Tag Archives: postpartum fitness

Check In With Sofia: 10 & 11 Months Old

Guys, I refuse to believe it: My little princess is turning 1 year old this week! Where did the time fly? I mean, it’s insane!

Today I’d like to reminisce about the past 2 months and share with you some of her milestones.

10 Months Old

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The day Sofia turned 10 months old was a very significant day for her and our family as a whole: It was her first day at a daycare. She was supposed to start a month later, but since I made a decision to go back to work from a maternity leave sooner than expected because I got an amazing opportunity with my company.

Dropping her off for the first time was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.I had a big lump in my throat. Thankfully, Sofia integrated really well pretty much from the get go and it made the process so much easier for me as well.

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At 10 months, Sofia loves to climb absolutely everything, especially the stairs, and step on her tippy toes the heater to look out the window.

Clicking buttons of a musical center and pulling out books is another fascination of hers.

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Sofia started to show her dancing skills. Watching her bounce and shuffle to songs is incredibly funny. I can tell she’s listening to lyrics too, because she’ll wave ‘hello’ and ‘bye-bye’ when she’s supposed to.

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Sofia can already eat finger food. She enjoys eating grapes and rusks, and pretty much all fruits. She can drink through a straw from her sippy cup and says ‘da-da-da-da-da’ non-stop.

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Our baby girl loves to spend time outdoors: going on the swing and looking out of her stroller are definitely at the top of her list.

11 Months Old

 Sofia weighs 19 pounds. Can say ‘ma-ma’ and ‘da-da’. She started saying ‘da-da’ about a week before saying ‘ma-ma’.

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Hearing her say ‘ma-ma’ was so special and precious because my mom got to witness this with me. My heart melts to even simply think about that day…

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At 11 months, Sofia got over some of her fears: She is no longer afraid to go down the slide or to touch the grass. She loves playing ball with Bella and has fun pulling on toilet paper when mommy’s not looking.

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Sofia is an independent little girl. Occasionally, she can even stand on her own without any support for several seconds. Also, walking while holding on to couches, walls and chairs brought house exploration to a whole new level!

At the daycare educators are fascinated about how calm she is, always keeping herself busy roaming around and making new friends. Of course… PFFFF… Sofia’s our daughter, no wonder! *wink, wink*
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Food-wise, the new favourite snack is cheese! Eating cheese, berries and fruit on her own is exciting and… messy! Oh well, Bella doesn’t mind picking up stuff off the floor, so I guess at the end of the day everyone is happy!

If you’ve missed previous check-in’s, here they are:

What emotions did you experience before your baby’s first birthday?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Check In With Sofia: 9 Months Old + Giveaway

Last weekend I had a brunch with a great friend of mine. We had a very interesting conversation. It had to do with what we are passionate about.

Before I had Sofia, I was really apprehensive about being on maternity leave for almost a year. I loved being surrounded by people, so the thought of being home all this time kind of scared me.

Fast forward 9 months. I’m loving it. Of course, I LOVE spending time with my daughter and seeing her grow. But what’s even more, I feel like I’ve never been so comfortable with myself. I’ve learned so much about myself.

she decided to live the life she'd imagined
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This may sound selfish, but I really don’t think it is. We are normally so caught up with work, groceries, this and that, that we barely spend any time to think and reflect about who we are and what it is that truly makes us happy. Yes, it may seem pointless, but it is a truly rewarding process.

By knowing yourself better, you will be happier. When you are happy, your happiness passes onto others. It is the best gift you can give to yourself and others.

Yet… I can’t believe that our little chunky monkey turned 9 months old last week!

Sofia 9 months old

Over the past month Sofia has learned a lot! Now she crawls on all four as opposed to sliding on her stomach. Honestly, it’s the cutest thing! She knows her way around the house, so she moves ahead with determination. *If you know what I mean.*

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She stands up everywhere. And I mean, EVERYWHERE! The most favourite place at the moment is my bookshelf. Sofia is fascinated by my books, and they MUST be pulled out if possible! *That’s how I know that she’s a mommy’s girl! Haha!* Also, our baby girl enjoys to walk with our help. I wouldn’t be surprised if she soon starts walking on her own.

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And everything has to pass the taste test!

The funniest thing is when Sofia is in her stroller or on a swing *another favourite place to be*, she loves to hold on to it with one hand. Imagine you’re driving your car and stick one hand out. That’s how it looks! Too cute for words!

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Obviously, she does a bunch of cute things like waving ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’, doing ‘high five’ and clapping her hands. We are head over heels in love with her!

Sofia now ways 17.8 pounds and measures 72 cm. That’s a lot of happiness right there!

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If you’ve missed previous check-in’s, here they are:

Also don’t forget to participate in my giveaway for the Armpocket! It ends at 12 am on April 26th. So don’t waste any time, and head over here to enter your chance to win it!

Do you have kids? What are your fondest memories of when they were babies?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

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MamaDances: Newborn Dance Class Through A Mother’s Eyes

Good morning, darlings!

This post is so long overdue! Sofia and I did the Mother and Baby dance class from October to December last year. We started it just a couple of weeks later after a baby yoga class. *Read more about it here.* Needless to say, it was a blast!

Surprisingly, I had never heard about this kind of class before. And I am eternally grateful to a friend of mine who simply sent me a message to see if I would be interested to check it out. It didn’t take much convincing. I watched a video online and I was sold. This is the exact reason why I wanted to dedicate a post to this baby class. I wanted other moms to be aware of it. Not only it’s a great way for new moms and their babies to bond, but also have fun, relax, while socializing with others.

My instructor, Eryn Dace Trudell, was absolutely amazing. And even though I can’t call myself a great dancer, I felt right where I belong!

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Sofia was only 10 weeks old when we started the class. She was really responsive to everything that was happening around her, especially at the beginning of the class when we snapped fingers and clapped to create our own ‘music’. In addition, she enjoyed being in my arms as we danced around and moved past other babies in a class. In the second part of the class, we put our babies in carriers. Sofia was asleep within the first few minutes, while I focused on learning new dancing styles and techniques.

I asked Eryn if she would do an interview with me because I wanted you, my dear readers, to get the most information out of it. And she kindly agreed.

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Here it is, without a further ado.

First things first.

Go-to music: For classes I use: Snatam Kaur, Oka, John Hughes, Ali Farka
Favourite dance style: Contact Improvisation, Skinner Release Technique (of which I am a certified facilitator)
Dancing tip: Breathe and let go

Eryn, could you tell us more about yourself and your fitness background?

I have a BFA from The Juilliard School, and so my original training is in classical ballet and modern dance. Since studying these classical forms, I began exploring new dance and post-modern dance techniques. I love the somatic approaches such as Alexander Technique, Body Mind Centering , Feldenkrais and all their developments. I am a certified facilitator of Skinner Releasing Technique and a practitioner of Contact Improvisation.

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How did you come up with the idea of a Mother and Baby dance class?

I had the privilege of witnessing a professional dancer trying to present at a choreographic workshop while her child tried to upstage her. It was the most beautifully authentic dance I ever saw. She eventually brought the child on stage with her to continue the presentation.

As necessity is the mother of invention, when I became a single mother in 2006, MamaDances was the solution to finding a way to support my little family by applying my skills and experience. Sensitive to competition I wanted to create work for myself that would offer a complementary revenue source and demographic to the profession of dance.

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Could you walk my readers through your everyday class? What can people who attend it expect?

We begin with rhythm and socialization studies to loosen up the intimidation factor and get to know each other. Next we do a floor warm-up including lower back release and abdominal strengthening. On the first day we move with our babies in our arms within a study called “ Soft feet”. Technically, we are learning to let go of holding patterns in the knees and the feet to allow fluidity to come into the body through the contact and dialogue from the floor through the skeletal structure to the head. The principal being taught is the idea of letting go into the direction of movement. This creates availability and a state of readiness to respond with suppleness. This exercise seems very simple but there is a lot going on.

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What impact does music and dance have on a child’s development?

I am not specialized in this area of knowledge. I have no academic background in child development. In fact I am only beginning to embark on this area of research now. I only know from experience that the babies enjoy it. My own children who have been exposed to a musical and movement environment are very tuned in musically. My oldest daughter now plays several instruments and my younger daughter has an amazing ability to replicate a tone and sing musical phrases.

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Sofia and I really enjoyed dancing with you! Can you tell us more about the philosophy behind dance classes for babies and moms? What sets you apart from other baby classes out there?

When I began MamaDances in 2007, there were very few activities for mothers and babies. I had heard about Salsa Babies, but there was only one class being offered in Montreal that I could see. Mom and Baby Yoga was just beginning. Cardio-Pousette [cardio with a stroller] was happening at Parc Lafontaine. Since, then many activities have been introduced to the market, particularly things like Music classes.

MamaDances merges many of the concepts you will find in other classes, such as music and rhythm awareness, and stimulation for the babies. Plus , stretching and strengthening like in yoga and pilates. And then the fitness comes in, when we realize we have been moving non-stop for 60-80 minutes without even noticing. The material is integrated in a way that the movement of the moms and the babies becomes a synergy of expression and connection.

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Can moms with no previous dance experience still have fun in your class?

Yes. All the material is prepared to be equally beneficial for those with or without experience. That is one of the biggest challenges of creating material for a class. There is a huge range of ability and experience in a class.

Do you teach any other classes apart from Mother-Baby class?

I teach Contact Improvisation and Skinner Releasing Technique. I also have a Parent and Child Program which is a development of the Mom and Baby program.

What are your goals for this coming year?

I have a lot of inquiries about this method from people in other parts of the world. I am hoping to create an online teachers training program and to begin sharing and expanding MamaDances globally.

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Finally, any fun stories you’d be able to share with us? I am sure you had quite a few laughs with your members during the class.

The obvious is that we are putting one of the most aesthetic practices, dance, together with the most fundamental, maternity. The dance of eternity. I love it when a mother finds something that her baby really loves and the babies start laughing and so Mama starts laughing and then it’s all quite funny. We can’t take ourselves too seriously, yet here we are now responsible for another human being in the world. It’s a wonderful dichotomy.

Thank you very much for your time and an incredible, one of a kind, dancing experience with my daughter!

Mama Dances Class

If you are a new mom in Montreal area, definitely check out MamaDances website to register or to get additional information: www.mamadances.com. If not, see if you have similar classes where you live. You’ll have the time of your life with your little plus one!

*You can read more about my postpartum fitness journey here.*

Have you tried a dance class with your baby? What was your experience?

Have you followed my TwitterFacebook and Instagram page for most recent updates? You can also subscribe to receive emails to always keep in touch in the little window to the right.

xoxo
Olena

 

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My Postpartum Fitness Journey

Salut, mes amis!

How have you been?!

Spring is almost here! Even though it is still very cold here in Montreal, I am full of excitement. Spring is my favourite season. I love it because everything around starts to bud and blossom, coming back to life. I can’t wait to go for long walks again and finally start training for my first half marathon. I bet Sofia will have a blast in her stroller accompanying me!

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Throwback to fall

 

Many of you have asked about my fitness journey since giving birth in July. The truth is I had to, as they say, proceed with caution. Surprisingly, I was given very little guidelines at the hospital in regards to how to recover from having a cesarean. Naturally, I did have a few hiccups here and there when I would ‘push’myself too much without even knowing it and I would end up in a lot of pain that would prevent me from moving completely. I had to be cautious and patient, which, as you can only imagine, is not very easy for an active person like myself.

I started by taking short stroller walks around the block, then slowly increased the distance to 3 and eventually 5 km.

At about 8 weeks postpartum, I began a baby yoga class *read more here* with Sofia, 4 weeks later – a mama dance class. *More on that here.*

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Heading to our first baby yoga class

In October, the incision sight didn’t bother me as much. I thought it would be a perfect time to jump back into it by incorporating 30-day challenges into my daily routine *read more here*: I started with a squat challenge in October, then embarked on an ab challenge in November, and finally ended up with an  upper body challenge, which I found on Pinterest, in December.*Please, let me know if you have a good link for proper credit*.

30 day upper body challenge

In the beginning of January I knew I was ready for more, so I signed myself up not for one but for two challenges, both were totally free and could be done from the comfort of home.

One of them was a 30-day Yoga Camp by Adriene.

I’ve been following Adriene for close to 2 years now. I’m honestly in love with her videos! I totally think we could be best friends if I ever got to meet her. I love Adriene’s approach to yoga: Find What Feels Good. What was different about this yoga camp is that Adriene focused on mental well-being as well. I thoroughly enjoyed daily mantras and emails to go with it.

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If you wish, you can start Yoga Camp at any time by signing up here. *You will thank me later!*

Another challenge that I embarked on was an 8-week challenge by Tone It Up.

I admire Karena and Katerina so much. They are best friends in real life, great fitness role models and entrepreneurs. They were able to build a great online community, which I’ve been a part of for over a year now.You can opt in to get their nutritional plan and buy extra video workouts (which I did), but it is not necessary as there is always a free option available. I love their energy and continuous support through social media and emails.

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It never occurred to me that there is a big Tone It up community in Canada, including Montreal! To my surprise, I was recently ‘found’ through one of my hashtags I used on Instagram by one of the girls from Montreal community, so I am really looking forward to meeting them at the next meet up!

The next 8-week challenge starts within a few days. To hold myself accountable, I’d like to show you my progress from the previous challenge. There are no drastic changes as I haven’t made any changes to my diet. It is more important for me to be able to nurse my baby for as long as I can rather to lose an extra pound or two. That being said, I love how much stronger I have become in such a short period of time. It’s awesome to be in control of my body again!

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What was your fitness journey after having a baby?

*Haven’t read my birth story? Head over here!*

xoxo
Olena

 

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