With so much in parenting, one of the greatest skills I’m learning is how to manage our expectations. What you can’t see in this picture, is a vacation hit with a 103 degree fever on the first day, a family wedding missed, and many hours spent in bed at a hotel. It’s easy to feel angry, frustrated, and disappointment. But once I came to understand in my mind that these are all just part of our memories, our family story, it somehow melts those expectations away and clears the way to just live as we are, with the highs and the lows, and whatever unfolds. To a full summer ahead, together ❤️
Our shop is on a summer shipping break through July 15th, as we take a chance to soak up summertime goodness with our family. So what does that mean for you all?
USPS First-Class/Standard shipping is on us for all domestic orders during placed during our shipping break through July 15th. All U.S. orders will ship out, via USPS First-Class/Standard, on July 16th.
And for our international friends, you'll save $5.00 off of your usual shipping costs during the winter shipping break too. A little something for everyone.
To save on shipping during this break, use promo code: SUMMER
We hope you and yours are enjoying the summer season too!
Sarah & JP (Co-Founders)
Our love for merino wool springs from our appreciation for Mother Nature’s goodness. Engineered by nature’s patient hand, merino is super soft, temperature-regulating, antimicrobial, and moisture-wicking.
With these gifts, however, comes great responsibility — for the sheep, the land, and the ranchers. Since the first days of Chasing Windmills, we’ve sourced our fabric from ZQ Merino-certified ranches where pasture-based sheep roam freely in mountainous New Zealand and Australian meadows. Importantly, these ZQ merino ranches meet strict animal welfare, environmental, and economic sustainability standards.
Today, we are proud to announce that our New Zealand-based fabric supplier continues to be an industry leader for the ethical treatment of sheep and the responsible stewardship of the environment. In addition to its ZQ certification, our merino fabric is also certified by the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS).
The RWS is a voluntary global standard, subject to independent auditing, that promotes the “welfare of sheep and the land they graze on.” Their mission is to “provide the industry with a tool to recognize the best practices of farmers; ensuring that wool comes from farms with a progressive approach to managing their land, and from sheep that have been treated responsibly.”
From protecting soil health and biodiversity at merino ranches to ensuring the humane treatment of sheep, the RWS allows consumers — and brands like us — to identify conscious companies in the merino wool supply chain.
Our clothing choices matter. They reflect our values, our aspirations, our visions.
We are grateful to you — our customers — for supporting our vision for a responsible merino wool kid’s wear brand.
What is the purpose of childhood?
It’s an interesting question and, counterintuitively, one that us parents sometimes forget to ask. Sure, we ask questions centered around our purpose as parents — and those are incredibly important to think about — but the kid-centric question is equally important.
From an evolutionary standpoint, human beings have exceptionally long childhoods. Most species on Planet Earth accelerate to adulthood within a matter of a few short years (or less), but not so for us humans.
Instead, human children remain children for prolonged periods, dependent upon their loving families to nurture them during the baby, toddler, youth, and adolescent years. Our relationship with our children undergoes a profound metamorphosis several times over the course of two decades. We adjust our parenting to meet the growing needs, and independence, of our children.
But again, what is the purpose of this prolonged childhood? Its very length denotes its importance and, yet, we often feel the temptation to race ahead, to accelerate our kids on the path to adulthood. And certainly, one of our roles as parents is to prepare our kids for adulthood.
But, in our view, this role requires a patient reverence for childhood and an embrace of its slow pace. We believe the purpose of childhood is to play; to create; to experiment and take risks within reason and without judgment; to let curiosity spark learning; to test the boundaries of our children’s will, hearts, and minds.
These purposeful pieces of childhood, we hope, will allow our kids to grow in confidence, in compassion, and in love. Rather than short-changing childhood, we lean into it, trust it, and cherish its length.
Because, someday, our kids will be adults. The strong roots of their extended childhood will enable them stand upright in the face of life’s storms; to be strong, resilient, and adaptable during life’s unpredictable journey; and to shine and contribute confidently to this beautiful world.
For a long stretch, whenever you gave our little boy crayons or colored pencils, he’d busy himself drawing designs. Multi-colored, layered, creative designs.
Meanwhile, if you gave his twin sister crayons or colored pencils, she was likely to draw whatever she saw in the world — a smiling face, clouds, flowers, rainbows.
And then, seemingly overnight, our little boy started drawing rocket ships with intricate details, fire jetting out the back, control panels onboard, a moon in the distance. Faces emerged next for him — smiley faces, silly faces. And yes, he still draws designs too.
Evolving and maturing at his own pace, our little boy is unearthing his own unique mode of artistic expression. We never told him to draw a rocket, and we certainly did not pick the day when he jumped from designs to detailed rocket ships. That was up to him. As it should be.
As parents, we joyfully await these leaps, when we see our children maturing before our eyes, learning new skills, testing new boundaries, seemingly all of the sudden.
But these leaps happen in their own time. They cannot be demanded. For kids, there is no command performance.
We provide the loving environment for our children to grow, but like Mother Nature’s nurturing of a springtime flower, we cannot force this sudden burst of becoming. By holding childhood in reverence, we trust that each child’s journey of self-discovery and consciousness will unfold in its own time.
In Waldorf classrooms, teachers practice “holding the question”— that is, holding off on definitively answering the question: “who is this child?” Rather than labeling individual children as the “smart kid,” the “athlete,” the “mischievous kid,” the “artist,” and so on, Waldorf philosophy counsels its educators against putting kids into a defined box too soon.
As parents, we desperately want to answer this question. We lay awake at night, dreaming about who our children will become, dreaming about our adventures together, dreaming about their role in this world. We can dream, of course, but we must also be patient and flexible in our dreams.
Our children will surprise us in ways we cannot foresee, in ways big and small.
For now, it’s enough that our little boy loves to draw designs and rocket ships. He’ll share his next leap when he’s ready. We’ll be waiting, patiently and lovingly.
Our shop is on a winter shipping break through January 2nd, as we take a chance to soak up the goodness of the holidays with our family. So what does that mean for you all?
USPS First-Class/Standard shipping is on us for all domestic orders during placed during our shipping break (December 21 - January 2). All U.S. orders will ship out, via USPS First-Class/Standard, on January 3.
And for our international friends, you'll save $5.00 off of your usual shipping costs during the winter shipping break too. A little something for everyone.
To save on shipping during this break, use promo code: HOLIDAY
We hope you and yours are enjoying the holiday season too! And good news — we're also working on a restock of our thermal long johns in windmill prints, to be released in January…so stay tuned!
Sarah & JP (Co-Founders)
Every year, I like to craft something special for my little ones’ stockings- there’s just something satisfying about using your own two hands to create precious treasures. Handcrafts have a way of making me feel productive, yet at the same time not busy- a glorious feeling for this time of year! And creating with natural elements lends a certain beauty and warmth that sparks such appreciation for all that is around us. Plus, who can resist any cutie wrapped in wool?! These can be whipped up in no time and ready for stockings, nature tables, and little hands just waiting for a cute and cozy little friend. Thank you to our kindergarten teachers for teaching me to make these! They always have the best ideas :).
What You Need:
- wool felt
- hazelnuts with shell on (I had to call a couple grocery stores around me before I could find them in shell!)
- small wooden beads
- thin string or yarn
- hot glue
- Cut wool felt into small long rectangles - about 3 inches in length x just over an inch in width
- Cut string/yarn into 8 or 9 inch pieces in length
- Hot glue wooden bead on top of hazelnut point- the hole of the bead should sit right on top
- Hot glue felt piece on top of bead- I allow for a little more felt in the back to create the pointed hood
- Put a dab of hot glue inside the back of the hood, and pinch the felt together to create point
- Tie string/yarn around with a simple bow
- Trim yarn to desired length
It’s also possible to sand the bottoms gently with sand paper if you want them to stand up! That’s a bonus for high-achieving crafters ;).
Enjoy all the stories, imaginary play, and cheery cuteness that these create!
When we launched Chasing Windmills three and half years ago, we presented our vision of this little adventure together. We began by saying:
We are makers of merino wool children's wear. But our vision does not end there. We will never be content merely to produce a good for consumption. We succeed when we capture the adventurous spirit of childhood through the natural goodness of merino wool.
Fast-forward to the present, this vision still sustains us, still motivates us, still encapsulates who we are and what we seek. We have never wanted to be a transactional business that sells a good for conspicuous consumption. We sought to establish a deeper and more meaningful connection with you, our supporters, our customers, our fellow travelers on the journey of life.
We believe in the joy of using a well-made product. We believe in forging a connection to Mother Nature’s goodness by trusting her to clothe our children.
When you look back upon Chasing Windmills, we hope that you remember the family ski trip (in which your kids stayed warm in their merino base layers); we hope that you remember the restful nights of sleep (in which kids rested comfortably in their super soft merino); we hope that you remember the peace of nature’s gifts.
You see, to us, the joy is always found in using, not just acquiring, something that is true, beautiful, and good. The joy is in the adventures ahead.
We thank you all, our supporters, for bringing our merino on your adventures, for making us a small part of your very big journeys.
To our supporters and friends in Colorado: we invite you to visit us on November 10th at The Kitchen Denver for our third annual Starlight Market. Hope to see you there!
For kids? They’re cute. For apparel brands? Not so much.
That’s why we actively seek to minimize our footprint on Mother Nature in developing, manufacturing, and shipping our merino apparel worldwide.
Our story starts with merino sheep living in free-range pasture-based ranches in New Zealand and Australia—all of which are ZQ-certified, meaning that each individual ranch meets strict animal welfare, environmental, and sustainability standards. By partnering with ranchers who care deeply for their land and their sheep, we dedicate ourselves to a healthy ecosystem.
This dedication extends to our New Zealand-based fabric supplier who transforms the shorn sheep fleeces into beautiful rolls of super soft merino jersey. Our fabric provider is a Bluesign Systems Partner, evidencing their commitment to ecologically sound manufacturing principles.
Since 2016, those merino fabric rolls have gone to our worker-owned manufacturing partner in North Carolina to expertly prepare the finished garments. By spreading opportunity through needle and thread, our manufacturing partner is working to revitalize the once-booming Carolinas Textile District.
And then comes the packaging. If you’ve ordered from us before, you know that we embrace the ethos of beautiful simplicity in everything we do — from the design of our apparel to its packaging going out the door.
We simply wrap up our long johns and short johns with premium Italian cotton ribbon — letting the beautiful garment, rather than excess packaging, speak for itself. We then use recyclable lightweight kraft paper to protect the garments inside the polymailer or, for bigger orders, cardboard box.
About those polymailers and cardboard boxes. They are 100% recycled content, all post-consumer material, and recyclable.
Over the past three years, we have shipped bundles of merino goodness to all fifty states and over two dozen countries. To minimize the environmental impact of shipping worldwide, we purchase annual carbon offsets to ensure that renewable energy projects and greenhouse gas-capture projects offset the impact of these shipments.
And so, when a box of merino goodness arrives on your doorstep, you can rest assured that we’ve thought a lot about our footprint. We are a company born from a deep respect for Mother Nature’s gifts. Caring about how we treat her is paramount to our mission.
“Will you play with me?” It’s perhaps the most quintessential question of childhood. And it’s the question our little boy asked his uncle during a recent family gathering.
“Sure! What do you want to play?” came the reply.
An expression spread over our little guy’s face, as if to say, “Oh, wow, I have no idea. I hadn’t got that far yet.” After a pause, he said, “Just run around and play!”
And so they did. Our little girl joined in the fun too, as their uncle chased our kids with bursts of laughter ensuing. Evidently, they decided to roam around and mimic the roars of prehistoric animals, including sabertooth cats and woolly mammoths. They loved every second of it.
Watching my kids chase their uncle, it struck me: this joy just happened spontaneously. It was not planned, researched, or analyzed. It just started with a simple decision: let’s play.
Kids don’t feel the need to have all the answers. Life washes over them, and joy flows naturally.
As grownups, we sometimes forget the wisdom of our youth. We fall into the trap of thinking that, for life to be fruitful, we must plan every hour of every day. Our overreaching minds tell us that we must have all the answers before taking the first step.
To a certain degree, we are right. We have to plan for work and home responsibilities. After all, dinner has never prepared itself.
But we can also embrace the wisdom of our children too. There are moments, everyday, when we can simply play, when we can embrace the present without knowing the future, when we can take the first step in a journey without a specific destination in mind.
If only for a few moments, we too can discover the joy and freedom that our children cherish.
Our shop is on a summer shipping break through August 14th, as we take a chance to soak up the goodness of summer with our family. So what does that mean for you all?
USPS First-Class/Standard shipping is on us for all domestic orders during placed during our shipping break (August 7-14). All U.S. orders will ship out, via USPS First-Class/Standard, on August 15.
And for our international friends, you'll save $5.00 off of your usual shipping costs during the summer shipping break too. A little something for everyone.
There's no promo code necessary (the shipping costs are zeroed out for our US customers and discounted for our international customers at checkout).
Hope you and yours are enjoying the summer too! Oh, and stay tuned...we're also working on some new styles, including our thermal long johns, to be released this Fall!
Sarah & JP (Co-Founders)
We understand. It can be daunting to plan a camping trip with kids. Transporting food, water, shelter, sleeping bags, clothing, sunscreen, bug spray, and other survival basics to the woods is a challenging task—even without a kid or two running around.
Although we aren’t exactly “camping people,” we have camped every summer for the past four years with our kids. At times, we love the idea of camping more than the act itself - sweating profusely under the sun as you set up your home in the wild, swatting at the bugs, and sleeping on hard ground can be challenging! But it's nothing that parents can't handle. After all, we are PARENTS-- well trained in sleep deprivation and plenty of discomforts ;). And it's all worth it.
It’s worth it for those moments when your kids immerse themselves in nature’s tasks perfectly suited for childhood — scrambling up and down little boulders, inspecting logs, digging in the dirt, and exploring what’s around the next bend. It's worth it as they fall asleep as you read a bedtime story with the glorious sunset shining into your tent. It's worth it when they wake up and tell you "I want to camp for 100 days!" It's worth it when the company of each other is all you need, away from life's busy distractions.
To help get you on your way to immersing yourself in the great outdoors as a family, here are a few tips for that first camping trip:
* Car camp. While a remote, beautiful camping spot to call your own would be ideal, hiking in with kids and gear to find it may not be all that realistic, especially for the novice! We've done all of our camping at car-accessible sites. Drive right up to your home in the woods and avoid having to lug all of your gear very far!
* Use Hipcamp. It is still possible to find that secluded spot - this summer, we camped in someone's 23- acre backyard! Browse your area on Hipcamp, which is like an airbnb site of land. You can find unique experiences on ranches, privately owned land atop a mountain, farms, nature preserves, etc.
* Avoid a bright tent. If you’re in the market for a tent, stay away from bright colors! It's expected that bedtime will be a bit later with the sun streaming into your tent and wake-up time a bit earlier. However, if your tent is bright yellow, those stimulating colors can make sleeping that much harder. Brightly colored tents just catch and hold onto that light, making it seem brighter inside the tent than outside.
* Practice setting up your tent. Do a test run of setting up your tent before you leave the comforts of your home. Your kids will love seeing a tent pop-up in your backyard and will get them super excited for their adventure ahead. This way, you will know exactly how to pop up your tent before you get to your camp site, taking a bit of stress and unknown out of the picture. The first time I set up our tent in our backyard, I made a mistake with some of the poles, and actually ended up puncturing a huge hole in our tent roof. That would have been a bummer if it had happened in the woods...
* Prepare meals ahead of time. This year, there is a fire ban in much of Colorado. Since we don't have a camping stove, we brought food that was all ready to eat, like pasta salad, sandwiches, raw veggies and fruits, etc. Although cooking over the campfire is super cozy and can be a big part of the camping experience, we were forced to forgo that luxury. Food in the outdoors will still taste extra tasty even if it isn't hot over the fire!
* Exercise those muscles in letting go. On our last camping trip, our five-year-old twins decided to dig a hole with pointy sticks. They worked on this whole for about 45 minutes and were covered in dirt — literally from head to toe. I was about to tell them to stop getting so dirty; after all, we didn’t have a shower to rinse them off before bed. But then it hit me: we’re camping…we’re supposed to be dirty!
* Have your kids set the itinerary. Naturalist philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, described his childhood occupation as a “self-appointed inspector of snowstorms and rainstorms.” Kids have an uncanny ability to find the good stuff in nature and to let their senses guide them on adventures. Sure, we have to set rules and boundaries as parents, but we also have to remind ourselves to step back sometimes so as to let our kids step-forward (and, in the process, show us the good stuff from nature!). Free to be, your little explorers will surprise you in their ability to adventure in the wild!
* Wear merino. Of course you knew we would say this, right? But really, you want your kids to be comfortable. Since merino is temperature regulating, quick drying, antimicrobial, breathable, and super soft, it keeps your kids comfy day and night. Bonus- avoid bringing one less outfit for the day time! Our kids slept in their merino long johns, and then woke up the next morning all ready to explore the woods.
Here is our packing list we used to load up our Subaru. With car camping, although it is easy and tempting to throw in anything and everything, we like to remind ourselves that we are not moving to the woods. Use the opportunity to let go of some of that dependency on convenience, and prepare to be amazed at how you can get by with less.
- sleeping pads
- sleeping bags
- small pillows
- mallet (makes it easier to get those tent stakes into the ground)
- small shovel (if your campsite does not have an outhouse!)
- cooler with ice
- food & snacks
- a couple of large water jugs
- water bottles
- paper towels
- compost and trash bags
- utensils and bowls
- flash light
- basic toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper)
- Gathre mat and/or basic camp chairs
- rain jackets
- sunscreen and bug spray
- bedtime book
- merino wool baselayers and clothing (VERY important ;)!
- your kid's favorite blanket or stuffed animal (for nighttime snuggles)
Did we forget any essentials? Let us know your go-to's and tips!
And one last bit of inspiration, courtesy of John Muir: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
It's the first official week out of school and "mom camp" as my kids call it has officially begun. As a work-at-home parent, summer break equally excites me and worries me at the same time. As I think about these fleeting years of them growing too big too quickly, I look forward to cherishing these days together making memories under the sun. At the same time, as one that thrives on routine and rhythm, the complete openness of summer break has me feeling unsettled and nervous!
Our kids will often wake up and wonder what day it is- "Is it soup snack day at school? Is it church day? Is it swimming class day?" Having some consistency week to week provides them (and me!) with a sense of security. When we paint a mental picture of the day for my kids, it prepares them to be resilient, open, and eager for the little adventures ahead.
At the same time, I want them to be able to use this summer time to explore their little hearts out, filling their cups with what speaks to them. I also want to avoid over-scheduling them and instead give them plenty of room to direct their own play. Someone asked us this past weekend- "what are you goals for the summer?" Have fun was the best answer we could muster! But as a I reflected, it hit me: our goal is to find the balance between rhythmic routine and free-spirited exploration.
So, for this summer, I have mapped out one overall "to-do" for each morning of the week, providing a general rhythm to our schedule. This will be a loose routine for us to follow, and then we fill the remainder of our time with free play, bike riding, swimming, exploration, handcrafts, and enjoying the extraordinary gift of the ordinary day. Our week will look something like this:
Monday - grocery store errand
Tuesday - swim class
Wednesday - outing or playdate
Thursday - explore nature
Friday - pool time
For the afternoons, I also sat down with our two 5-year-olds and brainstormed our bucket list for handcrafts they might want to make and summer treats to test out in the kitchen. We've stocked up on some supplies to make a multitude of handcrafts with, available to them when they are eager to create. Our art cabinet contains:
- watercolor paints and paper
- wool roving
- dried flowers from spring and moss
- sea shells
- glass "jewels"
- acorn caps
- sun paper
- sewing needles, hot glue, scissors, etc
To see what we may be crafting or creating in the kitchen, I've finally started using that fancy pinterest app ;), and you can see here what we have on our bucket list. Having many of the supplies on hand already has given me some feeling of preparedness, while also allowing for spontaneity to create when they so choose.
With a little luck and patience, we'll find the right balance between rhythm and free-spirited play this summer. Here's to you and your little adventurers this summer too!
PS The book "Play the Forest School Way" has given me many ideas for nature-based play and I always rely on it to help me through school breaks!
We've been dreaming of our summer adventures ahead, and realized what all of our favorite past vacations with our kids have in common- the wild. Those places where it's just us, natural beauty, and the fresh air. Peter Stark, author of "The Last Empty Places", spoke of our favorite environmental philosophers John Muir and Henry David Thoreau - “From the time they were young, they felt an urge to seek out these wild places, to explore them, to ramble through them, to love them. In some ways, it was a search — as it’s been for me — for a childhood paradise lost, to recapture those exciting jaunts through woods and fields and streams.” This is what calls us, to share the free spirit and beauty of Mother Nature with our children. And so, if this is something that calls you too, here are some of our favorite trips with our children, where we were able to share that meaningful connection to each other and the natural world.
This charming carriage house was named the "Best Airbnb" by Outside Magazine. With its own creek on property, hiking trail to a stunning 50 acre plateau with a view of 5 mountain ranges, and aspen grove, they had us at "free to roam anywhere on the land, commune with cranes, elks, owls, eagles." We've been seeking out these one of a kind, no frills but totally unique experiences and this place is a true memory maker. Note: there is only one queen bed. We both packed sleeping bags and the owners were very accommodating to our family of 4. So it's kind of like glamping in a way ;)
With it's relaxed vibe, small town charm, and access to abundant natural beauty, Ojai would be at the top of our destination list all by itself. But, throw in a stay at Caravan Outpost, an oasis on the edge of town with 11 airstream trailers, and we'd visit here again and again. The staff is super knowledgeable about the area and has great recommendations for good food and fresh air. And, we were spoiled with s'mores, every. single night. Grab the Diego trailer if you can - it has a small bunkbed that your kids will obsess about.
CAMPING - ANYWHERE
We admit it. Sometimes we like the idea of camping more than the actual camping. Bugs, rain, unnerving nighttime noises from critters…it can be a trying experience. But there’s something uplifting about adapting to a new environment and venturing away from the comforts of home. For the past three years, we've made sure to pitch a tent at least once a summer. We've learned that in camping and in life, the rough spots sometimes pave the way for happiness. And I can say that with every camping trip we've had, happiness was surely made. Read more here for some of our tips for camping with kids.
While campsites are great, we've recently found some bucket list places to camp on hipcamp. You can stake a spot on someone's private property for truly out in the wild experiences.
"Wear Clothes that Matter." - Solitaire Townsend
From field to garment, every step matters. As part of #fashionrevolutionweek, we wanted to share what matters to us when creating our cherished merino wool goods.
The land and sheep where are merino comes from, matter. Our story starts with merino sheep living in free-range pasture-based ranches in New Zealand and Australia—all of which are ZQ-certified, meaning that each individual ranch meets strict animal welfare, environmental, and sustainability standards. Never mulesed, ZQ merino sheep display natural patterns of behavior, namely roaming and grazing in mountainous meadows.
The ranchers that care and tend to the sheep, matter. Who are these ZQ ranchers? One is Philip Rive, a multi-generation merino rancher with whom I had the great pleasure of meeting a few years back. I spent a day with Philip and his wife, Kate, on their ranch in the Remarkables mountain range outside of Queenstown, New Zealand. As we toured the ranch, he pointed to hills that he explored as an eight-year-old by pony. To Philip, Kate, and other ZQ merino ranchers, taking care of merino sheep is is a way of life (not just a way to make a living).
The environment and way in which we impact it, matter. At the beginning of our supply chain, we have chosen to work exclusively with a Bluesign systems partner as a merino fabric supplier. Bluesign's aim is to reduce the ecological footprint of the textile industry and realize a environmentally friendly, sustainable textile production worldwide.
We recognize that our fabric production is not the only step that impacts the environment. We are continually looking for ways to reduce the footprint of Chasing Windmills. Our home office is wind-powered. We operate our business on a carbon-neutral basis, thanks to the good people of TerraPass who offset the CO2 that we are responsible for. We use recycled materials for our mailers. Our merino fiber is naturally renewable, with the sheep being shorn once per year. And, best of all, merino is biodegradable -- all thanks to Mama Nature.
The livelihood of all workers sewing our garments, matters. Since Spring 2016, we're proud to have partnered with a USA worker-owned facility called Opportunity Threads. Based in North Carolina, they are part of a concerted effort to revitalize the once-booming textiles industry in the Carolinas. Opportunity Threads believes in its workers, so much so that after a vetting process, the workers have the opportunity to become owners in the company—quite literally spreading opportunity through needle and thread.
Our design and final creation, matter. We strive to create simple, timeless merino pieces that will be cherished by your children. Made to withstand the trends and seasons, we hope our goods are always loved, cared for, repaired, and loved some more -- joining your little adventurers on their memorable journeys.
Together, all of these things matter. Our vision has always been to be a conscious company that cares for not just profits, but the lives it touches and the environment it graces. We are grateful for you -- our costumers, cheerleaders, and supporters -- for always inspiring us to do what matters.
I never realized how much I love the arrival of spring until I became a parent. Kids notice the good stuff.
Last spring, our kids showed us how our flowers close at night and open as the sunlight’s warmth reaches them.
This spring, they excitedly run outside and show us which new flowers emerged—tulips, daffodils, and wild flowers popping up with spring. They lead us on “nature walks” through our neighborhood, pointing out the new flowers and bending over to smell them.
They also love to trick us into smelling a popular flowering tree in our neighborhood that, well, does not smell sweet or pleasant! They laugh as we crinkle our noses.
I love spring as a parent because I see so clearly how our kids live through their senses. They gently touch, smell, and gaze at spring’s flowers. They dig in the dirt, finding worms in healthy soil.
As grownups, we often live in our minds, not through our bodies as our children do. Their senses guide them on little adventures, letting them see and smell and touch nature’s goodness. Spring offers a chance for us parents to experience the world through our senses too. Our kids rekindle something within us that is both familiar and inspiring.
And yet, as parents, we also worry about nature—specifically, our collective impact upon the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the environment for which we care. We wonder what kind of natural world we are leaving to our children.
However, we have chosen not to burden our kids with this reality just yet. They are young, and we believe that they will learn to care for the environment by learning through their senses as kids.
Sure, we teach them about composting (“Isn’t it amazing that our banana peel will turn back into healthy soil for other plants to grow?!”), recycling (“They’ll be able to make something new out of this!”), and the outdoor mantra of leave-no-trace (“Other people will be able to enjoy this field of wildflowers too!”).
But we don’t burden their little minds with fatalistic notions of what is happening to our natural world—not yet at least. We teach them that Mother Nature is delicate and yet resilient too, pointing out that our tulips survived the spring snowstorm. And we let them learn for themselves, through their senses, just how majestical Mother Nature truly is.
As they grow up, they will learn all about the challenges we collectively face as a species living on Planet Earth. And perhaps they will inspire solutions and effect changes in how we live and interact with the natural world.
But in the meantime, they are learning to love nature with all their heart. And for us, that’s a great start.
We are stewards of the land and seas, if not for ourselves, then certainly for our kids. The small choices we make today affect the natural world that our kids come to know and love.
Everyday as parents, we collectively have the power to make decisions that will benefit our children and their relationship with nature. We are grateful for Mother Nature and respect her gifts.
And so, we bring reusable bags to the grocery store instead of using single-use plastic bags; we carry reusable water bottles instead of drinking from disposable plastic bottles; and, on a pleasant summer’s day, we bike to the farmer’s market instead of driving.
In the grand scheme of things, it may seem like these small choices don’t really matter. But the truth is that a waterfall begins with a single drop of water. Together, our small choices make a big difference.
The clothes we wear represent one of those small choices with big impact. According to a recent report, synthetic plastic-based fibers, such as polyester, are becoming ubiquitous in our clothes—and our waterways.
From 1992 to 2010, demand for synthetic clothing jumped 300%. When we wash these synthetic garments, micro-plastics (that is, tiny pieces of plastic) break free from the garment and go down the drain.
Eventually, those micro-plastics make their way to our oceans. Approximately one-third of the annual 1.5 million tons of micro-plastics come from washing synthetic clothing.
Thankfully, merino is different. Naturally biodegradable, merino wool returns to the Earth. When micro-merino-fibers go down the drain in the wash, they breakdown and become one with nature again. In fact, if you were to bury a merino wool t-shirt in the ground, it would take just nine months for the soil to reclaim the merino fabric!
And so, when we dress ourselves and our kids in merino in the morning, we act as faithful stewards of the land and sea. It may seem like a small choice but, when multiplied across hundreds and thousands of families, it makes a big difference.
April is Earth Month. Really, we think every month should be Earth month, or Earth year, or Earth day. It's the planet we live on and our children live on, after all. But we'll take the designated Earth Month and any other opportunity we can to share a conversation about this precious planet and refocus ourselves on living sustainably. Here are some simple ways to celebrate the Earth and share our appreciation of Mama Nature with our children:
- Grow a garden. Not only will your kids love chomping on fresh veggies right out of the garden, but it really is something you can enjoy all summer long -- from the digging of the dirt, to planting, watering, and watching things grow -- it's pure childhood magic! Plus, eating locally grown doesn't get much more local than your backyard.
- Plant a tree - good for the land and the air! And create some shade while you're at it.
- Take a walk, run, bike ride, skip, etc. instead of hopping in the car. You get to hold hands too instead of smiles in the rearview mirror. Put those sneakers to use, get some exercise, soak in some vitamin D, and save on fuel and the carbon emissions.
- Wear merino! Of course we have to list this ;). But truly, as a natural fiber, merino wool comes from nature and will return to nature. At the end of its life, merino fibers can biodegrade in approximately 9 months, compared to its synthetic imitators which take 30-40 years! Merino is also naturally anti-microbial, so it doesn't hold in odor like synthetics can -- which means less washing is required and another win for Mama Earth.
- Line dry clothes. Save on that energy bill, be gentle on your clothes, and let that breeze do all the work. Plus if you're wearing merino as outlined in #4, they'll dry super fast too thanks to the quick drying nature of the wondrous fabric. (If you don't have the space for line drying, note that our merino is tumble dry low-able too;).
- Compost. If you're not brave enough to compost yourself (we aren't!), check with your local trash & recycling service to see if they offer a compost collection. Denver made it easy for us to cut our waste down, which only requires us to pay a little extra and then simply separate out organic material like yard debris, food scraps and non-recyclable paper and place them in a different bin instead of the trash. The organic material collected is sent to a commercial facility where it gets turned into a high quality soil amendment known as compost. Our kids are even in the habit already of composting and recycling, and habits like this last a life time.
- Avoid using single use plastics. Let's cut down, or cut out altogether, our reliance on things like straws, water bottles, plastic food wrapping, etc. that only get used once and then end up in the trash. We started using these bee's wraps for food storage instead of plastic -- they're cute too!
- Purchase carbon offsets. Every year, we calculate our carbon footprint for our home and business energy use, and then purchase carbon offsets from TerraPass. The carbon offsets are used to fund renewable energy projects and capture greenhouse gases.
- Hike in the mountains, splash in the ocean, walk in the woods, frolic in the fields. Nothing stirs up an appreciation of the Earth like getting outside and enjoying the natural beauty of the world. When we share this with our children, we can't help but think that they'll continue leading us on this journey to celebrate and protect this planet we get to be a part of.
We're always looking for ways we can do more -- we'd love to hear your ideas that you share with your family!
Pictured above: "Here we Are, Notes for Living on Planet Earth" by Oliver Jeffers, sneakers Smallbirds Wool Runners (yes, shoes made out of merino!), and merino wool short johns for sleep and play by yours truly.
When we launched Chasing Windmills in 2015, we shared the vision for our little company. We stand by our vision, by our hopes and dreams, by our quest to connect genuinely with our customers and bring a bit of nature’s goodness into your lives.
We are grateful for your support, for helping this little small business grow, and for making us a part of your family’s adventures. As we grow, however, we find ourselves spending more time on the day-to-day challenges and opportunities of running the company and less time dreaming about our vision.
And so, today on mom-and-pop small business day (yes, it’s a thing!), we’re taking the time to reflect on our journey and assert our vision going forward.
We believe in living life intentionally, deliberately making choices for ourselves and our children.
We believe in simplicity, understanding the freedom of enough and the stress of too much.
We believe in Mother Nature, trusting that she will provide for us better and more wholly than any artificial creation.
We believe in the wisdom of childhood, embracing play and resisting the urge to treat our kids as mini-adults.
We believe that adventures come in all sizes, embracing the little adventures along the way.
We believe in a gathered table, breaking bread with family and friends and sharing the goodness of a wholesome meal.
We believe in slowing down, taking deep breaths, and recognizing the incredible gift we have to explore this beautiful world with our children.
We believe in the light deep within our children and we embrace the future that, someday, they will create.
Yes, we are a small business, run by a mom and a dad. On any given day, our emotions run the gamut from hope to doubt to stress to relief to disappoint to happiness. At times, it is easy to get caught up in the rollercoaster of life.
And sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that we are the creators, not the passengers, of our lives. We find it useful to assert our vision, our values, our hopes and dreams, to re-center ourselves.
As part of this community together, we would love to hear your visions too. What do you believe in, for yourself and your family?