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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Small Town Charms

Nice purse--but where did she put her car seats, suitcases and Spiderman backpacks??

I remember riding the train from Brooklyn to NYC when I was 26, wearing my silver faux-reptile pants (thank you Betsey Johnson) and thinking I had hit the land of milk and honey. The heady combo of youth, freedom and fashion was almost as intoxicating as seeing that skyline for the first time: Everything was possible.

Recently, I brought the boys to my hometown in Norman, Oklahoma. They treated our travel adventure with all the excitement and anticipation one might attach to a trip to Paris. Although my youthful status has (ahem) matured, and freedom is not a word I'd associate with hauling two amped up pre-K boys through the airport--I still have the sensation of happy possibilities. Who knew the town I ached to leave in high school would be a haven of summer bliss for my boys?

So, only for the truly adventurous--consider checking out someplace special through the eyes of a kindergartner--totally worth the excess baggage fee.

Welcome to Norman!
Best Massage EVER (seriously, and I get around)
Certified Massage Therapist Dianne Evans is my first stop after reuniting the kids with their grandparents. Her firm and thorough touch melts any memory of delayed departures or 15 inch seat cushions instantly. Diane's attention to detail and calm, quiet demeanor bliss me out for the remainder of the trip. Ask for her signature "clockwork" arm and shoulder moves--you won't be disappointed! 
T: (405) 831-5435

SplashPad at Andrew's Park
Free timed sprinkler toys for the tykes.

Andy Alligator's
A little pricey for large families, and not great for kids under three--but my 5 year old had the time of his life on the water slides. I liked the lazy river for some water walking with the little guy in a boat. LOTS of lifeguards who are really paying attention. Clean, cool fun.

Campus Corner
Ride your mom's bike to campus (there's a free air pump by the student union) and get your jolt of iced coffee at Starbucks, feed the shoe fetish at Shoetopia, and shop like a college girl at the various trendy boutiques.

Way better than the model magnet yoga studios in NYC, Ashtanga's beautifully tiled floors, breezy golden rooms and unbelievably bendy teachers make this an "OM" worth coming back for. Your hamstrings will thank you later. 

Super Target
Mommy's little helper--nothing beats a Target run for bubbles, hula hoops, and cute cotton T-shirts (and an Aztec printed backpack, and a funky boho scarf). Don't forget your iced latte from the Starbucks tucked neatly near the kids' clothes!

Cracker Barrel
Affordable family dining, a low-carb menu, giant checkers, rocking chairs and five and ten style shopping? Forget about cooking, you're on vacation!

Cleveland County Family Y
This Y boasts a well-rounded snack bar and clean, private family changing rooms. Use your town's Y card to get in free for 10 visits! The kids can swim as long as they want (hello, nap time!) and then take your picnic to the fab playground area out back. 

Sooner Fashion Mall
Mine can't be the only children who need to ride bikes, swim and run around all morning long, only to still have boundless energy at 4PM, right?? Take'em to the mall! Where else can you pretend to be a Ninjago guy in the play space, eat a slice of pizza and get a haircut all in one visit?

Finally, put an end to your mad-cap day with a movie or two. We rented armloads and used them as nap inducers all week long...


  1. Love this post b/c I love Norman! Next time check out the new restaurant "Local" in the Hastings shopping center (you would remember the location as Furr's). Fine dining plus a kick a** play area for the kids.

    1. Thanks, Stephanie--I ate many-a-meal at Furr's and was wondering about "Local" (only got as far as the cute sign). I will def check it out next time!

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