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 this weekend!
Alan’s first season in the Mayfield LBJ basketball league is officially underway! Alan has worn his lucky Cavs Championship shirt to the first couple 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 big shot:
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!
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).
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Alan had been asking to go to Sky Zone ever since Paige’s birthday party last February. Once I heard Dominick was a big fan too, it seemed like the perfect place to hold a cousins gathering!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Today Alan took up a new activity: chess. He’s participating in a 7-session program for the next 7 Wednesdays after school at Millridge. Alan is happy that his classmate Dhruva signed up too!
Tonight’s focus was on hitting again at baseball practice. Alan loves using the metal bat and is getting pretty comfortable swinging it. Before practice, Alan and I bought new baseball pants for the upcoming summer baseball league. We got to hang out all afternoon since Alan is on spring break and I took off work.
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.
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.
Tonight was the first of several birthday parties on Alan’s calendar in February. Alan celebrated classmate Paige’s birthday at Sky Zone in Highland Heights. Alan had a blast jumping into a foam ball pit! Pretty much the whole kindergarten class made it out to the night time party (Alan’s first). Definitely a fun way to end the school week. 🙂
It’s time for an updated top 10:
-Legos, legos, legos…and legos!
-Ice Skating at Gilmore on Fridays after school
-Swimming at the MHS pool
-Playing freeze tag in gym class
-Riding the bus with Cassidy and Xavier
-Seeing Tyler (especially since he lives in Solon now!)
-Watching Mickey and the Roadster Racers
-Classmate birthday parties
-Learning about cars!
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.
Look at how much Alan has improved at ice skating. This is just lesson #5! Love how he splits the cones at the 1:05 mark especially.
Way to go Alan!
As of today, Alan has officially taken up ice skating! He participated in his first of give “learn-to-ice-skate” sessions at Gilmour Academy. He took a bus with his friends from Millridge after school, and he had a great time learning to skate!
Artwork from Chinese Class. Plus a video from martial arts.
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!
With kindergarten just two weeks away, here’s a look at the highlights of Alan’s summer!
Alan saw both of his uncles, including Uncle Josh and Uncle Bobby — plus Meghan, Tyler, and Carleigh — on separate visits this summer. Josh took the photo above, from down on the rocks at Chagrin Falls.
To prepare for kindergarten, Alan completed his first summer reading program at the Solon library. And he graduated from Safety Town!
On the baseball field, Alan completed his first baseball season. He made great strides in learning to catch a ball with his glove, and he successfully learned to hit a ball without the aid of a tee!
Alan also picked up a new hobby. He loves building with legos, and he even learned how to follow the instructions on his own (when he’s not creating awesome wrecking ball trucks with his imagination).
Today Alan saw the movie The Secret Life of Pets with Grandma Debbie and Uncle Josh, who’s on leave for 2 weeks! Judging by Alan’s comments afterwards, his favorite movie character was the head-banging poodle haha. I was glad to hear that Alan stayed through the whole movie. His level of patience is definitely improving.
-Rock climbing! (Picture above was taken at the Mayfield Unity Days festival)
-Hitting baseballs and circling a pretend field at the apartment
-Participating in the summer reading program at the library
-Building with Legos at the Lego Store at Beachwood Place
-Watching movies in the theater (he recently saw Finding Dory with Debbie, after they had previously watched Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip)
-Reading the train book we bought in Chicago
-Riding Escalators at Beachwood Place (by himself, with Daddy waiting on the first floor)
-Celebrating the Cavaliers’ championship!
-Wearing his new PJ Masks green mask
Tonight Alan’s first season of baseball came to a close after a very successful six weeks. Alan really showed improvement in hitting (both with and without a tee), throwing, and – most especially – catching balls in his glove. He also learned the “ready position” for fielding and started to pick up the rules of the game.
Most importantly, his interest and enthusiasm for the game has continued to grow. Alan got to hit leadoff the past two games because he was the quickest to get in line to hit. He also got to pick his position in the field by always being the first one to run out of the dugout.
I personally loved getting to play the field and run the bases with Alan during games. We’ll continue to practice together this summer, but I already can’t wait for next season!
Note 1: Just over Alan’s shoulder you can see his fan club: Debbie, Papa, Tata, Papa, and Lulu.
Note 2: Pictures were taken 6/9/16; Video of handshake line recorded 6/2/16.
Here’s the rundown of Alan’s first trip to Chicago to visit Robbie and Jill!
Friday, May 27th, 2016:
10:30AM – 6:30PM (EST): Car ride to Deerfield. Alan was great the whole way! He listened quietly to his favorite transportation CD and slept for about an hour. We attributed his good behavior to being excited to see Robbie and Jill!
PM: Papa, Tata, Robbie, and I went to dinner at Il Forno Pizza while Alan stayed back at the house and played with Lincoln Logs with Jill. Afterwards we all watched the Cavaliers clinch the Eastern Conference in Toronto!
Note: That wasn’t even the only clincher we saw on TV during the trip. We also watched OSU baseball off and on all weekend, including the final outs of the big ten tournament championship win over Iowa on Sunday.
Saturday, May 28th, 2016:
AM: As soon as Alan woke up on Saturday, he and I put together a Lego garbage truck that Alan received as a surprise gift from Robbie and Jill. Then all of us went to the Chicago Botanic Garden [for the highlight of Alan’s trip] to see the model train exhibit at the railroad garden! Alan absolutely loved it. His favorite train car was the orange butterfly train car (pictured below). He borrowed my phone to take his own pictures and videos. Alan could’ve stayed there all day!
Note: Alan volunteered to push Tata’s wheel chair at the garden. We were all surprised that he was strong enough for the task, but he definitely was able to do it. Because he was so good, he got to pick out two toy trains and a train book (pictured further on) from the gift shop. 🙂
PM: Afterwards we had lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, one of our favorite lunch destinations. Then Alan visited the Deerfield Public Library, where he played with more trains and met another 5-year old named William. In the evening Alan put together puzzles with Tata and played Chutes and Ladders with Jill. We also took our annual family photo in the backyard by the famous tree that Papa got at Beachwood Place in the mid-1990s and gave to Robbie and Jill to plant. Just 1-2 feet tall back then, the tree has now grown to an estimated 15-20 feet now.
Sunday, May 29th, 2016:
AM: The day started with Alan’s first of three different trips community playgrounds, where we discovered that Alan has an interest in rock climbing. He was actually quite good at it and before long he mastered climbing the wall pictured below!
PM: Prior to having lunch at Rhapsody, another favorite of ours, Alan made his professional mini golf debut at the Highland Park Country Club. He began by earning a par on his first hole. Shortly after, on just his fourth career hole, Alan achieved his first career hole-in-one! With everyone watching attentively – including Papa and Tata – he banked in a downhill putt off the back wall for an eagle on the par 3 fourth hole. As the ball inched its way to the cup, it seemed to go in slow motion. But it dropped in, and we erupted in cheers. Alan didn’t initially understand what he accomplished, but after we let him know the significance, he became quite proud. The scorecard – subsequently signed by each of the four participants in the day’s round – is now on display in a plastic holder in Alan’s room. I circled and traced over the “1” in red marker to highlight Alan’s remarkable feat (pictured below).
If that wasn’t enough excitement for the day, Alan also rode a commuter train in the direction of the city for 3 stops. Robbie and I dropped off Alan and Jill at the closest train stop, then drove down the line to pick them up after an 11-minute ride. Alan was given a souvenir ticket (pictured below) from the ticket-taker to commemorate his first ride!
Monday, May 30th, 2016:
AM: Alan woke up and played his favorite construction equipment “rescue game” with Robbie while everyone packed. Then Alan got to play at two more playgrounds near Robbie and Jill’s house! It was a very hot morning, but Alan also ran the bases on a nearby baseball diamond.
12:30-8:30PM (EST): Car ride to Mayfield Heights. Again Alan was very well-behaved. He ate a lot of graham crackers and slept for about 90 minutes. He also played a race car arcade game at a rest stop for the first time. He loved it!
Alan had so much fun that he’s already declared that we’re returning on June 10th. 🙂 Thanks to Robbie and Jill for hosting us!
One of Alan’s new favorite things to do is point out the different car models when we pass them on the road. He’s really taken an interest in learning brand names and can now spot the logos for Hyundai, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda, Kia, Chevy, Ford, Mercedes, Cadillac, Audi, and Subaru. He was on a roll rattling off names when I drove him to school today!
Tonight Alan kicked off his Little League baseball career at the first practice for Mayfield’s “Little Sluggers.” Alan had a blast practicing hitting off a tee, catching pop-ups, taking grounders, running sprints, running more sprints, and ending practice with a cheer!
Alan is a member of the Tigers, which he got a kick out of since that’s his favorite animal. His best friend from preschool, Joshua, is on the White Sox and his neighborhood friend, William, is on the Royals. Alan was thrilled to find out they were playing in the league this summer!
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!
Recently Alan shared some of his recurring dreams with me.
One involved him driving Mommy’s Nissan on his own (Note: Alan’s no stranger to driving, as evidenced here).
Another was based on the Disney Junior show PJ Masks. Alan, along with his friends from preschool Ella and Joshua, who take on the roles of Gecko, Owelette, and Catboy everyday at recess, were busy conquering villains like Luna Girl.
But the most unique dream he shared involved Alan and I as firefighters. The two of us were at Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse with Mickey and Jake (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates), when a fire alarm went off. Alan and I then took Mickey’s train to the fire and put it out. 🙂
-Typing the numbers 1 through 100 in Microsoft Word (and admiring his work)
-Playing with/kicking a football at the park (as Alan and I wait for baseball season to return)
-Playing PJ Masks at school with Ella and [new student] Joshua
-Building with Legos
–Bike-riding through the neighborhood (thanks to this mild winter!)
-Earning stickers at Chinese class
-Reading the Berenstain Bears Go to School
-Anything related to superheroes
-Weekly Sunday afternoon piano performances for Daddy
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!!!
I leased a new car this month — a 2016 Hyundai Sonata — and Alan told me that he’ll be in charge of inspecting the wheels this winter to make sure that there’s not too much ice and snow on them before we start driving. As indicated by the picture below, it’s an important job when you live in Cleveland!!
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 current list of favorite things to do:
-Playing catch with his Ohio State football
-Wearing his Braxton Miller #5 jersey (debuted during Ohio State’s win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl!)
-Building with Legos
-Playing bingo with special cards that have pictures of transportation vehicles on them
-Collecting Paw Patrol figures of all sizes
-Reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (he can recite the entire story from memory)
-Babysitting Lulu Belle
-Creating secret handshakes with Daddy
-Playing the piano
-Swimming! (this may never leave this list)
Lately Alan has really been impressing me with his maturity. He’s always been a good-mannered and well-behaved kid, but now he seems even more grown-up.
Within the last month, he’s asked to donate some of his old toys to kids who don’t have what he does. He also fully accepted that Ruby went to Dog Heaven so she didn’t have to be sick anymore. And he’s done very well at his piano lessons.
He had already been a good Chinese-English translator, but he’s continuing to develop his language skills too. He has even picked up sign language from his class at school.
He doesn’t fall asleep in his car seat as much anymore. And speaking of car seats, he’s at a weight where he can transition to a booster seat now.
He thinks about more complicated subjects, such as where babies come from (He currently believes parents go to the hospital to pick out their favorite babies from a nursery…and that I picked him because he’s my favorite).
He likes wearing white undershirts so he can dress more like a grown-up. He’s always told me we look the same except for our hair length and our clothes, but now even that gap is narrowing. 🙂
Alan’s current list of favorite things to do:
-Sunday routine of hitting baseballs at the Oakville Park and going to McDonald’s
-Collecting buckeyes from a neighborhood buckeye tree
-Building with Tinker Toys
-Playing in his “hideout” (a card table covered by a sheet) in the living room
-Watching his favorite shows, which include PJ Masks, Miles from Tomorrowland, Blaze and the Monster Machines, and Team Umizoomi
-Reading stories before bed
-Going on “adventures” walking Rosie after dark with Grandma Debbie
-Swimming at the Mayfield Heights indoor pool – with a flotation device, but by himself!
-Spelling words with floating letters in the bathtub
-Learning at school and playing tag at recess!
It’s great to be 5. 🙂
In addition to attending Chinese language and Martial Arts classes (pictured above) on Saturdays at the Cleveland Public Library, Alan is also now taking piano lessons on Saturday mornings at Case Western with a couple other students. So far he’s off to a great start. He’s learning all the notes and has been practicing at home. On October 10th he was chosen by the teacher to demonstrate how to play the notes to the other students!
For the past few months, Alan has been taking batting practice (video) in the bocce ball pit at Oakville Park.
We consider hitting the back wall of the pit a home run. Alan’s homeruns-to-swings ratio is getting pretty good!
This fall Alan will be busy on Saturdays. He’s participating in Chinese language lessons and martial arts every Saturday from 3 to 5 at the Cleveland Public Library.
In just his second class yesterday, he earned a medal (pictured above) for best participation in the class!
Here is Alan in action, showing off his skills! (video)
The days of Alan wanting to buy two Matchbox cars from Discount Drug Mart every weekend are officially over. He still loves cars (and trucks, trains, planes, helicopters, etc for that matter), but his interests in toy collection are now much more diverse.
After collecting all six “Paw Patrol” figurines, Alan has now moved on to “Octonauts” and the gups, or transportation pods, that are featured on the Disney Junior show. His current favorite is the Gup-D. There are 15+ of these gups in all, so we may not collect them all before Alan moves on to his next collecting phase…
On Saturday, April 25th Alan made his soccer debut in the Mayfield “Red Devil” 4-year old league! The season consists of six 1-hour Saturday morning practice and game sessions. While most of the kids aren’t that into the games at such a young age, the league does give the kids their first taste of sports and being on a team.
Alan is a member of the gray team and was happy to learn that his classmate, Dominic (the goalie in the first picture below), is on the gray team as well. Alan’s friend and neighbor, Xavier, is also in the league, but plays for the red team.
I’m getting to coach Alan this season and be with him out on the field. I’m proud of Alan for giving soccer a shot!
Today Alan went to a birthday party for Anthony (next to Alan above) at Zero Gravity Space Station in Eastlake. Alan enjoyed the day with his preschool classmates and had a blast on the inflatable slides. Alan was very happy Grady and Lilly (seated to his left and right below) were there too!
Alan in action on the inflatable slide (click for video).
The biggest fan of Nick Jr.’s “Paw Patrol” now owns all 6 pup characters–including their badges–and couldn’t be happier. Marshall (red), Chase (blue), & Rubble (yellow) were easy to find in stores; Zuma (orange) was a little tougher. Rocky (green) & Skye (pink) were impossible to find, so we bought them on eBay.
The last two days Alan learned that the mail only comes once per day, and it can feel like forever to wait for that time. But he managed, and yesterday he was overjoyed to open up the mailbox and see Skye! He even used his new cutting skills to open up the package.
Alan lined up the characters on the coffee table according to the order in which they appear during the show’s into. He loves to look at them while he sings along with the show’s theme song (He remembers most of the words).
Current favorite things to do (in no particular order):
-Riding the escalators at Beachwood Place Mall
-Playing in tents at Dick’s Sporting Goods
-Watching the model train at Mitchell’s Ice Cream
-Playing ‘imaginary ship’ (on his bed)
-Playing ‘imaginary rocket ship’ (on my bed)
-Watching 7D on Disney Junior
-Asking what letters words starts with
-Show-and-tell at school
-Swimming at the Mayfield High School pool
-Hitting baseballs off the tee
It’s good to be 4. 🙂
Lately, in addition to enjoying going to preschool, Alan has been enjoying the following pastimes:
- Playing baseball in the house. This includes playing catch and hitting off a tee (I don’t mind).
- Making coffee (for me). I have a Keurig, but Alan prefers the powder/mixing method.
- Taking my phone and running with it while shouting, “You can’t catch me!”
- Related to 3), taking pictures of his cars and his favorite TV shows with my phone. Sometimes the pictures are in black & white, as somehow he figured out how to change the settings!