Friday, October 9, 2015

love letters

Dear Em,
"Let her sleep
For when she wakes,
She will move mountains."
- Napoleon

On the way to New Hampshire, we had told you that we would climb to the top of a mountain. You looked at us, unsure and nervous, questioning your abilities. "Are you sure about this?"

Of course we didn't actually climb all of Cannon Mountain. We took a tram ride up 99.5% of it. "Mommy, I'm so glad we're not climbing this." You sighed with relief as we traveled through the air. We looked at all the other beautiful mountain tops in awe.

Once we got off the tram, we ate a quick lunch. We sat outside, just the three of us in the chilly mountain air. The views around us were incredible, & we had hot cocoa to warm our hands.

Then we made the 15 minute hike up an additional twenty feet to the very top of the mountain. Even though we were most of the way up, you were still unsure of yourself. You were also cold (I keep forgetting how much cooler it can be at the top of a mountain & to plan accordingly with winter clothes). I held your hands to keep them warm.

When we got to the first look-out spot, you squealed in delight. You became our photographer. Suddenly, the cold didn't have as much bite. How could it when we were standing in the midst of these mountain views?

We continued to hold hands until we got to the top of the observation tower. That way we made it to our destination at the exact same time. "We both won, Mom!" You only danced around for a only few moments, & we only took a few pictures. The wind was even stronger at the very top. 

We hurried back down to the warmth of the lodge & the ease of the tram ride down. 

I watched you as you watched the trees & the mountains. I smiled at my incredible & strong, little but fierce daughter. Sure, we had taken the tram almost the entire way up, but my little girl had just climbed a mountain...& I'm sure this was just one of many.

I love you so,

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Our Family New Hampshire Adventure 2015: The Flume Gorge

Dear Em,
Daddy grew up exploring the Flume Gorge with his family during their New Hampshire vacations, but this year you & I experienced it for the first time. I was completely blown away. There was so much natural beauty along the entire trail.

The Flume Gorge trail is a two mile loop. Two miles may have been a bit too much for you in the past. With a little bit of hiking under your belt now, we thought you would really enjoy it this year. We packed snacks & water, & knew that we could find places to rest if you got tired.

When we started the trail, the path was paved. I was a little disappointed. A paved trail wasn't quite the immersion into nature I had been hoping for. Luckily, the pavement ended soon after. Step after step & around each & every corner I was absolutely & completely awed. We hiked over rustic bridges, across rumbling streams, under glacial boulders, along massive waterfalls, through tall trees, into tight caves, among bright foliage, & in full view of majestic mountains. It turns out we didn't need to stop much for you to rest, but we did stop plenty so that we could take in the natural wonders around us.

I loved how we weren't in any hurry & truly took our time exploring every piece of the Flume Gorge. We talked & laughed the whole way (although there were a couple times Daddy & I thought you were going to take a tumble, & I had a few mini heart attacks during those moments). It took us two hours to hike just two miles, & it was probably my favorite two hours & two miles of our whole New Hampshire trip. 

On a beautiful & brisk day in October, I think the Flume Gorge stole a piece of my heart. I hope we can return there someday soon.

I love you so,

Monday, October 5, 2015

Our Family New Hampshire Adventure 2015: The Basin

Dear Em,
We just got back from the most refreshing & much needed family New Hampshire getaway. This Summer was beautiful but busy. Then we jumped into a busy Fall full of transitions & obligations. Our home was starting to feel tense & stressed. We were all struggling to find patience and grace with each other.

Our little family New Hampshire getaway couldn't have come at a better time. To me, it was the refresh & reset our family so desperately needed. It would be a time to unplug & just enjoy each other. There would be hiking & exploring & reading & family game nights. I decided to really get into the unplugging this year & deleted facebook & instagram from my phone. I wanted to truly be present with our family & planned to pull out my phone as little as possible.

It was about a four hour drive to New Hampshire. You spent some of it napping & some of it watching a movie on your DVD player. Daddy & I chatted in the front seats & marveled at the gorgeous foliage filled mountain views. Route 93 in New Hampshire has some of the best highway views I've ever seen.

We drove straight to the Basin. We were all ready to get out of the car, & a hike at the Basin was just what we needed.

The Basin has been the perfect hiking spot for us as you've grown through the years. It's a fairly easy trail with foliage & the Pemigewasset River to explore. The first time we took you to the Basin was four years ago, & you were 1 1/2. You had a double ear infection & the antibiotics were doing a number on your stomach. We mostly held you through the Basin hike. To calm your sick little toddler whimpers, I remember saying to you in a deep voice "the Basin." Then you would call out in an equally deep voice "the baby Basin."

What a difference four years makes. You did all of the hiking on your own this year, this time knowing how to look for trail markers. You smiled as you led us through the trail.

Our short hike reminded me of why we keep returning to the Basin year after year. The smell of pine & fresh air surrounded us as we took in the beauty of the trail. We hiked & we talked & we laughed. It was the perfect start to our fantastic weekend.

I'm so glad that these are traditions we get to share together. I'm so glad that when patience & grace is hard to come by, we find a way to come back to each other. I'll be sharing more about our family refresh & reset in the next few posts.

I love you so,

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