Monday, November 30, 2009

Annual Christmas Tree Excursion

Yesterday, we carried out our annual Christmas tree search. It didn't feel like winter or look like winter, but none of us minded.

I stuffed the girls' hats and mittens in my pockets and we hiked up a forest service trail in snow boots, just in case. We hiked up and up alongside a river and all the evergreens were small and crowded. I was thankful for the walk, though, as I ran 10 miles in the morning and didn't stretch afterwards.

Before long Tom and Ava were out of sight up ahead and I could only hope that Tom wouldn't find a tree and cut it down before I could weigh in on his choice. I tried to explain this predicament to slow-moving Julia, but she was more interested in the bow and arrow she had created by crossing two sticks.

My worries were eased when Ava and Daddy and our dog, Abby, came into sight heading down the trail treeless. Then, we had a new worry of not yet having a tree. Should we get in the car and head to another national forest location or would that use up too much time since it was afternoon and we only had so much daylight?

To Ava's delight, Daddy decided that the potential Christmas trees looked better across the river. When we got down near our car, Ava joined him for a river crossing. Luckily for me, they were in view of where we had parked the car as Julia decided to park herself in the car with the graham cracker bag and with her boots and socks off.

Eventually, Tom hollered for me to check out a tree and luck would have it that it was a good one -- "the best one we've had in a long time," we both declared. He was able to drag it through the woods a bit and then across the road where there were culverts, avoiding a river crossing and a wet tree. Ava joined Julia for graham crackers while Tom and I tied the tree to the roof. Then I put our bright orange national forest service tree permit around the base -- proof that (for five bucks) we could legally cut and drag this tree from the forest.

I did forget to bring the camera for our tree excursion, but here's our good 'ole Charlie Brown tree in the living room. The girls helped decorate this year, but they were in their underwear so that picture will be saved for the family photo album.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Training With Kids

I'm breaking from my usual blog post to share a few fitness-related things I'm connected to.

1. Diana Whitney wrote an extensive article on "Training With Kids" that cites my book:

"An excellent resource for how to include kids in exercise is Heidi Hill’s book Fit Family: The Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Years." The article originally ran in Faster Skier magazine and is reprinted in the current issue of Vermont Sports at (Scroll to the bottom of the Latest Articles section.)

2. My "Nordic Family" column is now running in Cross Country Skier magazine. The magazine is published October through February. Subscribe at: for only $12.

3. I will be giving a clinic on ways to get your family fit on December 6 at the open house for The Confluence Center in Montpelier, Vermont. This is a unique fitness center specializing in functional fitness, which is described on their website, , as such: "The Confluence provides low-tech equipment to support adults, youth and children in their pursuit of strength and conditioning for a specific sport or the achievement of basic physical fitness goals."

And that's all for now.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beyond Babies

Our Friday out-to-dinner nights have been ruined this year by the fact that both girls have a full day of school on Friday and are too wiped out to handle restaurant etiquette at the the end of a long day.

Last week, we made an attempt to go out anyway and we had to turn the car around en route because of bad behaviors by the kids, well, mostly by a know-it-all kindergartner who was telling everyone what to do, kicking the back of my seat, and shouting that no one could look at her.

This week, we opted for a Thursday night out and for dinner right downtown so that we could walk from our house in the village.

One of the best fitness feats this year has been my three-year-old daughter's willingness to walk downtown. She was a jogging stroller gal for quite a while, which was a nuisance in the drawn-out stage of wanting to be in and out. And last year, when we just attempted a walk with her, she always ended up in my arms or on Tom's shoulders.

Now, that Julia is an official preschooler (two days a week), she is acting older. She is proud to walk and run and skip and jump. She is showing some stamina. So, tonight we basically ran down to dinner, trekking about a half a mile.

The kids were well-behaved and had a chance to greet a little baby in an infant car seat as we were finishing up our meal. Tom was telling the parents and our kids how he remembered when our kids were that size. Now that baby was cute and quiet and content. But I didn't go over and greet her. I reveled in the fact that I'm beyond that stage. I have two walkers. And away we went, holding hands, walking and even counting stars because preschoolers can count, too.