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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