Learning to love the outdoors

Let's go into a little bit about what brought me to where I am right now in my life.  When I was growing up, (in the 70's) my parents were what you could call "hippies".  Bluegrass festivals were a part of my life. I grew up listening to the Doors and Harry Chapin. They were very "outdoorsy" and loved to go camping, backpacking, and hiking on a regular basis. My father always owned a Jeep of some sort. We would take off on a Saturday morning and they would just drive for hours through mud and muck, up and down mountains, in and out of the forests. We would stop for a picnic (or if the Jeep got stuck so deep in the mud that we couldn't move) and sometimes even set up a makeshift camp.  My father owns some property on top of a mountain that was only accessible by foot. More recently a logging company that is working on the mountain has built up the road to make it accessible for now. Somehow they managed to build a "camp" up there (which is mostly used as a hunting camp now) and that's where we spent a lot of the time in the summer. We would go hiking, blaze trails, pick wild berries, cook over an open fire and tell stories.

We lived a pretty simple life. My father owned an autobody shop and my mother was his bookkeeper, etc.  As us children got older (I have an older and younger brother) our adventures would get larger. Once, they decided to take us out to the middle of nowhere in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. It was so far from civilization that you couldn't even get a radio station. You were startled by moose on your way to the outhouse. The water was so clean and clear you could see the fish at the bottom. We had to learn to paddle a canoe and how to portage from pond to pond. We could only bring what we could carry ourselves, and what would fit into a Ziploc baggie in case we capsized. This was torture to a thirteen year old girl who could not be seen in public without having blow dried or curled her hair in the 80's.

Looking back on it now, all of this played an important part of who I am today.  I am not afraid to get dirty. I am not afraid of adventure.  I find myself trying to plan these same adventures with my own boys.  It has become a tradition for us to go on a big family camping trip at least once a year.  We gather with my parents, family and friends to relive these memories every year on our traditional camping trip on Memorial Day weekend at the same camping spot we did as a kid. We now own our own camper and make frequent camping trips with our own family. I learned a lot about survival on these trips. I learned some great life "hacks". I learned to always be prepared. I take pride in how well I can pack for a trip, even if it's just a day trip. I learned how to build things with my own hands and my own imagination and with limited supplies. I learned how to read a map, follow instructions, what to do if you ever get lost. All things that bring me to where I am now in my life.

*See my next post on sports in my life.


Let's get this ball rolling

"A BROTHER is a FRIEND given by nature."
The boys exploring at the St. Louis Arch
Although blogging is not completely new to me, it may take me some time to get into a good routine and variety of topics for everyone to enjoy.  Years ago, I started a blog.  Not for my own benefit, but for my family and friends.  When my son was born at 29 weeks (11 weeks premature), he spent quite some time in the NICU.  15 months later, our second son was born.  It didn't take us long to realize there was something wrong with our oldest son.  Throughout that time, family and friends were concerned and overwhelming us with calls and emails about our son's condition and health.  Meanwhile, he was diagnosed with mild Diplegic Cerebral Palsy.  This was at a time where there was no facebook, instagram, voxer, smartphones, etc.  It was tiring to update everyone on a regular basis.  Time we didn't have in the day.  As time went on, tests were done, treatments, and surgeries were scheduled. His first major surgery was scheduled 14 hours away. How else were we to keep all of our family and friends updated on a surgical spinal procedure that could change our son's entire life?  Well, I started a blog.  It was a tremendous help in getting the information on his progress.
His surgeon and staff caught wind of this idea and loved that we were sharing videos and photos with people thousands of miles away.  It became apparent that there was a need for all patients and families to communicate with loved ones throughout their children's procedures and time spent in the hospital. His surgeon, the caring man that he is, found a program called "Caring Bridge".  So the hospital joined the program so that families could keep in touch. 
In the PICU for recovery following Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy
 Back to the blog idea.... I continued to blog about our son's therapies, recovery, other surgeries and felt great that I was able to help others make these huge surgical decisions for themselves.  The blog did so well, that we decided to start a family blog and a blog for our youngest son.  Over time, facebook took over the transfer of photos and information on our growing, active family. Those blogs sit idle and lonely now. 
Fast forward to now. Facebook just doesn't seem to be large enough to share all that I have to share. 
On this blog, I will do product reviews, race reviews, recipes, nutrition information, inspiration and of course a little bit of fun.  If you have any requests for topics, feel free to message me and I will do my best to accommodate you.  Thank you for following.