In our backyard....
we have a path that meanders along a creek. A rickety-looking, rust-colored bridge appears out of nowhere to guide you over the creek bed and through the woods to our the community park and nature center.
*Sigh*... it's not really our backyard, but the woods back up to the houses that are located across the way from us. We have but a few yards to walk before we end up in a suburban paradise of trees, two creeks, and many paths that lead to the nature center. Yes, the nature center where Kelsey enjoyed nature camp in spite of her initial misgivings.
Cait, Nicholas and I took a hike from our home yesterday to Hidden Oaks. Nicholas did not have a chance to fully explore the center during pick-up and drop-off for nature camp, and as Kelsey was off at yet another camp this week (a story for another day...), we figured no time better than the present. Off we went, and within 20 minutes we had arrived at the center after hiking through the woods, past the second creek and up through the playground area to the main building.
We watched "turtors" swim, climbed in the play structure, hid inside a fake tree, and were scared by fake snakes. We didn't have tons of time there, but it's a small nature center and a good portion of the excitement is (ready for this? ....sure?) yep...outside!
We explored a tiny bit in the great outdoors (mostly admiring the plethora of butterflies), but the hour was getting late and we had to pick up Kelsey. Sad, in one respect, as we wanted to explore Nature Playce more thoroughly. Happy, though, realizing that this is our backyard and we can visit anytime. We trekked back home through the woods and loaded up the car to get Kels from her latest adventure.
The last picture? We were on the way home from retrieving Kelsey and she noticed a sign for Rita's (or Ritta's, as she so sweetly pronounced it). She mentioned how tasty that might be right now, and given that we were all drippy and gross from the heat and humidity (what, 120% yesterday?), I couldn't have agreed more.
I threw all 'is this remotely good for us' caution to the wind and we were soon laden with a (red) raspberry ice and 3 different types of custardy treats. The kids looked especially cute, carefree and happy...and I snapped a picture and sent it off to Pete. Which reminds me, the next best thing to Skype?
Emailing photos from the iPhone. No days or weeks or months of waiting for photos...five minutes later and Peter is seeing the picture just as we did and he feels just that much more connected to us, despite the hours and miles that technically separate us. I have begun to think that those very miles that originally conspired to divide us are actually bringing us closer together. Emails, photos, texts, and dedicated time to converse make it hard for me to believe we are not just down the road from one another. A very wise person recently said that a separation like this only makes a strong couple (and family) stronger. At this point...I couldn't agree more.