Monday, November 3, 2014

Alex: Eight is Great!

Alex turned 8 on Oct. 10th. He really wanted breakfast in bed on his birthday, so we told him not to set his alarm (because he's usually the first one up) and we woke him up with breakfast. I'd say he was pretty happy about it.
We wanted to get him his own scriptures because he was getting baptized, so we met Jared after work one day and picked them out. That day was a bit crazy. We had to take Erin and her friend up to West Valley for her acting class and it was right by a Deseret Book. Jared gets a discount on things there for working at the church so we thought we'd pick him up at the nearest train station and go there as a family. Traffic took forever and the train was delayed so by the time we got there, we only had 10 minutes to pick everything out. It was a bust for two reasons:  1. that we found out later that there was a Trax station right next to Deseret Book (which we didn't know) and that would have saved us a lot of time instead of driving to a further one, and 2. it turned out that Jared doesn't get a discount on scriptures like we thought, only on other merchandise, so we only saved a couple of dollars on the scripture bag and markers and paid full price for the scriptures. Oh well. It was also kind of a bust because I didn't think about the fact that we would have to drive Jared home from there with an extra person in the van (because we carpool). So we had to double buckle a couple of kids and endure screaming and fighting the whole way home in rush hour traffic because they were squished. Sometimes I wonder why I do the things I do...

But back to Alex. He also wanted roller blades for his birthday and had been wanting them for like a year. I told him I couldn't get him much more than the scriptures, but surprised him with roller blades as the other "little something". He loves them and spent the next few days on them constantly. Luckily, because he already had roller skates, he had no problem switching to blades. Oh and this is the outfit he refers to as his Finding Nemo outfit. It had to include the orange shorts, not just the striped shirt.
He likes his scriptures too. It's been great to have him and Erin follow along in their own scriptures for family scriptures. He's also excited about doing Faith in God and keeping his book in his scripture case.

Alex kept telling me that he wanted a party, but I kept trying to avoid the subject because... they're just a lot of work. But two days before his birthday I thought we better nail this party business down if we were going to do it. He originally wanted a movie party, but I didn't think 10 8-year olds would sit quietly for a movie. Instead, we decided to do some games in the back yard and call it an Olympic party. I only had 10 minutes before the bus left to whip up some invitations, but I got them done. Phew. The games were pretty fun but there were some really rowdy and loud moments (sorry neighbors). Jared was gone, but Erin and her friend were there to help with the Olympics. With 10 boys, and my other kids and their friends, I had 16 kids there by myself. Yikes! 

The games were pretty fun. We did 3-legged races, egg on the spoon races, roll the hula hoop, standing long jump, pass the hula hoop, hold the balloon between your heads races, pass the sponge and fill up a bucket race and wrap the mummy. Here is Alex and another boy getting wrapped. I think Alex enjoyed being the one to get wrapped.

All the games were done before the first hour was done and we still had an hour to go. We did spin the bottle to open presents. Of course that never takes up as much time as you expect. So after presents, cupcakes and ice cream, we still had 45 minutes and I had to think of something else to take up the time. I decided to have them watch Studio C and it was a huge hit. They were all glued to the TV for the next 25 minutes. Yay! After all that, they all wanted to put together the Lego sets that Alex had gotten. He got a bunch of little sets so they split up and did them all. They were enthralled and quiet for the rest of the party. I should have just done a Lego party and they would have loved it! Alex got so spoiled by all his friend gifts. They are all really nice boys. I'm glad he has good friends in the neighborhood and at school.
The week before he got to do his first pine wood derby (even though he wasn't quite 8 yet). Jared got really into the building of the car and how to make it go fast. I got to help with the flames and numbers. Alex had all the ideas of how he wanted it to look and helped Jared in the garage with sanding and grinding screws (and whatever else Jared did to it). In the end, Alex got fourth place. After the races, Jared tweaked the wheels a bit and did some races with the first place winner and won a couple of times. It was kind of a bummer because if he had done that before Alex's car probably would have gotten first or second. Next year... It was a really fun night and fun process to make the car. I think it turned out really cool looking.

Last week, Alex went into the orthodontist and got his top braces off. He'd only had them for about 6 months so that was pretty awesome. He should get his bottom ones off next month. After looking at an x-ray, they found that one of the bottom tooth roots was angled enough that the permanent tooth next to it could grow on the wrong side of it if it was not angled back. Anyway, that's why they kept the bottoms on. I can't tell you how glad I am that we did an early intervention on him because he had quite a few issues that would have been harder to fix in the future. Now I think his second phase will be way better.

Alex got baptized yesterday. It was a really special day for him. Jared baptized and confirmed him. Since it was a stake baptism, there were a lot of people there. There were four kids from our ward and they did all the confirmations together in the cultural hall. I was so hoping they would plug in a microphone because it is so loud and echo-y in that room. They didn't. Errr. It was the same thing for Erin's confirmation and I couldn't hear a thing. Since Jared was going last, I told him to talk really loud. His was the only one that people could hear. It was a good blessing. One thing I remember him saying is how Alex's kindness is a beacon to those around him. This is very true!
My parents flew home from their mission for the weekend to be here for the baptism. It was really neat to have them here. We also had Jared's parents & Matthew, Jason & Kristine's family, Brian and Callie's family, Rachel & her girls, Dave & Becky's family, Emily and my neighbors come. I think we had 39 people at our house afterwards. I get so stressed out when I have things at my house, which is why I try to avoid it as much as I can. We'd been preparing for weeks, deep cleaning and trying to finish projects (many of which never got finished). In the end, I know it didn't really matter that much, but at least I know that the pantry, mud room, blinds, baseboards, laundry room, couches, etc. are all clean... or were a week ago. And the bonus was that we found two library books that had been missing for months. I guess it's good to have things at my house occasionally if nothing more than to clean the house really well.
We had yummy breakfast casseroles, muffins, bagels, fruit and juice. The morning was also a bit stressful for me. I was trying to get the casseroles made, get the kids ready, get myself ready and get the last minute cleaning done. I may have yelled at a couple of kids. Erin helped me so much that morning. Thank goodness for older kids! I got to the church later than I wanted still having to do Marissa's hair and put Connor's shoes on, but we made it. By the time I sat down and started singing the opening song, I just started crying because of how frazzled I was. But it was a nice baptismal service. I kept thinking that if we still lived in Florida, we would have had a simple service just for him and we would have actually heard the confirmation. We wouldn't have had anything at our house, just some cookies & brownies afterwards at the church. It just sounds a lot less stressful. I am so grateful to have family here to support us, but I can see the perks of living away from here too. 

Here's our family picture of Alex's big day. It's a good shot of "Billy Bob Joe" too (me pregnant at 22 weeks).
Alex really is one of the kindest people I've ever known. I don't know how I got to be so lucky to be his mother. I don't know if it was something that could have been taught to him, he just naturally sees the needs of others and shows kindness. This makes him such a good brother and friend. He is a deep thinker and remembers everything you tell him. He does very well at school, even though his teacher is not one that everyone liked. He is very talented at the piano and really impresses people when he plays because of how young he is. Alex is obedient and tries to do the right thing. He doesn't always talk a lot. Sometimes it's hard to get things out of him (as opposed to Marissa that tells me every last detail of every little thing), but when he wants to start talking about things, he will open up to me. He really is a good boy. I could not imagine our family without Alex being there to bring peace and harmony to our home. We love him so much. Happy 8th birthday Alex!

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