Get Out!

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One of my new goals for the year was to spend more time outside. I started reading Last Child in the Woods and it’s got me thinking about the nature deficit in my own life.

Thankfully, my kids get outside almost every day, weather permitting. Their mother on the other hand, has always been somewhat of a cave dweller, home body, inside-kind of person. Nature was never really my thing as a child.

But, I realize, on the days when we do get out on an adventure, that I really do love it.

It just doesn’t come naturally to me like it does to some. Like keeping my house clean and tidy, I have to work at it.

So, I endeavored to get out of the house, like in nature — Walmart doesn’t count — every day of the year. I think that will be next year‘s goal. Daily is just too much effort for this old dog.

This year, I’m amending my goal to be weekly outdoor adventures. So far in the first 13 days of the year, I’ve orchestrated three outings, in nature, without the prodding or help of my husband.

For the most part, it was just me and the younger kids, 10 and under. We built sand castles, dance-walked around the lake, saw a decapitated duck — well, the duck’s head, anyway — and explored the tides, fields, trees, and playgrounds. We marched through grassy marshes over 1 foot concrete beams, and discovered “Rivendell” nestled in our own county.

Honestly, this is huge improvement. And it was so fun. Heck, by the end of the year, maybe you’ll even see me camping or something crazy like that.

I realize that for some of you, getting outside is impeded by cold weather. For others the snow just beckons you. Are you able to get out and enjoy nature where you live?

How do YOU get out?

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  1. You know, this is one of my family’s goals this year too. My boys are outside ALL THE TIME, but I am often stuck inside, doing housework or writing or a host of other indoorsy things. We want to really start hiking and camping as a family, and I have been trying to get outside with the boys more– even if it is just to walk to the park (and I would be lying if one of our trips didn’t include me bringing a notebook and pencil so that I could work on my blog and some other freelance stuff while they played– but at least I was outside, right?)

    I grew up in a very outdoorsy family and have such fond memories of hikes we took, lakes we swam in, etc. I really want my boys to have memories of those kinds of things too– and I want to be as much a part of those memories as my mom was in mine!

  2. This is one of my goals this year as well, partly because I tend to huddle indoors during the winter cold temps. But because I have to walk to the bus stop four times a day, I’m going to put on a smiley face, take those walks (and extend one of them each morning to a longer walk) and take it until the weather warms up.

    1. We’ve had record cold temps this month now, of course, when I make an ambitious outdoor goal. Ha!

  3. I love to be outside and so does my kid. I need to make sure I take advantage of the cool weather now, because summertime here is just too hot for anything that doesn’t involve water.

  4. I also have a hard time getting out in nature. Being pregnant, right now I feel like it’s an accomplishment if I stand out on our back porch for a few minutes. 🙂

  5. It’s a high of 28 here in OP Kansas today, so last Friday when it got up to a balmy 60, you can believe we hit the park. For now, the walk home from school will have to be enough fresh air for us.

    1. I remember those weird little windows of fair weather when we lived in OP/Olathe. Enjoy them when you can!

  6. We had beautiful 70 degree weather in Georgia this weekend so we took the kids on a hike. We intended to only be gone about an hour or so but ended up hiking for 3 hours. It was a lot of fun but all of us were exhausted when we came home last night. Good think we had plenty of leftovers in the fridge to eat for dinner!

  7. Jessica,
    What a great resolution! Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    Even me – a dyed-in-the-wool outdoors person who loves camping and backpacking gets caught up indoors – a lot! It’s especially hard when you’re a mom, ironically, since sending the kids out to play gives you a breather to take care of indoor stuff.

    It takes commitment, no matter what.

    Despite the cold weather here in Northern New England, I get out regularly. Maybe it’s shoveling, hauling wood or splitting wood, taking care of the chickens or digging up carrots. For fun, we go snowshoeing, sledding, build snowforts and snowmen, ski, snowboard and iceskate. If you dress right, pack a thermos, even cold weather can’t keep you indoors. We’ve even biked in winter! And as my son can testify, the snow makes a great surface for practicing backflips and other acrobatics!

  8. I read that book a couple of years ago and found it really encouraged me to get myself and my kids out more. We live in an apartment so it’s especially difficult. We have one car… which makes it hard as well.

    So my goal for the past 6 months or so has been one day a week to get out in a park that feels like nature (the apartment playground doesn’t count—too much concrete!).

    We’ve pretty much been able to do it and I have loved it. Like you, it doesn’t come super naturally to me, but I want it to be natural for my kids so I am making the effort and have found it is so helpful for me too. (My mood and all!)

  9. I think your revised goal is probably more realistic—I mean, the likelihood that a good number of your crew will get sick or there be torrential downpours might derail your plans on most well-meaning of days. 😉 Since September, our geocaching outings have gotten us out of the house at least weekly. Before the time change, dh would come home from work, load us up and we’d head to a bike trail or local park, or even the soccer fields to find a few caches before it got too dark for these eyes to see in good detail. We’ve been out in 30F-ish weather with lower windchills this winter and had a blast! I’m actually dreading this summer because climbing through the woods in 100F+ and 80% humidity doesn’t appeal to me. We’ve already changed one of the boys sports schedules so we can get out in the early am to prevent the heat exhaustion. We are looking at trying to complete all 52 Arkansas State Park caches (you get a code in each one to find the final 53rd cache). Not sure how long it will take due to travel budget, but no one is counting those years. Anyway, it is a fun motivator to get out. Find me on FB if you want to see our album of our craziness. I guess the only thing that really keeps us in is the ice due to safety.

    1. We don’t really get torrential rains here, but I am freezing my tootsies this week.

  10. I love the outdoor, but in winter I can’t handle it. I’m so cold intolerant. It’s been in the single digits here and the snow is more like ice so it’s just not even fun. That, and I’ve got Chronic Fatigue and SADD together so even sledding doesn’t seem fun to me right now. 😛 In the spring, summer and fall I could hike every single day and never get sick of it though.

  11. Yes, we’ve lived in cooler weather for the past year. I made excuses at first, but as my pediatrician said – put on an extra layer! We went this weekend to June Lake and we were outside in single digits and teens. You don’t last as long, but it still is exhilirating. Baby girl had a blast.

  12. I made this as a goal for 2013 as well and because I can always find excuses for not doing something good for me, I guaranteed that I would have to get out by adopting a rescue dog. Shelby and I walk 3 times a day. Two longer walks in the morning and after supper and a shorter one in the afternoon. I feel much better for the walks and we are both much happier with the exercise. I need to bundle up as it is cold here but she loves the winter weather as she lived solely outside in her former life and I am adjusting to the walks and she is adjusting to the down time in the house. A win win situation.

  13. I have a mixed relationship with the outdoors. I’ve always liked nature and wanted to be “outdoorsy” — but I’m also kind of a wimp and like the inside, too. 🙂 We have been getting more active these past few weeks — sledding (before the snow melted), then ice skating this weekend. (High temperature was 8 degrees. But there was no wind, so we just bundled up, and were warm from the exercise.) I’m finding combining outdoor activities with getting together with friends helps.

  14. Our family spends a ton of time outside doing everything you can imagine. It is so much easier now that the kids are older and able to walk and backpack their own lunches and water! We live up in New England and enjoy both the snow sports and the summer sports. We try to focus on lifelong sports, like mountain/trail biking, xc skiing, camping, hiking, etc. I do agree, that any time outside in nature is better than nothing. And I also agree that Walmart doesn’t count! Best of luck to you and your family in getting outside!

  15. Hallo all – well I have just discovered your website and love it (thank you for the link “Moneysavingmom”). I am so much on board with what all you ladies say, although some of the prices you quote for groceries just make me drool! I live in the French alps (and work just across the border in Geneva, Switzerland – hence my name) and it is SO expensive here because of the strength of the Swiss franc. Anyway, I digress, I got divorced a year ago (YIPEE), my oldest is 25 and my youngest, who still lives at home, is 20 and pretty much off my hands SO THERE ARE NO EXCUSES not to get out and about into those beautiful mountains right on my doorstep. I actually joined the local Swiss and French Alpine Clubs too this year, although I do worry about as the aficionados are SO fit and usually double my age! Still, if I don’t get out and about and take advantage of the beautiful scenery round here I deserve to have all my teeth out without an anaesthetic, don’t you think. Keep up the good work ladies, and best wishes from snowy Europe!