Planning for Successful Summer Adventures

It's summertime again. The time when we all try to slow down, but it seems like the days speed by faster than we'd like. This is the time of year the our family looks for adventures to enjoy together. Living in a climate where it seems like we have six months of cold, we really treasure these long hot (or at least warm) days.

The other day, the kids and I went fossil hunting and...wait for it...we think WE FOUND A FOSSIL!

 Awesome? Yes.

Coincidence? Sort-of.

Adventures (as my kids like to call them) have a risk for not turning out as fabulous as planned. That's why I try to think of all the 'what ifs' before heading out with the kiddos, having a Plan A,B,C,D....Z ready ahead of time.

Little Man loves fossils. Baby B couldn't wait to find a 'dog bone' as she likes to call them (and to play in the dirt.) I was a little nervous since actually finding a fossil can be a bit like finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.

However, this wasn't the first time that we have gone fossil hunting at this particular location.

The last time we went fossil hunting was before Baby B had joined the family. Little Man, some of his cousins, and myself went out one HOT summer afternoon and sorted through lots of rocks and dirt. It was a risky proposition with a major chance of the entire outing being a bust. Initially I remember feeling frustrated that the kids weren't getting as serious about the whole fossil hunting mission as I was.

Then I realized that I had become that parent who helps their kid with their science fair project by doing the project themselves. Thankfully, this dawned on me before I had ruined the day for the kids. After talking myself down from my sad, type A, goal oriented, "LET"S HAVE FUN LIKE THIS" ledge, I realized something.

Finding a fossil wasn't the point.

 We were there for the adventure.

The challenge, the mystery, the imagining of what if, and 'what was it like here years ago' discussions. The heat, and the sweat, and the scraped knees, and the dirt. The 'remember that time we went looking for fossils?' stories that we shared later. The 'man, I'm sooooo thirsty...I wonder if this is how thirsty you feel in the desert?' questions.

Thankfully, we did find a fossil on that first trip. But, even if we hadn't, I had several things working in my favor to make it a successful adventure.

1. All of the kids loved playing in dirt/sand.

2. I had researched online about where and what we should be looking for.

3. We didn't have a long trek to get to the 'dig' site.

4. I could find some nice rocks for bordering my flower beds while we were there.

5. I had taken a year of geology in college because I thought 'why not, it would be fun' (and only slept      through some of the classes) so I kind of knew what to look for.

And my ace in the hole:

6. I planned to take them swimming afterwards whether or not any fossils were found.

On this most recent trip, we had success. The kids were able to wallow in the dirt AND we found what looks to be a fossil. Plus, I found some more rocks for my flower beds. Little Man and Baby B are hoping for many more adventures this summer. I have some ideas up and MANY backup plans. More importantly, I'm trying to keep in mind that for an adventure to truly be and adventure, there needs to be the element of the unknown. Maybe even a little danger.


  1. 1.
    an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.
    "her recent adventures in Italy"
    "her recent adventures in Italy"

  1. 1.
    engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.
    "they had adventured into the forest"

My job is to accentuate the unusual and exciting and eliminate (or at least minimize) the hazardous part of the adventure. This time, it turned out great. We'll see how our next adventure works out.

Here's to adventures guys. 'Tis the season.

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Another Father's Day Without Dad

Yesterday I attended the graduation party for my cousin's eldest. My 92 yr old uncle (the oldest living member of his family) was there and I was able to visit with him along with several other aunts, uncles, and cousins. Baby B sang "A Bicycle Build for Two" with him (currently her favorite song) and he sang her a song from his childhood. Moments like these have become precious to me as I know they may soon be gone.

After Baby B had twirled off to get sugared up, while my uncle and I shared laughter and tears remembering my dad (one of his youngest brothers).

"He was one of the best men I've ever known. He had such a good heart. He would help out anyone." he said. 

Yes he was Uncle D. He really was.

I wrote the post below last year in memory of my dad, and all the men out there who take the time to be 'fatherly.'

Fatherly Behavior

It is quite common to hear the term 'motherly' being used. Ironically, we don't use the term 'fatherly' used as often. Think about it, people will often refer to a little girl as acting 'motherly' but when a little boy is acting in a nurturing manner, we don't automatically say that he is acting 'fatherly.'

I think that's too bad.

Boys need to learn about what it means to be a father just as much as girls need to learn what it means to be a mother. Nurturing and supporting others is one of the most important things we can teach a child.

On this Father's Day, I celebrate the father that was part of my for nearly 39 years. If anyone modeled fatherly traits, it was him. The man who worked hard to not only support his family financially, but also took the time to really love his children and his wife. The man who rarely, if ever, raised his voice. Whose life demonstrated what integrity, honesty, and kindness should look like. The man who was a father/mentor/grandfather to many young boys and men through the years. The man who taught Little Man so many of the things a father would have wanted to teach him. Some of those things I thought Dad was showing Little Man at too young of an age. Now I'm thankful for those lessons he gave him.

I celebrate the dads out there who aren't afraid to show their children their silly side. Who aren't afraid to let their kids see them cry. The fathers who are a firm, kind, stabilizing force in their families. Those dads who stay with their families even when things get tough, and scary, and uncomfortable. Who are 'fatherly.'

I celebrate those men who are mentors to the children who have no father around in their life. The men who help the children without dads learn how to treat a woman, and how a woman should be treated. Who are nurturing and supporting without conditions-just out of the goodness of their heart. The men who help balance out the life of these children, whose days are so often filled with only the influence of women. They really need both.

I celebrate my Father in heaven, who promises to be there for the widowed and the orphaned. Who will help me to navigate this thing called parenting. To be there for me when I am aching so to hear my dad's voice (just one more time) as he cracked a lame joke with my son, then winked at me as he waited to see if Little Man had caught it.

For those of you who still have a father here on earth, I pray that he is one that brings you that kind of love and happiness. For those of you who don't have that kind of relationship with your father, my heart aches for you. I pray that there is someone in your life who has filled that void. And, if there isn't, I know there is a God who has been waiting for years to fill the position.

Happy Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day in heaven Dad.

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