Friday, September 28, 2012

Fitness Friday: Bar(re)-ing No Further Interruptions

Welcome (back) to Fitness Friday!

Thank you for your patience during my little hiatus from the Fitness Friday series.  As you may have heard, we welcomed home a baby daughter in late August.  I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a mommy thanks to the miracle of adoption.  However, even though my body is not recovering from my daughter's birth, it's taken a big hit from the sleepless nights!

However after a few nights of decent sleep last week (5-6 hours, aggregate), I was itching to get my body moving, but apprehensive about hitting it too hard after the layoff as well as honoring the fact that my body probably wasn't going to have the usual energy with the continued sleep interruptions.

Enter mybarre3!

barre3 is one of my favorite workouts in the ballet-inspired fitness genre that is, happily, becoming more and more popular.  barre3 fuses ballet-inspired toning with yoga and pilates for a combination of balance, strength, and flexibility.

And mybarre3 is the online home of the barre3 exercise method, where subscribers can select workouts of 10, 30, 40 or 60 minutes in length.

Here's what I LOVE about these workouts:
  • They take my tired body and gently work my muscles in such a way that I finish feeling invigorated instead of exhausted.  This is because barre3 doesn't simply focus on cosmetic muscles, but also postural muscles.  This is truly functional fitness at its finest!  (Don't believe me? Check out these great "mom moves" featured in barre3 workouts.)
  • The cardio effect!  Because barre3 employs movements with large range of motion as well as compound toning sequences (upper+lower body simultaneously), they get the heart rate elevated (and burning the Oreos I may or may not have eaten in moments of sleep-deprived desperation).
  • I can access workouts anywhere! Today I worked out in my living room with my laptop.  I've also logged on through the browser on my smartphone as well as the browser feature on my TV!  I remember vacations past culling through my exercise video collection to decide which workouts to take with me - with your log-in, you can workout anywhere without giving up precious luggage space!
  • The workouts at mybarre3 are constantly updated and have different foci so things never get boring.  There are more restorative routines, as well as amped-up sequences, so no matter my mood (or energy level) there's something that always calls out to me.
Because you know I never like to leave you hanging after raving about a workout, I'm delighted to share that mybarre3 is offering a one month free trial (and NO, no credit card is required to try it!).  Enter code b3friendsandfamily (before December 1st) along with your name and email address at mybarre3's subscription page and you're in business!

So which workout will you try first? Some of my favorites are:
  • Turbo in 10 (great 10 minute burner!)
  • Post Baby Bounce Back (great for the muscles you use when you're hauling around a new baby - and a Toddler - even if you're not recovering from labor or a cesarian)
  • Twist (available in 10 minute segments or a full 40 minute workout; I love how refreshed I feel after yogic twists)
Have fun, tell me what you think, and Happy Fitness Friday!

All photos are property and courtesy of barre3.  Nope, I was not compensated in any way for my review - just sharing something I love!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Music for Your Morning

Nope, its not the new Mumford and Sons, but press play anyway!

This song is the first thing I heard over Moose's audio monitor this morning.

One of my favorite things about Moose is how much he loves music.  Even before he had words, he would wake up singing.  Back then, he sounded a LOT like Aerosmith's Steven Tyler (if you don't know what I'm talking about, check out this Two and a Half Men clip of Steven Tyler singing scales).  And it was a lot less cute at 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning.

Mumford and Sons at 7:30 a.m. is a delightful improvement!

To anyone reading this, I wish you a beautiful day filled with music!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yarn Along: Moving Slowly

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! 
~Ginny at Small Things

It seems like everything I do these days takes me about five times longer than it did just a few weeks ago.  Mostly, I don't mind the time alone with Mouse, or together with Moose and Mouse, with limited interruptions from the outside world (if only it could last!).  But I do feel slow.  I continue to plug along at the baby blanket for Mouse while she snuggles and snoozes in her sling.  It is still 80 degrees here, so I tell myself it's okay that I haven't finished yet . . .

Reading this great post on adult friendship put me in the mood to pull The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis off our library shelf.  I haven't read it since my early college days and, if I'm honest, it feels like picking it up for the first time. I can't get over Lewis's delightfully unpretentious and accessible tone!  Thanksfully, his writing is just as enjoyable in little nibbles, which is the best I can hope for at the moment.

What are you knitting and reading?  Come join the sharing at Small Things

Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Quick Creamy Greek Quinoa

Would it surprise you to know that my eating has been less than healthy these last four weeks? Sadly, when I am in newborn survival mode, I will go hours without eating, by which point I am so ravenous that I make really poor choices.  Just ask that depleted package of Oreos in my pantry!

In a moment of lucidity (courtesy of a little bit longer stretch of sleep - thank you, Mouse - and only one child at home today), I threw together a few favorite ingredients from Trader Joe's to see how it would turn out.

Since the answer was "yummy" and "satisfying", I thought I'd share here.  Because, really, who doesn't need a quick, filling meal made from (mostly) good-for-you ingredients?

Creamy Greek Quinoa
Makes 4 servings
  • 1c uncooked quinoa
  • 2c water (or broth)
  • 1/2 c Greek-style feta dressing
  • 1/4-1/2c sun-dried tomatoes (drained and chopped)
  • 8oz tofu (or cooked chicken), cubed
  • handful of olives
Cook quinoa with water or broth per package instructions.  Toss with dressing, divide between four bowls (or one bowl and three refrigerator-ready storage containers) and top with remaining ingredients.  Enjoy warm or cold!
Yep, that's really it!

P.S. I actually exercised today!  Stay tuned for an exciting return to Fitness Friday later this week!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Yes as a Compliment {Mindful Mothering Mondays}


Those three little letters seem so hard to say sometimes.  When Moose first came home as a newborn, I was lousy at accepting help with anything. I declined meals and help with laundry.  Daddy M would offer to wash the bottles at the end of the day, and I would fight him to let me at the sink.

This time around, I have been much better about saying yes . . .
. . . to my neighbor's request to bring us dinner.
. . . to a dear friend's offer to pick up some groceries.
. . . to my mother-in-law's suggestion that she hold Mouse while Moose napped so I could catch a few zzz's too.

And, not only has my burden been lightened, but I realized something, too: with my "yes" I am complimenting my loved ones and increasing their joy.

Because "yes" isn't discrete and limited to "would you like some lasagna for dinner?".  "Yes" means . . .
. . . you know my wants and needs.
. . . you are valuable.
. . . you are needed.

I've been pondering this post for weeks, ever since I first shared about the generosity of friends in keeping us fed in our first days home with Mouse.  And lo and behold, I discovered that a favorite writer of mine similarly recognized the great compliment in accepting an offer of assistance:
What I need to remember, though, is that it is a great blessing to allow others to minister to us.  If you've ever gone above and beyond in helping someone - or if you've ever done something seemingly small and inconsequential only to be thanked as though you've gone above and beyond - then you know the blessing.
 (From A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy )

And all of this has made me rethink how I respond to the things Moose offers me: the calorie-laden Cheese-It, the grubby rock from outside, the used Band-Aid.

Because my "yes" to him validates his fledgling attempts to care for someone other than himself, his opening himself - and his treasures - up to another's opinion.  My "yes" is a compliment and another way of saying to him, "I love you."

With thanks, as always to Lydia for hosting an inspirational start to the week!

(Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links.)

P.S. Any guesses how many attempts it takes to photograph a toddler holding a Cheese-It without ending up with a blurry picture?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yarn Along: Happy Birthday to Me!

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! 
~Ginny at Small Things

I turned 33 over the weekend.  I will admit that I've always been kind of a birthday princess.  So while we were too busy with our dear baby girl to put together any kind of celebration, I did indulge in a bit of self-celebration after the fact.

I treated myself to some gorgeous new yarn from my favorite LYS.  The photo doesn't do it justice, but it definitely lives up to its name: "autumn flame".  And even though I still have the baby blanket on the needles, plus some Christmas gifts to do, I couldn't resist casting on the Aestlight Shawl.

I also treated myself to the third Charles Lenox Mystery, The Fleet Street Murders.  Although I'm usually die hard about buying "real" books, I made an exception and bought the e-version this time after I discovered a major perk to my Kindle Fire: I can read virtually hands-free (only one finger needed to swipe to the next page) while cuddling my Baby Mouse (so-called, at least for now, since Moose has repeatedly observed that his baby sister "squeaks"). 

What are you knitting and reading?  Come join the sharing at Small Things

Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Simple, Sleepy Gratitude {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

How to find a poignant start for a post when I'm so sleep-deprived that I can hardly put two thoughts together?

In following the lead of our Mindful Mothering Monday hostess, Lydia, I am "offering up gratitude for this life, this labor of love, this moment in time":
  • For our new addition;
  • For a sweet Moose who is absolutely enamored with his baby sister, despite the fact that she took us away from him for nearly a week and has been behind more than a few "wait just a minute, Honey" moments since we returned home last Thursday;
  • For a little technological distraction for our sweet, patient Moose
  • For friends and family who have brought us enough food so that I don't have to think about cooking until next week;
  • For the extra day to the weekend and an extra day for Daddy Moose to be home with us before work beckons;
  • And for coffee - which I'm going to go make now.
With thanks, always, to Lydia for hosting an inspirational start to the week!