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

 

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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!!

 

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Weeks 8 & 9

So little happened in the world of Roller Derby the last 2 weeks that I couldn’t even justify 2 separate blog posts.

I went back to follow up with the surgeon about my finger at the beginning of week 8. It was still hurting a lot and I was under the impression that it should have been mostly better by then. It was a very frustrating appointment, honestly. He said that it could take up to a month to heal properly and that I should excessive it but if it starts to hurt I should stop what I was doing. It reminded me of that joke: The person (insert preferred stereotype) goes into the Dr. and said “it hurts when I do this”and the Dr said “well don’t do that”. you know the one. On one hand I was relieved that he didn’t put me in a new cast but on the other hand I would have liked a new x-ray.  I think the appointment lasted a grand total of 30 seconds. Anyway, we will see how it goes.

By the end of week 9 it was still throbbing and my knuckle is now popping when i bend my finger. This is a bit worrying. It’s affecting my knitting and thats not ok. 🙂

Beyond that, nothing really.

We watched Whip It. A cute Roller Derby movie from 2009. It’s less about Roller Derby and more about a misfit who is able to gain independence and self confidence by playing the sport. I enjoyed it.

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Doesn’t really count as training, though, does it?

Practice:

Why no practice for 2 whole weeks?

The first week was cancelled because of carnival. Carnival is kinda a religious holiday. You can read about carnival in the Netherlands here: Carnival in The Netherlands

I am not a fan of carnival and my son had a week off school. So the natural thing to do is run away to Spain. Sounds reasonable, right?

So thats why I missed the next week.

We did have an amazing vacation in the South of Spain. And I will be back next week and skate harder than ever!

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Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 7

Not to much happened with Roller Derby through out the week, actually. My finger is still giving me trouble so my gym time was limited. I did go back to Power Yoga on Monday night. The instructor was able to show me some modifications that made me able to participate but there were things I couldn’t do. I am happy to be back at yoga, though. I truly believe that it has made all the difference with my skating. Yoga has really improved my balance and good balance is really important for Derby.

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My husband and I watched a “bout”on YouTube one night. Honestly it was the first I have every watched. It really made me conscious of how little I actually understand the rules. We have “theory” meeting every other week but I have missed 2 of the 3 and the one I went to wasn’t terribly helpful. It’s in Dutch, so I have trouble keeping up. I printed out the official rules and I started reading them. Honestly, I find them a bit confusing but I will get it.

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Practice:

Another great night. We practiced skating backwards for what felt like forever. Concentrating on balance, skating and not running into people is exhausting. We also practiced grabbing someone in front of you by the hips and pulling them backward as you skate by. We learned this last week but this week we did it while skating around in circles. This definitely added a new element of crazy that I wasn’t expecting. I am having real trouble grabbing because of my finger still. I kept hearing “pull harder, as hard as you can” (in English and Dutch interchangeably) and I started to get really frustrated. Supid finger.

We also practiced crossovers and once again attempted to get our 27 laps in 5 minutes. I skated 21 (very nearly 22 but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, right) which is a great improvement from last week at 18. I am very pleased with that level of progress. If I keep it up I shouldn’t have any problem with 27 by the end of training. The girl I was counting for (I skate and she counts and then we switch) skated 26 laps! Was so impressed! I was worried about participating in a group sport because I get really competitive but (although a little jealous) I just admired how she did it. It was great. Maybe I’m growing as a person. Who knows?

I did realise that my finger isn’t getting much better and thats a problem. I was told that it was supposed to be back to normal in two weeks and it isn’t. I will make a follow up apointment with the surgeon first half of the week.

I also realised that I am never going to make any Roller Derby Team without my Dutch being better. I can generally keep up if I can watch what the others are doing and I can understand most things, but we were running (or skating) a drill and he had to switch to English to tell me where I was supposed to be. I found this extremely frustrating. So Dutch has to be at the top on my important list.

So that’s it for week 7.

Next week practice is cancelled for carnival and I will be on holiday the next week so I will miss 2 weeks of skating!! But stay tuned for more Roller Derby adventure.

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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 6

I’m back!

Last week I was forced to take a break from Roller Derby (and just about everything else) because of an injury. It was a rough week, I’m generally a very active person and I had a hard time at the sudden stillness. I was bracing for a few more weeks of this.

I went in for my follow up appointment with a surgeon on Tuesday morning expecting the worst. I had decided after a very wine filled Sunday night (it was a great time, don’t get me wrong but I was suffering a bit on Monday) that I was through feeling sorry for myself and that I needed to find a more productive way to deal with the fact that my entire arm would be completely immobile forever and I would eventually have to live a life of complete inactivity. I was in a pretty dark place mentally, as I’m sure you can tell.

I was so happy leaving my appointment with only my 2 fingers wrapped together! I was a little surprised that my hand wasn’t x-rayed or anything but whatever the cast was off!

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I do have to be careful with my finger, though. I had to alter my gym time because I can’t lift weights for a few weeks but thats ok. I put together a 30 minute HIIT training workout focusing on balance and derby skills. Im really happy with it.

My HIIT Training with the BOSUball:

  • 1 minute running in place
  • 1 minute side lunges: starting in the bosu then stepping off to one side and into a deep squat, then both feet back on the bosu and then on the other side.
  • 1 minute: jumping on the bosu: stand on the bosu and jump as high as you can and then land balancing on the bosu
  • 1 minute:of situps while laying on the bosu
  • 1 minute: jumping forward and landing on one foot on the bosu
  • 1 minute laying on my side with the bosu at my waist raising my upper body. Like a situp for the side
  • 1 minute: of the same on the other side
  • 1 minute of the standing jumps (the 3rd one) again
  • 1 minute: laying on my tummy with the ball under my mid section with my arms straight out and raising my arms and head to one side and then the other
  • 1 minute: same position and raising my right arm and left leg then my left arm and right leg
  • 5 minutes: stand on the ball and hold “derby pose” pretty much squat position
  • Then I did the whole thing again.

I put this together after watching different videos and reading some Derby training programs. My legs were shaking after this 30 minutes! There was no way I was going to hold that last “derby pose”for the full 5 minutes. I felt like it was pretty well rounded and focused on a lot of the important things in Derby like balance and stamina.

Please keep in mind that I am not a personal trainer and although I really recommend giving the baseball a try you can find a lot of professional training plans on pinterest.

 

Practice:

So great. I had to be careful and I sucked at a few things because of my finger but I really loved it. We are starting to feel more like a team now. The more experienced skaters are giving me tips and I am struggling with the other “freshies”. I have never really been part of a team before and I am loving the experience (even though we aren’t really a team yet, just in training).

We learned some things about actual Derby tonight. We have been focused on skating and thats really important but I was happy to actually practice something that would be used during actually game play. As you are skating, you grab a person in front of you by the hips and pull them backward at your side. Thus moving them from your path and stopping their momentum. We spent a lot of time doing drills to practice this. I had a problem because of my finger. When I tried to hold on to someone my finger really started to hurt. I just explained that I was having trouble to the trainer and I pulled back a bit. For now I felt it was important to practice the movement of it so I just touched the other persons hips without trying to pull. Very unsatisfying but it worked out well.

We practiced standard skating stuff like stopping and going from skating forwards to skating backwards in one fluid motion. We also played “Simon Says” (Simon says touch the ground, simon says touch you left knee to the ground, etc…) That was super fun. I really enjoy the games we play at practice.

At the end we did a trial run of the “27 in 5”. I had read about this on Pinterest (man, how I love Pinterest) so I was familiar with the concept. As part of our “Fresh Meat” final exam we have to skate 27 laps in 5 minutes. On our trial run tonight I managed 18 laps. I was so proud of myself! I felt like lightening! I was told by one of the trainers that on the straight bits I stand up and loose my speed. Great tip and something for me to work on. I was nervous going in but I loved it. Just skating at full speed, feeling the wind on your head through the little gaps in the helmet. It was AWESOME! And the crossovers. Oh, the crossovers. I need all the practice I can get on those things!

And I found out that the super cool Derby folk go to the local skate perk on Thursday nights. The trainer said that he would post the details on out fb group page so us “Freshies” could come skate. So awesome! I’m wicked excited about some extra skating practice.

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Post Derby smiles and roses cheeks !

 

Oh, and notice anything different? I got my nose pierced on Friday. I’m really loving it so far. Hurts like a bitch but thats normal.

OK.

See you next week for more super exciting Derby Adventure!

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 5

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 3

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, week 2

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

Kijkdagen, Gietenboerke: Oerle

Every spring a goat farm in Veldhoven opens it’s doors for a few Sundays of  goat feeding fun. The new little babies have been born and this is your opportunity to cuddle up with a baby goat and feed it from a bottle, and who hasn’t dreamed of doing that? They are so small and cute! Last year was our second time going to Kijkdagen, Gietenboerke: Oerle and we will definitely be going again this year. Kijkdagen translates to “look days” and Oerle is in Veldhoven, just to clarify things.

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There was some trial and error involved, though. Honestly, the first year we went I didn’t enjoy it very much. The baby goats weren’t very hungry so I kept taking them back and getting a different one. My son got really frustrated (and honestly so did I). I wasn’t mad at the goats, I felt sorry for them. They were being carried around and manhandled by kids all the while getting force-fed milk.

We almost didn’t go again, but I’m glad we did. We had a much better experience the second time around.

I learned that it’s best to get there early. Like before they open to get in line. Then the goats are still happy any hungry. Go inside and head straight for the baby goats and do that first. There are toys and a playground and the kids will want to go straight that direction but resist the urge to let them play. Go feed those babies!! When you go into the building (I believe it’s the first one you come to but follow the crowd) you will find a row of small rooms to the left. Inside the staff is filling bottles and handing out goats.

Buy a bottle, grab a goat and leave the room. There are benches you can sit on in the hall. Let the adorableness commence!

 

In the next big building are all the adult goats. There are a lot of them! Here you can buy a bag of dry goat food and feed them as well. More totally awesome goat cuteness.

Around the buildings there is plenty of stuff for the kids to play with. Some slides, a sandbox and tricycles. There is even a little area where the kids can hold tinny little animals for a cuddle. There is also a bar, this is The Netherlands after all, and drinking beer while your kids run around is a completely acceptable thing to do.

There is also amazing goat ice cream and cheeses. Seriously, don’t leave without getting an ice cream. You won’t regret it!

Just outside the goat areas is a really nice restaurant with a great outdoor playground. My kids always have to stop there for a while on the way out to the car. The playground is just outside the restaurant so your kids can play there without you having to order anything or go inside at all. But it is a really nice place place with good food so it is worth checking out.

Practical Information:

  • This is their website: Geitenboerke
  • This is their address:Toterfout 13,  5507RD Oerle
  • Bring coins. Lots of one and two Euro coins, you will want them and it will make life much easier
  • Parking: There is a free parking lot and there is n street parking all around
  • The “kijkdagen” is every Sunday from   March 5 – April 16 (in 2017)
  • They are open from 1:30 – 5:00 (in 2017)
  • Entry fee is 1.50 Euros per person

Give their website a look over for events other than the Kijkdagen. I just saw that they host kids birthday parties. Looks like a fun and interesting place for one!

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, Week 5

The Injury. 

Last week after practice my finger started to hurt, not bad enough to impact my beer holding but enough to be noticeable. I honestly thought that it would be a bit sore in the morning but I wasn’t worried.

Man, did I misjudge the situation. In the morning it hurt to bend my finger and I decided to make an appointment with the Dr as a precaution. I called for an appointment at 8:00 and was sitting with our family Dr at 9:15. She quickly referred me to the hospital for x-rays because she suspected a fractured finger and possibly a fracture on my hand because of a nasty bruise.

X-Rays. Just as a precaution.

Honestly I felt like this was getting silly. I could bend my finger, my hand barely hurt and nothing was very swollen.

Either I’m seriously delusional or one tough cookie, or both.

The x-rays showed a fracture on my right ring finger. The fracture is just below my bottom knuckle on the palm side of my finger. The Dr’s at the hospital were worried that the piece of bone can separate and lodge itself in my knuckle causing permanent damage to my finger.

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I don’t see any fracture! But I was promised that it is, in fact, there. 

So I am in a MASSIVE cast for the week. The Dr’s are worried that any movement of my hand or wrist could pull my finger and separate that bit of bone.

The bruise on my hand is apparently just a bruise and not a fracture, luckily.

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I hate this thing so much. I can’t drive, bike or skate. Pushing a stroller is tough and my daughter is still little and can’t walk for to long so we are stuck at home a lot.

And no Gym or Dutch class or grocery shopping. Sleeping has been a real problem and that is making me more and more grumpy as the days pass. Showering has been a real pain in the ass and I can’t put on makeup or fix my hair.

I know, I know: First world problems, but it has made for a very depressing week.

Peoples reactions were a little shocking. Men mostly. I repeatedly was told that “they could have seen this coming” or “well Roller Derby is a dangerous sport” or “you knew what you were getting into”. Honestly, I was a bit shocked. I mean, I fell during a skating practice. Would they have made these comments if I had fallen taking the kids ice skating? Or simply slipped and fell at home? Would they have said any of these things to a man who had a sport related injury?

I don’t know. But I doubt it. I think the idea of a woman (mother, perhaps) doing anything that a man would deem dangerous is frowned upon. Or maybe the idea of a female driven full impact sport doesn’t sit well, like female body builders or basketball players are typically seen as “unfeminine”.

Perhaps I am a bit sensitive, especially after the Women’s march recently and the crazy backlash I felt (but thats another post), but I know that when my husband broke his collar bone mountain biking no one made it seem like it was his fault that it happened or tried to make him feel guilty that his sandwich making ability was put on a short pause.

Women were all very sympathetic so I think it must be a guy thing. Oh well, I’m not in the habit of caring what people think and I don’t plan on starting now.

The no cooking or cleaning was fun for the first few days but that even got old.

On the positive side of things, my fellow “Freshies” were very supportive and comforting. And my friends really rallied to keep me busy and active. And I now have a new appreciation for my safety gear. If I hadn’t been wearing my wrist guards things could have been mush worse.

And it’s only for a week and I will see a specialist to go from there.

Unfortunately there is a very good chance I will have to redo Fresh Meat, depending on how long I’m out and thats a real shame. But I will take that as it comes and hope for the best.

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Practice:

I couldn’t make it. It sucked! I was so sad. But a friend took me out and we drank wine and ate nachos and that helped.

I would have gone and just watched but there was no way for me to get there.

Fingers crossed I’m all, or at least mostly, patched up for next week.

And now I have my Roller Derby injury, lets hope this is the only one I get!

Aardbeienhof: Gemert

My family calls Aardbeienhof: Gemert  “Strawberry Land” because it is a celebration of all things strawberry. Aarbeienhoff is a really unique play place with lots of things to do. There is an indoor and outdoor play area and strawberry picking. In the summer there is a train  that takes you to a strawberry castle where the strawberry Queen greets you and shows you a little film about (can you guess?) strawberries.

The inside is a one huge room with lots of little play areas. There is a plastic play structure, a few bouncy houses and a soft play. There is also a giant inflatable strawberry to jump on. The big strawberry is surrounded by a track with tricycles and tractors of kids to ride.

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It’s nice because Aardbeienhof is one basically one big open room so it’s easy to keep track of the little ones.

There is a small room with a stage and projector at one side. They are generally playing kids music videos. The kids love going in periodically and dancing. Mini Disco!

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The outside play area is also great fun. There is a track with peddle cars surrounding a play area.

A few times a day everyone can ride the strawberry train (during the summer) or walk to the strawberry palace where everyone can watch a sort video about strawberries. Honestly it’s more fun than it sounds. The Strawberry Queen is there!

Say hello to the Strawberry Queen!

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There is strawberry picking but it’s meant to be more of an activity. You buy a small plastic container (for around 2.00 Euros) and then the kids pick strawberries to fill it. It isn’t a way to fill the freezer. The kids love it, although they9 all tend to get eaten just after the picking.

There is an indoor and an outdoor picking area. The staff tells you where to go and supervises.

My kids love it. The staff is so helpful. I love going to a place where everyone seems to really enjoy being around kids.

I was helping my daughter and an employee lifted my son so he could find the biggest and reddest strawberries.

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It sounds like a crazy amount of strawberry , and it is.  My kids really love going there. In the winter the outside is closed but the inside is still a great place to play, and the admission is discounted.

Food:

You aren’t suppose to bring in your own food, but the have a small cafe with some pretty nice sandwiches and such.

It’s a really fun place!

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Some practical information:

  • This is their website: Aardbeienhof
  • This is their address:   Koksedijk 1, 5421 ZB Gemert
  • Kids under the age of 12 cost 12.50 and adults cost 2.00 Euros to get in. This is generally  cheaper during the winter and I have also seen discounts on Social Deal.
  • The opening times will vary depending on the season and they are open longer hours during school holidays, so make sure you check the website before you plan your outing.
  • There is free on site parking.

Roller Derby: Fresh Meat Week 4

I bought my Roller Derby skates this week!! I was going to wait a few more weeks but I just didn’t want to go to any more practices with the wrong skates. I went into Turn Left Roller Derby Shop on Thursday afternoon after the gym. I was very fortunate that a friend of mine was willing to join me and help keep an eye on my daughter. I tried on  3 different styles. I went with a brand called Bont. Apparently they are a new brand from Australia. I liked them because they had less padding than the typical Roller Derby skates. I also like that they are heat moldable, I can put the boot in the oven and  then put them on and they will hold to my feet. I bought toe guards to protect the skates and out the door I spent 180 Euros.

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this is what they look like after I put on the toe guards

If you are interested in learning more about my fancy new skates you can check them out here: Bont Skates

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My son had a great time pushing himself around the house. Looks like I need to get him his own pair.

 

Friday night there was a “gear workshop”  (as in a workshop for my gear not about gears) at Turn Left. I wanted to go mostly because I think, as the only foreigner, it’s important that I make the effort to be a part of the team. I’m really glad I went. It was 2 hours of Dutch sitting on a cold hard floor so it was mentally exhausting but I was able to keep up with the Dutch pretty well and I learned a lot. One of the owners of Turn Left took us through every part of our skates talking about how to care for them as well as all the different options for each. It took 2 hours! I had absolutely no idea how intricate these skates can get. Every piece is changeable with what seems like unlimited options. For now I’m happy with my “starter skates” and I hope they will last without upgrades for the next several years.

Practice:

Man oh man, what a difference the skates make! I had a really difficult time adjusting to them in the beginning. The wheels are set much wider and they are faster (like the wheels spin faster) so I was loosing my balance much easier. There is no ankle support so that gave me a little trouble for a while. Once I got used to them though, I was so happy. I was able to go faster and manoeuvre loads easier. I suppose it bacause of the cushions but if I shift my weight just slightly the wheels will sway in that direction. This was hard to get used to at first but in the end it makes turning so much easier. I’m very happy with the skates.

This is a side by side of my Derby skates and my normal roller skates.

 

I really feel like the trainers stepped up the intensity a lot today. The last 3 weeks has been a gradual increase where tonight felt like a real leap. We played games and ran (or skated, I suppose) drills. Like: skate to this line and drop into a 4 point fall (meaning you land on your knees and fall forward on your elbows and wrists protecting your head and slide) then back up and skate to this line and then a rockstar (fall forward on your knees and lean back into a slide like a rockstar sliding across stage) then up then at the next line……. and it went on like that forever. Across the track and back, over and over, for what seemed like forever. And it went on like with different drills for what felt like forever!

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My toe guards after just one practice! I think these will need to be replaced pretty often

 

We practiced skating forward and turning so we were skating backwards and around again for a long time as well. Thank you Power Yoga, balance is so critical!

I fell on my butt twice and I must have fell on my hand at some point because by the time I got home I had a bruise on my hand and I couldn’t move one of my fingers on my right hand. Hopefully it will be better in the morning.

This was my favourite practice. I think we are starting to get to know each other a bit and it’s starting to feel more like a group. We are cheering each other on and in general being very supportive. There was quite a bit of laughing this evening. I was questioning my decision to try a group sport because I have never been on a team before but I’m really glad I am giving it a try.

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 3

After last weeks training I was able to really pinpoint the weaknesses in my gym routine. I wasn’t sore at all in my legs but my core was very sore. I also discovered last week that I can only do 8 pushups. These are on the feet not the knees (so no “girly” ones). I was very annoyed about this because I lift weights, I really do work my arms but I guess I’m either not doing enough or I’m doing the wrong things (or perhaps I should just do more pushups).

I decided to start working on my core but I didn’t really know what to change because I really thought I was focusing on my future six pack already. I decided to check out a few classes at my gym that focused on abs and core so I could get a few pointers. Thursday night I took “boot camp” and then “core stability”. I generally go to the gym Thursday mornings but my daughter was sick so I went in the evening instead. I took both classes because they were only 30 minutes each and it seemed logical to group them together. “boot camp” was really fun but nothing new. I always enjoy pushing myself to the limit and seeing how I handle it and recover. “Core Stability” kicked my ass. It was all sit ups and crunches and such, with a weight. I physically couldn’t make my body do some of the things she was asking me to do. I did enjoy it in that it pushed me farther than I would have pushed myself. All in all, although I enjoyed both classes I will not be rushing to take them again.

Friday mornings I have been going to Zumba ( wicked fun) and there is a class called “bosu balance” before and after my zumba. A friend of mine takes it and said it is really good for balance and core. Both things that are super important in Roller Derby. Man was she right! The class uses a half ball on a plastic base. We did all kinds of squats and standing workouts while balancing on this ball and some major ab work thrown in. It was perfect actually, the core work was really challenging and it really forced me to practice my balance (I also do Power Yoga on Monday night and that helps as well). I plan to continue to g o to “boss balance” on Fridays. I think it will really help with Roller Derby.

 

Practice Week 3: 

Honestly, I didn’t want to go. It has been a really busy weekend and I was really tired going into Sunday night. And Aunt Flo is visiting so I’m really bloated and grumpy. I forced myself to get out and I’m very glad I did. Practice was very nearly the same as last week so I was really comfortable and I was able to work on some of the things that are giving me trouble.

I was able to hold “derby pose” which is basically a deep squat for a full 5 minutes and I was really proud of myself for that, last week I could only manage 4.

The Fresh Meat Trainer asked me if I had skated before. I told her that I haven’t been on skates since I was little little and she said that she was surprised I had no experience and that I was doing great. I told her that I was an angry determined sort of person. She said “oh, your one of those…….good.” It was so nice to hear that I was doing well. I don’t get competitive with other people but I want to always do better than what I have done before. I will support and praise and help everyone around me, I don’t want to be THE BEST but I do want to be MY BEST. I don’t exactly know when I realised that these were 2 very different things but I’m so glad I did. I am a much nicer person after this realisation.

And there was our first injury. A woman fell and busted her upper lip. There was so much blood. She handled it like a super woman! She was very calm and composed while blood was dripping from her mouth. I’m sorry she got hurt but it was really amazing to see her handle it with such grace. I found out tonight that she had to get  7 stitches!

After practice we were told to take off our gear, leave our bags and come outside. I didn’t know this but we were going to get our first of 5 lessons on rules. I’m not gonna lie, this was painful. It was an hour of sitting in a very cold room on a hard bench trying to keep up with Dutch. I think I understood most of what was going on but I’m going to download the rules and give it a read sometime this week. I think that we will have a rules test at the end. I imagine that it will be in Dutch and I see this being very difficult for me. I should probably download the rules in Dutch as well so I can study properly. On the positive side this will force me to practice my Dutch.

 

I really enjoyed practice and I’m very glad I went. Honestly I would never have skipped for as lame of a reason as: I’m tired and grumpy and its “that time of the month” anyway.

Next week I am going to buy my real Roller Derby skates. I’m very excited.

 

Well, thats it for week 3.

 

 

Maritime Museum: Rotterdam

I really enjoy to the Maritime Museum: Rotterdam. If it were closer I could see taking the kids there on a regular basis. Unfortunately it is about 1 1/2 hours to get there from Eindhoven and that’s just at the top of what I’m willing to drive for a day trip. There are great indoor and outdoor play areas and tons for kids at all age groups to do. It a really great kids museum.

The ground floor looks really empty. There is a few picnic tables and the front desk.

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The first floor holds a small exhibit about boats and some really pretty miniature ships behind glass. The exhibit has been different both times I have been but I’m not sure how often it is changed. Honestly there was nothing here for the kids to do so we didn’t linger. On that same floor is an area dedicated to house boats. This area is pretty cool. There isn’t a huge amount to do but there is a really fun shadow area and a little room set up like a room on a boat.

The second floor is where the real fun is. If you go up the stairs you will see and area with a big map on the floor. There, kids will get an interactive lesson on trade. There is a little video about where a few products come from and how they are transported around the world. The kids can pick up a sheet and move giant boats around and get stamps when they “collect” goods. Its really super fun for all ages. My 2 1/2 year old just pushed around a boat, my 4 year old pushed a boat and collected the stamps and the older kids did everything in a certain order and followed a set of rules that I didn’t bother to read because my kids are to young for them.

To the left there is a mock cruise ship. There is a “deck” with shuffle board and bingo and a bar with fake martinis. There is also a dining room and a recreational room with play roulette and a karaoke stage. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds.

To the right there is a hallway with the another play area at the end. It’s super fun. There is a ship and a slide and some other play structures.

Through this room and out some doors there is an outdoor play area. It is set up like a shipping yard. There are padded boxes to move around. They start at a fixed boat and can be hooked to a crane that takes them to a flat “train car” that can be moved a short distance. Then that can me unloaded and scanned. Then they are to be placed on wheel barrows and trollies and moved to the final delivery point. Of course, this is what the big kids are doing. My son is doing his own thing and having a great time. My daughter is running around playing a game that only she understands.

Honestly, it is a lot more of a focused play area with a nautical theme than a traditional museum. I didn’t learn anything, but that’s ok.

Outside there are a few boats that you can go on. One is a house boat and one is a very industrial big boat. The most recent time we visited the museum was the first time I was able to see the boats.  The first time we went we stayed inside for so long that this section was closed by the time we got there (it closes an hour earlier than the museum). So I have only seen them in December and I had about 5 heart attacks during this 20 or so minutes. There is no railings, fences or anything stopping the kids from falling into the water. I generally don’t consider myself the safety police but this seemed excessively dangerous. It would have been nice to at least have a handrail. Then there are the boats themselves. Rickety metal stairs leading up to the top of a boat with a barrier lower than my kids waist stopping them from falling in the water. I hated it. Every minute of it. I had visions of my babies slipping and falling into freezing water.

Terrifying boats aside, I really enjoy the Maritime Museum: Rotterdam. It makes for a really nice day out.

Food:

You can bring in your own food. There are picnic tables on the ground floor you can eat at and you can also eat in the big play areas. You can not eat in the map room (I was told off for that last time I was there). There is no place to but food within the museum.  There is a restaurant attached to the museum but it is a sit down place with servers. The food was good but was a lot of trouble. We ate there the first time we went. It was tough convincing the kids to stop playing and go all the way down for food. They were not interested in sitting still and waiting for our tostis so it was a real pain. The last time I packed food and it made things much easier.

This is a great place to use the Museum card. I really recommend it.

Some Practical Information:

  • This is their website: Maritime Museum
  • This is the address: Leuvehaven 1, 3011 EA  Rotterdam
  • Entry is Adults: € 11,50, Children aged 4 to 15: € 7,50, Museumkaart: Free
    Children under 4: Free
  • There is no parking on site but plenty of nearby garages. According to the website you can get a 20% discount at the APCOA parking garage (Hartmansstraat 35, Rotterdam). Just show your parking ticket at the desk of the museum. I wish I had known that earlier!

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Looking for other museums to visit with the kids?

Discovery Center Continium: Limburg

Het Spoorwegmuseum (Railway Museum)

Nederlands Water Museum

Science Center Nemo, Amsterdam: A Grand Family Day Out

Don’t have a Museum Card? Read about it here: The Museum Card