Archive for the ‘Hiking with baby’ Category

Notes from the cocoon

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Nora’s birth was even more emotional than I had thought it would be. My grandmother had passed away two days before, so there were huge, sad, bittersweet, circle-of-life type feelings swirling around in me on top of the all-encompassing love I felt the second I laid eyes on Nora.

Our bodies are pretty amazing things. I keep looking at this wonderful little creature and thinking we made her? From scratch? This perfect little being? Man, I love her. The birth itself was wonderful – I know it’s easy to say that now, since all memories of pain just evaporated the second I saw my baby, but I truly feel lucky that I was able to have the exact experience I was hoping for.

<3

On Labor Day we went for a hike on Tiger Mountain to pick mushrooms, and I started feeling some contractions. I assumed it was just a continuation of the false labor symptoms I had been having all weekend (False Labor Day, I called it) and was somewhat in denial about the fact that they hurt much more than Braxton-Hicks when we were in the car on the way home. They were strong enough to wake me up in the early morning the next day, and a couple hours later, it finally dawned on me that wait, I think this is the real thing! I was only 38 weeks and 2 days along, so even though I suspected she would come early, I thought I had more time.

I got in the tub, which felt amazing all through labor (along with having warm water sprayed on my lower back and an ice cold washcloth covering my eyes, which allowed me to retreat into an introverted pain cave of sorts, where all that existed during contractions was myself and the music I had on – I realized early on that what I really needed to focus on to get through labor was to stay calm and avoid getting caught in the panic spiral of doom), and then we went to the hospital when the contractions got closer together. JK kept our families updated, and at 11:25 PM, just about the time when our people were starting their work days back home in Norway, little Nora made her appearance.

Happiest moment ever

If you’re local, I highly recommend the midwifery clinic at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland. The midwives provide excellent prenatal care and support during delivery, and you have the added peace of mind of delivering in a hospital, with operating rooms and a NICU right there in case something should happen. Evergreen is also a certified baby-friendly hospital (the very first hospital to get certified in this country!), so you can get all the help and support you’ll need for breastfeeding.

Little Babysaurus

I have never taken care of a newborn before, but Nora made the transition pretty easy for us. She’s been a very happy baby so far, and her Dunstan Baby Language skills are great, especially “neh!” (feed me, peasant!), “eh!” (burp me, peasant!), “heh-heh-heh” (I’m uncomfortable and probably working on a diaper present for you, peasant!). She’s also added her own word to the vocabulary: “flarn! flarn!” (how dare you undress me, peasant?!) – my only issue is lack of sleep, which obviously comes with the territory. It’s not really Nora’s fault, it’s just that I have always been a horrible sleeper, and feeding and changing her at night wakes me up so much that it can easily take 1-2 hours for me to fall back asleep, which is extremely annoying when sleep is pretty much the only thing I need right now. Oh well, it’ll get better.

First hike!

So far, we’ve taken Nora out on two hikes on Tiger Mountain to pick chanterelles, but other than that, my interest in hiking seems to have disappeared completely these days. Five weeks in, all I want to do (except sleep, natch) is just to snuggle with this perfect little creature in our cozy little nest at home. I’m sure my love of mountains will prevail, and when it does, I’ll post more updates. Apart from this initial post, I don’t think I’ll want to post much about Nora except for hiking-with-a-baby type updates, since a) this is a hiking blog and b) Nora didn’t sign up to be blog material. This will admittedly be hard, because she is obviously the most amazing baby ever and I want to share all the cute things she does, but I’ll do my best.

(How can I not share things like this themed mushrooming outfit??)

Themed outfit

In the meantime, my little lady and I will stay swaddled here in our little cocoon, simply enjoying life.

My little loaf in a basket

WTA FTW

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Seeking teeny-tiny hard hat

It’s always a little awkward to return to blogging after an unintentional hiatus. Instead of apologizing or listing a bunch of feeble excuses, I’ll just jump right back in. Since last we spoke:

We finally bought a new car, another Subaru Forester to replace our beloved Forester Gump. Our new adventure mobile is named Subie Sue (you know, like Zou Bisou Bisou) and allows us to venture beyond the Issaquah Alps again.

Subie Su!

We’ve pretty much stayed in the Issaquah Alps anyway. I’m over snow. Bring on dry tails, wildflowers, and marmots.

Papa, you forgot your parachute!

I caught a cold, which normally wouldn’t be interesting in any way, except for the fact that this was my first time being sick since Christmas 2011. That’s huge for someone who used to pick up every single bug that went around. Alas, even my newfound iron immune system was defenseless when sitting directly in the line of fire of a coughing toddler for three hours in a car.

Someone loves to hike!

Oh well, it was worth it for a hike in the sunshine with my favorite little man.

Samish Overlook

JK started instructing for the Washington Alpine Club’s climbing class again, and I joined them on their first outing, Mount Si. I brought my Kindle and a sleeping pad and spent hours reading in the sunshine. Strangely, I was not the only person to do this, I saw a man spread out on a huge blanket, reading a newspaper. Now that would be a wonderful weekend tradition.

Si being Si – crowded – I got to chat with lots of excited hiking neophytes who were amazed by “the pristine views” (of I90 and North Bend). It made me realize just how lucky (and spoiled) I am when it comes to wilderness adventures.

I forgot how pretty Si can be

A gentleman named Mike insisted on taking my photo in the rocks below the Haystack, giving me an excellent portrait of myself gazing dreamily towards the mountains (as I am wont to do).

Now stand right here, young lady

I joined my very first trail work party with the Washington Trails Association! We started building a brand new connector trail on Cougar Mountain, which involved wrestling with giant ferns, digging lots of dirt, and clearing a walkable tread through a maddening system of rocks and roots.

Happy hard hats

I was surprised by how many people showed up (on a Tuesday), and inspired by the tight-knit but very welcoming community of retirees who are both in better shape and more adventurous than I am.

My hero

We made an impressive amount of progress on the new trail, and I immediately signed up for three more work parties. I’ll definitely have to come back enough times to earn my personalized hard hat…and to work on more little sections of trail that I will forever think of as my own. Oh, and to take part in nature’s CrossFit – if I hadn’t gone for a hike to loosen up my muscles after the work party, I doubt I would be able to move at all today. All that shoveling and fern-wrestling works your core muscles like the dickens!

Coal Creek Falls

Happy Hoodlums

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Is there anything better than meeting someone, hitting it off right away, and just knowing that you’ll be good friends? Why yes, yes there is – when you learn that those new friends have a family cabin in the mountains!

Isaac, Lauren, and various volcanoes

We would obviously adore these guys even without their excellently situated chalet, but they get bonus points for not only inviting us on our first voyage to Mount Hood, but somehow also scheduling a sunny Saturday in March.

Happy Hoodlums

A group of us gathered in the cabin in Government Camp, Oregon, to celebrate Lauren’s birthday, play board games, and eat damn good food (and lots of it).

We also took turns snuggling with the mascot of the trip (sorry, Mukmuk), a four month old little lady who is the easiest baby I have ever met (sorry, Nathan), and who spent the whole weekend probably giving us the wrong impression of what babies are actually like.

Asah suiting up

She even joined us, nestled in the Ergobaby, on our hike from Timberline Lodge to the top of the Palmer Chairlift, 8,500 feet. She slept the whole way, except when she was taken out of the carrier for a minute to put on her warm polar bear suit to protect against the stiff breeze near the top.

Getting breezy

The rest of us had to make do with our much less adorable wind shells. And we had to use our legs, which seems unfair, but was probably a good thing given the feast we proceeded to gorge ourselves on when we returned to the cabin.

Top of the Palmer lift

It was an excellent weekend indeed, thanks to our fellow cabineers, that gorgeous mountain, the creative cabin cookery, and of course our wonderful hosts.

– Palmer Lift | 4 miles | 2500 feet elevation gain –

Mount Hood

Above the fog with a puffy dog

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Last weekend it was time for our annual trip to Noble Knob, this time to share our favorite trail with Carlos, Deborah, and our favorite Small Person, Nathan.

Almost breaking through

In spite of the “mostly sunny” forecast, we spent the approach walking inside of a cloud. A very, very cold cloud. Luckily the trail had lots of eye candy to offer even though Mount Rainier was hiding – all my favorite wildflowers were on display: western anemone, columbine, paintbrush and the always beautiful tiger lily.

John, Paul, George and Ringo Columbine
Magenta Paintbrush Stormy Tiger Lily

We seemed to be right at the cloud line the whole time, and the sun was this close to breaking through…

Golden hour through the fog

…but by the time we made it to camp, we were firmly enshrouded in the fog. It felt more like late September than July, and the nutrias, devoid of fur and fat, spent the evening puppy-piled in JK’s sleeping bag. Brrr. Nathan stayed warm in the tent in his sleeping bag and fancy backpacking suit.

You can stuff your iggies in a sack, mister!

But ahh, Noble Knob came through for us yet again! When we peeked out of the tent in the morning, we were above the sea of clouds, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness peaks rising up as jagged islands in the distance.

Above the clouds

Now that the sun was out, it was warm enough for Nathan to come out and play. Happiest baby on the rock!

Best buds

He also got to take a good look at what will likely be his future playground, Mount Rainier.

Nathan is growing so fast

Wellie and Basil had to pose for photos…

Freshly caught nutrias

…and I got to engage in my favorite pastime, al fresco reading.

Book club with a view

While I reread Wild and Deborah was on baby duty, the boys (minus Nathan) hiked up the Secondary Knob. I took photos of them and tried to make it seem like a harrowing climb…

Boys (minus Nathan) on the ridge

…but actually it looked like this:

Little Knob

It might have been an easy ascent, but the mosquitoes were ferocious. By the time they made it back to camp, Basil had been gnawed on by so many bugs that his whole face swelled up. Nathan graciously donated some of his Baby Benadryl, and JK and I packed up as fast as we could.

Poor, poor Basil

We left the others on the summit since packing up and hiking out with a baby takes a bit longer and we didn’t want to take any chances with Basil. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem bothered by the situation at all, he was his happy self and in full-on explorer mode.

He got lots of sympathy from the White River 50 Mile runners we met along the way, and by the time we got back to the car, the antihistamines had worked their magic and Basil looked almost back to normal. From now on we’ll always carry nutria-appropriate doses of Benadryl (10mg) with us, and put cedar oil on Basil to keep the bugs away. Poor little guy.

De-puffing

Noble Knob | 7 miles | 500 feet elevation gain –

Group shot!

Neh!

Monday, March 12th, 2012

A while ago, I came across a video clip about baby language and immediately forwarded it to Carlos and Deb. The theory is that “across cultures and linguistic groups there are five sounds, each with a meaning, that are used by infants before the language acquisition period.”* As it turns out, Nathan is fluent!

Staring at Wellie

Carlos invited me to join him and the little talker for a hike where I could see (well, hear) it for myself. It really is incredible, hearing that seemingly helpless little human tell us exactly what he needs. “Neh” (feed me) and “eh” (burp me) in particular are unmistakable.

Look at those little hiking pants! Middle Falls Nathan is getting huge!

As for the hike, I had never been to Wallace Falls before and I was surprised by how lush and pretty the forest was, but this is one of those hikes I’ll remember for the company and the conversation (including all the nehs and ehs), not for the views. Thanks for a most excellent afternoon, Brazilian menfolk!

Proud papai

- Wallace Falls | 5.5 miles | 1200 feet elevation gain -

Index & Persis & Powerlines

*Wikipedia article on Dunstan Baby Language

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