Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Weeks 13 & 14

I’m combining 2 weeks again because I had to miss week 13’s practice. Super sad! A friend of mine and I always go to Amsterdam for International Pillow Fight Day and we have recently started spending that night away (since the kids have gotten bigger). I was planning on making it back for practice (I even had my bag packed and by the door) but I just didn’t make it. I was so tired after a very sleepless night and my kids would have never let me leave immediately after I had been gone over night. I could have snuck in and grabbed my bag and made it to practice but I knew that the next day when my son woke up and had to go to school it would be an issue. I’m not letting that missed practice bother me, much. I kinda anticipate have to retake Fresh Meat anyways.

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Our homework was to watch a bout on youtube. I watched 2. I got so frustrated with the first that I found another one hoping it was better. They kept changing the damn camera angles. I couldn’t follow the game or keep up with the penalties. I got so frustrated I kinda gave up. I say kinda because I kept the bouts running in the background while I drank wine and chatted on the phone. Perhaps being in the same room as Derby counts for something!

Some good came out of that frustrating evening. I was told that the RockCity Rollers were having their first scrimmage of the year and that Fresh Meat and Smokey Bacon were welcome to come and watch. I was really excited to watch another bout in person.

The night started out a bit rocky. I sat in the stands and was completely alone. One of the players skated over and asked me who I was. I told her and she said ” Oh, OK. Welcome” then skated off and said to a teammate “I don’t know, she is English” (she said all of this in Dutch, of course). I wonder if she understood what I had said.

Anyways..

At this point I wished I had brought knitting. I felt very outside. I feel like this less and less now. But its a combination of not being Dutch, only passably speaking the language and being Fresh Meat that made me kinda wish I could blend into the bleachers. I wanted to be there, but not be “that weird English chick sitting alone in the corner” (and for those of you wondering: I am not, in fact English, I am American. But “English” is a generic term for anyone who speaks English).

Before the bout actually started one of the Fresh Meat trainers who was playing in the scrimmage skated over and told me that I was sitting in the wrong spot. I should be sitting with the other players and officials (and one random dog) in what is the Derby equivalent of a dugout. I was so grateful! I would have given her a hug if that wouldn’t have been weird, and she was on skates, and we were separated by a wall. You get the idea.

I changed locations and things immediately got better. People started talking to me! It was a shame I couldn’t stay till the end but I had Power Yoga at 9:00. Everyone was just starting to warm up a little to the “little English Girl”. I’m so glad I went. I was able to keep up with what was going on and the rules started to actually make sense.

I was surprised and a little sad that I was the only one from either Fresh Meat or Smokey Bacon to come. It would have been nice to have a group.

 

I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon studying the rules. I finally read the rule book from beginning to end. It a warm and sunny day and I was able to sit outside and read while the kids played. I have that scrimmage to thank for my ability to grasp the concepts finally. I was able to read the rules and the example situations and know what was going on. I’m very happy with that. I still don’t feel completely confident in my ability to pass the written test but I am getting much closer.

Practice:

This was an extra practice. There was something going on that was preventing us from meeting but it got cancelled. I honestly didn’t really know any of that till a few days before. I am very glad we had a practice though, 2 weeks away would have been far to much!

This was a particularly fun one. The first half or so was like a boot camp. I love boot camp. I am a big fan of movement and pushing my body as far as I can and then a little further. I’m a bit nuts like that.

Instead of the normal fitness routine (boring) he just called out different things. All of them were the things we had been practicing like planking and squats but in a random order and repeatedly. It was so much more interesting.

Then we did some endurance training. This was seriously fun (in a deranged nut job way). We skated as fast as we could across half of the track then fell to a knee and spun around on our belly. In the end (if all goes well) we are laying on on our stomachs looking at the direction we came. When the whistle blew we jumped up and did it again. Back and forth for ages! Then we took a brake and didn’t it again.

At the water break I asked the trainer if we were doing more. He said “don’t hate me!” My response was  “It’s like boot camp. I love boot camps. I do this style of thing a few times a week”. If they really want to learn how to make us cry they should check out Body Pump at the gym! Goodness, I can’t even imagine what would happen if my favourite instructor was given a room full of people on skates and told to wear them out!

After that we went over the things that would be on the basic skills test. I fell on my butt jumping over the obstacle. I was told that we have to be able to jump over the cones stacked 3 high, if i had to guess I would say about 6 inches. It took some doing but I finally managed. Now that I have done it a few time I’m confident that I will be able to the day of the test.

I actually find my confidence growing more and more. Perhaps I can pass basic skills on the first go! I’m not pinning all my hoped and dreams on it, though. After all, I haven’t been on skates since I was a little kid. It would be unreasonable to expect me to master this level of skating in only 15 weeks at 2 hours a day. Still, would be nice!

We didn’t attempt our 27 in 5. I was told that this was because it was an “extra practice”. I was very sad! I was kinda using that as my way to judge progress.

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Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 12

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 11

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat Week 10

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Weeks 8 & 9

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 7

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat,Week 6

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 5

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat Week 4

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 3

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, week 2

Roller Derby: New Year New Challenges. Fresh Meat. Week 1

 

Bij de Neut: Westerhoven

I was traveling back home in Dallas visiting family and we decided to go out to eat. I asked if the restaurant was kid friendly, because I have kids and I am not going to take them  somewhere were they are going to be miserable and make everyone else miserable as a result. I was guaranteed that it was, in fact, kid friendly so off we went for a dinner out. Apparently, “kid friendly” means a colouring sheet and 3 crayons.

Ummm. No.

I live in the Netherlands where kid friendly really means “the kids will be well entertained so you can enjoy your meal with minimal stress.” Restaurants like this are everywhere and they make my world a nicer place, but you kinda have to know where to look.

Bij de Neut in Westerhoven is pretty amazing. Great for the kids but the atmosphere is very “grown up”, meaning that the play areas are well hidden but easily  accessible. The feel of the place is really fun. The Dutch word is “gezellig” and it is a wonderful word. It doesn’t have an exact English equivalent, it means. “cozy”, and “warm” and “welcoming”. A place or a situation can be gezellig. It’s a fun word. Give it a whirl sometime.

There are three main rooms. 2 with play areas and 1 without.

Walking in and to the right you find the biggest of the rooms. It is loosely seperated into two sections. Directly around the play area there are small bistro style tables, perfect for a coffee or wine while the kids burn some energy. The other part has more traditional square tables.

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There is a padded area for little kids.

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And beautifully hidden is the big soft play.

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yep. Thats a soft play. Amazing! I never would have believed there was so much fun hidden away back there!

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There are stairs in there that lead to a little cinema. There was nothing playing on the afternoon we were there but it was really slow that day.

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There is a new addition since the last time I was there. A whole room in the back with yet another play area! It has the feel of a beach vacation complete with a boat ( with a soft play inside)!

The play area is so fun!

To the left of the entrance there is also a big room with more seating. There is no play areas inside and it has a much more “adult restaurant” feel.

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What about the food, right?

I was also very impressed with the food. My daughter ordered the “kid pancake” and I ordered the “margarita pizza” . Her pancake came with fruit, 2 kinds of sweets, whipped cream and syrup. She nearly lost it when the waitress put it in front of her. I really think her brain was overloaded with joy, she literally just stared at it.

MY pizza was HUGE! I’m not ashamed to say that I very nearly finished it. Just in case you are wondering, that is a ramekin of mayonnaise on top of my pizza. I just put it aside and pretended not to notice it. It must be a Dutch thing.

What really impresses me about this place is the little touches that make the atmosphere interesting and yet very mature at the same time. It doesn’t feel like a kids playground but the level of whimsy is so high that my 2.5 year old daughter found the atmosphere delightful as well.

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And I almost forgot about the ice cream.

There is a patio but it doesn’t have any play equipment.

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Put this place on your list. I can’t wait to go back with both of my kids. My son would love it (in fact I felt a little guilty about going while he was at school).  Bij de Neut could also be enjoyed by people without small kids. I would take visiting family or kidless friends here for a dinner out with the family and I know everyone would have a really nice time.

 

Cheers! To eating out with the kids and actually having a relaxing time!

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Some Practical Information: 

  • This is their website: Bij de Neut
  • This is their address: DORPSTRAAT 8, 5563 BD WESTERHOVEN
  • They are open every day from 10:00 – 9:00
  • There is free on site parking
  • They host kids birthday parties. I’ll bet they are fantastic!

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Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 12

I was able to get some skate time apart from derby practice this week. Someone also participating in either Fresh Meat or Smoky Bacon posted a link in out FB group about a 70’s roller skating disco night. I thought is sounded like a great way to spend an evening. Practicing skating, getting to know some of the other freshies and listening to some cool music. What could be better, right?

Well, some of that happened.

The roller disco was happening on 2 nights. I knew that some people were going on Friday and the rest of us were going on Saturday. It was a shame I couldn’t go on Friday but I already had plans (I personally knew some of the ladies going on that night). I really didn’t let this worry me, though. I’m social and always game to make new friends. I posted a week before that I had bought my tickets. I also wrote that I was going to be driving and would be happy to drive the group. CRICKETS.

I started to get a sinking feeling that I would be there alone. Luckily for me, a friend of mine was able to join me at the last minute. We ended up having a really great time. I got to skate just for the fun of it, something I haven’t done since I was a kid. I realised how much I enjoy skating. It was really nice. There was a girl, probably aged 8, there tearing it up. She was so amazing. Spinning around and doing tricks. I had serious skate envy.

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As you have probably guessed, no one from Roller Derby showed up. I would have felt a little rejected but luckily I really don’t care that much. My self worth has never been tied up in other people and I’m not about to let that kind of thing start now. It did seriously burst my “roller derby community” happy bubble and I am going to be very hesitant to make plans with anyone I don’t know personally in the future. It’s fine that things come up and I know that everyone is busy but it would have been nice if the people that were supposed to be meeting me there would have at least let me know they couldn’t come. That’s kinda common courtesy. In situations like this I really start to feel like an outsider. Not only new to derby but in The Netherlands.

Oh well. I am awesome, my friend and I had a great time and they missed out (for whatever reason) on a load of fun.

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Yep, I’m wearing my Derby skates, because they are awesome and I love them.

 

Practice:

More of the same form last week, really. Pack skating with Smokey Bacon and skating in a line handing off a ball. The last nearly half of practice 2 instructors asked us what we were having trouble with specifically and we got some one on one help. That was really helpful. I focused on transitions, skating forward and then turning so that you are skating backwards and then back the other way.

my 27 in 5?

25 BABY!!!!!!! I skated 25 laps in 5 minutes. I’m continuing to do better each time and I’m really pleased with that.

I am starting to get a little nervous about the skills test. I came to the conclusion that I enjoy going to the practices so even if I don’t move forward, I’m fine. I realised that I will miss the practice test and the final practice because I will be traveling and that’s a shame. Couple that with my injury a while ago and I am going to cut myself some serious slack.

This was the first practice that the weather was really nice. I was so sweaty. I kid you not, I had knee sweat. First time that has ever happened to me. I can only imagine how stinky our gear will be by summer!!

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After practice we had another rules class. Oh my, I suck. Every time I we have one I say that I will buckle down and learn the rules. But then 2 weeks go by and I have done nothing! I have about 2 hours after the kids go to bed to get everything done and I guess this has always just been pushed to the bottom of the list. I need to get better about that.

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So thats it for this week. I’m out of town again next weekend. I plan on going to practice but I will have to see how my kids do when I get home.

Either way I am almost done at this point with Fresh Meat (at least possibly the first round). I look forward to much more Derby in my future!

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 11

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat Week 10

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Weeks 8 & 9

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 7

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat,Week 6

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 5

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat Week 4

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 3

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, week 2

Roller Derby: New Year New Challenges. Fresh Meat. Week 1

Tofu Springrolls: Cooking With The Kids

I haven’t let the kids help me cook in ages. Well, they help me cook all the time but I haven’t made it an organised event with kid friendly food in ages. I need to start that again. Sheer laziness is probably the reason I stopped. I mean, it’s so much faster to send them outside to play and do it myself. Less mess as well. But they will never learn that way so it’s time to make more of an effort again.

Tonight we made Tofu Spring Rolls

 

First I cut the tofu into strips and roasted it in a hot oven until it was crispy on the outside, around 20 minutes. In the meantime I gathered and prepped any vegetables that I thought would be good. I chose cucumber, bell pepper, carrots and spinach. I’m sure you can use any vegetables you want.

I got these rice paper wraps. Man they are tricky! The instructions say to soak the sheets in warm water for 30 seconds and then put them on a tea towel. I followed the instructions the first time but it went horribly wrong. They stuck to the towel and I couldn’t get it off!  I learned that it’s better to use a plate but it needs to be kept dry.

I let the kids fill them and then I wrapped them (to the best of my ability). They had a great time. My son decided that he loved all the individual ingredients all of a sudden.  The kids ate more during the process of making them than they ate the finished product. Including the roasted tofu.

I mixed soy sauce and sweet chilli for a quick sauce.

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I thought they were really good (especially for my first attempt). My son decided that he loved them and ate a respectable amount. This was a huge result because I haven’t been able to convince him to touch a vegetable in ages.

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My daughter was less impressed. I think she found them difficult to eat.

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I will say that they were quit bland. This was perfect for my kids because they tend to prefer their food more on the bland side but I could have done with more seasoning. I tried to drip some soy sauce inside of one before I rolled it but it was a disaster! Next time I will plan ahead better and marinate the tofu overnight.

I’m happy we cooked dinner together. It was fun!

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 11

Highlight of this week was a mother and son trip to Den Haag. There was a double header that I really wanted to go to and I decided to take my son. Because it started a little late in the evening (5:30! GASP) I decided that we should get a hotel and make a weekend of it. You see, I try to spend a day one on one with my son every few months. We generally do a fun outing, this is the first time has been an overnight. I loved that I could share my new found excitement of Roller Derby with him and he loved that he did a “grown up” thing with mommy.

We checked into the hotel and eventually made our way to the sport hall. I say eventually because Logan was so excited to be in a hotel room that he didn’t want to leave it “but mommy! You can watch TV while in bed! How great is that!” We walked to the venue and found some seats. He was enthralled for the first 10 minutes or so, then he asked for his tablet. It was actually very cute. He would watch and pay attention until the bout stopped and his head would go back down to his game, as soon as they started skating again his head would pop back up again and he would watch. I told him what was going on and how the ladies scored. He was fascinated by the penalty bench. I told him that it was like at home, when he was fighting with his sister they had to sit on the stairs until they were ready to apologise. He lasted until about 5 minutes till the end before he started to say that he was bored and wanted to go back to the hotel.

I found the bout very interesting. One team completely dominated but the other team kept going. I was able to keep up with the scoring but the penalties threw me off. They happened so fast! I can see why so many officials are needed.  I realised how much work I need to do to understand the rules. I have been a total slacker!

 

Practice:

Welcome back, workout! I thought that we were past the basic fitness tests but they are back with a vengeance. I learned that we will need to pass a set of fitness tests to move on to the next level.

This test consists of:

  • 12 push ups
  • 50 sit ups
  • 20 leg lifts on each side
  • 20 knee bends on each side
  • 45 second plank
  • 30 second side plank on each side
  • 15 “swimmers” back exercise
  • 1 minute squat
  • balance for 30 seconds on each foot

All of this looks pretty standard and won’t be a problem. EXCEPT: Yep, 50 sit ups. I had a total “WHAT THE HELL!” moment. I thought he said 15 at first. This will be a problem. Why do I suck at sit-ups so badly?

We skated more with the “Smokies” (the awesome ladies who have advanced to the next level of training) than we have in past practices. We all skated in a line with no more than an arm length in between us and handed a ball to the person in front of us. Then when the ball reaches the front of the line the person holding it has to skate around the track to the back of the line and the precess starts over. Believe me, this is more tricky than it sounds. As I was looking over my shoulder waiting on the ball, then reaching to my side with both hands to grab it, while I’m trying not to fall or skate into the person in front of me.

Then, in typical Derby fashion, the crazy level went up a notch.

We practices “pack skating”. There were around 12 of us and we all skated together in a group with no more than an arms length in between. Fine, right? But everyone was assigned a number 1, 2 or 3. So the drill would go something like this: “number 1 drop to all 4s” (so everyone who was assigned to be a “number 1” must fall to the ground on their knees and elbows and curl up in a little ball). All while everyone else must skate around the little heap on the floor while maintaining the “pack”.  It continued in this fashion for a while . “Number 2 go to the front” “number 3 stop” and such.

As far as Im concerned this is crazy X10. Important, crucial stuff in training but still crazy. I played basketball and soccer in school and we never had this level of nuts. I never once stopped and thought “I’m sorry, you want me to do what now? Well, that just seems crazy”

Don’t get me wrong, after watching more and more bouts I understand the importance of all of these training drills. I may find them nuts but they all make up critical parts of game play and we need to be ready for them.

Maybe thats why I am enjoying this so much. I’m a big fan of pushing things a bit farther than I really need to.

27 in 5:

I skated 24. WHOOHOO!!!

I’m still getting better every time! After I was done I wanted to do a little dance! But I sat down and panted instead. It just felt right .

Our final skills test is quickly approaching. I am still unsure on my skates and at this moment I don’t feel ready to move on. We have some time, but I would rather be safe than in a hurry.

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Don’t mind the manic smile.

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Roller Derby: Fresh Meat Week 10

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Weeks 8 & 9

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 7

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat,Week 6

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 5

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat Week 4

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 3

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, week 2

Roller Derby: New Year New Challenges. Fresh Meat. Week 1

 

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat Week 10

We got back from Spain and it was a struggle to get back into a routine this week. I was at the gym a few days but after so many weeks of a severely limited workout I really struggled. I was so sore after every single workout. At first I was really annoyed about it but I quickly realised that it had been over a month since I had fractured my finger so I hadn’t lifted weights or really worked out since then. After that I cut myself some slack.

Saturday was a very fun day. A friend of mine found a pair of vintage  roller skates at the resale shop. She had bought them for her son but he was used to the inline skates so they ended up with me. I was excited to have skates for my son and he was excited to have skates like mommies. Saturday morning we went to the sports shop and bought all the pads he would need and a skating helmet for him. I actually didn’t realise that skating helmets were very different from biking helmets until I was in the shop. I knew that my derby helmet was different but apparently all skaters should wear a special helmet that covers more of the sides of the head. Luckily my son is fine with wearing the pads. I think it will be a problem when it starts to get hot outside, though. My daughter even got some skates! We got here the adjustable plastic kind that goes over her shoes. When her feet grow 2 more sized she will get her own real pair.

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Saturday wasn’t a particularly beautiful day so no one was very excited about going outside. So in true “fun mom” fashion, I moved all the furniture from the living room into the kitchen and we made our own roller rink.

It was a great time. I was just focused on teaching their balance and how to get around. I really loved seeing my kids on skates! I see many summer days skating around the neighbourhood in our future.

 

Practice:

So happy to be back after a 2 week break! I got there early so I could have some extra skate time before we got going. We didn’t do our standard workout this week (push ups, sit ups, etc). I supposed that after 10 weeks they just assume we have a basic fitness level, or maybe they forgot. The new skills we learned this week were mostly whips. They are going to be hard to describe. Red skater and blue skater. Red skater needs to go really fast, she skates from behind and to the side of blue skater. Blue skater holds out her arm and red skater reaches forward and grabs her arm. At this point blue skater swings her arm forward and when red skater lets go she is propelled forward.

Let me tell you, this is difficult. I knew that I was lacking in the upper body strength but this really synched it! I was super sore through my arm pits and into my chest the next day. I didn’t even know it was possible to be sore in my arm pits!

We also practiced jumping. Literally skating and then jumping over an obstacle, in this case a series of cones stacked about 5 or 6 inches high. After I got past the initial “hell no, I can’t do that. You are all crazy people. What the hell am I doing here” thoughts (I would never say those things out loud because I’m pretty sure they would make me do pushups or something) I did pretty well. I fell on my bottom a few times but managed not to injure myself. Its like psychotic box jumps. Unfortunately, I hate normal box jumps. So there is that.

We skated the “27 in 5” at the end of practice. I was able to skate 23 laps. Again, I’m super proud of myself. I get a little better every time. I also found out that for Fresh Meat we only have to skate 23 laps and that its 27 for the Smokey Bacon level. This released a lot of pressure, I know know that if I keep practicing and improving at this rate I will be able to get my minimum laps in during the skills test. Passing the rest of the test is a different thing, but I’ll leap that bridge later.

After practice we had another “theory” lesson. I have only been to 1 and I’m feeling remarkably unprepared for a rules test. I asked the instructor what language the test would been and she said that she could print out an English version for me. I was really relieved to hear that. I did learn that I am out of town during the final rules test and thats a little annoying.

So, another week in the books. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

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My “Little 5k’s” and No I Don’t Intend to Run Farther

My weight loss journey started years ago, about 5 years in fact. I knew that I needed to loose weight but  didn’t really know how. You see, my husband and I decided to have a child I read that it was easier to be pregnant and give birth if you are fit, so the decision was made to start trying to get healthy.  So I started running. It was a great choice. I wasn’t emotionally or mentally ready to join a gym because that felt very permanent but running I could just do without any real pressure or commitment. So I started a “couch to 5K” training program and got my butt outside. I would run two or three times a week after the kids went to bed (depending on weather, I’m a bit of a baby about rain). Slowly I got more and more comfortable and a bit faster.

I ran my first “real 5k” (meaning a timed, paid for event) just before I got pregnant with my first child. It was a ladies run in Utrecht. My time was 47 minutes. I can’t tell you how proud of myself I was. I didn’t stop running. Sure that is, in reality, an unbelievably slow pace as far as running goes (it’s very nearly walking) but I was bursting!

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Me after my first 5K. 

A lot has happened since the day I decided to strap on some running shoes almost 6 years ago ( 2 kids up and over 25 kilos down for starters) but I still love running my 5k’s.

You see, I have a great many friends who run 10k’s, half marathons and full marathons. Before the start of every running season I start getting asked to run farther. My friends don’t mean is to be insulting or demeaning (and I’m not taking it that way), I think it’s more like they want me to run with them. Or that 5k’s are for beginners and at this point in my fitness journey I am capable of doing more or running farther. I understand that, I am fully capable.

But I’m not going to run farther. I like running my little 5K’s. I’m happy there.

I like the fact that I can leave my house and make it back for a shower in under 40 minutes. That means that I can get my kids to bed and decide to run. I don’t have to plan it or prep for it. Start to finish, I use 1 hour of my evening. Including a shower. Pretty evening? Kids in bed on time? I tell my hubby that I’m going for a run and by the time he gets done playing on his phone, I’m back.

I like that I don’t really have to train anymore for a 5k. I may be crying and panting by the time that I finish, but I will finish. I can’t say that about the longer runs. They take a dedication that I simply don’t have.

Well, I have dedication by the tons. But I need to spread it around a bit. I love going to the gym. I have learned that this is my happy place. Lifting weights, yoga, zumba and all the crazy classes that I love so much. At home I love knitting, baking, reading and watching horror movies. Lets not forget Roller Derby, my newest obsession. Oh and family time, lets not forget that, either. Thats kinda a big one.  I only have so much time and energy!

And the reality is, is there any health benefits to running farther. Seriously?

So, to my friends: I love that you run farther than me. I love that you love it and want to share your excitement with me. I love that you want me to be the best that I can be.

But, I’m good. Thanks. I will continue to run my little 5k’s and that will free me up to cheer for you when you cross your finish line.

Colour runs, zombie runs and ladies runs. 5k’s rock!!