Hello, again. It’s been a while. I feel like I almost need to reintroduce myself. Life has been a wonderful, messy conglomeration of chicken-coop building, garden-planting, end-of-the-year schooling, and all around savouring the warm weather. Keeping up with my blog has very quickly shifted to a back-burner pastime.
However, we have continued on in our journey of striving to live life more slowly, more intentionally, despite my lack of communication. In fact, this whole season has filled our lives with opportunities to live with less, to live more simply, to savour slow living. We have embraced “urban” farming (yes, all you followers from back home in Huron County will likely be laughing at what we deem “farming” in the city. It is farming, nonetheless). We have purposed to show our girls what it means to grow food, whether that be various veggies in our garden, or gathering eggs daily from our small city flock. (Yes, the chickens are named: Anna, Elsa, Bossy and Macaroni. Have I mentioned that we have a Frozen obsession? Bossy and Macaroni are nostalgically named in honour of chickens gone by in my youth. Har.)
As the days grow longer, we have been spending more and more time outside. It seems that there is always something to do at this time of year, whether that be weeding the garden, researching how to preserve said garden, or fearfully attempting to put leg bands on our chickens (yes, this is a thing we have to do with our urban chickens). When we’re not busy with yard work, our little family is often spending time biking to and fro from park to park within the city, scoping out the best splash pads and monkey bars.
Biking has always been one of my favourite physical activities, even as a kid. Growing up, most nights my parents, my brother and I would bike to the beach to watch the sun go down. We’d never take a direct route home, once the sun had set. Rather, we’d weave our way down side streets, leisurely meandering back to our home. I have so many fond memories of biking with my family. Being able to do this now with our own girls has invoked a lot of sentimental retrospection. And so has birthed our newest challenge as a family – to use our van less and bike more!
Today marks one week of abandoning my ever practical, soccer-Mom Sienna to languish in our driveway. I have challenged myself to limit driving to 50 kilometers between Monday thru Friday, while biking the rest. Last week, I made it to Saturday having only driven 20 kilometers all week. Needless to say, I was quite proud of myself.
Thanks to a sweet Kijiji snag (only $40!), I have managed to cart the girls back and forth to Zoe’s school in a slightly used, highly loved bike trailer. We made it to our weekly mom’s group in the park. We biked to get groceries. And we biked to Grandma’s house. One week in and I’m already so glad we came up with this challenge for our family.
Biking everywhere has opened my eyes to my surroundings, and consequently, the beauty of my neighbourhood. There is something about setting out in the morning, the sun peeking through the trees, the warm breeze streaming around me, the smell of freshly cut grass, the piercing birdsong, that could never be replicated driving back and forth within the sterile confines of our van.
Besides the newfound awareness for nature, I am so proud of my body and the strength it possesses. Let me tell you that pulling a bike trailer with over 70 pounds of kid in the back is no small feat. And yet, after only one week, I can feel myself getting stronger, a small celebration for the way God created my body to work and achieve.
Biking everywhere has provided prime opportunities for teachable moments with the girls. Life and our surroundings are enjoyed so much more slowly when we take the time to get there. Even the quick bike trip to school (only 4 kilometers there and back) has allowed for ample time to discuss pine cones, the neighbour’s flowers, the snacks I packed for lunch that day and why I do not bike quite as fast as Daddy. Even though the girls are crammed together in far closer quarters than they ever would be in the van, somehow they manage to fight less and giggle more as they observe their world meandering by. Somehow they have seemed to grasp, in the short span of a week, that the journey is just as important as the destination.
And so, the summer looms ahead of us with nothing but dusty trails meant to be biked. And that’s what I plan to do. Consider it my one step to living more simply, to leaving our planet a little “greener” than before, to teaching our girls the importance of meandering. All while developing killer leg muscles.