Making the most of WEEKENDS!

Not every weekend is awesome. Sometimes we have terrible weather, someone is sick…or something. You know how it is. But, isn’t it wonderful when you get to Sunday evening and are like, “YES, NOW THIS WAS A GOOD WEEKEND”! I try not to rush away the week, but I SO enjoy when my husband is home for the weekend, and so are the girls. I have less weight on my shoulders and he can help share the load.

Mother’s Day weekend was one of those weekends we have been aching for. The only thing missing was CAMPING! We did not get to camp, but will be for Memorial Weekend (CAN’T WAIT). Any who, come Friday we were prepping for our 5k race on Saturday morning. Now, Greg and I have ran a number of races, but we always like to go to bed early and eat a good meal before hand…which is why I made my famous OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! Two things I cook well; oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and a I can make a pretty mean pizza. Other than that, I am just glad everyone eats what I cook. I made the cookies to carb load. That is how it works, right? 😉 But really, they are filling, they give you energy, they have the carbs, and they are delicious. That’s all the excuse I need.

The girls enjoy making cookies with me and Elise helped me that night.

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Just giving myself a little extra time to cook so that they can help is what makes this so great. I pray they LOVE to cook when they get older.

Saturday morning came and we were all excited to run. The girls even woke up and were ready to go! My mom pushed them in the double stroller. Greg and I had Theo. My plan was to push Theo the whole race, but I was fully aware of the hilly course that was probably going to slow me down. My goal was to finish the race in 30 minutes. After about 1.6 miles we came upon a hill and my paced slowed. I haven’t been running for too long, I just got back into working out after having Theo. So Greg offered to push him up that hill and I let go of that pride because I was just happy to run, and happy to run with my husband. I pushed him for a bit further after that, but the next hill I let Greg have him and he finished the race pushing him. I loved running with Greg, he would tell me, “see that guy in the red-we are going to catch him before the next turn”. I loved it. I love having him as my partner in this life. He is the best. We finished in 29 minutes. YAY! How cool is it that God gave us these strong bodies? FullSizeRender(2)

We had a fun run that morning, but after, we got to do our annual Mother’s Day tradition of strawberry picking!

Needless to say, we all enjoyed it. There is nothing like fresh strawberries. THE BEST.

After all that fun we were ready for a nap, but we didn’t take one. Greg was setting up the hammock in the backyard and found a rat snake! It was so cool, and COCO, our dog was so curious about this guy.  I love snakes. This one was so beautiful, and he was pretty long. We finally got him to go off into the woods so we could safely lay in the hammock. That was all the rest we needed to then go play on the tire swing!

So, even though we weren’t camped out and on a trail somewhere, we made the best of just being outside. We love it, and the kids love it. Sometimes it can be hard to leave an air conditioned living room to go outside in the heat and mosquitoes. But I think if you make it fun, it can really make your day! Something about being outside just brings us pure joy!

Oh, and we found a friend in the tire swing. How sweet! My girls love finding any sort of animal or bug. This lizard was so neat.

We even ended our day walking a beautiful new section of the River Walk downtown Chattanooga. I was so thankful that we had beautiful weather this past weekend, it made celebrating Mother’s Day that much better. And Saturday was sort of a long day, but filled with variety, breaks in between to keep us relaxed and not rushing. Sometimes its just letting all expectations go out the window and just enjoy the moment your in.

On Mother’s Day, we enjoyed a wonderful morning at church followed by a fun picnic and hike with my momma at the Pocket Recreation Area in GA. We have been there before but had never hiked the Pocket Loop Trail. It was a beautiful short trail (2.5 miles). Some areas seemed overgrown, but as soon as I questioned if the rest of the trail would be that way we would come to a nice open area. There was a cool spot for viewing wildlife by a pond, as you will see in the pictures. It looked like there could have been a trail off to the side and maybe one that went around the body of water, but it was not maintained so we had to skip it this time. We found a neat shell on the trail too. Zoe likes to collect things from our hikes and she was set on bringing the snail shell home, but what we didn’t realize is that there was a snail still inside… We realized it when we left and were in the car! Oops! 🙂 We let him go when we got home. She had hiked with him for most of the trail. The girls enjoyed the trail for the most part, and I was proud of them for how the enjoyed this hike. Greg does a lot of silly things to make it fun for them too, like hiding in the brush right off the trail and jumping out when they would catch up. HA!

That is what it’s all about. Not about the miles. It’s about enjoying the activity. Because if they don’t enjoy it, most likely they will not want to go back. And thankfully as we neared the end of the trail, we got to cool off in the creek before heading off. Elise deciding sitting all the way in was the best idea. (And it was, but we just didn’t bring extra clothes!! Haha, we did have a towel!!). We ended out day with a trip up to John’s MTN overlook (which I took no pictures of), we first visited there on our 3rd year wedding anniversary and Zoe was about 8 months.

So there you have it. Our weekend in a nut shell. This is how we made the best of the weekend. How did you make the best of YOUR weekend? I love reading stories about other family adventures, and adventures in general. I have found that there doesn’t have to be any expectation to the word adventure. Adventure everyday. Whether you are cooking with your littles, playing in the creek, finding bugs….adventure is whatever you make it out to be. It’s YOUR adventure.

What does adventure mean to you?

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Happy trails,

Sam

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Learning to RIDE!

Zoe, my oldest finally learned to ride without training wheels just about a year ago. She was just over 4 years old. We had bought her a balance bike when she was a year old in hopes she would just be this amazing rider at the age of like, two. Ha! That didn’t happen. In fact, she didn’t really get the hang of her bike until she got a bike with training wheels. Hmmm. Something seems off here. The main reason she didn’t get the hang of it was because she didn’t do it enough, and when she would do it she wasn’t very good at it and it was no fun. And who wants to go ride a bike with no wheels if it is no fun. Your basically just walking the bike.

Well, she got a bike with training wheels and then rode all the time. Every now and then she would get on her balance bike to work on…. guess what? Her balance. Luckily, we had a neighbor who was four years older than her and was riding up and down the hills and that motivated her! She wanted to do what he did. She finally started riding her balance bike everyday to improve and within weeks she was off.

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MY BABY CAN RIDE!! She is 4 years old here.

About a week give or take after she learned to ride, her daddy had her riding up and down the hills in the neighborhood and in our backyard. The only thing is one of the hills in our backyard is really washed out and steep…which didn’t bother her!!! So long story short, she rode down it, fearless and all. AAAAAAAAND WIPED OUT! Here is a wonderful pic I like to look back on.

Back to TODAY!

Elise has been riding the infamous balance bike on and off for some time. She is three years old. She doesn’t love it, honestly. I think mainly because she is not used to it. She has had to walk the bike and that isn’t fun until you get the hand of balancing and taking those long strides and are able to ride fast on it. If I put her on a bike with training wheels she is a happy girl, but a balance bike…not as fun. YET!

Today I told the girls we were going to ride the nature trail in town. Zoe happily grabbed her bike gear, and I told Elise that she could ride the scooter or her balance bike. Scooter was her choice and so I brought both. Just in case. Good thing I did. She got on the scooter as soon as we started she was complaining about it within 30 seconds. She decided her bike would be better fitted for the occasion. YAY!

It started out rough. She started complaining about the sun, and that she was tired, and hungry. She just wanted me to carry her bike while she walked. I talked to her about how mama couldn’t carry the bike and if we practiced she would start enjoying her bike more. I gave her a choice, no pressure. And I like to make our outings fun, and not forced. I asked her if she wanted to carry her bike or ride it the rest of the way. She wanted to carry it “because it would be easier”. “Ok, cool”, I said. Let’s do it. We walked a whole two minutes and she grunted, put the bike down, got on it and rode past me. Zoe was waiting up ahead as you can see from the picture below.

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I caught up to them and snapped a picture before it was too late. She smiled and went on. Zoe and I both could tell she was proud of herself. She wasn’t riding perfectly, but it was a start and she had some nice glides where one foot would be off the ground and she would balance with the other. I let them decide how far we would go.

We soon came across a cool tunnel that went underneath the railroad tracks. It was spooky looking and the girls were intrigued. I told them they could enjoy the shade inside. 😉 They got in and looked around a little bit, and they were ready to move on.

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It wasn’t much longer after that they were ready to head back to the car, it was getting hot being in the sun and about time for lunch.

Overall, it was an awesome time and I am so glad that Elise’s spirits weren’t down for long and they really enjoyed the trip. She told me next time she would make it to the end. YES, a goal to work towards!

I want to get them outside and try different things that spark their interest, also challenging their capabilities, mentally and physically. I think in the long run it will benefit them. As long as it’s fun. I will not push them to a point of them being upset or would cause them to NOT like what we are doing. I think that is the key. To make it all fun. Elise didn’t want to ride her bike first, but with a loving push and her choice to overcome, she did it. Its baby steps, and I pray they look back and remember these fun days.

I hope this encourages some of you who are in the phase of teaching a toddler to ride a bike, or thinking about it. It’s all a wild journey, and this is ours.

Happy Trails,

Sam

Figuring it out.

So, hi there!

I am finally doing this. I am finally doing this. I am finally doing this.

My name is Sam and I have two girls, Zoe and Elise. They are 5 and 3. We just had a son in March and his name is Theo. My husband is Greg, and he is…he is just really the best. To think that God had a plan for our lives and that I didn’t trust that for a long time is just crazy. But HE really did go before me and HE worked it out for good. To Him, all the glory!

You’ll hear our story one day. When I have enough time to write it all out.

We love the outdoors. Before we had our kids we hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia in 2010. Are there any SOBO’s out there?!! Fist bump to you. You ROCK.  Our trail names were Lucky and Charm. Not because of the cereal, although after being named I coincidentally started craving Lucky Charms… Weird, huh? 😉

It was the best. We met the best people and we learned so much from that hike. I miss it so much. If you have never been on the AT, let me tell you. It’s another world. It’s wonderful, interesting, beautiful, crazy, it’s. JUST. GREAT. So after finishing the day before Thanksgiving. (Because we were starving, and couldn’t wait to eat real food) We had to get back to real life; Jobs, house hunting, etc. I found out we were pregnant two weeks after moving into our home in 2011.

I knew that when we had kids I wanted them to grow up being outdoors, praying they would love it. It hasn’t been perfect, but I learned and STILL LEARNING how to incorporate the outdoors into our everyday life.

Why? Because I want to see them enjoying the simplicity of life. To live humbly, and wise. We can learn so much by just being in outside, by exploring and going slow. They will play in the rain, hike many a miles, camp in places other’s haven’t, and learn to cook a mean meal at the end of the day.  I want them to be brave, and unafraid. I want them to be in awe of God’s wonder. Of His creation, of His power.

This isn’t perfect. Our life will never be perfect. I won’t do everything right, but I will love them fiercely. They will know that love, and I pray they are empowered by it. Because we love “Because He first loved us”. 1 John 4:19

Thanks for stopping by!DSC_6923-4

-Sam