April 2010 - John Brown Tannery Park
It definately needs to be said that sometimes an adventure is best had when everyone does the adventuring together. I'll be the first to admit that I love taking my kids places where we can all explore someplace quiet and off the beaten path and get a little bit of that feeling that we are discovering something new or hidden. I'd love to say that every adventure I take will involve me using my carrier, but I'd be lying if I said that. It IS nice to know I have it in the car in case of emergency, but now that my littlest is 2.5 years old, his favorite thing to do is run away from me! LOL
Luckily, I found a place that kept him in one spot for at least a LITTLE while. You might not be familiar with these, but not too long ago my oldest and I discovered that there is a labyrinth just a few blocks from our old house. We stumbled upon it (almost literally) while wasting a half hour in between doctor's visits one day. We had some time to waste, so we decided to go to a park that we like and toss pebbles into the river... one of our favorite past-times. In the process of cutting across a grassy area during a particularly muddy day, we noticed that there were bricks under the grass where we were walking. Strange... at first we thought maybe it was some old historical foundation of a shed or house that used to be there and was unmarked. There was even a post where it looked like a sign had been, but the sign itself was missing.
On that particular day, I happened to be using my carrier because of the mud on the trails that day, so me and my oldest didn't have a problem tromping around in the mud trying to trace all the lines of bricks under the grass. (Brandon was very helpful pointing out the spots I missed!) After thoroughly trashing my nice work dress shoes by scraping all the bricks, we realized that we were standing on top of a labyrinth! I had read about them for a while and had actually searched the online labyrinth locator (http://labyrinthlocator.com/ ) to see if there was one in the area and came up with nothing. For the longest time I had been trying to think up a way to make one myself, and imagine how happy I was when I found out I didn't have to do it myself! :-)
Well, the picture posted above is actually the second trip to the labyrinth that we took. It's hard to see the lines, but you can kind of make out the ridges in the grass. This time I brought my Mom along because I knew she would appreciate it. She will be the first to admit that retirement isn't necessarily the most stimulating to the brain, and I knew she was looking for something to do that felt more meaningful than just taking 'a walk'. She loved the fact that this hidden treasure was there and that it was available for anyone to use. As a matter of fact, I called the parks and rec office to find out more about it and they agreed to let us do some maintenance on it ourselves! Ironically, I also found out it had been there for TWENTY YEARS!!! And all that time I didn't have a clue.
If you aren't familiar with what a labyrinth is for, or how to use it, there are a lot of places online that can give you more information on them. My favorite spot is http://labyrinthsociety.org/, The Labyrinth Society. They have information and links there, as well as a directory of terms to help you understand more. For me, my first question was "What's it for?" and boy did I find out more than I planned! Labyrinths can be used for meditation, prayer, mental focus, relaxation, fun, or whatever you want! There are so many ways they have been used over the years, there is no wrong way to use them. HOWEVER, you might notice there is a kind of... etiquette... to them. So if you see someone else using one and you want to use it, just remember to try to respect that they might be using it for prayer or meditation, and take cues from them on if they want to have company while they are walking it or not.
If you want to find a way to experience a labyrinth with your little one and you're not sure how to go about it yet... try my Monkey Bar activity called "The Labyrinth Walk" on this page: http://www.addictionbabycompany.com/monkey-bars/activities
Enjoy and have a wonderful time! Don't forget to share your stories with me!