Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Tips to Hiking with a Summer Baby

Hiking with an infant brings different challenges for each season.  The biggest one in the summer is sunburns and overheating.  Here are the 5 most important things that I learned this summer.

1.  Hike as early in the day as possible.  I am not a morning person at all, but for hiking I'll drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn.  "Early" this summer was between nine and ten.  He slept so much those first couple months that he would sleep on the way to the trail-head, sleep on the hike, and sleep on the way home.  It was great!

2.  Find a shady trail.  My preference is to be above treeline but this summer was time to head into the woods.  Shady trails usually equaled cooler temperatures and less chance of sunburns.

3.  Wear a cool long sleeve outfit.  Little Man had white pants and cardigan outfit that he wore almost every hike and a lot of days at the dog park.  The pants even had feet on them so there were not any gaps between socks and pants to worry about sunburns.  

4.  Use sunscreen if your pediatrician ok's it!  Our pediatrician is wonderful!  She has been in pediatrics a long time and is well respected.  Since she is the EXPERT on baby health so I listen to what she has to say.  Yes it is our choice to do what we want with our son but I normally take her advice.  She said by all means use sunscreen so we did sometimes.  Mostly on extra sunny days when it was hard to keep him completely covered.  And the time I forgot socks.

5.  Sun-shield or hat to keep sun off the face.  He did not always like to wear a hat so the sun-shield on the Ergo was a lifesaver!

Any tips for hiking with a toddler next summer?  How do you stay sunburn free?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall Fav's!

This fall has been beautiful!  It's been sunny and warm making us excited to leave the house each day.

Sometimes we get all dress up and go out...mainly just to church!

And then we sit in the bark.  My hands were full and I needed to find my keys.  He enjoyed his time in the bark.  Pretty sure next summer will involve a lot of playing in the dirt.

We switched to the backpack for hiking and had to get everything adjusted at home first.

Our test run was walking around the block and taking pictures in front of random houses.

Then we took it to the park.  He liked the view but I missed the face to face interaction we had so he's back in the Ergo these days.

We spent a lot of afternoons playing outside blowing bubbles and watching the cars drive by.  Not sure who was the most entertained by the bubbles: Buster, Little Man or me.  Buster would run after them while trying to eat them.  Little Man would watch and if I could get a bubble close to his hand he would pop it.

Of course floor time is always in order.

And so is cuddle time!

Buster gets his daily walks and doesn't care what the weather is like he is HAPPY!  

Lots of walks with the stroller.

Our new fleece outfit for the winter.  Love that it has a hood, fold over mittens, and fold over feet.  He'll be nice and toasty warm!

The playground was empty the other day so Little Man had his first time in the swing.  Not a lot of reaction.  I'll assume he likes it!

I had the itch to bake so I whipped up a back of cookies...or four.

After all the excitement we had it was time for naps!

Everyone loves to eat!  This has only happened once and of course taking a picture was a priority!

My new favorite pajamas with moose on them!

He chose to play with the book by himself!  He already loves books.

And that is why this fall has been so much fun!

What has been your favorite thing about this fall?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

5 Tips to Carrying a Baby in a Soft-Pack & Backpack

There comes a time when your spouse goes back to work and you are left with an itch to go hiking but no one to carry the gear.  So what is a girl to do?!  Figure out a way to go!

Almost every website I looked at showed both parents hiking with an infant, so one was able to carry the baby and the other the gear.  If I waited to have the Big Man with me every time we would not get to hike as much (he works a lot and goes to school! busy man!)!  So I had to find a system that worked for me.  

The easiest plan would be to recruit a friend to help carry your gear.  All of my friends offered to help but I really wanted to find a solution that worked for me. 

So here are my 5 points to hiking with a backpack and soft-pack (front-pack).

1.  Put carrier waist-belt on.

{I started with the soft-pack since I wanted the waist-belt to be snug and comfortable.}

2.  Add backpack.

{I chose the smallest backpack I had, did not use the waist belt, and carried the bare minimum.  The straps on the backpack are thinner than the ergo.  Having the thinner straps against me reduced chaffing and sat easier on my frame.}

3.  Lift the little guy, give kisses...

and get the straps on.

{You can see in this picture how thick the ergo straps are compared to the backpack.}

4.  Fasten the back.

5.  Grab trekking poles and go!

When I wanted to take the pack off without setting the Little Guy down I would do the following:

1.  Unhook ergo back clasp
2.  Take off both left shoulder straps
3.  Add left ergo shoulder strap back
4.  Take off both right shoulder straps
5.  Set pack down
6.  Add right shoulder strap back
7.  Hook ergo back clasp

To put the pack back on I would reverse the above instructions.  

This set up worked really well for me!  I felt very balanced carrying both baby and pack.  It does make you pretty sweaty!  The best part is the freedom of hiking alone without being dependent on another individual.  

Any other ways of hiking alone with a baby under 6 months?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mason Lake

The weather was nice and the Big Man had one day off so we headed out to the mountains.  We are finally getting a rhythm down for getting out of the house!  Only took 6 months but glad it's finally happening.  Today was also a few firsts: switch to backpack, longest trail, and more elevation gain.  We did some trial runs with the backpack in neighborhood walks and the dog park so I had high hopes for this hike!

The trail-head is about 4 miles off the highway and fills up FAST!  When the lot is full the cars continue parking down the road.  This forest service road only had a couple rough pothole patches and there were quite a few sedans in the lot.  

The first section of the trail is nice wide and not steep!  We enjoyed talking, watching buster, and listening to listening to Little Man.  He seemed pretty happy with his perch and was greeted by most of the hikers that we passed! Then about a mile in the trail steepens up and the elevation gain begins.  Somehow I had forgot about this...just remembered the "flat" section.  Probably because I was in better shape!

There were views here and there giving us nice breaks!  About an hour in we stopped for a break and to switch packs.  Little Man did not look good and promptly threw up all over me and him.  Poor guy.  I'm not sure if it was because he ate more than normal that morning or was having motion sickness.  Being the over-concerned mom that I am promptly told mike to grab the burp cloth and the thermometer from the first aid kit.  The thermometer is a strip that you put on the forehead.  Little Man waved his arms and tried to get it off!  His temp was a little low and since he never spits up so much we decided to call it a day and head back down.  He was yawning like crazy so I bundled him up for nap time.  He always sleeps a sounder when he is really bundled up!  

He was so out!  Slept all the way to the trail-head and woke up in time to eat and play with dad before heading home.

I was sad we did not make it further up as the trail opens up and has gorgeous views.  That's ok because we had a great adventure!  Hiking with a baby is always an adventure no matter where we go.  His eyes light up and it makes every trail, long and short, the best trail yet!

                Length:  6.8 miles RT 
Trail Head Name:  Ira Spring Trailhead
   Elevation Gain:  2,420
          Trail Level:  Moderate
             Location:  Exit 45, turn left, follow road to end (about 4 miles)
                    Pros:  Views, lake, flowers, easy to reach trail-head, dog friendly
                   Cons:  BUSY