My ActiveMama Buttons

Thanks to everyone who voted in my poll to help choose the designs for my new ActiveMama Buttons! After the feedback, I went with the two most popular designs, and came up with a more generic third design that features Aiden’s caricature. I’m beyond happy with the results – what do you think?

If you’re at Northern Voice, come see my talk or come say hi and I’ll pass out some buttons. I will have about 100 of each design.

For those of you who want to show your support of ActiveMama, I also made a web button you can put on your own website:

Feel free to grab and use the following HTML:

<p align="center"><a href="http://www.activemama.com/"><img height="122" border="0" style="margin: 5px" width="125" alt="ActiveMama" src="http://www.activemama.com/wp/../uploads/2011/04/active-mama-web-button1.jpg" /></a></p>

Meet an Active Mama: Kia

As part of our ongoing ActiveMama Profile series, I had the opportunity to interview Kia, a mom of three who was introduced to me by a mutual friend. I’ve not had the opportunity to meet Kia, but our mutual friend believed her to be an inspiring and active mama, which I can definitely support after our email exchanges! You can follow along with Kia from her photography blog, website or on Twitter.

Kia introduces herself: I’m a 33yr old Mom of three – Ryder (4), Rowyn (2), and Renyck (5 mths). I absolutely love being a Mom and feel so lucky to get to stay home with my children every day.

My husband and I both grew up on the North Shore and feel blessed to be able to raise our children here too. Both of our sets of parents are also in North Van, so the kids get to see a lot of their grandparents; it’s awesome.

I’ve always had a camera in my hand. In elementary school, I used to set up little photo shoots in my parents’ backyard – I still remember my favourite ‘fruit bowl’ still life…hilarious. Don’t worry, I’ve come a long way since then. I just seem to ‘see’ things differently. Always looking for that spontaneous moment – that glance, that giggle, that snuggle…those little things that really capture a family. I feel so much love in my heart when I look at my own family photos, which makes me so excited to capture them for others.

What did you do to socialize or network with other moms when your kids were first born?

Kia: When my first child was born, none of my girlfriends were having kids yet. So, I was really lucky to have connected with the moms from my prenatal class. We shared so many stories/questions/drama via emails and also tried to meet for a walk or coffee every week. It was an amazing support group. In addition, I loved to get to as many library story times as possible and also enrolled in Mother Goose, infant massage, Kindermusik and Mom+Baby yoga. At times, it was stressful trying to get out of the house with a wee one, but it was always worth it. Fun and rejuvenating for the both of us.

That’s how I feel too! Do you still have a network of mom friends from this time – how has it changed or evolved?

My network of mom friends has changed a lot since the days of my first little guy. I don’t see the girls from my prenatal class anymore, but we do keep up to date on each other via social networking. It’s so fun to see how everyone’s family has grown and wow, how big the kids are now.

It’s amazing how ‘Mom friendships’ evolve and change over time. I have chosen to stay home with my kids, so as other Mom friends went back to work, it became increasingly difficult to make play dates and synch schedules. Naturally, friendships evolved with other moms that were also around during the week and could get together for play dates. Also, as my kids have made friends through playgroups and preschool, more new connections have formed with other parents. I feel so blessed to have a core group of Mom friends to share the ups and downs of everyday life with three kids. They are incredible women and incredible supporters.

How do you balance family, working full-time and also getting time to yourself or couple-time free from the kids?

“Balance”…this question made me laugh…This is truly the million dollar question. Some days I feel like I’ve got it dialed, others are just a struggle. I can definitely say that since having my third, it has become a lot harder to find that balance of work/family/play. I used to have ‘free time’ (lol) while my son was at preschool and my daughter was napping. A good 2 hrs of guilt free work, sometimes even accompanied by a latte…it was fabulous. Well, not so much the case anymore. Evenings are now when I do the bulk of my work. I joke that at 8pm every night, I get to go to my second job. It’s not ideal, and I often end up working until midnight, but it’s what is working for me right now. Most importantly, it’s what’s working best for the kids too.

I am really lucky to have an incredible husband. He is my ultimate supporter and the most phenomenal dad. He is so hands on with the kids and doesn’t think twice about taking all three kids out and about on his own. If I’m stressed to meet a deadline, he’s the first to gather the kids and head out so I can hunker down and work. I don’t like to miss out on family time though, so I try really hard to limit those situations.

As far as time to myself, it has taking me a long time to feel ok asking for ‘me time’. Now that things are a bit more busy on a day to day basis, I am much more comfortable, and grateful, for a little alone time. It usually takes the form of a run or swim, so not exactly ‘footloose and fancy free’, but it’s like pushing a reset button on your energy and patience…fabulous. Continue reading

Help Me Design My Buttons – Vote!

I’m designing some ActiveMama buttons in anticipation of Northern Voice and wanted your help choosing my designs! I can choose 3 designs for the print run, and these are my top 6:

buttons.jpg

I am pretty sure #3 will be chosen, but I’m not sure for the other two. The ‘team baby’ is a bit of a play on last year’s controversy… but is it too conference-specific? Or does it matter? Please help me by voting in the poll below for your favourite designs (up to 3):

Which designs do you like?

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Please note: the button will be what appears on the inner circle. The design / colours between the outer and inner circles represents the bleed area / how the button will wrap.

What Makes You An Active Mama?

I’d love to know how you and your family stay active – what activities do you do? Where do you go?

I’ve put together a basic poll with a few options, but please chime in with a comment about some of your favourite things to do:

What do you do to stay active with your family?

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Meet an Active Mama: Jessica Liew

As part of our ongoing ActiveMama Profile series, I thought this would be a great opportunity for you to get to know ActiveMama’s contributing author, Jessica Liew. Jessica is one of my closest friends and an inspirational mother, always ready with an encouraging word or a smile. Aside from contributing here, Jessica and her husband also run a fabulous recipe blog, Tonight’s Dinner.

Here’s an introduction by Jessica Liew: I’m a 31-year-old teacher who happily lives an active lifestyle in the perfect place to get out and enjoy both community spirit and the outdoors: North Vancouver. I became a mother for the first time on December 11, 2009 just a few months shy of my 30th birthday. Zayden was a mellow, happy little guy from day one and has always enjoyed getting out and seeing new people and places, so he really helped me get to know our community much better than before. He’s 15-months-old now and loves going anywhere that he can walk freely. He’s also working on developing his vocabulary. His current favourite thing to do is look out the window for dogs and then make barking noises when he sees one.

After Zayden was born, you got out quickly with him. Was this intentional? Did you have things you planned to do to meet other moms?

Getting out of the house on a daily basis was not something I planned in advance; it was survival. I was very anxious (yay, crashing hormones!) for the first few weeks after Zayden was born, and getting dressed and going for a walk with the stroller everyday helped to ease those anxieties a bit. Once we got in that habit and Zayden got a little older, I started looking for more structured activities that we could enjoy together and made an effort to meet up regularly with the moms from our prenatal class.

Structured activities get a bad rap – I think they’re great! How has being back at work affected your connection with your mom network, if at all?

Being back at work has affected everything in my life including my relationships though not always in a negative way. It is definitely harder to find time to see everyone we would like to see when there are only two days on the weekend to do so, but we are never short for plans anymore. I am also lucky to have my summers off as a teacher, so I look forward to reconnecting with everyone in the summer months and enjoying the sunshine with an active toddler in tow.

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