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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

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A random photo from one of my Flickr photo albums taken in the Keys…’cause you know, photos are nice!

+Can you Homestead with Kids? from NW Edible Life
+Thoughts on Busy from Elise Blaha Cripe
+My Favorite Organizational Tools from Natalie Creates
+Just You Wait from Elise Blaha Cripe—FYI, never say this to a parent, or at least rephrase it if you are trying to bond/looking to vent about a certain period of parenting. As much as I am looking forward to certain life stages with Forest, I try to live in the moment with him as much as I can. I get each day once.
+Post Trail Depression from fellow AT hikers and newly completed PCT thru-hikers Dormouse and Dirt Stew. It’s real, yo.
+Turn Here, Now There…Canopy Roads of Levy County from Pure Florida. Gah, makes me miss Florida so much! Also, makes me miss Florida winters.
+Favorite Sunrises and Sunsets of 2014 from Adventures of a Vagabond Volunteer
+Foothills Trail Thru-Hike from Rambling Hemlock
+You Know You’re a Hiker When from Section Hiker

mindful

It’s been two years or so since I last chose a word for the year. I didn’t opt for one last year because at the time I knew that it was really going to be ‘baby’ and didn’t want the hassle of trying to focus on something else. However, this year I need a word to get myself out of the baby fog. I’m chosing mindful for a lot of reasons that I’m not going to elaborate on here. I’m not doing this word up big here on the blog but there will be some background work going on that I want to keep track of for myself. The word really jumped out at me as I’ve been reading about empathetic and peaceful parenting, though the word isn’t necessarily for parenting. It just sounded like a good word to implement for the year, to ponder on as the seasons change.

Are you chosing a word?

This was a year, y’all! On Christmas Eve this year I kept thinking “This time last year I had a hunch I was pregnant.” On Christmas I thought, “I was pretty damn sure I was pregnant this time last year and was keeping my hunch a secret.”, and remembering how much I was analyzing my possible symptoms before getting a pregnancy test. The day after Christmas this year I thought that it really couldn’t have been a whole year ago that I went to visit my friend Stephanie and was too nervous to tell her I thought I was pregnant and to ask her if I could please use her bathroom to pee on a stick. I thought about how I instead I peed on a stick in the Starbucks bathroom, and then waited for my coffee order to come up while I peeked inside my purse at the stick I’d shoved in there after leaving the bathroom, and grinning with shock and excitment when it said I was pregnant.

That’s been a whole year ago now!

So, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that my # 1 best of for the year is Forest!

    IMG_9651

  1. Forest: Of course my very best of 2014 is going to be my kid! From first seeing him on the ultrasound to introducing him to the world, he’s definitely been at the forefront of my thoughts for the majority of the year. What a trip these last four months have been! I have a post on motherhood brewing in my head, but a short synopsis on what introducing a child to your life is: intense love, insanity, and life changing. I thought really hard during Christmas this year because it was one year ago that I was someone who’d never gone down this path of parenthood in any form and then in that tiny moment of looking at the pregnancy test everything changed. It is still surreal. I covered some of that in my Postpartum Thoughts write-up.
  2. IMG_0060

  3. Finishing my Florida Trail book: I wrote a giant treatise on the first of the year last year on Reconsidering The Florida Trail As A Valuable Long Trail which in turn got some attention from folks in the Florida Trail community as well as those outside of it in the general hiking world. I’m glad I wrote it, getting some frustrations out and hopefully spurring some interest in the trail itself. The Florida Trail needs some love!! That led to being invited to talk about the FT on The Trail Show which was an awesome experience and I was glad to spread the love of the FT to the hiking community.

    At the end of January I finished my book and in my perfect hindsight view I realllllly should have edited it before Forest was born. Since I didn’t I plan on getting that done this spring and we’ll see what happens with it after that. I’m just glad I wrote the dang thing and will remember all of the frustrations with my slow studio computer (my old laptop), piling on blankets during the cold months because the heat didn’t do my studio justice, and listening to internet radio. I’m ready to spend some more time in my studio polishing up the book and getting it out there.

    I should also add that recently I was interviewed by Sandra Friend at Florida Hikes! as part of her Wild Women series. You can read my interview here but please check out all of the other fantastic ladies that were interviewed as well!

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  5. Florida!: In March, just as I was getting over the first trimester nausea and before I was really showing, we went back to Florida for the first time since we’d hiked the Florida Trail three years previously. We hit up Little Slough for some rambling, and saw several old friends…oh it was good to see them! There was Paddling at Riverbend Park and Swamping in Fakahatchee Strand. Just thinking about doing all of these activities makes me long for the days when Forest is big enough to go exploring. I miss it so much.

Those were the big things this year. We had a few big garden projects but I wasn’t as involved in those and as summer wore on my outside involvement reached nearly to nil and once Forest was born it was nil. There weren’t any big creative projects after I finished writing my book, which bums me out a little bit and makes me itch to get a lot of creative things done this coming year. I suppose the one creative thing I somehow managed to do was put together a printed book of Forest’s birth story as well as a scrapbook of his birth. I managed that on maternity leave and Forest’s more sleepy times.

In all, it was definitely a good year but I’m excited for the upcoming year. I picked a word for 2015 and hope to share it with you soon. I haven’t picked a word in two years!

2014, you were one crazy-awesome year!

It has been awhile since I had gotten a Vox Box but I was sent a survey from Influenster back in November to determine if I was going to fit their target audience for the #FrostyVoxBox. After I submitted it several weeks went by and I never heard back from them. I had submitted another survey for a different box several months before that and didn’t get chosen for it so I figured I wasn’t going to get this one either. Then, finally, I got the email saying it was coming in the mail. Overall I’d say this was a pretty good box and I’ve now used the brush, which I really like—so much so that I’m tempted to stop using my other brush unless I’m putting my hair up in a ponytail (it has tighter spaced bristles)—and I’ve also used the eyeliner. It went on smooth but I can’t say I’ll end up buying it in the future as I’m not really a brand specific makeup person, especially since I don’t wear a lot of makeup. Though, as I said in the video about feeling dowdy, I have worn makeup twice in the last few days and it has been fun to put on again. However, I miss rubbing my eyes whenever I want…I always forget I have makeup on and want to rub my eyes. I had to throw out the eye makeup I did have as it was four years old (yeahhhh…I don’t wear makeup much).

I also did try the Boots #7 face serum this morning and it wasn’t greasy which is a plus in my book, but I still don’t think I’ll be switching from my Alba Sea Moss Moisturizer, though.

Overall it was a great box, would have loved an actual jar of the face serum to actually use for a longer period of time to see if the claims for wrinkle and age reducing actually stood up to what they claim.

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+Patrice and Justin are hiking the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand…follow them!
+You Know You’re A Hiker When…
+The Girl Who Goes Alone
+What Going For A Personal Record Can Teach You
+Raw Chocolate Pie
+Panic At The Drive-Thru—I had a similar experience in the Chick-Fil-A drive thru a few weeks ago. My word of advice, don’t take a sleeping baby thru a drive thru at lunch time where you’ll be jammed in by other cars. Just don’t.
+I painted a single leaf
+Cow Buck
+Food For the PCT
+Northeastern Sierra – Finding Fall
+Fun, Fearless, Female, and … Feckless?: Cosmopolitan.com and #Casey Nocket
+The Serial Podcast…excellent podcast brought to you by those who put on This American Life. It’s a weekly serial podcast with a reporter researching the true story of a murder back in the late 90s in Maryland.
+Atomic Moms Podcast—because I’ve turned into the person who listen to mom podcasts and reads (some) mom blogs.

Anything good around the web you want to share?

dogwood

hickory

hickory2

nyssa

poisonivy

I spend most of my commute to and from work oogling at the colors on the trees. There are a couple of sassafrass trees near the office that are a glorious apple red tempting me to soak in them, if one could soak in trees. Peak fall color is here now and quickly passing. I don’t get to wander around my yard much these days but I stole 10 minutes the other day and wandered around to see what I was missing. With what seems to be an early freeze this year (first one last night—but not a killing freeze at least) winter may be rolling in sooner than I wanted…not that I’ve been able to savor it as much this year.

Alas, the color is pretty spectacular even if it is on the subtle side.

plank

Getting back into shape postpartum has been eye opening. The last time I did any hard workouts was last December before I knew I was pregnant. Since all the months prior hadn’t resulted in a positive pregnancy test I had decided to bust my butt and start working out hardcore with some YouTube videos to try to lose about 10 lbs. I was feeling it, doing good and enjoying it. And then I got pregnant. Out went the hard workouts and in came the walking and general hiking. I missed rollerblading and even the 1-2 mile jogs I would take. I didn’t lift weights much and after a certain point I stopped doing core exercises. Bending down and touching my toes without needing to bend my knees to do so became my only measuring point of fitness towards the end. I took pride in the fact that I was 40 weeks pregnant and could still touch my toes—nevermind the fact I’d gained 50 lbs and was huge.

So, here I am 10 weeks postpartum and nearing 40 lbs lost of that 50 lbs. I’ve been close to this current weight twice in my life, the highest weight point for me prior to being pregnant: senior year of college and just before hiking the AT. Both times, however, I was still able to maintain muscle mass, and even though I was fluffy I was still in single digit clothing sizes. The muscle mass kept things a little tighter even though I was overweight.

Now, I know we’re not supposed to get all wrapped up in the number on the jeans because they always vary from designer to designer, but who am I kidding? I think just about every woman does at some point in their life. A few weeks ago we had a women’s team-building lunch at work and before I headed home I stopped by Target for some baby-free shopping. I was still wearing maternity jeans and didn’t have much in the way of winter wear for my post baby body. I’m a simple clothing girl, I like jeans and t-shirts, maybe a button down or two during the winter. I thought I’d stop in and get a few pieces of clothing to tide me over until I could get into my actual winter wardrobe later in the season. I was also optimistic, grabbing only a size up from what I was pre-pregnancy. I did this because only a few weeks ago I’d managed to get on my pre-pregnancy jeans and button them with a massive muffin top, leading me to think that I only had about 10 lbs to go before I could get in them, leading me further to think that I was thinner than I was.

When I got into the dressing room I was in for a rude awakening. That size jeans didn’t fit. Defeated I went back out and pulled off the shelf the next two sizes. Normally I wouldn’t have even attempted to go bigger, going bigger meant bad, bad things. But, my maternity jeans were getting loose and frankly I was just tired of wearing them. In the end the size two sizes bigger than the original pair I tried on ended up being what I chose. I was pissed off but at least comfortable and happy to be wearing jeans that zipped for once in many months.

What I was left with was knowing I had a lot further to go to getting back in shape. I’d lost a lot of muscle mass and my abdominal wall was still wrecked. I realized this over the weekend when I went for a jog. Not only was I just jiggly from fat but I could feel my muscles loose and hurting. I didn’t straight jog that mile—I delusionally thought I could do it before I left…I think my lung capacity was up for it—but my abs told me otherwise. So, I chose to run to *that* mailbox, walk to *that* crack in the road, etcetera, etcetera on down the road.

It felt good. My thighs were tight and cramping when I finished. I remembered that I could rollerblade now, one of my favorite cardio activities aside from hiking. I’ll have to dig those out soon.

For the last several weeks I’ve been doing the PiYo workouts and I can definitely tell they are helping me strength and stretching wise, but it is nice on the running just to get some straight out cardio every now and then. The DVDs are great for the evenings and one of my priorities right now is that 30 minutes at least three or four evenings a week in which I can work out. When Forest goes to daycare in December I will eventually use my lunch break for some workouts during the week which will free up some evenings for me to spend time with Forest and to work on other creative things.

Over the weekend I sorted through maternity clothes that were out of season and put them away. I also went through all of my pants and winter clothes and folded them, putting them on the top shelves in my closet, making room for my ‘big’ clothes. My sister-in-law, Stephanie, has undergone a transformation over the last two years. She’s taken charge of her health and dropped considerable weight but also improving her health at the same time. I thought of her as I left Target, not wanting to buy more than one pair of pants in that size. I wondered if she had any of her ‘big’ clothes left over and gave her a call. I was in luck, she still had them and sent them down with my mom when my mom came to watch Forest last week. I went through the the bags she sent, keeping the sizes I could wear now and those I would be slimming down into over the coming months. Now these are in my closet instead of my regular wardrobe. Yes, the sizes bother me but having clothes that fit me and make me feel good is also important.

Hopefully I can continue to make progress and get back into good cardio and strength fitness once again. I’m ready for some long hikes come spring and I need to get as strong as I can so I can carry the little dude (who is getting huge by the day!) on the trails.

Back in December my cousin Elizabeth received a VoxBox from Influenster. I’d never heard of it before but after seeing her video posted I was defintiely curious. She sent me an invitation to sign up and join, which I did. Basically Influenster is a product review service and if you are selected to receive one of their boxes, you review what you receive and keep the goodies for free. The idea is to share it on some form or multiple forms of social media as well. I was a little bit iffy on doing it at first, for one because I’m not really into doing product reviews on my blog and turning this place into some giant ad space. I write what I want to write when I want to write it.

Anyway, I signed up, did some of the basic survey stuff on there with some input on products that I’d used before and kind of ignored my account. I figured there was no way I would ever be selected for a box because I did so little with the site and my blog is not a product placement type blog. Well, back in February I got an email saying I was up for the J’adore VoxBox and so when I received it I kind of kept it on the back burner because it was a mix of frou-frou items that I’m not really into. Like false eyelashes. So, just to participate I did a quick video for YouTube and linked it to my Influenster account and did all of the proper final surveys for receiving the box and again ignored my Influenster account. You can see my review video here. Lots of rambling and heavy breathing, still in the first trimester there.

I figured there was no way I would ever get another box, let alone one so quickly, when I received an email two weeks ago asking for me to fill out a short survey to see if I fit into their cohort for getting another box. Then I got an email to say I would be receiving the Go VoxBox, which sounded definitely a bit more up my alley. It arrived over the weekend after I’d forgotten that it was supposed to come.

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Chris opened it up for me since I was busy doing something else and when I went to see what all was in there I was definitely surprised at how much of the products were more in line with items I might actually use.

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Chris takes a lot of baths so the lavender bath soak he was definitely all for. I’m not nearly as much of a bath person, but I would definitely use the bath salts if I decided to opt for a bath. The blueberry almonds sounded intriguing and I meant to take them to work yesterday but forgot. I did try the chocolate protein drink using the cup that was provided and was not grossed out, in fact it was actually pretty tasty. I really like the to-go shake cup as well. Would I actually buy one? Probably not, but since I have this one I’ll probably use it on occassion, if not just to put in a smoothie that I made in the blender versus one from a packet. The tampons, yes I’ll use eventually after Teddy arrives. I think I’m going to hold onto the orthotics for when I buy some new running shoes after Teddy is born. The only time I really use orthotics has been in my hiking boots, but I’m hesitant to try a new orthotic than what I am used to in my hiking boots. I’m willing to try these out in another manner that doesn’t usually result in my getting blisters, like in hiking boots! The pedirock is intriguing. I typically like my callouses and I might have been a bit regretful after the first pedicure post AT thru-hike…I think the woman who did my pedicure wondered how on earth I had such thick callouses, but callouses mean less blisters. Hopefully the pedirock isn’t too difficult to use like some pumice stones can be.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this with y’all especially since it was definitely geared more towards my lifestyle. I don’t know if I’ll blog about future boxes if I get others, but this one sounded relevant enough to the blog for me to write about it. I just checked my Influenster and I can invite 20 people so if you are interested leave a comment and I’ll send you an invite via email.

Now, Influenster, how about a gardening one? Some seeds, gardening gloves, a shovel? Maybe some gardener’s lotion or soap? I’ll totally review that one!

Our tent @ Ash Gap on Mt. Roan

+It never fails that this time of year I get wistful for the Appalachian Trail. I didn’t really follow any hikes last year, but I’ve got a couple I’m keeping an eye on this year.
+Renee Tougas and her family of five just recently started the trail. I’m particularly interested in seeing how their hike goes as a family. It also looks like they may have started just late enough to not deal with a lot of snow.
+Then there’s Wired who is working on finishing the Triple Crown by September by hiking the AT.
+Chris’ mom has an aquaintance hiking the trail as well. I’m a little concerned about them as they seem to be going very slow. There’s no problem with going slow at first as long as the miles are upped eventually. Sometimes slow mileage can be a mental barrier too, especially when everyone starts passing you and then you get caught in the ‘Am I going to make it to Katahdin by October?’ problem.

+On the PCT side of things I know of two couples we hiked with/around on the AT who are heading out and then another blogger I’ve never met but have been following her hiking adventures in Georgia for awhile now. Oh, and wait, one more, a girl I followed as she hiked the FT this winter. Lots of PCT hikers, then!
+Acorn is hitting up the PCT after she hiked the AT last year and the FT this winter.
+Sideways D and Moonshine are one of the two couples we know from the AT.
+Dormouse and Dirt Stew are the other couple we know from the AT.
+Joan/Rambling Hemlock who I’ve mentioned before, is hiking with her friend.

+Lots of hikers…I’m doing good if I can walk a mile without having to pee these days. Thanks baby Teddy for that!

+Chris and I ventured to Angelina National Forest yesterday for a short walk. I wouldn’t call it a hike, it was more a leisurely stroll through the woods on the Sawmill Trail along Boykin Creek. The dogwoods were in full bloom and most of the azaleas (R. canescens) were blooming like crazy. Chris took his camera and got a lot of wonderful shots along the stream. I left my camera at home so that I could just enjoy being outside. Of course I kind of wished I had even a point and shoot after seeing everything in bloom. I also got to see many American fringe trees in bloom, something I haven’t actually seen before. They are really pretty and I wish we had more room for trees around here now.

+While Chris took pictures I spread out on the ground to relax and rest. I love laying right down on the forest floor and looking up at the canopy. At one point I was under a brilliantly green beech tree. I wish people wouldn’t carve into beech trees, most of the ones along the path had names etched into them.

+Our purpose for heading to east Texas was to attend the Mast Arboretum plant sale. A year ago Chris and I attended the Urban Harvest fruit tree sale in Houston. This plant sale was not nearly as crazy as that plant sale, but prior to the 9am opening everyone can wander around the alphabetically organized plants to scope out where everything is. Then everyone lines up with their wagons along the driveway into the property and waits for the countdown. It was pretty much mayhem! One lady tried to cut across my arm that was attached to my wagon which caused my wagon to tip over and me to frustratingly have to waste 5 precious seconds for me to get to an uncommon Crataegus species we wanted. We were kind of surprised at which plants went really fast and which ones didn’t—And then everyone grabbing all of these common plants you can get at a big box store or even a local nursery. Ooh, here’s the video I think Chris was telling me about…the video doesn’t take place where the sale this year took place, but you can see the starting line type rush: SFA plant sale

+Today we’re just waiting on all of this rain that’s supposed to arrive. I’m going to bake, catch up on writing some blogs, and then work on editing my book quite a bit this afternoon.

Oh, our weather people down here. I really don’t know what they are thinking. Last Friday it was going to be Snow! Ice! Craziness!!! And then what did it do? Not a whole heck of a lot. It did rain and some bridges might have had some ice, but for the most part it was giant over reaction.

And then today? It was supposed to sleet over night and snow today. Snow! Ice! More Craziness! Schools and businesses were closed once again. Chris and I got up this morning to well, not much. It had rained, but there wasn’t even really any ice. The radar suggested ice in our location but there was nothing. Finally at around 9:30 this morning the sleet fell hard followed by snow flurries. I think the whole episode lasted 45 minutes or an hour. It was cool while it lasted, but now we’re already in the melting phase of Houston’s Giant Winter Freak Out.

While it has been a colder than average year for us, with longer periods of cold weather and deeper freezes, this snow and ice thing is new. All you northern folks can laugh at my videos, I give you permission. This stuff doesn’t happen often here, though.

By the way, it was in the 70s on Sunday and will return to the 70s by the weekend. No one knows what to do…wear flip flops and shorts or sand the roads.

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