This year Alan had his first New Year’s Eve party & sleepover with Tyler and Carleigh at Grandma Debbie’s. The kids, who did not quite make it to midnight, played cards (Old Maid), tag, nerf guns, and car races. They also watched the movie Cars 2. Alan had a great time and laughed nonstop, as he always does when he’s with his cousins at Grandma Debbie’s. 🙂
Alan’s Christmas resumed in the early hours of Saturday morning after returning home from New Orleans. Alan’s plane landed just before midnight and he made it back to Mayfield at about 12:30am. After sleeping on the plane, though, Alan was wide awake and ready to see what Santa left for him — a Cars 3 Super Mack Truck!! Super Mack, which transforms into a motorized race track, was exactly what Alan told Elfie he wanted, keeping Elfie’s stellar track record as a messenger alive.
Alan also received gifts from me in his stocking, including the 6th book in the Dog Man series: Brawl of the Wild, an Ohio State book for kids called Buckeyes A to Z, a Hot Wheels monster truck ornament, a gingerbread man ornament, a pack of Topps baseball cards (Alan was excited to get a Cody Allen card!), a Buckeyes mini jet, a Cavaliers car, and three “C” baseballs (including a green one that Alan placed in the living room next to his favorite baseballs from 2018). Alan stayed up until about 2:30am reading his new book and then telling me about his New Orleans trip (more on that in a separate post) before finally calling it a night. 🙂
The Christmas fun kicked off for Alan last night when he had a sleepover with Tyler and Carleigh at Grandma Debbie’s, and it continued today with the family party!
Alan was excited to share last weekend’s new toy — the Hot Wheels launcher — and open up plenty of new toys as well. His favorite gifts were the Nerf gun from Grandma Debbie (he can never have enough Nerf toys!) and the electric train from Robbie and Jill (which came in a large, heavy box).
The party was held at the same time the Browns were closing their 5-2-1 home slate in 2018 with an exciting win over the Bengals. The photo of Alan with his arm raised above actually captured his reaction to the Brown’s 2nd touchdown of the game!
As usual, the cousins had a great time playing together. When it came time to leave, they wanted to take pictures together. Carleigh had already put her hat on and preferred to keep it on for the photos. 🙂
Note: This year the party was held a little early because Alan is traveling to New Orleans Dec. 24th-28th. Alan was very happy that he didn’t have to miss out on the fun.
For the second October in a row, Alan and I had extra ‘buddy time’ while Veronica went traveling for a week!
Together we had quite a week+, starting on the night of 9/27 and lasting through tonight. There was a lot of math homework (50 problems a day), music (in the car on the way to school), books (it was Millridge Read-a-thon week), and even dad jokes (written on notes placed in Alan’s lunch bag). There was also The Great Coffee Spill of 2018 mixed in, which fortunately we overcame. 🙂
We devoted a day (last Sunday) to board games. Then midweek we went to Party City and bought a new one, Mouse Trap. Alan loved it!
There was also sports (& creations). Alan watched OSU beat Penn State while building the Lego Coast Guard set, then watched OSU beat Indians while building a new Tinker Toy 16-wheeler. We watched the Browns upset the Ravens on a last second field goal in OT(!). And we hit baseballs at the park, two days after Indians day at school in honor of the ALDS.
Fortunately Alan had some meditation time with this classmates after all the excitement at home. 🙂
On the final weekend of summer break, Alan and I wanted to have one last fun outing together. So following Grady’s birthday party at Sky Zone, we drove out to one of our favorite spots – Fun ‘N’ Stuff!
Now that we’re regular visitors, we have a set plan. We made sure to play two rounds of mini-golf on course 1, two rounds of air hockey, one turn in the bounce house, and $20 worth of tokens in the arcade.
We had a blast all afternoon, highlighted by two big moments. The first one was Alan’s first hole-in-one at Fun ‘N’ Stuff (third overall)! I did not capture his live reaction, but Alan was kind enough to reenact it for me afterwards (pictured above). 🙂
The second big moment was when Alan won a 1,000-ticket jackpot on one arcade game! At first we didn’t even realize he won a jackpot — instead we thought the machine was broken! In any event, we used these tickets, along with tickets earned during our previous visit this summer, to walk away with a variety of prizes. Alan used 2,000 tickets on a set of five Mickey Mouse and the Roadster Racers cars and approximately 450 more on a mini globe, hacky sack, toy car, suction cup ball, lollipops, and Tootsie Rolls for Daddy. Alan is always generous to Daddy!
Alan’s second-to-last week of summer break was jam-packed with fun activities. It was a true representation of what a great summer weekend should be like.
On Friday night we returned to the baseball field to hit balls for the first time since before Alan’s surgery. Alan was hitting mostly everything I pitched to him and ran the bases several times. He was thrilled to get back on the field. Afterwards, as we were packing up, Alan happened to see Ella from Mrs. Russo’s class at the park with her Mom and sister. Alan stopped to play with them for a while on the playground, and then they chased fire flies together. Ella also gave Alan an orange wristband to go with the friendship rock from earlier in the year. After going home, we played chess and also continued to work on a car that Alan, an engineer in training, started to build out of a box. 🙂
On Saturday we began the day at The National Sports Collectors Convention (The NSCC). After lunch, Alan and I stopped by the annual summer carnival at Golden Gate Gardens and participated in a cake walk and played a ball toss game together.
Afterwards, I took Alan to his friend Josh’s house to play for a couple hours. Somehow the day was still just beginning though, as the highlight of Alan’s day was going to see Tyler and Carleigh. First they played in a bounce house at Katie’s graduation party (where a photo was snapped of all the cousins), and then they played at Grandma Debbie’s house. They ended up having a good four hours together in the two locations. Alan let his cousins drive his “box car.” 🙂
Next weekend — the final one of summer break — figures to be another fun one too!
As part of what’s now become tradition, I took off work the Friday of Father’s Day Weekend to spend the day at Fun ‘N’ Stuff with Alan. We spent the day enjoying four rounds of mini golf, an inflatable basketball court (perfect for Tristan Thompson), and of course the arcade — featuring skee-ball, lots of air hockey, and other ticket-dispensing games! Alan decided to save up his tickets (475) for a bigger prize when we return again at the end of summer.
Note: We decided Alan’s favorite hole on the course is #9 and mine is #7 (pictured above).
First grade – Part IV – edition of the Top 10:
-Visiting playgrounds and parks – especially now that the weather is warm!
-Doubling up on batting practice and playground time on Friday nights at the Mayfield Community Park.
-Tracking results of the NBA playoffs on a bracket print-out. Alan watched some of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals from Grandma Debbie’s on Saturday, including when LeBron made a three to put the Cavs up by 20 on the Celtics.
-Making forts with Tyler and Carleigh at Grandma Debbie’s!
-Learning baseball team logos using a set of mini batting helmets and the following map:
-Thinking about cars he’d like to buy when he’s older. Alan currently wants to own a blue Subaru, a red Chevy, and a gray Kia. He’d also like to buy Grandma Debbie a black Porsche.
-Playing badminton – Alan’s latest new sport
-ABC Countdown at school! Alan’s really looked forward to each daily activity over the past month.
-Making race tracks on Grandma Debbie’s coffee table every weekend!
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!
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. 🙂
Alan and I had extra quality time together this week with Veronica 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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Today Alan attended the first birthday party of the summer, as his best friend Joshua (wearing red) turned 5. Other classmates who made it out to the party – which was held outdoors at the Highland Heights Park – included Ryleigh, Armando, and Meredith. This park is one of Alan’s favorite parks because of the tall ladders and slides!
Happy Birthday Joshua!
This week Alan did the following:
Built a wooden airplane (below) with highschoolers visiting Millridge on Monday.
Went to a real voting site for the Ohio Primary – and asked great questions about voting – on Tuesday.
Had me read all of his favorite books before bed on Wednesday.
Celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at school on Thursday.
Did an early easter egg hunt at Grandma Debbie’s house on Friday.
Had a playdate with Joshua from preschool on Sunday.
What a great week!
Every other Sunday Alan goes to visit his Tata (Great-Grandma) and Papa (Great-Grandpa). It’s a weekend tradition that goes back to when Alan was a baby and spans three different apartments.
Some of Alan’s favorite activities have been playing in the sink and laughing about it (pictured above), reading with Tata, eating corn and graham crackers, playing in his [original] hideout (pictured below over Papa’s left shoulder), maneuvering his body through a fish-shaped drying rack (pictured below over Papa’s right shoulder), and playing with trucks, trains, and construction equipment (pictured below).
When Robbie and Jill are in town, the activities expand to playing “rescue” on the parking garage with Robbie (where workers are rescued from the roof via crane) and the board game Chutes and Ladders with Jill.
It’s always a great time on the weekends at Great-Grandparents’ apartment!
Note: The pictures below were taken by Alan today. He picked up my phone and just started snapping. The photos are both artistic and unique to his perspective. Nice job Alan!!!
On Thursdays and Fridays Alan gets to spend the day with Grandma Debbie, Papa, Rosie, and Lulu. Alan has a great time reading, going to the library, playing bingo, going to a shop in Chagrin Falls where his friend Jennifer gives him lollipops, and mixing coffee for Papa at Starbucks (Alan adds sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla flavoring and puts the straw in the lid).
Alan also enjoys playing “I Spy” with Grandma Debbie, playing Paw Patrol and Blaze computer games, playing with the dogs, and going to Great Clips for haircuts, where everyone loves Alan. Occasionally Alan gets to visit Uncle John too.
He especially loves Thursday night sleepovers and going on nighttime adventures around the neighborhood in his pajamas with Grandma, Papa, and the dogs before bed!
Alan’s always up to something new and interesting at Grandma Debbie’s!
Alan’s fun continued through the weekend as he got to do all of his favorite things. He got into more “trouble” with Tyler, showed his new Paw Patroller to Tyler, put together Legos with my friend “Uncle” Luke (Legos were this year’s gift after Tinker Toys were last year’s), and played his favorite parking garage rescue game with Robbie and hide-out game with Jill.
Due to the mild winter we’ve been having, Alan and I also got to play baseball at the park on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day(!). Figuring this luck won’t last forever, Alan and I did buy a soft football this weekend to play with outside when it does eventually start snowing. Alan is getting more comfortable with playing catch!
Nowadays Alan is into puzzles. His two favorites are the 24-piece puzzles called “Chugga Chugga Choo Choo” and “Flyin’ Home” pictured above. He can put them together in 3-5 minutes. Soon I’ll have to increase the difficulty level!
He’s also starting playing his first board game: Sequence for Kids, Zoo edition. Though at this point we make up our own rules so that we both win every time.