Today we took the morning to just enjoy ourselves as a family and to relish the great world God has created for us. I find such joy in watching the boys explore with no timetable, no agenda. One of the big goals of our parenting is to not only allow our children to be children, but to actively make time and provide them opportunities to be children. Summer here has been very hot, and wet limiting our outdoor activities to early morning and late afternoons and even then to short bursts of time. Today as wonderful, sunny, and in the 70’s the best kind of summer day you can have.
We went aadventuring. One of the best things we have even bought is the Iowa Sportsman’s Atlas. County by county. Every county or state or federal park, wetland, conservation area or historical monument. Every county road, and all lakes and hunting spots. Each area has a description; including handicap access, special features, camping, bathrooms, trails and so on. We use it to seek out new hiking trails, or new spots.
We started before 8 at Sutcilf woodlands. It is a 55-acre area designated as a wildlife refuge. It was deserted, just like I love it. The boys are able to wander and run and be themselves with out me having to stay on top of them or worry about them. That makes the time so much more relaxing for Momma. If there is something they want to see or do, they can without a line or without having to give up their spot to the next child. Not that, that is all bad, and they do take turns well at the slide at the park and so on, but sometimes, just the time to be themselves is so good for them, no pressure to be good. There is a self-guided tour, that we did walk all of but did not try to interest the boys in what tree we were looking at. Big Brother was way too busy picking up sticks and defending us from lions and dragons, and I was way too busy trying to make sure Little Brother didn’t go tumbling down the hill or get hit by the “long gun” Big Brother was swinging. We played hide and seek at the parking / picnic / meadow area both before and after our hike. Big Brother loved H&S but can NOT be quiet, so there is little seeking involved even if he could actually hide very well. Little Brother takes such great glee in seeking out his older brother and screaming and laughing and pointing when he finds him.
Next we went to Nathan Hamlin Park. The reason this location attracted us: ELK!!! Live elk. (read at least ½ to the bottom to see the elk and the hsitpry). We we able to get pretty close to them, from the viewing area. The mother elk came to the feeding tube so the boys could feed her – this earned her many screeches of joy and much noise she didn’t seem to mind. The father elk never got too close, but didn’t seem spooked either; I guess they are used to being watched.
Finally we stopped at: Littlefeild Park. A full lake, with swimming beach, many shelter hours and so on. We just stopped to let the boys hit a play ground for a little while. It happened to be a great old playground with a jungle gym even. Big Brother had never seen one but scrambled right to the top and dropped though like a pro.
Once home we filled up the wading pool and did a little Science looking at what floats and what does not, and what makes a bigger splash when tossed in!