If you follow me on social media (if you don't, here's my Instagram and here's my Facebook ) you've probably heard me whine and complain that summer is gone. Officially. It's just...gone. I'm like a child- I'm just plain sad and a big ball of big emotions. I love the warmth of summer, the freedom, the beach, the sunshine, the laid back summer vibes... and it's just slowly ended and faded to Fall.
You also might know that as a family, we participate in something known as the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge. It's a big part of our life. We aim to spend 1000 hours each year outside. And to say that it's been life changing is an understatement. It truly has changed our lives and how we view our time outside. I also know that I really, really, really struggle in the winter, so we try to pack in as many hours outside as possible in the summer months.
So, I try to update ya'll on what we've been doing to keep busy and how we spend our time outside. Honestly, for us, summer is the easiest month to spend time outside. We don't mind the heat. We stay hydrated and seek shade when possible. We get our hours in early in the morning and late in the afternoon. This year the kids pooled all of their money together (and with a little help from mom and dad) got a blow up water slide and that has been a HUGE hit! We have enjoyed it so much and so have the neighborhood kids!
Here are some of our favorite ways to rack up hours in the summer:
We have had so much fun this summer. I enjoy our time together and I like to think we make the best of it. Winter becomes a lot more challenging for me, but it's all about harmony and prioritizing your time.
If you'd like to read more about what we did previously, check out this blog post.
If you'd like more information about the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge, click here to be taken to their website.
Last year, a friend introduced me to an Instagram account by the name of 1,000 Hours Outside. I lurked a bit and thought to myself, " Well, this is really nice, but we play a lot outside...and I don't need to track our hours to know that." But I lurked some more. We really do love being outside. We spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in the nice weather. The more and more her posts popped up in my feed, I found myself stopping my scroll and really listening to what she (her name is Ginny) has to say.
Sure, we spent a lot of time outside, but what was missing was the intentionality of it. We were not being intentional about our time outside. Once that realization hit me, the parts were set in motion. It became so obvious to me. We needed to prioritize this time. It was time to make a change and it was time to jump into this challenge right now. Today. Today happened to be February 19, 2020. This isn't about starting on New Years Day. This was about starting.
Now, coincidentally, look at that date that we started. 2/19/20. Less than a month later, our world would change and turn completely upside down. March 13, 2020 our state went into a lockdown and quarantine that was supposed to only be 2 weeks... and we know how that ended. Having been already in this habit of intentionally being outside everyday gave us at least a tiny sense of stability and purpose to our days. What a blessing!
So, how have we spent our time (in quarantine mind you) outside and what have we done with ourselves?
The colder months were a bit challenging for us. There's a few reasons for this- I hate cold weather. I get the winter blues. I hate cold weather. And mostly, I hate cold weather.
This challenge has helped me take control of that aspect of my life. I tend to feel "trapped" indoors in the winter. This has given me the motivation and again, the intentionality, to go outside. I addressed my problem head on and I got some base-layers and some wool socks for each of us. They aren't fancy, but they do the job and they keep us warm. Being comfortable has made the biggest difference!
Here are some things we have done in the winter months:
Honestly, it's brought us closer together as a family. We spend so much more time together in the outdoors and I don't see us ever looking back. I will begin blogging updates every season about our experiences, but I want to hear your thoughts and ideas! Leave me some of your tips and activities in the comments or hope on over to my Facebook page or Instagram to join the conversation.
Here's the links:
1000 Hours Outside
Jess Nicole Photography Facebook Page
Jess Nicole Photography Instagram
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.