Thursday, July 14, 2016

Our Normal: Playgrounds and Libraries

Besides museums and water activities, we stuck to our normal most days, which means playing at a playground and visiting the library. This post will be quite mundane to most, but it's the every day things that I like to record and look back on, so sorry not sorry.

Ann Arbor has SO many playgrounds. I found lists of them online, but after finding a few that we really liked, we stuck to those.

Burns Park
The kids LOVE the sand pit at this one (there is a huge toy box filled with shovels and dump trucks for anyone to use, so cool!)

There's like, 4 different playground areas at this park so we rotate which one we play on according to what Shae dictates that day.

County Farm Park
Super fun farm themed playground with tons of walking paths through the woods.

Leave it to her to have more fun playing in the rain water than on the playground.

Gallup Park
This one was a bit disappointing at first since we couldn't actually find the supposed playground. All we saw were two swings and a bunch of construction stuff, so I'm assuming they were doing something to the playground. Luckily we had our shovels (thank you dollar finds at Target!) and a bucket that the kid we are subletting from left (we'll need to get one of our own here soon). The walking paths at this park were gorgeous, with all kinds of bridges. We watched tons of people rowing boats past us and threw lots of rocks in the water.

Ford Heritage Park 
(Or as Shae calls it, the Roller Slide Park)
This one would have to be the favorite. It's actually in Ypsalanti, but we only live about 10 to 15 minutes away from Ypsi (as people call it here, pronounced Ipsee), so it's not bad. It is right down the road from the Ypsi library which is also easily our favorite library, so we tend to do both on the same trip. It's an exciting day when we get to go to Ypsi!
The kids LOVE this slide!
"Mom! I climbed the rock! Take a picture of me!" Just for the record, I hate these skinny rock structures that I've seen at a few playgrounds. They always make my mama heart skip a beat. 

The World is Our Playground! 
(Aka: Outside of the apartment). We've loved walking around the lake that is literally RIGHT outside our apartment. Those shovels and bucket, they've done the trick.

There's the apartment, and the runaway, and I'm on the path by the lake. 
I only had to grab her to get away from the water ever .05 seconds or so.

I can't tell you how many times I thought about and wondered and worried about getting a library card in Ann Arbor. I mean, how would we ever go an entire month without new books to read!? With our subletting, we did everything through the tenants, not an office, so we didn't have anything with our name and the address on it so I wasn't sure if we could get a card. The first weekend here my prayers were answered when we went in and the librarians were so sweet and so helpful and quickly addressed a letter to us and told us to bring it back after receiving it and we would get a card. Hallelujah!

We brought a few books with us, but there is nothing like a fresh stack of library books to burn through. 

There are a few different Ann Arbor branches, we visited all of them and weren't too impressed. The locations were small, yet story times were insanely huge and not in good locations for me to contain Belén easily. Shae had freak outs in a few of them because I had to run out to chase Belén, and there weren't really any toys or anything for them, so all they wanted to do was play on the computers, not fun library visits. (Especially the one where we walked out half-way through story time because Shae was losing it, but he wouldn't walk and I had to leave carrying both kids and our books. That was special).

We discovered the Ypsilanti library the second week we were here, and while we cannot check out books there, we have been going to their story times and enjoying all the wonders that this library has to offer (seriously, this is like my dream library).

It is big and beautiful. Large windows, lot's of natural light, toooooons of books, lot's of toys, and ipad station for younger kids to use who can't use a mouse, and the story times are so well done. I am so impressed.

This was a jump start story time for kids getting ready to go to Kindergarten. Shae was a little young, but he still really enjoyed it, especially when they played with the parachute and practiced listening to instructions. 

The story time was frog and turtle themed, so after they were done with the stories and songs they leaped over to the room next door to do a coloring activity. 

Just today we finally explored the downtown Ann Arbor library (I'm cheap and you have to pay for parking which is why we usually go to the other branches that have parking). This library actually was really nice and there was a lot for the kids to do, so I don't completely have negative feelings toward the AA library system. 

The only thing missing to make this completely "normal" would be friends. Going to the library and playground is ALWAYS more fun for all of us with a few friends to chill with. It'll be nice to have those again some day when we finally go  home.

Can't believe that our time here is coming to an end so quickly!

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