Weekend Wanderings.

Because Haste makes waste...
And because Hurry makes us Hurt.
Because beautiful, sunshiney days call for being outside and for explorations.
Because Friday is our Family Day, so everything else can wait...
Daddy let Jesse drive some.  I was a wee bit scared for my life.
Joking.  Not joking.
Because I'm Head Teach, so I can set up my school week however my little heart desires...
And, I choose to crunch things up into four solid work days - Monday thru Thursday - so that my Friday can be completely wide open..

That's the way we like to roll over here.
This is the schedule that best suits us.

We typically start school one or two weeks before everyone else.  We don't do Fall, February, or April breaks...so everything really evens out in the end in the long run.  We usually finish up right around the time everyone else does.  I'm no delinquent...but I am a bit of a rebel...and I strongly believe that play is the work of childhood, and that ALL of life is learning.

I think so much of school can happen in the Great Outdoors, anyway...
Piggy toes and sun through the trees.
Two of my favorite things.
Yesterday, the boys slept in their tent after a late night of nightcrawling, when they got up they mowed the lawn, I threw in a load of laundry, we packed our bags...
And then we kicked it.
For the entire livelong day.

Sun-kissed skin.
Dirty fingernails.
Wind-blown hair.
Little kids running free.
Boating.  Fishing.  Exploring.  Playing.  Running.  Climbing.  Jumping.  Fire building.
That, my friends, - for us anyway - is how to live life to the fullest.
Sweet, simple joys for my Loves and for me.
And all it cost was a little bit of gas money for my Grampy's old boat.
 Naptime did NOT happen...in the interest of keeping things real.
But, London loves being outside more than anything, so she is always her happiest even if sleep never takes place.  This would NOT be the case at home.
We are at a stage of life where the age spans are kind of wide.  Sometimes it's a little tricky finding something that everyone enjoys and where everyone is happy for at least most of the time.  The boys love fishing and explorations - but London is fearless, and I honestly can't take my eyes off of her for a second or she'll drown.  They love long hikes in the woods, but she's not a fan of the backpack and wants to do everything herself...  "I waaaaant waaaaaalk."

So, we still do all of these things, but we compromise.
Usually our adventures are never quite long enough for the boys...
...and typically they're just a little bit too long for London and I.

It gets exhausting trying to perpetually save her from death and drowning.
So, when we find something where everyone is content and happy - for the majority of our adventure - well, that's pretty much amazing, and that's classified as a "best day ever" in my Mama book.

London, being a whole year older this summer, enjoyed the boatride WAY more than she did last year.  As a newborn, she just slept the entire time.  As a not yet mobile but so very much wanting to be on the move one year old with a super restrictive lifejacket she was just plain mad most of last year.  But, for her maiden voyage this weekend, I was pleasantly surprised.  She was happy as long as she could move back and forth between the front and the back seat, and she finally accepted the fact that Mama would let her lean over the edge of the boat and stick her hands in the water just so long as I had a firm hold of her lifejacket.

I'm the red.
And Steve MacDonald...if you're reading this, I am now 9 games ahead of Kev.
Tell him he'd better start "trying" soon, or it's going to get really embarassing....
The boys fished for awhile in the boat while London roamed and ate snacks, and then we parked ourselves on a good sized island and let the kids run free.  The three Hoolie boys fished and explored, London wandered some but stayed close enough to always be able to see us.  We had a big old campfire lunch with camp coffee to boot, I creamed Kev in a game of Cribbage, and we just vegged and played for the entire afternoon.

It was blissy.
This is what I want my kids to remember about their childhood.
This is what I remember about mine.

We never had a lot of money, but we always made time to play together.  We would canoe down rivers, go tenting in old gravel pits, explore the Allagash, build bonfires as big as the camp, go four-wheeling and snowmobiling for hours with family and cousins...
Sneaking sippies.
Those are my childhood memories that I treasure.
Nothing over the top amazing.  Nothing elaborate.
But quality and quantity time as a Family all together.
Nothing beats that.
In my book anyway.

Our kids may not be involved in all of the latest programs.  They'll probably never be star athletes or concert musicians.  Sometimes my Mama guilt kicks in for not putting them into all of the awesome programs that our local school and different clubs have to offer.  There's such a great amount of quality stuff out there.

But, for us -- for right now, anyway -- I refuse to be a slave to anyone else's schedule.  I refuse to live in my van taking my kids back and forth from program to program.  And I feel like mealtime around our dinner table - together - is more important for us.

Those are my values, anyway.
Everyone has their own...and we all have to do right by our own families.
Jesse asked if he could jump out of the boat when we were close to shore...
First swim of the season!
I don't know...

We'll never get everything right, and I think no matter what we choose to do, we'll probably have regrets in some area or other.  I think the Mama guilt will never die, and the comparison trap will always be a battle.

But, this is what we've chosen for us for right now...
In this season of life - I am finding that Less is indeed More.
At least for me.

There's a quote floating around Facebook that I love:  "Going back to a simpler life is not a step backwards."  That's my heart to its depths...
There will probably come a day in the very near future where the kids will rather be other places rather than hanging out with us.  There will probably be a time and season soon where being a taxi to and from an activity that they really love and want to be involved in will be right where I find myself...and I will choose to see the Joy...and find the fun...and be the loudest cheerleader from the sidelines for that, as well...

But for right now...
For Today...
Life is simple.
And it is savored....oh, how it is savored.

Family Days...they ground me.
And I have more Joy because of them.
Sweet simplicity.

"It is the joy of the small that makes life large." ~ Ann Voskamp

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