Getting My Groove Back with Baby Boot Camp

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Before I got pregnant, I was pretty friendly with my fitness. I worked out regularly, and ate a healthy diet of mostly whole foods. Let’s not forget, I was careening quickly toward my wedding day – always a great incentive to watch my figure and double down on my commitment to a healthy lifestyle. And on my wedding day, I looked and felt great! Success!

Then I went on my honeymoon to Paris and Korea and came back 5 lbs heavier (Thank you, cheese. Thank you, chocolate. Thank you, 3-michelin star meals), and 3 weeks pregnant. Then came the chronic first trimester migraines, followed quickly by second trimester nerve pain, and working out quickly became the absolutely least desirable activity I could possibly think of. I was basically couch-bound for the majority of my pregnancy, and while having Gestational Diabetes helped mitigate my weight gain, I lost considerable muscle mass as a result.

In the 4 months since having Maeve, things have not improved at all. I’m now 35 lbs up from my pre-pregnancy weight. Nothing I own fits me. I feel schlumpy and weak and tired all the time, and I hate it. Working out is a huge part of my mental health upkeep as well as my physical well being, and neglecting it was starting to take a real toll on every part of my spirit. And modeling a healthy lifestyle for my daughter is incredibly important to me. I’ve reached critical mass of feeling like shit. So, I knew it was time for a serious change.

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I found Baby Boot Camp during a search for fitness options that allow me to bring my baby along, and as luck would have it, they were offering a free class to celebrate their grand opening of a new location at Howard Hughes Promenade. I went, and over the course of the 30 minute demo, doing exercises that used to be in my comfort zone, I thought I was going to die no less than 10 times. It was a huge wake up call for me.

I talked to Melinda and Elizabeth, the owners of my local Baby Boot Camp franchise, and we thought it would be fun for me to document my progress as a Brand Ambassador, so they’re generously sponsoring my attendance for the next 3 months. I’m historically useless about exercise without some form of accountability, and this way failure is not an option!

Baby Boot Camp Culver City

I started my program last week and had a great time! Their Howard Hughes Promenade location has stairs that Melinda integrated for a really strong leg work out, and the Helms Bakery location has a lovely cobblestone courtyard with nice grassy areas for people’s kids to play on. Women brought their children ranging from 6 weeks to 4 years, and if a baby got fussy or needed to be fed, Melinda was happy to push their stroller or hold a bottle so mom could keep working out. It was so nice to be among women just like myself, rather than in a gym setting surrounded by muscle-bound weightlifters and impossibly perfect bikini babes.

“Boot Camp” is a bit of a misnomer for the experience though. There’s no “tough love” whatsoever in these classes, as you might imagine in a boot camp-y setting. Rather, it’s warm and encouraging. We do lots of body-weight resistance work like squats, lunges, and planks; and use resistance bands for bicep curls, obliques, triceps, and more. I love the variety of exercises we do, because as soon I start to get tired of one, we move onto another.

After only one week, I’m already noticing a change in my energy level and mood. I’m so excited to see what other progress I can achieve over the next 3 months thanks to Boot Camp in conjunction with clean eating. I’ll be sharing my journey along the way. Wish me luck, and stay tuned next week for my before photos (youch) and goal setting update!

baby boot camp fitness


Fun Halloween Craft for You & Your Infant!

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Whenever I see parent/child holiday-themed crafts, my heart melts. For years, I’d see friends share their own on Facebook, or stumble across them on Pinterest, and yearn for the day that I could re-create them with my own child(ren). And while I’m admittedly not the craftiest beaver in the dam, my feelings of inadequacy with a glue gun aren’t enough to quell my ambitions about attempting crafts with Maeve. I never want my own insecurities or inabilities to be projected onto her, no matter how young or unable to understand yet she may be.

So, for her first Halloween, which is her first major holiday (and one of mama’s favorites), I chose a craft befitting of 3 month old. All she had to do was lay down. And all I needed were a few simple supplies, and the help of my mother, Maeve’s beloved Gigi.

Behold, Maeve’s first art project: Frankenfoot, Toe Bats, and a Bum-kin! So cute, right?!

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Supplies:

Steps:

  • For Frankenfoot: Paint your baby’s toes black, and the rest of his/her foot green. Press it against the canvas, and remove. Once dry, add bolts, eyes and a mouth. Voila!
  • For Toe Bats: Paint your baby’s feet purple, press them against the canvas, and remove. Once dry, add wings, ears, eyes and fang-ey smiles. Voila!
  • For the Bum-kin: Paint your baby’s tushie orange, (try not to die from the cuteness of her orange bottom), and press it against the canvas. once dry, add a stem. Voila!

This was the perfect introductory holiday craft to give me some much-needed confidence in creating art with my child, and to make some adorable mementoes (see what I did there?) of this tender, fleeting season in her life.

And hopefully, these memories will make a small imprint on her wee soul, planting a seed that allows Maeve to feel confident exploring her own ability to create art with a sense of fun and adventure, for years to come.

And, I hope she’ll love Halloween as much as I do. Looks like we’re already off to a great start 🙂

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Now I can’t wait for Thanksgiving craft time!


Giveaway: Win Tickets to Club MomMe’s Fall Family Fest!

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Club MomMe is a company that’s very dear to my heart. They sponsored the first “mom” event that I went to while pregnant, a prenatal yoga DVD launch party, where I met my first local mom friend, Natasha, who has become a dear companion to me on this new frontier of motherhood. That’s also where I met Rachel, one of the founders of Club MomMe, and fell in love with the brand. So much so, that I became a guest blogger for them, too!

Club MomMeFrom their site:

Club MomMe is a community of moms, expectant parents and families of littles.  We host social + educational events each month in several cities, along with a few big events each year that you do not want to miss!

Our Promise: Join us for an event, and you will have FUN, CONNECT with other parents or expectant parents, LEARN about products, services, pregnancy, babies, toddlers and more, WIN some new products or gear, and LOVE being a mom, dad, grandparent or caregiver.

Our Commitment: We select the best products, gears and companies to share with you. If we don’t like it, we don’t share it!

I’ve since been to a handful of CM events, and they’re always spectacularly organized and executed. They think of everything: entertaining and educational programming for parents, on-site sitters and activities for little ones, great refreshments, hands-on opportunities to get to know cool brands, and (best of all) tons of amazing giveaways, prizes and gift bags. I always come away having learned something new, with a few new friends, and a bunch of great swag.

One of Club MomMe’s most popular events each year is the Fall Family Fest, a day-long experience full of speakers, panels, games, and memorable experiences for the whole family. It takes place this year on Saturday November 8th at the South Coast Botanic Gardens in Palos Verdes, from 10:30am – 3pm. 

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Some of the activities for the day include:

  • Pamper Lounge, for parents to get some quality “me time” with mini spa treatments.
  • Lactation Lounge, filled with Lansinoh products as a comfortable retreat for nursing and pumping mamas to tend to their boobs.
  • A conversation with January Harshe from Birth Without Fear for expectant parents.
  • Car Seat Safety education, and car seat checks for Platinum ticket holders.
  • A product testing zone full of Club MomMe “must-haves” from brands like Britax, BOB, Chicco, Boppy, Summer Infant, Fresh Wave, and more.
  • Tons of food and drink. And amazing swag bags full of amazing goodies, and opportunities to win prizes!

…And tons more! You can check out a full listing of activities and events for the day here.

To register for tickets, go here. And with your registration, you get a $50 UrbanSitter credit to take advantage of on-site sitters, who can watch your little ones for a bit while you adult around. BUT! Lucky for you, I’m giving away two sets of tickets right here!

One Gold Family Ticket: good for 2 adults and 1 child. Featuring a special Gold Overflowing Gift Bag filled with fun items like a Green Toys Helicopter (a $17 value), a $50 Gift Card to Tieks.com. Also includes a Complimentary Stroller or Car Seat Cleaning at the eventby the Tot Squad, and admission into the VIP Lounge! ($85 value)

One Family Funday Ticket: good for 2 adults and 1 child. Includes an overflowing gift bag filled with fun items you and your little ones will love like a Green Toys Turtle, a $50 Gift Card toTieks.com and tons more. ($60 value)

There’s a fat handful of ways to win!

Win one of 2 ticket packages to Club MomMe’s Fall Family Fest!


Surviving the Newborn: My Must-Haves (part one)

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Now that Miss Maeve is leaving her 4th trimester behind (cue equal parts sigh of relief and sobbing), it’s given me some time to reflect on the newborn baby registry gear and home items that have been most-beloved by our family. To begin with, I’m sharing some of the larger, big-ticket items that made a huge difference in our lives, and peppered in some of the smaller bits that were super useful in the early days. There are far too many for a single post, so stay tuned for further installments!

Newborn registry must-haves
Nuna Pipa Car Seat: Stylish and safe, the Pipa is one of the lightest-weight and comfortable-to-carry carseats on the market. It has a revolutionary “dream drape” with SPF protection that keeps baby safe from the elements and harsh sunlight; which closes down over baby with magnets! Genius! It installs with tremendous ease, and has the added safety of a “load leg” which minimizes downward rotation in the event of an accident. Maeve loves her carseat, and I love that I can trust that she’s as safe as possible whenever she’s in it. It also has nice little clips on the sides to hold the straps away while you load/unload baby, which is a lifesaver when trying to transfer a sleeping baby without rousing the beast within.

Jujube BFF Diaper Bag: Because I’m a big advocate of babywearing, I wanted a diaper bag that wasn’t worn across my body and would accommodate a baby sleeping on my chest. Enter the Jujube BFF, which is a convertible backpack that can also be used as a shoulder/cross-body carry if desired. Best of both worlds! It’s also machine washable, which is unusual but absurdly practical. The fabric is super luxe, and there are pockets a’plenty to organize everything you need for a day out with baby. The straps are super comfortable, and even when it’s packed to the gills, I’m happy to wear it for hours on end without a sore back. Plus, the patterns they offer are some of the cutest on the market, in my opinion. If I could afford it, I’d have a few different styles to rotate!

Solly Wrap: Speaking of babywearing, how could I leave out my wrap? Having a baby in Los Angeles, in July, made many commercial baby carriers much too hot for daily use. I mean, who wants to carry around a human furnace, wrapped in sweatshirt material, in the summer? Unlike others, the Solly is made of a comfortable, breathable t-shirt material, and holds baby snugly and safely against my body. Being able to plop Maevie into the wrap when she’s super fussy calms her down instantly, and it’s a great place for her to nap when she’s feeling clingy but I want to be able to be productive and have my hands free. It’s also the perfect place for her when I’m walking the dogs, so I don’t have to deal with a stroller and two leashes!

Stokke Sleepi Mini Crib: We chose the Stokke Sleepi Crib system for Maeve for a few reasons: a) it’s solid wood and sturdy construction makes it likely to last many years, and hold up to the abuse she’s sure to launch on it over time; b) it converts from a bassinet to a full-sized crib, to a toddler bed, to a twin bed, and then to 2 chairs, even! It has many lifespans built into it, making it a great value; c) it’s freaking adorable; d) we scored it during their annual sale, when you can get the bassinet with full-sized crib extension kit for the price of the bassinet during non-sale times. It’s a beautiful piece of furniture, and the wheels make it very convenient to move around. Stokke has a high resale value, so if we decide to move onto another sleep option in the future, we’ll get a great return on the investment.

Bugaboo Cameleon3 Stroller: Paul is a car guy. He used to race, and values comfort and luxury above all else in a set of wheels. So when it came time to choose a stroller, I knew he’d want to be involved in the process. We thought we had a stroller picked out, abut when I went to a local Bugaboo event, I was floored by it’s quality. It rides like an absolute dream, thanks to it’s sophisticated shock system, and it can turn on a dime, making it easy to navigate in small spaces. It folds and unfolds with minimal effort, and comes with a beautiful bassinet that converts into a stroller seat once baby is old enough. I walk a LOT with Maeve, so having a comfortable, convenient stroller makes a big difference in my days. After using the Bugaboo for a few months, I can safely say I’ve become a bit of an evangelist for their brand. It’s absolutely the best on the market, in my opinion, and worth every penny. (Plus they also have quite a high resale value, which makes it a wise investment.) I’m such a big fan of the brand, they invited me to become a Bugaboo Brand Ambassador!

Dutailer Prestige Motorized Reclining Glider: Among the many mom’s groups that I belong to on Facebook, one of the most oft-heard pieces of advice were “invest in the most comfortable glider/recliner you can.” So, I took that advice to heart and we splurged on this bad-boy. Rather than having to force the ottoman back in and hoist yourself up out of the chair (which can be tricky when holding a sleeping newborn), the motorized recline/incline function glides you into position smoothly and quietly, which makes a huge difference when you’ve just spent an hour getting your cranky baby to sleep and don’t want to disrupt her. It also sports modern, stylish profile compared to many of the overstuffed and bloated baby chair options out there, so it blends in beautifully with our living room furniture. Pro-tip: we ordered ours from Bed Bath & Beyond, and used the 20% off coupon, which brought the price down to what the non-motorized version of the chair would cost. Score!

Sonos Speaker System: White noise is a sleeping baby’s best friend, but one of the issues with many of the white noise machines on the market for kids is that they turn off after a specific (and often short) amount of time, which can: a) disrupt a baby’s sleep, or b) make it harder for them to put themselves back to sleep if they wake in the night. The Sonos System is run with your smartphone or computer, so you can control the speakers from anywhere in the house; and integrates with various music sources like spotify, pandora, amazon and itunes, so you can play any of your music at any time. Albums or playlists can be played on repeat, so your white noise is guaranteed to basically never end. We used a “Rain for Sleeping and Relaxation” album for ourselves before baby, and now also for Maeve, and it works wonders. We literally leave it on 24/7 in our bedrooms. It’s also great for regular life, no baby required.

Yoga Ball: Babies love to be bounced. Think about it: they lived for 10 months in your belly, and every time you moved or walked around, they were being gently bounced and sloshed around in their wee habitat. So, when your newborn is going through a growth spurt, or gassy night, and won’t stop crying… the ball is your best friend. I made the grave error of waiting 6 weeks until I got my own yoga ball for Maeve, but as soon as it arrived, everything changed. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Get yourself a ball, yo. (Bonus: bouncing on the ball is great for leading up to labor and managing pain during labor. More on that in another post.)

A&A Easy Swaddles: So many swaddles that are designed for convenience involve velcro, which I find to be highly disruptive to a drowsy baby in the middle of the night. And my leggy lady’s gams were often quite constricted by the sizing of these styles. But the Aden & Anais Easy Swaddles use a simple snapping system that’s much quieter and convenient, I think. And they have roomier leg sacks for kicky babies like mine to have freedom to move. Plus, they’re made of the signature A&A supersoft muslin, which breathes beautifully and is so gentle on their skin. These swaddles quickly became favorites in our house!

Mamaroo: Maeve is a baby who likes a lot of motion in her ocean, and the Mamaroo is a favorite swing among the mamas in my family. It’s got several settings for different sways, and can be controlled by your smartphone so you don’t have to get up every time you want to change the setting, speed, or sound option. It’s the perfect place for baby to hang out while you eat, and the mobile has been one of Maeve’s favorite conversation partners since she learned how to coo.

Rock N’ Play: While it feels a bit like overkill to have two swings in the house, lugging the Mamaroo between our living space and bedroom was getting quite tedious… and sometimes Maeve only wanted to sleep in motion. My mom generously gifted us a RnP with motorized rocking and a vibration feature, which folds away nicely when not in use, so it didn’t take over the bedroom. Maeve loves napping in her RnP, and the vibration feature is wonderful for helping her slip back to sleep after waking from one cycle, which is key for a baby learning to sleep longer over time. Now that she’s older and doesn’t require motion as often as she did during her younger, fussier days, she still naps in her RnP whenever she’s unswaddled, because it’s sunken and cozy and somehow helps contain her moro reflex better than a flat surface does. Rock N Plays are also notoriously useful for babies with bad reflux issues because they can sleep in there at an incline, if that’s something your little one struggles with.

Kind Bars: Nursing a young baby is hungry work. You’re up at all hours, and chained to whatever you’re sitting in for eons on end. That’s where a snack station comes in handy, and I found Kind Bars to be the best kind answer for these late-night or early morning snack attacks. They’re hearty and healthy and easily the most delicious snack bar on the market. The fiber and protein are super essential for new moms. I personally love the Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate, and the Apricots, Almond & Yogurt flavors. Plus, nuts are good for milk production – so it’s an extra excuse to chow down! If you plan ahead, you can even make your own!

Preparation H Wipes/Suppositories: If you read my (overly-candid) post, “What I Didn’t Expect About Expecting” over at Club MomMe’s blog, you know that I was already suffering from ‘roid rage before giving birth. But after 4 hours of pushing, you can only imagine what kind of horrors lay beneath me. (Though, please, don’t imagine that. Once seen, it cannot be unseen. Trust me.) If this happens to you, don’t just ignore them and hope they’ll go away. Prep H will be your new best friend. And if that isn’t enough, ask your doctor for a prescription steroid suppository. That stuff, quite literally, saved my ass. And that’s all we’ll say about that.

I’ll be sharing more of our favorites from the newborn stage, along with the things that I’m falling in love with now that she’s less squishy alien and more of a fully-developed human… so stay tuned!

 

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Introducing…

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Hello out there!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I think I’ve got a pretty decent excuse…

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Meet Maeve. She was born July 8th, and (I may be biased, but) she’s MAGICAL.

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Labor was… absolutely nothing like I intended or expected. I will get more into that in another post, but for now… let’s just revel in those CHEEKS.

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Please join me in wishing sweet Maevie a quite belated welcome to the world. These past two months have been a complete whirlwind of emotion, growth, challenge, sweetness, love, and exhaustion. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s been so long since I last posted here, I kind of didn’t even really know where to start anymore. But I miss writing terribly, and desperately need to reclaim a bit of normalcy in my life, so this is me gingerly dipping my pinky toe back into the blog world.

As a mom.

Because I’m a mom now.

Two months later, I’m still pinching myself. My little miracle is actually here.

(photo credit: Nadine Bosurgi, newborn photographer extraordinaire. I can’t recommend her highly enough!)