Today is Connor’s first day of preschool at Little Farmer’s Preschool at Petersen Family Farm. He attended farm camp Friday there last year so he is familiar with the school and was eager to return for a new school year.
This year he will be going on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. We are excited for him to continue learning in an outdoor environment that enables him to explore in nature vs. what most traditional programs offer. He loves learning about animals, growing crops on a farm and right now specifically he is interested in everything to do with being able to read on his own soon!
One of our favorite things about the location of his preschool is that it’s the same place we get our weekly CSA basket! And if we need to buy something mid week, it’s much easier now to just pop in the market when we’re there to pickup or drop Connor off because we’re right there! We love supporting this 5th generation local family farm.
In conclusion, we truly hope Connor has a wonderful school year (and we enjoy a little more freedom without him by our side, too)! 😂 It’s no secret that we’re all very close and we’re never apart (we don’t use babysitters – so school is a little break for mommy and daddy)! Heather will be volunteering one morning a week when Jerry is home to do dropoff and pickup.
We are playing “the minimalists” “minsgame” for the 4th time this month. Our family has been minimizing our possessions for about 3 years now (we didn’t always document what we donated, trashed or sold – this same amount or more has been given away in addition to what you see in the photos). What’s shocking is anything that’s given away NOW has remained thus far; which just goes to show that we still have things that we do not find value in that others may, which is why we are playing another round!
Connor has been our biggest inspiration on this journey. We did not practice minimalism when he was born or during infancy (although we know it would have made our postpartum time more peaceful)! We started donating items when he was around 1 but we got really serious about it when he was 3, which we felt was a crucial time in his development. Kids repeatedly ask for things, or to go shopping at OUR favorite stores when they see us constantly consuming; that’s not something we want to teach him. We are raising Connor to value time spent with loved ones, having experiences vs buying things and giving back as priorities. In our materialistic world, this starts with us leading by example.
When we began donating items, we simply explained why and he has given away many things as well. Once he gave his best friend his tricycle he was no longer using. He also tried to give him the jacket off his back which was very sweet but we had to explain how it was still adding value to his life by keeping him warm and dry!
We follow a “one in/one out” rule with anything new that comes into our lives and into our home. Connor’s toys are open ended which allow for more imaginative play. Besides riding his bike and exploring outside (of course) he enjoys renting and reading new books from the library, building new Lego creations and playing with whatever he can find in the fenced backyard.
Through the simple process of getting rid of things we no longer use, we have been able to live with more intention in our day to day lives. We have more peace, more time to spend with Connor and less stress worrying over “things” that don’t matter at all. One year ago, Heather was able to return to volunteering in a hospice house for the homeless on days Jerry is home from work to stay with Connor. She will be able to increase her time volunteering as Connor spends more time in school. We involve Connor in giving back in simple ways now and look forward to involving him more as he grows.
Living a more mindful, intentional and simple life continues to benefit us all. There has never been a moment when we’ve said “you know what, we want to go back to our old ways of aimlessly spending money that we didn’t actually have” or “boy, I sure do miss constantly picking up stuff all over the house all the time.” We shared our story here so that others who are interested in this lifestyle may find the same peace in living simply, too and in doing so, find more resources to do whatever you value most.
“Minimalism is applicable to anyone. Anyone with an open mind that is.” – The Minimalists
In October 2016, a few months after Connor turned 3, we decided to give tent camping another go – this time closer to home. We chose willow lake, up big cottonwood canyon because it wasn’t too far from our house (JUST in case we needed to leave again). The hike was just under a mile so we packed everything with us we would need in our packs and set off! The hike was easy and the views were gorgeous, especially with the leaves changing colors.
Connor was SO excited and interested in everything we were doing. He loved the seesaw, making a fire to have s’mores for the first time ever (something every child never forgets)! When we went to sleep he was as snug as a bug in a rug (but momma’s nose was freezing all night)!
This overnight trip was definitely a success and one we would recommend to anyone (except dogs are not allowed up big cottonwood canyon which is a bummer – but for good reason since it’s a watershed). Connor talked about this experience for a very long time. The spring/summer Connor turned 4, he turned into an old camping pro and it’s all second nature to him now.
In September 2015, a few months after Connor turned 2, we decided to try and tent camp for the first time. He loved rocks at the time (still does) so we thought Capitol Reef National Park in south central Utah would be a good choice. It’s about 3 hours from us so it was a doable car trip at that age, although it was still difficult (he’s an explorer – he doesn’t like to be contained for long)!
We chose a place to set up camp and everything was going well; he enjoyed playing with his 2 trucks he brought, he “helped” Jerry set up the tent, we made a fire and cooked in the cast iron skillet we brought. When it started to get really dark out there is when the trouble started. Poor Connor didn’t know what to do with himself besides repeating that we needed to go home because it was dark! He started to lose it and we couldn’t calm him down. We didn’t want to keep other campers near us awake or wake them up so we packed up and headed home.
We were a little disappointed but we were also laughing about it because we had been teaching him at home when it’s dark, we have to go inside for the night!! So we chalked it up to the experience of what it was and decided the next time we camped it would be a little closer to home….just in case. Luckily, our second time camping was a HUGE success and has been since. We’ll share more of that in our next post 😊
Our family is passionate about living a simple, intentional life with less stuff and more of what matters; the things that cannot be bought. We value spending time together and focus on encouraging Connor’s love for the outdoors.
From the time Connor started walking at 7 1/2 months, he would ask in his own ways to be outside (at that young of an age, this meant being near the door and making sounds and motions until we all went outside). When he was an infant, we naturally spent a lot of time outside to help calm him down; fresh air and a nice breeze along with movement in a baby carrier always seemed to do the trick. Or maybe he inherited his love of nature from Jerry, who is always on the hunt for the next big and exciting backpacking/camping trip. Whatever the reason – we couldn’t be happier that Connor enjoys being outside more than in, that he loves exploring new places and is always up for a new adventure.
We moved from Lexington, Kentucky to a suburb outside of Salt Lake City, Utah when he was 13 months old. We knew that Utah would be a wonderful place to raise Connor with endless opportunities in nature to discover. We have been here for a little over 3 years and while we’ve done a lot, it feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface!
We are excited to share all of our adventures here. Until next time, you will find us in our natural state; wake.explore.repeat!