Hanna Olivia Way: Fostering a Childhood Love for the Outdoors
Tell us a little bit about you + your sweet fam
Hi! we are so excited + honored to be part of this!! we are the Way family! I am Hanna, married to my bff Zach! we are both age 28 - we met, started dating, and fell in love at age 18, in the mountains, and got married five years ago. We have two kiddos; Forest is 4.5 and Fern is 1.5, and little baby Finley due in August! We live on the Central Coast of CA with our dog Charlie! Our jobs: Zach works as a marketing manager at his family's business, and I sell + teach about essential oils, with most of my work being on social media and educating people about the benefits of non-toxic living!
Your Instagram is full of beautiful everyday moments of your family, with many photos taken outside. Do you find that being in the outdoors affects you and your children in a positive way?
YES. we have always loved being outside - we used to go camping every other weekend in Big Sur, and hiking alll the time - but we almost value it even more since becoming parents! If we are having a bad day or grumpy attitudes, getting outside turns it right around. We try to get outside every single day, and sometimes that’s just talking a walk around our neighborhood or a trip to the park to run around, but getting out is always refreshing for us.
Many parents feel like when they have kids all the adventures end. But even on a limited budget, fostering adventurous and curious hearts is possible. What kind of things do you practice with your children to do this?
We definitely thought this too, but our first year of being parents, we spent so much time outdoors and making time for little family adventures! if you prioritize it, you will find a way to make it happen! I will say that it can be a bit more challenging with kiddos - camping or hiking or road trips, etc - but we have never ever regretted taking our kids on an adventure, not a single time! The benefits have always FAR outweighed the difficulties, and we know they’re going to remember these kinds of memories forever. Make it a priority, lower your expectations a little bit, and get it on the calendar!
How do you find beauty as a mom in these everyday moments with your children?
Oof! This is such a good question, and has probably been one of the biggest lessons I've learned as a mom - recognizing that life is lived in the small moments, and that not everything needs to be huge and amazing and adventurous to be good. Being a mom has refined and stretched me so much, best hardest most wonderful job in the world! But I used to spend my time looking forward to the next big thing - whether it was one of my kids hitting a big milestone, or a family trip, or even just the weekend - and I realized I was missing out on savoring the little things that were right in front of me. I was distracted from THEM. I think it takes practice to notice and appreciate the little moments, even the mundane moments! But I also think that those are the moments we are going to miss so much when our kids are older. Little things are big things! I have to remind myself of that often.
What are your favorite ways to be intentional and present with your kids?
One thing I've learned is that connection comes differently with each of my kids! To be honest, when we are outside, it feels SO easy to be present and connected with them both - no distractions of chores or work or my phone. But when we can't be outside, I've had to find the intentional ways of connecting with each kid, to make them feel loved + known. Forest is allll about the superheroes, so if he had his way, we'd play 'guys' alllll day long. BUT that is draining for me - I can only pretend play for so long! And I felt so much guilt about that for so long, for not wanting to play with superheroes all day with my kid, but I realized I need to find a way for us BOTH to connect and have fun together. For us, that’s sitting down at the table and doing a puzzle or painting, or playing a game of Go Fish or Candyland! He also LOVES throwing rocks at the beach, so when we do get the rare date outside of the house, I like to take him to do that.
With Fernie, it feels more simple because she's young and needs me for so much still, but she loves reading books of any kind! We also have a Tuesday morning tradition of going to our tiny coffee shop and sharing a muffin top and walking around our small town! She loves holding my hand and walking, leading the way, pointing out birds and rocks and cars.
One thing I will say is that both of my kids come ALIVE with intentional quality time - like so happy, and so truly themselves….and that doesn't have to mean a huge fancy gesture! Some days we have to fit it in small chunks of time, but it truly makes my heart soar to see ‘em like that. Kids are so simple and open and loving.
What kind of outdoors activities have been your favorites since having babes? Any tips for newborn moms? What about when kids reach toddler ages?
Hiking and beach sunset dates have been our favorites! My biggest piece of advice: wear your babies!!! Invest in a good wrap or carrier!! Probably my most used baby item, to be honest! My fav for tiny babies is a ring sling - I love Sakura Bloom or WildBird. So many pretty colors and prints. And then from like 9 months on, we always used the Ergo baby carrier! Learn how to wear them different ways!
When your kids become toddlers, it’s going to require a bit more patience from you, as any sort of outdoor adventure is most likely going to take longer than it once did. Adjust your expectations! When Forest turned two, he became veryyyy independent and always wanted to walk on our hikes, which was honestly so painstaking for me, because he was not fast in any way, shape, or form!! He wanted to stop every few steps to pick up rocks, and would just not walk uphill (he often just sat down on the trail when he got tired every three minutes - killed my soul) but also would refuse to be picked up or put on my back. He definitely wasn't doing things according to my plans and wishes, BUT he was learning and exploring on his own! so I had to adjust my expectations and have an open mind every time I'd take him for a hike.
Traveling far and wide is the MO of Instagram these days. But that can be hard with kids. What tips do you have for traveling locally and seeking out adventure in your own backyard?
Take walks! They're free and you can just walk out your front door. Find a local spot that is pretty and take your kids to see the sunset! Make even small car trips fun - good snacks, fun car activities, etc. Don't make excuses for why you DON'T get out more - life happens. If it is important to you, find small intentional ways to do it, until you can get to the bigger things!
Speed round. Answer each of these in 3 words or less:
• One quirky thing we don’t know about you? OBSESSED with hot-sauce! and scrubbing my sink.
• Hardest part of motherhood? Best part? Hardest = seeing my selfishness. Best = seeing them grow. (also, snuggles)
• Favorite product you’re using lately? linen overalls from Pyne + Smith!
• One thing you hope to teach your children? how to truly love, the importance of honesty + kindness to everyone, aaaand that life is about people and not things! (sorry thats WAY more than three words but I also have like ten million more words to say about this!!!)
• Two things your children are teaching you? how Jesus sees us, and how to love better.
What’s the best place to follow you + your family?
Instagram is where we are the most active!! we have a few of them haha!