Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 8: I Heart Enzo (Sat 3/26)

Today I powered through and finished the rest of the book. It was a really easy read for me and reading it wasn't hard at all. This last part was all about the trial and what happens to Denny, Zoe, and Enzo. I can't remember if I mentioned it before (I could look, but I have a headache and am kind of too tired to do so), but I really didn't care for the whole statutory rape part in this book. I get that the author did it so that there would be some drama in the book and a question on whether or not Denny would get Zoe back. I don't know what the author could have done instead, but I didn't care for that storyline. Anyway, the book has a happy ending and I wouldn't be surprised if they make it into a movie (I am sure that one is already in the works). The part that really got to me was when Enzo was at the end of his life. It made me really sad and I didn't want to see Enzo die. It also really gets to me when I see animals in movies being put down. I thought about how I had no emotional reaction to Eve dying, but was very sad for Enzo. I guess that is what happens when you like a character in the book!

I give the book 3.5 stars. It was very easy to read and get through which is always a huge plus. The story was alright. I didn't like a lot of the plot points and some of the characters I didn't care for (like Eve, who I think you are supposed to care for a little bit)....Well, I have to go to bed and I just wanted to finish up this post. Sorry that I didn't get into more details, but if you want any more information or have a question let me know!

Day 7: E-Readers are GRRREAT! (Fri 3/25)

On this day I actually only read a couple chapters of the book (maybe about 10 pages total), but I figured that was okay since I am ahead on what I need to read in the time I have allotted. Since I didn't read much I thought that I would discuss why I love my Kindle (and other e-readers).

When the e-readers first came out I thought that they seemed interesting, but I wasn't interested in owning one. I loved reading an actual book. I liked flipping through the book's pages, having an exact idea of where I was at in the book by looking at it, and the smell of books, especially from the library, is a smell that I enjoy. With an e-reader you don't get any of that. At the end of last year Amazon dropped the price of the Kindle and my husband decided that he would get me one as a belated birthday present (I think that it was just an excuse to buy a Kindle since he already got me a birthday gift on my birthday). The Kindle came and I wasn't too into it. I still had a lot of books at home that I wanted to read, so my husband was the one that used my Kindle mostly. Once I finally got around to using the Kindle I thought that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Then I had the baby and the Kindle changed everything I thought about e-readers for me!

Having a newborn there was a lot of time where I was just sitting around breastfeeding. During this time I couldn't do much else and I mostly just had one hand available to me. The Kindle became my new best friend because it was the only other thing that I could do (I could watch TV, but we don't watch it when my toddler is awake, so that was very limited). Since the Kindle is so small and lightweight I could hold it with just one hand and read. Instead of trying to turn the pages and keep the book open I just had to press a button and the "page" would turn automatically. It was so nice to not have an actual book. I also didn't ever have to go searching for a scrap of paper to use as a bookmark. The Kindle will automatically save your spot when you stop reading. It is easy to navigate through the books too. A very nice feature is that you can buy the books right from the Kindle and get the book in about a minute or less. It is so nice to have a book right away instead of waiting to get it in the mail or from the library or having to drive to a bookstore to buy it. My husband and I also got covers with lights, so that we could read when it got dark. Although, I don't use the light much because the light would probably bother the baby. The Kindle has been amazing for me! It is so nice to only have to use a small very portable device to read lots of books. The Kindle just recently added page numbers and that has been nice because I did miss those (they had location numbers previously). I still do kind of miss seeing exactly where I am in the book by looking at it, but it seems to me that I read books on the Kindle faster than if it was a regular book. I also love the books that have a lot of notes in the back, but I don't know about! When the Kindle says that I am at 75-90% done with the book, but it is actually the end of the book with a lot of notes at the end it makes me happy :) One other thing that I wasn't looking forward to was that I wouldn't be able to get books from the library, but they have an e-reader library where you can get books. I know that it doesn't work with the Kindle, but there are other options out there for you to read the book. I haven't tried it yet, but it is awesome to know that I can still get free books from the library and I don't have to worry about remembering to bring the books back on time! I really do think that the e-readers are great and if you are a breastfeeding mama that likes to read this is definitely something worth getting!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 6: Californication (Thurs 3/24)

During this part of the book Eve has finally died. I really wasn't sad about her death because I knew it was coming and like I mentioned before I didn't really care for her character. I wish that the author would have made her more likable. Then the author goes and makes Eve's parents, the "Evil Twins," (coined by Enzo) really unlikable characters too. They decide that Zoe would be better off if she was raised by them and not her father and that they were going to sue for custody of Zoe. When I read that I was thinking that there was no way that they would get custody of Zoe. I also thought that the parents would be crazy for even trying, but I figured that the author would make it so that somehow they did get custody or would make it hard for Denny to keep Zoe. Then we find out that Denny is being charged with statutory rape of a minor. The readers know that Denny didn't do anything and that it was the girl that came onto Denny and tried to do something with him, but he turned her down. I really didn't care for that part in the book either, but it gave the author a reason for Denny not to get custody of his daughter. When I was reading the part about the trial and statutory rape it reminded me of the show Californication. We have been watching that show from the beginning and this season has been a big letdown for us. In this season Hank Moody, the main character, is being charged with statutory rape but he didn't know that the girl was under age because she said she was older and she was the one that came on to him (he did have relations with her though). Kind of funny how this book and Californication have a similar story line in them!

Well, that was the biggest ordeal in this section and I have to go get ready for bed so that is all that you get for today's day! Only three more days of catching-up!!!!

Day 5: I Love Lucy (Wed 3/23)

Once again the reading of this book goes really fast because it is easy and the story is one that is fun to read. Since I have been lagging in here I didn't keep great track of where I was at each day in the book and I finished the book, so I will do my best to split the book up into sections. This point in the book Enzo knows that something is wrong with Eve, but Eve doesn't know what it is yet. The reader (well at least I did) gets the feeling that she has cancer and you wish that Enzo had the ability to talk to let her know so that she could get treated for it early. It was interesting that the author put this in there because you hear of dogs that can tell when people are going to get seizures and I am sure that dogs can also probably tell when a person isn't well. I am not sure if I have heard of dogs knowing if a person has cancer (I could Google it, but I am too tired to), but it wouldn't surprise me. The part that I didn't like about this section was how Eve didn't want to go to the see the Doctor at all. I understand that some people are afraid of doctors and don't want to go, but I just don't get it. I know that if this was me and I was having crazy headaches my husband would make me go to the doctor with no questions. He would definitely not be like Denny and not take me! I am not a huge fan of Eve's character and maybe that is because Enzo didn't like her as much and it is told from his point of view? I wonder if the author was basing Eve on his own wife.

This book is making me love and appreciate my dog Lucy even more! Seeing what Enzo is going through and how he acts made me think of my dog Lucy a lot. Although, she is not as good of a dog as Enzo is (she lingers in the kitchen while we eat to try and get scraps even though she knows she is not allowed!). It was fun to read what Enzo was thinking and think about Lucy in the same respect. Every night that I would read this book she would get some extra loving before bed! One part in the book that I related to was when Eve would want Enzo by her after the delivery and when she was just coming home from the hospital because she felt like Enzo knew what was going on and he was the only one that could take care of her. I have felt sometimes that the animals know what is going on and that they seem to be extra sensitive and caring when I need them to be. When I am not feeling well it seems like they are hanging around more and there have been a couple of times when I felt like they just knew something was up.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 4: The Art of Racing in the Rain (Tues 3/22)

This is the second book that my book club is reading. It is 317 pages and is a work of fiction, unlike the last book that I read. I have also heard good things about this book and I was really looking forward to reading it. On Amazon the rating is 4.6 out of 5 stars, which is really high. Coming into the book I only knew that it was told from the dog's point of view, which sounded interesting to me. The below comes from the author's website and summarizes the book,"A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it." Of course, there is more about the book on the website too if you wanted to check it out.

One thing that I noticed when I started reading this book was that there were a lot of chapters and they weren't very long. This is something that I really like. I like being able to have a stopping point when reading and having that stopping point at the end of a chapter is ideal. It really bothers me when the chapters are super long because I feel like I have to get through the whole thing to stop. I also usually find that when there are a lot of chapters that are on the shorter side I can get through the book faster. Anyway, something quirky of my reading habits that you now know about!

Since I am really behind on my blogging I can't remember how far I read on this first day, but it was further than the 50 pages. The reading is really fast and easy. The first part of the book we are introduced to Enzo, the dog, and his family Denny, Eve, and their daughter Zoe. Denny is a race car driver and a lot of the time Denny and Enzo watch videos of races. Denny is also a really good driver in wet/rainy conditions hence the title of the book.

Okay that is it for now because I have a lot more days to catch up on and I need to go get some dessert! Yes, I am still addicted to dessert :)

Day 3: Memory Champ (Mon 3/21)

This day I read from page 163-271 (108 pgs).

This last section of the book gets into the good stuff (at least I thought so). It is Josh's journey to becoming the US memory champion. After Josh decides that he will compete in the competition he starts practicing A LOT! He uses the memory techniques that Ed and others have taught him. He spends a lot of his time in his parent's basement just going over numbers, lists, cards, and other things that he will be "tested" on in the competition. He even gets a researcher to study him to see how his memory and brain changes after he has gone through the rigorous training to remember more stuff. While training Josh comes to a plateau and can't seem to get his times faster. Josh called this the ""OK plateau", the point at which you decide you're OK with how good you are at something, turn on autopilot, and stop improving." The researcher told Josh that the best way to get off the plateau was to "practice failing." It is a really interesting concept and it makes a lot of sense that you would learn more by making mistakes and pushing yourself harder to get better. It worked for Josh and he was able to start getting his recall times faster and faster.

During this section Josh goes over what it is to be a savant and to be a "memorizer." There was this case of a British man named Daniel Tammet who supposedly had some major seizure when he was little and that effected his memory and from it he became a savant. The big difference with him and other savants was that he was talented in many areas and not just one, which most savants are. Josh became a little suspicious of this guy and dug around and interviewed him and it seemed to me like the guy was fooling everyone and he is just a really good MA (mental athlete). I bring this guy up and this part of the book because my husband and I actually watched this special on this guy and we both remembered it. I remember being especially amazed at how this guy could learn a new language so fast. It was very interesting to hear how Josh was basically saying this guy is full of BS and here is why. This guy became so famous and even was on a show that I watched and he was probably pulling one on all of us! Josh does go on to talk about Kim Peek, the real Rain Man, who is a true savant and what he is able to do and not do.

The last section of the book was about the US memory championship. Since the US isn't big in the sport of remembering Josh felt that his chances of doing well were pretty high, especially with all of his training and being mentored by a top MA. Josh got to the competition and he did really well. He broke a US record of memorizing a deck of cards the fastest. As Josh kept doing well and making it further along he couldn't believe his luck. When he got to the semi-finals he felt like he was just lucky and one of the other contestants didn't get so lucky and that is why he proceeded on. In the final round it was all about remembering a deck of cards and Josh was really good at that and he ended up winning without much effort. It was exciting to see this reporter become a US memory champ all in a year. Josh did go onto the World Championship and didn't do so well! He also decided that he was done with competing (I am sure it was because he wanted to start writing his book!).

I really enjoyed the book. It was a fast, easy, and an interesting read. I learned that the name of the book comes from a number in the deck of cards. Of course, I forgot to mark what it was, but it was a visual reference to remember a card that was put in his memory palace. I learned that this book wasn't really going to give me a better memory unless I put a lot of time and effort into it, which isn't something that I would be doing anytime soon! One way that I can judge if I liked a book is if I google more about the book, which I did for this one. After I was done reading I looked up videos with Josh Foer and here is a good one from The Colbert Report. I would give this book 4.5 stars (out of five). I just hope that my fellow book club members enjoy it as much as my husband and I did!

Day 2: Memory Palaces (Sun 3/20)

Even though I am almost a week behind on this blog I figured that I would go ahead and break out each day by the day instead of doing one big summary. Hopefully, I can get all caught up in here. In case you were wondering, I am still sick along with the kiddos and the hubby seems to be getting sick too :( The baby seems to be getting better, which has allowed me more time to do other things including this. Knowing my luck he will probably wake-up in the middle of me typing this! I will go knock on some wood right now!

On the second day I read from page 89-162 (73 pages). The first part of this section Joshua Foer describes how the MA's are able to remember all that they do and it is by their Memory Palaces. Memory Palaces are places (usually buildings) created in a person's mind that the person is very familiar with and when they are trying to remember something they put that image in their memory palace so that when they visually take a walk through their palace they see the image and remember what it was they wanted to remember. To get a better example I will describe a scene in the book. Ed, Joshua's mentor, tells Josh to remember his childhood home and picture it really well. Then he tells Josh that he wants him to remember Ed's to do list by putting mental pictures in his childhood home. Ed says that the pictures have to be something related to the object to be remembered, but there has to be something about them that is really exaggerated so that your brain will remember them. The first thing on Ed's list was pickled garlic. He had Josh imagine a BIG jar of pickled garlic out by the garage. The next item was cottage cheese. Ed had Josh imagine a pool of cottage cheese with Claudia Schiffer in it by the front door. Smoked Peat Salmon was next on the list and it was to be imagined in Josh's piano. The next item was six bottles of white wine. Josh was to imagine the six bottles of white wine talking to one another in another part of his house. After Josh went through the whole list and placed them in different parts of the house Josh took a mental walk through his house and was able to remember all of the items! It is a pretty cool trick, but one that would take a lot of work. Just trying to come up with ideas of what to make things so that they will be memorable is tough! I tried this exercise and did half of the items on Ed's list and I can still remember all of them and the images of them that I put in my memory palace! When you get really good at this you start to create many memory palaces to store all of the information that you need. You have many memory palaces because you don't want to mix any images up.

Here is a quote that I liked that goes with the above, "The general idea with most memory techniques is to change whatever boring thing is being inputted into your memory into something that is so colorful, so exciting, and so different from anything you've seen before that you can't possibly forget it." That is why many of the images for everything they want to remember are usually sexual!

Josh starts practicing his memory techniques and takes a trip to England where they are having the world memory championship. He is hoping that he can learn more tricks and talk to some of the people that are big names in his "sport." After reading about some of these people I googled them to see what they looked like and they looked more "geeky" then I imagined them, but I guess that I should have expected them to look this way!

The rest of the section that I read was about memory and remembering and where it all started from (first records of remembering something on purpose). He delves into how things were passed down before there was any written word of them. Then what happened once stuff started being written down and how that effected everything. It was interesting to read that most of the texts were written without spaces, so it was really hard to read those and one had to be really familiar with the work to be able to read it. It made me realize that I take spaces for granted and I am very grateful that we have them becausetryingtoreadasentencewithnospacesisreallyhard (trying to type that was hard because my hands were automatically hitting the space bar). This section was kind of boring and my least favorite part in the book.

I was still really enjoying the book and it is a fascinating and easy read. He described the techniques in this section and frankly it doesn't seem like it is something that I would have time to do. It sounds really time consuming coming up with images for things to put into your memory palaces!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still reading...

I just wanted to let my followers know that I am still reading, but I haven't had any time to blog. All of us have been sick (this is about the 100th time this past season!), which makes blogging hard for me. The baby is extra needy and I think that yesterday I was not holding him for a total of two hours. Anytime I would put him down he would wake-up from being asleep or he would cry for me to hold him and the only time he was okay with me not holding him was when we were in the car. I have tried typing with one hand, but it is too difficult especially with long posts. I actually just got the baby down, but instead of blogging I am going to do some chores and then play with my toddler!

I finished the first book Moonwalking with Einstein and I am almost halfway done with The Art of Racing in the Rain. Since I am reading these books fairly fast I was thinking that with the last two books I could take my time or I could add in another book to read. I guess the one plus of having a baby that will only sleep when I hold him is that it gives me lots of extra time to read!

I hope to blog some tonight, wish me luck!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 1: Moonwalking With Einstein

Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer is the first book that I am reading in my challenge. Yesterday was my first day reading and I really thought that I might have trouble reading this book because my baby was being super needy throughout the day and I didn't get much downtime. Luckily, once it was bedtime I started reading and I couldn't put the book down because it was a really good and interesting read.

"Foer's unlikely journey from chronically forgetful science journalist to U.S. Memory Champion frames a revelatory exploration of the vast, hidden impact of memory on every aspect of our lives" ( website). This is basically what the book is about. In the first part of the book Foer explains how he came upon wondering about memory. He was in a weightlifting museum where he saw pictures of the strongest man in the world and he began to wonder about the smartest person in the world. He Googled for the smartest person in the world and happened upon Ben Pridmore who was the reigning world memory champ.

**Okay, side note here! I had finished up this blog post and went to publish the post and it made me sign back in and then 2/3 of my post was gone! Very frustrating and if I had a great memory, like some of the people in this book I would be able to write down everything that I just did, but alas I do not, so I will try and remember what I did write about!**

After Foer found out about Ben he went to a memory championship tournament to see what it was all about. There he met some "mental athletes" (MAs) that all told him that they were all just regular people, not savants, that have trained their brains to be exceptional at remembering things. They even said that they could teach Foer how to train his brain to remember a lot of things too. From that point in the book Foer goes on to explain what memory is. He looks into long and short term memory, what is happening in people's brains when they are recalling a memory, and what is going on in people's brains that have a really good memory regarding something (different parts of the brain at work). Foer also looks at two cases of amnesics who can't process short term memory. All of it is pretty fascinating and there was a lot that he discussed that I don't exactly remember and that I would just want you to read for yourself :)

At the world championship Foer befriends two MAs and they tell him that with their help they will be able to make him a memory champion too. That is about where I ended off in the book. I am hoping that in the rest of the book we learn some memory techniques because I would like to know how to improve my memory. I also assume that we will learn about Foer's journey to becoming the US memory champion. I am very excited to read this book and I look forward to reading more.

The first quote that stood out to me was: "If the point of reading were simply to retain knowledge, it would probably be the single least efficient activity I engage in. I can spend a half dozen hours reading a book and then have only a foggy notion of what it was about. All those facts and anecdotes, even the stuff interesting enough to be worth underling, have a habit of briefly making an impression on me and then disappearing into who knows where." This is me to a "T!" After I have read a book and I try to remember what the book was about after I have read a couple more books I have a really hard time remembering what it was about unless I have something to jog my memory. That is why I used to keep a book journal. After I read the book I would write what the book was about and if I liked it or not. I have recently quit doing that because I came along the Goodreads site where I could list the books that I read along with how I rated them online. I could also look to see what the book was about with one click.

The next quote that I liked was, "Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it...That's why it's important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives." Reading this I was thinking, "Yes, a very valid excuse to take more vacations!" It all makes excellent sense to me. For the past ten years or so I have kept a daily journal of my life. The past few years I have been busy with the kids and haven't been able to keep up on it on a daily basis. I would find myself trying to remember what I did each day for the past three weeks and I couldn't do it because each day blurred into the next day. I would have to keep another mini journal of what I did to help me remember what to write for my journal. On the days that I did new and exciting things I could remember most of the event in clear detail.

This book is really fascinating to me and I look forward to reading more of it. I think that most anyone who reads it will enjoy it too. I really do hope that I learn some memory techniques because I need them! Just the other day I was at a BBQ at my son's preschool and two seconds after a parent introduced themselves to me I would forget their name. I wish that I had a better memory for remembering names (I used to be really good at it in high school and college). The funny part, at least I think it is kind of funny, is that with this book I am trying my hardest to remember what it is about! With blogging about it I am sure that I will remember more of the book than if I wasn't blogging it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Challenge #2: Reading

I know that this is the moment all of my followers have been waiting for! My next 30 day challenge is going to be a reading challenge! If you know me you might be thinking, "This isn't going to be a challenge for Heather because she reads so much anyway." Well, you are sort of right. Right now I feel like my challenges are limited because of having two kids with one of them being a baby that is still pretty needy of me. I really didn't want to set myself up for failure on doing the second challenge so I had to come up with something that was doable for me. The reading challenge sounded like a great one to do because I love to read, but I knew that I had to make it more then just reading every day for 30 days because that would be too easy for me. So here is my challenge:

For the next 30 days I am going to try and read four books! That averages to about a book a week, which is a lot for me (I usually read two books a month). I will not be counting childrens' books in this challenge because I would be done with my challenge in an hour! I will be reading four novels, which I will list later. The total number of pages that I will be reading is 1,475 (49.16 pages per day). Every day I will blog about what I am reading, what my favorite part of that section was, or whatever comes to mind :)!

The books are (they are in order of how I hope to read them):
Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

I belong to two book clubs and I am checking out a third. I know that three book clubs is a little overboard, but I mostly really enjoy my time out sans children and this is something that I can do for some adult time, which I really need since I stay at home with the boys. The first two books I am reading are for my book club that I have been going to the longest (it is also the book club where I met my husband!). Even though we aren't meeting until the first week of May I will be reading these two. The other two book clubs that I belong to picked books that I have already read so I had to come up with two more books that I want to read. The third book in my list is by one of my favorite authors, Isabel Allende. I really enjoy her writing and I have gone to two book readings by her and she is such a funny lady! When she talks about her books it just makes me want to read them more. I went to the reading for Island Beneath the Sea last year, but I never got around to reading it. The last book I chose because it is on my "List of Books to Read." This list is from the BBC Book List Challenge (Google it to see the full list. I got it from an app on Facebook). It is a list of 100 books and most of them are classics. They say that most people have only read 6 out of the 100. I have made it a goal of mine to read all 100 books. So far I have read 46! The Confederacy of Dunces is on this list, but it had been a book that I wanted to read prior to my knowledge about this list.

There you have it! My next 30 day reading challenge. If you would like to read along with me for all four books, or just one, please do! If you haven't joined Goodreads you should because it is an online site that lets you track the books that you have read and you can rate them. I really enjoy this site!

I will be starting this challenge tomorrow!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30

Hello followers! Did you guys miss me? So I must first confess that I have not finished the 30 Day Shred. I think that I still have 7 more days to workout. I had family in town and then it was a bit of a crazy week last week and that meant no exercising for me. I also have lost the motivation to exercise, but I need to get that back! I actually have to start running because before I know it the half marathon I am doing in July will be here and I would like to run it instead of walk it.

Okay, I just realized that Jillian Michael's came out with a new 30 day workout video called Ripped In 30 on 3/1. I guess that this video is the same style as the 30 Day Shred (Strength-Cardio-Abs), but this time around there are four levels instead of three. This sounds like it is more up my alley. So instead of doing each level for 10 days you would do two for eight days and two for seven days (not sure exactly how it is broken down). I like the idea of having less days to do the same workout because it got pretty repetitive for me when doing the levels. With this video you also get a free 30 day meal plan online, which sounds like a great deal. Right now, I will not be purchasing this workout because I need to get started on running and I need a little break from Jillian :) If anyone decides to do this workout please let me know how it goes!

I also want to let you know that I should be announcing my next 30 day challenge very soon!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 30: Promises

Okay, so day 30 was yesterday 3/1 and I did work out! I figured that I should work out on the day that was supposed to be my last. It was only my third day in level three, which is a bit of a bummer, but I am happy that I made it that far. I did not exercise today and figured that since I now have seven more days to go, but will most likely miss some days, I am going to quit this portion of the blog at 30 days. I will still finish the workout video and I hope to do that sooner rather than later.

Throughout this blog I made a couple of "promises" of posting stuff later on. The first of those being the videos of my son working out with me. It really is the cutest thing and he doesn't do that bad of a job. The first video is him on level one with me. Do you notice the horrible wood paneling that is up? In the second video he is doing level three with me (the warm-up). This time the wood paneling is all gone!!!! He is super cute when he works out with me and I am glad that we caught him on video doing some moves!

I think that I was going to post some pictures, but my husband is the one that uploads them to his Picassa account and he is busy building planter boxes for my son's preschool, so I don't want to bother him with that right now...and yes I do need to figure out how to do that all on my own, but it is just nice having him do it!

I mentioned in one of my posts about an ab condition that I have and I wanted to go over that here. I have Diastasis Recti. It is basically where my abdominal muscles have separated from being pregnant. This past year when I was pregnant I would notice that when I would get up from a lying down position my belly would form this ridge down the middle of it and I thought that it was really strange, but I wasn't sure what it was from. Then I was reading Dr. Oz's pregnancy book and it had the condition in there. My midwife also talked to me about it. I unfortunately, got it with my first son and I am sure that the second pregnancy made it a little worse. When I started out the workout the gap between the two muscles seemed kind of big (although my midwife said that it wasn't that bad). When I completed levels one and two I checked the gap again and I do think that it has decreased, or gotten tighter. I hope that I am not imagining it! I know that my abs will not be back together ever again unless I have a tummy tuck, but it is nice knowing that the gap could be getting smaller! If you are ever around me and would like to see what this gap feels like I would be more than happy to show you :)

My reflections on the past 30 days:
I am really happy that I started this blog and it got me to start exercising again. I really needed to do something and this was easy enough for me to do because it was at home. Having two kids with one in his terrible twos and the other a baby makes exercising a little difficult. I have thought that I should have waited to start the 30 Day Shred once my oldest son started preschool, so that I would have more free time, but oh well. The first 10 days of my workout almost all of my muscles would ache throughout the day. Now, my muscles only hurt when I am actually doing the workout and that shows me that I definitely have gotten stronger than when I first started. In level three Jillian says something along the lines of, "by now you should be seeing a six pack," and I wish that was the case, but it wasn't. She does say that if you were following her food plan and this video you would see the results. I definitely was not following her food plan! I have the biggest sweet tooth there is right now! I hardly ever bake and since I started this workout I have made three batches of cookies and one batch of cupcakes! It would be interesting to see how I would have done had I been eating well too. Since I am breastfeeding I am giving myself a free pass to continue to eat sweet stuff because I need those extra 500 calories :). I do know from past experience with this video that it really did help me lose the extra weight I had. Overall, I feel good about how I did. I wish that I could have made it straight through without a missed day, but that wasn't in the cards for me. I still do plan on finishing up the video. I now have in my plans to workout at least three times a week. This will either be with this video or doing another video or some iPhone app that I found (it has workouts, but I can't remember what it is called). I then have to start running to get prepared for that half I am doing in July!

As for my next 30 day challenge that has yet to be determined. I have a few possibilities. I will not be starting the challenge today or even within the next week because I know that I need some break time! Once I have figured out what I will be doing and when I will be doing it I will post it!

Thanks for following me on this challenge. I hope that it was enjoyable to read!