47 posts categorized "Fitness"

I said this to my daughter: "I feel fat"

May 05, 2014

I was having a water-retention day, just an unconfident and unenergetic day.  My 13-year old daughter was watching me get ready, waiting for me.  I put on a pants and a shirt, and the words just slipped out of my mouth: "I feel fat".

The moment I felt the words slip away, I regreted it.  I wished I never said it.

I am physically able and fit.  I have the privilege to be strong and the privilege to have time to dedicate to running, biking, and yoga.  I am not fat.

I never want my girls to feel like we are judged by our shapes.  It was the wrong statement for me to make; it is a class of statement I often try to refrain from making.  It gives my girls the wrong message.

This is my mama regret of the moment.

The Aftermath of the Boston Marathon

April 24, 2013

On Monday, April 15th, I woke up in a tizzy.  First, I was late for a meeting for which I had to commute an hour.  Second, we hadn't finished up our taxes.  Third, the funnest thing of the morning, it was the Boston Marathon, and the last Facebook status I saw was from a former PDX urbanMama, suited up in compression socks and bib number, ready to race.

I thought about our friend all morning wondering how she was feeling and how she was doing (undoubetdly strong, she always runs strong!).  After a busy day of meetings, I settled into another hour commute home and was horrified to hear the news.

"Late breaking news from the Boston Marathon finish line...."  and "....reports of two deaths, one of whom was a child of eight years old..." - the audio was unbearable.  As a "survivor" of sorts of what happened on September 11, 2001, I felt pangs of trauma resurfacing.  My heart beat mimicked how it behaved back then.  Every other moment, I let out tears.  And, as I drove, my hand covered my mouth in disbelief.

Our urbanMama friend was safe, though she was just picking up her warming blanket as the first impact set off.  Luck would also have it that her spouse and three children were running a little late to greet her, still a few blocks away from finish.  After hearing the comotion, the family re-routed to meet at another pre-determined location.

We have stories of friends who were there, stories of friends of friends.  Many of us, runners ourselves, can only imagine the confusion of feelings: the high of completing such a huge feat like a marathon and the low of realizing that something so awful had happened.

How is your family dealing with this current event, this tragedy?  Does it feel close?  Does it feel far?  For another former PDX urbanMama, it hits close to home.  Her 9-year old has nightmares, feeling so disempowered and depressed.  So, this mama has decided to organize an event, a worldwide run, on May 15, 2013, to honor those that ran the Boston Marathon and to honor the goodness in our world.  "MILES to teach GOODNESS" encourages us all to organize a run in our neighborhood, at the same time, to run 26.2 minutes to celebrate our communities and support one another.

Care to join?  Read more about the EmPOWERed Kids Run here or join the Facebook event here.

In our household, it still feels a little unreal.  We talk about it, we watch the news.  The event dampens our spirit.  We think we will join in on the EmPOWERed Kids Run to help us join in with the rest of the community to lift our spirits.

Etiquette on Multi-Use Paths

June 22, 2012

Now that summer is out and outdoor recreating is in (not that it was ever "out"), we find multi-use paths packed with walkers, runners, bikers, starting-to-bikers, toddlers, roller-bladers, skateboarders, dogs, squirrels, birds, and many other users.  There are clusters of middle- and high-schoolers, there are amblers with headphones on, there are darting animals, children.  Bodies travel at different paces - fast, slow, medium, stopped.  On a warm weekend day, the multi-use path can be an obstacle course.

Even the widest of paths aren't as wide as a car lane (11-12 feet across).  More typically, the path might be 7 or 8 feet across, just enough for two way cross traffic in single file.  Collisions and brushes with others can be frequent if you are walking/riding/skuuting 2+ abreast.  Weaving in and out of bodies takes skill, whether on foot or wheels.

How do we encourage the kids to "share the path" responsibly, reasonable?  My tips include:

  • walk/ride to the right, always.
  • 2+ abreast is ok, so long as there is no oncoming traffic
  • "single file!" is what I utter loudly when we spot oncoming traffic, and my kids immediately pull ahead of me and I drop to the rear position, and we will go in single file to allow enough width for passing
  • use the bell!  whether on a scooter, bike, jogger: we ring, ring from a distance behind and call "on your left" as we pass
  • ride straight, as much as possible, unless you are on a super-wide path.  
  • for the learning pedalers, learning scooters: walk/ride behind, to be able to call out and ask the little ones ahead to stop, pull to the side, or ride as straight as possible.
  • be defensive.  as with driving, we have to anticipate the unexpected: a dog on a long leash speeding ahead crosswise along the path, leash obstructing; a toddler darting out from one side of the path to the other, maybe chasing a leaf, squirrel, bird; an early bike-rider swerving considerably as you try to overtake/pass.

With a few close calls in just the past couple of days, I thought I'd collect your thoughts on how we can manage the multi-use paths safely, responsibly, and teach our kids to do the same?

Run, Kiddo, Run!

July 25, 2011

We, the urbanMamas, love to run. It means so many things to us, from creating mamaraderie, to getting fit, and helping us to keep an even keel, mentally. The benefits of exercise are being discussed nationally as we come to terms with the prevalence of obesity and the illnesses that result from obesity. Exercise comes naturally to children, though. Play involves running, jumping, climbing, and swinging. Playgrounds are a great place for kids to get their workouts in.

RLH2009 But recently, my 8 year old wonders when he can start running. He already "races bikes" like daddy, and he knows that we both run/jog recreationally, so he's thinking he should try running, too. Is it too early to buy him his first set of running shoes? If he does start jogging with me, what is an ideal time or distance to start with? Should we look into more competetive events to keep him interested or should we rely on self-motivation? I am certain that each kid differs in what motivates them to keep up with an activity, but I'd like to hear what's been working for other parents out there. (photo by Sue Nolke)

For now, I'll keep him on a bike if I want to get a 6 mile run in with him in tow... but eventually I know  his legs will be longer than mine, and he'll be able to keep up easily. He'll probably surpass me pretty quickly! I look forward to that day both with excitement and trepidation. Do they grow up *so* fast, or what?

Get the Grandparents Moving: is it possible?

July 22, 2011

A few years ago, when at the inagural Sunday Parkways, my parents happened to be visiting us for the weekend.  I was determined to bike the route, so I insisted that they join us.  I asked them: do you want to walk or bike?  My dad, who probably hadn't been on a bike in a good 20 years, agreed to ride.  My mom tried in earnest to quickly learn to ride a bike on the sidewalk, but she just couldn't get it.  But she tried.  She ended up riding on the back of my Xtracycle.

A few weeks ago, again it was Sunday Parkways in our neighborhood.  My husband's parents, this time, were visiting.  Again, his parents had either never really ridden a bike or hadn't done so in years.  His dad rode along with us for a few miles, but really petered out at the end.  He was spent.   At one point, my husband just took him home, as he feared his dad would buckle over.  The exertion seemed too much.

Our kids are most definitely lucky in that they have all four of their grandparents.  However, we worry about their health, and what we can do to make them more healthy, more able to spend more time with their grandkids for years to come.

We can't do anything to change their [very sedentary] ways.  Or: can we?  Whenever they visit us, we walk to the store or to dinner or just take walks around the neighborhood.  We push them to continue to walk, even if just around the block, even if just a quarter of a mile to their neighbor.  Walking could be such a great way to get fit, to stay fit.

Back in their hometowns, they drive everywhere.  There is little reason to be active.  There is every reason to settle in front of the TV for hours.  Recreation involves eating out.  

We don't expect our parents to take cross-country bicycle rides or run marathons (although some people their age do!).  We just want them to find a level of fitness and activity that is comfortable for them, in the hopes of extending their lives, increasing their energy levels.  Is that too much to ask?  If your kids have grandparents in their lives, are they active?  Do you worry along these lines?  Or, is it futile, as they will be as they are?

Mamahood: the sacrifice & the indulgence of it all

May 11, 2011

You may be able to tell that many of the urbanMamas are a running bunch (connect with them now on the run Mama run page).  Many of my friendships in Portland have blossomed due to regular running. Our time pounding the pavement/trails is time when we share about our children, their stages of life, our careers, our partners, and more.  

Last fall, I started a new running relationship that has really grown.  My running buddy started training for a marathon to celebrate her 50th year of life, and I followed along with her training routine.  For those of you who know me, you know that I am non-committal when it comes to registering for a run.  I don't know what it is.  Part of it is that I hate to spend "all that money" on myself for a run I could easily do on my own.  Who wants that t-shirt anyway?  Part of it is because I hate to put it on the family calendar, eating into precious weekend family time.  It seems so indulgent.

Before I knew it, I was running 20 miles on a Friday morning with my running buddy.  I would rearrange drop-off schedules so that I could leave at the crack of dawn and still be back for work meetings on a Friday.  It was indulgent: how many full-time working mamas could carve out time for a 3-4 hour run?  On the other hand, it was a choice and a sacrifice: I stayed up late many Thursday nights to work so I could get away with 3-4 hours away from the office the following morning.  AND, it really interfered very little with my family rhythm.  

Last week, in my heart, I committed to committing.  I opened up the webpage for registration for a marathon in June.  I had worked so hard this spring to increase my speed and distance.  I almost owe it to myself to let it pay off.  Before I hit "register now", I spoke with my husband about the idea.  And, due to other major life-changing transitions upcoming, he urged me to reconsider.  So, I did.  I decided not to run a marathon this June.

I am sad.  I feel that I have worked hard, unintentionally in the beginning, to train.  I didn't know what I was training for, but I realized that I am in great shape to run a marathon (NOW!).  But, as fate would have it, other life commitments will get in the way.  I am sure I am not the only mama who will let the family comes first, even if it means it will superceed my hopes, dreams, and aspirations (what a drama queen).  You know what I mean.  You've had that feeling before, haven't you?

Re-thinking Fitness Post Mamahood

August 26, 2010

Integrating fitness post-partum has been a challenge.  The last time I stepped foot into a gym was 8 years ago; and trying to fit a formal exercise routine into my everyday schedule? Well, that has nearly been impossible, the more kids I have. I run because it's flexible and requires little to no equipment; and the cost of my bike is less than a gym membership. Weights? My 30-lb toddler is my resistance, right? The Xtracycle is my cardio machine.  This has worked exceptionally well for returning to pre-baby shape except for strengthening my core and losing the last 8 pounds. I have struggled with these two areas after each child, and now that I am done with procreating, there are no more excuses.  It's time to get serious. 

Continue reading "Re-thinking Fitness Post Mamahood" »

running gear: one mama's experience

August 25, 2010

As a reader of this blog you probably know there are lots of running mamas. There are three groups running Hood to Coast this weekend and two FaceBook groups; Run Mama Run (generally faster runners) and urbanMama Runners. The urbanMamas Runners group also has an email list. I (Courtney) moderate the urbanMama Runner FB page and email. I started running again in October 2009 after about 9 years away from it. I trained for the Shamrock 5k in March, and am now training for Run Like Hell 10k on October 24. I could not have done it without the support of my family, the mamas, and some good gear. This is not intended to be a blanket urbanMama endorsement or advertisement – just sharing this mama’s experience. Apologies to the email list readers and FB friends for double posting.


Continue reading "running gear: one mama's experience" »

urbanMamas partnership with studio vitaminwaterZERO, KINK launches

July 12, 2010

Studio_zerologo_200 We here at urbanMamas are more about create-it-and-they-will-come than active outreach to the mama community in Portland, and when one of our readers came to us with an opportunity to reach a new audience -- and participate in a fun campaign to help us train for the Hood-to-Coast, which many of us run each year -- we were excited about the possibilities. So today, a joint effort with vitaminwater ZERO and KINK FM launches, and we'll steal the blurb from the web site: "studioZERO is a series of lifestyle workshops for all members of the KINK and urbanMamas Hood to Coast teams and "home invasions" for the founders of urbanMamas.com and KINK fm morning show host Sheila Hamilton. Conducted by Portland experts in fashion, fitness and nutrition, they're going to show you how it can be done!"

While the ladies that founded urbanMamas are not product loyalists, we were thrilled with the chance to -- we hope -- invite more Portland mamas outside of our circle of influence to join our supportive community of parents and children. And we're hoping that you'll enjoy watching as we take advantage of the experts who will give us tips on how to better make use of our cross training and can assess our bike-to-work-and-farmer's market fashion choices. We'll have the opportunity to post videos to report on our training process, and recount some fun things with other aspects of our life-as-mamas, too.

Recess Bootcamp, week 2: Knowing is Half the Battle

July 25, 2009

A sponsor offered a free spot in a mama boot camp class in exchange for periodic posts on the process. Christine is now in her second week; this is her second update. Find the first here.

I'm full steam ahead on this Recess Health Immersion Bootcamp and can I just say I'm loving it. It's true I may be an easy sell, because if we're being honest, this is the first thing I've done for myself since my daughter was born. I even loved getting my BMI measured. Three weeks into the program and my body information has been entered, calculated, given a sprinkle of Internet-magic and voila: I'm armed with information, and lots of it. I know how many calories I burn on any given day, my lean body mass percentage, BMI, percentage of body fat, blood pressure, current weight, and other scientific data that my brain is forgetting at the moment. Based on my test results, I have been given a personalized workout regiment to follow 7 days a week. I've also been given an outline of some healthy food choices. I'm telling you people, if being informed is any part of this battle, I'm well on my way.

Our workouts thus far have been yoga, pilates, weight training with resistance bands, and my personal favorite, Hoopnotica (which is basically hoop-dancing).

Continue reading "Recess Bootcamp, week 2: Knowing is Half the Battle" »

Sign me Up! My Journey back to Healthy began on Twitter

July 23, 2009

A sponsor offered a free spot in a mama boot camp class in exchange for periodic posts on the process. Christine is now in her second week; she has been sending in updates on her progress and you'll see the first two over the next two days.

Fitness has been a regular part of my life for the last 10 years.  I discovered it when I was in a rather dark place back in my early 20's, trying to navigate my way though a divorce. I was depressed, lonely and scared. I had moved to Portland to be with my boyfriend (now ex-husband) and while I had a small handful of friends, I was lacking what I needed most -- the close support of family.  I ended up finding solace in exercise and before long I was hooked. I had a five-year love affair with Billy Blanks, of Tae-Bo. I wore those VHS tapes to the bone. Around that same time, my company relocated buildings and our new building (the Fox Tower) had a fitness center that was free to tenants. On the days that I wasn't Tae-Bo'ing, I had the convenience of working out at my lunch hour which was so, so wonderful and easy. For many years I was happy with my fitness level and relatively comfortable with my body.

Fast-forward to today. I'm now a SAHM, with a 16-month-old daughter.

Continue reading "Sign me Up! My Journey back to Healthy began on Twitter" »

Turnoff Week: Ideas to get out and about

April 14, 2009

This year's "turnoff" week is next week, April 20 to 26.  And, instead of being billed as "Turn Off TV Week", the organizers, Center for Screen Time Awareness, is calling the week "Turnoff Week", meaning we unplug from not only TVs, but also videos, games, computers, cell phones, and iPods.

Why turn off?

  • Screen Time cuts into family time and is a leading cause of obesity in both adults and children.
  • In the US and other industrialized nations around the world, screen time use continue to increase every year. 
  • The average daily usage for all screens, in some countries, has reached 9 hours per day.  This is for recreational use of screens and does not include work time.
  • On average, people watch 4 hours of television and then spend another 4 plus hours with computers, games, video, iPods and cell phones

So, what can we do?  Here are some ideas to start:

  • Hit the playground, and invite school/neighborhood friends.  Make it a huge playdate!
  • Find out what activities your school may be hosting.  Better yet, offer to plan and host an activity.
  • Host a session of board game playing at the community center, library, school, or friends house.
  • Check out free or reduced-cost swim sessions at the public pools (Columbia on Wednesdays; Buckman on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; and Dishman on Saturdays.  Call specific pools for details)
  • Gather friends for a short bike ride in the neighborhood.
  • Organize a scavenger or treasure hunt.
  • Check out the urbanMamas calendar for more ideas for fun.  There is something going on every day!

How will you be recognizing Turnoff Week this year?  What activities, if any, are planned at your school?

Need more tips or resources?  Kaiser has a great run down of sample activities, more information, and a screen-time toolkit to learn fun and healthful alternatives.  Check it here.

Seeking Recommendations: Yoga Studio

January 28, 2009

It's the new year, and time to focus on something.  It is always great to focus on ourselves, our bodies.  An urbanMama recently emailed:

I'm stressed out and out of shape. Friends on all points of the mainstream-to-crunchy spectrum say I've got to try yoga. Can anyone recommend someplace with a beginner's class, preferably in SE? I'm hoping to find a class that's not too expensive and is pretty low key (i.e. where my rumpled sweat pants/shirt approach to workout-wear) would fit right in.

Cycling while pregnant: Have you?

July 12, 2008

There are mamas among us who love to bike, even while pregnant.  Shout outs to the urbanMama photographed here, at 8 months pregnant (photo credit to Jonathan Maus of bikeportland.org).  Colleen recently emailed, though, and would like to hear from all of you: Have you biked while pregnant?  Did you stop biking during pregnancy?


I bike to and from work each day (just under 6 miles each way) and it's a gift. I'm able to squeeze in some exercise without having to set aside time (read: w/o having to wake up even earlier than my two-year-old and/or sacrifice time spent with her) and by doing something that I have to do anyway (get to and from work). It also keeps me sane during the winter months.

We are now considering adding to our family, but I'm concerned about whether or not my daily bike ride would be ok while pregnant. Since finding time to exercise wasn't much of an issue pre-baby #1, and cycling to and from anywhere wasn't possible in the town in which we were living at the time, this is a new complication. And frankly, giving up this part of my life up, even for a short period of time, is potentially a real sanity breaker for me.

I expect this is something that I'd have to cover with my care provider, but I'm wondering what other cycling urbanMamas have done. If you continued to cycle, what was your experience like?  Did the shift in your center of gravity throw you off?  Did your belly get in the way of your legs while pedaling?  Did you get weird stares?

When your abs separate ...

May 29, 2008

Many, many of us mamas grapple with our post-partum health.  Can someone offer their experiences and advice on what to do when your abs divide?  Lesley emails:

I have Diastasis Recti, the separation of my abdominal muscles due to my gigantic tummy during both pregnancies. (I first had a cesarean, then a VBAC, which I hear compounds the problem but is not a prerequisite).  It's time I deal with it.  Two years after the birth of my second (and last) child, it's not going away alone.  It wasn't noticeable after my first birth, so I didn't even know about it, much less do exercises to strengthen my abs. I felt like the pilates I was doing once a week after my second birth was not enough.

My muscles are a good 3 fingers apart and I've read that it can lead to back and other health issues
as I get older. So, I'm looking for resources to help me heal and fix my body. Do you have this, too? Have you been handling it with results?  Does anyone know a person who treats this? I'd prefer to do exercises; Surgery is pretty scary to me.  Help! It's not only a health issue, but I'm tired of having this poochy, saggy tummy!

Mama seeks Personal Trainer

May 03, 2008

How do you get your body back after baby?  Sunny wants to find a personal trainer:

I've finally decided I need a personal trainer in order to get back into shape.  After 3 children and absolutely no time to myself, I need someone to "kick my butt."  I figure if I'm paying for it, I can't make an excuse to not work out.  I think a female trainer who has children and understands the difficulties of getting our bodies back would understand my situation best.  And considering I've been recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism, someone who understands how much this affects the body would be a bonus.  Any recommendations?

Getting Body Back After Baby

March 20, 2008

After I delivered our first baby, I just assumed that nature would take its course and the baby-weight would just drop off when it was supposed to.  I guess it did, but it wasn't too long after that I was pregnant with our second.  After I delivered our second baby, I was more anxious to get back into a fitness routine, starting on slow runs when I was 3 weeks post-partum.

So, mamas, we've all been through it.  Alicia is looking for your suggestions, thoughts, experiences:

I'd like to find out what others have done in the way of getting back your body after a baby. My little boy is now 3 months old, we've finally got nursing down and are sleeping a bit more. I'm feeling like I want to start an exercise and/or diet 'program' or perhaps even just a good a book or set of dvds? Before pregnancy, I tried some of the frozen meal weight loss plans and Weight Watchers, and randomly went to the gym. I've got about twenty five pounds to go to get back to pre-pregnancy weight--and I'm not really sure what to expect in terms of how my body will do. I've heard that the belly pooch won't go away until nursing is done--have others found that to be true? What did others do to get back to a comfortable, healthy weight and a stronger body after a baby?

And, for more ideas, check out our FITNESS index....

Exercise DVD recommendations

March 04, 2008

We all have our different fitness routines, and Erin emails:

I am in the market for a good exercise DVD. More specifically, I'm looking to include free weights and abdominals into my routine (I already run and do yoga, I'm just looking to add some variety). I've tried a gym membership, but I just find it so much easier to get up before the family and get in a quick half an hour before the day starts. I've been on and off doing weights on my own, but I would love to follow more of a program.  What are some of your favorites?

Interested in joining Saturday Morning Runs?

January 18, 2008

A new year is here, and it's hard to believe it's been over two years since we've instituted our Saturday morning runs.  While our consistency has ebbed and flowed in the past couple of years, with conflicting Saturday morning swim lessons for the kids or pregnancies / births, it seems that we're ramping up again in earnest, running for our lives.  Some of us are getting ready (7 months early) for this year's Hood to Coast, but some of just like to get out for a little joggy-jog to get those juices going on a Saturday morning.  Refreshing!  Do you like to run?

Join the urbanMamasRun yahoo group and get the skinny on where we're running next, usually on Saturday mornings at 8AM.  Bundle up and join us!

Prenatal Fitness Class

November 08, 2007

We've talked about prenatal swim and prenatal yoga, but perhaps you could recommend other general prenatal fitness programs or ideas?  Sarah writes:

I am seeking recommendations for a good prenatal fitness or water aerobics class. I just found a great prenatal yoga class, but I am looking for something different to attend maybe one other day a week. If I don't have a scheduled class, I know I won't exercise.  My criteria: It can't be too intense because I am currently a total failure at exercise, having spent the past two years neglecting myself while caring for baby No. 1.  Ideally I would love something in water, but I don't know if water aerobics exists for those under age 65. Probably something for senior citizens would be right up my alley. A non-water prenatal fitness class would be OK, too.  I'm basically looking for some stress relief and also would like to build up some stamina in preparation for another labor.

Interested in Starting a Kids Yoga Class Downtown?

October 06, 2007

Nancy has a wonderful idea of trying to organize a group for a kids yoga class. 

My  4 year old son is, like many, really interested in movement right now. I've been looking for yoga classes for his age group in downtown Portland and am striking out.

So, my first question is, have urbanMAMAS already scouted this out and could you point me in the right direction?  (Note from the urbanMamas: there was a previous thread on Yoga for Kids with a few suggestions).

If such classes do not exist, I'd like to go to Yoga Pearl and ask them if they'd be interested in starting a regular class for kids. Before I do that, however, I'd like to be able to tell them how much demand is out there. And maybe even have a group of kids ready to sign up.

Is there interest out there?  Should Nancy inquire about setting this up?

Where to walk indoors with baby?

October 03, 2007

In addition to rainy day outings (take 1, take 2, and Monday suggestions), some mamas need to get out there and enjoy some long walks with their babes.  But, with the weather bound to turn more and more as the days wear on, we need some suggestions on where to get our walk-wiggles out!

Hi! My name is Mary. I have a four month old son, Alejandro.  Since I was pregnant, and after his birth, we have gone for long daily walks at Laurelhurst Park.  I wrap him up in the moby wrap or in the ergo, and I get my exercise, and he gets to look at his new world & take a nap.  Sadly, on very rainy days we won't be able to do our walk outside.  My question to the urbanMamas is: where are their indoor tracks to walk with a baby?  We are a very low income family, and we can't afford a gym membership.  Any suggestions?  Thanks!

Run Mama Run: Hood to Coast 2007

August 17, 2007

With just a week to go, 12 urbanMamas rest their legs and ready themselves for Hood-to-Coast.  Run Mama Run is our team, and it's not our first appearance in the largest relay in the U.S.  197 miles, 12 mamas, 20 kids (though they're not coming for the ride!), 2 vans, 30 or so hours.  Is it fun?  Heck, we've birthed kids, so what's 197 miles, just a few hours of sleep, and 30 hours of on and off running?  If you like momraderie, then - YES - it is most definitely fun.  Expect chatting, laughing, butterflies in stomachs.  Start on Mt. Hood and miraculously end at Seaside.  It's the moment we've all been training for.

This year, Run Mama Run is being supported by some great folks at OregonLive, so check us out over at RunOregon and read all about some of our mama running secrets.  Run Mama Run also send e-shout-outs to Lara for fueling us with Larabars and to Virginia for juicing us up with VitaminWater.

We aren't the only mamas running this thing.  Last year, we counted several other mama teams: "37 kids and still counting", "I want my mommy", "Moms on the Run", "Running from our kids", "Hoochie Mamas", "Dolly Mamas".  Anyone else running Hood to Coast this year??

Will you be pedaling across the bridges?

August 08, 2007

It's the family bike event of the year, the Bridge Pedal is here!Bridge_pedal  With three route options - the 10 bridge (36 miles), the 8 bridge (24 miles) and the 6 bridge (14 miles), organizers estimate 20,000 participants to register.  And don't forget the stride (5 mile walk that includes crossing the Broadway and Steel Bridges)!   Start times begin at 7am (for the 10- or 8- bridge rides) and run until 9:30am (for the 6-bridge rides).

In previous years, the thousands and thousands of riders of all ages and levels have resulted in bottlenecks, accidents, and complaints.  I know some families who are discouraged and even afraid to ride the event, opting to leave their bike riding to their daily commutes with or without kids.  I know families (like ourselves) who keep coming back for more, even if the ride can be wrought with difficulties and some frustrations.  The views and the thrills from up top of the Marquam and Fremont bridges just can't be beat!

Will you be riding?  What are tips and tricks for the rest of the family riders?

Martial Arts for Kids?

July 14, 2007

Does anyone have any experience or recommendations for martial arts studios?  Sarah asks:

I'm starting to look into a martial arts program for my 4-year-old son, likely starting classes in the fall.  I'd like him in a class just once a week, an hour or so per class, reasonably priced.  Tae kwon do, karate, kung fo, etc., I don't really have a preference for the type of arts.  I'd like to stay in the inner NE/SE area.  I've heard of US Westcoast Tae Kwon Do on NE Broadway, but I don't know anyone who's had kids in classes there, so I'd like to hear from parents who have, and I'm curious if there are other programs that people have had positive experiences with?

Mama Gyms

June 19, 2007

So, if you were a mama, wanting to get out to a gym with a full line of equipment like free weights, weigh machines, cardio stuff, strecting supplies, and maybe a couple of studios for classes, where would you go?  Where wouldn't you go?  Sadie Rose is in search of a gym to meet her needs:

I'm wondering about gyms... preferably on the Eastside, but I'd like to find out about other parts of town as well. Are there any amazing locally owned gyms? Women-centered gyms? Small, intimate, and nice gyms? And, what are the best gyms for saunas? Or are there good saunas that come sans gym? I'd love to get the low-down on Portland's gym scene, since I have NO idea where to start.

Sports for Kids in NE

April 30, 2007

Kimber would love your suggestions:

I live in the Sabin neighborhood and am trying to find any T-ball or soccer programs nearby for my 5 1/2 year old.  Do any exsist?

Fitness for Mama and Toddler

April 03, 2007

There's yoga for kids, and there's mama yoga. There's pilates for mommies, and there's tumble and roll.

What about classes, books, or DVDs for both mama and child? Emily asks:

I am wondering if anyone can recommend a fitness class/book/dvd that is for both mama and toddler. I took a few mama and me yoga classes, but now that my 13 mos. old daughter is on the verge of walking I need something that will both engage her and help me get back into shape.

Pilates - Evening Classes?

March 18, 2007

Aaah, the curse of the post-partum squishy tummy.  I'm sure you all know it so well.  Kate's looking for a Pilate's class that will help return her back to pre-baby form.  Any suggestions?

I am on the look out for recommendations for some good Pilate's classes pref. in the evenings since I usually work during the days.  Most of the classes I have been able to find seem to be in the mornings on weekdays.  Gotta' work on the ol' belly....Know of any good evening classes out there (preferably on the east side of town)?

Seeking Tennis Mamas!

March 10, 2007

We're all about making connections and bringing mamas together.  Rhonda is seeking other tennis mamas out there:

As the weather gets nicer my thoughts turn to tennis.  I’ve been taking classes with my husband, brushing up on my skills.  I’m at “3.0” says my tennis instructor.  And I want to play. Are there any tennis mamas out there who would like to play over at Laurelhurst or Portland Tennis Center or some other courts?  Maybe if there are enough of us we can do a round-robin childcare/rallying thing.

Email Rhonda at rhon@24hourmama.com.

Pilates for Mommies

March 06, 2007

Some tips and insight comes from Suzame.  Thanks so much for sharing your experiences!

I was hoping UrbanMamas would help spread the word about my wonderful Pilates instructor's prenatal and post-partum classes -- the first of its kind as far as I know. I did prenatal yoga, which was great for relaxing, stretching and focusing my mind. Pilates is about about strengthening your core, and can help stabilize joints, reduce joint pain, and make tight areas more limber.
My husband and I have been going to private lessons with Heidi Weiss for almost a year. Even without doing much cardio, the Pilates classes helped me get into my pre-pregnancy jeans, and who doesn't want that?  She and her business partner, Jessica, are great instructors, and they have a nice, secret little studio with brand-spanking new equipment in the SE industrial area, not far from OMSI. Heidi had a baby last October (not that you can tell from looking at her!) and during her pregnancy, she put a lot of thought into how Pilates can help both in preparation for pregnancy and recovery from childbirth. Now Heidi is seeking students for an 8-week prenatal or postpartum class.
And if you're just interested in regular Pilates mat classes (theirs put most gym classes to shame) or private lessons on the reformer machine, she and Jessica do that too (plus they have a new teacher named Mary who has just joined their collective, so there are lots of options and teaching styles available).
If you're interested, call the studio at 503-236-3113 or fill out the contact form at www.pdxpilates.com.

Tumble and Roll

March 01, 2007

We all know that a little activity is great for our little ones, many of whom love to tumble and roll. Where do you take your tot to get his tumbe time? Beth is asking:

Does anyone know of a good place for gymnastics for my 3 yr old? We went to a community center class and most of it was waiting in line to do a tumble or walk the balance beam. I'm hoping for north or NE but any suggestions are welcome.

Free Swim during Spring Break

February 28, 2007

Spring Break is coming up March 26 through 30th, and some of Portland's Pools are offering free swim lessons. We go to Dishman Pool and I picked up a flyer. Lessons will be held Monday through Thursday of that week at Dishman:

9:00 to 9:30 AM -- Goldfish, Penguin (Y), Otter (P), Seal (Y), Polar Bear (Y), Sea Lion (Y) 9:40 to 10:10 AM -- Aquaducks, Penguin (P), Seal (P), Dolphin, Adult Beginner 10:20 to 10:50 AM -- Goldfish, Penguin (P), Otter (Y), Seal (Y), Park Shark.

(Y is for "youth" ages 6 and up; P is for Preschooler ages 3-6)

Registration begins March 1, 2007; call 503 823 3673.

Does your pool offer free lessons during Spring Break? I do recall Dishman offering free lessons also during winter break.

Walk with me, uMamas!

January 11, 2007

We urbanMamas like to stay active. Our friend Molly H. is looking for company on her power-walks on weekday evenings or Saturday mornings:

I'm 6 months pregnant, and looking for other moms or moms-to-be interested in a walking partner or walking group. I'm typically a runner, and have loved running with the urbanmamas running group, but am now too unwieldy to run anymore. I've been walking on my own, but miss the company. Are there any other pregnant (or non-pregnant) power-walkers out there who'd like to meet up once a week or so? I work full time and already have a 2 1/2 year old, so time is limited (this is why I haven't been able to attend any of the pregnant mamas meet-ups yet). So I'd be most interested either in a Saturday morning group walk (say 8 or 9, wherever), or an early weekday morning walk (6:15?) with a partner or two in my immediate neighborhood (inner NE--King/Piedmont/Woodlawn area). But I could be open to other ideas, too. Any takers, feel free to email me directly at hiro@up.edu.

Anusara Yoga workshop

January 06, 2007

Hey mamas & papas, I know a lot of you out there are yoga enthusiasts, so I thought I would let you know that one of the top Anusara yoga teachers is coming to SE Portland to do a special weekend workshop:

Desiree Rumbuagh's "Cycle of Life" yoga weekend
sponsored by Still Moving Yoga
January 19-21
Yoga Union
2043 SE 50th, PDX
Register at www.stillmovingyoga.com or call Jim Gillen at 503-977-0944.
Costs range from $25 for intro class to $100 for teacher training, plus there are weekend packages from $108 for three workshops on up.

I've been to the Still Moving Yoga studios, and the owners Jim and Lynea are just amazing people and have created this little idyllic retreat-like setting. Just wanted to pass this along - sounds like a great way to start off those New Year's resolutions this year!

Pilates of Portland Grand Opening

December 09, 2006

Nikki wants to spread the word that there's a new Pilates studio in town.  She writes:

We have a wonderful space with two rooms for classes, one for mat classes and the other with pilates machines for Reformer classes and private training.  Attached to our second room it my favorite space, a little "Pirate's Cove" play room designed just for the little ones.   I have taken the same care in choosing decor, safety items, and quality mind engaging toys that I have taken with purchasing own items at our home.  I hope this becomes not only an opportunity for me to meet lots of other terrific parents, but also offers an outlet where moms( and dads) can network and share ideas and information.

Our grand opening is planned for Monday December 11th from 4pm to 8pm.  In place of a non- eventful open house, I have decided to bring in other moms that make or sell items for our opening day.  We are expecting a good variety of vendors, hand knit baby hats, handmade jewelry, soaps, lotions, handbags, discovery toys, an acupuncturist that offers cosmetic acupuncture, and a massage therapist.  We of course will also have our children's room open with a very sweet girl to watch the little ones.  I extend the invitation to anyone that is able to attend.

I would love to meet other mom entrepreneurs to network with and share ideas.  I am also looking for another person that is interested in working in my children's area a couple hours in the mornings and perhaps an hour in the evenings. 

Kids + Mama + Yoga @ Home

December 06, 2006

There have been great suggestions on the topic of Yoga Classes for Kids, but what if a mama is looking to practice at home?

I am looking for recommendations for good yoga DVDs for mama and toddler...something that is kid-friendly, but not over-the-top or annoying... and something where I could actually get a decent yoga routine out of it while Asher stays entertained and wants to try the poses. Does something like this exist?

Post-Partum Recovery and Realignment

November 16, 2006

The following article was submitted by Andrea Vincent (founder of seeMOMMYrun.com):

We all think about and read about pre-natal fitness and worry about losing the “baby weight,” but few people consider the importance of post-partum realignment.  The thought of realigning my body never crossed my mind after the birth of my first child.  That is why I would like to share my findings about this crucial part of healing ourselves with moms everywhere.

You felt the aches and pains throughout your body during pregnancy.  But did you know that during pregnancy your posture is misaligned causing neurological problems, erosion of joint surfaces, disc compression, nerve or blood vessel entrapment, shortened lower back and hip flexors, weakened muscles, outward protruding head and curved spine?  Think about it – for nine months your body was contorting itself to house a growing baby.  These symptoms will not magically disappear after you give birth.  You must take action to realign your spine and prevent structural problems later in life.

If you don't take 15 minutes per day to realign your bony structure and muscles after pregnancy you could have major issues later in life.  The simple stretches and exercises in this article are extremely important and extremely simple.

Continue reading "Post-Partum Recovery and Realignment" »

lucy warehouse sale

November 08, 2006

Every six months or so, lucy hosts the famed Lucy Warehouse Sale
featuring items direct from the stores! The sale is held at the warehouse location: 3135 nw industrial street, portland, or 97210.

11am 6pm, thursday, november 9. 11am 5pm*, friday, november 10. *or while supplies last

tops: $5- $10
pants: $20
jackets: $20
accessories: $5- $20

all sales final, cash or check only

In the past, I have found the lucy warehouse sale really overwhelming, but... if you DO get in with decent selection in your size, the deals are great!

Prenatal Yoga

We've talked a little about Mommy Yoga Classes, but here's a topic that we haven't yet specifically covered here.  Hillary wrote:

I am newly pregnant and looking for some prenatal yoga classes. I'm a beginner to yoga. I see that both Yoga Bhoga and Moving Through Center have prenatal classes and wondering if you have any thoughts on if those are good places to start or other ideas.

I would say that, especially for pregnant mamas with who already have tykes, early Saturday morning prenatal yoga would be the perfect time slot.  Where have been your favorite classes for prenatal yoga?

Yoga for Kids

October 31, 2006

When Philly was younger, we'd practice yoga at home together. I had the video, YogaKids, which she loved, loved, loved! We also did some practice using the Kids Yoga Deck. Admittedly, though, a yoga class could have a different effect. It'd be fun! Even more awesome would be if there could be a simultaneous mama class at the exact same time and place as a kids class. Am I dreaming?

Mama Melia is looking to use yoga to give her little one the tools to enjoy calm and focus. She asks:

Does anyone know of any yoga studios, preferably on the southwest side and into beaverton, that cater to the under-7 set? Tualitan Hills Park and Rec has a class for 6 year olds, but my guy is 5 and in need NOW! What other ideas are out there for helping kids focus?


Prenatal Swim Class

October 27, 2006

Great to hear of the lively turnout at the recent pregnant mama gatherings. Definitely keep us appraised of when & where you meet up. We'd be happy to post events. In the meantime, Nikole asked:

Does anyone have any prenatal swim class recommendations?

Get on Your Bike And Ride! (with the kids, of course . . .)

July 26, 2006

Portland, being the generally bike-friendly city that it is, has an amazing number of cyclists hitting the road with kids in tow.  Being left without a car and not having a bike meant getting around on Tri-met for about 6 months, but then the days got nicer and I started dreaming of feeling the wind in my hair.  Oh yeah, and our daughter was finally big enough to don a helmet and sit up straight for long stretches of time!  As she neared that 1-year milestone Jeremy and I got anxious to get on our bikes so I started looking around in earnest for a bike for myself and a way to haul our little bundle of joy. 

I ended up deciding on a hybrid bike (not a road or a mountain bike, but something with features of both) because sitting higher up makes it easier for me to glance behind and keep an eye on baby.  I'm sure I'll get comments from at least one hardcore road bike enthusiast who loves her steed, but after test riding lots of bikes over a few weeks I went with a KHS and have been more than satisfied.  A smooth ride for not a terrible lot of money.

As far as child-carrying devices go, there's a whole slew of options to choose from.  I grew up riding in a rear-mounted child seat on my mom's bike, as I'm sure many of you did, and there are still plenty of people using those.  They're nice because the child is close to you, but the main disadvantages are that the height make your center of gravity go way up, which can mean it's harder to maneuver at slow speeds, and in the (unthinkable) event of an accident, your baby will fall from a considerable height. 

An interesting variation on the rear-mounted bike is the front-mounted version, which is, apparently, quite popular in Europe.  I saw one on Woodstock the other day, so I'm sure they'll soon start popping up all over the place.  The advantages are that you can keep an eye on your child at all times, and in turn, they get to check out the view.  If you fall, chances are that you'll be able to cushion the impact for them, since they sit perched between your legs.  The down sides seems to be that the seats might interfere with long-legged parents' ability to pedal comfortably, and that the shorter people among us might have trouble seeing over and around baby's helmeted head.  A few different designs include the Safe-T-Seat, and the Bike Tutor.  Have you used one?  How do you like it?

After some discussion we decided to go with a bike trailer.  There seems to be consensus that they're the safest way to carry kids, since they're designed not to flip even if you and your bike do.  Plus, the better ones have roll bars and 5-point harnesses for the off chance that your little one goes for an unexpected spin.  Oh yeah, we also wanted one with a screen small enough to avoid spraying baby with road grit, as well as a sun shade so she wouldn't bake in the heat.  One of our other considerations, besides safety, was that, without a car, we'd need to pick up groceries, etc. while on our bikes.  Our trailer is rated to carry up to 100 lbs.  As it turns out, it also came in really handy when Jeremy was teaching a cooking class at a school in Gresham.  He would bike the Springwater Corridor to the Fred Meyer closest to the school, load up groceries for 15 kids, (they each received a grocery bag full of stuff to be able to try the recipes at home) and then ride to his class.  Keep in mind, he was doing this in the middle of winter.  So yeah, our Burley trailer is a champ. 

To choose a trailer we did a lot of research and essentially everyone said the same thing:  Burley's are the best.  Of course, they also happen to be three or four times as expensive as the kind you can pick up at Toys R Us.  We lucked out and had a couple relatives chip in to buy it for us as a (very generous) gift.  You can also find them used on craigslist or eBay since they're built to last a lifetime (though, of course the warranty is non-transferable).  We also decided to go for the model that can hold two kids, even though we're not exactly planning another yet, and now it means that I can go out biking with other mamas and carry one other kid. 

When I wrote about Tri-Met there were quite a few of you that commented about how much more complicated reality gets when you have more than one child.  If your kids are a little bigger, yet can't handle a long ride, I really like the Adams Trail-a-Bike option.  It's like a tandem attachment for an adult bike, but it's designed so that the child (age 4-7) can stop pedaling whenever s/he wants and just enjoy the ride.  If you buy this product second-hand keep in mind that there was a recall issued in October 2004 and you should make sure the bike comes with the appropriate new parts.   

Finally, here comes the probably unnecessary reminder that kids under age 12 are all required to wear helmets, regardless of the method of bike travel you choose.  Unfortunately, I've yet to find a helmet that goes on easily on a squirmy toddler.  Maya loathes having her helmet on.  She likes playing with it, she loves pointing out when other people are wearing "hats", but she shrieks cries of terror every third time we put it on her.  Granted, this seems to coincide with return trips when she's already tired and cranky, but it drives me nuts.  Why can't they design a helmet with the latch on the side of the child's face?  Babies and toddlers often have cute little double chins and pudgy necks that can easily get caught in their so-called PinchGuard (tm) fasteners.   Seriously, I'm going to start working on my own design and sell it to Bell or Giro for a million dollars some day.  If anyone has a solution, please, please let me know! 

In spite of helmet trauma, Maya has really been enjoying the bike outings we've taken.    After one particularly grueling ride across town and up Terwilliger I nixed any all day outings until baby is a bit older, but she will literally coo and whee! all around SE Portland--until she conks out, that is.   It's a rare ride where she doesn't decide to nap until we reach our destination.   Must be all that fresh air. 

PS- One big recommendation I have is for everyone to check out the Metro bike maps available for $6 at most bike shops or online here.  Also, the folks at ByCycle have a good tool to help you plan your routes.  Yay!

Child-friendly Yoga and Other Exercise Adventures

June 20, 2006

Getting rid of your mama-belly and finding a routine that works with the busy mama-schedule is anything but easy.  So any time we hear about exercise options with childcare provided, we see this as our duty to pass it on.  Jennie writes about her recent find, and would like to hear about some of your experiences:

I'd love to open up a topic about baby and child-friendly ways to exercise. We joined Bally's when my older son was a baby, and while I was optimistic, he never settled into the childcare there (though they were great), so I rarely got more than a 20 minute workout and felt guilty most of the time. Recently I learned of a family and community friendly yoga studio in Vancouver called "Satsang Yoga" that has "kid watch/child yoga" for children 6 months to 7 years during some of their classes. Its a new studio and the childcare is now mostly play, however the intent is for it to evolve into yoga play. I tried my first class this week and was quite excited. The strength yoga class with Dana was wonderful, and my 2 1/2 year old and 10 month old were happily engaged in the next room with a super woman named Charlene. To learn more, their website is www.satsangyoga.net. Personally I'm looking for a way to get in some good solid routines, but I'm also looking for some inspired variety. I'd like to heartily recommend Satsang. Does anyone have any other suggestions for gyms and classes .... or kid-friendly bike rides and hikes?

urbanMama Seeking Happening Fitness Classes

June 09, 2006

Got baby weight to lose, or just trying to stay fit.  There's so many options but were are all the urbanMamas working out?  Lisa asks:

I'm wondering if any UM's go to any great exercise classes - hip hop, high intensity water aerobics (all the ones I've been to at the community centers seem to be filled with senior citizens), spinning.

Open-Minded Pediatricians, Mommy Yoga Classes

March 01, 2006

I've got a feeling that the urbanMamas community can give this mama some pediatrician recommendations:

Any mamas out there know of any open-minded pediatricians who are good and thorough but don't push antibiotics at the first sniffle, pleeease let me know.  If the doctor is also a homeopath or naturopath, that's fine too.

Oh, and one other thing, does anyone know of any good yoga classes or mommy and me yoga classes? I'll be living fairly close in, so any classes not too way out (in the N, NE or SE) would be preferable.

Thanks a million,

L.A Mama

Yoga Studios

February 03, 2005

I work full-time outside of my home. So, the only time for me to work-out, exercise, or enjoy some time for myself is duing my lunch break. I work in Old Town/Chinatown. Luckily, I have a group of midday running buddies who keep me on my toes: we run up to Washington Park or around the River. Outside of that, though, I am looking for more places to maintain some level of fitness. I've discovered a few yoga studios, but - IMHO - classes are expensive, ranging about $10-15 per class. You can buy a card, which can reduce your per-class cost down to maybe $8. Some studios have introductory specials that can be more affordable, so I want to highlight those here. And, since I am only usually available for lunch-hour sessions, this original list will focus on establishments close to my OTCT office. I am interested, however, in hearing about more yoga studios on the Eastside, in case I can ever escape my house for an hour or two in the evenings or on weekends.

Continue reading "Yoga Studios" »