Ever since first becoming a mom, getting outside has been a priority. Every day, we try to spend at least 15 minutes outside. Most days we spend at least an hour. We go on walks around the neighborhood and just play in the yard and the woods surrounding our yard. In the summer, we spend nearly all day every day outside, except for naps and meals (many times we have those outside too and when Riggs was a little baby he often napped outside!). It just seems so much easeir to parent since there are endless things to do and nearly no worries about making a mess or breaking something.
And then winter comes along. In Alaska, it's cold and what we consider to be winter for nearly 9 months. The leaves are completely gone in October and its below freezing nearly the entire month. There's snow on the ground for at least 4-5 months of the year.
Freezing temperatures + snow = needing to bundle up. Needing to bundle up a toddler makes getting outside a lot less easy than it is in the summer. But, there's a Scandinavian expression that says, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes" (I read that here but have heard it many times before) and I've found that to be so true!
As long as I have the right clothes to put on my toddler (and myself!) getting outside and most importantly staying outside, becomes pretty easy.
I've also found that as Riggs gets older, he wants to explore with his hands. That means that often times mittens and gloves just get in the way of picking up pinecones and feeling their funny texture. They get in the way of stowing rocks in his pockets. But without them, his hands freeze and that's means outdoor time is usually over for the moment.
I've been learning to let that happen, to let him explore how he wants to, even if it means no mittens for part of the time. We've learned together that exploring with no mittens for a few minutes is ok, and Riggs has learned to ask for his mittens back when his hands start to get cold.
I'm always so amazed at how much nature seems to soothe and calm Riggs. Although he plays actively most of the time that he's outside, he often stops to just take it all in. I'll see him just stop and look around him, thinking deeply. I wish I knew just what was going through his mind.
And so we make it a habit to get outside, and it keeps us not only sane, but happy and fulfilled. Have you gotten outside as much as you've wanted to this winter? If not, what has been holding you back?
I find that the days I really really don't feel like making the effort to get outside, that those are the exact days I need it most. I encourage you to make it a goal this week to get outside at least once when you wouldn't normally because I promise you, it will make you feel better!