Outside to Play

So far, the winter here, in Minnesota, has been pretty tame. Not much snow, pretty mild temps–all, in all, it’s been super simple. I’m a winter lover, so snow, cold, ice–I love it all. (Except for driving in it. I don’t do that.) Ya know what I kinda don’t love though? Getting little kids dressed to go outside to play. (I used to be a preschool teacher–now THAT was tough. Every, single, day I would have to help all my kiddos get dressed. Now, it’s only two. I can’t complain. Also, side note, parents–if your kids go to daycare, or preschool, help teach them to dress themselves–their teachers will appreciate you more than you know. 🙂 ) Anyway, like I was saying–I love being outside. 🙂 I have parent friends who applaud me for getting the kids outside at least a couple times a week, all year, just do play. I tell them not to do that though; don’t applaud it, I’m not being modest, I’m actually just kind of looking for the path of least resistance.

Outside is my calm spot. It’s where I center myself. It’s where I find freedom in the fact that I can’t control anything but what I have in/on my own body. It’s where I go to clear my mind. It’s where I go to think new thoughts and dwell on old thoughts; and, it’s where I go to not think at all. I, believe, that these are traits that are not unique to me; I believe these are traits that lie within all humans. Some of us are more in tune with this, some aren’t. There’s no shame in either one–it’s just about who we are, as individuals, and, probably, in how we were raised.

Anyway, here’s where that whole ‘path of least resistance’ thing comes in–my kids are way, WAY, easier when we’re outside; and, I’m usually WAY more relaxed. It’s win/win. 🙂 My littlest one is a tough kid. He only wants me–all the time. It took him 12 months to like being not held, and he still won’t allow me to wander from his field of vision. When we go outside though, he is gone. He becomes a big, brave, adventurer. He doesn’t care about being held, he just wants to explore. When he starts to whine, it’s because something is actually wrong–his mitten fell off, his foot is too hot, his mitten won’t come off so he can feel something, etc. He’s not just whining to whine–something is, actually, really, wrong. My older boy suddenly becomes lost in his HUGE imagination–he’s thinking like a bug, or a mouse, or a bird. He is practicing empathy, and compassion–while also having fun. I’m not telling him how to be empathetic, he’s just, naturally, feeling it. Also, lately, he’s been taking his video game mind, and bringing it outdoors–‘Where’s the best shelter?’ ‘Where would we find food?’ ‘What was here before us? What footprints are these?’ It’s fun to imagine with him, to learn with him, and, to think deeply with him. My daughter–well, she is ALWAYS up for a hike, anywhere (especially if the little one’s aren’t coming 😀 ). It’s such an easy thing to get my teen to go do (unless it’s too early 😉 ). Plus, the more adventurous the trail, the happier she is–she’s always up for a challenge. (And, the more adventurous the trail is, the more excited I am!) When we’re outside–I can usually just breathe, the fun is just there, all I have to do is check out a bit and follow along. I don’t have to come up with ideas–the ideas just happen. It’s all so easy.

Bottom line–when, as a mom, I’m feeling like I’m in a little too deep, we go outside. When my kids are upset, or whiny, or acting selfish–we go outside. When my teen, and I, need something to do together, we go outside. When, as a family, we just want to do something, anything, but money is tight–we go outside. When, as a Photographer, I need inspiration, I go outside. All year, anytime of the day…I go outside. Tomorrow, it’s going to be cold. My mind is so cluttered lately though, and my memory card is so empty–so, I’m planning to get a quick hike in–it will cure everything.

Here are a few shots from our time outside today. We just had a three day storm roll though–Wednesday came the snow, Thursday came the rain, and Friday came some more snow; things are coated, and they’re gorgeous. We’ve had a ton of fun watching it all out the window–today, we finally got to get out, and play in it. (Even if it was only for a little bit. 🙂 )

Also, may I just add, that today, it took the same amount of time to ready, as we spent playing outside. I knew it was super chilly, and that we wouldn’t be out for long–we just needed some fresh air, to feed some critters, and to feel the fresh, new, snow. ❤ It was worth it–but just barely. 😀

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