Sunday, 31 March 2013

Week 4 and 5 Fitness Update

Week 4 and 5 Fitness has been a little more sporadic than the first 3 weeks. The last couple days were busy with the living room and dining room getting new cork laminate flooring installed. I spent lots of the 2 days, packing up stuff and unpacking it again after the floor was done. This meant my yoga space was unusable and kids needed to be carefully watched and contained to other rooms in the house.

Here is what I have been up to:

March16: Bikram Hot Yoga (90 minutes) - I tried doing Bikram a couple times between having Monkey and getting pregnant with LB. The room is 105 F, with 40% humidity - you pretty much start sweating when you enter. It feels brutal when you are doing it, but there is a definitely a exercise high at the end when you realize that you made it through.
March17:I was a slacker today. I did some toddler assisted pilates after dinner, but thats it. Oh well. A rest day is probably ok after 3 weeks.
March18: CrossFit: Worked on a lift called a snatch, not very good at it yet. WOD: 3 rounds of 30% pull-ups, max push ups, max sit ups, 30% squats. Completed in total: 13 pull ups (with 2 resistance bands giving me a hand), 37 push ups, 55 sit ups, 30 squats. Feeling like I am getting way stronger through the core. And I got an afternoon walk in with GeoDad, kids and the dog.
March19: CrossFit: During warm I realized I was quite stiff from all the squats and pushups the day before. Oh well. WOD: AMRAP(as many rounds as possible) in 15 minutes: 60 skips, 20 Kettlebell swings. Completed: 7 rounds with 8kg kettlebell and short break to make Monkey feel better about watching and not helping me skip. My new skipping rope is much better to use, but I am still a very poor skipper.
March20: 45 minute online yoga fusion. My body is starting to feel like it enjoys doing warrior poses and not like I am trying to torture my quads.
March21:CrossFit: Deadlift 5x3reps at 85% of your max. Not sure what my max is, but I can do 75lbs for 3 reps. WOD: 15-10-5 reps of Thrusters at 50% of max and deadlifts at 60% of max. Thrusters, 24 lbs thrusters and 55lbs deadlifts. Completed in 3:52. It felt awesome to get through the WOD. I felt strong and like I am finally 'getting' it at crossfit.
March22: Walk in the park with Monkey. She stayed on top of the crusty snow and I fell through up to my knees.
March23: 40 Minute Online Pilates.
March24: No exercise. First day off after a month. I felt super guilty all day, but the stars were not aligned to get it done. Kids were sick, so no walks outside with them. I started tutoring math again, which happened during Monkey's nap (this is when I normally do yoga/pilates at home). I could have done something after kids went to bed, but I wasn't motivated to exercise during my sewing time.
March25: CrossFit:  Strength: Box Squat – Test for 1RM - 110 lbsSitups – Test for max reps (cap @ 50) - 36Pushups – Test for max reps - 27WOD: Row for Max distance: 20 rounds of 15 sec on/10 sec rest -1446 m 
March26: No exercise. Absolutely no good reasons for it. Better get back on track tomorrow.
March27: 45 minute online Yoga Fusion. Got outside to do some spring shoveling/water management in the yard.
March28: CrossFit: Strength: Rack Jerk 85% 1RM: 5x3 reps. 55lbs. Working on form, I could probably do a fair bit more weight.. Next time. WOD: 3 Rounds: 1 minute max back squat @45% 1RM, 1 minute max pull ups, 1 minute max pushups, 1 minute rest. Total Completed: 50 squats, 11 pull ups (with a band), 54 push ups. 
March29: Walk with my Mom, the kids and the dog. I moved faster than Monkey with the dog, but it was a still a pretty leisurely walk.
March30: Redo flooring in living room and dining room. I supervised kids and took them for a walk while furniture was being moved.
March31: 45 minute online power yoga practice after getting the turkey in the oven.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday

Happy Wednesday
It has been a busy week so far. Both kids have stuffy noses and have rosy cheeks. Monkey is working on getting her 2 -year molars, and LB might be on his way to his first tooth. Neither has been sleeping well (so neither have GeoDad and I) which is cutting into my energy and motivation to get out of the house to exercise. On a plus side I have found a few new interesting times to sew.

Sunday I started tutoring math again for the first time in about 6 years. GeoDad and I were discussing that a bit more income would be good, and since we are staying with my mom for now, it would be possible for me to head out for an hour or two and do this. I was a math tutor in high school, and a bit during university (when my schedule allowed for it). I have always been a strong math student, and I enjoyed helping my friends with their homework, which is why I started tutoring way back then. Anyway, I was a bit rusty on Sunday and it was good that the student had a textbook. I definitely didn't remember all the formulas used in basic sequences and series, but we got through it and he was thankful.

The 2 sewing projects I have been doing are coming along very slowly. I have now basted 171 hexagons (see Hexagons in previous posts). I basted 8 at 3am a few nights ago while LB was wide awake and needing to poop. I also managed to basted 12 or 15 while he napped in my arms on Monday (this was much more tiring because I had to keep my right hand up in the air above him).

As for the cloth diaper project. It turns out I don't really enjoy sewing the elastic onto the PUL fabric. I like all the other steps and I like the outcome, but after I sew the elastic onto one cover I want to work on something else for the rest of the night. So one diaper a night seems to be my limit. I have completed 4 now. I am going to start using them, and until I have enough for a 2 day rotation, they will get washed everyday. From the looks it of it, they should fit Monkey too, I'm just not sure Monkey will lay still enough for me to do up the snaps on the front. I could also make some pull-up style ones for her, but I will get LB's done first.

In the mean time I am going to watch Monkey and LB learn to play 'together' with the tunnel in the living room.


Friday, 22 March 2013

Contest and Cloth Diaper Project

Hello Faithful Readers
I have entered LB's Quilt in a online Show & Tell Contest, you can see it and the other entries here at the Quilting Gallery. It would be great if you could put in a vote before Monday. If I win I get more fabric to sew with!

In other news, I finished one cloth diaper. It was a big learning curve because I have never sewn with elastic before, and PUL is very slippery so it doesn't like to stay in the fold over elastic. Anyway, it is done and the more I make the faster they will get.

Finished diaper

Multiple waist snaps allow him to grow

Pocket in the back (has elastic now)

Disposable LB is wearing right now... looks like the cloth will fit

Maybe I will get more sewing in tonight... LB isn't sleeping well so I have been going to bed early so I can be up with him in the wee hours. 

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Cloth Diaper Project

When I was pregnant with Monkey I swore that I would be faithful cloth diaper user. The reasons I want to do were pretty standard: It is better for the environment, large up front cost, but minimal cost afterwards, they look cute on babies bums, less diaper rash with natural fibers, yada, yada, yada. I spent hours and hours reading reviews trying to decide on the best style: One-sized, multiple sizes, All-in-ones, pocket diapers, prefolds and covers, snaps, pins, velcro... the options are endless.

Anyway, I finally settled and pick Bummis with the covers and prefolds. I got GeoDad to pick up a newborn starter kit when he was traveling in BC for work. Then we waited rather impatiently for Monkey to arrive so we could use them.

When Monkey did arrive her legs were too skinny for the leg elastic no matter how much I tightened the waistband. I was also way too exhausted too try and figure out anything better, so I used disposables. By the time she was about 2 months old her legs had thickened enough to use the cloth diapers, but I went on a 6 week vacation to see my Mom/Grandma/etc. I was not up to using cloth while I traveled, nor was I organized enough to figure it out while visiting and staying different places.

After my long vacation I was eager to get home and get using the cloth more consistently; and that is when my dryer started to die. It would take me 3 hours to dry a regular load of wash, never mind the thick prefolds that came with the Bummis diapers. I got a fancy new dryer for Christmas, but by then she had out grown the newborn sized cloth diapers.

Cloth diapering was a complete fail with Monkey, she is now potty training and hopefully will be out of diapers completely soon.

I thought I would give it a shot when LB was born. I waited a few days for him to get the very first tar like poo out of his system then I went for it. LB was in cloth 2.5 days out of 3 (I had to wash the diapers and it seemed easiest to do them all and the bag I kept the dirty ones in at once). The Bummis newborn sized covers worked really well with him until he was just over 3 months old. Then he got too long and they wouldn't wrap around his waist to close.

Since then we have been using disposables for both kids. It is costing us big time. So I am going to solve the issue by making some new covers that should fit LB for quite sometime and maybe even fit Monkey until she is done potty training.

BabyVille Boutique makes a line of super cute PUL fabrics that are great for making diaper covers. Now you may be wondering what PUL is:
"PUL is a polyurethane laminated fabric that is waterproof yet breathable. Because of its leak proof properties, it is perfect when sewing for babies and toddlers. PUL has a fabric side and a laminated side. Either side is suitable as the “right” side; it just depends on the project." - BabyvilleBoutique FAQs
Babyvilly Boutique makes it even easier by having a book of cloth diaper patterns: Cloth Diapers Made Easy. I ordered both the books and PUL fabric from Joann's Fabrics and ordered fold over elastic and snaps from I have had all this sitting around for a while now, and was waiting for LB's quilt to be done. I will be making pocket diapers so that I can continue to use the prefolds from my Bummis stash. I started cutting the first 2 last night, here take a peak:

Fancy mylar template that I made from the pattern in the book

Outer PUL layer with dinosaurs

Inner flannel - won't that be nice and soft on LB's bum!

Better get to it tonight. Snaps to add, then get inner and outer layers sewn together. Hopefully tomorrow LB can try one on so I can see that the pattern will work for him.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up

Wow, Sunday again already, and its the middle of March. I thought I would get more done this week, but doing the snipping on LB's quilt took way longer than I planned. Luckily it is FINISHED!!! It has had 2 trips through the washing machine/dryer and is looking lots more raggy and feeling lots more cuddly.
LB is having fun playing with the raggy seam allowances

I have a new page on blog devoted to finished projects with more pictures of LB on his quilt. Check out  Completed Quilts on the upper tab.

I had another good week of exercise and fitness, but bad eating habits are proving to be more of a challenge to deal with.

In other random bits of my life... we set up a queen sized boxspring and mattress in the room Monkey is sleeping in. I am not sure she is ready to transition completely to a big girl bed, but we have many nights where someone ends up sitting beside her bed holding her hand and it would be nice to just be able to pull her into a bigger bed and cuddle instead.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Saturday, 16 March 2013

International Quilting Day & LB's Quilt Finish

Happy International Quilting Day (March 16th) from Canada
It seems to be the perfect day to finish up the project I am working on, and for those just reading my blog for the first time I will give you a quick summary of what that is.

My son was born early September, and being the second child in the family he got very few gifts, whereas his sister recieved 7 homemade blankets. Feeling like he needed something special I set out looking for fabric. 3 months of searching finally landed me Northcott's Reptile Rumpus Collection. I am making a big raggy blanket that he should be able to fit under for a couple years. You can check out the progress on it here (part 1part 2 or part 3).

Today I am finishing the snipping the seam allowances, here take a peak:
My Dad got me these little scissors, they turned out to be great for snipping the seam allowances

I got all the snipping done with a couple hours left in day, the quilt is headed into wash as soon as my other load is done. I will post photos of LB and his blanket tomorrow.
Looking forward to seeing this rag up

All snipped. Time to wash
Feels good to finally finish.


Friday, 15 March 2013

Week 2 and 3 Fitness Update

I am fast approaching 3 weeks since I decided that I needed to change things in my life so that I could get in shape, lose my baby weight and feel healthier. So far I am succeeding in getting daily exercise, some of my eating habits are improving (no chocolate cake... but I can't say so much for pie, I did have some yesterday because it was Pi Day). The exercise is feeling great (a few sore spots, but nothing I can't handle). I think I am sleeping better and needing less coffee.

Here is what I have done for the last 2 weeks:

Week 2
March2: Recovery after my first crossfit class was a 45 minute walk with GeoDaddy, kids and dog at the off leash area.
March3:Recovery again. Too many squats, and jerks at CrossFit. Hamstrings and quads still grumpy. Walk in the park with Brother & Fiancé, kids and dogs.
March4:Finally not sore from CrossFit. 40 minute online pilates class (myyogaonline).
March5:CrossFit WOD - AMRAP(As many reps as possible) in 10 minutes: Row 50 Calories, 5 dumbbell thrusters and 3 burpees - 7 rounds completed.
March6:20minute walk with kids to CrossFit for my babysitting shift. 10 minute abs workout with Monkey as resistance on my legs
March7:CrossFit WOD - Box squats (35lbs) 5x3 -30 Wall balls and 90 skips (time 4:37) - my skipping skills need work, I am not very good at box squats either
March8: 30minute online Restorative yoga class - not very focused. I wanted to give up exercising because my armpits and shins were sore from CrossFit.
March9:45minute online fusion yoga class

Week 3
March10:Walk with kiddos, GeoDad and dog at off leash area. Super slow walk because Monkey wanted to walk the whole way pointing at all the dogs we saw and saying 'Dog'.
March11:CrossFit WOD - 4 rounds of 1000m rowing - I rowed 4000m in 23:40! Pretty excited that I could do it.
March12:Hour walk with LB and dog at off leash area. 45 minute walk with Monkey in the park by the house. Monkey and I practiced running, but my running was very very short fast steps so I wouldn't get too far ahead.
March13: 45 minute online yoga fusion class
March14: CrossFit 85% Bench press 5 rounds of 3. 75lbs. WOD: Rounds of 60 skips, %30 sit ups (10), 15 kettlebell swings (8lbs) - Completed 4 rounds in 13:06
March15:Bought myself a skipping rope, turns out the ones I had been trying to skip with at crossfit were too short (I am 5'10), maybe now my skipping skills will improve. Walk with dogs and my mom in the park while GeoDad put Monkey to bed for night. I thought a evening walk would work for us, but LB woke up just after I left the house and then neither kid would go to sleep for GeoDad for half an hour. I have to rethink the evening walk, plus it was cold and dark in the park.

Thanks for reading. It is been good motivation to know that people are reading and encouraging me in these goals.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Paper Books Vs. EReaders

Before you get started into to this post please watch Le papier ne sera jamais mort/ Paper is NOT Dead (it is a short video and it should make you laugh).

This video got me thinking about the ease of reading on my eReader (I have a Kobo if you were wondering) versus the love I have for a good solid paper book. In the 15 months since I got my Kobo, I have devoured 17 novels. I have been able to read while nursing LB, in the car on long road trips and while waiting at the doctors office. I would not have read nearly that much if I had had to lug heavy books around (I carry enough stuff with me already... it is one of the side effects of having babies and toddlers).

In my former life as a student at university and then as a field geophysicist, nothing could beat a good page turner in paper form. Between GeoDad and I, we have 6 large bins of textbooks and 3 to 4 bins of novels. We used to keep most of these on our shelves until Monkey started trying to pull textbooks off (she was about 9 months old).
"Daddy read to me about Chemistry"
Although neither GeoDad or I read much on paper anymore (it is too risky - toddlers are not kind to books), we do want to have our children love books like we do. Most of the gifts we got Monkey for her first Christmas were board books and we make a point of reading to her and LB everyday.
Book shelves on Monkey's custom dresser (Made by WoodRefined Inc.)
Living in the Yukon has also allowed us to participate in a wonderful program called Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Monkey (and now LB too) receives a book in the mail every month. Children are eligible to sign up from birth until their first birthday and the books will continue to arrive until they turn 5. That is 60 books, all for free. It is a pretty fantastic program to be part of and it is filling up our shelves in a hurry. 

So while GeoDad and I read most of our novels on eReaders, we spend a few minutes each day reading good solid paper books to the kids. If I want to read while in the tub, a $2 paper back is a much safer choice than my Kobo. And if you are lost in the woods, your paperback will make a much better firestarter (but please refrain from book burning unless it is a matter of life or death). 

In the battle of Paper book vs. eReader we have a tie at our house. What about you? Paper or electronic books?


Monday, 11 March 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up

I thought I should do an end of the weekend update on my projects.
Here is the project list in no particular order:

1. LB's raggy quilt - SOOO close to done. It is all pieced together and I am working on snipping the seam allowances. There are 24 blocks with 36 inches of seams to cut (864 inches total), 24 blocks with 29 inches of seams (696 inches) and 48 blocks with 22 inches of seams (1056 inches) lets just say there are lots of seams to cut and it is slow going.

2. The Hexie project - 140 hexagons basted. This project is on the back burner while I finish LB's quilt.

3. Next on the list of things to sew is some more cloth diapers for LB (more about that in another post). I have the pattern traced onto mylar sheets so that I can use it repeatedly. I need to get the flannel I am using for the lining into the wash to pre-shrink it.

4. The GeoMama get in Shape Project: Sticking to my goal of exercising everyday. Finding that I am not ready to cut way back on calories because I am still nursing LB, but I am trying to eat more veggies and almost no chocolate. I have one pair of pants that are not staying up well... I hope that isn't just because they need to be washed. I am also remembering about muscles I forgot I had. I learned this week that I am not very good at skipping, oh well, I guess I will have to practice. I have been trying to get to bed at more reasonable hour, which is helping my energy levels in the morning. I sleep about 1/2 the night in bed, and then LB gets grumpy and NOISY, so we move to couch. Sleeping on the couch is not helping me recover from exercising, but I am not going to let it stop it from getting to the gym.

I was going to post this last night, but didn't. So Happy Monday Morning.


Friday, 8 March 2013

Work in Progress: LB's quilt part 3

I am pretty excited. I got a special delivery from my Brother who was just down to see my Grandma. I had been using Grandma's Elna sewing machine but as I said here, Elna needed some repairs (which is understandable because she is 57 years old). Brother delivered me another sewing machine! (Turns out Grandma has 3 in total, plus a serger).

I get to play/sew with a Husqvarna Viking. So far I think it is a pretty sweet little machine. It has automatic needle up/down settings for when you stop stitching. It has 3 speed settings depending what type of sewing you are doing.
The Viking (should I name it Odin or Thor or  Kvasir (God of inspiration)?)

Anyway, this was going to be an update on LB's raggy quilt (see part 1 and part 2 if you have no clue what I am talking about). It is so close to done. I got all the rows stitched together last night which leaves just joining the rows together, stitching around the whole exterior of the quilt and then making it rag, by snipping into the seam allowances about every 1/4 inch. 
Row8 - backside (not raggy)

Row8 - frontside (raggy)

Can't wait to be done and see LB wrapped in his blanket.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

My New Best Friends: Sam, Jeff, Anthony and Murray

Any other parents of small children probably know who I am talking about. For everyone else, I am talking about The Wiggles. The Wiggles are 4 Australian men who sing, dance, tell nursery rhymes, dress up in silly costumes and bring huge smiles to Monkey's face.
They have cds, dvds, tv shows, live shows, and merchandise. I bought one of their DVDs (Sing a Song of Wiggles) on iTunes and it has got us through many a cranky post-nap time. It has been nice to find something that I don't mind listening to repeatedly. Most things geared at toddlers has annoying voices/characters/songs whereas the The Wiggles DVD has mostly nursery rhymes that I remember from when I was little; much more tolerable.

I have learned some new songs to sing to the kids and Monkey has learned some sweet dance moves! She dances to a song called Joni Works with One Hammer. Here is a short video:

The only downside to listening to nursery rhymes nearly everyday is that I when I wake up in the night to tend to LB I have silly little songs stuck in my head on repeat. Small price to pay for having a much happier toddler.

Monkey is waking up so it is almost time to go hang out with my new best friends.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A silly little project: 102 hexagons basted

A couple weeks ago when my sewing machine broke I decided I needed a hand sewing project. I decided to make something out of 1 inch hexagons. I cut paper templates and squares of fabric to baste to them (as shown here). The first one I made was super slow. But since my speed has improved drastically and I have made 102 of these silly little things.
Fabric folded over and basted at the corners

102 Hexagons Basted
I have been thinking about what to make once I have more of these made. My initial thought is to make a set of placemats (roughly 12"x18" or 12"x16") which according this fancy paper piecing calculator will require about 80 hexagons for each placemat. This website shows how to do all the math yourself as well, which if I was feeling more inclined I could do.
Using the fancy calculator

I have been thinking about possible ways to arrange the hexagons. Here are some ideas:
Left to right: Diamonds, flowers (with matching centers), flowers (contrasting centers) and stripes.
If I make 6 placemats I will need roughly 480 hexagons, so I am 21% done the first part of this project.
I am definitely enjoying it so far.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Fog Day

I woke up to a thick blanket of fog covering my Mom's house this morning. It reminded me of many many mornings back in my former 'geophysicist hiking the north' days. Fog was always a welcome sign in the morning if the job was helicopter supported. You can't fly a helicopter in the fog. Often it would mean a few hours of downtime while it burned off and cleared up. Sometimes it would last all day and you could get a nap and recover from the long days you had been putting in. Foggy days are the most quiet in the remote places I worked. The fog muffles any sounds made by streams, birds, even the sound of your generator if it was far enough from camp.

The only time fog was a problem was if you were many miles from camp and it was close to the end of the day. Fog in late afternoon could mean the helicopter would be unable to pick you up and you would be spending the night in the cold outdoors. If there were trees you would be building a fire, if not you would be relying on a survival bag with tent to help keep you warm.

Anyway, it was nice to see fog this morning and not have to worry about making it home at the end of the day.

Here are some of my favorite fog photos from my 3 years in the wilderness.

Fog over a river near Baker Lake, Nunavut Fall 2008
Fog hiding in valley behind camp outside Ross River, Yukon

Fog at a mine site near Lac De Gras, Nunavut

Looking down from the Mt Roberts Tramway in Juneau Alaska

Valley full of fog near Rainy Pass, Alaska

Bits of fog that haven't burned off near Rainy Pass, Alaska

Flying just over the fog near Rainy Pass, Alaska


Friday, 1 March 2013

Week 1 Fitness Update

If has been a great first week of my new fitness/health plan. Part way through the week I was offered a chance to trade some babysitting time at a local CrossFit Gym for an unlimited pass. I will be babysitting during the Mom & Babies class time 2 days a week, and will be able to attend 3 other days when child care is offered (or at other times during the day, but then I need to leave kiddos with GeoDaddy or Grandma). Today I went for the first time to see if I wanted to add CrossFit ( to my workout routine. And the answer is totally YES! After just my first class I can sense that the environment is great for achieving goals. Everyone was very positive, encouraging, and honest that it may take time to learn the exercises. There are a couple more Moms in the class with babies about the same age as LB. I have never done squatting, deadlifts, or pressing - so most exercises here will be a whole new thing for me (and I like learning new things). Yoga and walking with the kids will be great on the days I am not doing the CrossFit workout.

I have decided that I will keep a record of my chest, waist and hip measurements, as well as keeping tabs on my weight. Here are my starting measurements:
Chest (below the breasts): 37.25 inches
Waist (1/2 inch above belly button): 42 inches
Hips (widest part): 51 inches

And here is my summary of the week:

Feb24: Wrote my big long list of excuses and realized I was my own worst enemy for getting anywhere on my goals.
Feb25: Gym - 25 minutes on the elliptical & 2 rounds through Set A (see end of this post)  from my personal trainer.
Feb26: Online Yoga - 45 Minute Fusion class
Feb27: Dancing with Monkey 15 minutes, 30 minute walk with both kids
Feb28: Online Yoga - 45 Minute Fusion class
March1: CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day) (I did this Jerk and worked up to 65 lbs - I am proud of myself)

More updates later on in March.
Thanks for everyone who has sent encouraging words and tips.