Our Biking Adventures

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. 

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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!! 

2015: The Year to Get Organized

I am not one for resolutions, but this year it turns out I have one: Get Organized. Last year, I started a list of “projects” I wanted to accomplish around the home – mostly things that needed to be organized or purged, but some small fix-it projects too. After finishing 80% of that list, I rolled into a new list for 2015. 

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Of course, I managed to more than double the list once I created it, but I was really feeling encouraged. During the Winter break, I managed to complete a number of items on my 2014 list and even some on my 2015 list and I was finally seeing the results. Things were noticeably less cluttered, easier to clean, and my stress level was subsequently much better. I love it when everything is easy to put away and easy to find again. 

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And yes, I’m a little bit crazy. Having 2 boys will do that to you. ;)

At Least There Was Cake?

It was my birthday on Tuesday. I turned 33. It was not quite the birthday I had expected. 

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I love birthdays. Mine, the kids, other people: doesn’t matter. I. LOVE. Birthdays. A chance to celebrate, to get together, to share your love for someone? PERFECT. So, typically I’m one of those people who always has a birthday party. Sometime after kids, I skipped one because, well, kids. And one I skipped because I felt bad that I was one of the only people still having birthday get together. And then I figured SCREW IT birthdays are awesome and we don’t see people we care about often enough anyway. 

So, I was determined to have a party this year. For Ianiv too, actually, who had his 35th in October. Well. Life happened. We bought a cottage (crazy, stressful, amazing). Aiden started school (amazing, so great, an adjustment on our schedule). We had weekends packed with events (which I love, but still crazy). I had a lot of ups and downs with work (mostly ups). Damien started potty training. And dropping his nap. And both kids were sleeping like crap. Put it all together and my birthday just crept up too quickly and I never did get around to planning something. 

The day of my birthday involved a feverish 5-year-old and a potty trained 2.5 year old who withholds for painful periods of time, with much stress and tears and anxiety along the way. 

But at least there was cake? And beer advent calendars? 

As Aiden’s teacher kindly reminded me, moms and celebrations don’t often mix! ;)

To My Son on the First Day of Kindergarten

Aiden arieanna

Dear Aiden,

I’ve been known to write you letters on your birthday and other special occasions. Tomorrow isn’t your birthday, but it is nonetheless momentous. I have felt all day that I am bursting with mixed emotions about the changes that begin tomorrow. There is so much that I am feeling and so much I want to say. So I’m writing you this letter. 

Tomorrow you begin Kindergarten. Tomorrow you begin walking a path that will slowly take you into your own future life. Your own independence. 

Up to now, we have walked hand in hand as you have grown up. I have been with you almost every day of your nearly 5 years. I have had the privilege to take care of you each and every day. Yes, you had preschool, but what is 4 hours really? Just a moment gone by. And now 5 years of those moments have flown by and you are here, on the precipice of all this change. This change which suddenly overwhelms me.

Tomorrow I will walk you to school. I will hold your hand and I will give you a hug and I will wave at you as you enter your new school. You’ll meet new friends, some of whom may turn out to be lifelong friends, some of whom may not. But either way, most of those kids will be with you for years to come. You will spend most of your waking hours with them. 

Tomorrow I will let go of your hand as you enter your school. Those first steps take you to a place where I cannot hold your hand, but will forever be at your side, thinking of you. Even as the years pass and you no longer want to hold my hand as we walk to school, I’ll still be there. Even as you head off to high school then graduate, I’ll still be there. Even as you forge your own life on your own, I’ll still be there. I’ll always be there. 

Tomorrow I will let go of your hand. Tomorrow your new life begins. 

I love you Aiden. I am so proud of you and so excited for you and so nervous as well. 

Love,
Mommy

Home Offices Are Necessary

Ianiv and I have been working from home in some capacity for about 9 years now. We both left our ‘corporate’ jobs to start our own company and also work with local start-ups in Vancouver, him as a software developer and me as a marketing & blogging & social media consultant. Our roles have varied through time, but through it all we’ve always required a place from home in which to work. 

When we lived in our small apartment in Kitsilano, our “office” was our living room, him on one side of the room and myself on the other. It worked and we fit an amazing amount of furniture into such a small space. But we both found that it was hard to ‘stop’ work when the day was over, since our computers were always within sight. The laptops often traveled to the couch with us. 

IMG 0107Damien ‘working’ at Daddy’s desk

When we purchased our current house, which had 3 bedrooms and a ‘den’ on the third floor, we set up two separate offices. I took the top floor with the window view while Ianiv took an office on the bedroom level. Since we had our two boys, we’ve had to merge offices. Since my office space was larger, and actually contained a couch at one point and a spare bed at another, it made sense to use the upper floor. 

We have shared this office space for a couple of years now and it’s served us well. We are currently looking to  build a custom desk to minimize the ‘stuff’ and maximize our space, which has been my motto for the past year (see my Pinterest board for my inspiration ideas). But I will say this – I am so glad our office is high up. 

When you have kids, they naturally want to be with you. If one of us is up here working, we can (mostly) ensure that the chaos of the kids stays far away from the work space. Sometimes little feet come running up for attention from the other parent, but mostly we try to avoid that. Though the noise does travel, the physical space acts as a boundary both for us (mentally) as well as for them. I find it much easier to get into the headspace of work in a dedicated office, as well as to mentally release from work when I leave. 

If you also work from home, how do you manage the work / life balance as well as the physical space issue? I’d love to hear your thoughts.