Unrealistic Expectations

We started school yesterday. We did kind of a ‘soft launch,’ leaving the rigors of a full class load until we get a little closer to Labor Day. Beginning now with ‘school lite’ lets us get a start in on our math lessons which are much less flexible than our other subjects and it also let’s us get going with some historical biographies we’re working on as preparation for a couple scheduled field trips in September. In any case, we are on the road.

Much like any school in any location the world over, we started by going over expectations. For us, this began with our start time. With our kids at the ages they’re at, it’s much easier if we get everyone on roughly the same schedule. With one child who is an early riser and one who is much slower to get going (she likes to stay up late reading), I explained that school would start at 8am. Before the panic could really take hold of my sleepyhead who thought that timing seemed wildly unrealistic, we made a list of all the things that they needed to do to be ready for school — getting dressed, making beds, eating breakfast, etc. Then we agreed on a time for lights out at night to make sure our girl was ready when morning rolled around.

The other big first day topic was problem solving. Both kids started with almost the identical discussion on the topic in their math texts, so we put it up on our white board (which we got for a steal at a local office supply store).

IMG_0415(Don’t mind the giant pile of books — that’s just the tip of the iceberg of my life of learning and correcting for the next 9months or so)

I loved this little lesson as it really broke down how we solve problems — not just math problems, but all problems in life. Accompanied by good questions to ask while you’re in each step of the process, I am hoping to make some copies of these lists and put them in the front see-through pocket of their math binders to refer back to throughout the year. I also fully intend to make a copy for myself. So elegant in its simplicity, it reminds me that all the ‘insurmountable’ problems I face can be broken down into manageable components.

In fact, I realized that I apply the same approach to my knitting. I’ve written about it before in a slightly different light because by far the most common question I hear is, ‘How do you get so much done?’ In truth, I spend a lot of time knitting. Plain and simple. And because I spend a lot of time knitting, I’m probably pretty quick. I love the craft, too, and that certainly doesn’t hurt. This in itself does not create FOs, though. To really get across the finish line there has to be a plan otherwise I’d most likely just keep starting projects instead of ever finishing them. I have to understand the goal or time frame in which I’d like to finish, formulate a plan, and execute the plan. Just like my elementary aged kiddos are learning in their math lessons!

Sometimes – or more accurately ‘usually’ – that plan is pretty fast and loose for me, but with my latest project I’ve taken a slightly more regimented approach. With school starting and a pair of socks for the  August Summer Sock KAL that aren’t going to knit themselves, I found the need for a more structured, goal-oriented schedule to push myself a little on my current lace shawl. With that in mind, I’ve been sketching out daily goals for the 16 repeats of the main section.

IMG_0416As you can see, my planner lacks a whole lot of organization and detail. Since I’d been expecting to have a couple more weeks before we started school, I’m not quite situated on that front yet, but I’ll get there before too long. After all, for me this year is all about having better monthly plans.  In any case, at the bottom of each day of this week you’ll see ‘100D: 11-12’ or ‘100D: 14’ — those are my project goals for the day. Yesterday I slated myself to finish up repeats 11 & 12, today 12-13. I lost one day to heat & bathroom repairs, hence the original pink goals that have been crossed out. I’ve been missing by a couple rows each night as I battle some unfortunate sinus issues that have been knocking me out early and the very unpleasant reality that working with lace weight navy yarn after sundown is not as easy as it used to be, but I’ve been keeping it close.

Of course, with each repeat the shawl grows bigger…

IMG_0315The repeats above took much less time than those below.

IMG_0394If I had more sense, I’d adjust the plan accordingly, but I’m trying to push on — taking breaks with my August socks from time to time for sanity and good measure.

IMG_0413And every day I tick off at least one and a half repeats.

Although I’ll be knitting like the wind to hit that Friday finish date for this project, I’m not all that confident that it’s likely. I think by the end of the weekend is more realistic. Sometimes though, getting things finished in a timely manner is all about sticking to a plan that seems a little unrealistic. Implementing pre-planning and sheer determination is probably the most effective method for finishing any project — in knitting or in everyday life. When all is said and done, whether a goal is unrealistic or not is often (but not always) just a function of perspective, attitude, and execution. If my daughter can wake up and be ready to go on day two of school 30minutes ahead of time as is the case right now, I can probably finish this shawl by Friday. With this challenge on my mind, there is only one thing left to do: Get knitting!

Don’t Mind Me, I was on Safari

As a family, we are often on-the-go, but it’s not the average on-the-go stuff. We hike and climb and camp and swim. On vacations we are much more likely to stay in a tent or rustic cabin than a hotel, but we do try to mix it up now and then so the kids get to have a wide variety of experiences. It just so happened that earlier this week my husband had a conference for work at a nearby-ish resort, the Kalahari, and the kids and I were able to tag along on this little safari and stay with him. He had to attend meetings and dinners throughout our stay, but the kids & I got to have the resort vacation of their dreams.

The first evening, my daughter sat transfixed by the gas fireplace that appeared at the turn of a dial…

In case you didn’t recall, late last fall the kids had a few lessons on how to safely build a campfire, so this was quite a novelty.

Now while we’re lucky in that our local YMCA recently built a new building which includes a family pool with a water slide and a ‘lazy river’, those exciting things pale in comparison to this place’s all-out waterpark. The kids were totally floored.

IMG_8482It was really nice that we were there not on a weekend at a not too busy time of year as there weren’t too many people and lines for the water slides weren’t long. The kids & I spent the whole day at the waterpark — them playing, me trying not to lose one of them in the expanse of watery fun. Breaking only for a very late lunch which included a free cookie frosting event…

IMG_8490In which my daughter used roughly 2lbs of frosting before I could move her along. After letting their food settle, they were back at the waterpark until they could barely see straight and it was time to meet up with my hubby after his dinner meeting.

On day two, I took them the two of them to the indoor themepark (because when in the Kalahari, you do the whole Kalahari I think). They’ve been to arcades and things, but never anything like this. Mini-golf, go carts, a ferris wheel, and –their favorite…

IMG_8506The climbing wall. I think they spent at least 3hours on that thing (again, thanks to no lines).

There was the ropes course…

IMG_8499Which got very high and terrified both of them. They ended up turning around on their first attempt, but eventually made it through as a grand finale of their stay with the help of Mr Knitting Sarah…

Who also happens to be an eternal ham even in all his business casual glory.

You’d think I might have made more knitting progress with all the child watching, but since it was their first time there and my daughter just happens to be right at the ‘just too big’ for the little kid stuff and ‘barely big enough’ for the big kid stuff, I was keeping a pretty close eye on her. And I’ll admit that being in such a loud, busy environment is exhausting when you’re used to a very quiet life. I definitely hit the hay almost as soon as the kids did in the evening. Even still, I managed to get a bit of knitting done…


Adding a couple scallops onto my Artesian shawl. And then on our first full day back, since Mr Knitting Sarah actually had a day off and as the kiddos were still super worn out we chose to just relax at home and I made some real progress…

IMG_8542In what will be my 5th and final scallop (plus there’s a chart 2 to finish the shawl out), I’m currently trying not to acknowledge that I may be in for an epic game of yarn chicken. I’ll worry about that another day though — now that we’ve all unwound from this epic safari, it’s time to unpack (and maybe finish up this shawl…).

Exactly As It Should Be

I’ve always felt a strong connection to and curiosity for the natural world. That probably does not come as a surprise based on the little adventures with my family that I share here. Perhaps it’s the coming to the end of the long winter or maybe it’s just been the act of getting out everyday to walk the dog, but it’s felt as though my eyes have been opened to the fact that that connection had been weakened. It’s always been a kind of spiritual thing for me. To go out into the world — to have the luxury to just listen, to see the minutia that make up this big beautiful place, to feel the cold wind bite my nose or the rough tree bark under my fingertips or the sun on my shoulders — it builds something important in my soul, something that needs to be there.

We’ve always taken our kids out with us and that really changes the experience. There are moments like this…

IMG_8275… that are absolutely priceless. This photo of my babies sits on my nightstand because I simply want to remember that moment, everyday, forever. Introducing children to the outdoors, there is so much time spent re-learning… well, so much. And there is little to compare what it’s like to see the wonder in your child’s eye as they catch frogs or see a racoon hidden up in a nest. There are the hilarious moments — usually involving water — when one child cartwheels out of a canoe (in a life vest, going very slowly) or the other falls into a river and gets her shoe stuck in the muddy river bottom. But the outdoors with kids, it’s also at times challenging. Someone is always tired or cold or hot or hungry. Someone is always talking. It can be very hard to nurse your own personal connection to the world and there are times when it taxes one’s patience. Through the years though we persevered though because we knew it was important to foster our children’s own connection with the natural world.

And then the craziest thing happened. The kids grew up and they love being outdoors. They understand good trail etiquette. They stick together and can run ahead, giving us moments of quiet clarity. They understand that sometimes when we shush them it’s to listen in order to find a bird up in the treetops and they are even interested in looking themselves. They investigate and play with us, but also love time to explore independently. They still need our help and guidance, we still watch them carefully, but we also trust them to understand their limits (to an extent at least, our daughter is still a bit of a daredevil). To see my son on the trail is to see him come alive – confident and strong and adventurous. This is the balance we’ve been waiting for all these years.

Yesterday was a day in which this balance changed the very color of the day. We went back to a family favorite, Parfrey’s Glen, a pretty spectacular gorge in the Baraboo Hills. It is a rocky hike in the summer along a creek complete with little rapids and in the winter, it is a rocky hike with a fair bit of ice that can be quite slick. But unlike the summer, in the winter you run into maybe one or two other groups of hikers there. We pretty much had this little gem to ourselves.

fernAnd we had the time to notice the little things.

photo by Mr Knitting Sarah

And the kids were great as they stuck together and worked as a team and they had a blast. The air was crisp and just hearing the rushing water beneath the ice was a much appreciated sign of spring — as well as a good opportunity to talk to the kids about ice safety. There’s always a lesson to be learned, isn’t there? And we enjoyed one of the nicest hikes we’ve had as a family. Moving fluidly, spending time with each other together and each individually and even…

little pink… a little time alone.

I have to say, there just aren’t any people on Earth that warm my heart and make me laugh like these three people. It seems that there is little question that the connection to the natural world is intertwined with my connection to them and I think that’s exactly as it should be.

After our little hike we cruised on down to Prairie du Sac to see if we could see some eagles. They usually congregate in numbers just below the dam on the Wisconsin River there. We had a picnic my husband had packed (picnics are my favorite) and afterward the dog went for a swim.

IMG_8272As you can see, the river is pretty open so there were only a couple eagles to be seen. Still a nice spot to stop and have lunch. And it certainly made the dog happy which is only fair since he had to wait dutifully in the car while we hiked as he is not allowed on the trail at Parfrey’s Glen. We bring him along on these trips even if he can’t hike because he seems to prefer riding in the car with us to staying home alone in his kennel. I can’t blame him one bit.

From here, we had a bit of an impulse stop…

wollersheim… at the always beautiful Wollersheim Winery.

IMG_8263We stop maybe every other year on our eagle watching day. I actually don’t think I’ve ever visited this winery not in the winter, but there’s still plenty to see and enjoy.

Usually we pick up a bottle or two and maybe do a quick complimentary tasting. This time, however, my husband convinced me to taste a flight….

red flightI’m definitely not a wine aficionado — like my music, I just like what I like. And I’m actually not much of a drinker at all, but I do like a nice dry red wine once and a while. I had stopped this time with the Beaujolais in mind. It’s a wine that I really like, but don’t always find readily. And the red list had 2 or 3 I hadn’t tried before, so I couldn’t argue with my husband over the tasting.

IMG_8264And the kids enjoyed studying the intricacies of their sparkling grape juice, too. We may or may not have taken a case home. Really, I had to — if you purchased a case you got a “free” bottle of port and my husband loves port. So really, I did it for him.

We listened to more of The Great Brain on the ride home — all quiet and tuckered from a long day. And I knit some more on my Saugerties Shawl.

IMG_8212-1Pardon me re-sharing the same photo from a couple days ago, but I just love this photo — I think it’s just very peaceful and it does capture my mood on the way home. Plus, I didn’t snap one yesterday on the drive back (whoops). I can share that I’ve got about 20″ left to go before beginning the colorwork on the other sleeve though and I’m already more than a little antsy to get there. If I’ve learned anything in this little life though, it’s that a little patience in the moment can go a long way in finding joy, it can even help to see it in the slow or trying moments. And, you know, that’s exactly as it should be.

Birthday or No Birthday

My birthday has always been a weird thing for me. Falling between Christmas and New Year’s, it’s a time when everyone is always very busy. As a kid, it always felt rough because it was easily overlooked. As I’ve gotten older and I’ve grown to understand my introverted ways, I find it somewhat of a blessing. Aging under the radar isn’t the worst thing, after all. The last few years I’ve asked to just not celebrate or to make it a quiet homebody kind of day. Each year though, my husband insists that we make it a special day “because it’s important to the kids,” so I reluctantly agree.

This year, I awoke to my son whispering loudly to my husband, “DON’T LET MOM COME IN THE KITCHEN!” To which my husband (jokingly) whispered super loudly, “OK!” He brought me a cup of coffee and I read for a bit while I sipped. About 15minutes later my son bounded in and handed me this…

 IMG_7565On the front is a Queztalcoatlus because he knows it’s my favorite dinosaur. This boy is the sweetest ever.

It so happened that my husband had a very brief work obligation in the Green Bay area, so we agreed to make a day of it there. The kids and I went to a big bookstore while my husband did his thing. I have definitely not been reading as many books the last few years, sticking mostly to shorter articles and blogs. I have really struggled to find things that grab & hold my attention. My husband very adeptly found this title for me for Christmas…

IMG_7576It’s completely up my alley — bizarre & random hypothetical situations answered seriously with real science. Awesome.

Add my birthday selection…

IMG_7577And I feel as though I can start off 2015 with my nose back in a book. I’m really not usually a huge reader of philosophical titles — I took one class in college and did not fair all that well, but this one hooked me so I’m excited to give it a try.

From the bookstore, we met my mom and went for a nice long hike in the sunny 16ºF air through the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. I should probably share that I’d have photos of the sanctuary and restaurant to follow for you, but the cold killed my phone about 20minutes into our hike and it took a  long time to charge back up. So we’ll have to do with words today. In any case, we all love seeing the animals at the sanctuary — there are foxes, bobcats, wolves, ravens, coyotes, deer, and lots of birds. They actually do a lot of rescue & rehab work at the sanctuary, so it’s a great place for the kids to experience. As usual my husband got the wolf pack to howl for us which is incredible every single time. To be within 20feet of a howling wolf pack is just spectacular and humbling. My husband explained very seriously that they were singing Happy Birthday to me. Of course, our daughter kept trying to howl along, but she’s a mini-person with a high pitched voice, so the wolf pack isn’t a great fit. My husband encouraged her to try her howling with the coyote. He readily joined in, much to all of our delight.

With our toes and finger and noses chilled to the bone, we headed to a special lunch at the Titletown Brewing Company where I enjoyed some of their handcrafted beer (I’m not much of a beer drinker, but when in Rome…) which was delicious along side my pan-seared salmon. The restaurant is actually in an old train station, so it has a very authentic old-school feel to it. To the delight of the kids, a train even passed right by us during our meal. Needless to say, it was a hit all around.

Thankfully, I do have something else to show you as my phone finally had enough time to charge…

IMG_7569On the way home, we had just enough time to make a quick stop at a new-to-me LYS. Yarns By Design is about an hour from my house, but the stars just hadn’t aligned to let me visit previously. I pop in their booth every year at the WI Sheep & Wool Festival and am always delighted to see their offerings and chat about their latest additions. It’s one of those perfect little shops with creaky floors, passionate & friendly staff, and lots of options from which to choose. I especially love that they have a good selection of really nice spinning fiber including some of those same breed specific wools from Louet that I spun last summer as well as the beautiful colors of Sweet Georgia Yarns. Showing heroic restraint in the presence of so many good choices, I only brought this beauty home with me…

IMG_7579Polwarth + Tussah silk in the Stormchaser colorway. Wonderfully “me” and a perfect birthday surprise.

We finished the day with a little key lime pie with cherry topping. I didn’t know, but you haven’t really lived until you’ve tried key lime pie with cherry topping. Yum.

Where I would have been happy to let this birthday pass by, I’m so glad that I didn’t. I’m thankful that I got to hear the howling wolves. That I got to see my little girl sing with a coyote. That I tried that handcrafted honey ale with my pan-seared salmon. That I got to stop at a new-to-me  lys. Most of all though, I’m so thankful for yet another spectacular day with my wonderful little family. I was reminded that celebrating these days is important. It’s not just because it’s a big deal to the kids. Birthday or no birthday, it’s because all our days are worth celebrating. Birthdays are just an excuse to be ever so slightly more indulgent.

And All the Craziness In Between

While WordPress dutifully posted my writing over the last week or so, I actually haven’t turned my computer on for almost two whole weeks. Sure, I used my smart phone, but I use it mostly for reading and posting to Instgram regularly — I really love that little app — but that’s about it. Suffice to say, it’s been busy here as I’m sure it’s been where all of you are, too, and it’s kept me from tending my little corner of the interwebs here. This morning though, in between math lessons and over my lunch break, I’ve managed to not only catch up on my blog comments, but also on the Socks with Sarah Discussion Thread on Ravelry as well as a couple long overdue email replies. I feel like I’m back in the saddle, refreshed and ready to go here.

I thought today I’d share a brief little overview of what I’ve been up to. It’s true that I don’t have photos of the less glamorous goings-on — like dentist appointments and my husband being very under the weather with the flu and having to jump start the car — but I did snap some photos of the more picturesque moments. And you know me, I love to tell a story with good pictures (it’s the art historian in me, I can’t help it).

On a sort of semi-last minute decision, we spent Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. It was snowy and quite cold. After a yummy meal, we walked around the property in the snow…

tractorAnd froze a bit in the icy winds off Lake Michigan…

lakeiceBut it was nice to come back to a snug fire, family time, and knitting.

fireOne word: Cozy.

The day before Thanksgiving, we discovered that where my husband expected only a couple days off, he was able to take the whole week after the holiday, so at o’dark hundred Sunday night/Monday morning we packed up the car and headed to my husband’s parents’ home in Southwestern Missouri for a little pre-Christmas celebration/visit. We usually don’t get to see them this time of year, so it was a special treat.

On the way there, I worked on my DesertVistaDyeworks Oh Clark! socks and finished one up just as we pulled into their town…

christmassockI seriously love these babies.

While there we visited with my husband’s parents, watched Christmas movies, had many many laughs, got to have dinner with his brother, and somehow I ended up taking photos of their cats. I’m really not a cat person. My husband is very allergic so mostly what I think of when I see them is his asthma going bananas, but apparently I can still photograph them all right…

cat1This one did not like me a whole lot, but I think she mostly was just annoyed that we had invaded her house with two children and a giant dog.

cat2This one was pretty friendly — he mostly liked everyone, including the two kids and giant dog. And clearly had no trouble sleeping through me getting all up in his grill for this photograph.

While in Missouri, we also visited a local quarry for some fossil hunting…

fossilIt was pretty amazing. And excellent little homeschool field trip site, indeed.

On the final night of our visit, I finished up the second Oh Clark! sock…

christmassock2While we watched The Christmas Story together. I reserved the afterthought heels for when we were home (actually I started them this morning).

During our visit my mother-in-law very sweetly asked if I’d be willing to make her a pair of socks and, of course, I’d come prepared just in case this happened.

newsocksSo in the car on the way home I cast-on this pair for her in String Theory Colorworks Orbit in the Solanum colorway. She loves greens and I thought these would be fun for her, plus I just love knitting with String Theory Colorworks’ sport-weight Orbit base. It is such a great yarn!

Along the way home, we took a teeny tiny detour through the Amana Colonies. For all the times I’ve driven through Iowa and past them, I’ve never stopped. It was a rather foggy day and those little old towns looked haunted like no place I’ve ever been. My husband and I agreed we’d love to live in a little spot like that — those big rolling hills, those little old towns, that whisper of what once was — it’s just gorgeous. In any case, we made a brief stop at the woolen mill to get a wool blanket for my husband…

amanaIt was pretty amazing to see the mill & all the beautiful woven blankets. In the end, my husband didn’t find anything he couldn’t live without (he has quite a stockpile of wool blankets already), but we did find something for a special family friend.

Upon arriving home, for some unknown reason I became compelled to clean ALL THE THINGS. It started with the mountain of laundry — everything anywhere near the cats gets a thorough washing when we get home to try to stave off further asthmatic issues. Then the bathroom got a thorough scrubbing… and the refrigerator needed to be cleaned out… and while I was at it I scrubbed that and the freezer… and then I discovered our chest freezer needed to be defrosted… and the kitchen counters… and the cast-iron skillet needed to be restored…

castironIt was about right here that I realized I was going a bit overboard for having just arrived home and that I had a yarn to spin for a holiday gift… so I got going on that.

I had hunted and hunted and hunted for the perfect skein of green for one of my knitting friends and I just could not for the life of me find it. And then I remembered the braid of Cloudlover merino/sw merino/silk in the Ponderosa colorway I had in my stash and before we left I pulled it out so I could start it when we got home.

ponderosaIt turned out a much richer green than I expected which was wonderful. I started this Saturday and spun like the wind so I could ply it and get it washed by Sunday night. I had a knitting date for Wednesday and just in case I didn’t see my friend until after the holiday I wanted to be sure I got it to her. I will share the finished project in the coming days, but suffice to say it is delivered and already being knit — wow!

So along with all these other things going on as well as getting my kids back on the straight and narrow path of school, my husband has been quite under the weather. I’ve had on and off sinus headaches, but nothing terrible — thank goodness. True to form, I’ve been sleeping a whole lot and getting lots of fluids to try to avoid the brunt of whatever my hubby has. Yesterday, however, to get us all out of the house we took our first real family excursion to find Snowy Owls. It tends to take a fair bit of driving around, so it is a pretty low-key thing to do, but effectively gives us a change of scenery which is very nice when you’ve all been a bit couped up.

As you probably know, we look for Snowy Owls every year and it just never gets old. I swear every time we find one, it’s as exciting as the first time for me. Now I am the first to admit that I may be the world’s worst Snowy Owl spotter. I mean it. I’m absolutely awful. If not for my husband, I’d probably never see one even if it was directly in front of me. So, as a little joke, my husband has taken to finding them and then stopping the car and nonchalantly scanning with his binoculars just to see how long it will take to find them. Well, yesterday, he had to finally pull my attention from the pretty rough-legged hawks to point out not one, but two amazing Snowy Owls in our field of view. One beautiful nearly pure white one and one with the signature black stripes of the immature or female.

We got this very blurry photo that my husband took with the phone camera through his binoculars…

snowyThis photo isn’t anything fabulous, but I must say that just before finding this perch, I watched this bird finish a meal and then fly a couple hundred yards. If you have never seen a Snowy Owl in flight, let me just tell you it is absolutely awesome. I don’t know that there’s much in nature that takes my breath away quite like a snowy owl in flight. It’s something about the icy cold in which you view them, the pristine white of their plummage on the wintry landscape, and that incredible, almost other-wordly owl face that just slays me. And to see not one, but two owls so close to each other was truly special for me.

This morning, I woke early to wrap-up the socks for my mother-in-law…

ggfinishedThey are all done and washed and once they are dry I’ll pop them in the mail, hopefully still in time for the holiday.

And I started the heels on those Oh Clark! socks as well, but I’ve been waylaid by those usual suspects — laundry, dishes, school lessons and correcting, and catching up here in my little corner of the internet. It sounds and looks like so much when I write it down here and it is indeed a very full life, but after the last couple weeks ‘away from my desk’, I feel so very refreshed. Ready to face each day, ready to tackle the hustle and bustle of the season, and ready and greedy for those little amazing moments — like haunted towns, ancient fossils, two owls in one field of view, hearty laughs with my family, and all the craziness in between.


As you know, this week started off a little rocky & emotional for me, but it has shaped up to be down right A-OK despite that fact that we suffered Daylight Savings over the weekend. This biannual event never really effected me until I had kids. Personally, when I was on my own I would make sure I set the clocks accordingly and I might be a little sleepy the day after, but with kids it is a complete crapshoot. We’ve had Daylight Savings experiences that were completely disasters for days and those that went barely noticed. And we’ve had those times, like this week, where it starts out ok — we set the clocks back before going to bed Saturday and we all managed to carry on Sunday and Monday relatively normally. Well, physically we were normal, but my son was so disturbed by this arcane rule that he kept randomly bringing it up, “Ahhh! Don’t the lawmakers understand how awful this is! Don’t they get that no one likes this?!  What were they thinking when they created this?!” My boy isn’t fond of change.

Anyhoo, rants aside we were ok until Tuesday. Then the whole house was up at 4am.

Working at making lemonade with the Daylight Savings time lemons, my husband and I started scheming about taking the kids on a night hike. After all, being out after dark is pretty much the biggest bonus of the time change.

IMG_6985We started out just before dusk, as the moon was just lighting up and night was just beginning to rise.

IMG_6987Of course, the camera stopped wanting to focus pretty quickly…

IMG_6989But you get the idea. It was dark. The moon was bright…

But not quite as bright as these smiles. We haven’t done a ton of night hiking, so this was a pretty big deal to these little adventurers. They were kind of freaked out at first, but the familiar sounds of the surrounding birds were comforting.

We had hopes of seeing a some coyote or perhaps some deer, but no mammals made themselves known. We did hear a pair of Great-Horned Owls calling and the hoards of Sandhill Cranes bellowing the sun to sleep. We got to use our ears to hear the difference between geese and ducks flying overhead. And we even got to hear a mystery bird fly over — the size of a bittern, but making a heron-like call. We’ll never know for sure.

I was bundled accordingly…

And managed to lose the tip of my walking stick in some muck — thank goodness they’re replaceable!

The night was quite chilly, but extraordinarily beautiful. We made it back to the car just as the very last bits of sunshine faded.

IMG_6991What a wonderful little mini-adventure on a magical night.  Sometimes those lemons, and their lemonade, just hit the spot.

Many thanks to my hubby for the family pics!