There are many reasons why I love when my parents come down from Oregon. One of the best though is that we often use their visit as an excuse to check out places that we haven’t previously been. It can be a newly opened little store, a restaurant we have read about, a landmark we have yet to see, a park or hike we heard was good. Exploring new areas close to home, especially when outside, always fills me with appreciation for this beautiful place that we live. On this particular adventure (and I use the term loosely to mean basically taking our children out into the world), we went to Baylands Park at the southern most tip of the bay and walked along a wide, meander flat path through the wetlands.
While we may love to hike, it can be harder for our kids to see the point. One successful way that we have found to engage them is by bringing a camera to take pictures of what they find interesting. We have a couple of cameras designed for kids (read, drop and throw proof), as well as an old dslr that doesn’t always work how you want. For a kids’ purpose though, it is perfect.
Of course on this little adventure, we only remembered one camera, so the kids had to take turns. Sometimes that works, other times it causes fights and arguments. Generally, we try to have enough to limit causes for disagreements, but you can’t be on top of everything all the time as a parent…or let’s be honest, rarely are you on top of everything. And they fight over rocks and grass stalks, so avoiding arguments entirely is a lost cause. This trip was no exception. The person with the camera loved it. The person’s whose turn was next was happy with anticipation. The person who had just given up the camera was bitter. But one bitter, miserable person is better than three, so overall, still a win.
Our little hike started out well. We had plenty to look at and explore. Interesting plants in various states of life cycles and funny, fat little mammals that would rustle in the bushes and then dash across the trail, getting under cover before you could get a good look, so who knows what they were, but we had fun trying to guess. And the birds! Lots of seagulls (What do you call a gull that flies over the bay? A bagel!), a few herons, and, since that is it for my knowledge of bird species, other flying varieties. So I guess basically, we like to look at nature but identifying things in nature is not our strong suit.
Our youngest two are the best of friends and have each other in stitches much of the time. When they aren’t laughing and being loud and goofy, they are bickering and mad at each other. This outing was no different. At the beginning, they were more interested in entertaining each other than really having a look around. And when that wore off, they decided they weren’t friends and wanted to walk separately. So our party became a long, drawn out train. The littlest legs pulled up the rear. Which was fine. There were enough grown-ups to go around.
Everything was generally good until it wasn’t. And that usually coincides with getting hungry. We hadn’t actually gone out too far, so it was easy to turn around and get back relatively quickly. We might have had a few altercations between the hungriest of us, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a big hug and lots of kisses. And then we were back at the car and food and everybody was all smiles and friends again. (For five minutes.)
Hope you are finding adventure and entertainment, however large or small, wherever you are!