green smoothie for picky little eaters

It’s no secret that toddlers can be picky, weird little eaters. B loves grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, but won’t touch a piece of cheese if his life depended on it. And just when you think they LOVE something, the next time around they look at it like it’s rat poison. Covered in dirt, rat poison. And if it’s green and leafy, forget it. Thankfully, B thinks the blender (“dender!”) is a pretty cool thing, and is more than happy to chug (literally, he will down a cup and a half in a minute flat) anything that gets magically obliterated in it.

This is our go-to green smoothie. It is super quick (hello, two ingredients), and surprisingly delicious (even I was skeptical at first) – he will happily slurp cup upon cup of this green goodness.

pear and spinach smoothie recipe

I prefer a ripe Barlett pear, but a Bosc works well too.

Do you have a favourite smoothie recipe for sneaking greens, or other healthiness, into your little one? I’d love to hear what works for you!

ps Happy weekend all! It is sunny and 30C here in Ottawa – halle-sweet-lujah!

 

summer lovin’ & fall fitness goals

My calendar says it’s September 2. That would mean that yesterday was the (unofficial) start of fall…?! Where the heck did summer go? I am not sure that I’m ready for cool weather and short days. Oh, the short days!

Bahhummbug.

I (un?)intentionally put my computer down for the summer (well, maybe just HM). The very last place I wanted to be was at my computer, inside. The outdoors called my name every sunny second! I was like Julie Andrews running the Austrian hills happy. After our shitty winter, my body required every ounce of sun it could get. It was a wonderful summer – cottages, lakes, pools, popsicles and parks. We biked, we swam, we boated, we played a completely awkward game of cards (Against Humanity) with my in-laws.

tired swimmer

Some of us ate watermelon on hot days in the buff. I gardened (my thumb has gone from black to brown I’d say – not quite green!). I swam my first 3k open water race (yay!). I drank sangria in the park. I learnt a lot about trucks.

trucks

I tried to ignore the rainy days as best I could. And the sunny days when I was at work, inside.

I feel a little uneasy about the fall though. I usually love this time of year, but the days already seem SO much shorter, and for the first time ever I am already dreading those dark mornings and early sunsets that come with late fall and winter. I am already thinking about ways to keep busy as  family once the snow flies (get B on skis!) – hopefully avoiding the winter blahhhhhhhs. I’m just so scarred from last winter’s polar vortices – anyone else? I think I better start stockpiling the vitamin D now.

But enough about winter, right? It is 30 degrees out there right now(!!!). Hopefully September is glorious and treats us to many days of warm weather and sunshine – so far, so good!

hello fall

September is the time to get back to routine. I might be more active over the summer months, but most of that activity is irregular – I swim when I’m at a cottage, run when it’s not too hot outside. It’s unscheduled, weather dependant, lower intensity, and when I’m not on the move there is usually a beer in hand, feet up. Right? I know I look forward to more consistent exercise. Back to the pool tomorrow morning. Here’s my fall fitness plan:

M – Swim
T – Run
W – Swim
Th – Run + FitMom (strength class)
F – Swim + CORE
S – off
S – Run or Hot Yoga

My fall exercise goals are:

1. Swim 3X/week (7-9 km/week).

2. Run 2-3x/week (I haven’t really gotten back into running since B was born, but now’s the time!).

So welcome, fall. Please be glorious.

ps Hope everyone’s back-to-school went off without a hitch! Were there tears of joy or sadness at seeing your little ones head off to school?

back by popular demand…prenatal health and fitness clinic

Back by popular demand, another session of our Prenatal Health and Fitness clinic is starting Monday September 8th!

This prenatal clinic is all about YOU (no how-to-change-a-diaper here!).

Join me and my colleague Michelle Warren, healthy (expectant!) mumma and physiotherapist extraordinaire, for an informative 4 week clinic on prenatal health, fitness and injury prevention.

Learn how to keep healthy, strong and pain-free through pregnancy, prepare for birth and the postpartum period. Here’s a taste of what you’ll learn:

  • proper core and pelvic floor strengthening
  • postural concerns and corrections
  • the best exercises to do during pregnancy (and how to do them properly)
  • how to avoid (or alleviate) back and pelvic pain, sciatica, calf cramps, incontinence, abdominal separation (diastasis recti), etc.
  • birth prep and postpartum recovery (how to return to activity safely)

Everything you’ve wanted to know, but didn’t know who to ask.

The next session starts Monday September 8th, so hurry to register as space is limited (class size is small so we can work with you) : 613-521-3222 or email at info@ottawaosteopath.com.

Looking forward to meeting some of you local mummas-to-be!

ps this clinic is covered by most private health insurance plans!

Prenatal Healthy, Wellness and Fitness class

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

where I’m at

Summer officially arrived a little over a week ago (okay, so technically it’s midsummer, but let us not think about what that really means). Spring flew by as it usually does, leaving behind only vague recollections of the nasty winter of 2013/14. Eww.

True to form, we’ve been summering all week at the cottage with pretty fantastical weather. Lucky, we are.

lakeside view from a hammock with the words hello summer

I posted my spring bucket list way back when the ground was still white – it was the end of March. That was a heck of a long time ago, but here’s where I’m at (and where I’m going – at least fitness wise):

1.  Plan a weekend get-away with my man. It happened. Cozy country inn + storm/power outage + delicious food (once the power was restored) + sleeping in – a much needed (and deserved) night away with my man friend. We need to do this again. These little get aways, however short (even a daytime date), are SO necessary for us.  My advice if you are pregnant: screw swaddlers and spit up bibs, I seriously suggest adding restaurant, babysitting and weekend get away gift certificates to your baby registry. It can’t be all about baby.

2.  Get a pedi (or two or three) &  3. Get a hair cut. My grooming is none of your concern.

My spring fitness goals were:

4.  Do hot yoga once a week. I bought a 20 class card (good start) and was going to my favourite hot yoga studio weekly for a while, until the weather turned really nice and my frequency dwindled (happily replaced with gardening and playing outside). The great thing is that the card never expires, so I’ll do the odd class over the summer, but I likely won’t get back to a weekly rate until the fall. I am however, getting to a weekly FitMom class.

5.  Swim three times a week. I’ve been pretty consistent with my regular swims. Yay.

6.  Get back to running (+ signup for a fall race). This hasn’t happened, other than the occasional run I wouldn’t say I’m back at it. At all. I just love swimming too darn much! I usually prefer short distance sets, but I stepped outside my comfort zone and signed up for this:

bring on the bay

Yikes! I’ve never done an open water race, other than in a triathlon, but those are short. My goal is to have fun and finish well.

My random goals were:

7.  Sell my road bike. It happened. And I almost cried.

8.  Buy a “mom” bike equipped with kiddy seat. I actually reclaimed my old bike that my husband was using for his 10 minute commute to work. He bought a new one to better suit his 6’5″ frame. B seems to enjoy his new ride. We went with a rear seat (vs. front) because he is so tall, and I didn’t love the idea of having to reach around him to maneuver the bike. I found this to be a great site for comparing all things kids and bikes (balance bikes, seats, trailers, etc).

9.  Buy a power saw (because every woman should have a power saw, right?).
10. Build a raised veggie garden (buy saw first) + plant veggies.
11. Don’t kill veggies.
#9-11 didn’t happen. Turns out there just isn’t enough sun in our shady backyard to keep veggies going strong. But I did pot some red kale and heirloom tomatoes in a smaller planter (that I did not make with a power saw – sadness) that can sit in the small bit of full sun that we have. I think I just wanted a power saw. And a reason to use it. Now I need a new reason.

B&Tree

That’s that. As for this summer, I’ll be soaking up the sunny summer weather as much as I can, with my favourite people. One of these people is chatting so much these days! We are going through a word explosion and it is SO FUN to hear. Seventeen months happened last week, and it is a great time.

Hope your summer is off to a wonderful start! And Happy Canada Day (tomorrow) to my fellow Canucks!

my new multi-sport

Once upon a time, I was a triathlete.

tri

Okay, so maybe I dabbled in triathlon, but I did okay and I had fun. I won my first Try-a-Tri almost seven years ago to this day. My prize was a big bag of chocolate from the local chocolate factory. What wasn’t there to love about this great sport?!

Well, if you’d asked me recently why I wasn’t still at it, I’d tell you that I never really loved the biking part. I’d tell you that I haven’t been on my bike in almost three years because I just didn’t love biking. I am a swimmer, and a runner. Not a biker. This is what I’d tell you.

I wouldn’t tell you that I haven’t been on my bike in the last three years because I don’t have the time to ride. I don’t have hours to spend in the Gatineau hills and out on the parkways. This is the real truth. And there is nothing wrong with this truth.

It just wasn’t really a truth to me, until I sold my bike this week.

It started with an achy knot in my stomach when a potential buyer wanted to come by to take it for a test ride. And then I almost cried on the way home from dropping it off at the new owner’s house (a young girl fresh out of college looking to start triathlon – pretty much me nine years ago when I bought my pretty bike).

Yes, I almost cried. My husband teased when I told him of my parting grief – he saw my bike go unused for a year at our last apartment, and then make the move with us almost two years ago to our new house, where it’s hung in the shed, dusty and flat tired.

Okay, so I was pregnant for a few months during that time of neglect. But that bike. That bike and it’s snappy aqua colour – it represented so much of those days when time was all my own. When I could hop on on a whim and take off for hours at a time. Remember that time? When there were enough hours in a day. And when those hours were all your own. When leaving the house on that whim meant putting on your shoes. Not those of another, and making sure you have the sippycupcleandiaperswipestoysunscreensunhatchangeofclothesandasnack – don’t forget the snack! For goodness sake, don’t forget the snack.

triathalon

This is the part where I tell you honestly, and in all seriousness, that it’s okay. That I am okay with not having enough hours in a day. And I am okay with not having those hours all to myself. My bike and I have parted ways. And that’s okay.

 

new multisport

I know I will get back to triathlon one day. I know I will. But today I’ve got a different kinda multi-sport going on.

for the daddas

Father’s day is just around the corner (June 15 ladies), so being the good wife (no, not that Good Wife) that I am, and since B is a tad too young to use the plastic yet, I set out to find the best gift for the awesome dadda who is my husband. Here are my top picks for every kind of dadda this Father’s Day:

photo of Jason Good's book This Is Ridiculous This Is Amazing

For the bookworm dadda: Jason Good’s This is Ridiculous This Is Amazing. This book is great. You and your man will surely relate to most of the 71 hilarious parenthood lists that comedian Jason Good has collected from his own parental experience. It is amazing and ridiculous. His book trailer will give you a taste of his humour, and will have you laughing so hard your PF won’t know what hit it.

photo of a father lying on the grass with a play mat t-shirt on while son drives toy car on it

For the “playful” daddaPlay Mat t-Shirt. I would totally steal this one for those early morning floor sprawls when you hope to catch a few more zzzs. Genius.

ChicCouture Boutique

For the stylin’ dadda: Matching onesie and T-shirt gift set by Chic Couture Boutique. Swoon.

Toddler Bike Seat

For the sporty dadda: A toddler bike seat or trailer is a great way to be active as a family (here is a great comparison site for these sorts of things)…or a great way for your husband to have some quality time with your little one(s) while you have some quality time alone. Win win.

Deluxe Hammock Lee Valley

For the sleepy lazy dadda: A deluxe hammock like this beauty from Lee Valley. This, I would also borrow. Daily.

Be Prepared

 For the new dadda: Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads will teach new dads”one-of-a-kind insights, MacGyver-esque tips and tricks, and no-nonsense advice for mastering the first year.” Golden. (I think of my Albertan brother-in-law every time I see the cover of this book – him to a T.)

Treehouses

For the overly ambitious dadda: DIY Treehouses. Anyone?

remote controlled helicopter

For the nerdy dadda: Who doesn’t want a remote controlled helicopter? Hours of entertainment for the little people and your big nerd.

Happy hunting!

dear mummas,

I sincerely hope that you slept until 10am, sipped a latté in bed while you enjoyed the fresh spring flowers on your bedside table and the sweetest homemade card, made by yours truly.

Right? Rrrrright.

Happy Mothers Day

This, my second Mother’s Day, has me thinking about more than sleeping in (couldn’t even if I tried), breakfast in bed (who really likes that anyways?), or using the loo without an audience (overrated).

I am thinking about how fortunate I am to be healthy, and to have a healthy family. I am thinking about the farmer’s markets that are opening, and with them the abundance of fresh, mouth watering summer produce. I am thinking about my (slowly greening) backyard that I intend to enjoy every sunny evening this summer. I am thinking about my goals, my marriage, my family, my friends. I am thinking about how I can think of these wonderful things, without worry.

How lucky I am?

Thinking of this lovely, healthy life we lead makes me think of fellow mummas who don’t live such healthy lives though. Of mummas all over the world who are less healthy, because of poverty, lack of resources, or just plain unluckiness.

Maybe we should all reach out to a less fortunate mumma this week. Consider donating that bag of gently used baby gear that you were planning on selling to the upscale neighbourhood consignment shop, or maybe a donation to support maternal health on another continent. Or maybe you know a mumma who just needs a little positive chat.

Not feeling so healthy yourself these days? Why not set a health related goal for yourself this Mother’s Day. Write it down, post it around the house for all to see, find a friend who will support you every step of the way, and set time in your weekly schedule to achieve your goal. Give yourself the gift that you really need.

What ever suits you this Mother’s Day, I hope it is full of love with your little ones. They are so lucky to have you!

 

why swimming is the only sport you need to do

One sport. I kid not. And if your belly is extra large with a little human (and ALL that goes along with that), causing your joints to revolt, I have one word that will convince you that this sport is all you need:

WEIGHTLESSNESS.

Swim During Pregnancy

I may be slightly biased, but swimming truly is the best. It is the grand daddy. It is what every healthcare professional will tell you is best whilst pregnant, and most will even tell you it is the best even when you are not with child. I sure will, but again I may be slightly biased.

These 10 reasons why swimming is the best allude that swimming is kind of amazing for your health, but it doesn’t dive (pun totally intended) into the enormous health benefits of this great sport.

It is what kept me fit throughout my pregnancy, but it’s also my staple when I am not pregnant. It’s what keeps my muscles strong, my heart pumping and my sanity sane. All good things for a healthy body.

When I was pregnant, I asked my husband if he could make this happen…

Pool Room

Oddly enough, he denied me of my wishes, but I’m still working on him. Can you imagine? I mean really. Some dream of luxurious ensuites with a soaker tub. I dream of a bedside pool. It would make getting to the pool much easier in the morning – one roll and you’d be ready to go.

I received a lovely email from a reader a few weeks ago wondering about my swim routine when I was pregnant (did it change?), and what it is like now that I have less time to myself (how do I get to the pool with a little one?).

My swim routine through my pregnancy was pretty much the same as it always has been. I swim three days a week with a local Masters swim club. When I sliced my hand on a tin can at nine months and had stitches, I kept going, gloved hand and all. I had to modify a few things, but overall I swam, and I swam, and I swam. Four weeks after delivery, I was back at it, albeit at a very gentle pace! It took me about four months to feel back to my pre-pregnancy self in the pool (especially with breaststroke).

I still aim for three swims a week, and somehow fit them in at a reasonable hour of the day thanks to flexible work hours (mine and my husbands). I recall one morning when B was really little, my husband had an early morning meeting, so I just brought B to the pool. He hung out on the deck (sleeping in his car seat), with my coach keeping an eye on him. I only had to do this once, but I was welcome to bring him any time. As B got more busy and mobile, I found my pool sessions dwindling to once, maybe twice a week. I talked about this here, and have been much better at getting my three session in over the last few months.

Masters Swimming Canada welcomes adult swimmers of all ages and abilities. I’ve swum with my Masters swim club for the last nine years. Each session starts with a warm-up, followed by a main set; we average 2-3,000m each session. Regular time trials keep us motivated and informed about how we are (or are not) progressing. If I have time, I like to add a few minutes of core work to the end of my sessions. My favourite exercise is head-up dolphin kick. Kind of like this, but without fins. This is a great ab and core exercise.

I realize that this routine may seem daunting if you’re not a regular swimming, but you should know that just like most sports, there is something for everyone. For me, group swimming is all about routine, motivation and keeping up proper skill. As much as I love to swim, I know I wouldn’t be anywhere near as consistent with it if I was going to open swim times on my own.

RC Swim badgeIf you’re weary of your abilities (the last time you swam was when the Canadian Red Cross swim levels were colour coded – loved those badges!), consider taking a private or semi-private lesson. Learn, or refresh, the basics. Most public pools offer these at a very reasonable price. Make it a date night with your partner or find another mumma to do it with you.

If you are comfortable in water and can stay afloat, you can always grab a flutter board and just kick your legs for a good workout. Or use a float-belt and do some water running – this is a great option for pregnant runners who have had to stop (regular) running.

Or what about prenatal or postnatal aquafit? This is another great way to be in the pool, get your cardio and resistance workout in, and meet other healthy mummas. Check your local pool for class times.

If I still haven’t convinced you that swimming is the best, remember: weightlessness!

Compared to walking, running and aerobics, the loading forces on your joints during swimming are negligible. Less load, means less risk of injury. This is especially important when your joints are already carrying more weight than they are used to while pregnant, AND you are super bendy from all of the relaxin flowing through your body. Two factors that are asking for trouble.

Here’s another reason why swimming is awesome: Cardio + Resistance = Time Saver

The resistance from the water provides great full body strengthening (quite literally, all muscles will be working from head to toes), including your heart. It’s the best 2-for-1 deal in town for busy mummas trying to cram it all in.

Here are a few things to avoid or be cautious of if you’re pregnant and decide to hop in the pool:

  • Talk to your doctor or midwife if you are considering swimming or taking an aquafit class. Especially if you have not swum, or done physical activity in a while. As with any activity during pregnancy, be cautious if you are starting something new – talk to your primary health care provider about your plans.
  • Take it easy. Start off slowly. Just like with other cardio activities, you should not be working so hard that you cannot talk easily. Listen to your body, and stop if anything doesn’t feel right.
  • Don’t eat right before you swim. A light snack is recommended so your bloodsugar isn’t low, but don’t swing by Mucho Burrito on your way to the pool. Swimming with a full belly, plus a baby belly, could be messy.
  • Caution with breaststroke. The whip kick in breaststroke can put undue strain on your pubic bone, pelvis (SI joints) and the knees and hips, even in non-pregnant bodies. With the joint, ligament and tendon laxity during pregnancy, I don’t recommend it. I stopped doing the whip kick about two months into my pregnancy. Instead I did breaststroke with a dolphin kick. If you are not familiar with this, keep it simple and stick to flutter kick strokes, like front crawl and backstroke.
  •  Caution with fly. If you are a regular swimmer, and work on all strokes, I caution you with fly. The spine extension that is required with this stroke means that your belly stretches out, this could cause strain on the abdominal muscles and even lead to diastsis recti. Best to avoid it, or stick to a careful one-arm fly.
  • Take it slow on deck. Watch the pool deck and change room floors for slipperiness!
  • Slip in. Avoid diving into the pool, especially once your belly pops. Slide into the pool from the edge or use the ladder to enter and exit the pool.

three maternity swim suits

 Speedo Grace  /  Ripe Maternity  /  Funkita Form

On a fashion note, I’ve also been asked what I swam in while I was pregnant. While some women opt for a bikini (of the sporty variety), I prefer a full piece. I hunted for a maternity suit that was ideal for fitness swimming (vs. lounging), and came up short. There isn’t much out there (although I did just find the Grace maternity suit by Speedo – might have to try it out next time around). Usually I swim in a polyester suit, because it retains it’s shape better and lasts much longer than Lycra/Spandex, but the stretchability of Lycra is ideal for a growing belly, so that’s what I used, just a size or two bigger than normal. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I added a sports bra underneath for extra support and coverage. There are other maternity swimwear ideas over here.

Happy swimming dear mummas!

This post contains no affiliate links, just stuff I’ve found around the web or use myself that may be useful to you!

it’s over

I might start sobbing deep mumma sobs if I write too much about this today. I didn’t think this would happen quite yet.

a baby breastfeeding for the first time

First feed. Minutes old.

I thought I’d breastfeed B until closer to his second birthday, not just past his first. But I pulled the plug. It’s over.

B has never “asked” for milk from me, ever. Sure, he’s shown signs of wanting his next meal, but he’s never done the shirt pull or the boob grab. Or never used my one word attempt at baby sign language: milk. Shocker.

I wasn’t an on-demander or scheduled-provider, I just knew when his belly needed it. We just rolled.

I think his laid-back breastfeeding ways made the weaning process easier. It was so easy, it just sorta happened. We had weaned down to three times a day (before naps and bedtime) back in the fall, and slowly, eventually, to just bedtime. Plans were not really laid out, it just happened over a few months.

Until it was no more.

We didn’t have a ceremonious last supper feeding. It was such a drawn out, slow process. It just dawned on me one day a week or so ago that we were done. That was it. *sobsobsob

So why did I decide to wean when I thought I’d still be breastfeeding? Well, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure. My gut was feeling that it was time way back in December. I was going back to a fuller work schedule in the New Year, the freezer stash was depleted (which carries its own stress), and pumping was yielding very little (what happened to those engorged, over-supply days?!). So there was stress about providing milk on the days I work, and I also just felt like I needed my body back, my hormones back. I just had a feeling that it was time.

So three months later, here we are, fully weaned.

Breastfeeding did not come easy to us (does it ever?). We definitely had our struggles in those first eight weeks (to the point of contacting Dr. Jack Newman himself), but we came out of it and sailed through the next year.

Even as I write this though, I’m not sure that I was (am?) really done with it. Was it the right time? B hasn’t showed any displeasure in my decision, but this little sadness I have about us being done makes me question my decision to call it quits. But I also think I’d likely feel this same way five months from now if we stopped then. It’s just a bit of sadness at never having that again, with him – that thing we did from hour one, that thing we did at 2am, in the same rocker that I was nursed in, in coffee shops, fancy restaurants, cars (yes, I mastered the car seat feed once or twice in desperate times) and airplanes.

Everyday for 14 months. For hours.

I lllloved breastfeeding. The quietness of it. It sounds so cheesy to say, but no mater where we were, or what was going on, it brought a sense of stillness. An inner peace. You can’t be upset, or angry, or sad, or frustrated when you are nursing your wee one. I know, there will be more things, more milestones, that come and go, but there is just something about nursing your babe that pulls at your heartstrings.

Breastfeeding is oxytocin at it’s best. It’s powerful stuff.

How did weaning go for you?

Prenatal Health & Wellness Clinic

I have some exciting news!

(No, I am not pregnant).

I am thrilled to be hosting a prenatal health and wellness clinic for local, expectant mummas-to-be.

If you are pregnant, or are heading in that direction, and in the Ottawa area, come and join me and my colleague Michelle Warren, healthy mumma and physiotherapist extraordinaire, for an informative 6 week clinic on prenatal health, fitness and injury prevention. Learn how to stay healthy and pain free through pregnancy, prepare for birth and the postpartum period. We will be covering it all – everything you’ve wanted to know, but didn’t know who to ask.

We will be joined one evening by naturopathic doctor Andréa Proux, of Naturally Well, who will be in to answer all of your questions about pre- and post-natal nutrition.

The next session starts Monday May 5th, so hurry to register as space is limited: 613-521-3222 or email at info@ottawaosteopath.com

Looking forward to meeting some of you local mummas-to-be!

prenatal clinic ottawa osteopathy and sports therapy

Prenatal Health & Wellness Clinic