True Adventures for Everyday People

Author: The Ewalds (Page 1 of 2)

Finding my passion.

When I was young, growing up with three big brothers, I wanted to be strong and big like them. I always looked up to them and as I got into middle school and high school, I started working out hard. Lifting weights and playing football and rugby made me fast, but I never bulked up; I was still 135-140 pounds freshman year. I was determined and set several records for my grade for the power clean and squat and bench press for my weight and age, but I couldn’t add the weight that I wanted to compete with my brothers.

After high school I still worked out occasionally, but I let things slip and I didn’t work out nearly as hard. I spent two years in Baltimore as a missionary and didn’t have the equipment to lift competitively, so I got into yoga and I practiced yoga every day for those 2 years. When I got home, I got wrapped up in working and getting married and having kids. Working out became a very low priority.

Six months after Caden’s birth, I was noticing my happiness levels were waning and I didn’t have a hobby or a passion in life. This was the time that Kimberly and I decided to start running. I had never really liked running, but I figured it was a good way to get back in the rhythm of exercising.

Fast forward to 2020, I had determined I wanted to change careers or at least switch things up a little by getting a degree. While I was looking through the catalogue and the different options offered by the university I was attending, I researched exercise physiology and it got me thinking about what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about exercise and the benefits of exercise that are so needed in today’s society. It’s why I’m here in Rexburg, Idaho right now writing this.

I plan on putting my thoughts and the things I’ve learned down in this section of our blog all about fitness and health.

EC or Potty Training While Away from Home

Whether you are on a long road trip or just at a playdate, taking care of your child’s elimination needs can be a bit nerve-wracking, to say the least. I remember taking my son to the grocery store in those early diaper-free-outing days, and I was terrified we were going to have a pee-soaked car seat or worse, a puddle on the grocery store floor. (For the record, since then, I have dealt with an accident in the car seat and while not fun, it was a very good learning experience for our whole family and definitely wasn’t the end of the world; maybe I’ll write a post about that at some point…).

In any case, while it is an exercise of trust in our child, our intuition, and our system, it is a necessary and very important step on our road to diaper-independence with each of our children. However, there are several things that can make it a lot easier.

#1 Gear – Make sure you have a mini potty or a portable seat reducer. You can keep the reducer in your diaper bag and the mini potty in the back of your car (believe me this works really well!). Other gear that might be helpful are trainers and wet bags. TinyUndies.com sells really absorbent cotton trainers that provide extra protection while out and about as well as cloth pull-up covers called TinyUps that can go over underwear or trainers if you are really nervous about an accident. TinyUps protect car seats and grocery store floors while not getting in the way of taking your child to the bathroom. TinyUndies also carries wet bags which are life-savers if there does happen to be an accident (otherwise you’re stuck wrapping the wet clothes in paper towels and hoping your other stuff doesn’t get wet, or if you’re super lucky you might have a grocery bag which may or may not have a hole in it…).

Speaking of gear, GoDiaperFree.com is having a flash sale today in honor of Andrea’s son’s 4th birthday. Use the code BRANSON30 for 30% off. If you’ve been planning to purchase the Go Diaper Free or Tiny Potty Training book, now would be a great time to snag them!

#2 Arrival and Departure – When you arrive at your destination or a stop on a road trip, take your child to the bathroom first; Andrea calls this a “foundational pee.” For me, this means using the mini potty in the back of the car in a parking lot, the restroom at church, or the bathroom at a friend’s house. Make sure you also take your child right before you leave. As a personal preference, I typically avoid taking my toddler to a public restroom at the grocery store or zoo just because I also have a baby and it’s just easier to use the mini potty in the car. If you are on a longer road trip, I definitely recommend adjusting the backup you use for your peace of mind and the smoothness of your trip. Your child’s progress in most cases will not be significantly hindered and you will pick up right where you left off when you get settled in your new situation.

#3 A Calm Demeanor – I know this is very much easier said than done, but your child will pick up on the fact that you’re nervous and things might not go as smoothly as they might have otherwise. Trust that things will be okay. After all, as Andrea reminds us, pee is sterile and things can be washed. It’s not the end of the world. Use whatever backup or gear makes you the least nervous, but also don’t hold yourself and your child back just because you’re scared. They are often more capable than we give them credit for.

As an example of what our children are capable of, my husband took my then-15 month-old son on a trip to see my husband’s parents who lived 1.5hr away. He kept him in underwear and he stayed dry the entire way up, all day while they were there, and all the way home. On another occasion when we visited my husband’s parents, I was too nervous for Caden to be in underwear, so we put him in a diaper and he stayed dry the whole way up; on the way back he told us he had to pee so we pulled over, he peed, and we carried on, arriving home with him still dry. If we give them a chance many times they will rise to the occasion.

Good luck on your outings! 🙂 Remember about Branson’s birthday sale and have a wonderful day!

EC and Potty Training with Two Under 2

This post is about our experience with EC and potty training with two kiddos under age two. It might be a little longer, but the short of it is that it’s been awesome and that it’s totally do-able! 🙂

I first heard about EC while I was pregnant with Caden and doing research about cloth diapers. Since EC has the goal of “catching” pee and poop a receptacle other than a diaper, it seemed like that would make using cloth diapers easier. Unfortunately, my recovery post-partum was a bit more difficult than I had planned, so we didn’t end up starting EC at birth like I had imagined we would.

One day, when Caden was about a month old, I decided to stop over-thinking it and to just do it. So I took the diaper off and tried holding him over the sink. After a few moments he peed! I felt kind of dumb for being so thrilled, but I was hooked.

Over the next 9 months, we practiced EC very part-time, mostly in the morning after he woke up. Eventually, we were able to catch nearly all poops in the mini potty. My thought that EC would make cloth diapering easier was very accurate.

My favorite part of this time in our lives was all the moments that I could be focused and intentional with my son. I had to just stand there and wait, and that gave me time to just enjoy spending time with him. Since he was a really big baby, to help save our backs we put a mini potty on the bathroom counter rather than holding him over the toilet or sink. Over time, he created a game of kicking over the soap dispensers as he sat on the potty and it was so much fun. Those are memories I wouldn’t have if we hadn’t done EC.

When Caden was about 10 months old, I decided to be more focused about EC and try doing nearly full-time. It was not as hard as I thought and we had a lot of success. By 14 months old, Caden had finally learned to crawl, then walk, and he started wearing tiny trainers (www.ewaldadventures/tinyundies) instead of a diaper. We still had some misses, but I felt amazing about how far we had come. Unfortunately, being in my third trimester with our second child, my energy and commitment waned. This lead to us going back to diapers when Caden was 16 months old.

After our daughter was born, I was amazed at how much more in tune I was to her elimination needs than I had been with Caden early on. I would just know that she needed to go and I had a choice: ignore her and have her go in her diaper, or take her to the bathroom and help her stay clean. So around 2 weeks postpartum, we started part-time EC with her. We had some other strong motivation, too, as she seemed to leak out of every diaper we tried – cloth, Seventh Generation, Pampers, it didn’t matter. Taking her to the bathroom really saved us time and made her more comfortable.

During these first weeks with a new baby, I was so grateful that we were able to stay with my family and get some much-needed support; however, I got really annoyed and frustrated seeing my son in a disposable diaper full of pee. My family, understandably, didn’t know how to handle such a young toddler using the potty and I didn’t feel up to teaching them, so diapers were more convenient for everyone. But I was still bummed about the situation. We had come so far and just a couple months earlier he was totally diaper free during the day. I felt like I might be crazy, but a few weeks later I decided to take the diapers off my son once and for all, with the goal of having him fully daytime potty trained within the next month before he turned 18 months old.

We were successful and he was nearly perfectly reliable in a matter of weeks. I was happily shocked that the month in diapers hadn’t done much damage. My husband could take him to the neighborhood park and Caden would say he needed to go with enough notice that they could make it home in time. I could take both children to the grocery store and if I had him use the potty before and after shopping, we would make it with dry pants. It was incredible, and so liberating. I felt like we were honoring our son’s development, his ability to control his body and to communicate his needs. My family also quickly got on board and helped so much while we were with them (it’s still challenging to take a toddler potty when you have a tiny baby!).

At the time of writing we are waiting for Caden to start coming up dry for naps and nighttime before tackling diaper-free sleep, but we feel very confident and proud of the work and communication that has gone into this process. I am excited go through this process again with my daughter, and I hope it will turn out to be just as amazing of an experience.

If you want to learn more about EC or about getting your older toddler out of diapers, check out ewaldadventures.com/godiaperfree or feel free to email me at ewaldadventures@gmail.com.

Should I do EC or potty training?

This is an important question to answer. Starting down one road when you should be on the other could lead to confusion and frustration for you and your baby. Luckily though, this question isn’t too hard to answer.

EC is officially recommended for babies 0-18 months. Potty training is recommended beginning at 16-18mo.

If your child is younger than 12mo, you are in the EC category. This process is parent-led and the baby is not expected to necessarily signal or have much independence in the process, so it is up to the parent to learn and respond to their baby’s needs.

If your baby is between 12-18mo, you will most likely do what’s called the “hybrid plan” which takes elements from both EC and potty training to help meet the needs of your independence-seeking baby. This plan is included in the Go Diaper Free book purchase (see p. 71). As the child seeks more control, the parent makes it a priority to teach them how to signal, how to mount the potty, how to manipulate clothing, etc.

If your baby is between 16-18mo, it is your call as the parent whether to use the hybrid plan or go ahead and tackle potty training. Either is just fine. It just depends on your child’s temperament and if you are able to commit full-time. If you are ready to be done and you think your child is ready to be done, go ahead with potty training!

If your child is over 18mo, EC would no longer be beneficial so you would go straight to the potty training plan, adjusting for naps and nighttime according to his age, abilities, and your desires as the parent.

And there you have it! Now you know whether to do EC or potty training with your baby. To purchase the Go Diaper Free book (0-18mo) or the Tiny Potty Training book (18mo+) please check out www.ewaldadventures.com/godiaperfree.

Massacre Falls Trail

For my birthday I (Andrew) wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary. Also, considering this whole COVID-19 Coronavirus situation, I kind of had to do something weird. As my wife was asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday that wasn’t going to put me within 6 feet of anyone and wasn’t going to make me touch anything anyone else had ever touched… I realized there were like 2 options. Which were: nothing (that’s not gonna happen) or a hike. In my opinion, the best hikes include some type of water feature. And since I live in Arizona, finding hikes with water is like trying to find water in a desert… Wonder where I got that analogy? Anyway, this hike wasn’t that far away from us, so I roped my wife, one year old son and sister-in-law in on what turned out to be a 6 hour journey!

We took my wife’s Volvo XC90 (V8 AWD) and set out with a baby carrier and some water bottles. When we got there, it was insanely busy. The police had blocked the turn off to go to the hike. We had to drive into a wash with really deep sand to park. Several others had done this too, though this young girl with her Civic very nearly got stuck and some other guy and I had to push her out of the hole she had dug in for herself.

But ignoring the fact that there were going to be a million people there and the police didn’t want us to be there, we pressed on. We walked around the cop car and onto the dirt road about 1/2-3/4 mile to the trail head. The hike really wasn’t too crowded, I think that’s because it’s such a long journey, it’s about 3.5 miles in and another 3.5 out. So even though there were a lot of cars, it didn’t feel like we were crowded. Plenty of room for social distancing. haha

The way up was pretty uneventful; Caden slept, Caden woke up, Caden wanted food, Caden wanted water, Caden was hot, Caden was done with the carrier, Caden wanted milk but Kimberly didn’t have her cover and didn’t want to go bare-breasted out in public (there were enough people to make her uncomfortable about that). It wasn’t all bad though! On hikes, I have a tough time coming up with good things to say about them, I just love ’em! There were some great views and some cool sights, I enjoyed being outside in nature, and I loved being with my family. In the end it was a great hike, the people we met on the trail were so nice and kind.

Oh yeah, and we saw a rattlesnake, in real freaking life. It was absolutely nuts. Those things are freaky. It was in the middle of the trail, someone threw a boulder at it and it got off the trail, but not without making a lot of noise. I’ll try to post the video, but photos may need to suffice for now.

If you take nothing else from this, take this: the Massacre Falls Trail is beautiful and you should take your family and go. It’s kind of a tough hike, but the waterfall at the end is pretty cool. More than anything just get outside and find an adventure!

My son in a baby carrier, we're about to head out on the trail.
Caden’s too cool to look at the camera.
Massacre Falls Trail
Caden needed water, Caitlyn needed to make a bouquet. We all have needs.
Oh and Caden found a rock, he found 2 rocks. He fell asleep on the way back and even in his unconscious state, managed to cling to those rocks til he got to the car.

Andrew and His Hobby

Supporting your spouse and his dreams and goals is an interesting thing sometimes. You might not understand his interest, the process, or even why he thinks it’s important/worthwhile.

But take a look at yourself, your priorities. Are they sometimes a little odd or unique? Might your husband not understand your interests, the process of your goals, or why you think a particular activity is worth your time?

I’ve known since before we got married that Andrew loves cars and motorcycles, and basically anything with a motor and wheels, and that he knows quite a bit about them. But personally I know next to nothing related to that field. Until we started dating, the only things I noticed about a car were the color, the AC function, if the interior was comfortable/functional/attractive, and if the shape looked good or not (Corvette vs. PT Cruiser, but I didn’t know the names/couldn’t really identify those cars at the time).

After two years of marriage, one sport bike and three cars, we finally have a car that will hopefully last us a long time. However, it required us to take out an auto loan and that was kind of a difficult thing for me as I had never had any debt. But, this was a solid car and one that Andrew really, really liked and one he had researched and determined would be a good fit for our needs/wants. The loan payment would also be cheaper than we were paying in repairs every month on our last car.

This car has really been awesome. Not only is it solid, but it is basically everything that Andrew could want in a car that we could get for the price we paid – fast, easily-handled, efficient, sporty, boosted, and manual transmission. I was happy that we found something that suited our needs/wants so well.

As things need to be replaced on this car (the foglights most recently), Andrew really wants to continue to make improvements and make it even more of a dream car (minus the rear-wheel drive). Sometimes I wonder if a particular thing is necessary, or if we should be more “thrifty,” but in those cases I always have to weigh it against the fact that this is Andrew’s hobby and I want to support things that he is passionate about.

Not that every considered purchase is actually made, but I go into those discussions differently than I might if this wasn’t something he was so passionate about. My current hobbies require more time than money, but they might need monetary support later on. I would hope that Andrew and I could work something out so that I can pursue my passions without making it an issue for our relationship.

I know some people struggle to find balance between their hobbies and their relationships, and honestly I think that’s really sad because something that someone loves is competing with someone they love, and they are, for whatever reason, unable to resolve that conflict. This balance is part of relationships, and, like many things in relationships, needs to be worked on and talked about honestly and kindly. It can be worked out if each side is open with the other.

I’m super grateful that Andrew and I can be honest with each other and have these discussions and that we’ve found a balance. This has been and continues to be an interesting learning experience for me as a wife and I’m glad it’s been so positive.

Good luck to all you couples having these discussions – it’s a great day when you both feel heard and understood and the decisions made are both of yours.

Men are not the Priesthood

President Oaks likes to make this clear all the time. Here is why the phrase “members of the priesthood priesthood” bugs me: we are all members/beneficiaries of the priesthood and utilize its power in any Church calling, but not all of us hold the priesthood. The priesthood is not a group, it’s not a brotherhood – although there is a brotherhood of priesthood bearers. The priesthood is the power of God. You wouldn’t say that Jedi are members of the Force. You would say they are the wielders of the Force. The same goes for the priesthood.

Just Start!

One night while Andrew and I were trying to put Caden’s nursery together, I ran into a problem. We hadn’t put anything up in our house yet so I had a pile of decorative items that I knew I liked and wanted to use, but I had no idea where or how and I was getting overwhelmed. But we had to get them out of the bedroom. I expressed my frustration to Andrew and he said, “Well, why don’t you just start?” I wanted to protest but couldn’t think of anything logical or not pathetic to say, so I did. I brought the things downstairs that I thought I wanted there, took some into our room, and then just had a small pile for Caden’s room. And in just a few minutes this massive problem I had was basically taken care of.

Andrew didn’t give me any additional knowledge, skills, vision, or ability. He just got me to act on what I knew already and then to make more decisions. I had everything I needed from the start.

So, if there is something stressing you out – a school project, ministering assignment, a goal you’ve set for yourself, whatever – “Just start” by acting on the knowledge, inspiration, or hunch you have and see what happens!

Thoughts on Scorpions

Originally posted on 2/21/2020

I found a scorpion on my stairs one morning. Andrew had already gone to work and he hadn’t seen it. Luckily our son wasn’t born yet, let alone mobile and so not in danger. It really scared me though and it was quite a process getting it off the stairs onto the tile so I could kill it (our stairs were carpeted…). 

It got me thinking though. Scorpions just hang out for the most part waiting for prey. They don’t really move or do anything and you hardly notice they’re there, but when you finally realize, you’re terrified and kill them.

Do we react the same way to social issues or bad habits in our families? Those are metaphorical scorpions that can damage you and your family later. Recognize them for what they are (Satan’s influence) and kill them.

What not to say to a pregnant mom

I was hanging out with an expecting friend recently, and it made me think about this topic. When I was pregnant with my first child, I developed a pet peeve and it is this: asking an expecting mom questions like, “How are you feeling?” “Are you ready?” Or making comments like, “Enjoy your sleep now while you have it!”

For crying out loud! She’s not ready, probably freaking out, and do you remember how you slept at 8-9mo pregnant?! 

Instead, what would be more helpful would be to ask, “Are you getting excited?” and “What can I do to help you?”

Focus on the positive and offer help in a question that she has to answer (not just “Let me know if I can do anything” because we all know that never works). Even if she says there isn’t anything you can help with, at least you gave her an easy way to ask, and didn’t freak her out with thoughts of not being prepared or resentment because she can’t sleep.

Just a thought. đź™‚

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