Fear of falling

Fear of falling

As you probably know from reading this blog, one of the ways we enjoy winter around here is on our backyard ice rink. I say “we” because it’s not just the kids who get all of the fun. I love strapping on my skates and blasting my tunes on our portable speaker and heading out to the ice.

The only problem is that I have a major fear of falling. It’s with good reason.

I break easily. Throughout my life, I’ve actually broken each of my arms twice. From the age of 5 to the age of 27, I broke both wrists and both shoulders. I wish I could say it was from some dramatic daredevil adventure, but I pretty much just fell down each time.

As a result, I try really hard to stay upright. I don’t like to fall.

Skating on a homemade ice rink isn’t quite as glamorous as going to an indoor facility with its big Zamboni and manicured ice. Our rink is subject to the ever changing weather, and we rely on warmer days and rain to help smooth out our ice. Our homemade Zamboni (think PVC pipe, hose and towel) only works so well.

So when I skate, it’s with quite a lot of caution.

Earlier this week, I went out in the evening with my girls. We were laughing and goofing off when I felt myself start to teeter. I was sure I could stop myself. I held out my arms. l tried to move in the opposite direction. But my teetering became a full blown totter.

“I’m going down!” I told myself.

My legs literally flew out from under me, and I flopped flat on my back. I just laid there, staring up at the dark blue sky.

I waited.

Hmmmm…. no burning pain.

I can still move.

I think I’m still in one piece!

Next, I had to confront my second greatest fear. I’m always worried that if I do fall, I won’t be able to get back up. The backyard ice rink doesn’t have any walls to use for balance or anything at all to grab onto when you are lying flat on your back.

Somehow, without even thinking, I just leaned forward and popped right back up.

Amazing!

I will admit, my legs were shaking from the experience. I stayed out on the ice another 40 minutes after that, but the pain in my back start setting in later that evening.

Strangely though, as I was rubbing my sore aching neck the next day, I really started feeling good about that fall. I realized that I wasn’t nearly as afraid after I got back up as I had been before I fell.

I also realized that my extreme fear of falling applies to many areas of my life.

It’s only the second week of January, and I had already given up on a couple of ideas I had for this year, because of my fear of falling. Unlike my fear on the ice, my everyday fears are usually made up of three components.

  1. Fear of being critiqued. I’m often afraid of what people will think… Of being judged… Of people criticizing me for something when they don’t really know me or understand my heart…. Of being misunderstood.
  2. Fear that I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough, talented enough. I’m too old, not cool enough, not popular enough. All of those. You know the drill.
  3. Fear that anyone else who tried to do the same thing would be way better. Basically, playing the comparison game. Everyone else seems to have more friends, more fun, more likers, more amazing photos on Instagram, more of everything that seems to define us these days.

Oh, but laying there looking up at the twilight sky in the middle of our ice rink, I realized that falling isn’t really so bad. Yes, I’ve been rubbing my sore neck all week, and walking a little slower since the fall.

But I didn’t break. I got back up. I didn’t let my fear keep me from blasting my music and skating with my girls. I’m glad I went out there, and I plan to do it again. And the best part? I’m not nearly as afraid of falling now.

**

What about you? Do you have a fear of falling, either literally or figuratively?

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Skating Rink Construction, 101

Back in the fall, the weather reports predicted that this winter in Chicago would be one of the worst in memory. We were supposed to have more snow and more freezing temps in December than ever before.
We were excited. Last year, our entire family was converted from winter haters to — dare I say it? — winter lovers!? Of course, we still prefer summer, or fall or even spring. Winter is definitely not our season of choice. But we had so much fun last winter that we were kind of looking forward to it.
Our house was a winter sport wonderland last year. The kids figured out how to use recycling bins to pack huge bricks of snow and build tall snow-boarding hills. My husband built an ice skating rink in the backyard. And we had that awesome blizzard to provide a playground of snow!
When we heard the prediction for this winter, we decided to make our skating rink bigger and better than before. Our plan was to start construction Thanksgiving weekend and be ready with a pond full of frozen water by Dec. 1.
But then… it didn’t snow. And the temperatures didn’t drop. December was mild, and we barely got a dusting of snow. We couldn’t believe it when the first two weeks of January felt more like spring than winter! We started getting used to playing outside in 40 and 50 degree weather.
Finally, the snow came today. CapableDad has been working overtime in the backyard to get the ice rink ready before the temperature dove into the 20s. Here’s the step-by-step of this year’s skating rink construction project.
First, we decided to move the play structure so we could extend the rink by 10 feet.
Next, he built a frame around the area, which is about 30 by 40 feet.
Our yard is fairly level. However, it does decline by about eight inches from the front to the back. To save on the cost of water, my husband put wood pallets in the back of the rink. He and two friends collected the pallets from all sorts of places.
The frame on the very back of the rink is about three boards high and it’s only one board high on the front. The goal is to have five inches of water on the most shallow part of the rink.
They were working hard all day yesterday and into the evening. The temperature was in the mid-50s most of the day and the kids were playing without coats!
The guys put plywood across the pallets and then filled in the step to the ground with leaves and grass. The kids thought this made a great stage.
Next they had to lay the huge piece of plastic across the frame. My husband bought the plastic at Home Depot. One piece isn’t wide enough, so they used duct tape to attach two pieces and secure the seam in the middle. This step is crucial. If you leave any gaps or holes, the water will leak through and you will spend hundreds of dollars watering the lawn!
They don’t actually attach the plastic because it could pull and rip. They just laid it across the area and over the frame. As we added water last night, we tried to remove air bubbles and get the thick plastic to lay as flat as possible.
We filled the rink halfway last night. We got several inches of snow this morning, which added to the water level. It will take several days to freeze. We still need to add more water, which will help smooth out all of the bumps left by the snow.
I read that the temperature is supposed to get back into the 40s next week. We’re hoping it’s not true. We are actually cheering for more snow and more cold so we can put on our skates soon!

aug2011emily

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Ice sculptures

Well, our skating rink has changed to a swimming pool. Or maybe a fishing pond. The kids have been fishing in it anyway.

Here are a few of their catches, which they proudly displayed in a SHADY spot:

They found a guitar:

 

And an ice garden:

 

Louisiana:

 

And the United States: (oops! It’s upside down!)

 

And, of course, with three boys in the hunt, you knew they would find a gun:

 

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The skating rink

This is a double post from my daily photo blog. I’m starting to really get in the hang of posting a photo every day over there, and I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would! But for those of you who read in a reader or via e-mail and you don’t check the link to my daily photo blog, I’m posting this one both places.
Our ice-skating rink is finally complete. It turned out far better than I ever anticipated!
Because we started so late building it, we couldn’t even consider trying to level the yard first. It’s funny that even in a yard that seems fairly flat, a few inches of decline can make a huge difference when you are thinking of filling a space with water.
The rink is about 28 feet by 26 feet. My wonderful husband had to build up the far side because it is about six inches deeper than the opposite corner. This means we have about eight inches of water in the deepest section and only about two inches in the diagonal corner.
We’ve learned a lot about the freezing properties of water. It took us nearly a week to add layers of water and let them freeze. In the middle of this process, we got several inches of snow. That seems like a good way to fill the rink with water, right? Well, not exactly.
It’s too cold for the snow to melt and create a nice smooth surface. If it freezes, it will create bumps that have to be chipped away. So, snow means we need to shovel the rink!
But after much waiting, much shoveling, much filling, much chipping away at uneven ice, we finally got  to skate this weekend!
I joined in on the fun on Sunday afternoon. The rink doesn’t seem like it would be big enough to really get good exercise. But it actually is. It took me a few laps to find my center of gravity. I haven’t ice skated in about 10 years.
Once I did, I spent about an hour going around and around. We brought out some music, which was even more fun!
These days, we closely monitor the weather. But unlike most years when we moan and groan if it drops below 20, we are starting to look forward to those days! We want to keep our ice frozen so we can have lots more fun on the rink.

dec2010emily

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Fun on the ice

16/365
Our ice skating rink is finally complete. It turned out far better than I ever anticipated!
Because we started so late building it, we couldn’t even consider trying to level the yard first. It’s funny that even in a yard that seems fairly flat, a few inches of decline can make a huge difference when you are thinking of filling a space with water.
The rink is about 28 feet by 26 feet. My wonderful husband had to build up the far side because it is about six inches deeper than the opposite corner. This means we have about eight inches of water in the deepest section and only about two inches in the diagonal corner.

 

We’ve learned a lot about the freezing properties of water. It took us nearly a week to add layers of water and let them freeze. In the middle of this process, we got several inches of snow. That seems like a good way to fill the rink with water, right? Well, not exactly.
It’s too cold for the snow to melt and create a nice smooth surface. If it freezes, it will create bumps that have to be chipped away. So, snow means we need to shovel the rink!

 

But after much waiting, much shoveling, much filling, much chipping away at uneven ice, we finally got  to skate this weekend!

 

I joined in on the fun on Sunday afternoon. The rink doesn’t seem like it would be big enough to really get good exercise. But it actually is. It took me a few laps to find my center of gravity. I haven’t ice skated in about 10 years.
Once I did, I spent about an hour going around and around. We brought out some music, which was even more fun!

 

These days, we closely monitor the weather. But unlike most years when we moan and groan if it drops below 20, we are starting to look forward to those days! We want to keep our ice frozen so we can have lots more fun on the rink.
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