Sunday, January 12, 2014

Unexpected Outdoor Activities

I finally convinced my two older kids to go outside with me today.  Amanda was picking up Clara from a birthday party, and I promised to spend some time with Lucas and Emily.  We planned to do various things like playing LEGO with my son and having a tea party with my daughter.  While those are fun things to do, I noticed the sun was out and while it was pretty cold (in the 40's) there was no snow on the ground.  I had the idea then to head outside and throw a ball around instead.

After much persuading (they wanted to stay indoors), we headed out to the front yard.  I had just grabbed a couple of balls from the garage and secured our dog on her cable in the yard when I noticed a couple waking by with their young boy and dog.  I realized that it was my co-worker - the same one that we just noticed (this morning, in fact) attend our church too.  I found out that they had just moved into the neighborhood in September.

While I was talking to him and his wife, the neighbor kids walked over and started playing with my kids.  By the time I was finished talking with my friend/co-worker, the kids had disappeared with the neighbors.  With the kids occupied, I seized the moment to work on my car for a few minutes, then decided to explore our wooded (and somewhat treacherously sloped) backyard.  This is something I've wanted to do since we moved in, but the conditions have never been favorable due to slippery fall leaves or snow.

When Lucas and Shane (the neighbor boy) noticed me in our backyard, Shane said he could show me their trail (in their backyard, which is flatter and easier to traverse).  We ended up exploring down through the woods, and into areas that I had no idea existed.  The still-present fall leaves and mud from the melted snow made climbing the slopes pretty challenging.  One time I grabbed the trunk of a small tree for support, but it was a dead tree and it immediately snapped off.  The good news is that i didn't slip down the hill from the immediate lack of support, but the bad news is that Shane (the neighbor boy) was right behind me and the broken tree hit him in the face when it gave way!  He didn't have any noticeable cuts or bruises thankfully, but it was still pretty unnerving, especially since I just met their family today (great first impression)!

In the end, it was a fun and outdoorsy evening - I met some new neighbors (one of which is also a co-worker), and I finally got better acquainted with our natural surroundings.  I also realized that the gulley in our backyard is somewhat (and unfortunately) unique to our particular property, but I'm still excited and determined to make the best of it.  Eventually I plan to figure out how to make a trail through our backyard too.  One (precarious) step at a time though.

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