Mama, you too can do this.

Becoming a mum meant staying true to me, which meant my little had to come with me almost anywhere- daily errands, daily hikes with my dog, swimming, our trips that require long drives or flying. There are very few times that I don’t take the little guy with me. While I just dove into it (with promises to myself and my husband I wouldn’t go crazy buying outdoor gear) I do hear a lot from mums that it’s intimidating or they’re unsure if they’re doing it right or that they can’t afford the gear.

(The early days of hiking with my little. The carrier on the left is a soft structured Boba 4G and the one on the right is a Baby K’Tan which is the Moby simplified. I now use either the Boba Air which is a super light weight nylon carrier that folds into a small pouch for easy storage, a Becco carrier that’s on loan and a Dueter Kid Comfort which is great for storage and is my go to for longer hikes.)

Yes, it takes gear to bring a baby hiking. No, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it! You can be creative with it as well- I pointed out in the list below a couple of items that I got creative with. I find that once you start asking around, there are many consignment stores and people looking to sell or even just get rid of their gear, that includes baby outdoor clothing. Don’t forget places like TJMaxx and Marshalls- North Face and Columbia items are always there to be found at reduced prices. (Where I live anyway. Maybe it’s a regional thing.) There are baby carrier lending libraries and people willing to lend out baby carriers to let you try before you buy (or that you can borrow for a few months at a time. Mamas are super cool like that.) Don’t be intimidated by the instagram “stars” out there with super fancy and ultra expensive gear (or the ones that have so much gear you don’t know where to begin.) Grandma Gatewood hiked the Appalachian Trail with only a pair of Keds sneakers and very little in the way of supplies and she was 67 years old.

If the idea of taking your baby with you on your adventures is intimidating, try bringing someone along (or a few someones.) Hike It Baby and Adventure Mama groups are to be found all over the US and meetup.com has mom hiking groups on it as well. Facebook and Instagram are even more resources for finding these lovely groups and these women are always glad to help you along. These women will cheer you on, snuggle your baby or hold your toddler’s hand while you tend to something. They’ll provide a snack if you forgot one. They’ll make you laugh and without meaning to, remind you of why you went outside in the first place: To relax. To be in the moment. To breathe.

Don’t forget that you can bring your baby or toddler almost anywhere! They’ll love climbing over rocks with you and feeling the gentle breeze on their face at the top of a mountain. Even cooler, they probably won’t mind being out in the rain or snow as long as it’s not extreme. Mine sure doesn’t. There’s gear for that: umbrellas, raincoats, rainboots, hiking carriers with shields. There are hiking spots for every family type out there and so many resources to help you find them. Try bringing your little(s) to short hikes to waterfalls or lakes (I know of one that is quite literally 3 minutes long and has seasonal restrooms and picnic tables.) You can even sneak in a little lesson on how to treat nature with respect (carry in/carry out for example) and instill a love for the outdoors while you’re at it. Win/Win right there.

Mama, you too can do this.

My list of what to bring on a hike:

  • Plenty of water for you and your littles.
  • Snacks and/or lunch for all. Yeah, I say for all because I hear a lot of mamas say how they forgot to bring food for themselves!
  • I like to bring an umbrella on all hikes.
  • Grocery bags can be folded up into triangles to save space (youtube it or think back to folding notes) and so I always carry a few with me for anytime I might need it: picking up poop, putting a diaper in, wet clothes, for trash, etc. Dog bags work great as well. (One way to be creative while repurposing and saving money.)
  • I am signed up with Ipsy for monthy makeup products and so have a stash of the bags (usually I’m not over the moon about them but they help keep stuff organized and other people end up with them sometimes) and have taken a carabiner, a key ring and hooked it up to my baby carrier of the day for easy access to my car keys, phone and a snack or two.  Another creative way to save money and repurpose.
  • SkipHop makes a great diaper clutch that fits nicely into any bag you are likely to bring on a hike: it unfolds into a changing pad and has space for diapers and even comes with its own small wipes case. There is room to stash some stuff in and it comes with a strap that clips for additional ways to store. It has remained one of my favorite baby gear items.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Personally, I love bringing my phone or a camera to take photos but that’s besides the point. I hate selfie sticks but I sometimes bring one because as the photographer I so rarely have photos taken on me and my son hiking (or on the rare moments that my husband joins us, my family.) I want visuals because photographs make my heart sing.
  • A paci if your little(s) are into that. Meltdowns happen.
  • Wear or bring the correct gear. On longer hikes I really like to stash away a rain coat or another layer for us.
  • A map of the area if you’re unfamiliar.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray when applicable.

My list of resources:

  • Check out discount stores like TJMaxx & Marshalls for gear. They have baby carriers and kid’s outdoor clothing. It might be slim pickings but it’s certainly better than nothing. I always start checking before the next season and all throughout.
  • Consignment stores for children are all over the place and always have a variety of baby carriers and other kids clothing items.
  • Baby carrier lending libraries: as there are so many I advise you to google it with your location (city/town and state) and see what pops up. Boba (they make great carriers by the way) has a blog post on how to start your own if you don’t have any near you. There are also groups for women who need help fitting the carrier they may have already bought to them. So awesome!
  • www.meetup.com
  • www.hikeitbaby.com
  • www.theadventuremamas.com
  • Check in with local libraries, your local hospital or OB/GYN office, facebook, local store’s bulletin boards, REI’s and other outdoor gear stores, etc for groups that can help you with finding the right gear for you and women to adventure with.

None of the companies mentioned above have asked me or paid me to review or promote their gear. They have no clue that they’re being mentioned in my blog post. As I have very little readers and followers, I doubt they even care. Rest assured, this is my actual opinion. That being said, if you want gear or a product reviewed, I’m always willing. However, I will test it and give my honest opinion.

xo, Ev.

You can follow me on Instagram: @knowloveknowhope

Caught My Eye: Double Feature

Today’s Caught My Eye is a double feature because I couldn’t decide which beautiful image to pick. I have 1000’s of images that I’ve taken, thanks to smartphones and digital cameras. These photos were taken while traveling and while hiking close to home. Enjoy! xo, Ev.

rambling about motherhood at it’s (not so) finest.

When I decided to become a mother I also decided I wasn’t going to lose myself to motherhood. This was really important because I was planning on being a stay-at-home-mom, so I made a vow: keep active, find like-minded moms (I had just moved to where I didn’t know anybody so this was a huge priority,) and approach life with loving kindness.

Loving kindness was the hardest and easiest part in the first 6 months. My son was little and sweet and smelled SO GOOD. He was also colicky- straight up couldn’t put him down colicky. I thought, “Between the post-partum hormones, my needy baby and sleep deprivation, HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS?!” One hour at a time. That became my mantra, one hour at a time. If I could make it to night time (Dax has always been a great night time sleeper) then I would be fine. My husband was a huge help, taking him as soon as he got home from work. Family bath time in the living room helped so much. My son, much like myself, is a water baby and bath time was a sure way to keep him calm. I looked forward to those 30 minutes where we would bathe him and get him dressed for bed, all together as a family, chatting with each other and cooing our little one. Once I got the okay from my OB’s to start being active (I had to have a C-Section) things got a bit easier because that meant I could put my baby in the baby carrier, whistle for my dog and go for hikes. Being in the woods made everyone calmer and we could all breathe easier. I began to think, “I really can do this.”

There is hardly a day that goes by where the 3 of us aren’t outside walking at some point, whether it’s an actual hike or to walk our dog at the local “dog park.” We’ve been to a national park, we’ve been swimming in lakes and pools, dipped our toes in the ocean, flown twice, taken a road trip, visited multiple museums, snowshoed, hiked mountains. We’ve hiked through smiles, tears and laughter. We’ve hiked through his meltdowns, other childrens’ meltdowns and my meltdowns. He used to scream and cry during car rides and I’d cry along with him. I’ve learned the ways to extract a belly laugh out of him and make him laugh so hard he snorts. We’ve developed a language together. I’ve even learned the art of taking a decent photo with a wiggly, giggling baby on my back.

One of my favorite parts about motherhood is that it is just as much of an adventure as being outdoors is! There are times when I have found myself in as much awe and reverence at something my little boy did as I am at the top of a mountain.

(To the left is Dax at Sand Beach at Acadia National Park and to the right is Sprocket at the top of the land bridge to get to Bar Island in Acadia National Park.)

I love that motherhood makes me think outside the box and forces me to problem solve in unique ways, to be a quick thinker, to always have arms open and at the ready, to be patient. Still working on that last one! The truth is, I will always take the good with the bad because adventuring with kids is an unbelievable experience. They offer up such a great perspective and help you to slow down and really experience what’s going on in that moment. The only other time I’ve ever walked that slow was when I was pregnant! (It was a really bad pregnancy filled with unending nausea and more sickness than I want to remember!)

And when adventuring with a baby seems a bit more work than I’d like, I think about the way he burrows his face into my back, the way we completely relax, the silence we find ourselves walking in, the way he never complains when I take photo after photo in spot after spot.  I’ve found a hiking group and ganged up with Adventure Mamas Initiative (www.theadventuremamas.com) to bring together a crew of lovely and bad ass mamas over here in the north-east with whom I know will always cheer myself and my son on and be there when we need them. Motherhood is helped along by supportive friends and family as well as by our own inner strength. It is helped by our children who give us endless love and amazing memories.

I haven’t lost myself. I’m still here and more amazing than ever. I even found more of myself through motherhood, that’s the coolest part. By committing to a great motherhood and to being a great mother to my son, I have managed to put together a life for us that is enriching, entertaining and at times, exhausting. I trust in my intuition, in my husband, in myself and in my son.

xo, Ev. (More commentary and photos below.)dsc_0084-3

Sprocket and Dax.

Nature is not my husband’s thing. I try to tell him it’s not very athletic the way I stop and take 100’s of photos but to him, that’s besides the point. That’s okay. He’s a great husband and a wonderful father and he lets me put Monkey on him when he’s driving. I’ll forgive him for thinking a great walk is playing 18 holes. He’s not totally wrong.

Save

Adventure Mamas

img_1797

Adventure Mamas is a fabulous idea. And this woman, Rachel Sapp, nails it exactly with what the co-founders, Stephanie Fellar & Justine Nobbe, want us and themselves to get out of it:

“Adventure Mamas is an incredible organization that focuses on building communities of moms worldwide that share the passion of the outdoors. They focus on inspiring and empowering mamas to keep getting after it and staying true to what defines them.

As parents, we restructure, re-prioritize and re-balance our lives with the same end goal in mind: to raise happy, healthy, compassionate individuals we are lucky to call ours. My heart jumps for joy bringing the girlies on the trail, merging out worlds, watching their process of exploration and develop connections with the world that surrounds them. In addition to the time with our children, we have what made who we were pre-munchkin era, those personal interests that resonate with us on a deep level. For me that usually consists of long approaches, involved terrain, roping up by headlamp and of course, stellar alpine cookies.

So, here’s to all of you momma’s and daddy’s out there: bringing kids into the world does not mean you have to forfeit you or feel guilty for pursuing your passions. I find lessons learned in the mountains are monumental  for guiding kiddos in the world and they are the moments I draw from all around, when times are challenging, wonderful and unpredictable. While Mommy (and Daddy!) guilt is real, remember self-adventure and life balance is important too. Time management and scheduling are real life cruxes, but it is important to be your own advocate every once in a while. Adventure Mamas sounds it out perfectly ‘Our kids deserve the best versions of us: inspired, active, goal oriented and refreshed.’ ”

You can check out Adventure Mamas in action by heading to their website: http://www.theadventuremamas.com and clicking on collabs. You can follow them on Instagram: @adventuremamas.

It’s easy to get caught up in taking care of someone else and forget about yourself- I have definitely been there! Making sure to take time for yourself is so vital. It’s the best thing i do for myself everyday. I refuse to get caught up in creating the perfect life for anyone and instead have a fantastic life living moment to moment. It’s not always easy and sometimes there’s doubt about what I’m doing but in the end I want to be a role model for my son. There’s so much to explore!

xo, Ev.

(This photo was posted for The AM Authentic Mama Portrait Project which can be found on Instagram and on their site, link above. Rachel’s is @map.in.hand where you can talk to her about wilderness medicine and outdoor education.)

Flume Gorge

The Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park is a gorgeous hike. I took my sister and my son there yesterday as neither have been. I was lucky to have grown up in New Hampshire and to spend time hiking the many stunning places this state has to offer! It was a nice change to the conservation lands that I have grown used to out this way- everything flat (for the most part) and lots of wetlands. Not that I am complaining- spring time was so amazing out this way, the wetlands are so beautiful and full of life and I love the little bits of history you can find on most hikes.  Below is a link to help you plan your trip to the Flume Gorge- enjoy and tag your photos on Instagram with #knowloveknowhope if you go! xo, Ev.

https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/flume-gorge.aspx

Caught My Eye: Celebrating Dogs

“If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” Woodrow Wilson.

Dogs never fail to make me happy. They want to run, play, snuggle, bask in the sun, watch the world and go where you go. They have soft fur, floppy ears and an abundance of curiosity. Mine loves hiking as much as I do, whether we’re in the woods or on the beach. She loves dogs that are bigger than her (and not so much tiny ones.) If her friends are around, she’ll play hard and then jump into the car with them (then sulk when I pick her up later.) She’s full of love and sass and is the best dog ever. I couldn’t be more grateful. What do you love about your dog? xo, Ev.

Paper Bowls, The First Round.

My husband got me a subscription to Juxtapoz and besides saving the Tom Waits issue (as well as a couple of others) I knew I couldn’t horde them. I gave some away and shredded the rest to turn into paper bowls. My favorite remains the Beastie Boys Check Your Head bowl, as seen below.

 

As for how these lovely bowls came together… Here is the gist of it:

Acrylic Glazing Liquid works incredibly well and holds up over the course of time. I made these bowls a year ago and they are still going strong. Mod Podge is the cheaper way to go, of course, and I will be testing it out for the next round. I found that a great way to do this was to saran wrap the outside of the bowl and, as you can see in the first image, take a piece of construction paper or something a bit thicker and therefor stiff, cut out a circle and tape it to the saran wrap at the bottom of the bowl. As you can see in the second picture, I didn’t saran wrap the entire inside, just enough to create a rim. Once the first 2 layers dry, the saran wrap comes off. In the third picture I have started putting the glazing liquid around the outside of the bowl, working in sections. As each layer dries, I added on another, for a total of 5 layers. I worked the glazing liquid with my fingers to help smooth out each layer once it was done being applied. I couldn’t help myself- I love to work directly with my hands as it makes me feel much more connected to whatever project I happen to be working with (it’s a huge part of what drives me to work with very specific yarn. I can’t stand scratchy yarn.) Once it was totally dry on the outside, I went to work on the inside, placing the images I wanted to show in and glazing them. Once their dry you are all set to go- you can paint them or leave them as a collage. The *Check Your Head* bowl was my favorite not only for the old school Beastie Boys imagery but because it was left as a collage. When I was a kid, if I wasn’t wandering around in the woods, riding my bike or reading, I was collaging whatever I could get my hands on. I’d love to see what you come with- share it with me here or on instagram using the #knowloveknowhope hashtag!

xo, Ev.

The Lawn Dinosaurs

 

When I first saw these dinosaurs I instantly knew I had to have one. Until I do, I make sure to walk past Debbie & Paul’s house to see what their dinosaurs are up to. The Thanksgiving outfits were cute but Halloween has been my favorite so far- the whole scene with them pulling the wagon made me laugh super hard. I sadly missed getting a shot of them saying goodbye, wearing lei’s. I wonder what they’ll be up to next year?

xo, Ev.

Caught My Eye: Glorifying Fall

If you were to ask me which out of the 4 seasons is my favorite, I’d never be able to pick. The onset of each season makes that one the current favorite, which means fall is it. In spring, I revel in the newness of it all, of the cycle beginning again, of green buds erupting in unison. In the summer time, I slather on my favorite sunscreen and spend as much time in or near the ocean as possible. In the winter, I light a fire and watch the snow coating the lawn, always hoping for the best kind with which to build a snowman.

But Fall. Fall is my current favorite. It means apple picking, leaves turning glorious colors, cooler weather (hiking is a lot slower in the summer; in the fall we cover more ground,) pumpkin flavored coffee. It means it’s time to read more serious books and drink hot toddies. It means layers and it means it’s time to start dreaming about skiing again. So in honor of fall, these are some of my favorite photos from past ones. What do you love about fall? xo, Ev.

second download 144

second download 138

second download 137

second download 109

october18th 023

The Abandoned Lagoon House.

My honeymoon was spent in Costa Rica, just outside of Jaco. My husband and I explored the jungle via foot, horseback and ziplines, swimming at all of the beaches we could find in between, including Playa Hermosa. This house was located across from said beach, right on the edge of a lagoon. The graffiti wasn’t very good but it was interesting to see; I’m curious as to why there wasn’t much more than tags.

Before I show you the house… This is the beautiful, gnarly and famed Playa Hermosa, located in Jaco, Costa Rica. This beach is absolutely incredible; we made several trips here to soak it all in. You have to be careful not to get knocked over even just standing there.

Screenshot_2015-08-08-16-24-13

Screenshot_2015-08-08-16-24-26This is where the waves converged from 5 different directions. My husband and I would seek out points such as these and then let the waves break against us.

And now back to the point of this piece… This abandoned lagoon house.

honeymoon, mostly 073

honeymoon, mostly 074

honeymoon, mostly 076

honeymoon, mostly 077

honeymoon, mostly 078

honeymoon, mostly 079

honeymoon, mostly 080Yes, I climbed up the rickety stairs to the roof, much to the concern of my husband, and it was worth it. I saw some interesting wildlife in the lagoon and an interesting view.

honeymoon, mostly 081

honeymoon, mostly 082

honeymoon, mostly 083

honeymoon, mostly 084I really wish I could see what the house and property looked like before it went to ruin! xo, Ev.