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Friday, May 1, 2015

Three Ways to Get Outdoors This Summer

Can you feel it? The weather's warm and school's almost out. It's time to get ready for SUMMER! If you're looking for ways to get outdoors with the tots here are my top suggestions.

Join an outdoors play group. The new site Forest School For All is a resource for anyone looking for an outdoors play group. If there's not a group in your area consider starting one - details are on the Forest School For All website. You can also find groups for all of your interests at Meetup or just get some friends together and start your own adventures.

Visit a National Park. There are so many amazing places in the United States and Canada. Why not plan a family vacation to experience them? Our favorites include Yellowstone, Denali and Arches National Parks. But if those are too far away why not try your State Parks? Several have great day trip locations including lakes, forests and wild spaces.

Commit to Life on the Outside. A friend of mine introduced me to Waldkindergarten, a movement common in Germany where preschool is held outside no matter the weather. Meals, lessons, play all happen outdoors no matter if it's raining or snowing or hot. This has led me to ask myself if four year olds can do it, why not me? What daily activities could I accomplish outside? Summer's a great time to find out.

What are your summertime plans? How will your kids be entertained and involved?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Earth Day: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Every spring the warm weather teases me into thinking I have a green thumb. Every fall after months of digging, planting, watering, putting up fences, and protecting against frost I remember that I don't. It seems that only half of what I plant survives weather, forgetful watering, over eager tots and animal attacks, and yet I can't help but try again the next spring.

The food I may or may not produce is not my primary reason for gardening, which is good because my family would starve. The real reason I garden is to enjoy the outdoors with my kids. It's an easy thing to do with kids since most love any reason to dig and get dirty, plus it's so fun to see my tots learn about plants hands on, to watch things grow and to eat fresh peas from their pods.

Friday, April 17, 2015

National Parks Week, April 18-25, 2015

Hip Hip Hooray! Tomorrow is the day! April 18-25, 2015 is National Parks Week!

National Parks feature heavily in our outdoor adventure plans. For the last five years our family has purchased the America the Beautiful pass, which allows access to any federal land for the entire year. The cost is $80.00, which I think of as both a donation and a challenge. If we can visit enough National Parks in one year to cover the cost of the card, we've done pretty well.

Here are three ways to celebrate National Parks week - I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mountain Baby and a New Normal

Dear Readers,

I'm sorry I haven't posted since February. The reason for my silence has been the anticipation and arrival of the newest member of our family - Mountain Baby.

A new baby is a blessing, so small and precious, but getting it here is tough. I had forgotten how tiring being pregnant is, how little energy I would have for outdoor fun.  In those last few months of pregnancy I could barely walk down Big E's hallway at school without getting winded and walking up stairs was an endurance event. It was hard respecting the fact that my body just could not do the things it could before. Those physical limitations led to emotional weariness as well. The thought of doing anything above the bare minimum for survival was too much.  

Now that Mountain Baby is here I feel physically better and worse. I'm able to lay on my back comfortably, I can breathe deeply and reach down to pick things up off the ground, but I'm also sore and exhausted from lack of sleep. Once again I'm trying to respect what my body can do and not expect much more than that. I want to compare my daily achievements to what I was able to do before, but when I do I come up woefully short. Showering and feeding my kids do not make an impressive list of accomplishments.

With time I know I will find my way to a new normal. I know there will come a day where I'm not waking up every 3 hours to feed a newborn, comforting a jealous older sister, and managing Big E's schoolwork while breaking into tears because my kids aren't listening and the baby's crying. I believe that day will come. For now I will try (again) to show myself and my family kindness and compassion, to not expect too much and enjoy the blessed moments of peace.

Holding Mountain Baby helps me remember the things I love in my life - my kids, my husband and the outdoors. I'm excited to introduce her to the world of camping, hiking, biking and loving the outdoors. She's a precious blessing in my life and I'm grateful she's here. I hope you'll read along with our adventures in family life and the outdoors.

Thanks for reading. I hope you get out and have your own adventures!

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