Great Adventure # 1

I absolutely love being outdoors in the fresh air. Most of my favourite childhood memories are times spent outside... walks around the common and playing in the sand at the sand cliffs there, a sailing trip with my Dad when we went to an uninhabited island in the middle of the channel where we found gold shells and sailed back in a thunderstorm, Guide camps in the middle of parkland where we had a campfire and raft races. I want to create these memories for Eric (and relive them too!)

Having said that I'm definitely guilty of getting a bit caught up in the hectic, busy, rush of daily life: washing up, cooking, washing clothes, drying clothes, sorting clothes, folding clothes, putting clothes away, playing, tidying up, playgroups, food shopping, seeing friends, driving lessons, running errands, etc. and not making the time to relax outdoors and go on an adventure.

I saw the Great Adventure Challenge on my friend Fiona's blog Pea Musings, and instantly wanted to be a part of it too. The challenge is that once a week you have to get outdoors into the wilderness, whatever the weather, then blog about your experiences. If you're time-deprived and can't write lots you can just upload pictures of your great adventure. Perfect! I thought this would be the ideal challenge to get me back into blogging, have fun with Eric and make time to relax.

I think outdoor play is really important for children - to practice emerging physical skills, get some vitamin D and freely experience motor skills like leaping, running and jumping. They can learn through their senses, they are free to express themselves in their own way, invent games and have autonomy. The outdoor light stimulates the pineal gland which regulates the biological clock, is vital to the immune system, and makes children happier! And everyone knows how much better you sleep after spending time outdoors!

Eric loves being outdoors. He likes going in the garden to see our bunny Bolly, to eat lunch or to shout over the fence at his friends next door. He loves looking for insects in the log pile at my Mum and Dad's house, or under rocks. He loves jumping in puddles. He likes climbing the big tree in our village (it has very low roots to climb on!). He enjoys going on days out to the woods or beach, or for walks along the stream. So I knew he'd love this challenge too.

We had the ideal opportunity for starting the great adventure as my friend Fi, her husband and their daughter, Ebony, came to stay.  It was the first time Eric and I had met Ebony, and she is now 17 months old, so I was ridiculously excited. She is sooooo lovely: bright, funny and the perfect, beautiful mixture of her Mum and Dad. It was really special to see my friends as parents for the first time and the bond they have with her.  It was also really nice to see how she and Eric interacted together. He was really excited about her coming, having previously only seen videos and photos of her on the computer, and he spent a little while planning which trains Ebony would play with and which trains he would have, and which games they would play with the trains together.  

When they arrived the weather was warm and sunny, so we ate lunch in the garden and caught up on all our news. Seeing a younger toddler brought back the memories of how it was when Eric was at her age and stage, which pulled the heart strings a bit (in a nice way). After lunch we decided to head out for a walk so I could show them our new area and we could both fulfill our great adventure challenge for the week (my first!). We went inside and played for a bit while my partner tidied up the lunch things (thank you Alex!), then got ready to go.  Cue heavens opening and the heaviest rain I have seen in a long long time! 

It was bucketing down! Raining cats and dogs! Pouring! And other rain-related words. I hurriedly tried to find appropriate waterproofs and umbrellas for everyone and Alex bowed out - he does not like rain. At all. Eric declined his waterproof trousers. And then we headed out!

I won't lie, I loved it. I really like the rain, it was exciting! The only bad thing was feeling sorry for Fiona, her husband and Ebony as I was worried I was dragging them out against their will. I have the tendency to be a bit bossy and scout leader-y!




We headed on the cycle paths to the edge of my village, and Eric insisted on being carried quite early on! From there we crossed a meadow, went over a bridge across a stream and through a tiny wood. The stream was swollen from the sudden deluge and the water was flowing quite fast, so Eric threw some sticks over the bridge and watched them come out of the other side.  We walked around the tiny pathways brushing past the cow parsley and overgrown plants. We found different sticks and splashed about.  


  

We were considering going on through the fields, but everyone was literally soaked to the skin...water was coming in through the shoulder seams of my mac, Fiona's coat wasn't even pretending to be waterproof, Ebony had a muddy bottom from falling over and all our trousers were wet through, so we decided to head back (via a huge puddle to jump in!)  



We got home, chucked all the wet things in a huge pile, changed into dry clothes and warmed up with hot chocolate.



I couldn't have wished for a better first Great Adventure. I'm so pleased our first outing for this challenge was with friends. It was exhilarating, relaxing and made Eric and I really happy.

The rules
Why don't you join us on a great adventure? All you need to do is:

  • Challenge yourself to head out into the wilderness once a week, every week - whatever the weather.
  • Leave the balls, bikes and toys at home - this challenge is all about nature.
  • Blog it and link up below - use #greatadventure on Twitter and Instagram. I'm going to be posting my great adventures from the fortnight every other Saturday or Sunday, but you can join in at any time. If you don’t have a blog but still want to join in, just post about your adventures in the comments below!

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