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Some solid advice from Erica Lineberry at CragMama

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Outdoor Kids.

Alex and I have made two trips to the Believe in Books Literacy Foundations trail network over the last month. It is an excellent area to explore if you only have an hour or two, just 10 minutes north of North Conway Village.

100 Acre Wood Trail System

100 Acre Wood Trail System

On our first excursion with our friends Kaelan & Heather we wandered around without referring to the map and basically took “Polar Path” to “Railroad Alley” and “Winnie’s Wandering”, right down to a beautiful little swimming hole on the East Branch River. The highlight for the boys was seeing a train from the Conway Scenic Railroad cross the trestle.

Don't forget to grab a map!

Don’t forget to grab a map!

Views of Cathedral Ledge in the distance

Views of Cathedral Ledge in the distance

This is where the "North Pole" is for the famed Polar Express!

This is where the “North Pole” is for the famed Polar Express!

A small reservoir

A small reservoir

Skipping rocks and exploring

Skipping rocks and exploring

Well signed trails

Well signed trails

Choo Choo

Choo Choo

On our way out another hiker told us of the “Storybook Trail”, and while we were out of time for this day I brought Alex back a week later so we could check it out. This short half mile trail has stations every 100 feet or so with the next page of a story. It makes for a fun interactive hike!

This week's book "Dragons Love Tacos"

This week’s book “Dragons Love Tacos”

This place is another great family destination in Mount Washington Valley. You should check it out!

From their website:

100 ACRE WOOD TRAIL SYSTEM
Hours: Generally 9am-4pm • Trail passes are $3 per car load for the day, An annual pass is $50 and can be purchased at the Foundation office. (The 100 Acre Wood Trail System is open when the entrance gate is open)
1/2 Mile Storybook Trail:
“Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin
TRAIL CONDITIONS: Perfect Fall Conditions!
COMMENTS: Walk, bike or run. Dogs are Welcome on a leash but please clean up after them!

David Lottmann:

Great cool weather camping tips from ExpectAdventure!

Originally posted on Expect Adventure:

cold weather camping tipsFall is here! While those balmy summer nights may be behind us, there’s no reason to let a little fall chill keep you from camping with kids. Here are 6 tips for cozy sleeping while the temperature dips.

First things first: cold air is the enemy. The more air you have to heat, the harder it will be to warm up. This will make sense soon, I promise.

1. Ditch the party tent. Those giant tents are great for dance parties, but if warmth is what you’re after, the smaller, the better. A backpacking tent has just enough room for you to sleep in, sit up, and change clothes with a few contortions. It’s not the Ritz, but once zipped up, the air inside will warm up (and stay warm) in no time.
2. Learn to love that mummy bag. For optimal warmth, your sleeping bag should be just a…

View original 317 more words

David Lottmann:

Great blog post from adventurous parents.com! I love the retractable water-bottle!

Originally posted on The Adventures in Parenthood Project:

Bonbon Break

It feels like it wasn’t that long ago that we had a baby we could snuggle into a soft carrier to take hiking, and who would fall asleep for long portions of the journey. But things have changed rather quickly, and we now have a toddler bubbling over with personality and propelling herself with her own two feet.

Though the newness of doing outdoor activities with a baby can be overwhelming, once that little person sleeps less and walks more, you’ve got a whole new set of wonderful (and totally manageable) challenges to contend with. Of course, this depends on your toddler. Some can sit longer than others. Some sleep anywhere. Mine is a restless little ball of energy who doesn’t want to miss a thing.

Either way, all toddlers are inherently busy and explorative, so if you have two-foot-high trail buddy in tow, these tips should come in handy.

Prepping for a hike into the backcountry in Banff National Park. Photo Meghan J. Ward collection. Prepping for a hike into the…

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We pulled into the parking lot a few minutes after 10AM. There were still plenty of parking spots open but as I glanced at the growing flipflop crowd already coating themselves in DEET (it was 64 degrees, breezy, with no bugs) I wondered why I was bringing us to such a heavily used trail for our first hike with our new puppy, Echo. I carried an empty kid carrier and with Echo on a leash and Alex by my side we left the parking lot and dipped into the woods.

This would be a bit of a training hike for Echo. Just a few minutes up the trail I was able to let Echo off leash and start “releasing” him and calling him back with my stash of smoked turkey treats. Alex already had the hand signals down to accompany “sit”, “stay”, “go play”, and enjoyed helping Echo learn.

Almost to the falls

Almost to the falls

As we approached the falls I put Echo back on leash due to the amount of people and a few other leashed dogs in the area. We made our way over to a sunny spot on the rocks to watch the swollen water from last nights epic storms.

Snack & Water Break

Snack & Water Break

When I mentioned leaving so we could meet up with Mommy for lunch Alex was adamant we do some exploring. I brought us a bit further up the trail away from the crowds so I could let Echo off his leash. Alex wanted to go off trail to explore a muddy little stream. My first reaction was to reel him in so he wouldn’t get muddy from the assured trips and face plants off trail travel would bring this 34 month old, but then I started thinking about this excellent piece by Emma Marris, “Let Kids Run Free in the Woods”, which I found through the Expect Adventure blog.

I wanted Alex to love hiking. If I always keep him from running, scrambling, exploring, and jumping in every puddle would he really want to keep doing it as he gets older? So I let Alex off the proverbial leash and off he went into the woods.

Bushwacking

Bushwacking

I was proud to see face height vegetation didn’t creep him out like it did this Spring when we were hiking at Tin Mountain Conservation Center. He scrambled over mossy boulders, found some ankle deep mud to jump in, and explored for almost 30 minutes. At one point he told me to stop following him, so I pulled back to about 40 feet from him. He wandered in circles for another 10 minutes humming and playing. This independent nature play was so great to watch. After almost an hour he looked up and when he didn’t see me right away he said “Daddy”?

“Yes, Alex?” as I stepped into view.

“I like hiking” he said.

“Me too, buddy. Want to hike back to the car so we can have some lunch with Mommy?”

This tree is BIG daddy!

This tree is BIG daddy!

Alex decided it would be fun to run back, and he pretty much ran the entire .6 miles back to the car. He would run for a minute or two, take a quick breather, then run again. He especially loved when Echo would run right next to him. We passed quite a few families with kids on their way in. I saw a few parents who were constantly telling their kids (much older than Alex) to stop running, stay on the trail, slow down, put that stick down… I could see some of these kids look at Alex with some envy as he blasted down the trail laughing and giggling all the way back to the car.

It feels good to be off leash.

Alex loves farms, and Michelle & I love history, so it was about time for us to visit the nearby Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm this past weekend. Walking distance from the idyllic village of Tamworth, NH this is an excellent place to spend a half-day with a toddler!

The Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm

The Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm

“The Remick family settled in Tamworth over 200 years ago, and six generations of the same family worked the farm. Each generation prospered and was active in the town’s history. Before his death in 1993, Dr. Edwin Crafts Remick created a foundation to preserve his home, farm, and family history in a way that the public could enjoy. The Remick family’s 200 year history in Tamworth gives us all a glimpse into how people worked and played in this historic landscape.” – Remick’s Website

We could feel the history in well preserved rooms as we read interpretative information and marveled at what life must have been like in the 1800’s.

The Recreation Room

The Recreation Room

One of a few kitchens

One of a few kitchens

My favorite room was the dining area, and while researching this post I discovered that they run a few “Hearthside” dinners every year. Next one is October 4th, perhaps Michelle & I will find a sitter!

Amazing dining area

Amazing dining area

Once we had soaked up as much info as we could inside we headed out to explore the grounds.

Lots to see!

Lots to see!

What kid doesn't want to sit on this?

What kid doesn’t want to sit on this?

Great area for picnics & parties

Great area for picnics & parties

iPhone Panaroma... great view of Chocurua from here.

iPhone Panaroma… great view of Chocurua from here.

After visiting the historic barn & milking house our stomachs were growling so we headed down to the village and discovered the tres hip “Tamworth Lyceum“. This was the perfect place to grab some sandwiches after spending the morning on the farm. Best grilled cheese I have ever had, and some great chicken & pesto panini’s were enjoyed on their back porch.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

Photo courtesy of Yelp

While driving home Michelle and I talked about how great it is to live so close to so many great little villages worth spending a day with Alex at. There’s a lot more to Tamworth than I had thought and we’ll be heading back there soon for the River Walk and some of the cool village events. A trip to the Barnstormers Theater is also high on the bucket list, stay tuned!

Our beloved Bear passed away just after Alex turned 1. We have always wanted a dog in our family but our hearts were not ready and it was easy to focus our attention on our wonderful one-year-old. This winter we decided that after the busy guiding season we would start looking, and last week, after hearing of a influx of puppies at the Conway Area Humane Society, we decided to get serious.

Puppies & Toddlers

Love at first sight?

We originally had our eye on a beautiful one year old Shepard mix named Sissy, but after our 2nd visit we were drawn to this 2.5 month old hound mix. He seemed so sweet and gentle compared to his feisty sister. It didn’t take us long to fall in love.

Puppies & Toddlers

Already good on a leash?

Once we got home though we started noticing we had upset Alex’s balance in his world… Suddenly it wasn’t 100% about him. And Echo would obviously be trying to figure out where in our pack he belonged. This would be by testing each of us through nips and rough play. It was crushing to hear Alex say “I don’t want a doggy” after being jumped on for the 3rd time.

There is a ton of advice on the internet regarding toddlers & puppies. We’ve skimmed and read much of what’s out there, but so far these have been the best tips we’ve followed with some success:

1) Set up some dog free/kid free boundaries. We want Alex & Echo to become best friends, but that can’t be forced. Some playtime together is important so they grow affection for each other, but so is personal space. Alex no longer felt safe playing with his toys on the living room floor, so I took our wood stove kid gate down and re-installed it to split the living room and dining room.

Toddlers & Puppies

This wall will come down, once proper pack order is established

2) 1 on 1 time, for both Pup and Boy. Michelle and I have been sure to spend some quality time with both Alex & Echo when it is just us. This time is so precious. Like when I took Alex for a swim at our nearby beach, just the two of us. Or Echo sitting in my lap last night at a backyard campfire while Alex read books with Mommy inside. We try to give each an hour of undivided attention every day.

Toddlers & Puppies

Solo doggie play

3) Together time. This is very closely supervised at this point until Echo learns he can’t jump on Alex. But with Echo in my lap Alex can sit and learn how to pet him gently. Alex also loves to help get the doggy food and water and sharing these responsibilities will help them bond.

Puppies & Toddlers

Chillin’ on the couch

Well it has only been 9 days since we brought Echo home, and I feel we are making good progress inducting him into our little family. Thanks to crate training house-breaking has gone pretty well considering his young age, and I feel we are on the right path to establishing the proper “pack order”.

Anyone have any tips that worked for them when adding a puppy to a toddler home? Please share below!

 

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