Friday, January 15, 2016

Birthday Post: First Son Is Twelve!

I just need to repeat that to make it real for myself.

First Son is twelve years old! He's been twelve now for nearly a month and I still forget.

He's in sixth grade this year, which meant a noticeable leap in his studies. He's struggled a bit to come to grips with the increased work load, but we're working on it.

His favorite subjects are independent reading (he started the year with The Hobbit), math (he's up to Elementary Physics in Life of Fred), art (drawing) and piano. His least favorite subject is geology.

His favorite book is still What If?, though he has enjoyed Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words as well. Outrageous and ridiculous are the best bets for books he'll enjoy. It's entertaining to watch him read a book he enjoys because he really does giggle out loud and then he'll try to read particularly funny bits out loud for us and laugh so much he can hardly get the words out clearly.

For Halloween this year, he dressed up as Harry Potter. He insisted we let him grow out his hair for months because it needed to be messy and uncontrollable. On Halloween, most people recognized him immediately, even before he was close enough for them to see the scar First Daughter painted on his forehead.

For All Saints, he dressed as Bl. Jose Sanchez del Rio. He wore his dad's shoes, which were... (wait for it...) half a size too small. (Lord, please make his feet stop growing so quickly. Our shoe budget is being demolished.) He made the flag himself based on his own research.

LEGOs still top his list of preferred toys. We have an extraordinary number of LEGOs in a big bin, but he also has almost three drawers full of his own creations mixed in with his other special things. (First Son believes in more LEGOs and fewer clothes.)

After LEGOs, his favorite past-time is playing video games. (He gets about four hours of screen time a week and will tell you vociferously how and why it's not enough, if you are unfortunate enough to ask.) His favorites: Super Mario Maker (Wii U) (his most desired Christmas gift), Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U) (Kansas Dad picked this for First Daughter for Christmas and everyone loves it), Star Wars the Clone Wars: Light Sabre Duels (Wii), Lego Star Wars III: the Clone Wars (Wii), Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Wii) (which he says is now just almost complete), and last but not least, Minecraft, which is now finally available on the Wii (though you have to download it from the estore).

First Son is a great hiker. Kansas Dad, First Daughter, and he hiked to the top of High Dune at Great Sand Dunes National Park. It was a challenging climb but First Son just moved steadily from top to bottom without complaints. He was a real trooper!

He's been working in the nursery this school year on Sunday mornings. The younger three are in CCD classes, but his class doesn't meet at the same time so he volunteered to help in the nursery. He holds the babies and plays with them and loves it! I've had a few of the adults in charge (it rotates each week) tell me he's one of the most helpful middle school students.

shaggy hair allowed even for a big family event
We spent weeks listening to ruminations on the new Star Wars movie. He received a "choose the movie for family movie night" coupon from St. Nicholas and immediately requested A New Hope. He still hasn't seen the new one. Kansas Dad and I wanted to preview it first (which we did, but we just haven't had a few free hours to get to the theater with the older kids yet). He is desperate to avoid any spoilers so sometimes announces to people as he sees them, "Don't tell me who Kylo Ren is! I haven't seen the movie yet!"

gamely enduring a visit to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Rocky Ridge farm and cottage
Favorite games: Munchkin (My standard Munchkin warning: This game is not for every family.), King of Tokyo, Snake Oil, and a Star Wars battle matching game one of the girls bought him for his birthday (a favorite, I think, more for its Star Wars affiliation than for its gaming properties). He received two new decks for Munchkin for Christmas and his birthday and we've all been enjoying the new cards. Kansas Dad and I gave him Labyrinth for Christmas, too, and it has become a new favorite. He also likes Life: Inside Out Board Game which Second Daughter received for Christmas. It's pretty different from the Life I remember, but in a good way, I think.

First Son has been making dinner once a week for the whole family for his handiworks. He loves making dinner! He chooses something each week, makes sure the ingredients are on our grocery list, and prepares it. He needs me or Kansas Dad in the kitchen with him, but is improving. His favorite recipe is for mashed potatoes. He loves mashed potatoes and he makes good ones. He prepared them for Kansas Dad's family at Thanksgiving (begged us to let him) and again at Christmas for my family.

First Son's birthday pancake
For his birthday, we took the family and a couple of his friends out to eat at an Asian buffet (where the two twelve year old boys ate mountains of sushi) then to an electronics store to look at video games while they digested their food a little before we spent an hour at a local trampoline park. First Son said it was the "best birthday party ever!"

His favorite foods: anything potato (the current obsession among his group of friends), sushi, dumplings, pierogi, Kansas Dad's triple layer peanut butter chocolate cake, and enchiladas (preferably with my secret enchilada sauce recipe).

First Son with his uncle at Thanksgiving
I think he's growing taller by the day. Kansas Dad measured him right around his birthday as five feet three-and-a-half inches tall. He's already passed his grammy and two of his aunts. In the past few months, I've missed him a few times when doing my one-two-three-four count of kids because he's so tall he blends in with the grown-ups.

He met his goal to be a green belt before his twelfth birthday. In fact, he surpassed it as a green belt blue tip and tested for his blue belt on his birthday proper. He officially received his blue belt just last night! I'll have to get a picture of that soon. His goal for next year is to be a red belt, and maybe even a red belt black tip.

This kid is goofy. He loves to tell jokes, make up funny stories, transform all his school notes (like a notebook page on the sun) into cartoons, and speak in other voices. He's particularly good at Gru.

His favorite movies: any Star Wars movie, The Princess Bride, and funny movies in general.

Second Daughter pretending to be pious
Every day is an adventure with you, First Son, and we're looking forward to the coming year! God  bless you!


  1. Happy belated birthday to First Son! Have you let him read all of the Harry Potter books? I've been holding out on starting them with the older kids because I know it would be hard to NOT read all of them, and I wasn't sure of the last few for them. I've also been waiting for a lull in the schedule so I can read along with them, but that lull seems elusive. :)

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