Mar 23, 2011

The park that was 'worth the wait'

My friend Walt has been telling me about this park on the outskirts of Birmingham for over a year. And I've kept telling myself, "We really need to go. We REALLY need to go!" But it's not close to us, and I kept putting it off.

Then Lindsay wrote a post about it recently, and my mind was made up.

Last Sunday was the day. We piled in the car and headed East. Thirty-five minutes East, to be exact. Long way for a park. The boys didn't let me forget it, all the way there. LONG WAY FOR A PARK.

But when we drove up, you could hear audible gasps from the peanut gallery. We'd arrived. The view from the van:

The boys couldn't haul themselves up that hill fast enough.

Of course we tried to get Jake to start on one of the smaller slides, but he was having NONE of that. He bounded up the steps to the highest point and slid down, Nathaniel right behind him.

[Oh, and maybe this would be a good time to mention that this is the kind of post my family loves and the rest of you just have to endure. Forty-two pictures, mostly of my kids. Get your scrolling finger ready.]

To the right of the slides is a rock wall. Nathaniel tested it out.

Someone didn't like being left out.

That was all within the first, oh, three minutes we were there. Just the time it took me and Grayson to walk across the pea gravel and find a shaded picnic table.

It was like pulling teeth to pull them away to eat, but we convinced them.

Toward the end of the meal, Jake stood up, pulled his pants down and ripped his diaper off.

"I need a dry dy-puh."


Then the boys zoomed straight back over to the play equipment, and Grayson and I set up camping chairs under a tree about 20 feet away. Shaded perfection.

Straight in front of us was the big playground, and just to our right was a kiddie area. Jake feigned momentary interest in a few things over there.

Nicholas played along for a few minutes.

The one thing Jake did NOT want to do -- but the other boys did for so long I was afraid they were going to get sick -- was the merry-go-round.

Quite frankly, I can't believe those things are still legal.

After his first few spins on it, Nathaniel came bounding over and shouted, "MOMMY! THIS PARK WAS TOTALLY WORTH THE WAIT!"

I'd been redeemed.

Jake ran over and -- overhearing Nathaniel -- echoed, "Werf da wait! Werf da wait!"

Then the big boys headed back over to the Spinning Circle of Death.

I had to look away as two intrepid dads spun and spun the kids around.

The wheel kept getting more and more crowded as kids were attracted to it because of the loud, constant, ecstatic screams that were generated by it. There are our two, in the red and orange shirts.

Jakey came over for a Gatorade break in Daddy's lap.

He was content to watch the wheel activity from afar. I had to keep looking away for fear I'd vicariously toss my cookies.

After about 20 minutes of spinning, Nicholas cried uncle. He came over, collapsed in a chair and said, "MY HEAD HURTS. I NEED MOTRIN."

No such headache affected Jake, who was off to the slides again.

And when I said it was almost time to go, Nick headed back over to the merry-go-round for a couple of last spins.

Can't keep this one down for long!

On our way back to the car, we decided to head across the bridge for "a few minutes" to see the creek.

I'm sure you all know exactly where this is going.

And there was much pointing. And rejoicing. For we had found water! Running water!

Approximately half a minute later, shoes and socks were off and everyone was in the creek.

Although I repeatedly and mommishly bleated, "Don't fall down! Don't get muddy!" ... you can imagine how well THAT went.

"Mommy. How did diss happen?"

"I don't know how diss happened. I got duh-tee!"

Uh huh. A little bit, yeah.

And when I said it was time to go home for real, there was a mini-meltdown.

Complete with "NO! DON'T TAKE MY PICK-TCHA!"


And this meltdown lasted until we got all the way back to the van. Pleasant.

And also, for the three of you who are still reading, this is what I see when I look down.

No toes. Just belly. At 13 weeks. #WINNING.


Rachel said...

Thanks for the giggles this morning. That looks like an awesome park. I want to go down the slides too. On my fourth pregnancy I had a belly at 6 weeks. You're doing a little better than me. :) How's the stomach been feeling?

Lisa said...

send me the address to that park. we'll have to go there when baseball season is over.

Meredith said...

"Spinning circle of death" - that had me laughing out loud at my desk!!

RLR said...

The whole time I was reading (and yes, I read it all) I was wondering, how's #4? I'd have read to the end anyway... ;)

Awesome park! Looks totally worth the wait!

stollison said...

I do! I do love these posts!

Shelby Baker said...

I love your posts. & I love your kids! I read this post and looked at each and every picture, then when I got to the end, I looked at the pictures again! It looks like they had a blast :)

Ole Miss Mom said...

Glad y'all loved the park! I mean, what's not to love about it! We didn't do the water...shhhhh...don't tell my kids!!! I'll have to save up time for that one day!!!

Rachel said...

so glad you visited our favorite park! Since we're on the inskirt of town (barely almost in the outskirts??), that park is 15 minutes from us...and we love it! And yes, I didn't know Merry-Go-Rounds were legal still, either, and WOW was it harder than I remembered it as a kid!

Wade's World said...

Is that park off the Oak Mountain exit?

I LOVED the booty pic! He's going to kill you one day, but at least you will have something to show the future girlfriends!

Aspiemom said...

This was so much fun to read. I love your sense of humor and your pictures. Priceless. We had lots of parks like that when we lived in PA (We're near Chattanooga now) and our favorite one was about 30 min. away because it had lots of big shady trees. Definitely worth it. You got GREAT pic-tchas!

René said...

This is so sweet! I am teary looking at these images and remembering those days. You were smart to start a blog to capture it all. I hope you are going to print a book.

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Rachel, oh I HAD a belly at 6 weeks; I just didn't show it to you.

Lisa, done.

Meredith, *I* would have died if I had gotten on it. Of that, I am sure.

Ryan Leigh, it really is a great park!

Shelby, you are so kind. I can't believe you looked at the pictures twice. ;)

Lindsay, we'll definitely go back! Maybe we'll see you there.

Rachel, you get a virtual trophy for going on the merry-go-round!

Amy, it's pretty far from Oak Mountain. It's on 119, but in Leeds. If you get off of I-20 at Leeds and turn right on 78 (I think), you keep going past the Leeds Elem. School and over the railroad tracks, and it's on the left. It's probably another 20 miles to Oak Mountain from there.

Aspiemom, do you ever go to the Pumpkin Patch park on Signal? That's our favorite park in Chattanooga!

Rene, you are so sweet. One day looking back at these pictures will probably bring tears to MY eyes.

Teresa said...

Oh, fellow mother of boys, I loved every minute of this post. I read and laughed, read and laughed. Mine are much older these days, but the boyish shenanigans continue on, that's for sure. What a fun bunch of fellas you've got there!

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