I’ve never been an athlete or even into watching organized sports. I mountain bike and run- those are my weekly physical activities.
And whenever I get the chance, I love to hike!
It just so happens that where we stayed was surrounded by huge, hikeable mountains. So for a couple of mornings, your 19 year-old cousin Matt and I decided to scale the face of the mountains; along the way of the ski lifts. Sure, there were service roads and “official” trails, but for us, they simply served as landmarks for us.
As you can see, we helped save a baby snake from most likely being soon run over by a service vehicle. We even hiked high enough to touch the snow at the top of the mountain; as well as to the very “spaceshippy” ski lift operation building.
After you heard about all the excitement, you began asking me, “Daddy, can I go on a hike with you? Can we find a trail?”
Granted, there were no trails appropriate for a 3 and a half year-old little boy, but you and I found some anyway.
One included the entryway to a restaurant called Plumpjack’s, which had a cool waterfall and a bridge. There was also a “spaceship” at the base of the mountain that you and I were able to check out.
We also “hiked” along the stone pathway leading to a small pond where you got to throw rocks until your heart was content.
It was one of the most memorable parts of our vacation, spending that father and son time with you.
Of course, the flattering part of this story for me is that you wanted to “hike a trail” with me because you observed that’s “what the guys are doing.”
I love it that you wanted to follow the model I unintentionally set for you.
Just like the lyrics of the theme song to “Who’s The Boss?” say, “Found a trail and at the end was you.”
That line not only serves as the perfect way to summarize the end of our summer vacation, but also something else…
When it comes to family summer vacations, I have always felt that the photos taken during them truly tell the stories better than I could tell them myself. When I think back on this past week, which memories will serve as the forever bookmarks in the history of our family’s story?
For me, it was the quality time you and I spent together. Granted, our annual family vacations also serve as the annual family reunions for Mommy’s side of the family.
(She is number 9 of 10 kids, scattered across the country, so getting the majority of the family together takes some special planning and management!)
With that being said, spending time with my own son during our family vacations can be a challenge, because that’s the only time of year when you get to see your many cousins, aunts, aunts, uncles, and grandma.
It’s something I’m very understanding of. So I wait for those opportunities to get some one-on-one time with you.
We loaded up the Toyota Highlander for the 118 mile/2 hour drive from Mommy’s hometown to Sacramento, CA to Lake Tahoe (Squaw Valley), which is near the Nevada border.
By the way, it was the perfect vehicle to take on that road trip: plenty of room for our luggage, as well as a rotating array of relatives who hopped in during the midst of the caravan.
You told me that your favorite part of the Highlander was the windows because you see all the mountains we were driving through.
And that was truly one of the highlights of our vacation: the scenery on the road trip itself.
It’s not everyday that you get to look at the window and see huge rocky mountains and clear blue skies… and not much else. That kind of scenery is very crucial to the psychological aspect of taking a vacation!
As for Lake Tahoe itself, I think you had more fun than anyone- the lake’s sandy coast served as the biggest sandbox you’ve ever seen!
You spent hours burying your plastic dinosaur and Hot Wheels in the sand. It was almost miraculous we were able to locate all your toys by the time we left.
In between “sand avalanches” I helped you locate rocks and sticks to throw into the waves. You declared: “Tomato fight! Potatoes!”
And that’s one of those memories that will serve as one of the forever bookmarks in the history of our family’s story. It really doesn’t take much- just knowing I’ve got some time to hang out with you and be goofy together.
So that helps explain why I was asked by Lego to do an “unboxing and review” of the Everything Is Awesome Edition of The Lego Movie on my other blog site, Family Friendly Daddy Blog, where I review cars, movies, food, travel destinations, etc.
With a release date of June 17th, it’s just in time for our annual family vacation to California which is coming up soon, so you can watch the movie while on our trip.
Seeing The Lego Movie again, after having recently seen Frozen for the first time as a family, I can’t help but compare the two.
It appears as if The Lego Movie is the boy version of Frozen.
By that, I don’t mean at all that the movies share similar plot lines. Instead, I mean that the themes that The Lego Movie deal with seem a little more relevant to boys; while the themes of Frozen are more feminine, in my opinion.
Maybe the best way to word it is that The Lego Movie is an action movie, while Frozen is a chick flick.
Seriously, what normal parents decide to basically lock their daughter in her room for most of her whole childhood because she has a superpower? As the King and Queen, could they seriously not have found some kind of wizard dude to cure her before coming to such an extreme decision?
Frozen is worth all the hype, but it just bothers me that the whole plot was a result of the parents teaching horrible communication skills to their kids, as well as setting them up to hold in their emotions.
Meanwhile with The Lego Movie, while the whole thing is a fantasy, at least it doesn’t hinge on some easily preventable premise.
The plot instead is more like Die Hard and Braveheart, in which a regular guy ends up outsmarting and overpowering the bad guys and their whole system by recruiting average Joes to join the cause of the underdog, therefore freeing his people.
I’m not saying that Frozen is definitely for girls and that The Lego Movie is definitely for boys, but I do feel that your fellow dude friends at your preschool seem a little disconnected while “Let It Go” plays over the speakers at the end of the day when I pick you up.
But if it were “Everything Is Awesome” playing instead, there would be a class of full of little boys jumping around, singing the words at the top of their lungs.
Halfway through our vacation last week, you asked me, “I go back to school tomorrow?”
I could tell, you weren’t asking me if you had to go to school the next day- you were asking if you could go to school the next day.
What’s not to love about spending 10 days in northern California with all your cousins, getting to play all day and have your parents turn a blind eye to you drinking juice?
(Sure enough, your eczema reappeared by the 2nd day, which is why we typically don’t let you drink juice.)
I say it all comes down to routine. You’re like me- you thrive in the routine.
Being on vacation is so… open-ended, and even… intimidating to the psyche. The part about not knowing what to expect the day is hard for you (and me) to process.
So I totally get why half-way through our vacation, you asked about going home.
Of course, you totally had a blast the rest of the week, and I still have a story or two to tell about that soon!
But I will say, now that we’re back in Tennessee, you completely appreciate the comfort of the familiar routine.
You were way too excited to hop in the Honda Element for the ride to school yesterday, which was your first time back to school in close to two weeks.
Very joyfully, you kicked your legs along with the bathroom echo rock music of The Shins as we hardly spoke any words on the 45 minute drive to school. You were just so excited to know you were about to enter back into your life of structure. I love it when you are that content and at peace with me, giddy and smiling the whole time.
Even though you showed some unusual hesitation when I dropped you off, I knew you wouldn’t have much trouble readjusting.