Noah is 8

I just don’t know how this happened.

I have always been the kind of mommy that loves to see her boys grow up and get bigger and more capable and independent … until now. Somebody stop this please. It was great to see Noah learn to tie his shoes (he was the first one in his kindergarten class to learn and would help everyone else tie their’s), but now he’s talking to me like an adult, getting baptized and telling me about how teenagers make bad choices and try to impress girls – what?! I love him.

I still remember blogging about his first day in preschool. I was so nervous that the kids wouldn’t like him. He was so active and happy and I wanted them to have a little extra patience with my Noah. I wanted them to show him a little tenderness and answer his neverending questions. I wanted them to be nice to my little Noah and not crush his enthusiasm for life and everything around him. I remember exactly what he looked like running into his preschool class, so brave and without even looking back. He was ready and I was not. I feel that way again now. He is ready and smart and growing up and understanding the Gospel. He asks me thoughtful questions, talks to me about how he feels and what he likes and wants to do. He takes care of Liam. Sweet little, timid Liam needs his Noah. Noah teaches Liam his sight words and yesterday he took Liam in the backyard to show him “soccer moves”. He is in soccer now and soaring past everyone in his 2nd grade class in math! He has places to go and plans on the horizon and I am watching him grow up and walk away and not look back. That is my brave Noah.

This year is an important year for him. He decided to be baptized and we’re going to do that in northern CA surrounded by family. I can’t wait to see him grow in the Gospel. He has such a good mind. He sees things as right or wrong, very little gray area. He is honest and has a good heart. And he is happy.

This year, we had two parties for Noah. A small family one, just Forsyths, on the day of his birthday and then another on Saturday after his birthday where we invited cousins. The Saturday party was pretty low key (in comparison to other blow out parties I’ve thrown them). Noah took Liam and his cousins to play Lazer Tag and video games, then they came home and had lunch – specialty grilled cheese sandwiches, Noah’s favorite homemade balsamic dressing salad and pineapple (his favorite fruit). There were a few lego games to play here at the house and then cake and an ice cream sundae bar and presents.

A few things about Noah lately:

– he eats every dinner with chopsticks now. It’s hilarious. He talks a lot about Papa, who died but served his mission in Taiwan. Noah said he wants to go to China.
– He is seriously excelling in second grade. His school in MI was farther along than the one here in CA. Noah says, “this is one of those easy schools”.
– He helps Liam. With everything. Last week, they started a soccer fundamentals class. It was the first week of the class, so Noah and Liam were together on the field. We were a few minutes late and the coach already had the kids on the field, so Noah and Liam ran up and the coach told them to get a soccer ball. There weren’t enough balls. Noah grabbed one quick, but Liam just stood there and looked around. Liam looked so nervous, like he was about to cry as the realization that he was the only one on the field without a ball settled in and became obvious. As his little world looked like it was caving in, Noah saw what was happening and kicked his ball over to Liam and said, “here Liam, you can have this one”. Then Noah ran out to the coach and asked for another one. Noah is brave and kind and tender with Liam.
– He still loves everything that is Lego Star Wars. And Clone Wars
– He loves salad.
– He talks to me a lot about spiritual things and seems sure about his testimony already. Last night we had the missionaries over giving a lesson and they asked each of us to commit to reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know that is was true. They went around the room asking each person. When they got to Noah he simply said, “I already have”. Also, this year, he wanted to bring in a special treat for his second grade class and he said he wanted to bring them all Book of Mormons. I asked why and he said because he was listening to the talk in church on Sunday and they said to share the gospel. I told him to ask his teacher if he could bring in B of M’s and instead of shying away, Noah said he would. And then he did. He came home that day from school and I asked him about it and he told me, “No, she said we couldn’t. It’s the same as Hayes” (his elementary school in MI). Then he asked, “why do they call it religion? Doesn’t everybody believe?” I said people had different beliefs. He responded with, “But they all believe in God, right? If they do, then it’s all the same religion, right?” We talked a lot that afternoon about religion. It is so fun to have him be so interested in talking about spiritual matters.
– He likes to give people things to make them happy. The other day he said he was going to give Ben, his cousin, $50. I asked why and he said, “because I told him I would”. It wasn’t because he lost a bet or broke something. It sounded like he just told him he’d give him $50. Oh man, I love him.
– He is loving. I ask him to say goodbye to his cousins and most times, he gives them a hug … and a quick kiss. I worry that he might do that to some kid at school sometime. When we were at soccer practice he asked if he could stay after and play with his friend, Gideon. I said it was too close to dinnertime, so he said, “OK, well, do you at least want to meet him?” I said sure and walked over to the field. Noah called out to his friend several times, then walked over and told him he couldn’t stay and play, but then he pointed me out and said, “well, that’s my mom”. I waved, Gideon waved and then Noah gave Gideon a quick hug. I wonder if other second grade boys hug one another?

Well, naptime is all spent. I need to get in the shower and do some Christmas baking (I love that that’s what I need to rush off and do :) ). Here are the party pics … both parties.

Our family birthday party

Noah asked specifically for mini lemon cupcakes for his birthday. I asked why and he said, “because I don’t want to have too many sugary things”

The Lego Party with cousins on Saturday:

It’s really embarrassing how long that lego box took me. I felt like it was super big when I was building it … but in the end, it was pretty small. I almost went cross eyed looking for specific lego pieces to make it all fit perfectly. Then, of course, during the party, it only took about 45 minutes before it was smashed into a million pieces (literally a million. I think I used a million pieces). I also taxed my eyes and patience, putting together the Happy Birthday Noah sign. crazy.

We are lucky, this was a Lego car game that Gammie gave us.

These two actually posed this way. I did not catch them mid-bite. They did it again:

Chiara aka, The Duchess

Aria pulled the nastiest long hair and junk out of her mouth right at that moment. Had to be there, but it was hilarious.

And this is the cake. In case you can’t tell, it is Mos Eisely’s Cantina. Noah asked for this specifically. Of course.

I think the best part of the cake was seeing how much joy it brought Noah and Liam to make sure the correct Lego people were on the cake.

The inside was lego colored – red, blue, yellow and green.

Let the good times roll

So, a few weeks ago, in the first weekend in December, everyone came. It was the ward Relief Society dinner that Christina and I were in charge of. Well, we’re on the RS Meeting committee and that means that we and about 4 other ladies put this on. It was supposed to be a really nice evening, with a guest speaker and pretty musical numbers and it was a sit down dinner too and it was adult only.

Somehow, Christina convinced Mom and Dad, Bethany and then Mina to all fly down for the event. Mom, Bethany and I sang a trio of What Child Is This (Sally DeFord) and then we had to have Mina fly in if everyone else was going to be here too!! Anyway, it was just for one night. Mom, Dad and Beth flew in Friday and flew out Saturday. Mina made her stay a little longer, but it was awesome for about 24 hours there.

I cannot express how good it feels to hang out with my family. I just love them all. And we are better together. When we get everyone together, stuff gets crazy fun. Friday night, after the dinner, we were going to try and drive into Santa Monica and go to this swanky dessert place that Dad found. And afterall, we’re only all together for one night, so why not? Right? And how often do we all get together? … But Santa Monica and traffic sounded cumbersome so we opted for Cheesecake factory close by. It was magic. I know, of all places, magic at the Cheesecake factory … but it was.

Even waiting in the entryway was a blast. We took pictures and picked out which cheesecakes we wanted to order (basically one of everything) and laughed and talked and pinched each other’s cheeks. Such a blast. All the time. And it’s not like there’s one funny person in the group. Everyone is hilarious and good storytellers and everyone has something interesting to add to the party. You should see Daniel Cakes come alive around my family and tell stories. serious good times. Anyway, it was too chort, but so good. It’s fun that I get to see everyone again next week for Christmas. Damiano Christmas year! Woo hoo!

Don’t judge … this was Saturday morning, before Daddy had to leave. He wanted a picture, so we did it. But we all were in our jammies and no makeup on.

Let it begin

Here we go. I am now officially the mommy of a toddler …. again. I have dreaded this moment and kept telling myself and others, “he’s still my little baby”, but that is all past now. I think I need to accept this and move forward. Ray is in the terrible twos. How do I know, you might ask? There are quite a few tell-tale signs:

1. He’s moody. That’s putting it lightly. Some people have bad days, but Ray has bad hours or minutes, which rapidly turn into hysterically happy ones with a crazy grin, giggles and him saying, “uh yights?” That is his word for everything these days “yights”. I don’t know what it means. I thought he was saying “lights” at first because he was noticing all the lights on the tree and outside, but now he’ll say it when he hears a train, opens a door, sees Noah … pretty much anytime.

2. He’s very needy. He gets this way everyday from about 3 pm until he goes to bed … sometimes earlier in the day, like 1 pm on, but at least by 3 pm it hits. And I always check to see if it’s something he actually needs – like a diaper change, or maybe he’s thirsty or hungry. nope. He just wants me to sit and hold him. It doesn’t suffice that I am within 12 inches of him, I must be doing nothing but holding him in my arms, so that I cannot do anything else.

3. If for some terrible reason I am not doing what he wants (which seems to happen quite a lot), he does what I have dubbed the “Velociraptor scream”. It’s a developmental milestone with my boys. They all did it and now so does Ray. They scream in a high pitched tone that cuts immediately to the inner ear. It’s very disturbing … to everyone within a 1000 ft radius.

4. He is not capable, anymore, of playing appropriately or with appropriate items. For instance, he has a small play kitchen in our actual kitchen. He never plays with it anymore. Instead of opening and closing the doors on his play kitchen where there are loads of fun and constantly rotating toddler toys inside, he walks right past his kitchen and opens up the cupboards directly in front of me, slamming the cupboard doors into my knees or sometimes his face, if I step back out of the way.

Inside of the play kitchen, there is a clear plastic tub. It is supposed to hold the plastic food for his play kitchen, but it never does. Ray takes it out of the play kitchen sometimes (and I usually gasp with excitement at the sight of him really playing with his toys) and he instantly dumps the plastic food out and crams himself inside the bin. Sometimes he crams himself inside the play kitchen cupboard too. It’s funny to watch, but this is all inappropriate play.

He has the most delightful nursery, filled, brimming even, with age appropriate and wonderful, colorful toys. He never goes in there. Instead, he is drawn to inappropriate objects like – pencils, pens and crayons, small legos to stuff in his mouth, the vacuum cleaner, and light switches. He is constantly crying, if not from a mood swing, then from hurting himself while playing inappropriately with inappropriate things.

5. He is mean. He hits me in the face when I ask for kisses and kicks me in the thighs when I change his diaper. He dumps every sippy cup of water out. But how could he dump a sippy cup of water out? Aren’t they spill proof? Welllllll, he takes them, turns them upside down, then bangs them repeatedly until water or milk comes out. He does this not only at the highchair, but whenever he has a sippy cup. Sometimes he will have a sippy cup in his carseat, where there is no surface to bang them on. That doesn’t stop him. No, he just bangs the upside down sippy cup on his legs until his pants and/or shirt are soaked. Then he cries.

6. He cries. All. the. time.

7. He throws everything. He’s broken so many things. oh so many things.

And so because we’ve reached this threshold of the terrible twos, I am nuts. I feel like I’m living in crazy town. I put something down, turn away, turn back and it’s gone. I feel like I must have misplaced it. But really, I just have a mean little midget drunkenly sauntering around behind and around me destroying everything I do! I have lost keys, shoes, cell phone …. and today in Target, that little, mean midget lost my dark blue scarf. I loved that scarf. I got it while on a trip with Daniel to Holland, MI – a non-kids trip. And it’s gone. I saw him trying to chuck it out of the cart several times and stopped him, but he got to me and did it while I wasn’t paying attention to him. Heaven forbid I ever actually look at the things I’m trying to buy instead of Ray. Mean midget. ahhhhhhh, well. I guess the terrible twos teach me and reteach me that material things are not important.

Well, it’s 5 pm now and we’re right in the middle of Ray’s bad mood part of the day (3-7:30pm) and he’s in full swing. Sometimes I give up and put him in his crib with his favorite blanket to stay away from me for a bit while I type furiously away on my blog about my dumb scarf. It doesn’t matter, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The terrible twos are here. Wish us luck.

Thanksgiving 2013

This year, we hosted Thanksgiving at our house and the Blackburns and Clarks came. It was awesome to have everyone around one table. I loved that. There was a little scare the day before Thanksgiving when Aria called Christina and me and said she thought Chiara had chickenpox and so they wouldn’t be coming. Christina and I rushed around and covered the things Aria was supposed to bring. It all worked out fine and then Thanksgiving morning, Aria called and said Chiara was fine and it wasn’t chickenpox afterall. Aria felt sheepish and told everyone how bad she felt about not being able to contribute to the meal. It was funny. We were sooooo glad to have everyone there :)

Speaking of cooking …. I did the turkey this year. I’ve only cooked a turkey twice before and one time I called my mom the morning of and asked what to do with a frozen turkey. She just laughed. But this year was different! I went to Costco 10 days before and got the biggest turkey they had – 26 lbs. Then I did research on how to cook it and everywhere I looked it advised you to not buy any turkey bigger than 14 lbs … great. They said the reason was because bigger turkeys are older turkeys and the meat can taste “gamey”. Aria dubbed my turkey old and named it “Herb”.

I brined the turkey for 24 hours in advance in a 5 gallon bucket (which Herb barely fit into) and in order to account for this massive and old turkey I had, I wanted to allow a lot of cook time. Sooooo, I got up at 5:30 am on T-Day and prepped that turkey for an hour – rubbing it, injecting it, massaging it … it was ridiculous. I got it in the oven at 6:40 am and went back to bed. It smelled up the house in the most delightful way and it really felt like Thanksgiving! It was wonderful and I felt so victorious.

Around 10:30 am I checked on Herb and realized, to my dismay, that he was done. He was 165 degrees all over and that meant done. I checked my meat thermometer several times and in several different places on the turkey. Yeah. I was ready for Thanksgiving dinner at 11 am. It would’ve been a really nice brunch, but I just kept Herb nice and warm in the oven on low and we ate at 2 pm.

The dinner was awesome, we watched movies we had gotten from RedBox (Red 2 – awesome) and the kids watched their movies upstairs in the boys’ room on stadium seating. And here are the pictures of the fun happenings:

That was not real silverware .. it was plastic, but it looked pretty darn real, right?

The stadium seating for the kids:

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Daniel found a hike. This hike went through “The Valley of Enchantment” (that was the name of it) and was a hike to Heart Rock. It was only a total of 1.75 miles roundtrip and turned out to be pretty cool. Good job Cakes!

This next picture looks a little posey … cuz it was. Daniel put me here and said to smile. The hand on the hip puts it over the edge, right?

The Tide Pools with Jamiesons

So, the Jamiesons live about an hour and a half away from us now. In MI, they lived 5 minutes, now it’s longer, but amazing that we live close enough to hang out together at all, right? They happen to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth – California and not just that, but southern CA. They also live next to the tide pools in Rancho Palos Verdes. They’re awesome. About a month ago, we went to visit them and went to the tide pools and ate custard at Ritas. It was wonderful. On the way home from their house, Daniel and I were talking and we were saying that we feel like they are family. When you go through some serious tough times together (i.e. Michigan) it bonds you. Les was a single mommy of 4 kids because Bobby was doing his residency in MI and I was dealing with 3 kids and my husband in his Masters program at U of M. We went through the ugly, fat, baby years together and that bonds people.

Anyway, here are some beautiful pictures of us at the tide pools. It was so fun.