Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Start Dreaming by Wednesday

Written by Heather

It has been just a few weeks since we committed to slow down one day a week and come together as a family, enjoying nature and one another. 

I start dreaming about our weekly unplugged day by about Wednesday. It is so nice have this to look forward to. We don't really feel the need for this day due to lack of time together, we are really pretty good at that already. We felt the need first and foremost for unplugged time, mostly from the computer. My work is largely computer based these days and I wanted  to just look away for 24 hours a week. I pitched the idea to my family, they seemed to understand. Also, living in a place where connecting with nature involves a car ride and a little planning ahead, it is easy to let this ever so important part of our lives slip from our daily routine. 

Making it a practice to unplug for one day a week, and use some of that time to get lost in the woods has been  a much needed healing balm. I am appreciating the idea tonight, as we prepare our packs and our plans for tomorrow. One final check at the weather before bed and I won't turn the computer back on until Monday. I am a new woman. 

My hope is to journal here once a week about our Unplugged Sunday. 

There may be a second post each week if I'm inspired, and I'd love for my husband to join me in writing here (he's a much better writer than I am), and perhaps my daughter too... I'm not sure if that will happen though. It seems right to keep the whole thing pretty relaxed, letting it  evolve as it should.

Okay, off to bed, tomorrow's weather:
Sunday: Mostly sunny, some late day clouds. Low: 40. High: 71. 

Since originally writing this post, we've made committed plans for this site that include regularly scheduled posting from both Adam and I. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday Hike

Written by Heather

Our region is not known for its mountainous, expansive views, or five mile long lakes. Still, there is plenty of good to be found and we try to make the most of it. It's not always an easy task, sometimes it takes an applied state of mind to enjoy our surroundings. While there is indeed much beauty to be found, it is also common to hear traffic in the near distance, or leave with an extra pound of litter in your pack that you found along the trail. I write this not to complain, but rather to remind myself that we always have to take the good with the bad in life, otherwise, we're just stuck with the bad... and that is never a good time.

There is an organization here called Joshua's Tract Conservation and Historic Trust, Inc. (known by locals as Joshua's Trust), a not-for-profit that protects over 4,000 acres of open space in Connecticut's Quiet Corner. These 4,000 acres are not interconnected, they expand over many towns, a few hundred acres here, ten acres there... you can imagine the potential for traffic noise or the surprise arrival in someone's backyard (oops!).


Even though it (mostly) lacks the never-ending feeling of a deep in the woods hiking experience, there is still plenty of magic to be found, and we are enjoying our little self-imposed mission to walk every single trail in the Joshua's Trust trail book. It is also worth mentioning that the dedication of the community necessary to maintain and manage all of this land is nothing short of inspiring.


It was wonderful to get out for some quiet family time on Easter Sunday, before the very large family gathering later in the day. This hike was close to home and gentle on the body which some of us were grateful for given that we pretty much ate only chocolate for breakfast!

Settling Into Our Unplugged Sunday Groove

Written by Heather
This post originally appeared on my personal blog, Beauty That Moves. 













I have so many thoughts about how our newly committed Sunday routine feels for our family, but I think I'm going to wait to share those. For now, we are still marveling at the newness of our unplugged experience. I shared some thoughts last week, but I think a little more time should pass before I attempt deeper reflections.

We have always been a hiking/camping kind of family. But this new intention behind our approach is so mindful, almost ritualistic. A full day, once a week, to unplug from types of technology that feel like a drain to us... and come together as a family in nature (and at home). So simple, yet the effects are not so simple at all. They are really quite profound.

Do you read Renee's blog, FIMBY? She is a busy lady at the moment as her family is preparing to move from Maine back to their homeland of Canada. You can read more about why they are moving here. Renee and her family have been deeply inspiring to my own, they have a practice of getting out in nature together, one day a week. I thought this was a beautiful idea. Her husband Damien writes a fantastic blog called Adventure in Progress where he (and Renee sometimes!) share their family's experiences in the woods. (This is a blog your husbands will love ladies!) Just how cool is the Tougas family? Check out this backcountry sledding video they made! (I think they should go into the business of hosting family adventure vacations... Renee?)

So that is a little more behind the motivation and inspiration of our newly once a week, committed day of unplugging and getting out in nature. A welcome appointment for this gear loving, trail seeking family of ours.

Our First Unplugged Sunday

Written by Heather
This was originally posted on my blog, Beauty that Moves.










One week ago we made a decision to welcome Sundays acoustic style, sort of. Yesterday was our first go at it. Oh my, we are seriously onto something very good for our family. 

The plan was to not turn on computers, Ipods, TV, or other similar devices. Any items that could be used for pleasure such as the camera, wood working tools, stereo for music, etc... that's all good. It's the techy things that tend to represent an energy drain and time expense that we'd like a break from once a week.

"Sort of" acoustic style because we are not opposed to watching a movie at night to wind the day down together. But there is no random channel surfing just to pass the time. I think Adam and I would pass on the movie, but it is something Emily enjoys, and I'm all about teenagers having fun with their family rather than looking for fun elsewhere.

I also say "sort of" because we are very open to using the car... our home is in a relatively urban area with no green space in walking distance. It's a challenge for our tree and trail loving souls, but we make the most of it. So for our family, a car definitely has a place during Unplugged Sunday.

Fortunately, we are within very quick driving distance to some pretty cool places (we remind ourselves of this often during those times we feel suffocated by urban living). Yesterday, we never wandered further than ten miles from home. Very nice.

We, like so many of you, have a desire to slow our family down a little more. Those that know us in real life may read this and think I'm nutty for feeling a need to quiet things even more. We are viewed as a very family/home centered group of people, on the surface it may not appear there are too many places to cut back. But there are, there always are.

Our computers are centrally located in our home. This works really well for our homeschooling, mom working from home, teenager on the internet lifestyle. The downside is a quick email check or internet search when an idea pops into your head is a little too convenient - and it's easy to let thirty minutes pass when you only intended to be on the computer for five. Or a quick game on the Ipod lingers for an hour without the player realizing. You may know how it is...

So this is how we hope for Sundays to look from now on (adding a morning soccer game to the mix starting next week). It's a pretty bold step, and it feels a little crazy sharing about this after only one week of doing so, but we were all very inspired by the volume of time we had on our hands yesterday and the many enjoyable things we were able to experience at such a slow and easy pace.

Unplugged Sunday... seems to be just what we were looking for. 

Good Monday morning to you!