Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nate the Great Conger

This is the time of year my blog gets filled up with simply posting about birthdays because that is all that goes on around here for about eight straight weeks (with Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years sneaking in in between). I'm not sure that was good planning on our part (if there was any planning at all) because I have to be honest and say, it wears me completely out. Birthdays are not my forte.

I am not a good party mom. I have finally gotten to the point where I can say that without feeling guilty. I am not a good party mom, and that's ok (I've had to repeat that little sentence over and over to myself over the years to remind myself it really is ok). I know there are a lot of mothers who go all out for their children's birthdays, and I am just not one of them. I used to feel quite worthless about this little fact, but not anymore. Thankfully, I've grown up just a little bit (I think--I hope). I've explained to my children that they did not luck out in the "Birthday Party Mom" department, but not to worry because their dear old mom has other amazing qualities that made up for that. When they rolled their eyes and looked at me with doubt, asking just what those qualities might be, I must admit it's taken me years to come up with anything substantial. But the point is . . . I do have skills--they just don't include great birthday parties.

Now, back to Nate's birthday (because I realized I skipped right over it and blogged about Regyn's first). Nate turned 12 on January 8th. This was a very big deal. Twelve is a very important birthday in our home because we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which for a boy means he will get the Aaronic Priesthood. This is something we had worked to prepare Nate for diligently over the years, and especially this past year. Dan and I felt it was important for him to understand what the priesthood really is and what it would mean to be ordained to it and have the opportunity to serve. This being our oldest son, we weren't very good at it, let me tell you. And as Nate went to get interviewed by our bishop, I felt we had pretty much failed him. The most amazing thing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ though is that we are all just learning. Of course no 12-year-old understand thoroughly everything there is to know about the holy responsibility he holds in being a bearer of the priesthood of God. That is what I love about God's plan for His children--He provides them with opportunities to learn and hold callings and responsibility when they are young and eager to learn and pure so they can be tutored by His spirit along the way, rather than waiting until they are older and more influenced by the ways of the world and harder to instruct.

Anyway, the highlight of Nate's 12th birthday for me was definitely watching him pass the sacrament for the first time, hearing him share his testimony in sacrament meeting and seeing him immediately rise up as a young man and take on the responsibility of a priesthood holder. It's absolutely amazing to me how quickly this influences these young people. I literally see a transformation in him every Sunday when he walks into church and sits with the rest of the young men, preparing to do that service each week. I'm so grateful for that. I pray it will help to humble him.

Does he look handsome in this new suit or what? Believe me, he needed it! He grew 4 inches in the past 10 months and his past church pants were definitely getting short. 

Too bad the sun is in his eyes and you can't se them, but his eyelashes look pretty dreamy. 
 Nate opened presents early on the morning of his birthday. This is the part the kids love the most. I was most excited about his new suit. He was most excited about the fact he got money and could buy a used iPod from one of his friends. Since he can now text me (the one thing I do like about the device), I put him in my contacts as "Nate the Great Conger." I had to come up with something original since Hallee was in there as "Sweet Hallee." All of my children want to be known as something besides just their names; thus he is now Nate the Great, and to me, he is definitely great--not perfect by any means--but absolutely great!

Berkley loved being part of the gift-giving process.

Is it just me or does this kid look an awful lot like his dad?

That is a fake hug if I'v ever seen one.

Dan and I wanted to make the day special by taking him out to a nice dinner, so we took him to the Olive Garden. We told him how very much we loved him, how proud we are of him and the young man he is turning into, and we brought out that technology contract we had just used with Hallee (this time with a slight variation that included time limits each day--something we had to revise with Hallee's very quickly). I had also written a letter to Nate that he opened at the restaurant. It was really nice to be there with just the three of us. I hope it's a memory he will keep forever.

Here he is reading his letter over his salad and breadsticks.

Ok, now to the part about his birthday I didn't love so much. The party. Yep. I promise my children when they turn 5, 8, 12 and 16 they get a party. Thus, it was Nate's year for a party, and boy was he wanting to make it big. When Hallee turned 12, she invited about 5 friends to go bowling. Nate invited 14! And he would have invited more, but I told him the list was capped. Thankfully, he was willing to hold the party at our church so I didn't have to pay a lot for a venue. Unbelievably all 14 boys were available that afternoon and came to the party. It was 2 1/2 full hours of complete noise and yelling. I had a headache after 15 minutes. I'd never seen anything like it. These boys were intense and were not afraid to speak their minds. They played basketball, dodgeball, lightning and more basketball. I tried to intervene at times to avoid fist fights (just kidding) or hurt feelings and to make things more fair, but it wasn't easy to get their attention, that's for sure.

Opening presents

Thanks heavens Hallee was there with me to at least provide me some solace:)

I just kept watching the clock and telling myself I could make it until the end of the party. But that's when the unexpected happened. . .

They all came home with us!!!!


That's right! Before I knew it, they had all piled in cars and were driving to our home to play longer. This was not a good idea, and I knew it but had no idea how to stop it. Let me remind you that we live in a basement that is very crowded so playing inside is out of the question, and that it's winter (January) so playing outside is out of the question, so what was I supposed to do with the 12 boys who came home with us?????

This is exactly why I don't do birthdays!!

The good news is that I did survive. It took at least an extra 6 months off of my life, and I told Nate it will probably take me at least four more years to recover, but I love that kid so much, he was worth it anyway. And I do think those boys had fun. And they are darn cute 12-year-old boys, I just have to say.

But boy, am I glad it's over!