Monday, March 16, 2015

Getting Boys Back To Nature

One of our favorite metroparks is much closer to our church than it is to our house, we often head out that way after service. This was our first visit this year and invited my friend Critter and his two boys to join us. It was still kind of chilly outside but considering Michigan weather during the change over of seasons it was a really nice day to be outside. After a short visit to the nature center we all tackled a nature trail. Silly boys, left it up to me to choose the trail, of course I picked the one that was over 2 miles (the longest trail). My boys and I showed Critter and his boys what "pooh sticks" was, as it's a tradition for us (since Jordan was 2 yrs old) during our walks. For those of you who don't know what "Pooh Sticks" is, you've probably played and may have a different name for it. Just like Pooh Bear and Tigger whenever we cross a water bridge we find a stick that we feel will be lucky. Everyone drops their sticks at the same time off the side of the bridge, then races to the other side of the bridge so see who's stick the current pushed under the bridge first.

After having 5 boys looking for sticks for our little game, they all set about finding larger sticks that could be used as walking sticks as there was still much snow and ice along the trail. I should have been prepared for the idea of snowballs were going to be flying given the combination of 5 boys and snow on the ground, but the thought hadn't crossed my mind. Surprisingly it wasn't any of the boys who threw the first snowball. All the boys had paired off and were walking nicely. Then from behind me I see Critter launch a snowball up towards the kids :) That's all it took, it was game on. There were a couple snowball fights along our way, everyone had to stop throwing snow so the could concentrate on navigating their way around all the natural obstacles along our way.

I love Michigan weather, you never know what your going to wake up to from one day to the next. While it was a toasty almost 40 degrees there was still plenty of snow for our snowball fights, there was also lots of decent sized puddles from the melted snow. What's nature without dirt and mud, we also had no shortage of squishy mud to hop over. I think we only made it less than a half mile before all 7 of us had soaking wet shoes/boots.

I was so impressed with the kids on our hike. When the number of children increase so does the potential for squabbles amongst them. The pairing of kids couldn't be more perfect. Jordan hung with Critter Jr (he's not actually a junior, but so much like his father, in my opinion) and they got to talk about teenage stuff. Little Critter is a nice mix between Joey and Jacob's personalities. The 3 younger ones are all high energy and seem to "click" well together. Which leaves just Critter and I, it's had to describe us. We are complete opposites, but yet are so much alike.

Critter kept the boys entertained during our long slushy hike by finding nature made obstacle courses for the boys to compete on. Then there was his ever present reminding the kids of the snow on the ground with a carefully thrown snowball at them. I being the only girl, managed to stay protected from all snowballs. Well, during the hike anyways :) Once we were closer to the cars, I guess they thought I was fair game (but I held my own).