Friday, June 29, 2012

FoodDay Friday--Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Friday!  It's been a blast here so far--we got up early to beat the heat, and though the kids complained about waking up, they quickly changed their tune.  We hit the Y as soon as childcare opened, and I hopped on the treadmill.  I got in a very solid 6 miles with interval training!  I love intervals on the treadmill because it takes all the thought out of it.  I just push buttons and make sure my legs don't fling me off like a jackass keep up.  I started with a .6 slow/.4 fast mile, the next mile was .5 slow/.5 fast, then .4 slow/.6 fast, and so on.  And my "fast" got faster every time.  I finished with a new record for myself:  6 miles in 54:26!  Woohoo!  I hopped sweatily to pick up the kids and discovered that my little social butterfly daughter already knew kids there and was the talk of the town.  The boy was on a buggy ride and looked quite entertained as well.  I showered off quickly, and we hit the waterpark for a few hours.  They played hard, snacked and drank tons of water, and then both fell asleep on the way home.  I call that a win.
Happy kids!
 So it took me a while to get to this post, and I won't be posting any finished product pics today unfortunately.  It's just too dang hot to turn on the oven!  But this is the recipe I had planned and therefore I shall share.  It's delicious, I promise!

After one of our trips away, we came home to this recently:

Why yes, those are indeed three freakishly huge zucchini!  We began trying to figure out all sorts of ways to fix them in which we wouldn't just get bored, and one of the first thoughts was cookies.  I've made them before, and the recipe I use is kind of a combo of a few with some tweaks to make them a good bit healthier.  Here are your ingredients:

3/4 c. butter 
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
c. grated zucchini, drained
1 c. chocolate chips

First, cream together the butter and sugar.  Then, add your egg and vanilla, and beat well.  Add flour--I use whole wheat because it's healthier than all-purpose, but it will also make it "breadier".  You can switch back if you'd like, but this still tastes delicious!  With the flour, add the baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Beat the entire mixture together.  In a colander, make sure your grated zucchini is drained a bit--squeeze it against the sides.  When it seems not so drippy, add it and the chocolate chips, blend entire concoction, and scoop out spoonfuls on a greased cookie tray.  Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes.  They should be nice and moist because of the zucchini (it still holds a lot of water), and with far less sugar than the competing recipes, they should be healthier while still tasting great! 

To make it even healthier--add in steel cut oats or nuts.  Be sure to soften the oats for a bit ahead of time, and you'll still probably have to bake a bit longer.  But they'll add some awesome fiber and protein.

I hope you guys all have an awesome weekend full of family fun and sun!  Of course, don't get too much sun in the Southeast, or you may look like this:

Any big plans for you this weekend?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Apparently I'm Beautiful!

At least, so says Shannon at Tough Chik, who just passed on the Beautiful Blogger Award to me yesterday!  And of course, my mama and Hubby would be required to lovingly agree.  But it means even more coming from one of my awesome chick idols!  Oh and Shannon--Hubby said that you better watch yourself, I'm taken.

I keed, of course.  The point of the award is unfortunately not to tell me that I'm super hot but to recognize some of the bloggers that we choose to read on a regular basis and give them some props.  But there are a few rules:

1.  Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
2.  Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog. 
3.  Tell readers 7 things about yourself that they probably don't already know.
4.  Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.

Numbers 1 and 2 were quite simple, but as chatty as I am, number 3 will be tough.  Here's my attempt:

1.   I never actually graduated college.  Most people assume I did because I'm fairly well-spoken and married to a genius, but I myself am a college dropout.  I majored in music ed for a few years, and after I looked at all of the unhappy people in the industry around me, I reevaluated.  That's not to say that there aren't tons of band directors that love their jobs---but I wouldn't be one of them!  By the time I finally became adult enough to go back to school, we were preparing to move overseas.

2.  I still don't know what to be "when I grow up".  BUT my magical dream job would be this:  prenatal/postnatal doula/personal trainer/lactation consultant combo.  I would basically help mamas "find their strong" within themselves, physically, maternally, and emotionally, during this major life change.  Now, I'd need an incredible number of certifications and actual willing clientele for this, but it IS after all a dream job.

3.  I can eat like a linebacker if I choose to.  I try not to, but sometimes it just comes out.  One guy knows me as the "pregnant chick who ate an entire large pizza", and I consistently eat more than my husband.  I've thought of taking up a few restaurant challenges, but my poor belly doesn't need any more stretching!

4.  Although I can eat a ton, I've always had stomach problems.  Years ago I was told I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Since then, I've self-discovered that I actually have a problem with dairy.  I can tell a tiny difference when I eat cheese, it gets worse with ice cream, and milk is completely off limits!  I've mostly excluded dairy from my diet, but I still have my slip ups.  I'm very lucky that I don't have it as bad as others.

5.  I usually feel like I don't fit in.  I'm not super duper crunchy but I'm not mainstream.  I love playing with my kids and being home with them, but I feel no guilt having plenty of me time.  I love to get ridiculously sweaty and disgusting at the gym, and I'm never dressed to impress.  It makes it hard to meet people.  But I find that the people I gel with are generally there for the long haul, so I guess I'm cool with being on the odd side.  It does bum me out when we move though, as it takes a while to find those few people.

6.  We're going to Hilton Head in a little over a week, and I'm over the moon about it!!!  It'll be our first family vacation since the boy was born, and our first vacation longer than three days since our honeymoon!  We've always spent previous vacay time visiting family, which as you all know is wonderful BUT not comparable to "getting away from it all".  Now that we live close enough to family that we can visit them on the weekends, we feel ready for this trip.  More than ready.  We'll have a little condo where we can make breakfast and lunch, bikes to take us to dinner, lots of beach and poolside time, and even a fitness center.  Heaven!

7.  I'm not very confident in the kitchen.  Yes, I know I have my "FoodDay Friday" thing, I'm slowly getting better.  It's not that I'm a bad cook, it's that I get scared easily.  And I seriously hate kitchen mess, so I have a hard time not cleaning as I go.  If I clean, I get behind, then I miss a step.  It's a process.  And Hubby is a seriously amazing cook who loves the kitchen, so I never had to remedy this problem.  I just cleaned up his mess and all was well!  I simply wasn't given kitchen confidence growing up, but I'm finally at the point where I'm (almost) ready to take it.  Don't let that deter you though--some recipes will be from Hubby, and the stuff I'm sharing tomorrow (made by ME) is majorly yummy!!!

Okay, that's it.  Seven very random things about me.  Not sure if you learned anything worth hearing, but that's what I have to give today.  I'm still fried a bit from so much sun the past few days--we've spent most of our time outside for two days straight, including a grueling trail run last night.  The reason?  See below:

Yep, a hot and humid hell awaits us this weekend.  We'll be spending early mornings at the Y waterpark, then in their indoor kid club, and then locked away in the house playing Kinect and making crafts.  I foresee running out of crafting supplies.  And probably a skipped long run.  Stay safe people, it's gonna be rough out there!

Now on to the final and super fun step:  naming 7 awesome bloggers to get the Beautiful Blogger Award!  Here we go:

1.  Jolene at Journey of a Canuck Mom on the Run
2.  Carmen at She Runs Everywhere
3.  Katie at Blessed with Full Hands
4.  Brandy at Pounds to Miles
5.  Kim at Just Another Mom on the Run
6.  Suz at Cows and Lasers and Everything in Between
7.  Michelle at This Princess Runs

Ladies, get your fit little booties to bloggin', I wanna hear random tidbits about you all too!  Have a happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

I know a lot of people do Wordless Wednesday, and I just don't have time today for Wearable Wednesday.  We've been busy doing stuff like this:

Stay tuned for a fun post tomorrow, and next week I'll be back with the regular babywearing fun!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hello, my name is Trinity,

And I'm addicted to soda.  Not the sugary kind either, but the even grosser diet stuff.  I've mentioned my attempts to tackle it before, but now I'm seriously serious.  Or something.  I probably will be seriously serious after I finish this last case of Coke Zero this week.

Honestly though, I know how nasty the stuff is.  I know that it can clean a car engine and that artificial sweeteners can cause cancer in lab rats and that it can actually add fat to the belly exactly like sugar and and and and.  I've forced myself to read every link posted on Facebook and Twitter.  Sometimes it keeps me from drinking diet soda for a day or two, sometimes it doesn't even phase me.  My biggest crutch is that we're always on the go without an actual schedule, so I can never just settle in and get rested up.  So of course, I turn to easy caffeine.

I do know that I can drink coffee.  Or that I can "try to replace it with something healthy and bubbly!"  I have tried, believe me.  This is my stock pile of attempts at quenching my thirst/caffeine addiction in other ways:

Teas, electrolyte drinks poured into bubbly water, coffee, espresso, and protein drinks.  I do actually end up drinking them all, but I follow them up ashamedly every time with a diet soda.  Why the hell can't I do this???

So there it is.  My addiction is caffeine and artificial sweetener.  I know, it could be worse.  And honestly I'm totally fine with having the caffeine addiction.  A girl's gotta have a vice, dammit!  But I am serious about getting serious on the quitting of the sodas.  Or something like that, but maybe not so absolute.  Shit, I just want to make it through a day without more than one soda.  I've tried to instill healthy habits into my children, and I feel horribly guilty when they see me drink a soda and tell them to eat right.  They look at soda like beer (and even interchange the words) that it's a "grownup drink, bad for kids", and I want to show them that I can be an excellent example.  Well, except I'm not going to stop drinking beer. Beer is good.

Anyone else been in my shoes?  What did you do?  Should I start some sort of a challenge?  Maybe a "stop your unhealthy vice" sorta thing?  Let me know what you think!

*****Don't forget to head over to my headband/Nuun giveaway, it ends on Monday July 2!  I had a woman at the gym actually beg me to make her one today, so you know they're awesome.  Get yo'self some headbands!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

A giveaway, because I'm happy!

Well, the weekend was fantastic here!  Hubby was home for the entire time, and we finally got to join our local YMCA.  We were both members of smaller gyms previously, I was at one here and he was at one in GA.  But now that we know he'll be back for good, we're able to get the membership that we REALLY wanted!  And the kids are already more than grateful.  The local Y's here are different from any I've ever seen, with water parks and smoothie bars.  And we can use any in the city, which means he can work out at lunch down the road from him and the kids and I can go to the one in our neighborhood.  I had an awesomely sweaty long run yesterday, and then we spent all day yesterday at the water park, with Hubby getting in a workout while we were there.  The kids were over the moon, and we were all nice and tuckered out.  Total score!

And since I'm so happy having a new gym and an in-town hubby, I'm doing a giveaway!  I love to sew when the urge strikes, and I particularly love to make things that are similar to stuff I can buy from the store.  After purchasing a few headbands recently I realized that I could totally make them myself.  So here's what I came up with:

I made four of each fabric--two for me and six to give away!  I'm pretty darned happy with the results and am actually considering selling them in the future.  As for the giveaway, here's what it consists of:

Three lucky people will get two headbands and a tube of Tri Berry Nuun!!!!  Because it's my favorite flavor and this is a "Taste of Trin" sorta thing.  Well, except that sounds kinda gross.  But the Nuun and headbands are extremely ungross, I promise! 

I've already worn them both running, and they've passed my test with flying colors.  The black polka dot held steady through a treadmill 10k on Friday, and the white flowery headband (a slight bit thicker) was a rockstar through a verrrrrry humid 10-miler yesterday.  Sweat level disgusting, and it didn't budge!  And of course, I drank my Tri Berry Nuun the whole way.  As always.

 I will ask that whomever wins please give me their honest feedback about how the headbands feel/fit/hold up, etc.  I'm a big girl, I can handle it!

So there ya go, three of you will get one of these sets!  Here are the rules:

For EACH entry, leave a separate comment on this post:
1.  Becoming a HipFitFollower is a necessity for entry!  Leave me a comment.

(These are extra entries, all optional)
2.  Follow my page on Facebook.  Leave me a comment.
3.  Follow me on Twitter.  Leave me a comment.
4.  Tweet or FB share a link to this giveaway, and leave me a comment for each.

Entry will be open until Sunday night, June 1st.  I'll draw the winners on Monday June 2nd and notify you first thing via email!  Good luck to all of you, and Happy Monday!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

FoodDay Friday: Strawberry Basil Smoothies

Happy Friday!!!!  I'm exceptionally happy because Hubby is back from GA for GOOD!!  The children remained amazing throughout the entire thing, I'm seriously impressed by their strength.  I had my moments, but I held up better than I expected I would.

We got back from visiting my family yesterday (which was great!), and we went straight to FitGirl's 5-year well check.  She did amazingly, of course.  She's taller than average and quite the skinny thing, but I could've told them that.  And she's healthy as an ox, which I could've also told them.  We celebrated by going to a frozen yogurt shop (so much healthier than ice cream, and the kids can add their own fruit!), coming home to Hubby, me going for a horribly hot but wonderful neighborhood 5k while they swim, and then joining them the pool.  We came home and went straight to the back yard for Korean barbecue.  Heavenly!

Today, we veg.  It hasn't happened in a while, and it's been glorious!  It caused me to get a late start for my first FoodDay Friday, but I'm sure you'll all forgive me...right?  Anyway, my first little recipe for you is a smoothie recipe!  It's a favorite around the HipFit house for sure, and the kids beg for them on a regular basis.  It's pretty darned healthy, and I'll tell you how you can make it even a bit healthier if you wish.  This is what you'll need to start:
All measurements approximate, I usually just throw crap in!
2 cups frozen strawberries (we buy them on sale, cut stems, and freeze them ourselves)
1 cup natural applejuice (don't buy the crap with added sugar, it's sweet enough!)
1 cup organic vanilla yogurt
Child's handful of fresh basil 

We always have a ton of extra basil because the stuff grows like a weed, so I just started putting it into things.  Turns out, it pairs amazingly with strawberries!  I put the frozen berries in the blender first with the applejuice and basil and let it sit unblended for a few minutes to slightly defrost the berries.  Then I toss in the yogurt, blend on low, and voila!  The easiest and yummiest smoothie you can make!  To make it slightly healthier, you can use plain yogurt and add some local honey to sweeten.  You can also toss in some protein powder, whey, probiotics, or whatever else you fancy to make it as vitamin-packed as possible.  It will look like this:

You should have enough for two small kid-sized servings and one adult serving.  Or if you're in my house, two kid servings and two kid refills with a quick taste for the adult.  If you're feeling extra fun, you can put it in popsicle molds and make smoothie pops.  They're sooooooo good on a hot day!

I hope you guys enjoy your smoothies as much as we do, and I hope you have a fantastic weekend!  I have to get my 10k in for Running, Loving, Living today along with a long run on Sunday morning.  Other than that, I foresee lots of family time at the pool!

Stay tuned this coming Monday for my first HipFit giveaway!  I'm super stoked because I MADE most of the items involved!!  Here's a sneak peak:
I couldn't pry the smoothie from her hands long enough for a photo
Happy weekending, do something awesome!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wearable Wednesday 2: Babywearing Myths

So last week, I talked about some of the general benefits to babywearing.  This week, I figured I'd address the myths out there.  Here goes.
Myth #1:  Babywearing is unsafe.
Babywearing, when done properly, is just as safe as putting a child in a stroller.  The safeness depends solely on the parent, though.  There was a big upheaval a while back when one brand of baby sling was recalled due to suffocation.  Scary shit!  BUT this brand of carrier is NOT the norm at all.  Also, the caregiver should follow proper safety protocol whenever putting baby in and out of a carrier.  Just as you can put a baby in a stroller wrong, you can put her in a carrier wrong too.  To prevent suffocation, make sure that the baby’s airway is not blocked by her chin slumping down to her chest, just as you would while putting her in a carseat. Keep the baby either in an upright position (my preferred), or in a horizontal, cross carry. Do not let the baby curl inward.  Carriers will have instructions on proper use, and practice around the house is key.
Also, one should make sure to ensure that the baby’s nose and mouth are not compressed against the side of the carrier, or against the carrier's body. Some people believe that SIDS is caused by the rebreathing of carbon monoxide, so always make sure that baby has constant access to fresh air in the carrier.  Once baby learns head control, this should take care of itself.  Baby should never be down too far for you to kiss, so it is quite easy to make sure she is safe.
Always kissable = always safe (and snuggly!)

Myth #2:  Babywearing is uncomfortable for the caregiver
Well, again, it can be IF done improperly.  I blame this one on cheap carriers completely.  But with the proper carrier and the proper carrier placement, it is just like wearing a backpack.  I mean shoot, we went through nine months of baby on our bodies, why is it so bad to continue it?
Like I said in the last section, baby should be close enough to you to kiss.  The reason being (for your body) is that it takes away strain from your lower back.  Put a backpack on a loosen the straps all the way, and you'll notice that it becomes much heavier.  The same with a baby, of course!  And once baby starts to get too heavy for the front of your body, they're probably ready to be on your back.  There are multiple carriers that make this an easy task, and it's quite safe and comfortable for your body.
Another reason people believe that babywearing is uncomfortable is because they insist on making baby face outward.  It "lets the baby see", but in reality it just moves baby's body weight slightly farther in front of you.  And I'm sure we've all taken physics in school and been told about carrying 10lbs against our body vs. carrying it away from our body.  So keep that baby up and facing you, and your back will be much stronger than it's ever been!
Zack is hungover AND using poor form!

Myth #3:  Babywearing causes hip/back problems for baby
This can actually be quite the opposite.  But again, only if done correctly!  There is one very important rule to remember when choosing a upright carrier for proper baby back safety:  baby's knees should not be below his butt.  When you hold your baby in your arms, do you support just his crotch while letting his legs dangle?  Probably not!  But for some reason, the less expensive baby carriers are made to do this.  Allowing legs to dangle puts all the stress in baby's lower back and can indeed cause hip/back problems.  There is a simple solution though--don't use those carriers!
Before baby can wrap his hips around you (usually until they're 4 months old) they should be placed in the frog position, which is knees to chest.  Basically like fetal position, except upright (I did this in the first picture).  This allows baby to breathe properly and keeps hips/back in perfect alignment without separating hips.  Wrap carriers are perfect for this position, and soft-structured carriers usually have infant inserts that can be purchased separately which allow for it as well.
Once baby is big enough to put his legs around your waist without overstretching (as we don't want to cause hip dysplasia) you can put baby in a regular carry.   The base of your carrier should support baby from knee to knee, without the butt sagging below or above that line.  This spreads the weight throughout the lower body instead of putting it all on his lower back.  Here is an example:
Taken from The International Hip Dysplasia Institute
 Myth #4:  Babywearing is too complicated
Not at all!  There are soooooo many types of carriers, and everyone can find the type perfect for them!  Before my daughter was born, I ordered my first wrap (super long piece of fabric).  When I got it, it honestly scared the crap out of me.  How could I possibly use that big huge thing with ease?  Well, I practiced at home and it became second nature.  I practiced with a doll at first, and then with baby as I sat on the bed.  Soon I was out and about and could tie that huge thing in my sleep.  For the second baby, I knew about lots of other carriers but still preferred a newborn in a wrap.  Like everything else in life, practice makes perfect.  I became the mom who could toss her toddler on her back and throw the straps up faster than someone could run over to (attempt to) help.  And if my uncoordinated ass can do it, ANYONE can!
Korean "podaegi", a tougher learning curve.  But I made it work!
 Myth #5:  Carrying baby will spoil her
Okay seriously.  People say this?  You mean carrying a tiny baby that's never experienced anything but being INSIDE someone will get spoiled by feeling close, nurtured, and safe?  It spoils a baby to keep them from overstimulation of crazy lights and grabby old people?  Just use your natural instincts to let you find the right answer to this one.  To get a little New Jersey on you--fuggedaboudit!
She looks super spoiled, huh?
 So there you go.  A few more reasons to babywear.  If done properly, it can be super comfy, fun, simple, healthy, and safe!  I'll start to break down the different carrier styles over the next few weeks so we can see which carriers are best for which situations, and eventually I'll get to some fun babywearing exercises!

In the meantime--Any other funny myths you've been given about babywearing?  I'm sure I left some out.  Happy snuggling!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My niece, my next mary, and Mizuno

First off, the kids and I have been having a blast visiting my family in East TN!  We've met my new niece, and she's just beyond perfect.  She's seriously the happiest baby I've ever seen, she actually doesn't cry.  I don't know how to sign up for one of those, but I'd like to at least get my name on the list.  And then there's my sister, who's up and running around like she wasn't in labor six days ago.  The woman brought her family over here and hung out like a rock star.  Of course, she DOES have a non-crying baby, so I can see the connection.

Before we headed over here yesterday, I had just finished eating breakfast and got a text from my crazy Crossfit pal T who told me I "needed to" do part of the Crossfit WOD, which was a 100 burpees for time challenge.  I said of course, since I didn't want to seem the wuss for saying no.  Peer pressure is a bitch.  Then I realized I had zero actual free time.  What to do?  Impromptu burpees, of course!  Eighteen pitiful meatball-heaving minutes later I was finished.  And yes, I ate meatballs for breakfast.  They were in the fridge breakfast meatballs.  Stop judging me.  So although I spent hours in the car, I did get a small(ish) workout thrown in.  I suggest you all do a burpee challege at least once a month.  Your muscles will thank you for it later!

For the rest of the trip, I will be running nightly.  This is the official beginning to marathon training for my fall 7 Bridges Marathon, and I'm super pumped to have a big goal again!  I had soooo much fun with the last one, I've been a total lazy asshole poolside traveling mama since then, and I'm very ready to be back on the bandwagon.  Bring on the miles!!!!

As for the Mizuno part, this is some super cool stuff.  I recently got an email from them introducing a very cool new project called the Mezamashii Run Project.  Mezamashii means "brilliant" in Japanese, and it sounds like a really cool way to get the internet world and Mizuno working together to spread the word about their awesome shoes.  If you read Running Mother, you know that I've always had a love for Mizuno, so I'm allllllll about this.  I've already begged them to become a project member, and I'll be pushing it on all of you for a bit in the near future.  I also just think that stuff like this is so cool.  The interwebs amazes my old arse in it's ability to give people new products and experiences every day.  Go interwebs!  Go to the link I posted, read a bit about the project, and sign up to get an invite.  Even if you don't get invited, you get entered in a drawing for free shoes.  Worth it!

I'll attempt to be back tomorrow with the second edition of Wearable Wednesday, but I can't guarantee things.  I have lots of running, baby snuggling, family visiting, and children photographing to do!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Wow, it's been busy here!!!  To start, Hubby got home on Thursday!  He took the kids to the neighborhood pool, while I got in a trail run in my brand spankin' new pair of Pearl Izumi Peak II's that I won from The Boring Runner.  The shoes are awesome though a tad bit snug, but I'm hoping that they'll stretch some on break-in.  But the run itself was heavenly!  I got to try out a new nature preserve, and it was gorgeous.  Near our house, a small parking fee, and very secluded technical (though not too hilly) trails.  I got bitten by about 481 mosquitoes, but it was well worth it for the stress release. 

Friday, Hubby went to work and we prepared for an awesome weekend.  Our BFF's from Germany live a few hours away and it was their daughter's 5th birthday.  They came to us for FitGirl's bday, and we went to them this time when he got off of work.  It was a weekend full of staying up late, adult beer drinking and deep conversations, kiddo fun at an awesome museum, and tons of yummy food.  We had an absolute blast!!!  We're all extremely exhausted, but we made it home safely and still managed to take Hubby out for Father's Day dinner tonight at an awesome burger/salad joint.  I got one run in yesterday morning, and it's always neat to run in a town I don't know.  It's like going to my very own free race!

Not long after we got home, unfortunately Hubby set out again.  There are two saving aspects of this trip though:  1) We're going to visit my new niece tomorrow and we'll have  great time there, and 2) It's his last major out-of-town trip in this project!!!!!!  It's so totally time for the next little chapter of our life to begin, and we're very glad that it's right in front of us. 

I'm about braindead from such an emotionally and physically charged weekend, so I'll take the kids to the pool again and let them release some travel energy while I zone out in a lounge chair.  But first, a few pics of Hubby being awesome.  We love him to bits, and he's the absolute BEST father that I've ever known!  Happy Father's Day to all those daddies out there, and I hope that you're all having a wonderful family weekend together!

Tough Daddy at the Tough Mudder

Pumped up to outrun zombies.  He seems to hulk out a lot, huh?

The perfect role model for our son!
Best. Daddy.  Ever!!!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stress Release

What's your stress release?  For some, it's drawing or poetry.  For others, it's kickboxing or yoga/meditation.  For me, it's running.  Balls to the wall, full-on sweat-my-butt-off running.  And if I don't get it, I have a problem.  Sometimes, I have to improvise.

While I was marathon training, it wasn't a problem.  Hubby had been away in GA for work most of April, but I had a goal and I wasn't going to not achieve it!  After the race though, and after yet another month of being mostly a single parent (and driving to see him the rest of the time), I've grown a bit weary.  My present gym contract is across town, and I don't really like my home treadmill (shin splints, anyone?) so I'm not getting to run as much as I'd like.  And it's making me a crazy grump.

Last night the kids were insane.  Like, the type of insane when they sit in the parking lot of Target and scream and they aren't even sure why.  The kind of insane where they argue with each other over who gets hugged more by the other.  What is that???  So after a bit, I just lost it.  I've run under 20 miles in the past week and a half, and I'm hurting for some stress release.  I started screaming.  The level of screaming that the neighbors probably heard (and since she reads this--sorry!).  As soon as I was done screaming, I felt horrible.  I hid in another room for a few minutes to cool down, and then I went to them, sat them both in my lap, and apologized profusely.  I told them that I was having a bad day too and that we would work hard together to all improve our moods.  They hugged me, thanked me, and apologized to me too, totally unprompted!  It was a sweet moment.  We were all still a bit weathered for the evening, and since I knew I wouldn't be able to run, I just put on my workout clothes and hid away for a bit with my yoga mat and a plan.  I pulled up my favorite quick workout, "The 100", and did a round while they wound down for bed.  I felt a bit better.  I got them to sleep, and I did more rounds.  I changed stuff up, and I ended up going until my legs were floppy and my head was clear.  It was glorious.  I woke up this morning feeling refreshed.

So what I'm saying is, find your stress release and indulge in it often.  If you don't know what it is, try anything and everything until you get there.  Give every activity a chance to really soak in before you dismiss it.  I despised running until I got better at it.  I couldn't run last night, so I tried something else until it worked.  And boy did it really work!  I got to snuggle the kiddos all night, and we're all a good bit happier today.

Here's a breakdown of what I did last night to make the crazy go away:

100 jumping jacks
90 forward arm circles, 90 reverse arm circles
80 crunches
70 sumo squats
60 leg lifts
50 chair hops (I used the coffee table)
40 regular squats
30 pushups
20 reverse lunges
10 curl-ups (go buy a pullup bar, they're awesome and cheap!)
Repeat from the beginning until you can't anymore, then do a few sun salutations/stretching to calm and release. 

Basically, I doubled the arm circles because they're easy, took out the leg hops to avoid aggravating my wonky shin, moved the other activities up a notch, and added in the curl-ups.  I also use a chair to put one foot on while doing them, so I can lessen the weight I'm pulling.  I promise that you'll be sweaty and happy when you're done!  And who doesn't love that?!

Oh, and this final thought:  Apologize to your kids when you mess up.  We require it from them, and we should teach by example.  I tell them constantly--Grownups have bad times too.  Mistakes happen, and it's how we handle it that makes the difference!

**If you like reading my new blog, please follow me officially!  I'm working to become a FitFluential Ambassador down the road, and I need all the love I can get in the meantime!!!  Thanks! :)**

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wearable Wednesday 1: Benefits of Babywearing

After I did 14 miles of mud and obstacles, he needed snuggles in the Ergo.  Totally worth it!

Here's my first installment of Wearable Wednesday, yahoo!  As a new mom, one of the quickest things I learned was that I didn't want to be confined on where I went with my baby.  Between having to ride the bus and all the little German cobblestone roads, I didn't feel so comfortable with lugging a stroller everywhere.  And the second I would put her in the carseat, I'd be sad and just want her back near me.  Thus, I chose to "babywear", or carry her on me in a fancy baby carrier.  It was SO SIMPLE and comfy and I always had a sweet smooshy baby next to me!  Over the years and with both kids, I've grown to be a self-proclaimed expert on almost every type of baby carrier and when/where they work best.  And I'd really love to share that info with anyone who's willing to listen.  (Disclaimer--I'm not anti-stroller.  I own four, in fact.  I just really think that this is a topic that isn't as mainstream as it could be and love to share.  Don't think I be hatin')   So for this first week, all I simply want to do is tell you about some of the benefits of babywearing:

1.  Closeness=less crying.  There have been numerous studies in major pediatric journals stating that babies who are carried close tend to cry less.  Putting them in a carrier directly by the body is the closest a baby can come to recreating the womb situation, so it makes sense that it will soothe them!  I found that whenever we were in a brighter environment, it also served as a way to keep my babies from getting overstimulated.  If done from the beginning, it is really an amazing way to quickly and efficiently comfort a baby.

2.  Babywearing can give a parent more confidence.  As a first-time mother, I was very scared to leave the house.  There was SO much to think about--What do I do if she cries?  If she's hungry?  If she poops?  If my milk explodes everywhere?  If, if, if???????  Well, putting her in my wrap seriously diminished the nervous factor for me.  If she was hungry, I could nurse her IN the carrier or use it as a cover.  If she pooped, I had something to lay her on or at least cover up the poop clothes with.  And if my milk exploded, well, she covered that for me too!  And like I said above, the lessened crying seriously upped my confidence level as well.  I felt like a rock star in moments that I doubt I would have if I had brought a large carrying contraption otherwise.
Our first family trip--Ireland!  My mei tai made the trip possible.
 3.  Daddy can feel close, too!  In the beginning, baby spends so much time bonding with mom that dad can feel a bit left out.  But most carriers can be adjusted to fit all shapes and sizes, so dad can get all the snuggles he wants as well.  Remember, baby needs the warmth of another person, but it doesn't always have to be mom.  And even when that new dad is totally scared of holding baby the wrong way, a carrier can make it much less stressful.  (Feel free to interchange dad with grandparent, partner, aunt/uncle, older sibling, whatnot.)
Babywearing dads are pretty hot, too.
4.  It helps mom get back into shape.  After nine months starting with running turned to walking turned to waddling, it's nice to be able to carry just yourself again, I know it.  BUT you've had that weight on you already, and it makes it much easier to hold baby from the very start.  Keep it up, and after a few months you're toting the most adorable 15lb weight vest one can imagine!  As baby gets bigger, change carrier style and switch him/her to your back. And when you're doing your first obstacle race a year after baby comes, you'll be able to make that tire carry your bitch without even "training" for it.
Two kids at once.  In Times Square.  And yes, he's eating her hand.
 5.  If you have multiple children, it's a lifesaver.  I mean sure, it was wonderful when the first one came, but for baby 2 it was a new level of helpful.  My kiddo wasn't ready to slow down for some silly new little person, and I didn't want to make her.  So I put the little dude in his wrap and we went about our business as soon as I was on my feet again.  I rarely had to feel that I was giving one less attention to tend to the other, and in those first few months that's a tough one to balance.  See above photo.

6.  You can go anywhere, seriously.  Festivals with crowds?  You can make it through.  Up a mountain?  Like carrying a bouncy backpack.  Busy grocery store?  No crazy old ladies squeezing your baby's cheeks anymore!
Ancient castles aren't stroller-accessible, but they sure are purdy.
I'm sure there are other reasons why babycarrying is awesome, and for more benefits feel free to visit Babywearing International.

Next Wednesday:  Babywearing 101, basic types of carriers.  I'll name the most used styles and give a very short list of uses for each.  In the following weeks I'll discuss each individually.  Please feel free to share this with

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Join a Gym

Seriously, just do it.  Join one with childcare, do it now. 

This past year, I told myself that I didn't need anything like that.  I managed to train for multiple half marathons and even a full with little to no gym time, and by golly it wasn't worth the money suck. I know that I was wrong.  No matter how much my family loves the outdoors and how much I love DIY fitness stuff/free online workouts, I just can't get done what I want, when I want, to the frequency I want it.  And if I could, I don't know that I'd want to.  Then there's my hubby.  He works all day long and once he's done, he doesn't want to go run a greenway when he can be hanging out with his wife and/or kids.  For him, lunch gym time is a necessity for a healthy family life.  And when he wants to go in the evening, he and I can actually get in a workout together!  Or even take turns getting mini-workouts while the other swims with the kids.  We still get our outdoor time in with family walks, playground trips, and weekend trail/greenway runs in the mornings.

During the day, I can throw in a trip to the gym and some playtime for them instead of banking on the weather being absolutely perfect so I can push 100lbs of kid, food, and toys in the jogger.  And what's better--they actually LOVE the time away from me.  As a stay-at-home mom, I rarely get those "me" moments, and they rarely get the time to chill without mom watching over their shoulders.  The gym gives us both those moments, and I can even shower without having to hop out and drip-dry because someone spilled milk or drew on their sibling.

Of course my first suggestion for your gym search will be to join your local YMCA.  I have multiple reasons: 
1)  There are usually a few branches, which gives you and your partner options for closest to house, closest to work, etc.
2)  It's generally one of the best priced options for the entire family, and most have tiers for all incomes. 
3)  They have good childcare with morning and evening hours, usually built in to the monthly price.
4)  There are often family activities, like open swim.  Two open swims a week, and you'll be saving money on outings, spending more time together, and teaching your kids water safety. 
5) They have children's classes as well, from tumbling to ballet to arts and crafts.  The best ballet school that my daughter has ever attended was at the Y! 
6) You're helping to support program members who can't otherwise afford family fitness.  Yay for helping others!

Before signing with anyone, always ask to take a tour first and make sure to especially check out the childcare WITH your kids.  Get their feedback, if they're old enough to give it.  They know what they like and love to help with decisions!  For the smaller ones, ask how the caregivers meet their needs and how long it takes them to come find Mama if the child is unhappy.  Don't be afraid of leaving your child for an hour every other day--it won't scar them, it will actually help them feel comfortable with others!  Trust me, I was freaked the eff out at first, until my kids actually cried when they had to LEAVE. 

Another fabulous option that isn't always on the immediate radar--hospital health centers.  They usually have wonderful facilities for excellent prices, and they're not meat markets.  Or just search around for something you love.  There are almost always options, and a bit of research and free gym tours will help you find the perfect fit for your family!

But seriously, don't try to just do it all at home.  Drop one family restaurant trip a week, and you can afford a gym just fine.  Plus you'll all be getting healthier AND saving those wasted restaurant food calories!  Do it now.  Pretty please!

Tell me how going to a gym has benefited your family, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy blogday and happy birthday!

Here's the debut of HipFitFam, hooray!  And even cooler--it's my big girl's FIFTH birthday today!!!!  In honor of her birthday, I dropped her off at Princess Dance Camp (which is actually quite funky and less sparkly than it sounds) and went on a five mile run.  We have a ton planned for today, and I'm thinking that tonight I'll do another workout, five sets instead of three of the below:

One set for each year she's been in my life, yippee!  Let's hope I can still stand by the end!  As for the rest of the day, we'll be going to Chuck E Cheese (nothing healthy about that, but it IS a special occasion) where the grownups will have the salad bar, and then we'll let her burn some pizza off at TaeKwonDo later.  Unfortunately after that, we have to drop Daddy off at the airport for one of his last (we hope!) trips to Georgia.  Our plans when he gets back--go on vacation, and then join the local YMCA!

So unfortunately, I can't really write much as we've got a busy afternoon ahead, but I promise that this blog will be fun.  For now, read the "Our Fam" page and get to know us and our history a bit better, if you'd like.  And share with a friend!  I'll try to do a fun giveaway within the next few weeks, I'll share babywearing and healthy eating info weekly, I have some AWESOME challenge ideas, and I hope we can all grow together to be healthier, fitter families!  Yay!!!!