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Monday, November 30, 2015

Thankful

This past week I went back to work.  It was a good way to ease back into the routine because we only had a 3 day work week.  As much as I loved having the physical and mental break, I was REALLY ready to get back into the routine.  It is one more step closer to being completely back to normal (only 4 more weeks until I can play hockey!).


Since we just celebrated Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a few of the reasons why I am grateful.

My Friends and Family

I have some awesome friends and family. That is a GROSS understatement.  They came to visit, took my children places, brought my family meals (and booze), did all my yard work, send messages and called to check up on me while I was on leave.  I had no idea how much I was loved!

The Brave Friends that Took My Kids Overnight

I woke up this morning to an extremely quiet house.  My children were farmed out to three different families. I am not sure how that played out but I consider it like winning the lottery.  On this quiet morning, I am admiring my Christmas tree watching my favorite Christmas movie "Christmas Vacation" while sipping on some coffee spiked with some homemade Irish Cream.  Life is good.

My Pants

I am thankful that my pants still fit after being home with the 3 pillow cases of Halloween candy. Yes, I did a complete face plant and ate most of it.  You cannot expect a Snickers to be safe when I am home alone with it.  My kids think I threw it away because I found a candy wrapper on the floor.  I blamed them for not throwing it away and their punishment was losing their candy.  I confess, the wrapper was mine.  Don't feel bad for them, they are MUCH smarter than that.  I just found their secret bunker that they set aside because they knew I was home a lone with their stash.

Netflix, HGTV, Hallmark Channel

I once I figured out how to turn on and use the TV (no, it is not as simple as turning the power on) I was entertained.  HGTV had me mesmerized by home transformations and people's budgets that far exceed mine. I got sucked into the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies.  The enchanting titles such as "A Husband for Christmas" was enough to draw me in.  Yes, it is as bad as it sounds but I could not turn it off.

How come no one told me how amazing Netflix is?  Once I figured out how to get that fired up (actually, I call my 13 year old to in to push a bunch of buttons on the TV to get it to come up...did I mention I work in IT and can't run my own television?).  I was able to watch Love Actually three times!

Facebook

I don't even want to admit how much time I wasted on Facebook over the course of the last month.  I loved catching up with my friends...and commenting on every single post they shared.  I saved a bunch of recipes that friends posted that I am sure I will never cook.  My new  favorite thing to throw away time, was just reading the headline of a news story and just jumping in to read the comments.  I am amused with how fast they turn into a political pissing match.

Boxed Wine

It is 4 bottles in one box!  AND...it has a tap.  Need I say more????


I have to say life is good!






Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How I Became a Hockey Mom-Part 3

Art work by the Diva
I don't normally run around slapping the M.O.M. label on myself.  Don't get me wrong, I am very proud and honored to be a mother but I don't want that to be my only identifier.  I love calling myself a hockey mom because I am amused how my life has morphed into something I swore would never happen. I was NEVER going to be that person who spends too much time driving kids around to their activities...especially SPORTS, or I NEVER was going to drive a mini van (the horror!), or rewind my life a bit further and I can be quoted saying "I will NEVER have children".  I love my life now even with the new MOM title and my list of "nevers" make me chuckle.

After I started writing this series , I realized I could fill an entire book of what made me a hockey mom.  I also realized that hockey people are not the only crazy ones. The sport or activity could be swapped out because all things involving kids these days are insane...this just happens to be my nuttiness.

I am a Hockey Mom Because:

  • It didn't take long before the kids were playing more than just the regular season...there were camps, clinics, and off season leagues. We really should change our address to the ice arena.  I can't be accused of living vicariously through the kids because I play too!
  • We put up a rink in our backyard.  My husband refuses to water the lawn but has no problem letting hour outdoor hose run for 24 hours to fill the rink. 
  • I now carry a screw driver and pocket knife in my purse to fix helmets or cut hockey tape. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT used to threaten or shank the loud-mouth mom slinging insults from the other bench.
  • The concession stand asks if I want "the usual".   A half coffee/half hot chocolate, a hot dog chips...I don't have this girlish figure from eating healthy hence the desire and need to make some changes.
  • I have been desensitized to hockey stench.  I got out of a ticket because of it.  It was so bad it made the officer that pulled me over gag.  Not familiar with hockey stench?  It can describe it as:   Sweat,  feet, BO, mold, wet dog, dead body, and  Axe Body Spray / Febreeze all mixed together.  Quite pungent. 
My new Bauer "Ottoman"
  • We purchased our family car because it fit 4 hockey bags and 8 people.  I know mini vans are about as cool as getting a colonoscopy, but the sliding doors make life wonderful when I can pull up to the rink door and have the kids tuck and roll out of the vehicle without having to get out and shut the doors.
  • Hockey bags are part of our living room furniture.  Sad but true.
  • My friends tell me that they take their families on something called a "vacation".  Evidently, they take time off of work and school and travel to cool places to relax with their family.  They look at me like I am nuts when I tell them with genuine excitement that our family gets to go to Breezy Point for a hockey tournament and they have a FREE nightly happy hour and a shuttle service to the rink.
  • Speaking of going out of town, we rarely are able to go out of town as an entire family.  Usually we are at separate out of town tournaments in opposite corners of the state and share the game with each other via text or Face Time.  I LOVE technology!!
  • I have a talent where I can hold a conversation, text game updates to people, and yell cheer for my kid simultaneously.  It is like I have a 6th sense unless it is when my kid scores.  EVERY SINGLE TIME my kid does something awesome, I miss it.  I always pick the wrong time to grab a coffee or go to the bathroom. I always hear the good stuff second hand.  I am beginning to wonder if the other parents are just making up stories to make me feel good about my children.
  • From the mouths of my children, I am told I am crazy crazy CRAZY!  They believe that I can yell Cheer the loudest.  What can I say, I like to support my little athletes.

When we first got in to it, people would joke that we "drank the Kool-aide".  Hell yeah we did, that shi*t is addicting!   Hockey is a lifestyle and not just a sport.

Speaking of....My PeeWee is on ice in 45 minutes. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

How I Became a Hockey Mom-Part 2

Hockey Moms are not BORN they are MADE

I could be here all day writing about what makes a hockey mom who she is but I will save that for another post.  As a newbie, I thought by just signing up and bringing the kids to the rink qualified me as a hockey mom.  Technically I was a hockey mom but I learned very quickly that it is more than just a title.  Hockey moms are extremely complex beings that earn the status because the level of involvement is rather intense.  There is a lot of time, money and emotion that is invested.   I also learned that there are varying degrees of hockey moms like having multiple kids in the sport or the GOALIE MOM.  I didn't start earn my title until I survived the end of the first season when I had a little experience under my belt.

Equipment 

Before my little darlings hit the rink, I had to get them outfitted with proper gear.  I knew hockey had a long list of equipment needs but I had no clue where to start.  Fortunately, I am friendly and had some people help me out.  In the other sports, we only had to get a nut cup and maybe a glove.  I thought a great place to start was a little mom and pop shop in my community.  I am eternally grateful to Andy, my favorite sports store guy, for hooking us up.

I walked into his store and tried to be cool and act like I knew what I was looking for.  He saw right through me and handed me a sheet of paper that contained an entire list of required pieces of equipment and it listed the order that it goes on.  I almost kissed him. Within minutes he had both boys set up with some starter stuff.  It wasn't the prettiest stuff, but it was in decent shape, priced right, and perfect for the first year.

Not pretty but it got us through the first season
I must have looked like a moron bringing two boys into a locker room and instructing them how to dress while reading it from a piece of paper.  I got some strange looks as I felt like I was one the only clueless rookie that year (I was not). Practice makes perfect, it only took a few weeks before I was a pro!  I only one time did I put the skates on the wrong feet once and I sent a child out on the ice with skate guards.  Some things are so bad you only need to do them one time before you learn

By the time Diva skated the next year, people were asking ME for advice. Mastering equipment was a major, I was earning that title.

Volunteer Hours (aka Being Voluntold)

When my kids were first in sports, I was clueless about required volunteer hours.  Isn't that an oxymoron...requiring volunteers to work?  In baseball we were required to work one, 1 hour concession shift for our entire season.  That was not a big deal.  Who can't handle an hour?  Once or twice a season, our family had to volunteer to bring the treats after a game. Again, not a big deal.  We are the type of people that like to help in any way we can.  As my kids have gotten older and into more competitive levels of play, I now know that sports associations don't run themselves and it is a requirement to have all hands on deck. 

I was not enlightened to that fact when I signed up for hockey because I still had younger kids.  I had to give the association a check for $250.00 and if I didn't complete my 10 hours of volunteering, they would cash my check.  I think my exact words were "ARE YOU KIDDING ME???" (maybe with a curse word added).  They were going to force me to work in a tournament and then charge me if I am 15 minutes short?  Yes, yes they were.  I a put on my happy face and showed up for my Chuck a Puck* shift.

I know I earned a few points toward my hockey mom title working those tournaments because it helped me learn more about the game and culture of this sport.  Now, I have a lot of hockey knowledge but to this day, I refuse to run the clock or keep score as those jobs are not for the attention deficit like me (not to mention you get screamed at if you screw up).

*Chuck a Puck is a money fund raising game where people purchase numbered pucks for $1.00 and throw them on the ice between the 2nd and 3rd period.  The person with the puck closest to center ice wins half the pot of money.

The Board

Here is my advice for both newbies and veteran regarding volunteering....do a horseshit job so no one wants you around to mess anything up.  JUST KIDDING, most organizations need as much help as they can get their hands on!  Offer up as much as you can!

Another little secret is other hockey moms will ruthlessly recruit you to join or run for a board position.  That happened to me when they were looking for help last year.  They were nice to me, bought me drinks, told me I was pretty, and then told me that the job was  "not that much work".  The next thing I knew, I was the treasurer of our association.  I was lured in by the (small) credit I receive for my ice bill.  I now know why people were pointing and laughing when I took over the position; it is because I need to devote about 40 hours a week to the VOLUNTEER duties on top of my full time job and hauling kids around.  I was a sucker that should have known better.

After my first season, I was well on my to becoming a hockey mom!  I figured out the sign up process, mastered the equipment, and successfully completed volunteering (and got suckered into a board position a few years later).  The next segment of How I Became a Hockey Mom-Part 3 Drinking the Koolaide

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How I Became a Hockey Mom-Part 1

I want to document how I became a hockey mom but first, I am going to do a throw back Thursday post of how our family got introduced hockey.   Actually, I could write an entire book on how we got sucked in and that is why I need to break it up into different parts.   Our family went from climbing the walls and praying for Spring during a long Minnesota winter to those obnoxious people that wonder why March came so fast and took away all the outdoor skating ice. This post will cover how my husband almost divorced me over signing the kids up strongly disagreed with me about letting our kids on the ice.

How it Went Down

On a sunny Autumn day five years ago, I didn't know that afternoon would change the course of our life.  It was a Saturday and I was at my boys' last flag football game of the season.  After the game I was chatting with a friend and she suggested that we attend a hockey open house.  Her children played and she told me how fun it was for the kids.  The open house was a chance to get information about the association's hockey program and to sign up...or as we call it, the brainwashing.

When I brought the idea up to the husband, he was less than thrilled.  He is a numbers nerd and to him hockey was just a bunch of dollar signs.  This was not like him, he is normally pretty laid back and usually is up for anything.  But with this issue, his heels were GLUED to the ground and he was firm that his kids were NOT going to play hockey.  Since we didn't come from hockey families, he thought he was home free.

I dragged him to the arena kicking and screaming while he made snide comments and rolled his eyes. The boys wanted to try it and I wanted them to have the opportunity as well as something to burn off the never ending supply of energy these two had.  He still was not on board.  I gave an ultimatum, either he needs to take me on a very long warm vacation every year to escape the cold or we need to have hockey to get out of the house.  He reluctantly caved  to the idea after he deemed taking a family of 5 on vacation was too expensive.*  He went on to say that he will have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with this sport and it was up to me to get them where they needed to go.  I felt guilty (for a split second)but agreed to his terms and proceeded with the sign up.

*He should have gone the vacation route...it would have been cheaper in the long run.
My mismatch boys in their first season
At first that man was true to his word.  He did not step one foot in the ice arena nor did he help kids get the equipment on.  As time went on, he heard how happy and excited the kids were when they got home.  He started to pop in to watch them skate and mingle with the other parents.  Before long, he was into it and was having a good time.  He even ran the clock a few times.  Fast forward to present times, we are fully invested and have all but changed our home address to the ice arena.    My boys are going on their 6th season and the Diva is on her 5th.

The same guy who said his kids will play hockey over his dead body and would never participate in any hockey activities built a rink in our backyard the following year, is one of the most (cough, cough) "vocal" at games, and was coaching our 8 year daughter over breakfast this morning on how to perfect her wrist shot.  Yep, he is now one of the craziest hockey dads out there.


Stay tuned for Part 2-A Hockey Mom is Born


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Race Medals

We are getting ready to put our house on the market in early 2016.  Our current situation requires us to have a more mobility friendly space (no stairs) and we need a little extra room (3 smelly kids).  We have been in our house for almost 17 years.   I am not even close to being a hoarder, but stuff tends to pile up when you are anywhere for 17 years.  Being on leave has given me the opportunity to do some low impact putzy stuff  like going through drawers and old files of paper.

I came across a box containing my race medals.  My initial thought was to pitch them as they are just sitting in the box of clutter serving no purpose but collecting dust.  I am not sure what made me give these a second glance, but as I picked each one up the memories of my races came flooding back.
I decided to keep them out of the box and even hang them up.


The Stories Behind the Medals


2001-Twin Cities Marathon
This was my first marathon.  I committed to it on a dare from my high school friend.   It was just a few weeks after the horrible attacks of 9/11 and will never forget the Marine that ran in full gear carrying the American Flag.  Aside from getting married and having babies, there are very few moments that can trump crossing the finish line of a marathon for the first time.

2006-Grandma's Marathon
I had a two kids and I was part of a running club.  It was a fun way to train for a race and be held accountable.  Running Grandma's Marathon a major goal of mine as it is a huge event for my hometown. 

2010-Twin Cities Marathon
This was a tough one, I was being chased by the sag wagon (the sweeper bus for people that will not make the cut off).  I remember crying and wanting to quit but I didn't.  I certainly didn't win any speed awards, but I learned when things get tough....dig deeper.

2012-Grandmas Marathon
My high school friend that now resides in Arizona was in town and it was the first Grandma's Marathon we ran together...and by together I mean showed up together. She smoked me and met me at the finish!  It was a fun weekend for our families and a good excuse to get us together.  She was the reason I ran my first marathon.  While we ran, our husbands volunteered at the finish line.  

2013-Grandmas Marathon
It was the first race that I was able to run with someone the entire time.  It was awesome.  I bitched the WHOLE time and my friend Bobbie would not hear it.  She swore at me and got me across the finish line.

2013-Twin Cities-Marathon
It was the first and probably last time I will have run two marathons in one year!  Who knew training could be beneficial???  I had a personal record for time....and I beat Chewbacca.



To some these are just a participation ribbon.  To me, they represent my determination and perseverance to run and complete 26.2 miles.  My times were slow and I was firmly at the back of the back but I still finished.  I took something away from every race.  I learned that I am capable and I am a lot stronger than I think I am. 

I guess I will keep these medals for awhile.  I will keep them out as a reminder of what I have accomplished and what I am capable of doing.  Plus it is a fun way to walk down memory lane.  I will proudly hang them on a special wall in the new house and save some space for some future ones.

Monday, November 16, 2015

So Now What?

I am camped out on my couch recovering from surgery.  I am trying not to be frustrated that recovery is taking longer than anticipated and I hate that my doctor is doing the "I told you so dance" that I would not be back to normal in 2 weeks.   I am just shy of 3 weeks of having my surgery and I am still struggling with post operation issues.  I have no choice but to behave or my downtime will become a lot longer.

I am taking this down time to figure out what I want to do.  It is the perfect time to set some new goals because my other options are watching daytime television or having conversations with the dog and that is not exactly my bag.  I am making my resolutions early this year so when January 1st rolls around, I will already be ahead of the game.
 
 

2016 Couch to Marathon Challenge

I am going to run Twin Cities Marathon in 2016.

There I said it.

I know that is a bold statement for someone that gets exhausted walking 3 blocks at a snails pace.  I guarantee this statement was NOT the post surgery narcotics talking.  I miss running and having a big goal to work towards.  (Ask me in July if I feel the same way).

My plan is to complete the race.  I don't care about time (although I would really, REALLY love to break 5 hours!!).  I need the endorphins and the distraction that running gives me.  I am going to be training with 3 of my friends that are also going through major life events.  You know what they say misery loves company running is cheaper than therapy!

I do know what a time commitment training will take but it is time I am reclaiming back for myself.
I have a very calculated plan that has me working up to a 5K and then morphs into a Galloway 30-32 week program.

I do know this is a crazy idea.  But I have done it before and I will do it again.  It is not my first marathon so at least I know what to expect. 


Weight Loss

What kind goal setting doesn't include dropping a few pounds?  I am adding weight loss as a goal because a doctor referred to me as OBESE.  The nerve of that guy, how dare he refer to me as obese!!!  What an asshole!  Too bad it is true.  I have a mirror so it should not have been so shocking to hear that word but I was mortified.  OBESE.  I have more than a few pounds to lose to get me out of this category.

Now that my health issues are getting resolved and the dust is settling with other stuff I can focus on getting these extra pounds off.  I am stress eater.  I don't abuse alcohol or drugs but I plow through a bag of chips in record time. 

I would like to say I have a goal weight that I would like to get to but I don't.  I never achieve my goal weight when I set it at a specific number.  I become fixated on a number on a scale which only tells a little bit my overall health.  I am trying a different approach and I am setting different kinds of goals instead of a number:
  • I want to be lighter to run.  Fat jiggling isn't a great feeling.
  • I want my gut to be smaller than my boobs
  • I want to shop in a normal size store
  • I want to stop saying "No, I am not pregnant, just fat"
  • I want my pants to stop sending my spleen into my throat
  • I want to be able to bend over and tie my skates without breaking a sweat
  • I don't want the work OBESE in my future medical records
How I am going to be NOT Obese?
Eat Clean(er), Eat less, Move more....and avoid potato chips.

This will be an interesting goal starting around the holidays.  Lord help my family.

Cooking

Tonight my oldest child told me about a television show called "The Worst Cooks in America".  He then went on to tell me I should try to get on it while listing all of my kitchen adventure failures.  He ran very very fast in the other direction after spouting off.  I was not offended, everything he said is true.  The sausage and cheese pancake incident of 2015 will go down as one of the biggest fails of all time.  I may have scared my kid for life with that one.

I will be honest; I hate cooking, planning, shopping, and the cleaning up.  There really isn't much about it that I like except the eating part.  My specialties are concession stand pretzels, Little Caesars Hot and Ready $5 Pizza, and the old fashioned PB&J sammich.  Evidently my children have sophisticated palates and are starting to demand more variety.

I am not in a position to get myself a private chef so it is going to be up to me to turn it around.  Chubby Hubby and I both have dietary needs that are going to require us to eat clean so we have to get on board with this cooking concept.  We should make that little smart ass son of our do all the work. Sort of kidding on that comment but we are going to have the kids help cook so they learn a thing or two.

I am gathering crockpot and freeze ahead meal recipes.  I will share the adventures as I go.  I am going to show that kid a good meal if it kills me!


I have a lot of work to do so I had better get started! Hopefully I only have a couple more days of sitting around.


 

 

 



Back to Blogging

What was the name of that book that started out something like..."It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."????

Chubby Hubby tells me it is the classic "Tale of Two Cities". 

Okay, so I am not a big reader.

I didn't read much more than the first page or two of that book before I lost interest but that line pretty much sums up my life right about now.  Life is really really good right now but we also have a some not so good stuff happening.  I didn't intend to start a blog and then go on hiatus so quickly. This last year has been quite the roller coaster ride and blogging sadly fell to the way side.

Before I reclaim my little spot on the internet, I will give a cliff notes version of my absence.

The Good Stuff

I am happy.  Truly happy.  I set some goals this year and I have achieved them.  The one that tops the list is getting a new job.  I have been searching for new opportunities in new career field.  Someone finally gave me a chance and I have a new job in a new field at a company I LOVE.  The job is awesome, my boss is great, and my coworkers complete me.  The not only get me but they share my 12 year old boy sense of humor.  Working downtown is also a nice perk!

When I am not at work, I have been spending time in the driver's seat of my mini van chauffeuring kids to various activities.  I have three active kids that are involved in too many activities.  If you saw their energy level, you would know why they play lots of sports.  They enjoy it, we enjoy it, and we have a very large fabulous group of friends that I consider part of my family

Another good this is I am living my own dream and I have started playing hockey.  I am on a REAL team!  In fact, we just had our first tournament.  We didn't place but we did win a game! It is really fun and really great exercise.  I have met some nice people and I am learning some really cool moves.  I just hope I don't end up with a head injury, in a cast, or dead.


Remember that worst of times line in the book?  Yeah, life also took a dump on us.  This is the part of this post that could be a bad country song.  Grab a beer, your gun, and pet your dog and read on.

The Not so Great Stuff

Remember that worst of times line in the book?  Yeah, life also took a dump on us.  This is the part of this post that could be a bad country song.  Grab a beer, your gun, and pet your dog and read on.

Chubby Hubby has been walking around with a limp for about the last year of his life and a couple of doctors indicated that it was arthritis.  After some worsening symptoms (and a hypochondriac for a wife), he reluctantly scheduled an appointment with a neurologist.  After many, many, MANY tests which all came back normal, he was diagnosed with Primary Lateral Sclerosis or PLS for short.  It is the non-fatal cousin to ALS. 

I cried and cried.  I am more upset about it than he is.  In true Chubby Hubby form, he is going about his normal business and not dwelling on what he can't do.  I am mad that this is NOT PART OF THE PLAN and that it is not fair.  I know life is not fair.  This is not supposed to happen.  Not to him.  He is one of the smartest and nicest people that I know and He already survived 2 lay offs and has to deal with me as his wife.  Now this.  Not fair.  But then again 13 year old girls shouldn't die of cancer (my son's friend) and parents should not drop dead.  I guess when I look at it that way, it is fair.  We have our own fair share of shit that life throw out.

We are not wallowing.  He is not getting out of housework that easy.  I see some perks.  I can now beat him in a foot race and we will eventually get closer parking with his handicap hang tag.  As inappropriate as it is,we have to laugh about it or it will consume us (me).

Then there are my issues.

The last couple of years have been extremely rough for me health wise.  I have been dealing with some bad uncontrolled asthma and severe anemia.  I have been on steroids 8 times in the last year because of asthma.  Steriods + Stress + No Running = 35lb weight gain.  I already had some girth to me and now I have a bunch more.

The issue with anemia came to a head when I did the Susan G Komen 3 Day Walk.  I ended up in the ER after the event with a hemoglobin level of 6. After a blood transfusion and a couple of iron transfusion I started to feel back to normal but I needed to address the causes.   Lady problems and a bleeding ulcer were the culprit.  It was strongly suggested that I have a full hysterectomy.  I did and I am still on the couch recovering.

The asthma is slowly getting under control.  Believe it or not the anemia had a lot to with it.  My doctors have suggested that I adopt a Paleo like diet to reduce inflammation.  I am not quite there yet with that part of this recovery, but I will.  I am on the road to recovery and I am feeling better everyday.

Back to Blogging

As I have been sitting on my ever expanding arse these last few weeks, I have realized that I miss writing and sharing my boring life details with the world.  I decided it was time to resurrect the new blog I started way back in January and retire my old blog Chubby Chicks Run Too...

This blog will be about Me.  An overscheduled, married, hockey mom of three that works full time, plays hockey and runs.   It will also cover the journey to get fit,  adopting a clean eating lifestyle, and dealing with a horrible neurological condition that is changing the lifestyle of my family.  In a nutshell, it is going to be as attention deficit as I am!

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