Even baby Emma came along. This was her first hiking experience in this mortality. Jennifer wore her MetroMamma wrap so that she could hold Emma close to her but still have her arms free. She wore a coat that was large enough to cover both of them. Emma loves being close to Mom, hearing her heart beat, and staying warm. I think being wrapped in the MetroMamma reminds her of being inside her mother not long ago – safe, tight, close, and warm. She slept during the entire hike and thoroughly enjoyed the outing. Lately, Mom has been walking, exercising, and hiking. It feels good to be getting back in shape after a long pregnancy.
We didn’t know where we were going; we just knew we were going on a hike. We ended up walking through the fields and along the upper canal. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining. Melting snow created little streams of water that ran down the mountainside. The water collected in the canal. We did not anticipate or even think about what we would encounter during our hike. We would have known if we had thought about it. After all, what do you get when you mix water and dirt? That’s right, mud! It was sticky and gooey. And everyone experienced a lot of it.
Marianne had the mud-build-up-syndrome. Her boots collected so much sticky mud that she could hardly walk. On one occasion, she found herself stuck in the middle of a puddle, and she literally could not move. Dad called, “Hold on. Don’t move. I’m coming to help.” She couldn’t hold on, did move and squirm, kept trying to free herself, sunk deeper, lost balance, and SPLASH into the mud she went.
She had quite a scare and didn’t know what to do. She was relieved when Dad came to her rescue. He cleaned her up the best he could, and she was eager to continue hiking. A little mud wasn’t going to keep her from an adventure. We noticed that she, like many little children, just got up, wiped off, smiled, recognized assistance, showed appreciation, and moved forward with faith.
The little streams of water and ice that ran along the edge of the canal attracted the children like a magnet. It was hard to resist. It didn’t matter that the water was cold; they liked playing near it anyway. Joshua and Rachel walked and crawled on the melting ice that bordered the water. How close to the edge can you get before the ice breaks? Exciting, Isn’t it? Until you go in headfirst! But that doesn’t seem possible or even seriously accounted for until you find yourself sprawled out in a foot of cold muddy water with frozen moss between your teeth. It was amazing, that no one went in all the way! No one had to floss moss.
Joshua brought his prized calculator on the hike and guarded it safely in his sweatshirt pocket. As he was walking through the culvert and playing near the water, it somehow fell out of his pocket without him noticing. A little later, Joseph spotted it partially submerged in the water and alerted Joshua to the predicament. Joshua pulled the calculator out of the water. When he got home, he tried bringing it back to life by drying it near the fireplace. The calculator worked for a little while with strange output, but now it seems dead. Joshua was disappointed, and learned that family hikes might not be good for calculators.
Jonathan and Crystalynne wanted to be in the lead, so they ran far ahead of the group. They were proud of it until… they discovered the others were not following. The rest of the family got bogged down in mud, water, and ice. Even though it was a lot of fun, we decided it was time to turn around and head for home.
The canal takes a large horseshoe shaped path around a cluster of trees and a ravine. From one side of the horseshoe, Jonathan and Crystalynne could see the rest of the family heading for home. They decided to take a short cut and catch up to the rest of the group. They crossed the fence, slid down into the gully, trudged through the trees, bushes, and frozen swamp, and joined the family on the other side.
The family hike wasn’t quite long enough for Mom, so she decided to keep walking. Rachel walked with Mom to the end of the dirt road and back (approximately 2 miles). One or more of the children usually go with Jennifer on her daily walks. Uninterrupted one-on-one time with Mom doesn’t always happen at home, but they can often get Mom to themselves on a walk. Walking and talking go hand in hand, and you don’t even have to always be talking to enjoy each other’s company.
Jared decided to walk to the end of the dirt road with them because he needed to hitch a ride with Taylor to their basketball game. He didn’t say anything but acted a little nervous because they weren’t keeping a fast enough pace. Jennifer noticed his anxiety and told him to run ahead. He said he was okay with walking but told Mom that her brisk walk was comparable to his saunter. They laughed, and he ran ahead so he wouldn’t miss his ride.