret
I mean, because I don't want to forget who they are

This is how we know who they are in the bathtub

  • Finally, Miles gives me his mommy grade for the day
Man, tough crowd

Man, tough crowd

Lets Be Honest – My Boobs Are Sore and That’s OK

First, I’d like to apologize for my absence – we were fighting yet another round of illness in the house this last week. :p

Today’s guest post comes from my friend Pricilla who blogs at Fashion and Fishing.

 

My Boobs Are Sore and That’s OK

At the end of this month, it will be two years that my husband Will and I have been trying to get pregnant. And while most anniversaries are commemorated, this one will not be celebrated with a toast or a bottle of champagne. On Sunday afternoon I noticed that I was spotting. This was day 12 post ovulation. My boobs were sore, I was angry with every ridiculous comment my coworkers were making in emails, and I cried for 10 minutes after watching a Subaru commercial (You know the one where the puppy turns into a dog, then the young dog turns into an old dog, and all the while the Subaru stayed the same. It just got me). But these symptoms were all to familiar to me. This was not implantation bleeding. This was not a random occurrence. I was getting my period. Just like clockwork. The Priscilla of a year ago would of sulked in the bathroom for 15 minutes.  But not any more. I cleaned myself up, walked back into the living room, gave Will a big hug and told him what was going on. Then I smiled and asked him what we should do for lunch. Because that’s what the Priscilla of lately does. I smile and keep moving on. And for those of you who are in the same infertility boat as me, I know what you are thinking. After years of trying, how do you do it? How do you smile and pretend that the past month of acupuncture appointments, hormone shots, vitamins that taste like glue, gluten free only menus, not-so-romantic pre-scheduled intercourse, and countless hours of watching the days ticking by and crossing our fingers that it will work out…how can that not even matter? And it does matter. But at the same time, in between the acupuncture and the hormones there were road trips to see old friends, long walks holding hands under an avenue of oak trees, laughing at our clumsy puppy attempting to jump off a dock, and listening to our favorite bands at music festivals. Our journey to parenthood is made up of more then just tears and sorrow. And while the finish line of our journey seems far out of sight, there are so many amazing things going on at the same time, more than enough to be grateful for. And maybe the journey to our baby was meant to be long so that when he or she finally gets here, it will mean that much more. It will mean that we put all our love for months and months and months to bring this baby into the world. And this baby will be made from more love than I could ever imagine ever sharing with someone else. And a baby made of that much love must be extra special. Heck maybe he or she might cure cancer or end poverty! But the odds are that it’s not going to happen next month or even the next.  And right now as I type this, I know its not going to happen this month. Because my PMS’ing boobs are really sore. But that’s ok. Because I’ve got a movie cued up on Nexflix, a big bowl of popcorn mixed with M&Ms, and a tall handsome man warming up a spot on the couch for me. And my wish to everyone else who is on their journey to parenthood is that you find laughter through your tears. And even though trying to get pregnant will always be there on your mind, don’t forget to stop and enjoy all the other fun, silly, crazy, romantic, exciting moments that life has to offer.
*Always looking for more guest posts – blogger or non blogger!

Life With Twins – Week 46

The countdown to One continues. A mere 44 days before my babies become *gasp* toddlers.

I watched both of them stand up this week while holding onto something. Abby somehow ended up in what appeared to be an attempt at a straddle split in the end, but I think she was just showing off. Miles is now crawling more “normally” than army crawling but still does a good bit of both. I often find him on his knees in the crib when he wakes up so I think its about time to lower the mattresses. I fed them some little cut up pieces of chicken this week and we made another trip to IHOP where they ate literally half of my food (and some of Bryans). Next time, they are getting their own pancakes. Miles is FINALLY getting the hang of the sippy cup so I’m hoping we can transition to cows milk in cups rather than bottles once we start making that transition.

I bought their birthday decorations this week and made an unofficial venue “reservation” (i.e. emailed someone about using our neighborhood pool). Miles is turning into somewhat of a bully and spent much of Saturday following Abby around and climbing on her. She was less than pleased. Bryan and I are waiting for the day when she decides to whoop his butt. Oh! And Abby FINALLY has a tooth with a second following close behind! And, at the risk of cursing it, they are finally both sleeping through the night, save for an issue with teething or illness.

Picture time!

  • Babies catch some Zzz’s
zzzzzzzz

zzzzzzzz

zzzzzzzzz

zzzzzzzzz

  • Miles explores
Ooh! A paci!

Ooh! A paci!

  • Abby hangs out under some clothes
Wash me!

Wash me!

  • And reads a book about bunnies
C is for carrot

C is for carrot

  • They let me know how they feel about bills
Bills? Who needs them?

Bills? Who needs them?

I spit up on bills!

I spit up on bills!

  • Finally, because I just simply couldn’t resist
Its a full moon tonight!

Its a full moon tonight!

 

 

Bright Baby App – A Review

As a Speech Therapist I use my IPAD at work often and I’m always in search of new apps that I can use to keep kiddos interested and test their knowledge. In my experience so far, Early Intervention (birth-3) type apps that I like have been hard to come by. A few weeks ago I was contacted by Karol at One Percent Matters Labs asking if I’d be willing to review their Bright Baby App :)

Description:

The app itself  comes in a free and paid version (paid is $1.99). It is a series of flash cards in 25 categories, which are all displayed on one page and sorted alphabetically, each with a text name and picture example. Once you select a category a picture of each item contained in the category is shown on the screen.

IMG_4306

From here you can choose one of three options: slide show, manual show or choose a picture individually. When you select a picture, a larger version of the image is shown on screen with the name of the object in text and a childs voice that also names the object.

IMG_4307

Selecting slide show allows you to view all slides in the category at timed intervals (3, 5 or 7 seconds per slide which you can choose in the settings) and manual show which I think (will address this in review portion) allows you to scroll through the pictures at your own rate. You can also select the picture as your favorite by touching the star, which will then group all favorites into its own category on the main page.

The settings can be accessed by pressing the wheel button in the top right corner of the main page of the app. From here you can set the amount of time spent per slide in slide show mode, turn the sound on or off, or change the font size, capitalization and color. Here you can also choose the play mode which allows you to do things such as shuffle the cards, or choose whether you’d like them to show the cards with text (no sound), with sound (no text) or picture only. Finally, in the settings you can add your own category including pictures from your phone camera and a voice recording if you choose.

Review: 

What I liked

  • The photos are high quality pictures of the actual objects – not line drawings.
  • 25 different categories that appeal to a fairly large age range – not just birth to 3.
  • The ability to set up the cards to play in different modes – this comes in handy for me as I can use the app as exposure but also to “test” by showing picture only and asking a child “what is that?”
    • Picture, text, sound
    • Picture and text
    • Picture and sound
    • Picture only
  • The ability to add your own categories so that the app can grow with your child
  • Adding your own category was easy to navigate
  • The ability to add “favorites” which then groups them together into its own category so you don’t have to scroll through each one.
  • You can try out 3 categories in a free download

What I thought could use some improvement

  • Some of the categories could use some more examples, particularly the animals and furniture.
  • While I was navigating the app I was unable to to get “manual show” to work. If I clicked the right arrow it simply repeated the same picture, and if I clicked the left arrow it went into a slide show.
  • This is a picky thing but the spelling was not always consistent – for example in settings you can choose “capitalization”, but when you click it its written at the top as “capitalisation”.
  • A few pictures could be somewhat unfamiliar. For example the furniture category contains a futon where I might suggest bed, and the “cupboard” is what I would consider more to be clothes storage than one in the kitchen.
  • This may be more of a personal thing but I probably would have swapped a couple categories in favor of another. For example, I’d maybe swap art supplies for transportation and office supplies for something like “first words”.

Overall I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. I’d easily bump it up to 4 if the “manual show” can be fixed in the next update. (Unless of course I misunderstood what it was supposed to do.)

 

 

Life With Twins – Week 45

We are busy.

And hungry.

Miles has started showing a definite preference for the more “rough and tumble” play. He has gotten such a kick out of being held upside down, bounced, flown, thrown up in the air, you name it. I started doing this thing where I stand him up and plop him on his bottom over and over and go “up, down” and he thinks it is hilarious. 

Twice this week day care has sent home literally half the milk I send in so we are trying a drop from 4 to 3 milk feeds during the day. I know they say its rare for babies to wean before one but I honestly think they are starting to. Perhaps it is just a phase, but the only time they have shown serious interest in nursing the last week or so is first thing in the morning. I obviously have no idea how much they are getting, but I know it isn’t as much as it used to be. Real food though – bring it on. Chicken (ground), pancakes, fruit, veggies, cheerios, puffs, veggie straws, applesauce, oatmeal, bread, potatoes you name it they’ll eat it! I half jokingly texted a friend that I would meet her for a walk just as soon as I was done feeding two bottomless pits. I feel like its a bit too early to be weaning but at the same time it doesn’t seem logical to me to pull away from “real food” and push milk just to do the opposite in a few weeks. I have mixed feelings about the end of breastfeeding (a topic for another future post).

I feel like I’m really starting to see strides physically lately. Miles gets on on his knees regularly. Both are really moving well crawling. They both LOVE to stand and play at the activity table. Its not weighed down real well and Abby accidentally pushed it forward. Usually I push it back but this time I watched as she took a couple tentative steps forward to get closer (she was holding on). Something has really shifted in their appearance as well the last few weeks as I watch them morph from babies into kids. Abby’s bottom two teeth are this close to finally breaking through. And, on a TMI note, my cycle has officially returned. I can’t say I missed not having it for 18 months.

Langage wise they seem to be on par. Abby may be a little ahead. No new true words for her since “hi” but she babbles daddy and mama often. I have a feeling it won’t be long. They both imitate tongue clicks and have for several weeks lifted their arms to be picked up. Raspberries are still a favorite. Miles had toned down the babbling for awhile but its picked back up again.

I’m starting to see real favorites with toys. Miles has always enjoyed his mailbox. Now Abby likes it too. They “fight” over the plastic mail that goes in it. It came with three pieces of mail and a package. It isn’t ok to only have one piece of mail. We have to have both. Abby likes stuffed toys and the bouncer.

Man, where did my babies go?

You know the drill….

  • Miles tries to hide amongst the towels
You can't find me

You can’t find me

  • They enjoy veggie straws
Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

  • Book reading is quite the adventure
Can we eat that?

Can we eat that?

  • They get into mischief
Shh maybe she won't see us

Shh maybe she won’t see us

  • They show some sibling similarities
You keep the left one in, you stick the right one out

You keep the left one in, you stick the right one out

  • And Abby channels her inner dog
Ruff

Ruff

 

Who Keeps You Healthy?

Exercise has been a part of my life from a young age. Even before running I was always an active kid. I still have fond memories of playing kickball in the street until the streetlights came on, riding bikes from house to house creating a pretend city, tag, hide and seek, ghost in the graveyard and the slightly more dangerous red rover. As I got a little older I started to get involved in organized sports, specifically gymnastics, slow pitch softball and soccer. In high school I was a member of the colorguard and participated in that and winterguard some in college. (I realize those two activities don’t sound all that active but I promise you they are). It was in college that I started fitness classes, yoga, and then running.

From the outside I appeared to be your average health conscious college student. I watched what I put on my plate in the dining hall, took the stairs instead of the elevator and when I shared an apartment off campus my senior year I often rode my bike or walked to campus instead of riding the bus. I attended fitness classes, used exercise equipment at the gym or ran 5-6 days a week, rarely breaking my set routine. I didn’t drink often, didn’t smoke and maintained a healthy weight.  The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines healthy as: having good health, not sick or injured, showing good health. (source) As seen using the naked eye, I was healthy.

Except I wasn’t.

I was teased often as a kid, but never for my weight. Still, something triggered my brain sometime in high school and I believed that I was not only overweight but fat. I began carefully watching fat grams, convinced that eating only low and no fat foods would help me lose weight. This only progressed over the years as I switched from counting fat grams to calories – calories consumed and calories exerted. After a few years, I could not only tell you the average number of calories a certain activity burned but also the number of calories in most foods. If I didn’t know it, I looked it up and memorized it. If I couldn’t look it up I grossly overestimated so I could be sure I burned it off later. Although I was never clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder, I had a disordered relationship with eating for the better part of 6-8 years. I was never physically underweight but I was obsessive. I was thin and I was in good physical shape, but I was depressed. I was hungry. I was anxious. I was the opposite of healthy. This isn’t to say the exercise didn’t have any benefit. It was still a great stress reliever and helped keep me fit and motivated even when my mindset about it wasn’t so healthy.

It took several years of therapy and self reflection before exercise transformed from a weight related obsession to something that could truly be considered healthy. I can comfortably say that now and for the last several years I truly feel healthy, both mentally and physically. I am of course grateful for the friends who helped me and the therapists that talked me through my issues, however I also recognize that change can’t happen until one is really ready. If I weren’t willing to make the necessary changes in my eating habits and the way that I viewed myself, I would more than likely still be suffering.

I was asked who I consider to be my “health hero”, i.e. who or what motivates me to lace up my running shoes, lay down the yoga mat or pedal the bike for a ride. I considered this for awhile, and at first I thought I might write about how I stay healthy for the twins because I want to set a good example, or because I want to be healthy long enough to see them and their children grow up. I thought about thanking my husband for being so supportive and for his many compliments that help keep me working hard. And while all of this is true, the person that really motivates me more than anything is me. I do it because I’ve learned that exercise helps me stay happy. I am less anxious and more energetic. I like the person that I am and feel comfortable in my own skin. It gives me my me time and an ability to work through worries in my head. It helped me stay sane during infertility.

It took many years, many tears and many mistakes but today I am healthy and today I am grateful that I took charge of my life and health. The person who keep me healthy? It’s me.

We win!

We win!

To read more of these stories, feel free to visit the community section of The American Recall Center, where they will be sharing more blogs on this topic. Posts will be going up at the end of the month.

Who is your health hero? Write about it!