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Building Lovely Memories of Swimming, Spiders and Gravestones.

Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


When I was little I lived to be outside. My grandparents had a beautiful old Willow tree in the backyard and I would spend hours swinging on the tire swing that hung from one of the thick branches. I followed my grandmother around her garden and I watched for seals and birds with my grandfather. We spent summers on Prudence Island. I loved water. I could spend an entire day in the ocean or pond or lake- weightless and drifting. At night I would spin and spin in endless circles and then collapse into the grass to count the stars and commune with the moon.

The huz and our kids are the same way. We are backyard people, park people, beach people. There have been summers where we have gone to the beach nearly every day. We are lucky to live in Rhode Island where we have miles and miles of coastline. The kids like to collect shells and smooth stones to paint. They build sand castles and swim-swim-swim.

We spend a huge amount of time in our backyard too. I usually get them a pop-up pool to paddle in (there is that water again) and they love to “help” me in the garden. I think they just like digging in the dirt and finding bugs. Last summer they found a gigantic spider. They named her Sam and couldn’t wait to go out each day to see what she had caught in her web. Han looked her up on the web and pronounced her a “jeweled orb weaver” (such a pretty name for such a creepy bug!). They were so sad when she died at the end of the summer, and they still talk about her when we find a fat spider in our house.

The lovely Sam Spider.

We walk in the park, we feed the ducks and geese and we haunt the local playground. Slater Park in Pawtucket is a wonderful place for kids (despite our scary experience last fall) and an entire afternoon can get swallowed up just wandering along the bike path. We were so excited to discover the bike path behind our new home and have been exploring it in both directions.

We love to picnic in graveyards. It is kind of our thing- it isn’t as morbid and creepy as you would think. We love how quiet and peaceful they are. No dogs or people or trash and there are lots of interesting stones and statues to look at and talk about.

We are very much outdoorsy people. I think it is important for kids to be active- to run and jump and play. I’m happy that they would rather climb a tree or go for a walk- that is so much better for them than vegging in front of the TV of video games.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

14 Responses to Building Lovely Memories of Swimming, Spiders and Gravestones.

  1. Your beautiful narrative of time spent outdoors brought me a rush of memories. Though I never had the opportunity to spend days at the beach with my family, nor did I have siblings to co-create with, I loved just being outside. I regularly frequented a graveyeard at the end of my street. I’d bring lunch and a notebook and sit and listen for the stories that I imagined would be circling in that space. My favorite spot growing up was beneath a willow tree about a hundred yards away from the river. There was something so magical about those swaying limbs and gnarled roots patterning the ground.

    I know that you are weaving the most amazing memories for your special brood. And the photos–just incredible. I always feel wonderful after visiting your site and witnessing how much you offer your family.
    .-= michelle´s last blog ..The Color of Dreams =-.

    • Michelle: Thank you for your lovely comment!

      How funny- the graveyard down the street from my house was my place too. I would bring a book to read, or my sketchbook and pencil and spend the afternoon. It was so peaceful.


    • Dionna: It is such a great place to explore… We love to tell stories about the graves we find. We do rubbings on the gravestones and play hide and seek. Favorite place.


  2. I used to picnic and walk in Swan Point Cemetery. It was so peaceful and lovely.
    When I was a child, I spent all my time outside. We didn’t really have a choice but I happened to love it. It’s odd that my son isn’t into the outdoors. That just does not compute in my mind!

  3. this makes me so excited for jude to start walking so we can start exploring. (i know we can explore now but… it’s not as fun as them running around on their own, you know?) i look at all those pictures and think YES! YES! let’s go play outside!
    .-= the Grumbles´s last blog ..the great outdoors =-.

  4. That willow tree is beautiful. I so badly want a willow tree.

    A picnic in a cemetery is a really good idea. They are definitely peaceful and interesting. You could do a fun little game of finding certain things on stones too like find the number 10 and a heart and a whatnot.

  5. When I was younger, I would sometimes walk to the local library after school with friends and sometimes we would take a shortcut through the graveyard. Very interesting since it’s an old graveyard. It was never creepy, just interesting and a little sad.

    Also, your photos are beautiful!
    .-= NavelgazingBajan´s last blog ..Let’s Take it Outside! =-.

  6. I used to skip school to go to the local graveyard and write poetry. I still love cemetaries and am the only one in my family who will take my Grandma to visit my Grandpa’s grave. No one else likes them, but I find them peaceful and lovely.
    .-= Melodie´s last blog ..A Big Sister’s Love =-.

  7. What a lovely post! The writing was so vivid and true, and I seriously think you must have the cutest family of kids ever.

    I love that your kids made a pet of the spider but left her to live in the web. I thought they’d have caught her and taken her inside. It’s such a respectful thing that they let her be but checked up on her through the summer! I’m really creeped out by spiders but am trying not to pass that on to Mikko. “Jeweled orb weaver” really is a beautiful name, isn’t it? Sounds magical.

    What do you do in a cemetery if a funeral comes by when you’re picnicking? I was just wondering! Offer some food…? :)
    .-= Lauren @ Hobo Mama´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Happy third birthday =-.

    • They are sweet and respectful of nature. They love to follow ants, search for spiders, watch the birds feed their birdie babies- all without touching or hurting. I <3 them!

      We stick to the older parts of cemeteries- the old stones where the writing has almost worn away. Those stones are the most interesting- and we don't have to worry about interrupting someone's funeral!

  8. Growing up where I live, everyone knew everyone.. Everyone was best friends and at least always said hello.. I would wonder through the woods and people’s yards with no worries that someone would get mad.. I’d jump in puddles, climb trees, etc.. Now it’s different. Everyone is building houses nearby and no one really knows anyone.. You have to be careful who’s yard you walk into because someone may get mad or call the police. I am hopeful that I will own a big enough piece of property for DD to explore and to maybe even have a tiny creek on it!

    But you can keep the spiders.. :)

  9. Fascinating ideas and lovely photos! I had never thought of spending time in a graveyard, but it really does make sense as it would be very quiet and peaceful. Of course, I never lived close enough to one to spend much time there. Definitely would be a good outdoors option for someone nearby.

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