Nature Girl

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The Princess loves all wildlife, any kind of critter except bugs. She and her grandma spent time decorating birdhouses last month. She can’t wait to put this up in our yard!

My children are not known for wanting to leave the house.  As a matter of fact, I think that if I were to tell them tomorrow that I would never again make them go anywhere that they would be thrilled beyond belief.

I guess that’s not entirely true. The Princess has taken a keen interest in the outdoors this spring. Last year she was so terrified of bugs that she barely set foot outside.  This year she’s a little braver (unless of course it’s a wasp, and then I don’t blame her there).  She spends a lot of time in our fenced in back yard, especially when Evil Genius needs help in his garden.  He calls to her when he gets home every afternoon and she beats it out there to help him inspect the veggies.

Planting the garden.

Helping Daddy plant the garden.

Despite her newly found interest in the outdoors, she has been fighting me any time I want to go out of our yard for walks.  This would be because I told her that when she was five she would be too big for the stroller.  Once she actually turned five and realized that she had to work for it, our walking time pretty much came to a screeching halt.  It’s too bad because I miss those walks, but I need to stand my ground, because she really is getting too big to fit!

Through bribery we have made a couple of successful attempts out recently.  Both times she was on her little Barbie scooter, and both times we were thwarted by rain.  Not just a little rain, each time it let loose and caught us in a downpour.  And it has just rained, and rained, and rained these last few weeks.  Even the days without rain have been wet because the ground doesn’t get enough time to recover between rainy days.  We had a drought last year, so we certainly don’t want to complain much about the ample supply of rain!

So imagine my delight (and surprise!) when she asked if we could take a little walk together this past week.  I hurriedly got ready and rushed out the door with her before she could change her mind.  I expected we would go to the end of the block and she would be done with it.

As it turned out, she had an agenda.  She wanted to go on a nature walk.  Our little walk turned into a lovely long one as she explored and gathered the nature that our little rural Iowa town has to offer.  This was a wonderful learning experience for her.  She learned the difference between a wildflower and something that someone has planted.  We picked all kinds of wildflowers along the way.  We looked at different kinds of mushrooms.  We touched moss and felt different kinds of rocks.  She collected sticks, rocks, nuts, and interesting looking leaves.  Her little hands were full, so I had to carry her flowers for her.

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Iowa nature-wildflowers and mushrooms.

We agreed that we needed to do this again.  Next time we decided that we would take a basket or a bag, and she could collect nature treasures to her little heart’s content.

Even once we returned home she wasn’t finished with the outdoors just yet.  She took me on a tour of the backyard, and told me all about our garden and all of the wonderful things growing in it.  She’s particularly excited about the strawberries and cherry tomatoes, the two things that I will be shocked to see actually make it into our house before being devoured.

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The Princess showing off her strawberries.

I was further surprised the next day when she begged to take another nature walk right after breakfast.  She spent quite a bit of time convincing her brother to agree to go, and then actually get him excited about the walk.  He was leery until she mentioned that they might be able to gather some pine cones.  I’m not so sure what is so exciting about that, but he was actually interested and that was all I needed to hear!

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She was so excited! Her brother was somewhat less so…

Armed with baskets and buckets (and my camera) we showed him all of the wonderful things we had seen the previous time.  He was interested at first, but once he collected his nature findings he quickly tired of it.  He continued to lag further and further behind, catching up with us for a minute or two and then start dragging his feet again.  She wanted to keep walking and walking, while he just wanted to get back home to examine his treasures. My children are indeed opposites in this respect:  she is about the journey, he is about the destination.

Once finally home they went happily running to the backyard to sort all of the things they had found. This was unfortunately cut short by yet another rain shower.  At least mother nature allowed us to finish our walk this time!

We have continued to take these little walks whenever we can.  Each time she has a different motive for wanting to go out. The last time we went on our walk she made sure to announce to everyone we passed that she was collecting smooth rocks because she wanted to paint them.  I love it.

While her brother prefers books and electronics, the world is her classroom.  She is so full of questions, and wonder.  I hope she continues this love of nature clear into her adulthood.  She is my little nature girl.

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There she goes, our very own nature girl.

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What I Learned in 2012: An Introverts Introspective Retrospective

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Hey it’s almost 2013!  Did you know I actually LEARNED stuff this year?  I honestly can say this year was an extremely valuable learning experience!  I’m gritting my teeth and grinning like an idiot as I say this, because some of the lessons weren’t so fun.  And they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  They are wrong.

1)  Never ever use the following words in your blog, lest ye have weirdos, pervs, and pornographic spam:  Penis, naked, sparkly boobs, poop, pee, Chad Knaus.  The others make sense, not so sure about the last one.  On a related note, any time I want a laugh, I just go look at the search engine terms that people used to find my blog.  Which ones were the best, well that’s another post (in other words, stay tuned)!

He probably reads my blog.  Must be a Chad Knaus fan.

He probably reads my blog. Must be a Chad Knaus fan.

2)  You can pour your heart and soul into a job, but in the end it don’t mean a thing.  Especially if it ain’t got that swing.  (Doo-wop doo-wop doo-wop…) We love you and all, but your position is being taken over by a taco.  It happened to me.  And I’m learning it’s not the end of the world.

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3)  You can lead a man to underwear, but you can’t make him find it.  Ok, so I was a LITTLE behind on the laundry, but I did manage to get a couple of pairs clean.  I then laid out some of the clean clothes.  I even made SIGNS!

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Some guys just don’t pay any attention!

4)  Twitter is where it’s at.  Mainly because Facebook is a total douche for the blogging population.  Pay for people to see my posts?  No thanks.

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Why cats don’t use social media.

5)  Need friends?  Blog.  The ladies I have met in the blogging universe are the most wonderful, supportive community one could ever ask to be a part of.  I get all verklempt just thinking about it.  There are too many to name, but you know who you are!

What would we do without the internets?

What would we do without the internets?

6)  Underwear and butt are the funniest words in the universe. At least in my house.  Knock knock!  Who’s there?  Underwear! Underwear who?  Underwear Pajama Butt Pants!  Funny stuff, man.

The book the kids had to get for their little cousin for his birthday?  They think it's the funniest book ever.

The book the kids had to get for their little cousin for his birthday? They think it’s the funniest book ever.

7)  Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you need medication.  I probably still need it, I just can’t afford it.  Blogging IS terrific therapy, however.

Crazy ideas, crazy lady.

Crazy ideas, crazy lady.

8)  Four year olds only appreciate chores that have an element of danger to them.  Combined with seven year olds and grumpy genius husbands, ideas for stories on here are always an imminent possibility.

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This chore did not have enough danger in it.  We put in her charge of cups, therefore she tried to make us rue the day.  You can see I’m REALLY upset about this.

9) Just like in everyday life, your blog will have ups and downs.  Some days people will make you feel like you’re on top of the world, other days you’re as popular as a booger.  You just have to roll with it, just like in real life.  Oh wait, this IS real life.  Or IS it???

Amen.

Amen.

I know I learned more than that, but these were the best and most interesting things I’ve learned this year.  (WHAT? Uninteresting things are in my head?  Believe it or not, I’m afraid so!)  I realize that we still have a handful of days left in 2012, but with it being almost the weekend and then a holiday, I’d rather assume that I’ve learned everything I’m going to learn this year.  Have you learned anything valuable this year?  Feel free to share!

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Family. They’re important!  But I already knew that…Isn’t my family good looking?