Climb On

“Stop there little buddy, that’s high enough.”

“Any farther isn’t safe.”

“You could fall.”

“If you go too high, I won’t be able to reach you if you lose your balance.”

Oh man. Sometimes I’m sooooo not okay with how I parent. I mean, is this the kind of adult I want to raise??? Too scared to test the branches? So reliant on other people’s perspective of what’s safe? Over-parented to the point he can’t trust his own instincts? Too cautious to CHANGE THE WORLD? *

“The words you speak become the house you live in.”
I have no idea who said that, but I saw it on a vintage poster as I was scrolling Insta last night. So much wisdom in those sponsored shopping ads, ya know?

Instead of squashing out all that inner, awesome, childish drive, how ’bout using words that are more like…

“How high do you want to climb today?”
“How will you decide when you’ve gone high enough?”
“How will you determine if a branch is strong enough to hold you, before you risk putting all your weight on it?”
“What’s your plan if you go beyond my reach, and then need help getting down?”
“Do you feel balanced?”

Please understand I’m not just talking about climbing trees here.

The ability to make thoughtful decisions might be one of the most important skills we can teach out kids (helllooooo teenage pressures). It’s a skill that doesn’t have to be learned in the classroom, and perhaps cannot be learned in the classroom? It’s a skill that sure can’t be learned on many of today’s school playgrounds, since trees are often eliminated due to their unpredictability. True story. How sad is that?

Dude, life is unpredictable.

In twenty years, when my kid is about to make an important *risky* decision, that will impact that greater good of all the universe forevermore until the end of time (a mom can dream, right?), do I really want my mom voice in the back of his or her (totally adorable and brilliant) head saying, “better stop there kiddo, any further isn’t safe.”

Heeeeccckkk no. Climb on little buddies. Test the branches, trust your instincts, have a plan, and climb. the frick. on.

The end.

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Wild Magic

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Wild Magic ✨

Do your kids like to hike? Ours don’t. But our family does go on a ton of really fun hikes! (Shhhh, don’t tell our kids.) These are known to our children as adventures, grasshopper catching expeditions, treasure hunts, animal track-finding excursions, dinosaur explorations, and troll and fairy quests.

Sometimes our hikes involve stories to up the level of engagement. On our hike last weekend, “Kids, last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and something caught my eye out the window… (pause dramatically). There were sparkles, cascading down, and glowing fairies dancing about…” The story went on and on, and ended with… Ana (7 years old): “Mom. Wait. Seriously. Is this real?” 🧚🏾‍♀️

“Hmmm,” I pondered, “do you have magic in your heart?”

Our hikes with our kids are 97% about the journey, not the destination. The kids are too little to make it about the destination.

But duuuuude, what if we lived life like that, everyday, no matter our age? I’m not saying don’t have goals and dreams to aspire to… I’m just saying, what if we enjoyed the ride a little more?

A few weeks ago we headed out for a family “adventure.” Ana’s hiking attire that day pushed even me out of my comfort zone. (Because, blisters and dirt and burrs and you know, all the things.) She was in the house wearing an Elsa dress. (Ironic?) We were trying to get out the door, so we just went with it.

Let me tell ya, something as simple as adding a costume made for one dreamy, imaginative, whimsical experience in the woods together. It was an awesome reminder to let go of rules and shoulds and have-tos and “the normal way” more often and just go with the flow. It was 100% about the journey that day.

✨ Wild Magic. ✨

“Is it real?”

I don’t know. But it sure seems worth believing in. ✨

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Get Outside for Childhood Memories

I’m in the process of conducting interviews for camp counselors for our summer camp, Camp Smashbox. The interviews typically go a little something like this… the applicant walks in nervous. They answer the first few questions looking and sounding anxious. For some of our employees this is their first job, or first interview ever, so they just aren’t relaxed.

And then about half way through the discussion I ask them to tell me about their favorite childhood memories…

WITHOUT FAIL, before the question is even entirely spoken, I watch their shoulders drop and their body relax. Their eyes light up, their demeanor changes, they shift in their seat – lean forward – and the spark I’ve been waiting for takes over the conversation. Their tone is animated as they begin talking about imaginative things and outdoor play and important people. I am obsessed with this phenomenon.

Outdoor creative childhood play you guys. It’s magic. ✨

What are some of your favorite childhood memories? And when you think about them, do you feel yourself relax? Does a smile creep across your face? Are your memories outdoors? Do they include other people? Tell me! Tell me! I want to know if these things are as widespread as I suspect they are.

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Jump In

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught myself, or heard other parents, telling their kids not to do something that really would be a great learning opportunity if we could just learn to stay quiet.

Back in the day when kids had the chance to play outside without adults hovering over them, they were able to learn so many things as a RESULT of a CHOICE – not due to a warning from moooommmm.

Icy puddles are cold! Next time I’ll think about that.
Swinging a stick can hurt someone. Next time I’ll think about that.
Getting sand in the tent is annoying. Next time I’ll think about that.
Getting my church clothes dirty is… not really that big of a deal and God doesn’t care anyway… maybe next time I still won’t think about that. 🤪

I’m constantly catching myself (usually after the fact) parenting in ways that are more socially acceptable and less true to what I believe to be beneficial and awesome and so so good for our kids.

Minor risks build character. Learning from experience builds actual skills. And overcoming obstacles builds critical thinking, creativity, perseverance and problem solving capabilities.

I see you looking at that mud puddle little buddy, and I like it. Jump in. With both feet. Because that’s the kind of adult I want you to be. And you are practicing becoming that person Right. About. Now. ❤️

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Perspective

Last night our baby hardly slept at all. She lost her fav paci this weekend and we didn’t realize what a catastrophe this was until 11 pm became 2am became 4am. Needless to say, I’m TIRED.

I woke up this morning after an hour of sleep and I kid you not my very first thought was, “shit, today is going to suck.” Um. Of course it would with that attitude!

I was riding the chair lift up the mountain with another solo momma last week. We got to talking. She was visiting from San Fransisco. It had been snowing here for a solid 24 hours. She had already been skiing all morning and it was my first run of the day. “Yeah, I went over to the other side of the mountain for my last few laps,” she said, “but it’s much better over here.”

“Oh,” I replied, contemplating what she had said. “What do you mean, ‘better’?” I asked.

“Well the powder is really deep over there,” she said, “much easier skiing over here.”

Um. Glad I asked. …………

It was nearing the end of autumn and I was chatting with a friend on the phone. “It is dumping snow over here,” she said. “We are going to be in for a looonnnng winter.”

Um. Or the best winter in a really really really long time.

There are two sides to every coin and there’s a bright side to most dark days. Just a little reminder when you’re super tired, like me, or super snowed in, like my friends. Sometimes we just need to adjust our googles and view life through a different lens.

And on a side note, how handsome is the view in mine? (husband) ;P

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Mountain Culture

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Mixing up the topics a bit with this one…
Yes, that is a mountain bike, on the wall, in a bedroom. When it’s summer the bike comes down and the cute little baby skis go in its place.

Luckily only one of our kids is old enough to mountain bike at the moment. I’m not sure what we’re going to do when we’re three deep of these things.

But this isn’t a post about mountain biking, or even what ya gotta do to make living in a tiny house work, per say… it’s a post about mountain lifestyle and culture. You see, it did not for even one second dawn on me that putting a bike, on the wall, in a bedroom, isn’t normal. It’s kinda just something people around here do. (Um, right guys?? 😬)

And then we Face Timed with my mom in Phoenix.
“Is that a bike, on the wall, in their bedroom?” she asked, astounded.

I wasn’t sure if I should be proud or embarrassed, because why yes, yes it was.

I would not call our family crunchy by any stretch of the imagination. If they still sold Twinkies we would buy them. (Because that’s the measure for whether or not you’re crunchy, you know: Twinkies 😉). But when it comes to mountain gear, and you live nestled in a mountain town, it’s kinda imperative to own all the things that make this mountain life so fun. I’m talking crunchy things… like Tevas sandals and such. 😁

And we happen to not have a garage. So yes, mom, (and now all my friends in the web world too), that is a bike, on the wall, in a bedroom. And I think it’s 👌.

It’ll Be Fun, They Said

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I love me some holiday traditions, and cutting down our own Christmas tree is one of my favs.

What you don’t see in this picture are Harley’s tears cuz her hands were cold, and Ana’s tears cuz her feet were wet, and Ziggy’s tears cuz the snow was deep, and my super sweet mom-friend Emily who ignored her own kids tears to come to my hot mess rescue (I guess I mean cold mess – is that a thing?) because sometimes (okay, all-the-times) three little humans feels like a freakin’ lot to manage. And dad was too busy to help with the tears cuz he was off doing man things like sawing down a dang tree.

Nevertheless. Traditions are awesome, and the tears all dried (after they froze), and hot chocolate at the end of a harrowing journey in the woods has a way of making the world feel right and good again.

Oh, and our 12 foot Charlie Brown tree is 👌. (Well it was 12 feet… until we realized the diameter of a 12 foot tree is a little… imposing… on a 900 sq ft home. So then I took scissors to the bottom branches to allow access to our hallway… and then it resembled more of a diamond shape than a cone… so then we wacked off the bottom… and now we’re left with an 8 foot tree. And our 8 foot Charlie Brown tree is 👌.)

But the other thing that’s 👌 is that I have a horrible memory. So when the annual tree cutting extravaganza presents itself as a “fun” holiday option again next winter, I will happily oblige. In case you didn’t catch it, I’m a sucker for a good family tradition.

What are your fav holiday traditions?

XO,

Cold Kara

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