Sunday, October 31, 2010

Parks and Playgrounds

If you were to ask everyone I know to describe me in one word, I assume none of those people would choose the word "outdoorsy". I am a big fan of couches and television and other indoor things. I have nothing against nature but it is definitely not where I feel most at home. I feel most at home, well, at home. However, I am starting to embrace my inner hiker/camper/park ranger by spending more time in the great outdoors. Of course this time outside doesn't involve any actual hiking or camping or park rangering, it's pretty much just walks and trips to the playground.

Lately our little family has been heading to various playgrounds and parks around town. Owen is at an age where he is just starting to be able to explore some of the playground equipment and can slide down the slide with a lot of assistance. At our high school reunion a few weeks ago, Owen took his first ride on a swing and seemed to love it.

Yesterday we walked to Wilson Elementary school and played on the playground. I thought it would be fun for Myers to take Owen down the "big slide". I have fond memories of sliding down the big slide of my elementary school. If I remember correctly, my elementary school slide was approximately 30 feet long and made of metal. It was fortunate that you traveled about 60 mph down that thing because if you went any slower, you would burst into flames from sitting on a metal slide for too long that had been baking in the direct sunlight for the entire day. Side note: my elementary school also had a piece of equipment called the "looner lander" that was very odd and seemingly out of place for a school playground. It was not until I was in college that I realized it was actually the "lunar lander" (lunar, as in the moon) which made a lot more sense.

Anyway, Myers hiked to the top of the slide and sat with Owen on his lap. I had my camera ready to hopefully catch a quick shot of Owen zooming down. Apparently, things have changed since I was in elementary school. Maybe there were too many broken bones or something but slides now seem to be designed for low speed travel. It took about 45 seconds for Myers and Owen to travel down this 10 foot long, bulky plastic slide. There were lots of bumps and even some mid-slide scooting necessary to make it the entire way down. I managed to take several pictures during their descent. I even had time to take a water break. Ok, not really, but you get the point. I had a good laugh and the boys had a nice, slow, safe ride.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Neighborhood Stroll and The Ark

Pretty much every morning that I am off of work, I wake up and say to myself, "today Owen and I are going to go on a walk!" I would say we actually end up going on a walk about 30% of those days. Today was one of the days that I decided we needed to get out of the house for some fresh air. So after Owen's morning nap I got all geared up in my running shoes and shorts, loaded Owen into the jogging stroller, and hit the pavement.

I promised myself that we would travel no less than 2 miles and that I would jog (rather than walk) for as much of that 2 miles as I could. (sidebar: I hate running) Approximately 10 feet from our front door I walked through a gigantic cloud of gnats. About 10 feet after that, I walked through another gigantic cloud of gnats. Since the street was pretty much deserted I moved off of the sidewalk and on to the street to escape the swarm of gnats that now seemed to be engulfing the entire neighborhood. I detoured from my usual walking route to head toward Wilson Elementary to see if there were any kids on the playground. I forgot that it was a holiday and the school was as deserted as my street. Soon after I turned the corner onto the main road, I noticed an old gray truck lingering for far too long at a stop sign even though no cars were coming in either direction. I immediately came to the conclusion that the truck held an axe murderer/kidnapper who was waiting specifically for Owen and me. I turned around and headed back to the house. My 2 mile walk ended up being only about 200 yards. Time spent jogging = zero seconds.

I still wanted to get out of the house so we went to "The Ark" at First Baptist in Coppell. The Ark is an indoor playground with 2 separate areas for big kids and little kids. It is free and open to the public most days of the week. We had only been one other time. Last time there were between 40 and 50 kids, this time there were 3. Owen is just starting to stand up on his own but isn't walking yet. He crawled and climbed and seemed to have a lot of fun. There were several times that I had to crawl at maximum speed inside the playground to keep up. My knees are bruised and I definitely had to push the limits of my aversion to germs but all in all it was a lot of fun.