Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This is the BEST Day EVER!

Yesterday was Nathan’s 4th birthday! Hard to believe he is now a big 4 year old. But he told me before his birthday that he did not want to be big, he wants to stay little. He likes being little. Yeah, I’ll remind him of that when he’s a teenager, trying to borrow the car, or going off to college! :-)

Over the weekend, James asked Nathan what he wanted to do when he turned 4. In very Nathan style, without looking up from his dinosaurs and in a very serious voice he gave us the one-word answer “Retire!”

Sounds great to me!

All year we have had many discussions about what kind of birthday Nathan wanted to have this year. It started as a Dino birthday. Then he changed his mind to snakes, aliens, daddy long legs spider, back to dinos etc. I told him each time that we would do what he wanted and to think about it and I would let him know when he had to decide for sure. We finally had to decide and Nathan chose Dinosaurs with a volcano cake! I was a little relieved because that is much easier than some of his earlier suggestions!

So, being the overachiever that I am, I went into full party planning mode and with the help of the internet and Ross (my favorite discount store), we have a party planned to top all parties! The first hurdle was the date. His birthday fell on a Monday but we needed the party to be when James’s Mom and Stepdad would be in town. So we planned the party for the Saturday after his birthday (unfortunately Maddie will have to leave before the party!). So I am finalizing all the planning and preparations for the Saturday event. I was very pleased to find instructions on making a volcano cake with erupting edible lava! So that should be pretty exciting. There are also a few fun surprises for the day.

But we wanted something special for Nathan’s actual birthday. Then it hit me, Dinosaur Valley State Park is not too far from us in Glen Rose and I haven’t been since I was very very young - about Nathan’s age. It is this beautiful river where a man found dinosaur tracks fossilized and perfectly preserved all along the river. When the water is low you can really see them and there are 4 main areas that are the best for viewing. How’s that for a dino birthday - actually stepping where dinosaurs walked. Doing a search on the internet for directions and details I found out there is also a place down the road called Dino World that boasts 100 statues of dinosaurs and a dino dig. James added the idea of eating lunch at Fossil Rim Park - a drive through safari place that we didn’t have time to tour but could eat and see some of the animals from the restaurant.

So we made a plan, invited Maddie, and didn’t tell Nathan where he was going until we arrived at the park! I loved that he wanted to keep it a surprise until we arrived. That’s my boy! So, 852 photos later, Nathan enjoyed “the BEST day EVER” seeing dinosaur tracks, dinosaur statues, buying dinosaur sourvenirs, and then having dinner, presents and cake at Grandma Beebe’s house. All that before collapsing into bed last night completely exhausted.

Sorry Evan, but we had to leave you with Grandma and Grandpa Beebe for the day. But that made a special day for him to get all their attention. The day started out in the 80’s and warmed to around 95 degrees so I knew it wouldn’t be good for Evan. Plus he wants to walk and go everywhere so I could never keep up with him. I had no idea that the river area would be some serious hiking and we found ourselves climbing some pretty slippery steep rocks to get through the “path” along the river. So, it was a good decision to leave Evan at Grandma’s for this trip, but we will definitely go back some time. It was all a lot of fun. And Evan enjoyed presents and cake in the evening (he got a couple of new toys too!).

So, here are a few photos, I will only make you look at all 852 if you come over to dinner some time, but I have to make them into a slide show first! :-)

Starting out at Dinosaur Valley Park:

These are the tracks we can expect to see:

New wading boots for Nathan! They are supposed to be dinosaurs, but Nathan thought they looked like Liz from The Magic School Bus so he called them Liz Boots! They kept him dry for most of the day but did take in a little water when we got into a deep spot in the river.

Our first Dino track:

The beautiful river

Stepping where the dinosaurs walked:

Maddie in the river

A really clear track:

Say cheese:

Maddie did a great job breaking trail for us and finding a way through all the rocks. That's right, the trail stops where the rocks begin and we were climbing over and around them!

Maddie - very hip and cool even in dino infested rivers!

Nathan and Daddy keeping up:

Stopping to view the tracks:

Posing outside the gift shop:


Touching a real dino bone!

The dinos were biting at Dino World!

Nathan loved the dino statues and talked to each one! He told them it was his birthday and asked if they were friends with the other dinos we had seen!

Nathan was just a little anxious to see more:

At the dino dig:

Wow, look at everything Nathan found! Shells, shark's teeth, amber, and other fossils:

Back at Grandma Beebe's house it was presents and cake! Who could ask for more?

Nathan got cool dinos from Aunt Melissa, Uncle Scott and his Colorado cousins:

Evan enjoyed a horseyback ride from Daddy:

and Evan got cool Thomas squirters from Grandma & Grandpa:

More cool presents:

A quick hug for Maddie before Evan wiggled away to play:

"I've been wanting this my WHOLE life!"

Evan loved playing with all the paper:

Evan has a late dinner:

And we all sing Happy Birthday to Nathan:

Everyone loved the cake:

Even Evan decided to taste a bite

Right before bed, Nathan got to take his annual photos with his bear:

Happy Birthday my big little boy! What a great day we had!


Ruth said...

Happy Birthday Nathan!

Ruth Smith

Tina said...

Nice to see such a fun birthday. Nathan, you are one lucky boy. Enjoy being 4.
Tina and Greg Palmer