When Zoya was our only child, we visited our special place more frequently. I blogged about that place HERE and HERE. Wow, when did Zoya get so big?? We had a tradition to go there on the fourth of July. Between Mila's health her first year home and Shawn working this past fourth of July, we didn't make it for the past two years. In fact, we'd NEVER gone since we became a family of more than 3! We weren't sure if we'd be able to make the hike with all three girls (or even how we'd do it with two little ones when it was just Zoya and Mila). Today, though, we decided to be brave and attempt to take all 3 girls on a hike through the woods to the creek. We took the double stroller (AKA "the beast") and a pack to carry one of the babies (Sofia was carried on the way there and Mila on the way back). Hopefully the million pictures you're about to see will make up for my lack of posts over the past couple of months!
Not too far along the trail we encountered a problem: this mud pit!
Shawn and I stopped momentarily trying to figure out a way around...but there simply was only one way....and that was THROUGH the mud. With our beastly stroller (which rocks in the all-terrain by the way) we weren't sure how we'd get through with such deep mud!
Shawn came to the rescue and helped his princesses through the mud.....First I walked over the slippery logs with Sofia on my back. Then Shawn took Zoya across to meet me....
....and then went back for Mila.......
And finally back for the stroller!
This little mud pit paralleled our life perfectly. Through our marriage (8 years next month!) and building of our family, we've come to some "mud pits" wondering how we'd get through them. When it seemed there was absolutely no way to get to the other side, we've always been able to put our heads (and hearts) together and come up with a solution. When we realized there was no way to get around them, we stuck together to get through them and made it safely to the other side. For some reason, during the 5 minutes it took us to cross this obstacle, I got a little emotional reflecting on our lives together. I watched proudly as my husband carried his family (literally) across the mud pit safely. It also reminded me a lot of our trips to Ukraine, being temporarily separated at times in order to bring one more child into our family. We cheered for Shawn when he got to the other side of the mud pit with the stroller!
I LOVE going to this place. It is so very peaceful. It reminds me of a "secret spot" my childhood best friend and I had together growing up. I love the way the trees tower over the paths and the way the sun peeks through the branches of the trees.
Up lots of steep hills.....
And DOWN some steep hills too!
I love when Zoya holds my hand because I know the days of her holding my hand are fleeting....
Almost to the creek! (I say cr-ee-k, Shawn says crick...he's the country boy so maybe I'm wrong?)
We made it!
The beast rocked the trail!
Zoya sat and threw rocks forever! She literally could have stayed all day!
She's starting the "LOOK MOM!" and "WATCH MOM" stage...I love it!
A kind jogger stopped on the trail and asked if she could take our picture!
Mila thought the water was cool....for a few minutes!
And....then.....she was pretty much over it! It was COOOLLLLLD! Here's what she was thinking while her sisters continued to play!
I had a moment of awe as I watched Sofia discover the rocks and the creek (crick?) for the first time! Today was a long way from an orphanage life in Ukraine!
She watched Zoya throw rocks for a few minutes....
And was ready to try for herself!
It was really special watching Zoya explore and interact with nature today! She REALLY liked it and in fact, tonight, she was still talking about "throwing rocks."
She is so thoughtful. I love that as she gets older I get to sometimes hear those thoughts in her head!
Love that joyful face!
Sofia is so eager to squeeze every.single.drop. out of life!
Mila humored me with one more dip in the cold water :)
She thought this was hilarious!
We've really been enjoying Mila's frequent tongue kisses lately! :)
Packed up and ready to go!
Zoya cheered Shawn on by saying, "PUUUUUUUSH!"
To cross the mud pit once again! This time Shawn made a new path!
While he was making the path I turned upward to take this picture. Either some weird light reflection going on or a guardian angel :)
Seriously, it did not look like this in real life! We were in a shaded area! Light shines on true angels I guess!
While packing up the car, with Mila still on my back, I smiled when I saw her little feeties in my shadow :)
Feeling refreshed after our special day!