12 years old
He didn't want anything specific for his birthday so he got to be surprised birthday morning. A few books, Lego Hogwarts game, Nerf wii game (apparently a disappointment), Lego Star Wars ship, a new webkinz (my kids love playing webkinz online), Sponge Bob slippers (probably his favorite item) and pajamas.
He asked for a chocolate, caramel, heath cake ("BTS" cake) and then didn't even eat one piece. Claiming to not be a big fan of cake or ice cream. Luckily everyone else in the family is a big fan and ate it all gone.
His birthday was on Monday and we were trying to decide what we could do for his birthday and family home evening. Coming up with lots of great ideas . . . bowling, laser tag, movie. And then we remembered. We weren't going to be doing any of the previous exciting ideas. Instead we would spend his birthday night with his football team at his end of the season banquet.
His team sang Happy Birthday to him. At least I think it was to him. It sounded more like "Happy Birthday Dear Savy" (a combination of "Seal" and "Navy" his football nickname) than "Dear Ryan".
Speaking of football. He had a great season. His team lost in the semi-finals to Bingham. 13-20. He played Tight End and Corner Back and had a lot of great catches and touchdowns. His coach highlighted each player at the banquet and had this to say about Ryan. "Opposing coaches told us that all they did was watch out for "Navy". He had two to three guys guarding him out there. This kid could've played Running Back, Quarterback, Receiver, Tail Back but he fit in perfectly as one of our threats because we used the Tight End very aggressively in our game plan and he was perfect." It was fun to hear the opposing coaches yelling out to their team, "Watch out for Navy! Watch #19!"
Technically he didn't have a birthday party since I stop doing birthday parties after their 10th Birthday. But I think the only difference is that I don't worry about decorating the house in some sort of Birthday theme (Griffin did try to talk him into a Spiderman party and cake), making a cake, and putting together party bags.
He got to invite 6 friends to go to Incredible Pizza Company for laser tag, video games and buffet dinner. They would've had just as much fun playing in our backyard.
It was "Stomp out Drugs" week at his school and his birthday party was on the same day as wear your red school shirt and show school spirit.
Turning 12 brings lots of new responsibilities for Ryan. He graduated from Primary today. Earned his Faith in God award. And was ordained a Deacon today after church. He even went to Young Men's for the first time this week. It was a "Fast and Feast" activity. They met together on Tuesday night after dinner and started a 24 hour fast together. He fasted all of the next day and loaded his pockets with a can of Diet Coke and pretzels to eat once his fast was over. They all met together again on Wednesday night and had a testimony meeting together. Ryan said he wasn't going to share his testimony but then decided he really wanted to after hearing everyone else's testimonies and decided to share his. It amazes me to see my boys both fasting at this young age. It takes so much self discipline and strength. I was almost 20 years old before I even tried to fast for more than a few hours. After the testimony meeting they ended their fast with a huge feast.
Grandma and Grandpa Stewart came to the end of our church to be a part of Ryan's ordination. It was so neat to see all of those who came to support Ryan. His grandparents. His primary teacher, Brother McDonald who has been an amazing teacher to both Ryan and Jack. He did so much to help prepare Ryan for the priesthood. Teaching him to respect the scriptures; the symbolism of wearing a white shirt and tie; and being a great example to him. His future leaders, Brother Church and Brother Pohlman who have so much patience with these crazy young men. Our home teachers, Brother Weichers and Chase Weichers who also have a lot of patience with our family during their monthly visits. And our amazing Bishop Robinson whose love and concern for every member is transparent. Gavin gave Ryan a beautiful blessing and all of his younger siblings even sat quietly while they listened to it.
After church we had grandma and grandpa over for Sunday dinner. They got to cuddle with all of the kids on the couch and watch Toy Story 3 while I made dinner. Ryan's favorite . . . creamy corn chowder.
Ryan is in 6th grade and having a great year. He ran for student council this year and won! He is on the student council with one of his best friends, Tate Weichers. He had to give a speech to the 6th grade, promising great things if they voted for him. Something about how all of their wildest dreams would come true or something like that. He did promise lots of things, like new basketball courts with 3 point lines, better lunches, real soccer field goals, new softer chairs for all of the classrooms. I don't think he has actually accomplished any of those goals but he has helped make some posters for the candy drive, went to an all day leadership conference at BYU, and passed out the tiger pride awards at the assemblies (he was very excited when he got to give one to Morgan when she earned a tiger pride).
Ryan has been anxiously awaiting this post. Asking me everyday, "Have you done any new blog posts today?" And this is what he has been waiting for . . .
12 Things we love about Ryan:
1. He makes watching football both enjoyable and intense.
2. He has an unique sense of humor and keeps us laughing all of the time.
3. He has a tender heart and loves children. Always talking about how he wants to adopt a child with Down syndrome. He takes the time to notice his young cousins and play with them. Just the other day he was looking at his Aunt Brittany's blog and said, "Oh, I just think Abi is the cutest girl ever!" What other 12 year old boy would make a comment like that?
4. He loves the elderly. I had to stop to see a patient at an assisted living facility with Ryan in the car. He got so excited when he saw a few elderly people walking around the facility with their walkers. "Oh I would love to be able to work here and be around all of these old people all of the time! I think that would be the best job ever!" (We're still working on being a little more politically correct with his terminology and generalizations). I wish his great Grandma Norma was still here. He would've loved her and visiting her. He was only 5 years old when she died. I told him he didn't need to work at the nursing home but could just visit his grandparents. He let me know his grandparents aren't old like those people, yet.
5. He begs me to please have just one more baby. Did I mention he has a tender heart?
6. He is the biggest pester in the family. Sometimes I wonder if he wants one more baby in our family just so he has one more sibling he can bug.
7. He does well in school and is enjoying his time on the 6th grade Student Council.
8. He makes me feel like a great cook. He loves everything I make but only his favorites get "3 thumbs up" (Creamy Corn Chowder is currently his favorite) rating from him.
9. He's a BYU Cougar fan!!!
10. He has terrible luck with hamsters.
11. He's still playing the piano even though practice time is difficult to come by with all of his football and basketball practices.
12. He adds so much to our family! He missed 2 family vacations (St. George and Lake Powell) last month because of football games. Our family and trips just weren't the same without him!
We love you Ryan! Happy Birthday to you!