I’m rubbish at exercise.

I’m the first one to admit I need to have someone telling me what to do, pretty much the entire time. I’m good at following instructions, however, and am happy to plug away at martial arts at a beginner level. I love my capoeira classes.

Before I found capoeira, however, I found Barre Fitness. I like the ballet-style workouts, the spare studio with its clean lines and wood floors. When they approached me with a crazy blogger challenge to go to 21 classes in a month, I thought, yes! Let’s go!

And then – crap, how am I going to do this with Elliot?

I was halfway through writing an email turning them down, when I remembered the new North Vancouver location offered child minding. It would mean getting to North Van every morning for 9.15am. This plan was getting more insane by the minute.

Yesterday morning we managed our first class despite a pavement skid on the way to the car. It’s been awhile and my barre muscles are a bit weak, but I’m really looking forward to getting stronger. It was just bliss to be able to do a class with Elliot being entertained close by.

I’ll post about my progress here, as well on my Facebook page and on twitter. You can follow, if you should so desire, at #barrefitnessbloggerchallenge. Also, you could win something exciting at the end of this, so keep reading…

Disclosure: Barre Fitness approached me, and gave me a month-long unlimited membership for free.

 

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You can change the fonts, don't panic.
 

You would think, with blogging, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, I wouldn't have anything else to say at the end of the day. Those are all public channels, however, and there is loads of tedious detail I don't mention (I know, you'd thought I told you most of it hadn't you?) in there that sits on my chest. There are reasons I've kept personal, private journals most of my life.

Christopher showed me this iPad app called Remembary. It gives you a place to journal, but it also collects up all your tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, Instagram photos and check-ins in a little bar at the top. It's a funny thing, looking at my private thoughts at the end of the day, together with the context of my public dialogue with the world at large (which is quite a grand way of saying all the crap I've thrown out there in 24 hours).

I thought it was a neat concept, but couldn't see myself using it, where would I find the wherewithal to write in yet another place? It's surprisingly addictive and satisfying. Flipping through the last week, it's the best cross-section of my thoughts and feelings. I may not keep this up forever, but I'm enjoying it right now.

Remembary, iPad-only $3.99

 

Disclosure: none, my husband read about it and bought it, then showed it to me.

 

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I always think of August as slow, hot and muggy. A kind of month-long Sunday situation. Swimming lessons had always seemed to have ended, and I remember being a bit bored, and *whisper it*, ready to go back to school. There would be a brief frisson of excitement around getting new school supplies, but that's it.

As August approaches this year, I'm seeing a bit of this from the other side. Now that I've been back in Vancouver for a year, my freelance work is picking up, together with interesting projects for the blog. Elliot starts preschool in September. August doesn't feel like a stretch of empty days, but a desperately too short month between me and a load of Big Things happening this autumn, including a trip back east and my first blogging conference.

Hopefully I can keep my panic to myself, and enjoy some empty days with Elliot before my favourite season arrives.

 

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Oh dear, I thought to myself, don't cry in the coffee shop.

There's a TV in this place, on mute. It was on some daytime soap, and now we're onto a talk show. In between, there was a breakfast cereal commercial that featured a grandpa and a little boy in a high chair. The boy looked a bit younger than Elliot and the grandpa reminded me a bit of my dad. They shared their cereal in a silly kind of way that especially reminded me of the goofy side of my father.

My dad has been gone for years, over a decade now. I find it incredibly difficult to cope with that he's not here to meet Elliot. To be silly with him. To play soccer with him. Oh, so hard I can't think about it directly or I feel sick and dizzy. Sometimes it hits me, like this, and my breath is gone and the Great Unfairness of the World sits on my chest like a giant stone.

Ah, I'm crying in the coffee shop after all.

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We've spent the last few days in Whistler, with family. It's amazing what a few days away in the mountains will do – Elliot has been full of new words ever since. We even survived a much longer-than-anticipated drive home, including a highway-side potty stop. It opens the door to some other options for holidays I had previously thought would be much too difficult. Camping? Maybe not quite yet.
 
I am massively jealous of Whistlerites and their central playground, surrounded by several coffee shops and a Dairy Queen. That's my kind of civic planning.

 

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I never know what kind of app will really appeal to Elliot. He loves cars and trains, but often those games have fiddly controls and he gets frustrated. However, Cordy, a clever platformer that involves some intricate run-and-jump combos, has been a lasting favourite.

Having read about Toca Kitchen and Toca Monsters on the GeekMom blog, I was intrigued but didn't think it would hold Elliot's attention. It's a nice calm game that involves choosing a human or a cat, or in the monsters game – a monster, to feed.

You pick a raw ingredient from the fridge and put it in front of your chosen diner. Sometimes they will eat it raw, but it's much more fun to then swipe the righthand side of the screen and choose a preparation method. Of course, little people like to do lovely things like put the sausage in the blender and then boil the resulting mass. You can pick more than one raw ingredient to put on the plate, but you can't use them together in the preparation stage – ie no blending raw fish and broccoli.

Mmmm… Fish in the blender.

Your diner then either eats up your concoction or makes a satisfying 'yuck' sound, often sticking out their tongue. Of course Elliot loves that part too.

Toca Monsters is free, Toca Kitchen is $1.99.

Disclosure: None really, I read about it and bought the app on my own.

 

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Other rainy day activities include stealing mummy’s phone and taking 456 photos of my forehead, says Elliot.

I think one of the true tests of one’s mettle as a parent is a trip to Ikea. Solo.

It’s been raining here in Vancouver lately, and Ikea is one of my favourite places to visit when it’s grey outside. Joyful Scandi colour, endless perfectly neat and clean room sets… I can forget my own flat is a bit of a tip at home and fantasise that if I just bought a few red bins my life would be so much better. And involve eating herring for breakfast. Ha.

On the toddler-side of the equation, Elliot can gleefully skip around, testing couches endlessly, lying in many different beds, pretending to have tea, play with train sets that aren’t his (and therefore, clearly, much more superior) and spin in the chairs.

Additionally, the food is so cheap, it’s hardly annoying if Elliot spends thirty minutes chanting ‘meatballs, meatballs, meatballs’ yet refuses to eat them when I set them down in front of him.

We had a great trip yesterday, agreeing on pillow fabrics and new little plastic bins for his toys, and only one small meltdown in the warehouse section. It wasn’t so long ago this would have been impossible, as he would have taken off at every opportunity.

If I could just convince him the grocery store is just as fun.

 

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I read many tales of parades, fireworks, face painting and live music today. For us, a bad night of not very much sleep conflicted with any major outings, compounded by Elliot's unwillingness to nap. So in the end we had pancakes and maple syrup, and didn't get much else done. I had a lovely snuggle with him this afternoon though. Those little ears and that neck get me every time.
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As I said before, I spend quite a bit of time working in coffeeshops and cafes. I do my best not to take up room at high traffic times or spread my stuff too far. However, the same things/people happen over and over again, driving me crazy. If I could only remember my headphones regularly, these could be avoided.

The most annoying ones being…

  • The awkward mid-afternoon date, complete with pointless conversation topics (‘uh, have you seen Scrubs?’) and tittering
  • The person who hasn’t turned off the keypad tones on their device
  • The loud job interview going on in the corner
  • The mum who insists on speaking to her child as if they’re deaf, and with that terrifying faux-cheerful thing going on, sprinkled liberally with ‘sweetie’ and ‘darling’
  • The person who asks you to watch their table full of electronics four times
  • The two women on their break discussing their fasts/cleanses/free of everything diet plans in excruciating detail
  • The builder manager guy who has scheduling discussions on his mobile, still using his shout-across-the-building-site voice

Do you take up a table with your laptop as well? What drives you crazy?

 

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About a month ago, Elliot started coming up to us and saying ‘baby’ sweetly and curling up in our arms. Sometimes it means he wants to be picked up, or sometimes he starts crawling. With the potty training and everything, I think the poor little guy would like to revert back to being a little baby. I completely sympathise.

I sometimes daydream about being five – it seems so fun. Running around, not having to plan or be responsible for anything, discovering new things all the time, having naps.

Often Elliot’s baby moments are fleeting. What he really wants is a snuggle, or just a break for a minute. In no time at all he’s standing up with his arms stretched to the sky saying ‘big!’ and off he goes again…

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