The winter time is the time of year where most people are just like nope see you in the spring (way to cold out). Getting outside to me as important as basic needs such as water or food. I make time out of our daily day to day to make sure that my kids get some much needed fresh air. The great thing about the fresh air is it seems to make them even sleep better. Old man winter shouldn’t keep you for getting out there. Today was a cold day with same big time gusts. We still have snow from the other week and more to come ( it snows here a lot). We usually bundle the kids up and sometimes we grab our sleds, or do snow art or even just make snow people. The best part about sledding today was the hill was very icy so it made the sleds go even faster. By the time they were done and the sun was setting everyone had very red cheeks and big smiles. Making memories to me is just as important as learning math. It’s part of what makes childhood wonderful. When you grow up and look back you will think do you remember that time we did this or that. The sunset today was a vibrant peach that stretched for miles and even though it closed our adventure for that day it shines the hope that tomorrow there will be a new adventure to come.
So we bundle up and wear extra socks and we get outside. We get the little bit of vitamin D that the winter sun has to offer. We take a good deep breath and get those lungs full of cold air. We dream of longer and warmer days but we also remember that come summer we will miss our cold air and snowy hills. It’s nice to embrace every season whether that be actual seasons or seasons of life. Each season has something different to offer. Each is a unique experience that comes with its own exciting journey. So when you feel like it is to cold outside bundle up and go have some fun.
Check out my YouTube video of a winter’s sunset for some 10 minutes of me time.
When you stop to look up when walking what might you see. Now maybe try looking down do you see something different. On your journey can you look up and down to see the whole picture or can you look at just part and see it all. When life gets hectic do you stop and take in the big picture or maybe just a glimpse of something. Sometimes it’s just time for a new point of view. When I find myself being overwhelmed with something I stop what I am doing and take a deep breath, then I look at something new to focus on. Even if that focus is just a small bit of my time. As you know by now from reading my blog we go hiking and do nature walks a lot. When I was doing some nature photography on my last walk instead of just focusing on the sky or on a leaf on the ground I decided to point my camera straight up a pine tree. Then I stopped and thought after looking at my shot I had took. What a magnificent thing this tree really is. This tree has existed long before any of us were around. It has seen many changes in life good and bad. It has been chewed on and climbed on. Had nest built in it. It’s bark holds many stories of its life. Lines on the palm is what the trees bark is to me. Without it many things wouldn’t have been possible. A bird couldn’t had stopped to rest. A squirrel couldn’t have had a home to raise its young. Many possibilities would have been lost if it wasn’t for that tree being there. To look with such detail at a tree when one is in a forest it makes you see how every tree is unique and is important. It’s nice to give yourself a different point of view. That view could be anything that you need in that moment. Sometimes its good to stop and give yourself that breathing grace to focus on something new. Or sometimes just to take in the scenery and get a different perspective.
When I was a child one of the many trips I took growing up was to the Caribbean. We used to stay at St Johns National Park. We would rent this little primal cottage that was maybe 20 feet from the beach. The cottage had 4 twin beds, a ice chest , no running water or a bathroom, a hot plate, and a broom. It had two cement walls and two screen walls to give you a cross breeze. There were an abundance of wild donkeys brought in for the sugar cane trade and endless lizards and mongoose. You would walk 1/2 mile down to a hand pump to get water and there was an outdoor restroom with showers and toilets. Every morning we would wake up gather water and then go snorkeling ( I swear I was a fish in my past life). We would snorkel for hours. The water there is this vibrant aqua. You can see for miles when snorkeling. I remember taking these disposable underwater cameras and taking hundreds of pictures of fish and coral reefs. My sister and I would swim all day until sundown. Anyhow we needed to head into main town to gather some more food items ( we had packed all our food in luggage bags this was back when they didn’t charge you per ounce for your luggage). We had this loaf of bread. Oh bread did I mention nothing beats an amazing bread. That perfect bread with an amazing hard crust and soft inside…. yum. Well to get to town you had to take a “safari truck” which was basically a truck that you would all pile in the back open cab ( thank god because it was so hot). Well my mother , sister and I we all set out to town to pick up grocery items and of course….. butter. Yummy amazing butter to go with our bread. We arrive at the grocery store in our safari truck. We asked the driver to wait for us that we would only be a few minutes. We got our small grocery list of fresh fruits and vegetables. When we get to the butter section, we had a choice of Danish or Irish butter. We chose the Irish ( so good) and head back to our truck. Almost instantly our perfect decadent butter starts to melt. The sure panic of knowing at this moment that this butter had become our only mission. That all we would dream of was having that bread with some butter on it. We quickly thought ok maybe get it out of the sun. Nope, doesn’t matter because it still feels like over 100 degrees. Maybe if we wrap our hat around it. Nope, now we just have a butter flavored hat. Our cab driver just couldn’t stop laughing at our problem solving skills getting us no where. Who can blame him, three people scrambling to figure out how we were going to get this butter back to our cottage. Finally we came up with the idea of holding it up and off the side of the truck with the wind blowing. In hindsight that isn’t how science works, but it made us think it was working. Our cab driver dropped us off at the park where we still had a three mile walk to our cottage. We gave him a good laugh for the day. On our way to our cottage, did I forget to mention wild donkeys, yeah they like butter too. Now we have dripping butter down our arms and a herd of wild donkeys hoping that we would drop it so they could have it. We get to our cottage put the butter in our small little ice chest. All that was left was just enough for a few slices of bread. Guess what though that story never gets old. I was just 9 years old when we took that trip. I remember that story though like it just happened. I always say its the little moments that make the best memories. Yes I know this was on a vacation trip, but it still makes a great family story.
You know how when you first start out on the journey of parenthood. However you got there: adoption, surrogacy, birth, foster, etc. You had all these big plans of my kid will never do this, my kid will never do that. Then it happens that big moment when you realize oh that’s right I was ” the best parent ever before I had kids.” Lets just say you knew a lot about parenting before you became one and then when you became one you were just like “oh now I get it.” Sometimes it’s just survival mode. The baby or toddler is up all night. You haven’t slept in days and at this point you will just be happy to have a quick shower to feel human and a 2o minute power nap. The thing is though as parents we are all in it together. The end goal is help shape these little humans to grow up, do something, and be happy. I know some of us have these dreams of what we want our child to become whether that be a prodigy piano player, or a life altering doctor. My hope is to one day have my children grow up to be happy adults. Happy with the outcome in the choices they make. Happy that they know how to work through difficult situations. I want them to have a great foundation so that while they are out there building themselves to become who they want to become that they have a good base to start with. Yes some walls do get pushed down in life and some walls never get rebuilt. It is their story and since every person is unique so is that path.
Our house can sometimes be a chaotic, noise filled place. Through all that noise though one thing I hear above all that commotion is laughter. Yes nothing turns out the way we see our paths starting. Yes sometimes our paths take us in a completely 180 way. I hope for my children though is to grow up and know how to find that happiness.
Nothing beats getting some fresh air out in nature. Close your eyes and imagine. You are walking along a trail all you can hear is your footsteps, along with small rustles in the leaves. You hear the soft drip of rain drops falling onto the leaves and then slowly onto the ground. You take in a deep breath of fresh air. You can smell wet leaves along with a hint of evergreen. You feel relaxed and at peace with your surroundings.
We did our annual new years hike. This is a hike tradition we try to keep up with every year. Yes we hike often with our kids but it is something special about a fresh start to the new year. Getting some much needed mountain air. Where we live it is very cold in the winter. We bundle the kids up wear some boots and hit the trail. It was such a chilly damp day. The type of damp that unless you are warming up by a woodstove you never feel warm. It still gave a sense of comfort walking around in the forest. Growing up I was always hiking with my mom. We camped a lot in the summer and early fall. We were always on an adventure to some place or something. I don’t know if I dragged her along for the ride or she me. Some of the best memories you have as a child are the ones that weren’t a planned event or even a big event. My best memories were just having fun out in the wilderness with my family. No big moments just memories.
The great outdoors is in my families soul. Hiking and camping is a generational thing. I am glad we can keep it going with my family. I hope one day my kids will pass it onto their kids and so on.
Today rings in the new year. We are enjoying a nice break in between the Holiday and New Year. Taking a break from homeschool is always a treat for both me and my kids. We always like just relaxing and slowing down from the everyday life. What new things are you looking forward to this year? We are hoping to be traveling more, since we had to take a break last year. I am also looking forward to our walk in the woods tomorrow. We always take our kids on a new year hike around the start of the year weather permitting. Tomorrow we will take a book to read out loud and take a hike. I am hoping to get some inspiration for another painting coming up. I am also hoping to help get the last push to finish the children’s book that I am writing on Amazon Kindle. I will post the link to the book to my website once it is done and complete. It is a cute book written for little ones 1st grade and under. Some of the art I show here is going to be in the book also. I mainly paint with oil and acrylic but have lately really been drawn to water color. I love the simple look that it gives the art I create. It reminds me of a beautiful old fashion seaside painting that my mother had when I was growing up. The painting was from a local artist but it was just simple and sweet. I hope everyone has a happy healthy new year.
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