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Dare to dream

What do you dream about? Curtis and I have been talking a lot about our “dreams” lately.

What do we want? What kind of lifestyle do we ultimately want to live? Are we happy? If we could do ANYTHING what would it be? Is it what we’re doing now?

These are all things that we’ve been talking about lately. Why you ask?

Well partly because our house is for sale. We’re excited to be selling but not sure what we’re going to do after. We’re planning on staying where we are but for a number of reasons we’re not necessarily buying another house right away.

Being 100% debt free – even for a short period of time – will be AMAZING. I can’t wait!

It’s got us dreaming.

Eventually we’ve want to buy another house and right now we intend for that house to be here in Chilliwack, but not right away.

We’ve been going back to the days early on in our marriage when we had all kinds of dreams about the things we hoped to do with our lives. We’ve been talking about the experiences we want to offer our kids. We have some pretty big dreams.

We’ve also been talking a lot about what I want to do. I know this may sound funny, but for some reason being a stay at home mom is kind of like being a newly graduated high school student. I am regularly asked what I want to do when my kids go to school (much like the high school student is asked what they want to do when they grow up). Right now my answer is I don’t know.

So I’ve been dreaming. Trying to figure out what I want to do. Do I want to pursue another career path? What would that look like? I know I want to be home after school for the kids so that someone is here, so what kind of job would I be looking at? What would I like to pursue, what interests me, how much time do I want to invest? I have a few years to figure it out but it’s something that we’ve been talking about a lot.

It’s fun to dream. It’s brought Curtis and I closer and it gets contagious. To dare to dream is something that so many people are afraid to do which I think is so funny because really what are you hurting in entertaining a dream?

For us sometimes those dreams get us through.

Things get tough and we feel like we’re just slogging along so we start dreaming. We spend some of our spare time throwing around ideas. It helps keep us going and it makes life a lot more fun!

So what about you, do you dare to dream? Do you dream big? Do you find it encouraging? I hope so. If you haven’t had any big dreams in a while I would encourage you to spend some time dreaming!

Consistent Parenting – sigh

We’ve been having good days around here for the most part but E seems to be going through a phase of explosive tantrums.

Life will be just going along and everything is fine and then the smallest thing will set her off and BOOM it’s epic.

I’ve been at a bit of a loss as to how to cope.

This is not behaviour that we accept in our house and so this kind of epic tantrum results in her being removed from the situation (usually to her room, sometimes to ours).

But let me tell you, it’s hard. I sometimes think parenting is the definition of insanity – you know, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Across the board parenting experts will say that consistent parenting is important. And we try. Sometimes however I want to smack those parenting experts with their own book and ask them if they have ever actually been in the situation with their own child.

It’s funny though how sometimes a few days of consistency in the face of a behavioural issue will resolve the issue never to be seen again, and sometimes it takes time. A lot of time.

Something we’ve learned here recently and have really been working on is that our own response will either fan the flames, or douse them. If we respond equally as explosively then the situation will escalate. If we can react calmly without showing our own frustration at the event then the situation diffuses pretty quickly.

There are a few things that I have found encouraging lately. One, is that I’ve been hearing from friends that they’re going through the same things with their 4 year olds – it’s so nice to know that we’re not alone!

Another is that on a podcast I listen to the couple talks openly about their own 4 year old and the struggles they have with her from time to time. They frequently mention the explosive tantrums. What I always find as a good reminder is that they talk about her like she’s a baby – like she’s little.

My kids are little. L at 15 months needs very little discipline as of yet E at 4 needs more firm guidance but she is still little. I forget this. I remember her as a wee baby and she is so much bigger now than she was then. I’ve seen the progression from babe in arms to independent child and I often think of her as so big and mature.  When you spend your days with little people it’s easy to forget that they are little because it becomes the norm!

My point is that being reminded that they are little, young, immature, helps me to remember that I can’t have big behavioural expectations. They feel emotions in big ways, but they have no way of regulating them. It’s our job to teach them.

E especially is little miss drama. She feels everything to the MAX – love, excitement, happiness, fear, anger, and everything in between. 90% of the time she’s happy, sweet and tons of fun. She is an awesome, loving, kind, big hearted kid. She is an excellent big sister, because while she’s not overly motherly, she LOVES her sister. Deeply. She  plays with her, is generally patient, and at least tries (but doesn’t often succeed) to be gentle.

This also means that frustration, anger, and disappointment come out in big ways. Always at the most inconvenient and embarrassing moments (because why not). It is my job as her parent to lovingly and consistently teach her how to manage her emotions. How to show them appropriately.

It’s so easy to tell her to calm down, stop crying, or get over it. But that’s not really the point. The point is to teach her how to recognize the emotion and respond appropriately. After all you and I feel all these things too, it’s a normal part of being human!

I still haven’t come up with the amazing perfect parenting strategy for managing these behaviours, we try to be consistent but we’re also always trying new things. So if any of you have a great tip for diffusing a major tantrum please share I am open to suggestions.

New Look and Easy Donation

A few weeks ago I went for a hair cut. This may not be a big deal to many of you but it was my first cut in at least 3 years.Yes, you read that right 3 years. It was time for a new look!

I’d love to tell you that I purposely let it grow so that I would have enough to donate it but the truth is I was just lazy. Getting a cut was not a priority.

Finally, after about a year of saying it needed to be a priority I made it one. It felt SOOOOOOO GOOOOD! (And now, three weeks later it STILL feels so good, wow that head of hair was HEAVY!)

A friend and referred me to Tarise at Signature Hair Lounge here in Chilliack and she got me in within a week of my call.

While I was waiting for my appointment my cousin made a Facebook post about donating her hair to the Canadian Cancer Society. Years ago I looked into making a hair donation however I had a hard time finding a Canadian organization to send it to. So when I saw my cousin’s post I thought I would check it out.

WOW, it was SO easy! I found the Canadian Cancer Society’s website and searched Hair Donation. They have a whole page dedicated to it on their site and it was easy to find. On the page you’ll find their donation guidelines. This includes things like the minimum length for donation, hair must be clean, in a ponytail when it’s cut not swept off the floor etc. Definitely take the time to read it before heading for your cut if you intend to do this.

The Cancer Society works with Pantene Beautiful Lengths and you can even print off the mailing label right from the website FOR FREE. It literally cost me nothing more than the haircut I was planning on getting anyway to send my hair to this great cause.

Now I also have to tell you that Tarise did an awesome job. I didn’t give her many stipulations just that I wanted to cut at least 8″ to meet the minimum to donate (I ended up cutting 15″). AND most importantly since I knew the 8″ stipulation would be easy whatever was left ALL had to fit into a ponytail for running.

Now I don’t know about you but any time I’ve ever sat in that chair and said “please make sure it still fits in a ponytail”, I’ve often left the salon with about two inches less hair than I need to actually accomplish that. I knew giving her free reign was a risk and I was willing to take it HOWEVER I am sitting here writing this with ALL my hair in a ponytail – she ACTUALLY did it which is amazing. My hair looks GREAT! It takes a bit of work to style it the way I like it if I’m going to leave it down but it looks and feels awesome AND it met my ponytail requirement. So thank you Tarise for being awesome. I will be a repeat customer! (I booked my next trim before I left to ensure that I got back for it.)

So, if you’re looking to get a cut I highly recommend Tarise and if you have at least 8″ of hair to part with then I would strongly encourage you to follow the links above and get it done. It feels great, and it’s one of the easiest ways I’ve ever come across to make a tangible difference in someone’s life. There’s really no excuse not to!

2014 Goal Recap

Whew, I’m behind. Better late than never I guess.

I thought I’d do a quick review of my 2014 goals before I set my 2015 goals.

2014 brought with it many changes and adjustments as we added L to the family early in the year. It took me a lot longer to get myself organized and out of the new baby fog than I anticipated, and so my goals well, some of them were pipe dreams. But if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time (I think that’s a Zig Ziglar quote but not positive).

SO goals how did I do…

After looking at my post from last year I realized I actually did better than I thought. Some areas fell completely to the wayside, but in others I did ok. Here’s the re-cap:

Professional Goals

  • I pretty much bailed on this whole area. I tried to continue working for Curtis a few hours a week, but we ended up deciding that my time was better spent with the kids, so he hired an assistant in his business to take over my responsibilities. She is amazing, and a blessing to us and the business having her as part of the team allows me to focus on the family for now and later we can figure out what role I will play.
  • Read Entreleadership – YES I DID! And I enjoyed it. What a great way to grow a business from the ground up. I would highly recommend this book to anyone operating a business

Personal Goals

  • Run 1/2 Marathon – YES I did, I completed the Run For Water in Abbotsford last May and wrote about it here
  • Run a winter 5K charity race – I registered for the Winter Warriors race here in Chilliwack, unfortunately there was a miscommunication about the event START time – the time they sent out as a starting time was actually the registration time. We had other plans that day beginning soon after the race would have ended. Unfortunately when I showed up and found out that the event started a full hour later than I (and most of the other participants) had been told I was unable to stay. I made my donation to the food bank collected my T-shirt, and ran 5K anyway but was unable to participate in the official event. We’ll count this one as accomplished these things happen!
  • Run 5-10k, 2-3x/week Oct -Dec – YES I accomplished this! Jan/Feb/March were another story, but we’ll save it for another day 🙂
  • I’m just going to say that the rest of my personal goals happened/didn’t happen intermittently. I was a bit over eager in my goals.

Parenting Goals

  • Read two parenting books – I did! I had already read one when I wrote about my 2014 goals. I also read Parenting with Love and Logic which was great and I highly recommend it. I may even have read a couple of others you could check my 2014 Reading List to see. I also added the Podcast “Mom and Dad are Fighting” to my podcast lineup. It’s so nice to read or listen to these things and add tools to your tool box.
  • Responding kindly and being patient – I don’t think that these are things that I will ever be able to STOP working on. There will always be room for improvement here, but I worked on this in earnest, and I will continue to work on this. I think it will always be on my list of Parenting Goals.

Marriage

  • one date/month – this didn’t happen, but we did get out a handful of times. We truthfully didn’t make it enough of a priority, and then we spent the fall/winter months cancelling dates repeatedly because kids were sick. Trying to do better in 2015.
  • I read the book Boundaries which definitely applies to marriage, though it’s not directly targeted at marriage I certainly learned some valuable things.

Finance

  • 6 month emergency fund – we’re almost there, so didn’t accomplish it. We again spent a fair amount of the funds that would have gone into the emergency fund on actual emergencies. I thank God daily that we got out of debt and started piling up cash because some of the things that have hit us over the last couple years have been huge and if we’d still had debt and no savings we would have fallen on some serious hard times.

There you are, a recap of my 2014 goals for you. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll be posting some 2015 goals to follow the rest of this year.

The importance of ME!

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I learned a valuable lesson about myself today but let me start by explaining how I got there.

L is sick. again. Again. AGAIN! This is a recurring pattern in our house. She is often sick AGAIN before she’s really better. Needless to say it’s been a long winter.

I got up this morning, dressed for a run, got the kids up, E ready for school and realized that instead of running with L in the stroller during preschool as I often do, I would be spending the morning trying to figure this out. I was bummed but you do what you need to for your kids, right.

I spent 5 hours in Emerg this weekend with her and I don’t question or doubt the treatment that we received there it was excellent. I left feeling confident that my baby was on the up and up. Yesterday she seemed fine. Today, not so much.

So, my morning run was spent calling the health unit (because I was wondering if this was a reaction to her 12mo shots), calling the nurses hotline – not sure why I bothered I have never found them to be remotely helpful but that’s a whole nother rant. Then calling our Dr’s office to see if they can squeeze her in – again. They rock and know me by name.

Sadly by the time this was done my opportunity to run with the single stroller was GONE. My stress level had also exploded through the roof and I found myself for the first time in all of this truly feeling like I had reached my limit. I wanted to cry and I think that those around me were just lucky that no one pushed the right button because seriously, I would have flipped.

I was still dressed to run at preschool pick up but I had not yet run.

I spent the afternoon being pretty short with E, holding a baby that was exhausted, sick, and very fussy, and feeling my anxiety level rising. But I was still dressed to run.

I took L to her Dr’s apt. Dropped her swab off at the lab, picked up some lettuce, and came home for dinner. But I was still dressed to run.

At some point this afternoon Curtis suggested that I go for my run after the kids were in bed. They’re in bed early enough and we now have light long enough that this was a totally viable option AND I could run ALONE no stroller. This may not sound like a big deal to you but seriously can’t tell you when I last went out without a stroller.

It would be a shorter run than I had planned but it would still be a run and I was on it.

So, kids in bed, I’m still dressed in my running clothes from the AM and I walk out the door for a short run.

Ahhhh! Heaven!

I should have done it earlier. I came home totally refreshed, in a good mood, having processed my day and ready to fly.

It was such a good reminder to me that I am important. That my time to process is important. That I need to prioritize me and my run.

You see I have this aversion to running with our double stroller. It’s nice. In fact it’s a beautiful stroller but packed with both kids it’s about 100 pounds. So when my opportunity to run with the single stroller and a sleeping baby was written off this morning by things out of my control I wrote off my run.

What I realized tonight when I came home was that if I had sucked up my aversion to the double stroller and gone out after preschool with the kids we probably all could have had a better day. I would have been WAY less stressed. My anxiety level would have greatly decreased if not disappeared AND both my kids love running with me. I would have been a much more fun Mom for E, way less snappy and a lot more motivated.

So, here’s to the reminder of the importance of ME. Of my time, of my run. I need it, we all need it. Taking the time out to do something that refreshes you as a Mom is SO important. Your family will thank you for it.

Oh, and the scenery was BEAUTIFUL. Painfully so. Can’t complain about that either.

Tomorrow morning I will remind myself of this and load both kids up to go. Everyone will be happier 🙂

Vedder Mountain – “The First Hole”

We’ve been itching to get out for a while but winter has been surprisingly busy, and add a few colds/illnesses into it and we just haven’t been able to get out much.

 

Last weekend we finally had a little break in the busyness of this life and made a point of getting out. E has been asking for a while if we can go up Vedder Mountain. Curtis has told her how pretty the views are from the lookouts and the top and she needed her curiosity satisfied.

 

E & I early in the journey

E & I early in the journey

Sunday morning we packed everything up into the car, dog included, went to church, then headed into the hills. It was raining a little but what’s a bit of rain? The kids certainly don’t care so why should we?

 

It’s funny because for as busy as Vedder is with mountain bikers and dirt bikers the hiking trail is very quiet. I’ve been up there a few times, and Curtis makes a fairly regular trip up and we have yet to encounter other hikers.

 

We knew at the outset that we wouldn’t make it too far as we had only the afternoon hours to our disposal and we wanted to be home in time for dinner, baths and the many other things that occupy a young family’s evening on a weeknight. Our goal was to make it to the first lookout, or the “first hole” as E would call it.

 

We’ve all taken a bit of a hiatus from our outdoor pursuits this winter, between sick kids and weekend commitments it’s been hard to fit it in, and the few times we’ve been out I’ve had a really hard time keeping L warm regardless of how I bundle her. This trip was no different except that it was dry enough for her to walk a bit, and so my baby took her inaugural hiking steps. Hopefully there will be many more to come 🙂

 

Baby's first hiking steps

Baby’s first hiking steps

I thought the weather was warm enough that with some layering she would stay cozy in our Osprey Poco Premium baby carrier, and while her body stayed nice and toasty her little hands and feet got quite cold. Her absolute refusal to wear mitts doesn’t help with this either.  She didn’t complain (she never does, she has blessed us hugely by always being a happy baby) but it is a constant concern to this Mama when I think my baby is cold.

 

Despite the rain, and worries that L was too cold the hike was lovely and did us all well.  I love this hike because although it’s not full of gorgeous mountain vistas the forest is BEAUTIFUL, and the well placed lookouts are rewarding.

 

The forest feels like an enchanted forest that you’d read about in a fairy tale. Lush, thick, the trees and ground are covered in rich green moss, and it feels like you should be watching fairies dance amid the trees as you trek along.

 

Enjoying the Enchanted Forest

Enjoying the Enchanted Forest

We reached our goal of the First Hole, enjoyed a snack and a beautiful view of the Valley that we live in and headed back down hill.

Family Snack Time! Even Roxy was in there sneaking stray cheerios and apple bits ;)

Family Snack Time! Even Roxy was in there sneaking stray cheerios and apple bits 😉

To keep our hike down interesting I spent the first bit of it running from trail marker to trail marker and completing whatever challenge E named when we got there – burpees, push ups, jumping jacks, high knees, etc. This was great fun for everyone and we all laughed quite hard at my efforts on the uneven trail. It would have been an awesome exercise all the way down if the dang trail markers weren’t about every 30 feet. I had soon completed as many challenges as I could and we were seeking alternate entertainment.

 

The feeling of  walking through and enchanted forest served us well the rest of the way down as the grumbles set in. We spent the remainder of the hike looking for “fairy houses” (read neat little nooks and cranny’s at the base of trees and other such places where a small little fairy might make a cozy dwelling place). This actually served as an excellent form of entertainment and put an instant end to the grumbling. I need to remember this trick for the future and use it again :).

Curtis & Kids enjoying the day

Curtis & Kids enjoying the day

All in all we had an awesome time and all came home talking about when we could go out again. I’ve broken down and ordered another bunting suit to hopefully succeed in keeping L warm on future trips this spring and our family will continue on this crazy journey of being active and outdoorsy with our kids. A true love of the outdoors is one of the most important things that I hope to teach our little ones as they grow.

Family snack break at the lake (we didn't actually take any pictures of the lake this time!)

Family Hike to Lindeman Lake

We decided to spend last Sunday on a family hike to Lindeman Lake. It’s a fairly short hike but it’s very bouldery so it’s a little bit of a challenge for little legs. It’s also one of the items on our Summer Bucket List, and the first one that Curtis has been with us to complete.

 

Curtis has been gone a lot (for us) over this summer and this was one of his first weekends home since the end of May. It was so nice to have him around! Normally we would go to church on Sunday morning, however we wanted to get in some good family time and Sunday was the easiest day to do it.

 

Curtis & E on the trail together :)

Curtis & E on the trail together 🙂

We have both been outdoor enthusiasts since long before we met. We’ve guided canoe trips, rock climbed, whitewater kayaked, and generally done our best to spend as much time outside as possible. Now we want to instill that love of the outdoors into our kids.

 

For me there is no better place to connect with God and myself then in the bush away from the many distractions that daily life holds. Something deep inside of me is at rest when I’m out. It’s not a feeling that I EVER experience when I’m home or bumming around the city. It is a feeling that I want to share with my kids.

 

L enjoying a little bit of freedom

L enjoying a little bit of freedom

Over the last number of years we’ve been trying to find our outdoor groove. Trying to find the best way to get ourselves and our family out there. We don’t own a Canoe and as much as we would love to we also have nowhere to store it. Whitewater kayaking isn’t currently a good fit for us or our family, and we just haven’t been climbing. Truthfully most of our climbing gear has probably sat long enough now to warrant replacing rather than using.

 

Hiking seems to be a good fit for us. E is happy to walk along and soak in the sights of the forest. The leaves, sticks, trail, rocks, streams etc. she enjoys them and chats away happily as we walk. L Loves to be snuggled against me in our Ergobaby Carrier. She sleeps most of the time, and when she’s awake she looks around, smiles and coo’s up at me. It’s fabulous.

 

Family snack break at the lake (we didn't actually take any pictures of the lake this time!)

Family snack break at the lake (we didn’t actually take any pictures of the lake this time!)

All that said we decided that we’d head up to Lindeman on the weekend. It’s such a lovely hike. The lake is beautiful, the scenery is great, and it’s a short enough distance that little legs can easily make it there and back without tiring too much. (Read before major whining sets in.)

 

Truthfully I think that E would have walked to the moon and back if it meant that she could be alongside her Daddy. That kid is Daddy’s girl and she has missed her Daddy dearly while he’s been away this summer. Watching her trot along beside him and chat away with him was precious.

 

Crossing the log bridge on the way down

Crossing the log bridge on the way down

It also helps that Curtis has promised to take her on her first overnight hiking trip later this summer. He still hasn’t decided exactly where he’s going but she is VERY excited and is always eager to practice. We picked up a small kids pack earlier this summer and she LOVES carrying it with a few little things in it – usually nothing more than a snack and some water. She wants to be ready to go with Dad!

 

All in all it was a fabulous day and I can’t wait to go on a few more hikes together this summer. Hopefully we’ll even get to do a few with friends!

McHale Family Summer Fun Bucket List 2014

Ok, so if you know me well you’ll know that I LIKE lists. LOVE THEM in fact. This summer we’ve decided to make a summer fun bucket list.

What is this you ask? Well it’s a list of activities we’re going to try to accomplish this summer.

We’re not taking holidays this summer for a number of reasons but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun! So the list. Most items as you’ll see are low/no cost which makes it easy to tick them off.

There are some things’s we’ll do more than once, there are somethings that we won’t get to. That’s ok. It’s all in the spirit of keeping us busy and having a TON of fun, so that we don’t waste the good summer weather doing nothing – or laundry.

I thought I’d share the list with you. Maybe some of you want to join us, we LOVE taking friends along. Maybe it will inspire you to make a list of your own!

Here you are:

  • Go camping
  • Take a family bike ride & have a picnic
  • Go to the waterpark
  • Hit up Castle Fun Park
  • Go to the Mill Lake Splash Park
  • Make a trip to the Zoo
  • Take Daddy to the beach at White Rock
  • Write a letter to our friend in Myramar (hopefully more than one)
  • Head to Portage Park
  • Visit Bridal Falls
  • Hit the beach at Chilliwack Lake
  • Get ice cream cones!
  • Hike Teapot hill & retire our old teapot (shhhh don’t tell)
  • Go to the beach at Hicks Lake
  • Play mini golf
  • Go canoeing/kayaking
  • Have a beach day at the river (Chilliwack River to be clear)
  • Enjoy the beach at Harrison & maybe fly our kite!
  • Go to Party in the Park
  • Hike Lindeman
  • Go to a Fair
  • Do an overnight Hike w/ Daddy (E & Daddy solo)
  • Hike Cheam
  • Make Blackberry Jam – YUM
  • Build a huge sandcastle – we may need to enlist Uncle Mark for this one he’s the best sandcastle builder 😉
  • Have a campfire
  • Go to the Library
  • Find a new park in Chilliwack
  • Have a family Beach day at Cultus

So far we’ve managed to do a couple things each week, and I’ve been helping E keep a journal describing the things we’ve done. I’ve also started using a journaling app on my phone called Day One to keep track of our summer fun. It’s neat I wish I’d started using it a long time ago!

Are we missing something? Let me know!

 

Retiring our beloved teapot on the trail - a local tradition on this hike

Fun with Friends!

We had SO MUCH FUN with friends today. This has been the best days of summer so far and I hope there are many more like it to come!

Summer has been a bit slow starting for us we’ve been having a hard time finding a good groove. It seems that we keep missing friends, or they’re away, or we’re committed to something else.

Today I think we found our groove.  I sent a friend a text last week asking if she wanted to go for a hike up a local hill that’s very kid friendly and hit the beach afterwards.

Retiring our beloved teapot on the trail - a local tradition on this hike

Retiring our beloved teapot on the trail – a local tradition on this hike

Last summer we went hiking and/or to the beach with her and her kids at least once a week, but life changes and thus far this summer we just haven’t been able to swing it.

Today we had the joy of hiking with her and her kids in the morning. It was a “short” hike but so good for our kids to all be together again. (The distance isn’t far but when you have three littles walking and one being carried time and distance don’t necessarily correspond.)

E falls in the middle of her two littles and LOVES her older daughter – like idol status. She was SO excited to get to run alongside her friend and try to keep up. Plus she had a new backpack that she’s breaking in for a hiking trip later in the summer with Daddy.  L slept or coo’d happily in the baby carrier all the way and all the littles did great.

 

E and her friend

E and her friend

After our hike we all headed to the beach to meet another friend and her kids for the afternoon.  Between the three of us there were eight kids at the beach. Everyone played well together and it was one of those days that you’re loathe to see end. Seriously none of us wanted to pack up and go home.

E made a major accomplishment today, she figured out the basic technique of swimming. This is HUGE for her. While she’s never been shy about the splash pad, pools and especially beaches make her VERY nervous. She’s been in the same FIRST level at swimming lessons ALL WINTER. She loves going but is timid and rarely lets go of her instructor.

We’ve been at the beach two other times so far this summer, the first she didn’t go in past her knees. Then she was holding my hand and SCREAMING (I forced her in to wash the sand off before leaving. I know I’m a horrible mother).

Last week when we were there as a family she wouldn’t go in unless one of us was holding her, and refused to go further than chest deep water. She did eventually relax and at least enjoy it.

I didn’t expect her to embrace swimming so soon after the last two trips. I figured we were in for another summer of playing in the and by the shore in ankle deep water (this is FINE with me, I just want her to be safe and comfortable around water not necessarily an all star swimmer).

Today right away she wanted me to take her in.

SWIMMING! I know it's shallow but I promise she wasn't pushing off the bottom :)

SWIMMING! I know it’s shallow but I promise she wasn’t pushing off the bottom 🙂

Maybe it was seeing her friends jumping off the dock and swimming around on their own. Maybe it’s the crazy heat wave we’ve been having. Maybe it’s the frequency of swimming right now (lessons once a week and at least one trip a week to the beach) or a combination of the three. Who knows.

If I know anything about my girl it’s that she’ll DO IT when SHE wants to. Not one second before and no time later than she decides is ok either.

Today she actually held my shoulders and let me swim her out to the end of the dock. She also let me hold her in the swimming position in shallow water. I was impressed just by those things.

It’s like it just clicked for her. All of a sudden she understood how she should be positioned and how she needed to move her arms and legs. I had to go in to shore to feed L, but she still wanted to swim. So in knee deep water she figured it out. SO FUN.

It was so fun to watch because she would swim the length of the swimming area in knee deep water, then get out, run back to where she started and do it again. It never occurred to her that she could turn around and swim back.

She repeated the cycle for about an hour and a half and I had to pry her out of the water to go home. She was so proud of herself, and I am a proud mama tonight too. I love that kid!

Best things ever today: her contagious giggles as she RAN down the hiking trail after her friends, and the equally elated giggling that came with figuring out how to swim.

We ended our day today by taking Curtis to the garden we’ve been “keeping” at a friends place. – I say this very loosely because I have a hard time growing grass in our yard, and tonight I realized that I can no longer distinguish some of the weeds from the plants that are supposed to be there – oops.

It was a perfect summer’s day.  After so much fun with friends, I’m sad to see this day end. It was jam packed with hiking, swimming, gardening, playing and visiting yet it didn’t feel crazy rushed or busy.  This is exactly what summer days should be. To top it off, my house is pretty clean – we haven’t been here all day!

Hope you had a great day too, and that there are many more sunny summer days to come 🙂

E & Her run bike, Christmas 2011

Childhood Joy

I’m not sure about you but I don’t remember learning to ride a bike, I do however remember my first bike. It was a red and white bike with training wheels and a big banana seat – full on 80’s style. I LOVED that bike. LOVED.

 

Me & my first bike, April 7 1986, I was 4 years old

Me & my first bike, April 7 1986, I was 4 years old

We’re a bike family. Curtis is certifiably insane when it comes to bikes. He rides like I run – a lot, in large amounts, for long distances – like from Lincoln Beach OR home to Chilliwack BC. I also really enjoy riding my road bike though I’m not as passionate about it as he is.

 

E is bike obsessed. If Curtis is doing bike maintenance she has either her tricycle or her run bike out there and is washing/fixing/working on bikes right along side him.

 

E & Her run bike, Christmas 2011

E & Her run bike, Christmas 2011

She asks every morning to watch bike races on Curtis’ iPad. She could pick Jens Voigt out of a crowd and has been able to pronounce Ryder Hesjedal properly for almost two years now. You probably don’t know who those people are – they’re pro cyclists, like Tour De France kind of guys. And YES we will be watching the tour when it starts next week.

E & her Tricycle Christmas morning 2012

E & her Tricycle Christmas morning 2012

 

We gave her a Run Bike for Christmas when she was 14 months old. Jointly  from us and my parents she got a Tricycle last year. We talked about buying her a pedal bike for Christmas this year but she wasn’t quite ready for it and we decided it wouldn’t be fair to give her something she couldn’t ride quite yet. We did promise a pedal bike this summer though, and the day has come!

 

Love at first sight!

Love at first sight!

Curtis went out and picked up her new pedal bike on Tuesday afternoon. She’s been very clear that she wants a purple bike so with that in mind he went to a local bike shop and picked up a purple bike. He also had them remove the training wheels (though he did bring them home) since she’s done so well with her run bike.

 

The squeals of childish joy at the sight of that bike were worth a million dollars. I don’t know that I have enjoyed anything quite so much in a long time. She caught on to the two wheeler after about 45 mins with Curtis running along behind. The only thing that slowed her down was her intense laughter.

Shear joy. There is no other way to describe it. She was laughing the laughter of pure childhood joy. That deep down thrilled I’m awesome and I’m loving it laugh that only a little kid can laugh. The elation on her face was amazing.

 

I don’t remember learning to ride my bike when I was little but watching her learn on Tuesday night is something I will always remember – and cherish. I felt the joy bubbling out of a place deep in my soul and had that big goofy childish grin that starts to make your face hurt on my own face as I watched her catch on. I’m not sure of the last time the enjoyment of learning a new skill made me feel that way. I can tell you that after watching her learn this week I am excited to feel it again!

Very proud new bike owner

Very proud new bike owner