Interval Ladder

I used to take a really long time to work out.  I would go out to run for 45 minutes to an hour, or I would do P90x strength workouts, or hit the elliptical while I watched TV.  Now that I have to squeeze all of my personal care time and productivity into the 1-2 hour window of Bryce’s nap, I have been all about circuit training and interval workouts.  If I want to get the maximum results in the least amount of time, short and intense is the way to go!

Bryce does enjoy the jogging stroller for brief periods of time, so on days that I work, or days when he ditches his nap, I’ll usually take him out for a run.  Here is a nice little interval workout that I  did with the jogging stroller this week.  Bryce seemed to like it too, he yelled “RUNRUNRUNRUNRUN!” every time I started to sprint!

Warm up jog for 5 minutes

10 second sprint, 10 second jog (you can count seconds, I usually just count my steps)

20 second sprint, 20 second jog

30 second spring, 30 second jog

etc,  all the way up to 60 seconds.

THEN

60 second sprint, 60 second jog

50 second spring, 50 second jog

etc, back down to 10 seconds

I got a nice little burn, and the whole workout covered about 3 miles (including warm up and cool down.)  I love this workout because it is so easy to modify.  Only go up to 30 if you’re short on time, walk instead of jog for the recovery, do a few more 60s in the middle to extend it.  I’m just happy I found a workout that Bryce and I can do together!

It’s About Habits

I’ve posted before about how much I love FlyLady, and how her routines have helped me keep my my home clean and organized.  Well, then November happened; I was either sick or traveling for 2 weeks of the month, and now that the holidays have hit I haven’t quite gotten back on the bandwagon.  I haven’t suddenly become a hoarder, and my house didn’t spiral into a vortex of filth, but it definitely is not an oasis of cleanliness and calm.

I am signed up for FlyLady’s weekly email, which gives a daily 15-minute cleaning mission.  When I read it, I immediately felt like I needed to do all the missions at once so that I could catch up, but I stopped myself.  The whole point of FlyLady’s philosophy is to develop routines so you don’t have to do everything all at once.  The issue is not that my house is dirty, it’s that I have fallen out of my routines.

Part of the ‘problem’ is that my beautiful baby boy now sleeps till 7 instead of waking up at 5:30am.  When it’s 5:30, no stores are open and it’s still dark, so it’s easy (ish) to do chores in the morning because really, what else are you going to do?  It has been quite a treat to sleep in, but that has gradually led to staying up until all hours of the night (Ten o-clock!  Wild woman!) looking at pictures of cats on the internet.

It’s not New Years, but I am re-making a resolution to manage my time better.  Everyone has the same number of hours in the day, it is how you choose to use them.  Einstein, Mozart, and Mother Theresa had the same amount of time that I do (though they didn’t have smart phones or social media to suck them in.  I can totally see Mozart being a Twitter fiend.  )   It is fine to relax and have fun, but first priorities should be taking care of my health, taking care of my family, and helping others.

Goals:

Morning  (Pre-Bryce)- Flylady Mission and morning chores BEFORE checking email and facebook

Keep computer shut during the day.  I can catch up later…. or on my smartphone 😉

Naptime – Workout, work on notes for the summer course I’m teaching (more on that later!  Exciting!)

Evening, after Bryce goes to bed – prep for next day after dinner BEFORE checking email and facebook, set an alarm for bedtime so that I don’t lose track of time.

We’ll see how it goes!

AOSA Conference Reflectons, Part 2

This was the third Orff conference I have attended, but the first one where I have been a clinician!  This was the highest profile audience I have ever addressed; music teachers from Maine to Alaska come to this conference, from college students to seasoned teacher-educators.   I was more than a little excited and nervous!

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My session was entitled “Jump, Jive, and Patsch!  Processing Swing Music and Dance for Children” and I presented it twice.  This workshop is the intersection of my dancing experience, and my Orff Schulwerk teaching experience, and I am really proud of how it came together!  So much of Orff teaching involves creative movement improvisation and folk dancing, and swing dancing is a natural fit for both of those.

I was nervous because they had me assigned to present in a really small room, and 130 (!) people had signed between the two sessions.  I squeaked as politely as possible, and the conference director was able to move me to a larger space, which really  helped with the success of the workshop.

I played swing music as people walked in, and I had bought Hershey kisses for the door monitor to distribute.  First impressions are everything, and I figured it would also give people energy for participation.  =)  The introducer read my bio (which is starting to sound pretty impressive!) I took a deep breath, and the lesson just started to flow.  Swing dance is something that I really love, and something that I am very comfortable teaching.  I had prepared the best I possibly could, so I was really able to be present and enjoy the ride.

It was so much fun to see all these teachers movin’, groovin’,’ and enjoying the music and dancing.  Swing is such a joyful dance, I really think that no other dance form can compare to it!  Seeing the delight on the participants’ faces as they performed in our final jam circle was priceless.  I was especially happy to see one particular person enjoying himself immensely.  Doug Goodkin is a nationally-known educator and clinician who specializes in combining jazz music and Orff, and he came to check me out!  I was really excited to get his stamp of approval.

I finished off the workshop by sharing the children’s book Jazzy Miz Mozetta.

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The story is about Miz Mozetta and her elderly friends who used to be swing dancers.  They are old and creaky now, but they end up teaching their young hip-hop -dancing neighbors how to jitterbug.  I read the story aloud, and briefly shared the story of Frankie Manning, an original lindy hopper who spent the last 30 years of his life traveling the world teaching the next generation of dancers.  I actually got choked up and teary as I urged all the teachers to pass this culture on to their students, and there were many moist eyes in the audience as well.  If I can make people cry (in a good way!) I think that means the workshop was a success. =)

Another Nut Butter Trick

Previously, I shared a recipe for Peanut Butter Hummus, one of the recipes I use to make protein more palatable for my sweet boy.  I have a similar trick, one that yields a delicious dip for fruit and veggies.  It can also be spread on bread, crackers, waffles, stirred into oatmeal, or eaten with a spoon. 😉  Bryce loves it, and it kicks the nutrition of nut butter up a notch.

Buttery Yogurt Dip

1/4 cup nut butter (I love almond butter or peanut butter)

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

dash of cinnamon

1 T maple syrup or honey (can be omitted)

Stir everything together until well blended.  It is wonderful on graham crackers with thinly sliced apples!

PTX Vol. 2 Album Review

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This a completely biased review.  I watched Pentatonix on the Sing Off the very first week, and picked them as the season winners.  I’ve seen them in concert three times, I watch their YouTube videos over and over when there is nothing good on TV, and I try to slip their songs into my music classes whenever I can.  I watch Scott and Mitch’s YouTube show SuperFruit because it makes me feel like I am their friends, and was considering signing up for a Twitter account solely so that I can follow all of their tweets.  I’m legitimately obsessed.

But, rightly so.  This is one of the most talented musical groups I have ever seen,  I think the only other artist I listen to so regularly and with such admiration is Dave Matthews Band.  Do yourself a favor and download PTX Volume 1, PTXMas, and then prepare to be blown away by their newest album.

Billboard.com had a sneak preview streaming on their website today.  I thought about waiting until the album truly released to listen, prolonging the anticipation so that the payoff would be even sweeter.  Yeah, for about TWO SECONDS.  I couldn’t find the Play button fast enough!

Can’t Hold Us:  I LOVED Macklemore’s original, and I love PTX’s version even more.   Each member gets a feature moment, and the driving momentum is propelled by Kevin’s SICK beatboxing and harmonies that have an edge of Gospel.  It’s an exhilarating track; the anthem of five talented young people blessed with the opportunity to follow their dreams.

Natural Disaster:  Primal body percussion and emotional lead singing by Scott Hoying will have you pounding your steering wheel and belting out the chorus.

Love Again:  So far, this is my favorite track!  Haunting harmonies and a beat that would be at home in a dance club.  Mitch kills the lead vocals, and you can feel Avi’s bass in your intestines if you listen with the right speakers!  I found the hook of this song stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Valentine:  Tender and sparse, you can hear all of their choral backgrounds showing through in this song.  Kevin keeps the percussion deceptively low key; it has a chill vibe, but CRAZY if you reeeeaaally listen to all the sounds he’s making!

Hey Momma:  Sexy and hard hitting, makes me want to shake my booty.  Hit the Road Jack is sampled and mashed up with the melody, seamlessly mixing down and dirty swing with club beats.  Kevin somehow implants a DJ turntable into his vocal chords for a midsong breakdown.

I Need Your Love:  Another song that gives each member a little moment to shine.  It keeps the energy of the original, but adds that extra PTX somethin’ somethin’ — a little club, a little choir, a little crazy.

Run To You:  *Pin drops*  *Tears flow*

Daft Punk:  It’s everything Daft Punk does with $1000’s of electronic equipment, but with five voices.  IN. SANE.

Save the World/Don’t You Worry:  I loved this when it came out as a music video, and I’m happy that it was included!   A great high energy send-off for an incredible album!

Here is the group’s own take on the album, it’s fun to hear them talk about all the songs!

I hope that everyone who reads this blog (all five of you!) will become Pentaholics after reading this post!  They are just SO GOOD!!!!!

Just a Year Ago

I went jogging around the lake with Bryce when I got home from work today.  It was a gorgeous fall day with a chill in the air and a bright blue sky.

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I loaded him up in the stroller with a snack cup of cheerios while he said “Yaaaay!!!”  and “Brrrrroooom Brrrroooom.”  As we ran down the path, he said “Runrunrun!  Runrunrun!”  going fast down the hills,  and “Da     Da    Da     Da”  (trip trap trip trap) as we crossed the wooden bridges.  He barked at all the dogs we saw, echoed the calls of the blue jays and crows, and greeted everyone on the path with a bright and cheery “Hi!”   I felt energized and strong as we sped down the path, and I had a sudden flashback to last year at this time:

I was exhausted from waking up to nurse 2-4 times a night.

It was painful to run because my hips were still out of whack from being pregnant.

Bryce was so small he could barely sit up in the stroller yet.

I would walk around the lake with Bryce in the Boba carrier on my chest, and he would usually fall asleep.  I would rub his back, play with his toes, and smell his soft little head as we plodded around the lake.  Every time we got to the steep hill by the dam, I would take a DEEEEEEEEP breath in, reminding myself that even though I was still carrying a baby around, at least I had my full lung capacity back!

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What a difference a year makes!  My body finally remembers how great it feels to run (even with a gigantic stroller!)  My sweet, chubby, sleepy baby is now a sweet little boy who looks with wonder at the world around him (and squawks in protest as we run by the playground without stopping.)   The days are long, but the years are short…

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