Monday, November 21, 2016

going outside

I remember as child, going out to the nature center with my family. We'd pile in the car, my grandma would pack a lunch and we'd head out. We'd decide on a trail, the lake loop or the forest, take a brief stop in the center itself and be off. 


I always wanted to go through the woods and I particularly enjoyed these hikes in the colder months. The fall in Michigan felt like a quieting time for the earth; clouds coming in to cover us like a quilt, stilling the world around us and the bright sunny days of summer activity shifting to the slow, darker days of fall and winter. We'd stop to feed the chickadees and nuthatches; holding very still with a handful of sunflower seeds, the little birds would eventually come and perch every so lightly on our fingertips, the claws tiny tickly pokes on our skin, and quickly take a seed before fluttering away. The distinct cheeing of the chickadees making a soft background sound in the quiet. 


After our hike, we'd come back to the car and enjoy our lunch which always tasted better, being eaten outside. Cheese and crackers, maybe some salami, cookies and little tins of grapefruit juice or some hot chocolate on the colder days. 

These were times to reconnect with each other and with ourselves. A time to rejuvenate after being in the hustle of 'things to do' in our days. For me, they were always times that reassured me that everything would work out just fine. Nature has a way of reminding us of that. That no matter what happens, things go on. I find that comforting.


The kids and I went out on Friday. Even though there were some complaints that we weren't going to a playground, they both said they enjoyed themselves by the end. 

It's pretty funny trying to get these two rascals to take a picture together and have them both look.... happy or at least normal. Here are some of the shots it took to get there.















Yes, I had to bribe Jacob to take his picture. And sometimes Benjamin too. I most definitely had to throw in some poop talk to get a genuine smile from Jacob. But I consider it well worth it :)













Saturday, September 3, 2016

camping - single parent style

I decided to go camping this weekend with the kiddos. I only had one night available but I really wanted to do something fun and I've been itching to go camping all summer. So, I made it happen.


We took a chance and went to a campground that doesn't take reservations and nailed down a great spot. The rocks were a big hit, naturally. There was also a creek (tons of fun there!) and some waterfalls that we hiked a short distance to.












 It was the first time that it was just the little boys and me on a camping trip. Definitely different. Some stress around setting up camp without a grown-up helper and camping without a cookstove. We were working with almost all borrowed camping gear and so much less than what we have compiled over the years of doing this all together (our stuff is in storage in CO). 

But we cooked hot dogs, made s'mores and heated water over the fire. We stayed dry in our tent during some nighttime rainshowers. And the kids got wet, dirty and happy. I'd say that's a success.






It was great for me to be out in nature again. Taking care of myself and doing things that rejuvenate me has been challenging at times. So it was great to take this time with the kids and just be together. 

I also was sad at having this experience alone as a parent. Totally new territory for me. The beauty in doing it is knowing that I can do it. I never doubted that part but having the experience is different than the knowing. We are creating new ways of doing things - all of us. And this is one of them. 

It will be the first of many outdoor adventures because I know that nature makes my soul sing. I want to give that gift to myself and to my children. There is so much beauty in the world and not nearly enough time to explore it all. But I definitely plan on making a dent in it.