Beyoga

Okay, so first off, I am not at all unbiased when it comes to Beyoncé – I know that.  However, what does the woman have to do to win album/record of the year at the Grammys? I’m not in any way demeaning Adele’s talent.  She is talented, and I bought hard copies of both 25 and Lemonade, but Lemonade was the better album from start to finish.  The committee did her dirty, and Adele agreed, according to last night’s speech.

Ok, we’re done with that.  But it kind of ties in to what I did this weekend.

I mentioned this a few posts ago.  But a really sweet girl who works at the Y bought me a gift card to a yoga studio I’d mentioned wanting to try out, and so once a week or so, I will actually trek down to Durham, and take a class there.  It’s good for me.  The drive is nice, Austin gets to do some dad duty, and I get a really good practice in.  We all win.  (Plus it takes 20+ minutes to get there, so I get to listen to podcasts on my way.  It literally is so good for my mind to get down there once a week.)

So anyhoo, a few weeks ago when I was taking Angela’s class, she mentioned a Beyoncé- themed yoga class.  The class was still like three weeks off, but I went ahead and signed up so that I wouldn’t have an excuse to not go (like I’ve done with getting my nails done every single week since the day before he was born). I signed up, and really didn’t know what to expect.

Sunday afternoon, I got to class about 15 minutes before, set my mat up in the corner, but close enough to the mirror so I could see myself, and watched as the room filled with women, some young, some older, super excited to take the class.

The instructor, a tall, thin, and beautiful dancer-type with mermaid hair was piddling around the room, setting up her mic, and helping folks get set-up while one of Queen Bey’s live tours was playing.  I was pretty impressed – usually the live stuff is reserved for only the biggest fans.  I chatted with the instructor for a second before the last of the nearly 45 women poured in about the Formation world tour, the one during which we’d been evacuated due to bad weather before the Queen re-entered and finished out the show.

So the class started with a talk.  Where I started crying immediately.  Gah.  But Brady, the instructor with the mermaid hair, began to talk about the class, what it meant that we were all women, the fact that the class would have some dancing, and some singing, and would be unlike any class we’d ever taken before.

Ok. I leaned over to the woman sitting next to me, and whispered, “this is gonna be insane I feel like.”

And off we went.  We started with ‘Drunk in Love,’ and began in tabletop.  From there we did dancing lion, a moved I recognized from the pole fitness studio I sometime teach at, and back into downward facing dog, which morphed into a more twerky version of itself at some point, more bouncy and ass-ish.  At the top of the mat, in mountain pose, things started to get different in a great way.  We strutted up and down the mat, waved our hands, sang at the top of our lungs, and between of all this, managed to throw in squats, work on our calves, pushups, and some core work.  I was drenched in sweat 20 minutes into this, and the class was 90 minutes.  I took a few moments during the class to take a mental snapshot…

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…and it was so neat. It was kind of cool to take yourself out of the place where you criticize any and everything about yourself and someone else for dancing around like a fool, and just go with it.  There were some women who were really cute, perfect-looking lulu yogis.  There was me, in running shorts and a tee, still trying to lose those last few pounds of baby weight.  There was the mom next to me who’d been married for over 17 years as I found out.  There was Brady the mermaid.  There was the cute girl, barely out of college, singing her lungs out in the front.  And we were all just enjoying sweating with one another!

Anyways, so now, I’m feeling really energized.  A little sore.  Inspired.  And totally ready to do some more creative programming and host my own themed classes.

How have you gotten sweaty this week? 

 

A Day in the Life (Lately)

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I took the neatest yoga class yesterday.

Last week, one of the super cute girls who works on the floor at the Y invited me to come take this Hot Yoga class at this studio out in Durham.  Durham is kind of a hike for us – we are in downtown Raleigh, and during a high-traffic time, it can take like 40 minutes or more to get out there, but she assured me it was worth it.

Totally worth it, and I ended up signing up for a Beyonce-themed yoga class on Grammy Sunday.  I am super excited for that.

What I liked about this class was that, though the class was an excellent workout (I found myself a little sore the next day in some new places), the focus wasn’t on the workout.  We focused on breathing, and really being present, which is something I needed on Monday, where I felt my focus was pulled into a million different directions.

Anyways, I totally stole this idea from Taylor, a blogger who I’m insanely jealous of because she gets to live in Chicago all the time.  I’ve only ever run the marathon, and I dream about living there.  But it’s kinda cold and my sisters aren’t there, which could present some challenges…

Anyhoo, here’s a typical day (these days) for me.  I caveat this by saying “these days” because I’m still not in a great groove with the baby, and I’m not sure when I’ll get there.

7am – this is sometimes earlier, or sometimes a little later, but this is when I hear Liam start to rustle around.  He’s a morning person, so he’s not usually wailing, just kind of making sounds, and kicking his little feet around.  He sleeps in this…

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…which sorta looks ridiculous, but I don’t care. He’s sleeping, I’m sleeping, and that makes me really happy.

In that time, if he’s really smiley, I literally will jog out to the kitchen and start the coffee machine and let the dog out. I still have a teeny tiny bit of eggnog left that I’m using as creamer. I’m fully prepped to sob when that’s all finished…

7:20am –  I change a diaper and nurse my little man.  This time is super nice for us to hang out.  I’ll listen to a podcast sometimes while we do this.  Sometimes, by the end of this feeding, little man is drifting off, and I’ll have a chance to stick him back in the bassinet for a few minutes while he dozes.

8:15am – So for the last bit, I’ve probably been scrambling around the house, listening to podcasts, and collecting workout gear (for my workout and in case I’m teaching a class), work wear (slightly business casual), my lunch, and his bottles that I’ve pumped for the day.  He’s probably stirring by now, so I’ll pop him out of his sleep suit and into this really cute bouncer thing I bought for him at a yard sale for $20.  I pull it into the bathroom, just outside of the shower.  He entertains himself while I shower.  He’s pretty chill, so usually, I have time to put a little makeup on, and smooth my hair down before I get dressed.  He’s ready for a snack, so I’ll nurse him, change him one more time, put some clean clothes on him, grab a few extra diapers with diaper cream depending on his skin that day, and hustle us into the main room of the house.  This is where I load him into his carseat, throw on a hat for him and some socks or shoes, and begin the process of getting everything into the car.

9:15isham – Sometimes this is a little earlier, or a little later, depending on who’s picking Liam up from daycare.  But we’re out the door, and I drop Liam off at daycare quickly before I scramble off to work.  I’m eating a peanut butter bar thing and a coffee for breakfast.  Breakfast is my favorite thing, and I make sure never to skip it, but it’s certainly not elaborate.

11:15am – So say I’m teaching the lunch cycling class?  I’ll go back to the closet to pump, and maybe have a snack.  I’ve been snacking on boiled eggs lately (gross, but filling), so I may pump, eat an egg, and make sure I’m slamming water (since I’m prone to headaches if I don’t).  IMG_1745.JPG

I’m off diet soda, but still like something with bubbles, so I may enjoy one of these (these are great, let’s chat about them some more later), and I get myself cleaned up before class.

12:15pm – We cycle.  I like teaching this class a lot.  I teach to tempo, so I love to really think about what music we’ll be using, and build the class.  I’m a disgusting sweaty mess after, so I try to pop into the shower at work, and get myself looking presentable for the day.

2:00pm – I pop over to Liam’s daycare sometimes to nurse him.  That way, I can skip a pumping session (because pumping absolutely blows), and I get to see him a few times a week at that time.

3:00pm – It’s sort of late for lunch, right?  But since I go to Liam’s I’ve skipped lunch, but still need to eat.  I know this is against all of the nutritionist’s rules for mindful eating, but I totally take lunch at my desk most of the time, and try to catch up on emails, and take care of some work for a while.  That’s so bad.  I should not be doing that, I need to do better.

5:00pm – So, so today’s one of those days Austin is picking Liam up from daycare, and say I’m not teaching an evening class .  THIS is when I usually get antsy.  So I’ll change into my workout clothes, and attempt to do a really really quick workout.  My latest favorite is something called the Sprint 8 program on our treadmills.  It’s an interval program that has you pushing, or sprinting, for 30 seconds, and then doing some active recovery for 1:30.  IMG_1752.JPG

I love this because I feel like intervals are the best way to mix up your cardio and make it fun and interesting without spending like an hour on the treadmill.

5:45pm – After a quick workout, I stay in my gross clothes, and head back to my office to work a little more.  It’s emails, sometimes writing blog posts, coordinating last-minute subs, and checking in with the classes going on in the building.  Our campaign season is in the fall, so we’re in a lull as far as fundraising.

6:15pm – Austin went to pick Liam up, so he brings him to work so he can work out, and I can take the baby home.  A lot of times, he’s asleep after his big day at daycare, so he sits in his stroller while I keep an eye on him, and finish some things up.

7:20pm – We’re done with work, and at home.  Usually, every few days, I try to put something in the crock pot so we have a little something to eat.  Sunday, it was a not-as-creamy wild rice soup…

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That was pre-liquid and spices, but you get the idea. Usually, Austin will come in right behind me, run and shower, while I heat up dinner. While dinner is warming up, I nurse Liam, and set him in his bouncer or his activity mat while we eat. After dinner is when things get nuts until Liam goes to bed. We start tummy time around 8. Bathe him (only once or twice a week). I slather him in coconut oil since he’s got dad’s skin. And he’s usually asleep by 9pm.

9:30pm – Me and Austin may watch a show (Blackish lately), and after a show, he’ll wash and fill bottles for the next day, while I start writing, cleaning up, and pretending I’m going to shower, when in reality, I’m not.  Unless I’m feeling really special and energetic.

11:00pm – Because I’m nursing, I usually try to empty the boobs before I go to bed, otherwise I’ll wake up super uncomfortable.  I pump, wash the parts, and will most likely forget my pump on the coffee table, so I have to figure out what the heck I’m going to do the following day.  If we don’t have a plan for dinner the following day, I’ll try to figure something out, maybe throw something in the crockpot or prep something really quickly.

12:15am – BED.  

Whew.  Where did all the time go, right?

What’s a typical day like for you?  

Hey!

Haiiiiiii!

I’ve been gone a few weeks.  I started back at work a little over a month ago and it’s been hard.  Super hard.  I will talk more about that soon, but I’ve struggled endlessly with balance since going back to work.  I like working, I like earning, I do not like feeling completely unmoored every day of the week.  I forget something every day.

Last week was no different.

So I’m breastfeeding baby Liam.  It’s gone well, we both are enjoying the process, but when I’m at work, it involves a lot of time spent in the supply closet.  I have feelings on that by the way, but it’s not the time nor place for me to rant on women in the worksplace right now and how we are seriously undervalued.  Okay, I’m done.

If you’ve never worked and breastfed at the same time, it’s sort of a complicated dance.  It kinda starts when your baby is between 3-4 weeks old, the sweet spot, I learned, when your baby will decide if he or she is going to take the Dr. Brown’s bottles you received at your shower.  You make your partner deliver the bottle, and leave the room (maybe the house) so baby can’t smell you.  For me, I started with just an ounce or two until we figured out that Liam was a little more of a 3-4 ounce kind of kid. And then there’s the pumping.  The bane of my entire existence.  It just sucks.  It’s loud, it’s not comfortable, and as someone recently reminded me, it’s the shitty reminder that your baby isn’t around for a big chunk of the day.

I pump a few times a day at work, usually twice on a loose schedule, or when I feel my boobs tell me that it’s time.  It takes a good amount of time, and a production.  If I’m in my nice fancy work clothes, I strip off my nice shirt and set it aside.  I strap on a pumping corset.  I hook up the phalanges. Screw the bottles into those.  Attach the tubing.  Plug my machine in.  And finally, get to pumping.  (And pouring and labeling and sneaking milk into the fridge in the kitchen blah blah.)

But guess what last Tuesday?

I went through most of those steps before I realized that, sitting there half naked in the closet, that I’d forgotten the bottles and the phalanges, and my boobs were really at the end of their rope.

FACK!

I could try and stick it out until the end of the day, but risk a clogged duct.  I could run home, but today just wasn’t a good day to escape home – I had a lot to do.  I could see if I could convince my dad or my brother to go home, but they didn’t really know what they were looking for.

So I waited to see if I could make it to the end of that day, and then one small stroke of whatever genius I have left struck me.  Rite Aid was down the way.  I could see what they had in the way of pump accessories, and take it from there.

I have never driven so fast (within my legal limits) to a Rite Aid in my LIFE.  IN MY LIFE.  So I get into the parking lot, and…

The Rite Aid has moved.

I’m not kidding.  Around the corner, but it had totally moved.

I raced around the corner, and into the store, where I found a single electric pump.  I put it on my HSA, designated it for my car, and proceeded to pump like thirteen ounces before a meeting.  Ridiculous.

All that to say – I’ve started working.  My brain still hasn’t returned to it’s normal size.  I’m not sure when I will start functioning more normally.  But I am making it work!  Trying to at least.

 

 

 

My first BodyPump back

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I’m kind of getting a kick out of like, telling you what I’m doing as I’m writing.  So now, I’m sitting in the lobby at work (because I needed a locale change), taking a little break from work-work, and decompressing with a little writing.  The lobby is a challenge because you literally see everyone you’ve every known in your life.

People keep stopping, and looking at me sort of suspiciously.

Them: …did you??

Me: Yeah, I did!

Them: …what did you…

Me: A little boy, want to see a picture?

I think everyone is like really hesitant to ask, in case I’m not who they think I am, and then they’ve got this awkward moment where they’re in two camps – I either look like all the other black women they know OR they’ve just implied that I look like I just had a baby.  Which I don’t mind at all, because I did, but I understand how that could be a little off-putting to someone not feeling their best on that day.

*******

So I finally, taught a BodyPump™ class.  It’s one that I haven’t really committed to teaching because it requires a lot of forethought, and teaching it is really hard.  They recommend for instructors to teach the tracks with the same weight that you’re instructing the students to do, so I was not super looking forward to squatting with like a billion pounds on my back when I’d just given birth.

A week or so ago, Abbey, who typically teaches the lunchtime class at this other place I fill in at, cut her hand like cooking or something.  And she cut it badly enough that she had to sub out all of her classes, one of which was like a 30 minutes pump format, followed bay BodyAttack™.  Which I don’t teach, but I offered up a cardio step.  30 minutes works, right?

So, I tried to get my tracks together on one playlist the night before, for organizations sake, but ended up falling asleep when the baby went down around 9:45, and then never waking up to do much of anything.  By the time I got bottles packed and Liam off on that morning, I was running around like a lost little chicken, and barely had my phone charged and myself dressed before I went to go teach the class at noon.  I ran in a few minutes before class was supposed to start (big no-no), and pretty much started the playlist and went off.

I screwed up the entire warm-up.  I’m talking about (if you know this format, you’ll know what I’m talking about) the entire part at the end of the warm-up where you’re supposed to lunge on one side, and then the other was lost, until I realized and fumbled my way back there.  But I smiled a lot.  Since I was running late, I hadn’t gotten the chance to pump and drain everything like I like to do before I work out, and I turned around and what I saw was absolutely obscene.  I was wearing a grey tank top that I’d worn through most of the pregnancy.  Grey is really fun because it shows all of your sweat, but I think I look pretty decent in the color so we have a dilemma.  But as for the obscene part, my boobs were hanging out of the top of my shirt and bouncing with like every single step I took.  It was nuts.  Because there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it, I just pretended like I didn’t notice, and avoided eye contact with the guy in the front row.  Eep.

Other than my complete chest hanging out due to my lack of planning, and the flubbed warm-up, the rest of the class went really really well, and the cardio portion that I incorporated a step into went awesome as well.  I snapped this before I left…

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…and I suppose I’m really feeling okay with the way things are going as far as teaching. I’m definitely, definitely not back to, or capable of, teaching 5-6 days a week right now, or multiple classes a day, days and days in a row. I’m still healing up some of those ligaments that went loosey goosey during the pregnancy, and I’m still not up to 100% high-impact moves. Jumping, for instance, is something I’m not comfy with just yet, so I modify by keeping one foot on the ground, things like that.

So I guess I’m getting back to some things?  And feeling okay about it?  But that was my first Pump.  Looking forward to a few more in the new year.

 

Cheri’s Most Fascinating People of 2016

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I find it kind of fun to let you know where and how I’m writing from at any given time.  Before kids, it’s like “hey reader-folks, I’m comin’ atcha from a DESK!!”  Now, I am literally in the supply closet at work, pumping so Liam can ride this breast milk wave as long as we can.  Pumping is not a ride at the amusement park, so I’m sort of hunched over, with my right hand slipped underneath the bottle on the right side.  I also wore a dress to work today, so I had to take the entire thing off, and make sure I locked the door.  My left side is all done, so I just keep dripping milk from the flange on that side, onto my thigh, so I should be good and sticky for the remainder of the evening.  I truly feel like such a glamorous woman right now.

I had so much fun writing this post last year, that I had to do it again this year.  Of course, this was before…you know what?  Let me not spoil this list.  Let’s just get to it.

5.  The Cincinnati Zoo and the Harambe memes.

The story of the decision that the Cincinnati made to shoot Harambe, the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo just sucked.  To  me, it seemed like the zoo was put in a really impossible situation.  What followed after was some heated debate.  The sanctiparents said some awful things, including that the mother should have been shot instead.  I think everyone was collectively really sad for the loss of the life of the gorilla.  We were all really glad that the child was okay, but the gorilla was just being a gorilla, and no one wanted to see things end like that.  But since 2016 has no chill, the situation got really, really out of hand.

There were the hashtags. Annnnd then came the memes. They were really weird.  They were terrible.  And they were really, really, funny.  I won’t publish any here, because I don’t want you to think I’m a terrible person, but first you’d laugh, and then groan.

In a really mystifying move, the zoo, un-amused,  issued a statement.  And basically told everyone to knock it off with the memes.  Bad, bad, bad move.  That’s not exactly how the internet works.  Which I feel like most of us know, but that’s kind of lost on some folks.

The response was a resurgence of #dicksoutforHarambe.  And a swell in the memes.  Because the internet is both a wondrous and terrible, terrible place.

4.  Anna Davies.  And she’s not fascinating in a fun way. 

In April of this year, Anna wrote this article that went a little viral for the wrong reasons.  “I want all the perks of maternity leave – without having any kids” I read the article, and though I had never taken maternity leave before, I knew something was very, very wrong with the article and its author.  She referenced leave as having “perks”.  She compared having to leave the office at a reasonable time to pick up ones children to helping a friend off of a bad date.  She said that parenthood provided the parent “flexibility” as it pertained to work?  Can I remind you that I’m writing this from inside a supply closet?

It just all seemed really really wrong.

And then I left my job for 12 weeks unpaid to have Liam.  Even though I had grand plans during that time to catch up on things, maybe clean my house, none of that happened.  I bled for like 5 of those weeks, took Liam to doctor appointments for weight checks and shots, camped on my parents’ couch when we lost power during Hurricane Matthew, tried to master breastfeeding, worked out a clogged duct, started pelvic floor PT, and tried to keep my hair from falling out.  I’m not sure where in that augmented list of learning, that Anna thought that maternity was some sort of vacation, but she is grossly, grossly misinformed.  And it’s a shame that someone with so little insight has a fairly large platform.

3.  Beyoncé

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I think it was Twitter, or one of the blogs that broke ‘Lemonade’.  It was cold out, I was already pretty uncomfortably pregnant, and per info circulating online, HBO was doing a free preview weekend that would allow viewers to watch the special.  And it did not disappoint.  Start to finish, Bey told a complete story, and I don’t think a single track disappointed.  Later on this year, Solange would go on to release a hit album, proving that the Knowles girls were having one of the best seasons ever.  Queen Bey went on to tour, where I found myself being evacuated due to some nasty weather mid-show, killed it at the VMAs, and made an appearance the morning I had Liam.  I should have known it was going to be a good day.

2. The choker.  Not a person.  But important. 

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Rihanna via HarperLoren.com

I really didn’t want to give into this one, but I will admit, I wore a tattoo-style choker in the 90s. The Jenner girls started wearing chokers this year, along with flared jeans, and I wasn’t sure in my current state of mom if I could pull it off. But I’m giving in. I’m wearing grungey tops (easier to nurse in) and I’m gonna put a choker on. I’ll document for bloggy evidence.  But I think I look okay, and not completely foolish.

1. I have got to give this one up to none other than Issa Rae. 

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I fell in love with Issa during ‘Awkward Black Girl,” her YouTube series that I felt, sang my entire life. I was so, so, happy, and nervous to see that she’d scored an HBO series, nervous only because I wanted her humor to translate, and for people to get her. They totally did, and her series, Insecure, did not disappoint in the least.  It was smart, funny, and contributed to what I feel like is a renaissance of black artists in 2016.  I cannot wait for season 2, and if you haven’t watched, you have got to get on that. Congrats Issa, on a really really successful run!

Honorable mention goes to…

Taylor Swift.  And if I had room for one more on my list-list, she would be on it.  This woman is a lot more calculating than we know.  She found herself in a bit of hot water this year after playing the victim solidly regarding Kanye West’s Famous vid.  Kim wasn’t having it, and released some unflattering footage via Snapchat?!  It wasn’t a good look, and after releasing a statement via iPhone notes (?) she sort or disappeared.  I was really disappointed in that.  But I’m anxiously awaiting new music from Miz Tay and Perry.  Tee-hee.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Hear me out.  And I’m planning this huge piece on the family.  I’ve been studying them for a long, long time.  But the year started out really well for them.  Minus Kanye claiming, in a strange series of tweets, insurmountable debt, Life of Pablo came out, and was received as one of the best albums of the year.  The tour looked incredible.  And then the year took a bizarre and scary turn when Kim was robbed at gunpoint during Paris Fashion week.  And then Kanye was hospitalized for exhaustion after a rant that made it clear that making fun of him wasn’t funny anymore, that something was really wrong.  I really would love to be a fly on the wall in that home, but really because I’m curious, not because I want to poke fun at what seems to be a tough situation.

Zayn Malik.  Whew buddy.  Lookin’ good sir.  Congrats on the success after leaving 1D.  I’m not mad at the album, or Pillowtalk.

OJ Simpson and 90s crime in general.  2016 saw no shortage in specials related to really strange crime.  I watched a lot of OJ stuff, including FX’s special on his involvement in the murders and later, kidnapping in Vegas.  I tried to watch the JonBenet specials, but they really made me ill. I haven’t been able to get through one of those.

On a lighter note, Joanne the Scammer.  She brought me endless laughter in an otherwise really weird year.

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via Twitter

Ok, so in a tough, weird year…who are your most fascinating folks? 

Exercise

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So update on today.  On yesterday.  Ugh I don’t even knowwww my sense of time is completely nonexistent right now.  But I returned to work for a partial day – and dropped Liam off for his first day of care.  I scrambled for hours – filling bottles and packing lunches, and woke up beyond too early for the morning, and ultimately, did okay.  I cried when we dropped him off, to the point where a little girls’ mother told me she’d felt similarly, and that I would be okay.  She advised me to come a few times next week, hang out, nurse him when I could, and that he would be okay.  To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how I’m going to do with a full work day yet, but more than a few people have reminded me that no decision is permanent, and that I have a decent enough skill set that I could stay, or take a break, or maybe work from home, or freelance, or whatever.  Nothing is final at this point.

*******

So, I was cleared at six weeks to exercise, which, looking back, was maybe not okay.  Thankfully, I’m not training for the Olympics or appearing on a magazine cover anytime soon, so I really eased into things, and didn’t get too crazy about immediately returning to exactly what I was doing prior to having Liam.

As a side note, we really need to talk about that six-week clearance mark, but we’ll do that later.  I have a lot of words on that.  

Being active is really important to me.  Not necessarily being in a bikini, or looking hot, but being active for the sake of a little energy boost, for the way it makes me feel, and for the fact that it makes the after-workout shower so much more rewarding, it’s really important to me.  So I’ve done a little bit of everything since I’ve felt okay to do so, and I’ve slowly started building back to some level of the strength that I had, while slowly taking off the last of the weight I gained when I was pregnant with my sweet boy.  Here’s what I’ve done, and how it’s felt.

Running

I think the week I was cleared, I went for a short “run” (really, a shuffle), of just a mile, up and down the street we live on.  It was ok, and very clear that I wouldn’t be running 20 miles anytime soon.  Because it because pretty clear after that mile that though I could do it, that it wasn’t perfect, I’ve sort of only run once a week, and have really relied on walking with some hill intervals or repeats on days I’m looking to sweat.

Circuit Training

One of my first workouts back was a circuit at a local studio, Core, located just outside of downtown Raleigh.  Again, I tried to play it safe and smart, and modified anything that didn’t feel great.  A full plank still was painful in the pubic bone region, as were mountain climbers, and instead of crunches, I did some modification on a modified plank, and worked it that way.  What I really, really enjoyed was getting my heart rate up, which we did with the treadmill, some sled pushes, and some very modified burpees.  This was one of the first times I found myself sore since I gave birth.

Gentle Hot Yoga

This was my first formal yoga class in a long while.  This class, taught at Indigo Hot Yoga, is really nice because it’s a good workout, but the supportive and sweet instructor provided plenty of modifications, which I needed.  I am really surprised by how much strength, upper body strength especially, that I lost after having the baby, and this has helped me get it back.  Another unexpected benefit of this class is that the sweating and heat forces me to drink more water, and I think that, plus some love hormone gives me a little milk boost.

Barre3

I took this class at the suggestion of the dietitian at work.  She had a favorite instructor, one who had a wait list for her class.  So I signed up four or five days in advance, and went at 6am, when I knew I could go and get back home before the baby woke up and I could feed him.  The class was really good.  Not a ton of cardio, and I like cardio, but the strength and toning were good, and this class actually got me pretty sore!  I will be signing up for this one again, budget permitting.

Zumba

I hit this old trusty class on Black Friday, and it was good.  It wasn’t my favorite instructor, but she did a good enough job, and it was a decent amount of cardio after I stuffed myself at Thanksgiving.  Some things still don’t feel great, so I kept the higher impact stuff, like little hops or jumps, to a minimum.

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A little heart rate info after Zumba.  Zumba is uniquely one of those things that really gets you to your peak a few times, sort of like interval training.  You won’t get that with gentle yoga or barre generally.  

Orangetheory

This workout was really interesting.  So, I went with a few friends the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving in North Raleigh.  The visit started off well enough, because I called to set up my class, and the woman that answered the phone was so friendly, that I was really excited to go.  Class started at 9:30am, and they asked that as new people, we get there at 9.  I was admittedly running late, and I got there at 9:10am, and I thought I’d be walking into the coach demoing moves, or a safety talk, but what I walked into was a repeat of the questions that I’d answered on the phone, and a sales pitch.

Once class started, it became clear that this would be one of the harder workouts I’ve done, and by the end, I was sweating a ton, especially since we ended with treadmill intervals.  The workout was monitored with a heartrate monitor, and since I’m breastfeeding, I had to do a wrist strap, which seemed to not work for most of the class.  One of the friends I was with experienced the same with her chest strap, which was disappointing.  But by the end, I think it was clear to all of us that this was a really good workout, despite some of the sales pitchy weirdness at the beginning.

Here’s what was kind of off-putting.

Upon class ending, I was on a high.  The coach and a desk manager person held us back in the studio, and then the manager was on us like a cheap suit to talk to us, mostly me since I was local, about packages.  I made it pretty clear that I was planning on dropping in once in a while since I’m still recovering, and I still felt like I was being pushed into buying a package.  I had a baby weeks ago.  So I was pretty weirded out by that.

Following that, I got a phone call from the studio checking in, presumably to sell me stuff, and then I got an email after.  I finally sent an email back, and explained that though the workout was great (one of the better HIIT ones I’ve done in Raleigh), that the pushiness was really quite off-putting.  To which that manager replied that she was sorry, but they just wanted to inform me of their membership options.  GAH.  It’s like it didn’t sink in, at all.  People love to be checked-on, but not sold to from 78 different angles.

That said, the workout was really good, and I will most likely visit another location, Morrisville or Wake Forest before I go to North Raleigh again. I know these guys are pretty much all over, so if you get a chance, I would try this workout out, especially since I feel like these kinds of workouts are really effective for building muscle and losing weight.

So these classes, along with the Fitbit update that encourages you to get 5 days a week of exercise in, has really helped me get my activity levels back up.  Again, I’m taking it nice and easy.  There’s no sense in hurting myself or my milk supply for the sake of saying I did it.  Rather, it’s just really really nice, and a nice way for me to take a short break from momming at 99 mph.

How have you exercised this week?  

 

Like a mom.

Tonight is one of the first times I’ve truly felt like a mom.

It’s weird to say, because now I know, that even though in the past I doubted my maternal instinct, that it was always in there.  Very soon after Baby Liam made his debut, I felt right.  Sore and swollen, but right.

Tonight, I took a nap with Liam.  Austin was working from home in the afternoon, and went on dad duty while I snuck in a quick workout at the Y.  The run felt good, but I was a preoccupied with making sure everyone got out the door in the morning.  I ran by the grocery, and picked up some bread, some oatmeal, and some beer.  When I walked in, Liam turned his head to see me.  He was getting hungry, and he wasn’t particularly happy about it.  I dropped everything, wrestled myself out of my sports bra, and sat to nurse him while Austin reheated some dinner I’d made the night before, while simulataneous throwing more veggies on for my dinner.  I ate the veggies with one hand while I snuggled Liam in the crook of the other.  Austin started a bath while I started tummy time on my yoga mat.  Liam spit up all over the yoga mat.  Tummy time was not our favorite portion this evening.  Or really any evening for that matter.  Liam ate again, and promptly fell asleep. We ditched the idea of the evening bath, prayed for forgiveness from the water gods, and drained the now-cold water from the tub.  I fished the last few wipes from the bottom of the plastic container, and instead of a bath, it was a bird bath kind of night.  Austin cooed at Liam while we did a little baby massage, and wrangled him into a contraption that seems to have helped him sleep a little more soundly throughout the night.  He ate again (little man is growing), and fell asleep.  This time, it was actually bedtime, and the night felt like it was just beginning.  I collected diapers that were too-small to ship to a friend.  I put diapers, clean clothes, and wipes in the baby bag.  I washed bottles and parts to the pump, only to sit down a short time later and milk them up again.  I washed some clothes that had been spit-up on.  I charged my iPad, since I will camp in the pump room at work a few times tomorrow. Today was a big spit-up day.  I packed my breakfast, some higher-fiber oatmeal.  Because fiber is the jam. I balanced my lunch.  Lots of green things to a bit of pasta.  I brewed some tea while stuffing my manual pump into a ziplock with some paper towels.  And I tossed the tea back before jumping into the shower and falling into bed.

I feel like I’ve lived 89 lives.  I feel like a mom?

What I’m doing…

I’m still not in great shape after the election results.  I’ve already been struggling hard with anxiety about returning to work, with new motherhood, and on top of that, I’m not feeling particularly great about our president elect or his ability to make sound choices.

However, continuing to be a pop culture specialist (I’m not sure I’m super proud of my endless/useless knowledge of all things pop), I’ve continued to find enjoyment in many many things.  I kinda talked about some of that here, but since I’ve started to ease back into working out and listening to podcasts and watching some dvred things that have long been neglected, I’ve picked a few gems that you may find interesting.

Listen to this (music).  These girls have been having the best year ever.  The Knowles’.  Beyoncé released her visual album, Lemonade in April of 2016, just in time for her tour.  Solange released A Seat at the Table at the end of September, which was gorgeously, flawlessly, and impressively well-done.  Give these a listen.

If you’re ready for Christmas music, Pentatonix’ new Christmas album, A Pentatonix Christmas, is incredible.  The group has changed the scope of a cappella, and this album is no exception.  I’m actually really really bummed that I didn’t get the chance to see them when they were here on tour, but I was super pregnant, and I didn’t think I could stand in the pit area for the entire show like I’d done for Gavin DeGraw’s show a few month’s earlier.  You’ve probably already heard their version of Hallelujah, and Up on the Housetop is pretty dope as well.

I kind of think Pandora is pretty much over due to Spotify slaying (they’re doing podcasts now, so you don’t have to go elsewhere for anything if you don’t want to), however, Pandora pushed their Thumbprint Radio Station, a station featuring everything you’ve ever given the thumbs-up.  Pretty genius, and really fun. Hip Hop BBQ is also perfect for background while you work.

Spotify’s Daily Mix is a mix that’s made just for you according to what you’ve listened to.  I have two mixes, one that’s a lot of pop, and another that’s just Latin music.

Watch this.  Unfortunately, since Baby Liam’s been here, my days of actually getting to watch anything when it actually airs are pretty much over.  But that’s why they invented TiVo, so I’ve been able to cherrypick some of fall’s best.

Issa Rae’s Insecure on HBO is awesome.  If you followed her YouTube series,  Awkward Black Girl, you’ll love some of the references to that.  Issa is still freestyling, still awkward, still hysterical, and still struggling with all of the things that we struggle with.  Highlights include ‘Broken Pussy,’ Molly asking Jidenna to leave clothes at her place (what!?), and Issa’s gang-banging neighbor.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s Divorce on HBO is genius.  I’m a big fan of SJP anyways, but she’s done it again with Divorce.  It’s smart, it’s real, and it’s funny.  I hate that the episodes are only 3o minutes, but it coincides really well with how long it takes me to nurse the baby in the morning.

RHOA is back.  Nene is not.  But Sheree is, and so far, she has not disappointed.  Cynthia and Peter are getting a divorce (should have never gotten married), Kenya and Sheree are in a race to finish each of their respective compounds, Andy let Porsha keep a peach despite multiple physical altercations with cast members, Kenya is still insane, Phaedra is funny, and Kandi’s son is adorable.

Listen to this (podcasts).

Psychobabble Podcast with Tyler Oakley.  This weekly show is a quick one.  It usually hovers around half an hour, and is a half-hour of pop culture review.  Tyler actually promoted his book, Binge, pretty heavily through the podcasts, which I really enjoyed as well.

In the Dark.  This podcast is kind of Serial-style, and follows the investigation that took place after Jacob Wetterling’s disappearance 27 years ago.  Reporter Madeleine Baran takes you through the investigation, but is not, imho, as skilled of a storyteller is Serial’s Sarah Koenig.  But if you’re into true crime, this is for you.  One note – this podcast gets pretty graphic and times, and some of the details of the abductions and the murder really are disturbing, and not for you you listen to while your kids are around.

The Read.  This one has been a favorite of mine for a few years.  Hosts Crissles and Kid Fury take on black pop culture, black excellence, as well as serious issues facing the black community.  Kid Fury used to vlog, so it was cool to see him make this transition.  These guys are really also a lot of fun to follow and interact with on Twitter.

What are listening to/watching/reading lately?

 

WTF, and things I do to feel better.

First off, hi…hello!  I’m writing exactly the way I told you I do in my last post.  Liam is sleeping on his back the way he is supposed to, in some ridiculous-looking contraption that makes him look like the Michelin man.  It’s supposed to magically help him sleep, and since I’m trying to nudge his bedtime back from 11:30pm, to something a little earlier so I can get some things done and maybe manage a shower before one in the morning, especially once I go back to work, we’re trying it.  Which is another tormented post for another day, but let’s stick to one thing here.

An aside: to be clear, Liam sleeps really well, but like his mom and dad, he goes to bed much too late for a baby, and then I look over and it’s 1, and I’m pumping, and useless for a good bit of the day because I’m kind of tired, and I’d like to get better about that.  I should have gotten better about that before I even got pregnant.

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Ok, so…WTF.

2016 has given me the most beautiful, wonderful moment of my life, the birth of my son, and has at the same time, almost beaten the faith in humanity out of me, which all came to a head when somehow, as a country, we decided that DONALD TRUMP WOULD MAKE A GOOD PRESIDENT OF OUR UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  Let me be absolutely clear, when I say that I believe in my heart of hearts that the States, though not free of issue, is one of the greatest nations in the world, and I believe in us.  I so do.  No matter where we go, where we end up in the world, I believe that there is good in this country, and there is a reason we’re here.  But I’m a black woman, born to immigrant parents.  I married a white man.  I live in the south.  I studied social work, and work for a non-profit, which has afforded me the opportunity to work with the public exclusively for the last three years.  And from my perspective, the approximate 50% of us who voted in this election (seriously?!) got it wrong.  We got it wrong.  We got it wrong.  And I so badly want for he-who-shall-not-be-named (for the moment, because I haven’t quite come to terms with this yet) to prove me wrong, I am open to be proven wrong, I don’t want anything but the best for my gay friends, my poor friends, my Muslim friends, my Mexican friends, my women friends, my overweight friends, my immigrant friends, and my black friends, but simply going off of some of the the things I studied during this particularly-vicious election, I’m not sure that I will be.  And I’m afraid, I’m petrified of what the Trump effect means for all of the aforementioned groups, as well as my interracial family.  Forget about me.  But I want my son to always be safe.  I want him to be okay always.

Honestly, I woke up in despair after a night of fitful sleep on Tuesday.  I went to bed around one in the morning, when things weren’t looking good, and woke up to the news that Donald Trump had won the election.  I felt gutted.  Here are a few things I did to make me feel a tad better.  I hope maybe one of these may help if you’re similarly feeling like the world has ended.

  1. I listened to good/live music.  Thankfully, I was raised in a household where I got exposure to some of the best artists in the world.  I also have a palate for incredibly bubbly pop music.  That combo is amazing when you’re feeling awful.  So in addition to listening to Stevie Wonder’s live album from 1970, I listened to ‘Love Yourself’.
  2. I’ve always been really really imaginative, so I thought about my future.  Not the one where the United States looks like Pride Rock did after Scar took things over, but the one where I write for a living maybe.  The one where I have like a million kids.  The one where my student loans are paid off (very very soon).  The one where I get to correspond about pop culture all the time.  The one where I get to do some public speaking about health and wellness.  That made me feel better.
  3. I researched jogging strollers.  Doesn’t have to be strollers.  Just whatever you’re into.  Poke around the internet about that.
  4. I read some stuff that really smart, good people wrote.  On both sides.  Rational people.  I read some of that, and remembered that a good majority of people are rational, and can think things through, step by step.  So I did some reading.
  5. I paid some bills.  I hate to see that money go, but damn, it feels good to be up-to-date on stuff.
  6. I talked to my sister and one of my best friends of the phone.  It’s harder for me to sit on the phone for any length of time these days, but it feels nice to chat and make plans with my homegirls, biological or not.
  7. I started making some plans for midterms.  

No more moping.  No more tears.

What did you do the morning after election night? (Even if it was as boring as sucking down a coffee, I’d love to hear 🙂 )