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LITTLE PARENT ON THE PRAIRIE by Tracy Kirby

(page 48) MAY 2015

of all ages and a must-do on our summer fun list. 3. Sioux Falls Parks and Rec Activities When I first moved here and knew close to no one, I loved pulling out my little Parks and Rec Activities guide and migrating toward age-appropriate activities for my daughter. Two years later, I still love going to the little play times that they offer at parks across the city. They really do a fabulous job of making summertime fun with the children, and providing a great way to meet other parents! And, secretly, the way I see it, if my daughter acts up and acts like a maniac, oh well! No one knows us! Anonymity can often be golden currency while raising a toddler.

our warm weather checklist Look! That thing in the sky! Yes, that blinding light gleaming like a burning ball of happiness. No, it isn’t the apocalypse, nor is it a figment of your imagination. It is, boys and girls, indeed the sun. Warmer temperatures are draped upon us and I am reminded every day the sheer wonder of this as my daughter saunters out of bed and upon looking out the window exclaims in bewilderment, “Mommy! It’s sunny day!” It is as though she shares my renewed appreciation for the warm sunshine and my habit of quietly singing, ‘I can see clearly now the negative windchill is gone…’ So, now that the sun is out and school is out, what now? What do we parents do with our little critters in this grand state of ours during this glorious warmth? Admittedly, when I first moved here and I didn’t see a mountain or a beach in sight, I felt dismay and as if I’ve been tricked. But today, I have seen the light (literally, the sun) and have an ever-growing simple to-do list of things to do this summer with children in tow. Here are my top five: 1. B&G Milkyway Okay, so I may have mentioned that I’m pregnant, so it may not be a coincidence that the first thing on this list involves food. But summer to me has come to mean sunsets at this darling, local, legendary Sioux Falls ice cream shop with my little family. And what better reason to eat naughty fudge covered ice cream than the sun being out? Can I get an amen? And with winter illnesses hopefully behind us for now, I don’t mind letting the littles (and the canine) indulge in a good old-fashioned sugar-induced brain freeze. By the way, to all of you I see in the Dairy Queen drive-thru and not in the B&G line, I just want you to know you’re making a grave error! Get out of there immediately. 2. Lake Time I have discovered that half of this town is gone during the winter (snow birding, you lucky devils) and during the summer the other half is gone lake housing (again, you lucky devils). Last summer, we hopped on the bandwagon and put in some serious time at a couple of the lakes in the area and our minds were blown. We did not know how much we were missing out on. So, this year we hope to bribe more of our friends to take us — although we come with a hyper toddler, a giant dog, and this year hopefully with a newborn. Any takers? All jokes aside, getting out to a body of water even if just for the day is like Christmas for kids

Image by Crista Ballard Photography

4. Wall Drug I steer us west for a mere moment, because let’s face it, the west side of this state got the lion's share of natural beauty and we gotta show it some love! Think: Black Hills, Missouri River, Spearfish Canyon, etc. The problem is, although the drive is relatively short from the east side to the Black Hills, I have found it does not feel short when you have needy, darling children in the backseat requesting something every nanosecond. However, I have found the holy grail of donuts that makes it worth your while and a perfect little stop for the offspring on the way to higher altitude. Wall Drug donuts, people. And I won’t stop there. Wall Drug pancakes. In the summertime, their backyard is open with lots of food and happenings for the kids, so they can play and splash and mine and take pictures with jackalopes. They can even be terrified by a giant robotic T-Rex dinosaur, because who doesn’t like to see a terrified child? (Kidding). But you, faithful parent, get yourself to the donut counter line and get a maple donut. Bring one back for me. I’ll be your pregnant best friend. 5. Naps and Bubbles Summer is also a time for simplicity. A time to take a break from routines and schedules and let the day unfold lazily with a cool breeze. Thus, I plan to take lots of naps and play in the swirling bubbles with my imaginative daughter. Merely visiting our backyard is a magical field trip to her, and it has truly made me stop and take notice that we don’t have to go anywhere or do anything to find beauty. There are so many tiny, beautiful things to notice and savor. Like the green grass, the blue sky, and the certainty that the sun is in fact above us in all of its life-giving glory. Happy warm temperatures to all of you! May there be adventure and rest (and donuts and ice cream) in the sunny days to come! Follow Tracy on her blog, www.littleparentontheprairie.com. She would love to hear from you!

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May 2015  

605 Magazine May 2015 Edition

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