Alex will be 1 year old on Friday. I can hardly believe it's been a year since he came into this world. I have to say that the whole process of watching him change and grow has been amazing, but the last two months have been mind blowing. His outward development (recognition of words, crawling, walking, self-awareness of being an independent being) has easily quadrupled since Christmas.
And now I'm planning a birthday party. Nothing big, just family. I never knew how fun it would be to buy little party hats and plan a menu for my son's first birthday. Today I got Thomas the Train conductor hats for everyone and picked out a few gifts. Good thing Alex is still too young to realize that these gifts are for him. Next year, Christmas and birthday shopping will need to involve babysitters or lots of parental juggling so that Alex doesn't see all of his gifts.
In other news, Kevin's sister and her family are visiting this week. It's been fun to have the cousins together. Although Alex turns into a different person when my niece is around. She is 6 and very active. Alex, who is usually very verbal, very social and always exploring, spends a lot of his time sitting with his mouth hanging open and watching Samantha do her thing. On one hand, it's great because I know he is soaking up so much from just watching his big cousin. On the flip side, I don't think that Kevin's sister is getting to see Alex's true personality since he's too busy staring to really express himself.
We met up with some family friends and took all of the kids to Red Robin last night. For those of you who don't live in Colorado, Red Robin is the best restaurant you can find if you have kids. It's very kid friendly: crayons, bright lights, loud (so you don't have to worry if the kids are screaming) and great kids menu. The thing that makes it so great is they have food and drinks that work for adults too. The blue cheese hamburger is so great and their spiked strawberry lemonade is tasty!
Red Robin's "mascot" is a large red bird with a huge yellow beak. I never knew they had an actual character that walks around the restaurant, but last night Red Robin was there. Alex was beside himself. He was so fascinated by this giant bird, but also a little bit afraid. He spent much of the meal pointing and looking frantically around the restaurant trying to locate his new friend. He was making this manic half-laugh/half-cry sound that I've never heard before. I think his little body was processing a brand new emotion - overwhelming excitement that is so strong that he didn't know exactly how to handle it. When Red Robin approached our table, Alex would stare and point, smiling but his little lip quivering the whole time.
When we got to the parking lot to leave, a huge, shiny F-250 came rumbling by. True to form for this week, Alex was in heaven. He was pointing, squealing and jumping up and down in my arms. This is not a fluke, the boy is head-over-heels for trucks.