Category Archives: Travel

Old Rag Mountain Hike

w/baby…

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I need to remember this day.

What started out as terrible turned into the best day, and a whole lot of lessons were learned along the way.

It was 8:30 pm we had cleaned the house, gone grocery shopping, fed and changed the baby and were ready for the drive to Warrenton.  After having just re-sleep trained him, we weren’t ready to mess up his schedule before the big camping trip in Texas.  He slept the whole way.  The plan was working perfectly.  We get to Warrenton around 11 and try to make the transition from car seat to pack n play.  UTTER FAILURE.  The softie in me couldn’t let him “cry it out”.  He was in a new room, new things, he heard his grandparents voices.  What if he was scared?… But by midnight or a little later I couldn’t take it.  “Micah take a turn with your son.  We are not going hiking tomorrow.  Text your friends right now and tell our friends to go without us.  Well at least we aren’t getting up at 6am to go.  This is crazy, we are crazy”.

Micah lovingly takes Haddon and gives him a comfort bottle (don’t judge) and sings him back to sleep.  Of course it works.  I for real think babies can sense your mood, and mine had not been nice.

I text my friend Beth: “So Haddon did not take the transition from car seat to bed well… Don’t know if the time will change, will keep ya posted.”

Micah texted his friends but his text made it sound like we definitely wouldn’t be there on time.

After playing a noise app all night long my phone died.  I didn’t tell Beth that the time HAD indeed changed.

The whole way to the mountain I tell Micah I am still excited to be going but I can’t shake the disappointment I feel that we missed our friends, that I failed texting Beth a more accurate estimate of our ETA, etc etc.  I tell him if we are going to do fun things with Haddon we should never, ever, under any circumstances have expectations like arrival times (he reminds me that we will never hang out with anyone else if that’s the case…).  Oh, right. Well how about just not early ones then.

If you know my friend Beth, you know that she is grace personified.  She exemplifies Christ like no other.  Forgiveness and Mercy are her nature.

She waited for two hours for us at a little café in Sperryville, VA.  We miss each other dearly and she wanted to be with us Saturday.  Thank you Beth.  Once again in life you show me what forgiveness, patience, and sweetness look like.

We get to the trailhead at 10:30 finally.

The others had started of course.

Old Rag Hike is an interesting one… what starts as a nice steady incline towards the mountain turns into a rock scramble before you even hit the rocky summit, coming down the mountain is steep but you end up on a scenic fire road that is a little easier on the heart and lungs (not so much your calves and toes).

We decide to take the fire road up.  Micah and I have done the hike together a couple times; Beth hasn’t yet so she doesn’t know she is “missing” the rock scramble.  We also figure we have to run into our other friends if we take this way.

I am SO glad we did.

The whole way up, every other adventurer coming down says: “oh there is a lot of ice ahead” “you might want to turn back” “you have a baby on this hike?”.

I was already in a good mood.

Something happens to me in the mountains.  Their magnificence points me to God and gives me strength every time I’m in them.  I see them on 64 and tear up.  I miss them so much.

Instead of feeling disappointed again, I kindly smile and say “oh, how far up?  Thanks for the warning.  Don’t worry we know we might have to turn back”

My husband rocks and carried that sleeping baby on his back the whole way.  We took the snowy path less traveled.  It was icy in some parts but we were wearing good shoes and utilized the trees like they were the best walking sticks around.

We meet up with our friends at the summit.  Eat, take pictures, hide behind trees and from people to pee and head back down the same way we came up.  We hiked back down all together having fun conversation about mountain people, babies, insane past hikes, and everything in between.

It’s okay that we didn’t do the whole loop.

It’s okay that we were late.

It’s okay that Haddon didn’t nap in his pack n play.

It’s okay that other people were shocked to see a baby on a mountain.

We know our strengths, we trust our God, and we know our limits.

It was the best day.  Haddon loved being outdoors.  He slept amazing that day and that night.

I am so thankful I didn’t let disappointment in the way things were supposed to go cripple me from enjoyment.  We want to adventure with our kids.  I want to be calm and fun.  Not frazzled and distressed when things go differently.

I learned a lot Saturday. Grace not perfection…

One in particular is that I need to unplug more often.  It was so nice to only use my phone as a camera and nothing else.

If anyone ever stumbles across this blog and wants a few tips on how we fed, changed diapers, etc on a mountain.  Comment and I’ll be glad to share what worked and what didn’t for us.

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Triple Letter.

Dear Government,

I look at oaths very seriously. I look at them almost like I look at Covenants. You don’t break em.

When my brother joins the Air Force and swears this:

“I, _______, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against
all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders
of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and
the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

he will be making a promise to you to help keep your promises to us, the people.

Please remember the Constitution.

Please don’t be an enemy.

Please make wise orders Sirs.

Respectfully,

An American Citizen

 

Dear God,

Please help him keep his oaths.

Please be with Caleb, guiding him through every agonizing, hard, bonding, learning, challenging, step of the way.

You guided me and I have confidence you are guiding him.

Use this experience to bring him close to You.

Amen,

Your daughter

 

Dear Caleb,

I am so so proud of you and very excited for where this experience will lead you.

I wish I wouldn’t  have annoyed you so much when I lived at home. I blame the seven years between us. 😉  Thanks for forgiving me and loving me still.

Now that I have a son, I have lots of empathy for mom. You will always be her baby, so stay sweet. Phone home and be old school and write every once and a while. Don’t forget to tell her thanks and that you love her, dad too.

We’ll see you in TX darlin’, dressed in your blues.

Love you,

Sister

caleb

This Weekend.

Byrd Ashley gets married.

When I first met her, I thought she was so cool.

I wanted to be her friend.

She couldn’t even remember my name so she would say “hey girl” when I would come up to her at church.

Good thing she asked someone for my name because we ended up becoming housemates and some of the best of friends.

This girl is hilarious. She is so forgiving.  Sacrificial.  Encouraging.  A hard worker.  Motivating.  Caring.  Wise.  Devoted.  Did I mention, funny?

My life is better because Byrd is in it.  I am more like Jesus because Byrd teaches me how to be.

This afternoon, I will travel to a place that has some of my fondest memories.

A place where the Lord changed my life forever and gave me a new heart.

I met some of the most amazing friends there and we did life together, a lot of it.

Byrd is one of those friends.

Our friends have been through quite the gamut – births, deaths, divorces, break-ups, get-togethers, ministry, moves, marriage – you name it.

Byrd is a rock.  She is strong when many of us our weak.

This weekend, the last of the “ministry house” ladies is getting hitched.

Joining her life with an amazing godly man.  I can already feel the tears and the lump in my throat.

I am so full of gratitude.

It is so amazing to see the Lord’s handiwork and the way He has been weaving all our lives.

I am so glad she is part of mine and can’t wait to stand up there as she enters into a marriage covenant with the amazing Andrew Campbell (he would need a whole other post. this guy is legit).

Andrew & Ashley we hope this weekend (and next week of course) is nothing short of awesome.

byrd

PS: you are the only gal Im okay with Micah running his fingers through your hair 😉 hope Andrew doesnt mind!

 

Okay sentimental stuff over,

This weekend I will also:

  • Hopefully finish the Hobbit with Micah during our car rides.
  • Leave my baby overnight for the first time so I can spend the night with the girls (pray for me! Micah said he is sleeping outside with Haddon… don’t worry not in the cold he won’t).
  • Eat Taste of Thai food
  • Get in lots of sweet girl time, oh how I miss them!
  • Stare at the mountains and soak in that majesty.

Vacation.

Haddon and I have been at the beach spending time with the Downs this week at Grandma Ruth’s Cottage.

It’s been so relaxing after trying to pack up the house, get things ready for the move, and a “nursing vacation”.  Ok really, I mean two weeks of nursing and pumping nonstop.  I do understand why work is considering me “disabled” right now.

To date I have 4 weeks left of being on leave… but I have some awesome women taking care of Haddon when I go back (that’s a post for another time).

My mother in law was a nursing queen when she had her boys and wants me to be able to fulfill my desire of being able to nurse.  She has researched all types of food to eat for lactation and has been feeding me fish, fennel seed bread, blueberry granola and cookies, the vegetable fennel, and more!

My father in law goes to the beach before we even really get the morning started to set up the baby tent, put out chairs, and then comes back and packs the cooler for the day.

My brother and sister in law are amazing cooks.

(so we didnt exactly cook those but Jenn did teach us how to eat them!)

The first couple days Haddon slept “like a baby”.   I think the heat and ocean noise were the perfect recipe for good sleep.  Not to mention I’ve been really relaxed and I think he senses it.  He doesn’t mind having his feet in the cold water and I actually think he likes the feeling of sand between his darling little baby toes.

Micah was able to stay with us from Sunday – Tuesday morning.  He worked in Chesapeake so he could drive back to us Monday night.  We took a short walk on the beach and got a family snap shot in before he left to work for us and move us into our new home.  I love that man.

The beach with a newborn is an incredibly different experience than previous beach trips.  It’s very humbling.

I have to try and think on things above a lot… it’s a little hard for me to see all these fit bodies of young girls and feel my flabby tummy. I do have a stinkin’ cute baby feeding every 2 hours though that covers it up 😉 haha

Somewhat vain?  Yeah but this is a place where I’m real and that is something I have been struggling a little with.  I ask God to remind me that beauty is within; my husband is good at reminding me.  I just need to believe it about myself.

Every evening Mrs. Downs takes Haddon for a walk and I do my workout – Jillian “Get Ripped in 30” I do all the modified versions and have been on week 1 for a week and a half.  Maybe I will call my version “Fit in 40”.

Where is my every evening make sure to get in the word? OH that’s right, I need to prioritize that and having said… I think I’ll stop writing this blog and go spend some time in the word.

AH I almost forgot.  Haddon started smiling more consistently this week.

April Showers.

bring May babies? 

Well, probably not, and while my body might not mind it so much if he did come early, I think it’s best Haddon stays in there and continues to develop till he is good and ready to face this world.

This past month has been one of the busiest of the year.  We felt the support and generosity of friends and family like when we got married.  Only this time it felt a little crazier… I can’t explain it other than it is for our growing family.  It wasn’t just love for Micah and I (like when we were married and you all knew us), it has been love for someone none of us know yet, Haddon.  I have tears in my eyes as I think of the love for our son that has been shown.  We have such a picture of how God takes care of us and I honestly hope that I am as a joyful of a giver to my son in midnight feedings, etc as yall have been to us this past month. 

That idea of joyful sacrifice, giving of myself in all sorts of ways, etc is a post I’ll save for another time…  It came up this weekend traveling with Micah.  We have some of our best talks when we drive, I love it.

Anyway, we literally just need to get a breast pump I think.  I think he is pretty covered (for a while) with everything else.  To all who have loved us, thank you.  My thank you notes don’t seem like enough expression of our gratitude, but seriously, we appreciate you so much.

We have had every weekend jam packed with friends and family, and a lot of travel.  I could literally write a post about each weekend, all the amazing things, devotionals, prayers, people, presents, activities, etc involved.  I could post hundreds of pictures.  Maybe someday I will, but for now, here is a group shot from each weekend.

The first weekend of April, we spent in Roanoke at “cousin’s weekend”.

{Cousin’s Weekend}

The second weekend of April, we were in Harrisonburg, VA for a baby shower (plus other exciting events).

{Harrisonburg Shower}

The third weekend of April, we stayed home, had our moms in town, and went to a baby shower.

{By Grace Community Church Shower}

This last weekend in April, we went to Winchester, VA for a baby shower (had maternity pictures done and went to Warrenton for Mrs. Downs and Jenn’s birthday celebrations).

{Winchester Shower}

In case you are wondering how I am doing besides feeling overwhelmed with gratefulness. 

I still feel great.  Sleep is getting harder.  My middle region is getting larger (that might be an understatement).  My thoughts are going faster.   I am starting to slow down (kind of).  I am excited (and nervous). 

Tomorrow is May 1st , and the day I get to say “we get to meet our son next month”.

Oh, Shenandoah.

We spent this past weekend in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley.  Oh how I love that place.

My anniversary present from Micah was to stay at the place where we spent our first night as a married couple.   I wanted to save it until I was missing fall in Western VA.

We spent the weekend relaxing, hiking with friends, rising to God’s sun over the peaks of the blue mountains, worshipping God at our old church, eating delicious Thai food, getting caught up on the details of friend’s weddings, seeing my parents, more hikes, and bible study at “The Nut House”.  We made it back around 12:30am!  .

Here are a couple pictures from what we did this weekend:

Sunrises – God woke us up to the sunrises both mornings. 

Stonyman Hike – this was a relatively easy one.  Beautiful views.  It was a little crowded at the summits thought.

 

Hawksbill Hike – Highest point in the Shenandoah National Park.  Not relatively easy at all.  In fact, there was a .9 straight incline where Micah had to drag me by the hand because my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest. The end was truly worth it.

 

South River Falls Hike – this was downhill (which means there is only one way back, up), compared to the day before it didn’t feel that bad at all.  This is the hike where Micah and I started courting.  We held hands for the first time on this trail. {insert awwws here}

Shrimping in Charleston, SC.

This past weekend Micah and I took a road trip with The White’s down to Charleston, S.C. to go shrimping with Andrew’s uncles.

I don’t remember how the idea was born.  I think we were looking at each other’s pictures one day after bible study and we saw one of Andrew with a net in his mouth.  Micah wanted to try.  We started making tentative plans and nailed them down shortly after.

We took Friday off and carpooled Thursday night with Andrew’s mom too! (It’s her family that lives there).

I understand why shrimp is expensive now.  It is a lot of work.

Between making the bait out of fish meal, sticking the poles, yelling at the dolphins that were scaring off our shrimp, yelling at a drunk person filled boat that ran over our poles at one point, waiting on the tides, and then waiting some more, casting the net (Those bible verses about casting have a whole new meaning now), ripping their heads off, throwing fish that we would catch in our net back to the water, and getting back at 3 am with a rain storm coming in… we were exhausted and slept till 11 the next day!

The shrimp and grits, and shrimp alfredo made it all so worth it 🙂

It was an awesome weekend of bonding, gallivanting around downtown Charleston, drinking a lot of coffee, eating delicious southern food, and of course, shrimping.

Thank you White’s (and Duncans) for a great weekend!