With fall underway (sort of – it has been in the upper 90s here for over a week!) we’ve been developing our new family rhythms. We’ve made a point not to schedule too many things each week, but aren’t heading outside from 8-12am like we did for the months of morning sickness. I think it is a pretty good balance of getting some work done around the house before going out to play around 10am.
One thing that we’ve been making a priority is Nature Fridays. We actually get in the car (a big deal for us) and drive down the street to the Celery Bog. The kids run around and play in the open space for awhile while we wait for friends to arrive. Then we go on a short hike, followed by a picnic lunch back in the open field. The kids love it and it is probably the highlight of my week right now.
It has been particularly fun to watch Nathan from week to week. The first week he wanted to be carried the entire time or be held in the stroller. This was following a night where we had been up with him for a couple of hours. The next week he hopped out of the car and found some dandelions that had gone to seed. He grabbed one and then ran around saying, “ta-da!” every time he picked another one. Emily jumped in and reminded him he could blow them.
All the kids love climbing on this huge wood chip pile. Nathan struggled going up and down the first week. Emily taught him to sit and scoot. The next week he was running up and down it like the other kids. Although there is a two year gap between the big kids and the little kids, there is starting to be more moments where the boys go off or the girls go off.
At the beginning of our hike the kids look at the map and determine where they want to go. Even Nathan runs up saying, “Map! Map!”
Once we are walking on the paths collecting sticks and “balls” becomes the focus. I’m amazed at how much the kids can carry. Emily has become quite the expert using her dress. Nathan struggled last week determined to carry three balls and two sticks at all times. He was always dropping one thing or another and taking forever to get them rearranged in his hand again. After twenty minutes I thought I’d try and help him by carrying a few of his things. A few steps later I realized he wasn’t next to me…he was trying to pick up three new balls and two new sticks.
While the bigger kids are running around finding sticks and trying to be the leader, Nathan strolls. He has started narrating as he walks. “Sticks. HUGE stick (tree!). Big stick (big stick). Path. Tiny stick. Bug (disgusted)! Animal Path (this one shocked me. There was a dirt path we told the kids the week before it was probably for animals. I didn’t even know he was listening but he remembered!). Spider!!!! Flowers.”
Arthur and Lucy took off ahead of us and found a new path that led straight to the bog. The wind blew hard through the trees as we approached and dozens of leaves blew off. Nathan had a huge look of excitement and Emily of awe. There was a log that had flowers growing out of it – a nature flower pot!
Emily’s fascination with mushrooms continues. She found a huge one a few weeks ago that she pretended was an umbrella. I think she would get along really well with Beatrix Potter. Thank goodness for a easy access bathroom to wash hands before lunch.
I’ve been working on carving and sanding little animals while we walk. It is a good way to keep my hands busy and patient while we move at a kids pace with lots of stopping.
I love seeing the kids run around and play games on the stage after lunch. They found fishing poles last week that were really fun. They usually put on at least one show. Emily sometimes tries really hard to get a game of duck duck goose or tag going. Usually everyone ends up just digging in the dirt.