Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day relaxation

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends and readers! I hope you had a chance to spend some time outside on this gorgeous day. We have been out in the yard for hours and it has been wonderful. Now it's almost time to head home and I think laying down in this hammock may have been a mistake. Ahhhhh, so relaxing. I may just stay here until tomorrow…

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Like a summer day in May.

It's downright balmy out here today. The breeze does feel heavenly, though.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Playground times.

Aside from one chilly walk around the block last week, almost all of our outside time these days is spent at the school playground. I think it's such a great way for the boys to blow off some steam right after school. It also gives me a good chance to enjoy the sunshine and relax for a minute. While the boys are at school I am usually hunched over an ironing board making onesies or quilts… so I definitely need to take a break and stretch by the time school ends. It puzzles me to think that this is the first year we have had this post-school playground habit. Why couldn't we do this before? What was the rush to get home? This is why our outside challenge is such a good thing. It forces me to create new habits that are not hard, but that I just hadn't considered before.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Playground antics

A good hour plus on the school playground today. The boys have friends who live right across the street so if they come over and play we can really get some good time in. These for are kind of crazy about each other. So crazy that they pretty much interact like a bunch of brothers. Sometimes they get alarmingly rough with each other, but they all seem to be having so much fun that I usually don't have the heart to intervene.

Today we spent part of our time looking for four leafed clovers. I hadn't done that in years! I actually found one. The boys promptly jumped me for it and tore it apart as a result. It was pretty funny.

so much for daily posting....

Wow, it's been a long time.  We have still been going outside, but I haven't been making the blog a priority.  The last couple weeks have made going outside EASY and WONDERFUL.  Nobody needs a year-long challenge to get their butts outside during weather like we have been having.  The boys have spent hours upon hours outside every day, playing on the playground after school, playing with neighbors in yards.  It has been glorious.  I've been trying to get out there too, and have met my daily quota and then some.  But if it's a contest of how many minutes per day a person is spending outside, the boys are ahead by a landslide.  I still have work to get done and most of it has to be done inside.  I did take a big batch of onesies outside to paint them this weekend, which was nice.

So we've been mostly doing simple outside times, nothing exciting or too far off the beaten path.  This weekend, however, we took a day trip to Matthiessen State Park.  What a beautiful place.  We want to go back and explore the area more.  There is much more of Matthiessen to see, plus Starved Rock and I think some other nearby parks.  Nate's parents accompanied us on this trip and we had a great time.  There is something pretty magical about watching a grandpa teach his grandson to skip a rock.

Yesterday it got chilly, which was a harsh reality after such unusually warm weather for 2 weeks.  We took a family walk after dinner and I made the boys wear coats because I knew they'd complain of the cold otherwise.  They were not happy about putting on coats, though, I can tell you that.  I guess now that Spring is here we are ready for Summer.  :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Still here…

I know I am quiet over here but I'm still alive and we're still going outside. I am super busy right now and, frankly, overwhelmed with life. I'm trying to keep up with my growing business, trying (and failing) to diet and exercise, and preparing for an epic Harry Potter party. I have a lot on my plate. The outside time lately has been quick and dirty. Today we did manage to walk in the woods which was really nice. I hope next week things will have calmed down a bit and I can put more thought and energy into this project, and maybe do something beyond the bare minimum requirement. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kite success.

We tried a different kite today. I couldn't get it to fly but Nate took over and had better luck. Apparently I had the string attached at the wrong spot. The boys had fun watching / chasing the kite.

Let's go {try to} fly a kite.…

I know I have been lazy about posting but our forays into the natural world have not been very exciting lately. Just quick walks around the block or games in the yard. The weather has not been super nice, I've been incredibly busy and so we've been doing the bare minimum. We've been phoning it in, to be frank.

But today some gorgeous weather arrived and we spent a lovely hour on the playground after school --- NO JACKETS NECESSARY. I thought to throw a kite in the car because it was quite windy. We tried for about 15 minutes with no luck. It might have been too windy but I'm also suspicious of the kite… I think it's too small to work. How can the wind get up under the wings when they're so small? I don't know. Anyway, we decided this kite would make a better party decoration than it does a kite, and called it a day.

It was so nice, though, that the boys spent even more time outside once we got home, of their own accord. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Yarding it. Sunshine and Harry Potter pretend play. The boys played great together, casting spells and killing giants.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Windy Wednesday.

Today started out lovely.  Sunny and warm.  But some time in the afternoon the sun went under some dark clouds and the wind started to pick up.  By the time we went to the park after school, it was extremely windy and downright chilly.  Simon and I played hide and seek.  Theo didn't want to play, but he did want to hide from the wind.  He found the perfect spot to do that.  We stayed for about 20 minutes, I think.

Yesterday at the school playground a lot of parents were hanging around, letting their kids play after school because it was such a beautiful day.  As we first started playing, maybe 5 minutes after school let out, I witness a grandmother talking to the little girl she was picking up.  The girl was playing happily with friends and the grandmother said, "Mary, do you still want to go to McDonald's?"  The girl squealed YES!  "Okay, then we have to leave now," said her grandma.

I've been thinking about that and wondering about it.  Why did that little girl need to leave the playground on a sunny day to go to McDonald's?  What could the reason be?  Was it to get food?  ("food")  Was it so she could play on the indoor playset?  Probably a promise had been made earlier in the day and the grandmother felt it had to be fulfilled.  But there was also something in her voice that told me she was ready to get out of there, to move on and maybe to sit down in a climate controlled environment.  I REALIZE I'M READING WAY TOO MUCH INTO THIS.  But something about that little interaction made me think about how, as caretakers of children, sometimes we have to put up with a little discomfort in order to give our kids something that is good for them.  That could mean preparing a snack or meal at home instead of going through the drive-thru, because even though it's a little more trouble, it's what is good for our kids.  It could mean staying outside longer than is completely comfortable because we know that being outside is good for our kids.  So all I'm trying to say is that seeing that grandmother pull her granddaughter off the playground after 5 minutes on such a gorgeous day, to go to McDonald's of all things, somehow served as a reminder of why I'm doing this.  Even when it cuts into time that I'd rather be spending somewhere else or doing something else, I'll give my kids as much outside time as I can, because it's good for them.  That is my deep and somewhat judgmental thought for the day.
Monday = a quick game of hide and seek in the grandparents' yard.

Tuesday= a lovely 40 minutes on the playground after school.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

catching up....... man down.

This week was not too exciting on the outside time front.  Wednesday was pretty fun.  We spent about 40 minutes exploring the woods on the edge of my in-laws' property.  The boys explored some relics that boys from another era had left back there..... chairs, unfinished projects, giant pits half dug.  They they dismantled a rotting stump.  It was a really beautiful afternoon.

I can't exactly remember what we did on Thursday and Friday.  It turned cold again, and I think we just hung out in the yard shivering and dreaming of spring.

Saturday was a full day.  The boys went to play at a friends' house.......  I thought they were going to play outside while there, but they didn't.  Then the rest of the evening got away from us, and I ended up sending the boys out with Nate to walk around the block at 9 pm.  (Nate and I took a walk earlier in the day so I felt I had already met my requirement.)  Theo was complaining about his leg hurting but I still made him go out.  He was limping around the block, apparently, and Nate was irritatedly calling him to come on, thinking he was exaggerating his pain because he didn't want to be outside.

Then this morning he woke up and immediately started crying about how his leg hurt.  Our best guess is that he pulled a muscle at some point yesterday.  Needless to say, we both felt bad about making him limp around the block last night.  Oops!  We didn't know how badly he was really hurt.  So today he couldn't walk at all.  We carried him everywhere he needed to go....  he can't put any weight on that leg.  Poor kid.  I feel so bad for him, and am hoping he wakes up feeling better.

So today Theo skipped outside time since we started our project 57 days ago.  I didn't want to make him sit outside just so we could keep our streak unbroken.  Simon did spend time outside, wielding an axe, a hatchet, and a sledgehammer while helping his grandpa with some yardwork.  He enjoyed that.  It was a lovely day in spite of the crazy wind.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coats, mud.

Are you tired of seeing pictures of these red and green coats?  I sure am.   Even though we're doing great with our outside time and are not miserable or anything, I find myself looking more and more forward to shedding this winter gear and basking in the sun.  Bring on spring!

We are having a little issue with mud.  We have pairs of shoes that are designated play shoes, and we have rainboots that can get muddy.  But I never seem to have the foresight to have the boys put on these shoes.  So we just keep getting our "good" shoes muddy.  Then I feel bad for sending the boys to school wearing shoes caked in mud.    Ugh.  Do I need to buy more "good" shoes for the boys and get more diligent about changing into play/mud shoes before we go out?  Or should I just not worry about it?  Hmmm.....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, Monday

Yesterday we did our outside time separately.  The boys spend theirs with their grandpa, shooting bb guns and walking outside.  Nate and I took a walk on our own later. 

Today we went to a new-to-us park. My sister and her kids were with us for a while. Then we did some exploring on our own.  The trails were super muddy and I was kicking myself for not bringing boots.  But we had fun exploring a new woods so I decided not to worry about shoes.  We did have a little problem when the trail we were walking came out to a clearing which was not the clearing we were expecting (the one where our car was parked).  We had to go off-trail for a little while to find our way back.  Simon was really worried that we were lost and would be lost forever.  I just did my best to assure him that I had water, a phone, and a pretty decent sense of direction and that we would be okay.  And we were!  I thought it was a fun adventure.  It surely was a beautiful day.  We will definitely be going back to this park to explore more, but we'll wait for the ground to dry up.  And probably bring our boots just in case.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Our week outside.

- Compared to a lot of other families we have very few scheduled activities.  Still, somehow,  it can be hard to fit in our outside time during the week.  Between homework, piano lessons, my classes at the gym, and early bedtimes, it is definitely getting "squeezed in" and it isn't necessarily of the highest quality.  So during the week we are doing mostly the same things: walks around the block, quick games of tag or hide and seek in the yard.  During the week we do outside time quick and dirty style.  But we're still doing it, and it feels good to get some fresh air every day, even if it's just for 15 short minutes.

-When the weekend comes and we have more time, I like to try to do something special.  Yesterday the boys and I spent about 45 minutes at a park here in town.  The weather has been *beautiful* the last few days.  Sunny and (almost) warm.  Today we spent about an hour and a half at an area park, one we'd never been to before.  We split our time between the playground (which had a super cool climbing structure), and a trail.  Loved it.  Then we went to see The Secret World of Arrietty, which I also loved.  Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh, such a great day.

-I've been listening to Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.   I'm only half way through, and it's a lot to take in.  I might be sharing some quotes from the book in future posts here.  I think it is a good book with a lot of good points, though who are we kidding, he is preaching to the choir with me as a reader.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Winter weekend.

Saturday got away from us… we had a rushed walk around the block. The boys rode their bikes.

Today the boys had fun playing basketball.

The weather has been a little more winter-like lately. Pretty chilly but nothing we can't handle.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Snow is falling falling falling

A busy week meant we rushed through our outside time most days. We still fit it in, with quick walks around the block and short games on the yard. Today, though, we had more time, so we took the time to drive to the woods. It was a balmy 28 degrees, and we were, not surprisingly, the only ones there. Snow was falling, giant flakes in super iconic snowflake shapes. We walked and played for about 45 minutes. Cold but so peaceful.