Wyman Woods opens!

Wyman Woods re-opened to a good-sized crowd – mostly parents and excited kids – on Saturday. Mario was so charged up about getting to participate in the flag ceremony as a Boy Scout. Jon took him to practice his march and stances with the other scouts in the morning. He is dead serious about his responsibilities as a Boy Scout.
The boys met Ri and I back at the house. I took the kids down to the park early because Mario had to be there 30 minutes before the grand opening ceremony to practice more. I’m telling you – serious! I parked on my parents’ old street, Glendale. It dead ends to a woods trail that leads to Wyman Woods park. I used to take the kids down that trail to the woods all the time when they were toddlers. They loved climbing the hills and looking for goodies – acorns and leaves and funky-formed rocks. It was a gorgeous Fall day and about 60 degrees outside. I was immersed with gratitude and joy as we walked down the hill together. My eyes filled up with tears and I stooped dead in my tracks.
“Look at this amazing day. Look at you amazing kids. How much you’ve grown. I just want to take this in for a minute.”
Both kids laughed at me and gave me hugs. “Now come on mom!”
The playground is awesome. Sponge-like mat around the entire area and super cool equipment. The shelter house is beautiful, too. And they served sheet cake! Whoo-hoo.

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Of course, despite all the cool new equipment, Ri still gravitated to her tried and true pine tree that she has climbed since preschool.
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Grandma Lolo used to have a heart attack watching Ri climb so high.
And after a bit on the playground, Mario gravitated to the large rock he loves at the edge of the woods. He convinced me to climb to the top and slide down the other side until you reach the edge and have to leap off. To be seven. My tailbone is still bruised.
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Mario did a wonderful job marching with the flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance with his troop. He liked all eyes on him.
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After the pledge of allegiance, the scout leader dismissed the boys and in the silence between the dismissal and the first speaker, all you could hear were boys’ laughter and shouts as they ran to the playground to continue their play.
Jon and I stayed for over an hour after the dedication ceremony talking to our former neighbors and other Grandview families. The kids ran around with other kids, Mario played football with a gang of boys, and Ri scaled the climbing wall with Ally, a girl in her class.
The day could not have been better – beautiful, warm sun shining down on us; gorgeous Fall leaves surrounding us; friends in the community to chat with; and my family next to me. Oh, and of course, sheet cake.
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(Jon was there but he is not a fan of selfies!).>

Climbing up the slide and against the establishment

We hit the park last night after Orange Leaf. It was wild with kids and parents. I sat my bike down and moved Maria’s and Mario’s to the side and looked up to find this:

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I could look at the fact that Mario is climbing up the slide and Maria is climbing on the outside of the enclosed slide as an indication that my kids are unique and adventurous and ready to buck the “establishment”…or is it that they are just disruptive and rebellious?!

I’ll side with the former based on precedent. They have always, since babies, avoided “the flow” and mapped their own course. It can be frustrating at times like when I was at a birthday party for Maria’s friend and all the girls were jumping around and being silly and Maria opted to take care of the friend’s baby sister the entire party because she was crying from the lack of attention or when Mario and I went to the library and all the kids gathered around to hear stories but Mario found a steep ramp to practice air leaps.

Importantly, they remain thoughtful while mapping their own course. Mario made sure no one was sliding down when he climbed up the slide (and it only takes the monkey about three seconds to make the ascent). And Maria helped a toddler girl who fell from the slide by jumping down and brushing off her knee and patting her back.

So, I will embrace their unique and adventurous personalities … as long as they keep that kind spirit, too.

Thank you, bike.

How awesome is it to watch your first-born ride her bike confidently down the road? 

So Awesome!

Mario rode in the bike seat on my bike while Maria rode her bike ahead of us.  Maria mesmerized me as she experimented with taking one hand off the handlebar, lifting her butt off the seat, zig-zagging her bike along the sidewalk.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that she was scared to have me let go of the handlebars, and now she is a biking machine,.  I love it.  She led us all they way to Upper Arlington to play at a new park.  A cool little park with a stream and a climbing wall and fun obstacles.  When we were heading out, Mario complained that he didn’t want to leave.  She turned around and said jokingly “I knew you would be complainin’ about leaving!”  She was clearly proud that she led us to the park, and enjoying her new-found activity of biking.  We took the long way home – past all of the outdoor restaurants and shops – and she lifted her head up high as she passed the crowds.  I could feel her self-confidence even as Mario and I rode 20 feet behind her.     

Thank you, bike.

Weekend days

Mario in his nightie on the slide

Mario has learned to write a “M” and an “A”.  He is so excited about his achievement.  He ran in the house from the porch where he had been drawing with his chalk and screamed “Mommy, come!”

“What, Mario?”

“Just come mom.”

We ran outside and I saw the magical letters scratched into the cement.  “Good job, buddy!”

“Are you proud of me, mom?”

“I am so proud of you baby!”

His face opens up into a giant beaming smile and he struts inside to grab his dad’s hand.  This is too good for anyone to miss.

Maria’s over her alphabet and has moved onto things such as fake press-on nails.  Yes, I gave in at Target and let her buy a pair.  Don’t know where my head was at the moment. 

Maria "posing" as usual these dyas, on the swing (sans fake fingernails!)

(Actually, I do know where it was – it was spinning like the Exorcist from trying to shop for things I needed while trying to watch the two rascals well enough that they did not get snatched by some awful monster lurking in the store.  When will the day come when I can let them go ont heir own and meet back up with me? Never.).     

We did get some quality family time in yesterday at Mario’s farm.  We took a walk/four wheeler ride through the woods and climbed on some gigantic rocks while “Mooing” at the cows below to try to get their attention.  The walk pleased me so much – I loved looking over and seeing Jon smiling at me and the kids running through the trees laughing and being goofy.  And the best was the dinner waiting for us when we returned – Vicki is an amazing cook and she did up some pasta and meatballs and homemade bread and elephant ears.  I sware that is why I always weigh five pounds more on Monday morning!

Today we went to the donut store and then to the park for a little slide and monkey bar action.  Maria went off to Mama Ionno’s house to spend a few days with her cousin Alana.  Both are counting down the days before Kindergarten and their “loss of freedom.”  Mario and Jon and I stayed around the house – Mario took a three and a half hour nap in our room.  Fans blowing on us, sun beaming in the window, Mario’s sweet face right next to mine on the pillow.  A piece of heaven on a Sunday afternoon.  

Brother and sister laughing and playing - rare moments to remember, indeed!