Gah! Life is happening so fast I can’t keep up with my blogging! Let me explain. Wait, there is too much. Let me sum up. (Anybody?)
Jack had a “continuation ceremony” for Preschool last week with adorable performances. I have yet to upload videos and pictures. Spoiler alert – I got misty eyed.
Then Jack had an amazing birthday party last weekend with Spider-Man! I have all the photos up on flickr and I’m going to very lazily copy/paste the email links I sent to his friends’ parents for you to check out. I might or might not get a proper summary later.
Then we had general summer starting/school ending craziness on top of today being Jack’s ACTUAL birthday! By the time I got downstairs with Sam to start the bacon, this was the scene:
He couldn’t wait to try out his REAL bike. I coaxed him in with more presents and bacon, then we practiced biking after we all got dressed.
Lunch was a “Last Day of School Picnic” at the playground nearby. All his friends and teachers were there and it was super fun, actually.
His teachers, Ms. Nichole and Ms. Katrina.
Ben and Sam left the party early because they had to pick up some very special guests at the airport:
Grandpa Rick and Grandma Betty! They came out to celebrate the birthday, and gave him the much anticipated Skylanders Trapforce (it was a very good year for presents for him. He also got a Power Rangers set from the Waterhouse grandparents that I had “forbidden,” making it all the more desirable).
He played played played. Then picked the dinner spot (ugh, McDonald’s of course). Then home for his second birthday cake. The first for his party was devils food with chocolate filling, white frosting, and marachino cherries garnished as requested. This one was yellow cake with chocolate frosting and Biscoff filling. We had fun with my slow-motion feature.
But that’s all a prelude to my big excitement – Ben and I are going to New York City alone tomorrow morning! That’s right. The Masons are kid and house sitting while we escape for four days of fun. We haven’t had a vacation together (aside from a couple 24-hours, courtesy of Amanda) since leaving Jack for San Francisco in August 2012. Can that be right? Well, either way it’s about time. We have many shows planned and also some downtime. I hope it’s a relaxing trip.
Preschool declared it superhero and prince/princess day today. We all know that Jack’s first love is Spider-Man. But all week he has been playing Hawkeye. So I found the only plain purple T shirt in Target in the smallest men’s size and made this:
In the car.
Last summer I decided that I had no excuses; it was time to get in shape. I still had some post-partum fat from my baby who was nearly one year old. We decided to join the Arvada Rec Center’s all access pass which grants us unlimited use of the gym facilities, its fitness classes, and up to 3 hours childcare per kid per day. I started going twice a week, sometimes three times. Once we go through the holidays I ramped up attendance. Three turned to four times per week.
Six weeks ago I decided to start lifting. Well no, I take that back. Last summer I decided to start lifting. I read a couple books, joined some forums, found some programs, took the weight room orientation class, and dallied with entering the weight area. I was scared about injury and social etiquette in an unknown culture, and doing things wrong and looking dumb/hurting myself. But I kept reading over and over how beneficial lifting is. I tried it a few times in December and struggled to squat even the bar (45 pounds) and everything felt wrong. It was boring and uncomfortable and I hated it so I stopped.
So six weeks ago I decided to just do it. I was going to the gym nearly five times a week and you can only take so much time on the elliptical machines. I made a plan and stuck to it. I heard somewhere that you need to do something new for six weeks to see results/make it a habit/have a valid opinion/etc so that was my marker.
I settled on cardio Monday and Wednesday in the form of my beloved zumba. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I lifted. Friday and Sunday were rest days (sometimes I made up a missed day on Friday).
I settled on the StrongLifts program because it’s simple, short, and had good support from the online fitness community. I alternated each day either [squats, bench press, barbell row] or [squats, overhead press, deadlifts]. Halfway through I decided I truly hated the barbell row and it had the most chance of back injury. I replaced it with assisted chin-ups because those also work the back and arms and it’s a long term goal to be able to do a chin-up. I also added a plank after a couple weeks because I wanted more targeted abdominal work.
The first day I was low weight on everything: 45 pounds on most activities and couldn’t even make the full reps and sets on bench press and overhead press. My plank was barely 30 seconds when I added it.
Yup. ONE HUNDRED pound squats. Even more on my deadlift. And a TWO MINUTE plank. In the words of Jack, “Holy Moly Guacamole.”
My arm presses are still crap. I hear that’s common, for some women to do better with posterior chain stuff and struggle with arms. Part of the problem is the lower weight barbells are provided in 10 pound increments so I have a hard time jumping up that much between days. (The 35 pound was actually two 17.5 dumbbells, but dumbbells feel very different and still go up by 5’s).
Videos, if you care about that.
I take the videos to check my form because the mirrors are not always visible and only waist high. Plus you can’t really crane your neck to check and keep proper form. I can tell I need to keep my knees more stable on my squats. My back angle is too flat on deadlifts (partly because my plates are still small so it’s lower to the ground) and I could hold it up longer at the top. Any lifters have other pointers for me? Jason? Jenn?
So yeah. This is basically a brag post. I’d apologize but this IS my journal. I get a real high from lifting now. I feel stronger and capable. My back has been great. I’m a little worried about my knees – my left one gets a little creaky and sore. I’m going to back off from 105# that I did on Saturday and work at 95# this week, focusing on form. I still like zumba but I look forward to my lifting days more than cardio days. I haven’t lost any weight in the last six weeks (or the last four months for that matter – serious plateau here) but I definitely have more muscle tone and an inch off my waist.
I don’t know how long I can keep up this 5 day per week schedule, but I’m going to try to stick to it. My goals are to squat my body weight (160), do a chin-up (ha!), and overhead press 50.
Wish me luck!
Ben did his best to give me a happy Mother’s Day Weekend. If the kids had been healthy it would have been so good.
Sunday was kind of a usual day, but with extra assistance from Ben in child care. Sam was too sick to attend church so I went with Jack to Sacrament meeting. The Primary kids sang to us. Jack knew the first two lines of the first song, then smile prettily for the rest of the medley. Simple acts make my heart swell!
Then it was all runny noses and coughs and goldfish and entertaining for the rest of the day, like most days. That’s the problem with Mother’s Day – unless we physically remove ourselves from the home, we can’t really take a break. But Ben did all the heavy lifting and cleaning so it was a little special.
I tried to get my annual picture with my kids.
Ironically that was the best it would be. Once I tried enforcing smiles and clothes on them, Sam was DONE.
I have many variations on this same theme that I didn’t bother to upload. The longer we tried, the worse it got. Finally he body-dropped (toddler version of the mic drop) and was outta there.
Here’s a picture of Sam baking with me later and in a better mood.
Sugar and messes and step stools? This is his favorite play area.