I love pictures taken outside, especially places like Cox Arboretum, so please excuse the indulgence of including so many with this post; I can't help myself. I have noticed lately that Harper is significantly happier when she is outside. Even if she's just being pushed in the stroller, the child likes fresh air. Which is great, except that I actually do not love being outside. It's either cold, or hot, or buggy, or just dirty. . . In some ways I think the many years I spent at summer camp spoiled the out of doors for me. All those years of being generally uncomfortable in the name of summer fun and my tolerance for outdoor discomforts was all used up!
I don't mind being outside so much if there is a purpose for it, but I am not the type to garden for fun, for example. Also not high on my list, aimless wandering around our own yard, which Harper could do for very long periods of time. The point is, if we're going to be outside, I would like to be doing something (playing a game like cornhole perhaps?) or at least not be at home. Which is yet another reason I love the local parks system so much; Harper gets to be outdoors and I get to be outdoors and out of my yard. It's a win-win. Then you toss in a day like today, breezy, a little cool, fresh (unlike the intense humidity sure to find us soon) and being in the great outdoors is downright enjoyable.
We were at the arboretum today for about two hours, pretty much wandering aimlessly through the various trees, lawns, and ponds. We did run into a friend from our library story time which was a nice surprise. Harper and Charlie laughed at each other and ran around for a few minutes pretending to be airplanes and helicopters. Good times.
If you read this regularly you know that I mostly get a big kick out of Harper's verbal skills and enjoy hearing her two-year-old take on the world. Today just about every other sentence out of her mouth was, "Where's Zipp?" Zipp is a trained dog that runs around the arboretum property and apparently serves as part of their goose control plan, which is actually sort of cool. Zipp is friendly and harmless, but is a strictly no-touch dog as far as I'm concerned. He wanders freely in and out of the mucky pond water and also rolls in goose leavings. Ew! But Harper loves Zipp. She's a dog-lover in general. She also likes to categorize dogs by color or size. She only has two size categories, big and "yittool." Rebound is "yittool." Other dogs we know, Zipp, Atticus, Shadow, and Clifford (oh, yes, she does not discriminate against imaginary cartoon creatures and happily categorizes them, too) are big.
Today, though we walked the main paths on the arboretum grounds, twice, we saw no sign of Zipp. As we headed back toward the parking lot I thought we could step into the information building and ask about him, just in case he was tied around back or something and Harper could get a peek. The lovely volunteer at the desk explained that Zipp had been very tired and was taken inside for a nap. She should have stopped there, but added that he would probably be back out soon. Sadly for me, Harper understood what that meant. Since I had no good reason to leave in a hurry, we went back out to the grounds and waited for Zipp.
While we waited Harper discovered these neat, spherical flowers.
She thought they were giant dandelions and tried to blow the petals into the wind. It didn't work.
Harper sat by the water to watch for turtles, and also to wait for Zipp.
He finally did appear, and promptly trotted off toward the opposite end of the arboretum. Of course Harper insisted we follow him and I was happy to let her run along. . . hoping for an actual nap today. We hurried to the other end of the arboretum, watched Zipp run around the pond a few times, saw a snake (shudder) and finally headed home. Harper did, indeed, take a nap -- for two hours!
(Are you still reading? Are you scratching your head and wondering if I'd ever heard that blog posts were supposed to be short?)
I'll wrap things up here after mentioning one more thing. On Thursday, Harper turned two-and-a-half. According to the one of the parent newsletters in my email, that makes Harper a preschooler instead of a toddler. And here I am, still pinching myself to remember that she's not a baby anymore! The last few months have simply flown by and I'm sure the next few will be the same. Before we know it, we'll be wishing her a happy third birthday. How is that possible?