Dear TWO Year Old Maura…

Dear Two Year Old Maura,


I had every intention of writing an update every few months throughout your second year, but wow has this year been busy! I thought your milestones and discoveries would slow down after your first birthday, they definitely did not! This past year you went from being able to briefly hold yourself up with a walker, to walking, walking backwards, running, tip-toeing, marching, stomping, and now you’re soooo close to getting off the ground when you jump! You can walk up and down stairs with the help of a hand or railing, climb up ladders, into chairs, onto anything you set your mind to. The 6-9 month delay in gross motor milestones we were told to expect never happened, and you’re right on pace with all your 2 year old friends!

A year ago, you had a handful of words – mostly single syllables, or the first syllable of a word. Now, you’ve got hundreds of words, speak in full sentences, tell stories, and even have a good knock knock joke you tell pretty well! – (Knock knock, Who’s there? Cow-Go, Cow-Go Who? Noooo, Cow go MOO!) Dad and I joke that you can say any word you’ve ever heard spoken! You memorize lyrics to songs faster than I do, and I often find myself looking up the words to songs and nursery rhymes that you ask me about! This second year has been a whirlwind of vocabulary and I’ve loved hearing your little voice, and now love being let into your world of thoughts.

You still love being outside, and got to experience sledding, making snowmen, and building snow caves to your experiences this past winter. You’re excited for our garden this year and have already been helping get it ready by planting seeds inside, pulling out the muddy weeds, raking, and carrying soil in your new wheelbarrow! If you’re stuck inside, you enjoy building things, playing with your babies, or more recently pretend games like ‘restaurant’ where your Little People order meals, and you prep and serve the food from your kitchen, or ‘store’ where you bring me things from around the house and give me your ‘credit card’ to swipe while putting items back into shopping bags…

People warn first time moms about the Terrible Twos, but so far you get sweeter and sweeter. You melt my heart by saying things like “I have so much fun when I with you, Mama!” and spontaneously saying “I love you too” (without me saying it first). I often hear you telling your dolls you love them, rocking them, or reading to them. The only one you’re not feeling the love for is Ramsey – but maybe that relationship will grow with time?

Here’s to another year full of learning about you, adventures, and fun.

Love you baby girl,



From the mouth of a TWO year old…

Toddlers say some pretty hilarious things. Wishing I started writing these down sooner! Enjoy…

After leaving a particularly rough stop at Party City….

Maura: You fustated mama?

Me: Nope (I lied, I was about to lose my mind), are you?

Maura: Gettin there….

Me: You’re getting frustrated?

Maura: Ya, mama say no no no (starts waving her finger in the air)……. no no no no no no no

“Hold you (means herself) naked butt!”

“Bumpy road make head wobble like bobble head! Whoooaaa whoa!”

“When you (means herself) get big you have kong like Ramrams, and drink coffee! And … wine!!!”

“Dada, Mama Maura take tan car today? You get black car…. it real real cozy!” (She has a strong preference for Daddy’s new Acadia.)

“I miss dada. I real real miss tan car. I yuv tan car so much….” (And possibly an unhealthy attachment, haha.)

Do you write down or remember anything your kids have said that really made you laugh? Everyone calls this the ‘Terrible Twos’ but I’m kinda loving this age!

TWO year update coming asap!

How to Raise a (Body) Confident Daughter

Like a large number of women and girls, I lacked self esteem for many years. It’s easy to fall into the rut of not liking our bodies – we’re bombarded with messages that we are not enough as we are. Social media, magazines, and TV flash thin bodies, weight loss tips, body changing workouts, make up tips, ads for products to help us with all these changes we NEED to make to our bodies…  As a teenager and in my 20s, I obsessed with my weight and counting calories. This isn’t rare, and once I started working in eating disorder research I realized just how common this mentality is. I interviewed student after student who’s negative body image effected every aspect of their lives. A few ways my own body image impacted my life was avoiding social events with food, spending significant time pre-planning meals or food consumption, obsessively calculating and counting calories, punishing myself with exercise, missing school assignments because I was either distracted in class and didn’t know what was assigned, or getting distracted with weight loss antics and not saving time to do school work – weight loss was more important than school. I skipped presentations purposely so I wouldn’t have to stand in front of a class, experienced social anxieties, and quit the track team due to how I looked in our uniforms. I was depressed and anxious, and you know what? Student after student that I met through work confirmed that I was not the exception!

Now that I have a daughter, I think back on a lot of my experiences and wonder if I can protect her from experiencing the same. I don’t want her to waste one day of her life preoccupied by something as trivial as her appearance. We are SO MUCH MORE than our appearance! Someone I follow on Instagram recently asked a question about talking to our daughters about body image. She followed up the question by asking how we explain our aesthetic (losing inches, gaining muscle size, weight loss) workout goals without making our daughters think they should be doing the same…. I applaud this woman for being aware of the message she’s potentially sending her daughter BUT I don’t think we can out-do the message our actions send with a conversation.

I know that even within the next few years my innocent toddler will begin to hear the message that her body isn’t good enough. I can’t shelter her from the world – heck Disney characters have already begun their work on her. What I can do is hope that my constant example of self acceptance, and unconditional support of her exactly how she is, is stronger than the messages from the outside world. This is how I plan to raise a (body) confident daughter:

  • I will never criticize my body, or anyone else’s.
  • I will not set goals attached to aesthetics – I workout to be strong, capable, healthy, and feel good. I do NOT workout to alter my appearance.
  • I will never compare myself to others.
  • I will not use food as a reward or exercise as a punishment.
  • I will consistently tell my daughter she IS beautiful, but will also remind her that she is kind, funny, smart, fun to be around, helpful, capable, etc. (We receive so many comments on our looks elsewhere that it’s important to know we’re beautiful regardless of outward appearance. The negative messages need to be challenged).
  • I will let my daughter develop her own healthy relationship with food as nourishment by trusting that she knows when she is full or hungry.
  • I will lead by example in living my own healthy lifestyle (physically, mentally, and emotionally).
  • I will accept myself 100% as I am, so that she knows that despite what our culture says, it’s OK to be happy with who you are.

You know what else I’ve noticed? How much more comfortable in my own skin I am since practicing the above too. You can’t control everything, but you can be an example of confidence for your child to learn from.

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You be you, Beautiful girl.

My real life cardio

Thought I’d share a few of my own treadmill work outs with you today. Do you get discouraged when people post the details of their workouts? It’s hard not to compare running paces, miles run, weights lifted. When you’re starting out, or starting over, or just someone that endurance, speed, and strength don’t come as naturally to – it’s easy to think less of your own achievements.

I’ve been planning on signing up a for a 5k this summer, and think I’m ready but committing makes me nervous.  (I did one back in July and it felt ok, but I admit I didn’t feel physically ready.) I tend to stay away from set training plans these days because I might stick to them, even if my body tells me I shouldn’t. So this is my current 5k training plan – get out for a ‘move’ 2-3 times a week. Do what feels good, as long as it feels good, then stop. On race day, do the same.

Running doesn’t feel bad, but I still feel different. I’m petrified to experience symptoms of prolapse that I haven’t experienced in months, but I’m also not going to let that stop me from doing something that I’ve loved my entire life. I know that reducing impact is huge in keeping myself healthy. One way I reduce impact on the treadmill is to increase the incline and lower my pace. I walked up a steep ‘hill’ for a while, then I ran at a 13 minute mile pace up a slightly less steep hill for a mile and a half, and then I walked some more. My brag, is that I felt awesome. My lungs hurt before my body, and that for me is a great feeling.

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On another day, my workout was very similar, alternating between walking up a very steep hill and running slowly up a lesser steep hill. I’m not sure if I’ll post my running workouts or not as I go forward. They aren’t scientific, they aren’t designed to help anyone else hit their own goals. But, they are real.

My other cardio workout of the same week was a two-a-day shovel session….

What are your thoughts on seeing what other peoples real workouts look like? Helpful or harmful? I honestly haven’t been interested because I’ve made huge progress in not comparing myself to others – but I have gotten ideas from other people that I then incorporate into my own workouts.

We also took Maura to a track meet this past weekend. She was in her glory to say the least. It makes me so happy that I’m able to share my love of running with her – there were more than enough months that I really felt I’d never have this opportunity.

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Syrup Time!


img_3246One of the first things we noticed when we moved into our home was the abundance of maple trees filling up the woods in our back yard. I went out this summer (while the leaves were still on the trees), and marked several of the bigger maples as potentials for tapping – They had to be wider than 12 inches in diameter, and also easily accessible for me to retrieve the buckets frequently. We have somewhat of a trail, that goes up a hill in our backyard. I drew a super detailed map of the trees in relation to the trail, I tied neon tape around their trunks, numbered them, and took notes in as much detail as my map.Maple map and notes.jpg

If you can’t see my notes well, I wrote down what type of maple I thought the tree was, the approximate diameter, and occasionally noted creepy animals potentially living nearby (those trees got crossed off my list!) Being complete newbies, so this year we chose to tap only 3 trees to see how things go. We chose trees 1-3, as they were the closest to the trail/bottom of the hill.

Ideally we should have tapped last week, but Greg was out of town – and I wasn’t sure how Maura and I would do getting the sap collected each day. Now having done it, it wouldn’t have been a problem… but we didn’t know. So, we missed some good days. You want to tap when the day time temperatures are above freezing, but night time temps are below freezing. The changes in temperate create pressure changes that push the sap out. We tapped on Saturday evening, and collected for the first time Monday morning. Here’s our first collection:

Maple collection 1

We collected around 7am. Maura hiked up to get the buckets with me. She loved peeking under the lids to see how much we got. As you can see, the trees varied greatly on how much we got in that time period! Tree #3 is by far the best producer so far.

After we brought the sap down, we strained it into buckets in a freezer. Sap can go bad and needs to be kept at a cool temperature until it’s boiled down to make syrup. Once poured, we had to take buckets back up.

Maple collection 1(2)

There is something really peaceful about getting outside in the morning. Especially when your view looks like this…


We ended up with 4 gallons from the first day – which will boil down to ooooh a measly 12 ounces of syrup! Hopefully future days will bring as much or more! I’ll keep you posted.

This and That

You may have noticed I disappeared a bit last week… As much as I like posting the workouts, I’m finding the actual posting to be a bit too time consuming – so for the sake of life balance, I took a little step back. I want to keep posting, but I don’t want the work out posts to take away from the time I have to put towards other quality posts, or my own work out sessions! I also don’t want to take away the photos (the more time consuming aspect as of now) because I want clear, easy to follow content for the beginners.  SO, I will post work outs, but less regularly.

What to expect in the future:

  • More of my life! Not because it’s all that interesting, but because a lot of what I do is aimed at keeping myself and family healthy, and also trying to set Maura up to lead a healthy lifestyle. Preparing Maura to lead a healthful life is huge to me! And hopefully, sharing some of the things we do together will inspire other parents as well.
  • Workout adaptations and progressions. A huge part of why I have been able to stay motivated in my workouts, is that I am able to alter workouts to fit my specific needs. If something is too hard, I know how to alter it to be appropriate for myself. If I hate an exercise, I know what exercises I could replace it with to enjoy my workout. Without knowing that information – I’d be more likely to quit or skip a workout, or risk injury by doing it.

Instead of writing and posting workouts last week, I gave the pathetically mangy dog a haircut…


Got in two treadmill workouts, shoveled my driveway, made a snowman, visited the ScienCenter in Ithaca.

Went to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester…

Tapped our maple trees…

Went to church, and spent time with family all in addition to our usual fun!



Week 7

If you’ve stuck with me for the past 6 weeks – It’s a good time to check in and see what progress you’ve made.  This workout should feel familiar – it’s week 1, day 1. Do it as if it’s new – then compare to the first time you completed it. Did you use heavier weights this time? Did you chose harder variations? Were you less sore this time around?

Here it is: (written as it was originally, with the photos added in)

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions for all exercises. If something feels like too much, stick is 2 sets and make it a goal to eventually accomplish 3.

For a quicker paced work out, alternate between 2-3 exercises. Example: 10 squats, 10 good mornings, 10 squats… etc.


Body weight Squats

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Good Mornings – With knees slightly bent, hinge at the hips keeping back flat. If this is a new exercise, let your body learn the motion without added weight this week.

Goodmornings progression

Inclined Push-ups – Place hands on an elevated surface to reduce the load of a standard push up. Examples: A wall, table, bench. If form is good, progress to the floor. Postpartum moms*** watch your belly for any ‘doming’ or ‘coning’ these are signs of diastatis recti, you’ll need to increase the incline until you’re healed.

Modified Push up Start 2 IMG_9331

Bent over Row- With staggered feet, lean forward (can use knee or bench for support), with weight in hand of back leg- bring elbow up and weight to ribs.

Bent Over Row Progression

Overhead Tricep Extensions – keep elbows still above your head as you extend and bend your arms. Can be done one arm at a time, or together. *Exercises that lift overhead can cause pelvic floor pressure- if you feel anything off this can be done seated.

Standing Tricep Extension Progression

Glute Bridges- Laying on your back, knees bent, feet on floor- raise your hips until your torso is flat. If you’re feeling it more in your hamstrings try digging in with your heals. Keep hip bones even.

Bridge 2 IMG_9271

Clam Shells- Laying on side with knees bent, with heals together and elevated several inches from the ground- lift upper knee, return down.

Clamshell Progression

Ab Marches (or ‘Up, up, down, downs)- Laying on back, knees bent, feet down- alternate lifting your knees bringing your shin parallel to the ground. The next level is to lift one knee (up), then the other (up), return the first down, then the other down. As with the push ups watch for any doming! Also, if you are holding breath, or arching your back it’s too difficult.

Up Up Down Down Series 2

2×10 Knee Squeezes 5 seconds- (not shown) – Sit on a hard surface and squeeze a pillow or ball between your knees. Hold for 5 seconds, rest 5 seconds repeat.