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.
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.)
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.
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!
(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.)
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.
“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.
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.
And now back to the point of this piece… This abandoned lagoon house.
I absolutely adore Lighthouse Beach and in the fall-spring, it is a popular beach to bring dogs. One of my favorite things to look for is sand dollars (it makes me very happy to see a plethora of live ones here!) It has the added benefit of being directly across the way of Wingearsheek Beach (another off season favorite of mine.)
Looking through photographs is very relaxing for me. My parents, when I was 11, bought me a camera for Christmas and it started a whole new hobby for me, one that I haven’t dropped since. It’s been a 20 year love affair- sometimes all consuming (I used to spend my lunch periods in a darkroom, maybe saving the last 5 minutes for a quick lunch.) I meet up with friends who also have dogs and on our walks they have learned to keep going while I take photos. I grew up using film but recently, within the past couple of years have switched primarily to digital. What can I say? 18 year old me is horrified at myself but I’ve come to learn that sometimes you just have to go where your art takes you. Good things always come of it in the end. I find with digital that I focus much less on technique (if at all) and experiment so much more.
So, with that said, welcome to my first blogging feature! Caught My Eye is devoted solely to the photographs that I have collected over the years, past & present. xo, Ev.