MBBL Year 2


Alan kicked off year 2 of his Mayfield Boys Baseball League (MBBL) career today at the Wildcat Fitness Center.  This season Alan has moved up to the Mighty Mite division (7-8 year olds), after playing in the Instructional division (5-6 year olds) last season.  It’s still a coach-pitch division, but it’s a step up in competition.

Today Alan came in for a talent evaluation.  He started off by fielding grounders, throwing to a coach, and catching pop-ups.

Afterwards, Alan took some batting practice in the batting cages.  He did pretty well for his first swings of the season.

Alan was thrilled to see first grade classmates Logan and Jonah at the Fitness Center.  He also saw two teammates from last season – Chris and Connor.  It figures to be another fun summer on the diamond!

Xavier’s Birthday Party

Alan was back at Wickliffe Lanes today for the first time since his 7th birthday party.  The gang got together for the second weekend in a row – this time to celebrate Xavier’s birthday.  There was plenty of bowling again, but this time the kids found a fun arcade game that really grabbed their attention (I believe they were fighting aliens).  Once Xavier came over with a few dollars, they enjoyed that game more than anything else.  While bowling though, Alan picked up a spare!


LBJ League Play – Season Finale

The LBJ Basketball season came to a close today following the season finale vs. the Celtics.  For this game the kids were on their own, as coaches had to stay on the sidelines.  And stealing was allowed and the score was kept.  But the team was ready.  And I finally the opportunity to record some game action.

Alan played confidently, making good passes and taking strong shot attempts.

He hustled back on defense too, like he always does.

Alan closed out the scoring for the Heat’s season by converting on his best-looking and highest-arcing shot attempt of the season with about half of a minute remaining on the game clock (Note: He scored the team’s first basket of the season, too).  Fortunately I was able to capture Alan’s successful bank shot – his 13th made field goal of the season — as I shouted “Yes!” in the background. Look at the joy in Alan’s reaction!  🙂

After the final buzzer sounded, the Heat huddled up one last time for their “Go Heat!” battle cry.  Then it was off to a postgame subs-and-juice party for the team, where the coach passed out certificates and photos.  It was a well-earned reward for the kids.

The backstory to the game included Alan battling a fever since Friday night.  He stayed inside all day on Saturday to rest up to help his chances of being able to play.  He needed Tylenol to get through the game, but he wasn’t going to miss it for anything.  He loves playing basketball.

It’s incredible to think how far Alan has come from the first practice in November through now.  He worked through early nerves and uncertainty that he could ever make a basket and transformed into a confident player able to knock down shots during competition.  It’s been so rewarding to see him grow!  I tell him every week he’s my favorite player to watch play.  LeBron’s got nothing on Alan.

LBJ League Play – Season Update

Here are the highlights of the second half of the basketball season:

2/4/18:  No game.  Alan’s team had the week off, but a play from the prior week — where Alan caught a hot pass from a teammate (Wyatt) and scored — was talked about by Alan and me all week.  After I showed Alan video of LeBron’s game-winning shot to beat the T-Wolves at the buzzer on 2/7/18, Alan commented on how Jeff Green’s pass to LeBron was just like Wyatt and Alan’s play.  After Alan shared his take on the play, it will likely now go down in family lore — just like the time Alan hit a baseball off the roof of the apartment.  That happened last summer, but we talk about that like it was yesterday. 🙂

2/11/18 vs Thunder:  Alan was miraculously held scoreless by the all-world Thunder D, but he impacts the game in other ways – most notably with his good passing.  Alan brought the ball up the court and set up the offense several times in the game.

2/18/18 vs Cavs:  Alan played his best game of the season, highlighted by four made baskets!  He scored once in the first quarter, twice in the third quarter (including at the buzzer), and once in fourth quarter.  It was an intense game due to one kid on the opposing team being both too skilled and too physical for the league.  Early in the third quarter, Alan got banged into by him.  But Alan shook it off, stayed in the game, and went on to score three of his four baskets after getting hurt.

2/25/18 vs Lakers:  Alan once again provided instant offense, opening the game with the first basket for the Heat.  He would later score again early in the third quarter.  I filled in as head coach (promoted from assistant), so I’ll take credit for calling Alan’s number.  Robbie was in the audience to see Alan’s two baskets.  The best moment for me was when Alan put his arm around me when I was nealing for the end of game team huddle.  It was the same hug I felt when I took a photo with Alan at Millridge last month when he was the student of the week.  I also felt it back when I visited him on Sports Day at Millridge in March 2017.

All of these games were 11:30am starts (first wave of games), so Alan wanted us to arrive before the rest of the team to practice on the open court.  It was fun playing 1-on-1 with him!

Brady’s Birthday Party

Alan’s winter birthday party tour continued today at Brady’s house.  Brady invited over Grady, Xavier, Anton, Liam, and Alan to celebrate his 7th birthday.  The kids ate popcorn and watched Cars 3!  Alan even got to build a pillow fort, which he loves doing.

According to Alan, Brady is his very best friend.  They play together every day at recess and, on occasion, they swim together and play together at Brady’s house.

One School, One Book Night

Millridge Elementary has finished reading Fenway and Hattie, and to celebrate, the school hosted a party tonight.  The event was centered around a dog show that featured dogs up for adoption from a local animal shelter.  Alan had a front row seat for the show (and appeared to catch the dog’s attention in the photo below).

Kids also had an opportunity to make dog toys and dog blankets for the dogs in the show.  It ended up being more of an activity for first grade parents, though, as Alan used the time to get re-acquainted with Anton, Xavier, and Noah — almost the whole gang of friends from Mrs. Feldman’s Kindergarten class!

Alan didn’t leave the event empty-handed.  Before the night was out, Alan took home three new stuffed dogs.  🙂

Alan’s Favorite Activities

First grade – Part II – edition of the Top 10:

-Getting balloon animals at Tribe Fest!

-Playing LBJ league basketball

-Championship races on the Super Ultimate Garage racetrack!

-Reading Fenway & Hattie chapters nightly with different family members

-Making new creations with Tinker Toys!

-School parties (followed by Alan & Daddy hangouts at McDonald’s)

-Playing Chutes and Ladders

-Ice Skating and Swimming

-Playing Florida Speedway (Cars 3) with Tyler and Carleigh at Grandma Debbie’s

-Building (and re-building) “3-in-1” Lego sets

Valentines Day Party

Today Alan and I got to spend Valentine’s Day together at another great Millridge party.  The kids ate cookies, made bead bracelets, and then passed out their valentines to each other!  There were some unique valentines – particularly one that came with heart glasses and another that came with a mini stuffed animal.  Alan decorated his valentines bag by drawing a picture of him swimming with Mom and playing baseball with Dad. 🙂

After the party, Alan and I went to our favorite hang out place — McDonald’s — and also read another chapter in Fenway and Hattie!


Student of the Week

The week of January 29th through Feb 2nd was Alan’s week to be the featured student of the week in Mrs. Russo’s class!

On Monday, Alan turned in his “Emojis About Me!” poster, in which he revealed his favorite subject (tie: gym and library), animal (Lulu), hobby (learning music), holiday (Christmas), food (Chinese bean sprouts), and sport (tie: baseball and basketball). Alan also worked in stickers/mentions of some of his other favorites, including parents, cousins, swimming, Cars 3, the Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage, and Tribe Fest!

On Tuesday, Alan brought in one of his “Lava Crawler” Lego vehicles (pictured on the far left below) for show-and-tell.

On Wednesday, Alan brought in one of the books we bought at last fall’s book fair – Ten Baby Bears – to share with his class.

On Thursday night, Alan compiled 100 loose Lego pieces as part of a homework assignment to collect and bring in 100 items in honor of the 100th day of school (Friday)!

On Friday, Alan’s big week culminated with his parents visiting class to help him present his poster.  We shared pictures and told stories about Alan.  I made sure to bring pictures of Tyler, Lulu & Rosie, the Super Ultimate Garage, Alan meeting Jose Ramirez, and Alan in his LeBron jersey. Then the class presented Alan with a “star student” book that they made. It was full of nice comments about Alan, which he loved to hear.

Alan was all smiles with his arm around either Mom or Dad the whole time.  When I took out my camera, some of his friends, especially Ella, wanted in the pictures too!

Afterwards I got to take Alan to lunch.  He picked McDonald’s of course – our favorite hang out spot!

One School, One Book

The national “One School, One Book”  program has made its way to Millridge.  To promote literacy, as well as community, the whole school will be reading Fenway and Hattie on the same reading schedule.  Trivia questions related to the prior night’s reading assignment will be read over the daily morning announcements.

Alan is excited the main character is a dog. 🙂

LBJ League Play – Midseason Update

It’s time for a midseason update:

1/7/18 vs Cavs:  In his debut contest, Alan scored two baskets, including the Heat’s first basket of the season on the first shot attempt of his career.  He also scored in the 3rd quarter.  I loved being out on the court with Alan and seeing the pride on his face after making that first shot.

1/14/18 vs Pacers:  Alan again scored two baskets, opening both the 2nd and 4th quarters with made shots (and fist pumps).  I might have to start calling him “The Microwave” because of his potential for instant offense!

1/21/18 vs Blazers:  Despite getting hit by a stray ball pregame and getting kicked (inadvertently) during the game, Alan recovered to score a basket in the 4th quarter.  Alan learned about toughing out games and playing hurt.

1/28/18 vs Knicks:  In front of an audience that included Grandma Debbie, Papa, Tata, and Papa #2, Alan kept his ‘consecutive games with a made basket’ streak alive by converting a shot near the start of the 4th quarter.  Alan was back to his enthusiastic self on the court, and he was especially excited to participate in a jump ball for the first time.

According to Alan, basketball has now pulled even with baseball as his favorite sport.

Timeline Project

For one of Alan’s school projects (which coincidentally have been fewer and farther between in 1st grade than Kindergarten), he had to create a timeline featuring his top moments and milestones from 2017.  He picked: 1) Appearance in the Kids Starting Lineup, 2) First piano recital, 3) Hole-in-one during mini golf in Chicago, and 4) First day of 1st grade. 🙂

Tribe Fest 2018

Today Alan attended Tribe Fest for the second year in a row – this time at the spacious Cleveland Convention Center.

With the added space came the opportunity for additional activities for kids, including air hockey (our favorite), foosball (where Alan broke into a Happy Dance when he scored a goal), and darts (where Alan scored a bullseye!).

But of course there was still hitting and pitching.  For the second straight year at Tribe Fest, Alan excelled with the accuracy of his pitches.  He threw three straight strikes, capped off by a perfect pitch!  It would appear that he’s going to grow up to be a control pitcher.

To conclude a great day, Alan took a picture near one of his favorite Indians (at least favoritely-named), Cody Allen, as he was being interviewed by Channel 3.

Sleepover Part II


Alan and Tyler were back at Grandma Debbie’s for another sleepover last night!  On their agenda was round 2 of the Florida Speedway and Hot Wheels Roto Revolution.  Amidst the fun, these two cousins even transformed into super heroes! (with assistance from Aunt Silke and her phone).

Dance Party

Alan has taken a new interest in music these days, particularly Kidz Bop songs.  His favorites are “Fight Song,” “Thunder,” “Just Like Fire,” “Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” “Best Day of My Life,” and “Feel It Still” — all of which he’s heard during 1st grade dance breaks, which are a variation of more traditional stretch breaks.

Recently we purchased and downloaded all of these songs to our iPhone.  We had our own dance party – featuring the “dancing water speakers” pictured above – right before Ohio State’s Cotton Bowl victory tonight over USC!

Uncle Luke

Alan’s Christmas tour continued at the Meekens’ today for our annual Christmas get together with “Uncle” Luke and Amie.  Luke’s legendary gifts for Alan over the years — ranging from blocks to Tinker Toys to Kinects to Legos — always encourage Alan’s creativity.  This year the gift was a Lego 3-in-1 motorcycle that Alan built right after opening it!

Christmas 2017

Alan woke up this morning to find the Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage under the Christmas tree!  It’s the largest gift he’s ever received – from Santa or from anyone else.  He talked about it for weeks and had Elfie deliver the request to Santa early in December.

After both Elife and Santa came through for Alan last night, we assembled the garage and parked Alan’s cars on it — including the Indians, Browns, Cavs, and Ohio State cars and trucks that Santa put in Alan’s stocking.

We played all morning until it was time to open presents with Tyler and Carleigh at Grandma Debbie’s.  The Hot Wheels theme continued there, as Alan received a Hot Wheels Roto Revolution toy from Grandma Debbie!  Alan and Tyler faced off and mastered the game in no time.  Grandma Debbie’s upstairs study is now home to the most [heavy duty] toys in one place that require D batteries.

Before the day was over, we took our annual photo on the stairs (after a one year hiatus when Josh wasn’t able to come home for Christmas).  Merry Christmas!


Family Party

Alan got to see all of his cousins today, as the whole family got together to welcome home Josh and Silke.  Two of Alan’s holiday gifts — a Lego jet and limousine set from Tata & Papa and the Cars 3 Florida Speedway track from Robbie & Jill — were a hit at the party amongst the cousins.  After playing indoor tag and hide-and-seek for the first portion of the day, the kids then worked on the Legos and put the racetrack to the test.  They had a blast, and played until the party broke up.

Fortunately for Alan and Tyler, their own party continued well into the night as they had a sleepover at Grandma Debbie’s!  Alan let Tyler fall asleep around 11pm, and when they woke up the next morning, they went right back to the racetrack. 🙂

Holiday Party

Today I met up with Alan at the holiday party for Mrs. Russo’s class.  The class made ornaments after unwrapping a new book as part of a book exchange.  Earlier in the day the class sang songs in the gym – including Alan’s new favorite, “Joy to the World.”

I’ve already got my new ornament up on the tree!


Basketball Update

Today Alan completed the final practice session before league play begins in 2 weeks.  He’ll be playing for the Heat this winter!

Alan’s pretty proud of himself for how far he’s come already this season.  He can make baskets pretty consistently in the layup line, he can jog while dribbling, and he can slide his feet on defense.  The uncertainty he felt before his first practice was ancient history today when he described basketball as “a lot of fun” after his last practice.

Alan can name all the areas on a court now after we’ve been studying a diagram of a basketball court. And Alan’s coach called him the best listener he’s ever seen.

He’s got a second favorite sport to go along with baseball now!

Winter Book Fair

This evening Alan and I went to the winter book fair at Millridge.  Alan read all about Legos, but ultimately we bought Ten Tiny Ninjas and Ten Baby Bears.  Before we left, Alan told me he wants to go to all the book fairs at Millridge (there are three per year.

While we were at the school, Alan showed me the first grade rock garden outside the drop-off/pick-up door!  Alan’s rock is the green one with black stripes.

Elfie’s Back

Elfie’s back!  Alan found Santa’s little helper and left him a note for his next trip to the North Pole.  Alan’s letter to Santa this year contains a request for the Hot Wheels Super Ultimate Garage.  We’ll see what happens on December 25th!

Alan lost another tooth today (bottom right, 2nd from center), so we wondered if Elfie and the Tooth Fairy would meet each other tonight. 🙂

Alan’s Favorite Activities

First grade edition of the Top 10:

-Anything and everything related to Cars 3!

-Saturday nights with Tyler and Carleigh

-The Haunted Hot Rod episode of Mickey and the Roadster Racers

-Swimming at the MHS pool

-Lulu & Rosie…and Lacey too!

-Learning to read

-Collecting Indians, Cavs, Browns, and Buckeyes cars & trucks

-Building with Legos

-Playing Memory Match Game & Go Fish

-Building with Tinker Toys!


Thanksgiving was highlighted today by Alan bringing his Thunderhollow criss-cross race track to share with his cousins.  They loved crashing cars on the race track.  The kids also enjoyed a game of hide and seek with Grandma Debbie!

When we got back home, Alan decorated his new, much taller Christmas tree.  After realizing one string of lights wasn’t enough for the new tree, we went to Target to get another set.  We also picked up some Cars 3 ornaments, as the year of Cars 3 continues on!

Cassady’s Birthday Party

For the second year in a row, Cassady’s birthday party was held at Chuck E. Cheese’s.  Alan and I loved it because we got to play air hockey together.  Later on, after the kids ran out of tokens, Alan, Xavier, and Josh entertained themselves by running through the play area and hanging out in their cage hideout.  They had so much fun that they closed the place down for the second year in a row!

Thanksgiving Project

For his Thanksgiving homework assignment, Alan disguised a turkey as a construction worker to avoid being spotted on Thanksgiving.  It was a throwback to the same preschool homework assignment for Mrs. Davisson’s class, when Alan also disguised a turkey as a construction worker.  Alan’s interests haven’t changed since then!

Cars 3 DVD

Cars 3 is now out on DVD, and Alan became a proud owner of a copy the first day it was available.  We have been waiting since the summer for this DVD to come out, and we wasted no time in having a movie night together last night!

It’s fitting that Alan also lost another tooth yesterday (next to front big right tooth).  Nothing has defined Alan’s first grade year more than Cars 3 and losing teeth!

Student of the Month

Congrats to Alan, the student of the month representative from Mrs. Russo’s class for November!  Alan, along with the other five first grade winners, was invited to lunch with the principal, as his reward.

I was thrilled to see Alan’s smiling face come through on my Twitter timeline while at work this afternoon. Best post I’ve ever seen on social media. 🙂

LBJ Basketball League

Alan’s first season in the Mayfield LBJ basketball league is officially underway!  Alan has worn his lucky Cavs Championship shirt to the first few sessions.  It must be bringing him good luck because today he made his first ever shot on the big hoop!

My camera was fortunately in hand, so here’s his form on the shot:


Alan’s friends playing in the league include Noah, Grady, Anton, Joshua, and De’ Onte.  Alan partnered with De’ Onte to work on bounce passes.

Veterans Day!

Alan’s school celebrated active and retired veterans of military service at a school assembly this week.  Alan wished his own Veterans Day Hero, Uncle Josh, could have been there with the other guests being honored, but Alan was still able to hang up Josh’s picture in the hallway. 🙂

Cavaliers Game No. 1 of 2017-18

Alan and I put on our LeBron jerseys – circa 2008 and 2016 – and headed to the Q today to watch the Cavaliers take on the Hawks.  Alan was content to buy popcorn and watch the whole first half from our seats.  He cheered on LeBron — who finished with 26 points one game after becoming the youngest of seven players to reach 29,000 career points — and learned the names of the new Cavaliers.

We also explored the concourse and stopped over at the Wine & Gold United Headquarters.  Alan found his name on the hardwood floor (all by himself) within the first “A” in the “All For One and One for All.”  Only one name can be listed for each season ticket holder group, and after using my name last year, this year we used Alan’s!

‘Guys Only’ Week

Alan and I had extra quality time together this week with Mom going out of town!

Throughout the week, we reviewed schoolwork together (Alan loves sharing his take-home folder contents), and we read Alan’s new library book, Zak’s Lunch.  We listened to Alan’s favorite CD in the car during every morning drive to school. And we certainly made time for fun, including playing our favorite games at home and playing with Alan’s glow-in-the-dark toys under the covers before bed.   It was both a fun and productive week.

Mrs. Russo posted the following picture from class on Tuesday.  Alan told me the class was playing a math game on their tablets.  Alan’s wearing his Cavs championship shirt in the photo, since it was Cavs Day at Millridge.  That night Alan and I watched the Cavs beat the Celtics at the Q to open the new season!

Fall Weekends

To Alan’s delight, fall weekends this year have been following a similar formula to last year.

Friday nights again involve parties with me.  Saturday afternoons involve music lessons at the Musical Settlement and Chinese & Martial Arts class at the Cleveland Public Library.  Best of all, Saturday nights involve visits to see Tyler and Carleigh and sleepovers at Grandma Debbie’s house!

Sundays can include trips to the Wildcat Fitness Center to practice basketball, visits to see Tata & Papa, or playing “Go Fish,” the Cars 3 Memory Game, or fidget spinner battles with Daddy.

On Monday mornings at school Alan has to write in his journal about what he did over the weekend.  Alan said that he enjoys writing about playing with Tyler the most. 🙂


(Pictured is a Chinese lantern craft that Alan made for his Mom).

Fidget Spinners

Alan now has a fidget spinner for each of his favorite teams.  After picking up a Cavs spinner at Giant Eagle a couple weeks ago and an Indians spinner at the Tribe game last week, we got OSU and the Browns at Kohl’s this week.

Alan takes his fidget spinners to school and has “fidget battles” with his friends before the morning bell rings.  During these battles, each participant spins their spinner and then bangs them into their opponents’ spinner.  The person whose spinner stays spinning the longest is declared the winner!

In other news, Alan lost his right front tooth today!  The new left one has not grown in all the way yet, so Alan says his mouth feels funny without any front teeth.

1st Annual Father Figure Walk

Today Alan and I walked to school together as part of Millridge’s 1st Annual Father Figures Walk.  We parked at the Fitworks at the corner of Wilson Mills and Brainard and walked to school along the planned route.  There was still a little bit of time remaining for Alan to play on the playground before the morning bell.  🙂

Tribe Game No. 8 of 2017

The magical season for Alan and the Indians came to a close today in style, with yet another win on a beautiful day for baseball.  Alan concluded his perfect regular season at Progressive Field at a sparkling 8-0!

On our way to the ballpark we walked with many Browns fans, who opted for the Browns-Tribe doubleheader.  The walk was also highlighted for Alan by seeing and hearing a firetruck go down Superior.  As the sound of the siren echoed off the buildings, Alan remarked that he’d for sure have to tell Xavier about it tomorrow at school (Xavier’s a big fan of firetrucks).

At the ballpark, Alan checked in at the Tribe Town MVP table and headed for the nearby souvenirs to buy an Indians fidget spinner (he’s got a Cavs one too — four in all that he has in his backpack to share with friends).

We then entered the Kids Clubhouse, where Alan got a beach ball from the Cleveland Clinic Children’s table that we played with.

He also spent time on the big glove and baseball bat-balance beam – his favorite climbing and jumping activities within the Kids Clubhouse in 2017.


On the way out, Alan took a picture at the Kids Clubhouse lockers, showing off his 2017 Tribe Town MVP badge.

Next up we went down to The Corner so Alan could see the Indians’ mini team balls on display.  Alan was glad to see Ramirez and Lindor, and he accurately identified the Francona ball.

Then we returned to the family deck I got Alan some popcorn while he ran the simulated race.  He set a new personal best time of 6.60 seconds!

Alan ate his popcorn while we watched the bottom of the 8th from seats in the lower deck between home and first.  An usher actually offered us to enter his section and sit in two empty seats – first time I’ve ever had that happen.

We watched the top of the 9th standing near section 168, where we met with the group set to participate in Catch on the Field (Alan had been selected at random, we think, from the list of Tribe Town MVPs.  We were originally selected for Sept 17th, but that was rescheduled for today due to the Indians clinching that weekend.  We had tickets for both dates anyway).

We helped salute the Indians as they walked off the field after celebrating the win.  Alan enjoyed watching the high five line in person.  He’s stayed up to see it on TV on Friday nights, but had never seen it in person on a Sunday, since we’re normally under the stadium waiting to run the bases).

After the Indians left the field, our most fun began.  We entered the field down the third base line and walked across the warning track all the way to right field.  On the walk there, Alan commented that he was passing the scoreboard where they showed the flames he saw when Andrew Miller entered the game in the 8th inning.

When we got out to right field, the Indians handed us a specially-marked, soft core baseball to play catch with.  And play catch we did.  We had a blast throwing the ball around.  Alan and I took selfies and also had an Indians employee take our picture (shown at the beginning of the post).

We also wrote Alan’s name in the warning track dirt.  After all it’s Alan’s ballpark; the Indians just play in it!

We’re sad to see the regular season end, but hopefully Alan can at least get back during October for another playoff watch party.  In the meantime, how’s this for an impressive season in review, for both Alan and the Indians:

Alan finished the season with a perfect 8-0 record.  It started with his MLB debut in the Kids Starting Lineup in April and ended with Catch on the Field in October.  In between, there were personal bests set all throughout the family deck.

Meanwhile the Indians won 22 games in a row on the way to 102 overall, won the AL Central by 17 games, led MLB in ERA, had five all-stars – including two MVP candidates in Ramirez and Lindor and the likely AL Cy Young winner in Kluber…and the list goes on!

Let’s go Tribe this postseason!

Cars 3 Speedway

The summer of Cars 3 has turned into the fall of Cars 3 as well.  Alan got an awesome new battery-powered Cars 3 Speedway this weekend!  He loves how it shoots cars around the criss-cross track that causes crashes. 🙂

We picked up the new toy at Target today after leaving Grandma Debbie’s.  We assembled it afterwards at Tata’s.  Alan contributed his tooth fairy money to the purchase.  He had just lost a tooth (the one next to his left front tooth) early in the morning on Saturday while still in bed.  The tooth fairy then found him at Grandma Debbie’s on Saturday night!

Bowling Party With Friends

Today Alan had his first birthday party with friends! It was a bowling party at Wickliffe Lanes.  Among the attendees were his best friends Xavier, Cassidy, Grady, Brady (pictured above), and Noah, as well as eight first grade classmates: Kilian, Jonah, De’onta, Kiara, Luke, Logan, Ryleigh, and Valentina.

Alan led off the lineup of 7 kids on his lane, while Xavier led 7 more on the other lane.  Alan’s bowling highlight of the day was picking up a spare!  Around the bowling, the kids had pizza that we picked up from Pizza Hut, chips, and of course cake. Alan’s friends had fun when Alan was blowing out the candles.

At the end of the party, Alan passed out Cars 3 party favor bags, which he and I had fun organizing on Friday night.  Alan had also picked out a Cars 3 balloon on our way to the party to enhance the Cars 3 theme at his table.  🙂


It’s been a great week celebrating Alan’s 7th birthday!

Happy 7th Birthday Alan!!

My favorite guy turned 7 today!

Alan got to sleep in today since there was no school on his birthday due to Rosh Hashanah.  Later he went to the beach with his Mom to walk by the water and fly a kite.  It was the second straight year Alan had the day off on his birthday.  His class celebrated with him yesterday by making birthday cards for him in class.  And Alan gave all his classmates a Cars 3 pencil and sticker to take home.

Stay tuned for Sunday’s post, as the fun will continue this weekend!

Tribe Game No. 7 of 2017

Alan’s perfect record continued at Progressive Field today, as Alan moved to 7-0 on the season.  Alan & Corey Kluber continue to be an unstoppable combination, dating back to Alan’s very first Indians game in 2013, when Kluber shut-out the Nationals 2-0.

There was a lot to celebrate at the ballpark today following the recent 22-game win streak and the Indians clinching of the AL Central late last night (not to mention it was Alan’s annual birthday game!).  Alan and I enjoyed watching the Indians raise the AL Central Division Championship Flag during pregame while the fans applauded the team.  Alan is aware of what has been going on this week, as he watched the recording of the walk-off for win #22, as well as the ovation after the win streak ended.

During the game, Alan enjoyed the big slide in the Kids Clubhouse and recorded his second career sub-7 seconds time in the simulated race.

Alan didn’t get to run the bases postgame (it was cancelled so the Indians players could salute the crowd), but that was okay for Alan.  He wanted to get home and put together the lego seaplane that he received from Grandma Debbie at yesterday’s party!

Before we left, we bought an’ AL Central Champs’ pin to go along with the Indians poker chip magnets I bought while attending game #20 of the streak.  Alan plus good luck charms could spell doom for the Indians competition during the playoffs…

Birthday Party for Alan & Tyler

Alan and Tyler celebrated their 6th and 7th birthdays, respectively, at a family party today at Grandma Debbie’s house!  This year they had a Cars 3-themed cookie cake.

Alan’s favorite moment of the party was unwrapping the Paw Patrol Sea Patroller.  He could barely contain his excitement.  The cousins had a blast playing with it, as well as the other new toys.

After the party, Alan and Tyler took some photos together, and then they had their annual birthday party sleepover at Grandma Debbie’s!


Donuts With Dad

Today, before school, Alan and I attended one of our favorite events together — Donuts with Dad!  Alan and I had our milk and coffee together (neither of us are donut-eaters) at the same table as Cassidy, Xavier, and their Dad.  We also had our picture taken by a photographer.  At Alan’s request, I wore my Ohio State shirt and Alan wore his Cavaliers championship shirt.  Our photo turned out great!

Tribe Game No. 6 of 2017

Alan’s favorite month of the year is in full swing, and he’s got that ’16-straight wins kind of feeling’ going on after watching the Tribe blank the Orioles at the ballpark tonight!

Alan went the distance tonight, continuing his perfect record at Progressive Field this season (6-0 this season; 18-7 lifetime).  The night started well, as Encarnacion greeted us at the gates with a  3-run first inning HR.  It was the second time this season he homered as we entered the ballpark.  And it ended well, too, as the Indians extended their team record win streak.

In between, Alan’s highlights included participating in Hang On Sloopy (middle of the 5th inning), trying Twizzlers for the first time (Daddy’s go-to ballpark candy), watching guest-Hot-Dog-Race-participant Relish’s 2nd-ever appearance and 1st victory, buying a “C-logo” mini bat (held by Alan in the picture above), and enjoying the shorter lines in the Kids Clubhouse — especially at the slide — due to the evening start time.

Tonight’s game was a late add to our season schedule after Alan requested one more September night game.  I’m glad he asked for this one!

Alan has continued to gradually increase his interest in the Tribe this season.  In addition to the memorable moments we’ve witnessed at the ballpark (captured in these posts), he’s tuned in for the last inning of quite a few Indians games over the summer. The most notable game-endings he caught include the Encarnacion walk-off Grand Slam vs LAA on July 25th and the Gomes walk-off 3-run HR vs COL on August 8th.

Alan loves seeing the Indians players throw water on each other after a walk-off (dating back to watching replays of the Naquin inside-the-park walk-off last season), so he was really fortunate to catch those.

Wildcat Fitness Center

Alan and I have recently become members of the Wildcat Fitness Center at Mayfield High School. We signed up to use the gymnasium to practice dribbling and passing in advance of Alan’s first basketball league this winter.  At Alan’s request, we also bring our baseball gloves and our football and alternate between practicing all 3 sports.  Then we finish by taking a few laps on the indoor track.  Alan’s going to be ready for his basketball league in no time!

Open House

Tonight at parent orientation I learned about all the fun that’s in store for Alan in Mrs. Russo’s first grade class this school year!  I also got to see Alan’s desk (it’s very neat) and some of his work that was hanging in the hallway outside the classroom.

He also left a note for his Mom and I to find tucked away in his desk.  Look at that beautiful handwriting! I enjoyed writing a note for him to find tomorrow as well.  🙂

Tribe Game No. 5 of 2017

Alan continued his perfect season at Progressive Field today, as the Indians improved to 5-0 with Alan in attendance following a 12-0 victory over the Royals. To Alan’s delight, we opted to take the transit downtown, and Robbie and Jill — our generous season-long ticket providers — came to the game with us.

Alan was showing off his balancing skills on the large wooden bat in the Kids Clubhouse while the Indians scored a season-high nine runs in the 2nd inning. The scoring came via a 2-run HR by Lindor, a 3-run HR by Santana, and finally a Grand Slam by Gomes — with the latter drawing quite a few families out of the Clubhouse and onto the balcony to join in the cheering!

Out on the family deck, more records were set as Alan beat his personal best race time of 6.89 seconds!  Alan was thrilled to see his first sub-7 seconds time and excitedly reported the news to Robbie.  The new record time must’ve been due to the pre-race popcorn he requested beforehand.

We didn’t have time to hit today as lines were extra long (due to a standing room only crowd at Progressive Field) and the game went fast (no scoring after the 2nd inning).  So we opted not to risk losing our place at the front of the MVP line for running the bases, and lined up during the 8th inning.

I ran with Alan today, while Robbie and Jill watched from the stands.  You could tell which one of us was the record setter, as I quickly fell behind Alan and never caught up, despite the usual log-jam between 3rd base and home plate.   After running, Alan took the camera for selfies and photos from his perspective, including this close-up of Robbie, Jill, and I.

Alan was in a silly mood with the camera out, as evidenced by the following photo that we took behind the dugout.

For the Tribe, today’s win capped a weekend in which the Indians outscored the Royals 20-0 over three games.  It was the first time since 1956 that the Indians shut-out a team for an entire series.

For Alan, it was another great Sunday afternoon at the ballpark with his family!

Ice Cream Social

This evening Alan and I headed to the annual ice cream social at Millridge.  The social — the unofficial kick-off to the school year — has become one of our favorite annual events.  Alan got to enjoy another orange popsicle while spending a lot of quality time on the playground!

Alan spent the most time with Brady (pictured above) on the swings, slide, and rock climbing wall.  He also saw Kindergarten friends Brooklyn, Tony, Noah, Piper, and Colin, as well as new classmate De’onte.

Pretty soon it’ll be time for open house and Donuts with Dad!  We know what to look forward to now as Millridge veterans.

First Day of 1st Grade


Today Alan started his journey into 1st Grade!  He went to the bus stop about 15 minutes early because he just couldn’t wait to get to school and see all his friends.

Two years ago he had to adjust to a new school.  Last year he had to adjust to a full school day and riding the bus.  But this year there were no major adjustments.  I could tell it was ‘business as usual’ for him now.  He’s becoming a pro at this back to school thing.

As for how the day went, Alan described it as “Greeeaaaat!”  He went on to explain how his class had not one, but two recesses.  Clearly it doesn’t get any better than that!

Popsicles with the Principal

Today Alan got ready for 1st grade at “Popsicles with the Principal.” This new event involved students coming into the building on the final day of summer vacation to check out their classrooms and drop off school supplies at their desks.  And of course the Principal was on hand to pass out popsicles to the kids!

Disney Dream Cruise

As part of one final summer adventure, Alan went on a “Disney Dream” Cruise to the Bahamas with his Mom and Grandma Wa-boo from August 11th – 14th.  Alan told me his favorite parts were “Pirate Night” on the cruise, swimming in the ship’s pool — including going down the water slide — and the carriage ride at the Bahamas.  He said there was mini-golf, too, and he got another hole-in-one!

2017 Chicago Trip

This weekend Alan and I traveled to Chicago for our annual trip.  Below are the highlights.

Friday, August 4th, 2017:

Alan and I flew together for the first time, arriving at O’Hare airport a little after 9:00pm CST on Friday night.  After a quick stop at Target for Alan’s food (and a Peppa Pig train that somehow got in the shopping cart), we arrived at the house.  Alan’s first request was to bring out the Lincoln Logs – a favorite from our last trip!

Saturday, August 5th, 2017:

As soon as Alan woke up on Saturday, he got to work building with the Lincoln Logs.  Together with Robbie, he built the barn and pig-sty pictured below.  Tragically, though, the pig sty was destroyed by a tornado shortly after this photo was taken. 😉

Afterwards we headed to the Chicago Botantic Garden to see the train display.  Alan waited all year to see his favorite model trains again, and he was in train heaven once he arrived.  He told me his favorite train this time was the passenger train (shown below).  However, he certainly got a kick out of the engine that got separated from the rest of its cars too.


When we went looking for the butterfly train car – a favorite from last year – we were surprised to find a lady bug train car in its place.  We later learned that the butterfly car rotates with both a lady bug car and a caterpillar car!  Alan requested that we see the other two that were in storage.  He ultimately kept the butterfly at the top of his rankings.


Following the Garden, we headed to the Deerfield Public Library, where Alan played with more trains!  He also checked out a book on transportation-related songs and poems and bought two other books involving transportation.

After lunch at Rhapsody Café, it was on to mini-golf at Highland Park with Robbie. Alan started off on fire — scoring 2’s four times on the front nine!  He led me by 1 stroke after nine (while trailing Robbie by just 1) and was hanging in through twelve holes, but then requested that we stop keeping score for the rest of the day.

At the conclusion of golf, Alan called a ‘do-again’ of sorts.  He had so much fun in the morning that he requested a second visit to the Garden (our tickets were good for the whole day) and a second round of mini-golf.  We obliged, and Alan got to experience the fun all over again!

In our second round of golf – this time with Jill as the third player – Alan drained his second career hole-in-one!  One thing is for sure: when golfing in Chicago, Alan will hit at least one perfect shot.  So I asked him to pose for his customary hole-in-one photo again. 🙂


During the evening we also took our annual photo at the famous backyard tree (see photo at beginning of post).

Sunday, August 6th, 2017:

Sunday started with a real train ride for Alan!  He rode with Jill from Deerfield to North Glenview.  Alan requested riding on the 2nd level of the 2nd car.  That was important to him after riding on the 1st level last year.  He loved the ride, of course.

We returned home by mid-morning and Alan continued building with Lincoln Logs.  This time he and Jill built one house, one barn, and two garages.  Then he played Monopoly Junior for the first time with Jill.  They played with modified rules, but it was a great first exposure to the game for Alan.

Then it was off to lunch at the Deerfield Square.  After our outdoor lunch, Alan called for a second visit to the Deerfield Public Library.  There, Alan played with his trains, as well as the word game pictured below.

Afterwards, Alan and I unfortunately had to catch our 4:30PM CST flight home.  But not before we snapped the photo below at O’Hare.  While waiting in line for the plane, Alan made a friend named Ashlyn.  She had her Lady (from Lady and the Tramp) stuffed animal chase the Lightning McQueen car that Alan had just purchased, to the delight of several onlookers.

Thanks to Robbie and Jill for hosting us for another fantastic weekend.  Alan’s already looking forward to returning next Memorial Day!

Fun ‘N’ Stuff Round 2

I promised Alan a return trip to Fun ‘N’ Stuff before the summer ended, and today Alan cashed in.  With Alan slated for trips the next two weekends to Chicago and Orlando (actually a Disney Cruise), this is actually his last weekend of summer vacation in Mayfield.

At Fun ‘N’ Stuff, Alan started at mini golf and continued with air hockey, skee-ball, and other arcade games.  Before the afternoon was out, we played four games of air hockey and three rounds of mini golf – Alan’s top two favorites!

He cashed in his tickets earned for the day on twizzlers (for Daddy), lollipops (for himself), and three cars.  That’s my Alan.


Tribe Game No. 4 of 2017


Today was a hot one at the ballpark, and it was quite crowded.  “Alan the blur” ran a great time in his race and hit the first pitch he saw in Little League Park.  He played a new game he made up in the Kids Clubhouse where he ran and jumped on the oversized glove over and over again.  There I was a able to snap a nice photo of Alan showing off that “missing tooth smile.” 🙂

Alan also asked to sit in the upper deck above the family zone – with a box of popcorn – and watch some of the game.  Alan’s starting to enjoy doing that more and more.  Before long, it was time to run the bases!


Library Tradition

Alan and I declared a new weekly tradition today: Sunday afternoon trips to the Mayfield Library.  Today was our second straight Sunday visit, and we have decided to make it a weekly occurrence.

Alan of course has a long history with libraries already.  His Mom also takes him to the Mayfield Library to read and check out toys.  In the years before he started Kindergarten, Alan went to the Solon Library weekly with Grandma Debbie.  And before that Alan and I would go to the old Mayfield Library on Saturday mornings when he was 1 and 2 years old.

Last weekend Alan checked out Troto and the Trucks.  Today Alan checked out Truck Stop.  Ever since he was little, he’s loved books about cars, trucks, trains and all other forms of transportation.  And now he’s able to read most of the words by himself.

We saw Noah at the library today too!

7/22/17 update: After we bumped into Noah at the library, we arranged for a play date at Noah’s house.  Alan went over today for a couple hours and stayed by himself.  He said they mainly played baseball (inside) and played with Noah’s hot wheels car launcher — no surprise that’s what Alan wanted to try out.  The boys were pretty riled up when I arrived.  They seemed to have a great time together!

Tribe Game No. 3 of 2017

With the Indians on Sunday night baseball this weekend, Alan and I opted to head to the ballpark for a Saturday night ballgame – Alan’s 1st night game of the season.

Alan had a blast staying out late and made it all the way to the 9th inning of the game (he’d ultimately be up past midnight for the first time).  Among the highlights of the evening were the following:

-Alan recorded a career-best sprint time: 7.08 seconds.  Alan loved the “human blur” picture below. 🙂

-Alan hit his first career home run at Little League Park!! Really, he did.  He wacked the whiffle ball just above the yellow line in left field.  It was awesome to see the HR, which came with a man on.  That was definitely the moment of the night.

-We bought “Mick,” a rally monkey named by Alan, at the team shop.  Alan loved the long arms and had to have it.  Mick’s hands have Velcro on them so Alan could wear Mick while we watched some of the game from the Kids Clubhouse.

Note: before we left the Kids Clubhouse, Alan wanted to take a “serious catcher” photo.  😉

-Alan was more interested in watching the game than he has been previously.  He wanted to check out the view from different seats in the ballpark, and asked if we could sit in the RF upper deck.  I said yes, and while we were up there, we watched Jose Ramirez hit.  Alan has been taking an interest in Jose, who became an All-Star this year for the first time after meeting Alan on April 30th.  Alan roots for him, even if he isn’t quite sure why “Jose” doesn’t sound like it looks.

Reading Prize; New Apartment

Alan wrapped up the Summer Reading Program today and got to pick out a free book at the Mayfield Library as a prize.  Alan picked out The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day, which was fitting since we moved to a new apartment this weekend!

Alan has been a huge help this weekend — he even helped assemble the bedroom drawers.  We christened our new place by playing games of Go Fish, throwing [soft] balls down the apartment’s long corridor, and shooting hoops on our mini-hoop above the bedroom door all weekend long. I think we’re going to like the new place very much.

Summer Sleepover & Cars 3

Last night Alan’s summer fun continued with a sleepover with Tyler at Grandma Debbie’s.  The highlight of the night for the duo was seeing the movie Cars 3 at the Aurora movie theater.  It was Alan’s first trip to the theater at night and Tyler’s first trip overall.  Alan’s always been a fan of the Cars series, and he enjoyed the new character, Jackson Storm, too.

Today the kids went to an elementary school playground and McDonald’s.  They also played some computer games together.  Alan usually doesn’t like to go more than two weeks without seeing Tyler, and they’d play together all day if it was up to Alan.

7/15/17 Update: Alan picked out a new Cars 3 backpack to use in first grade!  Both Lightning McQueen and Jackson Storm are featured on it.

End of Season Baseball Update

Alan has wrapped-up his rookie year in the Mayfield Boys’ Baseball League.  Here’s a recap of the second half of the season:

6/9 – Alan goes 3-for-3 and plays 3B and P.  He makes his mark fielding from the pitcher position, and is established as a regular there – a prime fielding position for this league.

6/16 – Alan goes 3-for-3 and plays 2B and P.  After the game, Alan discovers that I’m the one who has been bringing the marker board for the lineup to each game.  He proceeds to borrow it and write notes — including his own version of the team’s batting order. 🙂

6/23 – Game rained out.

6/30 – Alan goes 1-for-1 and plays 2B before the rain comes and postpones the game after one inning played.  Alan finishes the season batting 1.000!

It was a great debut season for Alan in MBBL play.  I loved coaching third, managing the lineup for the kids, and standing in the field with Alan.  Next summer Alan will move up to the league for 7 & 8 year-olds.  He’s ready!

Parade 2017

Alan collected candy for himself, Mom, & Dad at the annual Mayfield Heights Parade this afternoon.  Parade participants traditionally bring lots of candy to distribute to the parade watchers.  By the end of the parade, Alan had a bag full just like Halloween!

Fireworks Night 2017

Alan and I spent the evening and night at Mayfield Heights Unity Days — one of our favorite summer traditions.

We followed a similar path as last year, starting with the playground and inflatable games, until Alan found a balloon artist!  He asked for and got the Donatello pictured above, which came with Alan’s special twist: Michaelangelo’s nunchecks.

After that we went to Alan’s absolute favorite activity of the night:  bubble-chasing.  Alan spent a good hour running to and from bubbles with a sizable group of kids (including Mike and Joe from his baseball team and Grace from Millridge).  He loved it so much, he just kept going back for more and more. 🙂

After some more time on the playground, it was about time to get ready to watch the fireworks from our usual spot across from City Hall / in front of Party Place.  But first we purchased a lightsaber and light-wand at the park and then walked to McDonald’s for some fries.  We watched the first part of the fireworks from our car, before Alan [excitedly] spotted his classmate Sam.  We watched the second part with Sam and her parents.

Fun ‘N’ Stuff


Today I took the day off work and went with Alan to Fun ‘N’ Stuff in Macedonia.  It’s a place I enjoyed going to as a kid, so I thought Alan might enjoy it as well.  It was also a great opportunity to get a head start on celebrating Father’s Day weekend together!

Alan loved the arcade.  He hit the jackpot on one of the ticket-gathering games, and racked up about 200 of his 490 tickets overall on that one turn.  His favorite games in the arcade were definitely skee-ball and air hockey.  We must’ve played 5-6 games of air hockey in all.  🙂


Alan’s favorite physical activities were the rock climbing wall (a legit wall, with a harness), go-karts (we rode together in one car), bounce house (pictured at the top of this post) and miniature golf.  Alan decided we should play both 18-hole courses — perhaps as a warm-up for our upcoming Chicago trip!


Alan is already asking when we can go back!  I enjoyed it too, so I think we’ll certainly be back again before summer is over.

Tribe Game No. 2 of 2017

Today Alan and I kicked off the summer season of Sunday afternoon Indians games.  We came straight from Alan’s baseball practice, so we didn’t arrive until midway through the game.  Alan had only enough time for his favorite activities, which he decided were batting and sprinting.

We did stop inside the Kids Clubhouse for the quick photo opp below (Alan’s idea), two trips down the slide, and popcorn — which seems to have replaced the soft pretzel as Alan’s go-to ballpark food item.

Before long it was time to run the bases!  Alan also took the photo below outside the Indians dugout.

In addition to getting our fill of baseball on this hot, sunny day, we also turned our attention to the Cavaliers.  Both before and after the game we stopped for a few pictures with the NBA Finals signage.  Go Cavaliers!

Note 1: Upon our arrival at the ballpark, we were greeted by a 443-foot foul ball off the bat of Encarnacion that landed about 15 feet from us outside the left field gate.  We watched it sail overhead and land outside the ballpark.

Note 2: The NBA Finals games have been on too late for Alan to watch, but he’s aware the Cavs have reached the championship round once again.  During the Eastern Conference Finals, Alan did watch the Game 2 massacre in Boston with me when the Cavs won 130-86 over the Celtics on May 19th.

Alan’s First Piano Recital

Alan rocked his piano recital today, playing the best version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” I’ve ever heard.  Grandma Debbie & Papa and Tata & Papa were there to see Alan’s debut performance, along with Veronica and I.

Afterwards we stayed for the Music Settlement’s annual picnic.  Alan would later take home a certificate and a music note trophy to commemorate the completion of his first full year at the Music Settlement.  Way to go, Alan!


This guy loves going to McDonald’s and ordering chicken nuggets and fries.  I love joining him and hanging out.  It’s our special time together.

Today we went prior to his piano recital.  As always, Alan picked the table, carried the tray, and got the ketchup on his own.  We also picked up a “beanie boo” named Freckles!

Mid-Season Baseball Update

We’ve reached the midpoint in Alan’s rookie year in the Mayfield Boys’ Baseball League.  Here’s a recap of the games to date:

5/13 – Alan goes 2-for-2 and plays 2B.  He gets a big kick out of me waving him home for the first time (it was the first time he’s seen the motion of a 3B coach).

5/19 – Alan goes 3-for-3 and plays 2B and 3B.  At 2B, he fields a hot shot grounded on a real nice play.

5/26 – Game rained out.

6/2 – Alan bats leadoff and goes 4-for-4 with his whole family in attendance.  He plays SS and P, where the ball finds him on several occasions.  Alan continues to field the routine grounders.  He’s also commended for helping up players off the ground, including his new buddy and teammate, Tommy.

Kindergarten Memories (Daddy’s)

From the first day of Kindergarten to the last, Alan had a blast!  And I enjoyed taking part in Alan’s school year equally as much.

There were lots of memorable moments, and here I’ll try to capture the best of the ones that I shared with Alan — in hopes that I’ll read this post years from now and be able to remember these exact images, expressions, and feelings.

On August 17th, I took Alan to his first day of school/orientation on when he met his teacher and made his first new Kindergarten friend – Noah.  Alan was brave, even though he later admitted to being nervous to meet so many new faces.  I hope to always remember him returning to me and proudly telling me about making a new friend.

On September 28th, I came to school for Donuts with Dad and stayed for the first day of centers.  Alan took the bus to school that day, and I met him in the gym where the kids waited until they were permitted to walk to their classrooms at the first bell.  I hope to always remember the expression on his face when I entered the gym and he excitedly stood up and flagged me down.  That day he also laughed hysterically when his friends Julian and Tony climbed on my back.  It’s a story he loved reminding me of all year long. 🙂

On November 16th, I came back to school for another day of centers.  During bellwork, Alan’s lost a tooth for the first time.  I hope to always remember the surprise on our faces.

On December 16th, Veronica and I read to Alan’s class and shared stories about Alan when he was the “Smartie of the Week.”  I hope to always remember how proud he was to have his parents talk to the class.

On March 22nd, I volunteered for centers again.  When we were taking a picture together, Alan gave me the warmest hug I can ever remember him giving me.  I hope to always remember the feeling of that hug.

On April 26th, I came to school to watch Alan participate in the Q & U wedding.  Alan turned to look at me and laugh every time the assistant principal – acting as the minister – told a joke about Mr. Q having to buy gifts for Mrs. U (I later found out that Alan wrote about that in his journal too).  I hope to always remember how happy Alan looked when he laughed at the jokes.

On May 18th, I came to school with Alan in the evening for the end of year Kindergarten Program.  It was an emotional night watching the video slideshow and realizing the year was just about over.  Maybe I don’t need to remember how sad I was!

On May 23rd, I helped supervise Kindergarten Field Day.  I hope to always remember how excited Alan was that his group started the day on the playground with me.

On May 25th, I took Alan to the bus stop in the morning and attended his last day of school lunch.  I hope to always remember him peaking out the bus window and smiling to me, as well as him calling my name when he saw me at school while standing in the lunch line.

Other memories I’ll take away from Kindergarten include working on all the special projects with Alan and the Monday night poem homework assignments.  Alan had to read and answer questions about a weekly poem, which we typically worked together on after school on Monday nights.  His favorite part was competing against Daddy in the word search game we created. 🙂

Last Day of Kindergarten

Alan’s school year is now in the books!  This morning I photographed Alan getting on the bus one last time as a Kindergartner.  He was still chewing his breakfast as we waited for the bus. 🙂

At school, the kids had an all-grades awards assembly in the morning.  There the kids also recorded a “Let’s Go Cavs” chant on video for the Cavs!  The photo below was taken just before the chant by the assistant principal (and posted to Twitter).  Alan appears on the very left edge of the photo in a gray shirt in approximately the 5th row.

Note: The Cavs went on to clinch their third straight Eastern Conference title by beating the Celtics tonight!

Later on in the morning, I stopped by the school to have lunch with Alan.  Parents were invited in for a hot dog lunch on the last day.

Before I left for work, I watched the kids dance and play in the gym during indoor recess.  It looked like they were having a blast.

Later in the evening Alan told me that he and his friends didn’t want summer to come because they like school too much.  Good news for them is that first grade is just under 12 weeks away!

Picnic at the Park

Alan and his classmates continued their busy month of May today at the annual Kindergarten “Picnic at the Park.”  I joined the kids as a volunteer supervisor at their field trip to Highland Heights Park.  It was a near perfect day weather-wise.

Parents arrived around 9:00 to begin setting up for the Kindergartener’s field day, and the kids arrived on buses around 9:30.  Alan was partnered with Maddie for the day, and they were assigned to group 5.  Natalee – Alan’s former preschool classmate – was also in their group.

I was assigned to playground supervision duty, and Alan’s group was sent to my “center” first — the best in the eyes of 6-year olds.  Alan loved it, as the Highland Heights Park is known for its daring climbing opportunities.

The kids all wore their green Mayfield shirts, that read “I am a Mayfield Wildcat” on the front and “Class of 2029” on the back.

After finishing climbing, Alan and Maddie tried out the seesaw.  They had a nice flow going!

Alan then rotated through stations that included tag, soccer, an obstacle course and even temporary tattoos before it was time for lunch and playground free time.

At lunch Alan sat with his best buddy Xavier.  His Donald Duck and Goofy temporary tattoos can be seen on his left hand. 🙂

After lunch Alan proceeded to the kickball, chalk-drawing, hoola-hoop, and bean bag toss stations.  Eventually I was able to leave the playground and meet up with him.  He ended the day at the bubble station with Sam, which turned out to be a lot of laughs.

From there, the kids went back to school around 1:45 to pack up and head home on their buses.  I met Alan when he got off the bus and we made a special Tuesday afternoon trip to McDonald’s for some extra time together.  It was a great day!

Video Slideshow Program

Tonight after school, kids and their parents went to Mrs. Feldman’s room for what appeared on the school calendar as an “Open House.”  When Alan and I got there, we found out it was a gathering to watch a video slideshow of the year in Kindergarten!

The kids loved seeing each other in the slideshow and had plenty of comments as the images rolled on.  Parents loved it too.  It was the first time I got to see the pictures taken of Alan and I during centers, Alan’s “Smartie of the Week” family day, and the Q & U wedding day.

Before the night was out, the kids were presented with a basket of candy, small toys, and glowsticks. And the parents didn’t go home empty-handed either.  I walked away with a copy of the DVD we watched in the classroom, a photo album of Alan’s pictures from the year, Alan’s journal, and other drawings shown below — which I absolutely loved.  I’ll cherish them as reminders of a wonderful Kindergarten year for Alan.

Summer Baseball

Alan made his Mayfield Instructional League debut today in the 5 and 6 year-olds “coach-pitch” division.  He played great, getting two solid hits to left field and splitting time at pitcher’s helper and second base in the field.  Alan was excited to receive quite a few grounders from the pitcher’s helper position.  And he encountered best friend Grady while covering second.

Alan plays for the Village Vet Clinic team and the opener was against the Mo Vaughn Trucking team.  Yes, that Mo Vaughn – the former Red Sox, Angel, and Met first baseman who slugged 328 home runs between 1991 and 2003.  Alan and I both shook his hand in the handshake line following the game.

Final score:  A 16-16 tie.

Kindergarten Adventures

Today Alan went to Grady’s house after school.  It marked the first time he rode home on a friend’s bus.  According to Alan, the two classmates played on Grady’s trampoline and swing set until Mom picked him up.  He was definitely proud to have a little taste of independence.

It’s also worth noting that Alan went through the proper approval channels to set this meeting up, including getting permission from his parents and the school office to ride bus #29 instead of bus #3.  Earlier this year, when Alan made an executive decision to board Grady’s bus without informing anyone in advance, he was a bit surprised by the reaction of the bus driver and ensuing call to Mom’s work.

He’s come a long way this year. 🙂

Kids Starting Lineup – Behind the Scenes

A behind the scenes look at Alan’s MLB debut:

The day was made possible by Robbie and Jill winning an auction that allowed Alan to be in the Kids Starting Lineup.  We found out the great news on April 17th.  Alan was thrilled when I told him over the phone that day.  I can still hear the happy sound in his voice while saying “Whaat!?” when I told him the Indians need him on the field before the game.

On April 19th Alan created artwork which depicts his family driving to Progressive Field to see him on the field.  In the drawing, there’s a Hyundai (Daddy), Honda (Robbie and Jill), and Mercedes (Grandma Debbie and Papa) clearly marked on Alan’s highway.

On April 22nd Alan wrote a thank you note to Robbie and Jill and a separate letter to the Indians (pictured above), which we mailed to Progressive Field that day.  Also on the 22nd, we bought his very first Indians jersey for the occasion — which he wanted to model with Tyler!

On April 24th Alan and I practiced finding all 9 positions on a baseball field diagram.  We also reviewed throughout the week.

On April 30th Alan’s big day went off without a hitch.  It was warm and sunny at game time, despite a forecast calling for isolated thunderstorms.  It had also rained for most of the previous two days.  Alan’s cheering section saved the day, since I was not positioned as close to Alan as I thought I would be.

On May 1st I received the following email reply from Chris Antonetti, after having sent him a scan of Alan’s letter & artwork and a recent photo:

“Thanks for the note, the letter from Alan, and the picture.  It’s cool to see Alan sporting his Tribe gear and be so engaged with the team.  I hope Alan enjoyed the Kids Starting Lineup experience yesterday.  All the best, Chris”

On May 2nd Mrs. Feldman shared the photo of Alan running the bases with Alan’s kindergarten class!  When I asked Alan how he felt about that, he smiled and commented “the whole class was looking at me!”  I asked if that made him proud and he said “yes.”  We also joked together that Alan must’ve left a cloud of dust behind him because it looks like he’s running so fast (Alan loves when we say that).

Other notes:

-Alan received two complimentary tickets for the game, which he and I used to enter.

-Alan found out he was assigned to 3B and Jose Ramirez upon arriving at the Terrace Club (the designated meeting area).  Alan was very excited to be assigned to 3B because it was a position he had played during spring baseball.  He told me that 3B was the position he was hoping he’d get.

-Alan and I entered the field from the third base line seats next to the Indians dugout.  I exited the field from the door directly behind home plate.  The kids left the same way they came onto the field.

-Parents had to leave the field a little early (before the kids) so Tomlin could start his warm-up pitches on the mound. The Indians’ field team thought we were at risk of being hit by an errant throw.  However, just before the National Anthem, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager played catch right next to us.

-After Alan’s photo reached the Indians website on Sunday evening, it was also posted to Indians Facebook and Twitter the next day.

-When I asked Alan to share how he felt about the Kids Starting Lineup experience overall, he said he was both nervous and excited.  And, oh yeah, he’d like to do it again sometime.  🙂

Tribe Game No. 1 of 2017 – Kids Starting Lineup

On April 30th, 2017 Alan made his major league debut at Progressive Field, playing third base and batting 4th in the Kids Starting Lineup!  Here’s the timeline and recap of Alan’s eventful day:

11:09 –11:39 – Alan and his traveling party ride to the ballpark aboard the RTA Green Line. When Alan arrives at Tower City, he eats his pregame meal: A soft pretzel (his favorite baseball food).

12:10 – Alan enters the ballpark and meets up with the other 7 kids in the starting lineup at the Terrace Club elevators.  A few minutes later, the kids (and parents) head down to the field level and set up on the track behind home plate.

12:20 – Mickey Calloway rolls baseballs to the kids from the Indians dugout.

12:30 – Alan’s cheering section finds him behind home plate; many photos are taken.

12:53 – The kids line up in order and head down the left field line for the National Anthem.  Alan’s cheering section shifts with him.

12:57 – The Hot Dogs and Slider greet the kids while they wait to take the field.

1:03 – The Kids Starting Lineup is announced by Sara Shookman of Channel 3 News and Alan runs out to third base!  Video of the action was captured from the third base seats and from behind home plate (Jumbotron in view).

1:08 – The Indians take the field, and Alan meets Jose Ramirez!  Alan gets an autographed ball from Ramirez before heading off the field.

1:10 – Josh Tomlin throws the first pitch and the Indians game is underway.  The temperature at first pitch is 76 degrees, though it feels much warmer in the sun.

1:20 – Alan and I are reunited under the stadium, and we return to the main concourse to meet up with the family.

1:35 – Now on the family deck, Alan picks up his 2017 Tribe Town MVP souvenirs and enters the Kids Clubhouse.

2:00 – The Indians begin an 8-run rally in the bottom of the 3rd inning – their highest scoring inning since May 2015.

2:10 – Jose Ramirez, likely inspired by Alan, tags and scores on a shallow pop-fly to RF with an incredible tag-avoiding slide.

2:15 – Alan orders the largest box of popcorn either of us has ever seen.

2:20 – Brantley caps the Indians’ 8-run outburst with a 2-run HR to right field.

2:40 – Alan returns to the family deck activities after eating lunch.  He climbs the Lofton wall and hits at Little League Park.

3:10 – Alan beats [simulated] Slider in a footrace and tests his pitching accuracy.

3:40 – This picture is taken:  🙂

4:00– Alan enters the “Kids Run the Bases” line and moves towards the front with his Tribe Town MVP badge.

4:08 – Indians record the final out and beat the Mariners 12-4.

4:15 – Alan circles the bases in record time!  He also coaxes me out of retirement, and I struggle to keep up.  Later a photo of Alan appears on the Indians website in their game recap photo gallery. 🙂

4:20 – Alan stops for some finals photos. He also plays photographer and takes a few photos of his traveling party – plus some selfies – to wrap up the day at the ballpark.

5:04 – 5:32 – We return home on RTA.  Afterwards, Alan wants to watch the train until it leaves the station, which we do because it’s his day.

Sunny in Cleveland

Today we arrived for Chinese class early, so we did some sight-seeing on the mall area around Key Tower and Cleveland Browns Stadium.  Alan loves seeing the Tower, whether it’s up close or from afar (He also went inside when he visited me at work to deliver Christmas presents when he was 3, but he doesn’t remember that).

It was a beautiful day in Cleveland – weather wise and sports wise.  The Cavs began their title defense with a win over the Pacers in Gm 1 of their first round series, while the Indians beat the Tigers right next door.


Cavaliers Game

Alan and I watched the Cavaliers beat the 76ers at the Q tonight!  It was our 1st game of the regular season together and Alan’s second overall.  He went to the Feb. 25th game vs the Bulls with Mom as well.

Alan watched a good portion of the second quarter from our seats and cheered every time that LeBron, Kyrie, or Love — his favorites — scored points or grabbed rebounds.  Before that, he was busy taking pictures with them. 🙂

Other highlights of the night included taking in the sights around the concourse and stopping by the Wine & Gold United Membership area for stickers and photos. Alan loved wearing his LeBron jersey, which I bought him after he became a member of the Cavs Kids Club this year!


Hitting Drills

Alan worked on his hitting skills in more depth tonight at baseball practice.  The class started with a race to get warm, then moved to hitting soft toss with a whiffle bat into a screen.  Alan was first in line to hit, then he helped Daddy (the soft tosser) gather the whiffle balls while the other kids took their turns.

At the next station, Alan went first again when the class instructor held out the training stick.  This drill required an aluminum bat, and  Alan was proud to volunteer his personal bat for the class to use.

Fielding Grounders

Tonight Alan put in work [smoothly] fielding grounders, catching pop-ups, and hitting some soft toss at baseball practice.  He made me really proud when he volunteered to hit in front of the class with the instructor at the start of batting practice!

Alan used a brand new 10.5 inch Rawlings glove for the first time tonight, after I surprised him with it earlier this week.  We did our best to break it in as soon as possible, and even put it through a steaming process, which was new to me.

We retired his 9 inch Rawlings glove, which Alan picked out back in early 2014 when he was 3 years old.  Back then Alan didn’t know yet what baseball was, but he knew he wanted that glove when he tried it on for the first time.

Centers, Sports Day at Millridge

Today was another centers day for Kindergarteners — the first after busy season at work for me — so I jumped at the opportunity to drive Alan to school and spend the morning with him and his classmates!

It also happened to be Sports Day at school, so Alan and I both went in Cavaliers attire. During bellwork, Alan had to write and answer the following questions in his journal:

  1. What is your favorite sport?
  2. What is your favorite team?
  3. Who is your favorite player?

Alan responded with “baseball,” “Indians,” and “LeBron James.”  All very understandable answers!

When it was time for centers, I manned a station with a math game.  The kids rotated through in groups of three or four.  Alan was in a group with his best friends Xavier and Grady.  I loved how all three kids combined to cover the Cavaliers, Indians, and Browns with their shirts.

Side note: Alan ended up winning the math game.  Later in the day, when I called Alan after he got home from school, he revealed to me that he thought he won because he was wearing his Cavaliers championship shirt.

After the math game, Alan and his friends rotated through other tables that involved puzzles, coloring, and drawing.  At one station Alan drew a plane and a truck (specifically a Target truck) that he gave to me to take home. Obviously I loved it.

At the conclusion of centers, I stayed with Alan as the kids ate their snacks, then left for work afterwards.  I would’ve stayed for the whole day if I could have!

Tribe Fest 2017

Today Alan attended Tribe Fest for the first time!  We went straight for the kids activities — Lego building, a pitching accuracy game, and balloons!

At the Lego table, Alan built an awesome airplane with his imagination. At the pitching activity, Alan picked up 2 bullseyes and many more strikes! Once we finally found the balloon station, Alan requested a baseball hat and a sword…and he played with them all night long afterwards.

Can’t wait for the return of baseball season!

11/17/17 Update: When Robbie went to purchase tickets for Tribe Fest 2018, he found a photo of Alan playing with Legos in last year’s gallery! Turns out this photo was actually Alan’s debut appearance on the Indians website.

Christmas 2016

For Alan, this Christmas weekend was a characterized by cousins, friends, fun times, and a straight haul of Paw Patrol, Miles From Tomorrowland, and Lego toys!

Friday, December 23rd:

Alan started the day on Friday by making his annual visit to see Luke in Streetsboro, where Alan’s first gifts of the weekend were Legos and books!  But I think Alan enjoyed playing with Luke more so than receiving the Legos. 🙂

Later in the night, Alan had a sleepover at Grandma Debbie’s.  We tried out the new Paw Patrol table we got for doing homework and played Alan’s favorite game: “Go Fish!”

Saturday, December 24th:

Alan and his cousins got together to open toys, chase each other around, and have a blast at the family party on Saturday.  Alan received all the toys pictured above thanks to his grandparents, Papa and Tata, and Robbie and Jill.  Included in the haul of toys was a Paw Patrol train set, various Miles from Tomorrowland vehicles, a Lego fire truck and police car, and an appropriately-timed John Glenn space shuttle toy from 1998 (one of Daddy’s favorites)!

Following the party, Alan went home and starting putting together his Legos.  He also made hot cocoa for Santa and put out carrots for the reindeer before going to sleep.  We kept the Christmas tree lights turned on so that Santa could find his way. 🙂

Sunday, December 25th:

This morning Alan woke up to find that Santa gave him an Indians car and an Indians van (as written on his Christmas wishlist at school), as well as the Paw Patrol race track pictured above.  He got everything that he wanted from Santa!  After assembling the race track, we finished putting together the remaining Legos from yesterday.  Then it was off to open presents with his Mom!

There will certainly be a lot of new toys for Alan, Tyler, and Carleigh to play with at Grandma Debbie’s house in the weeks and months ahead!

“Smartie” of the Week

This week at school it was Alan’s turn to be the featured “Smartie” of the week!  As part of the fun, he got to wear a crown, be the boys line leader, and lead calendar activities all week.  He also got to present his “All About Me” poster (see 12/5/16 post) to the class and have his parents come in and read to the class!

We came in to school this afternoon and read two of Alan’s favorites: Hot Rod Hamster and Ten on the Sled.  Alan turned the pages while we read. He also called on students during the interactive portion of Hot Rod Hamster.  Afterwards I shared facts about Alan — including his love for baseball and the Indians — to the rest of the kids.

It was quite an exciting day overall for Alan, since the kids wore their pajamas to school and watched Polar Express together. At the end of the day, I was presented with another Christmas gift from Alan: the Rudolph artwork pictured below. 🙂

Return of Elfie


Guess who’s back?  It’s Elfie!  And he’s got a message from Alan to deliver to Santa tonight!  This year Alan would like an Indians van and a Paw Patrol train set from Santa.  Alan also wanted to let Santa know that he’s going to make coffee for him and leave out some carrots for his reindeer on Christmas Eve. 🙂



Today Alan celebrated Thanksgiving with Tyler, Carleigh, and the rest of the family! He loves seeing his cousins and playing tag with them. Tomorrow they’ll be back for more, as the cousins are having a sleepover at Grandma Debbie’s!

Today was a rainy Thanksgiving, so we couldn’t play baseball like we did last year.  But we did continue our tradition of decorating our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving.  Alan was in charge of putting up all of the decorations around the apartment as well. 🙂

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Lost Tooth, Centers


Alan lost his first tooth during morning bell work at school today!  I was with him when it happened, as I was a classroom volunteer today for centers (I led Thanksgiving-themed bingo).  When the tooth fell out, Alan noticed something white on the table and looked at it and said “What’s this?”  Somehow I knew it was going to be his tooth before I looked over.  Mrs. Feldman gave us a tooth-shaped carrying case (pictured below) for safe keeping. 🙂

It seems like a long shot that Alan would lose his first tooth on the day I was at school with him.  However, my first tooth also fell out when my Mom was with me on the first day of kindergarten.  What are the odds…


11/17/16 Update: This morning when Alan woke up, he found that the tooth fairy came and left him $1 in an envelope. He was excited. 🙂



During this election season, Alan received an introduction to voting by filling out a “kids ballot” from the public library.  Alan voted the following: 🙂

  • Favorite season: Winter
  • Favorite color: Green
  • Favorite team: Indians
  • Favorite sport: Baseball
  • Favorite Disney princess: Rapunzel

While Alan is too young to understand actual elections, he at least learned about the concepts of voting and ballots through the library and his parents.

When Alan does reach voting age , I would like to share with him the messages contained in Hillary Clinton’s gracious and eloquent concession speech from earlier this week (excerpt below). I’ve never respected and admired a public servant more than her. Although this year was not the time for a leader with her vision, I believe that in Alan’s lifetime he will see great progress towards a country that respects all people, regardless of our differences.

“…Our campaign was never about one person, or even one election. It was about the country we love and building an America that is hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted…let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear. Making our economy work for everyone, protecting our country and protecting our planet. And breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams….we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone—for people of all races, and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. For everyone.”

[Picture taken above at Hillary Clinton rally at the Public Auditorium in Cleveland on 11/6/16]

World Series Game 3 Watch Party


The Year of Cleveland has continued with the Tribe now in the World Series, and Alan and I took advantage by venturing to the Game 3 Watch Party at Progressive Field tonight!

Alan was thrilled to learn that he’d be able to see Progressive Field again after I had previously told him that the end of the regular season would be our last chance to see the ballpark together this season. But with the Tribe extending its season deep into October, the Dolans opening the ballpark for a watch party, Robbie getting us Club Level tickets, and Game 3 of the World Series falling on a Friday night, things set up perfectly for us.

I waited until Thursday night to give Alan the good news about our Friday plans, and he was excited for them all day on Friday. He loves that turning 6 meant that he’s permitted to go to night games. And he was thrilled to hear that we would meet Robbie and David at the ballpark!

We got downtown about 15 minutes before first pitch, snapped some photos on our walk, and headed into the ballpark.  We picked up rally towels at the gates, and then Alan picked out a World Series bear at the souvenir stand.

After leaving the team shop, we found Robbie and David on the Club Level and watched the game on the scoreboard from some great seats. To Alan’s delight, we had access to unlimited free soft pretzels — Alan’s favorite ballpark food!

It was quite significant that Alan sat and watched a few innings.  Even though he’s gone to a lot of games with me, usually he’s participating in the kids activities and not necessarily following the game.  Tonight, however, was geared for the adults (the Kids Clubhouse was closed), but that did not deter Alan from enjoying the night.

He loved waving his rally towel with the crowd, and happily took some photos with Robbie, David, and I.  Due to the late start time for the game, we could only stay  through about the 6th inning.  But fortunately Alan did get to watch the hot dog race — his favorite gameday experience outside of running the bases — from the Home Run Porch on our way out.

The fun did not stop there, though.  Alan [unexpectedly] stayed awake the whole car ride home and we listened to the Tribe grab a 1-0 lead on the radio. When we got home — with Alan still wide awake — we built with Tinker Toys while watching the last couple innings on TV.

Alan stayed up all the way through the last out of the 1-0 Tribe victory — which came on a Cody Allen strikeout and was followed by us exchanging high fives.  When we were sitting on the couch, Alan’s ears perked up each time he heard the announcer say “Cody Allen.” It was the first time he recognized an Indians player by name.  As Jill later pointed out (via text), between Cody Allen and Andrew Miller, Alan’s name is covered by the Tribe. 🙂

I’m not sure if any night can top watching the Cavs win Game 7 of the NBA Finals with Alan on Father’s Day, but tonight at least enters the discussion.  What a night!






11/3/16 Update

A few notes to add on this year’s World Series

-I attended Game 1 with Robbie (after watching the Cavs raise the championship banner earlier that night), the watch party for Game 4 with Robbie, the watch party for Game 5 with Shane, and Game 7 with Robbie, David, Therese and my Dad.

-Alan and I watched the beginning of Game 6 together at home. Prior to first pitch, we took advantage of the 70+ degree weather and played catch and hit balls at the park.  Alan used his new metal bat. 🙂


Fall Weekends


I think it’s safe to say that no one has more fun on weekends this fall than Alan.

Friday nights involve parties with me.  Saturdays are all about Chinese class at the Cleveland Public Library and music lessons at the Musical Settlement.  Alan’s still going strong practicing the piano and he’s been observing violin performances too!  Saturday nights involve sleepovers at Grandma Debbie’s house (and being silly).

Sundays can involve either playing with Tyler (now that he’s moved to Streetsboro!) or visiting Tata….and they usually end with swimming with Mom at the MHS pool.  Just recently Alan floated on his own for the first time and put his face under water!

Whenever we can find time, Alan also gets some swings in with his new metal bat, which he got when turning six.  October is also the perfect time to collect buckeyes that have fallen from our favorite neighborhood buckeye tree!




Wine & Gold Scrimmage


This afternoon, thanks to Alan, we got to take a photo with the Larry O’Brien trophy!  The photo opp was made available to members of the Cavs Kids Club (NOT Wine & Gold Members like me ha) following the Cavs’ annual Wine & Gold Scrimmage at the Q.

During the scrimmage, which we watched from the Club level, Alan cheered every time Kyrie touched the ball, Love made a 3-pointer, or LeBron (DNP) was shown on the scoreboard.  Those three players are easily the three most recognizable athletes to Alan, since he saw them on TV quite frequently last season.

Overall, it was a great trip to the Q for Alan – his first since January 2013.  The sound was a bit too loud for Alan’s liking, but he did have his favorite salt-free soft pretzel that made him quite happy.  The best moment was when Alan saw the court for the first time. He described it as “Awesome” in his most excited voice. 🙂




Today I volunteered to help with “centers” — a special session where parents and volunteers lead groups of 3-5 students at a time through various enrichment activities — at Alan’s class.

Activities can include anything from puzzles and math problems to building and crafting. The center I led involved using sticks of various sizes to make objects and shapes based on each child’s imagination.  Alan made a train with his supply. 🙂

I loved coming in to see Alan in his element — he seems to be enjoying his first couple months of school very much.  And Alan was proud to have his Daddy volunteer in class.  Before centers, we presented Alan’s foot project to the class together.  I let all the kids know just how much Alan loves planets and outer space.

After centers, Alan asked me to stay for snack time and then morning recess.  I of course stayed and helped push kids on the swings.  At first I wondered why the teachers weren’t helping push the kids…but that question was answered as soon as I was running up and down the line pushing eights kids at once!

Centers are typically held on two Wednesdays per month, in place of specials.  You can bet I’ll be coming in again as the year goes on!

Birthday Party for Alan & Tyler


The birthday festivities continued today for Alan, as he celebrated his 6th birthday with family!

A joint, Blaze-themed party was held at Grandma Debbie’s for both Alan and Tyler. Alan’s cousins Mariah, Dominic, and Carleigh also came over to celebrate, and they even posed for a nice picture (below).

The highlight of Alan’s day — and mine too when I saw Alan’s reaction — was receiving the Stellosphere (Miles From Tomorrowland). Alan had been asking for the Stellosphere for months and could barely contain his excitement when he opened it. That’s not to say he was surprised, though — he knew exactly what the gift was after examining it and shaking it days before. 🙂

At the party, the kids also had ice cream cake, put together a Lego boat (Alan’s gift), and played inside a tent (Tyler’s gift). And of course they chased each other around the living room!

Alan fell asleep on the way home, which was expected after 1) the excitement of the party and 2) probably not sleeping much during his sleepover with Tyler the night before. The two admitted today to pretending to sleep when Grandma Debbie checked on them. 🙂

It was a great day for both boys. With Tyler now living in the area, it probably won’t be the last time those two celebrate together!




Tribe Game No. 8 of 2016


Tonight Alan closed out his 2016 MVP season with his first ever night game!  Someone is very happy that 6-year olds are allowed to stay out later. 🙂

Alan found out the best part about being a big kid and going to a night game was the shorter lines for kids activities. Alan barely had to wait to hit, throw, jump, and run!  It was a short night at the ballpark, though, as Alan was in a hurry to meet up with Tyler at Grandma Debbie’s for their sleepover (tomorrow is the big family party!).

Before leaving we tossed a ball around for a bit and said our goodbyes to Progressive Field.  Sadly, tonight was our last game of the season.

Thanks to Robbie and Jill for supplying our tickets this year!  The 2016 season was our favorite at the ballpark yet.  Can’t wait for spring 2017!