Happy Birthday, Hayden!!

Hayden is 12 today! Say what?! How did this guy get to be 12 years old already??

I met him in 2004, when he was 1 and I was 23. He was his first year into life and I was my first few years into adulthood. 🙂 I never knew Jeremy before Hayden was already in his life. And my life has been better with both of them in it.

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Some of my favorite memories with Hayden is seeing him and his dad together. Because they don’t live together full time, they make the most of the time they do get together, and it is really sweet to see. 

Back when Jeremy and I were still in the dating stages, I remember a fun summer when we took Hayden to a few Mariners games. Those were fun times! I remember chanting “Ichiro! Ichiro!” with Hayden, Jeremy remembers teaching Hayden all the rules of the game, and Hayden probably remembers most… his elevator ride at the game. That elevator ride was memorable for him because he was in there with The Mariner Moose. That was the coolest thing EVER. 🙂

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When Jeremy decided he was going to propose to me in 2009, Hayden was one of the first people he told. In fact, Hayden went with him when he picked out and bought my engagement ring. And Hayden kept the secret! I had no idea. As we were planning our wedding and writing our vows, I knew that I wanted to say a special vow to Hayden before my vow to Jeremy. So I kept that a surprise from both of them too. Not only was I becoming Jeremy’s wife, I was also becoming Hayden’s stepmom. We were becoming the Parkinson family of three.

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Since we’ve become an official family, my most favorite memories with Hayden are probably our trips to Disneyland and Disney World. We’ve taken him to ‘Land three times and World one time. That was four Disney trips in four years! Lucky kid – and lucky us!

Part of the fun of Disney trips is the surprise factor. We have taken Hayden to Disneyland twice with our friends the Grants (which includes his friend Meghan) and once with my sister’s family (which includes his two kid cousins). We flew twice and road-tripped it once. Each time was amazing and fun and unique.

When we took him to DisneyWorld, we surprised him with a 20-piece scavenger hunt the night before we left. We had him running around the house, riding his bike around the block, searching for 20 different clues that he had to then put together to find out the end result. The scavenger hunt itself was fun – but the surprise that we were going to Disney World was priceless.

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The Disney World trip was special because it was our first big family trip as a party of four – Zara was 6 months old. We knew that she wouldn’t remember this trip, but Hayden would. And it was his first time off the West Coast, and he thought that was awesome. Having Zara there also meant that Hayden got to ride all the rides at least twice, without having to wait in line twice – once with me and once with Jeremy, while the other of us waited with Zara. That setup worked really well. And the rides that Zara could ride were really fun for all four of us! 

The following pictures are from all of the different trips put together. We Parkinsons LOVE the big rides, and Hayden always requests to sit in the front – ‘atta boy, Hayden!

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Part of the funniness that is Hayden is his love for the big hats. He has wanted a memorable hat during each of our trips, and that boy rocks those hats! He wore them on each of the plane rides home and at home long after the trips were over.

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Again, part of my favorite moments on these trips is seeing the father-son bonding that Jeremy and Hayden get to have. During our trip to Disney World, we had a lot of fun exploring the World Showcase at Epcot. The boys played drums at the African Outpost, we got caught in a torrential downpour in the United Kingdom, and we were highly entertained watching the street performers in Italy. And the night-time firework show is always spectacular.

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We’ve been to Disneyland and Disney World with and without Hayden, and there is just something special about the trips with him. He is also with us every other Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, and he makes each holiday with us so special.

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Summer times and spring breaks with Hayden, besides Disney trips ;), are filled with library trips, zoo trips, lake trips, rafting trips, hiking trips, movie nights in the park, etc. We like to do things and create memories. We do also have chores and boring days at home, but who wants to hear about those?

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Well I have thoroughly enjoyed this trip down memory lane, but I really wanted to post this on Hayden’s birthday, and I’m cutting it close to midnight now! So with that, I will say HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAYDEN!! You have truly enriched my life, and you make the Parkinson family happy every day. Your siblings are lucky to have you as their big brother.

Hayden David Parkinson, 12 years old. 3/4 of the way to driving. Halfway to the age I was when I met you. Where did the time go? Oh yeah, time flies when you’re having fun! And we certainly are. Happy birthday, boy 🙂 See you in 4 days for a really fun spring break!!!!

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