Friday, July 21, 2006
First things first. Quick course in Geography and Mapping in Utah 101. It is VERY easy to find your way around the Salt Lake Valley. There are easily distinguishable mountain ranges around the valley to help you keep your bearings so you always know which way is north, south, east or west. And basically in the middle of Salt Lake City there's a "0" (that's a "zero" not "oh") spot called Main Street (which runs north/south) and South Temple (which runs east/west) from which everything is measured. If you move east of the Main Street you'll find yourself at 100 East. If you move another block east you'll find yourself at 200 East, etc. Likewise with the other directions. So an address of 1200 North 100 East means you are 12 blocks north of the "zero" spot and 1 block east of it. I've always been told that all Utah cities are set up on this same grid type mapping and address system. So when I was given the coordinates to a park in Utah County today I thought "bah! easy! I can find any coordinate! No problem!" Except in Utah County.... they do things a bit differently. The cities completely blend together and you can't tell where one starts and another ends, and each individual city has it's own "zero" spot in the center of the town. So I could be on 1200 South in American Fork and suddenly find myself at 300 West in Pleasant Grove. I recognize that this is a really wordy and painful way to simply say I GOT TOTALLY LOST trying to find the dang park today!!! It was ridiculous! I thought I was losing my mind and truly had no idea where I was for a few brief minutes!! At one point there was literally a street sign that had TWO different street names/coordinates on it!!! I had no idea where I was, which direction I was heading, what my favorite color was, who the screeching kids in the back seat were, etc. I was a wreck. I finally pulled over at jiffy lube and asked for help. Luckily a lady in the waiting room knew the park I was searching for and said "Just go back north to the Purple Turtle and turn right. You'll find the park." The Purple Turtle. Yep. Thank goodness for landmarks because the street numbers in American Fork/Pleasant Grove/Lindon are the things my nightmares are made of. I finally arrived at the park almost 45 minutes later than I said I would!!!!! And driving on fumes, 25 miles away from home. (And I'd already raided the coin jar for quarters to pay for gas to even get to the park in the first place!!!) I had no idea we were going the "scenic" (aka panic-inducing) route. What a delightful trip that was!
THANKFULLY when we arrived we found Sara and Max patiently waiting!!! YIPPEEEE!! It was so fun to see Sara again, all beautiful and round-bellied! Max was adorable as always and showed of his new skills and toddled around. So fun! Max and Toby only barely cooperated for pictures before going their separate ways...
EDITED TO ADD: Much to my dismay, almost the very first thing out of Sara's mouth was "Toby your sippy cup is pink!" The whole way to the park, in between panicking about which direction we were going and wondering if we had enough gas to actually get home when the day was done, I was freaking out about the dang purple and pink sippy cup! We'd borrowed it from Grandma's house last night when we forgot Toby's sippy. And it still had milk in it in the fridge today when we were leaving so I just grabbed it for convenience sake. I was mortified that my son, youngest of 3 boys, was spotted in public with a pink sippy cup.
Then the boys enjoyed some swinging time, although we mommies were NOT enjoying the heat radiating from the wood chips under our feet. Who knew wood chips could be two thousand degrees???? I love how Max looks like he's about to nose dive out of the swing in the 1st picture LOL. He seemed to like it though!
Ever had that discussion about never allowing your sons to play with toys that are replicas of weapons? Oh c'mon, I know you've had that discussion. Husbands don't see the big deal... wives tend to want to never expose the babies to anything violent, blah blah blah. Yeah, it doesn't work. My oldest son bit a piece of toast into the shape of a pistol when he was 3. It's just something in their little testosterone-filled bodies I guess. So we have a house filled with water guns, light sabers and pirate swords. So shoot me. The babies seemed quite content playing with guns and chewing on daggers. Hehehe.
Here's the mandatory Mommies and Babies shot. (My 8 year old took the photo. Sara studied it for a sec and gave it the thumbs up and gave me permission to post it LOL) Max was very, very sad. He'd gone exploring and gotten stuck in an area you never would have thought could get someone stuck. Poor little guy was traumatized!!!
And here's the rest of Discovery Park in Pleasant Grove, Utah. This was definitely the farthest we'd traveled to visit a park (even if you don't count the extra 632 miles I traveled trying to find the dang place LOL). It took us about 40 minutes to get here. The boys said it was worth it. If they'd asked one more time "Are we there yet?" they'd have lost their tongues, and maybe they wouldn't have found it so worth the drive at that point. In any case, this was another community designed/funded/built park and it really was a lot of fun. It was sort of science themed with areas dedicated to Geology, Astronomy, Space Travel, Dinosaurs, etc. Lots of imaginative play areas, plus slides, swings, climbing areas, etc. The kids gave it their thumbs up and I'm pretty sure it will be in the top 4 or 5 on their final list.
It was ridiculously hot again, and thank goodness for shade trees! The boys still wanted to play play play though, and as usual, Brady had the sweatiest head of any kid I know. Can you see the drip of sweat on his earlobe? LOL.
Well we did it!!! If I'm being completely honest I really didn't think we'd actually follow through with the whole 3 week plan, but we did! And I'm so happy about it and I'm so relieved to finish Ben's summer breaks with no regrets, no wishing we'd done something fun for him to report on when he starts 3rd grade. He's got an awesome summer break to talk about and I'm thrilled about that! It's been a great little summer vacation! Thanks for going along for the ride!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Seriously.... I was ridiculous with the camera today. This park was SOOOOOOOOOO cool that I couldn't resist. Having adorable children doesn't help either
Today we went to Liberty Park in downtown Salt Lake City. This park ROCKS. I used to live a few blocks away from it and it so did not rock back then! I was skeptical going there today but had heard it had undergone major improvements. Has it ever!! Okay, Liberty Park is big, about 4 city blocks by 3 city blocks I think. It's gorgeous and grassy and tree covered. There are loads of walking paths. There is a nice sized pond where you used to be able to rent paddle boats, but I didn't see any this time. There is Tracy Aviary located within the park, but we didn't have the $ to pay to see birdies this time :) There are also some carnival rides (for a fee). There's a pool, tennis, basketball, etc. It's all there. And then there is this HUMONGO playground. It's unreal. I couldn't even get a decent picture of how ginormous this thing was. I tried though :) The first is what we saw from the car. You should have heard the kids oooohing and aaaaahhing LOL. The others are just some different angles trying to fit everything into one picture. It didn't work.
There was this incredible row of swings that sort of wrapped around one whole end of the playground. It was wild. I think there were 18 swings and one tire swing!!!!
There were some fun, unique things at this park and some good old fashioned stuff too. The teeter totter was unlike any I've seen, and there was this wild swing-rotator-thingamajig that I took video of, but realized it's sideways. Ah heck, I'll share it anyway. I think you have the option to rotate the video when you're watching. I hope so!
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This picture shows Toby in a baby swing and with the ADA playground behind him. It's VERY cool! There are no ladders and things, kids can go in wheelchairs up ramps right to the top of the slides and stuff. Very cool! And then there were other areas of play as well.
Here's what Toby found, and what I found Toby munching on..... EEEEEEEEEEEWWW!!!Then when we'd had our fill of the playground, the boys shed their shirts and had a blast in the water! You know, everyone except Toby...
That last one of Brady is probably my favorite of the day. Speaking of Brady, I swear I don't love him more than the other kids. He's just the most cooperative when it comes to Mommy being a click-aholic behind the camera.
Then there was ANOTHER water feature. This one was AWESOME! It's a whole bunch of shallow "rivers" and waterfalls, tidepools etc and it's made to sort of replicate the Great Salt Lake and the rivers that flow into it. The kids LOVED this part of the park! It's really fun because there are a billion plastic balls that the kids can put into the water at the beginning of a river and then watch it get carried by the river all the way to the "lake." Of course my kids couldn't do just a ball or two. Ben created a dam and then let it loose LOL. It was pretty fun. Toby even ventured into the water. It took him some time, and he had to ease into it, but as long as there were balls involved he was pretty happy :) FYI: Brady's little jump thingy he's doing is called a Triple Double Doo. Just ask him. That's what he told me!
Today was BRILLIANT!!! I think the temperature hovered in the mid-90's which was bearable compared to our recent 100+ days. The park was incredible, the kids LOVED it, and they've named it in the top 3 of our search!
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Wow. Day 10. I had a thought today. The kids are never going to be satisfied with simple swing/slide/monkey bars playgrounds ever again. What was I thinking by starting this? LOL.
Today we went to Murray Park. BEAUTIFUL grassy, shade-tree filled park with multiple playgrounds, a creek that runs through it, an outdoor ice skating rink (NOT open during these Utah summers LOL) an aquatic park (NOT open during our Utah winters LOL) and an amphitheater with lots of music and theater productions throughout the year. The temperature was slightly more merciful today (95-ish degrees) and it made a huge difference in the boys. They actually *gasp* wanted to play on the playground for a while today! Happily there were some gorgeous shade trees right next to the big playground and I was able to sit and read and play with Toby while the boys had a good time running, climbing and chasing. It was really cute when the big boys came and got Toby and took him out to play on the playground with them.
The boys desperately wanted to play in the creek that ran through this park and recreate the fun they had yesterday. Unfortunately this water was quite a bit deeper and a tad faster moving and Mommy played the Big Bad Responsible Parent and wouldn't let them play in it this time. Poor picked on kids. At least they got to see some ducks hehehe.
We drove around the park a bit and found another playground, which the boys played on for about 20 minutes, while I sat in the air-conditioned car with a sleepy head Toby, and read my book. It was so relaxing :)
The boys all laughed and unanimously agreed that this particular part of the park was the most boring. See that slide? That's *ALL* there is at this particular playground. Just a really tall slide hehehe. No swings, no monkey bars, nothing. Just the slide and then the pavillion in the background. Wild. They had no desire to get out of the car for that one.
So it was a fun day. I'm a little sad that our search is drawing to an end quickly!! Two parks left this week, both with great reputations so we're really excited about them! Then I'm taking a break from parks until the weather cools again I think LOL.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Day 9. It's 102 degrees outside. I wasn't sure we were actually going to survive a trip to any outdoor park today. We almost didn't bother going. But I figured we'd just pack up a ton of water bottles and give it out best try. I think next time we attempt an adventure like this one we'll do it in the spring or fall
Today we went to Sugarhouse Park. This is a huge, beautiful grassy park filled with tons of trees and tons of open space, a lovely pond where geese and ducks congregate, two playgrounds, tons of walking paths and a wonderful little creek that runs through the park. We first went to one of the playground areas where the boys played for just a few minutes.
I'm not sure if you can see in this one but Toby is less than thrilled being stuffed through the tube so Mommy can take a picture of the boys through the little bubble LOL.
The boys liked the playground just fine, but it was so hot they weren't interested in playing on it for long. They found ways to cool off.
Ben climbed some trees and hung out in the shade.
Toby chugged from Mommy's water bottle.
And Brady sat on the bench with me, wiping sweat from his head, pouting about how hot it was LOL.
After the boys had sufficiently cooled off.... I sent them back out into the sun at the second playground at Sugarhouse Park hehehe. This one was a bit smaller, and a LOT more crowded. The boys lasted even less time at this one before complaining about the heat.
So we were about to pack it up and head home when I saw a few people by a bridge and wondered if there was a creek or river. So we took a walk, found a lovely little creek and I let the boys go wading (which turned into full on dunking each other and throwing rocks to create big splashes, etc.)
(Sorry if things start to look goofy from this point forward... I've exceeded my maximum monthly Xanga upload limit so I'm trying to insert photobucket links... here's hoping it works for these last few photos!!!)
Toby was VERY hesitant in the water. I had to push his stroller into the creek first so he could splash his toes a bit. Then he seemed to want to put his hands in too, so I unbuckled him and slowly eased him into the water. Then he loved it. He ended up tripping and splashing belly first into the water, which he did NOT like but quickly recovered from, playing some more in the water with just a diaper on and trying his darndest to sneak some rocks into his mouth without Mommy catching him LOL.
It was an absolutely PERFECT summer afternoon activity! And the boys gave this park their big thumbs up! They included it in their top three picks so far! I'm excited for the next few days as we wrap up this little summer adventure of ours!
Okay... onto the doctor thing. I shouldn't have bothered saying it. Despite being three days late, the bloodwork was negative. Stupid, screwed up cycle of mine. I really, really hate my body toying with my emotions that way. This is 3 months in a row that I thought "This is it! We did it!" only to have AF rear her ugly head and leave me down in the dumps. This time I was extra hopeful because I was so late. HPTs don't work for me until I'm at least a full week late, so I went in for bloodwork this time, rather than waiting it out. Despite the news that the test was negative, I'm so glad I went in for the bloodwork instead of waiting. My hopes would have just built up more and more with each day that AF didn't arrive and it would have been even harder to deal with, if that's possible. I'm drowning my sorrows in a gallon or so of Diet Pepsi. I will be fine.
So back to square one. Or not. We'll see. I think I need a little break from the "excitement" of it all.