This week I chose a local school ground for our picnic. Behind the school is one of the best playgrounds in town. But you can’t see any of it from the road, so you’d never know. Behind the playground is a humongous open field for soccer, frolicking and other games. Then, behind that, is a chunk of woods with well-managed trails.
However, the boys were not convinced. They saw playground toys and only wanted toys. With a little “we’ll go home if you’re not going to listen,” I got them to indulge me (mwahaha) and follow me to the opening. When they saw the mysterious pathways and beautiful meadow grasses and flowers, they got excited, like I knew they would. We came upon a shelter filled with picnic tables nestled in a corner of the woods. Perfect!
We spread out our food and got to work on supper. This is one of the hardest parts of our picnics. With so much anticipation for what they’re going to see and where they’re going to play, it takes quite a lot of willpower and self-control to actually eat.
See what I mean? But those goofy goons finally finished and we made our way through some of the trails. The boys just had to carry their own lunch boxes. Grandma made sure they each had their own brand new lunch box for these weekly trips. Grandma’s the best.
The ambiance was complete with the smell from the wildfires happening hundreds of miles away in Minnesota. The autumn winds brought the campfire smell and a faint haze to our corner of Wisconsin that day.
We were almost to the end of the trail when my son said, “there’s a deer.” He sometimes points out pretend deer when we’re in the woods just for fun, so I kept going. Then, I looked back and had to look again. Well, I’ll be… There stood a beautiful doe. She must be well-adapted to humans, because she stood in the same spot while we talked to her and took pictures.
Then, of course, we had to hit up the playground. I had one little Spider Monkey climbing a web-like rope contraption and another checking out each and every slide. I took a moment to get “up to the sky” on a swing. My stomach had a lot more butterflies in it than I ever remember having.
I was busy reflecting on these great experiences we are having every week. Being outdoors away from TV, steeping ourselves in nature, spending quality time with the kiddos, being active, exploring new territory, and spending very little moola…it feels like an adventure in happiness every week. And it’s just as simple as carving out one night a week, when my husband is away, to visit a different park. Magnificent! Give it a try!