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VIEWPOINT: Woodbury Days provides inspiration for appreciation

One of the many traits I appreciate about my lovely wife is that she supports me in my endeavors.

We met on the bench at a recreational softball game during high school, she taught me everything I know about co-rec volleyball, and since then she's been at my side as a proud partner in all of my endeavors.

After knowing her for 20-plus years, 11 married, life has become far less carefree albeit very enjoyable. I like to be busy. Busy is good. Long retired from baseball, softball, swimming and basketball, we tend to play a lot of volleyball—as much as a couple with three kids ages 6 and younger can afford.

It's a busy life.

The munchkins wake us up most days, usually someone at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m., although by some miracle I stayed in bed until 8 a.m. twice in the past week. That never happens.

Usually we are up with the tweeting birds, giving morning baths or melting down because we're hungry. When we parents, wishing to get just a half-hour more of winks, choose to let Sprout TV be a diversion it usually backfires and the kids aren't ready for their day.

On workdays Mom drops off the boys at daycare, runs home to unite the 6-year-old with our favorite nanny at home, and switches cars at my office so I can pick up all of them later.

The 6-year-old has been participating in Woodbury Parks & Recreation programs all summer. This involves a monumental kid-shuffling tactic from the father, if I might say so myself. Camp Carver and Summer Playground receive my child's resounding endorsement. She even brought one of her best friends, who recently moved to Woodbury much to our glee, to Camp Carver one recent week.

Summer Playground is another top summer activity for my daughter.

They play games—some jog memories of my childhood and others are new to the dozens of kids who enjoy their hot summer days under the sun at wide open Colby Lake Park.

They do crafts—I enjoyed seeing the marshmallow-and-stick tower, but I am not especially a fan of various types of ooey, gooey goo that come home from time to time.

Then there's Water Week—all of the kids get a kick out of a hilly Slip 'n' Slide and games with buckets and balloons.

One of Woodbury Days' grand prizes is a four-week package of free registration in the Summer Playground program. This is one that I plan to win, so don't get your hopes up!

So I tend to take my daily lunch break to get a kid from Camp Carver, cool off my daughter in the air conditioning at home where we eat, then off to Colby Lake. I pick up at the end of her day, and mine. A newspaper editor's work hours are ever-changing, so sometimes I head back to the office for one thing or another.

Added to all of the summer running around is church, day trips (we went to Taylors Falls last weekend), visits to two sets of the kids' grandparents and their great-grandmother (all of whom live in the metro), volleyball practices (both my wife and I coach), grocery shopping, school supply purchases, a night out with the girls, and a midnight snack at Perkins with a friend of mine.

We did all of that this week. Phew! Until I wrote it down, I had no idea.

My lovely wife organizes most of the driving around. She somehow keeps logged in her head who needs to be where, when and via whose car.

She mows the lawn. I weed and do laundry. We both clean and sweep. The chores at home can be exhausting.

We both cook and get the kids ready for their next big thing, and we all enjoy playtime in the nearby cul-de-sac, on the trails around town, and at the parks.

When I need something, though, I depend on one special woman.

So while perusing the Woodbury Days Event Guide, I was reminded to appreciate the girl I love. She'll get two flowers from Sweet Peas Floral this week. But don't tell her I got the discounted rate with my coupon!

It's the thought, not the savings, that counts.

Total savings earned via the Woodbury Days Button of Savings: $20. Woodbury Days takes place Aug. 26-28 at Ojibway Park.

Mathias Baden is the editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. He can be reached at