Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Finding calm within the storm

The holidays are officially over, school has begun, and even I have returned to work for a couple days. After a solid two weeks home, I think we were all ready to return to our regularly scheduled programming, though, and it has been nice to get back into the habit of regular meals and bedtimes. I have had a renewed feeling of optimism for the year, and am excited for whatever life will bring.

As we settle back into routine, so resumes the extra-curricular programs for the children. We are not unlike most families, trying to get our kids out of the house, away from the television and other electronics, and instill creativity, knowledge and an active mind and body. I have always felt it is important for the kids to be active, but I don't like the idea of making life so busy that we don't get a chance to have fun as a family. It's a difficult thing to balance, especially with two children. Our daughter spends her evenings in two different dance classes and art class, while out son enjoys skating lessons and a multicultural reading series. Both children are also enrolled in swimming lessons, which is one thing we will always make time for as both my husband I think it's extremely important. Of course, none of these activities land on the same day, so we spend 5 days out of our 7 day week taking the kids to programming.

So what's a family to do to participate in all these great activities while also finding time to decompress or spend time together? Well, here's a few of the things we do to keep ourselves grounded and somewhat stress-free:

Coffee Breaks - we are quite lucky that our daughter's dance studio is conveniently located across the street from our favourite coffee shop. So while she dances her little heart out, my husband, son and I head over to the cafe and enjoy a small drink and a treat while catching up on our days. When the weather is nicer, we take a walk so we're getting a bit of exercise, too!

Mommy workout - As you can imagine, now that the holidays are done, I'm ready to get out of my food coma and into a healthy body and mindset. Taking and hour or so for a workout is a great way to not only get back into shape, but I also get some time on my own. So while I'm stretching, sweating or riding my bike I get to reflect on my week, plan for new adventures and activities, or even think of new meals to make for my ever growing kids.

Longer Travel Times - Okay, so this seems a bit strange, taking more time to get to a location. We live very close to two pools, Templeton and Britannia, but we have found that by choosing to take the kids to lessons at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, we have a chance to enjoy an hour long bike ride to and from along the seawall. While that alone is fantastic, it also takes us out of our neighbourhood, and forcing ourselves to do that once a week has been a great way to break out of our comfortable neighbourhood bubble.

These have all been easy things to do, and while many outdoor activities are hard with the winter weather, it's been a great way to keep our sanity. That being said, I do look forward to warm days on the beach...only 6 months to go!

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