We’re on a Break :)

Good Afternoon!

Sorry for the oddball email yesterday.  Sway has another blog for her photography and that’s where the mix up occurred.  If you have a moment, check it out at http://swaymccashphotography.wordpress.com/.

As many of you know, I wimped out of blogging this year because I’ve had my hands full with a new baby.  Sorry to fizzle out in such an unceremonious manner; with any luck I’ll return to the Wellness Experiment soon!


Are You a Warrior?

Warrior Dash 2012 was held last Saturday here in NM for the first time.  My sister Rosa was a true warrior completing the race in one piece.  Her account of this right of passage follows:

Warrior Dash was a thrilling race!  There were many warriors prepared for battle.  It took place on Saturday, May 5th in Edgewood, NM at Founders Ranch.  There were 14 obstacles to keep you busy as you completed the 5k course.  It is a race to run with friends.  We dressed as tigers and zebras this year, but we’re already preparing for better costumes for next year’s race. 

My favorite was the ending.  We had already completed 3 miles of hilly terrain and 7 tough climbing and crawling obstacles.  Just as we were hollering because we were near the finish a 30 foot wall with a rope ladder to climb comes into view.  Up and down we climb.  As my feet touch the ground I smile thinking I didn’t miss a step the whole course.  Then, I turn to see there’s still more.  Next is the mud slide – my friends and I roar as we dive into the mud to slide to the next obstacle:  FIRE!  I truly feel like a warrior as I leap over the flames, my body covered in mud as the crowd cheers.  Not done yet.  The finish line is only 30 yds away, with 20 yards of it being barbwire that is only two feet off the ground.  As we struggle to figure out how to go under the barbwire the crowd yells for us to barrel roll.  I have no more energy to think so down we go rolling our way to the shallow mud.  Dizzily we wade through the mud using our arms to pull us to the end. Finally, we stand up grab hands, cross the finish line, receive our medals, and collect our hard earned ice cold beer. 

Warrior Dash brings race, mud to NM

(photo from krqe)
I will definitely be the first to sign up for this race next year.  It was well organized as we were able to quickly and easily get our registration packets and turn in our bags to be checked.  The only downfall of the event was the traffic to and from.  There was food, music, beer, and a big screen tv to watch warriors complete obstacles.  And the best part of it all is that it benefits St. Jude’s hospital!
Warrior Dash brings race, mud to NM
(photo from krqe)
Thank you Rosa and friends for your bravery and courage in completing the Warrior Dash! 



Now that the weather is getting warmer we have been wanting to spend more time outside.  We have picked up a new hobby that allows our family to do the majority of the work inside and the best part outside.  What is this new found fun we have been enjoying?  Rocket launching!  It is a lot of fun to build and paint these and have a launch party with some of your favorite kiddos.  You can buy these relatively inexpensive kits at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.  The kit we bought costs about $30.00 and included 2 rockets, a launching pad and an ignitor.  Plus we bought the engines ( 13.00 for 3 of them).

making sure we followed the directions properly before our launch

Hint:  If you sign up for Michael’s email you automatically get a 50% off one item coupon.  We used it to buy a pack of 24 engines.  So instead of paying $80.00 for them we paid $40.00.  There is also a 50% off coupon in the entertainment book.

Once you buy the kit with the launch pad you only have to buy the rockets which cost anywhere from $7.99-$16.99.  The rockets vary in size and the height that they will launch.  For instance, we have a rocket that launches 1,200 feet up and another that launches 500 feet up.

Are you asking yourself, where do we have all of this fun?  Well, we launch at the West Mesa Open Space and for the rockets that don’t launch so high we light in my parents pasture.  We have rounded up a few kids and parents from my son’s school and the boys have a blast.  Their favorite part is racing to retrieve the rockets after they launch.  Happy lift-off!


the race to the rocket

Finally Tried SUPing!

SUP is short for stand up paddle board.  I’ve wanted to try it for about a year and a few weeks ago I finally got my chance.  I’d read that it takes balance and core strength.  It did!  It was supposed to be relaxing, invigorating, and mind-clearing all at the same time.  It was!

I took a lesson from a tour company in Honolulu on Waikiki Beach.  We started in a lagoon where I tested my balance and got the hang of maneuvering the board and paddle.  In these calm waters I practiced moving around on the board – swaying back and forth, changing direction, going fast and slowing down.  On the advice of the tour guide I even practiced falling.  In those parts, the advice was to fall flat (as in flat on your back) to avoid injury by coral – kinda scary but the advice paid off once we got into the ocean.

Practicing in the lagoon.

It was a bit windy but we headed out into the ocean nonetheless.  I was really anxious to move out of the lagoon and test my skills in the open water.  We started out on our knees to get past a breaker of coral and out into the ocean.  The water was choppy and required a good bit of focus so at first I wasn’t looking anywhere but down.  Our guide assured us that he’d keep us away from the waves and just glide along the coast for a nice tour of Waikiki from a unique perspective.  While this sounded like a good plan initially, I watched as other SUPers paddled out and rode the waves like surfers.  How could I resist?!  I told the guide I definitely wanted to try my hand at catching a wave.

We paddled out to where the waves were breaking.  The thought of falling on the coral made me nervous and, as with most things in life, the anxiety of it was worse than actually falling.  I needed to get my first fall over and done with so I could get on with SUPing.  I didn’t have to wait long.  In trying to catch my first wave, I promptly fell and followed the guide’s advice to fall flat.  Literally, a wave of exhilaration had washed over me.  With a silly grin on my face, I took to the paddle board again.  All it took was one more wave and I fell again.  I pulled myself back on to the board and at that point I knew I was going to get this.  I looked down and noticed a few scratches on my foot, no biggie, I just needed to remember not to kick when trying to right myself in the water.

After those first two falls, the SUPing was sweet.  I caught waves and rode them until they gave out on me.  The waves were not big, but it was a major accomplishment for me and I loved every minute of it.

This SUPing adventure was exciting, but I got the peaceful part too.  We paddled around and saw sea turtles swimming beneath our boards.  Very cool.

Did I mention T was watching Baby Girl on the beach?  It was not easy to leave her, but I’m learning that a happy momma makes a happy baby.

I really enjoy (endorphins anyone?) using my body to accomplish some physical feat (i.e. an act of skill, endurance, and strength).  SUPing fits the bill.  Of course, the views of the ocean, beach, and mountains were pretty nice too.

Just messing around a bit in the calm waters. If the water is flat, it's a fun challenge to try some yoga.

This is all well and good, but how about SUPing in New Mexico?  Lucky for us, there is such an opportunity.  SouthWest Windsports in Albuquerque provides lessons and equipment for SUPing.  Check them out on Facebook or  http://www.windsurfnm.com.  Just about any body of water can be used for SUPing so I think I’ll try cruising down the Rio Grande next – the Sandias are a marvelous sight too.

Happy Easter everyone!  If you need some Easter ideas, visit our posts from last year, here and here.


Blissful Birth?

My Baby Girl was born on the last day of the year.  She’s beautiful and perfect.  This post is not really a birth story – that is really quite personal and far too involved for this blog.  Rather, I’d like to share with you how the hypnosis classes worked or didn’t work for my labor and delivery.

First things first – Blissborn was great, but T is a rockstar.  He was simply amazing and perfect throughout.  Okay, back to the story . . .

As you may recall, I decided to take the BlissBorn series of classes to prepare for childbirth.  My original purpose in taking the classes was to achieve control of my mind and body and develop a plan to work with T as a team through the labor and delivery.  Frankly, when I first signed up I wasn’t even trying to really reduce pain, I just wanted a plan and a sense of control and calm when delivery time came along.  With each class, my perspective evolved into something more profound.  The class was also huge help in preparing a Birth Plan that I was able to show to my providers at the hospital.  They read it and respected my wishes.

T and I took the BlissBorn classes and practiced hypnosis at home.  Mind you, I did not practice as much as the program recommends.  T and I practiced together even less often.  The BlissBorn method calls for daily hypnosis sessions, on my own and with the use of the audio guides.  Sometimes, I’d practice 6 days each week, sometimes just a couple.  In retrospect, I am sure things would have been even better with more practice.  As it was, I am very satisfied with my labor and delivery and I owe a large part of that to BlissBorn for preparing T and I.

As with most everything in life, things didn’t go according to plan.  One week before my due date I learned that would need to be induced.  I was bummed.  I was disappointed that right from the beginning my labor wasn’t going to be totally “natural.”  In the reading the materials for the BlissBorn classes, I learned about an intervention “domino effect” – that is, one intervention tends to require another and another and so on.  I was worried that being induced would change everything and I would have to have an epidural, maybe a cesarean, and who knows what else.

Speaking of natural childbirth and epidurals – the class did change my mind on this subject.  At the outset, I was somewhat ambivalent about epidurals.  I thought, if I don’t need one then why get one?  But if I do want one, what’s the big deal?  Part of the class homework involved reading Ecstatic Birth – Nature’s Hormonal Blueprint for Birth by Sarah J. Buckley.  After reading it, I was convinced that a natural birth without pain medications was the best choice for me and Baby Girl.  At the risk of being too concise, the article basically explains that women’s bodies have a perfectly customized hormone cocktail that makes natural birth ideal for mom and baby (and not necessarily painful).  My body was built to birth naturally so why mess with Mother Nature?  On the other hand, I reserve no judgment for how women choose to birth their babies – to each her own :)  At any rate, I highly recommend reading the article for a fascinating and scientific account of all things hormonal that go on during labor and birth.

So back to labor:  I used the hypnosis techniques that I learned in the class and listened to the final hypnosis session on my iPod once the process of being induced began at about 4pm Friday afternoon.  Things were slow early on; just small contractions.  Then around midnight, after my second dose of misoprostol, my contractions grew much stronger.  By 2am things were moving along and the contractions were strong, just not very regular.  However, by 4am Baby Girl was well on her way and the contractions were strong and close together.  With the hypnosis audio guides I was really relaxed early on and until about 4 am I was able to doze off for several minutes at a time between contractions.  After 4am I relied completely on T and the techniques that I learned, but not the audio guide.

A key strategy I learned was to accept each contraction for what it is:  each one is a step toward the opening of the cervix.  I was taught to think “open and relaxed” with each contraction and visualize the cervix opening and my body getting ready for the birth.  So rather than fight against the pain of a contraction, I welcomed them as being one step closer to meeting my sweet Baby Girl.  And more than just welcoming them, I learned to make them even bigger in my mind so that I was going with the flow and helping my body move closer to birth.

Just one problem – I wasn’t anticipating so called “back labor.”  I’m not going to lie, this was pretty painful.  I couldn’t exactly picture how the pain in my lower back was supposed to be helping this process along but I stuck with the mantra “open and relaxed” with each contraction and I swear that really got me through that painful part of labor.  I held on to T (he was right there for every moment) and said the words aloud at times “open and relaxed,” thinking my body is just opening and I’m relaxing to let it all progress as it should.  I repeatedly used the technique of saying “let go” while breathing out to relax and go back into hypnosis.  (You can come in and out of it at will.)

I did not stay very deep into hypnosis once I began pushing.  I did still feel in control and continued the “open and relaxed” mantra throughout the labor and birth.  The pushing stage, beginning at about 7:15am, seemed to last forever (it lasted about an hour and forty five minutes) and if I had practiced the “shrinking of time” technique I probably could’ve used that, but I didn’t.  Maybe next time ;)  Oddly enough, the only really painful part was the “back labor.”  I didn’t feel a lot of pain otherwise.

For some context, the midwife explained that another woman who had been induced earlier in the week with misoprostol took 19 or 20 hours from being induced to birth.  She also explained it could take up to 48 hours.  Yikes.  As it was, from my first dose to Baby Girl’s grand entrance, about 17 hours elapsed.  I’d like to think that the hypnosis kept me relaxed so that my labor could progress.

Anyway, the bottom line is the hypnosis worked.  I didn’t take and didn’t need any pain medications.  During labor I heard the nurses and midwives commenting that I was so calm and doing so well during labor (that boosted my confidence too).  I also felt pretty great afterward.  I like to think that since Baby Girl was so alert right from the beginning and looking to breastfeed within minutes after she was born it was partly because I didn’t introduce any pain medications during my labor.  The fact that I was alert afterward was probably as a result of that too, especially considering I’d been awake for about 24 hours.

Eight weeks later, Baby Girl is beautiful as ever.  I feel great and, yes, I can actually entertain the thought of another one . . .

Mardi Gras at St. Claire Winery and Bistro

If you can’t make it to New Orleans this year for Mardi Gras, why not celebrate at St. Claire Winery and Bistro.  On February 21, 2012 they are offering a fun-filled evening  with a Mardi Gras themed atmosphere paired with wine and Cajun food.  I don’t want to forget to mention that there will also be live music, party favors, and a great atmosphere!  The reasonably priced event, $32 per person, gets you a souvenir wine glass, a three coarse meal (Red Beans & Rice with your choice of Grilled Pork Chop,Blackened Grilled Chicken Breast or Cajun Grilled Shrimp), soup or salad and dessert!  There will also be a wine pairing with this delicious meal.

When:  Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Where:  St. Claire Winery and Bistro
901 Rio Grande Blvd. 87104
Call them to make a reservation for this fun event!



MILF – Mother Inspiring Lifelong Fitness!!!

No, not that kind of MILF (for those readers that don’t see the photo in your email)!!!  MILF also stands for Mothers Inspiring Lifelong Fitness!!!  Get your mind out of the gutter ;-)

Don’t Call it a Comeback!

So, I haven’t been exercising at my optimum level since about April or June of last year.  Although, I did continue a pretty good routine of running, weight lifting, core work, and spin through September, when I was about six months pregnant.  After that, I transitioned into very light running, the eliptical, yoga, and light core work.  For month number nine, however, I kind of fell off the exercise wagon.  Workouts were few and far between.  Actually, they were pretty much nonexistent.  I probably stretched a little – does that count?

Now, I’m about 6 weeks post-Baby Girl’s birthday and I need something to train for to get back in the swing of things.  I’ve been walking and doing a little bit of core work but nothing strenuous so far.  I’ll throw in a short jog with my walks just so I know my legs still work but I wouldn’t call it running.  I also do lunges and squats with Baby Girl in the Moby – which really made my legs sore – yes!  I’ll start playing soccer in the beginning of March but I really need a goal – something to train for. 

A friend of mine with a 3 month old just enjoyed a weekend of cross country skiing and ice climbing with her husband and baby in Colorado.  A new mama who is fit and not afraid to jump right in!  Inspiring!

So, my dear readers, this is where you come in.  Right now my best idea is the GoRuck Challenge in April.  My husband says I’d be crazy to do that at this time and he’s probably right – I would have to sign a Death Waiver . . . maybe next year.  So, please tell me, what should I train for?  I’ve got a few requirements:  the event must be in NM, it doesn’t have to be a race, it can’t be rock climbing (I’m just not into that right now), and it must be sometime in April, May, or June.  So, what’s it gonna be?  I’d love to hear your ideas :)

It’s never too soon (or too late)  to be a M.I.L.F.!!!  (That is, a Mother Inspiring Lifelong Fitness!)

Post image for Are you a MILF?


P.S.  I promise to get back to you soon with a post-Blissborn labor and delivery wrap-up!

Cleaning up the Bosque

Recently we took our new puppy on a walk to the bosque for a nice long walk.  We really love the bosque’s trails and winter time is no exception.  During the winter my son likes to look up in the trees for porcupine nests and bird nests.  It is the perfect time to see the wild life habitats because the trees are dormant.

While on this walk my son noticed that the trails needed some maintenance.  He was finding trash all over the place and took it upon himself to find a plastic bag while walking and started picking it up.  I was really proud of my kiddo for noticing and even more impressed when he started to clean it up.  Our walk turned into a day of clean-up at one of our favorite places.  It was an easy way of doing community service without having to really think about it.  What have you done for your community lately?

Santa Fe School of Cooking

Hello Dear Readers!  Happy New Year!  Sorry for the recent hiatus, but as you could’ve guessed Christmas and the end of the year got extremely busy for us here at the Wellness Experiment.  Instead of starting the New Year with your typical “get fit” type of post, I decided that a much better topic would be delicious food!  Cooking, my friends, is surely a great way to be healthy and happy.  Without further ado . . .

The following is a guest post from Olivia Suarez. She is my sister, mother of 4 and a domestic goddess ;)

What to do when you are in a cooking rut . . .

Take a class! Several weeks ago I went to a cooking class at the world famous Santa Fe School of Cooking.  (They really are world famous; there was a couple who traveled all the way from Australia in our class!)  They proudly boast a spot in “1001 Things to do Before you Die” book.  I received the class as a gift and attended with my two sisters in law and my mother in law.  I t was a very neat experience that ended with eating the meal.  Yummy!

This class featured a Southwest brunch menu.  I watched head chef Jeremiah Shultz and sous chef Noe Cano cook up chipotle spinach and goat cheese quiche, blue corn pecan pancakes, fresh berry compote, huevos rancheros for a crowd, and chorizo cottage fried potatoes.  In addition to the menu, the chefs also gave instruction on red chile and pinto beans.  The entire class was a demonstration of the menu along with general cooking tips.  Some of the native ingredients and spices, such as canela and pinons, were passed around to smell and feel.  Questions were answered during the class as well as after.  Throughout the class I learned about the culinary history of northern NM and the influence Santa Fe has had on the culinary world.  We are very fortunate to have such a culinary destination right here in New Mexico.

The meal afterward was DELICIOUS!  The flavors were not over powering yet plentiful.  It tasted very much like the food my mother makes and grandmothers used to make for us.  The best part was taking what I learned and making the dishes at home for my family.  I was nervous that just watching the chefs wouldn’t be enough for me to be able to recreate the food but everything turned out wonderful with plenty of compliments. 

In addition to the class the school had a store full of traditional spices, ingredients and cooking supplies.  A wall full of cookbooks caught my eye and I purchased two of the school’s own books:  “The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook” and “Santa Fe School of Cooking Flavors of the Southwest.”

It was a great experience for both learning and eating.  Sometimes they offer the classes on the Groupon website for a great deal.  I am looking forward to going back for more lessons and tasting.

Thank you so much Olivia for sharing this tasty experience with us!  I’d be happy to taste test any time you want to practice your new cooking skills.