24.9.16

biking with kids (+ a GIVEAWAY!)

Montreal is such a bike-friendly city, and we knew early on that we wanted to be a biking family. Because brad and I use Bixi instead of owning our own bikes (we have no place to store them and bike theft is a huge problem in our city, so it made sense for us), we had to wait for our kids to start riding their own bikes to have legit family bike rides. And we're finally there!!


We started each of our kids on balance bikes around age 2, and from there when it came time to teach them to ride a two-wheeler (around age 4) it was such a smooth transition! Both Lily and Oli took about 30 minutes to learn. Training wheels, in my opinion, really slow down this transition because kids have to learn balance at an older age after they've already gotten used to biking without needing any. It's kind of backwards, since pedaling is much easier to grasp than balance. So teach them balance when they're young, and then they'll connect that with pedaling in no time. (The wooden ones are so cute and very light weight, by the way! We got ours HERE.)


Now Lily and Oli are both using the bike lanes and biking confidently on the road and Clover is keeping up in her own right on the sidewalk on her balance bike. I won't lie though - it's still crazy intimidating when I go out biking with all three by myself! It's hard to keep track of everyone and stay close enough to monitor them, while also giving them independence and space.


Even though our neighbourhood is filled with bike lanes, and the cars are used to driving around bikers, and our kids are extremely strong bikers, anything could happen. But I don't think the answer is don't do it. I think in those potentially scary situations, it means proceeding with caution, going alongside our kids, training them again and again and again, and being as safe as we can be. That goes for biking, and just about everything else in this scary world. So much of me wants to keep my kids under my mother hen wings and not let them do hard or dangerous things. There's just so much room for hurt out in the world, isn't there? But I know they're stronger for my letting go. I know that's true of them physically, as they've begun biking, and I hope it's true in every other realm of life, too.


Probably because of the positive bike culture in our area, I've received so much affirmation from passersby when I'm out biking with the kids. Some bikers will ring their bells at the kids, or cheer for them "allez allez allez!", others kindly caution them to stay close to the sidewalk as opposed to the side of the bike lane closest to the cars. I love when the village takes part in protecting and encouraging my kids! One man biked past us the other week and said, "Wow, you're brave, Mom! Look at these kids! They're amazing! Great job!" and I almost cried. It may have had something to do with the fact that I'd just passed by a mother who had her five year old biking a giant tricycle on the sidewalk and gave us a scowl! I so appreciate when people can see you doing something hard and cheer you on instead of being negative. Hard isn't always wrong (nor is easy always right)... more biking wisdom that applies to all of life, haha!

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Anyway, this cute top I'm wearing here is from Pink Blush, which is a women's + maternity line (and all of their clothes work for each season of life). No, I'm not pregnant, so don't even ask, haha! You can see a sun dress of theirs that I wore earlier this summer HERE. Head over to Instagram (@emmorrice) and enter my giveaway to win a $50 store credit for Pink Blush!

This post was in collaboration with Pink Blush.
All opinions are 100% my own. To book a 
collaboration, see HERE.

23.9.16

mélange

Life is getting busier and busier with two kids in school (how does that make sense? I don't know, but it does!) and I've had way less time for blog browsing. Nowadays I scroll through my feedly in about ten minutes flat and mostly save the posts that interest me for some magical moment when I'll be able to read them. The other night was one such moment! Below are the highlights of things that made me hum, haw, act and feel this week:




  • I've re-listened to this podcast with Jami Nato three times. She talks about her husband's affair and the ransacking it did on her soul and how Jesus is our truer and better husband. I laughed a lot and cried a bit. Listen to it. 
  • J.R.R Tolkien gives sage sex advice to his son.
  • I totally relate to Alison's challenges and I love her advice here
  • My book club finally met (after months of trying!) to discuss The Nest. None of us loved it, but it lead us to some great discussions about our parents, reacting to our upbringings, sibling dynamics, etc. Next we're diving into Jane Austen, which I've never read, but I think these are books I'll be glad to have years from now, so I'll probably buy my copy this time. These beauties are 35% off, but still a lot.

20.9.16

ethical kids clothing + my top 5 favourites + ways to save

Becoming a mother changed me in many ways, particular how I viewed certain issues. I don't think one needs to parent a child to have a sensitivity to a children's cause by any means, but I guess I'm more stubborn and pigeon holed than most. Before I had kids, I was more aware of women's issues in general. Then I got pregnant and I became more aware of maternal health (you can read what my friend Emily is doing to help HERE). There's something about being in the same stage of life as someone suffering that makes it all more real. It shouldn't be that way. I shouldn't suck at empathy to the point where unless I literally am in the same life stage I can't put myself in another human being's shoes, but there it is.The world it utterly broken, and I'm part of the problem.


When I became a mother, I became more aware of the exploitation of children, particularly in the textile and garment industry. Babies who outgrow their clothing every few weeks require a lot of shopping, and so I tried to forget the headlines, the gruesome statistics on child labour, and focus mainly on buying second hand. But those Joe Fresh and Gap Kids flash sales are hard to pass up, and eventually I'd find myself at the bottom of the rabbit hole that is Old Navy clearance, wondering how I spent so much money on clothes that were so cheap, and ignoring where I knew these clothes were made. Because they're made by children. Children labouring in sweat shops for 19-20 hour shifts where they are routinely beaten to make the very clothes I love buying for my own little ones. Letting that sink in is painful and inconvenient, but it's no less true.


In an effort to curb spending, I bought the vast majority of our baby clothes second hand. This is by far the best, easiest, cheapest way to avoid the unethical volcano that is Fast Fashion. You'll probably save a ton money, while knowing you've done nothing to contribute to the enormous problem of sweat shops and child labour. For baby clothes this option is a no brainer, but for older kids I find it's increasingly tricky to find clothing in good shape at the second hand shop. That's when I turn to a few of my favourite brands for ethical kids clothes. They cost more than the Big Brands (Wal-Mart, Joe Fresh, Old Navy, Gap Kids), but they're infinitely better in both quality and ethics.


While the added cost of buying ethical kid's clothes can seem daunting, if you consider cutting their wardrobe in half (or even more!) you'll find you might just come out even. Instead of ten Old Navy t-shirts, why not get three Wildly Co. ones instead? I don't know about you, but my kids always want to wear the same few outfits anyway, and I'm always doing laundry as it is. This way they'll actually wear everything they have and I won't be needlessly stockpiling clothes that they never wear (but hey, they were a good deal! bleck.)

Alright, I know you want to hear about my top five places to buy ethical clothes for my kids, so I'll get off my soap box now :)
  1. Wildly Co.

    Wildly Co. is amazing because they combine two great things (capsule wardrobes and ethical fashion) in one great brand. Really simple, comfortable, adorable kid's clothes. Everything is designed and sewn in the USA, and their prices are very fair. Also! I found you guys a coupon code for 25% off! (enter 'HAPPYHOUR' at check out!)
  2. Mini Mioche

    Mini Mioche is the trifecta - Made in Canada, eco-friendly, and organic materials. Their stuff is super cute and their sales are terrific. At the end of each season, a lot of items will be 50% off, which is when I stock up. You get 10% off by signing up for their newsletter, fyi!
  3. Luv Mother


    Luv Mother
    is a Montreal-based classic children's company. They don't have new styles every few months, they have things that will last years and several children later. They're an incredible company that I've loved working with and I recommend them unreservedly. In their own words: "To make something “well” is a decision and there really are no short cuts. We value people and craftsmanship and design clothes that not only fit as they should but are also made from premium, traceable materials, feel good next to skin and have a built in hand-me-down quality." Also, get 15% off by signing up for their newsletter!
  4. American Apparel

    Ok, so this is the store you want to go in with a blindfold on. Their ads are quite risque and I have read about some sketchy sexual harassment cases within the company in years past, but over all, their clothing production is free from sweat shops and child labour, and made in the USA. Also very affordable - we got Oli a bunch of his school uniform basics from AA and the prices were less than Old Navy regular prices ($12.95 for a t-shirt, for example). Get 15% off on your first purchase by signing up for their newsletter, too!
  5. SECOND HAND / HAND-ME-DOWNS!

    This one is definitely the easiest and cheapest (in some cases free!) option. The truth is, I have bought tons of clothing from brands I'm not proud to support, but the nice thing is that as I hand those clothing items down from Lily to Chloe, I'm not continuing to support the company. I'm saving them from a landfill, and to me, secondhand clothing has a clear history. I always look at our neighbourhood consignment store, Tralala, or Value Village and Good Will before buying new. 
Now a question for you guys: where do you get ethical outerwear, boots, and underwear? I've found lots of clothing options, but none for winter coats, snow pants, socks, underwear, etc. Please share if you have some tips!

19.9.16

Chloé is 3!

Our little Chloé Rose, or Clover, as we like to call her, is three today! Girlfriend is so full of joy and energy and everyone in her family claims she's the funniest. 


She has sweet curly locks that get even curly when she has temper tantrums, haha! Though she was a slow talker like her big sis, her speech has come really far in recent months and we're so proud of her.

 

She spends two mornings a week at a nature-based playschool hunting for snails and getting dirt under her nails, and the rest of the time at home with me. She's crazy tall for her age and has been wearing 4T clothing for months. She loves to help bake (which in her lingo means anything food related), penguins, and the colour blue. 


We love you so much Clover! I can't believe our youngest is now three - officially no babies or toddlers in this home. We are so grateful to have her as our last babe. Nobody will ever put this baby in the corner! Happy Birthday, Clo. xoxo