Our Top 12 Outdoor Moments of 2012

As 2012 is winding down, I feel a little sad that my family and I have not been able to spend as much time outdoors as we normally do.  With three rounds of family strep (yes, 3!!) and other medical issues, getting outdoors has been hard for us over the last couple of months.  So I’m really looking forward to getting back in the groove of outdoor livin’ in 2013.  To cheer myself up a bit, I decided to take a look back and reminisce on our favorite outdoor moments of 2012.

12. New Year tree huggin’ on Fiery Gizzard Trail (our fave trail), January 2012

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11. Autism and the healing power of nature, February 2012

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10. Nature day with mama, March 2012

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9. First canoe trip of 2012, April 2012

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8. Nature for all, May 2012

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7. Mother’s Day Caving, May 2012

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6. The Great Sand Dunes, June 2012

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5. Mini Muddy Buddy Run, July 2012

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4. Alone in the wilderness, August 2012

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3. Adventure and the special needs child, June 2012

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2. Alpine Views in Colorado, June 2012

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1. Water fun and Little Man’s 1st Kayak, July 2012

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo what was your favorite moment of 2012? Any adventures you want to share before the new year falls upon us?!

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Gear Review and Giveaway: Stonewear Designs (apparel for active women)

Giveaway Closed.  Congratulations to commenter number 3 for winning the headband! 

I’m not a world-renowned athlete and I’ve never led an exhilarating expedition to worlds unknown.  My ab muscles are strong but are by no means toned enough to resemble a six-pack.  I’m training for a half-marathon–words that I never imagined would fall from my lips. I don’t look like a supermodel and my curves sometimes annoy me.  But I’m proud of my body and all that it has allowed me to accomplish.

I believe fiercely that adventure and outdoor exploration are for all.  I strive to stay active, push my limits, try new things and inspire others to do the same. Staying active and fit are high on my priority list. I use all of my resources to not only help my son with special needs thrive outdoors, but to show others that adventure and the natural world are within everyone’s grasp. I believe in the power of nature to sooth the soul and nourish the body and mind.  I believe that everyone can benefit from being active outdoors.  And I don’t think that you must have the perfect body to do so.

That’s why I was so delighted to become a member of the Stonewear Designs Grassroots Team.  Stonewear clothing is designed to fit every type of body.  They empower women of all shapes and sizes to be active while stylishly supported.  So today, I thought I would share with you about some of my favorite Stonewear outfits that I was provided to test and use in my daily activities.  And I’ll be honest….I pretty much live in my Stonewear clothing now. It makes me feel beautiful, strong and comfortable all day long.  Their clothing is of very high quality (so it will last without showing wear) and is specifically designed to be tough enough to keep up with an active lifestyle.  

Lyra Top + Rockin’ Capri:

The Lyra Top is made of a very breathable, moisture-wicking fabric that keeps you cool and dry while hiking, running, kayaking, climbing or just wrangling kids.  This is my go to top for all of my activities.  Not only does it keep me cool and dry down here in the hot and humid southeast, but the support is phenomenal.  The Lyra Top has a built-in bra that keeps the girls nicely in place.  I sometimes pair this top with Stonewear’s cross back sports bra to give myself the maximum amount of support possible because I really like to keep everything in place 🙂  But the top alone provides great support.  The fit is extremely flattering as well.  The fabric skims the body and flatters without being clingy  (which is great if you are like me and your midsection is a little soft and round!)  If you are an active woman who is a bit heavy on top, then the Lyra Top is definitely for you.

The Rockin’ Capris (also referred to by me as the most awesome pair of capris to ever grace my legs) are the best thing that has ever happened to me from a clothing standpoint.  These flattering, moisture-wicking capris feel great, look great and hold up to creek crossings, muddy hikes, kayaking trips and hot trail runs. They also have a side zip pocket that is large enough to store a smart phone or keys. I practically live in these capris (as well as the pant version.)  Wash after wash these babies still look like new.  The Rockin’ Capris are the most rugged and beautifully constructed capris/pants I’ve ever owned.  They are certainly worth every penny.  I cannot stress enough how awesome these are!!  I will never hike in anything else again….seriously….they are that good.

Keep a lookout for an upcoming review of my other faves–the Olympia Top, Rockin’ Pants, Double Cross Back Top and Meridian Capris….

Want to see what other real women have to say about Stonewear Designs?  Check out this fabulous post that shows women of all shapes and sizes sharing their favorite pieces of clothing!

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Now, who wants to win a little something from Stonewear Designs? Enter to win a headband, here’s how:

1. Visit the Stonewear Designs website and take a look around, then come back and leave a comment below telling me what piece of clothing you think would be great to try and why.

2. For an extra, additional entry, you can like Stonewear Designs on Facebook.  Then come back here and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.

3. For one more extra entry, you can like Hike.Blog.Love on Facebook (or tell me you already are a fan) and come back here and leave another comment.

That’s it!  Good luck, ladies (and men who would like to win some swag for their lady.)  The giveaway closes on Friday October 5th. The winner will recieve a headband in a random color.

Some of the Stonewear clothing shown in this post was provided to me free of charge as a member of the Grassroots Team.  Some clothing was purchased with my own money because I love the clothing so darn much.  All opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Daddy-Little Man Date

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For those parents who have more than one child, do you try to schedule one-on-one individual time each week with each child? What kinds of activities do you do? Just curious–with two little boys around the same age, it is sometimes difficult for us to do on a regular basis. Today the hubby and Little Man ventured out together with their kayaks and had a blast!

3 things that my *almost 2 year old* son taught me about camping…oh, and a bit about the Ocoee and Hiawassee Rivers and the Cherokee National Forest

This Memorial Day Weekend we spent time at the Ocoee & Hiawassee Rivers and the Cherokee National Forest.  This weekend was also River’s first camping trip.  It was an interesting experience, to say the least 🙂  More on that towards the end of the post…

Hiking Daddy playing on the Ocoee River:

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The campsite:

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The Smores:

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Helping Daddy:

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Watching Daddy play:

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Trying to be like Daddy:

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The three of us took an excursion on the Hiawassee River:

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Ooh, class 2 rapids!

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Well, Little Man loved the “gentle” thrills offered by the Hiawassee.  This child loves the water and he loved getting to ride in a boat.  He did awesome!

If you’re looking for a relaxing rafting/kayaking trip with class 1 and 2 rapids, I would highly recommend the Hiawassee River.  You can even intertube down it :). If you would like to step it up a notch and get your adrenaline pumping a bit more, head on over to the Ocoee River where you will find some class 3 and 4 rapids.  These two rivers are about a 30 minute drive apart from each other. Neither of these spots are too challenging for Hiking Daddy, but they are just fine for me and the little River monster.  The Hiawassee is very kid-friendly while the Ocoee is better suited for older kids and adults and age limits are imposed (in terms of rafting and kayking).  The surrounding forest is the Cherokee National Forest and is breathtakingly beautiful.  Many great hiking and camping spots abound in this region.  So, go on and take a trip down the river, you won’t regret it!

Now, onto the title of the post.  I recieved some education this weekend from my close-enough-to-two-to-make-you-want-to-pull-your-hair-out son.  I love my son so very much and he is an awesome kiddo, but let’s just say that he made our trip very interesting this weekend.  Here is what I learned.

1.  If a tent filled with pillows and sleeping bags looks like an inflatable playhouse (like pump-it-up), feels like an inflatable playhouse, and well, is an inflatable playhouse…do not expect your child to stop playing and to go to sleep.  Even if it’s 2 am and you’re exhausted and all you want to do is curl into the fetal position and cry, do not expect you child to go to sleep.  Instead, pack up camp and head to the nearest motel.  Just do it.  4 hours of sleep is better than no sleep at all.

2. For the love of all that is holy, do not take said child to a dining establishment for breakfast the next morning in a place where there are no highchairs or any other ways to restrain a child.  Seriously.  Don’t do it.  You will be very sorry.

3.  Smores are good.  In fact, they are so good that they may be substituted for a healthy dinner at which point Mommy  may then wave her very worn out white flag to signify her final surrender.

With all that being said, we did have a fantastic time and I’m so happy we took this trip.  Little Man had a blast and despite all the challenging moments, it was so much fun.  My son rocks.  He is such a trooper and is willing to try anything his crazy parents drag him to do.  Hope everyone else had a great Memorial Day weekend!

Next weekend we’ll be hiking on the Cumberland Plateau again, so stay tuned for some great trail shots!