Friday, October 15, 2010
I've been wanting to go on a little bike excursion with Mikah, my 9-yr-old son, and decided (even after a pumpin' 15 Km ride on my 'real' bike this morning), today was a good day to go. Biking here in Germany is much more common, also for simply transportation purposes, not just for dedicated exercise. Although we live really out in the country, we are blessed with great biking trails to ride on....
So here was my reasoning:
1. We needed to go by Mikah's friend's house to take by our birthday gift for him, since we were out of town over the weekend and missed his party.
2. I needed to go by the store for a couple of things.
3. I had really been itching to do go on a bike ride with Mikah, but he had had a flat tire for a couple of months, which I fixed a few days ago! WOOHOO!
Mikah's friend's house wasn't really on the way to the neatest grocery store (6 km away from us or so), but we could make it a big loop, which is what we did, and it made 18 km. I was a little nervous about the distance for Mikah, like maybe it was too much, but I thought we'd try. Plus, I was pulling the twins, Eliane and Reilynn, in the trailer, so carrying the extra load should keep Mikah and I paced right with each other.
The girls ready to go in the trailer today.
Oh, back to the birthday present for Mikah's friend: it was my home-made zucchini bread.
Here's a cute story behind that:
Mikah's friend, Paul, came over a month or so ago to play. During the course of the afternoon, Mikah offered him some zucchini bread for a snack, to which he replied, "No, I don't like zucchini bread." For Germans, zucchini bread is pretty foreign, and besides, what kid would think a VEGETABLE in bread could taste so yummy?!? But I guess a while later out of pure hunger, he tried it. And then he decided it was really delicious!!
About a half hour after his mom picked him up, I got a phone call from her. She said Paul had eaten zucchini bread at my house (my first thought was total PANIC that he might be allergic or something!!), and that he LOVED it (much to my relief!!). She asked me for the recipe, and I said sure.
But I didn't send it on the very next school day, because I hadn't translated everything just yet. So, I got a call pretty much AS SOON AS school was over from PAUL himself, asking me for the recipe!!! Which I thought was WAY TOO CUTE!
Then he came over again more recently, his birthday coming up, and told Mikah that all he wanted was my zucchini bread for his BIRTHDAY!!
So that's what we did. I baked it fresh this morning. I'm a whole-foods freak, so it's with 100% whole grain flour, only organic whole cane sugar, and the zucchini was fresh out of my garden. I've had wonderful success this year with zucchini!
Me with a huge zucchini I found lurking under the zucchini plant leaves in my gardnen.
So back to our ride:
We packed the girls up, got my shopping stuff together, and got the bikes ready to go. I use a different bike with my trailer for leisure than I do when I do my hardcore bike rides for cardio. I have my city bike, a somewhat crappy bike but serves it's purpose. Then my fitness bike, a lightweight bike somewhat like a mountain bike, but without the special tire treads, and not as fast as a Rennrad (race bike?? Not sure what they're called in English!). My city bike is somewhat grandma-ish, with it's little basket on the front! But it works!
It was 5+ km to Paul's, then another 6 km or so into Sittensen where the grocery store is, then another 6 or so home. In total, Garmin said 18 km. Paul was fortunately home, and really surprised and excited about his zucchini bread! But the highlight for Mikah was that, in the course of our trip, we rode over 2 bridges that took us directly over the Autobahn!!! He thought that was soooooooooo cool!
Me and Mikah
We had a really great time, and the girls loved the trip. I just hope I didn't overdo it for my long run tomorrow... guess we will see!
That was to thank me for the great time he had on the bike ride!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
No, I haven't signed up for any races lately. No, I don't particularly have a new fitness buddy. It's not about any new fitness clothes, or weightloss. I am ON FIRE and am EXCITED about my fitness once again, just because... well, I can't put my finger on it!!
After struggling for a few months, floundering around, trying to be motivated to stick to my exercise, trying to look for motivation here and there.... The last 4 weeks have been a COMPLETE TURNAROUND!!
I ditched the idea that I needed to be motivated (as I stated in some past blogs), and decided to, instead, put all my focus and effort on building those good habits back that I had once had. For more than a year, I was dedicated, running and exercising regularly, sticking to my plan, and it seemed so easy. So, why was I struggling so much after a huge set-back? Through all my ponderings, I came to the conclusion, it simply had to do with good habits I had established, that after a huge set-back, were not in place anymore.
It AMAZES me that a simple change of perspective, a simple change of focus, can make such a huge difference. Instead of looking for a motivating factor (new fitness friend, new race goal, new reason to try, etc.), in fact, my real motivating factors and goals have always been the same. I simply just started DOING IT again! I went back to my old routine, and just started exercising again, NO EXCUSES. Within a couple of weeks, I had alread felt my momtentum growing RAPIDLY! Can it be, that simply by DOING it, my motivation has returned? Or is it simply that I thrive better under a "No-Excuses" rule? Why is it that I feel so inspired, so on fire, by just simply following through with my exercise?
The excitement and interest in races has returned, not TO motivate me, but BECAUSE I AM motivated!!! It's like by simply getting back, and being consistent, my excitement and confidence has grown, inspiring me to keep at it!
I once heard a story, that went something like this:
"There was an old Indian man who lived on a reservation. He had 2 dogs who always fought, and he could always predict, without fail, which one would win, and which would surrender. One day, a man asked the wise old Indian, 'how is it that you KNOW which one will win?'
The Indian answered, 'It's simple; whichever one I feed the most wins.'"
I think we all have 2 "dogs": Our good habits and our bad habits. And it is a constant battle between the 2, which one will win. But if we "FEED" our good habits more and more, they grow and strengthen, and it becomes easier to stick to them. Each time we discipline ourselves to just get up and out that door to exercise, or each time we stop, weigh/measure our food, and make sure we write it down accurately, we are "feeding" that good habit.
But if we constantly talk ourselves out of our exercise for days at a time, or constantly choose to snack without tracking our eating, or choose to continue making bad eating choices (I know, some treats should be allowed, but continually making a bad eating choice is not a "treat" anymore), we are feeding that bad habit.
Which "dog" do we really want to "win"? I really feel that this might be what has really made the difference in the last month - I have chosen which one I want to win, and started feeding it like a mad-woman!!
Even throughout the visit with my parents, I stuck to my exercise routine, and eating/tracking regimen, EXPLICITLY. I didn't want to venture of my good path. But I cannot live just on the last few weeks of success. Each new day is full of new challenges and new choices to be made - I want to make each day to count toward "feeding" my good habits, my healthy lifestyle!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
First of all, thank you to all my SparkFriends and others who have left kind, encouraging comments for me!! You all are really great!
My parents came back from their day trip around 6, which I was kind of surprised about, and glad actually. So I had a chance to talk to my mom... Told her I really missed her, and it made me really sad that I wouldn't get to spend any more time with her before they left (through tears, of course, but trying not to draw attention from my dad in the other room.) She was super sweet and understanding. She would have stayed with me, but felt obligated to go with my dad (and didn't want to make the situation worse), but she's already considering coming again sometime in the near future to visit again ALONE. So that helped lift my spirits a little, though I'm still sad she's leaving very early in the morning...
As far as the situation with my dad goes, he's completely unapproachable. He is not open to talking about it whatsoever, we've already tried. He's a bull-headed man, who ran his house with an iron fist, and no one was to cross him. He's always right, and if you dare accuse him of any wrong-doing, well, you're in the wrong. (Of course, he can act like a total jerk, and verbally attack whoever offends him.) My mom has learned to live with it, but cannot "talk sense into him." She is not really able to resolve the situation... So I guess I have to let it be, but my husband never wants that man in our house again....
Again, thanks for all the support... Hopefully my mom can come back soon on her own!!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
My parents are leaving tomorrow to go back to the States, leaving very early in the morning, probably not waking any of us up. Because of the fiasco with my dad (read my last 2 blogs if you are interested), he has been avoiding me. He rented a car first thing yesterday morning, and took my mom out for the entire day. And has pretty much done the same today.
I really could care less about my dad. I came to terms long ago that I would never have a great relationship with him... that we might have "fun" when he comes, or at least have a tolerable time, but never a deep connection. I really wouldn't have cared if he took off and explored on his own...
But he has robbed me of the last 2 days with my mom. And who knows when she will come back to Germany to visit - she always says she has too much to do at home and can't get away. The only reason she came this time, is because my dad wanted to come. Although she doesn't agree with his behavior, she has still gone for the last 2 days with him, which is fine. But I wish I could have gotten this time with her.
I almost think my dad has done it purposely to spite me. But then again, he probably just did it because he created this HORRIBLY ackward situation at the house, wants to get out of the house, and doesn't want to go alone. He told us the other day that he felt like our house was a prison.... WHAT THE FREAK? I think it is only because he has been a COMPLETE JERK, knows it, but doesn't want to make it right, making it feel like a prison. Instead of getting out, taking our kids for a walk, playing outside with them or something, he has spent virtually EVERY MINUTE in our office/guest bedroom since we've gotten back on Sunday... Sulking, if you ask me.
I am so sad about this. It really makes me want to cry that my mom is leaving tomorrow, and I haven't seen her barely at all for the last 2 days.... =(
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
This is gonna be long.... Hear me vent!
So, again, let's set the scene. My parents flew in last Wednesday to visit me here in Germany.
A little about myself and my family: I am a SAHM with 4 beautiful kids. My oldest, Mikah, is 9. Next is Aiden, 4, who is special needs, and has a very rare chromosome abnormality, which requires us to give him a little more help, time, and attention. Then my twins, Reilynn and Eliane, who just turned 2. The past 2 years have been a huge adjusting time for me... having twins on top of a special-needs child. I love my children so much, each one, and I feel so blessed with them, but my lifestyle, so to speak, has changed. I stay home almost all the time, because the pure stress of going out is not worth it. I pour myself into my running and fitness, and also into my housework, always trying to better myself. And I cook, A LOT!! I love cooking, but I also do it for health, making everything from scratch.... But we do not get out much. And I am ok with that for now.
So, enter: My parents.
My mother is super sweet, considerate, loving, easy to talk to, understanding... we are very close. But my father, well, I have just accepted that I will never have a deep relationship with him, and that he is a little rough around the edges... hard to take sometimes, I guess you could say, but tolerable when he's just visiting....
That is, tolerable until now.
When my parents told me they were coming a few months ago, my dad asked me what they would be able to see/do when they came. So I automatically felt obligated to do something special when they came - we worked it out that we could stay at my husband's parents apartment in a mountainous area not too far away (or very hilly - I am from Washington State, so those are just big hills!!). Even though it would be stressful traveling with the kids and all, and even though his mom had STRESSED over and over that we were to make sure everything was perfectly cleaned and NOTHING damaged (causing us even more stress), we thought we would brave going in order to let my parents see something different and have a good time.
So that is what we did. We got there Thurs evening, and on Friday, we went to see a really pretty town with a castle, and toured the castle. The second day, we went to a little attraction that is set up like an American western town. I thought they would like that too. And on Sunday we had to come back, so my husband could return to work, because he has a HUGE audit this week to prepare for.
Well, I had busted my BUTT cooking on Wednesday after they got here, and on Thurs. before we left, making all the food we would need. I HATE spending so much money eating out (especially cuz we DON'T have it!), and I also find it way easier to track my calories eating my own food. PLUS, Aiden does not chew his food, so his food has to be somewhat specially prepared. And he is also SUPER picky! I never know what he will eat if I order, so it is easier to just make sure I make what I KNOW he will eat. But I guess my dad wanted to eat out more?? So, on Friday, he suggested that we get take-out...
His reasonings: "so that the clean-up doesn't take so long, because I really want to play some games tonight."
Ok, let me back up... every night since my parents got here, my dad has wanted to play card games. I really like playing card games, and I expect it when they come that we will play. But badgering us EVERY NIGHT to play card games, REGARDLESS of how exhausted we all are, or that the kids are not going to sleep and I have to keep going and getting them to lay back down (which is what had happened the previous night), is NOT cool! No fun for me AT ALL!
I tried to simply disagree with my dad that the clean-up would NOT take less time, that we would STILL have to clean up, whether it was take-out, or warming up something I had already made, and explain to him that it was the KIDS that were preventing us from playing, not the clean-up. And also tell him, that we don't like to spend the money eating out. He said he would pay for it, but I still didn't really want to for myself because of the calorie tracking. I told them (my husband and my dad) to go ahead and order for themselves, but I would eat my own food. (Plus, I felt a little offended that I had spent so much time cooking, and we had all that food already in the fridge.) But I was really sort of just irritated at being almost FORCED to play games! But he took it badly, got offended, and told me that he was having absolutely NO fun being here with us, and that I didn't talk nicely to anyone, and that I was horrible to be around!!! He said he wanted to go home and NEVER come back here to visit us!!!!!!
WHAT THE FREAK!!!!???? Ok, I was under a lot of stress. I had put a lot of pressure on myself to make all that food. I was exhausted, and a little testy here and there because of the stress of traveling, but seriously, WHAT DID I DO THAT WAS SO BAD TO WARRANT THAT KIND OF LASH OUT?????????? I still can't figure it out.
Not to mention that the accusation about me not talking nicely to anyone is FAR from true (in spite of some irritability from me). PLUS, HE IS ONE TO TALK!! He has continued to make mocking, sarcastic comments toward me (usually to my husband) about ANYTHING that has come out of my mouth, especially if it was slightly disagreeing with my husband, but even if I didn't mean it in a really nasty way. He is KNOWN for not speaking nicely to people himself (he has destroyed relationships with people all throughout his life, because of his nastiness). I had taken his "jokes" and mocking comments this trip, and had shut my mouth.
So, I then said, "I am not too happy here with you, either, Dad. And I am getting really tired of getting nasty, sarcastic comments from you every time I open my mouth to say anything. Good, bad, or neutral, you have something mocking to say."
After that, it got really ackward. He has continued to mope and pout. We went ahead and ordered take-out from the restaurant, in order to not make it escalate further. Afterwards he even STILL wanted to play games!!! I refused, because I was a) EXHAUSTED, and b) PISSED, and c) not going to try to play games running back and forth from the kids' bedroom again.
He won't talk to me, but then again, I have no desire to talk to him. With the clean up of the apartment we used, he didn't lift a single finger to help, but went out to our van and sat for 2 hours (or longer) waiting for us to get finished with everything. He then tried to push about something else, and I finally put my foot down, which made the conflict even greater!
BOTTOM LINE: We are all human, we ALL annoy someone else at one time or another, but NOTHING I did or said, NOTHING merited that sort of out lash at me, to tell me I was making the trip horrible for him, and that he wanted to leave and never come back! NOTHING I did warranted that. In fact, I could read off a WHOLE LIST of crap he has done to offend us since he's been here, like making unreasonable demands, not being sensitive or considerate of other people, and expecting everyone to fall in line with him and what he wants. But what it comes down to, is that he had no right to lash out at me in that way. He has shown no respect for our way of life, and even though we have tried to please him and have a great time, he shows NO appreciation! He has made a HUGE conflict, and for what???? And has completely destroyed any chance of this visit turning out good. We have even tried to talk it out, and he refuses to really talk it out or accept any responsibility for his own childish behavior. As far as we are concerned, we will never put him up here at our house again. My husband is absolutely speechless that an adult can act like my dad has been acting. He will need to make his own travel accomadations, and do his own thing. If he wants to include us, great, but we will not have this again...
Sad that this is what it has to come to. I mean, aren't we all adults here? Our family was very turbulent when I was growing up, because my dad was a bull-headed man, who thought that he was to make all the decisions, no one was to express how they felt if it was contrary to him, and he was ALWAYS the last word. This kind of stifling treatment from him is what I had to grow up with. I always thought as adults, it would never come to this.... but it has. And its sad.
What's even more sad, is that at 30 years of age, my father does not know me. I have lived away from home for so long, and lived my own life. He has never really seemed to connect with me, to seem interested really in me, and whenever we talk on the phone, it's just small talk. He really doesn't know me at all. And even before the blow up, he barely talked to me or Jan about anything that was going on in our lives right now. He didn't seem interested in us and our lives at all.
Anyway... this blog is way too long. Sorry for the rant. I needed to unload.
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