Local Motion

May 31, 2009

Dexter, Don and I made our first trip out together in the bugaboo frog stroller. I seriously only bought 3 things in preparation for baby. 2 onesies (one has zeppelins on it) and the stroller. Everything else I've gotten as gifts from the many lovely families I work with at the music school or as hand me downs. The stroller, however, I didn't want to compromise on. I wanted something stylish, city friendly, snow friendly, and easy to use. This one mom at the music school has been coming and going with her bugaboo stroller for the past year and I finally asked her about it. She said it was fantastic, I took her word for it and got one.

We went to the opening ceremony for the "local motion" challenge in a neighbouring community. To quote from the website:

"Local Motion is a demonstration project promoting eco-friendly modes of transportation: walking, cycling, wheeling, public transit and carpooling. The community of Parkallen was chosen to showcase this initiative as one of the community demonstration projects surrounding the ICLEI Congress. During the month of June, community residents will be challenged to reduce their carbon footprint by leaving their cars at home as much as possible and using more eco-friendly forms of transportation. Participants are being given informational tool kits and are being asked to track their progress throughout the month."

It was a fantastic community event with cake and cheese buns from a local bakery, lots of different bike shops with tents and fun bikes to try. Great folky music, and lots of smiling families! It was also a good opportunity for some people to see baby Dexter. I'm so thankful to have had the baby when the weather is nice. Beats feeling quarantined in the house for extended periods of time. It was fabulous to be out with baby during such a beautiful day!

We walked to our new train station and though we only took it 1 stop, Don liked the idea of baby Dexter having his first ride on the LRT and wanted to document it.

For the opening ceremonies, Don and his fellow ward councillor were riding a tandem tricycle around. Very amusing.

And here we are walking back to the train station with some friends.

Happy Birthday, Don!

May 30, 2009

Two things of note today:

1. Don's 30th birthday!

2. Our local newspaper, The Edmonton Journal, did a little story on cycling that I'm featured in - exciting! I hope it encourages pretty ladies all over Edmonton to ride their bikes asap, and then get addicted to it and hopefully they will keep doing it regularly over the summer. There's nothing more fun that rolling up to the farmers market or cruising home in the evening with a bunch of friends.

Obviously I haven't gone for a ride in the last few days. The first day back from the hospital EVERYTHING hurt. Don has been a fantastic man servant and his nesting instinct has totally kicked in. All of a sudden he's finishing projects around the house and changing diapers and emptying the dishwasher... wow! Each day after Tuesday has been substantially better, though, and baby Dexter is super fun to hang out with. No inconsolable crying, no sleepless nights... I'm not sure this is normal. I have to wake up to feed and change the little dude, but maybe twice a night? Then he goes right back to sleep and we all get lots of rest. He's awesome!

My sister is also quite the hero. She's the one that brings me groceries and DVDs and answers the door when there are flower deliveries. Love her.

Apologies to those of you who I haven't responded to in the comments columns in previous posts. I've just been scattered! You are all so lovely and supportive, and it really makes me feel honoured that you read my blog - thank you! Also, many of you have made really helpful suggestions about baby as cargo. One of you suggested the Madsen Cargo Bike. I am currently in love with this cargo bike. Since it's made on this continent the shipping is reasonable. I like that it has two wheels and not three. The cargo capacity is substantial and in the back. Looks like both Don and I can ride it. And it's about 60 lbs, which is totally reasonable weight to pedal around.

They're having an online contest and I've put their link up on my blog. The more people who visit their site from my blog, the better the chances are of my winning one in July! If you would be so kind, please click on the link to increase my chances of cargo goodness:) Then you can see me blog all about riding around town on my new cargo bike with Dexter! Actually, my preference is Don pedaling around with Dexter, Dougal and myself in the cargo:)

So happy birthday to Don. Thanks to the journal for caring about cycling and writing about me. Also, help me win a cargo bike!

Will continue to blog about the excessive walking I'll be doing in the next little while. Oh yes, and the picture below is Dexter with a turtles chocolate bar my sister got me. We took it to illustrate the scale of child to candy bar. Maybe this is a sign that he won't like junk food?

Dexter Iveson

May 27, 2009

Here we are, after the birth of Dexter Iveson!

I'll just say, they don't call it labour for nothing:)

But, if it weren't for being healthy and active beforehand, I'm sure it would have been several degrees more difficult.

However, it's totally worth it and he's such a fun little baby to hang out with!

Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments, encouragement, love, and support!


May 24, 2009

No stylish or cute photos to post due to my admittance at the hospital. My only lifeline to the real world is the iPhone!

I was at work this morning administering some exams and my water broke - tada!

However, no contractions. So now we wait until tomorrow. If we don't get a kick start in my uterus by tomorrow then it will be induction time.

Maybe my bike ride yesterday got this party started?

Wish me luck, micro d coming soon!



May 23, 2009

This is my darling friend, Chelsea.

She wants to get places in style. Meaning, she doesn't want to just ride a bike for exercise or "on the weekend." She wants to go places like work, and out with friends, and grocery shopping. She wants a bike to be her mode of transportation in regular, every day life. Yes!

We went bike shopping and tried lots of different things. She loved the Amsterdam and snapped one up. We also got her a little basket to put on the rear carrier (the head light is so fly looking... a shame to obscure it) and a good lock. Afterwards, we rode it from the bike place all the way downtown so she could check out her route to work. She commented that she never looks around that much when she's going places in a car, and also noted that the blossoms smell nice. I think she's definitely getting the idea.

Plus, she had the hugest smile on her face the whole time.

This is me 38 weeks pregnant. Surprisingly still able to climb steep hills! Don't be fooled by the photo where I've already arrived, you can sort of see the bike path behind me. It's a steep thing, that hill. But, I reason to myself every time I'm taking it on, that my butt is only going to look better and better.

Waiting for Spring

May 21, 2009

This is what the weather was like yesterday, nice huh? Gotta love Edmonton, it's always so unpredictable!

This is what I look like today. With the tempestuous weather, a cardigan is a must. With the year wrapping up at work my wonderful and thoughtful students are showering me with the loveliest of things. This earring/necklace set was a gift from a great family.

And the flowers I've gotten! They make the house smell beautiful.

Finally, it might have snowed yesterday and I might be very pregnant, but I've gotten a couple of spring/summer things that I am confident I will be able to wear soon (HOPEFULLY).

Lovely summer dress.

Printed tank.

Excellent sandals.

Friday Night - Tricycle Test Drive - Biking with Baby

May 15, 2009

It's not a particularly eventful Friday evening. I made potato leek soup and needed some sort of bread to smother boursin all over. Don needed to go the home depot to exchange some wood stain. We rode bikes in the completion of these tasks and had much fun doing the very mundane!

In between the home depot and grocery place we rode past one of Edmonton's big (but locally owned and operated) bike stores, United Cycle. They have a great outdoor test drive area where I saw some dudes riding tricycles! We stopped to check out what sorts of bikes they have this spring and were very pleased to find a variety of things to suit lots of riding styles and lots of different price points.

There are lots of fancy electras for girls with limited edition paint jobs on them... they're very cute but not really my style. I prefer for my bikes to be simple and elegant, and for the personality dimension to come from myself. However, if a bold & fabulously painted/printed bike makes some girl really happy and excited and gets her riding all over town - go for it!

The tricycles. They were WEIRD to ride. After a few minutes I was already getting used to maneuvering around but I'm not sure if the cargo space on the back really makes up for how strange I found the ride. With two panniers, the rear rack, and a basket I could probably carry the same volume of cargo on either Amsterdam or Pashley. It probably wouldn't look as quaint:) The one I rode was a Trek Pure Deluxe (there is a 1 speed and 3 speed). I think it would be a good bike for somebody who doesn't care about going fast, wants to buy lots of groceries all the time or tow a bigger dog around, and feels safe with 3 wheels. My mom always comments about how she wants a tricycle because three wheels is safer than two. I think it's relative. Since I'm used to only 2 wheels the move up to 3 was strange!

I also don't think I could put a baby car seat in the tricycle's rear cargo. Don would have to come up with some system of strapping it in safely and then all my cargo room would be taken up with baby. I'd probably have to get a basket on top of it all to accommodate any other cargo and my purse.

I was frankly hoping a tricycle might be a good solution to biking with newborn baby. From the research I've done, baby is only really good to go in a bobike when he is strong enough to support the weight of his own head and wear a helmet. That will be about 9 months and WAY too long with no biking for me.

Then there is the trailer option. Some people have said they've strapped their baby car seats into the seat belts in these trailers and baby just rides in its regular car seat... inside the trailer. Then when baby is older it can sit in the trailer on its own. The trailer sounds like a good idea, they're just so HUGE. Even pregnant I can sit in one and fit myself and probably Dougal beside me. I would get a 2 seat one because I'd either be traveling with:

A. Child + groceries/shopping
B. Child + Dougal
C. 2 Children (one day)

I guess if I'm strong enough to ride a Pashley all over town I'm strong enough to tow a trailer. This is going to sound awful but... I find the trailers UGLY. They're so sporty and uh, don't really appeal to my style sensibilities. If I do end up going this route I might need a different bike for towing. I'd rather get a huge, sporty trailer than not bike at all so if that's the way it's going to be... then fine.

Finally, I can tell you what I REALLY want. What I really really want. A nihola. My friend at curbside in Toronto said they're actually fabulous to ride and the cargo space is amazing. Meaning, you can put baby's car seat it it at first, then you can put a bench in there and kid(s) can ride up front. It's designed to hold so much cargo that frankly, even I could sit in the front with baby while Don pedals us around. It seems AWESOME. And also much more stylish than the other biking with kids options that I've seen.

The only real problem is price. It's very expensive because the shipping costs are ridiculous (the nihola comes fully assembled so it's huge). My curbside friend said he's sure I can collect enough baby shower donations to get me a good portion of the way there financially... but so many people oppose my cycling... would they be into that?

Sigh. So many things to keep in mind. At least I've got some time to explore my options. I'm at week 37 so I'm three weeks out till my due date. I'm pretty sure I won't be hopping on a bike immediately after giving birth so I'll see what I can do between now and when I'm able to bike again (with baby). Will keep you updated!

On "Falling Down"

Hee hee, I just read this post on and oh how it made me laugh!

I'll do a more extensive post on helmets vs. no helmets at another time (I've been thinking about it a lot since I seem to get so much flak and OMG reactions from people on the occasions I don't wear one). For now, I think you guys might find this post of interest.

It just occurred to me, based on the post, that Dougal is totally dangerous. Egads!

I'd better not walk with or around him in the event that he makes me fall down. Like all those times I'm supposedly falling down on my bike.

I wonder, perhaps sarcasm is a symptom of early labour?

Dinner Date

May 11, 2009

Here I am at week 36. Don actually wrapped up at work before 9 pm tonight so we took the rare opportunity to have dinner together on a week night! The spring and summer in Edmonton really make up for the cold cold winters. There's something about prairie skies that makes me so happy.

Warm weather heralds the arrival of chilled out tank tops and no fuss flip flops. 36 weeks of pregnancy also heralds the arrival of my protruding belly button! C'est la vie.

The Death of Activity

May 7, 2009

This is a picture of Dougal because he's part of my walking lots active lifestyle.

Anybody who reads this blog with any frequency has heard me gripe about people impressing their dumb expectations upon me, particularly during pregnancy.

I've been bombarded with some very limited views on life while pregnant, life with children, total disregard of the double standard of being a woman and so on.

There are certain things I know will never change. Like, Don isn't going to (at least not in my lifetime) be equipped with a uterus. This means that any new family members to the Sarah, Don & Dougal triad will be hosted by yours truly.

Things that I desperately wish to change are the incredibly narrow parameters surrounding the prevailing status quo of pregnancy, motherhood, and active living in North America (for women in particular). I make the geographical qualification because I don't want to make assumptions about places where I don't live.

Sure, people tell me not to ride my bike (in general) but freak right out and pull out an extra 10 caution signs to wave in my face because I bike while pregnant. Upon discovering that I biked to my friend's place for a music rehearsal, this one mom at the school asked me if my friend smacked me when I arrived on the bicycle. Um... the answer is no. Because most of my friends understand that I value active living, that I love being able to feel my heart beat, that I hate driving and avoid it when I can, and I'm not some stupid daredevil who hops on a bike if not fully confident about my abilities to you know... pedal.

Countless people continue to advise me to stay active throughout the pregnancy as this will evidently help with labour and delivery. I get instructions to walk a lot. You know, because locomotion and some manner of activity for the body is a good thing. I find it hilarious that it requires pregnancy to impress upon people that... you know... walking is good. Also, that being active seems to be of paramount concern, but only if the activities subscribe to some arbitrary prerequisites.

Should I only walk if Don is at home and has the time to come hold my hand the whole time? While I'm at it, I'd better make sure I only walk during daylight hours in case some rapist is waiting to jump me in the alley beside my house. Oh, and I should probably take my baseball bat with me too, in the event of a zombie apocalypse... one can never be too careful. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

This makes me sad! Many people seem to regard "walking" as some specialized activity. It's unfortunate that walking isn't more integrated into people's lifestyles. When given this advice to ensure that I walk every day, I agree and assure these well-meaning people that I have a dog and we walk every day, pregnant or not.

It's usually when I throw in that I'm also biking that people retract violently and advise me against such a DANGEROUS activity. I would say 98% of the time people say, "Isn't that dangerous?" and follow it with, "what if you fall down?!"

I continue to remind myself that these people likely do not ride a bike. Falling down? How many people have just been riding their bike and spontaneously fall down? There are many more every day activities I can see being more hazardous than biking in terms of falling down. Walking up and down stairs, for example. Slipping on ice in the winter. Tripping on Dougal's kong toy. Getting in and out of the shower. Shall I go on?

Perhaps these fear mongering people are referring to the hazards of the road. Sure, you've got to be defensive in traffic and check at intersections and not make assumptions (at least not in Edmonton) that motor vehicle operators see you. Chances are they're not looking very careful while driving. In these spring days we've got lots of gravel on the side of the road that hasn't been swept yet. Sure, take those corners carefully so you don't wipe out (the last time I wiped out on gravel was when I was 12).

It all goes back to experience. People who say, "Biking while pregnant is bad because your balance is bad and you'll fall down!" likely don't have a lot of experience biking (a bike basically rides itself). People who also keep reminding me that walking is good hopefully understand that walking is an excellent activity to partake in regardless of pregnancy.

My point is: Active living is very sadly dead for some people. I desperately wish to dispel many of these fearful myths about active living (biking, walking, taking the bus) and want to encourage people to expect more from themselves. How can I do this when they just think I'm crazy and love putting my life in danger? I feel as though I'm quite articulate and reasonable when I attempt to address the concerns of such people, but the very unfortunate thing is that their minds are usually not open to a dialogue about where I'm coming from. Sadly, the minds of such people are so intrinsically focussed on car-dependent lifestyles where ecomobility seems like a massive regression for human kind.

What I'm saying is that some people just don't feel like questioning the status quo and I find that really disappointing. Not everybody has to live life the way I do and think the same things I think. I just wish people were excited enough about life to QUESTION their choices and ensure that their lifestyles choices have to some degree been given some thought and consideration.

So all you pregnant ladies, did you know that walking is good for you? And by the way, all you non pregnant people... walking is good for you!

Biking is too. If you don't feel safe then you should practice and try it before you run away from that scary and dangerous two wheeled mechanism. You'll go faster, farther, and will be able to carry way more stuff:)

Civic Union Dinner

May 2, 2009

Don and I went to a civic union retirement dinner this evening. It was the first really beautiful spring weather we've had! Warm, sunny, and NOT windy. I've been riding the Amsterdam lately in this 8th month of pregnancy because it's lighter than the Pashley and an easier ride. Note that I didn't say "better" ride because the two bikes are very different. I love my Pashley. She requires more muscle, but I like that because she also performs better as an all around every day bike, and she is sturdy and tough.

The Amsterdam is very easy going. The fact that she's lighter just makes pedaling around easy with all my other extra weight. They are both good bikes.

My mom has been very sweet throughout the pregnancy and has continually gotten me maternity clothes so that I might look pretty. She bought me this cute spring dress a few weeks ago and I really like it. The sandals, of course, are those aforementioned new ones. Don doesn't like them. He reserves disdain for wedges.

Here is handsome Don on his Batavus Favoriet! Nothing says style like Hugo Boss and a Batavus.

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