100 Day Run Challenge Update

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The wall of run!

Good afternoon everyone!

Today will mark my 89th run in a row, and it almost didn’t happen.  About two weeks ago I started to doubt my ability to finish this challenge.  I was not in a good mental space and was struggling with just getting by with the day to day grind of life.  It took considerable effort just to get out the door and run during runs 76 through the early 80’s as some of those runs were actually run/walks.  I literally didn’t have the stamina to finish a 3km easy pace loop around my neighbourhood.  My legs felt dead, the hamstring in the left leg had been sore the entire challenge and has flared up in recent days, and I was considering quitting.

I actually had my computer open and had started writing a blog post about my stopping this challenge when my daughter Megan came down and asked what I was doing.  When I mentioned I was writing a post about not running anymore, she immediately responded with a loud NO, you can’t quit now your so close to finishing.  She suggested I go for a very short run to keep my streak going, and that I would be very disappointed if I didn’t finish.

I knew she was right, and immediately closed the lid on my computer and went for that easy slow 1km run around the block.  In fact I did that very run for the next six days in a row and I was amazed that over the course of a week th hamstring started to feel much better, and the dead feeling in my legs started to go away.  Once I figured out how to properly maintain my legs by alternating a short 1km run between longer runs has made all the difference.

So now as I sit here I have my daughter Megan to sincerely thank for helping keep this streak and dream alive.  Shows that you can always learn something when your open to receiving a lesson, and from an unlikely source.  So I’m about to head out on long run Friday, run # 89 in a row and we shall take it nice and easy and enjoy this Good Friday!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

Welcome to the Next Evolution

 

Life is an ever evolving journey that will keep me on my toes right up until the day that I die, which I hope to be many years from now but in all reality who really knows?

I have been doing a lot of soul searching, reflection and subconscious thinking about my future over the past several weeks.  At times in my life I have been caught in the cycle of the nothing, but this period of time was completely different… when I am in the grip of the nothing, nothing happens, I don’t do much (usually zero exercise) and I feel sorry for myself, a little depressed, just generally not a good mental place.

Again this was different, I know BIG changes are coming and my mind has been planning things out getting ready for today.  Today is the first day of the next evolution of my life as things seem to be falling into place, perhaps not the way I originally planned or intended but that is life isn’t it?

It’s kind of funny to me when I sit here and think about things, rolling with things, being a bit of a free spirit has never been my strong suit and something I have really struggled with in the past.  I would fight against what I had planned, and what life was presenting to me, it was a struggle and it would usually end up sucking the joy and excitement of whatever it was I may be doing.  A very small change in my own mental perception of things has helped tremendously when approaching life.

Using my oldest daughter as a perfect example, as I have struggled with her or more correctly my own mental perception of what I thought her teenage years should be, and as time went by and I struggled with my vision of my daughter’s life, the way I thought it should be, and what ultimately it turned out to be were two completely different things.  The more I would fight against what was reality, and what my vision of that reality the further apart we seemed to grow.  Having accepted the situation for what it is, for accepting the way my life has turned out now I can build from here.

The next four months are going to see a lot of HUGE changes coming in this guys life, and I am very excited to see where I can end up come the end of this summer.  It’s going to be awesome!!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

Monkey See, Monkey Doo

I didn’t quite understand just how much my actions would influence my children’s behaviour until very recently when I had a numerous of life hard truths that I had to first face, and then overcome.  The last few months I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing the results of a positive, action lifestyle.  A few weeks ago during one of my MasterMind group calls, the topic of doing things in front of your children.  One in our group is learning to play the guitar, and it was suggested to practice while the kids were around so they could see Dad practice…  Interesting concept.

This has now translated into working out with Austin each day as opposed to lifting weights at the gym, I have the ability to do this at home.  Each day he gets very excited to join Daddy in building muscle downstairs in my home gym.  Today will be no different as Austin and I will soon be crushing chest day.

The opposite effect of something like even writing this blog post is that Austin is lying here beside me watching his Ipad, or his cartoons on the TV.  If I am not actively engaging him he can get lost in the electronic world, and I’d much rather have him based in the real world.  With most of the snow now melted up here, Austin has also started asking to go the park, as this is when my “training” will get to be really a lot of fun.  As beneficial as lifting weights has been to my overall strength it does get rather repetitive and boring for me.  Perhaps lacking a true workout partner to push me harder and further… who knows… but what I really enjoy is jumping on my bike with the boy in tow, and then stopping at parks for him to play and me to get some working out in on the playground equipment.

It’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of weight based movements with lot’s of pushing and pulling involved, I challenge you to try to the kids monkey bars the next time you find yourself passing a playground.  It’s tough.

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

The Side Hustle

In the effort to stay at home with my now four year old son I have started to feel the need for some extra income. I recently applied for and got a job back in the culinary industry to bring in a few extra dollars on the weekend when I am kid free. Ideally not what I was looking for but it’s one of this foot in the door and a chance to prove yourself moving forward. A classic case of walking before you can run, and after thinking about it now for a few days it’s absolutely perfect.

However it will only slow the bleeding that has been my bank account the last few months, ideally I want to bring that down to a trickle and eventually start to fill up the federal reserves again. Man I am big on the metaphors today! In comes the Side Hustle! I originally heard this term thrown around in some of the men’s mental health groups I have joined, and more recently on commercials for Uber. #sidehustle

Some friends and I had talked about starting a baking company late last year and this January I finally decided to take the bull by the horn and go all in. It first started with the 6 quart MixMaster mixer I ordered for a screaming deal on Amazon. And then it was Wix.com to set up a website, and finally VistaPrint to get some business cards, car magnets, t-shirts and a large banner which I’ve yet to hang outside my house. Tomorrow’s project for sure.

The Facebook page is up, the Instagram account is active and I’ve even started to boost posts on Facebook which has actually helped bring some more visibility to the site. No orders yet, but as men aren’t we notorious for waiting until the last minute? I have received a few orders already and this morning I went about my normal routine of taking the kids to school, and then making an order for a friend that was willing to help me test out the ability to send these delicious cookies through the mail and see what the end result would be.

I was very happy with the results of my efforts as you can see here…

… however when I went to pack them up the icing had not quite hardened all the way and several of them were squished. I did manage to save four of them but will have to redo the other eight, several of which are sitting at the bottom of my stomach as part of afternoon snack.

There has been a learning curve involved with his business venture for sure and at this point I am just hoping to sell enough cookies to cover off my investment and then make a few dollars. If it can be turned into a profitable enough venture to allow me to stay at home full time then I will consider that a Hugh WIN, however there is a lot of work and a lot of cookies between now and then.

If you have a few moments I invite you to look at the site as advertised below. Not looking for orders but rather feedback, ease of navigation, products you would like to see kind of idea. Swim lessons are wrapping up and then it is off the the 25th run in a row. Now that’s Hustle!

https://www.northwestbakery.com North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

Celebrating a BIG Win(s)!

So yesterday was a very interesting day for me, a bit of the continuation of the emotional roller coaster but in a good fun, let’s build towards something kind of day and NOT one with a huge drop back into negativity or despair.  Allow me to explain…

I woke up not feeling the best, I could feel the negative cycle that had plagued me in my past start to take hold, and it would have been just so easy to feed that cycle and the next thing I would have known, THE NOTHING would have it’s claws deep into me again and I could have lost another week doing nothing…

I recognized the start of this cycle and I reach out for help yesterday through some friends and leaned into the support circle I have created for myself and instantly felt the love and the accountability that I need to keep me on the straight and narrow.  To not slip back into back habits of my previous lifestyle.  I worked out, I went for a run and my mood and attitude immediately changed.  WIN!

I shared this experience in my group call last night, reading some pages from my journals of that past to give some insight to just how bad the negative cycles in my life would effect me.  It was a very moving experience for me to open up and share some of my darkest periods of my life.  I know that the others could relate to what I went through as we ALL have points in our lives when we feel incredibly low.  I am fortunate to have the support to quickly life me up from this.  WIN!

After my call, I had the chance to talk with both of my older children before bed and to share with both of them what I had been going through the last couple of days.  We talked about life, about how it can affect you, and ways to navigate those feelings so they don’t take hold of you and trap you into that negative cycle.  This 45 minutes was the BEST part of my day and showed me some tremendous growth on my part, to not only break my own cycle of negativity but to ALSO share that knowledge with my daughters.

This was the biggest WIN of all!

48 Hours Kid Free

As a full time father of four it’s not often I can say that. It’s rare to have any time to myself let alone two full days. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to a quiet house, the sleeping in, the getting to do whatever I want to do.

By having ME time has allowed me to keep my sanity most of the time when confronted with the chaos of four kids. Or six kids back in the day, or in the seven kid chaos coming my way later this summer. I once had a 17 kid dinner in my house and I was the only parent. It was a dream of mine, as each kid asked if they could have there friends over I said yes and yes and yes and yes until I was making dinner for 17 kids. I have the video to prove it…

Although I can’t seem to find it at the moment, believe me it happened…

These weekends I use to recharge my batteries and do the things that I love. For example I am going to go for a nice long run down to the waterfront and back, it’s full of elevation changes and great scenery. I am going to stroll the flea market and do some window shopping, and I am even going to sleep in tomorrow. No five am gym session for this guy!

I consider having the best of both worlds, full time Dad by week and bachelor on the weekends. Yes I miss my children terribly but at the same time I enjoy the peace and quiet a Friday night with an empty house brings… I think I will go play a game of pool.

And if you haven’t seen the movie Dead Poets Society, go watch it and take some lessons from it. You will be glad you did, have a great night everyone!

Happy Birthday Austin

I have a confession to make, I forgot it was my son’s birthday today.  I knew it was coming up and for some reason my mind told me that it was Friday, when it fact it was today.  Mom had made a FaceTime call this morning, which she never does and soon as the words “Happy Birthday” came out of her mouth my heart sank.  Oops, I didn’t even realize what day it was.

It was rather sad and sobering fact to me to have forgotten, as we had an awesome cuddle session in the morning while lying on the couch and it would have been nice to sing him Happy Birthday while we cuddled… I suppose it’s a good thing that he is just turning four and it went over his head that I had forgotten.

And I must also confess I am totally unprepared for a birthday today, with it still being so close to Christmas perhaps in future years just grab him a couple of extra presents and leave them in my closet for today.  I will also be spending the afternoon making a SpiderMan birthday as I like to do every year for my kids when they make their request.  It’s a good thing that the Bulk Barn rents out shaped cake pans and I am hoping that a SpiderMan head is among their selections… if not I will have to get creative.

Jennifer requested a Princess Peach cake this past year, and well let’s just say that Mario Kart is a few years behind the times and finding anything Princess Peach was several missions.  I ended up having to get creative and make a Pink Castle cake along with a Princess Peach themed background on a large cake board.  Turned out pretty good in my humble opinion.

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So today we will head out shopping, and I will enjoy every second of my day with Austin as currently he is running around and having a great time with Kristi screaming giggling and tickling as they run around the house playing Monsters…  Argghhh I’m gonna get you…

I have this giant calendar on my fridge, and the lesson that I have learned today is to write it down, perhaps set a reminder on one number of the pieces of technology that I possess.  Or perhaps I need to slow things down in my life and make sure that I focus on the truly important things in my life, like my son’s birthday.  #fail 🙂

 

 

I’m Not Dancing…

I signed up my little ones for a hip hop dance class at the YMCA on Monday nights. Tonight is week 2 of a 12 week run, I’ve watched my older daughters go through similar classes in the past but was unsure of what to expect with ages 3 and 5.

It starts with a warmup basically organized chaos and running all around the gym. Loosening up leg and arm muscles as they run back and forth working up a sweat. And now they are being shown and repeating some basic hip hop moves.

Austin for two weeks in a row, every time I mention the class says “I’m not dancing…” and makes a funny face.

While sitting here watching the class go down he is right there with his sister shuffling back and forth across the dance floor (aka gym) and seems to be having a great time as there is a big smile on his face.

I was slightly worried that he would be the kid that was distracted by everything that went by, or wasn’t listening to the instructor like this other little boy is who is currently running laps around the exterior of the gym instead of participating. Kind of funny…

I suspect that it is because his sister is in the class with him and had this been a solo mission for Austin he might be acting differently. It’s fun watching them have fun, get exercise and not be sitting there in front of the TV watching mindlessly.

I love the YMCA it has great programs for the kids that doesn’t cost any extra for the discounted membership price I was given. Perhaps I will give that Yoga class a try I’ve been itching to try out…

Great Start to Monday… Surprise!

I usually get my little ones back around 8:30 am on Monday morning and it doesn’t leave much time for anything other than getting undressed and then redressed a few minutes later to head off to school.

IMG_4091.jpgWell this morning I was woken up to the sound of my children arriving at 7:15 instead, and even though I just had woken up I already had a smile on my face.  I had the wisdom to set the automatic coffee maker the night before, so that was ready to go as well.  Talk about a double win.  I type this as both these little munchkins are getting dressed from their pjs into clothes for the day, but it has been a great morning so far of snuggles, hugs and kisses and cuddles.

Well these guys want to play so I’ve got to go…

I hope everyone has the same great start to their Monday.  Go crush it!

2017 Top 10 ~ The Courage to Make Change (#1)

To say my life was flipped upside down last year would be an understatement.  From where I started 2017 and where I ended 2018 couldn’t have been more different, and in the course of that year I had more experiences than some might have in several years.  Last year felt, to me that it was 10 years long in terms of what I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown.  Looking at my recent blog post, 2017 A Year in Pictures reminds me of just much has changed. Here’s a quick recap…

I started 2017 living at the house I owned in Barrie, I had already separated from my 2nd wife (we decided to end our marriage in September 2016)and due to logistics, I was just waiting to list and sell our house to complete the physical separation.  Those 9 months of living in my basement, feeling sorry for myself I developed some very bad habits.  I had an addiction to marijuana, I started to drink more and I became miserable at work.  I was the kitchen manager at a very busy Keg location, but was transferred to a much slower location due to my attitude at work.

It wasn’t until May that I was finally able to move out and into my own place along with my four children.  I lived like a king for several months spending too much of the profit that I had made on my house trying to fill my life with material possessions as opposed to being fiscally responsible and purchasing another home, or investing the profits.  It was towards the end of the summer I pulled my head out of the sand long enough to realize two things…

First all this spending, and living the high life didn’t do a single thing to make me any happier in my life.  I was still miserable at work, I wasn’t any happier in my personal and I would even suggest that my kids were slowly slipping away from me due to my continued use of drugs and alcohol to escape reality.  This directly affected my oldest daughter the most and I saw her starting to emulate some of my behaviours.  That was the second and eye opening things that I realized, my actions were directly impacting my children.

I knew I wasn’t happy at work, I knew I needed to leave and had been given the chance to work a part time schedule at work.  They were overly generous to me, however due to some other work related issues that don’t really need to be explain I walked away from my job of 21 years in mid September.  I have been a stay at home Dad ever since.  This decision, this leap of faith, this tremendous amount of courage it took to simply walk away changed my life in so many unexpected ways.

The last three months of 2017 have seen me grow so much as a man, as a father, both emotionally, spiritually and physically.  I first started to journal a lot.  I would write pages and pages every single day, this was a long process that allowed me accept my past, forgive myself for the decisions I had made up to this point in my life.  I came to the understanding that I couldn’t change ANYTHING about my past, I had to accept it and where it had lead me.  It was a very sobering experience to understand where my path had led me, and now what I needed to do moving forward.

Spending all this additional time with my children has been life changing, having the time and energy and mindset to get down on the floor and wrestle around with them is a daily exercise that I so look forward to.  Living life again through my kids eyes has given me a different perspective on life and allowed me to a small degree to relive my own childhood in many ways.  I only need to say Star Wars for you to understand, I was 5 when the first movie came out, and as I type this my youngest, Austin is wearing his Star Wars pjs playing with his lightsaber.

I made lots of progress in my family life to end the year, learning about what it truly important and I so look forward to 2018 and the continuing chance to expanded upon and apply what I’ve learned.

I can very happily say that I’ve gotten over my chemical addiction issues through desire, hard work, stripping away many of my friends that I knew were a poor influence on me and pure will power.  Today would be day 54 since I last smoked, it had been a gradual weening off process through the end of last year, but I know deep down that in my heart that lifestyle is a thing of the past and those days will never return.  Part of that is the people that I have chosen to surround myself with and include in my life, getting help through various men’s support groups have also helped keep me on the correct path.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned this past year is being vulnerable, to open up and share what is going on in my life (at times to my own detriment) and more importantly my head and my heart.  To start to share myself with the world, I have found such a strength in sharing and connecting with other people I never knew existed before.  I so look forward to taking that to the next level this year, to transforming my emotional and spiritual life like I have never done before.

And I continue to look forward to sharing those thoughts and feelings with anyone that cares to read about them, you.  So thank you.  I will continue my physical transformation as I train for several triathlons this summer, to complete my 100 day running challenge, today being day 12.  I hope to expand and grow the startup business venture I am currently working on, and if successful will allow me to remain at home until at the very least Austin heads off to school full time in September.  And I want to continue to grow my own and my families happiness and appreciation for life in the outside world, as I am going to camping, hiking, fishing and spending as much time as I possibly can in the great outdoors.

So buckle up for an awesome 2018 that is going to be the best year yet!