Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The First Day of Christmas Holiday - or to others, Thanksgiving

Apart from the day off, Thanksgiving to me is mostly just Thursday.  I say mostly because family comes to visit and that always livens things up.  And as far as Nathaniel is concerned - more uncles (Analisa and Alex weren't with us this year) in town means more people to play with him.
Thanksgiving for Nate is almost entirely academic.  He seems baffled by a holiday centered around something as mundane and old fashioned as eating but he loves hanging with family.

After Thanksgiving dinner, Nate, Grandpa and Micah retired to the garage to do some light carpentry.  Nate thought this was absolutely fantastic.  Not only does he love spending time with his Grandpas but he is weirdly into home construction right now.  The kid can't get enough of home improvement shows.  His personal favorite - Rehab Addict.  He loves to scoot around people's houses looking for things to "rehab addict".  Or in human words, repair.  Although not everyone is happy with him pointing out all the flaws in their home.

After some work in the garage nailing tacks into a piece of wood, Nate then spent some quality time watching Youtube videos in the hallway with some uncles.  I'm not sure why this happened in the hallway but it did. 
At one point uncle Bryan tried to stop a video and Nate gently but firmly put his hand on Bryan's forearm, letting him know that, yes he could turn the video off but he would have his eyes clawed out.

 Almost as exciting as the influx of new bodies to push him around and play with him was our visit to the Christmas party at the farm this weekend.    He learned what mistletoe is and that it was the most fantastic idea.  He made all of us stand under it multiple times and in every combination possible.

 The highlight, however, was  meeting the big man himself.  No not this big man:
This big man.  Santa Claus - or in the old-timey case at the farm, Father Christmas.  Nate was delighted.  He told Santa everything he wanted, a Lego mini Millennium Falcon.  Santa then asked Nate if he was aware that a new Star Wars movie was coming out.  Of course he does Santa, of course he does.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Primary Talk

Nate gave his first talk in primary on Sunday and he nailed it. Sort of. He remembered the whole thing but he mumbled so bad no one could understand him. But, for a first stab at public speaking, we are pretty darn proud of him.

Here is the transcript for those of you who don't speak 4-year-old:

The gospel helps me to be strong. I have SMARD, and that means my muscles aren't very strong. But Heavenly Father has a plan for me. He doesn't think I need strong muscles to do my mission on earth. He helps me have a strong spirit to do hard things. Going to primary and having faith in Heavenly Father helps my spirit to grow strong.

Also, it is not that easy to get him to do this talk anymore. It was outtake city over here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This is Halloween

Halloween happened this year and Nate was super into it.  Last year he liked dressing up but was largely indifferent to everything else involved with Halloween. Everything except the barking dogs that seemed to be waiting behind every door he trick-or-treated at.  He didn't like that at all.
This year, from the get-go he was super into:
1. His costume.
2. Candy.
As odd as that seems Nate was all about getting candy this year.  Especially once we gave him the mandate to find our favorite candies. He was like a candy blood hound.

Halloween involved multiple activities this year.  The first was the ward trunk or treat.  We decorated the inside of our van and deployed the ramp like last year.  This way kids could walk into our haunted van.  Nathaniel was not satisfied until we visited every car.  Which surprised me since he doesn't even eat the candy....but also meant that the parent candy tax was at a full 100%. 

Halloween day brought trick-or-treating downtown Los Altos.  Annie and Nate were lucky enough to find themselves downtown the one time it rained this year.  Nate loved it....don't know about Annie.

Nate's pumpkins this year were Curious George and triangle face.
And the costume.  Nate wanted to wear his Luke Skywalker costume all the time.  He was out of his mind excited about being Luke.  He was the only Luke in a sea of Anakins and Obi Wans. 
The best thing about this picture is Nate would not look at the camera.  So every time we told Nate to look at the camera he would turn his head to the side and glance over at us.  It must of have been some sort of Jedi mind trick.
This year's Green family theme was Luke Skywalker visits Hoth and meets the cast of Frozen.

At first, trick-or-treating was a standard affair with a tired Dad pushing a wheelchair up and down steps and driveways but then uncle Chris took over and the running between houses seemed to elate Nate to no end.

He did run into a few of his arch-nemesis -- dogs.  He used his lightsaber to fight them off and is convinced that at one point, he actually used the force on one of the dogs which had reared up and stepped back at the exact moment Nate extended his hand to force push it.

Ouch.  Careful Luke!  Holding a lightsaber anywhere but the hilt could cost you a hand!
Nathaniel was super excited about Halloween this year and had fun doing nearly everything involved with the holiday.  However, I think the best part about the entire thing, is that when Nate decided he wanted to be Luke and we started putting together the costume, he was genuinely convinced that people would actually mistake him for the real Luke Skywalker.

As you can imagine, this made Nate giddy with the prospect of tricking some people and pulling some Halloween mischief.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Coming of Age

There comes a time in every little boy's life when he finally becomes aware.  For Nate, it was about 2 weeks ago and he is obsessed.  He can't get enough and will watch it whenever we let him.

For those of you who can't pick out what movie is Nate glued to based on a single frame, it's Star Wars Empire Strikes Back.  He loves Star Wars and consumes it in every form he can (that we'll allow); books, toys, movies, shows. 

Nate and I spent a Saturday afternoon in my parents' garage digging up old Star Wars toys that my younger brothers and I had when we were younger, including some of the originals from '77.  To Nate's credit, he vastly prefers the 1977 Chewbacca to the absurdly beefed out 1996 Chewbacca. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Utah, The Final Countdown!

The last thing we wanted to do before ending our trip was visit BYU.  Surprisingly, Nate had a lot of fun.  We went to the bookstore and Nate picked out a magnetic BYU flag and proceeded to be obsessed with it.  He wouldn't let it go. He wouldn't even give it to Annie so she could hand it to the cashier, he insisted that he do it himself. 
Bryan and Lisi added to the party and we all went to the Eyring Science Center where we played around with all of the experiments they have there. 

On our way out of town we made a couple of stops.  One of the stops was the apartment complex where Annie and I met, specifically the hot tub where we met.  Not in the hot tub of course since it was out of order at the time and, fittingly, was out of order the day we visited as well. 

Next, we stopped at the Thanksgiving Point farm.  Nate was a fan.

He road a pony he named Eight Digit Pin, an inside joke between Nate and himself.  While we stayed at Dave's we were trying to figure out his Wi-Fi password and we needed an 8 digit pin.  For some reason this phrase made Nate fall to pieces in laughter and just saying those words got him to smile for every picture for the rest of the trip.

Here is Nate riding 8 digit pin.  He was very against riding the horse when we explained it to him.  Once we got in line and saw how it all worked Nate was all for it.  He couldn't wait to get on the pony.  That changed again once the pony started moving and Nate almost immediately fell off.  A walking horse is not a smooth ride.  But we got him repositioned so he felt comfortable and he loved it. 

Nate was a trooper for the ride home.  Although if it weren't for his obsession with How to Train Your Dragon and his ability to watch it multiple times in a row, things may have been different.

To stay sane on the way home we spent a night at a sick-nasty casino in Reno which Nate thought was the bee's knees.  He wanted to live there and meanwhile we wanted to keep our shoes on at all times and leave as early as possible. 

When he got up in the morning he was tired and crabby and didn't want anything to do with anything we were doing.  I sat Nate down in front of the window, opened up the blinds and uncovered a train yard.  Nate stared in awe and after about a minute exclaimed "I'm having a good day now!" and spent the rest of the morning staring at the trains.

One man's trash and all that....

We were nervous about the trip and we were not convinced at all that it would work out.  Not only did it work out but it was fantastic. We loved it so much that we've decided to move to Utah and are taking this opportunity to let everyone know.

Kidding!  Any grandparent have a heart attack? 

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and we're glad we went.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Amazon Smile

Have you heard about Amazon Smile yet? It's a fantastic program for Amazon shoppers that enables you to give back to charities you support while going about your everyday shopping.
If you choose Dcipher Group Foundation as your Amazon Smile charity, the foundation will receive a donation equal to 0.5% of your eligible purchases every time you shop. This is the foundation that helps us get special therapy equipment for Nate.  All you have to do is go to each time you shop Amazon! It's an easy way to help Nate and other kids like him without a lot of extra effort.  Check it out!


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Utah Part Dos

Our venture south began with a pit stop at the new aquarium in Draper.  This place has all the best animals, is totally wheelchair accessible, and all three of us got in for less than the price of one ticket to Monterey Bay.  So we were jazzed.  The penguins heard Nate was coming and prepared for him a dazzling spectacular full of swim races and high jump contests.

 This fake orca was an inexplicable highlight.

Next we went to visit our friend Presley and her family.  Presley has SMARD just like Nate.  We loved meeting them so much that as soon as we got home I started searching real estate in Orem. 

Two SMARD kids and one SMARD carrier (little sister Charlotte, who I think Nate has a crush on).

I bet you can tell what is going to happen next here...

After we got home Nate asked me a million times if Presley and Charlotte could drive to our house to come play.  I told him it was kind of far for them and he was like, well, we did it for them.  So I guess he has a point.  Mindy, why have you not hopped in the car for a visit yet??!

We stayed at a hotel in Provo and just tacked up a sheet between our two beds in hopes to get Nate to sleep at a decent hour without being distracted by the wild partying of his parents.  The first night we put him to bed and almost instantly we heard a little voice calling from the other side of the sheet to his aunt and uncle.  "Brian! Lisi!!  I need more of you!"  Nate tried to keep the party going but by the looks of it Lisi just wanted to be left alone.

Every night Nate tested the limits of his vent's ability to prevent suffocation by sleeping like so. 

We dined at all of our old haunts which we loved but was super boring for the kid only eats through a feeding tube.  I generously provided him with a bread basket to keep him happy at Gloria's and he found countless things to do with it, including "playing baseball". It took me a second to realize what he meant by that.

We visited Uncle Bryan's work and rode the company golf cart around.  A highlight for Nate and fans of wind-swept hair everywhere.

We went to the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point, which was a great museum, but for Nate it just didn't stack up to the one in Ogden.  He just wanted to rush through it to get to the outside statue dinosaurs that don't exist there.

Stay tuned for the last of our journey...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I-80 is not my friend and other tales from the American West

We decided to take a family vacation.  The idea began with us looking into taking a trip down to San Diego and somehow ended up with us traveling to know, because that's where Mormons go on vacation every year and who are we to rock the boat.

Taking a trip makes us anxious and we never feel excited for a trip beforehand.  There is so much to prepare for and Nate requires life sustaining items and if we forgot one of them it would be a disaster.  We have taken trips to Southern California but driving across endless desert, where any hiccup could be very problematic, was more nerve racking.  Nate, after all, only has about 6 hours of battery and about 6-8 more hours of life after that.

But, at least for now, we can still do things with Nate and if we can do them then we should try.  It keeps us fit and him experiencing more life than our little apartment.  So we set out and the drive there was a fantastic worry-free experience...until about an hour into the drive.

As we were driving, one of Nate's critical pieces of equipment suddenly stopped working.  We ended up having to go almost all the way back home to pick up another one from our supplier.  With that out of the way we then hit major construction and a bad accident.  Normally it takes about 3.5 hours to get from our house to Nevada, but this time it ended up taking us about 7 hours.  So there was that.

Thankfully, the rest of the trip went swimmingly and we arrived safely at our good friend's in Salt Lake.  Nate loved it.  Like, he really, really loved Dave and Katie's house.  For days and days he didn't want to do anything but hang out with Dave and Katie at their house and maintained that his favorite part of the trip was being at their house.

Thankfully, we totally did NOT forget to snap a pic of Nate with Dave.  As evidenced by the following picture.

First stop on our "the very top of Utah" portion of the trip was Logan where we got together with some friends and Nate had a blast playing with Truman and Ava.  He was running on about half the sleep he normally gets so he was a bit moody but had fun.

We made a pit stop at the Lowe family motherland of Wellsville, UT where we hunted for Nate's great-great grandparents' home and got spooked out of taking a picture since the homeowner had just arrived home and was giving us the stank-eye.  T.G.I.GoogleMaps, right?

On our way back to Salt Lake we followed up on a tip from Katie and stopped at a dinosaur park in Ogden that we had never even heard of and it was a hit.  Inside the museum were your run-of-the-mill dinosaur fossils, which Nate gave a thumbs up.

Outside the museum was where the real magic happened.  There are fifty of these life-size, painted dinosaurs hanging out in the woods.  They did a pretty good job making them look real, especially the T-Rex who had just killed his lunch and was lapping up a puddle of blood (not that far from the truth).

Sunday brought us a day at Temple Square.  We visited the temple, visitor's center, the tabernacle, Brigham Young's house, and the conference center.  But with every new site came another request from Nate to just go back to the temple.  He was psyched on this place.

Salt Lake (and especially Dave and Katie) had treated us well, but it was time to make our way south to P-town.  To be continued...