When I first moved to Toledo in the fall of 2004 (you know, I swear it wasn't that long ago), walking was my sanity. I would put Olivia in the stroller and push my pregnant self over to the Morse Center on MCO (it was that long ago, and I'll call it MCO until I die) campus, and walk a mile or two on the track. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays were the days for the Cardiac Rehab patients to do their therapy, and so I would be there with a whole bunch of old men and a few old women, and gradually, they became my friends. A man who introduced himself as "Coach Quinn" got everyone there to sign an Adult XL "Cardiac Rehab Unit" t-shirt to give to Olivia since "she was the rehab mascot". They were delighted when I came back to walk after having Mimi, and I never got tired of hearing how I was getting so thin so quickly. (That's a fantastic ego-booster when you are looking at your poor post-baby body.)
The next year, Candace Slater started walking with me up there in the Morse Center (Thank you, Candace!!). It was so lovely to have someone that would actually talk to me the whole time. We would meet at 11:00, walk until 11:50, and then meet our husbands for lunch.
Then, just as it was becoming a chore to keep my kids in the stroller the whole time, struggling to keep them off the exercise equipment and counting jumps on the mini-trampoline every 5 laps, I got another lovely break. A group from church decided to walk together. At Swan Creek Park during the warm weather and at Southwyck Mall during the winter. Every Tuesday and Thursday, with dire circumstances my only excuse, I have been there. Walking. Staying sane. Occasionally pushing a small child who is crying hysterically in the stroller or on a bike. I love walking group.
And now I'm sad. I think I've only got two or three of these left, and I'm sad to go. Here is our group last Tuesday. It was quite chilly and breezy, and we still had a good turnout. It's nice to see there are moms as anxious to get out of the house as I am.The kids play in the park afterward. This is Mimi with Rachel.
I've been bringing Zachery lately, and this chain/ladder is his highlight of the park.
The moms talk and laugh.
And Mimi started learning how to ride Olivia's bike. (I love this picture.)
My birthday has fallen on walking group day for the past two years, and this year, as a delightful surprise, Katie and Shelly planned a little party. Cupcakes and ice cream and so much kindness. (I stole these pictures from Shelly's blog).
These girls are the cutest friends.
And I couldn't pass up the picture of the kids (Jordan, Caden, and Sarah) trying to dig out the last of the cupcake sprinkles.
I need there to be a walking group in South Bend.