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Vancouver

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Revisiting some old photos in my iPhone and thought I’d share this one taken on one of my many walks around Kitsilano where we lived in Vancouver. Miss Kits, it’s easily my favorite neighborhood ever; one I’d move to in a heartbeat. That, and Pasadena. 🙂

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Besides packing up n getting ready to leave town, we were busy hosting a bunch of visitors this past week. One of the visiting families stayed with us and while it was pretty chaotic n hectic, it was also super fun. Thanks for the visit, guys. Missing all the action and cuteness already! But yes I’m now ready to crash and enjoy the peace and quiet. 🙂

Thomas the librarian who does an amazing little babytime

Benji and I enjoying little babytime

Benji n Natalie

Three and a half more weeks left in Vancouver: we are so running out of time here just as the weather turned GORGEOUS! Though I’ve only been here a short time, Vancouver seems like a great place to raise kids. There are tons of activities for children from the time they are born; most shops and even public transportation (which is awesome, btw) are stroller and kid-friendly, making it really easy for moms and children to maneuver around town.

One of my favorite mom-baby activities is “Little Babytime” that most public libraries around the city host weekly. Little Babytime is a 30-minute storytime session for babies under 1 year old, and librarians who host this read baby books, and include lots of action songs and rhymes. We tried the storytime sessions at various libraries and the one that I enjoy most (and many other moms concur) is the one at the Firehall Branch on Granville and 10th street that runs Thursdays from 1115-1145am.

The librarian, Thomas, who runs these sessions at Firehall is animated, and his passion for doing these songs, rhymes, and stories to the babies shows in his delivery. He’s also a humorous n includes fun activities that give moms a workout at times!

Definitely gonna miss Thomas n Little Babytime when we leave!

Do you have a favorite parent-child activity? What does your city/community offer for parents and children? Is your city child friendly?

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We have, like many couples with newborns/kids, scheduled “date nights.” Keeping the marriage alive requires work and even more maintenance with new additions to the family.  After Benji was born, I did not want our relationship to take the back seat because it can happen all too easily once we get caught up with the hustle and bustle of looking after a newborn, and became really particular about having date nights. Truth is, too, our marriage suffered a huge setback about a year before we agreed to have a baby and since then, we have learned to never ever be cavalier about our relationship.

Since we don’t live close to our folks and don’t really have the confidence yet to leave Benji with a hired babysitter, our dates nights have been confined to the home. For the most part, it has worked out as we are mostly exhausted by the end of the day to even think about dressing up and going out somewhere. Most date nights consist of renting a movie or catching up on episodes of our favorite shoes. Sometimes, we just hang out on the couch and talk. The point is to simply spend time and reconnect with each other after Benji has slept, without the distractions of internet and the baby. 

So back to our date night: wow that my folks are in town visiting us, we made use of the opportunity to have our scheduled weekly date night outside the home, which was rather glorious. Okay, so it was a Tuesday night where the night scene around any town is pretty mellow, but when you are new parents, you welcome any time by yourselves. We hung out at George Ultralounge & Winebar in Yaletown, a bar with a quiet and relatively classy ambience. I got a virgin mojito (super fun and actually tastes like regular mojito!) and Bry got an old fashion (which he termed “the Don Draper drink.” You get the reference if you’re into Mad Men like we are).

Two short but super sweet hours went by in a hurry. I was surprisingly not that worried about Benji being a handful. And he was reportedly really well behaved the time we were gone (“slept like a baby!” said my folks). Thanks, mom, dad, and aunt, for keeping an eye on Benji and letting us enjoy a special date night.

Do you and your partner schedule date nights? What else do you do to keep the marriage alive? Do you find it even more necessary after having children?

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The Butchart Gardens is gorgeous. Having the sunny weather today created an even prettier atmosphere for this walk. I liked that the gardens had different styles of landscapes within and that they had their unique story. Take the sunken garden for example: it used to be a limestone quarry n Mrs Butchart decided to make a garden out of it. The result? A gorgeous layered garden with lovely aerial views of it.

Bry took Benji to hang out with his friend who lives on the island so it was just me, my dad, mom, and aunt at the gardens. Although the garden tour took just a couple hours, it was rather refreshing to spend time being the daughter/niece/baby with my folks. 🙂

That wrapped up our short but sweet trip to Victoria Island. On our way back to Vancouver!

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Victoria Island is truly beautiful. We went for a nice evening stroll around the harbor, breathed in the fresh spring air and basked in the mild springtime sun. Spring is easily my favorite season with bursts of colors everywhere.

After that we went for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. My parents are loving Benji. Who wouldn’t! 😉

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Also wanted to add that I’m sad the Canucks lost n are out of the playoffs. Not that I’m a hockey fan but I’ve grown to love anything Vancouver!

Today, Benji and I participated in the Art Walks for Strollers activity organized by a community center in Vancouver. This was a guided tour around Yaletown, a hipster neighborhood rich in outdoor art near downtown Vancouver. The sunny weather today was an added bonus and certainly made all the art look even more attractive and inspiring. One of the things I love about guided art tours is the little information nuggets you get about the art pieces: the artists, contexts, and in the case of the outdoor art, also a bit about the neighborhood.

I learned today that the piece of land that is Yaletown was bought by property developer Li Ka Shing from Hong Kong, and that some percentage of their profits have to go into providing amenities for the public. Hence all the public features such as installation art, sculptures, beautifully landscaped gardens and parks.

The walk was thoroughly enjoyable. Got some good, intellectual stimulation that is refreshing, especially after all that baby talking almost the entire day with your infant. Since the walk was meant for parents with babies, it went at a slower pace and provided a good opportunity to meet other moms which is always fun.

The group of moms n strollers.

The Brush with Illumination: my favorite piece from the walk. The brush handle is actually made from solar panels that illuminate the tip in the night.

If any of you moms/parents reading this post lives in Vancouver or knows of parents with babies living here, the Stroller Art Walk takes place once a month and meets at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown. Drop-in/registration fee is CAD5. The resident guide, Catherine, is really nice, informative, and has a real passion for breaking down art for the masses and encouraging people to engage with art pieces around town.

PS: I am devastated that we have only just over a month left here in Vancouver. I love this town so much! :-/