Memory of Summer.

November 30, 2011

Raffaella recently posted these photos of me & Pashley this past summer. I believe we were wandering around Whyte ave, during SOS Fest.

I am so glad this picture with Justin Bieber turned out.


The days of no coats and Pashley riding are over for now. All hail parka and winter kona!

First Winter Bike Ride!

November 28, 2011

Nothing earth shattering to report, just took winter Kona out for her first spin this year. We haven't had too much snow, but with the wacky rain we had yesterday (which is generally all frozen today), I was very thankful for the studded tires.

Temperatures weren't cold, so that wasn't really an issue. Just put on the parka and started pedaling.

Today's bike ride is brought to you by Don, who very kindly pumped up my tires for me.

One other thing to note: I really keep my winter saddle low! Low enough so that I can get a solid toe down to deploy the tripod, in the event of bailing out. Riding that way on my Pashley would be super weird, but on the winter bike (mountain bike) it's very comfortable.

Had lunch with a lady friend, picked up a bag of groceries. All that normal stuff.

How is winter riding treating you guys?

The Royal Bison.

November 26, 2011

I heard the Royal Bison was superb fun today, and super busy too.

I didn't arrive to represent at our little table until later in the afternoon, but it was fun to chat bikes and food with those of you I met!

There were tons of other excellent offerings too, so I will go on my shopping rounds tomorrow.

Come visit!

Velo Fare + Royal Bison

November 23, 2011

Remember the cookbook project Leanne and I were working on over the summer? It's finally done and in print!

If you're in Edmonton this weekend (26th and 27th), come by our table at the Royal Bison Craft & Art Fair and say hello! Velo Fare is retailing at $25 and Leanne's own cookbook, From Scratch, will also be available at $30. It's at 8426 Gateway Blvd and promises to have tons of unique gift ideas for you and yours.

I'll be teaching piano until around 3 pm on Saturday, so I'll only catch you if you come later. But, Leanne and friends will be representing our table on my behalf. I'll be there all day Sunday. Hope to see you there!

About a block away (on Saturday the 26th) the Handmade Mafia craft sale is happening too, so you can do double duty in the shop local department.

I know a lot of you readers aren't in Edmonton, so if you want a hard copy of the book, you can order your own right here.

And, here is also a full PDF, as an early Xmas gift from Miss Sarah & Leanne to you! We never set out to do this as a money making scheme. It was all out of love for food, friends, and bikes. Whether you buy a hard copy and want an additional digital version, or you live faraway and this is just easier for you, the most important thing for us is that you enjoy what we have created and share it with those you love. Enjoy!

Reflections on Young Motherhood.

November 22, 2011

I know what you're thinking, "28 is young to have a baby?!"

It really isn't. But I got to thinking about this whole mom thing after reading S's recent post about life with a new baby.

I had Dexter when I was 28 and although biologically that's a perfectly fine age to have a baby, I told most people that amongst my peers, it felt like being a much younger pregnant lady. Of course, I met lots of moms after Dexter was born, but I never felt like I fit in there either.

So on the one hand I was this big pregnant girl with the moving alien bump, having to fend off repeated comments about how massive everybody thought I was (people would double-take several times a day, every day). Again, I think this might have had something to do with the masses of parents I would see on a weekly basis, back when I was teaching at a music school.

Among my close friends, nobody really stopped to notice I was pregnant, and it was business as usual - which is a good thing!

On the other hand, once I had the baby and I was around other new parents, I didn't feel the same degree of connection that I could see the other ladies forming. I think a lot of that had to do with work and other circumstances. I went back to work after 3 months of summer off and all the other ladies had a year of mat leave. So that meant lots of fun classes and excursions, while I was coordinating child-care and teaching over 60 students a week. My wacky schedule made it difficult to participate in lots of the mommy things that were going on. That, and my disinterest in certain sorts of activities that require several different mommies driving halfway across town to meet up somewhere. Also, I was generally too caught up with day to day stuff like getting groceries or doing laundry in and around my students.

For a long time I felt like a weird hybrid. Still hanging out with the same friends and going and doing the same things, but always arriving late and leaving early, depending on Dexter's disposition. Then I found normal baby-talk really boring too. Do I worry that Dexter isn't developing properly? No. Have I purchased this super duper make-your-kid-smarter toy yet? No. Is the breastfeeding and waking and changes making me insane? No.

I often found lots of the mom talk to be sort of negative. Lots of complaining! And I realize that it's probably a result of being alone with a baby much of the time, and obviously one would seek to find comfort in others who are experiencing the same thing. And don't get me wrong, I am often complaining about stuff too, but usually not baby stuff.

I found that taking care of Dexter wasn't very difficult. It helps that he is really chilled out, and he slept a lot and would also sleep in his stroller on-the-go. That gave me a lot of freedom and mobility. Plus, living along a convenient bus route and close the train made it easy to take him out without missing my bike. I wasn't just left with the option of taking Dougal out and enjoying nature walks, I could get groceries and visit friends on foot! Makes a big difference when you can conveniently coordinate being out in the city.

But, I didn't absolutely fit in with all my peers either. Time management has always been something I am really into. It has always been difficult to make plans with people who aren't very organized, because I never had too much flexibility. This became even more apparent when Dexter arrived. Now it's even more unlikely that I am able to attend a party when issued an invite via text the day before. Sorry! And dinner parties where you arrive at 6 pm with the baby, but dinner isn't served until 9 pm? Not so good for us anymore.

Since those early days of feeling sort of displaced, I have since come to embrace having a diverse set of friends to share my new young-mom life with.

There are great advantages to having people hang out with you, who aren't scheduled to the same degree that you are. We host a lot of friends over at the bungalow because it's very convenient for us. It was not uncommon for a friend to be sitting on a step stool in the bathroom, with a glass of wine, while I give Dexter a bath. Actually, my friends are so well-trained with Dexter-care that oftentimes THEY just administer the bath themselves!

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you might wonder how I manage to have the time to get out and do... all that stuff. It's only possible because I am comfortable delegating Dexter duty to others. It's a conscious choice that we live in Edmonton and didn't move away to a bigger city. We wanted to be near grandparents, who are a great help to us. And it's not uncommon for Dexter to get babysitting from our friends too (I work Saturdays). So you don't have to do it all yourself, if you have options. I think living in the same city as my parents has done immeasurable good for my balance of work and life with Dexter. Life would be very different if I didn't have the massive support system that I've created.

No matter which way a mom chooses to get it all done, my advice is always to do whatever works for you. Everybody's life is different, and the same goes for expectations. It took me a while to figure out where I stood with managing the various aspects of being a self-employed new mom married to a guy with a 60-80 hr a week job, and a good friend too. But I'm feeling much more comfortable and at home with my not-really-fitting-in perfectly in any one place. In fact, I have come to enjoy it. Most importantly, it's my life. And I like it!

Life with a new baby is... new. Every new mama will find her stride and her peers (regardless of whether it's the sort of thing that would work for me or not), and it's important to put the pieces in place to create whatever balance new mama needs. I think one of the best pieces of advice I got was: happy mommy, happy baby. It's true!

I've learned not to fret so much about what I'm doing the same or not the same as other moms. Dexter is growing up to be such a fine little gentleman, and I'm feeling great too. It might be a work in progress and things are always changing (adaptation is the name of the game), but having a little dude around is a wonderful opportunity, lots of fun, and the best life-enrichment program I could have imagined.

Being a "young" 28 yr old new mom? It was the best decision I've ever made. Even if it made me feel like a weirdo for a while. I've come to realize, it wasn't Dexter who made me a weirdo. I've always been a bit off the beaten path. And that's okay!


November 20, 2011

Though I have been to exhibit opening parties at the AGA, I had yet to attend one of their Refinery late night art parties... until this past Saturday. It was an absolute blast! Drinks, snow cones, burlesque performances, temporary installations in addition to the regular exhibits, DJs, and lots of people ready for a fun time.

The dress code for the evening was "Lumberjack Formal". This basically meant that nobody really knew what was going on. Though, a general theme of The North seemed to prevail amongst the attendees, resulting in the general proliferation of plaids and furs in attire.

Since none of my plaid currently fits, I decided to go as a fancy arctic fox, with that crazy hat I have.

The evening's artistic director, Fish Griwkowsky, was very fine in a top hat.

And we saw these amazing bearded folks (now I am dying for one of those crochet beards)!

Amidst all the mixing and mingling, we did end up spending a considerable amount of time in Ragnar Kjartansson's installation, The End.

But then it was back to the northern ladies and gents.

And my fancy shoes.

The music was dance inducing.

Though people were crawling all over every floor.

And I got selected to participate in the costume competition! I didn't win, but it was fun to get chosen.

Ran into lots of friends.

Enjoyed girly chit chat while chomping on bags of popcorn.


Dancing in the stairwell.

And finally it was time to take the elevator down into the LRT station, where we got back to our parked car, piled our friends in, and I (designated pregnant driver) gave folks a lift home to the south side. Late late at night, in dresses and heels, in -20C weather... the carpool makes a lot of sense.

The next Refinery party should be some time in the new year. Perhaps I'll see you there? Next time I have to wear flats, for extended dance opportunities.

Stay warm!

Make It!

November 18, 2011

I missed last year's Make It! craft show, so I made sure to hit it this year.

Even though I got a few gifts for friends, I basically ended up getting a bunch of gifts for myself. Oops.

If you're in Edmonton over the weekend, please try to make it out! It's great to meet the vendors themselves and I feel like the whole shopping experience is so much more authentic. All your money goes to the vendor's little business. It's a good thing!

Like those adorable cards up there from A La Carte. She has a fantastic collection of stationary. There was a pack of cards that featured print-pressed bicycles from India.

I also picked up a pair of edit mittens too, since all three paris of mitts I currently own have been orphaned (only 1 left from each pair). I figured these purposefully mismatched mitts made out of recycled sweaters would do the trick. I'm not sure if you guys know, but Edmonton is currently very COLD.

Now that my bangs are long enough, I'm rarely without a bobby pin to keep it all off my face. This Whimsical Elements bobbies are made of vintage buttons and fabric!

And I was happy to add to my Toodlebunny collection.

I also picked up some gifts from Bang Bang Bijoux too.

The Make It! show is faraway, but we took the edge off by carpooling. So grab a friend and go get some holiday prezzies for you and those you love.

Remember When...

I was large and in charge while pregnant with Dexter? Well prepare yourself for Miss Sarah with baby bump the sequel, since I am currently pregnant with baby #2.

So every post you have read about me riding in the last 12 weeks? That's right, riding while pregnant. I can't say I'm looking forward to some of the quirks of being pregnant, which is the vast array of advice you get. What I've learned from the first time around is that you really have to take it all with a grain of salt, boil it down to the lowest common denominator, and just take the helpful stuff.

Now, I'll preface my stories by saying I probably have more exposure to moms than most people, since I teach so many kids.

I remember this one mom who found out I rode my bike while I was 20ish weeks, and she flicked me on my forehead. Like, flicked her finger... ON MY FACE. It was not cool.

And there was another mom who advised me to go to the mall more often, so I could walk around and get cardio. What?!

The first time I was pregnant, it was always surprising to hear from people what they thought I could do to stay healthy for 40 weeks. Most people suggest walking and swimming as safe activities. And although swimming sounds awful nice, getting to a pool and getting changed and processed, really doesn't fit into my busy schedule.

I do walk, almost every day, with Dougal. And of course there is the riding.

Like most cycling mamas will tell you, you've really got to talk to your own doctor and know your own body before you do any strenuous exercise (though I don't fine biking very strenuous) while pregnant. If it doesn't feel good, then stop.

Luckily, other than more rapid weight gain this time around, I feel much the same as with Dexter - which is absolutely normal.

That means I'll be riding until it no longer feels fine. Last time, it was until the day before my water broke and I went to the hospital. This time... who knows?

So here's to another 28ish weeks of riding with the bump!

Pashley + Snow.

November 15, 2011

Yes, it's cold. But there are a few precious hours in the afternoon that are filled with sunshine!

I had initially planned to take the winter bike out today, but after a failed attempt at pumping up the tires (this seems to be something I am perennially bad at), I was running late and faced the choice of driving or riding a non-winter bike.

I took the Pashley.

We ran some errands in Old Strathcona, and I went to my acupuncture appointment (seriously, my guy does wonders).

Afterward, I biked a few blocks over to Leanne's and picked her up for our bento lunch date (we walked).

Post lunch, I cycled over to the Cross Cancer institute to meet another fine lady friend for her late lunch break at work. I had already eaten, but I still make fine company.

Anybody who hangs out with me over the winter will get used to the sight of my gloves and stuff in an overturned helmet whenever we are indoors.

It breaks my heart a little when pretty Pashley gets all gummed up with snow like this.

C'est la vie! Bikes are for riding. So we should ride them, even if there is sticky snow on the ground.

Though, the Pashley does have lovely brakes for winter.

Afterward, I came home and walked the dog and shovelled our walk. Lots of exercise, no gym. It's the Miss Sarah way!

Winter Helmet.

November 14, 2011

I've been getting lots of inquiries about my winter helmet! It's not much different than wearing a toque underneath your normal helmet, but I like the tight seal around my head and ears. Plus, the back of the helmet has this clip that keeps my goggles in place when I am riding in severe cold.

I bought mine online, and was reminded of the site when a reader sent me a link to Empire. That's where Don and I got ours from! Though, I do believe they carry Bern at MEC as well (I don't think they had my size with the liner back when I was looking).

Thought I would let you know, since I see they are on sale too. Mine has a brim and an air vent on top (some of them don't have a vent).

Happy winter riding!

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