routine

It has been an interesting couple of weeks since attending the forum.  I have been mourning a part of myself and learning to live in a world where that part me no longer exists.  Of course this is a good thing, but that certainly doesn’t mean it has been easy.

I have caught myself falling back into my depression routines which is pretty frustrating.  I am also noticing new layers or levels of issues to deal with.  This is also a good thing as these are the real issues, the rackets I have built up that were hidden beneath my tortured soul persona.  The good news is that now that I am past all the bullshit  I can concentrate on going after the stuff really getting in the way.  It is like all that anger just wrapped me in a blanket of safety and now I am fully exposed, left to look for and examine the real issues I was just hiding from before.

My therapist is thrilled and I am working on being thrilled, but right now I just feel a little let down.  See there, that’s a racket talking right there.

I have been finding it hard to write.  This post have been sitting in my draft posts in various stages of undone for about a week now.  I ended up having to write it by hand to break through the block and it hardly resembles what I meant to write when I started.  When I think about it, I wonder if much of my inspiration came from my angst and resentment and blame.  This is a new place to write from for me.  This is a new place to do everything from for me.

Although I see the future in a whole new brighter light from a place of knowing I am not only capable but also deserving, insecurity and fear are still rampant and restraining.

But alas,  life rolls along and time speeds past and there is much to be done.  School starts this week and a new stage of life beings for our family. Ada starts kindergarten on Thursday and Ian will be attending preschool two mornings a week starting next week.    This leads to many new challenges and some great opportunities as well.

I am not the most organized of people, another racket I run to avoid being responsible for my own life — See how those can get in the way?

So, this week I have set myself up to succeed and started a fresh school year with a fresh outlook.

Taking responsibility for my life means many things to me.  Much of the big stuff like the wall I put up between myself and others and how angry I was and generally nasty sometimes are gone – vanished like some sort of magic.  What’s left are those things that can make a huge difference in my day to day life.  These include being organized and responsible for remembering what forms need to be filled out, that there is a field trip tomorrow and I need to send snacks to school on Wednesday.  It also means taking responsibility for my health and my body and finally doing what it takes to be a healthy, confident, beautiful woman.

Maybe we can throw in figuring out what I want to be when I grow up as well, but that is the big scary monster in the room right now and a lot of baggage lays between me and that goal, although I have been having some thoughts about what it might look like and that is a surprisingly big step for me.   In the meantime I can concentrate on getting the things I do have under my control under control.

I have already made some big strides.  Today (well actually yesterday but it took me too long to edit this) I have eaten great, exercised, cleaned the house and spent quality time with the kids, while still managing to get some work done.  It is possible to be productive and get everything done.  It’s amazing how much time opens up when you stop worrying so much about how overwhelming it all is.

The challenge will be to keep at it for more than a couple of days.  This is another racket I run.  I have great intentions and a strong start, but the follow through tends to go by the wayside.  I have put many tools into place to assist me in overcoming this weakness and I will share them with you over the next couple of weeks as I discover the successes and failures.  I hope that maybe an idea will spark you to create a less overwhelming life for yourself as well.

A friend of mine was having problems transitioning her son off his bottle.  She had waited a little longer than recommended and he was very attached to it.  I think this is a very common situation for many of us. 

I shared with her a product I had found that helped me to transition Ian off the bottle and it seemed to work well for her so I thought I would share it with you as well.

Mom Tip — 9oz Nuby No Spill 3-Stage Bottle

This bottle has handles like a sippy cup and two types of nipples.  One regular bottle nipple and one soft no-spill sippy cup shaped nipple.

When you start your transition,  you can give him the regular bottle with the handles so he gets used to hold it himself (assuming you are starting at this stage).

Then you can change out to the sippy nipple and he will learn the different feel of that and how to drink effectively from a cup in a form factor that is still familiar to him.  

My friend and I both found that a little while of this and our boys were ready and quite willing to switch entirely to a cup.

One of the major things for Ian is that he really liked cuddling up with his milk and snuggling on my lap while he drank.  I highly encourage you to keep up whatever your bottle routine is when switching to a cup.

Ian still snuggles in for his warm before bed milk.   He is growing up so fast and is always so busy that I cherish this time with him.  I smell his head and it reminds me of when he was still a baby.  How quickly they grow up.

9oz Nuby No Spill 3-Stage Bottle

One of the biggest parts of my new years resolutions is to be healthier and finally lose this damn baby weight.  I can not tell you how sick and tired I am carrying around this extra 30 pounds.  There is no more time for excuses and although the weight isn’t flying off as quickly as I would like, I am dedicated to integrating exercise into my daily life, if for no other reason than it makes me feel really good and gets me out of the house by myself most days.

There is definitely something to be said for the peaceful, all consuming loudness of being alone with my mp3 player.  It’s almost as good as the silence below the bath water.  Very restorative and the sweat and chemical release is great too.

I am also counting and logging my daily food and exercise, but I will cover all that in another post.

For me, saying things out loud helps me to keep myself accountable.  With that, here is my exercise routine.

Finding the right environment

The first thing I did was change what gym I went to, or really changed gyms so that I would start going.  My old gym was one of those neighborhood jobbies and although the equipment was really nice and it was never busy, it also wasn’t very inspiring and they didn’t offer any classes.

I was also paying an extreme amount for two yoga classes a week at an Iyengar studio near my house.    Although I really enjoyed these classes, I just wasn’t sure that Iyengar was the style of yoga I wanted to pursue long term.  Also, although challenging I didn’t feel like it was really contributing to my weight loss, which at some point just needed to take priority.

So, I joined a gym very close to my house (one of the major chains) that offered  yoga and other classes included in the price.  In the end we are paying a little more for the gym but a lot less for yoga and in this economy and with my weight loss goals for the year, I think this is the best fit.

I do miss taking yoga classes at a studio.  It is a totally different experience and much more serious and I fully plan on finding a studio to join after I have reached my weight loss goals that is more aligned with the style of yoga I would like to pursue going forward.

Vinyasa Yoga Classes

I attend 2 Vinyasa power yoga classes a week and would like to add in one more on Sunday mornings, but realistically this will most likely be an on and off thing as weekends are really family time and that needs to take priority.  But, if we are just sitting around doing nothing on a Sunday morning, then I will try to hit this class once in a while.

I have done a bunch of research about how many calories are burned during a vinyasa yoga class.  I found varying numbers from 300 to 500 calories and hour.   It would be significantly more if this were a hot class, but alas it is not.   The class I take is 90 minutes and so I usually log 500 calories for the class.

Cardio 

My cardio machine of choice is the treadmill, but I would really like to add in some biking as well.  Maybe even a spinning class one morning a week if I can ever get Ian to stay in the child care room there.  

Anyway, I have been good about getting two additional hour long cardio workouts per week, but this really needs to be three.  Maybe as the weather gets nicer, I can take this one outside –  A long walk with the dog or a heavy duty landscaping work day or a bike ride on the Burke.

I do interval workouts alternating between running, walking, hills and sprints.   An hour gets me about 450 calories, but this should increase as my abilities increase and I can up the intensity.

10 minute mini workouts

My next step is to add a quick 10 minute mini workout at some point each day.  This is an opportunity for me to target a certain area or get in an extra strength builder or do some of the yoga poses that I no longer get to do taking an all levels gym based yoga class (mostly inversions).

Some of my options for this are….

Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer –  I have these videos but I haven’t really used them much.  They do seem like a great way to get pretty intense 10 minute workouts that cover a diverse spectrum of exercise.  I like how Tony Horton doesn’t use the same old same old techniques, but incorporates yoga, pilates and multi-dimentional exercises into his workouts.    It may just be time to pull these videos out.

Bosu Ball Daily Dose – I really like the Bosu ball and am looking for more ways to use it.  The Daily Dose is a set of three exercises repeated in circuit and can be modified to increase or decrease the intensity.  It’s pretty fun and a good workout.

Core Workout – I really like the Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer Core workout.   There is also a bosu ball core workout that looks interesting.   And although I am really not into the design on this site – it makes me a little dizzy, they do seem to have lots of core exercise examples.

Quick Yoga Series – I am really missing head stand (Salamba Sirsasana), shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana) and plow pose (halasana).  These were some of my favorites, but in the gym class environment it just isn’t possible to do these poses, so I am going to try and incorporate them often, hopefully daily at some point.

Just a note, my old yoga instructor said that it is very important to do shoulder stand after you have done headstand – something about balancing things out and such.  They go hand in hand I guess.

Combining these with a forward bend, a mild back bend and a twist would make a lovely little restorative sequence.

So to get down and dirty with my year long resolutions, by the end of the year I would like to be consistently taking 2 yoga classes a week and a spinning class.  Ian starts preschool in the fall so that will open up a morning a week to take a spinning class.  I would also like to be doing 2 additional cardio workouts and 5 mini workouts a week.  

With all that said,  I also want to keep in mind this years overall goal of not getting overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand.  I will push myself strongly, but also be forgiving.  If I get overwhelmed or start feeling bad about my results or not going to the gym some night, I will give it up and that just simply can not happen.  So as I have been telling myself over and over and over and over again lately “remain calm and think positively” and hopefully I will learn that it is ok to give myself a break sometimes.

Karli has been home for four days for the Labor Day weekend and although I absolutely love having him around as much as possible, it just destroys the kids to have that many days in a row that feel like a weekend.

During the week we get into the normal routine and things are very predictable and structured. Daddy is only around for the first and last part of the day and they get a little bit of play time with him during that time. He loves to play with them, he’s way better and getting down on the floor and really playing than I am, and they look forward to this all day.

So this makes him fun Bobby and when he is home all day they just seem to be more amped up the whole time, like there is something new and exciting around every corner. I also think poor Karli feels like he has to be on all the time too, which isn’t the way it should be either.

Of course, I am not complaining at all. Having Karli home is wonderful and it is so nice to have another set of hands and to be able to do fun things as a family and to get projects done that I simply can’t do by myself.

But the weekend is winding down and my poor kids are about to implode. Ada is a whiny mess and Ian is all amped up one minute and crying in a puddle the next. I wish there was a way that fun and family time wasn’t so exhausting for them, and for us too.

Recently, I went to get my hair done. I am pretty bad about doing this and maybe get in twice a year if I am lucky. Usually I wait on pins and needles for my stylist to tell me how damaged my hair is and how I should really be using this product or that, for sale at the salon of course.

But, I waited and waited and this comment never came. Instead, while she was cutting away, she exclaimed, seemingly out of nowhere… “Your hair is gorgeous! It is thick and soft and healthy, what in the world have you been doing?”

Well, I have never felt like my hair was anything close to gorgeous. When I was a small child, i had a severe case of cradle cap and would itch and pick at my scalp. This has left me with permanent bald spots on the top of my head, on either side of center. I have always had to compensate for this when styling my hair and it really bothers me.

My mother has thinning hair and I became really worried that as I aged, my hair would start to disappear. That being a huge nightmare to me, I started to do research about hair thinning and health as well as restorative growth of hair. I am not a big fan of pharmaceuticals or chemical treatments and so decided to try to avoid those types of products. Rogain and the like are also targeted at a specific kind of genetic pattern baldness and this is not really my issue, so skip that.

I tried several types of hair products and nothing really came of it and after wading through research and article after article of crap, I was almost ready to resign to the fact that there wasn’t much I could do. Then I came across a good piece of advice and some pieces of information that just seemed to make sense.

What do I have to lose? I thought. And so I changed two simple parts of my hair care routine and a little less than a year later, my hairdresser is giving my hair accolades and asking me, rather than telling me, what I am doing to take such good care of my hair.

So, are your squirming to know yet? Well, don’t get too excited. It is so simple. Here it is…

1. Stop washing your hair so much.

and

2. Stop using hair products with parabens in them.

That’s it!

NOTE: I am not a physician and this certainly won’t work for everyone, but I have noticeably thicker, healthier hair and even have new growth in the thin areas that have persisted since my youth. Please don’t hold me responsible for your results.

Here is a little more detail and some tips for those of you who may be interested in this.

About Washing Your Hair

It is recommended that you only wash your hair once a week, but that was impossible for me. I actually started with every other day and then lengthened the time by a day or so until my hair was so bad I couldn’t stand it and made that my schedule. I wash my hair on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Twice a weak. By the last day (especially Tuesday), my hair is starting to get on the greasy side, but hey that’s what pony tails are for.

Now, this does not mean that you can’t or shouldn’t get your hair wet in between washings. Washing your hair, in this context, means putting shampoo on your hair. In between washings, I rinse my hair thoroughly and rub down my scalp (no fingernails). I also use a small amount of conditioner (also paraben free) to help with manageability.

When you do wash your hair, you may need to use a little more shampoo than you usually do, but do not wash your hair more than once.

Paraben Free Products

Parabens are preservatives that are used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. They can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. Toxins pass easily through the skin and hair follicles are active pathways. Buildup of these toxins can prevent your hair growing and regrowing to it fullest potential.

There are many paraben free products available. I use Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender Shampoo and Conditioner., but there are many available and they can usually be found at your local health food store or easily online.

These products can often be a little more expensive, although if you shop around and look online you should be able to find a good deal on a great product. Also, if you have a Trader Joes near you, check there. I pay $4.99 for the products I use. The retail price is about $8.95. That’s a significant savings.

The only other thing I can think of to note is that you may need to use a little more shampoo on days that you wash your hair. More natural hair care products are not as foamy as those hair care products that are full of chemicals, and then on top of that, your hair is dirtier than usual and that keeps the soap from foaming as well, so just use a little more. No need to go overboard, just a little extra. Don’t however wash your hair twice. This is very damaging.

I hope that this simple two step system to healthier, fuller hair benefits you. Of course there are no guarantees and it won’t happen over night, but I can say that I have noticeably more hair where my thinning spot are and my stylist thinks my hair is gorgeous. What’s better than that?

This week I have been establishing a family routine. I have done this in the past and although it has worked well for a little while, I always seem to fall astray and end up wading through days in a fuzzy delirium. I think this is due to two reasons.

First, I get into too much detail. I try to plan out every minute and what I should be doing at each point throughout the day. Although this is what my subconscious craves, we all know that with two small children I am just setting myself up to fail. So, this time I am using bigger chunks of time and more general ideas about what can happen during those times, also giving myself different options.

The second reason is as the kids change and my own circumstances change (I am working on a client’s site or not), either my schedule is not flexible enough to accommodate it or it needs to be changed entirely and I don’t do that and then it doesn’t work and we are back to square one.

So, this week I established a flexible routine that our days will follow so that the kids have predictability and stability in their day and I know what is coming next and have time set aside to do certain things. In some way, it makes me get more done. The wonder of lists. huh.

I am not saying that it is perfect and it will need to be tweaked and changed as circumstances change, such as I am expecting to start a project with a new client in late January or February or Ada’s school schedule changes in the summer or Ian stops taking a morning nap. I have test run it over the last couple of days and I think it is good for now, so here we go.

7:30 – 9:00 — kids get up, I shower, breakfast, get kids dressed and ready for morning activity

9:00-12:00 — Morning Activity. This varies from day to day. Some days it is school, some days it is some sort of class, some days it is staying home. I am working on a list of at home and outing morning activities. I would like to keep this either active or educational structured activity, not just laying around the house watching tv. Ian takes his morning nap during this time so it is a good chance to have time for just me and Ada or time for me to get some stuff done when she is at school.

12:00-2:00 — Lunch and hang out. These two hours seem to fly by for some reason so we are keeping it loose. When the weather starts to get nice, I am sure we will spend much of this time outside. One day a week i do grocery shopping during this time as well.

2:00-4:00 — Quiet time and Afternoon naps. Ada sometimes still naps so during this time I have instilled quiet time where she stays in her room for sometimes a portion of this time and sometimes all of it and plays by herself or takes a nap. Ian naps during this time. This is time for me to decompress. I really need it by this time of the day in order to be ready to roll for the evening and in a good place to have fun with them.

4:00-5:30 — Play time, Ian dinner and house cleaning.

5:30 -6:00 — Baths.  This doesn’t happen every day but most.

6:00- 6:30 — Ada Dinner, get Ian ready for bed

6:30- 7:30 — Daddy time with Ada. Ian to bed.

7:30 — Ada bedtime routine. To bed around 8:00.

This leaves a couple of hours for my husband Karli and I to have time together.

Thanks to Jo Frost, the Supernanny, for instilling in me the need for a structured routine for my kids.