My firstborn is 12.
Zach's birthday was Saturday. His first celebration, however, happened on Friday when he got to attend his first camp-out with the Deacons (12- and 13-year-old boys) and their leaders. SNOW was on the ground, but the boys had a great time in Pikes Peak National Forest, and apparently they didn't freeze to death.
Zach requested chicken cordon bleu and mashed potatoes for his birthday dinner, and cinnamon rolls instead of a birthday cake. Nice! All food was forgotten when he opened his gifts: an Adidas backpack and....drum roll....a cell phone. Yep, we caved, mostly because Zach having a cell phone will be supremely convenient for ME. He is ecstatic, of course. To make me feel better, we've put lots of restrictions on his usage (did you know T-Mobile only has one non-smart phone and it's the dumbest phone ever?), but hopefully he chooses to be responsible all by himself.
Responsibility and maturity are definitely characteristics that are developing in Zach's life. He is making great strides in so many ways--with school and band and scouts and his paper route--and we are happy about this pleasant phase. Zach has started playing on an intramural soccer team and is really enjoying that so far. Since the school's first quarter just ended, we met with all of Zach's teachers and counselor to discuss a couple of problems he is having, and we feel good about the plans in place. We feel especially grateful for the excellent team of teachers who are teaching, nurturing, supporting, and advocating for our boy.
Above: watching a high school band competition with Dad and some friends
At church, Zach [finally] graduated from Primary, the children's organization.
He is so excited to join the Young Men's class every Sunday and go to mutual on Tuesday nights. He has also been interviewed by our bishop and found worthy to receive the Aaronic Priesthood (learn about that here). He will be ordained next weekend, and Garry's and my parents are all flying in for the event. Zach is in a season of "firsts" and major milestones. We are happy to see the wonderful young man that he is becoming.