Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Case for a "family accessable" Downtown

So I live here, I love it, I see our city for all of it's beauty and use it for my everyday playground with my children. My values have lead me to live this life with my children while they are with me all day long. I see it as very very important that they know how to navigate a city, talk to strangers, and be near different types of people and feel at home. We, as a family, choose to live in the smallest footprint we can and waste as little as possible and a city, our city, has allowed us to live our values in a very real way. Our city is, in the words of our Mayor Becker: the cultural heart of the region, a crossroads of the west. And it is chuck full of amazing things for families to partake in. Our beautiful state has the distinction of taking 3 spots in the top 10 cities for most children per woman. We have large families and well, we seem to like it that way. I don't see this ending or changing much in the foreseeable future. So this begs the question: Why aren't we striving to be the absolute most child accessible city in America? You will notice that I did NOT say family friendly or family exclusive or overrun with out of control children. The term family accessible, since as far as I know I just coined it, means to be mindful that families with children will be consuming every aspect of the city and making it seamless to show up and have a good time. I am essentially talking about good usability from every person's point of view, including the youngest among us. Since I consider myself a "power user" to borrow a phrase from the technology world, I have to say that we have a long way to go. It seems that we are trying to deny who we are creating a great city for. We are, as Utahns, family oriented, honest, generous, creative, responsible, kind and industrious. It makes sense to me to have a downtown core that reflects this and is ever mindful of the people who are already here, not just those we hope to attract. Now. This is not, in my mind a call to make our cultural center look like all of the rest of the suburbs with strip malls and endless free mindless parking. That is not at all what I mean. What I do think would be amazing is to be a trend setter in the land of downtowns. Let's reflect, and serve, the people who live here and show the way for the way a city CAN be innovative in the way we treat our littles and the people who are caring for them all day. Case in point: remember when IKEA opened? Now THEY are a trend setter in the same way but with retail. They have found a way to support families and still be accessible to all ages. Now. If I had to pick a store that I wanted my city to be compared to it might be something more upscale I have to admit but that does not mean that we cannot take a page from IKEA's book. We could start small: how about making sure that all of our trains and buses are stroller accessible? As it stands you cannot ride a city bus with a stroller unless you fold it and carry it on. WHAT? who made this rule? They obviously either 1) never had children or 2) never used a stroller or 3) were purposely trying to dissuade mothers with children from riding. Which brings me to my next point: why are children required to pay a fare...ever? I think it is a no brainier for UTA to be grooming their next generation of riders by getting them on the train/bus/trolly at a young age and making them comfy. If they become lifelong riders the investment is miniscule. Courting their moms to bring them on by not torturing them and allowing them to be comfortable? A no brainier. Who exactly do we think are are going to be filling all of these transit lines we are building for the next generation if not the next generation of Utahns? Next up: Housing. 2-4 bedroom condos/townhouses should be the norm and somewhat affordable. Lots and Lots and LOTS of outside space for little ones is key. My kids and I walk/ride transit almost everywhere, 365 days a year. We use our car, on average, 1x a week. How many families can say that? It is healthy for us, we get exercise, there is no getting everyone in and out of carseats, if someone wants to nap or if the baby needs to nurse so be it! We just keep walking/shopping/visiting with neighbors or business owners that we see everywhere. We almost never have a plan for the day besides getting food to make for dinner, everything else is up to where the wind takes us. We have a blank slate of sorts when it comes to who we ultimately want to be as a downtown and I think it would be not only wise but so innovative to really strive to be the worlds most accessible downtown to kids. This doesn't mean that we have to exclusively cater to families, just be the very best at welcoming them. Afterall, this is Utah. We have kids. It is kind of our #1 export and we like it that way. What are your ideas for making Downtown SLC a place you would want to spend more time with your kids?

Our Birth Day. Grayson 2 Years Old!

Today is our Birth Day. Technically it is the day that Grayson was born. 2 years ago, at 3:24AM our beautiful, kind, curious, magic little boy was born into my arms, in our home, and I became a mother(and Doug a father). But in my mind, when reflecting on that day we all were born and were changed forever. We became something we weren't before. A human, a Mother and a Father. In our tiny little bathroom in the middle of the night we all had our jobs: Mine to listen to my body, and my little baby and work together to bring him into the world, and Doug's to keep the rest of the world at bay so we could transform. We all had our parts to play and in our own way were changed. So, on this day, for the rest of my days, I will always consider this day our Birth-day and lovingly so. To my littlest boy: you are everything that is good in this world. You have shown me so many wondrous things, about myself, your Dad, the world and life. I will never stop being in awe and in love with you. Mama

Monday, August 26, 2013

Reverie 5 Months!

These quite literally took us all day to finish.  We started right after breakfast and worked straight through until 1AM last night.  We took breaks for naps and to eat.  Thanks to Doug for taming the chaos and understanding just how important it is to me to do these photos from time to time.  My cell phone acts as day to day documentation of our lives but you just cannot replace having formal pics.  At least I cannot.  I love how her attitude is beginning to show.  She has been such a go getter from the beginning and I cannot believe she is almost 5 months old! 

She is our loud little one.  She made more noise in her first week than
Grayson did in his first month!  She never really had a newborn cry and
as Doug always says: "she has a set of pipes!".  She loves to have talks
 and if I don't talk to her at least for a few minutes every day(one on
one. eye contact conversation)  she gets really upset.  I always just
sigh and hope that it always remains this way even though I know it will
 not.  We are just peeking our heads out of the newborn phase and
getting back to somewhat normal life and trying our best to get some
semblance of a routine in place although with a 2 year old that is
proving difficult.  They are both such happy and curious children and I
just cannot wait to see what they do next every day! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Downtown Mommies

Revi and I went on Good Things Utah today to talk about our little family in our fun city!
Had such a great time and Revi was totally hamming it up with host Brianne Johnson.
If you are a viewer from the show and have questions please feel free to introduce yourself here
or send me a message.