I remember receiving my first bike, it was a hand-me-down from my two older brothers so I didn’t get to pick it out myself, but that wasn’t a big deal to me – the big deal was getting out on the sidewalk and riding that jet black and lime green bike down to the end of the street and back. I was on my own and got my first sense of independence. This memory was a driving force behind my excitement for getting Braylee her first bike.
For the past few weeks Katie and I have been discussing the idea of getting Braylee her first big girl bike. She has a balance bike that she rides around the house, which we’ll randomly find under the kitchen table or in the bathroom next to the toilet. She loves pushing herself around the house, so why wouldn’t she enjoy biking to the park or around the neighborhood? Well, with the nicer weather we’ve been getting glimpses of – we decided to go ahead and pull the trigger.
This past weekend, after getting Braylee up and ready for the day, we told her we had a surprise for her. We headed for the Sterling Walmart across from the Kincora, one of the planned new home communities in Loudoun County. After parking the car, I went to get Braylee out of the car. She hesitantly says, “Can I bring my baby doll?” “Of course!” I say excitedly (she loves her baby dolls, all 36 of them, we can already tell she’s going to be a great mom).
Little did she know we had picked out and Frozen themed bike complete with training wheels and baby seat on the handlebars. We walked into Walmart, and headed over to the bike section. Katie walks over to the Frozen bike, pulls it out of the rack and Bray asks if she can have it. Katie gets down on Braylee’s level and says “Bray, this is a big girl bike, do you think you’re ready to ride a big girl bike?” “YES!!!! I’m a big girl, I can ride a big girl bike!” Bray exclaimed, unable to contain her excitement. We test out the baby seat on the handlebars and pick out a matching Frozen themed helmet.
We checked out, loaded up the bike, helmet, and of course, little Bray.
The next step was to get some food and help Braylee get comfortable with our new purchase. We stopped by Wegmans in The Village at Leesburg, picked up some sandwiches and decided to head over to Ida Lee Park in downtown Leesburg. Ida Lee is a great park—there’s a ton of open space, playground, places to have a picnic for lunch, and a bunch of other amenities (fitness center, indoor pool, basketball courts, racquetball courts, outdoor water park, etc.).
Bray had no interest in eating lunch when we got there, her only focus was to get on that bike and act like she’s Elsa. We went over to the soccer fields where there are paved sidewalks, ample open parking spaces, and picnic tables to eat our lunch.
I must say—I was so impressed with her ability to ride a bike. Learning to break was a bit of a challenge (like most kids she wanted to put her feet on the ground to stop herself), and the “wiggle” (as Bray refers to it) of the training wheels was a little frightening to her. With the exception of these two struggles, Braylee did great. She got the hang of the wiggle and pedaling backwards to break when she got too much speed. Once she had enough of riding her new bike, we spent some time at the playground, along with other kids and their parents enjoying the seventy-degree weather. After spending a few hours at Ida Lee and all the running around – Katie, Braylee, and myself ended our family fun day with a stop at Sweet Frog off Catoctin Circle in downtown Leesburg for some frozen yogurt.
I’ve always been a huge family man since I was lucky enough to be raised in a family of seven! A family day out enjoying the weather, or a quick stop after school to grab smoothies or frozen yogurt are happy memories I have from my childhood and memories I want my children to have from theirs. Katie is a dental hygienist, and I am a realtor with Pearson Smith Realty. We both place importance on working hard, and spending time together as a family. While we both had different upbringings – we agree on the way of raising children: with manners, respect for others, spending time together without electronics, and enjoying everything life has to offer.
Stay tuned for more blog posts related to raising children, fun family activities