Thursday, August 26, 2010

Isaac's Birthday

This was the first year Isaac understood what a birthday was.  I made the mistake of thinking he would forget about the toy I put in our shopping cart a few weeks ahead of time.  Was I ever wrong!  Not a day went by where I did not hear about the much anticipated "Diego Train." 

First things first, assisted me in baking his birthday cake.  I took the easy way out and stuck with a box mix.  He was probably much more excited about the rainbow sprinkles than he would have been about something from scratch.  Right?  

For lunch we headed over to Chik-Fil-A.  Isaac loves this place.  I'm not sure if it is because of the food, or the play structure... or maybe both.  He loves their criss-cut fries and fresh squeezed lemonade.

Once Charlie got home from work we took some time to open presents.  Of course the Diego train was Isaac's favorite.  I shouldn't have even bothered with anything else!  (I know this looks like an enormous pile of presents but it really wasn't that much.)  

That evening we headed to Disneyland for a couple of hours.  Charlie is really not a fan of Disneyland, but he did have a season pass, and for Isaac - he was willing to use it.  Here's Isaac riding the Tea Cups. 

And finally we headed home for cake and ice cream.  I put these plastic cars & trucks on top of the cake earlier in the day, and Isaac about went nuts waiting to pull them off of there!  

The biggest change we faced with Isaac's third birthday was the change in schools.  Isaac had to transfer from his services through Regional Center and ICEC to the Irvine School District and his new school, ECLC.  We had a great experience with ICEC and were very sad to move on, but the transition went pretty smoothly and we have seen a lot of great progress from Isaac since he started at his new school.

On his last day at ICEC everyone sang Happy Birthday to Isaac and he got to open a present.

The kids ate mini cupcakes and mini popsicles to celebrate.  

Here is Isaac with his birthday gift from ICEC: a new little backpack that is just his size.  He absolutely loves it.  Of course that made the really cute Pottery Barn backpack with his name embroidered on it that I got him for his birthday much less exciting, and he was kind of mad when I made him wear the one I bought to his new school.  

But he got over it.  Here he is on his first day of school at ECLC.  We were able to go visit the classroom ahead of time and meet his new teachers.  He had also been to the school several times for evaluations and since he got to play with lots of new toys there, he was pretty excited about his first day.

It's still a little hard for me to drop him off every morning.  ICEC is a parent/student program so I was there with him a lot and very involved.  ECLC is more like actual school.  I drop him off in the morning and pick him up three hours later.  I could even send him on the school bus if I wanted to but I'm not quite ready for that.  Isaac would absolutely love it though.  Maybe next year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekend with Amy

A few weeks ago I boarded plane all by myself for the first time in over three years.  Charlie had suggested several times that I go away for a weekend, and I finally did it.  Amy & I have been friends since we were 11 years old, but it had been a couple years since we'd seen each other.  She and her husband Paul were gracious enough to host me for my little weekend get-away.

As soon as Amy picked me up on Friday night, we started talking and catching up, and never stopped until they dropped me back off at the airport!  We had so much fun and really packed in a lot in just a couple of days.  

Saturday morning Amy & I went out for a run on the Los Gatos trail that runs right by their apartment, then we showered, stopped for donuts, and went to the local farmers market.  Next they took me on a little tour of San Jose and showed me their new neighborhood and their new home that they just bought!

After dropping Paul off at home, Amy & I headed over to the Winchester Mystery House for a tour.  It is this crazy mansion that was under construction for 38 years!  Sarah Winchester was the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune and she believed that the spirits of all those killed by the rifles were haunting her.  She kept building and building in order to confuse the spirits and ended up with a 160 room mansion with doors that open into nothing, staircases that lead to the ceiling, and all sorts of other crazy stuff.  It was fascinating to see.

Next we drove out to Santa Cruz, stopped to get ice cream, and headed to the boardwalk.  It was fun to walk around and watch all of the carnival type rides.  I didn't realize how brave I was being when I agreed to ride the Giant Dipper!  It is one of those huge old wooden roller coasters, and for some reason I was thinking it would be no big deal.  Wrong!  It was a total thrill ride, but so much fun.  Paul somehow managed to keep his hands in the air the entire time, while Amy and I didn't last past the first drop and let out continuous screams for the duration of the ride.

We walked along the coast and out to the cliffs to watch the surfers and the seals, and to check out the lighthouse.  I think this may be the only lighthouse I've actually seen in person.  It was a beautiful setting, with the sunset and the ocean behind us.

Sunday morning Amy baked us some yummy banana nut muffins, and then we headed off to church.  Afterwards we drove up to Big Basin Sate Park to see the Redwood trees.  It is kind of surreal to be surrounded by these enormous trees that seem to go up and up forever into the sky.  It was also really cool to see some of the trees that had been damaged by fires or other things - some of them becoming totally hollowed out - but still continued to grow.

We had a non-stop fun weekend.  Thanks again Amy & Paul for being such fantastic hosts!  I felt so carefree not having to worry about anyone but myself for awhile, but at the end of the day there is nothing that makes me happier than being a wife and a mother and I was so happy to come back home to Charlie, Isaac & Cracker.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Mexico

We spent our 4th of July weekend in Las Cruces, New Mexico with Charlie's parents.  We started prepping Isaac a few weeks ahead of time by telling him that he would get to ride in Grandpa's jeep, see farm animals, and see road runners.  Unfortunately, we never did see a road runner, but otherwise the trip did not disappoint.

Isaac did really well in the car - it helped to have a DVD player with a new trash truck movie!  We drove halfway on Thursday afternoon, stayed the night in Phoenix, and made it to Las Cruces around lunch time on Friday.

First things first: the jeep ride.  We kept Isaac buckled up until we hit the back roads and then he got to sit up front with Charlie.  He loved it!  I think he was really excited to be in the front seat, and he loved rolling the windows down and driving on the bumpy roads and looking for road runners.

That night we went to Andele's for dinner.  It is a local mexican restaurant where Karl & Janelle (Charlie's parents) ran into probably half a dozen different people that they know.  It's a fairly small town and they've lived there for about 30 years, so it should be no surprise that they are so popular!  Isaac was fascinated by all of the men coming in wearing cowboy hats.  That's something you just don't see in Irvine.  

Saturday morning Charlie & I went for a quick run (we had to miss the Woodbridge 10k this year) and then went to the mall.  Isaac loved his first trip to Chuck E Cheese.  He loved climbing through the play area and tube slides, playing the arcade games, and riding in yet another jeep.  

We had lunch at Roberto's, which is known for their delicious food and terrible service!  They are technically a "fast" food restaurant but we waited for over an hour for our food.  It was not that busy, they are just slow... oh, and then they accidentally gave our food to the wrong people.  It was pretty easy to tell who those people were, considering there was enough food for 7 people (5 of us and 2 of them) sitting in front of the couple across the room.  I'm pretty sure they knew it wasn't their food but I guess they just couldn't pass up the opportunity.  Anyway, no apologies from Roberto or any of his employees, but we did eventually get to eat and the food almost made up for the long wait.  Last weekend I was half-watching the Food Network when I suddenly looked up and realized that Roberto's was being featured on Unwrapped.  They hold the world record for the largest enchilada.

Later that afternoon we went on another jeep ride, this time way out west of the city.  We saw cows.  And lots of dirt and weeds and a small dust devil.  No road runners.  We had planned to stop for a picture by the giant road runner statue on the way back into town, but Isaac fell asleep.  Here's the statue anyway:

Janelle offered to watch Isaac while Charlie & I went out on a date.  We had dinner at home, and unfortunately there is not a whole lot to do in Las Cruces, so we went on a date to Wal-Mart.  Which is actually something we wouldn't do back home so it was kinda fun in a way.  Good people watching too.  Next we headed over to Dairy Queen for a blizzard, where we ran into Janelle & Isaac.  Like I said, small town.

Sunday morning Isaac donned his new cowboy hat (that we got for him at Wal-Mart) and we headed over to the University to see the farm animals.  Karl is a Director at the University so it was no problem for us to be wandering around on a Sunday morning.  We saw the sheep, pigs, horses, and cows.  The stench from the pigs was pretty bad.  When I show Isaac the pictures, he still tells me "Pee-yew, stinky!"  Isaac loves construction vehicles, so I think his favorite part was being able to sit in a backhoe and a forklift.

We spent the afternoon at church, where Isaac willingly separated from us to go to the nursery.  No one ever came to find us, so I think he did okay... but I think they were glad when we came to pick him up!  

Now it was time to enjoy the holiday!  Janelle made a fabulous dinner of brisket, baked beans, coleslaw, roles, an orange salad, guacamole, and probably even more that I am forgetting.  After dinner we set off a few of the smaller fire works out in the backyard.  It was so funny to watch Isaac's face as he watched the little fountains sparkle and pop.  He was totally intrigued, maybe a little uneasy, but fascinated and kept requesting more, more, more!  We also had some of the little poppers that you throw on the ground, but he couldn't do just one - he preferred to throw handfuls at a time.  We bought the longest sparklers available, thinking they would be more fun, but also a little safer since they would keep the fire farther from Isaac's little hands.  Well turns out they are not so safe for anyone standing within a 3-4 foot radius of Isaac!  He just loved waving them all around.  We quickly learned to stand back.

Janelle made homemade ice cream with fresh cherries and crushed Oreo's.  It was kind of like a Cherry Garcia, but of course much better since it was homemade.  After it was dark we headed out front to set off some of the larger fire works in the street.  Isaac loved them and Cracker hated them.  He hates every 4th of July.  When we were just about to head inside, we started noticing the ariel fire works going off above us.  Isaac was so excited!  It was so fun to watch him experience the joys of fireworks.  Personally I think holidays are much more fun when you have children.  

Monday morning we packed up and headed home.  We had a great time in Las Cruces and hope to go back once more before Karl & Janelle move to Utah.