Archive for September, 2014

Catching up

Monday, September 8th, 2014 by janice

So I totally blew it on July and August. No love for the blog. Heh. I think maybe I’ll try to do one of those daily writing challenges soonish and see if I can get regular posts up for 30 days or something rather than FB posts! Hah! We’ll see.

I don't post his art very often but he was really proud of this!

I don’t post his art very often but he was really proud of this!

Anyway, July was quite eventful. We took a trip with Darren’s extended family to Yellowstone. Yellowstone is definitely one of my bucket list destinations so I was pretty happy about going. July might not have been my first choice for time of year but actually the weather turned out to be quite fine and the bugs mostly manageable. Darren’s sister reserved us all hotel rooms in various places around the park so we got to experience the many different faces of Yellowstone. It was quite lovely although I think with as much driving around as was involved I might have been inclined to wait until Alexei was a little older. He did pretty well but that’s a lot of car time for a four year old!

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

Looks lovely but too hot for a dip

Looks lovely but too hot for a dip

Another hot pool

Pic in front of another hot pool

Lots and lots of water in Yellowstone

Lots and lots of water in Yellowstone

Lovely falls

Lovely falls

Stone chair

Stone chair

Family pic

Family pic

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Alexei really liked seeing his cousin Kyle again and hung out with him a lot. Fortunately Kyle is a very kind teenager and was really patient with him. We even got pics them (accidentally) dressed alike. It was pretty funny.

This really wasn't planned

This really wasn’t planned

One of the highlights of the trip was a covered wagon ride to a lovely meadow in the park and dinner. We all really enjoyed the ride out and back, the dinner food was pretty decent and we saw quite a few animals. Alexei got absolutely soaked playing in the little stream by the dining area but I think it was the best part of the trip for him.

Our rides

Our rides

Always bring a change of clothes!

Always bring a change of clothes!

Yes, they do get up close and personal

Up close and personal

Black bear trying to crash the picnic

Black bear trying to crash the picnic

On the rip back

View from the trip back

And elk of course

Elk!

And deer

And deer

Pronghorn grazing

Pronghorn grazing

Full moon in Yellowstone

Full moon in Yellowstone

Sunset over Yellowstone

Sunset over Yellowstone

We also got caught in a bison traffic jam driving through Hayden Valley.

Bison traffic

Bison traffic jam

Bison dip

Bison dip

Apparently we missed by just a few hours the road be melted by an emerging glacier along a major route in the park. Timing!

Bonus pic of Grand Tetons. Alexei was done with site seeing by this time

Bonus pic of us in Grand Tetons National Park. Alexei was done with site seeing by this time

Alexei was pretty well done being dragged out of the car to see yet anther stinky geyser by the end of the trip so an afternoon walking around in Jackson Hole was a nice change of pace.

Jackson Hole is an odd place

Jackson Hole is an odd place

He loves the plane rides both out and back and all the things that come with air travel. Glad he still finds that fun and hope he holds onto that for a long time to come.

Almost there!

Almost there!

 

Have I mentioned that he's really stinking cute?

Have I mentioned that he’s really stinkin’ cute?

Sadly shortly after we got home, got the news of the unexpected passing of an old friend. John was the leader of my old Renaissance faire guild, the Border League. He had just retired to Mexico with his lovely wife and had been looking forward to a quiet life with her. He was a very fine and gentle man and he will be much missed.

Toward the end of July, Alexei was showing every sign that it was time to take off the training wheels. So one day we got home from daycare and did just that. Luckily Darren came home a bit early that day so he was able to be a part of Alexei’s first solo ride! He’s been pretty much unstoppable since and had barely been riding on two wheels for a day when he was asking for a faster bike! LOL!

Riding a two-wheeler

Riding a two-wheeler

The end of July brought the Ventura County Fair, which Alexei loves and is still young enough to get in for free. We spent a couple of days there, taking advantage of the unlimited ride wrist bands in the late afternoon. Hopefully next year we can get over even earlier on at least one of those days. Alexei actually got brave and rode some of the stuff he wouldn’t last year.

Fair time!

Fair time!

Truckin'

Truckin’

Look, Mom. I'm flying!

Look, Mom. I’m flying!

Fun at the fair

Fun at the fair

Zoo train at the fair

Zoo train at the fair

August was also a whirlwind of activity as we hit a couple of big milestones including losing two front teeth and getting ready to start Kindergarten! He lost both of his bottom front teeth with 24 hours of each other so we got visits from the Tooth Fairy two night in a row. Alexei was pleased by getting gold coins as well as a small special surprise for the first tooth. He got to keep the first tooth as well since it was the very first one. Sadly he doesn’t quite have enough room for the two new adult teeth so the dentist wants to take our the two baby teeth next to them. He also has a couple more cavities. Sigh! Guess I’ll be glad when these baby teeth are all out.

First tooth came out at daycare

First tooth came out at daycare

Second came out the next evening

Second came out the next evening

He had his first play date with the A Team at Andrew’s house, an PJ party the evening before his birthday party. He had a great time and Mom and Dad got to have an adult dinner. So it was a win-win. Apparently Ariana, Andrew’s mom survived the experience so that was good too. Hopefully we’ll be able to arrange more play dates once Alexei settles into the school year.

Alexei’s birthday party was at a really cool kid’s place called Clubhouse Fun Zone. Had quite a few kids although as always at these things it seems like there were more adults than kids. We really do have know a lot of singletons. This year’s theme was Lego. I was really surprised how few Lego party favors there are out there. Fortunately I found some really neat little things for the goodie bags, Lego Movie stickers to make posters and Darren got a great cake with most of the Lego Movie characters.

Party was a success!

Party was a success!

Birthday party fun

Birthday party fun

Alexei's 5th 096

I want that piece!

I want that piece!

We did indulge him with a new bike for his birthday. An awesome little Trek which we hope will last a couple of years till he’s ready for one with gears.

New faster bike!

New faster bike!

The next day was a trip to Disneyland with Mommy. He got to get a birthday pin, although he pretty quickly got tired of the happy birthdays and made me put it away. 🙁 Ah, well. We finally got to ride Radiators Springs Racers – Alexei liked most of it though he wasn’t really into the up and down parts so we only rode it once. He did say at the end of the day he liked it and wanted to ride again next time. We actually ended up leaving early as my little man was quite tired from a busy weekend.

First ride of the day!

First ride of the day!

Goofing around!

Goofing around!

All Disney-ed out!

All Disney-ed out!

Well and now it is September and Alexei has started school and turned 5 and we celebrated 4 years together as a family. So amazing how the time has flown by! Alexei is very happy with school so far. I hope he continues to love it.

September’s going to be a crazy busy month as we try to get into a new groove. Wish us luck!

Bright blessings to you all,

Janice, Darren and Alexei

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Happy Birthday and First Day of School!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 by janice

So hard to believe the baby they placed in my arms just few short years ago is 5 today and staring his first day of school!

Ready for school!

Ready for school!

I know we have picked the right place for him – it’s a Montessori school and we think will be a good fit for his learning style – yet I am still a bit anxious for him. It’s the biggest change since he came home and of course it worries me a bit. However, he’s been excited about going to “big boy school” for weeks now and since – as Linda C predicted – he practically kicked us out the door, I know he’s ready.

Checking out the class

Checking out the class

I’m also worried about the inevitable storm of illnesses he’s going to be bringing home. Dr thought it best to wait and see how he does before putting him back on maintenance steroids for the asthma. Hopefully we won’t have to. But I dread a repeat of the first fall and winter he was home. Ugh!

He’s also starting his Mandarin class this afternoon. He’s been showing a lot of interest in all things Chinese (although I still have to remind him of the difference between China the country and Chinese New Year the holiday. LOL!) So we’re taking that as a sign he’s really ready to start. The teacher is very passionate about kids learning the language and she has a good reputation (she’s a former teacher at the school) so we hope this will be a good start for him.

Saying goodbye to his caregiver of nearly 4 years was also really tough. We both cried. Alexei seemed pretty unfazed but I don’t think he quite gets that he won’t be going to the place that has been his second home for all this time. We plan to keep in touch – he’ll be there for a few days during his fall break – as she is very special and really is attached to our boy. And of course we have play dates planned with his best buddy Andrew and his other good friend Alyssa (who shares a birthday with him) – we call them the A Team – so we hope to keep these friendships in tact in the future.

Anyway, more updates and pictures later!

Bright Blessings,

Janice

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