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  • For the original scope behind this, visit here for our first trees.

    Right before we headed off for vacation earlier this month I grabbed the Famous Trees of Texas book to scout out any trees that might be around our vacation destination. I found three that were within reach, including the tree I am writing about here. The others we didn’t end up getting to, though one of them, the Goose Island Oak, we went to five years ago on our Texas roadtrip post AT thru-hike. I also visited it as a kid with my parents. Anyway, we didn’t make it back to that tree for it to count on the Famous Trees of Texas trip—plus, we have to include Forest on it!—and we also didn’t get to hit up the tree in Corpus Christi that I had noted.

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    My parents were with us when we went to visit the tree and in all of their years of coming to Rockport they had never seen the tree. It was just south of the downtown area, tucked away on a quiet side street in a park.

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    As you see the tree has some help in standing up. I’m sure it doesn’t have a lot longer to live, especially if a hurricane came through the area.

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    Progeny!

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    The original dedication signage.

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    There was a sister (brother?) oak nearby.

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    The peacock stole the show, I think! At least for Forest!

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    More information about this tree.


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    Every so often my friend Chel does these great posts with one word/short phrase prompts where she just kind of brain dumps whatever is going on with her into these posts. I love them so I’m going to copy her tonight!

    In My Head
    Trying to wrap my head around the fact that in 6.5 weeks I will have a one year old! A ONE YEAR OLD! I’ve been writing a post in my head about this year of parenting for several months now and will need to sit down several weeks before his birthday and start writing it all down. This kid…gah, infinite love…infinite love y’all. Even when he drags out bedtime like he’s doing now.

    Watching
    Not much. Just in the last week Masters of Sex came back on for its third season so I have been watching that. I started watching Poldark about a month ago but never got beyond the first episode. The rest are recorded for me to catch up on sometime. I did binge Orange Is The New Black back in June for its third season. Really, television has been on the far-far-far backburner this summer. If it wasn’t for a few select shows that I really like, I’d cancel cable.

    Outside My Window
    A yard that’s overgrown! You know, last year I thought it was hard to keep up with the yard while pregnant. Nope, this year was harder. Pair that with a baby who is stalling his bedtime now and I lose gardening time every evening. Plus, I can only do so much. It’s a two person job these days and Chris has been working on the bathroom since early June so he hasn’t been doing a lot of garden work either.

    On another note about ‘outside’…maybe I’m craving autumn already, but it seems like the light is already changing. Maybe it’s just me. Anyone else notice that yet?

    In The Art Studio
    Ah, Chel is much more active in her studio than I am. I have to clean up the studio this week since my niece and nephew are coming this weekend and they always want to go to the studio to hang out. I have a major desire to purge items from there…and from the house. If I don’t use it, it’s going to the trash or thrift store.

    In The Garden
    See: Outside My Window

    Reading
    I finished The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless while on vacation and am trying to finish Illumination in the Flatwoods before it is due in a week. I’ll have a July book report up after I finish it.

    Drinking
    +Kati Kati blend Starbucks in the morning. It’s a little strong. I admit buying it for the blue color on the packaging.
    +Green smoothies—or trying to drink more of them. Trying to get myself off of a multiple times a week breakfast taco run and opt for oatmeal and a smoothie instead.
    +Water…always water.

    Loving
    +My subscription to Clean Eating magazine
    +The new Project Life scrapbooking set(s) I got over the weekend (Thanks Neil! (my BIL)). I’ve been thinking about using it for a few months for Forest’s next year of scrapbooking. This year I didn’t scrapbook per se, I just created an album with his weekly photos and included the stickers we get from the pediatrician for his check-up appointments as it has his vitals on it. I thought I’d do something a little more involved for documentation next year as it has been several years since I have done a real scrapbook.
    +Cuddles with Leo! He has been looking for cuddles a lot lately.
    +Lychees! We were in Dallas over the weekend and stopped by Central Market to pick up some lychees. A few summers ago we bought a bunch and it was around my mom’s birthday (her birthday is next week) so I figured that there was a good liklihood that there would be some this time around. There was and we bought them out!
    +I got this sea turtle mug on vacation and it makes that Kati Kati coffee really enjoyable!
    +Forest’s laughs! Always!

    How about you??? Fill me in on what’s going on with you!

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    It’s been almost five years since I was on Mustang Island and in Port Aransas. It’s been even longer, decades, since I took an actual vacation there with my parents. It must have been high school, maybe middle school, the last time I was there on vacation with them. They’ve gone many years since then but Chris and I were in Florida for a lot of those times. The last two years for their vacations they went to Arkansas, one of which we joined them on. Last year I was too pregnant to be traveling that far.

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    When my parents mentioned they were going back to Port A this year I told Chris that I really wanted to go. My brother and his family were not going to be joining in this time around as they had opted for an epic two-week western road-trip. So, to vacation we went. Anticipation built as the weeks grew closer and the excitement mounted. Forest was getting to an age that he was more aware and it would be interesting and fun for him, going to the beach. I couldn’t wait to share some of that with him!

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    Vacation as a kid and as an adult is definitely different and vacation as a parent is even more different than that. As with most things this year, I’m learning just how much parenting shifts the feelings of individuality.

    In my pre-vacation dreaming, I was thinking about all of those great times as a kid, the memories I’d built up. It’s hard not to want to recreate those moments and feelings. They aren’t recreateable, though.

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    This vacation was wonderful but definitely not what I had dreamed up. There would be no hours of handstands and backflips in the pool like I used to do with my brother, nor were there days of six hours at the beach jumping the waves. It was all modified and changed to accomodate a baby. There was me, oddly nervous about getting in the ocean in the beginning, too. Who was this weirdo who was afraid of the waves? Then there was a baby who needed his mom from time to time, who pulled me into shore from jumping the waves. A baby who needed to nurse and a cuddle and nap with his momma. A baby who needed respite from the sand, salt, and heat, a little dose of a/c.

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    I only remember one vacation growing up, ok, now another is coming to me, where there was some kind of illness or injury that put any kind of damper on things. It was high school and we were staying at a house in Rockport, a ferry ride and down the bay from Port A. I came down with a horrible ear infection that had us going to the hospital for medications. The other incident that came to me as I was writing this was an incident with some sand or salt that scratched my eye in Tortola, BVI. It ruined some great snorkeling adventures for me.

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    This time around 3/4 of the adults got hit by a stomach bug and the wee one started off with a cold, passing it to the rest of us by the end of the trip. The stomach bug’s source was never determined but a suspicious crab appetizer at one of our favorite restaurants has been eyed heavily. The stomach bug knocked my mom out for almost three full days, with my dad and I being under the weather for at least one full day and not quite up to par for at least another day. Our beach going and sightseeing time was cut quite down by this.

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    It was sad to leave the little house my parent’s rented. When I watched the video I put together the other day I instantly wanted to go back. We’d made the house a little home while we were there and the entire time I had thought about what it would be like to live there. It was the perfect size; the yard was so small that it was beyond manageable, and the beach was a quarter mile away.

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    Our vacation might not have been what I had been dreaming up in my imagination but it was just enough to tide me over, to savor and to enjoy.

    Ah, the lovely thing about videos is that sometimes they aren’t that hard to edit and put together. Photos and writing down a blog?? A little more time consuming. Still working on that, but if you’ve got 27 minutes you can see some stuff I shot while on vacation!

    For the last week of blog silence here we’ve been in Port Aransas, Texas on vacation with my family. I had hoped to write a few blogs while I was gone but the wifi at the beachouse my parent’s rented was absolutely horrible. I was lucky to get online just to check email and read a few things online for about twenty minutes a day. Forget anything else productive! I’ll have a bigger write-up about the trip soon, but I wanted to cover one of the more fun things we did while there.

    On July 3rd, Friday evening, once we’d arrived and gotten settled in, my dad and Chris ran out to get ice since the fridge’s icemaker hadn’t stocked up yet. When they returned they said they’d seen a poster for a sea turtle release at beach marker 35 for the morning of July 4th. They had scoped out the beach marker while they were out and found it was within walking distance of where we would come in at on the boardwalk to the little neighborhood we were staying. I decided to try to find out more information about the release and found out it was in conjunction with the Animal Rehabilitation Keep as part of the UT Marine Science Institute on the east end of Mustang Island, where we were located. They were releasing a few rehabbed adult sea turtles!

    In the middle of looking that information up I also found out about hatchling releases on Padre Island National Seashore. There were releases on-going for that weekend and based on their clutch counts and approximate release dates it looked like we’d be able to catch one later in the week if we needed to.

    Well, Saturday morning we got out on the beach early and walked east from where we came in at on the boardwalk and got to marker 35. The beach was incredibly packed, more than I have ever seen in Port Aransas, or really almost any beach for that matter. It was stuff out of postcards and movies, y’all! We lingered at marker 35 for awhile, checking out a few of the tents that were set up, including an incredibly big one that resembled an event tent….but no, it was just a private tent for the beach. Eventually my dad struck up a conversation with some men on the beach and found out that a hastily posted note on the dune side of a random camp tent (those four post tents that are meant to offer shade were very popular at the beach instead of umbrellas!) that the release had been moved to marker 48. As it was almost time of the release and we were quite a ways down from the marker, we weren’t going to make it.

    To make up for missing the release we finally managed to find a morning, the last full day we were on vacation, that we wanted to get up at 5:00 am and get down to the national seashore for a hatchling release. Having been to a few hatchling releases in Florida as well has attending and volunteering with nesting sea turtle talks and tours, I really thought there might be at max 30 people there, especially with it being so early in the morning. It was still dark as we drove down Park Road 22 towards the entrance but there were definitely other cars headed that direction. Ok, maybe a few more than 30, I thought.

    We arrived earlier than anticipated as it was not as far to get to as we thought it would be. Sitting in the parking lot in the dark for a few minutes I nursed a groggy baby and then we got him changed and despite a plethora of mosquitoes, and the five of us were on our way to the visitor center’s deck to wait on the 6:20 am presentation followed by the release.

    Up on the deck it was apparent I was far off from my estimations. There were going to be hundreds of people there! Cars were still coming in from the east to the parking lot as the sun slowly lit up the night sky. I was incredulous! My dad had gotten separated from us at one point and once we found him he said that he’d talked to a ranger who had said the first release of the year had something like 1400 people at it and the one on the 4th of July had 900 or so people. This was a ‘medium’ she said, something like 400-500 people! Never would I have thought it would be like that! Part of the reason was that there was no reservations or fee, just anyone could show up.

    Needless to say with the crowd in attendance we didn’t get the best views that I would have wanted, but we did our best trying to sneak in between people and bouncing our heads around people. It was great to be there but I was disappointed with the crowd. Chris and I went back and forth about it, the crowd’s up and down sides. The up was that the release would be reaching and educating more people making, especially the kids, more aware of the sea turtle’s plight and possibly leading them to a conservation lean later. The downside was obvious—too crowded, less intimate, and maybe stressful on the turtles?

    That said, I would still recommend anyone going to a release if they could. It’s a rarity to see sea turtle hatchlings muchless Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchlings, the rarest and most endangered sea turtle on the planet at the moment.

    Here’s some photos from that morning. A lot were from the point and shoot but towards the end I was able to get my dSLR out and use the 100mm lens I had to get a few decent shots. Nothing spectacular, but good enough!

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    I meant to get this up a week ago but we went on vacation and the house we were at had horrible wifi, so…no post.

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    10months

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    This last month Forest has changed a lot! So much to write about! I think I’ll go for bullet points and go from there….

    • Food:
    • Finally, the kid is taking to food. Still not 100% on textures but he is now gobbling food up like no other. He’s eating, usually, two jars of food or two packets of food at daycare. I guess we should probably start making some food now that he’s eating better, but baby food is just so convenient. I typically buy the brands that don’t have a lot of added ingredients, like the Beechnut Naturals or Earth’s Best, and attempt to get organic ones if they are available and especially if they are on sale. In the evenings he eats maybe 1/4 to 1/2 a jar of food, mostly because he nurses when he gets home and probably isn’t that hungry. We have started introducing table food again but he just plays with it so far, though he does try to put it in his mouth only to change his mind at the last minute and then drop it into his lap.

      To coincide with eating more food at daycare he has been dropping how many bottles he takes at daycare. It has to be at least a month now since he’s had four bottles at daycare, which was usually 20 ounces. Now if he’s had two, 10 ounces, it’s a good day, and three is just luck. Sometimes he’s barely finishing the second one when I pick him up. I’m thinking I may need to let them introduce water to him after he eats to quench a bit of thirst. He’s been drinking water from open cups and sippy cups with us at home here and there and loves water.

      Regarding sippy cups, I bought two several months ago and he hasn’t taken to either one. What he has taken to are the old school Tupperware sippy cups. I’m pretty sure it’s because he can actually get liquid out of it easy and the cups aren’t some magical spill proof container like the others.

      Oh, and with the increase in food, let’s just say diapers are a lot different now. *crinkles nose*

    • Nursing:
    • When he’s with me he’s still nursing like a champ but he’s definitely spreading it further out than he used to. However sometimes he’ll do little cluster feeding sessions because he gets a bit to eat and gets distracted and wants more a little while later. He’s definitely not dropping nursing sessions right now and we’re still nursing 2-4 times at night. A few weeks ago it had been on my mind to go through and figure out exactly how much milk I had stored up. At that time I added up 740 ounces of milk which translates to 5.8 gallons. Some of it was getting on the older side and Chris was pushing me to donate it because we weren’t going through it fast enough. I mentioned my Facebook break in my reading post the other day, but figuring out how to donate it required me to jump on Facebook so I could access the breastfeeding group to get help from others in the area. I managed to put blinders on and only went to the group (success!) and found a few milk banks I could donate to. Then someone commented that they knew of someone privately that needed milk. I ended up giving her my email so the person could get in contact with me and after we exchanged a series of emails and texts I was able to give her and her daughter 190 ounces of milk! She was going to be having surgery in a few weeks which would put her out of commission for several days in the hospital plus up to a week after on medications, and coupled with a lower supply than I had which resulted in no milk stash, she was definitely in need of milk! I think in the future when I need to donate I will opt for the milk bank as it turns out you can give milk up to, it was either 7 or 10 months old. Since I’m still pumping roughly the same amount I have been, maybe an ounce or two less, but he’s drinking far less, I will still be freezing a lot.

    • Sleeping:
    • Oh man, we have definitely hit a sleep regression phase. I savored the nursing to sleep phase of this for as long as I could but that’s not always working. One night I could tell Forest was just so sleepy but he did not/could not go to sleep. He usually hits the sack anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30 pm but it was almost 10pm that night. As soon as he went to sleep, I did too. I decided next time he put up that much of a fight I wasn’t going to press him as hard to go to sleep because I ended up not getting anything I needed to do, done. Naps are becoming spotty. Times where he would definitely go down for a nap right around 9-10am, he’s pushing it back another hour or so. From what I’ve read about this sleep regression, it’s really a ‘progression’ because of all of the new things he’s learning and for some reason they want to practice these things while they are going down for sleep. The night he stayed up until 10pm I watched him go from being ok with laying there while I patted his pack to just promptly sitting up like he wasn’t sleepy at all. And tonight I watched as he twisted and turned and stuck his butt in the air, tried to stand up, before finally settling down enough to close his eyes and sleep. Phew, it’s rough. I definitely dream of the day where he understands to lay down and close his eyes and just lay peacefully, asleep or not, and I can walk away. I’ve tried that right now and it doesn’t work. He’s a hysterical crier, not a crier who calms down after a bit. So, I sit with him and rub his back and wipe his forehead and try to be as patient as I can be. That’s all if nursing him doesn’t work. If he falls asleep awhile nursing I’m like, “YES!”, and all is right with the world for the time being.

    • Developmental Stuff:
    • Right at the beginning of 9 months he started sitting up from being on his belly. It was like overnight he just started doing it. He hasn’t looked back! Ok, well, there are a few times he get’s whiny in his crib when he’s been playing with hit toys and he’s flailing there on his belly wanting someone to come get him. But for the most part he can get from his belly to sitting up and back to his belly with no problems.

      He still army crawls, though sometimes he gets up on his knees like he’s going to crawl-crawl, but doesn’t. He’s also a speed demon with the army crawling and makes a beeline for anything that looks like he shouldn’t be getting, which is why he now hangs out in his crib to play a lot more than he used to while we are trying to get stuff done around the house. When he was less mobile he was perfectly find on the living room floor. Now, not so much.

      As with the sitting up he started figuring out how to pull himself up about two or three weeks go, getting into a position on his knees in the crib. He’s then gnaw on the crib railing while looking utterly adorable! Just this last week he’s progressed onto standing completely in his crib, with lots of crashes down after he gets too wobbly. Yes, it is time to lower the mattress in the crib! This is really his only area in our house to practice pulling up as we don’t have a lot of low furniture, like coffee tables, for him to practice with. I feel confident he will be walking by his birthday, though. Maybe not perfectly but I’m pretty sure we’ll be chasing him a lot more!

      Vocally he’s not saying any definite words, though I think he said ‘Hi’ the other day. Still a lot of ma ma, da da sounds, and lots of growling, screaming, yelling, LOUD boy noises!

    • Health
    • At his 9 month appointment it was found he had yet another ear infection, or the one he had before that in early May just hadn’t cleared up. He was given another round of antibiotics and now that he’s a smarty pants, Forest is great at clamping his lips shut when we try to syringe the medicine in his mouth. He had a follow up appointment later in the month and it was shown that the ear’s had cleared up, however he was on the beginning stages at that time of another cold that he has since passed onto me (working into an 11 month post here, so I’ll stop there…). Also, at the tail end of June I came down with some kind of stomach bug which I thought initially was food related but two days later it appeared in Forest. I think I counted 8 times of being barfed on in 16 hours and at least one barf incident on Chris. I kicked myself a few days later when I went through his medicine to prepare for vacation and realized I had a bottle of anti-nausea medicine from another illness earlier in the spring that I could have used. *note to self*: use it next time! Unfortunately he got sick right at the time we were going to make a trip to Dallas to see some of Chris’ family, so we had to postpone that trip a few weeks.

    I guess that’s about it…here’s some videos and a few other photos from the month!

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    Chris has been hard at work, still, though with a slight delay last week when trying to figure out an electrical problem. It’s coming along!

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    When I wrote my summer goals last month I mentioned wanting to read three books this summer. I am well on my way to getting that done and adding more to the list. I credit a few things for this, one of them being that I gave up Facebook back in late April. The last time I spent this much time away from the site was for the last half of 2009. I’ve done little hiatuses here and there, but it just got to be too much. I don’t have the personality where I can just say I won’t log in…because I will. I have to actually close the account. It got much easier as the weeks went by, though sometimes I felt like I was missing out on little news updates and tidbits, but I really don’t miss the drama or memes or people selling me stuff.

    So with my evenings, instead of reading status updates, writing my own, or reading the myriad of links that people post, I am instead doing things around the house, trying to write here, or reading. It’s incredibly refreshing!

    What have I read in June?

    Completed

    +Eat and Run by Scott Jurek: I actually listened to this via a free Audible download. It had been on my radar for several years, particularly when I was vegetarian, and it seemed like an easy book that I could follow while listening at work. And it was. I really liked the book and the person who read it. Scott almost makes me want to run more than 3 miles at a time, but really, I’d rather hike all of those miles he runs in an ultra. It was interesting to listen to his story of growing up, how he got into running, running with the Tarahumara, and how he became a badass runner. It also reinforced my vegetarian ways…I want to go back someday. I might eat my weight in pulled pork before I go back, though!

    As a side note I only found out a week or so ago that he currently going for Jennifer Pharr Davis’ Appalachian Trail assisted speed record: read more here.

    +Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis: Hah, yes, I mention her above and I also read her first book about her first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. In 2011 she set the AT assisted speed record in 46 days but in her first thru-hike she did it as a typical NOBO hike. I bought this back in October when I was still on maternity leave as part of a Kindle bundle with her second book, Called Again, when they were on sale for like $3 total. I’ve been a fan of Davis’ ever since I followed her AT record in 2011. I went into reading this book ‘knowing’ one aspect of her persona put out on Facebook by her own page, and through news and blog articles. I really like her and support her.

    I really did not like her in this book. At first I did but then I started hating her a lot! At first I was excited to be back on the trail, but then some of her side stories just became entititled and obnoxious. It toned down a bit towards the end, though. She actually does address these shortcomings here, so it is nice to know that she realizes she’s changed and that she had some issues in the first book.

    That said, I did feel the book was poorly written. It could have been developed so much more! Maybe she wrote it a few years after the fact and forgot some details, I’m not sure. Some of the details she did write were harrowing, including hiking with a guy who was borderline stalker. I know that many women hiking alone are very cautious about who they hike with and their surroundings, so I can’t imagine being stuck around someone you just can’t shake.

    In all, it was an easy read and brought back memories from our hike. It is only my third AT memoir to read and I would be put it at the bottom of those three. The Barefoot Sister’s set is by far my favorite AT read, though I really need to Nimblewill Nomad’s account.

    +Mortality by Christopher Hitchens: This was an impulse grab off of my library’s audio book shelves. After having success listening to Eat and Run I wanted to pick up a few other books to listen to as a way to break up listening to podcasts. I was familiar with Hitchens but not really of his work. I knew he had died a few years ago and that he had quite the public profile as a writer for many major publications.

    This book is incredibly short, about two hours on audio, and it is really a very simply stated and truthful telling of facing death by cancer. There’s no sugar coating it, no glib remarks about putting on a brave face or having a battle with cancer…he pretty much just turns all the fluff about it on its head. I like his writing and I like the narrator for the audio book. I definitely shouldn’t have started here, with his death, but I think I’ll go back and read some of his other works in the future.

    In The Middle Of
    +The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless: For Into the Wild fans, this is Chris McCandless’ sister telling the rest of the story, what she told Jon Krakauer but did not have him publish. Let’s just say, they did not have a happy home life. I’m about halfway through it and will review it next month.

    +Illiumination in the Flatwoods: A Season with the Wild Turkey: I started this back in mid-spring and had to return it to the library before I finished. I love, love, love it so far. It’s set in the Appalachichola area of Florida, so definitely up my alley.

    +Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott: This is another impulse grab off of the library audio bookshelf. Unfortunately it is read by the author and I am having a hard time with her voice. I’m not sure I will finish listening to it or try to find it on paper to read later. This would be my first Lamott book.

    On Deck
    +Called Again by Jennifer Pharr Davis: Since I bought it as part of the Kindle bundle with her first book I am going to read this, too. I’m hoping for better writing and am definitely excited about the story.

    +The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon: Since I am all caught up on other Outlander novels and tv shows, I’m going to bide my time of Droughtlander with Gabaldon’s other novels that revolve around many of the same characters and other small characters in her novels.

    Got any recommendations for the coming months?

    Hiking_Baby

    When I found out I was pregnant in December of 2013 I knew that our outdoor hiking life would be changing for awhile. I tried to find other people online who still did outdoorsy things with their babies and kids, people who hiked and backpacked with babies and toddlers. I didn’t want that aspect of our life to change that drastically. Of course, it has and it did. But, we still have made it work. Are we doing any long distance trails? Nope, but we are doing long dayhikes. It was our hike in Sam Houston National Forest in February that helped me realize that we could do it, that our outdoor life was going to be there, just looking a bit differently for awhile.

    I wanted to offer up some things I’ve been thinking about in regards to hiking with a baby, particularly for those who have been very active previously.

    Be Flexible
    For everyone’s sanity, maintain this mantra. If something isn’t working, change it. If the miles are too long, go back to the trailhead. If the baby is just too fussy, call it a day. It isn’t the end of your outdoor life, just the end of that particular hike. Savor that experience for what it was and move on to planning the next outing. Enjoy the one or two mile trek in a local park when you can because you know the longer and more adventurous ones are in your future.

    Get A Suitable Carrier/Stroller
    Good gear sets you up for having a good experience. This goes for having the proper clothing or tent but also for however you are going to carry the baby. There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable and now you’ve got a baby who can’t adequately express itself in words, so the better the gear you have to support you on your hike, the better of an experience it will be. Does this mean go all out for the top of the line? No way! Do what’s within your means while also looking for used items, too. I’m very thankful we registered for and were able to get a Bob stroller and the Osprey Poco Premium pack, but there are a plethora of other offroad strollers as well as baby and toddler backpacks. I’ve used my Ergo on most of our hikes and it works fabulously, you’ll just have to have a partner carry your other gear (though I have seen pictures of people with baby on the front in a carrier and a daypack on their back).

    Psst….Don’t forget your typical hiking gear, as well as snacks and water! Plus a change of clothes for the baby (you know, poo explosions and spit up!), diapers, wipes and all that sort of stuff. Yeah, packing light gets a little tougher.

    Start Easy
    Do a trial run of a hike around your neighborhood or on a short trail before going for the longer and more remote hikes. Work out the kinks with your gear and make sure you and the baby are comfortable using whatever carrier you have chosen. It’s also a good time to make sure you’ve got all of your other gear together. Even though we’d been out a few times before for short hikes, when we did our long hike that I linked to above, we completely forgot toilet paper. We realized in a pinch we could have nabbed the baby’s wipes, but it’s the small things you’ve got to remember.

    Find Some Friends
    Maybe you are the one interested in hiking but your partner isn’t? Try to find a meetup group or even the Hike It Baby group to join on a hike, or even some likeminded friends. You could always become adventurous and strike out on your own, too.

    Go For It!
    On our first excursion with Forest we went to Hamilton Pool over in Austin. Another dayhiker made a comment on the side about Forest being too young to be out there. Ignore the naysayers. If you and the baby are comfortable out on the trails, just go for it. The younger you introduce your child to the outdoors the greater the liklihood they will be enthusiastic about it later in life.

    Don’t forget to stop often for hydrating and eating, especially if you are a nursing mom. That’s one great thing about nursing and hiking with a baby—there’s no need for carrying bottles or formula. Just find a comfortable spot on the side of the trail and feed your baby. If your partner is comfortable carrying the baby it is great to switch out who is carrying the gear and who is carrying the baby.

    Sure, our hiking life isn’t quite the same, but I hope that as Forest grows he’ll be so used to hiking that we can go on longer treks and overnights. Maybe one day in the not-so-distant future we’ll even embark on another thru-hike—hey, I can dream because there are others who have set that precedent…it is possible!

    Happy trails!

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    This would be the messy phase of this project. There’s dust everywhere and we both can’t wait until this phase is done so white footprints can stop being tracked around the house. It’s coming along but it’s a tedious process for Chris, putting on the mud for the drywall, letting it dry, smoothing it out. Chris thinks at the end of the week he can have it cleaned up and start painting. We’ll see!

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