by Lindsey Lebowitz – In 2005, my husband and I moved to Colorado from Florida. We moved across the country for a change, a sense of adventure, and the Rocky Mountains. Our 480-foot studio apartment was only $500 a month. Our jobs were not serious, and with limited responsibilities, we explored this great state together. We hiked over 12 hours to summit and descent Long’s Peak. As fit and competitive people, we ran the Bolder Boulder, competed in multiple triathlons, and finished, albeit slowly, a century bike ride (100 miles). Additionally, we came to appreciate the outdoor music scene Colorado has to offer be attending shows at Red Rocks, Mishawaka, Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, and Jazz in the Park in Denver. Camping, mountain biking, snowboarding, four wheeling, rafting-you name it-we did it. Basically, we soaked up everything Colorado has to offer.
Our marriage was built on this framework of adventure and the outdoors. Now in 2018, we have two little boys, a dog, a house and careers. It sure would be easy to get caught up in the rat race, and say we’ve checked those items off our bucket list. After all, there is laundry to be done and a house to be cleaned. But, what kind of childhood memories would we be creating staying indoors and just watching movies? Sure, we all love a lazy day, but where is the sense of adventure? Some of my best childhood memories are running barefoot in the rain and riding my bike to the ice-cream store. I want that for my kids too.
As brand new parents we were in survival mode, but now we are establishing more of a groove and are finding time to get outside. Last year, we bought a pop-up camper. On our first camping trip as a family of four, our youngest was five months old and our oldest was three. There were challenges and fears. Our three-nager was going through a tantrum phase over the traumatic event of having a baby brother. I kept worrying the youngest would be too cold in his pack ‘n play. Also, packing for a trip with a baby and a toddler is no joke. How can people so small require so many things? We dealt with cleaning bottles and managing sleep schedules. But, we got outside together. Our kids know what a s’more tastes like and have seen the Milky Way in all its glory. They have been on hikes to waterfalls and fished in ponds with Dad. The awe they experience when they see a deer or even a frog is worth the effort to get outside.
Overall, we feel we are being intentional in our efforts to spend time together as family and instill values of appreciating experiences more than things. Of course, our kids will be their own people, but we hope they have a zest for life, and a love of nature. We want to experience things as a family and make memories together.
As a family, we have been on eight camping trips and have four more planned this summer. When we are not camping, we play outside and ride bikes around the neighborhood. We still watch tv and occasionally play video games, but we think there is more to childhood and life than screen-time. Our house could always cleaner and laundry is an infinite problem. It is not always easy, but we choose to go outside, spend time together and make lasting memories together.
I blog about our family’s adventures here at www.outdoorsymommy.com. I hope you will follow along.
Editor note: “My Outdoor Family” is a regular column, written by readers who represent every facet of an outside lifestyle, these monthly opportunities seek to inspire and encourage, remind and reminisce about a personal love for and commitment to the outdoors. Not everyone is ready to tackle the summit of a mountain, just as some people wouldn’t know how to begin looking for nature in an urban space. This is where readers can share the how and why and what of their outdoor lives, and we want to hear your story. Tell us, in 600 words or less, about your “Outdoor Family.” Send your story and a family photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to read it. ~Jennifer Fontaine, Managing Editor