Running, Jumping, Exploring, Loving
How Does Your Garden Change?
This past week, my kids needed to let their brains relax for a bit after a hard two weeks emotionally. I noticed from someone's post that tulips were in full bloom at the Penn State University's Arboretum and decided the boys would love to explore that space a bit. I also thought that it might be neat to bring them there at different stages this spring, summer, and fall so that they can appreciate how it changes and the new adventures that seem to pop up as a child explores a garden. So, this short blog post is about our adventure!
First Portrait Attempt:
I really let the kids explore for awhile before I pulled out the camera. I don't like to inundate them with requests to stop for a photograph. They were nearly running through everything too - far too fast to get slice-of-life moments! From nearly the moment we had our seat-belts unbuckled and our feet on the ground, we were following paths, watching water fountains (with warnings to stay back a bit!), and climbing rocks. In this instance, I asked them to pause for a photo and in the same instant saw the wiggling from my four-year old and noticed that the photo would have to come at a later time, because we already had to find a restroom. Can you just hear me saying "I told you to go before we left the house!" now?
After we found a restroom and found our way back to the Childhood's Gate, the boys had some time to explore. You'll notice that in exactly every single photo, my four year old son can't bear to look at me for one second. He is absolutely so excited about all that there is too see and do here. He is constantly looking for the next thing to do. So, though I recommend this lovely place for evening backgrounds of lovely green tones and fading sun in your portraits, I don't quite recommend it for busy children like mine who would totally never look at the camera! :)
They just loved these tiny toadstool tables and seats. First, my wild one thought they were for him to hop from one to the next. A quick few horrified glances might have been exchanged between other parents before I got him down!
Bursting forth in all directions, new growth welcomes us everywhere here.
A chance to ride an American Bison? Yes, please!
Coming to Life:
Even though my boys were busy exploring the park, there were moments (granted - only a few!) where I got to look around and relax too. Our brains really benefit from fresh air, walking, being in a natural space. The boys needed to climb, play, explore - and I needed to think. I felt like we were all able to be refreshed as we each needed to be.
Microscopes for the Imagination!
I really liked these microscopes that are securely attached and aimed right at plants growing below. The children can look through them and see the plant's details and parts up-close and feel like they are discovering something new. It is just another really neat way that this place provides "scope for the imagination." (L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)
Space to Breathe (or Roll on the Grass!):
We were nearing the time to leave to get back to Bellwood in time for baseball practice. My boys live in a house on a hill and can't resist a chance to roll down the lawn. They saw this space as a new opportunity for an old hobby and started to roll and giggle. In a few minutes, they got up and shouted and started to run to me. But, then they ran right behind me and I turned around to see my husband standing there. He had finished work and thought he would come find us before we all headed back to Bellwood. What perfect timing that we should all find each other for although we live in the technology information age, I usually forget my phone in the car!
The Secret Garden:
This happens to be one of my favorite books. I read it to my older son, Jonathan, when he was freshly 5 years old. He loved it too. We bought the movie for only $5 at Target. When we checked out at the register, this lovely cashier whose accent revealed he was from the U.K. saw the movie and smiled. He said that as a child, he was friends with Kate Maberly, the girl who plays Mary Lennox, in the film. What a neat coincidence! The boys love this film and this is one of my favorite lines, added to a photo from our adventure day.
In the midst of difficulty, there can still be moments of joy. Sending prayers that wherever you are today, you can stop and have a moment of joy.
Thank you for reading. I pray that these resources can be a blessing to you in your sadness and grief. Feel free to share these widely.
Many of my posts are about beautiful moments for families or the hope of a wedding day, but sometimes my posts veer in a resourceful direction. I care so much about people. That is really why I do what I do. My larger community lost three children in one weekend and so with the help of three professional counselors, this last post series was dedicated to creating helpful resources for parents to have meaningful conversations about loss with their children. Last week's post is called When Sorrow Enters the Life of a Child.
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Peace and grace to you. Ann
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