Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

Today is Aerie’s 2nd Birthday. I can’t believe how fast these last two years have flown. Josh took some time off this afternoon, and we had a picnic at the park. She had a blast. The boys had fun, too. They just looked around and enjoyed all the sights and sounds of North Park on this beautiful fall day.

I’m so proud of the little girl Aeriella is growing in to. She’s so incredibly bright and sweet. I love watching her learn new things and especially love the “ah ha” moments she has when she figures things out on her own. Her smile is infectious and her little giggle just melts my heart.


Double Charity Event at CrossFit Shadyside/Ryer Academy

We are having a Double Charity Event on October 27th to raise money for Barbells for Boobs and PACER.

To raise money to Barbells for Boobs, we are having people make donations towards their workout.  The WOD is Grace.

We are also having a Paleo Bake Sale.  All money raised for that will be donated to PACER. 

Here’s a short promo video Mike and Dave put together…


I’m really excited for this event.  I enjoy charity work, and it’s even better when it’s tied in with something I love to do.  I’m also really excited to show the Pittsburgh community that you CAN have treats that are still healthy, taste good, and are all within the requirements of maintaining a Paleo diet.  We actually got this idea to have a bake sale during the SuperFIt DC competition, and I figured, why not run with it!  So, we’ll see.

We’re also having this event during our annual Halloween Party, that will be held upstairs for all the kids of Ryer Academy.  It’s going to be a super fun day!

6 Months Post Partum

Working hard and hardly working.


I really have a handle on my “diet” now. It’s like second nature. I don’t mind eating the way I do, in fact, I enjoy it. I really love getting over the barrier of turning a diet into a lifestyle. I feel great and I’m starting to look more normal. But there’s always work to do.

In other news, I signed up for my 2nd CrossFit Competition. Yay. But I realized I really want to get back to Kickboxing. I know it will help with my cardio aspect, and also the “just keep pushing, don’t stop” attitude that you need in CrossFit. Nothing says “workout” like an hour of punching/kicking and sweating your booty off.

Big Girl Bed

Aeriella started climbing out of her crib a while ago.  Everyone I talked to said to wait as long as possible before switching her to a toddler bed because it’s a big adjustment for them.  Their newfound freedom apparantly makes for quite a few sleepless nights until they get adjusted.

We decided to bite the bullet and take the front rail off, turning her crib into a daybed.  We didn’t bother with a safety rail.  To our surprise, she has done great.  There have been a few times where she’ll just come walking downstairs right after we put her to bed, but we just take her up again and she’ll fall asleep.  Thankfully, no sleepless nights. 

The weirdest thing is having her just walk downstairs in the morning.  She walks in the kitchen with a smile and her baby doll in her arms, and says “Hi Momma!”  It’s so weird.  I can’t believe how quickly she is growing up.

Crafts- Say What?!!

Everyone who knows me knows I hate doing crafts. The girls in Dental Hygiene used to laugh how terrible my alginates and clay models were. It’s not that I can’t do them. I just hate stuff like that. I don’t have the patience to sit and work on things like that when I have no interest in doing it.

I found that as much time as I spend developing a strong learning foundation with Aeriella, I was shying away from “craft” time. She would color here and there, but no painting or other crafts. I realize how important this is for fine motor skills, and many other developmental milestones. So, I bit the bullet and joined Pinterest. As a result, I am a creative, craft making machine! Well, not really. But seeing different ideas on there has really caused me to expand my horizons and come up with my own crafty ideas. I even used an idea to finalize Aerie’s colors. Yay.

Josh’s Mom and my Grandma decided to come up last weekend. I thought I would use this as an opportunity to make “Grandma Gifts” for them. I got this idea off Pinterest. I painted the kids feet and made butterflies on canvas. It was really cute. They loved them. I really wish I would have taken a picture of them before I gave them away, but I can make more. Go me, my first “craft” as an adult! Ha!

Anyway, now I am looking for new ideas on Pinterest for stuff to do around the house. Josh is going to hate me, especially because some of it involves him making things, and he’s not the most “handiest of handymen.” He usually just hires someone else to do it. But he has done some great stuff around the house, so maybe he’ll do it 🙂

Control & Apologetic Word Blocks To Defend Bullying (By Josh)

Week Five – Control & Apologetic Word Blocks To Defend Bullying At Community Day School

Week five of martial arts classes and anti-bully strategies at Community Day School in Squirrel Hill has passed (and October is here)! Last week was a great week of training as we introduced single stick conditioning to the students. Stick training is an essential block of curriculum in the Counterpoint Tactical System because you learn elements that are applicable to self-defense situations such as; targeting, power generation, range, and timing. In addition, through stick conditioning your arms and upper body become faster and stronger; your joints and connective tissue become more flexible and resilient. The conditioning that you develop with a stick in your hand cannot be replicated as effectively through any other method. However one of the most important lessons we taught in week five is control. I correlated the idea of controlling the stick in our hand to being able to control our body language, our emotions, our attitude, our tone of voice; all of which helps us control a situation with a potential bully!

Along with stick conditioning, we introduced verbal deflectors otherwise known as word blocks. Word blocks are a great technique to teach children to defend against verbal bullying. In most cases, parents tell their children to ignore verbal attacks or they advise their child to tell a teacher. Though this is great initial advice, if the verbal attacks continue we need to educate our children to stand-up to the bully and respond, not react with anger, sadness, or embarrassment. Just like practicing physical blocks, I coach my students to develop verbal blocks to defend against a verbal attack. With practice, students develop strength with their responses and are able to clearly and confidently look at a bully and tell them to stop.

The word block I taught was the Apologetic Word Block. Because the students were just returning from Yom Kippur I thought it would be an appropriate time as the holiday is about atonement and repentance. The Apologetic Word Block is made up of three parts; the genuine apology, the reason why, and an action step. For example let’s say Billy is being harassed by John for the way he dressed. Billy might say, “I’m sorry you feel that way John. I really like the clothes I’m wearing and as matter of fact I saw some of your friends wearing a similar thing. You should tell them what you told me and see what they think.” This directly engages the harassment with a clear, calm response and ties in something the bully might care about, his friends, and make him reconsider. The neat thing about the Apologetic Word Block is that it can also be used to apologize to parents, teachers, and friends. As with many of my lessons at both Ryer Academy and Community Day School; it’s about life-skill training not just martial arts or anti-bully training. Hopefully with time and continued progress these students will come to understand this!

Continue to follow our progress by visiting the Ryer Academy Lounge at http://www.ryeracademy.perfectmind.com/SocialSite/Lounge!

SuperFit DC 2012

During my pregnancy with the twins, I decided to enter a CrossFit Competition to give myself something to train for after the twins were born. Unfortunately I had a few set backs, which resulted in only having 2 months to train for this competition. But I went into it with an open mind, and figured I’d just try my best. Here were the workouts for the weekend:

WOD 1 – Obstacle Course

1:30 per station, 15 seconds of transition

  • Cargo Climb Buy In, Max Double Unders
  • Wall Jump Over
  • Tire Flip Jump Throughs
  • Snatch for Reps (155/105, 105/65)

Each component is scored individually and counts for 25% of WOD1 rank. There will be two snatch bars available, but only one athlete can lift at a time.

WOD 2 – Team 2011 CrossFit Open WOD3 Remix

6 Minute time cutoff. Max reps of

  • Squat Clean Thrusters (165/115, 135/85)

Can change weights as many times as you want. One bar per team. Must be a thruster.

WOD 3 – Chriss & Andrea are Recently Married!

9 Minutes Cutoff for

  • Row 1000 (buy in)
  • Medball Run 400 Meters (20#)
  • Max Meters Rowed

Both partners must finish together to start rowing for meters.

WOD 4 – Ouchies

12 Minutes AMRAP of

  • 10 C2B Pullups (regular Pullups for scaled)
  • 10 Lateral Burpees
  • 15 Front Squats (75, 55)

Men and women do the same weight in rx division. The scaled division folks do 55#.

WOD 5 – Gasser

15 Minute Cutoff

  • 800 M Run
  • 30 HSPU (kipping allowed rx, burpees scaled)
  • 35 Deadlifts (315/225, 225/115)
  • 40 T2B
  • 45 Wallballs
  • Max Rep Dumbell Snatch to Lunge (50/35)

Partners must get to the wall at the same time to start doing handstands. WOD5 is for Top 10 from RX divisions and Top 5 from scaled divisions. Dumbell snatch can be split snatched. Arms must alternate for consecutive reps.

CFS Ranks: Mike and Dave took 2nd in the Men’s Division. Ashley and Diana took 18th in the Women’s RX’d division. Erin and Kristen took 22nd in the Women’s RX’d Division. Jodi and myself took 7th in the Women’s SC Division.

This competition taught me a few things about myself. The first is that I am afraid of heights. I always had a little fear of heights, but this really brought it out. The very first thing we had to do was climb this cargo net. I don’t know how high it was, but it was high. It was just hanging from the middle of the gym, with just the regular, thin, rubber gym mat at the bottom. I was so scared I was going to fall off it. When I got to the top, I was afraid to let go to reach the top beam before proceeding down. But, I DID IT. Slowly, but I did it. That was my least favorite, and very poorly performed. Everything else was super fun. Well, except the run/row workout. I feel like I am really good at anything cardio. But for some reason, running really gasses me. Not to mention doing the rowing first, and also carrying a 20 lb ball when you run. Jodi picked up my slack on the run and carried the ball over half the way. I really only think I carried it for about 100-150 meters.

I LOVED the lifting. I can’t wait to get back into the gym more and work on my strength and technique. My biggest area of improvement with the lifts will be forcing myself to get low and squat under the bar. I know I will be able to get so much weight up after I learn how to do that correctly. I’m just hesitant because of my midline stability right now. I feel my core getting stronger and stronger, but it is still week from having the twins and being ripped apart. I was using my arms the whole time with the snatches and squat clean thrusters. The weight was pretty light at first and still very do-able towards the end of the workout. So I know that when I learn how to get lower under the bar, my max will be so much better.

My biggest disappointment was pullups. I had been working on them, and was getting kipping pretty well. I still couldn’t string them together, but I could do one, come back down and start my kip over, then do another. I can also do a few strict chin ups, but for some reason it wasn’t happening on Sunday. I think my arms were just overly tired from Saturday. My kip was off, too. Blah. By the next competition, my main goal is to be able to bust them out in at least sets of 5, but preferably sets of 10. On the bright side though, Jodi busted them out. For WOD 4, she did a total of 56 pullups. I was so impressed and proud of her. I tried to pick up the rest of the slack in the WOD so that she could just focus on the pullups. She jumped in and did half the burpees for all but one round, and on one round she jumped in and did the first 7 front squats to give me a little breather. But I was glad to be able to pick up the majority of the burpees and front squats so she could push out those pullups.

All in all, it was a super fun weekend. Our Coaches (Mike and Dave) placed 2nd in the Men’s Division, bringing home our first CFS Trophy. I am so proud of them. They really kicked butt.

It was so inspiring to watch some of these women. While CrossFit is not my life, and I’m not in it strictly for the competition aspect, I do admire the hard work and dedication that they put into their training. I really do embrace the “strong is sexy” mentality. I have always hated my legs. They are very muscular, and for a while I found that “unattractive.” This weekend really opened my eyes. Looking at these women and thinking “wow, they have nice legs,” then to realize they are just as muscular, if not more muscular, than mine. This really helped me change my mindset. It’s not about what my legs look like, but more about what they are capable of doing.

Josh also came along to support the whole crew and to cheer us on. I felt bad because he was supposed to test for his next belt in Jiu Jitsu this weekend, but he missed it to come to the competition. He’s so cute, and he’s my biggest fan.

I was proud of the entire CFS Crew. Everyone really had their moment to shine in one way or another. Whether it was winning a trophy, getting a new PR, getting over a fear, or just trying and trying and never giving up. I was very proud of everyone.

It was also nice to hang out with the crew outside the box. I loved learning new things about them, their interests, and seeing what excites them. We all had a really nice dinner together on Friday and Saturday night. We really have an amazing crew.