July 20, 2014

{LPA Nationals 2014 - San Diego}

We arrived home a week ago today -  It's taken me a week to reduce 1,065 pictures {between the camera and the iPhone} to 150 pictures. That sums it up ~ San Diego was fun! There was the short version.  If you want all the details, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and get comfy! ....

We headed to my parents on Thursday - so we could catch the first flight out of Seattle Friday morning.  I like to arrive early, I hate to miss a day, in the air. {Dan, not so much ;o)}. This smile was no where ready to hit the pillow, but I was adamant, we had a big day ahead of us.  In which he told me, "I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight". {he did}
Day #1:
Up with the sun bright and early,  so Pa-Pa could take us and our 4 suitcases, 4 carry-ons, booster seat, and golf clubs to the airport. Really, we only went for 9 days.
Caden loves to fly! He has no fears, and looks forward to it each summer!
Our flight was uneventful, we caught a cab {a van cab, cause we had so much junk!} and headed to the hotel.  We found Preston, hooray!  We picked up Caden's DAAA {Dwarf Athletic Association of America} t-shirt, water bottle and papers ...
... then the fun began. I love how these kiddos click.  Always so much to discuss.  He hadn't seen AJ for about 6 months and Preston for a year, they pick up right where they left off.
I ended up with Caden, Preston and AJ in our hotel room.  {Uncle Chris {Dan's Brother} came with us this year. It worked out perfect. We had connecting rooms, so in the evenings Dan could hang with Chris while C was going to bed.} The boys went into Chris's room and I could hear the three of them talking among one another about girls, girlfriends and getting married 7 & 8 year old boys are - hilarious!
The evening of the fourth, ended up turning out crazy! We couldn't find anywhere near the hotel to eat.  The convention was right on the water and I think every citizen in San Diego headed that way to watch the fireworks. Long story short - we didn't finish eating until 9:10, the fireworks started at 9.  We didn't have C's headphones with us {they were in the hotel room}. Dan, Chris, Kim & Preston headed towards the water to watch the fireworks, and I took a kiddo on meltdown #1 back to the hotel room. The show was quite long 30 min +. We were able to catch the last half of the fireworks from our room.

Day #2:
We were up again bright and early {in the lobby at 6:45-yes, the morning after the 4th! - ugh!}for the DAAA events. I signed Caden up for the 20M run, Flippy Flyer Throw and the Softball throw. I really didn't give him much choice, and didn't talk it up too much before hand. I didn't want him to say no or psyche himself out {which he often does, when it comes to trying something new}.
We caught a ride over to the field with Ayden and his Grandma {Thank you Deana!}
These boys were so cute together!
Getting ready - the anticipation is growing for C {anticipation clue - he's picking his finger nails.}
Something must have been really funny!
It was unfortunate they had to have the 7,8 and 9 year old group start the race with a shotgun start.  Caden's sensitive ears didn't love that {next year we will bring ear plugs}.  So much so, that he was still covering his ears when the other kiddo's took off, and got a late start {oops!}
A big 'ol smile - gotta love it!
Telling his story about the race - so animated and serious!
... a little pep talk from Dad.
too much cuteness!
DAAA - what an experience!  All year long, these kids are the last in everything they do.  Caden keeps his spirits up, never once complains. But the reality is - he will never win a race at home or come in relatively close.  The chances of him winning in tag - not going to happen. His friends on the playground, don't understand why his legs hurt. Physical Fitness tests, forget it! ... this one week out of the year is Caden's opportunity! ... a fair chance to compete.  DAAA - a wonderful organization! 
He did well with the flippy flyer throw, finishing in the middle of the bunch.
It was at least a two hour process from the time of the running, then waiting for the flippy flyer to start, {and it sucks when your last name starts with "w", you really have to wait} then finally the softball throw. It was HOT on the AstroTurf, the air temp was 80+ and there was no shade. Caden's legs were hurting, he was overheated, his breakfast was minimal and he was done - he didn't compete in the softball throw. He left with a smile ~ and that's all that matters.
* The 7-9 Year Old Group *
We got back to the hotel around 11 and he wanted to go straight to the pool. I agreed, as long as he promised to eat while there - perfect!
Meltdown #2 happened after a couple hours in the pool - we went back to the room where I told him he had to take a nap.  Of course he wanted to argue and tell me he wasn't tired - 2 and a half hours later I was waking him up ;-)
We met up with the Murphy's in the lobby {hooray!}Caden wanted to play the "shy" act and not pose for a pic with Caty. So, Caty decided to photo-bomb the pic with Preston and C {love it!}
This was the first National that we met Quentin.  Such a nice boy! He and C quickly became friends.
Oh my word! Madelyn! We met Madelyn at our first convention in 2009!
We missed them last year, but have seen Madelyn and her wonderful family every other year.  Caden is SO anti-girl right now, and thinks they all have cooties.  I wasn't sure how he would act around her this year. He played the shy game at first, but this little fire-cracker is relentless!  I absolutely adore her!
I'm not sure if they have a brother and sister or husband and wife relationship or are just good friends. It really is funny! By the end of the first day Caden was acknowledging Madelyn and the entertainment began. The way they interact is hilarious!  They talk to each other like they see each other weekly, not yearly.
Adorable Kiddo's - we are quite the spectacle when we take all of our kiddos out in public to eat ;-) Smaller then average height children, who are way hyper to be with one another and a bunch of camera happy Mom's! Who wouldn't look?!
Can you feel the energy in these pics?
I wouldn't mind this darling as my daughter in law  ~ We have the wedding planned for 2028 :o)
The hotel had a poolside movie, complete with smores - so cute!
Caden didn't love the dances as much this year. The last couple years we've been in different time zones, so a 9:00 start wasn't that late - this year we were on our time - by 9, 10:00 he was wearing down.
I caught a few shots, until he would catch me and demand I stop recording ;-)

Day #3:
Slowly waking up.
Breakfast with Madelyn
.. and then a couple of Workshops with Mom.
We went on the Seal Boat Tour - A Duck boat that goes on land and water.  Caden thought it was neat.
A gorgeous evening, with three goofy kids!
What a group of characters! ~ Again, can you feel the energy?!
Silly boys!  Caden started out serious, but Quentin was being silly ...
... so then Caden decided to be silly and before I knew it they were both cracking up!

Day #4:
I could wake up to this view every morning! I Loved San Diego!
This morning we were off to see Dr. Pauli. The areas of concern I wanted to talk to Dr. Pauli about were C's mouth and his leg pain. Dr. Pauli agreed with our plan for Caden's dental treatment.
As far as his legs, the same as before - Caden still has quite a bit of laxity in his knees. Meaning the degree of movement to the left and right in his knees. The muscles there should support his legs/knees better.  Dr.Pauli says that if an average height child had the laxity in their knees that Caden does, the child would be treated for a torn ACL. Dr. Pauli would expect by now that it should be tightening up - but its not. There is nothing surgically that we can do about it other then: be sympathetic of the pain (know that if Caden says his legs hurt, they truly hurt), provide warmth and massage and give ibuprofen.
Dr. Pauli complemented me on my knowledge and said I'm doing great {I love the pat on the back from the doc ;o)}. ... and he feels that Caden looks great!

Next we headed to the beach - Jaime, Caty's Mom, arranged for us all to meet at Mission Bay.  {Thank You Jaime - and Thank You Deana for driving us there!}I was feeling pretty burned out when it was time to go to our beach activity, we weren't really sure how to get there, and I had thought about backing out. I'm so glad I stuck with it. The beach was wonderful! ... and Caden had so much fun!
As he was in the water, a good 20 feet out, he is yelling to me, with a big grin on his face,  "hey Mom, is this the river or the ocean? I've never been in it".  The bay was perfect because the kids were able to head quite a ways out and still touch, while not having to worry about big waves or tides.
Give it a few days, and he decides to pose for a picture with Caty :o)
After we returned from the beach we met up with Dan & Chris and headed to Old Town San Diego. Someone has a nose for toy stores!
Old Town was very cute, with a lot of history.  We only had a few hours, till we had to get back, but we took in as much as we could!
Since we were in "Old Town" Caden felt he needed a couple guns in holsters ;o)
Evening fun at the hotel ... and then to the Fashion Show {no pictures}.
Around 10:30 Caden decided he was hungry. We went to the sports bar at the hotel and ended up having a snack with Curtis & Christina {from Seattle}, there adorable daughter was resting upstairs with Grandma. We enjoyed our conversation with them - and ended up staying quite a while, during this time Caden fell asleep at the table - This is the kid that never falls asleep anywhere!

Day #5:
I headed down to a parent meeting while the boys slept in. Afterwards, we met up with our friends and headed to the USS Midway.
Caden thought the boat and airplanes were super cool - just his thing!
They met Joe, a WWII vet.  What a nice man. He adored the kids and the kids thought he was pretty cool.
After our fun with friends, we headed down the street to look at the boats at the Maritime museum. We didn't pay the fee to go aboard {I haven't mentioned how much money we spent - eeks!}Caden thought the pirate ships were awesome, especially this one that was in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies.
That night we watched the Talent Show {no pictures} and I ran back and forth across the street to the other hotel to do a load of laundry {What?! I thought this was vacation}.

Day #6:
Our last morning :o(  Caden loved looking out from his "view bed".  Dan went golfing and I began the process of packing up. I loved that Caden slept in a couple mornings - when I told him that he said, "you know Mom, the thing about conventions is, I cant handle my body" - Love it!
Across from our hotel was a cute little retail space, known as the Headquarters.  It was once the Police Headquarters in San Diego.
They kept the original jail cells- in which Caden had fun playing in.
It was then time to say good bye :o(  
We are SO thankful to have been able to attend this conference.  A huge Thank You {especially to my Mom & Dad} to our family for helping us get there.  As Caden receives money from our family through out the year we stick it in savings.  The 2nd day in Caden was asking where the convention is next year {proof he was having a blast}.
The convention is a once a year opportunity for Caden to just be Caden!  I love it because I get to connect with Mom's who "get it".  So many memories for each of us!  We have definitely created Lifelong Friendships and Family!
.........
Late Wednesday afternoon, we headed North to Carlsbad - but first Dan needed to make a pit stop. I really don't understand the yumminess that every one raves about - but he enjoyed it ;o)
We got checked into our hotel and hung out for the remainder of the evening.
Day #7:
Legoland!  We stayed at the Sheraton in Carlsbad.  The hotel was nice, but we were a wee bit disappointed. They advertise a private entrance to Legoland. {Think, the Grand Californian private enterance to California Adventure-ya not so much.}No where did it say you had to take a "hike" to get down to the entrance (it was a half a mile - down hill to, up hill back).  With a tired boy!  Who had walked his little legs off for a week already. But we dealt with it.
The best part of Legoland! The sets from the Lego Movie. {they are coming out with a Lego Movie 2 in 2017}
Dan's Dream Wall!
All aboard the pirate ships!
Reading the map ...
Dan nor I were impressed with Legoland.  We were both expecting something along the Disneyland standards. So, not the case.  The rides all had very long lines, the rides were short, and were nothing more then a glorified carnival ride.  There was quite a bit of liter through the park and several areas that needed repaired or updated.  BUT Caden had fun ~ the trip was for him.
I could hear Caden squealing and giggling down this ramp. Then they hit the water and I thought oh man, he's going to come out crying. So not the case! It was right before closing, no one else was left, so they went around again. Dan told Caden about Splash Mountain, and now C is set on wanting to go to Disneyland.

Day #8:
Dan went golfing in the morning. C and I slept in. He played Lego's and his iPad while I dealt with loan stuff for the new house {Again, isn't this vacation?! - can't escape reality}.
Then we headed back for day #2 of Legoland ...
The water park at Legoland was disgusting. But, like Dan says, this trip was for C.  This picture below serves no purpose other then to show the "people soup". There was no place to sit {all the lounge chairs were full} and way toooo many people. As I watched the boys play, I smiled that Caden was having such a fun time, but frowned at the thought of the hygiene of all the people - ewww - Good thing Chlorine is strong!
Future Driver!
Yes, I have two boys - Dan playing in the tree house with C.

Day #9:
The best day in Carlsbad. The pool at the hotel was gorgeous!  Sadly we only had two hours to relax at the pool. Then we had to head to the airport. {only to get back to the room, get showered, then receive a text to say our flight was 2 hours delayed, we could have stayed at the pool longer - rats!}
Waiting for the taxi, to head to the airport ;o(
I loved San Diego, I think it was the best convention location yet.  It was beautiful, perfect temperatures! We will definitely visit again {just not Legoland}. ... and for our LP Family, we will see you next year in St. Louis!!!