Parenting.

by The Good Life on September 4, 2018

in America, France, Friends

I suppose I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, and now being a parent to 2 kids, I could say that I maybe have a little introduction into this field, but fully realize that me and my wonderful wife are at the beginning of the journey of being a parent.  Not sure if its going to weddings recently and seeing proud parents seeing their kids get married which spurred this on, but I suppose the enormity of being a parent is slowly dawning on me.
Its funny, before you have kids, you think about it but dont really know what to expect and no matter the preparation you cant really know what to expect, how the child will be or more importantly how you and your partner will be as parents.  Tired, exhausted parents sometimes too, which just makes things extra interesting.
But yes, you take a drivers test with lessons to drive a car and even when you have that license you know how stop start those first days with a car can be stalling on hills.  I guess thats kind of like being a parent, figuring it out as you go but usually you dont get lessons before hand.
I mean, think about university, you spend 4 years learning (after 11 or so years at school) to get a job of varying difficulties.  With parenting, you conceive and then 9 months later you are on arguably the toughest job you will ever get.  One where your boss changes their mind every few minutes, is tired and hungry quite often and mad at you quite a bit too.  You can try reasoning or bargaining with them or explaining you will have it done by end of day but with this little ball of fun thats not quick enough.  They want Juice now.  Like right now.
So whats the point of this blog?  Well basically just to pat each and every parent out there on the back.  Me and my wife are in the midst of a 2 year old and 6 month old and doing our very best and are very blessed to have happy and healthy kids but there isn’t an evening when we dont slump down on the couch at the end of a long day and just look at each other and breathe a long sigh out followed by a glass of rose like “yes, we made it through another day”.
 Only to go to bed and then get feet and elbows in the face from one of the kids who wants to sleep in our bed.  But at that same moment there is a feeling of being immensely proud of how we are doing, like many other parents juggling work, having no family around (maybe an 11 hr plane ride to the nearest family) and balancing just life and everything it throws at you.  I’m proud of the fact that we cover for each other to go work out, we encourage each other to go and see friends and that we take our kids everywhere.
Like I say I feel like we’re in the lucky side of things as there are single parents out there doing it, people with sick children and all I have is admiration for both.  As I said above, being a parent can be the toughest job on earth on a good day, but with an added element I can only imagine.
Its also to see how you each change and deal with becoming a parent.  My wife has become like a diaper carrying, multi snack holding superhero ready for any adventure at the drop of the hat.  I guess I know where she gets it from…
That said, there is nothing that compares to having your son or daughter look at you and smile, laugh, run over and give you a hug.  Thats a feeling like no other.  So far we have been lucky enough to take our son snowboarding, he has hung on my back surfing and hiked all around the Pacific Northwest on our backs and our daughter is about to do the same.  We’re actually headed for Europe soon, on her first flight to Europe so 11 hours with these two will be all sorts of fun.  
The one thing we’ve struggled with which maybe because we lived in Europe is the schedule thing.  We’ve tried but then It seemed like I wouldn’t ever see the kids with me getting home late and them going to bed early and so thats probably not helping us, but I wouldn’t swap those hours in the evening for anything.  That and the co-sleeping but otherwise its been great.
As my mother would say about her mum “kids just need to eat and sleep.  Make sure they get food regularly and they will be content, make sure they sleep enough and they will remain in a decent mood”.  Both my mother and grandmother were very simple in their outlook but also made the best of their surroundings and situations (my mum was born in London in 1942 during the war so you can imagine what my grandmother went through those first 3 years with bombings on London every day with her husband away with the Royals Fusiliers in the British Army).  Thats a pretty good leveler to think about situations others are in, and I know we are extremely lucky but thats the point of this blog.
I look around and see families with friends with 3 and 4 kids and have only admiration for how they are getting through days.  So I just wanted to say big ups, props to every parent out there holding it all together.  You are a star and deserve a medal yourself.  And to hope that my mother and grand mother are somewhere looking down proud of the job we are doing with our two kids.
Writing this did make me think though that sometimes Parenting can make you feel like its just you and your partner going through it, deep in the trenches, balancing kids, life, work etc and then I started thinking about amazing parents I know.  Sometimes as I say you can feel a bit like its you and your partner alone but there loads others going through various stages right now.  Just ask for help or advice at any stage.  So that kind of spurred me on to write the next post below thinking about some of the rad dads and mums out there who I look up too….

Parenting Role models

by The Good Life on September 2, 2018

in Friends, Uncategorized

Writing the blog above did make me think about how lucky we are to have so many good role models and so thought I should add a role call.  Sometimes we think about role models at work or proffesionally, but doing this made me think how many damn good parents we know…
So in no particular order, parents I look up too/love/admire and respect.
Bill & Patty Fox, and Bryan and Austin who will be awesome dads.
Stephen and Hannah Fox who are always going to have more kids than you.
Meinolf Blume.  3 girls.
Ami and Colleen, 1 child 1 cat.
Wille and Rebeca, 3 kids, 3 coffee shops.
Java and Abigail.  Java is going for the 2022 Olympics with Asimo strapped to him.
More of Wille.  Hiking Baker with his daughter.
The legend that is Kiwi.  the absoloute epitome of Stoke and great parenting.
Connie.  The one and only Connie.  Love her.
My dad.
Not yet a father, but Sani makes it look pretty good.
Mr Koen.  Not pictured are wife and kids.  Always stoked, always having fun.  Always the original boss at work.
Mum and Dad.
Gigi.  legend snowboarder and great dad.
Ed Leigh.  traveling the world, riding, biking with his kids.
The Swiss cheese Cyril.
Craighill when he wore 24/7 camo, who has kids learning guitar already and more fashion sense than me.
And gods own physio Mr Jan Schroder.
Ean Lensch
Damon Morris
Gary Greenshields Jr.
Ben Wall.  Futbol god.
The Keatings and the Elkners, multi kid, truck having, banked slalom racing Demi gods of snowboarding combined with fine dad skills.

Mt Hood – wedding weekend

by The Good Life on August 22, 2018

in America

With a wedding at Timberline we finally had a reason to get a room at the lodge up there.  With the air quality changing daily it was interesting to get a couple of perspectives up there.

This was where the Shining was actually filmed.  I dont think I have ever managed to actually watch the whole thing its so scary.

Friday night you could see some of the smoke still lingering around.

Thankfully for the wedding day it all receded and the beautiful couple had a great day of weather for their happy day.

and we decided to hike as far as we could to enjoy it.  Maybe 50 ft from the hotel but well worth it.

I also practiced a technique I saw from Cyril Muller once upon a time. Slow shutter speed and follow the subject.

On the final morning we had a beautiful brunch at Government camp with the priest himself Preston Strout.

Of course we rounded out with a trip to the lake too….

Rat Race 2018

by The Good Life on July 21, 2018

in America


In the 6 (yes time flies), yes 6 years since we have lived here, somehow we have always been away for the Drink Water Rat Race.  This year with scheduled Europe trip coming later in the year, I was keen on getting up to ride in what is quickly becoming one of the PNW most anticipated events.

Its funny how banked slaloms and the various iterations have become the thing to do, but at most of them someone in the more gentlemens category can ride the same course as someone who is way younger, faster and more capable like Austin Sweetin or someone. Because generally you don’t have to leave the ground.  Well.  It seems the rat race isn’t that way, and the infamous whoops on offer pretty quickly showed me that I would need to get off the ground.  Quickly and often.

 

So to start at the beginning though I headed up the night before to sleep in the parking lot, which has long time been something I’ve wanted to do and it was without doubt one of the most memorable things in Oregon.

Waking up looking out the back of the land rover with the sun coming up at 5am is something everyone should experience at least once.  Heck even the sun going down the night before was nice, but this was so nice.

The great and the good of snowboarding were gathered in the lot with seemingly every kind of car, van, truck, RV, mobile home, tent you could ever wish for.  I always felt a bit funny driving a land rover as it always to me felt like a big car, but it was easily the smallest amoungst this eclectic bunch of vehicle/beds on wheels.

and of course everyone had everything ready for any BBQ, snowboard, surf activities that could come their way.

So up the hill we headed to start help digging along with the Drink Water crew, led by Bryan and Stephen Fox, Austin Smith and Curtis Cizsek.  The course is slightly above the chaos of the ski racers, whom having done 5 summers I can see the appeal but also at the same time have zero wish to do summers anymore.

After being hand dug we got after it, thankfully Ami and I managed to get one snails pace run before the world and his wife wanted a run.  Sure enough 3rd run of the day I managed to mess up the second set of whoops and hence my hip in the process, but I did achieve my goal of the day of a) finishing b) registering a time c) walking away.

I also realized the strangest thing.  My head and my body aren’t in sync anymore for snowboarding.  Surfing and to a certain extent, Yoga, they are perfectly in tune as I am essentially a beginner to both in the last couple of years so head and mind are aware of my limit.  However in football and snowboarding it seems in the immortal words of Top Gun “your mouth is writing cheques your body cant cash”  I guess that’s hitting 39 for you.

There was some amazing and inspiring riding on the course especially from the likes of Austin Sweetin, Blair Habenicht, Cale Meyer, Danny Davis, Dustin Anderson, Kevin Nimick, all for their own reasons.

However two things really stood out for me today.

Firstly, that with this 7th rat race, Drink Water have raised 180k for water.org.  Now having worked with snowboarders for 15 years  professionally, seeing a group of people who see more than themselves and aren’t just asking whats in it for them, to see people doing something for others less fortunate than them really makes me appreciative and also very inspired.  Talking of people doing things for other people.  The real MVP of the Rat Race Bill Fox (of course assisted by the one and only Patty Fox) who was manning the BBQ in the parking lot/camp site.

Secondly and this year more poignantly the prize giving was without doubt the most brilliant heartfelty celebration of family and community you could ever wish to see.  Curtis and Austin both lost their fathers this year within months of each other.  As someone who lost his mother 2 years ago, seeing people deal with this in such a public setting was beautiful.  Between Bryan and Austin they spoke about those recently departed and thanks to Nitro had a grip of boards painted by Curtis sister dedicated to big Curt and Brad.  When the two of them were speaking I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, but to me tears of celebration and reminding me why I am so thankful still now to be part of the snowboarding family and also very thankful to call them all friends and all are pretty big inspirations to me.  These are the moments I think back to when I started snowboarding (and yes skiing before that, which my parents got me to try) and thank my lucky stars that I got into it.

Next year I think I’ll need to ride a little more in the run up than I have done this year (hadn’t ridden in 4 months!) and will bring the family up too!

Keep up the good work you legends.

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