September 15, 2014

Favorite Hikes – Baby-Carrying Edition

B and I spent our first year together getting out in the woods more than I have before. I find the woods calming – the air is clear, and you can get good exercise while not feeling like it’s a slog. We definitely found some favorites. Here are some of our recommendations:

Buntzen Lake – Best with Dogs

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I loved the Buntzen Lake hike we did this winter. It was foggy and moody by the lake, and the trail has nice short rolling inclines and descents. It’s long enough that energetic pooches will get worn out, but easy for those just looking for a low impact jaunt out of doors. Plus there are so many pooches, your furry family member is bound to make a friend or two!

Eagle Bluffs – Best Workout

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This is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is well worth the work! The start of the hike is a steep ascent for 45 minutes. It levels out at the top, but is also a fairly long distance. Once you get to your destination, the view is one of the most spectacular. You can see pretty much the entire Lower Mainland, from the Gulf Islands to the Fraser Valley to Semiahmoo Bay. You’ll definitely feel like Supermom after this one!

Nairn Falls – Best Getaway

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Nairn Falls in Pemberton is a good little hike if you feel like a scenic road trip. It’s a pretty short hike, but the river is lovely, and the waterfall is pretty majestic. The drive from Vancouver to Pemberton is so beautiful, the 3 hours pass by in no time. We were nursing Colds when we did this hike, so if you wanted more time in the woods, I’d pair it with Shadow Lake.

Capilano River – Best for Multi-Level

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I know I just wrote about it, but I’m still impressed with how much this hike offered for all ages and levels. You never go too long without a good viewpoint. The fish ladder at the Hatchery is lots of entertainment for young kids. And you still get some workout in with a few good hills.

Lighthouse Park – Best Quickie

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If you only have a short time for a hike, Lighthouse Park is the way to go. The drive out showcases some neat West Van mansions. The hike down to the Point Atkinson Lighthouse is quite short, and has a good area for little to romp around. Personally, I prefer the Juniper Point Trail, which has a wonderful view up Howe Sound. Bonus – there are some rock climbing routes here if your kids are old enough to mind the edge (definitely not safe for toddlers!)

Those were some of the standouts from the hikes we did this year. Winter brings snowshoe season, so I’m hoping the weather will allow for some more good outdoor adventures in the months to come!

September 13, 2014

Capilano Watershed

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We went on a hike around the Capilano Watershed today. It was a great hike, one that will grow well with B as he gets older and more mobile. It was flat enough that once he’s a bit better of a walker he’ll be able to tackle it, but with a short uphill section to give a bit of a workout. The Hatchery and the Cleveland Dam were good stopping points – the Hatchery had a fish ladder that was very entertaining, and the Dam had a nice park for picnicking. For a short hike, it sure had some gorgeous little nooks of scenery!

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September 12, 2014

Field Trip Fridays

We’ve been changing to a new schedule around here. I’m back in school four days a week, and B has a combination of days in daycare and with his Nana. It’s been a relatively smooth – only a few clingy evenings and I’m hopeful we’re getting through the restless nights soon!

I’m happy to be back in school – mat leave was great, but it’s nice to have some balance and external structure to my days. And I’m liking being a student – I was too restless in my 20s to be able to study, but I feel very happy to spend evenings with my textbook these days.

The best part about this new schedule, though, is that B and I still have Fridays together! I’ve signed us up for a morning class to keep us a bit on routine, and hopefully we’ll get some good afternoon outings in after that. Especially now that I have the student all-zone transit pass!

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This week we went to check out the Aquarium. They’ve reopened after a big remodel, and it looks great! With the teacher’s strike still ongoing, it was way more crowded than I was hoping for. I wasn’t able to let B test his walking out as much as I was hoping because he nearly got run over by kids camp after kids camp. But we still had a good time. The jellyfish are still by far his favorite!

August 28, 2014

B Turns One!

I can’t believe it, my little guy is turning one! What a year it’s been.

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A year ago, our little B came into the world. Right away he had a look of wisdom and a desire to see as much of the world as we are able to show him.

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He has developed into a social, cheerful little guy who knows how to bring the party. Which is why we’re still working on the sleep thing. But he’s a good cuddler when he does go to sleep, so it’s okay.

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He’s grown from an tiny little chicken into a  handsome monkey. I can’t believe the difference one year has made, and I can’t wait to see what the next one brings!

Happy Birthday Little B!

August 25, 2014

Grouse Grind

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B and I braved the Grouse Grind a few weeks ago. Had I done it before, I made not have attempted it with a baby. But a good mix of courage and stupidity made me decide to give it a go! It’s also one of those trails I feel okay going solo, since it’s such a tourist trap.

A few things I learned my first time:

1) Use a proper hiking pack. I love my Beco Gemini because it’s low profile and light weight. But proper hiking packs have somewhat better weight distribution, which will save your shoulders on a longer hike. They also usually double as chairs and have little pockets to stash things. Which brings up my second point…

2) Don’t bring the diaper bag. Literally pack 1-2 diapers, an extra onesie, and snacks. You likely won’t change a diaper on the way up, and if you need wipes, paper towels at the lodge will suffice.

3) Eat outside. It was quite crowded the day we went, and all the balcony seats in the cafeteria were taken. I intended to poke around afterward and check out the scenery, but I was in an endorphin and food coma and could barely navigate to the gondola down! I wish I could have enjoyed the view from the top a bit longer.

Now that I’ve learned my lesson, I think I’ll have a better trip if there’s a next time. I swore on the way up “Never Again”. But now that some time has passed, and some other moms have expressed interest, there might be a trip in my future. The feeling of accomplishment at the top is pretty incredible, and B was itching to try a few of the steps himself!

August 19, 2014

Trout Lake Fun

One of the best things about living on Commercial Drive is the proximity to Trout Lake. It’s perfect for feeling a bit tucked away from the busy city. From our house, it’s a pleasant little walk, mostly along the Central Valley Greenway. We had my baby shower there, and we will have B’s birthday party there.

B is just barely old enough for playgrounds, so we’ve just begun to explore the local parks to find our favorites. So far, even though we live very near a smaller, less crowded park, I like the experience of Trout Lake much better. There’s a little beach, two playgrounds (one with a very baby-friendly area), ample grassy sections, and there is always something going on to stop and watch.

We made a trip there a few weeks ago when it was super sunny out. I love being able to get out in the sunshine, but I wish B would tolerate a hat! He always looks a bit disheveled when he’s slathered in sunscreen!

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Enjoying a swing at the Eastside Playground

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Contemplating at the beach

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B thinks wheels are the coolest right now.

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The mud pit at the Westside Playground was the greatest, but marked the end of our visit!

August 19, 2014

Stanley Park Exploring

August 19, 2014

Back From Blog Maternity Leave

We’re back! After an extended hiatus at the end of my pregnancy and transitioning to motherhood, I’ve decided to pick up the blog again. So we have lots to catch up on, which means I have lots of material for posts!

A brief overview:

Baby B:

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Little B

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Big B

We have a baby! Our son B was born August 2013. He was just a little guy, but has grown up plenty, and is now a bustling 1-year-old.

Being a mom puts all your habits under a microscope. You see the purity of your child’s personality, and you fear how both you and the world will damage it. And you want your child to learn the best things possible from you, so you suddenly become hyperaware of all the bad habits you possess. You also become aware of your strengths – what you want your child to admire about you. Motherhood has brought out my adventurous spirit, and I’m still learning how to let go of some of my anxieties so I don’t pass them onto B.

Ger:

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Home:

We’re still living near Commercial Drive in Vancouver and couldn’t be happier. Our street is full of kiddos, and there’s lots to do within a short distance. Our space is definitely crowded with all the baby stuff, but for now, I love our little home.

Fitness:

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Having a baby really changed how I view my body. I realized the power it has, and the value of taking care of it. Parenthood also makes you want to model the behaviors you value, and Nick and I both value fitness and health. I’ve been hiking, running, and doing lots of yoga, as well as things like neighborhood walks and swimming lessons with B! Nick has taken up hockey, so we go watch him play when the games are early.

Cooking:

I had some degree of nausea for my entire pregnancy, so cooking fell a fair bit by the wayside. Now, since B is fully into finger foods, I’m learning to cook meals that all 3 of us can eat. I haven’t done much gluten-free baking, since sleep-deprivation has killed my ability to do the math and complex ratios that recipe-making entails. I’m hopeful to get back to it a bit more as B starts sleeping better through the night (which will hopefully happen soon!).

That’s an update on where we are for now. More to come in the near future.

May 9, 2013

Moving Tips

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I have pretty much become a pro at moving now. I hope to be in our current place for awhile, but I know another move is likely in our future. Hopefully several years from now.

Here are some tips for if you’re moving! I’ve learned things that are important for if you are moving now, have an impending move in the near future, or are pregnant.

If you’re moving NOW:

1) Label ALL THE THINGS

Seriously, moves are chaos. Even if you are moving across the street, at some point shit is just going to get thrown together in panic. The better you organize what goes into boxes and make it easy to find, the smoother things will go.

Label your boxes in detail. Include all the items in each box. Include where it came from if it is something you don’t use often. Be Martha Stewart and tape colour-coded construction paper to boxes based on room or category (however works best for your space). Have a separate colour for those things you will want to unpack immediately. Tape the code to as many visible places in your new space as possible for people lugging boxes.

2) Pack in the opposite order you think you should pack in.

The last 10% of your shit will take the same amount of time, if not longer, than the first 90% of your shit. Trust me, it is always this way. Everyone things they are in great shape because their kitchen and books are neatly packed and all that is left is their wall decor, their sports closet, and their clothes and shoes. You know, all the shit that doesn’t fit into neat, orderly little boxes.

If you do this, your brain will be so fried by the end of the move you will curl up in a little ball, cry, and then end up throwing this stuff in garbage bags that will explode all over your moving vehicle. Then you will cry when you have to unload. I speak from personal experience.

Pack your clothes, coats, and shoes first. Keep out only what you need for a few weeks, and keep it in a separate back pack or duffel bag. Pretend you’re going on a vacation.  Pack your other clothes in tubs you can somewhat access, and group them by things you definitely won’t need soon (i.e. snowsuits in the middle of summer) and things you may need for unexpected things (i.e. a dress for an unexpected semi-formal event).

Closets and cupboards should be packed early because they hold the most shit. You will find boxes and boxes of shit you forgot you had at the back and top of your front closet. Properly disposing of it takes as much forethought as packing it. The kitchen and bookshelves are the most straightforward thing to pack. You also need a lot of it until right before you move. Save it till last because you can just wrap and zone out.

3) Pack small, pack light.

Remember, you will be lugging tons of these things around in a short period of time. Would you rather lift 1000 boxes of tissue paper or 100 boxes of encyclopedias? I know my answer. You will inevitably have some things that are light and some things that are heavy; mix them if possible.

Liquor store boxes are a good size for heavier things. Large plastic tubs should be reserved for light things like clothes, shoes, bathroom toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. When packing books, pack the box halfway then fill with pillows, linens, writing supplies, or other light items.

If you’re moving SOON:

1) Cleanse

Lose all the shit you don’t need. Be brutal. Clothes you don’t like anymore, hobbies you no longer practice, cords and old cell phones take up boxes you are going to open and go “WHY?!” later on. You want to open your boxes later and remember why you love all the shit you’ve collected. Get rid of it if you don’t love it or desperately need it.

2) Get your shit together

The best thing I did at my last place was only half-unpack my stuff. Anything that was in a permanent box, like a plastic tub or a decorative box, and was grouped well just got thrown on a shelf. When it came time to pack, It just needed a few more things to fill it up, a lid, and to be taped up and labeled. Easy peasy. Then, when you get to your new place, you can just open those boxes, remove the few things that need to come out, and put the box in its new location. Done, unpacked.

If you have time between now and your move to get things into bins, boxes, and baskets, DO IT. Not only is stuff easier to find, it is easier to pack. Cabinets under sinks, food stuffs, clothing accessories, and hobby supplies are big targets for this.

3) Make friends with landscapers, construction workers, bodybuilders, etc.

I wish I was kidding. Friends with upper body strength and stamina are the best when you move. We had to do an emergency move once out of a 4th floor walk-up (thanks fire!). Our friend that landscapes and rock climbs was INVALUABLE. Bribe these people to be your friends with beer and witty conversation skills.

If you’re moving PREGNANT

1) Sit DOWN

Seriously. Now’s the time to call in those bodybuilder/construction worker friends and let them do the work. Sit in a chair and point where you want things. Get yourself a director’s chair if it helps set the mood.

Unless you are having one of those earth-mother-birth-goddess perfect pregnancies with glowing skin and boundless energy, you will need to take eating, drinking, and napping breaks, even if you are just sitting and pointing. Build this time into things. Remember: you are living with a parasite that is leeching energy, fluid, and calories from your system. No one would expect someone with an intestinal fluke to keep up with a healthy person. Don’t expect to operate at normal capacity.

2) If you can’t sit down, rent a dolly

Sometimes you don’t have friends to call in. Sometimes you just gotta do.

Moving lists always say “hire a moving company” or “rent a truck”. Kudos if you have that extra few grand kicking around. It is a worthy thing to spend your money on. However, moving while pregnant usually means you have a big expense or two already on the horizon. The cheapest favour you can do yourself is to rent a dolly or hand truck. This may seem like a luxury or a frivolous rental. THIS IS NOT FRIVOLOUS. Get one of those hand trucks that you can load as much onto as possible and push.

If you do have a few hundred dollars kicking around, Frog Boxes are a good option. You pack them, and someone else does the heavy lifting. If you can’t call in friends, these are economical friends to purchase.

3) Case the joint

If possible, know ahead of time roughly where things will go in your new place. Add notes to closets for people moving things. Pregnancy brain is real, and you will get flustered and overwhelmed with the amount of stuff. Designate at least one room or corner as the “I Don’t Give A Fuck” space, where stuff can go for you to sort through later.

Case your new neighbourhood as well. Know where you can get food and drinks easily (this includes liquor for your helpers). Find one or two places near by that you can order somewhat healthy food from. I’ve been fine with just pizza and fast food during other moves. This one, with the heart burn and the carb-fatigue, I wanted light, healthy meals and felt like shit eating otherwise.

Know where your local hardware store, dollar store, Costco, etc are if you will need to go get specific things like hooks, nails, TP, soap, or other odds and ends. If you are moving far away, know where you local hospital/medical care facility is. God forbid you should need it, but if you plan for it, it won’t happen.

April 23, 2013

Announcement and Changes

There are some big changes coming around here – mainly prompted by some pretty ginormous life changes!

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Yep, Hubby and I are expecting a baby in September! We are very excited for this new adventure. The Dahg will be a great big brother to his future sibling.

We have also decided to move back into Vancouver. New West is a lovely suburb, but suburban life is not for us. The commute to work is killing us, as is the distance from our friends. We will be moving to Commercial Drive – a slightly different part of our old East Van Hood. It is very family friendly, and we have several friends within walking distance.

This means a few things for the blog. First, my morning sickness explains the lack of cooking posts from the last few months! Second, we’ll have some home decorating projects to share. Third, and most importantly, you will probably see some baby stuff pop up around here.

That is all for now – I hope you are as excited as I am for the upcoming changes!

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