Adventures, Just Outside, Lessons As We Grow

Good Morning Backyard!

“Can we go camping? Please Mommy!” “We haven’t been on any big adventures in a long time!”

“I wish my love, but it’s really hard to travel and finding good camping spots here is really really hard because of alligators and horrendous amount of mosquitoes. “

“ well. Can we camp out in the yard mommy?!”

It’s about 10:00 pm on a Saturday night when we are having this conversation. I will admit, I’ve had several glasses of wine at this point and even though I’ve pitched and broken down tents hundreds of times, at this particular moment it felt like something that might wake all the neighbors. I sit there deciding what my answer will be as I play the scene in my mind.

Seeing my hesitation and basically reading my mind, my sweet big hearted manipulative boy continues his pitch.

“We don’t need tents Mommy, we can just get our sleeping bags and sleep on the patio. We have a privacy fence now. It’s something different mommy. Its a different kind of adventure. come on Mommy, let’s do something different” cue the big bright smile and sparkling blue eyes.

“You’re right, why not. Let’s do it!”

We went and got our sleeping bags, asked my other kiddo if he wants to join us. Of course he did. The boys, myself, and our dog all got “comfortable” on the hard concrete patio under the blooming mango tree.

We talked for a little while, I told them stories of my hiking days in Georgia and the time I went backpacking on the Appalachian trail for a few days. They talked about Minecraft and all of the details of it. They tell great stories to fall asleep to.

Being asleep didn’t last long for me. The different sounds in the neighbors yards and the temperature chasing to “it might rain” woke me up. I dozed thru the night, but mostly just took in the moment. I stared at my kids hoping this was one of the memories they hang on to. I watched them with bewilderment as they slept so peaceful on the ground. Mostly I just soaked in the love and happiness of being “us”.

As the sun started coming up I realized I have never bothered to be outside at this time, I am always to busy getting the boys up and ready for school or sleeping on the weekends.

Except when our neighbors had a rooster. The stupid bird from hell woke me up every single Saturday and Sunday at 5:00am. I live in South Florida. We have small yards and close neighbors. I consider it very disrespectful to have a flipping rooster cock-a-doodle-doing on the weekend next to my window. Literally because it somehow kept finding its way into our yard. I never allowed this evil bird to get me out of bed, unless Chase heard it and started whining to go out. In those moments, I couldn’t tell you if the sun was rising or not, all I knew was “cock-a-doodle-fuck-a-doo, hurry up Chase and go poo!” Then buried myself back under the blankets for a few hours.

My boy had a good idea as this was a nice change in routine and I got to see how our back yard wakes up on my terms and not some annoying farm animals.

Thankfully by this night the Rooster was gone. I don’t know what happened to it, but I am glad that something did.

I laid there, my spine in some pain and sending tingling sensations to my fingers. Our sleeping bags covered in leaves and flowers that fallen from the mango tree. I watched as the yard came alive.

Woodpeckers started knocking on the electrical pole, mocking birds singing, green parrots flying by on their way to find breakfast, blue Jays chasing away the singing mockingbirds, various insects emerging, silk worms glistening in the morning rays of light, lizards coming out to warm in the sunlight; yes it was a nice change in pace.

I gained some new perspective and reinforced my appreciation for the small things in life (as well as my bed).

About 7:00, I peeled myself off the ground and cleaned up my blanket. Stretched and popped and took a deep breath of morning air. Then I made myself some coffee and decided to open a book I haven’t read since I was a teenager, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” while the boys continued sleeping on the hard ground.

Wishing y’all a very Happy, Healthy, Smart, Strong, & Successful Day!

Lessons As We Grow

I Think I Need to Teach Quiet Time

When is the last time your kid had to just sit still without a phone, tablet, t.v, or an adult engaging him or her?

I took them to one of the city parks near me on Saturday to get some fresh air and do some jogging. I’m trying to run outside more often rather than on the treadmill, I think it’s a much better workout. They have electric scooters they like to ride, but I also want them to exercise so I intentionally didn’t charge them before hand, I figured I could do about 1-2 miles by myself while they rode around before the scooters died, then they could jog/walk with me the last couple of miles.

Right on time, the scooters gave out. They did about a quarter of a mile before the crying and whining began, I wasn’t going to let them ruin my work out yet again, so I sat them in the middle of the park (the paved path around it is just a little bigger than a football field and goes in a circle) under some nice shady pine trees, gave them the water and told them not to move from this spot. To just sit and relax since they were so tired and they better not move because someone might run away with them. Basically scaring the crap out of them not to move. I could see them at all times where they sat and there was only 1 other family there, the park I might add is away from the road mostly hidden by trees, so I wasn’t to worried about it. I just wanted them to sit still and stop whining so I could get the last of my jogging in.

As I ran my laps, I watched them and realized that I can’t remember the last time they just sat without something keeping their mind going. In fact, besides bedtime, they have NEVER just sat and talked to each other or be alone with themselves and they are nearly 8 years old. This was a mind blowing realization because it was a normal thing for us to do when we were kids. Sit under a shady tree and talk or play; lay in the grass and look up at the clouds and ponder life. They are not learning how to be comfortable with themselves, with their minds. This wasn’t something that ever had to be a lesson for kids, it was something we did because there was nothing else to do.

As I finished up, they joined me for my last lap and they started asking me questions about the world and talking about more relevant things instead of going on and on and on about Minecraft and YouTube characters. It was wonderful seeing them express interest in the real world.

Going forward, looks like we need to add yoga and meditation to the list of things to do. I wish I had listened to the recommendations do keep electronics away from kids for as long as possible. I am going to start having quiet time with them twice a week to begin, I think it’s important they become comfortable with their own minds and silence. I will need to start with short periods and work my way to 30 minutes, they are not going to like it at first. Their brains are over stimulated and with hyperactivity a factor, it’s going to be a challenge.

Challenge accepted!

Let’s see where this goes, I will keep you posted.

Salute!

Adventures, Just Outside

Suches, GA Such a Beautiful Place it is

If you are looking for a beautiful quite place to get away from it all, I highly recommend Suches, GA.

I hesitate to tell y’all about this place because I loved it so much. It’s a small town located in North Georgia with the windiest roads I have ever been on. I grew up in in Paulding County, GA but I have lived in South Florida for nearly 20 years. We only have 90 degree turns here that take you left or right. There is no up and down windy roads anywhere in these parts. These roads in Suches, made me a little bit nervous going into it for the first time.

We drove from South, FL all the way thru. It was about 12, 13,14 hours…….with the kiddos and stopping at Wal-Mart to stock up on food before we got into town, it was a long trip, I lost count of the hours. But it was worth it.

We rented a cabin from one of those rent your house apps, which isn’t as weird as some folks think. We have done it on a few trips now and have always had a good experience, (knock on wood), it had everything we needed. Seclusion, Jacuzzi, near-by River, and Mountain View. Basically PERFECTION.

I was able to teach my boys what Lightning Bugs (also known as fireflies) are and how to catch them and put them in a jar. We played in the rivers, went tubing down the Tocca River, they mined for Gems at the Lily Pad, I showed them all of the critters that hide under rotting logs like salamanders, giant centipedes and millipedes, night crawlers, rolly pollies, and beetles of all kinds. They destroyed all the beautiful mushrooms we found, after I took pictures of course, and really got to experience the simple life. The fact I got to show my kids this world without electronics, the world I grew up in, meant a lot to me.

Living down here, life is fast and expensive, and overall high demanding without any woods to disappear in, it can be stressful. Sure we have the Ocean and a lot of city and county parks, but it’s just not the same I love the ocean. But I think I love mountains and waterfalls a little bit more.

My parents and brother’s family still lives up that way, my dad and brother actually hunt and fish in Suches. It was a fun coincidence that they were there the same weekend we were. The kids got to play with their cousins and spend time with family. We went waterfalls, a suspended bridge, and the Chattahoochee National Hatchery where they breed the trout to restock the streams and rivers. I have to warn you though, getting to these places is a challenge if you’re not use to dirt roads up a mountain.

If you ever do find yourself in Suches, GA a few must do things that I have first hand knowledge are:

Toccoa River Swinging Bridge

Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery

Toccoa Valley Campground and Tubing

Lily Pad Gem Mining