One of my goals back in September was to spend more time outside this fall. To be honest, I'm not sure at all that I even came close to accomplishing what I had in mind. I thought we'd spend every daylight hour out at the park, the back yard, fall walks, and taking the dog to the dog park. What it really turned out to be was what it always is-a few days a week when it was nice and when it worked out, we hung out outside. Most of the time though, we had chores or errands or just plain busyness that stood in the way.
We did however, make it to the Arboretum one particularly chilly day this fall. It was lovely! The stream beds had dried up, making it sort of a bouldering experience for the kids. Jamie has never been able to play in this stream bed because it's just too uneven for his still-mastering-walking feet. But since it was all dried up and not quite so slippery, he was able to navigate it quite well. We also discovered a rope bridge that I didn't know existed and although it said it was for at least 3 year-olds, Jamie ran across it a dozen times at top speed without any problems at all!
It was a lot of fun. The Arboretum, for me, is a place you have to seek out entertainment. It doesn't come to you like it does in so many other kid hot spots. It isn't blown up in bright colors or set out in a huge display. Instead you have to spend time, looking at the details and using your imagination and really getting back to the essence of being a kid to be entertained. And that's why I love it there. Because it forces my kids to look at a leaf and stop seeing it as a part of a tree but instead to view it as a hat, a plate, or a magical wand. The Arboretum is especially magical when you can get to it on days when it's deserted and the peace, quietness, and simplicity of it can speak the loudest. That's what I found when we went this fall. I can't wait to go back on a day when it isn't quite warm enough to draw crowds but warm enough that my kiddos can get their feet dirty without their toes falling off.