It seems like forever since I have baked something new in my kitchen. Been a busy few days full of a lot of eating out or eating on the run while standing over the kitchen sink. Not my favorite, but sometimes it is all I have time for. My parents visited from out of state this past weekend and for the first time in exactly two decades I went skiing. My nine year old son has gone four times this winter with his school's ski club, so my mom and dad (and my husband and I) really wanted to see how he was doing. Skiing is unfortunately very expensive, so we had not been able to go before, but this weekend seemed like the perfect excuse to spend way too much money in one day and make the most of it... especially since it was almost 50F on Saturday!
I was definitely a bit apprehensive to get onto skis again after 20 years, but the thrill of trying a sport I used to love as a kid was overwhelmingly exciting. I was very impressed with my son who definitely looked and felt comfortable holding his own not only on the bunny hill, but also two long easy trails and even a couple of moderately steep ones. I took him by myself down a blue square marked trail after a few easy runs and although he fell six times, one of which scared me half to death because I thought he was crying instead of laughing, he was perfectly fine and definitely has a future in this sport. He knows how and when to turn and if he stopped looking back at me or all the other people around him and focused on the trail in front of him, I think he might make it down without even hitting the snow once!
As for me (and my husband), I honestly felt as if no time had passed and I was 14 again skiing down a mountain in CT or VT. Although a bit more apprehensive about falling with my older and not so resilient body (I didn't fall down at all thank goodness), I was still itching and ready to go down the steepest trail on the mountain after about an hour of practice. I chose a double black diamond that was on the front face of the mountain because I knew deep down that it would have been easy for me as a kid and that if I didn't try it that day I might not get another chance for at least a year and I would hate myself for not at least attempting it. When I got to the edge of the first steep drop, that had the remains of what were once some tricky moguls, my husband looked at me and said "we're not ready for this." But is was kind of too late at that point. You would think watching someone else attempt the hill and wipe out miserably would make me more nervous, but in actuality, since I was more worried about upsetting experienced skiers by going too slow or wiping out and causing a collision, seeing this guy fall and knowing I could do better gave me the courage to go for it. I was so happy once I did. It was hard, icy and steep, but I held my own and although I may not have looked fantastic, I felt on top of the world, literally, and I couldn't wait to get back up to the top again.
That being said, the rest of the weekend was mostly about food and figuring out how to manage a healthy lifestyle while eating out, especially with children. It is really hard to know which battles are worth fighting and which ones are best to let go. I still have no idea. Like most people, I enjoy eating out, often for the simple fact that it is one meal that I don't have to spend time cooking or cleaning up after. But unless I am at a (usually expensive) farm to table style restaurant or a vegetarian restaurant, I have trouble figuring out what to order and what to allow my children to eat. I have no control over anyone else at the table, although I know I tend to give unsolicited advice from time to time, usually to my husband or my dad. They hopefully know that it is only because I love them so deeply that I care so much about what they choose to eat, but sometimes my frustration spills beyond personal health and into anger at the food industry in general.
I doubt there is any meal out that my children eat that doesn't contain some sort of food coloring or artificial flavor and it is so hard on those rare occasions when we eat out more than once a week and I start to feel like I am failing them as a mother. I sometimes let my son drink a soda when we go out, but nothing with caffeine, artificial sweeteners or colors, so basically only sprite or ginger ale, but then you go places where they make fun drinks with colors, or with juice and grenadine, which although originally made with pomegranate juice for color is now almost always contains red food dye. And then there is the white bread, the lack of produce and the conventionally sourced meat. After reading an article again this past week about the inhumane way that most livestock in this country are treated, my healthy, growing, active son orders a cheeseburger. I cringe thinking about it, and have educated him as best I can considering his age, so what am I to do? I try to set a good example, but even I fail at times. No one is perfect, and when you fall down, whether on a ski slope, at a meal or in life in general, the only real option you have is to get back up again and try to do better. So try I shall.
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