Challenged getting your 2E kiddo moving?

5 tips to get your 2E kiddo active and moving

5 tips to get started

In no way will I pretend to have all (any?) the answers here.  I’m forever trying to find more ways to introduce more movement, more activity into our lives.  We all know how important both movement and team sports can be for gifted kids.  But what do you do when you have a kiddo who stays in place? I have one sporty who can’t stop moving and will try every team and solo sport ever invented, and one who can stay in place for stretches so long, you’d think my house was the next opening of Madame Tussaud’s.

When you are thinking about how to help a 2E kiddo get more movement in their day – I’d recommend two perspectives from which to tackle the issue: 

  • Why are they sedentary?  What’s holding them back?
  • How can you structure your lives, so that it comes naturally?

What’s holding your kiddo back?

Is it anxiety about the social engagement required for team sports? Is it the number of unexpected transitions when you’re in the middle of something (i.e. what if you don’t like a ski hill part way down? Or the coach adds a new drill)? Is it fear of not being the best?  Is it a previous negative experience?   As parents, we need to be introspective on this one.

One of my least favorite expressions is: If they could do better, they would do better.  It drives me crazy because when I remember it, it’s usually because my expectations have been beyond what my kiddo is capable of tackling, and I don’t recognize it in the moment.  I remember the expression, at the end of the day when I’m reflecting on a tantrum or other explosion.  If I remembered the expression in the moment, it likely wouldn’t drive me quite so crazy. 

But here’s the thing when it comes to getting your body moving.  Movement is the natural state — so if they could do better, they would….. What’s holding them back.  What’s holding you back? 

5 Tips to build movement into their lives

Parkour is full of 2E kids (and adults!)
  1. Family Time:  Until they are teens — kids will follow your example.  Are you out raking leaves? Shoveling Snow? Their “help” will eventually become help.  And until then at least they are moving.  Family walk after dinner with the dog?  What about a vacation that includes daily swimming? 
  2. Lead by example: How have you incorporated movement into your life?  2E kiddos are super observant and mine are hyper fast noticing any discrepancy between words and actions.  Sound familiar?  When you look at your world — are you getting your target # of steps in? How are you building strength?  Maybe your hobby is chopping wood.  Maybe you’ve joined a crossfit gym. Regardless — your kiddos will notice your words and actions are consistent.  And you will notice the improved mood and energy.  Tell me — which of us 2E parents doesn’t need more of that!
  3. Formal Lessons & Activities:  If you’re headed down the path of lessons or teams, consider having a word with the coach or instructor to let them know your objectives (participation & enjoyment vs super start creator).  And take a look for articles like this one — that have suggestions for how sports and activities can be modified to suit your kiddo.  The local teen or parent coach is unlikely to be equipped with creative modifications
  4. Try Non-Traditional Activities:  Not everyone needs to play football.  Roller-skating, fencing, curling, double dutch, parkour, trampoline, slack rope walking….. Whatever.  Give it a try.  For use – Parkour was amazing.  Full of kids on the spectrum, full of kids with creative problem solving to get through the obstacles, no “right way” to do it and exhausting.  Perfect combo!
  5. Start a Challenge:  My kids are competitive, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to channel that into something constructive.  Using the January plan laid out in the “big book of 30-day challenges“, I have challenged myself to follow the plan for the month, and invited the kids to tackle more days than me.  So far, we have 2-3 days a week of hitting the challenge…. Not what I’d hopped, but better than 0.  It’s more complicated than my kids can really follow, so next month we’re going to try a push-up challenge. At our house, winner gets a $10 subway card. 
Everyone starts somewhere

After years of swim lessons spent on the side of the pool, and skating lessons spent on the side of the rink,  I’m setting the example by adding more movement and activity into my life.  And as I head out to the pool, or to the basement to life weights or the canal to skate — they can join me if they want to.  I have control over my movement.  I have no control over theirs. 

Good luck! Let me know now it goes.

Anyone else tired of chopping?

Not a good sign that we’re in week 2 of the challenge and I’m getting tired of chopping.  The benefits are outstanding – when I can quickly drop some veggies in a pan, in lunch containers or in the oven to roast.  We are eating well and it’s easy.  Lots of colours, lots of greens. Couldn’t be happier with the nutrition the kids are getting every day.

I tend to think of myself as a good cook.  A great cook?  But my knife skills are rudimentary – there’s no subtlety in my chopping.  If I had ninja knife skills it might be a different story, as it’s always more fun to do things when you’re proficient (or at least it’s more efficient when you have skills).

My friends think it’s not about the chopping – it’s about being a mom who is keeping it all together. I see the other moms and dads out there — rest assure if I see your kiddo having a meltdown in Tim Horton’s or if I overhear you snap when your munchkin gets a case of the ‘gimme’s’ at the checkout line.  There’s no judgement from me – only relief that I’m in the company of other imperfect but well intentioned parents – just like me.

But it if it is about the chopping –  I guess I’ll simply try to find a new Netflix habbit to turn on in the kitchen Sundays and Wednesdays while I’m prepping away.

Prepping for 21 meals a week

So I’ve figured out that when you are dairy-free, gluten/grain-free, legume free, and low sugar…what you are really doing is following a Paleo diet.  I like that frame of mind because it’s about what we are doing vs a list of things we aren’t doing.

Regardless of what you call it, there is a ton of meal prep involved.  We’re too new in the process to have the kids self-sufficient for breakfast – so that means mom is planning for 21 meals (ok maybe 20) a week. Of course Nom-Nom Paleo has a brilliant schedule worked out for meal prep.  Can you find this kind of time?  Not me.  Containers

That said , you can’t just start chopping veggies on a Sunday night – you need to plan to plan.  Without it you have cranky kids in the AM or when they get home from school and no one’s day gets better with that:

  • What kitchen tools do you need? Because I’m living in a furnished rental 6 months, I’ve been quick to identify what’s an absolute must have to get started with Paleo.  All the equipment here is complete rubbish – here’s the short list of what I’ve bought to make the 6 months manageable:
    • Baking Sheet & muffin tins
    • Vitamix
    • Cast iron pan
    • Chef’s knife
    • Sturdy cutting board
    • Kitchen grill – this was probably not necessary, but it’s fun
    • More glass containers than you ever thought you would buy

Stupid Easy Paleo – Meal Planning has some good tips on how to structure your time to the through week, so you aren’t cooking every day.  She also recommends a slowcooker as a must have.  I don’t think so – I’m making due with the oven.  When we were still eating beans – the slow cooker was huge.

  • When do you have time to grocery shop, that is followed by time to prep?  For me that’s usually Saturday shopping and Sunday afternoon prep.  I don’t schedule anything for Sundays – we get home from Church and the kids have free time until dinner.  I try to have some relax time, some time walking the dogs and my afternoons are spent getting the lunches, breakfasts and 1-2 dinners organized.  If you don’t have a specific list of what you need for the week, Paleo Leap has a great set of all purpose suggestions for things to get ready, so you’re not scrambling every day.  Of course, you can’t chop everything on Sunday or it gets squishy.  I try to carve out a little time Wednesday to get through what’s required for Thursday and Friday.  And Saturday’s is simply cobbling together the odds and end we didn’t get to or didn’t quite finish.

Don’t underestimate the value of your containers.  It’s an investment – but there’s value to being able to put together 10 little packs of olives, 10 little packs of chia pudding, and other additions to packed lunches in advance.



60 day gluten & dairy free challenge

Grain Free Granola






Cherry Coconut Pudding



Of course the best time to go Paleo is right after Easter when the kids still have all their Easter chocolate hanging around right?

What’s interesting about having tweens is no longer can I simply decide that we’re going to try more raw veggies, or have fish 4x per week….well I can decide that, but they can also decide to put up a revolt.  And I have no interest in instigating an insurrection.

So we’ve been talking about sugar and it’s impact on how you feel, the work you can do at school, whether you get hungry or hangry etc.  We’ve been talking about how there’s been more and more dairy/wheat creeping in since we moved into short-term housing.  We’ve been talking about how much they like being self sufficient in the AM.  Can you say raisin bran with cow milk?  (don’t judge…. we’ve all made the easy choice on occasion).

We were so busy talking about this gluten free, dairy free, low sugar experiment – that it was easy to say “let’s start April 1”.  So easy in fact that I forgot to prepare.  I did spend one evening tossing any of the old food. And I might have bought more veggies than normal, but I did not meal prep or plan for the first week.  Big mistake.  It’s one thing to have more veggies, or less processed food.  It’s a whole other level to go 100% in — 3 meals a day from home, no processed food.  Can’t emphasis the need to plan ahead enough.

Someone tried to make their own guacamole
Someone tried to make their own guacamole


Week 1 was bumpy.  Week 2 was better as I spent most of Sunday afternoon prepping breakfasts, school lunches and post swimming snacks. Week 3 is next week.  I need a full meal plan and shopping list.  And I will need to get smarter about the time it takes — no way I’m spending every Sunday locked in the kitchen.

Mud Mountain Explorers

How could you not want to go to Mud Mountain?  With elementary aged boys this had all the elements necessary for a great outing: mud, mountain, and a dam guarded by the army.  Technically Mud Mountain is managed by the US Army Corp of Engineers, but there was no explaining that to my two.

Would I make this trip back to just past Enumclaw again?  Probably not.  The dam is interesting, but you see it from far away.  All the photos I’d seen ahead of time (here, here, and here) were taken from a vantage point that we could not get to while at the dam. It looks like in Spring 2015 the short 1/2 mile path that runs from the lookout to the lower dam viewing location is closed about 1/2 way down.

That left us with the woodland trail, that walks along the rim of the valley.  It was a beautiful walk.

Gorgeous spring flowers were out in early April.
Gorgeous spring flowers were out in early April.

We walked for about 5km along the trail.  It was flat, meandering and peaceful. If I lived in the neighborhood, it would be my go to walking spot for walking the dog, but as a day trip from Seattle, there are many other paths and trails before getting all the way to Mud Mountain.

If you do visit Mud Mountain – as always the 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Seattle guide proves indispensable.  The main trailhead for walking the rim is outside the park gates.  Easy to find once you know, but not intuitive for the first time visitor.

Family Dinners?

Do you have them? Do you have them every day? Every week?

Here’s an episode of The Current on the topic from last week. The interviewee is Laurie David (Larry David’s wife) and she’s a huge advocate of family dinners and how to get your family back to the table, and why you should want to put forward the effort. No surprise she’s on the show to promote her new book: The Family Dinner: Great ways to connect with your kids one meal at a time. Laurie’s discourse on the radio reminded me of an episode of Oprah from a season or two ago in which she spent time with families to reform their dinner times. Oprah saw families that were ordering takeout and each taking their food to a separate part of the house to eat on their own with their digital device of choice (texting, TV, laptop, whatever). The Oprah episode horrified me, but even Laurie’s interview seemed to indicate that the family dinner is a challenge.

More nights than note, we have dinner as a family. My kids are 2 and 5… so I can’t really imagine how they would get fed if we didn’t sit down with them. That said, we have friends whose nanny feed the kids before the parents get home from work, or whose kids get a big snack at daycare and don’t eat dinner, or who simply don’t enjoy the toddler meal and have a husband/wife dinner after the kids go to bed. I’m inclined to think that the latter is a great idea for us to try, at least once or twice a week.

But for now, we’re still the old fashioned four of us sitting down for dinner. It might not be fancy – in fact it’s definitely not fancy, but we’re there. I’ve been warned that this will get harder and harder to do as the kids get older. We’ll see. For now, Monday’s are definitely a challenge, as both boys have classes as 6pm. So we usually have eggs and crudités at 5:15. When the boys are older, I expect they’ll have more activities, but I’m also hoping we can push our dinner time back to 6:30 or so. Now if we have dinner at 6:30 the boys are falling asleep by the time we finish at 7pm.

I would love to hear success stories of how you’ve managed family dinners? Who’s able to get their 7/9 or teenage kids to the table for dinner more nights that not and how did you do it?

Planning for 2011

And here I thought maybe my blogging days were over. When I went back to work after mat-leave there was quite a hiatus from my wonderings and ponderings. But I’m still an Ottawa based mom who’s trying to raise her family of boys to be healthy, happy, well-adjusted boys and eventually men.

A friend sent me a note a while back asking if it was her. Was she the only mom who found that there was no ‘me’ time? She’s resorted to getting up at 5am to have a moment of piece and is quickly finding the kids hear her rustling in the house and are now getting up even earlier. It’s not her, it’s moms. Regardless of the age of your children or whether you’re at home or in the office – it’s busy, and the list of things to do is way too long. As soon as you cross 2 or 3 things off your list, another 4 or 5 seem to get added.

Last year I decided there were too many things to keep track of – aerobic exercise, weight training, yoga, family hiking, core strengthening, eat veggies, eat fruit, get enough fibre, don’t get too much saturated fat, get enough protein, no whites, take your multi-vitamin, and your vitamin D. Wait isn’t using a sauna supposed to be good for you? The list of do/don’ts was too long, and this was just the health oriented stuff. I divided my good intentions into a series of monthly ‘to-do’s. My premise was that if I did something for a month, there was a chance that I’d be able to a carry the habit forward So January was take your vitamin every day month, and February was daily exercise (as opposed to a couple of times a week), etc. Well I had fun making the list, but I don’t think I got very far with it. I found the schedule while cleaning up some office paperwork the other day, and am now working on the revised 2011 version.

This version I’ll share with you, my family and friends. I’m also trying to make it less serious: incorporating new activities– perhaps kickboxing or latin dancing, or date night ideas into the mix. Let me know if you have any suggestions.



Eco Energy Audit – Part 2

We finally have our second ecoenergy report.  This is the report that lets us know whether all the work we’ve been doing over the past two years is paying off from an environmental  point of view.
We had an environmental score of 57 (out of 100) and have moved up to 74.  Typical houses of our age (built in the 60ies) are at 61 and the most energy efficient would be 83.  In theory the jump from 57 to 74 has allowed us to reduce our energy consuption by 45%.  This last point is more than true of our gas bill.  This change has also reduced our GHG (green house gas) emissions by 10.1 tonnes per year.
In terms of airleakage, we had a rating of 4.6 ACH.  This is the equivalent of a 1.2 sq foot hole in the side of the house.  To 3.39 AHC or .85 sq ft hole.  This doesn’t seem quite as dramatic.

For anyone out there that is in the midst of doing one of these things, all I have to say is document, document, document.  We have our energy report, but not rebate money just yet.  Turns our our “receipts” were really signed quotes, or receipts for installation, not the purchase of the product, and in some cases non-existant.  We’ve been taking pictures of the work, scouring through old photos to document the work in progress and doing a lot of back and forth to have the report submitted. 

Lent: A season of change for everyone?

Time for a change?
Time for a change?

Forgive what is undoubtedly a blasphemous topic for this post…

I’ve been thinking about Lent. My particular brand of church doesn’t have any strong traditions with respect to Lent as a season, apart from the sermons, the liturgy surrounding Lent is a pretty tamed affair. When I was at University, a good chunk of the student body was Catholic. At the time I became accustomed to hearing “can’t do it… I gave it up for Lent” or “no dessert for me, I gave it up for Lent.” In school the give ups were mostly: beer, cigarettes, dessert, chocolate and occasionally meat.

Long out of school, the phrase “gave up for lent” doesn’t come up very often. When a friend of family member mentions it, I assumed that: a) They were catholic, and b )more religious than I had originally realized. But other than that, I gave it not much thought. Turns out I was wrong on both counts.

In the save way I’ve adopted Chinese New Year as my own personal holiday and set of traditions (in spite of not having been to China), my friends are adopting some of the Lenten traditions, because they resonate with them. These friends view it as an opportunity to :

  • Make a break from any bad habits that have crept up over the past year (or 10!)
  • Introduce positive lifestyle change
  • Put a halt to the consumption of all baked goods… in case that didn’t end at New Year’s
  • Introduce a new habit (or kill an old one). 60 days (or there about) is plenty of time for the change to take hold
  • Even if you don’t make a permanent change, 60 days without “pick your poison” is better than 60 days with it.

Yet another variation on this same theme is to not only “give up” something for Lent, but also to “add” something positive. This is akin to the Oprah style of management – if you want to bring something new into your house, you have to give up something. Now the big question is what to pick:

Give Up Add
  • Meat
  • Whites (flour, sugar, salt)
  • Wine (that wouldn’t be much fun)
  • TV
  • Bad TV
  • Dessert
  • Starbucks
  • Takeout
  • On-line shopping
  • Saunas
  • Yoga
  • Early bed time
  • Packing my lunch
  • Meditation
  • Supper prep (this has lapsed of late)
  • Exercise (daily, not ad hoc)
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