I've been waiting for the perfect day.
I woke up very early this morning and knew today was the day.
The sun was shining bright and the forecast called for a very unseasonably 62 degree day. Combined with the fact that I had the luxury of not having to leave before 7 a.m. to get to work, I knew I would have enough time to squeeze it in.
Many weeks ago I came across this idea for bringing one of my kids' favorite books, "We're Going On a Bear Hunt" to life. I knew we had to do it. (Thank you Catherine for coming up with this clever idea and the inspiration!!!)
As soon as Kathleen arrived and the kids had finished breakfast we ventured outside to create our own Bear Hunt before I had to leave for work.
Sissy watched eagerly from the window wondering what I was up to outside.
Once we were all set up outside, I gave the kids their own pair of binoculars made out of paper towel rolls and vinyl tape then told them that we were going on a Bear Hunt.
(You know how I love themed outfits so we busted out our best
camo and Spider Man gear.)
Even though I told Sissy that this particular bear hunt would be better barefoot, she insisted on wearing her black patent leather shoes.
I didn't argue because any fashionable girl knows that with a great pair of shoes you can conquer the world.
I found these bear paw prints online and used my new color printer that Dave got me for Christmas (that I am completely obsessed with) to print them out to provide a trail for the kids to follow.
Oh no! Long, wavy grass.
We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we've got to go through it! And, swishy, swashy, we did.
(Kathleen made the grass by securing strips of construction paper to ribbon.
In addition to this, she played story narrator so I could take photos and made the story that much better with her exciting dramatics.)Oh no! A river! We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we've got to go through it!
Splash, splosh! Splash, splosh!
(We used a plastic bin, water and blue food coloring to create our river.)Oh no! Mud! Thick oozy mud!
We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we've got to go through it!
Squelch, squelch, squelch!
OK, to be honest, this one didn't go over so well at first. I was sure they would love it but, they spent a few minutes staring at it and saying, "no!"
(Plastic bin, sand, water and some sticks.)Sissy finally braved touching her toes to it but then quickly decided she wanted no part of it.
This is the part where, as the Mommy, sometimes you just have to get dirty. Once I got in, they knew they could do it too.
After defeating the yucky mud we took on the deep, dark, spider-filled forest head first.
(Hunter carried a stick for protection.)Next came the swirling, whirling snowstorm. Fortunately, we had hats and scarves to protect ourselves.
And our big stick.Then, we spotted it.
The very reason we went on this great, big Bear Hunt.
Yes, there it was in the distance. A cave. A deep, dark, narrow, gloomy cave.
We knew we couldn't go over it. We knew we couldn't go under it. We had to go through it!
(Well, some of us still chose to go over it.)Tiptoe! Tiptoe! Shhhhh! What's that?
Hunter confirmed what he we knew was lurking in the distance.
One shiny wet nose, two big furry ears, two big goggly eyes......
It's a BEAR!!!!
ROARRRRR!!!!Quick! Back through the cave, back through the snowstorm,
back through the forest!
(Giggle! Giggle!)Back through the mud! Back through the river and grass!
(We didn't even need Mommy this time!)
Giggle, that's silly!Get to our front door! Open the door! Up the stairs!
Back down the stairs! Into our chairs to fuel up on our bear snacks! Phew!
(Graham crackers with honey and chocolate teddy bear grahams.)
(Hunter also came up with the clever idea of writing letters
on the table with his leftover honey.)
Although at the end of the story it's decided that they family will never go on a bear hunt again, we decided to change our story.
We were going to be going on a bear hunt again because bear hunts are a part of life.
We will be faced with many situations that we won't be able to go over or under. Problems and challenges will never be resolved by tiptoeing around them or trying to avoid them by taking the easy route.
No matter how dark, no matter how gloomy and scary, we just have to go through them. And this is what I ultimately want to instill in my children. The confidence and power to know that they can make it through anything.
So remember. When you encounter trials along your path, take your shoes off, roll your pant legs up and walk right through it. Or, just change your story.