Monthly Archives: October 2011

Friday Fun Video: Coyote Gulch Video

We had a great time in Coyote Gulch with the kids and already posted a few of the pictures here.  We also wanted to show a video to show some of the highlights of the trip with the kids.

Most of the shots are just of the kids playing, which is great, they loved it!  Kids make the whole trip fun by bringing a sense of wonder to the trip.

The background on one part is that Mason, after watching Dash from The Incredibles now has some “Water Shoes”, which he thinks he can use to run on water.  He kept showing us over and over again, until it didn’t work one time…  We also found a great hole that all of the kids hid in, built sand castles, played in quicksand, made echos in the canyon and watched the stars and saw the moon come up through Jacob Hamblin arch.  All in all, a sweet trip with the kids.

As a side note, one tradition that we do on many of our longer trips is to choose a theme song.  On this trip, U2’s “Beautiful Day” was the theme song and we listened to it each morning, a few times while driving, and a few times while hiking.  It makes the trip fun and now when we hear it, it brings back lots of good memories of the trip.

The only thing that we didn’t get much of in the video was the location – the amazing canyon that you get to hike through. So here was just one more illustration of what we enjoyed hiking through with the kids.

Dwarfed by the canyon walls

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Posted by on October 28, 2011 in Adventures, Backpacking, Camping, Friday Videos


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Great deal on tough clothes

10/28 Update: All kids wear from MK’s has been removed from their site for the time and placed on Zulily at an even better price.  Act fast, deals here go really quick.  

Now that fall is here, we’re into pants season.  I hate pants season for one reason…Mason.  It’s like the kid knows he’s wearing pants and looks for any possible way to get holes in them.  Last weekends favorite was running and sliding on his knees whenever he found a non-carpeted floor.  Totally awesome.  At this rate, he’ll need a new wardrobe by New Years.  ARGH!!  Well thanks to Masons incredible ability to destroy pants, I’ve been searching for something tougher than he is.  I thought about making him wear some brown Carhartts all winter (not my favorite style) until I remembered the Mountain Khakis that all my brothers live in.  They swear that they’re as tough as Carhartts, but that they’re something you’d actually wear and like.  I was stoked when I found out they make kids pants too.

Here’s what they say about their B’s Original Mountain Pants: “Kids will be kids, so we made a high quality pant to keep up with their busy schedule, from playtime to naptime. With reinforced heel cuffs and chap-style knees, these bad boys beg for skids, slides and burnouts. All the while, they’re super comfortable on tender skin.”

Sounds like the perfect fit for Mason!  Sad story though.  Mountain Khakis is phasing out their kids line (of course, just when I find out it exists)!  Act quick though, there are still some left and they’re a screaming deal at over 50% off!    Go check them out!  Hurry!

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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Clothing, Tips


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The fear I can’t conquer

I really dislike the word can’t.  It makes my skin crawl.  Lately, Chloe constantly says “I can’t” to everything her stubborn 2 year old mind doesn’t want to do (whatever sweetie – you can eat that oatmeal I just made you! – stinker).  I just want to yell at her and tell her to stop being such a pessimist and that she’s amazing and can do amazing things.  But alas, she’s 2, so I just show her that she can and save the screaming for boys who want to date her later.

However, that being said, I’ve decided that I have a fear that I really can’t conquer.  Or maybe I should say, “I have a fear that I won’t be conquering, ‘cuz it scares the crap out of me”.  Here goes…I have a fear of heights.  Well actually, it’s not really the heights that scare me, it’s the thought of falling off of them and landing in a crumpled heap at the bottom.  Now I know that much of this may sound totally irrational to you, but here goes…

Rewind 10 years.  I worked in Jackson WY during the summer as a river guide.  I was working most of the time the sun was up so my friends and I would do everything at night.  One of the favorite activities was cliff jumping.  This was something that had always scared me, but somehow doing it at night made it much easier.  At this point, I thought I was cured of my fear of heights.  Well, turns out that it’s just because I knew I was likely not going to get hurt when I fell.  If you land right, water does not hurt.

Me pretending I can actually climb


Okay, now go back 7 years to when Andrew and I were dating.  He’s pretty much the Jack-of-all trades when it comes to outdoor recreation (have you noticed) and climbing is no exception.  He was quick to take me climbing with him and teach me all about it.  I went along with it.  Bought shoes, went with him several times and kept my sobbing to myself.  I was scared that if he knew this huge fear he’d think I was too whimpy for him.  Soon after we were married, the truth came out about how terrified I was of rock climbing (I know, how sneaky).  I would get about 15 feet up and start shaking (I could show my true colors now because we were married and he was stuck with me), demanding that he pull the rope tighter every time I moved and inch, and the higher I got, the more likely I was to cry.  There, now you all know – I’m a big baby.  I was scared of a big fall and landing bad.  Like loosing my footing, slipping, and crushing my body into the rocks.  Or worse, Andrew would fall and I would end up paralyzed since my fall would no doubt be disasterous.  Don’t worry, I completely understand how irrational all of this sounds, but this is what goes through my head and I can’t shake it.  Needless to say, we started climbing less and I encouraged Andrew to just go with friends instead.  Since then, I’ve pretty much backed off from anything that will bring on this fear.  Having kids makes it even worse because now I imagine Mason running to catch a ball and running straight off a cliff (he doesn’t pay attention when he’s playing hard).  Yep, I’m crazy when it comes to taking my kids around steep things.  So we avoid them.  I’ve gotten to the point where I can handle climbing indoors, and bouldering is great.  I mean, climber girls are cool and I wish I could be one.  Their lean, ripped, and just hardcore…but I’ll never really be one.  Girls who are scared of heights don’t make good climbers.

Okay, rewind to two weeks ago.  We’re headed down to Coyote Gulch.  This was my first trip there and Andrew had told me that there was a big hill at the end that you needed to go down.  “Don’t worry” he reassured me “it’s not that bad”, and I believed him.  That is, until we got there.  I saw the hill and vertigo instantly set in.  There was no way I was going down this.  I sat down to control my shaking.  Andrew did his best to reassure me “it’s way harder going down than it is going up”.  So we made a plan.  He would take his pack and Mason down to the bottom and then come back up to carry Chloe in her backpack and I could scoot down on my bum.  Amazingly, I did okay (minus the giant hole this made in my pants) and I don’t think I cried once (even though I still made Andrew help me at the hard spots).  Two days later, we met that hill again.  I kept telling myself that going up is way easier than coming down, and guess what?  The first section was.  I was still pretty scared, so Andrew had already taken his pack to the top and was holding Masons hands with Chloe in the pack.  I wanted to stay close to them thinking that if there was a problem, I could help.  Seriously?  Okay, maybe I was actually thinking rationally then.

My brother and sister-in law going up the hill



I was fine until one move came.  I would have to put my foot on a tiny sloping rock while I made a big move to my next hold.  I couldn’t handle it.  One of my biggest problems with climbing is that while I know I can trust my feet, I mentally can’t do it.  If I fell here, the slope was steep enough that I would easily slide 100 feet to the bottom.  I immediately stopped thinking about my kids and started thinking about how I was going to survive.  Andrew wouldn’t let anything happen to them and would wait with them at the top, but he wasn’t with me now.  I started getting dizzy and a sharp pain in my stomach had me doubled over.  Luckily, we were with a big group and my brother saved my life.  For the next 75 or so feet, he placed his hand on each foothold for me so I would be confident I wouldn’t fall.  I was convinced he would die doing this but he assured me he would be fine.  I was crying by this point (I’m sure that really helped me a lot) knowing that each step I took made my fall bigger.  As I was doing this, my brother-in-law practically ran past me.  The killer part was that my 3 year old niece had her harness on and was clipped onto him going as fast as she could.  Not only was I scared now, I was a major wimp – wasted by a 3 year old!  By the time we got to the top, I was a mess.  I had to sit for a long time before I could get control over my body (shaking, crying, stomach pain).

It was at this point that I realized that I probably wouldn’t ever conquer my fear.  I could do my best to mentally prepare for situations like this, but my fear always won me over.  When I step back from the situation, I can see how completely crazy I sound.  However, I can’t seem to do anything about that when I’m in the situation.  I understand what it would take to get me over it and I don’t think I can do that.  I don’t think I can gradually expose myself to heights until I’m no longer afraid.  I can’t handle the mental or physical stress that gives me.  Well, at least not today.

We’ll go back to Coyote Gulch someday, but not until the kids can carry their own packs.  Andrew will need extra room in his pack to carry the ropes and harnesses needed to get me down and up that hill again.

Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m afraid of heights.


Posted by on October 26, 2011 in Backpacking, Climbing, Fear


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Photo of the week: I play dirty

I must be pretty good at it too.  I didn’t even have to TRY to get this filthy, Mom.

 Jackson Trip 078

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Photo of the week


The Best Way to Teach Someone How to Ski

Here at Bring The Kids, we’re pretty much DIY-ers.  We love to find ways to create our own adventures and send our family exploring for cheap.  You also know that we’re big skiers.  Like it’s our favorite thing to do together (besides eat dessert).  Since we’ve been skiing so much, we feel pretty qualified to give our “expert” (ha) advice on how to teach someone how to ski.  Ready?


Seriously!  This is by far the best way to teach someone how to ski.  WHAT?  I’m sure that right now you have a million things running through your head right now like “well they don’t understand how good I am” “ski school is too expensive” or my favorite “I’m a beginner too so why send my kids to ski school if we’re working on the same thing anyway”.  Well, let me explain why we feel that the best way to get someone skiing (and keep them skiing) is ski school.

1.  Even if parents are great skiers and have skied their whole lives, they probably don’t have the skills that they would need to effectively teach the correct mechanics of skiing.  Prime example: I’m always amazed when I see great skiers who ski double blacks trying to teach their friends how to ski.  It’s usually some version of “this is how you stop…now follow me” as they dart through the trees.  I’m sure you can envision the disaster in your heads.  Unfortunately, the skills that you use as an expert skier and the skills that a beginner needs are far removed.  Remember that most skiing starts with a wedge-stop approach and there are several steps between that and parallel, straight ski, stopping.

2.  Ski School is expensive, but well worth the investment.  Plan on spending $100-$150+ for a full day of kids ski lessons.  Multiply that by a few kids and a few days and that’s a huge chunk of change.  At this point, you’re probably seriously considering teaching your kids yourself or just bagging the whole idea and heading to the Magic Kingdom.  Hang in there – it’s so worth it.  The first few times a kid skis can be a little disappointing as it’s not uncommon for it to take kids a few days to learn how to stop and turn on even the most gentle slope.  However, as you stick with it, year after year, their skills skyrocket and the time needed in lessons goes drastically down.  If you’re like us, you probably want to be able to ski with your family for years to come.  Ski school will start you off on the right foot so that you learn correctly (and with less chance of injury) and are more likely to progress to the level that you would like.

3.  One lesson’s not going to cut it.  This is one my Dad taught me growing up (which my brother and I hated him for).  Every year, my Dad would require that our first few days of skiing every year were spent in ski school.  That way, we didn’t start off the year sloppy, but rather solidified the fundamentals and advanced to the next level.  Also, remember that one day of lesson will get you barely able to navigate the bunny hill by yourself – if you’re lucky.  Plan on at least a few days a year.

4.  Make sure that they are ready to ski before beginning lessons.  This is one of the biggest mistakes I saw parents making as I was teaching skiing (typically just a problem with younger kids).  Putting a child who is not ready or willing to ski is a waste of money – plain and simple (or just really expensive daycare).  Most ski schools don’t start group lessons until around age 4, which is typically a good starting point.  However, here are a few more points to check your childs readiness.  Is your child okay being apart from you for most of the day?  Can they communicate how they feel to another adult?  Do they want to ski?  Are they comfortable in a group environment with other children their age?  If you answered yes to these questions, your child is probably ready for ski school.  If not, it might be a good time to reevaluate if skiing is right for them at this time.

Skiing is great.  We believe that it’s one of the best things that a family can do together, but you have to do it right.  We see plenty of people trying to teach their kids to ski who end up in the lodge in tears by the end of the day.  Or worse, in the ER.  There is also a big push lately to get a ski harness or a ski leash, tie the kids up and head down the hill with them.  While this can be a great tool when used correctly, 90% of the time we see kids racing down the mountain, pulling their parents, like some weird version of dog sledding.  Because they are so incorrectly used and often lead to children not developing the vital balance they need to ski, we would not encourage using these in place of lessons.

Don’t worry, we know that there plenty of success stories of people who learned to ski without attending ski school.  We also know of many examples of individuals or families who’ve dropped the sport all together because of inadequate instruction. If you have questions, shoot us an email! You decide what will work best for you.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, these are not just random rantings.  Both of us have taught skiing at resorts with several years of teaching experience between us, attended several Professional Ski Instructor Association (PSIA) trainings and Jessica has been PSIA certified.


Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Skiing


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Friday Fun Video: 5 year old ski racer

Check out this video of 5 year old Adrianne ripping it up.  Sorry Mason, you’ve got nothing on this girl.  Watch out buddy because if you ever meet her, she’s going to waste you.  Don’t worry buddy, you’re still the most hard-core 4 year old I know (it’s probably because he’s really good at fighting bad guys).

Friday fun video is a weekly series where we post videos of kids doing amazing things.  Watch them.  Be Impressed.  Be inspired.  Get out and play!

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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Friday Videos, Skiing


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Coyote Gulch Backpacking Trip

Well, I went into this trip hoping to remove the bitter taste our last backpacking trip left me with (what, carrying 50 pounds straight up a billion mountains doesn’t sound like fun?), and we succeeded.  To say this trip was memorable would be an understatement.  The kids are still talking about it and asking when we can go back (when you start carrying your own packs, slackers).  We were accompanied by 3 uncles, 2 cousins, 1 aunt and 1 grandpa from both of our families – what a party.  Writing cannot do this trip justice, so here’s a million pictures so you can see why this truly is Andrew’s favorite place on earth!
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So beautiful.  So fun.  So worth it.  And don’t worry, the kids are just downing their celebratory IBC root beer at the end 🙂






Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Adventures, Backpacking, Hiking


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