I’m a bit of a free range parent in some respects – Go outside and play is my mantra. LOTS of laundry is my payment. I’m an expert at mud. And my kids have a knack for finding it.

I’m so thankful that through this move, my kids have found a little tribe – a group of boys that tend to congregate on our little dead-end street, running through the woods and yelling “we’re savages!” or playing basketball or swimming until the their lips turn blue. During snowy weather I pull out all the gloves and find some extra snow pants and get prepared for the mud and the hot chocolate that’s sure to come.

Sometimes they disappear for a little longer than I’d like. After a while I get curious (not really worried, but definitely curious.) And I know that when the street goes quiet and I need to follow footprints to find them, I’d better bring the camera along because there’s always trouble.

This particular day trouble took the form of a snow-covered dirt pile, just high enough to maybe break a leg and strewn with just enough random debris to make me cringe. But since they’d been out there for a while, jumping off it and who knows what else and hadn’t got hurt yet, I just told them to be careful, took a few photos and went back home.

The fun they had this day won’t ever live up to the fishing-with-a-bow-and-arrow incident, but I hope they remember it for a good long time.