Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Thank You List

During this week of thanks, it has been fun for me to reflect on all of the MANY things I am thankful for.  As a new-ish mom, I am of course thankful for the health and wellbeing of my family first and foremost.  I am truly blessed and so lucky to have the love and support that I do. 

With the serious thank yous out of the way, I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank:   

Cozy Bean in the Pouch
·         The inventors of the fruit pouch for keeping the Bean's diet nutritionally sound (and being SO handy when we’re out and about).  She spits out all of the nutritious stuff I make her, but somehow loves the dang pouches... 

·         All of the great people posting their cat videos for the Bean's entertainment on you tube.  Keep 'em coming people! 

·         Amazon mom for delivering my g diaper refills without me having to think about it. 

·         Our great dane for efficiently cleaning the floor and high chair without me having to lift a finger

·       Our RoSK Pouch for keeing the Bean cozy so that we can keep going with our walks/runs even though it’s cold now!  I know I'm biased, but it is the BEST!

 What are you thankful for?  Write us a comment and let us know!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Did You Plant Fall Bulbs?

Yes, I know it's getting kind of late for this.  If it hasn't frozen yet where you live, you still have time.  Planing fall bulbs is a great outdoor activity to do with kids because:

1.  It's a learning opportunity.  The Bulb Project has more info on what you can talk about here.  Since the Bean is still so little, it was more about handling the bulbs for the first time, feeling the textures, and the general experience of gardening outside.

2.  There are big rewards later.  Come spring, you will be so glad that you took the time in the fall.  And the kiddos will be stoked to have helped.

3.  It is a budget-friendly activity.  Bulbs are a relatively inexpensive landscaping option and they keep going year after year.  Tulips and daffodils are extremely reasonable, especially if you get them on sale.

4.  It's fun!  Particularly if you can involve your kids throughout the process: picking out the bulbs, finding the right tools, deciding where to put them, digging, placing, watering, etc.  Even if there is complaining in the beginning, they will probably surprise themselves with how much they enjoy it in the end!

If it is already freezing where you live, you can still "force" bulbs like paperwhites or amarylis indoors, which could be a fun project too.

What kinds of gardening projects do you do with your kiddos?  Did you plant fall bulbs?  We'd love to hear about it.  Submit a comment and share!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall with the Family

The fam coming out of the trailhead.
Fall is hands down my favorite time of the year. I am so inspired by all the colors and find myself constantly drawing the girls attention to how amazing nature is this time of year. So much that my girl will now point out trees they feel are exceptional. Love that.

The girls loving the leaves
When the weather is reasonable here in Seattle (that just means not pouring rain), we really enjoy hiking as a family. At least once a weekend we go to one of the surrounding wooded parks and enjoy the forest & trails. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not a naturalist & I love taking the girls for walks in the city just as much as the woods. However there is just something about the sunlight shining through a huge tree illuminating it's multiple colored leaves that really works for me.

Less than a mile from my house there is a park next to the zoo that is a beautiful wooded space. On the back side of the hilly terrain is a skatepark & bmx bike park. This is one of our favorite places to walk to...a little nature & a little urban, perfect!

Do you have a favorite Fall day? Please share, we'd love to hear about it.

Woodland Park  Skate Park

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Swinging in the Rain

Just when I thought that Woobee blankets couldn't get any more useful, Heather mentioned to me that they are perfect for keeing babies dry in bucket swings! 

Since swinging is the Bean's favorite thing to do (ever), and we certainly have plenty of rain here in Seattle to contend with, I decided to give it a try. I put the weatherproof side down on the wet swing, tied it on so that it didn't go anywhere, put the Bean into the swing, and folded the available extra bits over so that her wee shoulders and legs were covered somewhat. 


Have you ever used your Woobee on a swing?  Other rainy outdoor play?  Please submit a comment and tell us about it!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chucking My To-Do List

I just loved this post on the Sew Liberated blog about chucking the to-do list.  So inspirational.  Plus, how great are those pics of fall leaves with her kiddos?

I've been mourning the loss of some of my afternoon productivity as we are transitioning to one nap and I have been solo parenting this week while the hubs is traveling.  I admit there have been numerous times that I have wished the Bean was sleeping so that I could get one other little thing done...

Is your to-do list getting in the way of quality time?  Mine is!  Maybe it's time for all of us to put down that list for a minute and take a long walk in the leaves...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Crisp Fall Run

Cozy with the RoSK Pouch on the Stroller
We had an ABSOLUTELY. BEAUTIFUL. AFTERNOON. Seriously, Seattle was like fall looks in the movies.  Sunlight beaming through gold and crimson leaves, crisp clear air with a chilly edge.  Sun setting over the mountains.  The Bean and I have been getting out most afternoons for a long walk with the dog, but today called for something more exciting.  So, we mixed it up with a longer jaunt- a run down to the lake, around, and back. 

The Bean was a great sport and despite being tired from her nap strike, managed to stay happy and cozy the whole way (4 miles).  There was a lot of "woof" "woof" coming from the stroller as she intermittently saw dogs of all colors, shapes and sizes.  She also screeched with glee when she saw birds and airplanes.  Even though I was out of breath and hating it, I couldn't help but smile and really enjoy the moment. 

The Celebratory, Post-run Swing!
I was so glad to see so many other people out enjoying the weather too: family photoshoots in the leaves, a mom and kids having a picnic dinner, and a ton of people out exercising.  We gave a shout out to a mamma with a turquoise super woobee!  Woot!

Winter is right around the corner- time to get out there and enjoy fall while it lasts!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Funny take on Star Wars & other favs

Sorry about the inconsistent blogging. Apparently I'm not good at posting without a schedule:) I used to think the people that had to schedule everything were lame...now I call them organized and I strive to master their technique.

As a way to try to redeem myself for my lack of attention, I'm listing my favorite things I posted on the RoSK Facebook page this week :

This video is ridiculously adorable. If you're a Star Wars fans I think you'll enjoy it.
Star Wars from the view of a 3 year old

                                                                                                                              This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. Of course, I'm also a Smashing Pumpkins fans from way back -

Love it!

Here is another video clip that is kid friendly & a little retro - Muppets do Bohemian Rhapsody! My girls love the Muppets & Queen so this is a big hit in our house -

Muppets nailing Queen

Okay, I promise to try to do better & post more consistently.

- Heather

Thursday, October 6, 2011

While You Are Out...

Like a wild fire, news channels of all kinds are spreading the sad reality of Steve Jobs death. I am not a techy person (on any level), and would not have known it if I had been standing right next to Jobs. But the news of his death has me far more emotional than I would have ever imagined. Why? Obviously what he has done as a business man is out of this world, but for me it seems to be deeper than that.

Anyone dying of cancer is sad, including Steve Jobs. My father died of lung cancer and I often relive those last moments anytime I hear another life has fallen to the same sort of unfortunate death. My heart breaks for his family and loved ones. But when a whole world morns the loss of one human you can almost feel the vibration of sadness in the air. I find it overwhelming.

Computers have changed my life (specifically smart phones), and although Steve Jobs is not solely responsible for this I know he was a game changer. As a mom and business owner, being able to receive emails on my phone improved the quality of life for my whole family. No longer was I tied to my desk waiting for an email from a supplier or buyer. I was able to go to the park with my kids, the grocery store, or any where else I needed to go. While I was out I could check and respond to anyone! Frickin' brilliant!! I just know Steve Jobs ability to push the envelope somehow encouraged this.

There is also emotion around losing a genius mind at such a young age. Tragic for everyone. Who knows what else this man would have done with another 20 years. I can only imagine.

So while you are 'out' Steve, you will clearly be missed. But I do hope you have somehow past the torch to others that will continue your legacy. The world is now dependent on what your mind designs. RIP.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kentucky, how I love thee...

We just got home from the ABC Kids Show, which is the largest babies/children's product trade show in the US. All the big boys are there - Boon, Graco, Ergo, Moby, Safety 1st, Sassy, Britax, the list goes on & on. So wonderful to meet with other company owners & creative types, see all the new products out there, & meet our retailers in person. We had a great show!

This year the show was in Louisville, Kentucky. Now many exhibitors were not happy about this. We, on the other hand, were very excited since neither Amy or I had ever been there. I mean, horses, bourbon & bluegrass, what's not to love? Here's some pics from our trip...
Street Art, Banksy style

Me & Amy with Sarah the Panda
Amy, Doc Crow's. Yum!

Hammerheads, amazing food.
 The people in Kentucky were so unbelievably nice. The type of niceness you can't be irritated at, but actually have to match with your own kindness. Contagious I tell you. It's a beautiful thing. The one thing we now know that Kentucky does not focus on is coffee. The coffee at the hotel & convention center could make my toes curl. Now, I'm an addict so I can tolerate A LOT when I need my fix. But even I threw this coffee out. Everything else, roses!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SWOOP, I love!

Sorry for the lame job posting. The office is in crazy town getting ready for the ABC Kids Show in Kentucky taking place later this week. We're very excited to have the RoSK booth there (#529 for those attending) & SUPER excited to be introducing our new Pouch carrier cover & new fall colors...we also have new pricing people:)

So I've got to get back to packing, BUT I met with this great Seattle mom/designer last week and I am IN LOVE with her product - SWOOP bags. Seriously crazy for the bright, rich colors Sarah has chosen and literally my girls put everything in them. Dress up clothes, stuffed animals, I hear they're great for logo's, & my personal favorite - the endless supply of library books! Stuff the bags full & cinch them up. Now I don't mind having the girls things in the living room...I actually prefer it:) Check 'em out. Another smart product from another smart mom.

Have some great products you love? Tell us, please.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Report: 15 Minutes Outside

The Book: 15 Minutes Outside, 365 ways to get out of the house and connect with your kids, by Rebecca P. Cohen  

The premise: A mom makes a New Year's resolution to get outside every day for 15 minutes with her two young boys. 

Things I liked:
  • The month-by-month format, and corresponding seasonal summaries are a great way to organize the 365 activities.  You can just skip to the pertinent season, without needing to read the whole book.
  • She left her corporate job to start a landscaping consulting business, and there are a number of activities in the book that incorporate gardening with kids according to the seasons. 
  • There is a good range of activities, from free stuff in your backyard , to small investments (magnifying glass or hula hoops) to activities in your area (find a marina, pick apples or pumpkins) to more involved options (make a birdhouse). 

Honestly, I could really only see myself doing 1 in 5 or so of the activities.  If my math is right, I guess that's still 73 actionable ideas so maybe I shouldn't complain!  My favorites were the gentle reminders to just do what you were going to do anyway, just outside.  For example, picnic or study outside in the fall or spring when it is nice weather, or have cocoa or play a game outside in the winter. 

Rebecca's website has a free download of 50 things you can do outside with your kids as well as a guide for starting an outdoor classroom (garden) at your child's school.

What will you do with 15 minutes outside with your kiddo today?


Thursday, September 8, 2011


Although you can't see me, I am actually doing a 'school's back in session' dance. Don't get me wrong, I love a good lazy summer of sleeping in, camping, & playing in the water. The reality is I own a small company so my summers aren't so lazy & although we had a great summer, I scrambled to squeeze time in between work hours so we can have some fun. Moving on to Fall!

How do the girls & I find time to appreciate the outdoors during the school week? Well we're lucky, my girls go to school about 5 blocks away from our house. We have a nice walk (or jog depending on how smoothly the morning went) which allows us time to breathe some fresh air, make observations about our surroundings & just enjoy moving around. We have a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains on a clear day. That always leads to excellent conversation.

Anyone else doing the back-to-school dance? How do you incorporate the outdoors into school days? Really, I want to know.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Where's My Space?

Well, I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful end of summer! I had meant to post an entry while away but between the late morning starts, activities to prepare for, & general  chaos, the days just flew by. We joined friends at their farm in Hood River, OR along with an ebb & flow of numerous other families.

Now 12 adults & 13 kids makes for crazy amounts of fun, but this type of stimulation can also drive my kids to go into a tail spin. When we go on extended holidays with groups we take extra measures to provide the girls with some Crazy Town coping skills. Here's the 3 ways we try to help them stay civil:

1. Provide a place to call their own. This may be a bedroom, or if the house is crowded we choose to stay in our tent. Whatever the space looks like we make sure it's off limits to others.
2. It's okay to take some quiet time. If they are feeling tired or grumpy we encourage them to say "I'm going to have a quiet time". Then they can retreat to their tent/room to read/play & get themselves together. This time does not include others & not a time to sneak 1 favorite friend away from the group. It's a solo act.
3. If you don't like the game, don't play it. When a large group of kids are all playing a game we encourage the girls to find a way participate (which is usually not a problem), but if the game is stressing them out they can quietly take a breather. This is not to be a way to manipulate the game in their favor. Just away to exit the game gracefully.

What did you do for Labor Day weekend? Anything super fun? Do you have ways to help your kids manage chaotic situations while on holiday?

School starts tomorrow! I'm SAVED!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exercise with the kids. Crazy?

My girls are now 6.5 & 9 years old. Now that they are biking well & love being in the water I have discovered some great opportunities to get off my butt & exercise with them (I made plenty of excuses when they were younger). What are we doing together? The girls ride their bikes alongside me on my runs around Greenlake, which on nice days it's a bit like the video game Frogger. They are also putting on their wetsuits & lifejackets to going paddle boarding with me. I paddle around with them on the board until I feel I've got in a good workout & then we go to the middle of the lake where I let them swim...they have also been doing some paddling of their own.

The downside of bringing them along for my workouts is that I need to focus on them too & I don't get to zone out. I must admit it can suck the relaxation right out of the whole experience. The cool thing is not only are they wreaking the physical benefits, but they also get to witness me actually 'enjoying' the exercise - we all know the importance of modeling desired behavior. 

Lola going for a paddle, age 6

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Outdoor Ideas for Final Days of Summer

Is Labor Day really next week?  Wow- this summer has flown by!  If you are looking for ideas on how to spend some quality time with the kiddos before they head back to school, or hoping to plan a great outdoor activity for Labor Day, I highly recommend that you check out the National Wildlife Federation's Get Outside website

While many of the ideas are straightforward (ehem, do you need a recipe for s'mores?), there are also some gems, such as Wildlife Watch, a program where your kids can report in on wildlife and plants that they find, and Nature Find, which shows you nature sites and events in your area.  Nature Find found 44 nature sites and 55 events within 5 miles of my house, for example.  Most are parks that we regularly visit; however, some have been off the radar and will be added to the rotation!

We'll definitely be hitting up some parks and "swimming" (wading, splashing, giggling) with the Bean while the weather holds.  We're also headed out of town next week to the San Juan Islands, just north of Seattle. 

What do you have planned for the last days of summer?


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

School Lunch - love this link!


Why do I love this link? Because we are a busy family & the pressure of needing to make lunches creative for our kids could tip us our the edge of insanity (which we already ride oh so close to). Now, I give kudos to all those creative gourmet lunch making parents. BUT, as a nutrition major from Bastyr University, I can assure you 'simple' is just fine. Protein, carb, fruit &/or veg - done.

Happy packing!

- Heather

Monday, August 22, 2011

Universal Camping Truths- Still True w/ Kids

This weekend marked my initiation into camping as a parent, as we took our eleven-month-old camping for the first time.  To all of the other hardy parents who have come before me, I salute you!  There was a lot of time in the car and a lot of schlepping of stuff and a lot of losing my mind trying to keep her out of danger and dirt, but all in all, totally worth it!

My key takeaways of camping as a parent are completely consistent with what I would consider to be my more general universal camping truths:

Tent Peek A Boo
1.  You will get dirty
Um, total understatement with a baby.  The Bean basically wanted to touch and eat everything, including campfirey dirt and mud in the stream.  I consider myself to be fairly chill in the dirty child tolerance department yet almost lost it a couple of times because there was no where to go that was not filthy.  I kept my sanity by warming water on the stove for "baby spa" (warm wash cloth bath).

2.  You may not sleep that well
Our daughter actually did pretty well.  I definitely recommend camping next to a stream like we did to drown out the crying if you need some cry it out time.  Our great dane was more of a problem on the sleep front because we were all crammed into a tiny tent and our dog is disruptive to say the least (doggie running dreams).

3.  It will be cold in the morning
Fortunately, I packed warm clothes for all.  Mini hat, thick socks, and giant fluffy fleece for the Bean.  First coffee always tastes ten times better in the woods.

4.  Bring a book or activity
The baby went down and we realized that we completely forgot books, cards, etc.  Good thing it was a clear night for star gazing.  I brought children's books, but it would have been helpful to have some other activities on hand for the Bean- crafts maybe? 

5.  It is all worth it and you should go more often.
Yes, it is a pain to pack everything up and wash it all when you come home.  It may be a long car ride (Jeep ride on back roads for us).  But the memories that you only get with this unique experience are the kind of priceless that they make commercials about.  Can't wait until we go again!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dude, where are my keys?

Genius Key Gizmo
To get outside, you need to get out of the house first. One of my obstacles lately has been "losing” my keys. Oh, they’re around somewhere, but I have to look in a bunch of different places to locate them, which wastes time and makes me late. Or late-er I guess, since I’m also gathering up snacks, sunscreen and gear for my 11 month-old Bean.  

And it happens embarrassingly often lately.

Is this the dreaded “mom brain” that people describe? Maybe! But probably not. It’s more likely that I don’t have a good system for my keys anymore. I sometimes use a purse, sometimes a backpack, and I usually just use the diaper bag.  Plus I leave the house at many different times to go to lots of different places.  

What did I do BEFORE I had the Bean? I spent some time thinking about this today. In addition to having a lot more consistency in my life, I remembered that I also had a genius gizmo in one of my bags. It was so simple, just a clip on an elastic cord that the smarties at Orla Kiely thought up and sewed right into the lining.  

So, I’m back to this bag. I also purchased similar clips (carabiners would work great too) and elastic at the fabric store to install in several of my other bags (the diaper bag being most critical). I’ll let you know how it works out tomorrow when I need to leave the house!

How do you keep your keys “found”?  Anything else you regularly "lose" on your way out the door?  What are your systems?


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

RoSK GIVEAWAY!! Who wants a Woobee?

Enter to win one of 3 Woobee Plush blankets! Be the first to have one of our cool new colors - tangerine/grey, ruby/grey, & ruby/black.

 How do you win? 

1 entry if you 'Get The Word' (subscribe via email).
1 entry if you share Out We Go & this giveaway on 'FB'.
1 entry if you 'Join Us' (follow Out We Go).
1 entry if you nominate us for the Red Tricyle Awesome Awards.

Leave a comment on this post & let us know about your entries.

We can't wait to give these away!!! Contest ends on August 22nd. 

Good Luck!
- Heather

Monday, August 15, 2011

Art, Design & Children

Fear of Being Ridiculed

I'm not an expert in art or design. In fact, I used to feel that because I didn't have loads of experience in either area (other than children's products) I somehow didn't know how to appreciate them properly & certainly all those snobby artsy types would chastise me (total ridiculous stero-typing there, I know). Rubbish! Having children & starting Rain or Shine Kids has taught me that appreciation for art & design is as simple as acknowledging something you think is interesting in the world around you. The experiences are endless!

Opening Your Eyes

Now, I don't want my kids to feel intimidated by art or design like I was. Similar to most things in life, the more exposure you have to something the more you are comfortable with it. When I am with my girls & we see something I find cool, or weird, or clever, I mention it & ask what they think or see when looking at the same object. Sometimes this starts a conversation & sometimes they could care less. My hope is that by drawing attention to individual items in their surroundings they will see more in the world around them & will be comfortable expressing their opinions, hopefully appropriately expressing.

Interesting 'Things'

'Things' I draw attention to can be as small as a clever latch on a door, a print on a throw pillow, a huge sculpture, an unusual building, or even the Gum Wall. One of the most interesting topics these days has been on street art (check out the documentary 'Exit through the Gift Shop', I found it very interesting). Since art is any expression of human creativity or imagination, the options are WIDE open.

Seattle Gum Wall 2009 
Gum Wall, Post Alley in Pike's Place Market

Connecting Art & Education

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) - My friend Yoon is the National Program Director (& a fantastic mother of 2 boys) for this cool non-profit that brings together teaching children critical thinking skill & the visual arts. Yoon took a group of us to the Seattle Art Museum to demonstrate how VTS works using the opening questions, "what is going on in this picture?". How that one sentence can ignite a conversation & open your eyes to what others see is amazing. It really drives home that there is no right answer, art is subjective & we bring our own life experiences into everything we see.
ABOUT - Visual Thinking Strategies is an educational curriculum and teaching method which enables students to develop aesthetic and language literacy and critical thinking skills, while giving teachers a powerful new technique they can utilize throughout their career'.

Have fun finding the art around you, and please share with us some of the cool things you see. I love cool stuff:)

- Heather

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Top Three Challenges When Nursing in Public (and how to overcome them)

Source: RoSK Picture Library
Let's face it, sometimes you’re out and about when it’s time for a feeding. After a year of nursing the Bean all over the place, I thought I'd share my three top challenges when nursing in public and how I overcome them:

Newbie Latch: During the first weeks and months of nursing, there can be some extra finesse needed to get/keep baby latched on there. This goes away as you both get the hang of it, but can be super-frustrating in the moment.
Solution: Make yourself comfortable and/or find a private/semi-private place. Yes, getting comfortable is a given. But seriously, if you are like me, at this point you are stressing yourself out and worried if it’s going alright and what that means for you as a mother (hopefully you’re not like me!). It turns out that nobody is judging you and your awesomeness as a mom if there is crying or it’s not going 100% perfectly. If you feel awkward, find a more out of the way place where you can relax. 

Driven to Distraction: There comes a time when everything your baby hears or sees in peripheral vision will be WAY too interesting and nursing will grind to a halt. 
Solution: Take cover and find quiet. A nursing cover is critical at this stage, so that baby can be in his/her little cone of silence. Quiet, although not always available, is also preferred so that baby can focus. I am usually chatty (that might be an understatement!) and it helped to be alone while I nursed the Bean during this stage so that my voice and those of friends/family did not distract further.

The Prairie Dog: Yep, no other way to describe this one. You other nursing moms know what I mean. Here, your baby stops nursing and SITS UP to look around, completely abandoning the task at hand. The challenge is that you would like your girls to stay private, but baby is going to just flip a nursing cover right up. 
Solution: Alternative Coverage. What you need at this point is a top that provides good coverage and can be quickly pulled down over your boob when your prairie dog sits up. I like a the one-two combo of:
1) a nursing tank top (to cover my bare torso, but still providing easy access) . I have nursing tanks from both Glamourmom and Target- LOVE THEM. 
2) a flowy top or sweater. Fashion is on our side right now, with tons of fantastic options out there. I have seen a ton of ponchos for Fall that are going to be awesome for this! One of my favorite resources for practical and fab recommendations for moms is Ain’t No Mom Jeans. They have great info about clothes for nursing and hiding the much-hated pooch. 

Other General Tips:
· Get yourself a nursing cover: The Hooter Hider/Bebe au Lait versions have a brilliant bit of something (plastic?) that create a peep tunnel down to baby for easy viewing. There are other brands too. Or, use a blanket (Woobee or Sun Cover perhaps?) that you have on hand.
· Location, location, location: Chose the quietest, most comfortable location that you can. You will feel more at ease, the baby will be less distracted. The car, park benches, sit against a tree, etc.
· Be prepared: Have your nursing “kit” accessible and ready to roll. For me, this included a nursing cover and burp rag in a designated pocket in our diaper bag. It is always there so I don't have to desperately dig. 
· Don’t try to multi-task: Yes, it is tempting to try to email/text/talk on your phone while you nurse, and maybe you do this at home. There are extra variables while you’re out and about that may foil your plans (plans such as modesty and sanity!). I have found it better to keep it simple and focus on the task at hand .

Do you have any tips to pass along about nursing while out of the house? I'd love to hear them!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Camping with Kids : location, location, location

In my last post I was packing to go camping for the weekend (with my trusty Camping Bin). It was a wonderful weekend & everyone had a blast! What made it so frickin' awesome? Crescent Beach is the perfect spot for our family, and after years of camping the one thing I've learned about having a successful trip - it's all about location!

Age Appropriate Locations

We've been camping with the girls since Ava was 3 months old (she's now 9), & we've had many fabulous trips & a few gnarly ones. What made the difference was the location of the camp site. When choosing the right location consider what you & your family like to do for fun & relaxation. Also consider the stage you children are in. Here are a few suggestions that may help you have a smoother end-of-summer trip :

Crawlers - if you have a crawler you might want to consider a grassy camping spot over one with lots of dirt/sand. Unless you & your baby are cool with an ever present cloud of dust around (think Pigpen from Charlie Brown), the grass allows a safe & cleaner place to play. I'm a BIG fan of dirt, but after a few days it can get a bit much. Try some state parks with lakes. Often they have great camping spots on grassy lawns.

Bolters - my daughter Lola was a bolter as a toddler. She would take off without a sound & scare the bejeezus out of me on a regular basis. During this troubling stage, we stayed away from beaches with heavy beach breaks & camping next to rivers. It just wasn't relaxing trying to always have an eye on her. Floatation devices were always  on if we were close to a body of water.

Swimmers - We always take life vests when camping near water. Our girls aren't great swimmers but LOVE the water. Our rule is they must wear the life vests if they are in the ocean, or want to go in water deeper than their thighs. The girls also have full length wet suits to play in. I highly recommend this if you live where the water is chilly. Not only does it keep them warm for all day water play, they make great sun protection. You can often find used suits at local rental stores or at the Goodwill.
I'd love to hear suggestions/feedback from other happy campers:)

- Heather

Monday, August 8, 2011

Outing: State Park Hike

On Saturday, I took the bean to a state park near my mom’s house.  We had family in town and it was a quick trip that offered some nice views and trails for all abilities.  Plus, it was an activity that didn’t require particularly great weather: it was 60 and overcast.  Yes, these pictures with long pants and a (gasp) coat are from early August!   

As a new parent, I’m still learning EVERY. SINGLE. TIME that I go somewhere.  Last week, I forgot snacks when we went to a nearby beach.  What kind of rookie parent forgets snacks?  Me!  Here are the key take-aways from this particular outing:

Frequent breaks added a lot to the experience.  The bean had a great time exploring at the places we stopped.   Being on the ground offered her the tactile exploration that is missed while she is in the carrier.  Pine cones, chunky bark, many leaf shapes, and grasses were all super- interesting to her. 

Timing was perfect.  We went for a limited time (2 hrs) between naps.  This enabled us to have fun with minimal crankiness.  Any longer and I would have needed my full snack arsenal and (eventually) risked meltdown. 

Gear needs.  The ERGO is a great carrier.  And with a distance of under 2 miles, we did ok.  However, I could see how any more significant distance would require either: a) switching off with the hubs and/or other hiking companions, or b) a beefier backpack solution.  I would love to hear from you about which backpacks you have used and liked!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Camping with Kids (packing, packing, & more packing...)

Hi. Welcome to the first of many post on 'Out We Go!'. Amy & I are crazy excited to share our ideas & experiences on being out in the world with kids. Be forewarned, I suck at spelling & basic rules of grammar. If you ridicule me, I will stop posting. So be kind people.

Camping. My husband & I love to camp/be outdoors. It reminds us of our lives before we had our kids (deep sign). What is shocking is how much organization it takes to have a successful camping trip. How do I measure 'success' for our family? We all have ample water/rec time, ate decent food with minimal prep time, & the overall experience didn't trample my OCD tendencies to death (chaos is NOT my friend). In order to achieve this camping utopia it takes some planning.

In our house Ron handles the 'equipment', ie surf boards, paddle boards, boogie boards, bikes, tent, stoves/grills, bedding, coolers, packing of the van, etc. I organize the food, anything used to eat or cook with, clothing, & downtime items. No one gets off easy. Both are laborious tasks. The key to make my job easy, the Camping Bin.

The Camping Bin has everything you might need for a 'successful' trip. Cutting board, pots/pans, silverware, knives, extra plastic bags, coffee filter, wine/beer opener, spices/condiments, cups, you get the picture. Here's the key though, keep a list taped inside for gentle reminders of what you use and when you get home wash everything & put it back in. Presto! It's ready to go for next time. Below is our Bin from last year. Looks like someone may have pilfered it. Good thing I got...my LIST! Oh yeah!
Our Camping Bin, first time out this year!

Welcome To Out We Go!

Looking forward to sharing what we know here at Rain or Shine Kids!