Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Minor Alterations & Outside Fun

A few months ago, Daddy finished construction of our swing set for the boys. It has been standing in the backyard since then. We used the swings for the boys and occasionally would place them on the slide and assist them with sliding. About a week ago, this all changed!

We had seen the boys show a little interest in the stairs but never any real attempts to start climbing. Grandma and Daddy were outside with the boys and they reported that within a second, they saw Wesley's head pop up over the landing at the top of the ladder on the back of the swing set. Per their report, both of their hearts skipped a beat and they immediately helped him down. After much discussion, we agreed that we needed to help teach the boys to safely maneuver up and down if we were going to have this in our backyard.

To assist with spotting, Daddy made some minor alternations for the short term. The swing set had a ladder on the front and a ladder on the back. There are two slides off the front and an open area at the top of the rock wall. This equated to three entrances and three exits on two different sides of the swing set. This presented a significant challenge for one adult to safely monitor the ups and downs of three children on multiple sides of the swing set. So, Daddy removed one of the ladders and covered the opening with additional slats. He also added 2 v 4s across the open area at the top of the rock wall. This left us with one way up and two slides down all in the front of the swing set. This was much more manageable for one adult to make sure the boys down tumble down.
Once the alterations were final, we turned the boys loose and did not discourage efforts to climb up. We had to implement the rule of going up (only) on the ladder and down (only) on the slides. This prevents toddler 1 from hitting reverse while toddler 2 is already on his way up the ladder. We are still working on this one...
The boys were beaming with pride each time they made it to the top of the swing set. "I am the King of the World"...
Andrew looking down on his subjects....
For now, Jared still prefers to hang out mostly on the ground floor collecting leaves and rocks...
They look so tiny up there...
Yes Andrew, this is how you get down....
He is still trying to get the hang of how to scoot up to the slide with both of his feet in front of him. He keeps getting that leg stuck...
And he did it all on his own - WEEEEE.....
In addition to playing on the swing set, the boys still like to be boys and play in the dirt...
Wes carried this piece of wood around for a while on this day. I am not sure if he thought it was a puzzle piece or he was trying to figure out what to build, like Daddy...
Please note the rock in Jared's hand. He was very pleased with this find but shortly after this picture, everything turned ugly....
Things turned ugly when Andrew took the rock and tried to give it to me....
We were having a great day playing outside when we decided to break out the sidewalk chalk. The boys loved marking everything in the backyard...
We are starting to suspect that Andrew will turn out to be a lefty. He favors his left hand with most activities...
Sweet Jared is happy again. He must have the rock back....
We had to continually remind the boys "Don't eat" the chalk! This must be a very hard concept for them to grasp because there were a lot of chalky mouths...
The boys marked everything from the patio to the fence to the swing set. They loved marking their territory. They look so grown up in this picture. They are definitely growing up way too fast...
Later this day, we headed back outside to play some more as it was a beautiful day. This afternoon, the boys were more courageous with playing on the swing set. They were actually all up there at the same time. Yes, Wes and Drew, it is a long way down...
They had a lot of fun running back and forth and discovering the steering wheel and telescope. It is going to be fun to watch them grow up playing with this swing set. They started throwing things off to watch them fall to the ground... boys...
Hey way up there...

The boys are starting to slide down on their own but it still takes them a little bit to gather up the courage to push off. Here is a short video of Andrew taking the big slide. Make sure to watch Jared as he motions as if he is going to push Andrew...

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The boys are also starting to kick the balls. Here is a brief video of Wes kicking the soccer ball. Please note how easily distracted he is by the football... it's in their blood!!

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Andrew enjoys sliding and jumping off the end of the slide. I love the concentration before he jumps and then when he lands. Once he is firmly on the ground, he is so proud...

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This video is several minutes of the boys playing on the swing set. A couple things of not to point out that can be seen in this video... When the boys hear other dogs in the neighborhood bark, they bark back just like Murray. We love to respond "no" to any and all questions, even if the answer is really "yes." And, Jared's favorite game the "Where's Jared" game.. that never gets old..... does it? Lastly, I never realize how silly I sound until I play these videos... ugh! I guess when you are surrounded by three toddlers, you begin to assimilate! Ok one more thing, someone actually does slide in this video... enjoy...

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We are continuing to enjoy our backyard more and more as the boys grow. I look forward to next summer when the boys are much more proficient at maneuvering up and down the swing set! It is hard to believe that this time last year, we had padding on our floors because they were learning to crawl and pull up. Wow, what a difference a year makes!

Take care,

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