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Entries in exercise (8)


Portland with Amanda | A kid-free weekend

It was Amanda's idea and I'm so glad she had it.

This is Amanda:

You may remember her and her starring role as my doula for Lyra's birth in Mexico.

If you don't know that story, it is worth a read here.

"We should go on a getaway without our husbands or are kids. What do you think?" she asked.

I pulled up a tab on Travelocity and asked her when we were leaving.

We had three months from the time we purchased tickets until we finally met up. Amanda said we should challenge ourselves to be able to do 100 push ups a day by the time we met each other in Portland.


While we can't do 100 push ups in one go, we are able to do 100 in a day. In fact we both got so good at push ups that we bumped the challenge to 200 a day. Now that was something we really had to work at.

Amanda took a train from Vancouver (and a ferry from Pender Island). I took a non-stop from San Diego.

During the day we walked and walked and walked.

Those dildos in the sky are actually a thing in Portland. More on this "free expression of joy" here.

Amanda is not only a doula, she is a child-birth educator, AND a beekeeper. Naturally then, we followed the huge sign we saw on the sidewalk one day that pointed us toward ------------> MEAD.

Fun fact: Mead does not come from a winery or a brewery. It comes form a meadery, people. It just makes sense.

The thirty minute chocolate tasting at Missionary RX Chocolates finally made me realize how accurate Portlandia is to real life in that city.

Phrases we heard while tasting chocolate heaven:

"The mint comes from a third-generation mint farm just outside the city."

"This is from a local. She extracts the passion fruit flavor from actual plants versus using essential oils."

"If you buy Jacobsen Sea Salts [hand-harvested in Portland] at a retail store though, don't expect the salt to be this spicy. We add a little extra oomph." 

Our host was Jessica of Jessica J Consulting and ladies, if you are looking for a life coach, she comes highly recommended. Jessica lives smack-dab in the city and has a stunning guest room to boot. Amanda and I were so grateful for this kid-free, man-free (no offense to awesome husbands), zenned out zone. 

In the evenings the three of us danced, drank, ate carbs, and reveled in being able to finish whole thoughts and speak in uninterrupted sentences. Sometimes moms need a break. This was a GREAT break.

When three clear-eyed, square-shouldered, gorgeous women walk into a bar or restaurant together you will inevitably get asked what the hell is going down that evening. I liked to smile demurely and respond that we all owned Subarus, but Jessica and Amanda were quick to explain further.

What does give certain women that twinkle in their eye? 

Is it the push ups?

Minimal living?


(Because all of these things, including the Subaru-ownership is true for all of us.)

You can see the glitter in Bethany's eyes. This is Bethany from s/v Lilo. You may remember her from my Mexico posts, like this one.

And while you can't see their faces directly here, the sparkle is intense in Bethany's daughters' eyes too. That's Hannah on the sax, and Meira holding the music. Meira also plays the cajón, or any convenient Harry Potter book can work as percussion in a pinch too. (Don't believe me? Watch her playing a book in the video below).

Perhaps it is music? We all love music.

I give you our impromptu choral singing on the streets of Portland after brunch one day:

If you haven't guessed my theory yet, the unifying aspect for me is that we are all sailors.

We are female sailors and female sailors are something else. They are women who sing, and dance, and have children. AND they are women that know the sea. They adventure. They are incredibly competent and perceptive. And happy.

Sailing women are a happy, giving bunch. 

If you are a sailing woman, or aspire to be one, join Women Who Sail. It's a fantastic group of supportive female sailors. You'll like it. 

I'd be remiss to not give a shout out to Bryan, Bethany's husband. He was one of the only two gentlemen who hung out with us this weekend and like the ladies present, Bryan's got it too. There is an alertness in sailors' eyes that I see in very few others. He also recorded our singing session, and snapped photos when Amanda and I met Jessica's neighbors and asked them if they'd like to do a bunch of push ups with random strangers (us) right in that very moment.

The neighbors obliged and Bryan documented it. Hey, I've got to get those 200 push ups in any way I can.

Just doing our part to Keep Portland Weird.

Oh, and the other guy we hung out with? He was a hilarious Marine Corps helicopter pilot named Jesse, but don't worry, we weren't being untrue to our men, the handsome pilot was there with his ultra-marathoner date, Alyssa. She was training to run a race that is 8 MARATHONS BACK-TO-BACK.

Yeah, its not just sailors with sparkles in their eyes; it is anyone who is really squeezing the fuck out of life every chance they get.

Okay, maybe a Wonka gif is a bit much, though I'm feeling robust lately, so let's just roll with it.


Our exploration of the city lasted for several colorful days.

The most rejuvenating part of this trip was Amanda's exuberance about life and the exhilaration of traveling sans family ties. It was just me, my thoughts, my friend, and her wondrousness. And we both could do and explore as we liked. It made me feel nostalgic for the abundant adventures of my twenties  in Europe, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

Amanda and I WILL be doing this again, though it'll be another city to conquer when we are ready.

Thanks to Amanda and Jessica. To Bethany, Bryan, Hannah, and Meira. To Yoni at Victory Bar and to that incredible ultra-marathoner, Alyssa, and the Marine Corps pilot, Jesse, for making our trip one for the record books.

We're gonna keep doing push ups every day and now we're adding pull ups to the repertoire. We shall bring our buffness to the next city soon.

PS - if you are in Portland anytime until the 28th of August, I encourage you to go see Claire Willet's play, Dear Galileo. It opened the night we left and has been met with wonderful reviews. I know Claire from an online writer's group and I have to tell you, I'd jump at the chance to see her work, though I hear that her shows are selling out, so go-go-go if you can!


My Workout Buddies

If you have followed mine or Eric's blogs for even a short time, you'll have noticed that we both like to work out. We also include our kids in our workouts as much as possible. 

All chalked up.

I've been working out in our car port area and when I head out the girls do too.

That's my girl. Fierce!

Lyra loves the ab wheel.

She also loves the toy garbage truck.

Sometimes I have one of the girls try to take pictures. Lyra tried in this one. Hey, at least you can see me and Cora in the shot.

Mostly the girls just play.

A little post workout snack is lovely outside too.

Cora asked me what these posters said when I hung them up.

She listened intently as I read.

"That's a great poem, mom. Yeah. Good idea to work out."

Hey thanks, buddy. 

Lyra did the most adorable videobomb yesterday when I was trying to check my form. 


Cora and Lyra, when you read this one day, thanks for being such kick ass little workout buddies.




Getting Fit after Baby Number Two | Well, that was really freaking hard

On left: me in May 2014 | On right: me in September 2014

In three months I only dropped 2.5lbs of weight, but lost 4.5% body fat and halved my stomach fat. Muscles really do weigh more than fat. Yay! 

Lifting weights while Cora watches in the baby seat | Sept 2010Getting fit after Lyra was so much harder than after Cora. By three weeks postpartum after Cora (my first), I was back to wearing my pre-pregnancy pants (see photo at left). I gained twice as much weight with Lyra (my second) than with Cora though, and had far more complications (kidney stones, unexplained pre-term labor). I was more stressed out during Lyra's pregnancy (pre-trip departure, shake-down cruise, cruising to Mexico, temporary family separation, giving birth in a foreign country to name a few...) And postpartum with Lyra I had continuing stresses (family drama, publiclyouting my father for what he is, living in a foreign country, and the isolation of cruising in Mexico during the off-season.) Yes, I breastfed both the girls.

This is all to say, that I wasn't really set up for success when I started trying to lose the baby weight and get strong and healthy after giving birth to Lyra. I tried and I tried to lose the girth specifically around my middle, but postpartum depression, anemia, the soul-sucking Mexican heat, Typhoid, and having two little kids did me no favors. 

Battling the muffin top, 15 weeks postpartum with Lyra | Marina La Paz, June 2013

When we found ourselves back on land after the rescue, I was determined that the one thing I would set my sights on immediately was my health. I did three things as soon as we got our studio and had moved in:

1. Joined I Am Beautiful Boot Camp

2. Joined FitBlender Gym

3. Started tracking my calories and eating clean

Breakfast shake: iced coffee, two tablespoons natural peanut butter, one tablespoon chia gel, one scoop ON Whey chocolate protein powder, one cup almond milk

Healthy beef and cabbage stir fry 

Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes (sans maple syrup, but served with fruit!)

Frozen green grapes for a fruit fix on a hot day | Homemade hummus prepared for lunchtime

Leftovers night in the Kaufman household 

Watermelon cake with coconut frosting (no added sweetener)

This was by far the hardest I have ever had to work to get back in shape.  At 35, my body is no longer a spring chicken and I had to really put my money where my mouth is and follow all the advice I have always given people in the past. I started by cutting out all unnecessary carbs, and I already don't eat white carbs, so gone was brown rice (that I usually combine with beans), and gone was the one slice of whole wheat bread I would eat with peanut butter every morning. I said adios to cheese, to avocados (yes, they are a "healthy" fat, but not when you eat an entire avocado at one sitting), no more alcohol, and I lowered and tracked my calories. I ate low GI food. I ate whole food following Michael Pollan's adage of "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." I already barely eat sugar, but I did reduce the amount of chocolate chips I eat a day (I normally eat a handful of dark chocolate chips with raw almonds in the evenings). 

21 months postpartum from my first baby. This photo was my goal photo and represented my goal weight and goal fitness level.

In the beginning, it really sucked.

Even cutting out the tiny amount of unnecessary carbs I normally ate and then reducing my calories sent me into ketosis, which is exactly what I was expecting, but it's never fun for the first few days until your body adjusts. For three days I was the grouchiest of grumps. I felt like I was starving. I had no energy and was mad, mad, mad. I'm going to think Ella and Eric for helping me through those three days. They did it by letting me complain non-stop about how I could 'never do this' and that I was 'starving.' 

But I wasn't starving and I could do it, and by the third day I woke up feeling much better and on the fourth day my body was reset and ready to start burning fat and utilizing the new amount of fuel I was giving it.

It was time to get serious.

We are already an active family, so I made sure we stayed active daily.

I joined I Am Beautiful Boot Camp and every Saturday sweated my ass off with a bunch of other awesome women.

It means I'm serious if I have a bumper sticker, right?

This photo was memorable to me. The instructor had just yelled out, "Charlotte, suck in that gut!" and I hollered back, laughing, "I AM!" Oh, post-pregnancy baby bellies.

I had to constantly remind myself to trust.the.process. I was doing everything right and the weight around my middle was not going to disappear overnight.

38 weeks pregnant with Lyra | Marina La Cruz, January 2013The last time I had done yoga was when I was a week away from giving birth to Lyra. So I started yoga back up again:

And I also joined a local gym, Fitblender Training Center, that focuses on H.I.I.T. (high-intensity interval training).

My girlfriend, Lizz, joined too, which means I get to see her a lot each week since we work out together.

Eric has been a tremendous support through this process, but when you have a husband who does pull ups at the playground, I doubt it is surprising that he wants me to be fit too.

Many afternoons the girls and I walk to meet him on his way home from work.

And then he continues home with the sweat peas and I head to the gym.

Watch out Eric, I'm catching up!

It only took me 19 months after giving birth again, but I finally did it. Huzzah!

(The sports bra shown above is by BoobyPack. It is incredibly comfortable. I'm not affiliated with them at all, I just love their bras).


Walking in Suburbia | Albuquerque in Winter

No, you did not imagine it; I really haven't blogged much lately, but I've wanted to. So much. Within 24 hours of arriving in La Cruz, my trusty netbook died. Eric had a tablet I could use, but tablets are not great for creating content. Add in super spotty internet, and things became very quiet on the blog front.

But no more. Two days ago, Lyra and I flew up to visit my sister's family in Albuquerque. Cora and Eric stayed behind to keep working on the boat. There was a shiny new laptop waiting for me upon arrival. And with that, blogging shall recommence!

People who say they don't have time to exercise are absolutely correct. Because you don't "have" time, you "make" time. If it is important to you, then you re-prioritize. This morning I came down to the living room, where my niece and nephews were playing video games and clapped my hands. "Get dressed, kids. It's time to go for a walk."

They didn't even hesitate.

"Please wait for me while I go get some clothes!" exclaimed my niece Phoebe, tugging on her flannel pajamas.

"Well, okay, just this once," I grinned.

And they bounded upstairs to get ready for an Albuquerque winter walk.

When you live the life of a cruiser you move your body a lot. You walk and walk and walk some more. But life in suburbia doesn't encourage walking or getting outdoors. You can fix that, though. You just have to step out your front door.

Within minutes we had found an empty lot and had scrambled up on top to discover cool rocks and local wildlife.

I gave each kid a role. Kimball was our time keeper. I wanted to walk for at least 45 minutes. He kept track. Phoebe was our navigator; she needed to know the name of every street we walked on and remember the streets we had passed or turned onto. Warren was our pilot. He told us which way to go.

I marveled at how similar everything looked and couldn't get this song out of my head as we walked:

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one 
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

We walked by a woman out walking her Chihuahua. I said good morning to her and then asked the kids to do the same. They chorused their 'hellos' and 'good mornings.' The youngest, Warren, asked,

"Why do we need to say hello to her?"

I try to never answer kids' questions (a trait I'm sure my students in San Diego remember well.)

"Why do you think?" I queried.

"Well, I don't know." Warren kicked a rock ahead of him.

"I bet you can think of one reason."

"So they aren't scared of us. So they know we come in peace."

Warren is seven. I told him that was a brilliant reason. And then we all did the Vulcan hand sign and started repeating, "we come in peace!"

Rock on.

Our timekeeper was a master at it. 

"We have exactly seven more minutes until we reach the 45 mark."

"Awwww, can we keep walking past that time, though?" Warren had a runny nose and a giant smile on his face.

"Don't ask me, Warren. You are the pilot. Where do we go next?"

Answer - to the playground.

We ran into this neighbor kid very early in our walk and stopped by his house to see if he could adventure with us. He gave us important info like which side street had a dog that would jump his fence and chase you (no thanks!) and he knew the code to get us into the gated community next door with the playground.

Handy little fellow.

Phoebe. Age 10. The very first grandkid. I was there for her birth. She'll be taller than me soon.

Kimball. Age 9. Kimball has Asperger's and he is brilliant. The first thing he said to me when I saw him at the airport was, "Can I tell you how a mushroom cloud works?"

Warren. Age 7. It took him about 20 minutes to grasp the concept that he was totally in charge of where we walked to. As the youngest of three, he generally follows. He was a diplomatic leader and took everyone's thoughts into consideration before charting our course.

When we got back I asked the kids to show me the rocks they had collected.

Phoebe's stash.

Kimball's collection.

Warren's design.

Our time keeper informed us that we walked for exactly 67 minutes. Perfect.

That's 67 minutes of exercise for me, and 67 minutes of no-kids-time for my wonderful sister and her husband, Jake.

(If you want to read more about my sweet sister, and see how much her kids have grown, check out this post I wrote about her in 2009.)


Adios, muffin top | Getting Fit

Cora is my super tough work out partner.

At almost 4 months postpartum it has become quite clear that unlike with Cora, the fat is not just going to "magically" melt away from my body after giving birth. With Cora, it was like magic. By 3 weeks postpartum, I was just *poof* down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Not so this time, oh no. And I'm not really surprised. I had a crap-tastic pregnancy. I was on modified bed rest for tons of it and even when I wasn't, I had no energy to work out (unlike with Cora when I was lifting weights and doing yoga until the weekend before I gave birth.)

I gained twice as much weight this pregnancy as I did with Cora as well. Add to that, postpartum complications that have kept me physically unable to lift weights or do squats until only recently, and well, hello, muffin top.

Some good news? The surgery I thought I was going to have last week has been postponed and may not even need to happen. We are getting a second opinion, well really, a fourth opinion, in San Diego when we return in a few more days. It will be a huge relief to talk to an English speaking doctor, and a specialist in what I'm dealing with. Please send some healing vibes so I won't need surgery. I really, really don't want surgery.

In the meantime, I'm cleared to work out. And work out I am!! 

It is so hot here in Mexico that the ambient temperature in our boat melts our chocolate if we leave it out. Just sitting on the counter, it is a gooey mess. I know, I know... #firstworldproblems

But that should give you some idea of how freaking hot it is to attempt to work out down here as well. I either have to wait until the winds kick up in the evening and the sun's death rays are waning, or I have to get up and at 'em before about 10:00 in the morning. Lyra has graciously started going down for a nap around 9:00am-ish which lets me and Cora, and sometimes Eric, pop out onto the finger of the dock to lift some heavy ass weights.

Turkish get ups will make you strong. ~ 15 weeks postpartum

I'm surprisingly calm about the amount of weight I still want to lose. I'm guessing it is about 15-20lbs but haven't been able to find a working weight scale since before I gave birth (none of them work in the doctor's offices I've been to.)

While losing weight is normally a matter of math, I am currently breastfeeding. Breastfeeding women need 300-500 more calories than non-breastfeeding women. I am growing a human being with just my milk alone!! A calorie-restricting diet is not a good option. I can make sure I'm eating healthy, good food (I am) and make sure I don't overeat (I'm not) but in the meantime, I need to just focus on using my body again through strength training exercises and walking. (Running is far too painful on my boobs until I can wean this kid.) 

I refuse to feel embarrassed about my non-"perfect" postpartum body. I have grown not one, but two kids inside it. And I don't want my girls to grow up thinking that I'm ashamed of how I looked after giving birth. It took 9 months to grow my sweet Lyra, and I'll give myself that much time, or longer if I need it, to get myself back into the shape I'm hoping for.

I'm working with my personal fitness instructor (aka, my husband) on exercises to get me back into shape.

I've got kettlebells and I've got chalk, and I'm not afraid to use them.

When I say I have a muffin top, or a mom belly, I don't mean it derogatorily, I mean it accurately. Both Eric and I have done a lot of writing on exercise and fitness and this is a time for me to practice what I preach and trust the process.

Trust it, I am.

Me and Cora working on our two hand swings.

For those of you who are super, super nerdy when it comes to strength training, yes, I know, I'm supposed to be wearing flat heeled shoes. My last pair of Converse were destroyed by the sun, and I can't find a pair down here. The fact that I'm even having to explain this just leads me back to....#firstworldproblems 

In the meantime, the crew of Rebel Heart is just going to keep on being awesome and I'm going to keep trusting the process my body is going through.

The human body is truly amazing. Just look at the photo progression so far:

Getting there!