Hike: Purisima Creek

We try to do a family hike every Sunday, and we most often find ourselves north of San Francisco. Today...we were too tired. We went out for breakfast sandwiches instead. But last Sunday we mixed it up and had one of our best hikes in a while. We headed south to Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

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Purisima Creek is just south of Half Moon Bay, California and can be accessed from off Highway 1 or from Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard). We chose the smaller, western access point up Purisima Creek Road, which allowed us to stop off in Half Moon Bay for trail food and a quick side adventure. The drive up Purisima Creek Road is a lovely roll through horse ranches and farms...and while the parking lot at the end of the road is tiny, there's ample room on the side of the quiet road. 

Purisima Creek seemed like a great area for hiking and getting a dose of nature with kids of all ages, even just by doing short, simple out-and-back walks along the creek. We saw several other families there throughout the day. Many of the trails are wide, and the creek itself is great for picnicking and tossing rocks. Fast mountain bikes and poison oak are the main hazards. 

You can view a trail map HERE. Our route was Harkins Ridge Trail - Craig Britton Trail - Purisima Creek Trail, which came out to about 7 miles. Harkins Ridge Trail is the steeper part of this loop and we decided to tackle it first. 

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The views were full of forest, hills, and even a peek of the ocean. We saw lizards & butterflies, and heard many birds. There were flowers blooming here and there, including trillium. We'll definitely be trying some more loops in this area. Perhaps tomorrow.

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We are lucky to have a kid who loves to be outside and who can sleep easily in a carrier on the trail. It means we can usually plan our hike to incorporate a nap and get more mileage. After a picnic down by the creek our girl slept in a chest carrier most of the way up Harkins Ridge. She's quite petite still at 2.5 years, but is nearly too big for her carriers now. Our kid is getting pretty good at hiking on her own, though, too...she more or less ran down most of Purisima Creek Trail...once we got past the really oaky bits and let her down.

Have you tried a new trail lately or otherwise mixed up your routine?

Woah, PeeWee!

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Nothing like a little girl's first pony ride! On our way to our Sunday hike we passed Lemos Farm outside of Half Moon Bay. Almost anytime we catch a glimpse of a horse, our little one says she wants to ride...so seeing little ponies by the highway, we decided to u-turn and have a some quick fun. She said she was all done after only a few minutes...but talked about it all day and asked to ride PeeWee again later, so I say that was $8 well spent. 

Two little birds...

Two little birds arrived on our doorstep.

My crafty mother-in-law has started working on mixed media works of art, and she sent these lovely pieces to grace the walls of her granddaughter's room. Our little one admires them everyday and reminds us that GramSam made them just for her. I am grateful that every single person in our family pursues their interests and sets a good example for our girl. I try to do the same. 

Trick or Treat

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This girl is always a treat...and today she's a sweet little homeybee. Although this year I had to make a trip to Old Navy & the fabric store for supplies, we continued our tradition of a homemade costume. We're heading out in a few hours for her first trick-or-treat trip to houses (last hear we did shops on a local street). We live fairly close to a "fancy" neighborhood, so we may wander that direction to see if there are fancy treats...they have to be split three ways, after all.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Summer is gone. Long live summer.

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Woosh. No...more like clackity clackity clackity clackity. The sound of the calendar days turning over quickly like a train station schedule board. It's mid-September already and the calendar says summer is ending. But in San Francisco it's really just beginning. The fog lingers less each day. It's a bit disorienting...beach weather is coming soon. I'll get my apple cider on ice. Travels and visitors and new work schedules and new nap schedules and new ideas swirl around me even faster than my daughter does. Blink and it will be fall. Take a breath and it will be Christmas.  Wake up and find it's a new year. I must rememeber to keep my eyes open. To jump in...participate. Choose. Take pictures...unless I'm just enjoying the moment. You never know, I might find someone small took the perfect picture for me.

Outdoor Women...and girls!

Last fall I read a post on Not Martha about her participation in the Washington Outdoor Women annual Weekend Workshop and immediately signed up for the WOW mailing list. Awesome outdoorsy classes in a beautiful place with a group of interesting ladies...in my head, I was already planning my trip there for 2014. Last week I got a note in my inbox that registration for this year's weekend workshop was open...with a twist. To attend the WOW workshop this year you must bring along a young girl! If my daughter or any kid I knew was the right age (9-12 years old) we'd be there in a heartbeat, signed up for classes about navigation, rope-making, or using wild plants. Oh well...I think it sounds like a lot of fun so I wanted to pass the word along...check out the Washington Outdoor Women website and the weekend workshop brochure. I'm pretty sure anyone from anywhere can attend...although space is limited. Anyone know of similar programs offered elsewhere? 

let kids run wild...but with respect

Emma Marris recently posted an article on Slate, speaking with a former park ranger Matthew Browning and others, and arguing in favor of letting kids explore nature however they want, whether it's climbing trees or collecting rocks or building forts or digging holes, wherever they find nature...even in a national park. At first I was like, "Yeah!" Then I was like "Wait a second..."  

Kids AND adults do need to explore and investigate nature. It's good for the soul and creates a tangible connection between ourselves and the world. BUT national parks are set aside for a reason. And the large numbers of visitors to these popular destinations means the "nature" within a national park is automatically more highly impacted than other natural areas. No one can selfishly treat these places as belonging to just themselves. Public lands must be shared, and they must be left how we would wish to find them.

But after millions of kid-hours of use by children gleefully doing their worst, these play zones remain functioning natural areas. The damage wrought by kids was comparable to that from hiking or camping. 

Letting kids "do their worst" is not teaching them to respect and admire nature.  Nature CAN be a playground...but it is so much more. The article implies that national parks are stuffy with a policy of Leave-No-Fun.  The counter-offer is the creation of designated free-play areas within national parks where kids could do whatever they want to the plants, animals, and earth found in the zone. It's an interesting idea, but perhaps one that should be applied in cities, residential areas, and in place of structured playgrounds...the places kids explore everyday.

Kids do need unstructured playtime, and they do need to experiment and explore...but we humans spend so much time bending nature to our own desires, it's valuable to teach children to stop and quietly observe what's going on around them. Watch, listen, smell. Be IN nature, not ABOVE nature. National parks in particular provide this opportunity, and were in fact created for it. Stewardship, preservation, sustainability, and conservation are the words and actions children need to learn, but first they need to understand why. To understand why they need to see it and experience it as it is, not as an amusement park. Furthermore, they need to see the adults in their world respect and SHARE nature. There's plenty of wild on-trail and within the rules.

Elephantitis

Elephants have been lurking about lately. It started with the appearance of my childhood stuffed elephant Mr. Nibbs. It's about the same size as Abigail. Then we taught Abigail how to make an elephant noise. She's pretty good at it, and does it whenever she hears the word elephant or sees one in a book. Sometimes a whale warrants an elephant call, too. Here are some other elephants that have been on my brain:   

Infantino's Elephant Teether Kiki

Infantino's Elephant Teether Kiki

Tippi and her "brother" via Bored Panda

Tippi and her "brother" via Bored Panda

Heartbreaking & Sweet Dumbo ♥ Mrs. Jumbo 

Ar-teest

We carved pumpkins this year and we though it would be fun for Abigail to paint her little pumpkin. On Halloween I got out all the stuff. Smock, check. Paper drop cloth, check. Paint & brush, check. It got a little messy after that. Mostly she wanted me to squirt more paint out. And walk around. In the paint. After 5 minutes I came to my senses and cleaned up myself, my baby, and my floor. Then I found some Jolly Roger stickers which Abigail thoroughly enjoyed sticking to her pumpkin. Also, twenty minutes before nap time was probably a little ambitious for this adventure. I think with better timing, a high chair, and maybe another parent we could really accomplish some great artwork, or at least have some more great laughs.

Transient

Blooming?

Over a year ago I wrote a post about my uncertainty about life and personal potential, and the question of if and how motherhood would affect my uncertainty and fear (read it HERE so you know what I'm babbling about in this post). The discussion continued in the comments of that post and recently an old friend of mine, who is now expecting her first little one (yay!), nudged me for an update and brought up some new questions of her own. 

I hadn't re-read my original post since I had written it, and when I did it really threw me into a crazy mental place...part of a series of events which have made me question my own behaviors and choices over the years and have made me worry even more (if that's possible) about some of the life decisions looming over me: Should I/Can I become a stay-at-home mom? Where do we want our family to live and grow? What is important to me? What am I willing to compromise? What gives me joy? What brings me down? What have I accomplished? What am I proud of? What do I wish I had done or was doing differently? 

The last year has been a whirlwind. They aren't kidding when they say "don't blink." After a year of keeping a tiny human alive it does finally feel like there is some breathing room to think and do and turn a corner (ah, but which corner...). I unfortunately can't say that much has changed in my brain since my Blossom post...I still feel a part of me is dormant. I still get overwhelmed by choices and dreams and responsibilities and fear and failure. However I can say that it all feels bigger and more important now, in a good way.

It turns out that being a mom has made all these questions and feelings MORE relevant. I feel like I've got the basic mom stuff down pretty well...you know, providing basic needs, physical & mental development, and a good dose of play. But more than wondering if it's okay to be "just a mom" or comparing myself to other mothers, I find myself wondering constantly if I'm being a good example to my daughter. I want her to be proud of me and look up to me not just as her mama but as a woman and a human. I know it doesn't exactly matter yet...she doesn't know or care about what I do beyond taking care of her. But she will one day.  And the things I do for me will help me do for her. This is all why seasoned moms tell new moms to take care of themselves, to take time for themselves. Why is it so hard to take that advice? I'm trying.  I'm ready to find my balance again. I'm ready to bloom. But yeah, your kid DOES become your whole existence...partly because of logistics and partly because of love. 

Honestly, I think a lot of my worry relates to my particular situation...living in the most expensive city living mostly on a freelancer's income (i.e. income-not-necessarily-guaranteed) and my own particular brain...agonizing over every little thing and never having had a distinct dream or 10-year-plan or what-have-you. Well, not one I thought feasible or followed through on. Plus, having a kid makes every decision feel more important, makes you cautious in a way you can't know unless you're a parent. And becoming a parent made me understand my own parents feelings about ME, and that made me want to make THEM proud, too. Although, my parents seem to be proud of me no matter what...which I also understand now. 

Maybe part of why I haven't made progress on "fixing" other things in my brain is because I relish the moments I'm with my girl. It's a tough choice between living for now versus living for later. I generally choose NOW and try to not feel guilty about it later. On the other hand, I am a master at worrying and overthinking everything. I am trying to learn to let go and jump in and go for it, etc. etc. When I get so worried about life I just think about this most beautiful little face and heart and personality which bring me more joy and awe than I knew existed, and everything is fine.

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keeping it simple

As a new mom I'm learning many new lessons in efficiency, patience, time management, and getting things done (All the moms out there are saying "Well, duh!"). Many of our friends and family members have been so generous in welcoming our little one that I really wanted to send out a special thank you.

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In the past I would have designed the hell out of this card with borders, embossing, ribbon, etc. and still would never be satisfied with the final product. Keeping things simple means I actually accomplished my goal...

(nevermind that it took 3 months)

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The pic is an iPhone photo that I edited using the Photogene for iPad app and then printed at home. Stamps, ink, and paper were from my stash.

20,000 Leagues

Oh, hey bloggy type people...how are you? For almost 5 weeks I've been 20,000 leagues under this new baby girl (yes a girl wearing blue...shocking I know). I haven't really made time to write for months, and am uncertain what to write anyway. I'm sure all I long to say about having a child has been said over and over again...maybe for thousands of years! I also promised here that this wouldn't turn into a mommy blog...but damn if that isn't my whole beautiful world right now. 

blossom

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Cherry Blossom #1, Flora

I've been thinking a lot about dormancy lately...maybe because I'm acting as a cocoon for this little human being inside me (the one squirming and kicking right now). But I know it started before that. It was part of why I revamped and restarted a blog a year and a half ago...this feeling that I'm not quite living up to my potential, that I can do better.

I don't think that's a bad feeling...without it I wouldn't try new things or work on bad habits or put effort into anything, and so on. But I'm challenged by not knowing what my true potential is, as opposed to things that are realistically out of reach. I am frustrated that I let myself down because I know I need to put time into something I want to accomplish, but I decide to watch a movie or something instead. I'm confused by the choices between dreams and responsibilities. All of this makes me feel overwhelmed, so I shut down and veg out and do nothing: I go dormant.

I've let myself down a lot, but then I'm never sure if I'm just being too hard on myself...it all comes down to fear, I think. I fear failure, I fear disappointing loved ones, I fear complacency, and I fear regret.

Fear has put me into a state of dormancy mentally. Hustling to survive in the city has put me into a state of dormancy creatively. Pregnancy has put me into a state of dormancy physically. Scott thinks motherhood is going to make me blossom...I think he may be right...

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halfway, baby!

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Today I am forcing you to look at my offspring. Look at that cute little nose! I am halfway through my pregnancy (20 weeks..go baby, go!), so here's 20 random pregnancy thoughts: 

1) Pregnancy so far has been mostly uneventful...let's hope it stays that way.
2) People have all kinds of opinions and advice...even if they've never had a kid.
3) Thinking of names is hard.
4) I already feel like an ancient fertility stone carvings...curvy & getting curvier.
5) Pregnancy makes you obsess about all parts of the digestive process.
6) Pregnant bellies are not squishy.
7) Pregnancy books and Google can be as stressful as they are helpful.
8) I used to not even fill an A cup...what do I do with all this boobage?
9) I haven't really had cravings...if anything, I've lost part of my sweet tooth.
10) I think we might have to move.
11) Time is flying.
12) I cry every Saturday. It just happens.
13) I'm glad we're waiting to find out girl/boy: less pink+ruffles or blue+trucks.
14) So much is happening to my body, I forget to appreciate not menstruating.
15) I miss soccer. And sushi.
16) I'm nervous about all this. More about the pregnancy than being a mama.
17) I keep wondering about pregnant women in different time periods & cultures.
18) Babies are wiggly. Their hearts beat fast.
19) I'm only drinking one cup of coffee a day, so it better be a good one.
20) I love this kid.

and furthermore...

Last night I welcomed myself back to my blog and just wanted to elaborate on "other tidbits soon to be revealed"

temp knuckle tats from  Tattly

temp knuckle tats from Tattly

temp knuckle tats fromTattly

I'm building a new little person inside of me! I'm nearly three months pregnant :) 

Don't be scared...this is not going to turn into an all "Mommy Blog" all the time...I'd like to stay well rounded...and I'd like to try to be sensitive to people around me who are not/cannot/choose not to have kids. We're all friends here. But it's also true that this is a pretty big deal and I'm pretty excited, so of course it's going to come up from time to time. And it's my blog.

Eleven and a half weeks in...I've been very fortunate to have had it pretty easy.  Digestion is harder, crying is easier. Sleeping is up and down (get used to it). I've had a few scattered days where I felt sort of dazed and worried and scared by it all. I've had a few scattered days where I've decided I'm going to be a kick-ass mom (i.e. awesome, not literally kicking my kid's ass...geez.). In between I've been waiting for the everyday changes and effects...such as yesterday when my pants became uncomfortable. So I think pregnancy is really a game of constant re-adjustment and self pep talks. I'm grateful for our wondrous and understanding family and for how lucky I am in life and love.