Damien is the crazier of our two kids. He is the one most likely to run, not walk. To jump from high places. To run into traffic laughing. To need to be told 3 times to stop before actually stopping. To laugh when he falls. He’s also crazy co-ordinated, so we’ve armed him with his own 2-wheel scooter since he was 2 and a pedal bike since his 3rd birthday. He spent 2 days using the training wheels then we worked on taking them off. With the aid of Escape Adventures and his own daring co-ordinated nature, he’s become a strong biker. Thankfully, he’s also recently learned how to stop!
Now, whether it was wise to arm this child with the ability to go faster than we can… we are working HARD on his listening skills!
Last year I created my first ever Bucket List for the Summer, focusing my attention on the things we as a family really wanted to do during the Summer. This way, whenever we had a free day, I could easily look at my list and say “Hey, let’s go do one of these activities!” – in the end, we checked off nearly all of the items on our list!! I feel like Summer is just going to fly by this year, and it hasn’t even started!
- Spend as many weekends as possible at our cottage on Keats Island, bringing friends when we can! We also plan to spend 2 full weeks there (one in July, one in August), if the weather is nice
- Catch our own food! The kids both want to learn how to fish, us adults want to learn how to set up crab traps and prawn traps
- Take more family bike trips, including around Stanley Park and a trip over to the Rocky Point Park area. I’d also like to do more biking locally, to get to parks with both kids on my own, and use my bike more to achieve my personal fitness goals (with or without the kids).
- Spend the day at Playland, which should be easy! The kids both love rides now, which is great. I am thinking this year we will go before the PNE, which limits the number of rides but does make it less insanely busy
- Spend more time at the pool, particularly New Brighton which is so close to us! Aiden is eager to continue practicing his new swimming skills. He may even convince me to get him a snorkel ;)
- Take more mid-week day trips, which I tend to shy away from, being so much work with 2 kids. My top new places to visit are Jericho Beach, Bunzten Lake, Belcarra, and Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby, but I also want to spend the day at Granville Island enjoying the water park and some good food. I doubt I’ll make it to them all, but those are my top choices.
- Revisit favourite splash parks, including those in North Vancouver, as well as favourites close by: John Lawson Park, Rocky Point Park, and Confederation Park
- Visit more new playgrounds, which is so much fun for the kids. My goal is to expand my North Vancouver Playground reviews by another 10 playgrounds, plus make day trips to others that are on my radar: Terra Nova, Queenston Park, Empire Fields, Queens Park
- Test out some bike parks, like the Inter-River Bike Park or even the Seymour Demonstration Forest trails
- Set up lots of playdates, which will be key to keeping Aiden sane this summer! He’s made so many good friends, I know he’ll miss them!
- Add more hikes into rotation, though we’ll still keep up with our Favourite Hikes in North Vancouver! Maybe we’ll try Quarry Rock or more in the Seymour Conservation Park?
- Go to the bouncy castles in West Van, an item high on Aiden’s bucket list
- Set up a lemonade stand, which was a lot of fun last year
- Go camping as a family, a first for us and already booked!
- Visit Splashdown park, thanks to a lovely coupon! I am super psyched for this. Aiden is great with waterslides now (a few months later for our Hawaii trip, oh well!), and is very excited for this! Splashdown Park this year, Cultus Lake perhaps next year? Unless I can somehow squeeze a weekend trip into our already insanely packed summer…. hmm…
What’s on YOUR bucket list for this summer??
Last year, in an effort to safely teach Aiden to ride on roads, I purchased a new bike. The first bike I’ve had in many years. As someone who has suffered from neck injuries for many years, I thought my biking days were done… until I was introduced to the city bike style. City bikes allow you to sit more upright, like you see all over Europe, and suddenly the world opened up to me! I love my Brodie Bike!!
Last year, we took some long bike trips as a family, including around Stanley Park and more recently along the Spirit Trail. I’ve been wanting to bike on my own a lot more, but have had difficulty finding time in my schedule go head out. I think I’ve also been a little stubborn on my road to physical recovery, wanting to resume running nearly 1.5 years after I injured my foot. After a few months of ‘saying’ I wanted to switch the toddler bike seat onto my bike, it’s finally happened! And, since then, I’ve managed to take Damien on 3-4 rides per week – even trips to pick him up from preschool, then a jaunt up to the park for his lunch, are enough to fit in my ‘workout’ for the week.
Biking with a 3-year old strapped onto the back is a lot harder than just biking on my own. It’s taken some practice to get used to the balance, and I’m getting a lot more of a workout on the hills for sure!
Damien still loves riding in the bike, though we’re starting to hear a bit of grumbling about him wanting to ride his bike instead. For now, this is working out for us. I’ll take advantage of it as much as I can, at least until Aiden is out of school and unwilling to take such hilly rides!!
Today you turn three years old! THREE! As you proudly ask every day of late, “I’m bigger now?”, you have been excited about the prospect of growing up and getting to do all the things you see your brother doing. There’s really very little that stops you now anyway, but you so want to go from being a “little boy,” as you say, to a “big boy.” I, on the other hand, have mixed feelings about you growing up.
Last year, we saw the emergence of your love for music. This year, it’s blossomed into nearly your whole life. When you’re not drumming (which in all honesty is most of the day), you’re playing guitar (du-gar, to you). Your biggest wishes in life are about “one day I have a red electric guitar” and “one day, I get a biiiiiig drums.” We talk a lot when you’re asleep about when is the appropriate time to indulge you with a drum set. So far, not yet. You rock out with far too much enthusiasm (and volume) for us to go there.
Damien, your enthusiasm for life is infectious, just like that cheesy grin of yours. You run up and hug those you love. You run when you could walk. You speed down the path on a two-wheeled scooter, fearless of falling. You brave new heights at the playground. You play your music with a whole-body abandon that makes us want to laugh from joy. You LOVE, Damien. And those around can’t help but love you back.
Your enthusiasm for life does make you, at times, quite a handful. You want all of me, all of the time; I’m your ‘MumMum,’ and you always want to share your love with me. You want to dominate – to have your turn, or your choice, or leave when you want. Your emotions burst out with your opinions, though it’s always short lived. In the end, you’re an optimist and will find another way to be happy. You may sometimes be a handful, clingy, cheeky, or a crazy monkey, but I’d never call you grumpy. It’s not your way.
You love your music. You love playing cars. You love driving outdoor cars and scooters. You love bike rides. You love the swing at the park. You love running and jumping and skipping (at least you think you’re skipping). You prefer to use your imagination than play with a specific toy. You love books and drawing. You love life, and always show it. How many kids say “Oooh, I love shopping!” That’s your outlook, right there, even if your enthusiasm makes shopping with you less-than-easy.
You are growing up, my little Damien. And I’m so proud of seeing you change. I’m proud to see you take your steps into independence, forging relationships with friends your own age or challenging yourself to play like the big kids on the playground. I’m always excited to see your laughing little face waiting for me after preschool. Or to watch your mind and soul expand as you listen to live music.
The light shines from you, my boy, and it shines on all of us around you. I can’t wait to see what adventures this year bring for you. Embrace the world and make it yours. I hope that joy continues to burst forth from you always, for it brings such a rare light to this world.
Happy birthday to you, my Damien!
All my love,
Today I was invited to Aiden’s class for a special Mother’s Day tea. We were treated to a song (“Inch by Inch”), a poem, some treats plus some beautiful gifts. Each child created a piece of art about what they love about us (that I sing to Aiden at night), spoken to the whole group, a booklet with our portrait and favourite things, some jam they each made, plus a necklace they created in pottery class. It was so beautiful! I totally cried while Aiden sang.
Every time I see Aiden perform I totally tear up. He used to hate it, and he almost never sings at home, despite the fact that he LOVES his music class at school. I don’t think he likes being on the spot! The only time I hear him singing is if I’m in the other room or if he’s falling asleep at night. Today, he stood right in front of me and proudly belted out the song! Such a beautiful boy. I was so proud!