With 7-month old twins, and a three year-old, every venture out of the house has the potential for disaster. Unexpected pooplosions, vomiting, crying, and myriad other obstacles are par for the course. Most times we get lucky and make it home in one piece. Every so often – well, not so much…
Yesterday, when our friends Pat and Jenn invited us on a hike at Harold Parker State Forest, we jumped at the chance to take all three kids. Since the late fall, various reasons have kept us from hiking as a family of five, so we were excited for the challenge. Of course, we also wanted things to go well, so we packed bottles, extra clothing for the babies, snacks and water for us and Addison, and for good measure, we invited along Julia – one of our favorite sitters – on our adventure.
Yet despite all our efforts, this hike was not meant to be. We covered a half mile in an hour, and had to ditch our plans. So just what went wrong?
Fail #1 – We left the twins’ buntings at home.
Okay, so this is not an epic fail in itself. Except it was chilly yesterday, and knowing they’d be snug in their buntings, we’d only dressed the twins in onesies, pants, and hats. We had two options – go home and get them, or make do with what we had. Jenn and Pat dug up some of Abby’s extra jackets and a blanket that they had in their car, and we grabbed one of Addie’s sweatshirts from ours. Kendra was planning on carrying Kate in the ergo, so we bundled her in the blanket knowing that she would be kept warm by Kendra’s body heat. Evan got to wear Abby’s jacket and vest on top, and Addie’s sweatshirt as a second pair of pants. It took several minutes of finagling, but everyone seemed comfortable and we were ready to go. Well, almost everyone – which leads to…
Fail #2 – Julia ate gluten.
We knew Julia has Celiac’s – but OMG we’d never seen her get sick from accidentally ingesting gluten. Just when we thought we were ready to go, she turned to me and said she didn’t feel well. Seconds later, she was throwing up behind a tree. Needless to say, she was not going to be able to hike with us, and we couldn’t leave her puking in the parking lot. So, Kendra put Kate on Pat’s back and then drove Julia home. The rest of us started out on the trail with the plan to meet up with Kendra when she got back. Letting Addie lead ensured that we wouldn’t get too far before Kendra returned.
Everything started off well – Evan and Kate quickly fell asleep, Abby and Addie were happy. We made it to the first of many ponds in Harold Parker, and Addie wanted to go to the edge and see the water. As I explained there wasn’t much to see, as the water was covered in snow and ice, Jenn noticed a small stream of water cutting through the ice on the trail and running down to the pond, which led to…
Fail #3 – Addie got distracted.
Jenn and I pointed out the stream to Addie, but somehow she took, “Addie, check out the cool stream running through the ice on the ground,” to mean, “Hey Addie, look at the sky and continue walking, then fall face first into the cool stream running through the ice on the ground.” Addie’s face plant immediately led to…
Fail #4 – I hadn’t packed extra clothing for Addie.
I brought along extra onesies, pants, and diapers for the twins, but the only thing I brought for Addie was a pull-up. (Normally I wouldn’t have even brought that, but on our last hike she had an accident, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have one. Even though she’s mastered how to pee and poop in the woods, Addie is still working on remembering to tell us when she needs to go in the great outdoors.)
So what is one to do when her three-year old’s clothing is soaked through with water and she forgot to pack a change of clothes? Improvise, of course. I rummaged through my pack and pulled out Evan’s onesie, which made a great short-sleeved t-shirt. I pulled Addie’s sweatshirt from Evan’s legs, put it on her, and used Kate’s extra pants as Evan’s second layer. Addie’s jacket and pull-up were dry, so those stayed on, but her two layers of pants came off, and on went-my soft-shell jacket.
Although the fall startled Addie, the second she put on Evan’s onesie, she was all smiles and giggles. The absurdity of our quickly failing hike got everyone laughing. Making the best of her situation, Addie snuggled into my soft-shell, which she decided was her “sleeping bag,” and pretended to sleep.
By now, Kendra was on her way back to the trailhead, but the car was running out of gas. And by running out, I mean the gauge had read “0 miles until empty,” since we’d left our house. Although she had an extra pair of pants for Addie in the car, we decided to head back to the trailhead and meet her there rather than wait for her to come to us. Everyone was in good spirits, but we knew how quickly that could turn. Of course, the events leading up to this moment contributed to…
Fail #5 – The adults were outnumbered by kids who needed carrying.
This wasn’t so much a fail as an inconvenience. Normally carrying two kids for a short hike is not a big deal, but the icy trail made it a bit tricky. Luckily, Kendra caught up to us and gave Addie a piggy-back ride to the parking lot.
Fail #6 – We didn’t check the weather report.
Okay, this is not totally accurate. I checked before we left, but rain was not in the forecast after noon, so we were all surprised by the sudden shower that rained down upon us as we packed up the kids and gear.
So although the hike was an epic fail, everyone was able to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. Addie was so pleased to be wearing Evan’s onesie, she stripped down in the car while we got the babies settled and modeled her outfit.
Alternate plans were made, and everyone trooped to our house for an afternoon of buffalo wings, potato skins, and Hoegaarden.
What did we learn?
Well, obviously adding twins into our outdoor adventures is a game changer. But really, most of our fails could have been avoided. So next time…
- We will triple-check we have everything before we leave the driveway. Maybe we’ll even make a list. Genius.
- Pack Addie extra clothing and invest in waterproof pants for her. (Given her nature, maybe a wet suit too.)
- Check the weather. Before we plan. Before we leave. When we get there. While we are hiking. You get the point.
Of course, the happy ending came with one more hiccup – the car’s gas tank was still empty, so we had to stop at a gas station on the way home. Keeping with the theme of the day, neither of us had brought our wallets. We scraped together $4.41 in change, which got us 1.25 gallons of gas, and a gauge that still read “0 miles until empty.” How fitting.