When Things Go Topsy-Turvy

Life over the past month has really thrown my family for a loop, and I am hoping by writing about it, I can start to make sense of everything or just digest it a little better. A few weeks ago while in pilates, I got one of those phone calls. You know the ones where the world just stops spinning and everything around you seems to float in space. My mom and sister were hit by a car walking to dinner for my mom’s birthday. Everyone is okay, and all injuries will heal with time, but it is in these moments that you see just how fragile your family is.

I know one day my parents will be gone from this earth, and that I will have to share my memories of them with Chicken to keep them alive for her. I am just not ready for that. I probably will never be. I am not sure how to even prepare for such a thing. Which brings me to another scary thing my family is experiencing. My sister-in-law’s father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer last Easter and over the Thanksgiving holiday, we found out the cancer has spread to his lungs. Why is it we never see these things coming? All my life, I have been so fortunate to be blessed with a healthy and fit family, but the world works in strange ways and I never know how to handle these things. I’m not sure I ever will.

My sister-in-law and her family are going through so much right now, and I want to do whatever I can for them, but I have no idea where to begin. I don’t think straight up asking her is the right thing, so I am figuratively opening the door and waiting for her to come to me. I am constantly doubting this strategy and looking for other ways to help.

I have had a lot to celebrate in my personal life this last month, particularly with my running and work, but with everything going on I feel I need to step back and be grateful for my health and my family’s health. I have had a hard time getting into the Christmas Spirit this year with all the stress and sadness my loved ones are experiencing. With that, I am trying to change my attitude towards this time of year. Instead of focusing on the commercial side of things which always seems to take over, I want to turn my focus on family. I want to be able to show everyone the love and support they need while also showing them how much they mean to me. I want to celebrate the beautiful family we are blessed to have!

How do y’all celebrate family over the holidays? I want to start meaningful traditions with Chicken that we can share in the years to come. If you have any traditions that you and your family share together please tell me about them. I would love to hear about your traditions. Maybe they are something we could do too.

 

Opening Weekend

So many things have happened in our little family over the past few weeks. It’s hard to pick what to write about first. As you see in the title of this post, I obviously have decided to go with the opening weekend of duck season in Mississippi, but I will be sure to fill y’all in on all the other happenings too.

Back to duck hunting. Every year I eagerly await this time of year not just for shooting and eating ducks, but for the quality time outdoors and more importantly the time spent with family. Duck season and holidays have the great benefit of falling at the same time of year, so not only do I get to spend the holidays with my family, but I get the whole 60 days of duck season. Most weekends are spent at my parent’s house or duck camp where we are surrounded by good food and better people. It’s because of this that I look forward to duck season all year long.

Normally, I miss opening weekend to spend Thanksgiving with the Burke’s in New England, but this year due to travel we decided to visit for New Years instead. That means this was the first Thanksgiving and opening weekend, I spent at home since I met Andrew, 7 years ago. This might not work out again, so I savored the whole weekend getting in as much family and outdoors time as possible.

In Mississippi, duck season always opens the Friday after Thanksgiving, so after eating an incredible meal at my sister’s we loaded into the car and drove the hour to my parents. Among the chaos of four families unpacking and getting settled to stay the weekend, we bathed and put Chicken to bed and gathered our hunting clothes. At my parent’s Chicken sleeps in a pack-n-play in the walk-in closet in our bedroom (my brother’s genius idea), but even with a door and sound machine blocking her from our room, we had to pull some pretty stealthy moves getting our hunting gear together without waking her. Luckily,  she was in a pretty deep Thanksgiving coma. Once our gear was together, Andrew and I let the trytophan and pecan pie take over too.

This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I love the early morning scurry before heading to the duck blind. It was a pretty chaotic one as there were 5 adults and 3 kids all trying to get ready. Normally, situations like this stress me out, but the stumbling adults desperately waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, the toaster popping up toast every minute or so, kids not so quietly looking for socks and hats, and let’s not forget my dad telling us we’re late for the thousandth time, gets me amped up for the duck blind. It is these early morning moments that only us hunters get to share, and it is something about our family I cherish.

The scurrying continues at camp when we pull on waders, load the ranger with guns and decoys, somehow fit 9 people and a lab in the ranger, drive to the blind, unload, get the kids settled, and put out decoys all before shooting time if were lucky. All this work pays off when everyone is settled and quiet, and you get to witness the world come to life.

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We hunted every morning of the weekend. Repeated the routine for 3 days and had a great time too. We had good hunts, but probably the best part was not the shooting itself but sharing this weekend with my family, particularly my niece and nephews. They were such troopers and eagerly woke early each morning. While in the duck blind they didn’t complain or fight. My nephew wants me to take him back this weekend, and I will happily do just that.

Sharing the outdoors and our sport with the younger generation is so important. As outdoorsmen and women, we must instill the love of nature in our children. It is the only way to ensure that these wetlands will be conserved. Besides duck hunting, I took my niece deer hunting one afternoon over the weekend. These 2 hours were probably the most special 2 hours of the weekend. The time I spent with her talking in the woods is something I will always hold dear. She has grown to be a smart and insightful little girl. While waiting for the deer to appear, she asked why I was the only girl who hunted. I had always thought I’d be ready for this question when it came and although it caught me a bit by surprise, I think I did a pretty good job answering. I first began with telling her that I am not the only girl who hunts and explained that there are many women hunters including her. I didn’t want her to get the idea that there was a reason that some women didn’t hunt, so I told her that more women probably would hunt if they just had the opportunity too. I also explained to her that things are different now, lots of young girls hunt and will continue to hunt. I said to her it is our job, to show other girls how great it is. I finished by asking her to help me teach Chicken and her cousin to love the outdoors too. She was very proud to have the responsibility as the older cousin, and she left with a new found mission of their outdoor mentor. I think in the end it went alright, and I am glad I got that time with her.

I will finish with some pictures from the weekend. I hope you enjoy.

 

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My parent’s lab, Nell, looking regal on her dog stand.

 

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My nephew and Dad after Sunday’s hunt.

 

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My niece and nephews on opening day.

 

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Andrew watching the ducks come in. 

 

 

 

 

 

I Might Actually Be Crazy!

This past weekend, Andrew, Chicken, and I spent the weekend camping. It’s no secret that our little family loves camping. We take every chance to spend our weekends outdoors. But don’t let me mislead you, camping with a 1-year-old is no easy feat. It requires a ton of stuff (here is my list of baby camping must-haves), zero sleep (you can from our baby sleeping mistakes here), and a really messy baby, but with all that, it’s still totally worth it! This trip was made a little easier by some extra helping hands. We were joined by my parents, and sister’s family, so we had the benefit of splitting tasks and baby holding.

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Our little camping crew. My nephew had such great time on his first big camping trip. 

Although camping is not why I’m crazy, but it did produce the opportunity for my husband to attempt to talk me into doing something crazy, but I’ll get to that later. We are a family that needs to move, and the Village Creek State Park’s great trails are perfect for just that. On Saturday morning after we all enjoyed some delicious breakfast sandwiches my mom made, we strapped on the babies and went for about 5-mile hike. The good thing about hikes that long on easy terrain is you get a chance to talk with almost everyone. At one point during the hike, while Chicken was sleeping on my back, Andrew mentioned that after the St.Jude Marathon, I will have run 3 marathons in 3 different states. He then joked and said maybe you should go for 50 marathons in 50 states. The man should know better than to mention crazy running schemes to me. I’m extremely susceptible!

As crazy as that idea is, it got me thinking, why not? After St.Jude and my 50k, I could easily add in the Mississippi Blues Marathon at the end of January. There’s 4. I’ve had my eye on the Moonlight 50k in Arkansas in June, that’s 5. Then I would only be 5 away for qualifying for a membership to the 50 States Marathon Club (yes, that’s a thing). If I finish all 50, I get a trophy, medal, and finisher singlet. I mean, what won’t I run for free stuff. Seriously I’m not lying, I signed up for the New Orleans Rock n’ Roll Marathon instead of the Half Marathon so I could get the finisher jacket. Totally, worth it!

Another bonus to committing to 50 in 50 is it would give Andrew and me an excuse to buy a camper, and we’ve been dreaming of a camper for a while now. We could turn most of the races into family vacations. How cool would it be to be able to show Chicken the United States one race at a time? Oh no, I think I might be talking myself into it! Maybe I should finish the St. Jude and Swamp Stomper first before I fall too deeply into wanderlust.Well, I’m not committing yet, but it sure does sound like a pretty awesome goal!

Does anybody else have dreams of crazy running goals? I’d love to hear them! Maybe you can inspire me to do something even crazier!

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It never fails to amaze me how messy she gets while camping! 

A Weekend of Family, Football, and Running

This past Thursday, Andrew and I made a last minute decision to buy tickets to the Ole Miss vs Arkansas game on Saturday. I am so excited we did. This would be the first game, I had been too in a couple of years, and even more exciting, it would be Chicken’s first Ole Miss game and visit to the Grove.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ole Miss football, the Grove is a one-of-a-kind tailgating experience. Seriously, there is nothing like it. I grew up going to the Grove for every home game. My parents met at Ole Miss and my older siblings and myself all went to college there. Ole Miss is part of who I am, and when you’re in the Grove on game day, you can feel that love and passion for the school from every fan. The setup itself is unlike any other tailgate. There are no cars just tents in every direction and boy, is southern hospitality on display. The food found in every tent is over the top and the drink runs freely. The grove is not a place to worry about your diet that is for sure.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early and squeezed in my 10 miles at race pace. It was a great run in the new cooler weather. I can’t believe it’s taken until the last weekend in October to get any sign of fall here. I ran some good times. A little faster than intended, but I can’t help myself when a run is feeling good. Post run I fueled with a fried egg and extra egg white, sourdough toast, half an avocado, and the oh so essential coffee before heading off to Oxford.

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We arrived about an hour and a half before the game and set off for the Grove. Chicken was immediately greeted with a doughnut and the adults with some delicious adult peppermint hot chocolate and homemade chicken biscuits. How can you refuse?

At the game, I was so proud of Chicken. She did so well. She was so distracted by the band playing music and the people shouting and waving pom-poms, she never even noticed she had missed her nap. I was sure we would have to bail on the game before halftime, but she made it until the start of fourth quarter, and then we just watched the rest of the game from a tv in someone’s tent. (It didn’t end well for my Rebels, but at Ole Miss that never dampens our spirit.)

 

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She did take some time to chill in daddy’s lap, though.

 

She had a blast playing in the Grove and eating every cookie she was given, which turned out to be about 5. The cookies combined with no nap made for a big crash in the car on the way back to my parents’ house. Where we ordered take out and climbed in our PJs at 5pm and spent the night hanging out until an early bedtime. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

 

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Excuse my car seat, I never seem to get around to cleaning that thing.

 

The next morning, we slept in. Well, we slept to 7 because there is no sleeping in with a 1-year-old. Andrew and I headed back to Memphis after breakfast, and Chicken stayed with my parents to visit for a couple days. When I got to Memphis, I changed into my running gear and got my fuel ready for my 20 miler. This is my second 20 miles so far in this training schedule. The first one did not go so great, so I was a bit apprehensive about this one. I tried a new fuel, Tailwind nutrition. I had both the green tea and tropical punch flavors. I had a great run and never bonked. I was even able to run negative splits my last four miles, but I still kept it pretty slow as the training scheduled said to do. I really liked the Green Tea Tailwind powder. It had a really nice light flavor and mixed perfectly into my water bottle. It was also very easy on my stomach, which is why I won’t take gels or chews anymore. I also really like that I didn’t have to eat anything or drink extra water. The only downfall is that you have to stop every hour and mix another drink. I think I have found my nutrition plan for this marathon. I have 2.5 hour run this Sunday, so I am going to try it again and make sure I still like it. Has anyone else had experience using Tailwind Nutrition? What do you think? Did having to stop and mix new drinks bother you?

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Momma says “no”

Now that I have a toddler, I have found myself saying a no, where I didn’t say no at all before. I have found the beginnings of the disciplining stage of parenthood to be awkward. (I’m not sure awkward is the right word, but that’s what I’m going with.) I know that all parents must discipline their children and everyone needs to hear the word “no” every now and then throughout their lives, but teaching a 1-year-old who doesn’t understand what she is doing is wrong is straight-up awkward.

I am trying to be extremely patient and only telling her no to things that will ultimately endanger her, but I also don’t want to overprotect her to the point that she doesn’t learn to manage things for herself. For example, “No no Chicken, don’t pull on the lamp cord” is something I deem that will endanger her. Whereas the stairs are dangerous, yes, and I don’t want her to climb up and down them without me there for guidance, but she’s going to have to figure them out eventually and practice is the only way that will happen.

I have also found that I can’t just say “no no Chicken and take it away and continue with what I was doing prior to that. She just goes right back to what she was doing that wasn’t safe, and she has no idea why it’s bad. If I want to successfully teach her the difference between what is okay and what is not, I have to tell her “no no” to the bad thing and immediately whisk her across the room and distract her with something that is okay. It is moments like this when I realize babies are not that different than puppies. When I trained my lab and golden retriever to not chew up my house I did that exact same thing. I would say no to the thing I didn’t want them to chew and then hand them a toy or bone that was okay. So if your thinking about having a kid, I recommend raising a puppy first, it will teach a lot of the basics. And yes, I know that babies and puppies are completely different, but seriously, in the early days, there are a ton of similarities.

I have by no means perfected this toddler disciplining thing. And the darn little girl gets smarter every day, which always changes the game. As I am new to this whole parenting life, I am just trying my best to show empathy for Chicken. I know I will never be able to understand the mindset of a 13 month-old, but I’m trying. Hopefully, that will get me through.

 

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More proof babies are like puppies, they both like to lay on dog beds! 🙂

 

 

 

My rant about teething

Why can’t babies cut teeth in utero? I mean, I know they won’t be nearly as cute with a mouthful of little chicklet teeth, but it would make this stage of parenting so much easier. Besides cutting teeth, babies are so freaking cute at this age. For one, they think you’re the most amazing person in the whole world and smile while doing a little wiggly dance everytime they see you.  They also laugh with their whole bodies at the silliest stuff, and they give the most adorable and slobbery open mouth kisses. We could have that awesomeness every day if it wasn’t for stupid baby teeth. Oh and I can’t forget to mention, the napping and sleeping schedule is amazing at this stage, but then those growing teeth have to rear their ugly head and screw that up for us too. Come on!

 

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You know it’s bad when you cry over peanut butter toast. Poor Chicken!

 

Not only does teething suck big time, but what’s up with all these teething cures! I could spend a fortune on all the teething toys out there, but let’s be honest they work for like two seconds. Babies at this age get bored faster than you can hand them a new toy. Seriously, they have the attention span of a hyperactive puppy. I can give Chicken all the teething toys in the world, but she still prefers to chew on towels, magazines, and shoes. There really isn’t a whole lot of difference between a 10-month-old and a hyperactive puppy now that I think about it.

 

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The banana toothbrush worked for a hot second

 

I have also tried breast milk popsicles. I don’t mind wasting a little bit of money, but my breast milk, now that’s just not okay! I was desperate. So I froze some breast milk in one of those little popsicle trays and gave it to her one day when she seemed particularly miserable, and of course, she showed zero interest. She just waved it around while she hollered in frustration. I don’t like to think very hard about my breast milk, like the fact that is a liquid that is produced from my body. Gross! Yes, I know it’s natural and beautiful, but it’s like hot dogs, I love them and eat them throughout the summer and occasionally at movie theaters, but if I want to continue enjoying hot dogs, I never think too hard about the process. So giving Chicken a popsicle of breast milk pushed the boundaries a little too far. Have you ever seen a baby eat a popsicle? They’re terrible at it! It melts everywhere and nothing actually ends up in their mouths. The popsicle just melted onto my carpet. Nothing is sadder than literally seeing your hard work lying in a puddle on the ground. I have three more in the freezer and might give it another shot, but it will be outside on a hot day by the pool. Fingers crossed the heat will make her want to eat it!

At what point, does giving your baby Tylenol every 4 hours day after day begin to cause major stomach problems? Actually, I don’t want to know the answer, because that is the only thing that seems to make her happy, and man, does she love it! I pull out the little magical syringe full of purple syrup, and Chicken waves her hands in excited anticipation. She sucks down the goop faster than a college kid doing a beer bong. 20 minutes later, I have my happy sweet baby back!

So f@#! you baby teeth for taking that adorable baby away every time you grace us with your presence. I mean just look at this video of this adorable peep-pie loving girl!

 

 

My tips for Baby Led Weaning

Hello, everyone! Today, I thought I’d talk about why I chose to go the Baby Led Weaning route when giving Chicken her first solid foods. Let me just preface this with that there is nothing wrong with spoon feeding your baby pureed food. It just didn’t appeal to me that’s all, but it is not my intention to offend anyone’s parenting choice. Every has to do what works for them.  If it works for you and your baby then it is the right choice.

Here goes. When I first thought about feeding Chicken solids, I was really turned off by spoon feeding her pureed mush. It had been my experience with my niece and nephews that spoon feeding was a constant battle of wills that goes something like this…

Adult: “Please let me put this food in your mouth!”

Baby: “No I will put the food in my own mouth and hold the spoon and wave it around the room while slinging food everywhere, and you’ll like it!”

Adult: “Maybe we can both hold a spoon?”

Baby: “Nope! I still want yours!”

On top of this battle of over who gets to hold the spoon, I have found that my niece and nephews never really enjoyed meal time as babies and have grown up to be fairly picky eaters. With that in mind, I began to wonder if I even had to puree Chicken’s food. I mean, they didn’t have food processors a hundred years ago. At some point, babies first food had to have been real foods and obviously, they survived without all choking to death, right?

Again, I took to Google! This is when I first read about Baby Led Weaning (BLW) which by the way is a stupid name, but I digress. It immediately sounded like what I was looking for, so I bought the book and started researching the topic fully.

After I’ve researched something into the ground, I like to bounce the ideas off my husband, mom, sister, and just about anyone who will listen. (Sorry, coworkers.) I told Andrew about BLW and like usual he responds with, “that sounds great if that’s what you want to do then do it.” In reality, I’m sure he’s thinking, “Dear God, here we go again.” I also told my mom about my idea and she said, “sounds like the third child method, nobody has time to spoon feed kid number three.” Thanks, mom. Love you too. Since nobody said I was crazy and some even thought it was pretty ingenious (my choice of phrasing, obviously), I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad we did! Chicken is an excellent eater. She hasn’t found a food she doesn’t like, and I owe it all to the BLW method.

If BLW is something you’d like to try, I highly recommend it. But if you’re still in the research stage here are 10 things that I have learned over the last 3 months of our BLW journey.

  1. They won’t get it on their first go. They won’t get it on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and or even 5th go, really. BLW takes time. In the beginning, it is about fun for them. They are exploring a whole new world of tastes, textures, and smells, and it can be a little overwhelming, so start out slow and don’t worry about your baby getting enough to eat that’s what breastmilk and formula are for. Here is a video of Chicken’s first meal.

 

 

2. They really can eat whatever you eat. You just need to watch excess salt and sweets. (We have been table salting our food since we started, instead of salting while I cook.) Oh, and no honey! That’s a no for all baby’s actually.

3. Read the BLW book. You don’t have to do this, but I found it cleared up a lot of questions. They also have a section that shows you how to cut up different foods which are a bit different than what you would normally do for a baby eating solid foods.

4. Join a BLW support group. There are lots of social media groups that offer support and helpful hints. I am a member of the Facebook group “Baby Led Weaning for Beginners”, and it has been great for quick advice like “how do I serve strawberries?”

5. Watch a million safe gagging videos on YouTube. Have your family watch them too! This really helped bring us all peace of mind and learned not to panic when she inevitably gagged a little in the beginning.

6. It’s messy! Less so, if you have two large dogs. Enid and Pep make great vacuum cleaners.

 

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Enid never misses a meal time. That’s some serious focus.

7. People in restaurants will either think it’s adorable, or they’ll look at you like your crazy. Always remember do what is right for you and your baby and don’t worry about anyone else.

8. Eat with your baby. By allowing your baby to feed themselves, you’ve freed up some time to eat without someone touching you, YAY! They also learn from watching you. Monkey see; monkey do!

9. Spinach and other leafy greens are the most gag-inducing. Chicken has a really hard time breaking these veggies down, and they often get caught in the back of her throat causing her to gag. I plan to reintroduce these when she has more teeth.

10. It’s way easy! She eats whatever I eat; she can eat anywhere; I never have to pack extra food for her; she already loves some great whole foods like, peaches, chicken curry, eggplant, corn-on-the-cobb, hummus, cucumbers, and so much more. Seriously, there is nothing she won’t eat.

 

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Enjoying some chicken and rice with lentils.

 

Have you tried BLW? What was your experience? I’d love to hear from you, even if it is something you’re just curious about.

 

Camp Rules…

…are different than Everyday Rules. As I mentioned in a previous post, we took Chicken camping for my birthday last weekend. On our adventure, we learned some valuable lessons while camping with an 8-month-old. Probably the most important one was that your everyday rules get thrown out the window while living in the great outdoors particularly those pertaining to bedtime and sleeping arrangements.

Normally, Chicken goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00, and she always sleeps in her own bed. She has always slept in her own room. We have never co-slept, not even for a nap. This is mostly because when Chicken was an infant, she had acid reflux. At first, the doctor thought it was colic but thankfully was later diagnosed with the very treatable acid reflux. During that time of continuous crying, the only time she would sleep was in her crib at night. Ever since then she has loved her crib, and her dad and I have thanked our stars for this. We assumed that camping would be no different. Like most assumptions in parenting, we were wrong.

Her first night camping, we let her stay up later than normal. I figured she would have a harder time putting herself to sleep in a new place, so I made sure she was tired before starting her bedtime routine. Going down in the pack-n-play went smoothly, and she managed to stay asleep later on when Andrew, myself and the two dogs climbed into the tent to go to sleep. At about midnight, she woke up crying. (To note, she has been waking a lot lately due to teething.) Normally, I don’t nurse her during the night, but I figured since we were camping all the normal rules had to go. I picked her up and nursed her until she calmed down and fell back asleep. When I laid her back in the pack-n-play, she woke up again. This time I tried to pretend I was asleep, FAT CHANCE! She had never seen me sleeping so close before and was like, “Why am I over here? Pick me up!” So instead of letting her cry and becoming “those” people at the campground, I picked her up and put her in bed with me and Andrew. She fell right to sleep. Home rules just don’t pan out when camping. Camping is about survival, I guess? (That’s pretty hard to say while using my phone as a sound machine.) From then on, we all got some decent rest. Other than me who was paranoid about rolling over onto Chicken or just even waking her up. (Mom worry never sleeps.)

Chicken woke up bright and early. Normally, she wakes up around 5 am, I feed her, and she goes back to sleep. But this morning in our family sleeping bag, she opened her eyes, saw mom and dad, and the sweetest grin spread across her face. She was so happy to wake up with us beside her. She was up and ready to play. The sleepless night was totally worth that sweet face, so from now on, when camping Chicken is allowed to sleep with us. It will be our camping treat, and just one more reason to love sleeping under the stars.

 

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You can’t help but smile waking up next to this sweet baby girl.

 

 

20 Things to Bring when Camping with a Baby

This weekend to celebrate my upcoming birthday, we took a family camping trip. It was our first time camping with Chicken, and I was so excited to finally share this experience with her. The idea of camping with a baby brought on lots of stress and worry, so when we made the decision to go I went straight to Google for tips and tricks. I found a lot of good ideas that I had mostly already thought of, but it was still good to get some reassurance that taking a baby camping wasn’t a completely insane idea.

 

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Chicken trying to escape her pack-n-play while we set up camp.

 

My baby camping packing list is long, but it’s better to be prepared, right? We also went car camping which made it easier to carry everything. We aren’t quite ready for hiking in, but hopefully one day we will have the confidence for that. Anyway, here is my baby packing list. I have attached links to the products we used.

  1. A pack-n-play (This is an absolute must for crawlers. It doubled as her bed and a place for her to play during the day)
  2. A portable high chair (If your baby is eating solids. It is also doubles as another place for the baby to sit.)
  3. A baby carrier for hikes
  4. Some of their favorite toys
  5. A lovey or something your baby finds comforting (Chicken loves this security blanket and sleeps with it at night and during all of her naps.)
  6. Multiple changes and layers of clothes and don’t worry about matching. (The temperature at night got pretty chilly and hot during the day, so breathable layers are important.)
  7. A sleep sack
  8. A meal and snack plan (If your baby is eating solids, you need to prep and plan out their meals. Make sure you start preparing their meals well in advance. You don’t want a crying baby while you’re trying to cook their meal on a campfire.)
  9. Water cup and clean water (Obviously, it is important to keep your baby hydrated, but we were not sure what the water source would be like at this campsite, so we brought a jug of purified water just for her.)
  10. Lots and lots of diapers (The last thing you want is to run out of diapers or wipes. We kept an emergency package in the car in case we ran out.)
  11. A roll of softish paper towels (Just go ahead and accept that your baby is going to get dirty! They will probably also eat a little dirt too. That’s just being in the outdoors with a baby, but I found a wet paper towel went a long way in keeping her clean.)
  12. Baby friendly bug spray (Just remember that these baby bug sprays need to be reapplied more often than the bug sprays containing DEET).
  13. A mosquito net (Bug bites on a baby can ruin your trip, so we took extra precaution in keeping the bugs off Chicken. Draping a mosquito net over the pack-n-play was the best way to keep the bugs away from her. Mosquito nets are cheap and can be found at any outdoors store.)
  14. Formula and bottles (We didn’t pack this because Chicken is breastfed, but if you are using formula be sure you have plenty of both.)
  15. A warm hat and a sun hat (nights can get cool and day’s hot and sunny, so make sure you have both.)
  16. Sunscreen (Chicken looks just like her Irish daddy, so sun protection is a must for us.)
  17. A clean surface for your baby to eat on (Outdoor picnic tables are hard to clean, so we brought along our handy EZPZ mat.)
  18. Don’t forget the bib either! One that is easily rinsed off is best.
  19. A large blanket for playing on the ground
  20. The expectation that things are going to go wrong!

 

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Chicken enjoying some french toast and berries for breakfast.

 

What a great list, right? It sure would’ve been nice if I could have followed my own advice. Here’s my list of everything we forgot. Not everything we forgot was baby related, but when you’re so focused on making sure your baby is comfortable you often forget about everyone else.

  1. The baby carrier (Thank goodness there was a Wal-Mart in the nearby town.)
  2. The dogs’ leashes (Had to turn around for that one.)
  3. A lighter definitely makes building a fire easier
  4. Carabineers for tieing up the dogs (Poor pups, they sure do get the short end of the stick since Chicken arrived.)
  5. Mine and Andrew’s dinner for the first night (Dorrito’s and beer it is!)
  6. And I’m sure some other things that I’m not remembering right now.

 

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Last minute baby carrier purchased right before the hike.

 

Needless to say, we forgot some stuff, and everything did not go as smoothly as we hoped, but we had a wonderful time. We got in lots of device free family time and created a lot of great memories. There were other learning moments, I will share with y’all in future posts, but for now, I hope this list can help you in planning your family’s outdoor adventure.

Frisbee and a 5k

Last week, Andrew and I decided to drag Chicken to our various activities. We started off by taking her to her very first Ultimate Frisbee game. Andrew loves ultimate frisbee and has been playing since his days at Villanova. The start of summer also means the start of summer league for the Burke family, and Chicken and I were there to cheer daddy on.

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Chicken had a great time playing on the blanket and eating mommy’s keys. She loves to be outside so was fairly happy even though we were creeping in on her bedtime. We did have to break out the “magical” Cheerios when things started going down hill.

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For the most part, we had a successful first game. Andrew had two games, and they won both. We only stayed for the first since I didn’t want to get little one to bed too late. Although, that turned out not to matter anyway. Parenting lesson of the night, make sure you have your house keys after switching vehicles with your husband. If you don’t you’ll spend about an hour driving around the neighborhood trying not to wake a sleeping baby while waiting for your husband to get home to unlock the door. I guess it could’ve been worse, she could have screamed in the car that whole time instead.


 

The next night, we signed up to run the Harbortown 5k with my sister and her family. It was my first time running this Memphis “must run once” race. It’s a great course that wound through Harbortown and the locals really come out to support the runners. Let me go ahead and let everyone know, I am not a fast runner. I love to run and run a lot and hope to get faster, but that is not my primary goal when it comes to running. So don’t expect to see any impressive times posted on this blog.

I ran the 5k with my sister while Andrew pushed Chicken in the stroller. My sister has recently found her love for running and that brings me more joy than I can tell you. Nothing makes me happier than to share my passion for running, and it’s even more special to do so with someone I love so much.

For starting at the back of the pack, we ran a good race, and my sister outran her expected pace by a full minute! The best part was the finish when my 6-year-old nephew ran through the finish line with us. Sharing experiences like these with loved ones are why I sign up again and again. Here a few pictures of us before the race (when we still look pretty).

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Chicken is ready to run!

 

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Lining up at the start as a family.

The party after the run looked super fun, and those Sonic burritos looked sooo delicious! But once the stroller stopped moving Chicken quickly realized it was WAY past her bedtime, and we had a to make a quick escape! Thank goodness for car rides and my Widespread Panic lullaby CD.

After a Thursday night frisbee game and Friday night race, we decided a weekend at home relaxing and getting back on Chicken’s sleep schedule was what we ALL needed.