Today when I went outside, I was struck with the lovely surprise that it was quite cool outside--low 60's if that. I love fall so much, if any of you dont know that, and I wanted to go to a nature center. Now, remembering that my outings have been few so far since the birth of the new baby, and the few we have taken have been really hard for me physically and lots of days afterwards, I was hesitant, but we NEED to do "normal" things so badly, our family is so fractured right now, at least it feels like it to my twisted and demented by hormones-brain, that the idea of us just doing something gentle and lovely sounded too good to pass up.
We skipped the close-by nature center because it doesnt allow strollers inside and the kids freak out in the gift shop and i end up looking cheap, mean, and like i have bad children--here I wanted them to hear the goldfinches and to look for signs of autumn and they are screaming in tears over some turtle eraser. Forget it. Plus I get convinced that I need chickadee earrings and then well it all turns into this bad shopping dilemma thingie
So we went to a little farther one. We did not pack a big magical lunch and so I was worried, for myself mostly, I get INSANE if when I am stranded out in the woods and low blood sugar strikes. So we had those peanut butter and cheese cracker things and waters.
Everyone was good! Kind! Cheerful! Like the "old days", whenever those ended and the Bad Times began....Greta was her old self, leading the boys immediately in little mini-quests for special leaves and playing some kind of elaborate game involving the trail map that they grabbed-- I didnt think we would need it but thank goodness-- the Bluebird Trail and the BlackBird Loop got really convoluted and the map was very helpful! I hate when the lovely nature hike turns into some panicky "we are NOT lost!?!?!" thing....been there too many times.
Mickey was so happy to have Greta out of her pre-teen mopey-doldrums (I am guessing) that he came to life, jumping and bopping around, so happy to be just playing and chatting. They were both nice to Casey which is a major major sad and difficult issue in our lives right now, so HE was just a happy little dolly, and Charlie, well mister Charlie was no longer a baby-in-the-stroller, he was just exploring and looking at everything---he wanted to squat down and inspect every little leaf, every fallen trunk, and although I was worried about poison ivy, I truly didnt see any, so we did some off-trail stuff, too.
Eska is kind of young for the big-time jogging stroller, but alas, my weary and weak post-surgical body cannot hold her in any kind of sling or carrier for more than about 30 seconds, so I pad the stroller with lots of puffy silky soft blankets and she slept and slept on the jouncy trails! She didnt cry until about halfway through the journey, so we all sat on some thoughtfully placed benches and nursed her up--not a single mosquito bit me, and the other kids didnt try to run away or do anything crappy, they just sat with me and ate crackers and joked about seeing owls and bears and stuff. did I mention NOBODY was a brat? I dont think I raised my voice once---this is just so new, it has been MONTHS of "who are these horrific children and lord please send me a nice babysitter so I can go work in an anonymous quiet office somewhere and not have to deal with them!!!!"
We almost got lost, and I almost got a little freaked out, because after nursey-time, Eska didnt really want to go back in the stroller, and the trail got STEEP, and the kids wanted to go back and re-run again again on the steep parts and it was sort of borderline not-so-cool-out anymore, and my crackers had long worn off....but then we saw the building, and we went in, rested, used the bathrooms, the glorious drinking fountain, and played with all the dear little things that nature centers seem to have, blocks that look like logs, sand, bones, fur, and enjoyed looking at the little toad and snake and turtle, too. More nursing, and Eska was about done with this whole trip. So we left. Charlie cried and didnt want to leave, but it didnt turn into a fiasco, I just popped him into his side of the double stroller and said It Is Time To Go Home and we did.
Here are some pictures of our little outing. I am tired but in a good way. We havent done anything like this, this normal little impromptu outing, in almost a year! Sad! Seems like I went last September from nauseous, then nauseous and working, then holidays nauseous and working, then EXTREME illness in january and february, then March was decent, then the pelvis fell apart, then....it is late August and yeah, its been about a year since Mama just said "hey guys lets go to the nature center!".