6.03.2011

getting out

So I get a lot of questions from readers about getting outside with kids. Hiking, biking, gardening, playing. In snow, sun, rain, dirt. This here post is dedicated to systems and approaches that work for my family.

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I find the old adage where there's a will there's a way to be most true with kids. The doubt and insecurity comes later, it is learned. Margot often wants to put 17 books, 3 dolls and a fistful of fruit leathers in her tiny elmo backpack. And boy does homegirl try and retry. She lays everything out and arranges and rearranges arriving at her own conclusion. She decides what to leave out, what can fit. Sometimes she surprises everyone with just how much stuff can actually squeeze in that tattered bag.

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With my kids, I try my damnedest to give them space and support for self-discovery. Now, I don't mean that I let Margot wear socked feet in the snow. There are non-negotiables. But I do let her climb to jump from high rocks, get out of the stroller try to keep up with my running and fill buckets with as much dirt as she wants. Because even though I know the rock is too tall and dangerous, her little legs can't turnover at my pace and she'll never be able to lift the heavy bucket, I think it is vital that she discovers these things on her own. She gets up on the rock and decides it isn't safe and asks for help down, she sprints for 10 steps and wants back in the stroller, she grunts to lift the bucket and then removes dirt until she can lift it.

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It is not always my inclination to give my children this space. It is hardest for me when I am in a hurry, when my frantic energy infects the whole situation.

The funny thing is that when I am hurried and I try to scoot my kids along, it always takes longer and ends in tears. Taking the time to let Margot and Ruby wander through the world, to change shoes and socks seven times when we are all ready to go or to stack every single spoon we own just so, actually takes less time and discussion and it is way more rewarding for everyone involved. I constantly remind myself of this.

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All of this transfers to children in nature. Kids continually amaze me with just how capable, strong and smart they are and with how much they can figure out and accomplish if given the chance. Just last week, Margot and two other small children hiked to the "M" trail which is a steep 620 vertical foot climb in just under one mile (the photos in this post are from this hike). I have found that when we give kids the opportunity to make choices and try, they step up. They get it. And when I let go of rushing, they respond.

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I think a bit of structure, incentive and gear are good when venturing out. Following are a few specific ideas, methods and things that allow kids and parents to learn, explore and accomplish in the garden and on the trail.

In the Garden:

- Plant seeds. My kids plant "seeds" with me. A pile of hole punches, rice or pea gravel work great.
- Turn dirt. Margot and Ruby love to dig in freshly turned dirt. So, I turn a section and let them have at it.
- Engage. My best days in the garden with kids are when I allow myself to not get stuff done, when I relax my agenda and dork out over a big worm or two egg-shaped rocks.
- Provide an abundance of vessels and tools. Gardening gloves, buckets, yogurt containers, egg cartons, toy trucks, spoons, sticks, watering cans...whatever containers/earth movers I can find! My daughters love to sort dirt, rocks, weeds into different containers. They do this for hours.
- Create paths. We have designated paths for walking within our plot and it is a game to stay on the path and not step on the garden.
- Teach kids to weed. If there are a lot of one kind of weed,  I challenge Margot (and task her with helping Ruby) to pull as many as she can and encourage her to ask if unsure.

On the trail:

- Bring fun snacks. I can never have too many options. We haul fruit leathers, goldfish, almonds, raisins, fig bars...On the "M" hike my friend, Marge, brought suckers. They were an awesome treat at the half-way point and lasted until the end.

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- Take breaks. It is important that I listen to my kids when they get tired. I don't want them to have a negative association with exploring. We pick a tree or rock and get there to stop for water or a snack or to just sit and stare at clouds. Sometimes we stop a lot.

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- Let go. If it is time to turn around and go home, it is time. When I push it and push on, it annoys everyone.
- Stay close. I usually try to stay within a 45 minute trek to the car or home so if a scraped knee or exhaustion occurs, we can get back pretty quickly.
- Be prepared. While little is needed, there are a few warm weather essentials our fam uses (I talk about our cold weather faves here)
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    • Ergo baby carrier. I get a lot of questions about this carrier. We love love them. We have two and both kids hang in them all the time. We don't even use a framed backpack. AND, Ergobaby is giving one away to one of you lucky ducks! Leave a comment for a chance to win win win. I'll randomly pick on Monday, June 6.
    • A good, sturdy, easy stroller. My museum co-workers all chipped in on our swanky stroller when Ruby was born and it is awesome.
    • Bike trailer. Definitely our main mode of transportation in the summer, we snagged ours off of craigslist and I think they are pretty easy to find used. 
    After listing all that stuff, I have to say the thing I dig most about getting out with my kids is that I realize how little we need to find adventure, game, play, memories, fun and wonderfully tired muscles. How many pine needles can I fit in this puddle? Who can find a sharp rock? How many different colors of green do you see? Stop and be still. What can you hear? Should we skip up to the next tree? Can you see the red truck way down there?

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    I've said it here many times but being out in nature is our peace, our church, our recharge. We gain perspective, patience and joy. I have always been connected to being out in the mountains and now that I am a mama, it sure is different. I don't run eight miles up the gut of the Rattlesnake and I don't ski backcountry. But I have found these moments of teaching my kids and exploring with them to be the most rewarding, challenging and important experiences so far.

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    I hope this information is helpful. I'd love to hear what works for your family.

    "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." - Lou Holtz

    ps THANK YOU andralinn for suggesting Maria and Captain for our new chicken names. They stuck. Although Margot now refers to the entire flock as Von Captain's Seven Children.

    :: :: ::

    all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com

    170 comments:

    J Scheppl said...

    Such great tips! THANK YOU!

    Chicken said...

    Great post on exploring. Thank you for your many helpful tips!

    booksNyarn said...

    I do enjoy seeing what works for other people. Thanks for sharing.

    Shelly said...

    Love this. Summer is here, school is almost out, and we've got trails and parks to explore. I, too, am throwing snacks and supplies in a bag, along with my camera. You never know when the moment strikes you. I enjoyed your "gear" list. Since our latest addition to our family, we're on the hunt for another bike trailer:) Keep Smiling:)

    Mark, Wendy, Dale and Rose said...

    Another great post! You are inspiring.

    jennymariee said...

    I have an ergo but don't use it enough. Which means I end up carrying the tired 16month old who started out wanted to walk. I need to bring it with more. But in general, just get out more!

    thanks for the reminder. I am very daunted about taking my girls out in warm weather. I don't even attempt it in winter. So more than a reminder, a push for me, that I can do it!

    Tatiana said...

    Your ability to do so much with two small kids is one of the things I admire most about you. I just now had my second (a baby boy) and often find myself worrying about how I'll handle it all and still be a "good" mom. Your blog makes me feel better :)

    Thank you!

    Puget Sound Mama said...

    I am in love with the Ergo Baby. We started with a Bjorn, but I'd wished I had it from the get go! How awesome you made it up to the M with the kids- they must have felt so accomplished! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    Jesse said...

    I tell every new mom I know about how an Ergo will always be more comfortable than a frame back pack or bjorn type carrier. My son is three and still fits comfortably. Great pictures from the M :)

    Michelle said...

    Loved all of these tips. I sometimes forget all the things that Finn loves to explore until we're out on a walk. He points out things to me that I wouldn't even notice otherwise, I can't wait to do the same with his sister.

    Lauren said...

    I have never heard of the Ergo, but I am sure looking into it now!

    Lindsey Swain said...

    Wow. Thank you for the tips...your attitude and zest for life is so refreshing to hear. You are such a good Momma to those two precious girls!

    The ergo looks so comfy...I wonder if it would work well on my long walks with our golden retriever and of course having baby girl with me. Is is just a soft back pack!?

    P.S. Thank you for the sleep lady (and advice)...we are getting much more sleep in this household :-)

    Callie said...

    Inspiring advice. I have heard so many people talk about having children as the end of all adventures and fun. The adventures change slightly but you do a great job of reminding all of us that the joy and fun do not stop.

    Meagan said...

    Great tips. We are an outdoorsy family too and are just working on adapting our outings to include our little guy!

    Abs said...

    We have recently started camping as a family with a 4yo and a 11mo. For my 4yo, I create scavenger hunts by drawing pictures (with labels...she's learning to read) on paper and asking her to find those things. She loves crossing things off the list. I've also done this at the art museum, the furniture store, and other kid outings. I love your other tips though. How many shades of green is going to be used this weekend!

    Kelsie said...

    I'm totally impressed that you hiked the "M" with a child strapped to your back!

    Marjorie said...

    These are great tips! Thanks for sharing. I'm trying so hard to be different from my mom and let my kids explore, touch, climb without constantly obsessing about them getting hurt.

    I can't travel without our McClaren double stroller (the lightest double on the market)!

    Jo @ Jo in the Kitchen said...

    For as long as I've lived in Missoula, I've never hiked the M!!
    This summer will definitely change that, and I think my son would totally love the adventure :)

    Brittany said...

    This is a great post Nici :) I found that being patient to allow for learning and exploration is still one of my biggest challenges especially when I am feeling stressed or in a hurry. I agree that if you can take a moment to remind yourself how much better it all turns out with a little love and patience, it is easy to let go of the rushed feelings. I can't think of anything else to add! We love our mei tai soft carrier and we also have a deuters hard frame that is pretty awesome, but definitely not as portable as the mei tai. Lots of snacks are always a must- raw almonds always seem to be our super food for when energy is running low. I love teaching my kids to only pick the red tomatoes and helping them to identify which little green sprouts are weeds that need to be removed. Spending time outdoors with my kids is seriously one of the best gifts of my life :)
    Thanks for sharing!
    Brittany

    Jessica said...

    Thanks for posting this! My newly 9 months old kiddo is ready to do more outside now and we're trying to find the balance of fun and totally draining. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Abby Taylor said...

    My two year old's daily song: "Outside, I love it!"

    The Small Gal said...

    I totally agree that getting outside is where I find peace. I would love to win the ergo to give a pregnant friend that is also loves the outdoors.

    Katie said...

    Ooh, I need to check out those adorable bonnets! My 1 yr old (and 4 yr old) are both super duper fair. Just hope my 1 yr old would keep it on her head. Thanks for the tips! I just adore your blog. Your girls remind me so much of my girls. :)

    Mihaela said...

    This is just what I needed today :) We are headed on a road trip to CO in a few weeks and I'm in planning mode. Thank you for the great tips, and the ERGO carrier sounds like a great idea!

    Brittany said...

    Wow! Thanks, you've helped me decide on the Ergo! I love all of your tips.

    Lauren said...

    I love this. I'm inspired by the freedom you give those sweet, smart girls. Thanks for sharing!!

    Julie said...

    I have been wanting an Ergo. They look great!

    Suzi said...

    Thanks for the reminder to give the kids freedom! It is so exciting to watch them figure things out on their own, and then be so sad because our babies are growing up and can do these things on their own. Also Isn't it soooo true that when you are in a hurry and try to hurry the littles along they just take forever. I too have learned to just let her pack baby dinosaur, romeo the horse, a straw, the bath toy and the dogs leash. (which i end up carrying:)
    One of my favorite posts ever!

    Eva Marie said...

    We are also a total outside family as well rain, sun, snow - and I wouldnt have it any other way. Love this post for all the great tips you do.

    I find similar things work for our family. My daughter needs to do things through trial and error although sometimes frustrating it is mostly rewarding watching her learn and grow.

    my biggest challenges lie when I am in a hurry. I have to be somewhere and we aren't moving fast enough. But I know when I reflect back it's because I didn;t leave enough time, I wasn't organized. It's not her..

    Love your energy, your caring and nurturing personality and your love for being a mother.

    Now about that ergo, I have been meaning to buy one for the last 17 months and keep putting it off. Might be my lucky day *fingers crossed*

    lydhold said...

    This is the first time I've commented, but felt I had to - brilliant post, I love your inspiring writing always, but todays was brilliant in a different way, inspiring on a practical level. I have a 9 month old, who needs a LOT of entertaining, but I'm running out of ideas, aside from helping me stuff nappies and fold washing (or unfold!), keeping her occupied while I do things, especially in the garden is hard work, I shall be putting lots of your tips to good use! Thank you for being an awesome blogger, you're one of only three blogs that I follow on a regular basis (found through Enjoying The Small Things!). x

    Tina said...

    Thank you for all the tips. Both my girls LOVE being outdoors, but my four year old is petrified of every kind of bug/creepy crawler there is. You should see her spaz out when a mosquito is near her, or when she sees an ant in the house. Seriously ridiculous, but hilarious at the same time... I hope she gets over it because I'd love to catch bugs and worms with her.

    Every time you post pictures of the mountains in your area, I swoon. Seriously, every single time. I just can't get over the beauty and wonder of it all!

    I've been eyeing an Ergo for months upon months now because I've heard such awesome reviews about them. As of yet, I've been unable to convince my husband it would be a worthwhile purchase... he's stubborn about it because our daughters are 15 months and 4 years, and he thinks we wouldn't be able to use it. I'd love to prove him wrong!

    leigh dameron said...

    Great insights...I always appreciate learning more about your life and the beauty you create for your children.

    Amanda said...

    We LOVE those bonnets!! My Zoe has pws and we have to be extra careful with sun exposure, especially after a laser treatment. The typical sun hat doesn't provide enough coverage and then I saw these bonnets on your site. I ordered one immediately and am so happy with my purchase. We now enjoy a lot more time outside and I don't have to always be the "sun blocker". My friends have the ergo carrier and just rave about it. Would love to have one and I think Zoe would enjoy it too. Thanks for this post...such great ideas about getting outside. It's where I recharge as well:)

    recipesforcake said...

    Such awesome tips, thank you! I cannot wait for my son to be big enough to enjoy our garden as much as I do. My grandpa and father gave to me their love of gardening and it's one of the things I hope to share with my son. Next summer cannot come fast enough. For now, I take him out with me to smell the flowers and feel the earth under his feet.

    KWQR said...

    Love this... Because even though I know the rock is too tall and dangerous, her little legs can't turnover at my pace and she'll never be able to lift the heavy bucket, I think it is vital that she discovers these things on her own.
    So very true & it is something I do not let unfold enough. A good reminder that sometimes pushing everyone forward is not what needs to happen! Giving space to learn... something everyone can benefit from.
    Happy weekend!
    Kate

    Adriana Iris said...

    Thanks for always putting a smile on my face.

    Volpe Family said...

    get out and breathe the montana air-why else would you live here? montana is a great place for exploring with your kids and developing security. thanks for sending out the reminder to your readers.

    Jennifer said...

    Such a great post! and so many great ides! So nice to see so many things done as a family.

    Jennifer said...

    Our family is outdoors a lot too (we live in Denver) and your tips are right on the money. We often hike with the kids (1 1/2 and 4). Going at their pace is definitely key. I find that whether in nature or in the house, if I try to push the pace it ALWAYS makes it harder - on everyone.
    Thanks for the daily inspiration....really enjoy your blog!

    Karen said...

    Thanks for all the great tips. We also enjoy the outdoors/hiking but found the frame pack was to big to properly fit on me, bummer. I would love to try the ergo so I can go out when ever i want!

    Lisa said...

    I agree with the idea of letting go, but it sometimes makes me crazy. I have a 15 month old and one due in November and my 15 month old is scared of nothing, a boy, and hilarious. He is always looking for a way to scare me it feels like (I know that is insane in reality)

    I am going to attempt to let him do even more and not hold back. I want to go on more hikes and let him explore more. Thank you!

    Abilew-who said...

    I think the key is to do as Mike does and Just Do It. Sometimes that's the hardest part. I regularly have to cajole three people (two children and my husband) on adventures, and it's always rewarding. Always. It's hard to get them out of the house because IT'S HARD. Sure, it's not as easy as building trains on the floor or reading the newspaper, and it's sometimes frustrating to remind all involved how much fun we'll have - but it's always worth it. Thanks for yet another reminder!

    Ani said...

    This summer, I'm definitely going to enjoy the great outdoors with my little guy. His favorite thing to do right now is pull out clumps of grass and try to eat them. Watching an 8-month old explore nature is awesome! The good ol' Baby Bjorn is starting to hurt my back, so perhaps an Ergobaby carrier is the way to go. Happy weekend!

    Whitney said...

    Here in Atlanta it is H.O.T., but I still try to get my boys out at least for a little bit everyday. They're little, and I'm not very organized...so getting out of the house is usually a nightmare! The trick that works for me is that I have a separate hiking/outdoor backpack that I keep stocked at all times (as opposed to my usual diaper bag). It always has diapers, sunscreen, nonperishable snacks, and a few digging tools/trucks in it, so i can just grab and go when the mood strikes!

    Ms Toni said...

    Oh, the ergo is the best! We have used it consistently since the munchkin was tiny (she is now 13 months), but never thought about needing two. We hike as a family nearly every weekend and are planning on another addition soon.

    Nice job on the hike. ps ;)

    irishmaji said...

    Thanks for all of the good tips!! I'm so looking forward to getting outside more with my 20 month old now that summer is here in New England! I'm curious as to what the M is made out of? Looks like concrete in one of the pictures? Interesting!

    Would love to try the ergo - My son is independent, but I might be willing to venture out further if I had something portable that I can use when he's tired!

    jenniwaka said...

    Great tips! I only venture 20 minutes from the house/car right now with my 5 month old, but am looking forward to more and longer outdoor treks as she gets older!

    Lee said...

    Great post, I need to get more creative with more containers for my kids to play with in the garden! And thanks for the chance to win an Ergo. I've always wanted one, but we have a framed backback so I've never felt I could do the extra cost of an Ergo.

    Rhett said...

    Great post. We are so looking forward to the weekend when the sun IS going to shine and we can get outside with our boys without wool and down. Our outing along the Clark Fork yesterday was a bit cold and soggy. I've been thinking about the Ergo for a few months and would love to win one!

    clove's corner said...

    Great post. Getting out with kids is one reason we wanted to *have* kids (obviously, not the *only* reason:). I love your ideas on engaging Margot as my girl is Ruby's age and it's wonderful to get ideas for the future. Plus, we're now expecting a second.

    The Ergo pack is the the one thing I tell new moms: "If you can only have ONE pack, GET THE ERGO." Hands down. With a second kid on the way, we'll be in the market for another one ourselves. It goes with me nearly everywhere, even when I'm pretty sure I won't be using a pack. (For any readers who are still hesitant: I even have a bad back--a history of several vertebrae fractures and herniated discs, but the Ergo is COMFY.)

    That said, we live in a place where we often prefer to venture a bit deeper into the backcountry. Last summer, we took our 9 month old backpacking for 3 or 4 days and hope to do something similar this summer (maybe have to rent llamas with my preggo belly, though). For all-day adventures, a good frame pack is definitely the only way to go. You need storage space for lots of food, water, clothing layers, rain coats, diapers, etc. We use the Deuter Kid Comfort III and it's fantastic for those longer adventures: my girl naps comfortably in it, it has a built-in rain and sun shield, lots of storage and is super comfy on my back. But--for the everyday outings, the Ergo is the way we roll, for sure!!

    I love how you don't hold Margot back. I try to do the same with Juniper although I've noticed if both my husband and I are around, *one* of us will be eyeing the other thinking, "Are you sure we should let her try this?" Thanks for the reminder that Yes! We should.

    Brandi said...

    What a fun post! We spend so much of our time outdoors this time of year, it's great to have new ideas to try to incorporate into our daily lives!

    tina said...

    it's so true that trying to scootch them when we are in a hurry always takes longer and often adds tears to the mix. and it's always good to say 'yes' as much as possible. yes to exploring even when that takes a different shape than what i plan. yes to adventure even if what she wants to try takes me a bit out of my comfort zone. maybe especially then.

    been wanting a soft structured buckle carrier for awhile but it's not in the budget. thanks for the chance to win one!

    chelsea dawn said...

    i totally believe in letting kids learn by doing, in the current society where people are rushing through life trying to get ahead it is refreshing to just wander.... love your words, its nice to read about someone with similar parenting techniques.... keep it up sister you always make my day!

    Abby said...

    Oh how I love the outdoors..the weather forecast is looking good for us here in Washington this weekend! Can't wait! Love your post (as I always do)!

    Bennett Abel said...

    I LUV the Ergo as well! I still use mine so if I'm the winner I would pass it on to one of my preggo girlfriends! thanks!!

    The Korporaal Family said...

    Awesome post! I needed some inspiration in that area :) and would love to win the giveaway

    jennkennedy said...

    This is our first summer with our son and I've been loving taking him out to explore! I would love to try the Ergo - he's been living in his Moby wrap lately and we could use some more options!

    The Hip Homemaker said...

    Great ideas and tips. I think we are lucky to have such fabulous outside spaces right out the back door. Avery loves to go out the back gate and up the hill to look for flowers and bugs.

    I try to keep a small bag with snacks and water bottles by the door for spontaneous outings.

    The thing I did in the garden this year is chose a bunch of pink and purple vegetables and flowers to plant (Ave's current favorite colors) so that when they start to grow, it is that much more exciting for her.

    I would love the ergo for the new baby.

    treesalldance said...

    This is an awesome post. You wrote exactly what I try to do with my own kids. I also love my ergo and use it everywhere.

    Krystal said...

    I'd love an Ergo for my September baby :D

    Ashling McAnaney said...

    I agree with everyone that is a great useful post with concrete suggestions on how to get out there and enjoy!

    And I love that you quoted Lou Holtz! I would not have pegged you as a college football fan.

    Have an awesome weekend and I hope some of your readers will be out on the trail this weekend thanks to your tips.

    About me: said...

    Would love to try an Ergobaby carrier with my little Alice. Heard great things about them! Somewhat unrelated: Just wrote my first lil' FYI for the recently published Mamalode! Thanks for introducing me to it and I'm promoting it all around Boise. Amy Pence-Brown

    Katie said...

    Thanks for the tips, I have two little ones and sometimes hesitate to get out and do things.

    Jessica said...

    Love the post and tips! Your girls are so adorable!

    My son will be 2 next Saturday and LOVES being outside helping us, it's wonderful too because he is exhausted when he comes inside!

    Denise said...

    I love this! My most successful technique is to just try. The worst that can happen is it goes bad, but kids bounce right back with every bump in the road. I love the part about packing lots of snacks and keeping within 45 minutes of a car. That is so true!

    Jessie said...

    Such wonderful tips! I love the idea with giving them "special" seeds to plant. I will have to try that with my kids!

    Your pictures are so peaceful to look at. Here I am in our little bedroom. Kids napping sound. and I feel like I just got a breath of fresh air from the mountains in Montana! Thank you for that. <3

    P.s. I love, LOVE Ruby's outfit. and I love how your girls are always dressed their age. :)

    Ariel @ Dreams To Do said...

    Thanks for all the great tips! I seriously was going to order an Ergo carrier today, but I'm holding out for the win! ;-)

    Holly Lynn said...

    Thanks for the advice! Always a great reminder to step out with your kids! And a chance to win an ergo.....Love it!

    Heidi said...

    I just love the positive realistic vibe! Thanks for sharing. And the amazing contests too! ;)
    ~heidi

    Kelle said...

    Love this. And Captain and Maria. Ha. Saluting from outdoors miles away...xo

    The Riesbergs said...

    I love your post!!!! We are outside all the time and although I only have one 16month old, I still struggle with what to do with her. Thank You for the tips. Oh and I wouldn't mind an ergo either. ;)

    FinnyKnits said...

    Good on you for giving your kids room to learn on their own. You know you can never *tell* as effectively as one can *learn* by doing on their own.

    And, yes, I WOULD like to skip to the next tree.

    Crystal Pence said...

    We totally have the same gear! Isn't craigslist great? And I love my ergo... if only Daddy had one so he could hike too...? Pretty please, pick me!

    sarah said...

    man, i could barely make it up to the M. nice work, margot!

    Sarah said...

    I love these tips! Great post! And I would LOVE an Ergo! :)

    Staci said...

    i love this and am already loving introducing this amazing world to my sweet little 6 week old! time and schedules mean nothing to littles:) and not much more to me, come to think of it...

    MeganMR said...

    Great tips! I love giving my son space and explore things on his own. I love your outlook on self-discovery.

    erin said...

    Great tips! Thanks for posting. I am about to have my first baby in October and I can't wait to take him exploring! My nephew who just turned one on last Sunday took his first two steps while helping me plant flowers. I was SO excited!!!

    L said...

    Awesome tips. My toddler wants to be outside nonstop.

    soilisforlovers said...

    What a beautiful family! I just decided on an Ergo and it'd be great to win one. My little one is due in October and we are excited about the adventure.

    Jeanna said...

    Excellent tips! Btw I made your fig bars a while back and they are a hit with my fam. I love having grab-&-go snacks on-hand for our own adventures. :)

    Christi said...

    Thanks for the tips and the inspiration. My goal this summer is to spend more time outside with my kids and explore the beauty near my home. :)

    Jen said...

    Wonderful post - looking forward to exploring this summer with my 9 mos ol daughter

    Julie said...

    Great ideas but most of all a reminder that there are always excuses to not get out and never regrets when I do it!

    Heather said...

    This post is so timely for me. I'm getting ready to give birth to our second and I find I need to remind myself to SLOW DOWN and focus on the journey and not the destination, because it really is so much more fun and rewarding.

    Also, I would LOVE an Ergo carrier. ;)

    Heathrow's World said...

    I'm constantly trying to remind myself to let the girl take her time in exploring. To not set too many timelines. Sometimes its hard, great post, thanks for reminding me!

    Kelly Cach said...

    Love the outdoor tips. We are "outsiders" as well. No matter the weather, my husband is wanting to be outside. He has taught our boys that "It never rains on the golf course", and soccer and camping are ALWAYS doable. Many a day they have come home soaking wet and smiling.....but they call ahead to make sure I have hot chocolate ready. They just had soccer practice in a down pour....no cancelling for this Dad/Coach. I love that about him.

    Would sooo love an Ergo baby carrier, as I may be carrying my baby girl for quite a long time :)

    Here's to outdoor adventures,
    Kelly

    about said...

    Whoa, your blog is exploding today! Definitely bookmarking this page for future reference... I hope it's still around when I need it. In other words - don't take this down before 2020. Ha!

    mattie said...

    Great tips. We have an ergo that I have loved using with our 20-month-old son, and now I'm due (actually yesterday... please come out soon, sweet daughter) with another little munchkin, I'd love to have one for both daddy & me to wear. Thanks especially for the idea of giving rice or gravel to the kiddos as "seeds," as my son loves "panting seeeeeds" in our garden. xoxo
    bikewithoutshoes@gmail.com
    snailsandspice.blogspot.com

    Lindsay said...

    We just moved to Arizona and most definitely need to invest in an Ergo! Great post.

    Leea said...

    I love, love, love reading your posts! It is so great to see your kids are growing up to be such independent little beings. Also love all the snacks you pack for the outings, makes the hike so much more enjoyable!

    E said...

    You inspire me to get out in nature more! I have coveted an Ergo for ages, our framed backpack is just too bulky much of the time.

    TRB Holt said...

    That's my girl!

    xoxo......

    C said...

    Great post!!!
    Love Margots shoes- with the mushrooms, they are adorable :)

    I have a Sutemi carrier that is similar to the Ergo, and it is great.

    Sage said...

    Great Post Nici! Thanks for reminding me what my life can look like when we are out of this haze of virus's and Lucy is a bit older and more flexible. Boy I can't wait to hike and bike with my girls! xo

    girlonabridge said...

    Is there a way to search your blog entries? I saw on under things you might like but I somehow lost it and I don't know how to find it.

    JenniH said...

    Such a great post! I have to remind myself often to stop and smell the roses with my little one.

    We have a backpack carrier, but having an Ergo would be AMAZING.

    aprilallard said...

    Mmm...I like your tips. I would also be interested in hearing your views on religion if you ever want to share...since you mentioned nature being your "church." We always use our Kelty framed carrier...but I would love to try a soft carrier! Snax rule on hikes!

    festoramma said...

    you always inspire me to be a better mom.

    kendra said...

    fantastic idea here. and seriously? and ergo is the top of my wishlist. i have been a hardcore wrapper. ; )

    i love all your creative ideas for breaks and activities along the way!

    Aly said...

    Excellent list that I hope to put to good use this summer! And I have been coveting an Ergo carrier for months so pick me, pick me!!

    Kelly said...

    Love this post!!!!! So inspiring!!!I clicked on the sunscreen link though...$25 for two small bottles of sunscreen! WOAH!!! LOL

    Stunningly Sweet said...

    I absolutely diddo the concept of letting our kids engage rather than rushing them and paying for it later in the form of tears! Thank you for the fantastic tips! I've also found that a big ole' beach umbrella can work wonders for shade for the tiny littles!

    auntieB said...

    Margot sounds hilarious! I wanna hang out with her!!! Thanks for the blog and pictures. I love it.

    PunkRockChic said...

    THANK YOU for this post! I am slowly learning the reins of being a momma of two and juggling things to do with my toddler son bringing my infant daughter along for the ride. I'm trying to let him learn and explore and discover while staying a close distance behind and while it makes me nervous to let him climb all the way up the tallest ladder to a slide I know he won't descend, I let him do it cuz I want him to learn on his own, with his momma close by. Love this post!

    jen said...

    you are so good at reminding me of things that i've always thought but just got too damn busy to remember.
    i also really really need to look at that carrier. mr finn is getting way too big for the sling and sometimes a stroller is just silly.
    i'll be sending my hubs here too, if you don't mind. we used to remember this with stella or stella/cora ... but now ... the 3some has made life feel too much for stopping and slowing ...and yet? that's exactly what we need. thank you friend.

    Bonnie said...

    Awesome giveaway, thanks!

    ama de casa said...

    nicely stated

    Long Family said...

    The "M" looks amazing. The view! Wow. You children are lucky to grow up somewhere so small and so grand at the same time. :)

    An Ergo baby. I hear they're the best.

    Heather

    Jenn said...

    Love this post. My goal for the summer is to get outside with my three girls more. We've been having crummy weather and are going stir crazy from not enough exploring. I had an Ergo with my first two and then gave it away before I was pregnant with my third, my now 16 month old. Would love another!

    Liliana said...

    Great timing on this post! I was just trying to plant some grape vines (burying the littlest one's placenta under the plants) and I thought of you. It's been a challenge to be outside with a one year old who wants to eat everything. The three year old wants to fill in my holes and pull out the plants. Ha!

    Love your tips. I'll definitely keep them in mind. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow...

    GreenMama0609 said...

    Oh how Id love to try out the ergo!! With abby number 3 on the way It would be great timing! I loved my moby but something new would be fun!!

    Lexie said...

    It's great to hear your pointers! Having given birth to a baby in the winter, I am having a hard time knowing how to prepare myself and my daughter for warm weather. I would LOVE to win the Ergo!

    Trendy Woman said...

    I also let the kids help in the garden. They love it!

    Sasha said...

    I totally agree with you, letting kids explore and find trouble shoot through things on their own. It's how we all learn.

    lafalda said...

    So nice to see the beloved M again : )

    StobbeFamily said...

    Thanks for the great tips! Makes me excited to get out into our own mountains!(as soon as the snow melts!)

    Punksy said...

    I read your blog every week - you inspire me to get out there and enjoy every moment with my daughter. This post is very helpful, thank you.

    Coffee Mama A-J :) said...

    LOVE this post! Thanks for sharing such helpful hints. It is too funny that I find the same thing happens in my home when I rush or hurry. :)

    HAS said...

    This was a great post! Love your blog. Love Ruby in her capilene and bonnet...so cute! And Margot is on my Hero list.
    Would love love love to try an Ergo! I am stuck with a Bjorn for now. I have heard nothing but great things about the Ergo.
    Happy weekend.

    dig this chick said...

    I love the idea of having a pack with non-perishables and gear ready to go by the door. Brilliant.

    Also, about searching here. There is a 'search' function in the side bar as well as a list of old posts. If you tell me what in partic you are thinking of maybe I can help?

    Furrla said...

    These are great ideas! We are hoping to start a family soon and I can't wait to go exploring with the whole family!

    AllisonKathleen said...

    Love it! On the occasion of my son's 3 month birthday, we are taking him to the pool for the first time. It's too hot already to take him to the petting zoo/ gold mining park. I think that will be his 6 month outing.

    Jenny said...

    What works for our family: Resisting the temptation to "do" things and instead, just "be" together. Instead of the amusement park, have a picnic in the park and throw rocks into the water. Instead of going to the pizza palor, making our own pizza at home. Instead of the movie theatre, watching home movies with popcorn in PJ's. We become closer each time we "be" instead of "do" and it's a joy to watch the 3 boys bond as well.

    Would love love love the ergo carrier - got baby number 4 on the way and am already wondering how we're going to get around!

    -Jenny in Iowa

    Smaychel said...

    I love the pics, you live in such a beautiful part of the world!

    This post comes at a great time for me, as lately I've been struggling with not being able to get out in the countryside so much. I have an 8 week old daughter and I'm finding it so challenging to take her anywhere. Which is tough for me, as I'm usually an avid walker! I'm definitely feeling the cabin fever, being stuck at home so much.

    Thanks for this post, it's given me hope that I'll be able to get back out there soon!

    Shelby said...

    What a great post. My son loves working in the garden and taking hikes and it is probably because we always do it.

    Jennie said...

    My son is a horrible sleeper, and though we finally have nights under control, naps are still a disaster. I just hunted through your old posts and found the link to Kim West's book - I'm hoping it works as well for us as it did for Ruby! Thanks for sharing :)

    DeRae said...

    Love this one. I try very hard to get out with the kids as much as possible. They are nature lovers. :)
    I love Ergos!

    Emily said...

    Great tips and added inspiration to get out with the kiddos! Thanks for the gear recs too. I've heard the ergo is awesome!

    Kristin B said...

    Great tips! I remind myself all the time to remember to relax so my kids don't feel pressured to move at my pace.

    Rekha said...

    Thank you for reminding me that it need not take an enormous amount of effort to get out and live life. Even after having 3 boys, I forget how important it is to just go.

    ashley said...

    I would love and ergo, and mountains filled with flowers to explore. And gardens to dig, and we will. Thank you for your constant inspirations. X ashley

    Melinda said...

    Would love to win the Ergobaby carrier. One daughter is expecting, and one has a four-month old. What a great gift for them! Thanks.

    Phyllis Sommer said...

    What a fun way to have adventures...I would love to win the ergo carrier...I'm currently borrowing one and I love it...but the other mama is going to want it back soon!!!!

    Sienna &amp; Serena said...

    Would love an Ergo for my munchkins!

    Mindi said...

    I have always wanted to try and ergo, I love the idea of a comfortable carrier, for front and back, that can work with young babies and older toddlers.

    Katie said...

    Love the look of the Ergo and have always wanted to give one a try!

    Keri said...

    I love that we live in the woods which means that my boys are constantly outside, playing in the dirt, finding worms and bugs to feed our chickens, and exploring the Great Outdoors that is our yard! ;)

    With a 3rd little one on the way, I would love to try out the Ergo baby carrier!

    Sarah said...

    Among my favorite posts!I love the beginning few paragraphs.

    Lori P said...

    Great tips! I have followed your blog for awhile now and find you very inspirational. I love how you don't sweat the small stuff and really keep the big picture in focus. I, also, have 2 young girls and find that our days are much smoother and our moods much better when we spend time outdoors.

    Louise said...

    Inspiring!Thank you for the tips! Sometimesits good to let go of agendas and just be!

    hawksll said...
    This post has been removed by the author.
    Sarah said...

    Your posts are so awesome and inspiring :) One of my goals for this summer is to be less uptight about the kids being outside. Want to go up the slide backwards? Cool! Standing on the swings? Good work! Dump all the water out of the water table just because you wanted to "clean the deck"...still working on being ok with that one...but I'm getting there!

    We <3 our Ergo, too...with our 3rd coming in August it would be pretty fantastic if my hubby and I each had our own!

    Meghan said...

    These are some really great ideas. I have often wondered how you managed getting your kiddos out into the great outdoors, so I really appreciate the post!

    mrs chux said...

    um great incentive for me wanting to get out on Aldus' and my first hike this week :). xoox, lisa

    me said...

    Ergos are the best, I try to tell new moms to pick one over the Bjorne but people just dont listen! Hope you had a great weekend!

    Dana Jack said...

    I love your blog! It always makes me want to live and provide a healthier life for my children! Definitely inspiring!!!

    Stephanie said...

    Great tips, I frequently have to remind myself to stop rushing...maybe I'll find some dirt to turn tomorrow with the 2 year old and 4 year old :)

    Kate said...

    Thanks for this great post! As it gets harder and harder for me to go for long walks which my husband and I love, it's inspiring to see things we can do close to home. I love all your tips, I plan to use them when our little bug arrives in less than 3 weeks! We would so love to win the Ergo!!

    Marina said...

    Thank you for all the advise! Love getting out with my girl :)

    Rachael said...

    Loved the pictures in this post. I'm reading A River Runs Through it and think of you and your exploring kids when they mention Missoula! :)

    Whitney said...

    Thank for the great tips...I have recently started reading your blog (I found your mom on facebook and she told me about it)...I knew you were talented, but this is amazing!!

    An ergo....hmmm, looks awesome :)

    kjt said...

    Nicci, I love reading about your little family! Please send warm wishes to your mom from me! Kathe Goodwin (from Seven Oaks)

    Denise said...

    Thank you for your wisdom on the subject of letting children explore! As a first-time-mom to a 16 month old who is super-active and curious, I am learning how to let her explore, learn, and be herself...but, at the same time, prevent her from hurting herself by falling off the playground, choking on a rock, or running into the street. :)

    melody said...

    this is so amazing. i love getting out with my kids and having adventures. plus they sleep REALLY well at night :) i love love LOVE your blog!!!

    Erin @ NurtureNature said...

    Always, always love your tips.. They are the best. My hub says you're the modern day catalog. The source for true honest best case marketing. Thank you!
    Erin

    jessica said...

    I love everything you expressed about playing outside...it is so much easier than people think! Giving kids the space to build confidence and self awareness, to learn how to trust themselves and explore...these are the most important gifts we can give our children!
    Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

    MW said...

    We find the key to getting out - along with almost everything you mentioned - is friends. 4 year old boys in pair can wander far far far without tiring, and hiking with a gaggle of kids is wild and crazy and fun. I have also learned recently - if not inclined to bring a first aid kit, at least bring a cotton knit shirt you can spare in case injury. So versatile.
    I use my ergo carrier constantly, and now have a twin-pregnant friend - she could use one (or two!) I'm sure!

    Emily said...

    Our Ergo gets so much use! Ours is black so that any family member can use it but I sure would love a pretty one :)

    jane said...

    What great tips! Getting out and exploring with the kiddos is a lot of work, but so so worth it! I always enjoy my kids more when we're out and about, just the three of us (or four of us when the hubby's along!) and don't have the distractions of chores at home, or phones, or computers or anything else, and there's just us. I'm so jealous of your beautiful mountains to explore in!

    Hotel Bell said...

    Great ideas with the garden. My two yr old loves helping me plant. Some days she's a help and some she treks all over my onions.

    Sam said...

    Great post. I love your blog. :-)

    redwoodcottage said...

    Love everything you write! And thanks for representing us adventurous mommies! (I'd like that ergo for a friend of mine due in October, in case the pregnant mama-goddesses are reading this! )

    Andrea said...

    Love so many of these ideas.. Particularly about giving kids space to explore things on their own terms- I need to do that more.

    Reuben said...

    getting out keeps me and the kids sane on our crazy days. There are so many times when it feels like too much to get anywhere, but those are always the days we need it the most. Thanks for your wisdom, as always!

    We love our Ergo, but another one would be even better!

    Steve and Krisanna said...

    Thank you for the tips! I definitely find that an adventure with the kids should be at their pace! It is fun to see the world through their eyes.

    alloway_dagata said...

    I am still striving to learn the lessons of getting out more. As a young indoor girl that has realized the happiness available to those that can let go and enjoy being outside, I feel compelled to instill that joy in our kids. Thank you for the reminder!

    Amy, Ryan, Aidan and Lauren said...

    Super helpful tips, we are in the process of adopting our third child (he'll be home in a few months) and I'm always thinking these days about how I'm going to get everyone outside!

    Lesley said...

    your post inspired me on Friday - and me and my two boys (minus the working Dad) had a fan-freakin-tastic weekend! THANKS!

    TheresaT said...

    Thank you for the inspiration! I need ti get my kiddos to the "m"! I'm so excited its finally time to get the kiddos outdoors in nice weather!

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