Browsed by
Tag: fitness

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
Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report

If you are looking for a magical experience and an opportunity to get your family excited about your half marathon training then stop reading this and go sign up for a RunDisney race.  I ran my first RunDisney race at the 2017 Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Mother’s Day and it was amazing.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom finished the Tinker Bell Half Marathon
Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom finished the Tinker Bell Half Marathon

This post is going to focus on the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race itself – future posts will include planning a RunDisney vacation (i.e., how to enjoy the parks without wearing yourself out), the registration process, having your kiddo in a Kids Race, and the race expo. For now, I’ll focus my attention to the actual race day.

Three Key Points for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon

If you only take away three things from this post about the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, make sure they are:

  • Smile every step of the way and buy the Disney PhotoPass for your vacation.
  • Throw away your time goals.
  • Have someone at the finish or along the route to cheer you on so that you’ve got another reason to smile.

 

Tinkerbell Half Marathon as reported by Shelby Hancock
Breaking News: Shelby Hancock, the Mouse House Mom, runs Tinkerbell Half Marathon

Getting to the Starting Corrals of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon

On Sunday, May 14, 2017, at 4:10 AM, my alarm clock woke me from the sofa bed in my hotel suite. My toddler was fast asleep in her crib in the bedroom, as was my husband. To not wake them, I slept on the sofa bed in the living room. By the light of my cell phone, I got dressed, opened my mother’s day gift (a Mickey Mouse backpack!), and exited the room.  As I walked the dark streets, other runners were exiting hotels and joining in on the pilgrimage to the start line.

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon final instructions brochure indicated that I should plan to be in my corral one hour before race start, which meant 4:30 AM, but I felt that was too early.  The corrals and starting areas were very clearly marked, but getting to my corral involved a lot more walking than I had anticipated in order to get to the security check points.  Even without line-ups at security, it still took 35 to 40 minutes to get from hotel to corral, which would have been a 12-minute walk most days.

I wasn’t cold waiting in my corral, but I’d have been more comfortable had I worn a long sleeve top.  I typically wear a top on race day that I throw off at the start and a charity group picks them up, but I didn’t see any of that at this race.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Pre-Show and Race Start

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon pre-show was energetic and achieved its purpose of getting thousands of runners pumped up about the miles ahead. I was actually feeling nervous and dreadful standing in my corral. All of my training was complete, but in the days leading up to the race my knee had started to ache and I hadn’t been eating as healthy as I normally do. I tried to stay positive by repeating the mantra, “no expectation, no limitations.”

For the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, I was in corral B and we started about 1 or 2 minutes after corral A.  When Tinker Bell fluttered across the big screen above the start line and we broke into a run, I realized that it was going to be hard to pace myself as I was instantly overwhelmed with excitement and adrenaline.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom waits for the Tinkerbell Half to Start
Almost go time at Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Entering Disneyland at Start of Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race  

Entering the back lot of Disneyland at about 1 mile was very emotional. I’d dreamed of running through the park and it was finally going to happen. When we turned left in the back lot, I could see that our entrance into Toontown was only a few strides away. It was finally happening – I was running through Disneyland! I’d been in Disneyland twice in the days before but we hadn’t visited ToonTown so it had been almost 20 years since I’d seen it.

First Encounter with a Disney PhotoPass Photographer

Exiting Toontown I saw my first Disney PhotoPass Photographer of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race and I was sure to smile my widest smile to them. Just outside of Toontown was the first character stop. I’m not up to date on all of my fairies even though the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is all about Tinker Bell and her squad.  Since I did not actually know who these fairies were I decided to keep going.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom, runs through Toontown in the Tinkerbell Half Marathon
Early miles and big smiles while exiting Toontown in the Tinkerbell Half Marathon.

 

In the first miles, I was still wrestling with how I was going to run the race. Only two weeks prior, I had run a half marathon  and had been just over two hours so I knew I could break that today.  I ultimately decided to embrace the magic of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon race and not worry about my time. I was going so smile, wave, and get lots of pictures.  To anyone thinking about running a fast race you ought to reconsider.

Fantasyland in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon course hugged right at Storybook Canal entrance and continued into Fantasyland. The attractions were running and I could see Dumbo in flight. Time for a selfie! Then I ran between King Arthur’s Carousel and Pinocchio and followed the path to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.  I was warned that while there were photographers capturing us running through the Castle, you could not actually stop running for them to take your picture.  To try to guarantee myself an awesome Tinker Bell Half Marathon race souvenir, I slowed down and ran through the Castle with the biggest smile. I felt like a kid again, and as for the souvenir pic, I have 13 from that moment to choose from (two different angles included below)!

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom, runs through Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the Tinkerbell Half Marathon
All smiles, wrong camera as Mouse House Mom exits the Castle with both feet off the ground.
Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom exits Castle in Tinker Bell Half Marathon
Floating as I exit the Castle.

I went to the right of the roundabout and I saw a Cast Member holding a picture frame cut-out. Nobody was stopping so I jumped over and got a picture of myself in this memorable spot.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom all smiles in Tinker Bell Half Marathon
Say Cheese!

First Stop for my Character Photo in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Next I was on Main Street and I almost ran right past Chip and Dale! My first characters of the race! The line was short, maybe one minute.  Each character spot had multiple Cast Members that paired with people at the front of the line so they could take your phone and snap pictures while the Photopass photographers also snapped your pics.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom all smiles in Tinker Bell Half Marathon
First Character Greeting for me.

The Disney firetrucks were even on display and as we passed by City Hall, we could see Peter Pan and Wendy waving at us. I had a mental checklist of who I should be on the lookout for during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon since it was themed for Tinker Bell. I was too scatter-brained to notice during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon race that all of the non-Tinker Bell related characters were actually dressed with pirate accessories.

Running through Disney California Adventure

As the Tinker Bell Half Marathon exited Disneyland and dashed across to Disney California Adventure, I was actually able to connect to wifi so I sent my husband a text letting him know that my knee pain had vanished! As a Canadian, without wifi my phone is as good as a paperweight in the USA.  Knowing my body wasn’t breaking down was a positive sign for the rest of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race.

Running between park entrances resembled a finish line area, as there were dozens of people lining the way, screaming and cheering with every step I took.  I entered Disney California Adventure through an unofficial entrance, which was beside Soarin’ Around the World.  There were pirates lining the way up towards Grizzly River Run shouting their best “Yarrr!” at us.  I enjoy running on trails around Vancouver, BC, so it was nice to run through all the trees in Grizzly Peak – it felt like we were really in nature.

Take Me to Paradise… Pier

Soon I was running past the entrance to The Little Mermaid, which happens to be one of my favourite attractions because I can sing all of the songs.  Combining memories and nostalgia makes running the Tinker Bell Half Marathon race seem not as daunting.  I was constantly smiling and trying to soak in the whole experience.

With my two year old along on this trip I didn’t have the opportunity to stay for World of Color (bedtime was much earlier than start time), but fear not, as we entered Paradise Pier, the fountains of World of Color were dancing for all to see.  There was not an official photographer here so I stopped for a selfie instead.

 

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom selfies at Tinker Bell Half Marathon

As I ran down towards California Screamin’ I was starting to realize that in-between selfie stops, I was running at a pace that would be difficult to maintain. It was also difficult to talk myself into slowing down when I was overflowing with excitement [see picture below as evidence].

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom poses in Tinker Bell Half Marathon
Paradise Pier I love you this much!

The Lost Boys Need a Mom

King Triton’s Carousel was nearby and I wanted to get a picture of it for my daughter.  The closer I got I realized that it was the Lost Boys from Neverland riding it round and round.  One of the Lost Boys asked me if I’d be his mother and since it was Mother’s Day I told him yes.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom and Lost Boys in Tinker Bell Half Marathon
Sure, I’ll be your mom.

This got loud cheers from all of the Lost Boys and as I ran away [bad new mom] they were shouting for me to read them a story.  What a hoot! Having the attractions all operating and characters peppered around kept me looking forward to each mile. Pluto was posing for pictures before I exited Paradise Pier and entered a back lot.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom poses with Pluto in Tinker Bell Half Marathon
Everyone loves Pluto!

The Remaining Lands of Disney California Adventure

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon course ran through another back lot and then it popped us to the start of Cars Land by Radiator Springs.  More smiles for photo ops!

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom runs TinkerBell Half Marathon

I was pleased to stop in for a photo with Mater and McQueen – probably the only characters in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon not offended by my sweaty odour.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom enjoys Cars Land in Tinker Bell Half Marathon
Hey Mater, Mouse House Mom is a fan!

After a quick run through “a bug’s land”, we were into Hollywood. Running down the main drag here I almost missed a photo with Captain Hook.  My Munchkin ran into Captain Hook a few days earlier and he scared the beejeezes out of her – later I learned any character would have that same effect.  If my Munchkin saw me posing cordially with her arch nemesis it could upset her even more, which is why I struck a “mean momma” pose.

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom scowls at Captain Hook in Tinker Bell Half Marathon
My Mean Momma Pose.

The Last Park Hop of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon

I crossed between the parks again and entered Disneyland for the last time – it is a blur to me where we were in Disneyland at this point, but I know I hit the 5km marker in a back lot near Tomorrowland.  We ran from the depths of Tomorrowland towards the Castle and then veered away from the Castle and towards the Matterhorn.  I assumed this is where Tinker Bell would be since it was right by Pixie Hollow and after all, it was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon!  The line to meet Tinker Bell was the longest, but still only about four minutes for me (corral B).

Tinker Bell and Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon
The star of the day!

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon and the Streets of Anaheim (9k to 18.5k)

After meeting Tinker Bell the course curved into more of the back lot and it never returns to the accessible areas of Disneyland after that point. In a sense, you are off to never, neverland… on the streets of Anaheim.  While you are in the restricted areas, you catch a glimpse of Cast Members moving about as they start their day.

For me, I knew nothing about Anaheim and at this point of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, I realized I had 14 more kilometres to run and for the first time my body was starting to not match my all-smiles appearance.  This was my dilemma part of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon – I wanted to walk because I felt out of steam, but that meant it would take me longer to get to the finish line and get to brunch! I did not find Anaheim to be the most exciting place to run, but there were porta-potties, bands, and spectators along the way to keep me going.

The Finish of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon  (2.5km)

The last kilometres of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon dragged, but it was nice to be in a restricted area of Disneyland – it felt like I was an insider.  This was the only part of the course that I had been on before and as I looped around the Disneyland Hotel I finally felt like I’d really accomplished something huge: running a half marathon after three days of walking and eating my way through Disneyland! As the Tinker Bell Half Marathon course entered the home stretch, I could see my husband and my Munchkin. With 100 metres to go, I kissed my loves and finished strong to the finish!

Shelby Hancock of Mouse House Mom finishes Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Thank you for reading my Tinker Bell Half Marathon race report. I started strong, smiled a lot, and then reflected on the joy of the first part of the race to get me to the finish line. I would most certainly run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon again. I’ll gladly answer your questions in the comments below.

Welcome to Mouse House Mom

Welcome to Mouse House Mom

Welcome to my newest adventure: blogging!

After many months of contemplation and research, I’ve decided to start a blog to connect with other like-minded people.   I’m at the point in my life where I’m constantly juggling all of my passions and my responsibilities.  It is more than the cliché “work-life balance” because for me it is learning to manage all of my passions:

  • Spending quality time with my family
  • Advancing in my career
  • Maintaining fitness through half marathon training
  • Cooking delicious meals and baking treats
  • Planning vacations and travelling (e.g., DISNEY)

There’s a steep learning curve managing it all, but I’m having fun and I can’t wait to share it with you. Below is a bit more about me and what to expect on the blog.

Career:

I have a full-time career in regulatory policy that I find very rewarding and fulfilling. Returning to work post-maternity leave meant it would also be the first time in a year that I’d need to shower and get changed out of my pajamas for five consecutive days. It wasn’t all bad though, I enjoyed being back at work where I could solve problems, converse with adults, write, and not get spit up on.  While I was on maternity leave I was actually promoted (feminist high-fives all around!) so upon my return I was learning new things and taking on new tasks. After three months, I had a routine that I was becoming more comfortable with and my parents were helping us out with a couple daycare pick-ups a week.  I even made it home in time to see the Munchkin’s first steps.  I’ve now been back at work for over a year and while there have been some crazy times (e.g., working 60 + hour work weeks), I’m glad that the Munchkin can see her mom pursuing her passions in a pant suit.

Travel:

In 2015 I gave birth to my daughter (the Munchkin) and since I’m Canadian, I was fortunate enough to have a one year maternity leave to bond with my baby.  During this time we enjoyed a two week vacation to Florida (e.g., Orlando, Naples, Miami) and spent that last few days of our trip in Walt Disney World. I think this is where I contracted Disney fever.  Last summer, we made a last minute decision to abandon our Parksville vacation plans and instead fly 12 hours with a 15-month old baby to Rome for a week. Best change of plans. Ever.

Fitness:

Last month I completed the Tinkerbell Half Marathon hosted by RunDisney at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. It was an amazing experience. I spent the six months leading up to our Disneyland vacation researching and planning all aspects of our trip. Listening to various podcasts, reading Disney books, and joining Disney-related Facebook groups, which inspired me to start the Mouse House Mom blog.

Next Steps:

This is where I’ll be sharing my experiences as a working mom who also loves running, food, and all things Disney.  I think it is important I remain connected to my own community by posting local events and activities as well vacation planning tips and suggestions.

See ya’,

Shelby