Motherhood Moments: Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

Choosing to be an active outdoor parent is tough sometimes (just read here about skiing with little g). I’m starting my eighth month of pregnancy and every day I feel it more and more. Simple actions like putting on shoes and picking something up off the floor are now accompanied by sighs and grunts of exertion. 
So you can imagine how hard it is to motivate myself to bundle Big E, little g and myself in snow clothes and traipse through the snow. It sounds like a lot of work but, like exercise or healthy living, I know I will feel better after I make the effort. Being outdoors lifts my mood every time, even if it’s just for a few minutes every day.

This snowman activity started out as a snowshoeing adventure but quickly changed once reality hit. Little g wanted to hold my hand to walk through the snow that was past her boots. I get it, that’s deep snow when you’re three feet tall. When I tried to tell her it’d be easier to walk in my footsteps she cried and complained. Big E wanted to throw snow at everyone and was ecstatic to make the perfect snowball (which he eventually threw at me and his sister). 
Making a snowman was the compromise. I got what I wanted – outdoor time with my kids. Big E got what he wanted – to smash snow together into round shapes. Little G got what she wanted – to stop trudging through deep snow. Where we live the snow is rarely wet enough to actually make snowmen so that was a treat on its own.

Sometimes being an outdoor parent requires flexibility and compromise. Actually make that ALL the time in ALL parenting. But the hard work is worth it when you and your kids can enjoy that time together. Too much of my life is spent telling my kids what to do and not do. I relish the moments when we can all just play outside together. Even if it takes some work.

Outdoor Families Magazine Launch and Photo Contest

This is the week! The time we’ve all been waiting for! 

I’m proud to announce the arrival of a great now resource for outdoor families. Outdoor Families Magazine is an online monthly magazine with great tips, destinations and information for all those outdoor families out there. The free digital magazine officially launches Thursday January 15, 2015 at It’s for all families interested in getting outside and promises to “provide unparalleled adventure content…to inspire a connection to the…natural world.”

I’ve had the opportunity to meet with the founders of OFO virtually and in person and I can assure you they are committed to sharing their family outdoor experiences in order to make the wilderness more accessible for everyone.

To celebrate the launch of the new magazine Outdoor Families Online is holding The Great Family Adventure Photo Contest. Prizes for the Great Family Adventure Photo Contest include a family vacation to Oxnard California, Hiking Boots from Hi-Tec, and a $100 gift card from Sierra Trading Post. I know I’m not the only one with family vacation photos that are worth sharing. Now’s the chance to share and win.

January is Learn to Ski or Snowboard Month!

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to ski or snowboard now’s your chance! January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and several Utah ski resorts are offering beginner deals including a $45 lesson, rental and lift ticket package from Brighton Resort.

Graphic from

When I first learned to snowboard it was through Brighton’s Ladies’ Day clinic. I signed up for the four week course with a bit of a rebellious attitude. Mountain Dad and I had been trying to get pregnant with no luck. “Fine,” I thought. “If I can’t be a mom I’ll do something else I’ve always wanted to do.” Thus started my love of downhill snow sports.

Now, years later, I’m in the opposite position. At seven months pregnant, skiing and snowboarding black diamonds is definitely not happening. However, I want my tots to feel the joy of speeding down the mountain, the wind in their hair and a smile on their faces so I decided I’d put on my skis for a little ride in the tow rope area. (I really hope my doctor, mother, and sister aren’t reading this).

Little g and I “skied” a little last year with her between my skis, flopping around like a rag doll while I hunched over her to keep her from rolling snowball-style down the mountain. It was a lot of work for me and she had no control on the snow. At three-years-old this season we have boots that actually fit her and she’s noticeably taller and stronger, although this photo doesn’t exactly show off her strength.

After trudging, buckling, zipping, adjusting, clipping in and finally lining up, we glided up the tow rope. “Weee!” little g exclaimed. “I skiing!” With her between my skis we maneuvered down the slope, me trying to teach her what a snowplow on skis felt and looked like. She didn’t quite get the concept, but she enjoyed the ride, smiling and laughing the whole time.
A second run was all we got in before she flopped exhausted on the snow. We had only gone one hour, but it was enough. (Luckily kids five and under are free at Sundance, and anyone can ride the tow rope at no charge, so we didn’t waste any money.)
Unfortunately on our way down to base our skis crossed, entangling the two of us in a mess of skis, boots and legs. The awkward position of being flat on the snow, leg twisted the wrong way under me and a toddler on top was enough to convince me that maybe my doctor, sister, husband and mother were right. Perhaps I shouldn’t try skiing while seven months pregnant, even if it’s on the very flat tow rope area. 
I still consider the afternoon a success as Big E got over his recent trepidation with the tow rope and little g got a taste of how fun skiing can be. If I can pass anything on to my kids it’s how to find joy in this life. For me that involves speeding downhill in the snow. 

For my tips on teaching kids to ski click here. You may also enjoy these posts:

Motherhood Moments: Here Comes 2015!

2014 was a great year to be outdoors and I’m sure 2015 will be too. Part of the fun of New Years for me is thinking ahead at who I want to be in the coming year, how I want to change and what I can do to make that change happen.

I’m not planning to run an iron man or travel to all seven continents this year but I would like to push myself to experience the outdoors in different ways. Kid friendly ways. I’d like to participate in an outdoors service project. See how far little g can hike on her own. Teach Big E to ride a bike without training wheels. Get both of my kids out on skis at least once a week throughout the season. My goals may not be huge but they’re important to our family. Being outdoors improves my mood, helps us all get some exercise and makes me more grateful for the world around me.

The number one game changer for our Mountain family this year will be the arrival of Mountain Baby in March. Ready or not, she’s coming in ten weeks. How will having a newborn affect our camping, hiking and outdoors plans? I’m not entirely sure.

So far it’s kept me from snowboarding this season, and I don’t imagine skydiving anytime soon, but growing a child, feeling her flutters and kicks has connected me to the cycle of life in a very intimate way. I’m excited to be a mom again and remember the tender beginnings we all had. I’ve already experienced the expansion of love that comes with welcoming a baby into the world. Like the Grinch I expect my heart to “grow three sizes that day” because special things start in small packages. It’s a miracle to be a mom and I plan to treasure the happy moments before the chaos overwhelms me.

So what will your 2015 bring? What outdoors plans do you have and how do you accomplish them with young kids in tow? Leave a comment and let’s start this conversation!

Happy New Year!

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