The Love and Hate Relationship with Exercise

I’ve attempted many fitness routines on and off over the years, including the good ‘ol fashion gym, Insanity, P90X, early morning bootcamp, Tracy Anderson, Zumba, Winsor Pilates, Jackie Warner, etc. The one that stuck (and I absolutely love!) was Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30. It took years to find “the one.” Unfortunately, I found myself starting all over a month ago.

After months of ‘relaxing and waiting until the safe zone’, I entered my 2nd trimester and was itching for that gratifying feeling again, but Jillian Michaels’ workouts weren’t quite pregnancy safe.

In addition to being safe, these were my requirements:

  • Total body toning exercises
  • Stretching moves to help with pregnancy aches
  • Light cardio
  • No videos with happy cheesy people/music
  • Between 25-40 minutes

After trying out a few, I think I found “the (prenatal) one” — a modified version of Lindsay Brin’s “How to Exercise When You’re Expecting”.

I haven’t tried her DVD, but the book explains the program well. There are different programs for each trimester.

The second trimester involves:

  1. 5-minute warmup (I use Jillian Michaels’ typical warmup)
  2. 20-minute toning (in book)
  3. 5-minute cardio (in book)
  4. 8-10 minute yoga cooldown (I use Lizbeth Garcia’s Prenatal Pilates)

So far it’s been as rewarding as those Ripped in 30 days. If you’re looking for a JM-style prenatal workout, definitely check out Lindsay Brin.

Cross-Cultural Parenting

Yesterday, I watched “Last Train Home,” a very good documentary about migrant workers in China. Going into it, I didn’t expect parenting and family to be a huge focus.

I was born in Canada but was raised by traditional Asian parents and I’m a soon-to-be co-parent with a non-Asian, so the documentary was extra interesting to me.

I recognized parallels between me and the children in the doc, in the way that they were constantly stressed with the importance of studying, getting the highest marks in class and getting a good-paying job so you can support your family. And, as the doc shows, any word that is taken as disrespect to your elders is worthy of harsh punishment.

To be clear, my parents weren’t as extreme as the ones in the doc, but I still completely understood that type of parenting–that culture. I’ve seen it before. However, seeing my husband’s and mother-in-law’s reactions reminded me that not everyone gets it. I don’t agree with it all, but I get it.

It was about providing for the family purely by supplying money for food and education, which in turn cultivates another good family provider, and the cycle continues. Sadly, yet typically, missing were love, affection, self-fulfillment and respect for everyone (not just the elders).

I’m sure many families (of all cultures) have their own variations of the same fundamental values, but it’s how you instil them that makes a difference. I’m obviously far from being an expert at raising a family and it’s easier said than done but I’ve seen enough to know how I want to do it and I’ll just hope for the best from there.

Boys vs. Girls

My 11-year old stepson scored his first goal of the season and it was so exciting to see! He plays hockey every Saturday and I watch every game. I don’t have to attend, but I do because I like it. Plus, it’s something I can actually enjoy with him.

I feel like I came into his life at an age that’s somewhat difficult to bond with. He was old enough to make his own judgements on who’s cool and who’s not (I didn’t want to look like a tryhard) and he was just starting to spend his time tucked away in computer games–something I just can’t jump into. (Although, we did go through a MarioKart phase, which I’d like to think I dominated in :) )

Now, a girl at his age would be a different story, as it’s much easier with my stepdaughter who’s 9. We do girly things that I know how to do. Easy! ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ is on, you say? Done. We’re watching that together. You want to play with my hair? Perfect. It’s all yours. Bonding with her is effortless.

With my stepdaughter, I can be her friend and hope to be a good female role model. With my stepson, although I can’t do boy things with him (like wrestle or bond over farts) and I don’t think I can be cool enough to be his friend, I can be that person he can trust when he needs something. And for now, I’ll cherish his Saturday afternoon hockey games.

Go, James, go!


The Pee Stick Reveal

I just read a celebrity story about how the expecting mother broke the news to her husband. It was cute and creative. Unlike my story.

I wanted to wait until hubby was alone (I thought it might be too soon to tell the kids), so when I found him on the computer, I tried to smoothly tell him “so…I took a test today but I can’t really tell” and passed him the stick. The plus sign was a bit faint so I honestly wasn’t sure.


He looked at it, looked back at his computer, finished his online work chat, looked at the stick again and said “let me see the box.” Everywhere he checked described the faint sign as a positive regardless of its intensity. With a smile, “Yup, you’re pregnant.”

That was a surreal moment with very little words exchanged. It was a tender moment of excitement, disbelief and happiness. We did want more proof though (one Life brand pee stick wasn’t enough for us). Next step was to get confirmation from a doctor, but until then, yup, I was pregnant.

My Pregnancy Diet

Pre-pregnancy, I thought I ate fairly well, i.e., didn’t pig out on junk food, but I’ve always been short on certain key nutrients. I relied on multi-vitamins for that, whenever I remembered.

When I found out I was pregnant, I started taking pre-natal vitamins and I thought ‘Sweet! These magical pills will take care of all the necessary good stuff for me and the baby.’ Then I had my first appointment. I was wrong. According to doc, I was definitely still short on calcium. I didn’t drink milk and I never have. I’ll have milk as a cookie dunking solution, but other than that, I didn’t enjoy it.

However, for the sake of me and the baby, I’m now up to at least 4 enjoyable servings of calcium a day! Here’s my tasty list:

  • Avocado milkshake
    I make this as my dessert after dinner. I throw in an avocado (Costco sells 5 large avocados for $7), milk, ice and a half teaspoon of sugar. I keep offering to make one for my husband, but he turns it down every time. I think the colour turns him off.
  • Steamed milk
    Pre-pregnancy, that grande cup of coffee every morning was so comforting and enjoyable but those days are over for now. Although I know 1 cup of coffee is safe for pregnant women, coffee hasn’t had that same effect on me. I have now turned to steamed milk. You can buy these at coffee shops at an unreasonable cost for a cup of milk, but I make these at work. Twice a day. Steamed milk from the espresso machine and a pump of hazelnut or cinnamon syrup = delicious.
  • Cereal
    Part of my typical breakfast is Cheerios with milk and bananas/blueberries/blackberries.
  • Cheese
    How did forget about cheese all these years?! I used to eat cheese as a kid (some kind of white cheese shaped in a cylindrical block) and have now rediscovered how awesome it is! Mozza, swiss, havarti, cheddar, etc. …. yum. No soft or unpasteurized cheese for the baby though!
  • Yogurt
    I work at an awesome place that stocks the fridges with an abundant supply of all types of yogurt. Perfect for a snack.

I think I got the calcium thing under control. Now, I just need to figure out the vegetable thing.