Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday: Park Day

Last fall I decided to make Fridays park days, and on every Friday that had agreeable weather, Carter and I would go and explore a new park in Austin. We've had gorgeous weather this week -- 70s with blue skies -- so this morning we headed out to find a new park to explore.

There are lots of parks along the Brushy Creek Regional Trail, and though we haven't yet gone to do just the walk, we've managed to visit most of the parks now. The trail itself is almost 7 miles long and follows Brushy Creek as it winds through some beautiful Texas countryside. Today we decided to check out Olson Meadows Park (here reviewed on Little Austinite, a blog I follow).

The interesting thing about going to parks with Carter these days is that he has zero interest in the playground equipment. He runs right past it to head for open space to explore. That's probably typical for 2yos, but it always surprises me! There is a small creek running through the park that heads down to the larger Brushy Creek, and Carter was drawn to that right away.

We walked along the creek for a while, and it was really lovely and peaceful. (All the other kids were over playing on the playground equipment, heh.) Carter kept looking for frogs. I'm not sure where he learned that frogs live in creeks, but he was determined to find one all morning. Alas, it's still a bit cold for frogs!

One of the things I really liked about this park was that it was surrounded by some beautiful natural landscape. When I was little we spent so much time playing outside in the woods, and I have always wanted to give Carter opportunities to be out in nature like that. It's interesting that he gravitates toward it so much right now.

He loved walking along the paths and exploring everything. I just followed him around for about an hour, letting him decide where we would go next.

It was a lot of fun watching him run around and explore.

The park is aptly named; most of it is just a huge field. It hasn't been leveled or marked for sports or anything -- it's just a huge meadow. It's unusual to see this kind of wide open space in a park. Carter seems to really like wandering around in it, and it was nice to be able to let him run a distance away without having to worry that he was going to get into anything.

He really liked climbing on this stone wall.

He ran around and explored for more than an hour, and when he was ready to go he came over and lifted up his arms to be carried. He's had a bad cough and a runny nose all week, ever since he got his flu shots on Monday. :-P

This little hoodie won't fit him much longer. This is something I knitted for his cousin Aidan a few years ago, and my sister gave it back to me when Aidan outgrew it. Carter has worn it a lot, and it's still in great shape. If we have another child, they'll get a lot of wear out of it too, I'm sure!

We went to our favorite McDonald's for lunch after that, the one with the really cool playground. I swear it's the nicest McDonald's I've ever seen! They spent a lot of money on that place. The bathrooms are amazing, even. While we were there Carter climbed all the way to the top of the play structure, something he's never done before. I thought he might go down the slide, but he didn't. He came back down the stairs again, and then came over and said, "All done, Mommy."

It's really cool to hear him talk so much these days. He talks pretty much constantly, and very little of it is babbling any more. He is able to be very clear about what he does and doesn't want to do, which is really interesting. For example, yesterday morning Michelle was about to take him to his music class, but he told her, "No, no music." She asked again if he wanted to go, and he repeated that he didn't. So she asked him where he would like to go instead, and he thought a moment and then said, "Park! Ride train." So they went to Zilker Park to ride the train. I love it!

Carter is also talking about things he remembers now. For example, the last time we went to that McDonald's we got ice cream, and today when we sat down for lunch, he looked at his chicken nuggets and said, "Where ice cream?" We were also with Doug last time we went there, so at one point he said, "Where Daddy?" I said, "Daddy's not here right now," and he nodded and said, "Daddy working." A woman sitting next to us choked on her sandwich at that, LOL.

That's all for now. I need to get some housework done before Carter's nap is over!

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