With all this social distancing going on,
Tennesseans are still being encouraged to get outside.
In fact, all the state parks even have free admission right now to help with all this.
Unfortunately, the rain just won't stop!
We've had a couple of non-rainy days over the past several weeks,
but on those days it's so muddy and slimy from all the rain that it really isn't appealing to go outside anyway.
One one such (overcast, but not raining) day, I decided to take the boys to go explore Meeman-Shelby State Park, which is about 40 minutes away from us.
Mud or no mud, I was determined to have an outing!
We recently purchased a new (to us) mini-van,
and the boys were so excited to take it on our road trip to Nauvoo.
I had told them that the DVD Player would only be used on long trips, and they were very disappointed to not be able to test out that and other features on our trip.
So I decided to pretend our little jaunt to Meeman-Shelby was a longer road trip.
I let them watch Liberty's Kids on the DVD Player, I printed sheets of travel Bingo they could play while we drove, and we even picked up Wendy's for a picnic lunch.
The boys enjoyed playing on the playground next to the cabins and the lake and we ate our lunch off and on as they played.
This was the coolest swing! A baby swing on one side, a bigger-kid swing on the other side, so the boys (or I) could have fun swinging while Benson got to swing to his heart's content!
There were tons of little bees buzzing around the wildflowers, and I tried to get a decent picture of one.
And then, right as I was snapping a picture, Benson almost stepped on the bee and it flew away so I ended up with this shot of it taking off! Kinda fun.
We then headed over to the trail for a muddy, mucky, slimy hike.
Although the trees were barely beginning to bud, the forest was teeming with life. All this rain meant that moss and fungus was growing all over the place, and when we stopped walking and were quiet, we could hear 5 different bird calls at once. I was loving seeing all the variety in plant growth.
We loved this spiky plant with curly-cues all over it. Anyone know what it is?
And I thought the bottom of this (very large) fallen tree looked just like a hobbit hole! It just needs a door!
The boys thought these intertwined trees were so fun. Trees in Tennessee have such a vertical feel and are typically very tall, narrow, and twiggy compared to Utah's broad trunks and wide-spread branches.
So many fallen trees with enormous root systems to survey!
On our way back, Talmage wanted to be Benson's helper. It was the sweetest thing to watch him help Benson over all the obstacles, hold his hand over the rough parts, and lift him over mud puddles.
He was also great at "oooh-ing" and "aaah-ing" over whatever Benson showed him.
We were walking through pretty wild terrain! Here Lincoln, Wesley, and Maxwell are standing on the other side of a bridge that is all broken up. There wasn't much water under it, so we hopped across wobbly boards to make it across.
I made the boys drag their feet around in the grass when we got back to the lake to try to scrape some of the copious amounts of mud off their shoes. They enjoyed throwing rocks into the lake.
After we got home, I made a St. Patrick's Day dinner of green pizza bread, kiwi, and green smoothies.
It was a fun break from Corona-prison!