Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bumble Bees and Dinners (Not Together)

It's Wednesday, which seems impossible because I was so convinced yesterday was Thursday, but let's go back and talk about Monday. It was a full day- it started with a canceled Orangetheory class because I was super tired from cramming all my other Orangetheory classes into my two non-sick non-vacation weeks, and continued with work, extra work, a race home with stop at Kroger for a few extra dinner supplies, then home for to start the dinner we forgot to start in the crock pot that morning. Our Monday nanny, Ashley took Claire to the school to prep for her big first grade performance, and I followed with Landon and Cora ten minutes later, with fingers crossed that my improvised crock pot dinner would work.

When I first got home I found Cora in a Rapunzel dress, and as I cleaned up the kitchen from my frantic dinner-making I called out for her to "get dressed! It's time to go to Claire's school!" "Okay!" she announced cheerfully a few moments later, "I ready to go!".

And so she was. Not quite what I intended, but it's important to wear proper attire to an evening theater show.

The performance was the finale of our PTA meeting and I got to start the PTA meeting by announcing the results of our Nominating Committee meeting from the last Monday night. When I was finished with the microphone, Cora yelled out from her row, "Good job Mom!!". She's the best.

serious appreciator of the arts

With the PTA business concluded, our fabulous new music teacher stepped out to introduce our crew of first grade ants, lady bugs, and bumble bees.

Claire was thrilled. She loves a performance.

And I love a Clairebear bumble bee.

Their spring-themed songs and poems were earnest and adorable as elementary school performances should be.

We reunited in the library afterward. Cora does NOT like to be separated and takes her reunions very seriously, and Claire just loves a good hug.

Landon was there too, but did not think he needed to be in any pictures. He accidentally (I assume) yelled out "Nay" when I was up for nomination as Parliamentarian next year, something that initially turned his face pink but he later found to be hilarious. James got home at 7:30 and I played him all the video my old and overburdened iPhone was able to record. We ate, watched the new season premiere of Better Call Saul (loooove that show; it's a small comfort to me now that the crazy good Big Little lies is over), went to bed way too late, and started Tuesday/Thursday anew. I still don't really believe today is Wednesday, but my menu (also calendars, my phone, logic, etc.) all claim this is true. So moving on to food! We've had some good things.

Monday: Creamy Chicken Enchilada Chili (one of my very favorite crock pot recipes; I use half the amount of cream cheese and it is perfect), avocado, cheese, lime juice, and chips on top. We had a crazy Monday and neither James nor I remembered to start the crock pot, but I had 10 minutes between getting home and heading to Claire's performance, so I put everything, including the frozen chicken breasts, in my Dutch oven, brought it to a boil, covered it and put it in the oven on 350 for about 1.5 hours. Turned out perfectly, so that's a backup cooking method should you need one!

Tuesday: Chicken Rollatini with Prosciutto, Angel Hair Pasta with Herbs, Salad. So freaking delicious; I love this recipe.

Wednesday: Roasted Pork Tenderloin (marinate tenderloin in Soyaki, roast in 450 degree oven for ~ 30 mins until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees; let rest for 10-15 minutes while you cook the rice) and Fried Rice (scramble some egg, set aside, heat pan and add TJ's Fried Rice or cooked white rice (or both, like I did tonight), add assorted frozen or fresh veggies, add soyaki and/or soy sauce, when everything is warm, add back in the egg).

: Beef Taquitos (another one I make up: Brown ground beef, add taco seasoning and simmer, add a few ounces of cream cheese, stir until all combined and delicious; fill whole wheat tortillas with spoonful of beef and roll up, placing seam-side down in pan; repeat until pan is full. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until a bit crisp.), served with black refried beans, avocado, tomato, cheese, black olives to eat on side/top of taquitos.

Friday: Pizza! From Costco because it has been a looooong week and there is Easter prep to be done.

: My parents will be here, so we're going with the BEST Salmon, the BEST Salad, roasted potatoes (I mean, they're good, just olive oil and salt, but I don't know that they're the BEST), but this carrot cake I'm serving for dessert is.


  1. Contender for BEST carrot cake:

    A family favorite, always leave out the nuts and raisins.

  2. Big Little Lies! YES!!! Did you read the book? I read it a couple of years ago, so I feel like the fact that it wasn't fresh on my mind was a positive. Cracking up at Landon's "nay" KIDS

  3. It has been so much fun watching your kids grow up on this blog. That Halloween picture is just darling!

  4. Curious if in your barre teaching experience whether you've seen anyone overweight lose significant weight doing barre. Google isn't showing me much about this. Weight loss with barre yes but not specifically overweight people. Thank you! Love your blog!!

    1. Hi CT! Hmm, this is a tough question I think because (1) I have no training in personal training or nutrition and am in no way qualified to type the stuff I'm about to type and (2) I am a lawyer and am qualified to type the real answer which is, it depends. But I'm happy to share some thoughts and stories for you!

      Barre was the sole form of exercise I did after Cora was born and through it and diet I lost all the baby weight (about 20 lbs. at 6-week postpartum check) very quickly (it was all gone 6 weeks later when I went back to work). That's not a perfect example because I was basically going back to what I was without the intervening baby event, but it was definitely an effect tool for weight loss. What I personally appreciated the most about it was that it was approachable- even when I was tired or felt shitty, going to barre always sounded fun and never overwhelming, so I went. I went DAILY for 6 weeks because I loved it and it made me feel strong and good and feminine and STRONG. That alone made it effective for me- it just made me go. A treadmill or a gym was never going to have that kind of pull or commitment from me.

      From what I've seen in my students and heard from friends, I think it can be an effective part of significant weight loss. The biggest thing in weight loss of any amount, but particular a significant amount, is diet. You just can't burn sufficiently more than you take in if you're taking in too much. I worked my ass off today at Orangetheory, running 3 miles and hitting the rower and weights with my heart rate at 84% of my max rate nearly the whole time and I burned 600 calories. I ate that exact number of calories out of a bag of caramel cheddar mix popcorn while standing over my sink this evening in about 8 minutes. Exercise is super important, but diet is more so. I've found exercise helps me maintain the weight I want, but diet is what got me there.

      I had one student at my old studio, Joann, who lost approximately 30 pounds over a year of regular barre attendance. She may have also been working on her eating, but from what she said to me, barre was really her main life change and she was *thrilled* at the 30 lbs. and the changes she could see in the mirror week over week (defined triceps and calves, etc.). And that seems about right. Without changing anything else, maybe a 1/2 lb. a week is a reasonable expectation? (I think she went 3x a week.)

      That's not really the answer to your question but I don't have a good one. I have not had a significantly overweight student attend regularly enough to use as an example. I will say I've had several come to class and I think (hope!) they always felt very welcome. Barre is very approachable and it can meet you where you are. If you're interested, find a studio and visit. Some are more intense and dance-oriented than others. I think ours was very open and accommodating. Every move has levels, every move has alternatives. You get stronger and you do more, it's part of the fun.

      If you're curious about straight calorie burn, I burn about 500 calories/hour as a student in other people's barre classes and 600+ teaching. Weighing more could mean you burn more (so even more effective!) or less (if there are moves you can't or don't want to do as quickly). Regardless it is a solid calorie-burning opportunity and an excellent full body workout- I definitely recommend it for anyone's fitness routine. But for significant weight loss, I think you'd need diet and maybe some cross-training with more cardio or more weights.

      I have rambled a lot- and in re-reading your comment, I'm not even sure I answered your question. Feel free to ask more and I'll try again!

    2. Do you consider the barre classes you teach to be "dance oriented" ones or some other version? Basically, as a beginner (meaning I've never gone to one at all) and as a non-limber person who has little public exercise experience, which version do you think I should try first? The studios around my house don't ever seem to list "beginner"...

    3. Mine are not very dance-oriented, which I found to be more approachable as a non-dancer (and previously non-limber, non-dance-initiated person). Classes like Zumba and Nia and anything heavy on dance still intimidate the crap out of me. That said, I really think that any barre class can be approachable for a beginner, it's more just what you're comfortable with and interested in.

      One of my favorite things about barre is it's very precise and comes with a lot of continual verbal instruction. You do a move, the instructor gives a whole bunch of cues about it, you absorb what you can, do the move, and then move on to the next. Over time you're able to adjust and fine tune your form more and more, but I've never had a beginner not be able to generally follow along with the flow of the class. It's very individual and you won't stand out (always my concern when I'm not sure I'm doing something right!).

    4. Wow! Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply. You absolutely answered my questions and I apologize if I put you in a weird spot. It was not my intention. There's a barre studio close to my house that I'm interested in trying out but I'm really hesitant. Chatting with them through FB, of course they're in it to get more students and not what is really right for me. Also I'm sure that they wouldn't want to say don't come if you're really overweight even if that is the truth. Which honestly I'm totally fine with. I was curious for an "outsiders" opinion. Again, thank you!

    5. Oh good, I'm so glad some of my rambling was helpful! And you didn't put me in a weird spot at all- I LOOOOOOVE talking barre, I just didn't want you to think I had any real personal training qualifications to stand on. Just that of an barre enthusiast, observer, and teacher. But do feel free to reach out with more questions if you have any!

      One thing I've now been able to see more clearly, now that I'm on the teaching side of things, is that teachers really are just delighted you've come to their class, given up an hour of your busy day, and trusted them with your uncertainty and desire to try. It's a big thing. I have never ever thought "oh she doesn't belong here" or "what a pain to teach her." If someone struggles in class, I completely blame myself- how could I explain this position differently? how can I adapt this pose so it works for her? Showing up is the hardest part and it is the teacher's job to do the rest. Be sure to tell the instructor that you are new and they'll look out for you. And know that I correct the form of every person in my class at some point during class, no matter how many times they've been coming. I correct my own every time I glance in the mirror! Also, classes vary in style quite a bit, so if one isn't working for you, try another! Try every "new student special" at every barre studio in town. I still do that when a new one opens up.

      And finally, when I try a new one- even as someone who has been doing barre downright religiously for 3+ years, it's still with a vulnerability and uncertainty as I walk in a new place. Do I need a mat? Do we wear socks? How should we arrange ourselves on the floor or the barre? Every studio is different and every new person is on the same uncertain footing when they walk in the door the first time. It makes you brave to want to try it- let me know how it goes if you do!