Chapter Eleven- Schlitz Audubon Nature Center


Once again, my hot mama friend Kate and I took an adventure.  The day was warm and sunny and breezy, and everyone needed to get out of the house.  We headed to Schlitz Audubon Nature Center which is sort of a hike but totally worth it.  If the highway isn’t packed, it’s a smooth quick ride just 15 minutes north of the city.  The Nature Center is home to a preschool, tons of community classes and events, outreach programs, and more.  Check out their calendar of events for a sampling.  On June 7th the annual Spring Gala is taking place, where a raffle drawing for a trip to England will happen.  I want to buy a raffle ticket, but one of you has to volunteer to watch my three (maybe four by the time we go) children for two weeks.  I’ll pay you in love and online praise.


First we headed inside to check in (You need to do this.  Don’t be a jerk and just park in the parking lot and hike around.  This non-profit organization relies on good people paying very reasonable fees to keep this land maintained and provide awesome-sauce services).  The nice volunteer at the desk helped our preschool age girls check out backpacks filled with lots of treasures.  Magnifying glasses, clipboards with scavenger hunt-like BINGO games, informational cards and more are inside.  And, if your kids are still pretty little, they sort of look like turtles in these green backpacks.



We then started our hike to Mystery Pond to see what we could find!  It was a short walk on a woodchip path through some tall trees.  The path was wide enough for a side-by-side double BOB stroller, but don’t bring your small, plastic-wheeled stroller.  Air filled tires are necessary.




We arrived at Mystery Pond and a goose was waiting to greet us!  How exciting!  A perfect hazard for a very adventurous and “I can’t be contained!!!!!” toddler.  Mine screamed until she got out of the stroller then headed straight for the goose and water.  All attempts at distraction were a fail.  We decided to make a change to our next adventure and do some more nature hiking.


Lake Michigan was a short but fairly steep walk from the parking lot.  Half way down the paved trail, I turned to Kate in shock and said “WAIT!  I’m going to have to push this stroller filled with 60 lbs of kids and a diaper bag BACK UP THE HILL!” .  Now on a normal day this wouldn’t be a big deal.  I’ve done marathons, yo.  However, I’ve been laid up at home for three months letting my muscles atrophy and doing the technicolor yawn.

I just had to look up “puke” on as not to offend my many many readers.  And because I’ve never heard about any sort of yawn being a synonym for barfing, I had to use it.  AND, by telling you this, I’ve now used two equally distasteful words!


Anyway, we saw some Americorps members planting what looked like hundreds of trees at the bottom of the bluff.  Go volunteering!  And offering to help us get our strollers and kids down the few steps leading to the beach.




Now, I’m making a point to not have my kids’ faces all over the internet, but come on.  This photo turned out pretty well.  And it’s a good reminder to me on days that I feel weak or low.  I’m carrying two toddlers and a baby in my belly!  And lookin’ good in my surf mafia t-shirt cause I’m hardcore.





The kids loved it.  The twins felt sand in their toes and mouths for the first time, and my 3 year old explored digging in the sand with purpose…she had a magnifying glass to put to use.

I had hoped that my adventurous and not-to-be-contained toddler would be hesitant about running straight to the lake, as she was unsure about how to walk on rocky sand at first.  But nearing the end of our visit, I was chasing her on her way to the cold blue water in front of her.  Then I thought, “fine, put your feet in that freezing water and you’ll hate it so much that you’ll want to go back to eating rocks!”  But I was wrong.  I had to drag her kicking and screaming back to the stroller, as it was time to leave, and put a clementine in her had to distract her.


We made it back up the hill, one kid on my back, one in the stroller, and one “helping” me push.  I powered through it and felt like superwoman by the time I reached the parking lot.  We made a B-line for the lobby to return the backpack and headed straight to the car because we were all hot and sweaty and hungry and naptime was calling.  On a more well-planned day, we would have brought more food or gotten Pho at Pho Hai Tuyet II on Brown Deer Rd.  This was a delightful and productive day that I’m sure we’ll repeat many times again…SANC has a Nature Preschool which we’ve heard nothing but awesomness about.

As always, thanks for reading, and peace!


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  1. jamie says:

    As always, super entertaining… Minus the “yawning” – it’s a great life you have there.

  2. nancy says:

    You’re right, they do look like turtles in those packs! I like this adventure. The beach AND pho – you can’t go wrong 🙂


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