365Outside

Refresh Your Life

Month: August 2016

Happy Birthday, 365Outside.org!

September 2015

September 2015

Although the original 365Outside Challenge started for our family nearly two years ago, this week marks a year since I started the 365Outside blog. It also marks my seventh wedding anniversary with The Captain, the beginning of our first extended sailing trip with the kids (heading out for 10 days on Friday, more on that coming soon), the first time I’ve ventured camping with the boys on my own, and the last week before the boys head back to school. It’s a week of many milestones and as such, I’ve been reflecting on the past year quite a bit.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston

October 2015

October 2015

We know all the cliches about how fast kids grow up. Looking back at some of our first posts on the blog, I can hardly believe that less than 365 short days have passed since my boys were that little. They are growing stronger, smarter and feistier by the minute.

And as our kids grow, so do we. 

A lot has changed for me this year. Our first year of the 365Outside Challenge cleansed my mental health. This second time, I’ve recommitted to a healthier physical lifestyle – eating more nutritiously, drinking less alcohol and exercising more regularly. In doing so, I’m regaining some of the energy and strength I lost after having 2 kids in a year and a half. I can do pull ups again and my endurance is finally back. There are little shadows of abs and biceps that were hidden for years. My body will never be the same as it was before babies, but I’m proud of it and confident in its abilities. The softness in my belly was my babies’ first home. These saggy boobs provided their first meals. The streaks of white rubbery stretch marks outline sacrifices to create new life.

November 2015

November 2015

I’ve recommitted to my writing career this year as well and achieved my goal of getting published offsite at least once a month. Since the launch of my writing website I’m finding work as a content writer too, producing pieces I’m proud of for companies I believe in and getting paid along the way.

I’m proud of my kids all the time. But it feels good to be proud of me for once, too. 

December 2015

December 2015

And of course, with all our growth and change comes more independence all around. The boys play for extended periods in the yard on their own. They climb trees. They build ramps and jumps for their bikes. They know how to dig clams and paddle a surfboard. This summer I’ve started taking them out on the boat by myself. Knowing I can trust them on the boat has allowed us to explore the river on quiet days when The Captain is working. And now we are camping without the Captain for the first time. We are with good friends, so there is plenty of support. But the packing and parenting are all on me.

January 2016

January 2016

The first time we were preparing to go for a boat ride without The Captain, Junior asked sweetly, “But who will drive the boat?” I froze. I thought I was raising feminists and here was my four-year-old thinking that I can’t even drive a boat on my own. After an uneventful trip to the beach and back he turned to me and said, “Good job, Mama. Good job driving that boat.” I smirked back, kind of grateful and kind of indignant, and told him “Good job to you too, honey. Good job riding in that boat.”

February 2016

February 2016

It was kind of sarcastic but kind of true. If it weren’t for each other and the ways we’ve grown this year, we wouldn’t be able to do it on our own. But here we are, just one short year later, and somehow one long year stronger, one year smarter, one year feistier.

Happy anniversary to us. 

There’s another big year ahead. Look out, world.         

March 2016

March 2016

April 2016

April 2016

May 2016

May 2016

June 2016

June 2016

July 2016

July 2016

August 2016

August 2016

The 365Outside Guide to The Perseid Meteor Shower

I watched my first meteor shower in college. We loaded into a friend’s car, stocked up on snacks and drinks that we weren’t old enough to enjoy, and drove up a mountain to camp out and watch the shooting stars. It was cold and we didn’t see much, but I was hooked on the experience.

Since then, I’ve learned that shooting stars are anything but their namesake. Meteor showers actually occur when the Earth, in its orbit around the sun, passes through trails of debris left behind by comets. When this debris enters Earth’s atmosphere it burns up and leaves behind the streaks of light that many refer to as “shooting stars.”

A meteor streaks across the sky.

A meteor streaks across the sky.

The Perseid meteor shower – owing its name to the constellation Perseus from which it appears to fly out of – occurs annually each August and is an ongoing event. The Earth has actually been passing through it since July 17 and it will continue until August 24. The Perseid meteor shower is made up of tiny pieces that have broken off from the Swift-Tuttle comet which orbits the sun once every 133 years and is the largest object known to regularly pass by Earth.This month’s meteor shower will be one of the biggest of the year and it is forecast to be the most impressive Perseid meteor shower in 20 years when it peaks around August 12.

Camping beneath a meteor shower outburst - could it get any dreamier?

Camping beneath a meteor shower outburst – could it get any dreamier?

In a recent news release, NASA’s meteor expert Bill Cooke predicted that this year’s Perseid meteor shower will feature an “outburst” in which the meteors will appear at double the usual rates. This unusual outburst is thanks to the gravitational pull of Jupiter which has pulled some extra debris into the path of the Earth this year.

For your best chance at viewing this awesome celestial event, here are some top tips:

  1. Avoid as much light pollution as possible. Find a dark place, away from artificial lights for your best shot at maximizing your view. To really absorb the experience, try to get outside at least 20 minutes before the peak so that your eyes have time to adjust to the low light and are more able to pick out the meteors above.
  2. Image courtesy of http://www.astronomytrek.com/interesting-facts-about-the-constellation-perseus/

    Image courtesy of http://www.astronomytrek.com/interesting-facts-about-the-constellation-perseus/

    Look for the Perseus constellation. This constellation rises at roughly 10pm local time. In the northern hemisphere, it rises in the northeast sky during August and descends into the northwest, following the constellation Cassiopeia. The Perseid shower can also be viewed from the southern hemisphere though it will not be as visible. You do not need to find the constellation to catch the show since the meteors will streak across the sky in every direction, but they will all originate from a point near Perseus.

  3. Go out sometime after midnight and watch for at least an hour. The moon will be setting by midnight, meaning meteors will be more visible. This, combined with the pattern that the Perseid shower typically peaks between midnight and dawn, will mean that your best chance for an impressive show will be sometime between midnight and 4AM. Be patient and stick it out to increase your odds even further.
  4. Look for the most impressive show between August 11-13. Most predictions agree that the absolute peak with up to 200 meteors per hour should occur in the early morning hours of August 12. But the show should be good anywhere in this window, whether you catch the “outburst” or not.
  5. If all else fails or the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can count on NASA. Tune in to the NASA Perseid meteor shower feed beginning Thursday at 10PM ET and continuing through the early hours of Friday morning. Check out the briefing from NASA above for more information.

I plan to get up and watch at some point Saturday night, when we’re out on the boat. It may not be the peak, but I think we’ll avoid most of the light pollution that way. If it’s a good show I’ll wake the boys and share the experience with them. Fingers crossed!

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