Howling at the moon in the park after dark
I took my nephew to Eisner Park today after work and since the sun sets so early, it was dark. Thank goodness there were a couple very bright lights there. I've blurred the picture a bit to protect the innocent.
We spent an hour piling up leaves and he kept jumping in them. And then he fell off the playground equipment because his shoes were wet from the leaves. He's fine, but it scared the heck out of me.
Other than that and the profanities spray-painted on the playground equipment, it was pretty fun. I'm just glad my nephew can't quite read yet so he didn't know what the words said.
I love the parks here in Champaign. You are pretty close to a park wherever you live. When I was living my life in a healthier way, I used to walk every night and I used to try and walk by as many parks as I could: West Side Park, Harris Park (it's that cool park that's really just a strip of green where Harris St. splits into north/south lanes), Hessel Park, Clark Park, Eisner Park (see the link above), Davidson Park (that's park that is on Church St. with the street loop where all the big cool houses are) and back home.
Park of the reason I prefer the heart of Champaign to the sprawling outskirts (other than the lack of trees, character, and neighborhood feel out there---no offense if you live out there) is the fact that there are so dang many parks around.
My friend, starx (who recently started his own blog), has created a wonderland of a park in his own backyard for his kids to play in. But part of what I like to do with my nephew is find different parks to go and play at for our "days." I pick him up from the afterschool program and he always says "What are we going to do today?" Every day gets to be an adventure and sometimes we find little gems and sometimes we decide that we don't need to go back to that park. West Side Park is one of his favorites as is Eisner Park. Of course, I don't mean to slight Urbana: "the hammer park" (as he calls Meadowbrook Park) is his ultimate favorite, but since it's so far out, driving out and back eats up a lot of time that can otherwise be spent playing.
See---it's more than just fun. He's learning a little time management as well.