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The Observer paper 12/24/14

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HAWKS: Kids are no excuse for staying cooped up all winter

Some people like to joke that when you have kids your life is over. I have to disagree and go with the wise words of my past university professor Scott Wood: “When you have kids the mountains just get smaller and the rivers get calmer.”

My husband and I have two boys, ages 3½ and 6 months. We’ve lived in the Grande Ronde Valley for a year and a half and we love it. We have few hobbies that don’t involve being outdoors, and having kids hasn’t been an excuse to stop. We just tone things down when they’re with us. 

Anyone who has ventured anywhere with kids knows it’s no small task; this is particularly true when going outdoors. Take for example our typical Saturday spent cross-country skiing at areas like Andy’s Prairie, Ore.

We’ve got a system down where we stop in the parking lot and get the kids in their snowsuits, hats, gloves, boots and sunglasses. Then we drive across the street to the trailhead and quickly unload all our ski gear, backpacks, a sled to pull our toddler, and our enclosed jogger on a ski attachment to pull the baby.

One of us stays with the toddler and gets everything ready to roll while the other goes back to the parking lot to park the van, grab the baby and walk back to the trailhead. We load the kids, step into our skis and we’re off.  

Twenty minutes later we’re stopping to pull out the snacks to keep the toddler happy. 

Another twenty minutes pass and we stop again to let him hop out of the sled, putter around on his skis and play in the snow.

It’s like that the whole day.  Go, stop, eat, make sure the toddler is happy, keep giving him snacks, make sure he drinks water, feed the baby, make sure both boys are warm and comfortable, and keep on skiing. 

It all takes a lot of effort, but it’s worth it.  Happy kids, happy parents, moments where all seems to be right with the world.  It takes time to figure out what works best with your kids.  There may be tears, mistakes and tantrums but don’t give up because their will also be a lot of good times and memories.  This area of Oregon is beautiful and has so much to offer families in search of an adventure.

Some people are taken back when we tell them what we do with our kids, others are impressed, and occasionally some are motivated to do the same. Ultimately we recreate as a family because it’s what we love to do. We’ve learned from and have been inspired by other families who do the same. We hope that as our kids get older they will continue to love to be outside and appreciate all the beauty that surrounds us. 

ABOUT THE WRITER: Meg Hawks is a local mom of two boys.  She has a degree in outdoor recreation and loves to be outside with her family and friends.  You can contact her with your favorite outdoor activities you like to do with your family at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  


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