( lots of entry )
I feel pretty content lately and settled into the new normal of three little ones and parental leave. I hope the next few months continue this!
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Life without owning a car is something that gets enough questions asked of me that I thought I'd post a few things about it. Also, I like reading this sort of thing from other people (hi, asimplelife!), so I thought I'd give back.
So, for starters, here's the situation: I live with my wife and toddler son in an older residential neighbourhood in Hull. We're within walking distance of most of the basic necessities of life, none of us have any mobility-reducing disabilities. I've got the lone driver's license in the household.( the details )
When Oscar was on the way, we heard predictions that we'd be buying a car (or maybe even a minivan!) soon 'cause young kids require cars — we (well, mostly I) did consider getting one (by buying or hand-me-down), but so far we're managing pretty well with a toddler and all the options we have. I know of one co-worker who's thriving with school-aged children and no car, too, so apparently parents in the right situation can manage with multiple kids and not owning a car.
I guess that's a fairly broad picture of how we manage transportation in our little family. I've been wanting to write that out for a while, I hope it's useful or interesting to some people out there...
I've been really enjoying the arrival of spring. Yesterday, I seeded the garden and ripped out a lot of dead branches from the back yard hedge. I'm a little achy from hauling dead stuff out of the back, but it was definitely worth it. We also took a family 11km-or-so walk involving picking up coffee beans and conversation from Bytown Beanery and supper at So Good — the food was great at So Good as usual, but the parenting advice was a little unrelenting. I think we're more or less at the stage when babysitting seems like an option, between Oscar's more varied diet and his improved capacity to have fun. Baby's first babysitter is in the cards!
In the past month or two, there have been a lot of Baby's firsts:
There's almost always something Oscar can try at every meal, now, which is exciting. He likes his bready things, and seems unfazed by a little bit of spice or sour. Steamed rice (at So Good) wasn't such a good idea — most of it wound up all down Mama's left side. We gave him baby corn and broad noodles from the leftovers, though, and he liked those.
A month from now, I'll be back at work on a slightly reduced schedule (yay, family-friendly workplace!). I have mixed feelings about it, but I do miss work and the people there, and also the different time-scale that work-focus operates in. I hope we all adapt to the changed routine — we'll both be working for a total of a little over one full-time job's worth of time, so we'll need to be more efficient (or more likely, adjust some expectations) and Oscar will have to get used to more one-parent-at-a-time time.
The holidays went by pretty fast — it felt like we were doing something social nightly for about two weeks. It's a good thing Oscar generally seems to like parties!
Christmas eve, we went over to Elizabeth's parents' place for the traditional nut loaf, cookies, rum balls and gifts. Christmas day, we drove to Ormstown and joined 17 or so family at my parent's place, feasting extensively and helping the new people get names straight. I had been a little sniffly on Christmas eve, but by Christmas day, I was full-blown sick, so a bit subdued. Boxing Day was sort of quiet, but three generations of my parents' next-door neighbours walked over to admire Oscar and say hi. The 27th was the annual Christmas bash with white elephant gift exchange (aka "steal the present") — last year there was one kid there, this year there were three and we were all starting to feel a bit grown-up. We got together at my friend A's parents' place, about 20km past civilization — Enterprise was out of compact cars and gave us something with four-wheel drive, which got some use as we were whacking through snow drifts to get there. On the 28th, we celebrated dagibbs' birthday with food and drink and cheer at his place, and on the 29th we celebrated frenchzie's housewarming and birthday. On the 30th was our mostly-weekly D&D game at our place, and on the 31st we stayed in and rung in the new year with the upstairs people from House of Flail, Ticket to Ride: Europe and Dominion, and some mead from 1999.
The most memorable presents this year were Ticket to Ride: Europe from Elizabeth (a rather addictive little game), a huge jug of Beau's Nightmärzen from my cousin Erica, and a medieval-looking Garden Weasel from my parents.
Places I've slept in 2010:
In a little bit of rantiness, I've been fuming slightly over Google's ranking of restaurant pages. When I search for a restaurant, I probably want the official page (with menu, hours and phone) somewhere in the first hits, and failing that (or to help me decide), a review written by a real human with as much of that information as possible. The last thing I want is a listing scraped from the yellow pages, with Bing's best guess at where it is located, in which I can be the first to write a review or add information.