"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rock Canyon Hike

The munchkin and I took my brother on a so-called hike up a popular nearby canyon. We managed to turn a normally 10-minute hike into an hour-and-a-half adventure, moseying along at a snail's pace, getting distracted by every sound and movement in the brush, and climbing up and down every boulder within range many, many times:

With a kid in tow, we've learned that sometimes, the hiking isn't about reaching a destination or viewpoint, it's solely about enjoying the amazing things along the way. There's an incredible feeling of accomplishment from reaching a desired destination, but on the other hand, there is a sense of awe that is fully fed from taking the time to appreciate details like bright flowers, awesome climbing rocks, or weird bugs.

Also, mom win: when we were driving home, the wee one declared, "I think I did a really really great job climbing all those rocks. I am just a climbing girl now!" Makes my heart proud to hear that.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fun Run

Our family has been doing fun runs together for the last year, and supporting one another in the longer runs for the last several years. Luckily for us, ever since we introduced Pepper to running since the wee age of 2, she has gobbled it right up and joined the ranks of runners. She's a race-running veteran already, and it makes us happy to feed her interest in the sport. Plus, I think her long legs might help her out with that a bit (after all, she did get a double dose of that gene!)

One of our local schools hosted a fun run fundraiser, which is something we are down with supporting. I made it to the race just in time to watch them cross the finish line so proudly:

Pepper ran the whole way, but when she saw the finish line up ahead, she thought it would be better to be pushed in the stroller instead, haha! Arriving in comfort, that's what our girl's all about. (The reason we take the stroller with us in the first place is to make sure she doesn't wear herself out too much. It's just funny to us to see when she prefers to use it.) Her favorite part, though, wasn't the race hype or popsicle at the end as a reward, it was meeting "that guy with the antlers on his head and the crazy red beard":

He's not the official school mascot, it's only a student's impassioned dad who likes to ham it up, but we couldn't begrudge her a character photo.

We love running together, especially after testing it out a few times to make sure the kid actually enjoys it. We already know she has a natural talent for it, but we don't want to push her into something she won't continue to love. And when we do things together as a family, she tends to love it more.

What things do you like to do with your family to encourage the development of their natural talents?

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Folded Earth

I just finished reading a beautifully written book, The Folded Earth, by Anuradha Roy:

The story is set in modern times and takes place in an rural mountain town. The gorgeous prose, the intertwining characters, and the poignant analogies all make this book a keeper, for sure. Some of my favorite themes throughout this novel were:
  • Sea people and hill people: feeling a constant yearning for a certain type of landscape
  • The way weather mirrors the characters' emotive state
  • Family: defining your own or rejecting your biological
  • The presence of nature and nature-inspired analogies that support and foreshadow plot lines
  • Modern and primitive practices coexisting in a single environment
It's such an amazing book, have you read it?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Reservoir Walk

We took ourselves on an adventure in the mountains during a magical break in the clouds. We spent some time exploring and ended up walking around the reservoir over rushing rivers, up and down slippery slopes, and through muddy puddles. We held hands while we carefully made our way over washed-out trails along precipices, but the views were totally worth it:

The most surprising part was realizing Queen Elsa's sparkly dress didn't get any mud on it considering the slickery nature of our escapade. After we made it all around the gorgeous bowl of turquoise water, we spent a fair amount of time watching the ducks and throwing rocks in the cold water. It was a great family activity, one which I'm sure we'll repeat.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Birthday Shenanigans

Our favorite mermaid/princess/dinosaur/fairy/bumblebee/superhero recently celebrated her birthday, and we wanted to make sure it was a memorable one for her, so we planned and decorated and loaded the day with surprises:

The best part is that she had no entitled expectations but had some hopeful convictions that were easy for us to execute. Surprise doughnut for breakfast? Check. Balloons? Sure thing. A party hat? Cliche, but an important detail for a 4-yr-old. Chocolate cupcakes with purple frosting and sprinkles? Getting a little specific, but still doable. Mermaid tail for the swimming pool? Fine...I guess we can do that too. (OK, OK, it was the best ever! She saw that it was purple and sparkly, and after that was determined to spend most of the day hopping around in that thing. Major parent win.) And then, in case all that wasn't enough, when she realized her birthday lasted ALL DAY LONG, she nearly burst with excitement!

She had her first party with friends (and some special visitors who totally made her day!) and then we had extended family over for the after party. We were so tired from changing the party last-minute into an indoor instead of an outdoor one, that we were both exhausted by noon. We're a bunch of party animals around here. It was fun to make her feel special and say "yes" to every request to play or dance together and give her all the attention she could ever need in one day.

She had the best birthday ever and didn't want to go to bed because she knew her day would be over. But so many people did so many kind things for her that it made her feel super important, and she's been enjoying the after-effects of the goodness ever since. It was a pleasure for us to watch her wide-eyed enjoyment of everything we hoped would go well for her special day. And, as per her request, we recreated and reenacted many moments from her birthday in the following days to continue to bring her excitement and make her feel special.

Gosh, we love that crazy kid!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Shiny Happy Flowers Everywhere

Something important to me is having fresh flowers in our home, which means we have lovely blooms planted throughout out yard to pick from all summer long:

I love the bright, happy blooms! My favorites are the roses and dahlias. It's nice to have bright colors adorning our living space, but sometimes the flower picking can get a little out of control. I have a special columbine, too, but you can't usually tell what it is because the gorgeous pink blossoms are systematically plucked and scattered or trailed artistically in random places (like our indoor staircase for some reason). Behold the recently-hacked carnage that I just discovered:

(Darn that kid! I've told her half a dozen times to knock it off!) I was hoping to inspire with an amazing shot of my favorite mountain flower, alas. But, I can say that when the flowers are shown mercy and allowed to flourish, they add a refreshing and delicate touch to our yard. Also, I want that imaginative kid of ours to continue to have permission to spend her childhood happily picking flowers and scattering them about while she sings magical songs to herself, so part of me is hoping that the plucked blooms help the plant grow bushier and healthier in the long run.

Here's hoping, right?