Not long after Alden's birthday in late July, we got him a wet suit so he could be more comfortable when out surfing with Dustin. He LOVES it and wears it anytime we go to the beach so he can last even longer when we play in the waves.
Alden is a true California kid... loves the water and seems the most relaxed and free on the beach. It's our favorite place to be and you can find us there every weekend.
When you move to the land of endless sun and have your choice of theme parks, it's a no-brainer when deciding where to celebrate your son's birthday! We started off with a new bikesince his old school metal trike had been worked into a hard left hand lean from his power and determination to ride it to the ground.
He was weeping with joy. He told us later that he was a bit disappointed that "the birthday people" (we're thinking they are like Santa) brought him the wrong bike. He was so polite in not letting us know that he was sad but he had wanted a Hot Wheels bike with a throttle or "revver" called the Speed Demon. With a little research on line, we found it and exchanged it with "the birthday people". He couldn't stop thanking us for fixing the oversight. This kid is so considerate. He teaches us kindness every day.
Since he didn't know that both Dustin and I took the day off of work to take him to LEGO Land on his actual birthday, we decided that a morning cake would tip him off. His head nearly blew off.
We opened some gifts that morning. And saved more for the evening.
On to the adventure just 45 minutes north of our front door...
Everything that can be made with Legos at Lego Land is made from them. Everything! As a youth, I wasn't great with Legos but could appreciate the planning, organizing (glee!), and execution of each structure, statue, and sign. This place had all of us ooooh-ing and aaaaaaah-ing at every turn.
Not realizing that there was a water park LIKE THIS inside Lego Land, we came prepared to have fun but not get sopping wet from head to toe.
I've never laughed so hard. Alden was in absolute ecstasy. He threw himself full on into the world of Lego and water like he was getting paid to endorse it.
Back behind him in the video, you can see the entrance into a bigger kid water area that he was interested in going into. It was a bit intimidating for him so I walked him up to the water slide area. We then proceeded to get completely drenched in the deluge of water that came down in a thundering bale load. I was terrified! It nearly knocked me off my feet! We both burst out laughing and then scrambling to get the heck out of there. There were water cannons and slippery surfaces every where we went. We had a change of clothes for him but, me? Nope. No matter, I was dry in less than an hour.
Lego factory tour. Very fact filled and complex.
Seriously. Everything is made of Legos.
Me and my real life family.
Me and my Lego family.
Back home with the presents!
Night time cake made to his specifications: a round tower, bright blue, orange stars, and sprinkles.
Aaaaaaaand super hero back ground.
This kid was so pleased. We can hardly believe that he has only been with us for four years. We can't remember life before him! Thank you, Alden, for being exactly who you are.
There is a lot of great things to say about San Diego. People come here for vacations and weddings and to celebrate big moments in life. We are lucky enough to live here. As I am writing this post (currently near January of 2014), we have had over 7 different sets of guests come to visit us and this beautiful place.
My mom was the first to visit. She admitted that if it weren't for Alden, she would have waited a little longer to say hello. Privately, I think the super sun and the healing power of vitamin D might have something to do with it, too. Whatever.
She may have come to visit her only grandchild but she'll come back for the spaztastically amazing warm waffle ice cream sandwich (see it in the wrapped at her right elbow) served only in Ocean Beach. I've been eyeballing them for years now since we last lived here but didn't want to pig out on one by my lonesome. So, before we tried one each (I made an exception to my non-dairy rule) and it was worth it. I nearly wept. Mom started texting people about it immediately.
Ok, and then the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile rolls up? I'm surprised mom didn't sign a lease right then. San Diego rocks.
It was a distinct honor to have our family asked to be in the wedding of long time friend, Trevor, and his fiancé, Leah's May wedding. Dustin was asked to be a groomsman and our Alden was asked to be the ring bearer. Though this post celebrates their wedding, it also celebrates the fact that Alden is the Daniel Day Lewis of 4 year olds.
We've been watching Alden's dedication to his self-assigned roles for the past 2 years. Once he was asked by Trevor and Leah to be their ring bearer, he dove tirelessly into the part. We watched successful ring bearer videos on youtube and practiced using his Cars decorative bed pillow for good measure. He insisted on wearing his "president's outfit" (3 piece pin striped suit) when ever there was an occasion to dress up and be formal. Which meant dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. And walks in the park. And quick grocery store runs. We still had 2 months before the big event.
We flew to Portland in late May to join in on the festivities. We met the others in the wedding party. Some we've known for years, others that we are excited to get to know in the years to come. The wedding was flawless and so fun.
Alden was THRILLED to get to carry a special box with the rings IN it. A lot of the weddings that I've been at have fake rings tied to the pillow but Alden got the real deal. He was very aware of the trust that was being bestowed upon him.
Dustin and all of our good friend, Erika, were walking down the aisle to support the couple. Her husband, Spencer was the officiate of the nuptials. Other friends were standing up on both sides of this great union. This wedding was chock full of friends supporting friends. I couldn't get my camera to work fast enough to capture all of it.
Alden - ring burier (his translation) extraordinaire.
Maci - one of the adorable flower gals - and Alden's honorary sister. He adores her.
Alden reminding the wedding guests to be mindful of their noise level.
Ladies love a man in a suit. Even if his fedora is on backwards.
This is during one of the many toasts. Alden got so into it he was cheering while buttering his bread.
Naturally, I missed every opportunity to actually get the bride and groom in a frame. I was busy alternating between tearing up over all of the love being shared and beaming over how Alden rocked at doing such a grown up thing. It isn't the right sentiment here but this is a mile stone moment for all involved that I would like to participate in again and again.
Ok, so maybe we did a little role playing and became robot aliens for a night back in July. And, maybe, we could only fall asleep wearing the glow tubes. Maybe I love Alden for getting into a role so deeply. Maybe being his mom is the best role I've had to take on yet!
In the height of wedding season in San Diego, it was a miracle that Dustin got ALL of Father's Day weekend off. He didn't even ask for it. Pretty great, too, because since we'd moved here this was his 2nd weekend off. Otherwise he's working 7 days a week. Boom. Earned it.
When given the chance, like most father's I know (hint, hint Eric, Uncle Rick, Dan), men will opt to take their families on epically long drives into the dessert or woods. We live in San Diego so it was the dessert option. We drove to a place called Salton Sea. It was hot. It was dry. It was interesting but, after the 90 minute additional time spent trying to get there (map quest was wrong, wrong, wrong), we decided that it may not be all that interesting. Not wanting to be a wet blanket, I chalked it up to now knowing that we don't have to take any visiting family out here. We did you all a favor. You owe me, now. Actually, a wet blanket would have come in handy then. Did I mention that it was hot? Well, it was hot. HOT.
Totally made up for the Saturday by going to the San Diego fair on Sunday. This is no side show, folks. For a place that is known for it's theme parks, Southern California can do up a pretty spectacular fair. And it's clean. And safe. Alden has carney blood coursing through his veins. He won his first toy at the ball toss game. Naturally, we named it Carney. He is the third generation of carney. I'm proud. And nervous.
Two little fuzzy headed chickens staring at each other.
Racing ride? Loved it.
Roller coaster? Loved it.
Riding the elephant? Didn't love it. Our little peaceful hearted kid worried that he would be using the animal for entertainment. Gah. We discussed that the elephant looked well cared for and safe so he obliged but I think he may have opted out if we hadn't already bought the tickets.
After we got back from visiting friends for the weekend in Long Beach, we went out to dinner in Old Town. We don't particularly love Mexican food but it's hard to be in a bad mood with all of the fun colors and loud mariachi music.
Now, I'm not one of those mom's who looks back and wishes that she had played more with her child. I did. I do. And I will. There are countless hours of Alden and I spending time shoulder-to-shoulder building and tearing down structures, painting, coloring, bathing, sleeping, swimming, racing, chasing, climbing, imagining, inventing together. But in the reality of a child's mind, even all of those hours compounded don't even come close to how many he would prefer we spend together.
Alden came up with this sticky-note invitation all by himself after a particularly long session of my having to work. Typically I am done with my job by 11:00 a.m. but today (May 2013) went a little longer.
And my heart crumbled up like an used sticky note. I adore this kid. Needless to say, I closed my computer, turned off my phone, and got down on the floor with him to play.
Amidst all of the hub-bub of moving we were able to meet up with the Anuschat cousins for a little Easter Egg hunt in Grants Pass for one last time. Those kids are so awesome. Alden looks up to his boy cousins and loves the new addition, too! Conner, Colby, and Chloe will be sorely missed.
Of course, I nearly burst into tears watching Conner and Alden waiting in line together. Conner is an excellent older brother and cousin.
Annie the Clown is such a perfect friend to children. She customizes their art work to fit their demands.
I can see this photo blown up to about 100% this size at a family reunion sometime in the future. Tough guys.
Grandma Robbie with her three boys.
Cut to our Portland trip where Aunt Bekki has egg dying down to an art form.