This spring I fell head-over-heels in love with family walks.
It all started because we were heading out on a big trip shortly after school got out.
Man oh man do I ever have a whole slew of things to say about that (I am grateful every single day). But for now, I just want to write about one of the things we did to prep while the kids were still in school.
Because there was going to be a lot of walking involved in the adventure we had planned, Dave and I were worried that the kids, (one in particular), might not be able to hack it.
So we incorporated a plan (copied from my sisters who came up with the idea last spring before they headed out to different parts of Europe with their families). Hyped up by their great idea, we started our own "Grand Walking Challenge."
The goal was to hit fifty miles each before we left. Claire whipped up a chart to help us keep track of our miles:
(I didn't get one before we started marking it up, but just imagine that that wing-dinger of a chart just begging to be filled in.)
It was in kind of a rush that we whipped up this whole plan up and threw it out so I wasn't sure how it would take. You never know how many eye-rolls new plans will involve nor how much wailing and groaning and bawling may accompany the grand plan.
Dave was in China when we decided to take action, so I was in charge of the "launch." The first night I proclaimed Family Home Evening would be walking to Panda Express. I mean, you've got to start with a reward in mind, right? Especially for one particular child who I really wanted to get excited about this plan of ours.
So we headed out.
And you know what? There wasn't a single eye roll. Nor bawling nor gnashing of teeth.
It was a perfect equilibrium evening where everyone was in a good mood.
Were they in a good mood before we left, or did the walk create that good mood? Who knows, but I like to think it was the fresh air and leg stretching and talks about what happened during the day that did it.
I loved the fortunes we got at Panda Express:
Let's look at the fortune and not those wrinkly fingers, ew.
And do you know what?
That night did the trick of turning on the "I-want-to-walk-and-win-this-competition-dealio" for Lucy.
(Each mile helped the kids earn some cash to spend on our trip...and the one with the most miles before we left got a bonus.)
Lucy decided she was going to walk to school every day (we are lucky and live pretty dang close...it's a mile round trip).
She walked every day for the whole remainder of the school year. Sometimes with Claire, sometimes with Dave, sometimes with me.
And she walked home all by herself.
At first I didn't think she'd do the walking home thing. I figured she'd forget and just take the bus. It was hot as blazes after all. So I didn't talk out the plan very well or go watch for her. But nope, that girl was serious and she walked in totally red-faced with a huge smile because she did it all on her own (there are great crossing guards at every street but I will admit I was a little nervous when I realized she wasn't on the bus that first day!)
As I was walking behind these girls one of the days, laughing to myself at how crazy Lucy is about that backpack she insisted on keeping with the zipper completely broken for the whole end of the school year, I realized it wasn't just the backpack that made her look a little bit on the funny side. We had completely forgotten to brush her hair in all the walking, getting-out-the-door hoopla.
I had to run back and get a brush that day and whip her hair into shape at school.
We walked a lot of places in May. The kids walked instead of riding their bikes to friends' houses. They walked on the treadmill. Dave and I walked/ran extra at our workout class. We substituted it everywhere we could.
And little by little that chart filled right up.
Nothing like a walk to get right down to talking business.
We are taking a walking break at the moment waiting for this furnace of a place we live in to calm down a tad, but I hope we'll remember how much we like this walking business in the Fall.