Friday, October 29, 2010

Fitness Friday

Here is what my mom did as a child to keep fit! How about you?

Sunday, October 24, 2010


So, like anytime this beast is seen or even heard in my life, I contracted a delightful stomach virus this week. And why does it always hit me in the middle of the night? Maybe so I don't have to actually look at anything....just keep the lights out and flush it all away. And no kids knocking on the doors. Anyways. It really wiped me out for awhile so I decided, being pregnant and all (yea, that was an added bonus...nothing like a gurgling stomach with a very active being dancing on top of it), that I would actually take some time to rest, rehydrate, and recuperate.

The problem with this plan was (1) there was nothing reasonable on tv this weekend and I had just finished my latest book, and (2) it is really hard for me to just sit around. But, I did it and I think my body is thankful for it. I focused on sleeping, resting, drinking, and eating all weekend. What a concept? There are other days where I forget to do at least one of those things!

So, as my mom would say (and did), your body just really needed some time off. So, I listened. (next time Body, feel free to send me an email instead).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Its Alright to Cry

After years of parenting and teaching, I've come to a is alright to cry. And, more importantly, it is alright to allow children to cry.

If you simply take a snapshot into my house or classroom, you might see a child crying alone. And I think that is ok....yes, I said it, its ok to leave a child alone when he is crying. This might seem like I am insensitive or unsympathetic but it is actually quite the opposite. I always consider the entire context of the situation and WHY the child is crying. Then I provide the level of interaction the child wants and needs. As an adult, I sometimes want to just sit alone and let it all out...sometimes I want my husband to hold me...sometimes I want to talk about it as the tears run down my face. Children are the same way.

For example, today one of my students was really mad at me for taking her take gum out of her mouth. She cried to express this. After an initial attempt to soothe her, it was clear she didn't want to have anything to do with me and just needed a moment to get her anger out and move on (which she did). My 7yo often gets very frustrated with life and just breaks down and sits and cries. He doesn't want to be cuddled or even really noticed...but just cry and express how terrible his life is. Then he is done and moves on. I also often encounter children who cry when they want something instead of using language to ask for help. There are times when I will go ahead and take care of whatever they need and times when I will wait patiently for them to use words I know they have to ask for what they need.

I try to assess the situation and provide whatever the child might need. If they need to cuddle in my lap, great. If they need to lay on the floor and let the tears flow, fine. I am there to provide whatever they want. I also try to give children the language and coping skills to cope with their emotions and know how and when to ask help.

Its Alright to Cry sung by Rosey Grier in Free To Be You and Me

Friday, October 08, 2010

Fitness Friday: The Power of Walking

Walking is one of the best exercises you can find. Obviously, it is a highly functional exercise (we all walk every day!). It is also low-impact and foot in front of the other--repeat.

I also find it very relaxing. A walk after dinner or in the afternoon while the kids are still at school...delightful. Today at school, we took a walk with the kids to calm them down a little after snack. Just breathe in and out and look around you (or listen to your favorite music). It is an easy way to get in an extra 20-30mins of exercise into your week (you should aim to do something active EVERYDAY!!).

My favorite places in CU to walk are into downtown Champaign (Pakara is waiting for me in the middle!) or Meadowbrook Park in Urbana.

Where is your favorite place to wonder?

This weekend you can walk for a good cause at the annual CU Buddy Walk. This is a free event (donations for the CU Down Syndrome Network are happily accepted) for the whole family to raise awareness and inclusion of children with Down Syndrome. Walk with a team or alone and then stay for family-fun. See here for more details.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Is there a doctor in the house?

When we first moved to CU, we asked around to the few people we knew and happen to hook up with an amazing pediatrician, Dr. Hill at Carle. We just loved him. He really cares for the family as a whole and respects our parenting choices. We were so happy to have him at the birth of our 5yo. Then sadly, when my husband changed jobs, we had to find a new doctor that was covered under our insurance. After a couple tries, we found Dr. Gilpin at Christie. We LOVE her! She is so cool. She interacts with the kids so amazingly and seems to really know our family, again as a whole. Both these doctors valued the idea that a child does not exist in isolation but within a family and community (an idea I hold very dear).

But sadly, Dr. Gilpin is moving. I think I almost cried when I got the letter telling us. And on our last visit, we all had a nice, long hug.

So, now we are forced to find another magical connection with a doctor in town. We have couple in mind but....if you have a favorite pediatrician in CU, let us know.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Celebrity Diets---Don't do it!

Here is an article from today's msnbc.

Basically, you really should only follow nutrition advice from a licensed nutritionist (or your dr, at the very least).

Eat, drink, dance, and be happy.

Fitness Friday: Pregnant Lady Edition

So, I am 20 weeks pregnant and the questions are getting more frequent....when are you going to stop exercising?

With my last baby, I remember heading to the gym the night before my scheduled c-section. And I plan to do the same with this one. I will stop teaching classes after the holidays but I will continue to get in the gym. I had to laugh this week as one of my fitness students said she came into class that day since she thought I would be taking it easy....she was wrong. I am also serving as an inspiration to everyone...'if the pregnant lady can do this, so can I!'

Exercise during pregnancy is very important. Besides being in good muscular and cardiovascular shape is important in everyone's life.....your body is being put through a lot and you need to keep it strong! Not to mention, if you have to labor and deliver vaginally, you will need some strength. If you are having a c-section, you will recover more quickly.

Surprisingly, core strength is really important during pregnancy. Just as your 'core' seems to disappear, right?! Keeping a strong core will help with supporting that belly and relieve some lower back stress. It will also help get back into shape after the baby. Check out some prenatal pilates.

The basic recommendations (see ACSM here) encourage pregnant women to exercise regularly. And basically, if you exercised before becoming pregnant, you can continue whatever you were doing (so yes, I still do some kickboxing). If you didn't, its a good time to start but not maybe the best time to start any extreme sports. A basic cardio program 3 or so times a week such as walking, cycling, step class, or dance as well as some strength such as light weight work or resistance bands and flexibility training such as yoga are good choices. As your pregnancy progresses, you may have to reduce the intensity or modify some exercises.

Always ask your dr or midwife what is safe for you. Stop exercising if you have any cramping, spotting, shortness of breath, or dizziness. If you are taking fitness classes, please tell the instructor (they will be able to give you modifications). Most communities offer specific prenatal fitness programs (check your local hospital) and the library has lots of DVD's and books.