Just like Dorothy, what you’re looking for may be right in your own backyard.
Or maybe just a little outside it.
Tenille Wyer doesn’t need to take a long trip to the beach or even a day jaunt to the zoo to relax and have fun with her daughters, Sadie, 8, and Sophia, 2.
“Sometimes I just have to get out of this house and get away.”
A day of fun is as close as the rail trail, local park or swimming pool.
“When it’s not feasible to leave the kids with others, we just get our shoes on and hit the rail trail,” she said.
Don’t tell her kids, but these walks are as educational as they are fun.
“We like to take nature walks,” she said. “I like to identify certain things, the flora and fauna along the way.”
Or maybe they’ll just pack up a lunch of sandwiches and bottles of water, and take a little picnic trip.
“Sometimes we’ll bring our little pug Scooter with us,” she said.
“I like to have unique experiences, not just one thing.”
Take the way they hit that rail trail.
“There are several entrances,” she said. “We’ll start at different ones and go in different directions.
“It’s completely free. We’re not hurrying anyone. And it’s exercise ... and a little mental checkout. Then I can go back home and work on some chores, or whatever I have planned on my list of things to do ... which is usually a mile long.”
Sometimes she manages to get out by herself. Sometimes she’ll take Sophia in a stroller.
“Then I like to start at the plant behind the recycling place and go through the tunnel to Pricketts Fort. It’s three miles from there to across the river at the fort. That’s six miles round-trip. I can push Sophia in the stroller, but Sadie can’t quite make it on her bike yet.
“If she’s with me, we normally go two or three miles, whatever she can handle. She’s only 8. We’re walking most of the time, but she can go fast on that bike. I have to give her credit.”
Ever the conscientious mom, Wyer insists on safety first, foremost and always.
“I encourage her to use her helmet. It’s senseless to have a helmet and not use it when you can prevent serious head injuries.”
She makes sure their outings are as much fun as they are educational, too.
“We do stop and smell the flowers. We make time to look at what’s new as each season changes, like grass and budding flowers in the spring. And bugs and flowers in the summer.
“We will stop and take five.”
She likes to take her daughters outside in the fall, too, but not winter.
“I don’t like to take them out when it’s that cold,” she said.
Little Sophia, 2, is in that Christopher Columbus kind of phase.
“She loves to explore,” Wyer said. “She’ll say, ‘Look, Mommy, a bug or a butterfly,’ or whatever is interesting to her.”
Like a good mom, she tries to make learning fun.
“If the kids ask me what something is, like a flower, I may not know. But when we come home, I’ll look it up on the Internet to identify it.”
She loves going to the park, which is easier now that Sophia is bigger.
“She’s more independent. I can let her loose,” Wyer said. “We like to go to different parks. I’ll put some sunscreen on them and let them play and burn some energy.
“Sadie is building strength and Sophia is developing gross motor skills. And it’s exercise for me. I can sit down and get some sun. I enjoy watching them play.”
Sometimes you do have to go outside that backyard.
“I try to sneak off to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Preston County, where I grew up. And we’re planning to go to Carnegie.”
Basically, though, “We’re homebodies,” she said.
“I don’t have to go some place fancy or expensive to have fun. We like the pool. It’s not been too crowded this year. When we go to the pool, it’s all day long, not ‘let’s go to the pool for an hour.’”
Housework will always be there, she knows, but it’s not the most important thing in the world.
“It will just have to wait. It’s not going to matter in five years if all the laundry is folded or the dishes are washed. But it will matter in five, 15, 20 years, the memories of having the kids outside and hearing their laughter and having good times.”
While her grandparents live in the city of Kingwood, she does have relatives who live in rural Preston County.
“I stayed with some of my relatives in Terra Alta a lot when I was little. Now, that’s way out in the country, way out in the holler.”
There, she and her cousins “just played outside,” she said. “We played fort. We played army. I always had to be the army nurse because I was the girl.
“That was fun. I love those memories. We’d play from morning to evening.”
As an only child, she could go to the park and playground by herself.
“But it was boring unless I had some friends with me. I didn’t like to go by myself.
“I have what they call ‘biophilia,’ the love of biology and nature,” she said. “I guess there’s some sort of gene in me. I love being outside and being in natural beauty.
“The city is great, but we just visit. Home is in nature. Even the beach or mountains or forest.”
It’s a win-win situation, she said.
“My children get physical activity and I’m rewarded by seeing them grow in a safe and natural environment.
“I like being outside even by myself.”
“Sadie was born in November so there wasn’t much we could do when she was a baby-baby. When she got older, I got braver. This time around, Sophia was born in April and we hit the rail trail a month later.”
She spent a lot of time outside while she was pregnant with each.
“You have to embrace these times. There are always going to be chores. You need to stop and regroup afresh. You need to stop and do something you love.
“I love nature and being outside. I take a break and come back with a different perspective.”
Email Debra Minor Wilson at email@example.com.
Just like Dorothy, what you’re looking for may be right in your own backyard.
- Local News
Make-A-Wish sending young cerebral palsy patient to Texas theme park
Even through 10 surgeries and countless doctor appointments during his 11 years of life, Malachi Parker has kept a smile on his face.
“When he would wake up after his surgeries, he would still be smiling,” Sue Godfrey, Malachi’s aunt, said.
‘Pretty exciting day’ coming at Legislature
The first session of the eighty-first West Virginia Legislature is finally winding down.
Legislators will be meeting for the final day of the regular session Saturday. The session will run until late into the night, with the session finally ending at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
State rocket teams in national competition
West Virginia students are currently working on rockets that could potentially take them into the top 100 teams across America as part of the 2014 Team America Rocketry Challenge.
Seven hundred teams in 48 states, Washington, D.C.. and the Virgin Islands, including teams from Morgantown, Fairmont, Martinsburg, Glenville, Chapmanville, Inwood, Weston, Farmington and Paw Paw, must build a model rocket that can travel 825 feet in the air and come back down again in 48-50 seconds.
Grant application for Tulip Lane approved by West Virginia Development Office
Improvements are on the way for a heavily traveled road in Pleasant Valley.
During Wednesday’s Marion County Commission meeting, Charlie Reese, director of the Marion County Development Authority, told commissioners the grant application for $150,000 for the Industrial Park Access Road Fund has been approved by the West Virginia Development Office.
Colfax closer to better water, sewer system
Residents in the Colfax area are one step closer to a better water and sewer system.
During a public hearing with the Marion County Commission on Wednesday, commissioners made a motion to sponsor the Colfax Public Service District as it applies for a Small Cities Block Grant.
House Resolution asks EPA to take coal-producing states and their needs into account
Monday the West Virginia House of Delegates unanimously adopted House Resolution 13, which asks the EPA to take coal-producing states and their particular energy and economic needs and priorities into account when developing and setting new carbon dioxide emissions guidelines.
Monongah man in critical but stable condition
A Monongah man, Brian Coleman, is in critical but stable condition at the West Penn Burn Center after his home caught fire.
According to Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy D. Wheeler, the Colemans and one of their grandchildren evacuated the home when they noticed the fire. Brian Coleman then re-entered the home.
‘Fairmont 101’ again available to citizens
Fairmont residents wanting to get an inside look into how Fairmont’s city government works will have their chance starting this April with the second annual “Fairmont 101” program.
The program was designed by the city to give Fairmont residents a clear idea of how different departments within the city work, outlining their specific roles and responsibilities.
Disability Action Center to receive $10,000 grant
The Disability Action Center in Fairmont will receive a $10,000 grant from the Bernard McDonough Foundation for Career Readiness
The Career Readiness Program provides support, job training, job coaching and job placement for individuals with disabilities.
Area digs out after more snow
Another large winter storm caused delays and accidents in the area Monday, but there were not as many accidents or injuries as in recent storms.
- More Local News Headlines
- Make-A-Wish sending young cerebral palsy patient to Texas theme park