The late afternoon light

Every afternoon my two napping kids wake up around 4, and after a quick snack we go outside. When we first moved, my kids seemed uncomfortable and listless in the yard, which was a total shock to me. Our new yard is bigger and has more places to dig and explore, but they just weren’t really interested in going outside unless we were swimming. (And I really don’t think it was ONLY because every time we were in our yard, someone would get bit by ants, stung by a bee, or (excuse me while I take a bit of artistic license) swallowed whole by a copperhead.)

My cure was just to take them outside more. And if they told me they were bored I started singing “If you’re bored then you must be boring too, did I st-st-st-st-st-stutter?

Let me share what I’ve learned by doing this: if your kids are bored, a spontaneous mommy sing-a-long is probably not the activity they’re hankering for. Instead of being back-up dancers to my shout-singing, they figured it out. They explored, they climbed, they discovered.

Now they whine when I tell them it’s time to come in, and they have so much fun that I have to make a dinner time decision about whether I should let them sit at the table covered in dirt, or throw them in the bath before eating. As if we ever have time for that.

Afternoon play is good for me, too. When we’re outside I’m not distracted by messes or chores, and I leave my phone inside so I can more fully engage with the kids instead of compulsively tracking Tom on Find My Friends. But it says he’s still at work! Surely he’s not still at work! This app must be broken!

In the past few weeks I have not been able to help but bring out my DSLR because, man, the light is just unbelievable. Like, there’s a reason photographers call this the golden hour. Coincidentally, parents of small children call the exact same time of day the witching hour.

Here’s a mash-up of the two, golden and witching. Because Kriegers don’t do anything half-way.

afternoonlight 3

As an aside, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to have a three-year old, let me give you a window into that rollercoaster ride. Before I took this photo, Mary Virginia asked me if she could have some water and I responded, “Sure, sweetie. I just have to go inside and get it.”

I guess I didn’t say anything about stopping to take a photo, so maybe she does have a point.




  1. Liz Grissom October 22, 2016

    I love the golden hour and playing outside! Also, tracking Tom = hilarious.

  2. May 26, 2020

    A lot of impressive points in this article about this late afternoon light. This article would be a huge help. Thanks for sharing this one out.


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