Lessons for Parenthood

This Thursday will be our last holiday without a child. It’s kind of a big deal.

The sentiment among most first-time parents is this: “Our lives are going to change and they’ll never be the same!” Kendrick and I have accepted this and do not feel a sense of regret, but rather a sense of present awareness. And so, we’ve been soaking up this time together as much as we can. We even took a spontaneous trip down the coast last weekend to Big Sur. At first it seemed a bit crazy to drive 2 1/2 hours to Big Sur and back in one day; but why not? We didn’t have anything holding us back.

We actually met a couple sitting next to us at dinner who had a 10-month old daughter and had driven all the way from San Diego for the weekend. We asked if they had been traveling much and the wife said, “Oh yes! She’s been on 5 planes this year, and we’ve even taken her camping. Having a child shouldn’t prohibit you from doing the things you love.”

img_3113

Our dinner view at Nepenthe in Big Sur– so worth the 2 1/2 hours we drove to get there!

img_3117

Made it just in time for sunset

I was so grateful for her refreshing outlook on parenthood. For the most part we’ve been lucky and have received encouraging comments from parents, but occasionally you have a parent who doesn’t hesitate to share their less than ideal experiences.

I understand that parenthood isn’t all roses, and that’s okay. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

Well, there is one promise I can make to my son that I know I can keep; which is this:

“I will not be perfect.”

This reflection came after reading Karl Pillemer’s book, “30 Lessons for Living“.  I recently found it on my bookshelf and realized I had never read it. Karl is a Professor at Cornell University and ran a study in which he interviewed several elderly around the country, who ranged in age from mid-sixties to 102! He compiled all the information from their interviews into a book of 30 overarching lessons that they wanted to pass on to the younger generations. The chapter that most intrigued me, especially at this phase in my life, was the one titled, “Nobody’s Perfect: Lessons for a Lifetime of Parenting“.

I have to admit, I actually read this chapter first instead of starting at the beginning of the book.  My two favorite lessons were these:

  1. It’s all about time
  2. Take a lifelong view of relationships with your children

Here’s what I wrote in my personal journal on this topic.

Dear son,

Your dad and I talk about the first lesson frequently because we feel it is the most important gift we can give you…our TIME. You will grow up so fast and we want to be there for you through it all. Our number one value is family, and so you can expect that we will make that a priority in our home. Some children have dads or moms who work too much and travel all the time and miss out on special life events. We don’t want to be those parents. We want you to remember us being present in your life and being part of the things that are important to you.

2. We realize that once we become parents, we will always be parents. Even when you leave the home, we will never stop being your mom and dad. However, our relationship will change when you’re older. You will no longer have to report to us, you will be in charge of your own life. And so we hope that the values we teach you in the home will follow you into adulthood. The decisions we make in the next 18 years will lead to either a positive or negative relationship in the future; and so I pray that God will guide us with the wisdom to be the best parents we can be for you and that we foster a healthy, positive relationship with you.

We also realize that we are not perfect; so there may be times when we make a wrong decision or say something we don’t mean. Please know that no matter what happens, we will always love you- because you are part of us. You were created by God, but you share me and your father’s DNA. There is no one else in the world like you,  and there never will be- even your siblings will be different.

If you ever doubt my love for you- I hope you will read this and find comfort. You are SO loved and as we get ready to become parents, we can’t promise perfection, although we commit to do our best to:

  1. Listen
  2. Maintain openness
  3. Have good intentions

Te amo meu filho, (I love you my son)

 

To my parent readers: If you were being interviewed, what lesson(s) would you give to the younger generations on parenthood?

Please leave your comments below! 🙂 

PS- thought I’d include an updated bump picture! 37 weeks, 4 days along…we’re in the final stretch!

img_3148

 

 

7 Tips for Mindful Eating during the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching, (Thanksgiving is already next week!)  I’ve put together a list of tips to ease your feasting anxiety. 😉

  1. Don’t let the fear of the Thanksgiving Day feast cause you to start dieting now. Instead of restricting your favorite foods the week before Thanksgiving, practice eating mindfully so that when turkey day comes, you don’t find yourself with the excuse to suddenly binge on anything and everything you find enjoyable. Remember, it’s all about balance. Drastic highs and lows in your diet do not do any good. Learning to eat healthy consistently will be much better for you than extreme dieting, binging, and then dieting again.
  2. Offer to bring a dish (and make sure it’s a healthy one). If you’re not the one hosting Thanksgiving, ask the hostess if you can bring a dish. Having a healthy option can bring you a sense of relief if you’re unsure of what the menu will consist of. Chances are there will be someone else secretly thanking you for bringing something they don’t feel guilty eating. I brought this delicious kale salad to Thanksgiving last year, and it was such a hit..seriously! I even had a guest request the recipe and she’s told me she makes it regularly for her family. Another favorite holiday salad of mine is a spinach salad with roasted strawberries and almonds. The roasted strawberries are warm and gooey when they come out of the oven and provide just the right amount of sweetness. Check out the recipe here. spinach-salad
  3. Schedule your exercise for the day. Plan a hike, walk, or go to your favorite exercise class in the morning. (If you live in the Bay Area, visit us at Studio K-Fit for our annual Pre-Turkey Burn workout! 😉 ) Remember, high intensity exercise allows your body to continue burning calories even after the workout is over. If you can’t get out before dinner, plan to do a walk after. This will help fight that ‘sluggish’ feeling and also help you digest your meal faster than if you took a nap or sat on the couch. If you’ve been inside cooking all day you’ll feel grateful to get out of the house for some fresh air.
  4. Use a plate when nibbling. When you’re at a holiday party, or standing around the kitchen waiting for the roast turkey, be sure to pick up a plate so you’re mindful of what’s going in your mouth. The more steps you take to observe the food that’s in front of you before you eat it, the less likely you’ll overindulge in that cheese dip.
  5. HYDRATE. Instead of grabbing a beer or pouring a glass of wine when you arrive, opt for a glass of water. Drinking an alcoholic beverage while also munching on hors d’oeuvres will most likely cause you to overeat/eat more than you planned. If you opt for a glass of wine at dinner, be sure to follow it up with a glass of water. Drinking water in between courses will not only aid in digestion, but also trigger a cue to your brain letting you know you’re full.
  6. Assess your dinner plate. Does it contain a protein (turkey) and at least 1 serving of vegetables (corn doesn’t count). Instead of grabbing a biscuit, mashed potatoes, AND stuffing – choose 1 or 2 of your favorites. For me, I would choose mashed potatoes because it’s something I never make myself. Bread is easy to come by, so I usually pass up the dinner rolls at Thanksgiving. Be mindful if your veggies are loaded in cheese or a cream sauce. If you were munching on cheese and crackers before dinner, choose to eat more turkey and green beans and/or carrots during your main meal; especially if you have a sweet tooth like me and know you won’t be able to refuse a slice of pie. Remember, you control your food- not the other way around!
  7. Slow down and enjoy the experience. Savor the foods smell and texture. Engage in the dinner table conversation and thank those that helped prepare the meal. You don’t have to refuse Grandma’s pumpkin pie, but take small bites and give yourself time to digest afterwards before helping yourself to seconds.

Having a game plan before going to a party this holiday season will help you to make smarter decisions when temptation comes knocking. Instead of completely eliminating everything you love, choose which vice you would rather indulge in. For example:

“I will drink sparkling water with hors d’oeuvres instead of wine.”

“I will have a glass of wine instead of having a slice of pie for dessert.”

“I will eat the sour cream mashed potatoes at dinner instead of eating these macaroni and cheese bites as an appetizer.”

The holidays don’t have to undo all your hard work from this year. With these mindful tips, you’ll be sure to have a healthy, and happy holiday season 🙂

36 Week Update + Embarking on a New Season

Just like the changing leaves, the weeks and days are quickly falling and bringing us closer to the day we’ve been anticipating for the past 8 months. A year ago, we spent a serendipitous weekend in NYC. Although I grew up not far from the city, I never spent much time there except during Christmas; which I now regret because I missed out on enjoying the beauty of the city when it was not 30 degrees outside. The weekend was memorable in more ways than one, and if you’d like to read an inspiring story to lift your spirits today, read this post my husband wrote about why he ran the NYC Marathon. http://www.kendrickfitness.com/inspiration/christys-262-miles-for-hope

He was accepted to run it again this year, however he gave up his spot because he had a hunch I would be pregnant, which was correct! He figured I wouldn’t be happy, (and he wouldn’t feel comfortable) traveling across the country a month before my potential due date. He’s hoping to run it next year, in which case he’ll have an extra cheerleader in the crowd! 🙂 I would love to make it an annual trip, because NYC is SO beautiful in the Fall.

img_7871

Today, we’re at the 36 week mark and when I watched my weekly progress video, they re-iterated the fact that in the past 6 months, this little one’s grown from a sesame seed to a 6 pound, 20 inch miracle.

Here’s what I’ve been up to in the past week:

  • washed the baby’s clothes and blankets/linens
  • got his car seat installed
  • started having Braxton Hicks contractions
  • made a list of what I need in my hospital bag
  • scheduled our newborn photographer (thanks Amanda for the recommendation!) http://jessiesalasphoto.com/index2.php#/home/
  • scheduled my last haircut before baby arrives!

Despite the chaos of the past week, I stop and think about what myself and millions of other women around the World are doing- growing  a baby! Every single person alive on this planet (yes, even Donald Trump) started out as a little sesame seed and grew into the human being they are today. During one of my walks this week, I found myself thinking about the man our son will become. In the book I shared in my last post, (Praying Through Your Pregnancy) the author dedicates one chapter to praying for your child’s future spouse. At first it sounded silly, “why should I be praying about that now?” But time moves quickly…even more so when you have children (so I hear). I couldn’t help envisioning what he will look like when he reaches Kendrick’s age, and what kind of woman he will fall in love with. (I even pictured his name on a wedding invitation!)

I’ve been praying everyday for his character…for him to grow up to be a man of integrity and do what is right, even if it’s not the popular choice. This past week we voted for a new President. I wrote in my journal on Election Day and reflected on how far we’ve come as a nation. I thought back to the last big election in 2008 when I was a freshman in college. It was such an amazing time in history and I am so glad I experienced it on a college campus. Whether you voted for Obama or not, the eruption that exploded after he was named President was thrilling. I remember the cheers in the dorm halls and the dancing in the streets.

On Tuesday, I thought about how in 8 short years, history could be made again with the first female President. We now know this was not meant to be, but what an incredible time to be alive. No matter what you believe, or who you voted for, I want to share a verse that Hillary quoted in her concession speech. It gave me chills when I heard it, because it was the exact same verse I picked out to pray over my son over 4 months ago!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we shall reap a harvest if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9

hillary-quote

My son,

Never stop doing good. Never stop loving others, no matter how hard it may be. And never stop fighting for what you believe in.

Love Always,

Mom ❤

Week 34 Reflections…or should I say ramblings ;)

Here we are…week 34! Only 6 short weeks until this little one arrives. I’ve been thinking a lot about how our lives are going to change, and it hit me that November will be the last month we are just Kendrick and Angela. By December, we’ll be mom and dad…how crazy!

I know that technically I’m a mother now, because I’m carrying a baby inside me…but once he’s out in the world, I’ll transition from just Angela…to Angela, aka Mommy. I brought it up to Kendrick this week and said, “Babe, I’m forever going to be Mom. Like, it’s going to be on my epitaph now.”

“How morbid,” he replied.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally thrilled about becoming a mother…and I feel so blessed to even be able to go through this process. I have loved every minute of being pregnant and will miss carrying him because it’s been so amazing to feel his every move. I smile when I look down at my belly because I know he’s safe and protected.

This week he’s the size of a pineapple…and about 5 pounds! He’s between 19-22 inches long, which I still can’t imagine but explains why my belly pulls itself in opposite directions when he stretches.

It’s been 2 weeks since I went on maternity leave and it feels like the days go by a little slower now. Without a regular schedule, it feels like I have so much freedom. I’ve been sleeping in as late as I want, trying to convince myself not to feel guilty since once he’s here I won’t be getting any sleep!

People have been asking me if I’m ‘nesting’, and I tell them I’ve been doing that since July. Once we found out we were having a boy, I started browsing furniture and gender specific nurseries on Pinterest. I knew I wanted a calming, neutral palette- no bold colors or crazy patterns. I fell in love with a design I saw here and used it as inspiration moving forward. I actually ordered the same exact crib pictured here, and also the same blue paint color. Once the room is complete (just waiting on the chair to arrive!) I will write a separate blog post with details as to where we got everything.  🙂

We moved into a new apartment at the end of May, which jump-started my obsession with getting rid of our junk. Anything we hadn’t been using, I tossed. I knew that we would be accumulating a whole lot more stuff once baby came, and that thought was enough to scare me into major closet purging.  After my parents came to visit in August, I started tackling the guest room closet, which would now be the baby’s closet. We had been storing Kendrick’s clothes there temporarily, so I now faced the challenge of combining our wardrobes. I found myself at The Container Store more than once that week, crazily organizing every bit of space I could. The less we had, the better; if I noticed a shirt or pair of pants Kendrick never wore, I tossed it in the donation pile.

Well, after all my crazy antics, his room was finally ready to be decorated. Since we’re in a rental, Kendrick  initially opposed to painting his room. It took some convincing, but in the end I played the pregnant wife card to my advantage. 😉

As I mentioned above, today is a new week of development for Baby K-Fit. Since the day I found out I was pregnant, I’ve been keeping a journal that I plan to make into a book as a keepsake. I’ve been writing it in every week, sometimes two or three times a week depending on life events. It’s been so special to look back on what I wrote the day we heard his heartbeat, and when we found out the gender. Another ritual has been reading a weekly pregnancy guide called, “Praying through your Pregnancy“. My mother-in-law read through the book last year with my sister-in-law and when I told her I was pregnant, she suggested doing the same thing. I loved the idea so much that I shared it with my mom as well. Because I live so far away from both of them, this is something that has kept us linked through this process. The author shares little bits from her own pregnancy journal each week, information on baby’s development and related scripture and prayers.

Back in Week 16, I chose two verses that I would continue to pray during my pregnancy. The first was from Matthew 6:21 which says,

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I chose this because it is also a quote in Kendrick and I’s favorite book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. We want our son to always trust his heart, because it is the most powerful thing he possesses.

The second verse I chose was based on the character quality I desire most for my son:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

Kendrick and I believe kindness will get you farther in life than any other trait. We also believe in the law of reciprocity. What you put out in the world comes back to you, not necessarily in the same form or right away, but in other ways you may not expect. Therefore, if you continue to be kind and do good onto others, that goodness will come back to you.

 

 

 

If you’re a Mommy, I’d love to hear about any special rituals you did/do during pregnancy.

Thanks for reading!

xo

❤ Angie & Baby

Cinnamon & Sugar Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

I’ve always loved everything pumpkin…maybe a little bit too much. In high school, I couldn’t wait for the pumpkin spice lattes to make their debut, the Wawa pumpkin muffins, and Dunkin Donuts pumpkin donuts. (For those who don’t know, Wawa is a gas station/convenience store chain on the east coast.)

One Thanksgiving, my family and I traveled to Lewisburg, PA to spend the weekend with our extended family. We stopped at Wawa to grab our favorite treats for the road – pumpkin lattes and a very large pumpkin muffin for me. Everything was fine and dandy until we started driving on some very windy, back roads. I get car sick easily, and suddenly that delicious pumpkin muffin I had enjoyed about an hour earlier was starting to make another appearance. I had my dad pull over and I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

I thought that experience would forever taint my enjoyment for pumpkin flavored things…but I am happy to say that enough time has passed now, that I am no longer scarred.  I’m glad because I really do love pumpkin. 😉

I wanted to enjoy apple season first, before I broke out the canned pumpkin. This weekend felt like an appropriate time to finally make something pumpkin.  I was inspired to make these pumpkin muffins from Hanna, of The Healthiest Me. She made a healthy version using whole wheat flour and applesauce instead of oil. I modified a bit and used white flour instead, because when you’re pregnant, it’s easier for your body to break down white flour instead of whole wheat. Obviously, eating starchy carbs can attribute to faster weight gain, so it’s not recommended that you over-indulge in these foods. But, at the end of the day whether you consume white flour, or whole wheat flour, they both turn to sugar in the body and therefore there’s not much of a difference in choosing the healthier “whole wheat” option.

These were easy to make, and the best part was the delicious cinnamon and sugar glaze I drizzled over them while hot. Ideally, I wanted to do a powdered sugar glaze, but didn’t have any powdered sugar on hand.

Here’s the recipe:

Cinnamon & Sugar Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour (or whichever you prefer)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups organic pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • dash of milk as needed (can also use soy or almond)

Directions:

  1. Beat together the wet ingredients (pumpkin, applesauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla).
  2. Add in the pumpkin spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and 1 cup of flour. Mix together until all flour is incorporated.
  3. Add in the additional 3/4 cup of flour and mix thoroughly.
  4. Throw in a dash of salt and milk.
  5. Scoop batter into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. **Oven times can vary- I set the timer for 15 minutes first, checked the insides, and cooked for an additional 3 minutes.

For the glaze:

  1. Stir together a mixture of white sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of milk.
  2. Spoon the glaze over the warm muffins. **If you have powdered sugar, you can make a glaze of powdered sugar and water. I do not have exact measurements for this, but you don’t want the glaze to be too runny, so be careful when adding the milk.

 

This recipe makes 14-15 muffins. I suggest storing the muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator once cooled. Since the glaze contains milk, I didn’t want them to get moldy sitting on the counter. When you’re ready to indulge, just pop one in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and enjoy 😉

 

 

 

Entering Maternity Leave & Hiring a New Trainer

This week I trained my last client before becoming a momma. I’ve been reluctant to admit how hard training has become on my body, because I’ve had a wonderful pregnancy thus far. I like staying active, and the thought of going on maternity leave made me fear that I would be sitting on the couch watching reruns of Friends all day.

Being a business owner, I knew the implications of taking a maternity leave…it didn’t mean paid vacation, it meant paying someone else to take over my job. In the past, it’s been difficult for us to find trainers that we feel are 1) Qualified; and 2) a good match for our Studio. We’ve received plenty of resumes with pictures attached of candidates flexing or even worse, sending a video of themselves grunting and posing in front of a mirror. To say we were nervous about diving back into the candidate pool is an understatement. The fitness field can be full of egotistical trainers, and we wanted to stay far away from those people as we could.

My favorite thing about our Studio is that we are community driven. We want everyone who steps in the door to feel welcome and accepted, and not intimated. We expect our members to greet their fellow classmates by name, and come in with a positive attitude. We live in the Silicon Valley, so we know the pressure and stress our members face every day in the workplace. We want the Studio to be a haven or “happy place” for people to come and de-stress; not just physically, but mentally as well.

Another “rule” we have in the Studio is for people to make friends. We encourage people to not only learn each other’s name, but to learn about them. If you’re gone for a week, you better believe there will be someone in your class asking where you’ve been. It creates accountability that you otherwise might not have had if you were attending a class with 30 people, who never said Hi or Bye to you. That’s why we keep our classes small, not only for accountability reasons, but so that we can correct people’s form and make sure they’re doing the exercises correctly. My biggest pet peeve is when I try an exercise class and see that people are doing things incorrectly. I can’t help but cringe and think, “How come no one is correcting them??”

The most common mistakes are with lunges and squats. Too often I see someone do a squat where they drop their hips too low, or do a lunge with their knee over their ankle. I’ve always told my clients to remember the magic number…which is “90” for 90 degrees. Your knee in a lunge should be at a 90 degree angle, and same with your squat- you should always keep your butt out to protect the lower back. The minute you drop those hips, say hello to serious back pain.

left leg lunge

Proper lunge form

squat

Proper Squat form

Now that I’ve gone off on a tangent about proper form, I’ll get back to our hiring process. Thankfully enough, this time around we had much better luck with the trainer pool. We interviewed some great candidates, even some that we felt were over-qualified for the job. In the end, we found our perfect match!  She couldn’t have come at a more perfect time as well. I’ve been struggling with serious back pain these last couple weeks, and feared how much longer I’d be able to train if we didn’t find someone. The universe works in mysterious ways, and it was like God knew exactly what we needed, at the time we needed it. I feel totally confident that our new trainer will do an excellent job taking over for me. In the meantime, you’ll find me blogging and writing more, and also doing lots of back end stuff for the business like marketing and advertising.

I feel so blessed to be in a position where I can take the time off I need to prepare for this new  life coming soon. I’m also incredibly thankful to have such a supportive husband who has encouraged me in this new phase, and understands how important rest and relaxation is for both me and baby. It’s only been 3 days, but I think this new adjustment is working well so far…( I haven’t even watched one episode of Friends)  😉

Thanks for reading and encouraging me to keep this blog going.

Sending good vibes your way on this Friday 🙂

xo

My favorite Fall dish: Sweet Potato & Quinoa Turkey Chili

Wood-burning stoves, chilly air, falling leaves, pumpkin spice, and everything nice… Fall is here and I couldn’t be more excited! For a majority of my life thus far, Fall meant trading in my flip-flops and sunglasses for backpacks and boots. I cherished those hot, summer days because the east-coast winters were so harsh. Now, living on the west coast, I have a new appreciation for Fall. The months of September and October are actually the most ideal here in the Bay Area…the coast is warm and clear; a welcome relief from the cold fog that covers it during the summer. My first Fall here in California, I didn’t expect the leaves to change like they do on the east coast- so when I started witnessing those red, orange, and yellow leaves covering our streets, I was ecstatic! We truly live in the most perfect climate in all the country- we still get the change of seasons, but we don’t have to deal with those miserable winter mornings scrapping ice off our windshields. Before you start feeling sorry for us missing out on a White Christmas, Lake Tahoe is only 3 hours away…so when we crave the snow, we just head up there.

I have to say my favorite thing about Fall is breaking out my pumpkin candles – they make our little apartment feel so cozy, it makes me want to curl up on the couch with a bowl of warm apple crisp and a good book. My second favorite thing is breaking out my CrockPot again which somehow gets forgotten during the summer months. I made my first batch of chili for the season last night, and wanted to share the love with you!

This is hands down my favorite chili recipe – it’s packed with so much goodness and spice, it’s like Fall in a bowl for me. AND it’s super healthy – I like using ground turkey because it’s lighter than ground beef, but there are so many other ingredients that it’s just as filling as a beef chili.

Ok so have I convinced you to try this yet?? What are you waiting for…time to get cooking! 🙂

chili-with-sweet-potatoes

chili-with-quinoa

chili-cooked

Mrs. K-Fit’s Sweet Potato & Quinoa Turkey Chili

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 15oz can black beans
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1lb) peeled and chopped small
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, sour cream or tortilla chips

 

Directions

Add ground turkey and onion to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season liberally with salt and pepper then cook until no longer pink, breaking turkey up as it cooks. Add garlic then cook for 30 more seconds and add to a 6 quart crock pot. Add remaining ingredients, except toppings, into crock pot then cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 5-6 hours, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Serve with toppings.

 

chili with avocado.JPG