We recently discovered a fabulous new outdoor wonderland—Sugar Grove Nature Center. Located just south of Bloomington, the 45 minute drive was well worth our time! The day was perfect for hiking, exploring, and getting close to nature. Sugar Grove has seven miles of trails among 1,000 acres of land and water reserves. Needless to say, it’s a beautiful place!
We started our visit with hiking. The trails were grass and nicely mowed. (But don’t stray off the path! Poison Ivy was everywhere!) We saw many insects, heard lots of birds, and discovered a few other things along our way.
We chose the day of our visit because it was National Trails Day and the Center was featuring some extra exhibits. The girls got a booklet listing places to see or booths to visit. Each stop had something fun and educational. This stop was all about native and invasive vegetation. Mya was particularly intrigued by this and will still let you know that honeysuckle from Japan and garlic mustard from Europe are plants that were brought over to the United States but now are invading the natural vegetation in our forests. She asked the lady to “tell me more” several times!
After hiking for what seemed like days, we stopped in the nature center. It featured several live animals, lots of animal pelts, and parts of animals for inspection. (“Parts of animals” included antler sheds, snake skin, teeth, feathers, etc.) There was also a glassed area that looked out to a bird sanctuary. We observed several different types of birds eating and perching. Mya enjoyed sketching them…
Our last stop was at Imagination Grove. This was by far the girls favorite spot! And the exact reason I packed a spare set of clothes for them. This photo was taken before Laynie discovered a couple of mudslides into the creek!
I left the mud sliding to Laynie but I wanted in on the fun too! We spent about 5 hours at Sugar Grove that day and the girls have been asking to go back. We had a great day and can’t wait to return!
Earlier this spring I heard about a kids running series sponsored by Running Central (a local store). Right away I thought that would be something Mya would love to participate it. She tends to be more athletic, competitive, and determined. Unlike her sister. We signed Mya up and the day before the first race went to pick up her t-shirt and race information. That’s when Laynie decided she wanted to run too.
All excited, we headed to the race site the next day. Mike & I both thought Laynie would change her mind at the last minute. To our surprise, she not only ran the entire quarter mile race but also won her girl’s age group! We were stunned! Who knew this girl could run???
Look at those long legs. I’m so jealous. Mya, on the other hand, decided running was hard work and she ended up walking several times and came in last. She is sometimes not a good sport and she was quite the pouty pants afterward.
Week 2 proved to be a little better. Laynie got first again and Mya came in third. She was definitely more confident after having gone to practice with Dad earlier in the week.
Week 3—Laynie decided she had enough running. She sat out and therefore Mya got second.
Week 4—Still no Laynie but Mya came in first! She was so incredibly proud of herself!
Week 5—At the final race, Laynie decided to give it one last try. She again won and Mya gave up early, coming in last again.
Both girls got a participation medal but Laynie won a trophy for fastest overall girls’ time in the first/second grade age group. Mya won the sportsmanship trophy because, even when she didn’t do well, she cheered on the other kids and generally had a good attitude.
So proud of these girls! I’m glad we took a chance and had them do something different. Maybe soon Mike will have running partners so he’ll have no excuse to not exercise!
I’m slightly embarrassed that my last entry was 4 months ago! I’ve got lots of catching up to do. I’ll be mixing the old in with the new until I’m up to date. This ‘family journal’ thing is tough to stay on top of! But some day we’ll gather ‘round the computer and reminisce about these times. Or at least that’s my vision for this whole blogging thing!
Stay tuned for more…