Bye, Bye, Baby (Weight)

Is it still considered baby weight when it’s nearly four years old?

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I’ve been a baby-making / baby-feeding machine for more years than not recently. Between being pregnant and nursing, I have put on almost all of the weight that I had previously lost.

Before we married, in November 2011, I had lost 85lbs. It took me two and a half years, but I was at my lowest weight I had been since I was a child. Not a teen. Not a preteen. But a child.

When I got pregnant two weeks later, the weight immediately started creeping back. After eating at weight loss and weight maintenance for years, suddenly eating at a normal amount was a shock for my body and it held onto every ounce of delicious food.

Everyone claims that breastfeeding makes the baby weight melt away – WHAT. EVER. Nope! I continued to gain. I couldn’t lose weight, even while trying to eat healthy, smaller portions and exercised a fair amount. It just wasn’t happening.

 

Fast forward nearly five years since our wedding, I am still holding onto all that weight. And then some.

 

It’s time for us to part ways.

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Before and After : 2011

Starting Monday, I am starting back on Weight Watchers. I used it for a bit towards the end of my last weight loss (for the last 10lbs or so) and I liked the easy interface and flexibility to have a treat here and there.

I’m looking forward to getting to a healthier me!

 

My next check in will be in two weeks from my start : check back in towards the end of June for an update!

A Preschool With A Breath Of Fresh Air…

A few months ago we pulled Dean out of the parent participation preschool he attended since September. It was such a hard choice… But definitely the right one for our family!

We’ve found an excellent outlet for Dean’s love of the outdoors – and it

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This guy LOVES getting messy!

 

Nature Preschool’s have been gaining more and more attention lately. So much so that urban areas are starting to introduce them in local forested areas.

Dean thrives outdoors. He loves digging in the dirt, playing with rocks, searching for worms and splashing in puddles. He has an imagination that can turn a simple tree stump into a castle, a twig into his sword, and his brother into an invader.

 

 

When we attended a local open house for a preschool near us for this Fall, we found out about the pilot program for a nature preschool near by. They were starting earlier than we were planning. We had planned on keeping Dean in his current preschool until he finished the year and then moving preschools in September, but this program had two month-long sessions starting this Spring.

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Keeping watch for the birds

 

So we took the dive, left our parent participation preschool and signed up for this program.

 

And there’s not an ounce of regret!

Dean is loving every moment of his nature preschool. He has a blast exploring the outdoors, playing with friends and “fishing” in the duck pond.

He’s filthy, stinky and happy after every class.

 

A great thing about his preschool is that it’s close to us – it takes 30 minutes to bike there, as opposed to the 50-55 minutes it used to take us to skytrain and bus to his old preschool. It’s close enough that we aren’t spending an entire day on a two hour class. And we’ve even made it home in time for Sammy to nap in his own bed (or ours, as the case usually is) quite a few times!

Another great thing is that while Dean is off, galavanting with his class, Sammy is getting some fresh air. And when it’s cold and rainy (and Mom is being a wuss), we can head inside to the Nature Centre where they have an open learning room that is free to drop in during the week. When it’s not wet, we spend the time outdoors. Sammy gets to play in the dirt, watch the birds and spot airplanes flying overhead. (And I get to socialize with a friend who has her son in the program, too, while we wait for our boys to finish class)

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Diving right in…

 

I’m thrilled with the program and the teachers. They keep the kids busy with fun activities, adventures and exploration. And hey, props to them to taking 16 kids into a forest on rainy days!

It’s been fun watching them as they explore the different areas of the forest from afar. We’ve watched them use sticks as fishing rods, baskets and ropes for pulleys, plant sunflowers and just get messy!

 

We’ll be returning in the Fall for another year of classes before Dean heads off to Kindergarten! And then I hope that timing works for Kindergarten drop off to get Sammy into Nature Preschool, too!

 

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Dean and his friend getting messy

We’re Moving!

Yup! It’s official!

We are moving in less than two months.

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We’ll be moving to a bigger house in July. A bigger house with a PLAYROOM! And a washer and dryer in the same room! And a dining room (which will likely be turned into an office as the kitchen has a large area for a table already) And THREE bathrooms!

I’m so stoked!

 

This house is amazing for us and has a great layout.

Even better? It’s got history. No, it wasn’t a celebrities house. It wasn’t a house of a serial murderer. But it’s the same house that my husband was raised in. He lived at that house from the day he was born until he was 20 years old and moved in with me.

 

I’ve been going through the house and garage, searching through all of our stuff and downsizing what I can. It’s amazing how much stuff we’ve accumulated in the decade of living together. While going through boxes in the garage, I’ve tossed my old yearbooks and half-completed scrapbooks. I’ve donated clothes from pre-pregnancy that I’ve been holding onto for far too long. If we don’t use it, it’s gone!

It brings new meaning to Spring Cleaning – that is for sure!

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We’re very excited to move – Dean has been packing his toys in a box for the past month now. He’s ready to move and doesn’t want to wait another day… Unfortunately, there is still a bit of a wait until we move!

I’ve been working away on Pinterest to plan out our new place. So many ideas that I wish we could do but wouldn’t work (time, space, cost etc) but many that I hope we can incorporate into our new home.

 

How long have you lived in your current place? Have you pinned your dream renovations and make overs on Pinterest? Which room would you do first if you had unlimited time and funds?

Mommy’s Got A [re]New[ed] Hobby

As moms, we tend to put aside our hobbies when baby comes along. More important things come along to fill up those empty moments of our day… Like coffee, showering and the occasional Netflix binge.

One of the things I missed the most (next to sleeping, anyways) was biking.

I was riding 15km to work every morning before I got pregnant. It was glorious and an amazing workout. Then, after a ten hour workday, I would ride the 15km route home… And occasionally, Jason and I would then ride from our home in Burnaby to Stanley Park or Yaletown.

 

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S taking the Strider for a stroll through the yard at 19 months old

Then I got pregnant. I’m clumsy enough without the added change in body shape and size so I decided to retire my bike, in what was meant to be temporarily but ended up being a bit longer.

And I’ll be honest. It never occurred to me that I could get back on the bike with the boys in tow. I didn’t think about bike seats or trailers…. until recently.

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Out for a ride!

I’ve fallen head over heels for biking again.

A couple of months ago, I talked my poor, poor husband into yet another stroller. This one doubles as a bike trailer and it’s been a terrific addition to our family.

I love being able to pull the boys along on a bike ride. Sammy laughs when we go over speed bumps and Dean is a great backseat driver (“STOP SIGN!” “MOMMY, GREEN LIGHT!” “USE YOUR BRAKES!”) Dean has been learning all sorts of road rules and about the different signs he sees as we ride along the bike paths. He knows how to find the bike paths and has fun trying to tell me of the turns before we make them.

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D riding by the water on his strider bike, two years old

I love the new freedom of being able to hop on and off the bike and get us places without having to rely on the bus or trains, without having to pay for transit and with getting some exercise. The bike trailer has given us the ability to have new adventures.

However, we are still limited.

 

We’re not able to take the bike with the trailer onto transit. I can’t take the boys around Stanley Park, False Creek or along the Quay with our current set up. It’s a bit sad because we don’t have many places right by home that we can do on the bike, other than malls, library and a few parks. There are too many hills and I also don’t want to venture too far from home in case everyone gets too tired or uncooperative and we aren’t able to hop on transit to get back home in a timely fashion.

And that’s where I discovered cargo bikes.

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Yuba Mundo – Dean with Lisa’s daughter, B, on board and ready to roll!

Did you know there’s a bike that is just a bit bigger than a regular sized bike but can carry children, too?! No trailer needed.

I’ve been researching them for a week now. And I’m so excited about the idea! We have to number crunch and make sure it’s possible but with Vancity’s “Clean Air Vehicle Loan” it could be made into a monthly payment rather than an upfront cost.

There are various brands and models and price ranges. The two I am eyeing are compact enough that they would even fit onto the bike racks on the bus and I can take them on board the skytrain but still has enough room to fit two kids! Sounds pretty spiffy, right?!

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Bike Friday’s Haul-A-Day bike with room for two!

Last Wednesday I got to test ride a Yuba Mundo (it’s larger than the Boda Boda and fits three kids vs two) and became even more obsessed. They handle great – I had no problem loading up the two boys on the back and giving it a whirl!

Spokesmama, aka Lisa, who met with me at Science World to let me take her bike for a spin, also runs the Facebook group “Vancouver Family Biking“. I’ve learned so much from her website, from her and from other riders in the group.

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Yuba’s Boda Boda – perfect for two kids but still compact!

If you are looking at getting on a bike with your young children, check out the workshop she is leading! You can find the link on her website, in the group or from the Crushed Cheerios Facebook page. There are more dates being added as others fill up – the June dates are full but July has a couple openings and there is also one scheduled for October so far. The course is free and there will be childcare available for free, as well. I’m looking forward to learning more about biking with the kids and how we can get more out of our time together on the road.

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I’ve been bitten by the biking bug. A swarm of them.

 

I’m looking forward to all the kilometres I am going to log this summer with the boys!

 

 

 

Ninety Seconds…

Ninety seconds.
A minute and a half.

It’s not a lot of time.

Unless your child is missing. Then it can feel like an eternity.

 

We went to Science World today. It was busy. It was crowded. There were seven buses in the parking lot as we walked over from the skytrain. I knew it was going to be a madhouse.

It was such a madhouse that I had three different kids tell me they lost their teacher / school group. I found a Science World staff member, passed them along and carried about my day.

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Splish Splash at the outside water exhibit

 

We were there a week ago with a friend of mine who owns a daycare. She brought her seven kids and another friend of ours who works part time for her. Three adults, nine kids. It was great – it was decently empty and the kids were all keeping close by.

In the past I have used a harness in the bigger, busier rooms so that I can physically feel when Sammy moves away and I can visually watch Dean. It just cuts down on the stress in a busy situation when you have two active boys. Because last week was so smooth, I didn’t even bother to bring the harness backpack.

And today was great, too. The boys were never much more than arms reach away. We spent two hours running around from room to room, exploring. We went outside to meet a lady who was generous enough to show me her bike (more about that in another post!) and the boys had fun playing on the grass with their daughter for a bit. Dean wanted to do one last room before we left so after checking out the bike, we went back in.

Sammy was not interested in staying close the moment we stepped back into Science World. I had to chase him twice as he ran for the exit, once as he ran into the exhibit, the opposite direction of the bathrooms we were trying to go to. I put him in the stroller, gave him a snack and enjoyed a moment of peace as he was strapped in

After about 10 minutes we moved on to where he found something that kept him occupied for a good 15 minutes. He hadn’t moved from the water/ball table for a while as I looked over to see an older boy push Dean over to get one of the parachute men that Dean was about to catch. Dean, crying, started coming towards me. I glanced at Sammy, still occupied, walked the seven or eight steps to meet Dean in the middle and turned so Sammy was in front of me. Still there.

Dean needed a moments pep talk to calm down (we had been pushing 3 hours there, after all!) and as I was standing up, my eyes still on Sammy, Dean had asked for a hug. I leaned down, hugged him and stood up tall.

. We explored a bit of the final room, starting at our usual exit side. Sammy doesn’t care about the stuff on that end (at least not more than he cares about food…) so he stayed content in there. When we got to the ball area, he wanted out. I stayed closer than usual to him since he was still a bit more of a flight risk than normal. My eyes were off him for two seconds. And even that is probably an exaggeration.

He was gone.

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Sammy, last week, playing at the water table that he disappeared from today

I have this rule of thumb when we are out in busy places. Ten seconds. I give them ten seconds of me calling their name and of me not being able to see them. If I can’t find them by then, I get help – be it another parent, a friend or staff.

I counted as I scanned the room. I got to eight when I saw this woman in a Science World shirt and asked her for help. I gave her a quick description of Sammy (19 month old boy, purple shirt, black tights, blonde hair, scabs on his nose from a fall last week…) and she put a lock down in place. Within thirty seconds, there were five or six other staff members scanning the room we were in and the area just outside the room.

Somewhere in that minute, I had rounded up Dean and he was in hand while we power walked through the room. I could hear him crying. Or maybe I was just imagining it.

I was relatively calm during it all. I felt assured that he had just wandered and that he hadn’t been grabbed – there’s no way that someone could have left with him. He’s comfortable with stairs and wouldn’t take a tumble. It was just a matter of finding him.

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His poor wounded face…

After scanning the room we were in, I felt in my gut that I needed to go out of the room and follow the crying. The first staff person had asked me to stay close (to help identify Sammy if they found him, I guess?) but I decided to check out the crying anyway. With Dean along side, we went out into the hallway.

There was Sammy, towards the opposite end of the hallway upstairs. He was crying, wandering around.

I called to him and he ran so fast and into my arms. We both bawled. I sat on the floor crying with him in my arms. So much for calm and cool…

I went back to the other room to call off the search. I set Dean free in the room, with strict boundaries, while I hugged and kissed Sammy until he was pushing me away and trying to squirm free.

 

Ninety seconds. That’s how long he was gone.

It felt like a lifetime.

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Making rock music

 

My anxiety was through the roof and I needed to get out of there while I still had a bit of my sanity. I strapped Sammy into the stroller where I knew he wouldn’t be able to escape (easily that is, because you know, a five point harness is apparently nothing to that Houdini) and we headed out. Sammy was due for a nap and I was due for that heart attack that was building up.

 

Ugh!

No parent ever wants to go through even a moment of losing a child. Not a second of it.

Even hours later, I am still tearful thinking back to it.

 

 

I’ll be hugging him closer for quite a while, that’s for sure… Regardless of how much my little independent man pushes me away. ❤

[Product Review] Stroller : Thule/Chariot Cheetah 2

Guys.

I’m in love. Again.

 

So a couple of months ago, I realized that when we move, preschool will be a bit more work to get to. It will be a 45 minute walk, 45 minutes on transit or a 15 minute bike ride.

Insert a lightbulb emoticon here.

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My big boys comfortably fit side by side!

After convincing my husband that yes, I DOOOOO need another stroller, I started the search for a bike trailer.

I found various trailers but nothing that really stuck out as a stroller that would be great for unhitching from the bike and using in the mall or out and about.

I bit the bullet and bought a Chariot. It was more than I (husband, let’s be real here) wanted to pay for a bike trailer but I have been in love from day 1! It was worth every penny.

I’ve decided to sell my single jogging stroller and use the Chariot as my every day stroller. It’s a bit wide, as a double, but I’ve only found one door that I can’t fit through – this is after many adventures! (And hey, so long as I can fit into Starbucks, life is good!!)

 

 

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Thumbs up from my coach for a good run today!

Not only is this stroller fabulous for cruising around the city, but this is great as a jogging stroller! I’ve just started running last week, but in the five times I’ve gone running, I find myself enjoying the jogging set up more and more.

I may only be 5’2″ tall and a slow pace, but I apparently have a long stride. I’ve tried various jogging strollers and have found myself kicking the wheels or the bottom bar. I haven’t had any issues with this one.

 

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Enjoying a snack after drop in before we head home (all downhill – booya!)

As a bike trailer, it is equally impressive.

While I was towing the trailer with 65lbs of child, I was so happy that it is a lightweight bike trailer! The trailer feels stable while going down ramps or off curbs. The kids are happy and secure in their five point harnesses and, thanks to the bright green colour, I know we are easy for cars to spot.

The axel mount ezHitch is easy to put on (or so my husband says – he’s the one that has been changing it back and forth between our bikes) and I love that it’s flexible enough that if the bike falls over, it leaves the stroller with precious cargo, untouched. The stroller is very stable in bike trailer mode.

I learned the hard way that the cover that goes over the stroller isn’t just for rain – my kids can attest, it’s meant to be used when used as a bike trailer. We went for a 35 minute bike ride last weekend and when I went to get the kids out of the stroller, I found them covered in dirt! #momfail at it’s finest! Whoops!

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Photo from Thule

I love that the stroller folds flat – we took it on a trip to Vancouver Island a few weeks ago, along with two carry on suit cases for me and the boys, a suitcase for my SIL and my MIL’s bag. It was a three day trip in a Nissan Rouge and it worked terrific for us.

The pockets inside the sitting area are perfect for the kids water bottles, snack and some toy cars. I love how the kids can reach their pockets – even Sammy, while buckled in.

The back wheels are BIG. They provide a smooth ride while in stroller, jogging and bike mode. They tackle cement, pressed dirt paths, bumpy paths, rocks and sand with ease.

While the stroller is wide (needed for helping with stability in bike mode), it still fits onto transit. I have been taking this on our local skytrain. Due to the pole in the middle of the area by the doors, we don’t block any more width than with a single stroller (even moved to the side, people can’t slide between the stroller and the pole anyways) And it’s not as long as some singles, or at least the ones I’ve been using in the past couple years, so I actually take up less room from front to back. I haven’t taken it on the bus as of yet, but I have been told by someone that it does fit on board. I’ll hopefully try this out soon – I’m actually surprised that we haven’t taken the bus in THAT long!

 

I am loving my Chariot! it’s the jack of all trades but is also, truly, a master them all, too.

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Photo from Thule

Now, for the nitty gritty details :
(Information taken from Thule.com)

Children : option for one or two children
Weight Capacity : 45kg
Stroller Weight : 12kg
Shoulder Width : 59cm
Sitting Height : 68cm
Dimensions : 115cm(L) X 80cm(W) X 107cm(H)
Folded Dimensions : 107cm(L) X 80cm(W) X 27cm(H)
Seat Belt : five point padded harness
Dual position handlebars
Mesh upper seatbacks and side vents for airflow
Front wheels store upside down on the VersaWing while in jogging or bike mode
Storage compartments : two small pockets inside by the seats, large pocket and small pocket on rear
EzFold Technology make it fast and easy to fold for strage

 

If you’ve ever considered getting a bike trailer, I highly recommend this one.
It’s been a fabulous family addition. It takes us everywhere we need to go and has been great motivation to get back into running and biking!

 

The views in this post are entirely mine. I have not received any product from them in order to do this review.

Mayhem At Its Best

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Putting his baby brother to sleep

Sometimes I wonder what I got myself into.

Two kids, two years apart? What was I thinking?!

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Ready, Steady, GO!

 

Up until a few months ago, it was like always trying to struggle to have two simultaneous conversations going on in two different languages while arguing two different sides of a story to keep both boys entertained, happy and prevent them from trying to murder each other.

 

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Terrorizing the house

Lately, that’s changed.

At almost-one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half years old, they are becoming thick as thieves.

But it’s not as great as you would think!

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Sammy follows Dean around the house, copying all his troublemaking ways. And Dean summons his little brother like a little puppy when Sammy loses interest for a half-second. They get into all sorts of trouble together…

Dean recently got a loft bed. It’s not a high loft bed but the KURA bed from IKEA that is about four feet high. It’s great – he loves the thing and it makes his room fun and roomy.

It also makes his room a death trap as both boys LOVE to climb and/or jump from the top to the double mattress that is on the floor. Dean also enjoys jumping from the bed and trying to “ring the bell” (aka hit the blind pull string) on his way down.

They wrestle on the double bed. Sammy has learned how to tackle and he does it quite gracefully. And Dean doesn’t stand a chance against his lower-centre-of-gravity brother who isn’t much lighter than him.

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“Going to school”

Another new favourite is to take bins of toys from their room and scatter them everywhere. They run around, shrieking, as they spread the 1248905 toys around.

And laugh even harder when I trip or step on a piece of lego and shout some profanity that would make even a pirate cringe. Because Jason thought that one of those Fill-You-Bin-For-X-Amount only makes sense for a three year old when you fill it with a billion lights and single, tiny, little, itty bitty detail pieces.

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Attack!!

 

The boys play together well, I have to admit.

It’s glorious when they can entertain themselves for a good twenty minutes so I can Facebook clean. And when I don’t have to read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” for the twelfth time that day, it does wonders for my sanity!

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Beddy-Bye, Goodnight

But when the hooligans get into some mischief together, beware. It’s going down. And it’s going down, fast. They can flip the switch so fast and I usually have to stop Dean from head butting Sammy, as Sammy is trying to smash Dean with a toy train. They can be best buds until they don’t see eye to eye on how to tear apart the living room… Then its all about tearing apart each other.

 

I can’t imagine any other age difference than the two years they have… It’s been a dream. Aside from when Sammy was going through the sleep regression at the same time as Dean was going through the peak of the terrible twos. I could have done without that!

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I hope that as they grow, their bond does, too. ❤