Long weekends are the very epitome of Dad Life and Labor Day weekend is the finale for the summer bbq season for most of the country. Of course, not in Northern California where I live, its bbq season all year long here (with the occasional cooking in a downpour for fun).
And the best part about long weekends, aside from staying up too late and sleeping in the next morning, is packing in lots of activities and filling each day with things to do. The speedy summary:
Friday - Watsonville Fly-In Airshow Monster Trucks
Saturday - More Airshow fun, photography and
Sunday - Beach day with friends from out of town
Monday - Bike riding with the boys at the Polo Grounds and a great sushi dinner with friends.
On Friday I was looking forward to a low key evening after a pretty tiring week. I had not been planning on monster trucks in any way, shape or form. But my wife came home with a set of free passes to the Watsonville Fly-In Airshow for that night which featured some monster truck on the runway action. We got to check out a whole bunch of planes before the monster trucks starting blasting around.
It is a good thing that Grady's first experience with real live monster trucks was outside where the noise could dissipate in all directions (link is to a short video shot with my iPhone). It was still too loud for him and though he liked the spectacle, the too loudness of it made him a little upset. We will be investing in some ear protectors for him and probably for Sully as well though Sully is rarely bothered by much. But the show was over pretty quickly and the boys returned to leaping from hay bale to hay bale and chasing other kids.
On Saturday I took the boys out to try and get some photos of the cool flying action after the fog had finally burned most of the way off. I parked first at the spot I got the great photos from last year. But planes were launching a little further south so we walked up the road a bit and found another spot where the planes were flying straight overhead. But there were a lot less planes flying around and the boys got bored so we loaded back up and headed to the far fence of the airport where lots of people had set up camps, picnics, parties and whatnot along the chainlink fence. We found a spot and I climbed up on the roof of my truck to snap some acrobatic action above us. The photos I posted to Flickr are all from this spot, some of which I rather like alot.
On Sunday we had some friends come down for a visit and headed out to the beach with four adults, four kids and one insanely amped up hound. Oh and two big bags of sand toys, a wetsuit and a boogie board. All of which got used to maximum effect. So much so that my abs and obliques were tender for a couple of days afterwards. Beach time is almost always awesome time and Sunday was no exception.
Monday was Labor Day which was an awesome start right out of the gate. I took the boys to the Polo Grounds with our bikes and we put in some pedal-time. First loop around the perimeter and then I removed Sully's training wheels off his little bike. We headed out around the soccer fields to let him get some practice in and he tried and tried and tried. But he kept finding himself scuttling along by pushing with his feet on the ground. Until we nearly got back to the car when something clicked and he started pedalling like a madman and he took off under his own power!
If you could have seen the beaming grin on his face, you'd have had to smile too. He was so thrilled and so proud! The scary part for me is that he's not super clear on how to keep the handlebars straight and would, on occasion, twist them sharply and veer even more sharply. In a couple of instances he nearly launched himself over his handlebars. But he was able to recover and keep going.
After we'd gotten a good amount of practice in the parking lot, the boys wanted to try riding the jumps, ramps and whoop-de-doos of the stunt park. Yes, my six year old and my four year old wanted on the stunt track. And so we went on it. Grady crashed early on when he didn't carry enough speed to get to the top of the mound, he rolled back down, fell on his side and burst into tears. The odd thing was that, once he'd gotten back up, he got back on and kept going. And when he crashed again, he thrust his thumb into the air and declared loudly, "I'm OK!" and got back on again. No tears, no drama just lots of dirt and dust in the air.
They both did astonishingly well on the stunt park. No, they weren't catching big air but they were showing no fear, they were exploring, they were pushing the boundaries of their experiences and had a great time doing it. So much so that Grady was really upset when it did come time for us to go.
And then, later on Monday, we got together with some friends for a ripping awesome sushi dinner out. It was really a pretty great weekend that could have only been improved by being longer and by me getting more sleep. But I'll take what we got, for sure!