april to may

April was a really busy month for us! We hosted my parents twice; my husband ran the Boston Marathon (so proud); we hosted Easter… The kids started state testing in April and that continues through May, as do field trips and end of year activities. We are checking out a Parochial pre-school program for 3 on Sunday and while soccer’s been delayed a week due to rain, we have that on the horizon as well.

I have found that blogging has really helped me stay accountable to myself and continue to prioritize my health and wellness. It’s truly been a gift! This is the first area I’m going to discuss. My diet went a little out of control over the month of April; more meals out than usual and with company, richer foods than what my body’s used to. While I didn’t gain any weight, I definitely gained some bloat/puffiness, so I’m hoping in May to dial it back a little and get back to eating how I prefer to eat — largely gluten and dairy free, reduced grains, and lots of vegetables/fruits (and potatoes) with a moderate amount of meat, which I’d like to start swapping some out for seafood for lunch. My goal for May is to also continue making mostly good choices that don’t leave me feeling puffy on date nights. We try to go out weekly and it’s tough to always choose the healthier options but I think I mostly do a good job… sometimes, though, you have to have the shrimp quesadilla.

Further, I want to stay with my exercise goals. I track my exercise on the MapMyRun app. I’ve been using it for about 10 years now (back when it was just a website). Currently, I have two goals in place: Run 3 miles a week and Exercise for 3 hours a week. While I did not meet the 3-hour weekly work out (feel short two weeks, 2.19 & 2.24 hours), I did meet my 3 mile goal weekly. Today, I talked myself into just running half a mile to meet that goal and should have 3 hours of time completed after tomorrow’s yoga.

For May, I want to increase my mileage goal to 4 miles per week and maintain the 3 hour workout goal. Most of that time comes from yoga, which is tough because I’ve realized that the night classes are really rough on my body — I get home around 9PM and am more than ready for dinner, so I end up eating more than I typically would and I go to sleep too late/ wake up sluggish and exhausted. My semester ends on May 13th, so Monday nights will get back to normal then. Otherwise, I’ve decided to take one fewer yoga class a week. The yin class I take is really great, so I don’t want to drop that one; therefore, I’ll keep my Tuesday night class but will drop my Friday night class. I will keep Saturday and Sunday morning/early afternoon classes. I figure if I feel I can get to a Friday (or any other night) class or double up a T/Sa/Su class, then that’s great but otherwise, I will still get regular practice in.

For our anniversary (today), my husband got me a yoga bolster and two more blocks. I’m really excited because I think I can do restorative yoga at home now and it’s my goal to do that on Friday nights to come down from the busy week.

At the end of May, my husband and I are doing a staycation in the city while my MIL stays with the kids for a few days. I can walk to my yoga studio and my husband is doing a half marathon that weekend, so we are planning to stay active. We also got Red Sox tickets, which should be fun!

All in all, I hope that May can shape into a great month for us. I am really looking forward to seeing the pre-school for 3. 11 has a big field trip on Monday to a ropes course and he’s really excited about it.

Do you have anything fun planned for May?

 

march reflections, april goals

I have had a busy March: 10 turned 11, 12 turned 13, and I tried to stay calm and motivated by attending yoga and logging a few running miles (plus weight training) a week. I am happy to report that I met mostly met my goals for March! Every Sunday, I note in my planner my goals for the week — typically, I try to do 3-5 yoga classes, drink at least 64oz of water a day, log 3 miles a week and 1-2 weight training days, take my toddler on at least one excursion a week, and do my meal planning and grocery shopping.

A few things I learned this month — My goal for April is to split the mileage from 1mile/workout to 1.5 miles/workout and run twice a week with weights both days. IF I am only doing yoga 3x in that week, I’d like to add an additional weight training and 1.5mile workout to the mix. I have goals set on MapMyRun to log 3 miles weekly and to work out for at least 3 hours weekly; sometimes the ‘GOAL’ tab is inaccurate but I pulled up my ‘monthly progress’ and am proud to report that I met both goals each week for the month of March. I also hit a 9:00 minute mile; I was so close to just breaking in at 8:59, so I’m hoping in April, I’ll be able to.

I’ve also learned that 3-4 yoga classes a week are completely doable; 5 classes is where I apparently need to draw the line and the thought of attending that extra class does nothing but cause me stress. As a result, for April, I will have a goal to attend 3-4 classes a week — typically, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. This seems to work out best for me and gets me a variety of classes — Fridays and Sundays, I take Vinyasa & Deep Relaxation classes. I really like these because I feel it’s the best of both worlds. I build heat and then end in a few restorative poses. Saturdays, I typically take a heated hip hop yoga class; if for some reason, I can’t get there, they offer a V&DR class at night that I’ve enjoyed. Tuesday is a Yin & Restorative class and I always feel so buoyant afterwards; honestly, I feel like I could float away. This class is perhaps the most challenging I take because I find it difficult to not fidget during pose holds. I’m really happy that I tried it, though, because I find it really beneficial.

A funny thing about yoga, too — I am noticing that I’m really a part of a valued community at my studio. I’ve started to form bonds with people I see regularly; I feel comfortable going into the back room for a bolster if I want to warm up with one before a class where they’re not used; I’ll grab an extra block or blankets if I feel like it’ll help my practice. This may not seem like much but in the past, I’d have dwelled on wanting something only to deal with a convergence of my anxiety making me not want to get it and feeling regret for not getting it. This is a pleasant, welcome improvement for me and I’m ever grateful.

Yoga has also helped keep me grounded when other things in my life that are beyond my control are going on. I have kept with my practice (and my running/lifting), which on little sleep feels daunting most days, but I know that this is ultimately helping me maintain calm and order throughout my day for my own family. I am allowing myself to prioritize my needs and that greater enables me to support the needs of my family.

I have been staying largely on top of nutrition, but will try to reign things in a bit better for April. I want to be mindful of how I eat with the marathon coming up — my husband is running Boston and we have guests coming to town, so it’s easy to fall into the takeout/unhealthy eating trap. I also have been lax lately with eating grains, despite noticeable inflammation. We had cupcakes for 11’s birthday, doughnuts for 13’s, plus a date night that included a shrimp quesadilla (SO GOOD) and another in Boston’s North End with homemade pasta. I definitely notice a difference in how my body feels, so I’m going to try to approach April with more deliberate decisions around nutrition.

My last goal for April is getting out of the house more with my toddler. We love to go to playgrounds nearby, plus he loves riding his balance bike. We’ve been blowing bubbles the last few days and it’s just nice to be outside as the air warms. We also really like to go to the zoo; we were taking trips there until the wet winter weather hit. I love that I get to stay home with 3 because we can get out on weekdays with smaller crowds to do these types of activities.

self care sunday

I have a little routine that I do on Sundays.

I start my mornings with a 90-minute heated vinyasa and restorative class. Afterwards, I like to grab something to eat and enjoy a few minutes at home alone before everyone returns from church. Typically, I like to get my planner out. If it’s the beginning of the month, I’ll write in all of the happenings; then, I fill in my plan for the week. I like to set my goals (chores, exercise/health, plans, etc) and have them all there to review as the week goes on. This helps me stay accountable and also helps keep my anxiety in check.

In addition to planning out my week, I like to look at my birthday list. I made it a goal to send birthday cards to close friends and family, so I like to see who I need to fill out a card for. I also like to do a little health & beauty self-care.

My husband got me two face masks for Christmas. One is a charcoal kit with a magnet — it’s wonderful and always leaves me skin looking and feeling great; the other is a peel mask and I use it in tandem with face wash. I like to do the charcoal mask on Sundays when I can because it takes a while to set and it’s really nice to end the weekend/start the week feeling good. (If I miss the weekend mask, I’ll use the peel mask on date night for perfect-looking skin.)

Tonight, in addition to my charcoal mask, I used a sugar scrub and a rich lotion; I also gave myself a mani-pedi. I like to have my nails painted but rarely make time to get them done and even less frequently do I make the time to do them myself. (Surprisingly, wet nails plus three kids and a dog isn’t a winning combination.)

It’s been a good day to calm down and reset — I’m glad I prioritized self care today and still had time to make a big batch of pasta salad, egg sandwiches for the kids’ breakfasts, and school lunches. I am looking forward to hitting the week with a run/weights tomorrow and a calm presence.

mental illness

A lot has been happening the last few weeks. I had lunch with my brother after yoga that week and returned to work in a daze: It was bomb after bomb after bomb — erratic and dangerous behavior, sleeplessness, weight loss, wild ideas. I was overwhelmed and underprepared for what would ensue.

Without going into great detail, the remainder of that week involved many phone calls with my parents, a trip to my former IVF therapist for any tips/insights/suggestions, a call to the national suicide prevention hotline for resources, little sleep or food, and an abundance of stress I never knew was even possible.

The following week, my parents visited. I’d created a timeline of dangerous and erratic behaviors that span the course of the last several years. My parents have added much to it. Through discussion with them, I realized that my concerns were really just the tip of deep iceberg.

I am now trying to draw boundaries with my parents so that they understand that while I love my brother, my top priority has to remain with my own family. I have three kids to raise and their mental, emotional, and physical needs are at the top of my decision making around these topics.

I’ve been so distracted reading about mental illness [bipolar], looking for potential apartments for my parents (should they relocate), and processing all of this while maintaining structure and safety at home as I try to help my brother regain autonomy in his own life.

Still, I am trying to prioritize my health because I think it keeps me focused or distracted and honestly, I’m so exhausted lately that I’m not sure which. While I am not engaging with my family as I typically do (I am clearly distracted), I am trying to maintain a sense of calm at home — staying with our routines, meals, dog walks, and activities. I feel like all of this is burning me out but at the same time, I need my own level of normalcy as well.

I’m not sure if anyone has been in a position where they were completely caught off guard by concern that someone close would cause severe self-harm. It’s really scary and I feel like I just needed a space to throw some of this energy into the universe and hope that a little of the stress leaves my shoulders while trying to be as supportive to my own family, my parents, and of course my brother in the meantime.

feb reflections & march goals

I re-read my post: jan reflections & feb goals. Basically, the only thing that I was able to keep was practicing yoga at the studio and eating in a way that largely works with my body. I did not get around to starting The Grace of Enough, largely because I’ve had to read three novels and a slew of short stories to plan for the semester. Sadly, reading for pleasure is probably on a hiatus until spring break.

My spring break is in the middle of the month this semester. I am taking 3 to visit my parents during the week and am hoping to read my book, visit a local coffee shop for a lavender tea latte, and indulge in a doughnut from my favorite gem of a shop and/or some chili-cheese fries and a cheeseburger from a local dive (they’re amazing). I also want to head to a local chocolate shop and pick up a few things for Easter for the kids and us, and take 3 to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. It’s a great place and I’ve not been since 10 and 12 were much younger.

I am planning to continue with yoga and as I mentioned in my last post, I’d like to try some different classes as well. I also would like to start trying to practice 4-5x a week instead of three times with consistency. I’d also like to reintegrate weight training and a day of cardio, even if it’s just taking walks regularly or the elliptical for 10 minutes. I enjoy being active but with the weather and the winter blues, I’m not moving around through the day nearly as much as I should or as I’d like. I think this will pick up naturally once there’s no snow on the ground and the weather is better, but for now, I need to make a more deliberate effort.

As for my food/weight goals — well, I am pleased with the progress from February. I cut down on grains but still ate them; I never felt deprived or hungry; and I seem to be falling into a routine that works better for my body but only has changed slightly from how I’m used to eating. I am noticing inflammation more easily, so that’s something I want to keep my eye on more as March progresses. For the month of February, I’ve lost around 4lbs and a total of 6.75 inches (mostly from my waist and hips). I am pleased with this because it’s a slight transformation but I definitely see change. I don’t have any specific goals around this for March — just keep doing what I’m doing and be mindful of planning meals that best fit the needs of my body.

I look forward to reflecting at the end of March and seeing what progress I’ve made!

 

yoga-spiration

I was a little discouraged on Friday after yoga. I take a vinyasa/restorative class and for whatever reason, really struggled during the flow portion of class. I was frustrated and while that subsided when the restorative portion of class came about, I left feeling disappointed in my body’s abilities. Still, I hit the mat on Saturday afternoon for my hip hop class. It was very challenging because of the chosen poses/sequences, but I left feeling proud of what my body allowed me to do.

Then, Tuesday rolled around…

Tuesday was kind of a strange day for me: I ate a pound of asparagus for lunch and then dreamed of dancing of french fries on the drive to and at the end of yoga.

I take a yin and restorative class on Tuesdays. I’d briefly considered taking a hip hop class this week but I really enjoy the stillness of the yin portion and always leave in such a great headspace (which is absolutely necessary with the treacherous threes my toddler is going through). As class ended, I was planning my next move: French fries from byChloe.

byChloe is just down the street from yoga and I decided to try it because my usual, Dig Inn, stopped serving their chili oil brussels sprouts last week and I am oddly affected. I looked at the menu beforehand and figured on a Greek salad (sans tofu feta & chickpeas) and air-fryer fries. Before I left, I grabbed some beet ketchup (holy moly) and chipotle aioli — what a lovely treat and a great way to top off a strong showing at yoga.

I am looking forward to Friday’s class and am hopeful that my body will be more willing to expand and experience growth. I’m also planning to change up some of my classes in the coming weeks. I want to try a strength & structure class and a different yin class. I’ll be sure to update on the different classes/instructors, as I’m looking forward to more experiences!

Additionally, I am considering getting a bolster and yoga blanket for my practice at home. I have one block but want to get a set of two as well. My goal in the coming weeks is to do more self practice at home and also start to add in some elliptical and weight training — nothing to overly exert myself, but just to aid in strength building. I’d like to have a stronger routine so that once the weather breaks, I can get out for walks more frequently and maybe the occasional run.

What are some of your exercise reflections and goals?