I have to apologize for me recent long hiatus. My family and I were in a season of change. We had a rare opportunity to relocate to my family home. This place is very special and dear to my heart. It is a weird thought to be moving back to a home that already holds such wonderful memories and to have been gone for such a long time. The moment though we moved in it was as if I never had left. It is funny how fate sometimes work. You have a path in your mind of what you will do as a child etc but then Fate steps in and she has other plans for you. For me this has been always a dream to once again be back in the little country village that I grew up in, but never thought it would happen. Anyhow my long story short is it has been a very intense last few months packing up our old Victorian home and moving to our cottage home in the country.
One of the first things I did after moving in was get the garden soil mixed up and plan out the garden blue print. I knew that no matter what needed done that I was going to enjoy my summer garden. Something about walking outside and picking a fresh egg plant or squash and then carrying it back in the house to make a delicious meal with does give you the feeling of self reliance. I feel that since before modern day convinces made life a little easier, that its almost human nature to make sure that one self has an ability to eat. One of our primal instincts. Well after planting the main garden I looked around and decided maybe we needed a few more. So five separate vegetable gardens later I now feel accomplished. This brings me to the main reason for this blog post “Planting is Bringing Hope into the Future.” I know I spent many days planning and digging and building just to be able to put that small helpless plant into the ground. I was putting this little plant into the soil to let it grow and become something of its own. Maybe it will grow big and produce lots of amazing fruit. Maybe it will need some help. I still planted it though with all the uncertainty. I know that some years crops are amazing and other years not so much. The simple fact that we take that first step to put the plant or seed in the ground is having hope for the future.
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.
If you have read any of my blogs you know that we as a family hike a lot (Hiking with Kids). No matter what the season we usually pack a lunch to eat so that way we are no rush to leave. When you have hungry kids you have a tendency to rush everything. Our solution has always been to pack a lunch for the day. That way when we spend our day in nature its not a rushed event.
We took another winter hike the other day. It was a day before another snow storm so there wasn’t fresh snow but still snow everywhere. It’s calming in the winter because not a lot of people are out when it’s a certain temperature and as I like to say a lot, the forest is even taking her winter slumber. The few animals and birds you do see are nothing compared to when spring has arrived. Where we hike there is a man made waiting pool they had built to help gather run off from the mountain and give wildlife a small habitat. It was frozen with small ice crystals creating a swirling design. In the spring you will see hundred of frog eggs and newts swimming. The flowers and lilies will be coming back up to greet the sun. For now though they are hidden beneath snow and ice. The winter nights are long and the days are short but now since the winter solstice you can slowly see the daylight returning.
The forest where we hiked had a stillness to it. It’s a interesting feeling you get when you are secluded and since there is no one for miles it can make the stillness even more exaggerated. We tracked on though. The kids you could tell had needed a good walk and at some points were running on the flatter parts. Getting everyone some much needed outdoor time.There is nothing quiet like the fresh crisp winter air to help clear the mind and relax the soul.
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.
Where we live it is colder more of the year than warm. We try to spend as much time outdoors with our children. That is hard to do though when someone is cold or gets wet etc. I have some tips and tricks to help get your kids outside to enjoy the weather year round.
Don’t make a fuss about the whole thing. If you fret about every little detail you will most likely just irritate your child than help them. Children are more resilient than their parents. Growing up it would be freezing outside but you would have to bribe me to get inside since I wasn’t coming in willingly.
Dress to be prepared. What I mean is you can always take off layers, but you can’t put on more layers than you have. We are a family of winter lovers. We do a lot of recreational sports outside. Growing up I use to run a small team of sled dogs. I also use to cross country ski and do skijoring. My kids if they could would live in the snow. My sons one dream is to stay in an ice hotel at some point. We dress for the weather. We put a lot of layers on, we start with thermal layers under our jeans and sweaters. Than we put on our current outfit which usually has a polar fleece zip up. Then its snow pants ( wind and water proof) and winter jacket ( also wind and water proof). Then its the layers of fleece for our necks, hats and two pairs of mittens or gloves. First layer is always a knit and the top is water proof snow gloves. If we get over heated from running etc than we take off a layer.
Next is my distraction technique. Sometimes with toddlers after what feels like 100 years getting ready to go outside they are instantly board and want to go back in. This is when I use my distraction technique. All it is , is you try to stimulate the imagination by showing them a cool thing. For my daughter we usually show her little cut outs in the tree and tell her I wonder if fairies live in there. Then she goes on these missions to find more cool trees and hidings.
Compromise….in the end what you are trying to accomplish is fresh air and a change of scenery. Sometimes the day is just a bust but I always look at it that they got X amount of time outdoors. Sometimes we spend almost all day on adventures and sometimes they are done after 30 minutes. The fact is I feel getting children outside and into nature is more of an accomplishment than a defeat, even when the day doesn’t go as planned. Now that my youngest is 4 yes he tires before the other two but he still tries to keep up with them. I can see his little mind at work while he figures out how to climb that tree or get over that rock. That is something that he learns on his own with very little assistance. I know when I had two under two our days spent outdoors were limited. The thing is though we still went out and gave it a try.
Whatever adventure your family goes on make it a fun experience so that next time everyone is just as excited as you are.
One of the amazing adventures we did on our family vacation was walking on a frozen lake. One trick to enjoying the frigid temperatures is to dress properly, when I am nice and warm I am no rush to go back inside. We headed out on a blustery bitter cold morning to walk to the lake. It is a nice short walk through a snow covered forest path. When we arrived there were about a half a dozen of ice fisherman scattered around all trying to get their luck at catching the big fish. We walked down to the beach of the lake and started our trek across the ice. The wind was blowing that you could see powder snow form snow twisters on the ice. The sheer quietness of being on the open lake. The only sound besides the wind blowing was the distance sound of augers cutting through the thick ice. With ice fisherman in the distance we began to have fun on the frozen lake. My daughter loved holding onto her dad’s hand and pretending to be a ice skater. My youngest son got down on his belly and started sliding on the ice to see how fast and far he could get. He would stand back up again move a little bits away and try to slide again on his stomach. It had snowed the night before so there was a fine dusting of what the wind hadn’t blown away. My oldest son who had a stick with him began drawing designs on the little bit of snow he could find. He would make little swirls and designs. The wind would blow it away and he would find his next patch of snow. The sky was just clearing enough to see peaks of blue show through. Hearing their laughter and seeing the pure joy on my children’s faces experiencing their childhood made my heart warm. We were not alone on the lake but with how vast and open it was it felt as if we were the only ones. It is a strange thought to be standing on something that when it warms becomes pure liquid. Something humbling about the whole experience. It was neat to explore what we could find frozen in the ice. There were leaves ( which I have shared on my Instagram) and veins from the ice shifting and refreezing. It was the lakes life line being shown for all to see. In its own way it was art like a fingerprint original only to the lake. Nothing like that could be created again. When we were done with hours of fun we headed back to our cabin with great memories and wind blown faces. I took so many wonderful photos on this day but shared one of my favorite to be the feature photo for this blog post.
(Please before you go walking on a frozen lake etc. check ice conditions and make sure it is safe to walk on. We had an ice report and it stated approved for ice fishing).
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.