Our friends, Jason, Emily and Stella Fox, offered to share some free tickets to Hawaiian Falls with us, so Saturday we all met up for some water park fun. We decided to get there right at park opening, so we could score some seats in the shade and enjoy the slides before things got too busy. I don't know about Stella, but Aiden could not wait to get to the park to see his friend and play in the water. When the two kiddos saw each other, it was hugs all around and lots of anxious excitement as we waited for the gates to open. Then we plunked our stuff down on some chairs next to the kiddie slides and splashed right in.
At first, Aiden and Stella both were a bit apprehensive about the slides. They were content to splash around in the knee-deep water and play under the sprayers, but they were unwilling to even give the bigger stuff a shot. Brad finally just grabbed Aiden and took him for a tandem ride on the tube slide. He went in screaming, came out smiling, but when asked if he wanted to go again, he quickly replied "That's OK! I like it here!"
After a bit more time on the play equipment, Mommy decided to give the long, twisty, open slide a try. Aiden watched me go down, then decided to give it a whirl, and from then on, it was all we could do to drag Aiden away! He would climb up the platforms, jump onto the slide (often slipping right in front of bigger kids that were waiting in line, despite repeated attempts on our behalf to make him wait his turn), land in the water with a huge smile on his face, then run back up to do it again as quick as he could. He and Stella made a continuous loop up and down the slide, content to play on the same equipment for hours.
Emily and I, not so content to just watch them do the same thing for hours on end, dragged the kids to other attractions in the park a few times as well. We all took a few spins around the Lazy River, Aiden bobbing along in his life jacket and enjoying the waves while Mommy tried to get comfy in an inner tube. We ventured over to another play area for kids with giant mushrooms and a pool that got gradually deeper. Unfortunately, Aiden kept walking right into the deep end at one point (we think he forgot he wasn't wearing his life jacket), and Mommy had to make a running dive to scoop him out of the deep water. He was a bit scared after that, although he had done a great job of treading water and keeping his head up for the few seconds it took me to run over and scoop him out. For the next half-hour or so, I ended up carrying Aiden around, his legs and arms wrapped around my waist, refusing to go anywhere near the water unless he was physically latched to me.
We took a lunch break, then let Aiden and Stella get back to their favorite part, the kiddie slides. Aiden was quickly back to his confident and dare-devil self, sliding down face-first on his tummy, racing to the bottom with a huge smile on his face. The Brad and Jason wandered over to the adult slides a few times, racing down and taunting each other about screaming like little girls. Later on, we all ventured over to the wave pool and let the kids hop waves in the shallow end while the grown-ups talked and enjoyed the sun. A few of us enjoyed the sun a bit too much (ahem, Brad and Emily) and arrived at church the next day looking a bit red! But we all had a great time together.
We left the park around 2:00, as the kids began to fade into crankiness, and headed to Sonic for a cool drink. Afterwards, the Foxes let us use their bathroom to change, and while Stella headed to bed for a nap, Aiden, Brad and I drove over to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party.
I know, I know, planning a water park visit on the same day as Chuck E. Cheese, without time for a nap, was probably insane, but we had made plans with the Foxes several weeks out, and the party invitation arrived only days before. Aiden has never shown any interest in attending a peer's birthday party before, but this time, he was quite excited to be invited to Nolan's birthday party, so I thought it was high time Brad and I met some of the other parents form Aiden's class and got to know some of the other kids as well.
Although we were all a bit glassy-eyed and drained by 4:00, we managed to have a great time. Brad and I met and spoke with several other parents. It was a bit odd (and kind of scary) that we had never met any of the other parents, but when we said that we were Aiden's mom and dad, they all said, "Oh, we hear about Aiden all the time!" Luckily, they all said it with a smile on their faces, and no one walked off in a huff or told us any horror stories, so we guess Aiden is just popular (and not a bully or trouble-maker). [Fingers crossed] It was fun, though, to see Aiden interact with all of his friends. His face would light up every time he encountered one of his classmates in the games area--it was a special treat for him to be able to see them away from the structure of school.
We stayed at the party for about 2 hours, through cake and presents, and then headed out the door. Although there had been pizza at the party for the kiddos, we were all hungry afterwards, and so we went to Pei Wei for a quick dinner. Then it was home for a bath and into bed early. Even Brad and I turned in early that night--we were all tired, but it had been a great day.
Brad and I have said to each other so many times that we are truly blessed to have found such great friends in the past 6 months. We always enjoy spending time with the Fox family--Aiden and Stella have such a good time together, and Jason and Emily are such great friends and parents--we feel blessed to have found people we feel we have things in common with, that are trying to raise good Christian kids just like us. And they are just one of the several great families/couples that God has put in our path lately--He really has blessed us with wonderful friends, answering a prayer of ours that we've been repeating ever since we moved to Wylie.