Denmark Adventures: Day 11

Not sure if my goal of finishing these posts before Christmas is realistic anymore, but here goes another Denmark recap!

We started out by strolling (no biking allowed) through a park across town. It was really quite beautiful.

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And…it had a soother tree. Most children in Denmark tote around a soother (or two or three) until they are several years old. A popular way to dispose of their soothers, and rid themselves of the habit I suppose, is to leave them attached to certain trees in the city. Apparently, a city worker will come and cut these down on a semi-regular basis, so this just goes to show how much Danish kids like their paci’s! Many sets of soothers are attached together using ribbon and include an attached note, presumably saying farewell…my Danish isn’t so great. If Abby didn’t love hers so much – and I didn’t think I would need it on the return trip home – I would have loved to leave her pacis on the tree, complete with a note.

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The poor girl – there were SO many Mam soothers (her preferred brand) dangling in front of her temptingly. She did slip one in her mouth (sorry any germaphobes), but was just fascinated by this display!

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Uncle Tim and Abby!

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Had to snap a picture of this scene – a baby placed off in the shade to nap while the mother lounged reading a book at a reasonable distance away in the sun.

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In the afternoon, John and I headed off to another local art gallery (within 10 minutes of Tim’s apartment, and 2 minutes from the main SMK museum). This was far less impressive than the national art gallery, but the special exhibit was quite enjoyable.

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I loved this Christmas scene; the artist took three months AFTER Christmas finishing the details, so each evening his family would line up around their tree (what I imagine what just a heap of needles by the end of it) to recreate the pose.

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The signature painting – it was a lot larger than this picture portrays.

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In the afternoon we headed off to a local beach, located near the airport – it was stunning, and one of our favourite memories from the whole trip. The weather was PERFECT!

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The bridge linking Denmark with Sweden – the bridge actually ends up in the middle of the water in a man-made island, connecting to an under-water tunnel, to avoid interfering with air traffic (the airport is nearby).

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The requisite bikes!

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This is a fascinating piece of construction, with various tiers and floating platforms for diving and sunbathing. There are also change rooms located at various points in the structure. I really regret not having my bathing suit handy or I would have definitely gone swimming.

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When we were passing by this stretch of boats I saw a man (partially clothed) jump into the water suddenly. I was confused until he surfaced clutching keys – he’d drop a set into the water and had to act fast to catch them!

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Abby had a blast!

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Another view of the diving “apparatus.”

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As we were ready to leave the beach we happened upon a game of water – volleyball/polo – something-or-other?

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John was determined to get an active “jump” shot – I won’t show you all the outtakes. There were many. Abby just laughed from the sidelines (she LOVES to watch other people jump, and thinks it’s hilarious).

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The best of the worst!

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See Day 1&2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10

Pump Up the Vibe

Couldn’t let a Monday go by without a quick post of the fitness variety (see here and here). It’s practically a tradition now.

As I’ve readily admitted in the past, I’m no fitness guru. Gym was my LEAST favourite class in high school, unless we were in the classroom doing theory in which case I aced it. Another admission – the last few weeks have been brutal. I just have not had/made the time for exercise. I get a short walk in every day, but it’s been a week since my last run. Add to it – holiday eating has begun. The fact that I have 7 dozen cookies/sweets in my freezer doesn’t help. Don’t let the freezing bit fool you either, because I will eat those babies cold if I have to.

But in the spirit of getting back on the exercise bandwagon, today I thought it would be fun to talk about music. I rarely use it these days because I’m usually either trying to pacify a toddler, chat with the hubby, or just looking to have some peace and quiet while I exercise.
When I do use music, though, here are just a few of my favourites:

Running

Big Girl by Dr. Dog

Take Your Mama by Scissor Sisters

Can’t Stop the Rock by Apollo 440

Cool Down

Anything by: Adele OR Royal Wood OR Coldplay OR Norah Jones (LOVE her new album; Miriam and Travelin’ On are my favourites) OR Of Monsters and Men

To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra

This Year’s Love by David Grey

The Blower’s Daughter  by Damien Rice

Miriam by Norah Jones

What are you favourite tunes for exercise? I’m always in need of some new suggestions!

Linking up with The Domestic Wannabe for Move It Mondays

Thoughts on Exercise

There are a few things you should know about me right off the bat.

1. I despise exercise (always have)

2. I struggle with weight issues (always have)

Trust me, the aforementioned points make it pretty daunting to think about getting into shape. Even more daunting, the morning I found out we were expecting baby numero uno (which was somewhat of a surprise), I had vowed to lose ten pounds in the coming months. Whomp, whomp. By the end of my first trimester, I had lost a total of 4 lbs. Who knew having a baby could be so good for the figure, eh?

But then reality hit – hard – in the third trimester, when I started gaining weight in direct proportion to the epic food portions I was consuming. Final weigh in (I like to account for lots of water retention in these numbers) put me somewhere in the 35-40lb weight gain range. Ouch!

The first few months post-baby were a free ride – I had, after all, just delivered a living, breathing human being from my body…the best excuse I know for extra baggage round’ the middle. But then said baby got bigger, and bigger…and mama wasn’t getting any smaller. There is good news in this tale of woe, and if this post were a movie, well you could go ahead and cue the cool music montage with inspiring images of sweat, blood, and tears, culminating in sweet success – not only did I lose every last baby pound, I’m currently sitting 14 lbs below my pre-baby weight.

The bad news – I still despise exercise, and I suspect I’ll continue to struggle with my weight, but I thought it might be a good mental exercise to summarize what has worked for me with regard to exercise (in the form of some contradictory points):

1. Just start…have a plan

One day, I just slapped on some sneakers and started. Just pick a day…today works…to start exercising. Don’t think about your upcoming schedule, nitpicking about some day a month in the future where the stars will align to start some intricate exercise routine. Just do it. That’s what…Nike said. Rain or shine (or in eastern Canada, snow). I think nothing of heading off in the rain these days, because exercise is a habit to me now. Thankfully, babies are pretty tolerant of the weather when dressed appropriately.

Equally, try to start with some plan – rudimentary is fine. Think about what type of exercise you hope to complete (aerobics, gym-based, walking/jogging, recreational sports). I started with walking (at first about ~2km a day, and within a month was up to ~10 km/day), and soon added jogging to the mix (see below), because they could involve the whole family (and gym memberships just won’t fit our budget).

2. Plug-in…unplug

With the plethora of MP3 players and smart phones, there is a gizmo and gadget to suit every need. There are apps to track distance and speed, apps to track weight gain and count calories. Given my hubby is an IT consultant, you’d expect my exercise journey to be marked with fancy programs. I hate to disappoint, but I’m a pretty simple gal. My one exception is a good one though – C25K. This app was spectacular. It leads you through a series of runs, increasing in distance/duration over about 10 weeks of training.

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I swore I would never make it past the second week. But once I made it over that hump, I never looked back. I haven’t touched C25K in months now, but I know this is the only reason I still run on a semi-regular basis. The app will offer prompts telling you when to walk, when to run, and encourages you/horrifies you by letting you know when your workout has reached the half-way point. You can also listen to your own music in the background the whole time. For those looking for a greater challenge, there is also a Bridge210K program.

I also think it’s important to unplug. Walk with a friend and talk. Or, perish the thought in modern-day society, walk or run without any distractions. One evening my iPhone wouldn’t work properly and so I skipped my run! I thought I was wholly dependent on music to keep me going. A few nights later I ended up out without my phone, and lo and behold I ran a personal best that evening. I tuned in to my breathing and my footfall, and there were no changing rhythms with song switches. I simply distracted myself by people/car watching, thinking, and enjoying how beautiful it was to run in the out-of-doors. I haven’t used music in months now. And, just last week, completed another personal best (finishing with a ~1km uphill)

3. Invest in proper footwear…don’t go overboard

I have had foot issues for years now, and eventually gave in and invested in a pair of orthotics. While they alleviated some discomfort, I still struggled with foot pain (and shin splits) when walking or running any distance. I finally took the time to find the shoe brand that works best for my foot (my new Asics are a dream), and also took a trip (well, multiple trips, now) to see a chiropractor. He adjusted my back and feet, and the changes are incredible. Limited foot discomfort, and always directly proportional to the distance covered.

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That said, don’t expect a fancy/expensive sneaker to solve all your problems. And don’t be surprised when a newer, nicer pair doesn’t boost your time or distance! Do your research ahead of time, and don’t rush into buying (wear them around the store for as long as it takes, or buy them and wear them around the house…so you can return them…for several days to isolate potential issues).

4. Weigh yourself frequently…don’t obsess over weight

While I know a few folks exercise without thoughts of weight loss/maintenance, most ladies (at least those trying to lose some baby weight), are concerned with those pesky numbers blinking on the bathroom scale. I weigh-in every day…sometimes multiple times a day. A bit obsessive compulsive…perhaps? But I find frequent weigh-in’s help me isolate problem areas, and give me motivation to work harder (if I hit a new low weight, I’m spurred on to lose more, and if I have gained, I want to watch my diet more carefully). I think frequent weigh-in’s help monitor excessive weight loss, too, which is something to be avoided (I’ve lost about 25 lbs over 8 months; the recommendation is no more than 1-2 bs/week).

I only document my weight once per week, on Monday morning. And now, I really don’t stress about the number. I’ve been sitting steady around the same weight for 3 months now. And while I’d love to lost an extra 15 lbs, I know it will come with time. Don’t forget about “skinny fat”…just because someone looks skinny does not mean they are healthy!
Off for my afternoon walk! I’ll discuss diet suggestions another time…

Oh, and invest in a good stroller. A must for all the exercising-mama’s (and papa’s) out there (we have this one).