What I Learned From Little G This Year

October 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm

It’s been a little over a year since the Great G-bini joined our family. I wanted to write this post around his first birthday, but clearly, I am slacking in the blogging department lately.

We have a friend and neighbor who loves asking me what I have learned from G each time she sees us. It’s such an interesting question, and she always makes me stop to think and appreciate some of the more subtle joys of having a baby.

G is learning new things constantly. It is amazing what new skills he can pick up and lessons he can learn every day. I have really enjoyed and been astounded by how much he has changed and grown in just one year.

And I know Mark and I have changed and grown quite a bit in that time. We love this little kid more than words can say, for everything that he is, was, and will be, and every amazing moment he has brought us.

Happy Baby

So, here are the top 10 things I have learned from Little G this year:

1. Dirt is awesome!
2. Sleeping may look easy, but it’s actually a difficult skill to master. It takes work, patience, and sacrifice to keep healthy sleep habits.
3. Everything should be experienced with as many senses as possible. Remember to watch, touch, listen, smell AND taste everything!

Evening at Rotary

4. Some things don’t have reasons, causes or answers. They just are.
5. Skills that may seem simple to you can be the most difficult thing in the world to somebody else.
6. Perspectives can change rapidly. And to get the most out of them, they should change often!
7. It is surprising what you can eat without any teeth.


8. Sometimes doing nothing is the hardest thing in the world.
9. Our basic needs are so simple – warm food, a safe place to sleep, and love. Focus on those, and everybody is happy.
10. You don’t need hair or teeth to be really, really, really, really ridiculously good-looking.


Getting Out with G – The First Six Months

May 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm

When G was just a few weeks old, I started imagining this blog post in my mind. I was going to take my new little baby on so many great adventures, and then I would blog to the world about how easy it is to get out with an infant, and how we weren’t letting the challenges of new parenthood keep us indoors!

A walk in the snow

But, it turns out, in Colorado, in the winter, it is rather difficult to get outside with a baby. This year, we were lucky to have a very dry, relatively warm, winter. But most of those warm days were super windy, and G was (and still is) not a happy camper when the wind is in his face. Plenty of other weekends were just too chilly to take a 10 pound newborn out for a hike. And then there were quite a few where I needed a long afternoon nap more than time outside.

We did have a few nice adventures and learning experiences in the past six months. In fact, G had his first hike in the mountains at 8 weeks old!

G's first hike

Just after Christmas, we took G, Liv, Mark’s parents, and his brother, for the short hike to Horsetooth Falls. It was a lovely, warm winter day in the mountains, and G napped in the mei tai on Mark’s chest for the 2 mile round trip. We all went slow, as I was still recovering from the pregnancy and Mark couldn’t see his feet while walking (ha! Payback!).

Hiking Coyote Ridge 1

When G was about 4 months old, we bundled everybody up on a chilly March afternoon and went for a hike in the Coyote Ridge Natural Area. It felt wonderful to be outside as we walked along the wide trail winding up through the foothills. G slept in the carrier the whole time, again, but he did have very cold hands by the end of the trip.

Hiking Coyote Ridge 3

With future adventures in mind, we made the leap and invested in a camper trailer this spring. We found a great deal on the small, perfectly appointed Jay Feather Sport (165) camper, and had to buy.

The new camper

We think this set-up will work really well for us with the little one. The trailer has a double bed with a single bunk above it. It has a nice sized booth and table for inviting in friends, and all of the amenities we’d love to have while camping, especially a furnace for chilly nights with the kiddo.

Hanging out with G in the new camper!

We took it out for a spin on a rainy weekend in March, and as it was our first camping weekend with the trailer and baby, we stayed close to home. We just spent the night at a KOA in north Fort Collins, but had a really fun time.

Camping buddies!

Mark found the idea of camping in town pretty hilarious, but I felt like a kid putting up a tent in the back yard. You can still have a great time and a nice adventure, even if you don’t roam too far.

Camping buddies!

These days spring is around the corner, and G is sleeping much better at night. This provides Mark and I with the energy and ability to tackle the logistical issues of mountain adventures with the baby in tow. We have already had some great successes that leave us excited for what the future will bring!

Six months of little G

April 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I can’t believe it’s been nearly six months since the little guy came into our lives! And what a six months its been! Exhausting and exhilarating, a whole slew of new challenges and problems, bliss and joy, and fun and games.


I know this post is starting to sound like the last one, with these long list of dichotomies. Whenever I sit down to think and write about my time as a mom, and how our lives have changed, I find its easy to complain and gush at the same time. Either G hasn’t been the easiest of babies, or Mark and I are two over-enthused parents, or maybe a little of both.

Tummy time!

Either way, I could list so many problems: early health problems, lots of colic, low milk supply for mom, G’s allergy to cow’s milk formulas, and his inability to sleep anywhere but on Mark’s chest. And I could list so many blessings: G’s expressive faces, his infectious laugh, his unique and loving personality (already!), the fun we’ve had playing baby games, and sleeping afternoons away snuggled and nursing the sweetest baby in the world.

Warm, comfy, happy

It seems like nothing in the world of parenting is half-way or eased-into. Mark and I have thrown ourselves at the task; head, heart, and mind fully committed and fully involved. We both feel that this is the hardest thing we have ever done, and is worth every ounce of effort.

Hanging out

Mark and I are the kind of people who enjoy adventure, challenge and, yes, even hardship. We believe that you learn more about yourself and your world when you face your fears and try something new and outside of your comfort zone. And yes, having G was, and continues to be, terrifying and uncomfortable, and beautiful and amazing.

So sweet and snugglie!

This is life worth living every minute….

Welcome Baby

December 12, 2010 at 10:49 am

G's Dark Eyes

Yes, internet friends, there is a reason why this blog has been so neglected these last few months. Mark and I are thrilled to report that we have been upgraded to parental status with the birth of our first child.

Tummy time

Baby G arrived on October 30th at 10:59am. He was, by the midwife’s calendar, exactly two weeks early, but by our estimations at least three! He was tiny at birth, weighing only 5 pounds and 9 ounces and was 19 inches long. We have not yet measured his ape index, but his finger are long and strong, perfect for climbing!

G on Day 2

It’s been six weeks now since his birth, and Mark and I are just now starting to feel like we’re hitting a groove. These past few weeks have been an incredible roller coaster of energy and emotion, with stress and worry, joy and love, frustration and breakdowns, peace and bliss, all in nearly equal proportions.


I know it’s somewhat customary to share the birthstory over the internet, and I’ve been wrestling with how personal and detailed I want to get here. Rather than get into the whole nitty gritty of the story, I think I’ll just share a few fun facts about G’s entry into this world.

  • Fun Fact #1: My water broke at 4:30p on Friday afternoon, October 29th. I’d had no symptoms of impending labor at all. Luckily I was on the potty when it happened, so there was no mess to clean up! I was just about to leave for yoga in 15 minutes, and I’m thankful that it didn’t happen in the middle of my yoga class!
  • Fun Fact #2: On Friday, Mark left his cell phone at home, his car was out of gas, and he was planning on being away from email and chat for a Halloween party all afternoon. He told me “Don’t have a baby in the next few hours, I might be hard to reach.”
  • Fun Fact #3: It took until midnight on Friday before my contractions were strong enough to feel, and organized enough to measure the time between them. Mark and I hung out in the hospital, ate Jimmy John’s for dinner and watched a James Bond marathon on TNT (corollary Fun Fact: G’s name was almost James Bond).
  • Fun Fact #4: My parents were leaving for a camping trip that night. I called them just before they lost cell coverage to tell them I was going to have a baby soon. They turned around and bought plane tickets on their way back to their house. They arrived at the hospital in Fort Collins about 45 minutes before G was born the next morning!
  • Fun Fact #5: There are no windows in the birthing suites at our hospital. Also, the only clock on the wall of my room was broken and said “10:00p” all night long. I was pretty sure that time had, actually, stopped.
  • Fun Fact #6: My labor pains were concentrated low in my hip joints. They felt like horrible, horrible muscle cramps in my hip flexors. I spent all of Friday night standing up, because that was the only position where the pain was manageable.
  • Fun Fact #7: You can’t have a baby standing up. Sometime around 8a on Saturday morning, my contractions were 90 seconds long, with only 30 seconds of break between them. I had no pain meds, and when they checked, my cervix was only dilated to 3cm. We decided it was time for the epidural.
  • Fun Fact #8: Epidurals don’t always get rid of all of the pain. Even after mine, I could still feel intense pain and pressure deep in my hips with every contraction. I also had feeling and control over my abdominal and pelvic muscles (though my legs were giant, limp, numb things that I couldn’t move at all).
  • Fun Fact #9: Sometimes all you need to do is lay down and “relax” a little bit. After the epidural helped get the pain under control, I dilated the last 7cm in about an hour and half. My midwife, who was wonderful, supportive and with us through the whole process, and who is not as hippy, new-agey, all natural as you might expect from that title, declared us ready to push and exclaimed “God bless epidurals!” Right on sister.
  • Fun Fact #10: Pushing was the most fun part of the process. I felt like I was finally able to help things along, and make some real progress. It took about 45 minutes, but G was born, healthy, pink and screaming, without much drama. He was so tiny that I had no tears or incisions, and was able to walk around without much problem the next day! We got to spend the whole afternoon cuddling and falling in love with our new, sweet, lovely baby.

New Baby!

So that is the beginning of his story in a nutshell. Even after only six weeks, the birth just seems like a prolog to what is destined to be a long and wonderful tale of adventure, love and happiness.

Making Babies is Type 3 Fun

August 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm

In climbing and many outdoor pursuits, it is well known that there are, actually, three types of fun. Type 1 fun is the classic, smiling, happy, laughing, good times for all, fun. Type 2 fun can be painful, but you end up with a smile on your face. I think loosing skin in Vedauwoo and biking up Horsetooth mountain both fall into this category.

Type 3 fun, well, that’s a whole different animal. As Fitz Cahall once put it: “This is the epic. The suffer fest. This is collarbone breaking, giardia-getting, soaked-to-the-bone, carnage. If it sounds horrible, that’s because it probably is.”

I would like to posit: making babies is Type 3 Fun.

The most extreme sufferfest ever

So, you think your week in a snow cave in Patagonia was bad? Try throwing up every day for four months. Your legs and back are aching after your 20 mile slog out of the back country? Yeah, I’ve got a small person pressing and kicking against my spine and ribs, and it’s only going to get worse over the next three months. Feeling hungry after a week on a big wall? My Hunger has morphed into an all-encompasing demon, and it never rests or relents. I have even named it: Eddy. Eddy, my appetite, is my new constant companion. He makes most of my decisions for me these days, and not all of them are good.

Yes, I know pregnancy is a wonderful, joyful, hormone-fueled happyfest for many women. I’ve heard some ladies say they felt a little tired and had some heartburn, and that was it! This is much like some climbs that can be done in good conditions, with good route finding and good luck, and be perfectly wonderful days. Those same climbs, when the weather blows in, when the party gets off route, when a sling snaps and you watch your rack tumble into the abyss below, become a new and utterly excruciating experience.

If the stars align, you might have a perfectly happy pregnancy. You might barely notice the tiny life growing in your uterus. If, however, you’re like me (short, and possibly carrying a reptilian alien) then come prepared for pain.

What’s rough right now makes for great stories later

If it’s so bad, why call it fun at all? How can Type 3 fun even be on the fun scale? The surprising thing is, the worse your Type 3 fun is now, the better off you’ll be in the future. True suffering makes for epic tales around a bonfire, or, in my case, a babyshower. These are the stories that last forever, and the experiences that mark our souls, that change who we are and how we see the world.

A day out at the crag might leave you feeling warm and fuzzy for a while, but those memories fade, sadly. However, the limp you acquired on the sixth day of that adventure race might just last you a lifetime. A hard pregnancy lets you test the boundaries of what you can give up, of the aspects of your body and your life that you will lay down for the health and happiness of a loved one. It teaches you about sacrifice, selflessness, and devotion to a goal.

Plus, when you stop to vomit on the side of the trail and then just keep walking, everybody knows you’re a badass.

Want to compare scars?

One of the best parts of an epic climb is the clarity that you find afterwards. It puts life into perspective, and you learn what your real priorities are. It teaches you your limits as a human, and you may find yourself capable of greater things than you ever expected. This is Type 3 fun. And making babies fits squarely into this definition. It’s not something I’d do very often, but it’s something that I’m very glad I did.

And yeah, my episiotomy scar will trump your broken ankle any day of the week.