Archive | August, 2012

On the Road with the Earlywines

31 Aug

I am pleased to share an adventure story from Stacy and Randy Earlywine who, along with their two children Bodhi and Joshua, take to the road as often as possible. This family recently took a year off to travel in their VW Vanagon through Canada and the States and then hopped on a plane for further travel in Central and South America. A friend of mine forwarded me their blog, Lusting for Wander, a few months ago and I was instantly hooked. I am especially impressed with the extended travel as a family unit – something that we hope to do soon as well. They prove that you can indeed take your family across the globe and back in one piece! Also, be sure and check out her latest blog post listing out the reasons behind her travels – really well written!

Enjoy…

Q: You traveled for a year across the country and abroad – can you run through your timeline and destinations real quick?

We left on July 2nd, 2011 and traveled by ferry to Haines, Alaska.  From there we spent approximately 2 months traveling around Alaska then driving across Canada and the US to Maine.  We left our vehicle in Maine at my childhood home and flew to the Dominican Republic on Oct 31.  We spent 6 weeks there and then we flew to Costa Rica for a month.  After lots of movement we decided to find a place to stay put for a few months and flew to Peru where we found a volunteer opportunity and spent 3 months living in the mountains near Huaraz, Peru. We then traveled overland for a month to Quito, Ecuador and flew from there to Mexico for one last week on the beach!  We arrived back in Maine in early April then took 2 + months to drive back to Seattle.

Q: Tell us a little about your decision to travel for a year why travel in the first place and why not just 3 or 6 months?

The decision to travel for a year was centered on the program at my husband’s job.  He works for a very progressive place of employment. Employees are eligible to take a one year, unpaid leave of absence for every 7 years of employment.  Interestingly he applied for this job while we were traveling in Asia 11 years ago and this perk was a selling point.  We have always loved to travel and not taking advantage of this opportunity was really not an option for us.

Why travel?  Hmmm…. This is a hard question to answer in a few words.  The world is a big place and there is so much to see.  Many people choose to read about other countries, mountain ranges, ecosystems, etc.. When we read about them, it lights a fire and there is a strong desire to go and experience these things. Travel is one of the most enlightening, educational, challenging and fun experiences in life for us.  We have learned more about our world and ourselves while traveling than in any other educational institution or experience.  We wanted to share this with our children at a young age.  When you encounter difficulty or adversity while traveling, which surely will happen if traveling for an extended period, you have to find the resourcefulness to deal with the situation. This is different from dealing with adversity at home.  There is often the added challenge of language barriers and different cultural expectations.  Once you succeed at a challenge like this you feel like you can do anything!

The last thing worth mentioning is that travel breaks you out of routine and habit.  These are not necessarily bad but I often (really often) hear friends talking about how busy and stressful life is.  Taking an extended leave from this life allows an opportunity to reflect on what works, what doesn’t, what parts of life at home you want to keep and what you have the power to change to achieve the life, the balance you desire.

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The Hike

28 Aug

So, I am trying to get some muscle back in these tired old legs of mine in time for ski season. Since introducing my lovely two children to this world I have yet to pick up where I left off – in other words, I haven’t moved my ass in four years.

Since we are a short 20 minute drive from a popular but grueling 2 mile hike (2 miles and 2,005 vertical feet – howzers – talk about a thigh burner, 4 miles roundtrip), I decided to bust my butt once a week trudging up this hill.

I am not one to enjoy exercising per se…I loath sweat and am not good at challenging my body. The fact that this hike is in the woods until you reach the top is also a problem – I like to be able to see my destination, to gauge how much longer I have to endure the misery. It is a test of physical and mental strengths.

So after only reaching a little more than half way up my first attempt, Nick dropped me off at the trailhead and took the kids up to the top via car to wait for me to appear. That motivation helped a lot. Now, I am proud to say I can do it without the greeting at the top (although I am thinking of driving my bike to the top, driving back down to the trailhead and biking my way down – another incentive to reach the top).

These photos are of the view you get when you “summit.”

Reasons You May Be a Country Gal at Heart

27 Aug

1. You don’t freak out when your 1 year-old son comes jogging up behind you holding a dead mole by its ear.

2. Checking for possible spiders hiding under your comforter every night before you hop in to bed is not a nuisance.

3. Hearing what sounds like a rather large animal in the brush as you walk back to your house at dusk excites you.

4. Watching your son throw horse poop (cowpies) off the creek bridge just makes you giggle.

5. Everything closes by 7 and you are ok with that.

6. You now own five pairs of boots.

7. You let your daughter carry home 6 dead crab shells from the beach to float in your kiddie pool. Apparently that’s where they now live.

8. Finding a dead weasel in the lawn outside the gardens sends you rushing to find your kids to show it off.

9. Your arms are sore from picking berries all summer and you like it.

 

Own it, Love it and Live it

26 Aug

Last February, a group of my girlfriends got together for a coveted girl’s night out. The week prior I had sent out a simple request – in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, write down a few things that you like about each friend and we will exchange them that night.

One friend in particular was a little skeptical of my note – I wrote that she doesn’t apologize for who she is. I assured her it was a wonderful compliment.

And I stand by my words.

To live a life not apologizing for your beauty or luxuries or insecurities or intellect is quite an achievement in my book. It shows a great deal of confidence.  All too often we meet people who try to hide their success or great fortune as to not come across like Rick Ross – lots of talent but a little supercilious. I am guilty of this as well. I catch myself downplaying my degree from an elite liberal arts college in fear of misperception, when I should be singing my praises. I definitely worked my ass off for those few years and I should be proud, damn it, and not apologizing for it.

In other words, we each need a little Kayne in us…just a dab will do…because there is a fine line between bragging and confidence. This is where my friend truly shines through. She is smart, attractive and can belt out notes you only hear on Top 100 albums (she does a mean Welcome to the Jungle). What I love about her is that she takes these assets and works them. She owns them. She is proud of them. She doesn’t hide her happiness or achievements – in fact, she announces them, which I find so refreshing!

She is also one of the more generous people I know – always eager to share her wealth – whether is be extra crabs caught that morning or picking out a beautiful frock from her closet for an upcoming wedding or party.

Don’t apologize for who you are. I personally think that is a goal we should all strive for – embrace your assets and your faults. Own ’em, love ’em and live ’em.

The Confidence Dance

22 Aug

I would like to tell you that I have been a consistently confident person all my life but let’s get real. I am not Wonder Woman.

Even as I approached thirty, the thought of passing a large group of seemingly cool teenagers or walking into a hipster retail store made me a little nervous. Do I fit in? Do I stand out? I am so not kidding by the way. Once I was fully intimated by the uber-cool store clerks at a clothing shop that I walked out with a shopping bag full of clothes I never intended to purchase. I just started frantically pulling clothes off the hangers, eager to look the part. That awkward thirteen-year old girl was still buried in there somewhere.

And then I became a mother.

As a new parent, you are bombarded with what is ok and what is not ok. You will be handed down approximately 34 different pregnancy/baby/parenting books in which all seem to contradict what the other is saying. Magazines, blogs, friends and family will all tell you the right way to grow, birth and parent your baby. Some are subtle and others are most definitely not. You will be criticized (you use paper diapers? Shame on you, you must be lazy and have no love for our environment), you will be mocked (you puree your own baby food? How quaint, must be nice to have all that time to stand around your kitchen and cook) and you will be deemed mentally unwell (you still sleep with your child?). These decisions, we are told, will shape your child’s future self. It is hard not to take all this noise personally.

I quickly realized that if I was going to survive this parenting gig, I needed to skip the heaping side of guilt that seems to appear as soon as you birth a child and replace it with some bravado. Oh and I would like to exchange those trendy clothes too while I’m at it…white backless t-shirts are suddenly not my thing anymore.

This can take some time – as it turns out, those exchange policies are not automatic. But eventually it happens. I can remember the morning when I woke up and realized that I didn’t give a shit about the article in the paper that criticized how I sleep-trained my children or the stranger who looked distraught as I breastfed in a public park.

I have a newfound confidence that didn’t exist before. I grew these two darlings in my womb, birthed them and continue to care for them the only way I know how – I just do what feels right and what makes the most sense. And guess what? My children, as far as I can tell, are not harmed nor traumatized by the once occasional but now everyday paper diaper or the second mac n’cheese meal of the week. In fact, they love me for it.

Like, a lot.

Summer Remix

21 Aug

We have been doing a lot of this –

and this

and this lately, 

so I have not had much time for writing. But I have had a few minutes here and there to create another playlist…old songs but they just fit the mood so here goes:

  • October – Broken Bells
  • Lie Down – Concorde
  • Paradise – Coldplay
  • When I’m Small – Phantogram
  • Down in the Valley – The Head and the Heart
  • Tell Me in the Morning – Cold War Kids
  • Don’t you Evah – The Spoon
  • The Plot – White Rabbits
  • Hold On – Alabama Shakes
  • Summerhouse – Concorde
  • Your Head is on Fire – Broken Bells
  • While we Go Dancing – White Rabbits
  • Hang me up to Dry – Cold War Kids

Beets, Greens and Zucchini

21 Aug

Every so often I get a few uninterrupted hours to cook and cook and cook. Today was one of those days – the kids took an unimaginable 3 1/2 hour nap (at the same time!) and then they were off on a fishing adventure with their Dad.

We have only been out here in the sticks for about a month and already start to miss it when we leave. Turns out it is pretty easy to get used to hiking a few times a week, fishing after work and running around through creeks, pastures and woods all day. So after a few days on the island visiting with friends and family, Nick was anxious to get back out doing something so away to the river they went.

I digress.

I am here to talk food and what’s for dinner.

I just finished yet another book about parenting around the world and how the French are the best when it comes to eating fantastic food, sitting together at meal times and getting their children to eat what they eat. I get this except for the one about eating fantastic food at every meal. How on earth do you have the time to make a noteworthy lunch and dinner every day? Let me be more specific, how do you have the time to make a meal with two toddlers underfoot?

I still don’t have an answer to that one.

So today, while my darling little children slumbered on, I set to work preparing some snacks and meals for the week ahead in order to be more like those French cooks. Here is what I prepared:

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Good Evening

9 Aug

 

I give my props to all single parents – this week my other half is hiking the Bailey Range so I am left on my own to entertain, feed and love the two other little beings that live with us. It is exhausting ass work to do it on your own. So, frankly, I am just too tired to write about the beach trips, the end of raspberry picking, the beginning of blueberry picking and the bottom half of a mauled mouse (or rat? country rats are so much smaller than those nasty buggers in the city) that met me at my front steps this morning.

So. Off to sleepy land I go.

Good night.

 

Why My Kid is Better Than Yours

7 Aug

In today’s super competitive parenting world – my kid speaks Spanish, Mandarin and Latin, oh and she’s 2; my son was potty-trained at 4 months; my kid jumped a grade and plays semi-professional soccer, sound familiar? No? Oh, I guess I read too much internet crap – I thought it would be nice to make a list of the boasting rights I can lay claim to.

1. My daughter can tell you the same story roughly 13 times in any given hour.

2. My son can walk with one hand in his mouth and the other down his pants. Hold up, he can actually run like this as well.

3. My daughter can out “poop-talk” the best of them. Probably says “poop” or “poopy pants” about 56 times a day. Hard to beat.

4. My daughter can instantly forget where she placed a very important article from Mommy’s purse. Whoooosh – absolutely no memory of said important article.

5. My son can poke you in the eye. Repeatedly.

6. At 3 years old, my daughter can already look at you like you have completely lost your mind and are by far the most idiotic person left on this planet.

The list could go on, but I’ll stop at 6. I don’t want to intimidate you too much. We just met.

 

 

How to Catch a Crab

5 Aug

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