by liz degroff: revealing the beauty in the everyday

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personal photojournalism: the return of the walk

it's blog circle time!  when you're done checking out our spring story, head over to Jessica's blog at Samarie-lei Photography to see how her family has been spending their time! 

it has been a long, long winter in our house.  the truth is, it hasn't even been that cold, and we certainly haven't gotten all that much snow, but my tolerance of temperature dips has taken a nose dive, which kept us cooped up inside for the vast majority of the winter months.  with 2 boys under 4, that made for some long, cold, grouchy days stuck inside our little townhouse.  so, it goes without saying that we were all thrilled when the weather turned warm and springy a few weeks back, even if it only lasted for a few days at a time.  we played outside in the driveway, rediscovered bubbles, enjoyed water play out on the deck, hit every park in a 10 mile radius, and- best of all- reinstated our family walks.

we've been going for walks together as a family since our first was still cooking and we were trying to persuade him to make his arrival.  since he was an october baby, we didn't get many walks in immediately following his birth, but once the weather warmed back up, you could find us walking almost daily for fresh air and sunshine.  when i was pregnant with our second, i was hesitant to get a double stroller, but my wonderful friends and family knew me better than i did and surprised us with one.  it was possibly the best and most used gift we received with him.  i would guess that at least 4 evenings a week in the springs and summers since we welcomed our second son (starting about 4 weeks after his arrival), we've loaded both kids up and hit the sidewalks.

it's our chance to get out, get some air and some sunshine, unplug from the world and plug into each other.  it's an opportunity for my husband and i to have a real conversation while our boys witness the maintenance of a marriage built on friendship.  it's a chance for our littles to observe our little corner of the world and a little slice of nature while they feel the gentle clack-clack-clack of the sidewalk under the stroller wheels.  and, now that they're older and energetic and eager to explore, it's a chance for all four of us to stretch our legs and burn off any energy we may have left at the end of the day.

the big has fully embraced our invitation to him to be freed from the stroller once we cross into the neighborhood behind ours (since it actually has sidewalks, unlike where we live).  he runs 4 or 5 driveways ahead of us before turning around to ask if we saw how fast he ran.  he is eager to pick up every interesting leaf, rock or stick he may find, and he is enthralled by ant hills and flower buds and, in true boy fashion, bird poop covered sidewalks :)

the little has been more hesitant to leave the comfort and familiarity of his stroller seat.  it takes some persuasion to get him to walk on his own, and even more persuasion to get him moving for more than a minute or two before he asks to sit again.  fortunately, he has an older brother who is gentle and understanding and at the same time desperate to share his enthusiasm with his best friend.

it's a simple joy of mine, as their momma, to watch the way they function together.  the little adores his brother so deeply- he watches his every move, he imitates and seeks approval.  he allows his older brother to share his knowledge and experience with things that to him are big and new and foreign.  more than once, the tables have turned and my shy and timid oldest has turned to his brother in moments of overwhelm and uncertainty to be his anchor; this big brother sometimes needs his little brother as a safety net more than the other way around when they're both facing something new.  but when my oldest is secure and confident, that swells within him and pours out of his heart and he becomes the teacher and the comforter all at once, and he leads his brother, who is happy and thankful to follow.

these walks are so much more than just walks for us, and i am so very glad for their return.  now continue around the photojournalism blog circle to see some amazing photos from Jessica of Samarie-lei Photography :)