School. I am conflicted. I know I’m supposed to be excited for the school year, and the semi-freedom from my favorite ankle biters (hip-huggers may be more accurate). But, I feel like someone pressed the “hurry-up” button on this summer.
Why did it go so quickly this time around?
Maybe this is the whole, “the days are long, but the years are short,” saying that I repeat to myself when parenting is especially exhausting.
Yes, part of me craves the structure and routine of the academic calendar. Honestly though, I have a feeling that I’ll be missing our lazy mornings around the house, the extra-long playdates with our favorite friends, and day after day of the pjs-to-swimsuit-to-pjs routine that has been commonplace at our house the past three months. With that in mind, we decided to take off on an Edmond adventure with a decidedly summer feel. If you’re feeling inspired for one last summer jaunt, follow in our flip-flop-clad footsteps and soak up the last of those blazing-hot August days while you can.
We started our adventure al fresco with a picnic lunch in Hafer Park. Now, before you start picturing a checkered tablecloth, long baguettes of bread, and thermoses of freshly squeezed lemonade, allow me to make the vision a little more accurate. Our picnic consisted of red and white paper bags from our favorite fast-food joint, the shadiest concrete table in the park, and giggles and kid jokes over chicken and fries. It may not have been Pinterest-worthy, but our outdoor eating expedition came with no expectations and was the perfect way to take a little timeout surrounded by the 121 acres of one of Edmond’s most established parks.
Our next stop was an official part of our planned day, but in our family it’s a pretty regular occurrence. We consider ourselves self-appointed connoisseurs of the cone —snow cone, that is. We eat our favorite icy treat when it’s 110 or -10 degrees outside and have been fans of Shimmers Sno Cones, at 1433 East Danforth Road, since our babies were in diapers. The company’s first stand opened in 2008 in Oklahoma City and took ownership of the Edmond location in 2012. The stand never closes for the season which makes them our year-round go-to for a solid sugar rush.
“We like to focus on having the best shaved ice and low prices,” said Amy McSwane, who owns Shimmers with her husband Wesley. “Our flavors and style of shaved ice cones come from Louisiana’s ‘who got dat cone’ which originated from the Great Depression times as the ‘poor man’s treat.’”
At Shimmers, the treats come in over 50 different single flavors (including sugar-free varieties) and dozens of unique combos with toppings that include cream, chocolate, sour spray, gummies, Nerds, and more. You can even add a scoop of ice cream to the bottom — an addition we fell in love with on our honeymoon to Hawaii a million years ago.
After our bellies were fuller than I would recommend, we set off to our last stop of the day — the Barnett Field Splash Pad, Kelly Avenue & Main Street. Truth be told, I was a little worried how this one might turn out. My kids aren’t exactly toddlers anymore and I was concerned it would be too babyish for my aging brood. All three allayed those fears the minute we arrived. The kids shot out of the car, slathered on the sunscreen, and started playing immediately, while my husband and I threw down a towel under a shade canopy — a newer addition to the park, along with bathrooms, new fencing, and a new park sign — and enjoyed a few minutes to ourselves.
The 3,000 square-foot park, which opened in fall 2014 has been a welcome addition to the Edmond recreation scene over the last five years.
“It is very popular,” said Diane Self, recreation manager for the Edmond Parks and Recreation. “There aren’t any public aquatic options in the area and it’s free with low-to-no potential for drowning.”
And although many of the in-demand summer stops close for the season as soon as schools open their doors, the splash pad will stay open daily from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. through Sept. 15.
Reluctantly, I can come to terms with the end of another fleeting summer if we can hang on to the best of both worlds for a few more weeks. Give me a heaping serving of early bedtimes and daily school routines, with a dash of the August fun, and we will ride these final days of summer into the getting-earlier-by-the-day sunset.