The Wall

wallI’ve recently been on a life journey where I have been eating better and exercising regularly. I’m not dieting…I’m not killing myself at the gym…I’m just living life a LOT better than I ever did before.

At this point, the results have been telling.

I’m running better than I ever have before (not saying that I’m ready to tackle that half marathon I wanted to do in October, but I’m inching closer to that goal every week) and I’m down 18 pounds over the past couple of months. All in all, I’ve been really doing great and have been motivated to continue on this trend.

That is, until this past Sunday. I did a really short run on Sunday morning and a short walk on Monday…two of the days that I was hoping to have the time to do some longer workouts. I just didn’t feel motivated. I felt like eating junk food again, and that only made me feel more and more uneasy…to the point that I didn’t go out for exercise at all on Tuesday morning.

Even Sunshine knew that I hadn’t been myself over the previous couple of days. I wasn’t sure what was wrong so I couldn’t really talk about it too much. What I did know, though, is that I woke up this morning ready to sink into the couch again.

But once Sunshine went out for her run, I decided to give myself a kick in the ass. It finally hit me and I knew exactly what my problem was…THE WALL.

Runner's wallI do this every single time I make any kind of positive change in my life. The demons from my past creep up and try to sabotage whatever good I’m doing. I had seen an almost 20-pound weight loss and, subconsciously, felt as though that was good enough for now and I could go back to slacking all over again. 

Once I realized what I was doing, I got dressed and head out for one of the longer runs of the summer. It was only 7 kilometers, but I felt strong and good and happy with how my body was reacting. 

I can’t let my subconscious take over my life again. I can’t let those feelings of self-sabotage sneak up on me and ruin what I’ve begun to build. I have to keep exercising and continue to eat smart. I can’t sit back and relax because my body simply won’t react well to that. 

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I’ve started more diets and exercising “programs” over the past five or six years than I would like to count. I can’t let this one end up like the others…I’ve come too far to slack off now.


My Blended Family – Why It Works

I fully realize that not every blended family can work. I have read the stories and I have heard the tales of families that crumbled because the kids didn’t like “the steps”, or the kids on one side of the family didn’t like the other. I’m sure you know of a family with that type of situation. It’s become more and more common over the years because of the increasing number of divorces at a young age and remarriages.

My blended family works…and it works WELL. 

Here’s the situation:

– Even though Sunshine and I are married and I live with her, her daughters (Kiddo & Lil’ Mo) split time with her and their father in a 50/50 split. They split the time during the week, so they go back and forth every other day/evening. I may live here, but they’re only here half of the time. I’ve worked my ass off to be the best stepfather I can possibly be, and they are two of the sweetest girls you will ever meet. Put those two things together and you’ve got a situation where my incredibly awesome stepdaughters and I have a great relationship. It’s been a lot of work, but thankfully Sunshine has always been there to ensure that she can help the girls understand why I am the way I am.  DSC_0036-2


– My oldest daughter, Pebbles, is someone I just met two+ years ago. While we’ve really come a long way in our relationship since then, she only sees the girls once a month or so. This works because the two girls are 10 and 12 where Pebbles is 18, so that age difference means that they look up to her tremendously. All of them are excited to see each other and, quite frankly, there isn’t a lot of bad blood that can stir up in a matter of a few hours per month.Pebbles and CBG

– My other daughter, Rugrat, lives in Ontario and is only able to visit once or twice a year. She doesn’t have the greatest family relationship going on there, so when she comes here she sees what a loving, fun family atmosphere is supposed to feel like. She gets along with the girls because they only see each other on a rare occasion, so they make the most of the time that they spend together. Emma, Lil Mo, and Rugrat

Pebbles and Rugrat see each other even less than the girls, so they don’t have time to NOT like each other. But they seem to get along really well when they’re together and they’re just happy to be able to have a relatively new half-sister that’s close in age (there’s less than a 2-year age difference). Pebbles, Rugrat, and CBG

– While I see my son, Ankle Biter, every two weeks I don’t bring him to Halifax to see the entire family more than once a month or more. What this means is that he doesn’t spend too much time with the girls (so he, at 8 years old, doesn’t get too sick of them) and rarely sees Pebbles or Rugrat (he gets super excited to see his big sisters). Ankle Biter and Rugrat

I don’t know if any of this TRULY explains why the family gets along so well; all I know is that all of the kids not only get along great with each other, but also think the world of Sunshine and I. Life has never been 100% perfect in terms of relationships with everybody, but for the most part it’s been really fantastic. 

I wish I could bestow some words of wisdom to the world, but I can’t. I think the biggest thing that holds this family together is the fact that the kids have all been raised extremely well and the kids aren’t jealous or petty or feeling neglected in any way. This means they are all open to new relationships and more love in their life. It also means that our blended family isn’t going to crumble any time soon. The Fam!


Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad – August 28

Canadian Bald Guy:

The exercise is still ongoing…

Originally posted on I Got Off The Couch:

No, I haven’t written anything in three days. Yes, I’ve been out two of those three days. So…giddy up!

After doing a 5K on Tuesday, I really didn’t think my shins could hold up to another run. They could, though, hold up to a walk…a LONG walk. So I set-up my playlist and ended up doing a “power walk” of over 10K! 08-26-2015 7-01 AMThere is definitely something satisfying about feeling my Fitbit vibrate on my wrist to let me know I’ve reached my daily goal of 10,000 steps BEFORE 8:30am!!

I took Thursday off. No real reason…I just wanted to take a day off and relax. Don’t judge me.

I was back out there this morning with another 5K run. I need to begin  pushing myself a little more with my runs, because I’m feeling stronger when I’m out there. My shins are still a little sore and so are my calves…

View original 85 more words


Throwback Thursday

Sometimes when I’m going through older pics, I stumble across similarities between myself and my kids. 

For example, the photo below shows me at about age 7-9 (I really don’t know) riding on a pony. Right below it is my son the Ankle Biter (age 7-8) riding on a pony. 

It’s funny…I have zero recollection of this photo, but I’m glad that I’ve got it. It’s nice to go back and see what my childhood was like, even if I don’t remember every little detail. That’s kind of the whole point with photographs to begin with, isn’t it?

And my son sometimes doesn’t remember places we went or things we did from last year, so he’ll never know what he did as a kid unless he sees the thousands of pictures I’ve taken over the years. 

It’s just funny how a couple of photographs like these can make you really think about how important it is to keep your memories and cherish them in any way you can.

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CLIF Zbars

This is a sponsored post.

clifkid_legoAt the beginning of the summer, I was contacted by a company representing CLIF Bars to see if I would be interested in trying their new CLIF Zbars. I wasn’t really interested at first because those bars aren’t really my cup of tea. However, I was told these new bars were CLIF’s first kid-friendly Canadian organic snack that were crafted specifically for kids.

But what, exactly, IS a “Zbar”? Well, the CLIF website describes them as being “an organic baked whole grain snack made with a nutritious blend of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and fat to maintain kids’ energy…so kids can keep zipping and zooming along.”

Well heck, my two stepdaughters are ALL ABOUT healthy snacks (thank goodness they’ve learned that trait from their mother), so I asked them if they would be interested in trying the bars. They said “sure” and so a couple of weeks later I received a package in the mail.

CLIF Zbars

The package was actually a “backpack” of sorts, which included a number of items including some binoculars, a whistle, and a compass. Where my stepdaughters are big-time fans of the outdoors, this seemed like a great fit.

clifkid_bench

Obviously, at the end of the day was the question of whether or not they enjoyed the bars themselves. So without any coaching at all, this is what Kiddo and Lil’ Mo had to say about the three different types of CLIF Zbars that they tried:

Chocolate Chip – Described as having “all the thick, chewy, goodness of a chocolate chip cookie – gone nutritious!”

Clif chocolate chip barKiddo (12 years old): “The chocolate chip cookie was good, but not my favourite one. It was still delicious and actually reminded me of chocolate chip cookies.”

Lil’ Mo (10 years old): “I found this to be pretty good. I really liked the taste of it.”

Chocolate Brownie – Described as “a brownie treat that is proof kids can have a nutritious dessert and eat it, too.”

Clif brownie barKiddo (12 years old): “1000 out of 100!! It was the best one. I loved it so much because it really tasted like a brownie. It was really chocolaty and really “brownie-y” and tasted like a dessert that came right out of the oven, but was cold…in the best way possible.”

Lil’ Mo (10 years old): “This was my favourite one. It was really good and I really liked it. It reminded me of chocolate fudge and brownies.”

Iced Oatmeal – Described as being “a delicious and nutritious blend of organic whole grain oats with a touch of cinnamon and vanilla.”

Clif iced oatmeal barKiddo (12 years old): “This one was my least favourite. It was really good, however the icing was unnecessary. I enjoyed it more when I could only taste the oatmeal part of it. If it was just an oatmeal cookie, it would have tasted better.”

Lil’ Mo (10 years old): “This wasn’t my favourite one, but it was pretty good. I enjoyed the white chocolate chunks in there.” 

All three bars are Canada Organic, have vitamins and minerals that are important to kids, and do not contain any high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavours, or synthetic preservatives. Canada Organic

So at the end of the day, I think the overall reaction was definitely a positive one. Would I buy these bars for my kids again in the future? Yeah…I would. And I guess at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.


Vacation Week

There wasn’t a lot of blogging activity over the past couple of weeks because of our annual family vacation. For over a full week, we had four kids living in our 3-bedroom home and not only did we manage to NOT kill each other, we managed to have a great time.

So here’s the deal…with me losing my job the week before our vacation, it was decided that we needed to play it smart and have a “stay-cation”. Y’see, for the past 3+ years or so we have either borrowed a vehicle or rented a vehicle to get the six of us around town, drive the 90 minutes to the nearest zoo, drive the 45 minutes to Peggy’s Cove, or the 2.5 hours to Magic Mountain. We wanted to always make the vacation as memorable for the kids as possible.

What we discovered, though, was that we could come up with a LOT of different things to do in the Halifax area without having to (a) spend a lot of money or (b) use a larger vehicle to transport everyone.

Here’s a breakdown of our vacation in pictures:

The vacation started with me still hitting the pavement every day. My workout routine varies from day to day, but on this particular morning I went to the Halifax Common and took a photo of the fountain located in the center of the park.

The vacation started with me still hitting the pavement every day. My workout routine varies from day to day, but on this particular morning I went to the Halifax Common and took a photo of the fountain located in the center of the park.

After a particularly long week at the office, Sunshine wanted to hit a beach in the evening. We decided to try a new beach that was only about 30 minutes away, Lawrencetown Beach. This place was AWESOME!

After a particularly long week at the office, Sunshine wanted to hit a beach in the evening. We decided to try a new beach that was only about 30 minutes away, Lawrencetown Beach. This place was AWESOME!

The kids were a little apprehensive at first, but the waves kept coming in and a very good pace. They loved trying to jump "through" them as the crashed against the shore. The waves are so good here that there were surfers everywhere.

The kids were a little apprehensive at first, but the waves kept coming in and a very good pace. They loved trying to jump “through” them as the crashed against the shore. The waves are so good here that there were surfers everywhere.

My son was the first one out of the water, so he got the "privilege" of taking the first vacation selfie with me!

My son was the first one out of the water, so he got the “privilege” of taking the first vacation selfie with me!

Sunshine loved the beach so much that she jumped for joy...literally. I love it when she's this happy.

Sunshine loved the beach so much that she jumped for joy…literally. I love it when she’s this happy.

A selfie taken at the Halifax Public Gardens. Another free attraction for all of us to enjoy that's just a 30-minute walk from our home!

A selfie taken at the Halifax Public Gardens. Another free attraction for all of us to enjoy that’s just a 30-minute walk from our home!

There was just something about the shot that I love, so I'm including it here. Ankle Biter was just standing and looking at the pond while we were at the Halifax Public Gardens.

There was just something about the shot that I love, so I’m including it here. Ankle Biter was just standing and looking at the pond while we were at the Halifax Public Gardens.

We asked the kids to get together for a pic, and this was the "least ridiculous" shot we could get. Trust me...it's tough to get them to all smile and look at the camera at the same time. You'd think it's just such an easy task to accomplish, yet it's insanely difficult to pull off.

We asked the kids to get together for a pic, and this was the “least ridiculous” shot we could get. Trust me…it’s tough to get them to all smile and look at the camera at the same time. You’d think it’s just such an easy task to accomplish, yet it’s insanely difficult to pull off.

This is just a statue/fountain found at the Halifax Public Gardens. It was a beautiful day, so it turned into a beautiful pic.

This is just a statue/fountain found at the Halifax Public Gardens. It was a beautiful day, so it turned into a beautiful pic.

While we climbed to the top of Citadel Hill (which overlooks the downtown and the majority of the city), Ankle Biter decided to lay back on the grass and take-in the beautiful day. I really love this shot of him.

While we climbed to the top of Citadel Hill (which overlooks the downtown and the majority of the city), Ankle Biter decided to lay back on the grass and take-in the beautiful day. I really love this shot of him.

This is a pic from the same spot as above, only without my son in it and a slightly modified colour filter applied to it. I love how this turned out.

This is a pic from the same spot as above, only without my son in it and a slightly modified colour filter applied to it. I love how this turned out.

We went up to Needham Park and Kiddo took our official 2nd Anniversary Photo. After a number of different poses with both of us on the swing, this is the one we chose because it just seemed so natural and so US. I love this photo.

We went up to Needham Park and Kiddo took our official 2nd Anniversary Photo. After a number of different poses with both of us on the swing, this is the one we chose because it just seemed so natural and so US. I love this photo.

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary. Oh where we I even begin? Because of financial cutbacks, we couldn't go to a nice restaurant like we wanted to. Sunshine had found a Groupon from a restaurant that we both enjoyed earlier this year, so the plan was to go out and enjoy that for our anniversary dinner. Unfortunately, the kitchen was short-staffed that night and we were expecting an hour-long wait. Not a big deal normally, but we had run errands before going to eat and it was after 7pm by this point. Sunshine was STARVING and we couldn't afford to eat in any other restaurant in the area, so Wendy's was the only choice available. Hey...we saved money, we ate food, and we talked and laughed once we stopped being so "hangry". If nothing else, this will make for a great story in another year from now.

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary. Oh where we I even begin? Because of financial cutbacks, we couldn’t go to a nice restaurant like we wanted to. Sunshine had found a Groupon from a restaurant that we both enjoyed earlier this year, so the plan was to go out and enjoy that for our anniversary dinner. Unfortunately, the kitchen was short-staffed that night and we were expecting an hour-long wait. Not a big deal normally, but we had run errands before going to eat and it was after 7pm by this point. Sunshine was STARVING and we couldn’t afford to eat in any other restaurant in the area, so Wendy’s was the only choice available. Hey…we saved money, we ate food, and we talked and laughed once we stopped being so “hangry”. If nothing else, this will make for a great story in another year from now.

The next day was filled with rain, so we decided to have a "Board Game Day". We picked up some trophies from the local dollar store and told the kids that the winner could keep the trophy until the next time we all got together. First up was Apples to Apples, a great family-friendly version of Cards Without Humanity. Fun stuff!

The next day was filled with rain, so we decided to have a “Board Game Day”. We picked up some trophies from the local dollar store and told the kids that the winner could keep the trophy until the next time we all got together. First up was Apples to Apples, a great family-friendly version of Cards Against Humanity. Fun stuff!

So the "Apples to Apples Champion" was Sunshine, who was more than happy to show off her trophy as she laughed with evil glee. :-P

So the “Apples to Apples Champion” was Sunshine, who was more than happy to show off her trophy as she laughed with evil glee. :-P

Next up was Yahtzee, where Lil' Mo was the winner over Rugrat by only about 20 points or so. Each of them rolled TWO Yahtzees and both got the bonus on the top section. Talk about a nail biter!

Next up was Yahtzee, where Lil’ Mo was the winner over Rugrat by only about 20 points or so. Each of them rolled TWO Yahtzees and both got the bonus on the top section. Talk about a nail biter!

The next day the rain ended and we headed out to the Halifax Oval, which is a skate park in the winter. During the summer, though, they have free rollerblade, rollerskate, scooter, & bicycle rentals to anyone with valid ID. All of the helmets and elbow/wrist/knee pads were all free, as well. How awesome is that??? The kids (and Sunshine) had a GREAT time! I enjoyed watching them and was smiling the entire time.

The next day the rain ended and we headed out to the Halifax Oval, which is a skate park in the winter. During the summer, though, they have free rollerblade, rollerskate, scooter, & bicycle rentals to anyone with valid ID. All of the helmets and elbow/wrist/knee pads were all free, as well. How awesome is that??? The kids (and Sunshine) had a GREAT time! I enjoyed watching them and was smiling the entire time.

Yeah...they're my "Wonder Women"!

Yeah…they’re my “Wonder Women”!

During the afternoon, it was scorching hot so we walked down to the local park. There was a very small water feature that spit out water randomly, just to cool the kids off. This shot happened just as the water surprised both Ankle Biter and Kiddo. I got lucky.

During the afternoon, it was scorching hot so we walked down to the local park. There was a very small water feature that spit out water randomly, just to cool the kids off. This shot happened just as the water surprised both Ankle Biter and Kiddo. I got lucky.

The next day was another beauty, so we went to the park to have some fun as a family. Ankle Biter and Rugrat were throwing the football around. He's getting much better, but she really surprised me with how great her throwing arm is. Really...she was firing bullets!

The next day was another beauty, so we went to the park to have some fun as a family. Ankle Biter and Rugrat were throwing the football around. He’s getting much better, but she really surprised me with how great her throwing arm is. Really…she was firing bullets!

With two kids occupied, I took a quick selfie with my wife and two awesome stepdaughters.

With two kids occupied, I took a quick selfie with my wife and two awesome stepdaughters.

Nothing much to say about this pic; Ankle Biter just thought he'd relax a bit on the playground area. Maybe he was preparing for his next challenge...?

Nothing much to say about this pic; Ankle Biter just thought he’d relax a bit on the playground area. Maybe he was preparing for his next challenge…?

The third and final trophy of Vacation Week was for "Somersaulting in the Park". Kiddo, Lil' Mo, and Ankle Biter all participated. AB won with 40 somersaults in a row (!!!). Lil' Mo wanted to try and match him, but was over-heating badly and we had to stop her (she'd probably somersault until she passed out...lol). He gladly accepted his trophy.

The third and final trophy of Vacation Week was for “Somersaulting in the Park”. Kiddo, Lil’ Mo, and Ankle Biter all participated. AB won with 40 somersaults in a row (!!!). Lil’ Mo wanted to try and match him, but was over-heating badly and we had to stop her (she’d probably somersault until she passed out…lol). He gladly accepted his trophy.

We were all waiting for Pebbles to show up so all seven of us could go to the beach as a family. It's a very rare occasion when all of us are together at the same time, and Ankle Biter was waiting for his half sister to arrive...impatiently.

We were all waiting for Pebbles to show up so all seven of us could go to the beach as a family. It’s a very rare occasion when all of us are together at the same time, and Ankle Biter was waiting for his half sister to arrive…impatiently.

This was the coup de grace! All seven of us in one photo for the first time since the wedding two years ago. This made me happier than words can adequately explain.

This was the coup de grace! All seven of us in one photo for the first time since the wedding two years ago. This made me happier than words can adequately explain.

The kids had a GREAT time splashing in the massive waves from Lawrencetown Beach again. Really...this is now our "go-to beach" because of the waves.

The kids had a GREAT time splashing in the massive waves from Lawrencetown Beach again. Really…this is now our “go-to beach” because of the waves.

After taking Ankle Biter back to his mom, dropping Rugrat off at her grandmother’s, and returned the girls to their dad for a couple of days, Sunshine and I had two days all to ourselves. The first thing we did was go to a 50% off sale at the local Value Village…cause sales!

Where I've been working out and losing weight, i thought I would try on some sports-related clothing. While I'm really happy with the weight I've lost, even I had to recognize that this shirt was too tight. But honestly, I NEVER take selfies in a mirror...but I had to send this to Sunshine because I didn't think I looked too bad. :-P

Where I’ve been working out and losing weight, i thought I would try on some sports-related clothing. While I’m really happy with the weight I’ve lost, even I had to recognize that this shirt was too tight. But honestly, I NEVER take selfies in a mirror…but I had to send this to Sunshine because I didn’t think I looked too bad. :-P

Sunshine and I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon walk at Fisherman's Cove. There isn't much there to look at, but it was nice to know something so "rural" could be found only 30 minutes from our home in the city.

Sunshine and I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon walk at Fisherman’s Cove. There isn’t much there to look at, but it was nice to know something so “rural” could be found only 30 minutes from our home in the city.

Not something you see everyday...even in the Maritimes.

Not something you see everyday…even in the Maritimes.

Y'know, I walk or run by this sign quite often on my workout days, but something about this particular day made me stop to take a pic. It's sad because it's true. In an area that's littered with homes and businesses, this corner has been vacant for a very long time. I would love to see it turn into a park...but those are becoming harder and harder to find these days.

Y’know, I walk or run by this sign quite often on my workout days, but something about this particular day made me stop to take a pic. It’s sad because it’s true. In an area that’s littered with homes and businesses, this corner has been vacant for a very long time. I would love to see it turn into a park…but those are becoming harder and harder to find these days.

We went to a harbour-side park with the girls to enjoy the sunset. The vacation was drawing to a close and we wanted to get as much "escape" from it as we could.

We went to a harbour-side park with the girls to enjoy the sunset. The vacation was drawing to a close and we wanted to get as much “escape” from it as we could.

I was really fortunate to capture this pic. I love this!

I was really fortunate to capture this pic. I love this!

Uh...yeah. This is what our kids do when we're out in public. It's our family...whattya gonna do?

Uh…yeah. This is what our kids do when we’re out in public. It’s our family…whattya gonna do?

MacKay Bridge - Halifax, NS
And thus ended our family vacation for another year.


Rubber Legs – August 21

Canadian Bald Guy:

I am REALLY happy with my exercise progress so far. I’ve lost over 15 pounds and I continue to get my butt off of the couch! I’m surprising myself on a daily basis.

The latest post from my running blog…

Originally posted on I Got Off The Couch:

After starting off the week with a 6K run, I followed that up with a combined 27+K over the next three days. I decided that I wanted to run today, but I didn’t want to go too far as to kick my body’s ass too hard.

I ran 5K and was really happy with the results. I didn’t care about the times, I just ran when I felt like it and walked when I felt like it. I can feel myself getting stronger, even if my legs felt like absolute rubber today.

I’m hanging out with my son this weekend and it’s supposed to rain the entire time, so my legs will more than likely be getting a break.

In the meantime, this is how today went (and please notice the beads of sweat on my head…heh): 08-21-2015 6-49 AM

I also weighed myself this morning and was super excited to find out…

View original 155 more words


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