Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lessons, Learning, and Camping

Put me in a tent in the middle of the forest, surrounded by hiking trails and bright stars, and I will always expect to have a good time. There's something about the outdoors that has always tugged on my soul, and I've listened to it with varying levels of attentiveness over the years. Dating back to my childhood days of making mud-pies and catching grasshoppers with my best friend, Tony, I have almost always preferred to be outside. Sitting inside to play Barbies with my sister, Michelle = pure torture. I always imagined my future family to be quite outdoorsy.

Well, here I am - in the middle of my future family - and we're not even close to what I imagined in this regard. Sometimes I mourn this imaginary family... this hiking, biking, camping, running, swimming family I thought I would be a part of. This past July, as I was giving poor Brian an (another) earful about how I would love it if he would take us camping more often, and suggest family hikes on Saturday mornings, and get himself a bike so we could hitch up the baby trailer, and teach McKenzie to ride on two wheels, I started to listen to myself talk...and it was ugly. I realized that it was completely and totally unfair of me to expect him to fulfill my dream of being an active, outdoorsy family.

So, I took it into my own hands. If I wanted to be outdoorsy, then I needed to make it happen. The kids and I started hiking down to the river a couple times a week. I went to Target and bought a bike pump for my tires, assembled and vacuumed out the bike trailer (which had accumulated quite a few spiders and bug carcasses in it's long hibernation in our storage shed), and we went on bike rides together almost every afternoon. We took walks in the late afternoon as we waited for our dinner to finish cooking, and for Daddy to get home from work. I learned to ignore the sweat rings forming beneath my arms and to embrace the sweaty sock smell once we returned to the house. Being outside so much was beautifully refreshing!

Already on an outdoors high, I was thrilled to learn that the mountains were the same distance from our house as from the Aldriches new house in Atlanta. It was the perfect excuse to plan a camping trip out there to meet our favorite people! I'd never planned a camping trip before, so it didn't go off without a hitch...but it was lovely, and we've decided to make it an annual tradition. (And, that's where all of these pictures are coming from...)

I've learned a few things over the course of these few months...
*McKenzie has amazing willpower, even in the face of peer pressure. If she does not want to get entirely wet in the freezing cold lake, then she won't. Case closed. She was the only child who didn't even attempt to get wet much above her knees.

LOVE the kids faces in this one! Most of them had just come out of the water on a
dunking dare...and that water was so, so freezing!

*Carson, though uncomfortable, will succumb to the least partially.

*You should never, EVER, ask me to eat another brussel sprout.

*I should not practice on a walking toddler with my camera on the full manual setting. I'm not that quick...

*And most importantly, I cannot, and should not, expect others to fulfill my dreams. I'm not exactly sure why I had the notion that the man of the house should be in charge of family outdoor outings...maybe because that's how it worked in the environment I grew up in...but I have been much happier since I've let him off the hook and taken charge of my own desires. Plus, I've seen that when I'm not focused on the things I want him to do, it's much easier for me to see all the helpful, wonderful things he already is doing. He's terrific at making sure the dishes don't pile up, and he happily puts the kids to bed every night...

Here's to many more fun, outdoor activities!


  1. fun fun!!! I also love the outdoors. Your kids are beautiful!

  2. What a great lesson--one I can for sure learn from. Sometimes it's just easier to wait for others to make things happen. And they usually don't. Your pictures are great. And go McKenzie! That trait will be a blessing in life.

  3. Beautiful pics, except the one of me is just a bit scary!

    I wish I was more outdoorsy. I want to hike more. I just don't fit it in my life very well...

  4. This post made me think- am I outdoorsy or not? I'll pick running outside in even snow and ice over running on a treadmill anyday....but I don't often have a desire to get out and hike, swim or camp. Hmmmm....I think I'm a little of both. I do remember that when we moved back to NC from Seattle, I missed the gorgeous snow-capped mountains and the tall, straight pines. Now that we're in GA I miss the blue Carolina skies! Maybe one day I'll learn to enjoy where I'm living WHILE I'm living there? I DID have the BEST time in A-ville and I can't wait for next year!!

  5. LOVE it! And I'm completely with you on the fulfilling-my-own-wishes thing. Generally speaking, if there's something I really would like to do, I try to remind myself to take action and get to work on it (and not necessarily while talking in the third person while referring to myself ;) Ooooh, and I have this recipe you just have to try: Starts with Brussel, ends with Sprouts! he he he

  6. Cute pics. And come on, I liked mud, too!

    ...only, my barbies had to be sitting in it with me...

  7. Can't believe I somehow missed this post! I've heard SO much about Asheville! I hope I'll be able to see it one day. I love being outdoors, but seem to find one excuse or another why not to go. Usually too hot or cold. I love how you said to do things you want and not expect others to fulfill your dreams. Here's to dream self-fulfilment.