Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Forced Fun

It's been a wonderfully cool August in these parts, which means instead of hiding indoors, shades drawn to block out the roasting sun, we've been outside, doing outside things.

All it took to get our children outdoors once the daily temperatures cooled was, "Look, you like playing outside, you just seem to have forgotten this fact after a month of playing Legos indoors while it was hot out.  Now, we are going to the Forest Preserve, where you are going to climb trees and run on the trails and HAVE FUN WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT."  I then may have gone on a bit about how they should appreciate these cool temperatures, because, children?  WE COULD LIVE IN TEXAS.  "We could live in Texas" being my own personal version of "There are starving children in China" anytime our children dare to complain about the Iowa heat.  They handle severe cold like champs, but heat?  Wilting, whiney flowers, the lot of them.

Never have you seen two more enthusiastic children at the sight of this perfect climbing tree (the youngest was golfing with Daddy).  Please keep in mind that this is the same daughter who, before we left the house, cried, "Mom, why do you always make us do these things?  Hiking and riding our bikes and, and WALKING AROUND.  Uuuuuugh!"

Obviously having a terrible time.

Maybe, with years of therapy, they will overcome the horrors I have wrought upon them.

This is generally what me making them walk around ends up looking like:

This daughter also told me I was "committing unpardonable violence against trees" this morning when I was out trimming the jungle of trees in our yard.  A mild summer plus oceans of rain this year have caused our yard to look like someone opened a Jumanji board in our house.  I tried to explain that I'm simply trying to make it look as if humans do, in fact, inhabit our house, but she was having none of it.  It's this kind of dramatic behavior that Derek surely had in mind when, last night at Back to School night, he said to me, "Do you want to go ahead, and, you know- warn her?" while gesturing at our daughter's new teacher, who was fresh-faced and hid her look of alarm quite well at these words of my husband's.  Adelaide is an excellent student, but, well, it probably would be helpful if she came with a warning label:  "Hyberbole Ahead," perhaps, or maybe "If You Allow Me To Walk All Over You I Will Lose All Respect For You So I Need a Firm Hand Also Brace Yourself For Frequent Impromptu Spelling Bees Because That Is My Idea Of Fun."

At one point Atticus asked if he could take my picture.  I said, "Sure, buddy!" and obligingly climbed the tree.

This is why I am in around 1% of our family's photos.  He did try.

He still loves pockets, and it still scares me when he does the whole I've-got-something-in-my-pocket-wait-til-you-see-what-it-is-please-don't-freak-out kind of look.  Thankfully the only thing in all of our pockets that day were heaps of acorns we found under the oak trees within the preserve.

Well, acorns and a 9 mm bullet casing.  And we're not even in Texas!


  1. Oh wow. Those pictures are really making me miss climbing trees! We had a tree similar to that in our neighborhood park when I was a kid. We have had similarly cool, wonderful, outside weather here. Of course, we're all in school, but I still appreciate it. And I'm positive that any good teacher will appreciate Adelaide :-)

  2. On seeing your first photo, my reaction was, "That is a fantastic climbing tree!" and then I spent some time reminiscing about good climbing trees, which are one of life's great and infrequent pleasures.

    I laughed long and heartily at that photo of you. Yes!

  3. I believe my exact words were "tip her off." Which sounds way less scary than "warn her."

  4. Oh memories--my mom used to "make" me go outside too!

    And I enjoy your writing so much--love the way you wrapped up the post with TX in the beginning and end! ;)

  5. You may need to be more specific. I have lived in both east and west Texas, one being a 'dry heat' and the other like trying to breathe through a wet washcloth on a hot day. They definitely do not want to live in east Texas.


Studies show that that people who leave comments are kind, intelligent, generous, creative, and have really nice hair.