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.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We are still here.  Still meeting our daily quota.  We've been doing lots of play time in the yard, and some walks.  The boys are getting great at taking walks without questioning the where or why of taking a walk.  They accept a walk as being a thing we do as a family, with no other purpose than to walk outside.  I love it.  When we stay in the yard, the boys have been playing well together.  Their current favorite is a variation on hide and seek tag. I'm glad they are enjoying their games but it leaves me without much to do.  Today I walked around and looked for pretty colors in the yard.  Lots of mossy greens and brick reds, which I like both separately and together.  Overall, this week I am enjoying the fresh air but also longing for some sunshine.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

catching up on this week.... and one month of 15 minutes.

-A chilly half hour on the playground after school.

-I was kind of down in the dumps and feeling yucky.  Asked the boys to go out without me and they made it probably 10 minutes, despite it being warm and sunny outside.  Later in the day I regretted not going out.  I needed my fresh air fix.  We decided to take a walk after dinner.  The boys think it's extra fun to be out in the dark.  They played some kind of game where they were hiding from all the cars that drove by, laying down in yards and on sidewalks, trying to blend in.  It was really funny.  I was so glad we took that walk.  The night air felt amazing, the moon was bright and beautiful.

-Took the computer out to the backyard and watched some videos on our favorite video blog.  Later, I brought out a bowl full of threads that I had trimmed off some fabric that I washed and ironed (sewing project in the works), and the boys scattered them in bushes around the yard.  We thought maybe birds would find them and use them to build their nests.

-A cold and wet day.  We took an extended neighborhood walk.  The boys were so engaged in a game they were playing that they forgot to complain.  :)

Soooooooooooooo, we're a month into our year of more outside time!  I feel pretty awesome about it.  I'm not sure if I've ever, in my life, tried to start a new habit and stuck with it every single day for a month.  That's pretty good, I have to say.  I don't have any deep thoughts about this month mark.  I do think this was the best January I've had in many years.  It could just be that the weather was unbelievably mild for an Illinois winter, but I like to think that it was more pleasant because we spent more time outside and could actually appreciate that mild weather.  I hope, at some point, to write about why this project has been so good for us and meaningful for me, but I don't have the time or the fully formed ideas right now.  I'll just say that I'm glad we 're doing it and that we're sticking with it, no matter what February might throw at us.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tuesday and Wednesday.

Yesterday we went to the zoo after school because I heard it was free admission. Weather was cloudy but wonderfully warm. I enjoyed the walk around the zoo. Theo is crazy about the place. Simon is old enough to be a little bored by it but he was a good sport.

Today we played on the school playground after school. We didn't stay quite as long as we did on Monday. It was colder today.

No pictures from today but lots from the zoo. :)