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wellBEing weekends: functional fitness

wellBEing weekendsI haven’t stepped foot into a gym for workout purposes in over 3 years.  Not that you need a gym for fitness.

Since I was pregnant with my son, I still did some swimming, intense walking and hiking.  Post-pregnancy, I did some martial arts (a little too much too soon), and some intermittent running training, but I didn’t have a much needed routine for fitness.

Oh have I missed the routine.  Intense workouts with a surge of accomplishment afterward.  There may be a serious soreness after-the-fact, but THAT’s what I missed.

But this past month, I got to get back into a routine at the Crossfit Charlottesville On-Ramp class–a class that eases prospective gym members into the basics of weightlifting, rowing, stretching, and functional fitness skills with attention to safety, proper form, and complex movements that are broken down into small, digestible movements.

Workout #1, my Crossfit On-Ramp comrades and I muscled our way through a tough workout.  Today, eleven workouts later, we repeated that same workout from day one, and we crushed it.

Workout #1 & #12:

  • Row 200 m
  • 3 rounds of 15-12-9 repetitions of air squats, push-ups, and ring rows
  • Row 200 m

My time during the first workout was 7:12.  Today, I shaved off almost 2 minutes with a 5:21.  Yeah!  Also, in four weeks, I’ve lost one size and most of my winter pudge.

What is a typical Crossfit workout? Well, you can visit Crossfit.com to play along with the workout of the day.  You can read more about “what is Crossfit?,” too.  The Charlottesville Crossfit has its own workout of the day postings, plus social event postings.

Crossfit Classes

Small classes vary from groups of three to seven.  Based on the workout of the day, you lift weight or do as many repetitions of a specific exercise within a given amount of time.  Over time, you get stronger, faster, and healthier.

Our on-ramp class began with seven people.  Yet, due to busy schedules we  ended with the three of us in the photo, plus our awesome trainer Ben chilling in the middle of the tire.

By the way, one night after a workout, three of us did tire lifts and flips–that is one heavy tire, let me tell ya!

If you think Crossfit sounds too intense for new moms, think again.  Two of us in on-ramp were breastfeeding moms…one mom just had a baby three months ago!

Can’t wait for my husband to do his on-ramp class so that we can both join as members.  I’m so excited about Crossfit!

*Note: I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I just love Crossfit’s fitness philosophy, and I’ve been a fan for years.  I paid for the On-Ramp class, and I’ll pay for my membership in the very near future.

Whites or Brights?

This weekend, we’re discussing learning by living…one of the best teachers of all time.

Since our son could confidently walk and understand instruction (that happens much earlier than the walking), we’ve encouraged him to take part in helping out around the home.

There are times when I’m the sole person picking up a bunch of toys on the floor, but usually, my son is eager to do this task with me or on his own.  He races as fast as he can to put away his toy cars and trains.

Sometimes we make it a game…

The incentive may be to pick up the toys before an even more fun event occurs, such as helping me in the kitchen with dinner.

Besides picking up toys, Calvin learned to put his dirty clothes (and sometimes clean clothes) in the laundry hamper.

When I ask, or often without prompting, he’ll throw away paper bits or other rubbish into the nearest trash can.

Not that I’m particularly fond of this activity, but after he goes into his potty (after repeatedly see his daddy and me dump it into the toilet), he also has taken the initiative to dump the contents.  At first, I objected because that left a much greater mess for me to clean.

Now, I let him do it…and he seldom spills a drop.  He’s got the pour down perfectly.

The more household chores and tasks he sees us do, the more he wants to do them, too.  For our son, work is fun, and it’s not a chore.  Sure, I have to oversee some of his activities, and often I have a bigger mess to clean up than if he’d never got involved, but he’s learning and appreciating everything from preparing snacks and meals to taking out the trash.

I realize the day will come when he no longer considers these things fun, but for now, I love watching him grow in independence and confidence enjoying the things that need to be done.  It’s such fun for us as a family!


Jokingly, I tell my husband that I yearn for the day when our son will do his own laundry (since I have an infinite pile of washing or folding to do almost every day—it never ends!).

Well, that day has arrived.

I’d asked Calvin to drag the laundry hamper to the laundry room.  Not only was he having a blast pulling it along the tile floor, but he proceeded to pull out each article of dirty clothing to show me and name it.  Uhm, yeah, thanks for holding up Mommy’s dirty socks.  That’s great! (and so on, and so forth).

When I checked on him, I realized the hamper wasn’t nearly as full as it was when I handed it to him.  Sure enough, he was busy loading up the washer with everything. His big brown hooded moose towel, and my white athletic socks.

I didn’t undo his efforts in front of him.  Rather, his daddy and I both clapped and praised him for doing such an awesome big boy task.  I lauded him for being a great Mommy’s helper.  (Later on, when he was busy doing something else, I pulled the whites out of the washer load and started the wash cycle).


Confession: There are times when I’d rather he didn’t help me in the kitchen (most of the time), and when I’m folding laundry, he’s jumping on the piles or “putting it away” by dumping a stack of clothes into a basket in his closet.

In my mind, I calculate the amount of time it will take me to fix the mess.  Some days, I’m not a calm and relaxed mommy, and I get a little uptight about the extra “work”.  Other days (and I wish this was my attitude all the time), I enjoy watching my son learn and grow and find that far more valuable than sweeping up spilled buckwheat flour on the kitchen floor.

YOUR TURN: What’s your approach to picking up your child’s toys?  Do you do all of it?  Do you “race” with your child and make it a fun game?  Do you offer a reward?  In what other ways do you involve your child for household tasks?

wellBEing weekends: learning by living

Welcome to a semi-weekly series on Traveling with Baby, wellBEing weekends.  Each weekend (Friday – Sunday), wellBEing weekends will feature health-related news, recipes, and fresh tips on wholesome health for your family’s well BE-ing.

This weekend, we’ll explore learning by living.  It’s the pioneering spirit that many families use to teach their children through the joys of everyday living.

I’ll share what works for our family, and why I think it’s a huge benefit to our son…but, I’d also love to hear from you!

YOUR TURN: I want to know…do you teach your child by example?  Do you involve your child in daily activities around the home?  Or, do you do most things for your child, and just want to wait until he’s older to get him involved?  What’s your approach?

For more on learning by living, read Whites or Brights? and Acquiring a Second Language.

Good Morning, Saturday

This past weekend our sleep was a little rough. We’re starting to go about 8 hours between feedings, but Lucien is rousing/fussing a few times during the night, which means mommy is rocking the babe in his bed or giving him a pacifier. He’s 14 weeks, and in the 90th percentile, so I know he’s not hungry during the night – he’s just used to nursing!

I feel like we’re on the cusp of getting some serious sleep, but while we’re going longer between feedings it doesn’t mean catching more zzz’s … yet! Saturday morning was lovely though, since we got to sleep in. Lucien nursed at 7am and fell back asleep. I was tempted, tired as I was, to get up and start my day but as luck would have it he (and we) got to sleep until 9:30! I snapped these pictures just before he woke up.

Your turn: What do you do to encourage healthy sleep with your children? How old were they when you started to try for a full night of sleep?

wellBEing weekends

Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, wellBEing weekends, formerly known as  Health Happy Round-Up.

Each weekend (Friday – Sunday), wellBEing weekends will feature health-related news, recipes, and fresh tips on wholesome health for your family’s well BE-ing.


I’m getting back into the groove of the regular columns on Traveling with Baby after taking a hiatus from the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.  If you missed out on the great prizes, never fear, we have more gift guides lined up for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day!


While Calvin’s napping, I’m going to use Elisa’s recipe for yummy banana bread, but I’m going to use a gluten-free flour combo of buckwheat and brown rice flour.  It’s the perfect thing to make with several bananas that are over-ripe!

Actually, we’re going to make a more concerted effort to feature delicious and healthy food recipes on Traveling with Baby.  If YOU have a recipe you’d like to share, please e-mail me [drgarnecki at gmail dot com].  We’d be happy to feature YOUR great foodie ideas for healthy and delicious meals and snacks for the whole family.

Last month, we talked about ways to engage in fitness as a family.  A lot of that family fitness stuff got put on hold when we were dealing with an indoor flood, immediately followed by Snowmageddon.  Boy, did I get a lot of cleaning and furniture rearranging done!  Turns out Elisa B did the very same thing.  If women and children are stuck inside for days on end, we can be VERY productive!

Although re-organizing our tiny living space was a plus, the lack of sunshine and ability to run outdoors was KILL-ING me.  My son was asking every 5 minutes of every day to “go to the playgwound to play with tids”.  Thankfully, a few “tids” came to visit us at our home and at the office, so my son’s developing social cravings could get met.

Back to the fitness thing…lifting heavy furniture and boxes was a great workout.  However, I am yearning to run.  I’m so eager to get back to it that I’m setting a goal: a 5k race in mid-April.

I’ve been asking my women running friends to join Elisa and me as we run and train to complete our first 5k race since both of us were pregnant and had our sons.  I have not run in a race since 2006…it’s been too long.  The Race for Autism is raising funds for the Virginia Institute of Autism–a day-school and resource center for families and health professionals on autism.

Charlottesville Moms, will you join me in training and running in this 5k on April 17th?  This race is a great opportunity for you to promote family fitness by living as the example, and you’ll help raise money for an organization that is working to help families with autism–a condition that affects one in every 150 children in the United States (according to a survey by the Washington Post).

We’re going to create an exclusive Team Traveling with Baby // Team Bridal Ring running shirt (it will be pretty and flattering) for all the gals who join us for this upcoming race.  First, register for the race (it’s only $20 before the day of the race), then leave a comment that you’ve done so, and that you want to participate on Team Traveling with Baby.  Next, we’ll keep working on the design for the shirt that you can pick up and wear on race day.

Are you excited?  I am SO excited!

Let’s DO this!

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WellBEing Weekends: Prevent Cold & Flu

Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, wellBEing weekends, formerly known as  Health Happy Round-Up.

Each weekend (Friday – Sunday), wellBEing weekends will feature health-related news, recipes, and fresh tips on wholesome health for your family’s well BE-ing.


I keep hearing about people in our city who have the flu…not something I want to experience first-hand.  It’s January, and winter cold and flu season isn’t over yet.

So, this weekend, I’m going to share a re-cap of some great posts on cold and flu prevention and provide a few more fresh ideas on how you can stay healthy and flu-free.

Wont you join me?

  1. Wash your hands (and your kids’ hands) frequently.  Hand-washing can tend to lead to raw and chapped skin, so I’d recommend a soothing and protective barrier of good ol’ coconut oil or a coconut oil based lotion stick.  My personal fave is the coconut & lime lotion stick by Bubble & Bee Organic.
  2. Gargle with warm salt water 1-2 times per day. Salt water will prevent bacterial growth and soothe a burning throat caused by sinus drainage.
  3. Eat foods rich in anti-oxidants and supplement with Vitamin C (with rose hips), 2000 I.U. of Vitamin D (liquid drops), and zinc. Anti-oxidants pair with free radicals or unpaired electrons that go ballistic in your body trying to pair the unstable energy of an electron.  The free radicals lead to cell damage in every area of your body.  This process beats you up even more when your body’s immunity is fighting off a virus.  So, give yourself a helping hand and take in anti-oxidants to pair-up with those tortuous free radicals.
  4. Drink nutritious and healthy warm liquids. The body responds better to liquids closer to your internal body temperature than to icy or cold liquids.  Caffeine is an inflammatory stimulant that decreases the size of veins and arteries throughout the body, preventing antioxidants and blood from carrying nutrition to the cells.  Avoid caffeine, ice, and sugary beverages.  Instead, stick with lemon water, ginger tea, green tea, white tea, and anti-oxidant rich juices (pomegranate, cherry, blueberry) or coconut water.  Good old fashioned chicken soup is also wonderful to stay healthy and to keep your body fueled well.
  5. Get enough rest so your body can heal and repair. Tough to do this when you’re pregnant or taking care of small children.  However, it’s far better to go to bed earlier during cold and flu season in order to avoid getting sick than to catch a cold and wish all you could do was rest.  Get 7-8 hours regularly…your body will thank you.
  6. Visit your chiropractor for regular check-ups. Most people wait until they’re miserable with a cold or flu before they take action.  Some just go straight to the drug counter to self-medicate or just ride it out.  When you’re spine is properly aligned, your nervous system and immune system can function to their highest level of ability and fight off disease.

For the rare times that my family gets sick, chiropractic treatment is the first thing we do followed by the other steps mentioned above. . . and we tend to get back on our feet within a few days (as opposed to the average American with cold or flu who takes weeks to bounce back).  At the very least (and truly, there are far greater benefits), chiropractic care is wonderful for achy backs and muscles and for helping to relieve congested sinuses.

For case studies on chiropractic and sinus infections, keep reading this compilation from the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association.

For more cold & flu prevention reading, check out these other great posts:

Feverishly good – tips on determining a safe fever range for small children, and when you should call the doctor.

Conquering croup naturally – If you’ve ever heard your baby’s dreaded bark-like cough in the middle of the night, you know it’s a very scary sound.  Learn how to help a little one with the croup and avoid unnecessary and expensive trips to the E.R.

Natural cold care during pregnancy is as easy as visiting your local health foods store and chiropractor.

YOUR TURN: What are your favorite cold and flu prevention techniques?  What do you do to nurture yourself or your kids back to health if you do catch a cold or flu?

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*I was not endorsed for any products mentioned in this post.  I used my hard-earned income to purchase them, and I love them!

Yoga with Kids…Really! {Giveaway}

Are you a veteran yoga practitioner, or have you dabbled in a yoga class at your local gym, or does yoga sound like something you’d like to try, but it’s hard to fit it into your busy life?

If you fit into any of the three categories above, then a yoga video is the way to go.  There are several great yoga videos available on the market.

Continuing with this weekend’s theme of family fitness, I was eager to learn about Tot Yoga–A teaching DVD specifically designed for parents and their children ages 10 months to 3 years, hosted by Khadi Madama.

Regardless of your experience-level in yoga, you can pop Tot Yoga into your DVD player, and follow along, or just learn creative ways to incorporate relaxation, stretching, and creative play with your toddler.

I learned better ways to stretch, and my son enjoyed imitating me and the kids on the video.  We had fun playing together, and I even got a chance to feel like I accomplished something toward my fitness goals.

After yoga, I was inspired to bust out with the jogging stroller and hit the sidewalks for my first run of 2010, even if several of them are STILL covered with icy snow.

Enjoying yoga-bonding with my son

My son enjoys the poses that mimic animals–something he already naturally does in his play.  In fact, he loves performing “the dinosaur” complete with a specific walk and sound effects.  But, that’s a post for another day…

Tot Yoga DVD retails for $20 on Totyoga.com and Amazon.com.  Running time is approximately 40 minutes.


As a mom, I feel like my son’s nap time is precious time for me to catch up on all the things that I can’t exactly do when he’s awake.

Do I do the dishes or laundry?

Do I work on writing up blog posts or catch up on phone calls?

Seldom do I ask myself if I should just take time out for me to stretch, relax, exercise, or just rest on the couch.  But, after doing some Tot Yoga this week, as much fun as it is to exercise with my son, sometimes I appreciate stealing a few minutes of ME-time to stretch, pray, relax, and breathe.  It’s a beautiful thing.


One of our favorite new CDs for dancing and relaxing is Party Like a Twinkle Star by Charity and the JAMband.  It’s a 2-CD set, one for Party time or dancing in the living room with your child, and one for Twinkle time–stretch, do yoga poses, relax, and prepare for bedtime.

The vocals on the Twinkle CD are out of this world–tight a capella harmonies and soothing lullabies.  The Party CD includes fun songs about pancakes, s’mores, rocket ships, and a snazzy take on the favorite Row Your Boat. Check out jamjamjam.com for a free song download each month.

Party Like a Twinkle Star retails for $20 and can either be purchased as a 2-disc CD or as a full album download on the Charity and the Jamband site and Amazon.com. That’s $1 per song, 2 albums: playtime and sleepytime.

Note: if you’d prefer that your child doesn’t listen to the word “Booty” even as a reference to “bottom” then avoid the first track on the Party CD, “Get
Your Booty Out of Bed.”  I like both CDs quite a bit, but I don’t want my son going around saying the word “booty,” so we just skip over that one, and move on.

YOUR TURN: What ways have you found to make exercise fun with your child?  What do you do for yourself during your ME-time?


One winner will receive a copy of Tot Yoga DVD (retail value $20), and one winner will receive a copy of Party Like a Twinkle Star 2-Disc CD (retail value $20).

Even if you don’t win on this contest, EVERYONE can be a winner.  Just enter code TWB2010 on Amazon.comor Totyoga.com for a 15% savings on your Tot Yoga DVD purchase plus free standard shipping within the United States.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to January 30th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: Blog about this giveaway, then leave a comment with a link to your post.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Tweet (include @drdolly) about this giveaway, then leave a second comment telling me that you tweeted with a link to your tweet.

*I received product samples of Tot Yoga DVD and Party Like a Twinkle Star CD for the purpose of this review.  Read my full disclosure policy.
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Congratulations to the winners, #5 Lo won the Tot Yoga DVD, and #1 Carlita won the Party Like a Twinkle Star CD!

Family Exercise – Play Together

The family that plays together, stays FIT together.

This weekend, we’re discussing ways for families to incorporate together time and fitness.  Physical activity shouldn’t be a chore or a dreaded event.  Just like turning room clean-up into a game becomes more fun for the child (and the parent who’s spared of the disobedience or whining), physical activity where the entire family participates can be a fun experience where beautiful memories and healthy habits are created.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 16 percent of children (over 9 million) 6-19 years old are overweight or obese — a number that has tripled since 1980.  Over the past three decades the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years.

Experts agree that inactivity and poor eating habits contribute to obesity. While national guidelines recommend 150 minutes of physical activity each week for elementary children and 225 minutes for older children, only Illinois has a statewide requirement for daily physical education.

Why rely on the government to give your child his daily dose of exercise?  As a parent, I kinda feel like it’s my responsibility to teach my child how to live a strong and healthy life–I don’t think anyone else can do a better job with that than my husband and me.

Here’s three suggestions for families to engage in physical fitness while enjoying time together:

  • Go on a weekly nature hike. If you live in an area with varying terrain, the hike alone with increase the breathing and heart rate while giving everyone’s legs a good climbing workout.  If you live in a relatively flat area, then incorporate speed drills.  Run or race to a specific tree or marker that’s 10 or 20 feet away, and then walk, and repeat at varying markers throughout your route.

  • Go on a family bike ride. If you have older children who have bikes, then pick a route with minimal or no traffic.  If you have a bike trailer for smaller children, you can tow them in a low-traffic area.  They’ll learn to appreciate the time together and desire to exercise just like YOU!  Wouldn’t it be fun to have a bike trailer like the one *pictured above?

Do yoga or stretches together. Yoga for pregnant women, and post-partum moms is often a great way to help your body relax, and find balance with your constantly shifting center of gravity.  If you’re unsure of how to incorporate this back into your life once baby arrives, we’ll talk about some great tips for this later this weekend.

    • Do family calisthenics a few times a week. These are good, old-fashioned exercises such as jumping jacks, skipping, galloping, jumping across one end of the backyard to another.  If you’re familiar with other calisthenics, use those, too: crunches, push-ups, pull-ups.  Make it a game and do it together as a family.  Laugh, have fun, and encourage one another.

    A basic calisthenic exercise that small children usually do perfectly and innately by the time they learn to walk is the squat.  As they get a little older, children tend to forget how to do a perfect squat since they don’t do it all the time…well, at least not in our culture.  Kids and adults in several countries in Asia perform perfect squats their entire lives.Why is it important to learn how to do a good squat?

    The squat is a basic movement that we perform our entire lives.

    • We often bend down to pick something up, and then stand up.
    • Small children naturally squat with their feet flat on the ground, and then stand up using their stronger thigh, buttocks, and leg muscles.
    • Over time, we incorporate less of our strong thigh and buttocks muscles, and rely more on bending over with our backs.
    • Improper execution of this simple task can lead to wear and tear on the joints and discs in the low back over the course of time, resulting in back muscle strain, sciatica (or sharp/numb radiating back pain), and low back disc problems.

    Want to learn how to teach your kids the proper form for a squat?  Actually, do YOU want to learn a simple method to do a perfect squat?  Watch this 5 minute video by Crossfit instructor Jeff Martin (complete with two cute kids).

    YOUR TURN:  In what ways do you incorporate fitness into your family routine?

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    *Bicycle image above by Kamyar Adl via Flickr

    wellBEing weekends – Family Fitness

    Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, wellBEing weekends, formerly known as  Health Happy Round-Up.

    That other name is sooo 2009 (and a bit of a mouthful).  It’s 2010, and it’s time to freshen up the look and sound of this column.  It’s only a nominal change, and the content that you’ve grown to love will remain focused on the same vein.

    Each weekend (Friday – Sunday), wellBEing weekends will feature health-related news, recipes, and fresh tips on wholesome health for your family’s well BE-ing.


    This weekend, we’ll explore ways to incorporate fitness into your family’s regular routine.

    As a way to combat childhood obesity, it’s great to make fitness fun at an early age–part of the routine where the family can participate together.  You don’t want a future couch potato?  Then, start having regular and fun exercise days as a family…now!

    Perhaps you’ve got small children and you’re finding it challenging to get in a regular fitness routine while tending to the needs of your young ones.  I’ll address this real-life scenario that many moms endure everyday with some practical tips and suggestions.

    I’d also love to hear your ideas!

    So, check back later this weekend for more living and BEing well.  Oh, and did I mention that we’ll have some fun giveaways, too?  Yippee!

    For more wellBEing on family fitness…

    Family Exercise – Play Together

    Yoga with Kids…Really! {Giveaway}

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