Tuesday, November 26, 2013


It's the season for giving thanks and presents. The thanks part keeps us grounded when the presents seem too much. This year my boys packed a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. A box for a little boy in another country who doesn't have what we have, I explained to my 5-year-old. As we were picking out things to put in the box, it reminded us of all the things we take for granted and are thankful for. We stuffed a toothbrush, toothpaste, wash cloth, soap, Hot Wheel cars, a stuffed animal, candy, a jump rope, a harmonica, a monster truck, bath toys, crayons and a coloring book in the small box.

I wanted to make the shoeboxes a learning lesson for the boys. I held up the box, and told them that this box would be the only the present some kids would get for Christmas and their birthday and any other special occasion all year-long. "Really, Mom?" they asked. They just couldn't imagine that this little box would be it for another little boy. I kind of understand why it's hard to imagine when my kids have a room devoted to them filled with toys--the playroom. They have 4 giant Rubbermaid containers filled with stuffed animals, trains, cars, blocks and games. I tried to think of another way of explaining how poor these children are. I told them how some children would use the plastic box to carry water to and from their shack. We are so blessed with running water in city limits (no well), central air and heat in our house, two vehicles and of course toys with the promise of Santa coming to town. I begin to realize how good we had it, that the tears began to stream down my face. The kids knew I was serious when I started crying, but I didn't want to them to think I was sad, just really thankful.

Thursday is Thanksgiving, but I want to share my thankfulness all week-long. There is so much to be thankful for that it is going to take more than 1-day to cover it all. I hope you will join me in sharing your thanks by tagging your Facebook posts and pictures and on Instagram too #Week4Thanks.

Monday, November 25, 2013

It Can Be Done.


Yes, it can be done. What you may ask? Exercising without the gym. Last week, my gym was closed for remodeling, and I was left with my 2-year-old son wondering what to do. My gym Fitness 19 Cary offers childcare; the ladies that watch my son are so great that I'm hesitant to leave him with anyone else. I didn't visit another gym plus I didn't want to waste my time touring another gym that I wasn't planning on joining. So, it was back to the drawing board.

My goal was to workout 3 days last week. On Monday, I tried Stroller Strides with a friend. Stroller Strides offers a great alternative to the gym and since your child is in a stroller, childcare is included. See Thinking Outside the Gym for my complete review about Stroller Strides.

Tuesday and Wednesday were booked with doctor appointments and Bible Study. So by Thursday, I needed my workout fix. I pulled out my stand-by, Denise Austin Pilates DVD. I laid out a mat and recruited my 5-year-old son. It was a good ab workout, but my 2-year-old interrupted us so many times I wasn't sure I could count it as a workout. It reminded me of why I joined the gym in the first place-- no-interruptions.

On Friday, I was determined to get a sweaty and intense workout. It was pleasant enough outside, so I was able to occupy my 2-year-old with riding his trike while I constructed my own boot camp style workout.

Here's a breakdown of what I did:

4 sets of the following:
25- Jumping Jacks
1- sprint from either side of the cul-de-sac
24-walking lunges
10-high knees
2- burpees

After completing 4 sets of this invigorating workout, I jumped rope for about 10 minutes.

So, yes it can be done. It's not my preferred method of exercising. I love lifting weights and running, but if get stuck without the gym, at least I know I have a back-up.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thinking Outside the Gym

My gym is closed this week. They are remodeling. It really needs a facelift, but what's a mom to do when her consistent childcare and workout routine is placed on hold? So this week between errands, grocery shopping and doctor appointments, I'm going to try to different exercise options.

Today, my friend Michelle and I tried a free Stroller Strides class at Carpenter Village. Your first class of Stroller Strides is free. We met at the gazebo on Common Walk Circle. I had Liam in the jogger stroller and my yoga mat in the basket. We formed a semi circle around the gazebo and the instructor, Marisa Park had us begin with a warm-up moving our arms, stretching our legs and sharing our names, our kid's name, age, and a mommy-brain moment. If you're a regular FitTriangleMom blog reader than you'll know I have many mommy brain moments to share.


Marisa brought resistance bands for us to use and handed them out before we began our brisk walk or run depending on your fitness level. My friend Michelle is pregnant, so we decided to stick to a brisk walk. Marisa also shared modifications for each exercise level.

At our first stop, we worked our legs, glutes and core with a mixture routine of kick butts, high knees, hacky sacks and kicks. During each routine we sang kid songs to entertain our children. Then off we went on another brisk walk. The second stop included more legs and glutes with an elevator squat, and clapping under the knees. We then walked down the hill down to the water and took advantage of the stairs to do some toe touch steps, moving planks and push-ups. Then it was back up the hill (which is quite a workout pushing a 30 pound, 2-year-old, and apparently the $2 I had spent pumping up the tires in my jogger were already flat). Anyway, I was feeling the burn and reaping the benefits of an incredible workout.

At the top of the hill, we stopped in the pool parking lot to work our arms with the resistance bands. We did bicep curls to the front and side plus sprints, running backwards, sideways and crisscross. Between sprints we stopped and tickled our cute kids. Laughter erupted and fun was had by all.

After another short brisk walk, we came to our final stop. We rounded up the strollers in a circle and sang a fun tune while doing lunges, the "maniac" run in place, a jump then some burpees. We did this several times than headed back to our starting place at the gazebo.

It was beautiful out this morning. The sun was shinning, the skies were blue, and it was already hitting 70 degrees by 11 am. I was tired and sweaty, but it was a great workout. We formed another half circle at the gazebo and cooled down with some ab work. I laid out my yoga mat on the wet leaves and Marisa instructed us to do some Russian twists, supermans, flutter and scissor kicks, plank, side plank and a plank and downward dog mix and then we finished with a relaxing child's pose stretch. Om... Yes, it was a wonderful and challenging workout.

After the session, Marisa spoke with Michelle and I about joining their group. Stroller Strides offers workouts 6 days a week in Raleigh, Cary, Apex and Durham areas. Workouts vary every day and always include cardio, strength training, ab work plus songs and fun for the kids. Workouts are year round, and in the winter months they offer indoor classes at local malls. Dads are welcome to join on Saturdays, and many do! Stroller Strides also offers a free moms group/playgroup for all moms of stroller-aged children with weekly activities. Visit Stroller Stride Playgroup for more information. If you are interested in trying a free session of Stroller Strides and learning more about this "outside the gym" option visit Stroller Strides. Also be sure to "Like" them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/strollerstridesraleigh for a great upcoming Cyber Monday Special plus all their exciting news.

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Great Mix Up

One of the hardest components to staying consistent with my exercise routine is the changes. Not so much the workouts changing, but keeping my muscles guessing. I use a variety of resources to help me mix up my workouts, such as; fitness magazines, Pinterest, personal trainers, BodyBuilding.com, or just watching others at the gym.

Today, I had the privilege of working with a new trainer, Joseph at my gym. Joseph had me do a total body HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout this morning. I was sore when it ended, and I know I will be sore tomorrow. Here's a breakdown of my workout:

I started with a six minute warm up which included 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking.  I did the following exercises 6 times for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest between sets and one minutes breaks between exercises. It sounds easy enough, but when I got to the sixth set, I could feel the intensity.

Jumping Jacks
Wall Squat
6 inch Leg Hold
Bosu Ball Push Ups
Plank plus half set of side plank each side
Step-ups plus half set of high knees
Sitting Arm Row

Joseph challenged me with this workout, and I fought my way to finish. I enjoyed learning some new exercises that I will most definitely add to my regular routine.

If you're interested in trying this workout or something similar. Then you should take advantage of Fitness 19 Cary's Black Friday deal- $99 for 5 sessions. Visit Fitness 19 for more information.

After my personal training session, I headed over to Park West Village in Morrisville to learn more about a new place to really mix it up-- Orange Theory Fitness. Orange Theory Fitness is a different type of gym, it's more like a big class offered multiple times throughout the day. The one hour class is divided into 2, 30 minute segments. The first being cardio with treadmills, indoor rowing and stationary bikes. While the other half is weight training, TRX and interval exercises. Each participant is fitted with a heart rate monitor and is encouraged to reach 84% on the monitor to achieve the optimal calories burned (500-1000) and maximize your metabolic rate.

They don't have on-site childcare, but I spoke with the owner, Kristie and she is hoping to partner with My Gym in Preston Walk on childcare options. So, if you're looking to mix it up or find a new routine, check out Orange Theory Fitness. They are not opening until January 2014, but they are offering some exceptional introductory offers.

Interested in trying a free session ( a $25 value). Then register to win below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Somewhere between Fit and Frazzled

I had a plan on Monday. Preschool drop-off, gym, eye brow wax appointment and then maybe some clothes shopping before picking up from preschool. Thankfully, I made it to the gym for about 30 minutes and got a quick leg workout in before heading over to the tire shop to get my tire patched from yet another nail. Needless to say, the rest of the morning was spent in the waiting room keeping Liam away from destroying the plants, sipping coffee and trying to stay positive.

There was no need to let a flat tire ruin my week, because as far as I knew the week was only going to get better. Tuesday, I had planned to get beautified aka a cut and color date with my good friend and hairstylist and then Wednesday the hubs and I were having a hot date at the Bon Jovi concert. So you see, it was all good.

Tuesday, I arrived bright and early at my friend's house for my hair appointment. I wanted to look especially good for my night out on Wednesday. I was thinking more layers, subtle highlights and low lights. I ring the doorbell. I hear a dog barking, then nothing. No footsteps. Just silence. I notice Holly's car is not in the driveway. Maybe she had a quick errand to run. So I called her, no answer. So I checked my messages, maybe something came up. She's a mom too, so these things can happen. I'm scrolling through my messages, and then I see it. My appointment is for next week. Ugh! How did I do this? Mom brain fail! That's the only way to explain it. This week was beating me down. I weighed my options. I could go to the gym or find a new outfit for the concert. I wasn't dressed for the gym, so I decided on retail therapy.

I wasn't sure what to wear to the Bon Jovi concert, so I contacted my friend Cary, the original Stay at Home Rock Star and concert enthusiast as to what to wear. Cary suggested skinny jeans, boots and a cute top. I have boots, but needed to find skinny jeans and this gave me an excuse to buy a cute top.  I headed over to TJ Maxx. I found a good selection of skinny jeans and tops in the junior section. Don't let the term junior distract you. I find that the junior section has more boutique like styles in the size I need. This is one of my favorite parts of keeping fit-- all the cute clothes I find and look great on me. It's really motivational when you go into a dressing room with a few items and come out wanting to keep them all. I'll be thinking on this moment when that orange jack-o-lantern pail tempts me again.

I walked out of TJ Maxx in good spirits with some time to kill, so I headed over to European Wax Center. This place is awesome. It's clean like a doctor's office not like some shady back room in a nail salon plus they have a special wax that is less painful. I didn't get my hair done, but I didn't look like Bert anymore. I couldn't believe it had only been 5 weeks since my last appointment.

Anyway, the day was looking up. I could clean, grocery shop and go to Bible study tomorrow then get ready for Bon Jovi!!

I didn't see it coming. Wednesday morning was smooth sailing then I go to pick-up Aiden from his playdate. He is warm, pale and extremely tired. He even fell asleep playing play-doh. I take him home. I'm praying that maybe he is just over tired. We get home, and I take his temperature. It's 100.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Not good. He falls asleep on the couch. I'm trying to keep Liam entertained. I give Aiden some Motrin. I'm starting to get a little frazzled. I'm folding laundry, watching the clock, turn the oven on to start making dinner. I check Aiden's temperature again. It's the same. I wait another hour, check his temperature again. The same. Ok, time for some Tylenol.

I call Seth, he's in his car rocking to Bon Jovi. "I've seen a million faces, and I've rocked them all," he sings to me. Well, umm. Aiden's sick, I tell him. I'm on my way he tells me sounding all serious. Seth gets home and accesses the situation. Takes Aiden's temperature. Still the same. He grabs a cold washcloth and puts it on his head, takes off Aiden's shirt. More waiting. His temperature starts to drop. Things are looking up, but then Aiden clutches his stomach. Super dad runs for a bucket, just in time for Aiden to vomit right into it. We look at each other. A knowing look passes between us. We need to stay home; we've been hit by the stomach bug. Yet, Seth's look turns compassionate for his sick son and maybe he can see the frazzled look in my eyes. He urges me to go to the concert. Call a friend, he tells me.

I ponder it for a moment, help with Liam, what if the vomiting continues. You should go, he says again. Ok, I say quietly. I'm happy to go, but disappointed it's not the hot date I envisioned. I call my friend, help her find a sitter (my sitter was available), and off we go!

Yes, I am so glad I bit the bullet and went to the concert. I had an excellent time with my friend, saw an incredible concert and heard all the rock songs I love. The light show was amazing, and did I mention Jon Bon Jovi is HOT! I kept updating Seth with videos and pictures throughout the night.

Things didn't work out as I planned, but it worked out in the end. Aiden stayed home from school today and must likely tomorrow too. I won't be able to get my other gym days in, but if this week has taught me anything it's that being a mom can be crazy and being a fit mom can be tough. I have lots of excuses to give up and give in to the orange jack-o-lantern, but it's a journey. It's about making healthy food choices, jumping rope in the garage, doing an exercise video or just relaxing a few days. I admit, I can get a little OCD about my gym schedule, but it's ok to take some down time and mix things up a bit.

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