Slowly I will be sharing all of our staycation adventures because while Chris was out of town I kind of rocked it with the kids! We did SO many fun things, hung out with friends, enjoyed new adventures and explored new areas of our town. Chris comes home tomorrow, school starts Monday and while I’m ready for both of those, if we had a few more days of this break I wouldn’t be sad. I had one pretty rough day emotionally and a few hard mom moments but overall, and especially when we’ve been outside, I’ve loved my one-on-one time with the kids.

Speaking of outside I realized one major thing about myself this week. If you give me the choice I will ALWAYS choose to be outside and exploring/hiking with my kids. Inside spaces, any really, but mostly ones filled with lots of other people, give me anxiety and this is a new development the older I get. The Science Center, for example, where we went one morning with some great friends, was fun but there was a part of me just screaming to get the hell out of there. It kind of started my roughest day but then by the late afternoon when we were outside playing in a new park (photos to come soon) I was peaceful, happy and truly enjoying my time with my kids. Same day, very different space and very different reaction to my kids. When I’m at peace outside I’m a calmer person and overall better mom.

The downside to my wide-open-happy-spaces are the bugs. Which I hate. Like the tick that crawled down my arm tonight as I was eating dinner. UGH!

Anyway, I have tons of photos from the last five days and I can’t wait to document it all here!

These images are from our 3+ hour hike at Rockwoods Reservation with my parents. We had a BLAST! My mom has memories of going out there as a child and playing in big caverns. So for the first hour we walked on different trails trying to find them, asked strangers (who all had NO idea what she was talking about), drove around and finally just tried the “Quarry Trail” hoping it would turn out right. The bad part was that the trail was over 2 miles and I really didn’t think Gray could do that. But we set off and at the VERY end we found what my mom remembered… totally fenced off and not allowed anymore! HA!

Those are their grumpy faces! HA! The funniest part is that I took this photo after we walked OUT of that closed trail and climbed through the fence to get out! We saw the fenced off caves/caverns from where we were, hiked over there, saw the barbed wire, heard stories from my mom’s childhood and then hiked down the paved/closed trail. It might not be funny to anyone else but I couldn’t stop laughing!

This shot cracks me up because while my dad was showing Gray some neat snails stuck to the submerged rocks he tooted (Gray not my dad) and totally cracked himself up! HA! Such a boy!

At the start of the trail before we had to walk up some HUGE hills! Or before Gray fell and I had to CARRY him up the HUGE hills.

For the first mile or so Gray and I held up the rear, by quite a lot actually. He was just SLOW and it was ok. For once my phone wasn’t on me and I had not a care in the world but hanging with my little man and enjoying the beautiful day with him. He gathered “gum balls” (acorns), we counted, he did some math (he loves figuring out addition), we looked at ant hills and flowers and talked about what kind of animals live out there. When we finally caught up to my parents he ran ahead and said, “Mommy is a slow walker!” HA! I guess he thought he was hanging back to support ME!

When we did catch up the last mile or so was all about catching bugs. I mentioned that Parker was supposed to have been searching and catching bugs to bring to school next week so my dad started teaching the kids about what’s underneath rotten logs. I am NOT a bug person but I love that my kids are! Bailey is by far the bravest of all of us!

She even caught a salamander!

My only photo with the kids this week! I hate that I spend so much time with them and am so rarely on that end of the lens!

The one and only cavern we were able to explore. The kids thought it was pretty cool even though it was barely anything (and totally filled with junk!).

It was so great watching them search for bugs and try walking sticks and find new treasures (we found lots of old snail shells and one awesome heart shaped rock to add to our growing collection of heart shaped rocks) and hear my mom’s stories and just BE with them all. My kids and my parents. Couldn’t have picked a better way to spend the afternoon!