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Month: June 2017

Sporty Toddler: Tips for Toddler Recreation

Sporty Toddler: Tips for Toddler Recreation

Keeping with the fitness theme this week, I’m tackling toddler recreation options in this blog post. Even before I had my daughter (the Munchkin), I wanted to be the family that was physically active together.  Recognizing that I have a toddler and not a teen, I still strive to keep active as a family. We might not be rollerblading the roads now, but we still manage to have fun and stay active as a family.
 Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom toddler recreation tips

My 3 Tips forToddler Recreation:

  • Participate in community sports.
  • Try out lots of different activities.
  • Don’t gender stereotype sports.

Baby & Toddler Swimming

The Munchkin made her first trip to the pool at 6 weeks old and we were keen to enroll her for her first swim lesson at 6 months old. She has continued to progress through swim lessons, even repeating levels in order to not go half a year between lessons. Next month she starts a new swim level, which is 3 toddlers and 1 instructor – no parent participation!
Shelby Hancock Toddler recreation swim
6 weeks old and in the pool.

Toddler Recreation Programs: Active Start

Our municipality offers “Active Start” sporting classes for toddlers as young as 18 months, with a requirement for parent participation. The classes are cheap, no more than $6 to $8 per class and classes range from 4 weeks to 8 weeks in duration.  I enjoy our Saturday morning sports classes and our post sports coffee and donut stops. The Munchkin’s grandparents come out to her sports classes and each week they say they can see changes and improvements in her development (not just in sports, but language and growth as well). I like to put my running shoes on and go play with my Munchkin and I wish I had time to do that every day.

Toddler Soccer

When the Munchkin was almost 18 months we put her in soccer, which was hilarious.  I was surprised at how much flak I got from people about putting my 2 year old in sports. People told me it was ridiculous, a waste of money, and that it was just too soon. One person said I should take my kid to the park and bring a ball for her to kick without the need for a class.
Perhaps they didn’t realize that I wasn’t putting the Munchkin in sports so that she’d be the next Christine Sinclair, although I did post that exact comment on my Instagram. I wanted the Munchkin to have fun interacting with a new person of authority (i.e., the coach), play with other kids, and kick a ball around outside. There are no teams, they don’t even scrimmage so there’s nobody keeping score of anything – trust me, we’re not THOSE parents!
Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom toddler soccer
First Soccer practice.

Toddler Gymnastics

After soccer we tried gymnastics. The great part of gymnastics was the Munchkin learned new skills, like jumping and rolling. We also enjoyed meeting the other families and getting to play in a big indoor space during our terribly cold winter.

Toddler Multi-Sport

We recently wrapped up “multi-sport”, which was an outdoor class that involved kicking balls, throwing balls, and running. Tom Brady better watch himself because the Munchkin was getting pretty good at throwing a football. And by “pretty good” I mean, there was absolutely no spiral and she’d often drop the football backwards mid-throw.

Toddler Yoga

Our daycare is teaching the Munchkin some yoga or as the Munchkin calls it, “stretching”. Daily, the Munchkin stops what she is doing and announces that she’s stretching.  She then proceeds to go into down dog pose where she flows into three legged down dog.  I’ve taught her down dog to plank and then baby cobra and up-dog. She cracks me up with her daily yoga routine and she even assists me as I do my head-stands.
Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom Toddler headstand
The Munchkin is my spotter (don’t mind the mess).

Toddler Golf

The Munchkin is sporty, but she’s also a thief! Whenever our neighbours garage is open, the Munchkin finds her way into the neighbours garage to their son’s old plastic golf clubs. She takes them out and plays with them. She seems to have learned that a golf club is different from a baseball bat since she swings the club at balls on the ground. While the other kids ride their bikes, she’s happy to stay back and work on her golf swing.

Skating

After working 60 hour work weeks for a few weeks this fall I had some mom guilt. I tried to buy my way out of it with a pair of ice skates for the Munchkin. We took her to the rink and she enjoyed walking in the skates, but was really uncertain when she got on the ice.  I think there’s a reason there weren’t any toddler skating classes until they are over two!
Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom toddler recreation
First time the Munchkin used skates.

Don’t Gender Stereotype Sports

The Munchkin was the only girl of 12 in her soccer class. In gymnastics, the girls outnumbered the boys 4:1.  In multi-sport there was 1 other girl that attended half the classes and the rest of the class was boys. While I  recognize enrollment is low for these toddler sports, I’m still annoyed at these gender stereotypes of sports.
There aren’t girl sports and boy sports and I’d have assumed parents of my generation would know that. I read all the course descriptions and was surprised at some of the activities. For instance, rhythmic gymnastics focused coordination and agility while working with balls and hoops – perfect for a future football player and not restricted for the girliest of girlie-girls.
See ya’,
Shelby Hancock
Canada Day Weekend Fun

Canada Day Weekend Fun

This weekend is going to be a great long weekend with Canada Day falling on Saturday. I’m getting excited to wear my red and white and celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
This week, I’m highlighting Canada Day at Canada Place and for local fun, the Langley Canada Day JRBQ at Willoughby Community Park. There is no shortage of listings and directories online to view all of the Canada Day events from Vancouver to the valley. CTV has a comprehensive event listing here, which even has an interactive map.

Canada Day at Canada Place

This is a 2 day festival (Saturday and Sunday) taking place in the heart of downtown in Jack Poole Plaza and surrounding streets. Lots of info can be found online and I won’t reiterate it. However, I should emphasize that the “Kids Zone” hours are 1 PM to 4:40 PM on Saturday, whereas the main celebration begins at 9:45 AM with a Welcome Ceremony and concludes with fireworks 13 hours later.

Below are my 3 tips to make Canada Day at Canada Place a success:

  • Take public transit because parking is difficult and expensive.
    • If you are on the North Shore take the Seabus and if you are in the suburbs take Skytrain (and/or the bus to the Skytrain)
  • Bring snacks if you have little ones or if you hate line ups.
    • Vancouver is expensive and a few snacks thrown into a knapsack will go a long way. My go to snacks are: crackers, bananas, apples, and cucumber slices.  If I’m desperate I bring pouches for my 2 year old.  Food trucks, while tasty, are never cheap.
    • It could also be a long day away from home as festivities are planned from morning until the fireworks late in the evening. Pace yourself!
  • Take a time out.
    • I like to take a pause in Coal Harbour and sit on the grass. If you take the steps west of Jack Pool Plaza and walk the seawall you’ll come to a grassy area where you can chill out. This is where we’ve eaten dinner on Canada Day before. Most noteworthy was when we stopped at Save On Foods near  Olympic Village Station, bought a roast chicken dinner and hopped on the Canada Line down to Canada Place. A $12 dinner with a million dollar view!

Langley Canada Day JRBQ

This Saturday you can celebrate Canada Day without having to travel far. I was sold when I heard the Kids Zone would have inflatables, trains, and crafts. For more info check out this map of the festivities.

This event takes place at Willoughby Community Park. It begins at 11 AM and goes until 6 PM.

 

Happy Birthday Canada!

I hope you have an extra special Canada Day this year.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom highlights Canada Day Events Family pic
Showing our love of Canada in Walt Disney World.
Balancing Half Marathon Training

Balancing Half Marathon Training

My hobby, sport, and way of keeping in shape is running. I’m a fan of the half marathon distance. I ran my first half marathon just over 10 years ago and have enjoyed many others since. My husband’s first half marathon race pic just popped up in my Facebook feed as a memory from 10 years ago, which was funny since he was 100% in the friend zone at that time and I kicked his butt in that race!

Half Marathon: The Perfect Distance

I find half marathons the perfect distance since it is far enough that you can’t skip your long runs, but not too far that your training runs take over your life. With a 10 kilometre (km) race, I could rest on my laurels and while it might be painful, I could jump into a 10km race and survive it without adequate training. However, in a half marathon, the level of discomfort and risk of injury is much higher if you don’t complete your training runs.

My longest training run for a half marathon would be under 2.5 hours long. If I started my run at 6 AM, I could be home in time to eat breakfast with my family.

My 3 Tips for Successful Half Marathon Training

  • Find a plan and routine that works for you.
    • Be realistic when making your plan. For me, I can’t commit to more than 3 days a week.
    • Also plan out your runs; determine what time of day works for you and make a routine out of it.
  • Find a race and register for it to keep you motivated.
    • Having a goal to work towards will keep you motivated. I tell lots of people about my upcoming race far in advance so I feel accountable.
  • Find a training partner or run club.
    • While I enjoy running on my own, I couldn’t imagine all of my long runs by myself. Having someone with you can make your long runs fly by. Running is a form of therapy for me since I talk through problems, vent, share memories with my running partner.

Running After Baby

After having a baby, running was a major challenge for me. The motivation to loose weight was certainly there, but my body wasn’t ready for that kind of intensity. My body had changed; I was nursing and had major nursing boobs that could not be tamed. Running wasn’t comfortable so my plan to run 6 months after giving birth and to start half marathon training went out the window.

I tried once more to run when my baby was 13 months and I had been back at work for a few weeks. While my body cooperated with running this time, I found it difficult to stay committed. Part of the problem was that I ran alone at 7:45 PM, after the baby was nursed and in bed.  I was exhausted, it was dark out, and Netflix was calling me.

Third time was the charm! I survived a busy August at work and I knew the fall was going to be busy at work so if I didn’t get running soon I’d never maintain my fitness during the winter. Baby was now 18 months old and I was daydreaming about Disney vacations and it struck me: why not run a Disney race!?!  My timing could not have been better as the Tinker Bell Half Marathon’s registration was coming up in mid-September.  I laced up my runners and tried to run and this time, with the right motivation and a better fitness level than the other two attempts I kept up my training and ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon last month.

Half Marathon Training Plan by Mouse House Mom

Baby Steps: Initial Running Plan

Starting my half marathon training in September for a May half marathon gave me ample time to build a foundation before I had to start logging long miles. September, October, and November focused on a run/walk program. This meant each week I’d run 1 minute, walk 1 minute until I’d reached 12 to 15 minutes of total run time. Then the next week I’d bump up my run time.  After a few weeks I was running 10 minutes and walking 1 minute. From this, I switched to distance based training with 3 to 4 km runs during the week and a 5 km on the weekend.  Each long run (weekend run), I’d increase by 1 km.  I also listened to my body and decreased every few weeks to let my body have a break.

While I was focused on this training and really happy with my progress, I should note that I was nowhere close to the times I once ran. I don’t blame pregnancy on this as I had a health scare in the years leading up to pregnancy that I think took its tole on me.  I’m a highly competitive person, but I took this slower pace in stride (pun intended).  Now that I’m a mom, I’ve chilled out a lot more and having time to run and pursue my own fitness makes me happy. I’m not longer focused on my splits, although slow or not, I always aim for a negative split.

My mantra for running post pregnancy is: No expectations, no limitations.

Find a Training Plan that Works for You

A quick Google search can turn up dozens of half marathon training plans. In some you have to run 5 days a week, in others only 3 days. Some have steep build ups in long run mileage, while others are more gradual. I suggest you open a spreadsheet, take what you like from multiple plans that you’ve reviewed and plug that into your own plan.

For me I have a simple long run build up that I don’t mess with in the 7 weeks leading to the race, which is as follows:

  • 16, 16, 12, 18, 18, 20, 8 km.

While this builds my last several weeks, most training plans should cover a minimum of 18 weeks with a minimum distance of 10 km to begin.  Keep this in mind as you set your sights on your goal race and plan accordingly.

Plan Your Runs

Plan out when you are going to run, then make it happen. I nurse my daughter to sleep at 7 PM daily and I only have an hour with her before bedtime so I know during the week I need to run later that I’d prefer. Running at 7:30 PM means most of the year it is dark so I have a reflective vest and my husband knows my route.

For my weekend long runs, I aim to be home by 8 AM.  This means I may need to be up before 6 AM or for a shorter run, closer to 6:45 AM.  Yes, it is early, but I’m committed to my training and I find running enjoyable.

Mouse House Mom Half Marathon Training
The before and after shots this spring.

Importance of a Training Partner

I’ve got an amazing training partner that happily runs at my odd ball times. She supports me, loves me, and let’s me talk on and on about whatever is bothering me. You won’t find a training partner better than mine, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and find one. I forgot to mention, my training partner is my mom – my IRONMAN, marathoner, more energy than I’ll ever have, MOTHER!

Let Me Know…

Let me know if you have questions – I’m passionate about running and happy to help you figure out how to juggle it into your busy life.

 

Happy running!

 

 

Related posts: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report

Weekly Meal Plans for Working Parents

Weekly Meal Plans for Working Parents

I am happiest when I have solved a problem with the use of a spreadsheet. A few years ago, I began using a spreadsheet to make my weekly meal plans. Having weekly meal plans keeps me focused and efficient.  Also, my husband and I both arrive home from work between 5:30 and 6 PM and that doesn’t give us much time to boil water, let alone make an entire meal.

Why I do Weekly Meal Plans:

  • Holds me accountable to eat better.
  • Reduces food waste.
  • Saves money on one-off grocery trips or eating out.
  • Saves time as I can prepare food in advance.
  • Reminds me to use freezer food.
Shelby Hancock weekly meal plans dinner pic
Dinners planned out and enjoyed as a family.

Easing into Meal Planning

If meal planning is going to be a shock to your system, then start out slowly with only planning weeknight dinners and plan to make more than you need so you can eat leftovers during the week. I know leftovers are a polarizing subject, but let it be known I’m #TeamLeftovers.

Below is a sample week for my family:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Dinner Leftovers Veggie Stir-fry with chicken and rice Leftovers Pasta with microwaved meatballs Crock pot Chicken w/root veggies.
Next Day Prep Measure rice.

Take chicken out of freezer.

Boil pasta + assemble.

Take whole chicken out of freezer.

Chop veggies and get crock pot ready.
Evening Activity 8pm Run 8pm Run
Shelby Hancock weekly meal plans dinner pic
One of our weeknight dinners.

The Extra Rows

I find it very useful to add additional rows to my weekly meal plans to include “next day prep” and “evening activity”.  As a result of “next day prep”,  you don’t forget to take food out of the freezer. This allows freezer food time to defrost and you can also plan more evening prep when you anticipate a more hectic next day. The above example shows that I take my chicken out of the freezer and into the fridge on Wednesday night.  Come Friday, I can put the thawed chicken into the crock pot.

Depending on the amount of time you have to prepare your dinner each day, you can adjust the amount of next day prep to do and move some to the day of. For me, it is useful to have my rice and water measured the night before so that it is ready – all I have to do the day of is rinse the rice and turn on my rice cooker and in 15 minutes, I’ll have my carbs!

Adapting for Children’s Eating Habits

I add rows to my weekly meal plans for my daughter (the Munchkin), to indicate who will pick her up from daycare (e.g., my husband or the grandparents) and on what night she needs a bath.  If my husband and I are eating perogies or potatoes then I need to plan a meal for the Munchkin that is different from ours. She’s usually a good eater, but has always refused potatoes.

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Pick Ups Dad Grandma Dad Grandpa Dad
Bath Night? Yes Yes

 

You can expand the weekly meal plans to include weekends and all other meals. I’ll be sure to blog about some of my favourite quick and easy week day meals.

 

Mouse House Mom gives an overview on how to start weekly meal planning for working parents.
Mouse House Mom gives an overview on how to start weekly meal planning for working parents.

 

Shelby Hancock weekly meal plans dinner pic
Roasted cauliflower is her signature dish.

Mickey’s Printable Weekly Meal Plans

My family likes that I use the Mickey’s Printable Weekly Menu [pdf] found on the Disney Family site here: https://family.disney.com/activity/mickeys-printable-weekly-menu/

I can quickly write in what our dinner is for each night and post it on the fridge. Alternatively, you can start with this if it is your first foray into meal planning. Posting the printable Mickey menu on the fridge helps us keep Disney alive all year in our home!

 

Related

If you’ve survived a busy week, then treat yourself to my Churro Treats at Home Recipe for a weekend family brunch.

Weekend Fun: McBurney Plaza & Campbell Valley

Weekend Fun: McBurney Plaza & Campbell Valley

Happy Wednesday to all!  Each Wednesday, I highlight a festival and local fun from Vancouver to the Fraser Valley. This week’s festival is the first event in the 2017 McBurney Plaza Summer Series in downtown Langley. As for local fun, I’m highlighting Campbell Valley Regional Park.

Weekend Festival and Local Fun McBurney Plaza

McBurney Plaza Summer Series: Science in the Plaza

This event takes place in downtown Langley at McBurney Plaza from 12 to 3 PM on Saturday, June 24.  Science World is taking to the road and will be doing live science shows at 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30pm.  Last week I took my 2 year old and nieces (9 and 11) to Science World and all three kiddos were surprisingly engaged watching the science shows. Get ready for occasional explosions, exploring electricity, and imploding marshmallows.

In addition to the shows, there are the spot activities, make and take science areas, and a discovery tent.

My 3 tips at McBurney Plaza:

  • Arrive early to find parking and get your kiddos seated for the science show.
  • There are some coffee shops and ice cream places along Fraser Hwy so plan to get a treat for you and one for the kids after.
  • This event is suitable for a stroller, if you require one.

McBurney Plaza is located at 20514 Fraser Hwy, Langley.  Website info: http://www.downtownlangley.com/events-calendar

 

Campbell Valley Regional Park

As a high-schooler, I ran cross country through Campbell Valley and I always loved how immersed in nature you’d feel. This week I took my nieces and 2 year old to the park for a walk. We enter the parking lot off of 16th Avenue (between 208 and 200 St), which takes us to the start of the Little River Loop. Detailed map can be found here.

The Little River Loop is a 2.2 kilometre trail on compact, crushed rock and over a few wooden boardwalks. Not all of these boardwalks have railings and while the fall off would be short, you’ll want to keep little ones close.

I opted for my baby carrier (the Ergo still fits my toddler on my back) instead of the stroller. The main reason I didn’t bring the stroller was I didn’t want a dirty stroller in my vehicle.

Weekend Festival and Local Fun McBurney Plaza
Hello from the Little River Loop.

Be prepared for birds and squirrels galore! I’m far from a bird watcher, but it was amazing to see the different colour birds around us. The kids loved running along the trail and searching for the biggest trees.  We measured the size of the trees by our ability to hold hands and hug the tree. Pack a snack and enjoy some time with nature and your kiddos!

Weekend Festival and Local Fun Campbell Valley
Campbell Valley fun with kids and squirrels.

 

 

For more information on fun in Langley, check out my Local: Langley page.

Churro Treats at Home Recipe

Churro Treats at Home Recipe

When I’m at Disneyland, I have a weakness – I can’t walk past a churro cart without wanting to stop. I remember as a child, standing by Rivers of America, when my dad brought me my first churro from the stand by the Haunted Mansion.  It has since been my fifth food group while on vacation in Disneyland.

Shelby Hancock Churro home recipe

While I crave churros all year, I’m fortunate to have grown up in an Italian family where we had a special occasion breakfast tradition of “fritti”, which is fried bread dough topped with sugar. When I’m not at Disneyland, I can make fritti at home and be reminded of the fried chewy, yet crunchy goodness of churros.

Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom Churro at home

Friendly Disclaimer:

These are more like “beaver tails” or “elephant ears” than the long stick-like churros, but they are also a whole lot easier to make at home without much effort. That said, these are still fried-doughy goodness like that of a churro. Call ’em churros, call ’em fritti; as long as someone is making them, I’m happy!

Fritti Ingredients:

1 loaf of frozen French bread dough

2 cups Vegetable (Canola) Oil

Topping:

Butter, for spreading on finished product (use your pre-made butter dish)

1 cup Sugar

3 tsp Cinnamon

 

Fritti Directions:

Take frozen loaf out of the freezer the night before and leave it out overnight on a cutting board with large bowl/lid on top of it to allow it to rise.

Cut off a piece of dough about the size of an egg.  Stretch the dough with your hands; keeping it about ¼ inches thick. Shapes when pulled will be round or oblong – it’s not a science so don’t worry about messing it up! Note: in the pictures I actually made dough from scratch instead of store bought frozen bread dough. Using homemade (super sticky dough) is why I had to flour my cutting boards.

Heat oil in a large, deep skillet.  Oil should be at least a few centimetres deep, this may require more than 2 cups.  Allow oil to heat up (e.g., a water droplet will cause sputtering in the oil so stand back!). Gently lower the stretched dough pieces, one at a time, into the hot oil and fry each side until golden brown. Layer cooked fritti on top of paper towels. Serve immediately.

Combine 1 cup of sugar with cinnamon in a bowl or a pie plate. Add more cinnamon to your liking and set aside.

Butter your fritti then spoon the cinnamon and sugar mixture onto it.  Shake off excess sugar. Due to shaking off the excess sugar you may prefer to have your mixture in a pie plate as it is larger and will catch more of the excess when you shake it off.

Photo Descriptions

Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom Churro at home
The pieces of dough cut from the loaf.

 

Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom Churro at home
The dough after it has been pulled/stretched.

 

Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom Churro at home
Stove top is ready.

 

Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom Churro at home
Flipped and cooking on the other side.

 

Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom Churro at home
When removing from the pan allow excess oil to drip off.

 

Shelby Hancock Mouse House Mom Churro at home
The art of applying the cinnamon and sugar.

 

Plan Ahead Tip:

We make fritti for most special occasions so I keep a premade cinnamon and sugar container in my cupboard. Don’t fret about measuring cinnamon and sugar as it is best to make it to taste. Enjoy!

 

I hope you enjoy fritti as much as I enjoy eating a churro in Disneyland. Thank you for reading!

 

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom enjoys final churro of Disneyland vacation
My final churro of our Disneyland vacation.

 

Related Mouse House Mom posts on DISNEYLAND:

 

Disneyland Side Trip: LA Angels of Anaheim

Disneyland Side Trip: LA Angels of Anaheim


In honour of Father’s Day this weekend, I’m dedicating this post to a fun activity dad will love: LA Angels of Anaheim baseball game!

Last month we had an amazing Disneyland vacation where I was able to research first-hand how to have a successful time at a LA Angels of Anaheim baseball game.

Angels Game on Disneyland vacation
Happy Father’s Day from section 104!

Afternoon or Evening Angels Game

We opted for an afternoon game to give us some mid-day enjoyment. In reviewing the LA Angels of Anaheim schedule it appears that their home games on Saturdays are 6:07 PM and Sundays are 12:37 PM. As for weeknight home games, those appear to be scheduled for 7:07 PM.

If you choose an afternoon game then try to get a seat in the shade. This can be done by picking seats on the third base side, especially the 200 level. We sat third base side, section 104, row 3 (by the foul post), and were in sun the entire time.  If we moved probably 15 rows up in this 100 level we could have been shaded.  That said, we had amazing views!

Angels Merchandise

My husband has a very specific fitted hat size and whenever we travel we always support the home team.  To be sure he’d have an Angels hat we purchased them online a month before our Disneyland vacation.  This way we had the hats for the entire trip and it was fun to walk through the Vancouver airport at the start of our trip being all matchy-matchy.  The stadium had no shortage of shirts, hats, and other merchandise to purchase.

Angels Game on Disneyland vacation
Take me out to the ball game

Angels Stadium Logistics

We rented a car for our vacation and from Harbor and Katella we had about an 8 minute drive to the Stadium.  Directions were simple and we didn’t even need to plug it into the GPS.  Parking at the stadium was $10 and the walk to the closest gate was no more than a minute or two.

I spoke with our hotel staff who advised that Uber would cost $10 and a taxi would be a bit more.  We opted for a rental car because of car seat requirements.

The “Will Call” line was where we had to obtain our tickets and we only had one person in front of us in line.  As for the line-up for security and getting in the park, that moved quickly as well. No bottle necks, at least not 15 minutes before the first pitch in what we experienced.

Buy Me Some Peanuts & Cracker Jacks

While the stadium had various food options ranging from hot dogs to poke, we stuck with regular ballgame food. Hot dogs, popcorn, and water were all priced similar to Disneyland. As a Canadian, I felt that the prices were more reasonable than what we pay at sporting events back home.

Mouse House Mom’s 3 Tips for LA Angels of Anaheim Game

My 3 tips for a successful trip to an LA Angels of Anaheim game are as follows:

  1. Bring a hat and sunscreen.
    • You could be sitting for a few hours and that much sun will cause a burn if you don’t reapply sunscreen often.
  2. Leave the stroller at the hotel.
    • While I had heard there was stroller parking “if it didn’t fit under your seat” I didn’t see anyone outside of the stadium or inside with a stroller. The walk from the parking lot wasn’t far so unless your balancing multiples under 2, I’d go sans stroller. A baby carrier would work, although we did not use one.
  3. Explore the stadium.
    • My munchkin loved walking around the stadium and exploring. We even found a patch of turf and some balls to play with in between innings. If you explore during an inning it won’t be as crowded!

 

Have fun and happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Festivals & Local Fun: Langley Community Day

Festivals & Local Fun: Langley Community Day

 

It must be Wednesday since I’m blogging about the local fun happening this weekend in Langley.  As a resident of Langley, I’m always impressed that we can find lots of fun on the weekends without having to drive far.  The highlighted festival this weekend is: Langley Community Day. The Local Fun this weekend is the Fort Langley National Historic Site.

Weekend Festivals and Local Fun - Langley Community Day

Festival: Langley Community Day (City of Langley)

This Saturday, June 17 from 11am to 3pm head over to the City of Langley Community Day festival. This festival is taking place at Douglas Park (20550 Douglas Crescent). The theme for 2017 is to honour Canada’s 150th birthday. Almost every 30 minutes a new act will be hitting the stage: from First Nations drummers to line dancers and even rock bands!

I’m looking forward to the Fire Rescue Kids Challenge to see how my munchkin will try her best to step up to the challenge.  Also interesting is that there will be both a Teen activity zone and a Kids activity zone. BBQ concession for those in need of lunch. Best of all, the Langley Community Day is free!

More info can be found here: https://city.langley.bc.ca/events/community-day-festival

Local Fun: Fort Langley National Historic Site

This weekend the Fort Langley National Historic Site is hosting Aboriginal Day on Saturday and Sunday (June 17 and 18). Events are planned from 11am to 4:30pm.  There are 4 key events that are repeated three times each day.  I’d plan to be there, ready to participate, on the hour or half hour. In addition, I’d intend on being there for 2 hours to participate in each of they key events. The 4 key events are:

  • Drumming & storytelling
  • Native Plant Walk
  • Tour of the Salmon Walk
  • Salmon Run (family activity)

Best of all is that in 2017, admission to the Fort is free!

See Ya’ Later

See you at the City of Langley Community Day or at the Fort this weekend!

 

For additional information on staying Local in Langley check out my page: Local: Langley

Disneyland Vacation over Mother’s Day

Disneyland Vacation over Mother’s Day

Last month we enjoyed our Disneyland Vacation over Mother’s Day weekend.

To be honest, the trip was planned around the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and the dates collided in a magical way!  While we didn’t seek out a Mother’s Day vacation it was really special spending it on vacation. A full week of not having to wash dishes sounds good to me!

Planning Mother’s Day

In planning how to spend Mother’s Day in Disneyland, I considered our itinerary carefully.  I knew we would be going hard at Disneyland on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and another day might be too exhausting.  Mother’s Day became our day for brunching, baseball, and pool time.  I also wanted to keep the Disney magic alive so I added a Character Meal and time to explore Downtown Disney. I was also running a half marathon on Mother’s Day and didn’t want to over-extend myself.

Restaurants and Dining on Mother’s Day

Disneyland accepts reservations 60 days in advance, but in March when it was getting close to booking there was no Mother’s Day specific dining information available.  Mother’s Day specific information is usually released closer to Mother’s Day on the Disney Blog.  However, a quick Google search told me of past Mother’s Day events.  These dining related events were typically a tea or special dessert being featured on a menu.  I felt that obtaining a reservation 60 days in advance was more important than waiting for the information to be released.

I had reminders in my calendar to make my dining reservations exactly 60 days in advance.  I’m up at 5:30AM for work, which was the perfect time to log in and get my reservation.  Reserving this early allowed me to obtain the exact time I wanted (9:30AM) at Disney’s PCH Grill. I picked Disney’s PCH Grill because I knew I wouldn’t be in Disneyland or California Adventure that day and I wanted to keep the Disney magic alive. Disney’s PCH Grill is located at the Paradise Pier Hotel and upon arrival in the restaurant you are greeted by Mickey Mouse!

Mouse House Mom’s Mother’s Day Tips

My Mouse House Mom tips for a successful Mother’s Day at Disneyland are as follows:

  1. Slow it Down (unless you’re running the Tinker Bell Half Marathon)
    • Ditch the fast paced park day schedule for a laid back day outside the parks.
  2. Character Meal at a Disney Hotel
    • Keep the Disney magic alive when not in the parks by dining with characters.
  3. Pool Time
    • May was hot! Go lounge in the pool. My munchkin loved jumping off the pool deck!
Mother's Day at Disneyland PCH Grill
Mother’s Day brunch at PCH Grill with my three loves.

We added a baseball game to our Mother’s Day and I’ll talk about that later this week when I highlight Father’s Day fun.

Thanks!

 

Related Posts: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report (Race was on Mother’s Day).

Going Back to My Career After Maternity Leave

Going Back to My Career After Maternity Leave

In the last week before the end of my maternity leave I took the Munchkin in to the day care for a couple hours each day to support her “gradual entry”. I wish I had a gradual re-entry to help ease into my career after maternity leave. Instead, I spent the Munchkin’s gradual entry time at day care at the mall updating my professional wardrobe. Taking the full year of maternity leave, I didn’t realize how long it had been since I wore my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Due to seasonality and the need for stretchy maternity clothes, it had been two years since I wore spring clothes at work.

I remember my first day back after maternity leave being a Monday and I had to wake up before 5am to nurse the crying baby, put the baby back to sleep, and then start my morning routine. Many tears were shed that morning (mainly my own), but my little family survived the dreaded first day “after maternity leave”.

Shelby Hancock Going Back to Shelby Hancock documents going back to work after Maternity Leave
Back to work after Maternity Leave.

Day Care and the Mom Guilt

Our day care staff were all amazing and we didn’t have to worry about the Munchkin’s needs being met. After maternity leave ended, I needed to learn to manage all of the mom-guilt I was feeling.

In the first two months back at work, the Munchkin refused to nap at day care. This meant, as a one year old, she was awake from 7am to 5:30pm. On the drive home from day care she’d constantly be falling asleep. This lack of seriously required sleep caused mom-guilt.

When the Munchkin refused to nap at day care people kept telling me that “next time” I needed to start spending more time away from the baby closer to going back to work so that after maternity leave “next time” it will be better.  To me that sounds practical, but I also know that after maternity leave ends, my daily time allowance goes from spending all day with the baby to spending less than 2 hours of quality time with the baby.  I would go the “cold turkey” route again in a heartbeat. If there’s a choice between time with my child and time to myself, the decision is easy.

Post Maternity Leave Office Routine

After maternity leave, I had to still supply the Munchkin with milk for her time at day care.  This meant I had to pump at work and I alerted my manager of this a month or two before I returned so that I could have a place to pump in private. Pumping at work added another layer of complexity to determining my post-maternity leave office routine.  It was a stressful time, settling in to this new office routine of pumping milk instead of grabbing a coffee or fresh air.  I had also received a promotion so I was starting in a more advanced position and needed to catch up on all of the activities over the past year.

Mom Brain, the Good Kind

I think we’ve all heard someone say “pregnancy brain” but after I became a mom I heard “mom brain” a lot.  This is an extremely demeaning term that we need to banish from our vocabs.  This actually had me worried that maybe I’d have a lag and it would take my brain time to switch to analytical mood, but that wasn’t the case. In my opinion, society underestimates the work of parents in supporting and keeping an infant alive and thriving. When parenting, you are constantly making decisions and judgement calls, then immediately implementing those decisions and then moving to the next challenge. Now that I’ve been back at work a while I think I’m a more efficient employee and I second guess myself less, which I think is due to my other full-time job of being a parent.

Surviving and Thriving After Maternity Leave

I’ve now been back to work for over a year and my little family is surviving and thriving. I’m no longer pumping at work and I’m really enjoying being back in the office working. Having a career allows me to pursue my skills and passions and is a key piece of my identity.

Shelby Hancock after maternity leave settles into routine
Here’s a recent post work dinner with my munchkin. She sometimes eats before I get home, but she’s always happy to steal off my plate while we sit at the dinner table.

Thanks for reading!