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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

West Fork Park | Green Township, OH | Cincinnati

The weather yesterday was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, no humidity, mid 70s with a light breeze. A little too chilly for the pool, I decided to take the kiddos on an adventure to West Fork Park in Green Township after hearing rave reviews about this space that was designed to be inclusive for and meet the needs of all kiddos. Located in the West Side of Cincinnati, this park proved to be the ideal space to play and somewhere we'd definitely revisit, despite being outside of the Northern Kentucky radius we tend to travel within.
The park was teeming with children and their caretakers, but not overly crowded (note: we found parking immediately, though there were several cars parallel parked along the entrance). Before realizing they had a covered picnic area, we ate PBJs and fruitsnacks on beach towels in the shady, grassy area in front of our parking spot. Beck, Faith and Benny finished eating quickly, though, because the play structures could simply not be ignored for very long. 
They raced immediately into the rainbow-colored maze (wheelchair-accessible, might I add) and I could barely keep up with them from that point forward. There was so much to do, and they were easily entertained for over an hour with the climbing structures, zip line, swings, slides, tunnels, and more! 
Despite the many park patrons who had the same idea as us on this gorgeous day, the kids didn't wait long to play on any particular structure and there was ample space for running and jumping and playing freely without getting in the way of the other children or adults (read: I didn't have to tell my three to stop running or be careful or slow down). 
Beckham, my almost 10-year-old, was admittedly skeptical of going to a park without a basketball court, but afterward he said it fell into the NWIE category of summer adventures. That's the Not What I Expected category, meaning it exceeded his expectations. Parenting win! His favorite part was definitely turf surfing on the cardboard remnants found on the turf-covered tunnels that created hills to climb and slide down. 
Oh, and I can't fail to mention that there isn't any dirt or mulch at this park - a major perk! All of the walking surfaces are rubber composite or turf. It's amazing.

And, if the park wasn't perfect enough, Putz's Creamy Whip is located less than five miles away, making for the perfect way to cool off after playing hard. 
What was really neat was that while we were eating our ice cream, we were approached by a woman who we recognized from the park. She was Dr. Tina Stanton-Chapman - one of the masterminds behind the creation of West Fork Park! We learned that she is a professor of education and Associate Director of Early Childhood Education and Human Development and helped develop the park as part of her research project. Very, very cool

Overall, this was an adventure I'd recommend to tristate area locals. Admission to the park was free and we spent about seven bucks on our ice cream. Fun for three kiddos coming in at under ten dollars and lent itself to great naps afterward? I'll take it! 

For more information about West Fork Park, visit this site. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer Celebrations

Ah, summertime. My three favorite months of the year. I love the sunshine, the freedom, the warmth, and the endless adventure that define June, July, and August. Sundresses and evening cocktails on the patio are a nice perk, too, of course.

We have plenty of days with things to do and places to be and just as many days of unscheduled opportunities to let boredom and possibility dictate our agenda.  

We're one week into Summer Vacation and its kickoff has been nothing short of lovely. We've immersed ourselves in all things summery - from bubbles and chalk to skipping naptime(s) so that we could spend the afternoon at the library or pool. 

Our outside time has increased substantially and it makes my heart all kinds of happy to smooch sun-kissed cheeks when I tuck all of them into bed.
Yesterday, we celebrated my mama's sixty-first birthday with baked spaghetti, toasted garlic bread, and a delicious homemade banana blueberry cake that my sister made. The weather was near perfect and the cousins - human and canine alike - easily entertained each other so that adult conversation could actually be enjoyed.
Let's just take a moment and appreciate the beauty that is this cake. Tasted just as good as it looked.
I think what I really like about summer is that the ordinary feels like magic. And, it's truly the regular, seemingly unspecial moments that actually make up life, so summer is sweeter and more indulgent that any other time of year because those moments are plentiful.
There are still camps to attend and deadlines to meet and vacation adventures to be had, but my number one goal this summer is to find joy in it all: the sticky post-popsicle fingers, untimely fifteen-minute car snoozes because we are having too much fun to remember nap time, and the smell of the sun on their bodies before baths. 

Here's to you, Summer.
Happy Monday!