A walk to the rope swings: Bainbridge Island, WA

walking to the rope swings beach logs Marlow Marlow walking marlow picking up glass Ivy walking
easton carrying marlow
Easton and Marlow
Easton swinging

Marlow and rope swing

Marlow sitting on log

Ivy swinging 2

quin swinging

Quin's eyes

quin smiling

cute quin

four walking on the beach
four on the beach

Marlow's basket

One of my favourite things about summer (and weekends in general) is the unhurried pace of our mornings: extra time to snuggle in bed, the slow gathering of people in the kitchen, time to prepare and savour my coffee, choosing what to make for breakfast, and then slowly waking up to the day over breakfast, my favourite meal.

I’ve noticed, however, that the children don’t share this same appreciation for the slow start of a day. They wake up hungry and eager to get going. They eat quickly and then, before I can even finish my coffee, they start showing signs of cabin fever and a readiness for the day. If I’m not quick enough, crankiness can quickly spread from one child to the next before it escalates to full-blown arguments and often tears.

So, while we don’t have a tight schedule or anywhere we need to be, I am aware that we still have to approach the day with a general plan, or at least move quickly enough in the morning to avoid this cranky period of time. I’ve learned that the children need a certain amount of routine and it’s especially important in the morning when they’re full of energy and enthusiasm. The answer this summer has been the rope swing.

Each morning after breakfast, often before I’ve had a chance to get out of my pyjamas, we walk down the beach to the swings: a morning ritual that we all enjoy and one that shakes off the cabin fever and sets the tone for the rest of the day. The minute we set off from the house you can sense the content and excitement in each of the children. We find treasures and search for agates, Marlow collects beach glass, the boys play games and often run up ahead. Ivy usually takes this time to talk to me and share her thoughts and random observations as she walks near my side. We reach the rope swings with an excitement that has built up along the way, and the kids swing with pure delight and squeals of joy.

We return from the rope swings feeling alert and ready to engage and be with each other. We often sit down to examine our treasures, or we’ll start up a craft project or get out our books or journals for quiet reading time. Having swung out their restlessness, they are happy to be more still.

This is something I will have to remember for the upcoming year. I will need to be mindful of the children’s needs and their energy, and to follow their lead when creating a routine that works for our family.  If only we could take these rope swings with us for the next year…! : )

8 thoughts on “A walk to the rope swings: Bainbridge Island, WA

  1. Love this! Thanks for your inspiring words Courtney. S L O W is the way for us too. So excited about your world trip. Look forward to your next post *.* All the best to you, Rozalinde

  2. It is so good you are aware of this. We recently traveled around the world with our 3 year old and 6 month old for 6 weeks. My 3 year old was so out of sorts compared to previous trips. I think the stress of travel, sleep deprivation and juggling a newish baby got the best of me and I forgot to be aware of my daughters rhythm. It made the trip so much easier when I eventually realised she was acting out because of lack of routine. Plus I think she was a bit older and more aware of what was going on. So each day I decided to communicate with her more about what was happening and that really helped. I also found she was most happy just doing simple things, like playing in the park or exploring outdoors. It is so nice follow along your journey it looks like you are having a great time.

  3. Courtney – I’ve followed your IG account for a year or so now. I love your gentle and thoughtful approach to motherhood and I find your goodness refreshing. You remind me a bit of my own mother (who died when I was young), so as a newish mother myself, I appreciate having someone (although only virtually) to admire. I’m delighted for you to have a more personal blog. Great writing! Great Pics! Great everything! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Courtney – I just started following you on IG and adore your beautiful photographs of your beautiful family. Especially the ones near your home in Washington… I grew up on Chuckanut! Seriously though; your hunger for travel and adventure is inspiring. Keep searching for your pause!
    – @chasingaimee

    • Hello! Thank you so much for your kind comment!
      How crazy that you great up on Chuckanut! We had dear, dear friends who grew up in the coolest house on Chuckanut. Do you know the Stewart family? Whitney and Carter Stewart? I spent every tuesday of my childhood driving up Chuckanut to have tennis lessons in Bellingham! What a beautiful part of the world. Where do you live now?
      Thanks again for commenting here. x

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