Posts Tagged With: single mom

Road trips with a potty trained nursing toddler…

This summer Tag (17 months) has spent close to 4,000 miles in the car. We have adventured around Disneyland and gone back and forth multiple times to the San Juan mountains. I’ve done my best to make most of those miles during sleeping hours for Tag, but there have also been many hours in the car while he is awake. Tag has been such a trooper!

Probably 1/4 of our road tripping miles were spent with my other Littles in the car, which actually made things much worse! Tag wanted to play having them there and sleep was much more difficult for him. One evening drive was probably the worst I have heard him cry ever.. he was exhausted, the other kids wanted to sleep and didn’t feel like playing… So we stepped out of the car and watched the sun set..

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Eventually Tag fell asleep and I was able to rive the remainder of the way home throughout the evening while everyone slept peacefully. Rare quiet moments for a Mom…

So what tips do I have for road tripping alone with a toddler? Glad you asked..

Be flexible- I know, easier said then done… Any time we hop in the car I assume something is going to go wrong. I try and have a general idea of when he will nap, where we will stopped for gas, when we will grab a real meal, but I also assume it wont work out. Being a potty trained toddler he knows saying he has to go potty will stop the car immediately, he uses it. He also is still nursing and will ask for the boob when he wants out of his seat. I try and distract if I can, but I also do everything I can to respect his words.

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Have extra everything- I have extra water bottles for him, toys, books snacks,            EVERYTHING! Toddlers love to throw, and I would rather clean up 5 water bottles from the back seat when we get where we are going then fumble around trying to pick up the only one we have while driving. I also try and have a new exciting something to distract him from the fact that he is in his carseat again. New toys, stickers, anything to make him forget he is once again doing the thing he does not want to do ever, sitting still

Caffeine- That should probably be #1! An over caffeinated Mom is much more willing to sing, dance, and talk things out with a toddler. I might be a little crazy RIE parenting style, but toddlers do understand a lot. When Tag is having a moment in the car we talk, about everything. I explain to him we have to be in the car for a while longer and talk about the things we can do. It’s EXHAUSTING! But it works. When I give him options he can usually find something that will make him happy. Then I have some more caffeine… (I’m going to need a Hi-Ball sponsorship…)

Podcasts or Audio books- For you. Not gonna lie, one of the most amazing things is driving through the night while your kids sleep and you listen to your own happiness. Do it. The best kind of alone time you can get!

And always be willing to call things off. This last trip home I had big plans of driving through the night and getting home while he slept. Well, after weeks of travel and living in the mountains with kids my exhaustion level was crazy high. No amount of caffeine could help me make it… So I pulled off the road into the mountains and slept. There is no reason to risk falling asleep at the wheel, and after a great nap and some breakfast my buddy and I made it home safe and happy!

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My Revenge Body

Apparently that’s a thing?

I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on how in shape I am lately. True to what we are taught as young girls I was struggling with taking the compliments. I would qualify it “yeah I mean, I could still lose some here”, but slowly and with practice I’ve started to simply say “thank you”.

This is by far the best running shape I have been in in years, and I am very happy with how my body is performing. But the other day the compliment was not one I was willing at accept…

“your revenge body looks great”

Umm… excuse me?

If this is a revenge body, doesn’t that imply I am trying to hurt some? I am trying to make someone jealous? That this transition I have made has everything to do with someone else, their actions, their feelings? Or my desire to control their feelings? I suppose it could mean I put in the work to look this awesome myself, but in order to be able to show it off for others…

But no. Excuse me, but fuck you.

I did all of this work on myself for me. Not for revenge, not to show off to others (except on instagram 😉 ), all for me and the things this body can do for me.

I started running after baby #2 and in training for my first half marathon with my Ex- Husband got pregnant with baby #3. I lied to my doctor at the time, informing her I had totally run before and that I would be fine continuing to train, and I was fine. I ran my first half at 21 weeks pregnant then laid off until after the birth.  My Ex and I continued to run here and there, nothing crazy and totally not serisouly. It was something we did together and I was slow! But we had fun.

Eventually we began dabbling in trail running and I met my bestie Lala. Her son and my #2 were in kindergarden together. I saw her wearing and ironman shirt and casual asked “so do you like, just run too?”

Her “Yeah, kinda…”

By that she meant “Yeah I run ultras. 100 milers. I tend to win stuff too”.. but true to ultra runner form she was humble.

Pretty quickly I jumped in to crewing her at her races. I loved it! Nothing like getting to take care of someone while they take on an epic adventure. I crewed my Ex too. I would take care of the kids while they and our other running friends all went on adventures together. I would cook for them, support them, and run a little here and there myself.

Then my kids started running. I supported them, hung with them while they trained, and ran a lot of their races with them. I ran on my own sometimes too, but my major focus was them meeting their goals.

And then there is #6’s Dad. I began not only supporting him at races he was running, but also helping him with his business. My running took a major back seat at this point, but I’m a mom and taking care of people is what I do… So I continued to take care of everyone else.

When I found myself super pregnant and alone, running was what I leaned on. I knew I needed an outlet so I turned things up a little. I was putting in pretty decent miles on the trails and with every run felt stronger and happier. I was genuinely hooked on this silly running thing like I had never been before.

The birth of #6, Tag, was the most spiritual experience of my life.  Not only did I feel more powerful then I ever have before, but my bond with nature was solidified.

((Almost giving birth on a mountain))

Naturally after having Tag I needed to get back to the mountains as fast as possible. Taking care of an infant alone is stressful, the only way to handle the loneliness and hormonal craziness was to get out there. I am proud to say my strava does not have even one zero week after I gave birth. I got out there slowly, walking, hiking, and eventually running. For the first time in my life I saw running as something that could be and should be a priority in my life. I begged people to watch my kids so I can run. I wear the Tag to hike up the steepest mountains I can. Sometimes my miles have to be hiking with all the kids or laps around the park while they play. I made the decision to do anything I had to to get my miles in and accomplish the goals I set.

To be 100%, I have no time for vengefulness. I have 6 busy kids, adventures to go on, and training to get done. Any and all free time I have is working toward my goals, and I no longer feel Mom guilt for getting shit done. It took me 14 years of parenting to decide that if I put myself first everyone wins. Better late then never?

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Categories: Parenting, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Kids Hate hiking

It’s that time of year again! My kids and I head out on some awesome Mommy and kid adventures: me smiling from ear to ear with pride, them skipping their way up mountains all day. I mean, that is what my social media shows after all! And for some reason that was what  I was expecting…

I have two tweens, and they happen to be two of my most opinionated children I own. Apparently they thought going to Silverton Colorado this year was going to be a lot of walking around town, hanging out at the library, and eating candy. Ummm?? Have they met their Mom??

My oldest is out-of-town so it was just the youngest 5 and I in a tent. Every single hike I suggested was met with whinnying and complaints. The tweens wanted no part of it. They picked apart every hike trying to decide which would take the least amount of time. They wanted to get hikes done quickly then go to town…not my idea of living in the mountains.

I was mad. I was hurt. I was legitimently wondering where I went wrong… We have spent countless summers in the mountains. We have spent days hiking together happily… What was different?

Then I had an epiphany-

A happy Mom is a caffeinated Mom. So, more caffeine for me…and headphones!

Look, I knew in my heart they would be happy once they go out there. Every runner that has been out for a while knows how hard it is to get that motivation back. I knew a couple of miles in they would find their groove and be those mountain loving kids again. But it was ME that was the real problem. I was getting hurt by their refusal, I just had to figure out how to get myself out there and “out there” in a positive mood!

So that’s what I did. I shoved my headphones into my pack and over caffeinated myself. I was ready for whatever foul mood they wanted to pull. And guess what? They had fun!

So Mom hack #207- Caffeine, caffeine, and more caffeine! Plus some headphones! (which I never ended up having to use!)

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When you make a promise…

My children are trying to marry me off…

Tea (11) “you promised me you were going to get married

Tajh (13) “We have a list”

And they proceeded to give me the list.

On it is a loud, foul mouthed “older” gentleman. My friend, a partner in crime, one of their favorite people. Not someone looking for a wife and 6 kids, someone looking to be free, and drunk. Another friend of a friend made the list. Not someone who is “stable” or to “normal”, but someone who is kind and the kids love. The rest of the list is either people who I don’t really know (including some of their teachers) and people already married…

“Umm.. he’s married”

Kids “That’s ok, we can break them up”

Oh goodness…

Wow…

So apparently I have to get married. I did promise after all…

Applications are being accepted via sevenwildandfree@gmail.com

The kids will look them over.

Oh my kids… these kids…

Categories: Single Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parenting Wins

Lately there have been many jokes about sending Tayer to boarding school. Conversations about “if” he does not get into the school my older kids go to where he will end up. There are talks of his potential career in politics, or him becoming the next RuPaul. He is confident, persuasive, flamboyant, fashionable, and intense. Whatever he does he will do it well. (All I can hope is that it’s legal)

I was sitting out front watching the children all play on their various wheeled devises. Tayer, per usual (well about 49% of the time), was being a jerk to everyone else. “Idol hands” as his Dad likes to say or basically just Tay gets bored, or uncomfortable, or hungry, or sad, or his feelings hurt, or ANYTHING and he becomes an asshole to everyone around. So, he was being an asshole and I sent him inside. I’m pretty sure I said “you’re being an asshole, go inside until you can be kind” because, good parenting.

So I sat smuggly proud of that awesome parenting moment. I won. He went inside, see what happens when you mess with this Momma!

And, as I reminded myself of how totally bad ass a parent I am I looked up at the giant picture window that leads into my living room…

Which perfectly framed the 9-year-old boy walking across it…

The 9-year-old boy walking across with such a calm fluid confident stride…

That confident stride with the perfectly well practiced “fuck you” face of a anger teenager…

The “fuck you” face that lead down to…

The double middle finger.

There was so much confidence there. So much swagger. I could not be mad. I giggled (he had passed and had no idea I saw). The other kids asked me what I was laughing about and I had no answer… I texted his Dad “you wont believe what Tay just did…”. This kid gives us a wild ride and I am sure his confidence will serve him well later in life so long as we are able to steer it in the right direction. For now he will keep us on our toes and challenge us at every turn…

Oh Orangie children….

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A reminder of how cute he was.. before he learned his middle finger skills….

 

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What Happened To My Sleeper?

Tag has not been napping lately, or at least that’s how I have been feeling… Yesterday I decided to write things down (because trying to remember anything is hopeless) and find out exactly how much my reformed crazy sleeper was ACTUALLY sleeping…

Tag went to bed at 8pm and woke up at 8 am- Win.

Nap:  9:30-10

Nap:11:10-11:45

Nap: 1:20-2

Nap: 3:50-4:40

Nap: 6:30-7

Bed: 9pm-6am

Ummm.. Excuse me? A total of 3 hours of napping over the entire day? Here’s the deal, that 3 hours is not even productive time for me. By the time I got him to sleep and escaped with my boob I had only a small about of time to get anything done before he woke up again. Yeah, totally not working for this Momma.

When Tag awoke this morning (at 6am, not ok) I decided to do a little experiment. Despite being totally exhausted and wanting to just go back to sleep, I got us both ready and headed to the mountain. We started hiking at 7:15 (he was awake until we got there) and within 2 minutes he was asleep. And Tag decided to nap for the entire 2 hours of our hike! .

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Must be nice to be so lazy…

So what did I learn? Apparently running/hiking my entire pregnancy does not create a baby who sleeps while laying still… My little coach is going to do whatever it takes to get me on the mountain no matter how many excuses I make… If you’re feeling unmotivated I will happily send him to your house the next time he wakes up at 6 am!

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Did I mention it was 99 degrees when we finished?! That’s sweat… gross

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Pretty sure the evil dictator is planning how he will torture me tomorrow…

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Havasupai with a Baby

Decided to take Mr. Tag down to Havasupai Falls because, why not?

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Packing for all day adventures is soooo simple with a baby… Note to self, babies’ need way too much stuff…

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One of us was awake…

He did well for most of the hike in, nursing and sleeping like a baby does.

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Boob

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Another baby on the trail!

Per usual he was very uninterested in the awesome views…

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No? Ok then….

At some points he was awake and even got to enjoy a little of the falls. Though is was a little cold for such a little guy.

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Aaaand, back to sleep….

What I learned on the way out is 11 1/2 hours of my shannaingans is all he is willing to tolerate.

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Awake baby on the trail!

While singing dancing and overall being crazy would keep him happy for a moment, he was unwilling to calm down totally until he was out of the carrier. -Sigh- Nothing like carrying a baby in your arms at the end of a 12 hour day on the CLIMB out….

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But we made it. It was fun, and I learned I am terrible at taking care of my calories. With nursing him all day and hiking I need to figure out just how many calories I need so I don’t feel awful the next day. FOOOOOD! A work in progress!

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You know the amazing feeling of cleaning yourself up and getting changed at the trail head after a long day on the trail? Yeah I don’t, but Tag sure does…

 

Categories: Adventures with Littles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Alone Life

So I’m a single mom of 6 kids, who’s interested??

Yup, that’s the opening line to my stand up routine… hence why I don’t actually have a stand up routine…

But really, who sees a mom to 6 kids and thinks “hey, I want in on that mess”?

Six kids… That is a lot.

Five kids sounded like a lot….

I’ve had it together for these past couple of months since Tag’s birth. I think where most mer mortals would have folded, collapsed at the exhaustion and stress, I excelled. I’ve always taken a challenge well and doing this “single mom to an infant plus five other kids half the time” thing was my biggest challenge to date. I’ve felt in control of my emotions and very “put together”, but not these last couple of weeks. Somehow I have turned into an emotional wreck every time a love song comes on. I cry, in public sometimes- Sabrina does not cry!

So what is it?  I have zero desire to date and zero time.

I am happy being single- While my friends are telling me “you just had a baby, you’ll be interested in dating later”, in my head I’m daydreaming about all the running adventures I will go on in this “later” they speak of.

I have no one to answer to, it’s pretty sweet. My kids roll with all my crazy antics: breakfast for dinner, last minute adventures, impromptu dance parties, and we have no one to judge us. No one to question why we spent money on unnecessary things. No one to check in with. No one to judge my kid messy car. No one to kibosh any stupid (yet fun!) ideas we have. We like it.

If I did have any free time a man is not what I would want to spend it on. I would rather spend more time with my kids, read more, run, go on adventures, write, maybe make that “money” thing everyone speaks of. So much to do, dating is not even close to the table…

So why the sadness as of late? I think I’ll chalk it up to my hormones being a mess post birth. Maybe exhaustion has finally built up enough and I can no longer ignore it. Or maybe it’s just normal? Maybe it’s normal to be sad you don’t have something everyone else (ok not everyone) has but not really want it in the end? Nah, it’s just hormones, I’ll take an extra placenta pill and call it a day.

There was an old woman who lived in a running shoe… I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

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All the man I need! (well… Tag and the 3 others I suppose)

Categories: Single Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stop Praising Dads for Parenting.

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You Should Never Hike The Grand Canyon with a Baby

but I did….

(but I’m not telling you to)

Despite growing up in AZ I had never actually hiked into the Canyon. After having Tag and feeling great post birth (and in the best shape I have been in in a long time) I decided I would put everything I could on my “to-do” list and make adventures happen. Having limited time away from him at least half my training for my races has included hiking as steep an incline as I can find while wearing him. He has been quite the trooper and really taken to napping while we hike (which can be a bummer on a day I’m not feeling like hiking!).

I have hiked a lot while baby wearing, 13 years of baby wearing for me at this point. The biggest question I get is “aren’t you afraid of falling”. Well, yes I am. I used to live in a 3 story town house when I had only 2 little ones and I would constantly be scared of falling down the stairs with them. Curbs scare me when I’m holding little ones. Basically my fears come from the “normal” things in life. The things you aren’t normally thinking about, that is when accidents happen. When I am hiking I am very aware of every step and overly cautious. No, I am not going to stand on the very edge of the Canyon and stare over the side, but as long as I am conscious of what I am doing and paying attention, the likelihood of tripping is less then normal day to day activities. Plus when you are wearing (as oppose to holding) you have 2 hands free to catch yourself!

So the plan was set to do a Rim-River-Rim with baby Tag. Despite everything online telling you to not try to do it in a day, 18 miles seemed doable for me while baby wearing (totally not for everyone). I didn’t have many reservations but as the day grew closer and rain was in the forecast, I became a little concerned. I HATE being cold, and I really couldn’t worry about myself as much. I had to be sure Tag was comfortable. All this meant was some online shopping for the perfect baby gear.

Waking up the day of our hike I was reminded how difficult it is to get yourself AND a newborn ready for a big adventure. Waking up a baby to get him ready, having to pee, it being cold outside, trying to plan when I could nurse before we started, how I could not make everyone else late (we started at the same time as some other friends) and trying to make sure I didn’t forget anything… Exhausting! But it worked out and Tag (such a trooper) allowed me to get us both ready, nurse him, and he slept the entire way to the South Kaibab Trail head.

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We totally weren’t scared!

Honestly, it was a pretty uneventful hike (that’s a good thing!). My sister joined us on minimal training and we took our time into the Canyon. Down to Phantom Ranch took almost 4 hours with no stopping just slow walking. Tag nursed a little on the way down but mostly slept comfortably. There was a drizzle of rain but nothing too crazy. At Phantom we took a 45 minute break where Tag was awake and playing. He hung out, made friends, and had a diaper change in the fresh rainy air. Putting him back on to head out, he fussed some but went directly back to sleep.

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Pretty sure I was explaining that he was in fact a real live baby he just sleeps and makes me do all the hard work!

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Lemonade!

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Phantom Ranch chillin

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The smallest person at the bottom of the Canyon that day!

 

Heading up Bright Angel the rain picked up some but Tag was unconcerned. As long as I kept the boob out, he had no worries in the world. I did not enjoy the cold boob or rain drops in my cleavage, but baby always wins. If you saw me in the canyon that day there is a good chance you saw my nipple, sorry about that! There were plenty of nice men I played leapfrog with on the way up (I would power up then wait for my sister. I was “that” annoying hiker but Tag needed me to move!).  I got a lot of questions about how Tag was doing (what about mmmmeeee??) and my answer was almost always “sleeping”. At one point Tag was screaming and a couple of runners (dirtbag runners I believe) came by, “Are you ok?”… Me “Oh yes he just lost the boob”.. Silence…. I must have not thought about my audience for that one!

We made it out of the Canyon with a totally time of about 11 hours which included resting at Phantom Ranch and 2 other diaper change stops. Could I have done fast? Yes. I promised myself (and my sister) that there would be no time goals and no plan. Just a long walk all day looking at a beautiful place. Even with the rain and fog (that settled in as we were almost of the canyon) the Canyon is amazing. Don’t ask Tag about it though, he wasn’t very awed….

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Tan lines=Boob is out

 

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So let’s talk gear!

Sleeping- Camping with babies is always a pain. They move, sleeping bags move, they need to be warm! I bought Tag the Frosty Freeze Bunting by Columbia and was so flipping happy about it! We slept in the car and he slept on my chest. At one point as he woke up to nurse I reached in to feel his body temperature and he was on fire! I had to unzip him to cool him off some. Now with the fluffiness of it, if I didn’t co-sleep and have him touching me the entire evening, I may be slightly uncomfortable with him sleeping in it, but it worked perfectly for us.

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Wearing- I am huge into more “traditional” carriers. I use mei tais, ring slings, wraps, nothing with buckles. A while ago a friend suggested a Boba Air and I decided to have it as a “keep in the car” carrier. Not only is it awesome in how little space it takes up, but I can wear a baby on my front and my hydration pack (Ultimate direction Jenny Vest) on my back! With how minimal the Boba air is (unlike a ergo with padded straps) the pack fits like normal and I was not uncomfortable at all, over 11 hours of baby/pack wearing and I felt awesome. I did end up with a small side blister from the Boba which I found entertaining more than anything. At no point did I feel it happening and only noticed the next day when I went running shirtless!

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A rare moment of Tag awakeness in the Canyon! Boba + Jenny Vest for the win!

 

What Baby Wore- When I ordered the sleeping bunting I also ordered Columbia bugababy interchange bunting, oh my greatness! Tag was wearing a short sleeve onesie, a long sleeve footsie onesie, smart wool socks, and the bunting. He was dry and warm the entire time! I was actually jealous every time I put my hand in to feel how warm he was! My Northface shell is great but by the end I was cold and wet, not Tag! One thing I do regret is I bought 0-3 month and when I was wearing him I couldn’t pull the cuffs over his feet to keep them dry as well. I ended up wrapping a dollar store poncho around my waist to cover his feet which worked out just fine. I am so stocked with both my Columbia purchases and how well they worked for my little guy!

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Tag in his perfect rain attire with my Sis.

All and all it was a Grand adventure for the 3 of us! Do I recommend heading out the the Canyon right now for everyone? No. But with my experience and the time I took preparing both baby and myself, we were ready and had an amazing day together! Start with a small victory, a small mountain, a short trail, just get moving! Eventually your perception changes and anything is possible!

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We made it! (Tag still sleeping…)

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All warm and dry in the car!

 

Categories: Adventures with Littles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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