Tuesday 26 August 2014

Great Adventures Gone Awry

Sometime last year I decided to start going on weekly adventures with Ebony. It was as much about forcing myself out into the cold as it was about encouraging Ebony to love the outdoors. I didn’t want her to be stuck in the offensively bright confines of a softplay centre when she could be climbing trees, searching for conkers and tumbling down grassy mounds.
I wanted to instill in her a sense of adventure, fearlessness, confidence and a love of nature. I wanted her to be one of the kids who has seen native wildlife in their natural habitat, played on greenbelt land, and made use of the wonder and enjoyment that the great outdoors has to offer. I blogged about why I wanted to go on weekly great adventures, and you can read that post here.
So, like many people with babies, we joined the National Trust, we started going for walks, and we threw ourselves into exploring our local area. Aside from the odd delayed adventure because of illness, we made it (and blogged it) to week 42 (you can read the last post here), with each post featuring photos and descriptions of our adventures. We even managed a couple of extra weeks of adventures, though I never got round to blogging about them.
Then we found out we were moving house in three weeks, so I had lots of packing to do, and had to work more to allow for a couple of weeks of easing back into it after the move so I could unpack. We moved, we unpacked, and we stopped going on adventures as I spent my weekends working. Ebony isn’t in childcare, so I work around her, writing in the evenings and when Laurie is home at weekends.
We still spent plenty of times outdoors, mostly in our new garden as we tried to tackle the rubbish left behind by the previous owners. We spent days in the paddling pool, afternoons painting in the garden, and hours pulling out weeds. We went to our local park, and plenty of other parks, but we didn’t go on any walks or adventures like we had in the past.

I didn’t have time to miss them, because I was too busy trying to fit all my work in at the weekends. Every so often, Laurie and Ebony would return home from a day out and tell me about a trip to a meadow, or a walk along the canal, and I would feel jealous, but couldn’t really see a way of making everything fit in to our already packed weekends.
Then, yesterday, we decided to spend the day as a family. This is actually quite a rare thing, unless there’s a specific thing we’re going to, because I work weekends and Laurie works weekdays. Laurie fixed the new toddler seat to his bike, and we set off up the hill to the woods. We took tubs to fill with blackberries, books to read and food to snack on.
The woods open up to reveal a private field, hidden away behind the trees. It’s not completely private, there is the odd dog walker who passes through, but mostly, it’s pretty secluded. Laurie and Ebony tried out the new bike seat, and Ebony loved it. She kept demanding to go on it again, whilst I read a bit of my book (I’m reading Submarine at the moment, it’s so good - highly recommended). Then we picked blackberries until we had enough for a crumble (we actually had way too many, so I think we’ll be eating crumble for days).

We spent a couple of hours in the field, then made our way home and spent the rest of the afternoon picking trees from the garden, baking and eating crumble. It was a lovely, wholesome day, and really made me think about how important time as a family is. So, I’m going to try and take at least half a day away from work at weekends so that we can go out as a family  and have more adventures.

How do you manage to juggle work with family life?

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