Friday, July 10, 2009

Extraordinarily Ordinary

Once upon a time, I was a young, active, energetic, impulsive, sometimes feisty woman. I climbed mountains and posted pictures of my adventures all over my cubicle to fantasize about upcoming weekends and vacations. I had a list of Colorado’s fourteeners posted near my computer screen, so I could “plan” which ones I would do during which weekends. I’d think, “We can drive out, pack in on Friday, climb the peak on Saturday, hike out Sunday…” That wasn’t too far from how many of our weekends would go.

I would be thinking about this while at work…my means to an end, my means to continue my hobby and sometimes the only thing standing between me and my outdoor dreams.

While at work, I would talk to coworkers about their children. These coworkers would lament about problem teens, brag about athletes, laugh about first girlfriends, and share stories of their children’s antics. It was interesting. I got to know people’s children through these discussions and in return, they would listen to my stories of adventure. They would wow over my pictures and make me feel like a real superwoman; of course, I knew a lot of mountaineers who were much stronger than I, but I was still pretty proud of myself. I felt like what I spent my weekends doing was so extraordinary.

The knife-edge on Capital Peak

I was in the midst of planning a trip to climb Kilimanjaro when Darin and I decided to make a change in plans and have a baby instead. Where did that idea come from? That’s one long story and I’d develop carpal tunnel syndrome if I go into those details. Needless to say, having a baby is a long ways from planning a trip to climb Africa’s highest peak…

Looking back, of course, I would not have changed a thing. I used to think that motherhood was so ordinary. I mean, there are a lot of mothers out there. MY mom is a mother. Many of my female coworkers are mothers. More and more of my friends are becoming mothers…

But, only I am Kyra’s mother. Nothing can compare to watching my sweet daughter do all that she does. I can’t believe how I cheer her on whenever she uses her sippy cup by herself. It’s amazing, it’s awe-inspiring. A summit is slso awe-inspiring, but caring for Kyra in all of her sweet baby-hoodness is the most fulfilling job that I have ever had. I love this job of motherhood; it’s truly extraordinarily ordinary.


Monday, July 6, 2009

The Sixth Sense

I have learned that life is best experienced through the use of all five of our senses. Stimulating an infant is done by allowing her to explore using her five senses. Of course, mealtime has frequently been turned into an exploration of not only taste but of texture (who doesn't love the feeling of green beans on their arms, in their hair, and all over the seat that they're sitting in??). I would post a picture of Kyra doing some mealtime sensory exploration, but I figure that there are enough pictures on that very subject. Eh, why not......NUMMY...

So, I began thinking...Hiking around outside is such a calming use of our senses. Not only are the sights and sounds beautiful and charming, but the smells of pine trees are inspiring. The feeling of brisk mountain air being offset just perfectly by the sun is heavenly. The taste of all of your snacks (especially Cheetos and Potato Chips) are amazing when you are camping.

I think there is a sixth sense that doesn't fit anywhere. Camaraderie; the sense of feeling a bond with those you are with. Enjoying the company of family and friends when outside and reflecting on the day or trips past always rounds out an excursion. I hope that Kyra shares in this feeling of camaraderie as a family as she grows. I hope that her favorite memories of camping are those of laughing, playing, and just being with people she loves. (Below was taken during our "annual" trip to Canyonlands)

Mostly, I hope that she develops a passion for all things that money cannot buy: whether it is the view from a summit or the close, personal ties with friends and family.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nothing is Simple Anymore

I did it. I stayed home today. I skipped out on work, taking a day of vacation to spend some time with precious Kyra. I didn't really have plans. I developed a couple as the morning wore on. I thought: I am going to take Kyra for a hike. Just me 'n her. We'll hike and explore and go somewhere fun...Roxborough State Park!

I decided this about 5 minutes before I wanted to leave.

Phew. That wasn't easy. I quickly assembled everything Ms. Kyra could possibly need. I applied sunblock to my fair-skinned princess before we got into the car. I grabbed her sun hat, a sippy cup with water, assembled a bottle, grabbed some snacks (for her). For me? Well, since her success may be directly affected by my success (and health), I quickly grabbed a bottle of water, my sunhat, and my hiking boots. I loaded up the car with these items along with the baby backpack, which I adjusted to fit my torso. We were ready.

We got into the car.

We went to the bank (Roxborough State Park has an entry fee and Darin took all of my cash on his way to work this morning).

We began driving.

Kyra instantly became restless. I quickly realized that either we weren't going to make it to Roxborough SP or, if we did, we wouldn't last long -- hardly seems worth the entry fee, doesn't it?

So, I quickly adjusted our plans and hit up the Carson Nature Center about 5 minutes from home. It's a paved path area that is a good starting point to a network of paved trails for walking and bike-riding. Many of these follow the S Platte River. I felt a little sheepish as I put on my hiking boots, but whatever. At least we were getting out.

It quickly dawned on my that nothing is simple anymore. Walks, hikes, excursions require precision planning or the possibility of failure is undeniable. That's okay, but I marveled at that as we cruised along the Platte River and Kyra's mood swung between intrigue at the birds and the water flowing past us to grunting unhappiness.

Nothing is simple anymore. We have always had to prepare for hikes, but there have been numerous that we just woke up some Saturday morning and said, "Hey, let's go hike James Peak" (above).Or, "Hey, I know we've slept in, but let's go hike Colorado's highest peak today -- if we make it, great. If not, at least we got some exercise." For the record, we did make it and it was a great day and I was in great shape (above).
So, Kyra and I made due with a half hour walk along the Platte River after my rushed preparations. Kyra was asleep in the car by the time we got home and happily slept until noon. I think the hiking wears her out more than me, sometimes. But, we had fun and I think Kyra at least enjoyed watching the water rush by us from her vantage point, perched high in the backpack.
I have learned that, while nothing is simple, everything is an adventure.