Monday, January 25, 2016

52 Hike Challenge

I have 3 children, age 3 and under. As you can imagine it's difficult to go places. One of the major challenges in getting out and hiking is that I usually am waiting around for the magical moment when my husband happens to be home, we don't have too many pressing house projects, and I actually feel like going.

Now can you see why it's been 2 1/2 years since we've been camping?

But I'm sucking it up, stuffing my sorries in a sack because...



I'm joining the 52 Hike Challenge. I'm going on 52 hikes this year and I'm taking my 3 urchins with me.

Here's the scoop:


  • You need to complete 52 hikes in the year of 2016. You can do 52 hikes in 52 days, or 1 a week, it's up to you!

  • Hikes can be up a mountain or to your local park. Pick stuff that's fun and doable!

  • Count the hikes you've already done this year. Don't make things harder on yourself. So far me and my family have completed 3 hikes this month, so we're only 1 behind. 

I've been doing this and so far I consistently remain 2 hikes behind. I had hopes of catching up this week, then bam we got RSV. But I'm not giving up yet!

Real life and sorry excuses

Wow, almost an entire 2 years has passed since I worked on this project. Embarrassingly I really haven't done much hiking, and zero camping.

You see, I love my son, but he has been a wild ride from the beginning. Colic, Reflux (for an entire year!), terrible sleeper, etc. Have you every read Dr. Sears' description of a "high needs" baby? That was Jonathan to a T. I kept thinking I would get back at it, but to be honest, me and my husband were afraid to take him camping. There was just no way he was going to sleep anywhere but his bed.

Once we recovered from the colic phase hiking was doable, but then the summer heat wave hit, then he learned to walk, and then he learned what independence really was. As it turns out, Jonathan is one of those people that has a deep rooted belief that boundaries are meant to be pushed, lines are meant to be crossed, and streets are meant to be darted out into constantly. I kept imagining him darting straight into a cholla patch and just couldn't bring myself to take 2 toddlers on a hike by myself.

And then I got pregnant with my third.

The regular challenges of pregnancy, coupled with my high needs child and near constant anxiety that I would have another colicky, high needs baby pretty much crippled the outdoorsy me. (By the way, my third baby is a total angel child sent from the heavens above. I highly recommend experiencing a "third child.")

BUT I think we're back! J-Dawg is 2 now and has a little bit more sense about him and is a much better sleeper.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My New Project and Linda Vista Trail

I'm back!

The other day I turned to my husband. "Husband," I said, "I want to go hiking once a week."

"That's a pretty lofty goal." I'm not sure why he said this. Maybe it was because at this point I can't even get it together to wash the dishes once a week?

At any rate, this morning I packed up my two little gremlins and hauled them off to the trail.

You see, the other day I made a list of trails in my area that are under 3 miles round trip and by Jove I'm going to hike every one of them with these kiddlets. And you're coming with me because you deserve to know where the kid friendly trails in Tucson are.

...because you're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggonit, people like you.

Today we explored...

Linda Vista Loop Trail

*choir of angels*

How to get there

This trail head is just off Oracle Rd/Hwy 77. Put into your GPS "Pusch Ridge Estates, Oro Valley, AZ." (Maybe it's cheating, but we all know that's the easiest way to find stuff these days.) After you turn onto Linda Vista Blvd you will see a small parking lot on the right-hand side (it is just past a baseball field. If you've actually entered into Pusch Ridge Estates you've gone too far.) The trail head is on the south side of this parking lot.

The Trail

I picked this trail not knowing very much about it. It was under three miles and was "loopy" so I thought it would be toddler friendly. Well, not really.

Every once and awhile I let go of my daughter's hood so that I could snap a shot of the trail for you. You're welcome.

The trail was pretty narrow, probably 2-2 1/2 ft wide in most places. And as you can see the cactus is very dense. It comes right up to the edge of the trail. My daughter is pretty good at staying away from this stuff, but she's still finding her feet, so to speak. One wrong step and she could barrel right into one of that cacti head first. (Incidentally, did you know that cacti, cactus, and cactuses are all grammatically correct plurals of cactus. I will be using them interchangeably.) Naturally I was experiencing hypertension during this entire hike.

We kept going because we were there already and I was hoping the cactus would clear out a little. It never did. The trail climbed in elevation mildly. Then it got rocky.


Then it got steep. (for a toddler)

Here is where I gave up :D

If there were less cactus, or the trail was wider, or if I hadn't had some newborn strapped to my front we probably would have kept going to finish off the loop. But we didn't. I wasn't sure how long it was going to keep climbing before it started back down hill so we just turned back.

The yellow represents about what we did.
 I would not recommend this trail for small children, but I would recommend it for yourself, or if you have older children. It was gorgeous and I plan to go back with my husband and do a little exploring some time. As you can see you can hike just about as much or as little as you please in this area.

Linda Vista Loop (1 mi)-- NOT toddler approved.
Freeman Homestead Nature Trail (1 mi, 143 ft)
Agua Caliente Regional Park (3 mi, 5 ft)
Loma Verde Wash (1.7 mi, 7 ft)
Sabino Dam (3 mi, 10 ft)
Javelina Rocks (1 mi, 40 ft)
Loma Verde Trail (2.3 mi, 50 ft)
Mica View (2 mi, 50 ft)
Vanover Trail (1.6 mi, 92 ft)
Monument Wash (2.3. 108 ft)
Baja Wash (1 mi, 136 ft)
Camero Loop Trail (2.1 mi, 168 ft)
Honey Bee Canyon Loop Trail (1.6, 200 ft)
Romero Canyon Loop Trail (2.3 mi, 210 ft)
Gould Mine Trail Loop (2.5 mi, 400 ft elevation gain) 
Foothills Loop Trail -- Kartchner Caverns (3 mi, 478 ft)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A wacky birth story

Baby #2 has arrived! We finally decided on a name: Jonathan. And since people like to creep on the internet, and women like to tell birth stories, I'm going to share mine.

Just as background, I'm one of those pre-term labor people. Some might say I have an irritable uterus (it goes nicely with my irritable personality). I start to get contractions around 19 or 20 weeks and I keep getting them all the way to the end. My doctor decided not to check my cervix at 36 weeks so as not to stir the pot and cause me to dilate unnecessarily early.

And there was much rejoicing.

So on I went with life, la la la, and I hit 37 weeks.


And then I realized we were buying a house. I had to pack up all our crap again and get it moved. Enter my super amazing mother-in-law who you should be jealous of. She literally dropped everything to flew out to help us the day after we called her to ask for help.

We tried to convince her that it wasn't necessary for her to come the very next day, but she insisted. She arrived at 5 the following day. And man I'm super grateful that she did because not 12 hours later my water broke.

It was one of those "I think I peed my pants" moments. (I know you have those moments) I got up and went to the bathroom, puzzled about why my pants were wet, but my bladder was still full. -- Hey, it was 4:55 a.m., give me a break. I decided it would be a good idea to consult the internet about what it was like for your water to break, so I went back to my bed to get my phone. As I leaned over to grab it I felt an unmistakable gush. I promptly woke my husband up.

Because I'm an idiot and forgot I was Group B Strep positive we took our sweet time. What was the rush? I wasn't even having any contractions and nothing was hurting.

My husband was all "Do I have time to take a shower?"

and I was all "Pff, of course, I'm putting my make up on first any way." Then after letting my Mother-in-law know we were leaving, we were all like, "We should get gas because the tank is almost on 'E'."

As we meandered up to the hospital, the contractions were getting more painful and closer together. When we got into triage the nurse asked me if I wanted an epidural and I said, "

I don't know :B"

but what I really should have said was, "Yes. Absolutely. Get me the anesthesiologist RIGHT NOW!" because after the nurse finally got around to checking me I was dilated to 5.5 cm and then it was like she set off a bomb because, I kid you not, 10 minutes later I was pushing that little stinker out.

No epidural, no antibiotics, ain't nobody got time for that. The doctor barely had time to run in and catch the little guy. And you know, it's a good thing your body just takes over because in my mind I was all "No! no! no! I need an epidural!" and my body was all, "Shut it. We're doing this thing!"

So let's keep track of the lessons learned from this pregnancy/delivery:

  1. Cervical checks are a no-no for me if I want to make it to at least 37 weeks.
  2. Starting at 36 weeks all showers should be taken at night. 
  3. Hospital Bag should be prepacked by 35 weeks, complete with it's own set of make-up to be done in the car on the way.
  4. Also starting at 35 weeks no car should be allowed to have less than a half a tank of gas.
  5. Remember, YOU WANT AN EPIDURAL! Only you won't know you want one until you're in transition.
  6. Hurry those little nurses along so you can get out of triage and into L&D (so you can get your epidural already).
Now, enjoy a picture of this adorable baby.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Yo...

Had baby right before Thanksgiving.

Baby has GERD and colic.

See you in 2 months...





Wednesday, November 6, 2013

An Ode to my Husband

I've taken a little hiatus because a) Halloween came up and for some reason we feel like we have to make it complicated every year and sew our own costumes b) we found a house to buy [insert fanfare], so you know, offers, counter offers, signatures, inspections, etc. and c) my husband had a birthday!

And since he recently had a birthday, let's take a moment to gush over him.

Rachel's favorite spot

First, he is a super, amazing, excellent father. This is evidenced by the fact that my daughter loves him a bazillion times more than me. When he leaves in the morning she gets jealous when it's my turn to kiss and hug him goodbye. He genuinely misses her if he has to work late and she's already in bed when he gets home.



He takes every opportunity he can to spend time with her a play with her. Once in church someone said, "We want to give our kids an hour of our time later, but children just want 5 minutes of our time now." That must have stuck with him because he seems almost endlessly patient with our little girl, even if he's in the middle of something.

After running a last minute 10k in Oracle, AZ. Rachel in her favorite spot again.
He's a great example of living a healthy and balanced life. He supports me whole-heartedly when I say crazy things like "Let's not unpack our TV." He takes our daughter in the jogging stroller on his runs (and genuinely enjoys it).

One of my favorite things about him I experienced when we were dating. We have a friend who every year, and often twice a year, does a Grand Canyon rim to rim hike. It's a 22 mile hike down and up Kaibab Trail in one day. Eli really wanted me to go. I love to hike and I also love to think I'm tougher than I really am, so I agreed. I was healthy and fit enough to not die, but I definitely was not prepared to climb 8200 feet of switchbacks after hiking about 18-ish miles at the bottom of the canyon.



I'm pretty sure the only reason I made it out was because Eli was with me. Have you ever hiked with someone that just can't wait for you? They zoom on ahead while you're struggling behind, alone. It's pretty much the worst. Eli for sure could have blazed on ahead with the rest of the group. He could have finished the hike at least an hour before what he did, but he didn't. He stayed behind with me. He encouraged me, but didn't try to rush me. We made it out of in the canyon in just under 12 hours.

And that's how he is. We go on lots of outdoors trips, and I'm sure he would love to go longer and farther than I'm able to, but because Rachel and I are with him he doesn't. And he still has fun. He never makes us feel like we're holding him back. He just enjoys doing it with us because he loves us.

So that's my ode to my super awesome husband. Happy Birthday, big guy. We freaking love you.

After our first Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gear Review: Babiators Sunglasses for Infants

They came! The coolest baby sunglasses ever! Babiators!



Have you heard of these things? Apparently if you watch the Ellen DeGeneres Show or keep up with what the children of celebrities are doing you have. Since I'm seriously out of touch these were new to me.

I bought them through My First Sunglasses Company. They had very good customer service and were selling these for less than other places. I highly recommend them.

Let's start off with the cons, because I like to end on a positive note:

CONS:
  • They are pricey! I spent about $16 on these, including shipping, but normally they retail for $20.
  • They are a little loose out of the box. My daughter is admittedly small, especially her head. But they state that they will fit infants from 6 months all the way to a 3 yr old toddler. Still they slip off my 16 month old's face very easily. You can fix this one of 2 ways: 1) buy a $5 glasses strap from the Walmart vision center, or 2) if you take a hair dryer to the arms of the sunglasses for 30 seconds to a minute you can bend and shape them to curl around your child's ears.
  • They aren't easily available. I could only find these suckers online, and I HATE waiting for things to get shipped to me. I know, patience is a virtue... UPDATE: If you have a Buy Buy Baby you can find them there.
  • Some one may steal your child because they look so dang cute in them. True story. Someone grabbed my daughter while she was wearing these. Um, no.

If you steal her I will shank you


PROS:

  • The frames are made out of rubber, not plastic. Bend them, stretch them, sit on them and they just bounce back. Don't believe me? Watch this video
  • The lenses have 100% UVA and UVB protection. Duh. They're sunglasses.
  • No strap so they go on and off easy (it's a pro if you have a kid like mine)
  • Impact and shatter resistant lenses
  • They are guaranteed against breakage or loss for 1 year
Whaaaaaaaaaaat? You mean if my kid throws these in a canal and I can't retrieve them, Babiators will send me a new pair? Yep, that's exactly what I mean. If you register your sunglasses with them they will replace your kids sunglasses if broken OR lost!*


***Note: you must register the sunglasses within 30 days to qualify. The guarantee is limited to 1 replacement pair per customer and you are responsible for the shipping. If your replacement pair breaks within one year of the purchase date you are entitled to 1 additional replacement pair, but you would have to mail the damaged pair to them.



The Lost & Found Guarantee is limited to one (1) replacement pair per customer. Customers are required to pay the cost of shipping (from our location in the U.S.) for their replacement pair. Customers who register their purchases for shipping locations outside the U.S. may be required to claim their replacement through the Babiators distributor (if we have a distributor in that country), or pay for shipping costs from the U.S. to their country. Lost & Found Guarantee participation in countries where we have a distributor is solely at the discretion of that country's distributor, and participation varies. If the customer’s replacement pair breaks within one year of purchase, the customer is entitled to one (1) additional replacement pair. To claim this additional replacement, customer is required to mail the damaged pair to Babiators at: Babiators Returns, Attn: Lost & Found Guarantee, 1054 Grandview Road, Oil City, PA 16301-1227.  The Lost & Found Guarantee replaces the Wear & Tear Guarantee.   - See more at: http://www.babiators.com/terms#sthash.xO4JsVke.dpuf
The Lost & Found Guarantee is limited to one (1) replacement pair per customer. Customers are required to pay the cost of shipping (from our location in the U.S.) for their replacement pair. Customers who register their purchases for shipping locations outside the U.S. may be required to claim their replacement through the Babiators distributor (if we have a distributor in that country), or pay for shipping costs from the U.S. to their country. Lost & Found Guarantee participation in countries where we have a distributor is solely at the discretion of that country's distributor, and participation varies. If the customer’s replacement pair breaks within one year of purchase, the customer is entitled to one (1) additional replacement pair. To claim this additional replacement, customer is required to mail the damaged pair to Babiators at: Babiators Returns, Attn: Lost & Found Guarantee, 1054 Grandview Road, Oil City, PA 16301-1227.  The Lost & Found Guarantee replaces the Wear & Tear Guarantee.   - See more at: http://www.babiators.com/terms#sthash.xO4JsVke.dpuf
The Lost & Found Guarantee is limited to one (1) replacement pair per customer. Customers are required to pay the cost of shipping (from our location in the U.S.) for their replacement pair. Customers who register their purchases for shipping locations outside the U.S. may be required to claim their replacement through the Babiators distributor (if we have a distributor in that country), or pay for shipping costs from the U.S. to their country. Lost & Found Guarantee participation in countries where we have a distributor is solely at the discretion of that country's distributor, and participation varies. If the customer’s replacement pair breaks within one year of purchase, the customer is entitled to one (1) additional replacement pair. To claim this additional replacement, customer is required to mail the damaged pair to Babiators at: Babiators Returns, Attn: Lost & Found Guarantee, 1054 Grandview Road, Oil City, PA 16301-1227.  The Lost & Found Guarantee replaces the Wear & Tear Guarantee.   - See more at: http://www.babiators.com/terms#sthash.xO4JsVke.dpuf
The Lost & Found Guarantee is limited to one (1) replacement pair per customer. Customers are required to pay the cost of shipping (from our location in the U.S.) for their replacement pair. Customers who register their purchases for shipping locations outside the U.S. may be required to claim their replacement through the Babiators distributor (if we have a distributor in that country), or pay for shipping costs from the U.S. to their country. Lost & Found Guarantee participation in countries where we have a distributor is solely at the discretion of that country's distributor, and participation varies. If the customer’s replacement pair breaks within one year of purchase, the customer is entitled to one (1) additional replacement pair. To claim this additional replacement, customer is required to mail the damaged pair to Babiators at: Babiators Returns, Attn: Lost & Found Guarantee, 1054 Grandview Road, Oil City, PA 16301-1227.  The Lost & Found Guarantee replaces the Wear & Tear Guarantee.   - See more at: http://www.babiators.com/terms#sthash.xO4JsVke.dpuf
All in all, I'm pretty stoked about these things. BUT to be honest, I only got these because I couldn't find any at Target and thought they were out of season. Lo and behold in my wanderings around Walmart there were a ton of kids sunglasses in the shoe department. You know, because that's the first place people look for sunglasses...