Sunday, July 24, 2011

Water is Good

This is week two of attempting this post and the computer is determined to thwart me. Consider my comments the cliff notes version of everything. Second week of July I took the girls to southern Vermont to visit family of a friend and we had a blast! It was so beautiful, I fell in love with Vermont all over again. We swam in the family pond there and there is something magical about diving into fresh water. Here's some pics of the girls in the water.

That's Cora's head above with Katie and this is Sydney below. Jeremy and I have been working with them and these girls are fearless in the water. That has its' goods and its' bads for now, but will serve us well later. Right now we do a head count every 5-10 seconds, which makes for very segmented conversation with anyone.

Cora, Katie, the three friends of theirs, and Sydney. They loved the popsicles.

And this beautiful lake before you is none other than Winnipesaki (I hope I spelled that right). We went there the next day with Jeremy to stay with his cousin's family for the weekend. It was amazing. Such a huge lake, but if felt like no one was there because of all the tree coverage and the shape of the coastline. The water was amazing to play in! Thanks, Sarah and Brian for inviting us!

Katie would run around holding a stick on her head and telling us she was a unicorn shooting water at us through her horn. Jeremy was reciprocating her love.


We made it home again. I had an awesome picture of Cora scowling, but I can't figure this computer out and it got lost somewhere. So we have Katie above and Sydney below.

The water is such a nice break in the 95 degree weather (no one has central air here, except the library). Our kids are covered with bumps and bruises all the time, I feel like I'm doing a good job letting them explore. The girls still have a very small vocabulary. They say "hot," "woof," and "uh-oh." Mama and dada go in and out of being used for a person, let alone the right one. Katie can sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. She and I were sitting on the porch watching bees get the pollen out of our lavender bush a couple of days ago. I've tried so hard not to teach her to fear bugs and it's so amazing to watch her watch the bees. She gets so close to them and just studies them. Then we talk about what she sees and it's so simple, yet so beautiful. I guess that sounds strange to many people, but I want my girls to know and understand how important every living thing in the world is. I want them to have that respect for life. And it humbles me to see that start to grow in them.

There's so much more I meant to post for the month of July. Right now I can hardly remember what happened. Katie's turning three next Saturday and I'm hoping I at least remember to get a cake-mix. At least we will be out of the three under three phase. Which was still a lot better than three under two. I better close. Here's to hoping for more postings in the month of August.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I finished a book this last week. It's called Last Child in the Woods. For anyone who has a good childhood memory of nature (water, trees, animals, flowers, dirt...) this book is something you should read. The author talks about how vital the relationship between children and nature is. He found study after study that links time in nature with decreased symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ADHD. As I read it and remembered all of the things I loved about being a child I realized how much of it involved nature. I have become more determined than before to let my girls experience that for themselves. So this last little while I have been fighting (anything from feeding them to leaving the house is a fight) to get them out as much as possible. It is a tremendous effort each time, but afterwards I feel so much better, the girls are happier, and the day seems to be better.
Two Tuesdays ago was free national park day, so we went to the closest one in New Hampshire - Saint Gaudens. He was a sculpture and this was where he did a lot of his work. Not the same as Zions, but still beautiful and they loved it.

Katie loves to have a backpack on. And to wear skirts. She's kind of like a dressy pack-lama for me.

Never too young for baseball. Or wiffle ball, I guess. I don't know if I've put up pictures of our front yard before, but there used to be some funky evergreen trees lining our driveway. That handsome fellow with the bat pulled them out one afternoon while I was grocery shopping. It looks so much better and I was so proud of him!

Our next adventure into the woods. I took them to the Joseph Smith birthplace in Sharon, VT. The church has a campsite there and I thought we'd do some hiking with the wagon. There happened to be a boyscout camp there at the same time. I think they were wondering what all of these little girls and their crazy mom were doing there with a wagon. We ended up just playing on the small swing set there and they found some interesting bug to look at on the slide. We did get a little time in the woods playing with sticks. Mission accomplished.

Our neighbors donated their son's old Red Sox t-shirt for Kate. I love how she loves to wear it with her pink boots.

Sugarbush Farms was our next big adventure. Cora and Katie loved the chickens, Sydney was not so sure about getting too close to them.

Sydney had to inspect the other folks at the farm. We took the maple walk they had there (they make maple syrup and cheese at this farm and keep the animals for the kids to meet). Sometimes the girls just want me to carry them, which makes me grateful Katie is so ready to just run on her own.

They loved the cow and wanted to keep petting him. There were a couple of horses there as well that I would lift them up one by one to pet. Until I realized that as I was working with one of my three girls the other two would be climbing up the rails of the fence. Never a dull moment.

We ate lunch just outside of the little house there and this huge black dog (behind them) would just wait for food to fall down. Dogs make clean up so much easier!

There's Cora with her little syrup sample spoon in her hand. Cora in the grass.

Notice the back pack? She got down in the grass here so she would be safe from the truck that had to drive by.

Our backyard is finally in bloom!

I just wanted to conclude with some thoughts on the wilderness. I know it's been hard for me to get to the wilderness (anywhere that's relatively machine/building/cement-free) since we've had kids. I know that's a reality for a lot of my friends now as well. Life gets busy, and it's hard to remember to do more than just survive with bills, food, work (this includes laundry, cleaning, dishes, etc), and the commitments we all must keep. But I have been reminded of how good the wild is for my soul. Things I learn and love about nature:

1-Every flower, tree, and living thing is different and special. No one is saying all flowers must look like this - not too tall, too short, a certain color, and be dressed a certain way. Each living thing does the best it can and that's all that is needed. Each plays a part of a bigger picture, but is still so unique and amazing.

2- Most changes are gradual, yet life altering. Rapid changes in nature (floods, earthquakes, fires) may be too overwhelming to systems and though good may come out of it eventually, it takes a very long time. Most changes and growth are very gradual and the most sustaining. Canyons formed from streams, trees that grow so tall, even food growing in your garden. It's OK in nature to have a slower, more constant pace. You'll get to where you need to go without running like you're on fire.

3- You realize it's OK to not be in control. No one and nothing other than God is really in control and things work out. You survive storms and draughts, just as plants and animals do.

4- You can see life really is beautiful and fun can be simple things that don't cost money. Mud can be played in, trees can be climbed by the rich or poor, pretty or plain, and the joy you take from it is all your own. Those boundaries we set as humans begin to disappear in nature.

I have probably talked enough for now. This is something so dear to my soul I could talk about it for eons. I hope to give my girls this simple joy, this chance to feel so close to God and free from the judgements, fear, and anger this world tries to throw at them. I want them to respect real dangers (being struck by lightning or drowning in a river) more than fearing the perceived ones (there are evil people everywhere waiting to hurt me). If this post has inspired even one person to go find a wild place to feel alive again, then I have succeeded. I hope someone else picks up the book because it was good and it reminded me there is so much more to life than just surviving it.