Sunday, July 18, 2010

Finding Cover

When you're visiting a Botanical Conservatory and the rain system kicks on, sometimes you just have to be a little creative...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Weekend!!

We made the most of our 4th of July holiday weekend this year. On the 3rd we invited over a few of our good friends and had a little barbecue. Of course, I couldn't resist pulling together a little treats table to help set the mood...

And we blew up a big water slide to add a little excitement for the kids!

They loved it!! (And so did the dad's. More than one of them asked what the weight limit was because they wanted to go down too!)

(That last one is Dashell coming down the slide. Whee!!!)

And here are a few videos. At first the kids weren't sure if they wanted to slide, but they sure did like the water!

Later after sliding the regular way became second nature, Dash decided he needed to make it a little more exciting...

After a little water fun, everyone dug into a some yummy grub...

And then sat around and just plain relaxed...

It was a wonderful start to a fabulous weekend!!

The next day we went to see a local parade. This is our third year attending and we always enjoy it so much. It has a wonderful small town feel that is sometimes hard to find out here in Cali.

Parade participants made sure that Dash had all the appropriate accoutrements...

Balloons - check!

Clapper - check!

Now just smile and wave!

That evening we took Dash to see his very first fireworks display at a local park. He was super excited (even though he had no idea what he was going to see!)

We had to park pretty far away, because the festivities at the park had begun in the early afternoon. But that didn't deter Dashell and he ran the whole 5 blocks to the park!

Just before the fireworks started we explained to him that they might be a little loud and if they were he should cover his ears. And so, he decided to get in a little bit of practice before the main event...

Once it started, though, Dave and I ended up helping him out...

It was very loud and went on just a little long, so before it had completely ended we decided to catch the rest on our way back to the car. As we were exiting the park, Dash started talking about how loud it was. "Boom! Boom! BOOM!!" and how Ducky and Sheepy weren't scared. We told Dash it was ok if he was a little scared. But he kept insisting that Ducky and Sheepy weren't scared, that they were brave.

By the time we got home Dashell was completely passed out and we tucked him into bed. The next morning he woke up talking about the fireworks and how he could still hear them in Dashell's bed. Boom! Boom! BOOM!!

And he was right... after we got home several fireworks displayed continued for the next hour or so. The fireworks became quite a topic of conversation for next week. Fireworks and bravery and not being scared. Ok, maybe a little scared. But only a little. (His words not mine.) I was a little nervous about taking him, but I'm glad we did. It definitely helped to create a 4th of July to remember!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Way You Look Tonight

Everyone has a "type". From my earliest memory my type was.... boys! Absolutely boys. Not all boys mind you, but most boys. Dark haired. Light haired. Skinny. Muscular. I really, really liked boys. And as I got older I began to hone in on the attributes I liked best. My "boys" were almost always driven. Really driven. Kind of to the point of obsession. (It one of those weird traits that both attracted me and drove me crazy. Maybe I'm a bit masochistic!) And cute. Not in a classic way. (I did that, dated a few models, and let me tell you.... BOR-ing!) But even featured and usually very charming. They were all very different but these were the things that they had in common. All of them. (In case you're wondering, this includes the one I married of course!)

So, it was not entirely surprising to me to realize that Dashell seems to have a "type". I'd noticed it on and off over the past year, but it was never as clear as it was while we were traveling over the last couple months to a few family weddings. First we flew to Arkansas to attend a wedding reception for Dave's niece Amber and her husband Glenn. (Yes, only a reception. The bride and groom snuck off to Jamaica for a private, romantic oceanside wedding first. The stinkers! We SO would have flown out for that!!)

Bride was stunning... (oh, and, of course, so was the groom)

But it wasn't the star of the show that Dash was interested in as much as the cool drink of water he spied across the room. His eyes lit up the minute he saw her and he was off like flash! Standing almost toe to toe with her (but definitely not head to head!) he stared up, up, up and tried to get her attention and grab her hand...

Once successful, he promptly led her over to the wall of windows so that they could stare out at the lake together. Ah, romance!

Unfortunately Dash did get a little obsessed and every time his cousin April tried to make a break for it, he tracked her down again. All in all, though, she was a very good sport!

A month or so later, we flew out to New York for a wedding on my side of family. The bride had sweetly asked if Dashell would be a ring bearer. My first reaction was what fun! And then I really thought about it and decided to warn her that kids at this age (2 years old) can be VERY unpredictable to say the least. But Jess was willing to give it go and understood that there might need to be a back up plan in place.

So when the big day arrived, we all donned our finest wedding attire and headed over to church...

I got in position, with Dash, at the back of the church and we talked about how he would need to walk up to the candles at the front. He said that he thought he could do that and then he got distracted by the women playing piano and cello right behind him. Well, finally the moment of truth was before us (actually Emily the flower girl was before us and then the moment of truth!) I handed Dash the pillow with the rings, and, well... hmmm... see for yourself...

Not exactly without a hitch, but pretty good, huh?!

Later that evening, at the reception, Dash was asked to walk in with Emily during the part where they introduce the bridal party. He already had eyes for her and so thought that it was grand idea, especially when she suggested that they practice first! So, hand in hand they paraded around the lobby waiting for their turn to be introduced. When the time came, they made a beautiful entrance and then waited patiently while the bride and groom were introduced and had their first dance.

Obviously Dash took his responsibilities VERY seriously!!

Don't the bride and groom look stunning?!

After they finished their first dance the rest of the bridal party was asked to join in and dance too. And Dash got swept up in moment...

Ummm.... as did Emily! Here's a little video of what became a landmark event... (just wait, you'll see what I'm talking about)

Yep. You saw it! After that Dash was a total smitten kitten!! (Did you see that happy dance at the end??!!) He chased Emily around for the rest of the night demanding to "hold hands". We had to talk to him more than a few times...

But don't worry, by the next day they were all smiles again at my grandmother's 90th birthday brunch...

(I just have to sneak in a couple photos of the birthday gal and the rest of the gang. It was so wonderful that so much of the family could make it out. Josh, Letitzia and Londyn, we missed you guys!!)

So there you have it. Dash's type: tall, blond, and... older. I guess you could include "cousin" in that list, since both April and Emily are his cousins but we're hoping he'll eventually veer from that path (even though he does have some Arkansas hillbilly blood in him!) It will be interesting to see if his type changes over time. Who knows what he'll end up with. I personally never thought "artist" for myself, but I'm sure glad I gave one a shot!

Monday, June 21, 2010

More Birthday Goodness

[NOTE: Yes, I'm lame and I haven't posted in, oh.... a month and a half. My job has been out of control and selfishly I have chosen direct one-on-one interaction with my child over spending that same time writing about him on this blog. Choices. Choices. Hopefully you'll all hang with me as I try over the next week or so to catch up. And by catch up, I mean post-dating entries so that it doesn't look like I completely missed the ENTIRE month of June!!]

Just as most children wish for (but very few get), Dashell didn't have as much a birthDAY as a birthMONTH. (Actually he's still trying to drag it out, now that he completely understands the concept of presents and parties!! He LOOOOOVES parties!!)

First we celebrated his actual birthday at home with just the three of us. Here's Dash blowing out his candles...

Yes, I forgot that you get one more candle each year. But, hey, isn't it more fun to get two wishes??!

Where presents were concerned we were a little stumped. The boy truly doesn't NEED more toys. But that morning he gave us a clue as to what might be good a gift...

Yep, if your child has an interest in music and all he has at his disposal is a train whistle, a bridge and a piece of track you have to accept the fact that maybe he might be indicating that a few real instruments could be in order. So, although he has become quite proficient over last few months on air guitar, we broke down and got a few instruments he could really make some "music" with...

I'm not sure he's going to be giving Mozart or even the Jonas Brothers a run for their money any time soon, but I'm all for encouraging exploration of the arts!

And for the final present, we took Dash to a very small local toy store and let him pick out one gift. The minute he rounded the first corner in the store, he spied it and it was love at first sight!

Dash dragged that dinosaur all around the store showing him everything from dollhouses to train sets to puzzles. And although Dashy was sure to check out just about every item offered for sale (and not for sale) at the store, in the end when we asked him what he wanted for his present he simply said "Dinosaur".  And that was how we came to add a new member to our family.

In the car on the way home, Dave and I told Dashell that he need to name his new friend and we threw out a bunch of options. From the moment Dash heard the name "Dennis" he was sold. And from that moment on all the chatter from the backseat was "Dennis look at mountains!" "Dennis see truck." "Dennis want to eat snacks." Ah, friends forever. They were a very hard couple to break up at dinner, which had to be done since neither Dave nor I had any desire to explain to the restaurant staff why we had a 3 foot stuffed dinosaur with us. But eventually Dash acquiesced and Dennis waited patiently in the car for our return.

Here's a little video of Dash and Dennis playing together later in the day. (A little note: Dash had a doctor's appointment earlier in the week and it obviously made quite an impression. Oh, and here's a nifty little bit of trivia from that appointment. Our doctor is estimating that he will be about 6'1" when fully grown. I guess you can take children's two year old height and double it and come pretty darn close to their eventual adult height.)

[NOTE: These videos are from about 2 months ago. I'm going to try and get more up very soon, because Dashy's imaginary play has become so much more elaborate and I really need to document it.]

All and all it was a pretty darn good birthday, but being a party freak that I am I couldn't stop there. Soooo... a month later we threw a big party for Dash and invited all his friends.
I decided on a race car theme since although he LOVES garbage trucks right now I just couldn't think of an activity to engage the kids in that involved garbage trucks that didn't seem like they should be wearing orange jumpsuits and have a State Penitentiary bus waiting nearby! So race cars it was.

We blew up a bunch of HUGE balloons and Dash helped decorate the yard...

They were so big in fact (and filled with so much helium) that Dash had trouble pulling his arm down and basically had to run around with his arm in the air!

I worked hard to pull together a properly themed dessert table...

Dash was talking about the race cars and flags on the cookies several days later. (I felt like a success!)

And Dave, sweetly, designed and built a race car track!!

All the kids has a blast!!

Dash even got another cupcake...

...which he loved!

A lovely woman I found on Etsy (Melissa from Beau Melange) sewed up these wonderful favors at the last minute for me...

They're crayon caddies. How cute (and "green"), right?! We made sure that everyone left with plenty of bubbles too...

It was a fantastic time (especially watching all the kids play together this year) and the birthday boy definitely enjoyed being prince for a day!

And to finish the day off right, Dash and Dave jumped in the pool...

Actually, to be more accurate... Dave waded in slowly (since our pool has been ridiculously cold!) and Dash jumped off the diving board 4 times!!

What a birthday (month)!! I definitely don't think I'm going to try to top it next year.