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. 🙂
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.
The cousins were back together today to celebrate Thanksgiving! As usual, there was much running, jumping, and playing hide-and-seek. 🙂
Continuing our tradition, Alan decorated the Christmas tree as soon as he got home from Grandma Debbie’s house. He did a great job decorating on his own!
11/23/18 Update: Alan and I spent Black Friday shopping for some new ornaments and Christmas decorations at Target. Alan convinced me to string lights up on our living room and bedroom windows this year. We also went to the local Goodwill store so that Alan could make his annual donation.
Alan’s weekends this fall go something like the following: Friday night hangouts with Daddy, followed by Saturday lessons and Sunday fun.
On Fridays we’re likely to play one of our board games together (Sorry!, Mouse Trap) and arrange baseball bats by match-ups. Saturday lessons kick off with swimming at Hawken and are followed by piano and violin lessons back-to-back at the Music Settlement. On Saturday nights, Alan heads to Grandma Debbie’s to see his cousins and sleepover at Grandma Debbie’s house!
Sundays involve taking Tata to Giant Eagle for shopping and then stopping by the apartment to have lunch and play. We also usually play baseball or tennis too. Occasionally we stop by the Wildcat Fitness Center as well.
There’s not too much schoolwork to do on weekends this fall. Alan does do practice math problems though. And we participated in Millridge’s Read-a-thon for the first time! Alan logged 480 minutes while reading 22 books this month.
Alan and Tyler celebrated their 8th and 7th birthdays at a family party today at Grandma Debbie’s house! The party was at the same time as the Browns’ season opener, so Alan and I were dressed accordingly.
Alan was in charge of setting up the candles on the boys’ vanilla cake. When the boys blew out the candles, Alan took the top row and Tyler took the bottom row.
Alan got a lot of great gifts, including the one he really wanted! It’s almost as if people knew he really likes Legos.
As always, Alan was so glad to have his cousins there! He was also very proud to show off his new violin, after having his very first lesson yesterday. He showed it off to the whole family.
The trip to the ballpark today was a special one, as Tyler accompanied Alan for his very first Indians game! Alan was very happy to show him around the ballpark.
The first stop was inside the Kids Clubhouse. Alan showed Tyler the slide, the train table, the model Indians lockers, and the oversized bat and glove. Tyler liked the slide the most.
Tyler also got a taste of being a major league hitter. Alan, of course, opted to be a catcher!
Outside on the family deck balcony, the boys enjoyed popsicles and watched the Indians take an early 1-0 lead on the Orioles in the 1st inning.
After they were finished in the Kids Clubhouse, the boys tried out the outdoor activities on the family deck. In Alan’s debut sprint of 2018, he recorded a career-best time of 6.19 seconds. But that record only lasted until his second run of the day, when he finished with a time of 6 seconds flat! Tyler also enjoyed the race, challenging himself to run against the pace of Lindor (designated fastest Indian) each time.
At Little League Park, Alan and Tyler shared a baseball field together for the first time! Both boys circled the bases in their first at-bats; Tyler got a hit on the first pitch he saw and Alan clocked the pitcher. In their second at-bats, Tyler stopped at second on his hit and Alan drove him in!
Meanwhile the Indians were busy posting a 6-run 4th inning capped by a Melky Cabrera Grand Slam. To celebrate, we next moved to the team shop for souvenirs. Tyler bought a Progressive Field baseball, a foam Chief Wahoo, an Indians bottle opener, and a pack of baseball cards. Alan bought some Indians Legos and a baseball bat pen. I opted for a 2019 All-Star game ball and pin.
Next we showed Tyler around the ballpark. First we sat in the upper deck in right-center and watched Andrew Miller throw in the bullpen directly below us. From there, we also watched the hot dog race – won by Ketchup in come-from-behind fashion. As Alan put it, while drawing some laughs, Ketchup had to catch-up. 🙂 Then we walked the upper deck from right field to behind home plate, showing Tyler the vantage points of the field along the way. While we were in the right field corner, Andrew Miller entered and the customary flames appeared on the scoreboard.
We also noted Jim Thome’s recently retired #25 (as of just yesterday). The #25 will never be worn again by a Cleveland athlete at the Gateway Plaza, as Mark Price’s #25 is also retired by the Cavaliers.
For our next vantage point, we stood on the lower concourse near the season ticket holder lounge area behind home plate. Tyler heard the singing of Take Me Out to the Ballgame for the first time while Slider and some of his mascot friends in town for his 28th birthday party danced on the top of the dugout. After the song, Slider, the Hot Dogs, Dinger (Rockies), Raymond (Rays) and the Oriole Bird walked past us.
With the Indians up 8-0 (which would be the final score), the rest of the game went by quickly. The boys only had enough time to swing by the Kids Clubhouse for some snacks and a quick trip down the slide before it was time to line up to run the bases. Alan got a popsicle to enjoy while waiting in line under the stadium (it gets hot down there), while Tyler opted for peanuts.
When it was time to run, Alan turned on the jets, but Tyler stayed within range. They passed Rajai Davis on the way to the plate. Tyler said he never thought he’d be on a big field like this one.
After the run, Tyler got a close up view of the Indians dugout and the camera bay. On the way out of the ballpark, Tyler said he was sad to leave and wanted to know how many days before we could come back.
The boys had a sleepover together at Grandma Debbie’s house last night, so it was a full weekend of fun together. Last night they made forts with blankets in the living room and read a funny book called Goodnight Underwear.
After the Indians game tonight, they played even more at Tyler’s house, this time along with Carleigh. The cousins wanted to play all night, but alas it was a school night — and for Tyler, the night before the first day of 1st grade!
8/20/18 Update: Tyler wore his new Tribe Town MVP shirt for the first day of school.
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!
With his traveling behind him, Alan could finally get what he’s been waiting for this summer – a sleepover with Tyler and Carleigh at Grandma’s house! In fact it was a true summer weekend from start to finish for Alan.
The sleepover took place on Friday night. Alan brought the Sea Patroller (from Paw Patrol) as the featured toy of the night. Highlights included the kids picking out donuts from Dunkin Donuts for their bedtime snack and going on a walk in their pajamas with flashlights. On their walk, they met a woman with a white dog named Misty that Alan liked. The kids were excited to explain that they were in their pajamas going on a “midnight” walk with their grandma!
On Saturday morning the kids went to the library to get new books (one of Alan’s favorites pictured below) and play with the kitchen set. Alan’s doing the summer reading program again, and he earned a raffle ticket for reaching the halfway point on his game board. The kids read and played some more until it was time to go home.
But the fun didn’t stop there for Alan. Later on Saturday he went to Josh’s house to play with Josh and Killian. The boys played outside, including in Josh’s backyard pool. After I picked Alan up, we played two of Alan’s new favorite games – chess and checkers – on our brand new set. We could have finished the night playing those games, but Alan wanted to run to the park to hit some baseballs until the sun went down. We’ve been playing a new game when Alan hits a ball far where he tries to circle the bases before I can get the ball and track him down. He likes showing off his speed ever since the coach told him he’s fast!
On Sunday Alan got to help Tata shop at Giant Eagle for the first time in several weeks due to his traveling. He enjoys pushing the cart and helping out very much. Afterwards we hit baseballs again at the park, despite the heat. It was a full summer weekend for sure!
There is not a holiday that Alan enjoys celebrating with Grandma Debbie more than Easter. After sleeping over last night, Alan woke up Grandma Debbie early this morning at 6:50AM because he was so excited to color eggs. This year he made each one represent a different emotion. He picked the green one to be the happy emoji, since green is his favorite color. As he was designing the eggs, he used his imagination to create and share stories about each egg with Grandma Debbie.
When I picked up Alan today, we did three Easter egg hunts with Grandma Debbie. Each one of us took turns as the egg hider. Alan also did an Easter egg hunt with Tyler and Carleigh last night when they stopped by to play. Tyler lost his top right front tooth while playing, after Alan lost one of his bottom front teeth (2nd on the left) on Tuesday of this week while driving home from piano.
After we went home, Alan had an Easter basket waiting for him from the Easter Bunny! It contained cars (for the new Hot Wheels mat), a Spiderman fidget spinner, an Ohio State ball, M&Ms, and eggs with coins in them. Alan told me that Easter is his second favorite holiday — just ahead of Halloween and behind Christmas.
Alan and Tyler played as a team against Grandma Debbie and Carleigh in Old Maid tonight at Grandma Debbie’s house. Alan couldn’t stop laughing when Carleigh revealed her cards to everyone. He loves playing against Carleigh. 😉
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. 🙂
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!
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 and Tyler celebrated their 7th and 6th birthdays 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!
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 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!
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 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. 🙂
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!
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 (who turned 5). Carleigh, Mariah, and Dominic were also there to celebrate, and they even posed for a nice picture (below).
The highlight of Alan’s day 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!
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!
Alan is as happy as can be with Tyler and Carleigh in town for the holidays! Today the family met to open gifts on Christmas Eve. Alan even got to see Mariah and Dominic. The group of cousins had fun playing a modified game of pool (video).
Today Alan and Tyler got together and had a blast as usual. They played with a ball, played trains in the closet, shared chips while watching TV, and jumped on the bed!
Look how big Carleigh is getting!
This week Bobby and Meghan visited from Virginia with Tyler and 3-week-old Carleigh. Alan was thrilled to see his cousins, and when speaking of Tyler and himself, Alan proudly declared to me with a big grin:
Throughout their week together, the two ‘troublemakers’ shared plenty of laughs, chases, bags of chips, and yes, arguments over toys (fortunately nothing as severe as the “Shopping Cart Brawl of 2012” though).
They explored cars together as well — and this time I mean real cars, as Bobby, Meghan, Grandma Debbie, and Papa took the kids car shopping with them on Thursday and Friday. While Bobby and Meghan picked out their new ride, the boys sat in the front seats of showroom models and “test drove” them.
Then on Sunday, Alan and Tyler teamed up again at a party to introduce Carleigh to the extended family. Alan kept a close eye on Tyler throughout the afternoon. He not only wanted to make sure Tyler was staying out of harm’s way, but also Alan wanted to make sure his toys were accounted for. 😉
Joking aside though, Alan takes his job as the protective older cousin very seriously and he loves Tyler very much.
All-in-all it was a great week for the two cousins, and it ended with a hug and a high five. Below are some images from the week.
P.S. Alan enjoyed meeting Carleigh (as did the whole family), but Alan will probably be more interested in Carleigh when she learns how to run with the boys. 🙂