Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

The Green Hour Combo – A Family Affair

Making sure the bikes are in ship-shape!

Last week I wrote about Green Hours and grandparents, and about all of the cross-generational memories that can come from spending time in nature with extended family.  This week however, I wanted to focus a little closer to home – with immediate family.  If you are a frequent visitor to this site, you’ll know that its no secret that the majority of our weekends are spent outside at the crag scaling cliffs.  I’m pretty certain that when Cragbaby looks back at his early nature memories, most of them will involve ropes, helmets, and tents.  To put it mildly, I guess you could say rock climbing is kind of our “thing.”

"Let's go guys! What are we waiting for?!?"

That doesn’t mean that our green hours involve only rocks.  There are plenty of times where our family outdoor time revolves around more “mainstream” activities – like bikes, neighborhood parks, and jogging strollers.  In fact, just a few weekends ago we took a break from climbing to give ourselves a chance to catch up on stuff around the house and to do the things that normal people do on the weekends.  The weather was great, so getting outside and enjoying the sunshine was definitely a priority.  However we had a mile long to-do list…our solution?  The Green Hour Combo.  Here’s two examples of how we made our nature fix a family affair…

I guess we can't go a whole weekend without someone climbing SOMETHING!

After a morning of errands, Cragbaby crashed without any trouble around lunchtime.  That gave the hubster and I ample time to clean the house, pay bills, etc.  When Cragbaby woke up, we had a couple of hours to kill before commencing dinner plans, so we decided to take action.  We loaded C in the stroller with a homemade smoothie, book, and toy of choice (that day it was a plastic truck), and hit the ground running…literally.  There is a really cool park connected to an elementary school a couple miles away from our house.  We go there a fair amount – you can read about past adventures here.  It was the perfect distance for us to jog there, chase C around the playground apparatus for a while, then jog back.  Workout for mom and dad?  Check.  Green Hour for the kiddo?  Check.  Family quality time?  Check.

Daddy is pretty proud of the fact that C could hold himself on the rings, and only needed a close spot just in case

The next day we spent the morning at church, and again caught up on household duties as well as some guidebook writing while C napped.  By the time he arose, we were all ready and raring to go.  In the interest of variety we opted for a different park this time – Davies Park.  Davies Park is a little far for us to go to on foot (clearly we are climbers, not endurance athletes…), but its the perfect biking distance, especially if we meander through the backroads so that we can enjoy the scenery rather than getting bogged down in traffic.  After getting C situated in the bike trailer, we were off to the park.  Steve and I put in some good time in the saddle, and C got to swing to his littler heart’s content.  He must have had a good time, because everytime I looked back at him in the trailer, he had a perma-grin glued to his face.  Mommy and Daddy were in a pretty good mood too.

It's not a trip to the park without the pure ecstasy that is swings...

Had we taken turns watching C so that we could each have individual, regimented workouts at the gym, we would have spent twice the time trying to get some exercise in, and would never have been able to cross off our entire to-do list.  But not only were we able to get things done, the time spent together was rejuvenating for body, mind and soul.  What works for your family – maybe we’re the only ones with a name for it, but our family can’t be the only one that takes advantage of the “Green Hour Combo.”  Feel free to share your go-to “together” activities here!







7 Responses to “The Green Hour Combo – A Family Affair”

  1. Great post from @Cragmama today on how to make working out a family affair:


  2. Jill

    What is a homemade soothie?
    Love this idea by the way. M isn’t always so keen on a stroller ride now that he can get around on his own, but we will keep trying!


    • Jill – Homemade smoothie – I usually just take whatever fruity/yogurty leftovers he has from breakfast and lunch and blend it together with some juice and a few ice cubes. It seems to hit the spot. I know that C does really well with the stroller when he has stuff to do – the smoothie helps kill some time, as well as books and other toys. Sometimes we’ll stop and pick flowers/sticks/rocks up along the way for him to investigate while we run.

      Sarah – I moseyed (sp?) on over to your blog – glad you had fun at the New! Good on you for sticking with your fitness goals! What areas did you climb in? We are actually headed there tomorrow – will definitely spend a day at Endless, and probably also Whipoorwhill.

      Amelia – Agreed – never attempt a run/bike/etc without munchies – preferably the kind that take a long time to eat!

  3. The Green Hour Combo – A Family Affair via @cragmama


  4. We were able to do more of this with only one child….and the younger the better. Truthfully, life didn’t change a whole lot until our first got older. We were out camping six weeks after his birth with no problem…but now it’s like, what to do with the potty training (I should be training him, but I’m keeping him in diapers simply because I cannot figure out how to keep going without him in diapers). And he is a liability in everything anymore…we can’t do anything safely haha.

    Plus, now we have a second one.

    We make it to the park quite frequently, the beach now that it’s cooler (we live on the Chesapeake Bay), outside to play in the grass almost everyday, and hiking on some weekends. So the kids get their outside time just fine, but for me, being a more normal sized mom (I had pre-e with my first and gained about 55lbs and basically went all soft and am still recovering from that, not to mention my second pregnancy) it just doesn’t cut it for fitness. I can’t climb every weekend, so I have to workout more traditionally in order to stay ready to climbing.

    It must be something in the air because before I came on here today to read, I posted about post-baby climbing fitness on my own dinky blog.


  5. GREAT post and exactly what we do too. The Chariot is our best friend and I do a lot of biking or running to the park so we both get “work outs” in the afternoons. And I am totally not above bribing with food in the Chariot so I can finish my run peacefully (or close to it anyway!) Plus, if J (the older one) is eating food, it means he doesn’t have any hands left to pick on his little brother! 🙂


  6. Whipoorwhill is great! We did that when our first was 18 months and it was perfect…the approach was tricky with him, but i hear they have worked on it since then…Um not sure. Once we were down there he loved just picking up rocks and moving them all day.
    This year we did some bouldering at Cotton Top….we were rained out two days and did that on the day it wasnt quite dry yet. Then we stuck around Junkyard Wall since the approach was so easy. We had two little bfing babies with us, and my youngest sister (9yo) was climbing for the first time after her kidney transplant so we needed an easy approach and some relaxed toproping. It worked out really well for us this year. We are hoping to get back there in the spring!


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN