Category Archives: Parenting

Hike.Blog.Love Is Hitting the Road!

That’s right, later this summer we’re hitting the open road in search of adventure, and we’re heading out west. We’ll be hitting up Zion, Moab, The Grand Canyon and the Colorado Rockies.

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There will be hiking, climbing, kayaking, off-roading and who knows what else! It’s going to be an epic family adventure. Stay tuned and follow along with us…

A Family Affair

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As you saw in my last post, I’m moving out of my comfort zone and going for my first triathlon. I forgot to mention that Little Man will also be competing in the kids version on the same day. So this morning we went biking and running together in an effort to get him ready. It was so much fun! We both had a blast. Perhaps we’ve found a new mother-son bonding activity….

 

 

Here we are, all sweaty and feeling good after our bike/run workout. Here’s to trying new things!

Trying it On: My First Triathlon

If you’ve spent any time at all reading this blog, you’ll know there’s nothing I love more than hiking. A couple of years ago I added trail running to the ever-growing list of outdoor activities that I enjoy. I never envisioned myself as a runner. In fact, I down right hated to run and thought people who did must be a special kind of crazy. And now here I am, a runner. Trail running has been the perfect mix of physical activity and “me-time” as a busy mom of three little boys. It’s like hiking on steroids. But as my endurance has increased, I’ve been itching to push myself a bit further. I’m may not be in my 20′s anymore, but I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life and I want to see how much I can accomplish. So I had a crazy idea. Why not a triathlon?

In June I’ll be undertaking my first triathlon. It’s a mini version, appropriately named a “tri it on.” So I’ve been gathering my gear and planning. I’m hoping to go for a true sprint version after I get this race under my belt.

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Tonight I have a swim lesson to brush up on some skills and I’ve started biking again, too. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a bike, I won’t even say how long! And I’ve never swam competitively before. But I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and see what happens. Like I tell my kids, I’m not out to win first place or to beat anyone. The only one I compete against is myself. I’ll post updates as I train. It should be interesting, haha!

 

Mother’s Day Weekend for an Outdoor Addict

I spent my Mother’s Day weekend doing three of my most favorite things. Saturday morning I ran in a trail race (and finished 1st place in my age/gender division, yippeee!), I hiked alongside my family to a beautiful waterfall and enjoyed an evening of indoor rock climbing as well. It was great! Although it was a far from perfect weekend in many ways (my special needs son had many, many struggles and hard moments), it was imperfectly perfect to me. I hope all you mamas out there got to celebrate doing something you loved.

And unfortunately I didn’t bring my good camera, so I’ll bore you with cell phone photos instead.

photo (7) I’ve never won first place before, so of course I had to wake up the babe and make the kids pose with me! photo (9) photo (10) photo (12) photo (13) photo (14) photo (15) photo (16) photo (17) photo (1) photo (2) photo (3) photo (4) photo (5)The hike to Ozone Falls is short but the views are spectacular. Definitely a family favorite!

I promise I’m going to pick up the blog again. Really and truly this time!

Camping with Baby: Keep It Simple

This past weekend we embarked upon Little Baby’s first camping trip. He had a blast and was so, so good! The entire family enjoyed the trip. So much, in fact, that we’re going again next weekend. We prefer primitive style camping, so that’s what we did.

altDSC_0788DSC_0785alt1DSC_0794altWe’ve been camping with kids for years now, but this was my first time with an 8 month-old. My two big boys were older than that when they first came home. In preparing for our trip, I came across all kinds of tips and gear made just for baby. In the end, however, I decided to keep it simple. A tent, hammock, outdoor blanket, a baby carrier, some simple toys and lots of changes of clothes. That’s it.

So I’m not going to give you a list of “must haves,” “must dos” or extravagant outdoor baby gear that will be guaranteed to make your trip easy and enjoyable. My one and only tip is to keep it simple and to treasure each moment. You got this. You don’t need a ton of gear or stuff to have an awesome camp out!

 

Nature’s Grand Finale

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ~Lauren DeStefano

Nothing makes my heart and soul sing more joyously than a hike with family through the autumn leaves! So grateful that I live in a part of the country where autumn is always breathtaking and the temperatures are just perfect. I hope you are enjoying the fall where you live as well. How do things look where you are today?

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On the importance of getting out “there”

….no matter what “there” means to you.  While the past 8 months or so were quite eventful, stressful and busy for us, we did manage to enjoy some fun as well. In fact, the best and most peaceful times seemed to be while we were out enjoying our “there”–the great outdoors. Let’s play catch up:

Winter hiking (this past February) at Rock Island State Park:

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Early spring hiking in the Smoky Mountains:

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Summer coastal fun at St. Simon’s Island:

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Jeannie Reeves Photography  www.jeanniereeves.com

And of course, Little Man was able to run the Columbia Muddy Buddy again this past summer:

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There were also lots of Little Man-Daddy fishing and kayaking trips and visits with family. I’m so thankful we took the time to get outside, even during one of the craziest times of our lives. Despite a difficult pregnancy, a year filled with psychiatric breakdowns for one of our sons and so much more, we did it and I’m proud of us for showing our children what is truly important in life.  It was so worth it–to all of us!

Living and thriving outside the lines

RAD, FAS, ADHD, Autism, PTSD*

Most of these words and what they represent strike fear and grief into the hearts of parents–and for good reason. I’m not going to lie, parenting a child who wears these labels and who comes from a background of complex trauma and abuse is anything but easy and “typical.” In fact, it’s downright soul-crushing and exhausting a lot of the time.  Most of society doesn’t understand the unique needs of such a child. His needs are “invisible” and sometimes hard to explain. We’re not a family with a special needs child, we are a special needs family. It’s an isolating and scary road at times with little support.  Fortunately, we have wonderful friends who get it and who also share similar journeys.

What one would deem a “normal” life is gone. Simple outings, gatherings, school days or even car rides don’t exist. Sometimes life isn’t lived, but merely survived.

But I’d also be doing you all a great disservice if I didn’t tell you about all the good times too. Yes, they can be harder to come by, but they do exist. It takes a lot of hard work and planning, and a little luck and much prayer. And the triumphs are so wonderful…and are savored much more than words could explain.

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Deciding to live beyond the labels and the borders they sometimes create in our society is also a tough road to navigate. But that’s what we’re doing. We’re blowing away the labels and the lines in the sand. I hope to show you how we sometimes succeed at this and sometimes fail, but that you must never stop trying. After all, we still believe adventure is for all.  I hope that I can convince others who feel like they are trapped at home caring for a child with complex needs that they can live a full and exciting life in this great big world of ours. So come along and we’ll try together….

 

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*RAD: Reactive Attachment Disorder

“Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a complex psychiatric illness that can affect young children. It is characterized by serious problems in emotional attachments to others. RAD usually presents by age 5, but a parent, caregiver or physician may notice that a child has problems with emotional attachment by their first birthday. Often, a parent brings an infant or very young child to the doctor with one or more of the following concerns:

  • severe colic and/or feeding difficulties
  • failure to gain weight
  • detached and unresponsive behavior
  • difficulty being comforted
  • preoccupied and/or defiant behavior
  • inhibition or hesitancy in social interactions
  • disinhibition orinappropriate familiarity or closeness with strangers.

The physical, emotional and social problems associated withRAD may persist as the child grows older.

Most children with Reactive Attachment Disorder have had severe problems or disruptions in their early relationships. Many have been physically or emotionally abused or neglected. Some have experienced inadequate care in an institutional setting or other out-of-home placement such as a hospital, residential program, foster care or orphanage. Others have had multiple or traumatic losses or changes in their primary caregiver. The exact cause of Reactive Attachment Disorder is not known although research suggests that inadequate care-giving is a possible cause.” via the American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry

*FAS: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

“FAS represents the severe end of the FASD spectrum. Fetal death is the most extreme outcome from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. People with FAS might have abnormal facial features, growth problems, and central nervous system (CNS) problems. People with FAS can have problems with learning, memory, attention span, communication, vision, or hearing. They might have a mix of these problems. People with FAS often have a hard time in school and trouble getting along with others.” via the CDC

*ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

*PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Finding Joy in the Trenches

It would seem as if I had fallen off the face of the blogosphere. I’m not sure if there is anyone still reading, and I’m sure there are some folks who were wondering if I’m still around at all. The last time I posted was February and in the middle of a fun photo challenge I was hoping to get started. What a bummer, huh?

Sometimes life has a funny way of stopping us in our tracks when we least expect it.  At least that’s what happened to me.

But let me back up a bit. A lot has happened in these past 8 months. First of all, we added this little guy to our family:

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The newest member of the Hiking Family made a surprise appearance in August. He is healthy, happy and such a joy to parent! I wish I could say that it was an uneventful pregnancy, but it turned out to be quite a journey, in fact.

He is now 2 months old and ventured on his first hike this past weekend.

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So where do I begin again? These past 8 months have been life changing. In a very short span of time I was hospitalized three times during my pregnancy, Big Brother (pictured on the far left) was admitted to the psychiatric hospital twice–encompassing 16 days in treatment–and I lost a very dear loved one.  We also made some life-changing decisions and are wading through the aftermath.

We are now trying to find ourselves amidst the new challenges we have been dealt. And I’ve come to the conclusion that instead of waiting for the fog to clear, I will instead strive to find joy while wading in the trenches. I want to use this blog to continue to chronicle our family adventures, but to also now navigate our life as we deal with some new and unique challenges. I’d love it if you joined us. Stay tuned for more of the story….