What was the Powell Pack up to this weekend? Family, friends, film, photos, and fun!
First up? A visit by one of our favorite places on earth. Nope, not Disneyland ;). Vemma’s new headquarters for a few video shoots on how our Vemma Family can help enrich and transform the lives of others ☺.
Bob Brenner, from Extreme Weight Loss Season 3, graced us with his presence this weekend, and hit it hard with me on Saturday morning in hot yoga.
Great pose, Bob!
While I was doing happy baby, downward dog, and tree pose with my buddy, Bob, Chris was getting muddy at a local 12 miles race…full of walls, ropes, and electrocution. Not my idea of fun, but the boys tore it up and had some great bro bonding time ☺.
Sunday Funday to finish off the weekend! What did we do? A family photo shoot at an amazing local resort. The best part about this shoot? We got to swim, frolic, and play as a family as the kind photographer snapped away ☺.
For the last 4 months, I have hardly gotten a wink of sleep at night. I don’t like being in the dark, stuck with my thoughts about what might happen to Ruby if I don’t micromanage her sleeping. My mind is plagued by the stories I’ve heard of perfectly healthy babies leaving their parents while sleeping.
It’s been paralyzing. I don’t remember being like this with any of my other 3…I can’t pinpoint why it’s so different this time. Regardless, my (false) reality has been that the ONLY way I can keep Ruby safe is to sleep next to her, watching her virtually all night long to make sure she is breathing.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she is my last, and I’m terrified of the possibilities. I do know that no matter what happens in life, good and/or bad, it is all for a reason…sometimes for a reason that we don’t understand until later. But even knowing this hasn’t helped me.
Thank goodness for friends…
A couple of weeks ago, a phone conversation held in the middle of my local Target had started with talk around some business tasks that needed to be done. Somehow, 30 minutes later, I was a blubbering mess, crying about my fears of losing Ruby, like I lost my dad. My poor friend (who’s been through quite a bit in his own life) was stuck to pick up the pieces and try to make me feel good.
Luckily, this friend of ours is pretty darn amazing. As always, he knew exactly what I needed to hear and helped me recognize the unnecessary damage I was doing to myself by letting these fears overcome me. I am letting this FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) dictate my reality. It is robbing me of my health and the sleep I need, and ultimately, it’s robbing me and my kids of the happiness we should be experiencing.
In addition to his incredible coaching, he knew I needed a more tangible form of comfort too, and he had just the thing: The AngelCare Monitor he used for his last baby.
This thing, I’ll tell ya, is amazeballs. It lies beneath Ruby’s mattress and somehow senses her breathing!!!! After 10 seconds of sensing no breathing, all monitors around our home beep. After 5 more seconds of no breathing, the monitors beep loudly and repetitively, until either baby starts breathing again, or until I come in and turn it off.
This, my friends, is a must for all moms and dads who worry even a little bit about their babies sleeping. It is an Angel for my little Angel.
It’s been 2 weeks now. Ruby is sleeping in her own bed, and she is safe . We have had a couple of nights where the monitor has beeped. When we walked in she seemed to be holding her breath in a deep sleep (don’t worry – I woke her up as fast as I possibly could!!). While I’m sure both times she would have started the breathing again on her own, I can never be too sure. I’m happier being safer, rather than risking being sorry….
Moms and Dads, lacking sleep? Get one of these and you will NOT regret it!!!
There are several variations! Single monitor, video monitor, even multiple listening stations! Check them out!
Oh baby! I’m not sure whether it’s the sleep deprivation or just the passing of time that makes a new mom forget what it was like to try to juggle life, family, work AND a new baby. Honestly, it’s not always easy to do it all, so I try to find tips, tricks, and products to help smooth these sometimes-rough waters ☺. I’m happy to be writing this today to share one of my new favorite secrets and latest discoveries that’s helping me balance it all — babywearing.
Now, let’s rewind about 6 months – you may recall a post I did about an amazing carrier that carried big ol’ Cashy boy in the Colorado mountains, while I was 6 months pregnant. If you don’t recall, long story short – while we were in Colorado filming Extreme Weight Loss, one of the crew let me borrow their Ergobaby Carrier for a hike with Cash. I was a bit skeptical, being 6 months pregnant, that the carrier would be all that comfortable with a 2 year old…especially one that doesn’t like to be contained. Much to my surprise, the carrier was a hit, and I was sold! I bet you can guess what my first purchase was when I got home…
Enter little Ruby, and enter amazing Ergobaby infant line. My two saving graces have been an amazing swaddle we received as a gift and my Ergobaby Wrap. I have learned how valuable wearing my baby can actually be with these wraps and carriers. Not only does babywearing give me the bonding time and closeness I crave with little Ruby (and she definitely needs with me), but it also allows me some hand-free time to FaceTime with Chris, return a few emails, fold laundry, and most importantly, keep being an active mom to Matix, Marley, and Cash.
Why am I so in love with this wrap? Unlike most “structured” baby carriers, the soft fabrics almost seem to mold to your body and to baby. The tight fit on my back and shoulders makes Baby Ruby feel lighter than when she was in my belly! I feel like I could carry her around all day and not get tired or achy. New moms – I’m sure you can relate – that upper back/shoulder tension you get from carrying a newborn and nursing all day long it brutal, to say the least. The relief has been very much appreciated ☺.
This wrap was made for multitasking, baby-snuggling moms…like me.
One of the biggest perks of all? This wrap allowed me the freedom and flexibility to begin moving around and burning off those “baby pounds” that added up over 9 months!
One of the most often asked questions is, “When can I start working out after having a baby?” While this answer is different for everybody (be sure to ask your doctor first), I figured I’d share some of my own personal tips to getting your body back while bonding with baby…through babywearing ☺
Safety first! Use a babywearing carrier, like the Ergobaby Wrap, that is properly designed for the age of your infant or toddler. Read the directions and understand the correct positioning and usage for your baby and at what age they can change positions.
Balance! Balance! Balance! Remember, you just had a baby. Just as you may have started to lose your balance and center of gravity before delivery, the same is most likely happening post-delivery. As your weight is changing and the muscles are retracting in your abdominal and leg/hip areas, your body needs time to adapt, once again. Think about it – for 9 months, you got used to carrying most of your weight on your front and center!! Bottom line here is that you must take it easy anytime you are carrying your baby, using your arms or the carrier, and ease into any kind of exercise. Baby’s safety is most important…don’t move too fast or too quick, wear supportive shoes, and make sure you feel stable with the baby in the carrier, no matter what it is you are doing.
Walk, don’t run! While you may be tempted to jump right into some pre-baby exercises like squats, lunges, and running… don’t! At least, not if you are wearing your baby. For all of the above-mentioned reasons, you should maintain safety first. The best news I can deliver is this: most weight loss happens while walking anyway!!! Yes, you read that right. How do we get 400 lbs individuals to lose 200 lbs in one year? By reminding them to simply walk! Walking is one of the best ways to stay active, maintain relationships (like playing with your kids and carrying baby), and burn many calories! Amazing, right??
Work that walk! Now that we know the power of walking is often underestimated, and that it can be one of the most effective calorie burners in your arsenal of exercises, it’s time to figure out the how. It’s easy…secure your infant in a wrap or carrier, set a timer for 30 minutes and get moving! Focus on alternating between slow and brisk walks to get your heart rate up (again, safety first). A couple ways to easily do this are:
Time it – 90 seconds fast, 90 seconds slow. Alternate between the two until your time is up.
Light Post to Light Post – Most neighborhoods and pathways have light posts or other items along the path that are evenly spaced. Use them as your goal for each round of slow and brisk walking.
Be a kid again – When exercise seems daunting, rest assured that simply playing is exercise in and of itself! Take the kiddos outside and engage in tag, ring-around-the-rosie, or even a little skipping. Play is a natural form of exercise for kids of all ages, and is great for mom and dad too!
So much you can do with that baby swaddled next to you, huh? Ruby is near 4 months now (already!!). I try to cherish every moment with her…time flies faster than I want it to. Thank goodness for the Ergobaby Wrap, I can love on my Ruby all day long, even with our crazy, busy lives ☺
In honor of shamrock day, Matix and Marley made some adorable leprechaun masks to play with (and to dress Cash and Ruby up in!). Hands down, these kiddos are the cutest little leprechauns this world has ever seen ;).
You family can have some fun too making your very own leprechaun masks :). All it takes is some construction paper, scissors, glue sticks, and some St. Patty’s Day creativity!
Feel free to post pics on Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter. Tag me and hashtag #PowellStPattysDay – Matix, Marley, Cash and Ruby would love to see!!
Happy 36th birthday to the most amazing man alive…my one and only, and my best friend
Chris, for your birthday this year, we thought there would be nothing better than to let you know just a few of the many reasons we are so grateful for you in our lives.
Our kiddos took this task pretty seriously…Matix and Marley were so cute and wanted to write down what they were going to say to make sure they didn’t forget anything important :). Ruby had PLENTY to say about you, and Cash? Well, he’s two and a half, and said whatever came to his hilarious little head.
Without further ado… out of the mouths of your babes…
Now, from me? Too much to possibly write here, so I’ll keep this short and tell you the rest in person…
I love you so, so much, Babe. We may have the occasional spat (let’s be honest, they’re almost all my fault!), but no matter how many we have, these statements will always hold true:
YOU are my best friend,
YOU are the one I laugh with about the silliest things,
YOU make me a better person, just by being around you,
YOU are my mentor,
YOU are my partner in crime,
YOU are my rock,
YOU are my everything.
Working, living, and raising a family together 24/7 can carry some challenges…but I’ll tell ya…I wouldn’t have it any other way. The benefits of having you to experience every aspect of this life with me far outweigh those challenges. This life is so much better with you in it (not just for me, but for those reading this too). Thank you for being the love of my life. Thanks for standing by my side as we accomplish our dreams and help others accomplish theirs. I am a better person because of you.
As many of you know, our job takes us on many adventures around the U.S., and most recently, around the world. Four of the Powell Six Pack went on these adventures while Matix and Marley stayed home because they are in school. (Boy do we wish we could’ve taken them!!) We ended up being gone for two weeks straight, the longest we have ever been away from Matix and Marley. While seeing some of the most beautiful places in the world was AMAZING, we couldn’t wait to be home and together again as a family.
Our nanny, who stayed with Matix and Marley, thought it might be fun for them to create an awesome surprise for us to come home to. Because Valentine’s Day is coming up, they decided to give us one serious heart attack.
We walked into our bedroom, bathroom and closet to find this:
With some of the sweetest messages:
From our sweet, amazing, superstar kids:
As if coming home to these two wasn’t awesome enough, their surprise made it even better. It is so true what they say, “There’s no place like home.”
What’s a girl (or a boy) to do when she finds herself in a foreign country with very minimal fitness equipment, minimal time with a work schedule, and two little kiddos in tow?
A fast, fun, high intensity circuit, of course ☺. For me, it’s always important to maximize the limited time I do have to workout, so these are always a wonderful go-to.
This workout came straight from Crossfit’s home page a few days back and was perfect, considering my travel circumstances. I started with a 5 minute treadmill warm up, then did the following as quickly as I was able:
500 meter row (the workout called for 50 pushups, but I wanted something to counter balance the pressing motion from my burpees instead)
50 jumping jacks
50 swing ups
50 second handstand hold
To finish? A nice and easy stretching session while my muscles are still warm.
Although this wasn’t the hardest workout I have ever done, it was nice to know that with so little equipment and time, I was still able to get the workout in that my body was needing.
Travel can be tough, but doesn’t need to be an excuse for fitness failure! Something, even this quick circuit, is better than nothing ☺.
50 burpees (these were brutal!)
50 jumping jacks (my "rest")
50 swing ups (not easy post baby - my core isn't as stong as it used to be)
“Are you here on holiday?” Everybody here asks…with their dreamy New Zealand accent, I must add.
This isn’t the first country (or state for that matter) that we’ve visited where this question seems to be asked repetitively. If not by the locals, then by friends, family, and our loyal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter friends. Nope. As a matter of fact, so much of our lives is spent on the road in beautiful, breathtaking places that Chris and I had only dreamed of visiting just a few short years ago.
While it might seem like the answer to that burning question should be an easy “yes” or a “no”, it’s slightly more complicated than that.
Yes, Chris and I get to travel the world. And we get to do it with our family in tow. But I must admit, not one single, itty bitty (or huge) trip we’ve taken since we have met has been for the sole purpose of vacation or pleasure. I kid you not!
All of them, every single one, to date has been for the purpose of work. Most of these trips are to visit our peeps or shoot the show, but occasionally our trips are to take business meetings, or visit some of our favorite morning or talk shows. “That’s a LOT of work trips,” you say! Yes, yes it is.
BUT…and this is a huge “but”, this doesn’t mean that we don’t make every trip a holiday ☺. Because we do!! We have learned that since time is precious…and it’s hard for us to take time for ourselves, or ever really travel just for fun, we can make fun wherever we go.
I never in a million years would have thought that I would have the opportunity to see the world like I have been able to. I also never imagined my 4th child would see 6 states and 3 countries just after her 2 month birthday. And that’s just little Ruby’s experiences! If Cash, Matix, and Marley ever write a book…I’ll tell ya, they would have some adventures to share!
How do we do this? We work hard (REALLY hard), nearly all day everyday with a huge smile on our faces. Why smile when we work? Two reasons:
One: We hardly consider this work. We get to inspire and BE inspired by people everywhere, and we get to make best friends with those people transforming their lives. The saying is true…
“Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Two: Because we know in the midst of these extremely long days we put in (on the phone coaching from afar, on the computer writing or tweaking programs, shooting the show, developing tools to help millions…not just those on the show), that when our work day wraps, a new adventure in a foreign location awaits the Powell Pack ☺.
The perfect example – Today we were lucky enough to get to spend half of our work day on one of the most beautiful, black sand beaches of New Zealand. Knowing this was the location of the shoot, we brought the family along to play between shoots. Cash had the time of his life (going on a scavenger hunt today) while Ruby smiled at everyone and everything ☺. And for us? What’s better than being able to sneak kisses and hugs from some of our bundles of joy during our work day? Dream come true.
So, whenever you wonder if “we are here on holiday,” you now have your answer.
With Winter Break coming to an end, I can’t help but sit back and appreciate the days these kids have had off from school. With our family’s abnormally busy life, it often proves tough to find “together time”, and this holiday break was the perfect opportunity for some much needed family bonding and even new, updated family pictures!
I love the days I get to spend with my kids without worrying about spelling words, projects, math sheets, and all the other homework-related things we get to do every day. Just lots of play time
I’m especially grateful for the holidays this year. We’ve been able to finally slow down (thank you, kidney stones, for the forced slow down!) and enjoy spending time together.
Just days until our crazy adventures begin again ;). I’ll miss this break…
So many people are asking me if I am working out yet, post-baby. The answer is yes with some fine print ☺. While I have done a couple structured bouts of movement that could be considered “working out”, I am not yet allowing myself to push at the intensity that I am wishing I could, just to be safe.
Most doctors and reputable sources recommend waiting 4-6 weeks post-delivery before Mom gets back into her regular workouts. However, the same reputable sources and doctors also say the most important thing is to listen to your body (we are all different!). They say if you worked out before pregnancy, and continued to workout through your pregnancy, there is a good chance your body may be ready for exercise much quicker than if you didn’t workout before and/or during pregnancy.
My own personal rules of thumb are these:
1. Get my doctor’s okay to begin.
2. If I am experiencing vaginal bleeding still, I am not ready to workout. If at anytime after I start working out, bleeding resumes, I will stop until it subsides and doc says it’s okay to begin again.
3. If I experience any physical pain (unrelated to regular muscular soreness that follows any good workout), I will stop working out or modify the movement to eliminate the pain. I believe that our bodies talk to us this way, and we should listen!
4. If my breast milk production slows down at any point after resuming exercise, I will slow down my workouts, or stop altogether, until milk production ramps back up. Side note: this may also be a sign my calorie consumption and water intake need to increase.
There you have it. As long as these 4 things are in check, I will begin my workouts.
With every baby, this time period has been different. With Matix and Marley, I waited nearly a full 6 weeks because I didn’t do much (if any) exercise during pregnancy. After Cash, I waited about 2-3 weeks, and after Ruby I gave my body 2 weeks before I started “working out”.
I use quotes because, once again, the workouts were so light compared to my usual, but I know just how important it is to start light. More than anything, this was my structured way to move functionally like all new moms (and humans, for that matter) do each and every day. Think:
squats – like sitting and standing from couch or toilet,
presses – like we do to help our bodies off of the floor or how we push the stroller, and
pulling – like we do to lift our babies and hold them to our chest
Nice and basic. Easy and functional.
Time to share the workout! It was one of my favorites and can be done at ANY level of fitness, from beginner to advanced. By choosing a workout that is scalable, I knew I would be able to throttle it up or down at anytime, ensuring I didn’t overwork my body the first time back.
Disclaimer: If you plan to attempt this workout, please make sure you have your doctors approval, as every body is different post baby. Some are ready sooner than others. Your doctor can help you decide if YOU are ready to begin workouts again.
And…a side note: Even if you are NOT pregnant or postpartum, this workout could be great for you – don’t be scared to rev up the intensity! Give it a try.
My 1st Post-Ruby Workout: 12 Minutes of Tabata
What is Tabata? Four minute rounds of exercise. You perform a move for 20 seconds, followed by 10 second rest, repeating 8 times, totaling 4 minutes. Go at your own pace. If you are only able to get ONE repetition of move in during the allotted 20 second time period, then only do one repetition.
Moves I Tabata’d (4 minutes each move. 3 moves, totaling 12 minutes):
Air Squats – My first round I got 20 in, but by round 5 I was slowing down to about 10 squats in 20 seconds.
*These can be modified to be done from a couch or chair. You basically sit down and stand up from the couch or chair to complete one rep.
Pushups – Oh…I struggled with these. Round 1, I did 12. By round 7 and 8, I was happy to get in 1 or 2 pushups. I slowed down once I realized my core needed some attention.
*Feel free to modify this to pushups from your knees or even pushups from your waist.
Bent Over Rows – I used a 45 lbs weight for both arms (not for each arm ☺). These felt good, but worked muscles I seem to have been neglecting for the last little while.
*These were great to end with. I felt like I got the harder moves out of the way first, and got to end with something a tad lighter.
Moral of the story – listen to your body and your doctor. Move when you are ready, and don’t be discouraged to see your fitness levels aren’t where they were pre-pregnancy. Day by day, with some patience, hard work, and perseverance, we can all become even stronger than we were pre-baby!