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.
We’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!
….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:
Early spring hiking in the Smoky Mountains:
Summer coastal fun at St. Simon’s Island:
And of course, Little Man was able to run the Columbia Muddy Buddy again this past summer:
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!
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.
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….
*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
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:
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.
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….
In honor of February, the month of love, I thought I’d have a little photo fun. Each day this month, I’m going to post a picture that incorporates the theme of love. I’m also going to try to make most of mine nature-themed if I can. I’ve been a really bad blogger lately and I need some motivation to get back in the swing of things, so I hope you will join me!
If you’d like to play along, leave a link to your own image in the comment section each day! I’ll make sure to share your links as well.
What a Tennessee ice storm looks like:
Yep, that’s the extent of it! We had 70 degree weather and tornadoes this past weekend, and now icy conditions through the week. At least it’s beginning to feel like winter, right?!
I’m not a cold weather gal, so I really can’t complain. Hope you all are staying warm today!
As 2012 is winding down, I feel a little sad that my family and I have not been able to spend as much time outdoors as we normally do. With three rounds of family strep (yes, 3!!) and other medical issues, getting outdoors has been hard for us over the last couple of months. So I’m really looking forward to getting back in the groove of outdoor livin’ in 2013. To cheer myself up a bit, I decided to take a look back and reminisce on our favorite outdoor moments of 2012.
10. Nature day with mama, March 2012
9. First canoe trip of 2012, April 2012
8. Nature for all, May 2012
7. Mother’s Day Caving, May 2012
6. The Great Sand Dunes, June 2012
5. Mini Muddy Buddy Run, July 2012
4. Alone in the wilderness, August 2012
3. Adventure and the special needs child, June 2012
2. Alpine Views in Colorado, June 2012
1. Water fun and Little Man’s 1st Kayak, July 2012
Congratulations to commenter number 4, Mel, who is the winner of the $25 REI gift card!! Thanks everyone for playing along. Happy Holidays!
There are few places I’d rather be than in the woods on a quiet, muddy trail. Whether I’m hiking or taking a run, it’s the one place where I can clear my mind while feeding my body and soul. So if you are like me (or you’ve got a girl like me in your life) this post is for you. I thought I’d share some of my favorite trail gear with all of you lovely readers. With the holiday season upon us, maybe you’ll be inspired with some gift ideas for the outdoorsy girl in your life.
1. At the top we have the quick dry Toaster Top and Liberty Pants from Stonewear Designs. Warning: these pieces of clothing are so awesome, functional and comfortable you will never want to take them off! Stonewear Designs is a Colorado-based company comprised of a group of determined women who lead busy lives balancing time between family, friends, work, and play. They developed clothes that make women feel beautiful while performing under strenuous demands. They strive to fit and flatter every type of body with beautiful, durable clothing that will last for years. All Stonewear clothing is Made in the U.S.A.
2. Gypsum Mid Hiking Boots by KEEN. The only brand of boots I wear on the trail! For years, KEEN has been keeping my feet happy and safe on the trail. ‘Nuff said.
3. SpeedCross 3 Trail Running shoes by Salomon. I am in love with these awesome, lightweight but aggressive trail shoes that are perfect for muddy, mountainous terrain. I use these all the time and they are by far my faves!
4. I don’t own one of these battery-operated mobile power devices yet, but I really want to try one! They seem like a perfect gadget to have handy on a long hike or backpacking trip. Especially if you are like me and snap photos on the trail with your iphone.
And since it’s the season to spread the love, I’m going to do another giveaway today. I’m going to give one lucky reader a $25 gift card to REI. Oh yes I am! All you have to do is…
1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite outdoor activity and whether or not you’d be happy to receive any of these gifts above.
2. For one extra entry, go like my facebook page. Come back here and leave another comment telling me you did so (or tell me if you already are a fan.)
3. For one more entry, tweet about the giveaway, including a link to this post and make sure to mention me, @hikemama. Then come back here and leave a comment telling me you tweeted.
sample tweet: Gifts for the Girly Trailblazer and a $25 gift card giveaway to REI! http://wp.me/phD5i-2jB @hikemama
That’s it! Good luck and happy trails. One lucky reader will be randomly chosen on Saturday, December 15.
psst–check out my other open giveaway here!