A long overdue update on summer 2014!

Well, now that it’s definitely and decidedly winter, maybe it’s finally time for an update! 🙂 Here’s 5 things I learned over what was a wonderful summer and autumn here in Edmonton:

1. If you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.

My goal for camping this year was 5, maybe 6 times if the weather held out until October. We went a grand total of… 2 times. Once you already heard about, and once was because my Mom invited us out to the site where she and my step-dad had their trailer for September long weekend. That’s it. We DID have a busy summer, all things told. I photographed more weddings than I ever had before. We took a 10-day vacation to the Okanogan that basically ate up three weekends all on its own. But still, there was time to fit some camping in, but it was never scheduled, and therefore it never happened.

2.  Repetition breeds comfort in kids

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Probably in adults too, for all I know. Finn has been in swimming lessons of one sort or another for a long time, but Declan, suffering from second-child-syndrome, hasn’t had nearly as much exposure to the water, and is definitely more cautious than his big brother. While we were in Kelowna for holidays this year, we were in the water, no word of a lie, every single day with the exception of one day of crappy weather. Either we were down at the beach, or we were taking advantage of the pool that the boys Auntie & Uncle has at their condo. Finn started off confident but needing reassurance. By the end of our trip, he was basically fully independent in the water (except needing his life jacket at all times). Declan, on the other hand, didn’t like to be splashed or jostled, or basically to do anything but hold onto you closely as you lowered him, screaming, into the water. By the end of the week, he was walking into the lake by himself, splashing and playing, and just really blossoming in the water. Based on the few times we’ve gone swimming here at home this fall, that experience seems to have stuck. 🙂

 3. It’s easy to take your back yard for granted

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So, I started this whole blog/adventure to try and teach my kids about the outdoors. Being slightly over-scheduled at times, we couldn’t often get away to a park or natural area to really explore “nature”, and most of the outside time we had was in our own backyard, because it was easy to open the door and kick them outside to burn off some energy. Well, here’s a list of some of the “outdoorsy” things we learned in the backyard this year:

  • where birds live, why they migrate, and what sorts of things they eat
  • all about spiders, insects, and what eats what outside
  • how to plant a tree, where plants get their food from, and how to take care of plants
  • what different types of clouds can tell us about the weather

Sure, we could have learned these things inside, or from a book, but they are all things that we learned because we were outside, and the boys were asking questions about the things they saw around them.

 4. Geocaching is HARD, or I’m just dumb

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Following-up on our previous attempt at geocaching, I took the boys back to the Clifford E. Lee Natural Area a few times, and each time we tried to find the three caches hidden in the park. I am currently batting 0 for 4 and am feeling very dispirited about the whole thing. After the last time, Finn told me, “Daddy, you’re not very good at treasure hunting.” I couldn’t agree more, so next year, we’re either going to find easier cache’s, or we’re going to call in a few experts to join us. We always had fun while we were looking for the cache’s, though. 🙂

 5. Exploring is more fun with friends

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Really, just about anything is more fun with friends, but exploring DEFINITELY is more fun with friends. On a few occasions we were able to carve out some time to go on a nature walk with friends, and each time was awesome. There something so communal about getting outside and discovering things. After all, it’s not much of a discovery if you can’t tell anyone about it.

Hopefully we will keep having adventures together, and more opportunities to share things on here as winter progresses! We’ve already had out snowshoes on this year, so it’s looking good so far. Thanks for reading everyone!

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