Last week I wrote about Green Hours and grandparents, and about all of the cross-generational memories that can come from spending time in nature with extended family. This week however, I wanted to focus a little closer to home – with immediate family. If you are a frequent visitor to this site, you’ll know that its no secret that the majority of our weekends are spent outside at the crag scaling cliffs. I’m pretty certain that when Cragbaby looks back at his early nature memories, most of them will involve ropes, helmets, and tents. To put it mildly, I guess you could say rock climbing is kind of our “thing.”
That doesn’t mean that our green hours involve only rocks. There are plenty of times where our family outdoor time revolves around more “mainstream” activities – like bikes, neighborhood parks, and jogging strollers. In fact, just a few weekends ago we took a break from climbing to give ourselves a chance to catch up on stuff around the house and to do the things that normal people do on the weekends. The weather was great, so getting outside and enjoying the sunshine was definitely a priority. However we had a mile long to-do list…our solution? The Green Hour Combo. Here’s two examples of how we made our nature fix a family affair…
After a morning of errands, Cragbaby crashed without any trouble around lunchtime. That gave the hubster and I ample time to clean the house, pay bills, etc. When Cragbaby woke up, we had a couple of hours to kill before commencing dinner plans, so we decided to take action. We loaded C in the stroller with a homemade smoothie, book, and toy of choice (that day it was a plastic truck), and hit the ground running…literally. There is a really cool park connected to an elementary school a couple miles away from our house. We go there a fair amount – you can read about past adventures here. It was the perfect distance for us to jog there, chase C around the playground apparatus for a while, then jog back. Workout for mom and dad? Check. Green Hour for the kiddo? Check. Family quality time? Check.
The next day we spent the morning at church, and again caught up on household duties as well as some guidebook writing while C napped. By the time he arose, we were all ready and raring to go. In the interest of variety we opted for a different park this time – Davies Park. Davies Park is a little far for us to go to on foot (clearly we are climbers, not endurance athletes…), but its the perfect biking distance, especially if we meander through the backroads so that we can enjoy the scenery rather than getting bogged down in traffic. After getting C situated in the bike trailer, we were off to the park. Steve and I put in some good time in the saddle, and C got to swing to his littler heart’s content. He must have had a good time, because everytime I looked back at him in the trailer, he had a perma-grin glued to his face. Mommy and Daddy were in a pretty good mood too.
Had we taken turns watching C so that we could each have individual, regimented workouts at the gym, we would have spent twice the time trying to get some exercise in, and would never have been able to cross off our entire to-do list. But not only were we able to get things done, the time spent together was rejuvenating for body, mind and soul. What works for your family – maybe we’re the only ones with a name for it, but our family can’t be the only one that takes advantage of the “Green Hour Combo.” Feel free to share your go-to “together” activities here!