Thanks for the input on my playground/easel dilemma. We went with the playground. They are pretty hard to come by, being that there is only one Toy's-R-Us in the Valley and I wasn't about to pay $143.00 in shipping!!!!!
We couldn't possibly wait until his birthday to set it up, especially as during the summer he can only really play on it in the morning before 10am and in the evening after 4pm. (Should have thought of that when I set his birthday party time from 1 to 4 pm!)
Anyway, here are some pics and a video of him enjoying it on his first day. He loves it. The first thing he says in the morning after "Hi" and "Love you Mommy" is "Playground?"