I think my colleagues are sometimes incredulous that I have lived in Mystery State for almost 5 months now and still have seen nothing of its natural environment.I haven't been to the Mountains or the Water. I haven't even been to State Just to the South, despite it being a mere 30 minutes away.
I'd love to go to Mountains, and I'd love to go to Water. I'd love to get out of metropolitan Mystery City for once. My hiking boots still have Northwest mud on them, for crying out loud. Not getting to know the land around me is affecting me personally (I'm having a hard time realizing that this where I am really living, potentially permanently) and professionally (where should I take my students on field trips?). But it's been too hard to give over our weekends, the one time we get as a family, to spending time in the car. Minnow's too young to see the fun in car trips, and once we get to our destination we have to kid-wrangle in an unfamiliar environment. It's stressful, and as a result we've limited ourselves to very local excursions.
Travel during the week has proven impractical. I'd be limited to day trips and have to kid wrangle on my own or deal with pumping (on a hiking trail?). Next semester my teaching schedule won't allow any weekday trips. I've got an overnight trip to a research site planned next week, with Minnow in tow. I'm going with two female, but childless colleagues. We'll see how it goes.
But, our weekends at home have developed a nice rhythm of their own-one that is full to the gills and doesn't allow much time for travel.
7:15 - Minnow wakes up, lounge in bed for a few minutes, then attend to morning chores (diaper change, feed dog, etc.)
8:00 - Breakfast. Now that Minnow is entirely self-feeding, meals are a big, long production.
8:45 - Playtime while Mommy and Daddy read the newspaper and Minnow tries to sit on whatever section Mommy is reading (much like a cat)
9:30 - Diaper change and get ready for a nap. While Minnow naps, I shower/do housework/do work-work. Fish does the same or watches TV.
11:15 - Wake up from nap.
11:30 - Walk the dog around the neighborhood. Chat with neighbors. Look at falling leaves.
12:00 - Lunch (and a diaper change)
12:45 - Often an errand (you have to buy groceries at some point).
1:30 - Playtime while groceries are unloaded, laundry is started, etc.
2:15 - Fussiness resulting in eventual nap. I work. Fish does yard work/naps/watches football.
3:45 - Wake up. Diaper change. Small snack.
4:30 - Playtime. Fish and I debate dinner. Laundry is shuffled. I may do a bit more work during this time.
5:30 - Dinner prep. Fish cooks, while Minnow and I do other chores (Minnow loves to "help) or play.
6:00 - Dinner.
7:00 - Bathtime. Bedtime routine.
8:00 - Lights out. Minnow and I fall asleep in the rocking chair.
8:30 - I wake up, put her down in the crib, and do more laundry shuffling/dishes/work or spend time with Fish.
So when exactly in this packed day am I supposed to be taking in the sights of Mystery State? I guess I'll have to explain to my colleagues that I'll get to know Mystery State when Minnow is a bit older. For now, my family needs the relaxation of weekends at home.
You're not that far away. In six months it'll be easy to pick up and go for a day trip to see the rest of Mystery State. Really. The cleaning won't get done and you'll eat take out for dinner, but you'll get out of the house.
We've learned that family time doesn't have to happen at home. Once you're down to one nap a day, a LOT of our family time happens outside while hiking. Home is for chores and homework -- not for fun family time :-)
I think getting down to one nap a day is key. Maybe that and getting a hiking backpack for the kid. Our Ergo has been great, but I definitely wouldn't want to use it for long hikes now that Minnow's had a growth spurt. Hmm, maybe I'll go add one to her Christmas list.
Oh my god, that sounds wonderful, SW. I am finding that life with a one month old is... well, difficult. There IS no schedule! I need a schedule! AHHHH! Please tell me it gets better. It gets better, right?!?
But really, I wouldn't worry too much about getting out and about. I've lived in the same city for five and half years and STILL haven't seen all that it has to offer. :)
We got a Kelty backpack and a map as soon as Norah was down to one nap a day, and it's been terrific. It really is a lot easier when you don't have to squeeze quality day-trip time into two midday hours or three evening hours or whenever the kid's not sleeping. That said, though, the longer trips are cool if you drive at exactly the right time and the kid sleeps in the car. You'll have all kinds of outdoorsy fun, and probably soon - goodness knows the weather's being agreeable these days!
My son absolutely loved riding in a baby backpack when he was one. He would stare and stare and stare at the world... and then fall asleep. Those were his best naps. (He napped better in some kind of motion than lying in a bed.)
I found a Kelty backpack that was really adjustable, too, which was key for fitting both my back and my husband's back.
(I got together with a couple other moms to go hiking, too. That was great - I got to know them and socialize, we all got outside, and the kids were fascinated by the world.)