Sunday, 8 July 2012

Free for the weekend

What a beautiful weekend! We here in Vancouver have finally got the sunshine and warm weather we were waiting all of June for, and the family an I made sure we got out and enjoyed it as much as possible. Like most families, we like to find affordable ways to get out and about with our young children. This weekend, the goal was to keep it as free as possible, and I'm very pleased to report that we didn't spend a dime, but still had a fantastic weekend doing a variety of things around Vancouver. Here's a taste of our weekend on the cheap...

Friday night there came an out of the blue request from my husband to go catch a Whitecaps FC PDL game out at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby. For those who love watching our local MLS team but maybe can't afford to take the whole family to a game at BC Place, going out to watch the Reserve or PDL team is free, and you can see some of the up and coming stars of the beautiful game. We headed out to the game with some friends on our bikes, and watched as our team won 4-0, all with the backdrop of the North Shore Mountains and the huge trees in Burnaby Central Park. All in all, it was about a 15kms journey, with Coralie trailing behind her dad on the trail-a-bike for most of the journey, then joining her brother in the trailer behind me for a snooze the rest of the ride home. For an impromptu trip, it was great to ride in the cooler evening and do something new.
Whitecaps FC PDL playing to win against a stunning backdrop
Coralie trails Chris on the night ride home from the stadium
Saturday brought a long awaited meet up with some old friends for a picnic on Kitsilano Beach. I'm sure it's news to no one that a simple picnic on the beach is a great way to get out and not have to spend tons of money on food. But I am definitely thankful that I have so many beaches here to chose from, especially when a beautiful day can be followed by watching the sunset over the mountains. We all had a great time, what with the ride along the seawall, playing and relaxing on the sandy beach, splashing in the ocean, and enjoying a picnic with friends, there was little to complain about. It was another lengthy ride to and from, total 20kms. Coralie took the chance to rest this time, with Etienne trailing Daddy on the way and both sleeping in the trailer behind me on the way home. It's funny, but I hear so often now from our single friends that they wish their parents had a trailer like ours to take them home instead of having strapped them in a car. I guess that makes our kids pretty lucky, and I'm pretty darned proud of our family "station wagon on two wheels".

So happy to be able to ride behind
Chris was pretty happy to be able to join us on our sunny adventures,
even if it was only for the weekend
That's right, we take her to the beach, she reads...I'm not complaining! 
For the first time, Etienne enjoyed the ocean water, waves and all! 
Very happy to spend the day together in the sunshine
Watching the beautiful sunset over the water 
He may be a rascal, but he's still Mama's boy 
And of course, we have Daddy's little girl
So, if you've gotten this far, you know we did a free soccer game on Friday night, a free day at the beach on Saturday, so what do we do on a hot Sunday afternoon? Go to a splash park, and it was back to the slide and splash park at Granville Island. This time Chris and I brought our bathing suits so Etienne could actually go down the slide...although one time in the cold water was enough for him! The splash parks in this city are fantastic, and best of all, they're free! What more do kids want on a hot summer's day than a bunch of spraying water to run through screaming...and that's exactly what our kids did for 2 hours. 
Waiting in line for the first ride down the slide
after the 7.5km ride to Granville Island
Coralie enjoying one of a dozen slides 
Etienne's only, but cold and not to be repeated 
Coralie, after her rest the day before, rode her own bike for the 15km return trip, and she was such a trooper yet again. This past week, she has cycled a total of 46kms on her own, and about 15kms trailing behind Daddy on a trail-a-bike. She has received kudos and applause from strangers, and her tenacity has encouraged people we do know to have their young ones try a longer ride, too. We are incredibly proud of her willingness and strength to do these rides with us. It seems such a small thing sometimes to go for a ride out with her, but we quickly realize with all the comments and smiles she receives that she is pretty awesome. Hopefully she's inspiring other youngsters out there to ride, too!
The family "station wagon"
A well deserved ice cream after a long but exciting weekend!

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