River Market in New Westminster

This time we decided to check the River Market in New Westminster. We’ve been there before, but as you probably know, every place you visit is different when you visit with kids. So having no other plan for that morning, I put the kids in the car and we headed to New West. Pretty close for us, a 20 minute drive the most, if the traffic is good.

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Paid parking is available, in the downtown parkade. We usually park near 4th street, but you can enter it at 6th street as well. We choose to park closer to the exit, for some reason it makes it easier when we go home and the children are tired and not as cooperative as when we arrived. This one is closer to the elevator which takes you down to the quay. It was very sunny that day, beautiful weather, perfect to go out and play. Astrid loves elevators, going up and down, checking all  those buttons, she is fascinated by them. Just as you climb down, there is an ice-cream store/ convenience store, it was closed this time, but on busier days it is open.

And the walk starts here. I remember this place from 3 years ago, this area wasn’t finished. 2 years ago though, when I came with Astrid as a baby, to stroll around it was still not 100% finished but now it is and it looks great. Great place to walk, waterfront view, seating area, lounges.

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As we head towards the market, there are two playgrounds.  I couldn’t really tell what age are they for, but my 2 year old did just fine in both. I guess 0-12 could play, there are different types of slides, swings, sand pit, climbing structures, wood chips. It wasn’t very crowded for the time of the day, a few mothers with children, some grandparents with their grandchildren. After a while, I manage to convince Astrid to go check what else is there. As it happens I forgot my baby carrier in the car, which made things complicated when having to run around after one toddler, with one infant in the stroller. Jamie was napping on and off, and as most babies, he loves to be held so he can see the surroundings.

Once you pass the playground, there is another lovely viewpoint and seating area, not suitable for young kids, but still a nice spot.

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Next on our list was the boat. All those buttons and control panels, can definitely hold a toddler focused for a while. We made friends and Astrid started running around with another toddler. The boat offers enough space to go with the stroller as well, so there you go, it fits everyone’s needs. It took some time to convince her to leave but in the end, we headed to the food court, inside the actual market and we snacked, we made another friend, check the washroom and slowly headed home.

Time flies with toddlers, we just got there and next thing you know, it is time to go home. Listened to some whining, but exhaustion took over and it was a quiet trip back home.

I hope you enjoyed this post and like always, happy playing!

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Jungle gym Port Moody

Program: Jungle Gym

Location: Port Moody Rec Centre 300 Ioco Road, Port Moody

Cost: $2.5/child drop-in in fee

When:

 Tuesday 12:00pm-4:30pm
 Wednesday  12:00pm-3:00pm
 Friday  10:30-2:00pm
 Sunday  9:00am-11:30am

Parking available: yes

And another one! Although not a big fun of books yet, now and then I take Astrid and Jamie to the local libraries to check out some books. And this time we had some books we needed to return to the Port Moody library, so while being in the area, we decided to see what’s up at the Port Moody Rec Centre. And guess what? We found out there was a drop-in from 12- 4:30 pm, Jungle Gym.

They have a big, well-lit gym, very clean, ready to be conquered by 0 to 5 year olds. We were there for 30 minutes only, we got there around closing time, and it was pretty empty, but Astrid had a great time, while Jamie took a nap in the stroller.

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Nap time!

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Lots of space to run around

My daughter, she likes cars, and she tried almost every vehicle she could find, sometimes waiting for mommy to push her around, which of course I did.

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the pink

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the yellow

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the black

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and the blue 😀

We’ll head there more often, 30 minutes weren’t enough this time, toddlers seems to have huge sources of energy, I don’t know what to say about the parents though.

On our way out, we saw these beautiful cherry blossoms right in front of the Town Hall.

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I hope you enjoyed this post and like always, happy playing!

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Tobogganing at Mt Seymour

Activity: Tobogganing

Location: 1700 Mount Seymour Road, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1L3

Parking: available, special lot assigned

Cost: children 3 years and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult. One free child per adult. Inflatables or custom-made sliding devices are not permitted.

Per person $15

Sliding mat $10

Snow and sun equals lots of fun. This year we decided to try some tobogganing at Mt Seymour. It was an unexpected decision on a Saturday morning in March, but it was a great one. Lots of sun, great road conditions and awesome sliding areas, all ready for us. We got there around 10:30 and to our surprise, it wasn’t very crowded, just a few other cars in the parking lot. This time of year, you are supposed to have winter tires, so make sure you have that all set- the road were clear this time, hardly any snow left on the way, but lots of snow on the slopes.

We didn’t go prepared, I have to admit, no gear, no sled, no winter equipment, our kids have their winter gear at hand, but my was hidden somewhere in the house, so I picked whatever I had available that would fit the occasion. Fortunately, the sun made all the difference and it was pretty warm outside.

Because we didn’t have any sled with us, we had to buy a sliding mat, the green one you see in the picture; I have to say it is not the best option, especially for an adult and a toddler but it did the job and we enjoyed 45 min of sliding as much as we good.

There are multiple sliding slopes, with a great view. Mount Seymour’s Toboggan Park is perfect for kids of all ages, but if you have a toddler then this is the place to go. You can also do tubing, but there is a height restriction so you would need to check that before going. Astrid wouldn’t fit this year, maybe next year.

My daughter didn’t see a lot of snow until now and I discovered she didn’t really enjoy walking in the snow, it might have been a bit difficult too, lots of layers can make it hard to walk, so I had to carry her pretty much everywhere. And yes, we went down and then up, with her in my arms. Good workout!

She loved it and I am sure she will enjoy it next time we go, probably we’ll purchase a real sled that will make this experience even more exciting and include Jamie as well. This time he enjoyed the sun from the baby carrier.

More on the program, check here for their website.

That is all until next time! I hope you enjoyed this post!

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Before the action

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Incredible scenery

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Our challenge for the day

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And after, a bit tired

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Breathtaking view

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Matching tuques

Mundy Park Family Day Fun

Location: 641 Hillcrest St, Coquitlam, BC V3J 6N9

Parking available: yes

This amazing huge green space park aka forest is a great place to relax, walk, run, jog, take your toddler to explore, take your baby for a stroll, you name it. It’s nature pure and simple. It’s been 2 years since we’ve lived in the neighbourhood and the park is great in terms of leisure time. Except for the bear season, you can always mark Mundy park on your to-go list. There are a lot of things to do, depending on the season.

This year for Family Day we met Coquitlam’s Park Spark team at Mundy Park for free family fun. And it was fun, for a toddler almost 2 it was great.  Some of the activities included information about pollinators and why we should care about them; a public planting of flower containers along the tot lot walkway; and invasive species recognition​ self-guided nature walks with reference sheets. There will be sidewalk chalk and balls to play with at the tot lot. Enjoy popcorn and hot chocolate at the Park Spark tent. More about it, check here.

This entrance has a generous playground, not too new, but plenty of choices. And lots of sun and fun. It was rather cold that day if I remember well. There’s a lot to say about Mundy Park, so this is to be continued!

Washroom available as well.

That is it! I hope you enjoyed this post!

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Burnaby Lake

Location: Burnaby; easiest way for me to remember its location is that it is close to Costco (3550 Brighton Ave, Burnaby, BC V5A 4W3)

Parking available: yes, limited

This regional park, right in the heart of Burnaby, is a place to reconnect with the natural world without leaving the city. The area is a stunning wildlife sanctuary where birdwatchers regularly spot great blue herons, bald eagles, belted kingfishers, osprey and even rarer birds such as the small green-backed heron.

The lake was created by a glacier 12,000 years ago, and only a century ago its shores were home to bustling sawmills. Today, a viewing tower on that same shore provides a bird’s-eye view for spotting wildlife. You can view the lake from your canoe or kayak to get an up-close look at the busy beavers, diving ducks and turtles feeding in the marsh.

Burnaby Lake has a rowing course suitable for canoeing, kayaking and rowing training.

We go there every so often, we started going when I was pregnant with my daughter and tried making it a habit every now and then. Perfect place to see birds, photograph them, watch them and spend a quiet time in the middle of nature. The scenery is spectacular, no matter what time of the year you go, rain or shine, for sure you will find it very interesting to take a moment and enjoy nature in its pure form, take a picture and simply be.

There are washroom available. You can hike, walk, stroll if suitable gear in place. Definitely a place to check and enjoy!

That is all until next time! I hope you enjoyed this post!

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Workout anyone?

Happy New Year!

Probably a hot topic around the holiday season and definitely one bullet point on the New Year’s Eve resolution list: working out, weight loss, staying fit, getting in shape or whatever you want to call it.

One of the challenges I faced as a new mom was finding time and opportunities to workout and get back in shape. I am sure a lot of moms would agree. Especially when you don’t have a grandma at home to help and maybe take the baby to daycare, chances are you don’t get to workout that much, at least in the beginning.

I wanted to get back in shape, workout, get back to my normal weight and have a healthy    lifestyle. So without further due, I started thinking about options.

First I started running close to home at Riverview forest, but soon realized I started too early and running wasn’t the best option at the time. It was too demanding. The baby was only 2 months old. So I chose working out at home whenever possible, that would have been when my daughter was sleeping during the day or in the evening after putting her to bed for the night. We were and still are very lucky that my daughter started sleeping through the night when she was very very little.

After a while, I wanted to connect with other moms and one of the way I did that was by registering to Mom&Baby workout classed thru Fit4Two, that was available in Tricities area. Basically, groups of moms were meeting with a trainer, outside when the weather permitted or indoors at Poirier Rec Centre or City Centre Aquatic Centre   when it was raining for fitness or bootcamp for mom and baby. There is a variety of both prenatal and postnatal classes to choose from that they offer. Just check their website.

You can bring your baby and work out together, which for me at least, prooved to be a very efficient method of networking, working out and spending time with my daughter. Of course, if you need to stop and feed your baby, you can do it at any time.

The program was especially designed and adjusted for new mothers. I highly recommend it if you are a new mom and want to exercise!

Now with two children it got a little bit more challenging and I am still working on finding options. If you have any ideas, let me know. Whatever worked the first time, doesn’t work anymore.

I hope you enjoyed this post and like always, happy working out!

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Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park

Program: Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park

Location: Stanley Park, Vancouver

Cost: for the train please click here, to view the displays at the Train Plaza by donation ($5.00 suggested)

When: November 30, 2017 to Saturday, January 6, 2018; closed on Monday, December 25 for Christmas.

Parking available: yes

Stanley Park is one of the greatest attractions in Vancouver and during the winter season it becomes even more appealing due to the Christmas decorations they put up. During the holiday season, the Bright Nights Christmas Train and Stanley Park Train Plaza sparkle with three million twinkling lights. That is a lot of lights I should say and they are all there until January 6th if you want to go and see them.

Despite the rain and snow we had today, we left Coquitlam and Tricities behind and we on the Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park with some friends and we liked it very much. My daughter enjoyed it a lot, she was absorbed by all the lights, and for some reason she kept looking only on the left side. Maybe next year she will check the ones on the right as well.

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We got there pretty early, and took the 10:30-11:00 am ride, and luckily all lights were lit and we were able to enjoy them as it was a bit cloudy outside. I assume they are lit all day long, but when it’s sunny, they’re not very bright. The ride was about 10-15 min, long enough when it’s cold and slow enough to take decent pictures. We were accompanied by Christmas music all through the ride.

It was pretty quiet up to a point when parents with small children started coming. Even after that it wasn;t very crowded. This time slot works well when you have an early bedtime I guess. It is fun to see the lights at night, but we put the kids to bed early so it becomes a bit challenging to get there late afternoon or evening.

If you choose not to get on the train, you can view the displays only. More available before Christmas I assume, the lights were lit but for example Santa workshop was closed for obvious reasons. Getting ready for next year, right?

There are also food trucks, not all of them were open, but if wanted to grab a coffee, you could do that. So bottom line, a good experience, my daughter was excited, my son took a  nap, maybe next year.

That is all for now.

I hope you enjoyed this post and happy holidays!

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Lost and found section 😀

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Christmas in the malls

Ho ho ho!!! Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Just like that, Christmas in the malls. We spend more ‘Christmas time’ in the malls rather than at home. True. Busy with the holidays preparations, I took my kids and my mom to the two malls nearby, Coquitlam Centre and Lougheed Town Centre recently to buy some of the things we needed. And everyone was doing the same. The malls are packed with people, all the time, but especially during winter holidays.

You know how the malls have huge parkings and you wonder who parks in those secluded spots, far far far away from the entrance? Well, someone is, during winter holiday shopping season. That’s how you can tell how crowded a mall centre is, by looking how many cars are parked outside. I try to avoid going there too often, now when it’s so crowded. It’s true that with the cold season, sometimes, going to an indoor playground in some mall is a good idea.

Entering the parking lot, I quickly realized that finding a closer parking spot may prove to be a challenge. Crossing the entire space with a double stroller equals no fun.

Everyone is shopping, that is the word of the day, shopping, sometimes I wonder what do we buy all the time. We’re walking away with tons of bags of stuff. Well, that is for another discussion.

Coming to one of the central figures in the mall these days, Santa Claus, this year I took my daughter for the second time to see him and surprisingly, she reacted exactly like last year, and that is very suspicious of the fat man dressed in red that she didn’t know. She kept checking him out, with a serious face and said no whenever Santa or myself invited her to sit in his lap and tell her wishes.

My son on the other hand, didn’t seem to be bothered in any way. Those are the two sides of the story, you either love Santa or you don’t.

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It’s funny how every time we go, to either of the malls, and I ask her if she wants to go visit Santa, she gives me a confident ‘no’ and keeps her distance, watching him from afar, curious, checking every moves he takes and probably wondering what’s that about, what he is up to. It’s like she wants to keep an eye on him.

One time, Santa was telling me that it may take a few years until she ‘accepts’ the idea. She may continue to show this resistance the following years too, but that’s fine. Astrid doesn’t really know or understand what Christmas is, or what Santa can bring. She is not familiar with the concept of present or gift. But that is ok, there is no rush.

Well, that is all for now. Wrapping presents almost done, shopping list checked out, we are waiting for the holiday spirit to take over and let’s enjoy some quiet time with family and close ones!

And of course, let’s hope for some snow if possible. White Christmases are the best!

I hope you enjoyed this post and Merry Christmas everyone!

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Baby signing class – Place des Arts Coquitlam

Program: Baby signing

Location: 1120 Brunette Avenue Coquitlam, British Columbia V3K 1G2

Cost: around $ 100.

Parking: yes

If you are interested in checking out different programs for your children before they can talk, baby signing could be one of them. Yes, exactly, they teach babies how to sign words like milk and more, which are very useful when your baby cannot talk yet.

The program is available for babies aged 1 – 18 months. And this is a short description they offer for 2017/2018 session.

Parents and babies will learn sign language through music and movement in this fun and supportive class. Signing stimulates intellectual development, provides a strong foundation for early literacy and boosts spoken vocabulary. Babies use signs months before they speak (for example, waving bye-bye) and signing enables them to communicate more e ectively from a younger age. Teacher: Nicole Walker

21379 • TU • Jan 16 – Mar 6 • 10:00 – 10:45 AM • $97

Here is their website for more information on their available programs.

We went to this one and it was very very interesting and productive, it was a while back and definitely a good experience. Although it says signing, it is not necessarily for babies who can’t hear, everyone in our class was able to hear.

The instructor is very engaging, social, funny, there is a lot of singing and movement. I do remember some of the sign we learned but I can’t really say I used a lot of them with my daughter. But for all you out there that are interested it is worth a try.

I didn’t really take pictures unfortunately…

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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Crestwood Park in Coquitlam

Location: 907 Crestwood Dr, Coquitlam, BC V3J 5S5

 

Parking available: on the street

The beautiful summer days are gone! And there are not coming back soon, but nonetheless, this is a quick glimpse into another cute park we ran into close to home.

Crestwood park is an attractive green space with a playground, half basketball court, pathway through the park and spacious grass area for relaxing or casual play, as would the City describe it.

It has a newly renovated play area, again same theme as in other parks in Coquitlam, extremely attractive and ready for toddlers of certain ages. We spent an afternoon climbing, having a picnic, staring around, playing with the wood chips an of course trying out the amusements.

Here are some pictures. The small park is a nice place to spend your afternoon, in a quiet neighbourhood, with lots of trees and green space.

That is it! I hope you enjoyed this post!

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Laity pumpkin patch Maple Ridge

Location:

North- 21145 128th Avenue Maple Ridge, BC V4R 2R9

South- 12725 Laity Street Maple Ridge, BC V4R 2P2

Cost: $5

 

I know we are a bit late with this one, but we still need to add to the list so here it is. This year  we had a lot of ‘firsts’ and the pumpkin farm was no exception. We decided to check Laity pumpkin patch in Maple Ridge (which of course it is closed for the season). It is the biggest in Tricities and beyond, at least as far as we know.

We went there on a Saturday morning, thinking it might not be too crowded, but I think that is what every family with small children thought and so it wasn’t packed but it was quite the crowd.

They have too location, south and north, depending on your child’s age. Each location has different entertainment option so you choose which one fits you and your child of course. We went to check the one for children under 5. They had an animal farm, lots of wooden amusements and cars outside that the kids could ride, tractor ride and of course looots of pumpkins. The patch looked awesome, if you could only get into one area that wasn’t too populated, you could have taken very nice pictures.

But you know what it is like to go out with two small children, at some point diapers need to be changed, naps to be taken and soon we left, eager to see what the remaining of the day had in stock for us.

And one more thing, bring an extra set of cloths, the pumpkins are wet in the morning.

Here are some pictures and the link to the farm.

See you next time!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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Playground at Central City Surrey

Location: 10153 King George Blvd, Surrey, BC V3T 2W1

Cost: free

When: depending on the mall hours

Parking available: yes

A few days ago we decided to check the indoor playground at Central City in Surrey. We were in the area so we stopped by a bit, with the rain and all, we have less and less outdoor options.

First thing busy parking outside, we parked on the first available spot. The mall is not very big but it is crowded. Once we entered, so it happened we ran into their indoor playground, which of course was very crowded as well. Lots of kids and unfortunately lots of kids that were clearly too old for that playground, accompanied by their parents made the experience not so pleasant. Hubby decided to be the playmate for Astrid this time, let himself guided thru the maze.

They hardly tried any of the options, there were kids everywhere. Some of them monopolizing some of the toys, making it difficult for anyone else to play.

Second, you know how I mentioned these playgrounds require that you wear sock? Well, noone was and those who weren’t barefoot, were not wearing socks, but shoes, parents too.

We didn’t spend too much time there and headed out. My daughter didn’t really enjoy and neither did we.

See you next time!

 

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Coquitlam Public Library

Location: Coquitlam Public Library

Poirier Branch 575 Poirier Street Coquitlam, BC V3J 6A9
City Centre Branch 1169 Pinetree Way Coquitlam, BC V3B 0Y1

Cost: free

When: depending on the library schedule

Parking available: yes

One of the obvious places you can go is of course the library. Very multidisciplinary, the libraries are extremely popular, they are full of people all the time. The variety of books they offer is huge, and depending of what you want, to read something onsite, borrow, google something, they have it all. It is amazing, I am always happy to be able to access such places nowadays, but it’s quite interesting to see how libraries have adapted to keep up with the trends in technology. It might not seem much, but back in my home town as a kid in Romania we didn’t have this kind of library, so I am enjoying it as much as possible. And of course, I am happy to take my kids too and enjoy some reading, or some walks around.

When we first moved to BC we used to go to VPL (Vancouver Public Library), but since we are now in Tricities, Coquitlam Public Library is the closest one for us, Poirier or City Centre, either one works.

Today we went to the branch on Pinetree, that is where we usually go, except for when all the board books are gone, yes, sometimes all the baby books are gone, or almost all gone. When that happens, to check the Poirier branch. Once we get there, Astrid helps me check the books in. She is fascinated by the green/ red light that let you know when you can place the book in order to be taken away.

Then we go pick up some new books, and if we can’t find anything we like, we ask the lady at the reception to check if there are any returned / checked in but not available yet for the public. Usually, there will be some so we select a few from there as well.

Once that’s done, we check the books out and we continue walking around in the library, reading a story or two, having a snack of course, we never say no to a snack; we might play in the children’ area, make a friend or two, and then we head out.

Libraries also offer baby time/ story time/ mother goose all through the year. It’s basically 30-45 min of songs and stories. We used to go to another library when Astrid was little and when she used to stay still, for baby time, and I know both Poirier and City Centre branches offer such classes, you simply need to check their website. They have different timelines depending on the season.

That is it for now!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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So, what’s new?IMG_8280

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Mommy look what I found!

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Lots of traffic….

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These steps are easy to follow 😀

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Never say no to a snack 😛

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Snack with grandma of course

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I am hiding, can you see me?

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Gotcha!