A Teenager! Happy Birthday Kyle!

When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.  ~Louise Erdrich

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Kyle & his beloved pappy… there’s a team! Kyle’s 1st birthday 7/30/02 (I was in Korea)

I can’t believe it, our little man is now officially a teenager!  Kyle is a thirteen year old, even though he’s been displaying a teenage attitude for about a year now.  Not constant, but every once in a while the attitude has slipped out of his mouth or through his body language.  I guess that’s typical growing pains.

Kyle is a great kid, he really is.  Yes he has his quarks and Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory) tendencies, but overall, Kyle is a good person.  I’ve really enjoyed watching him grow up and more importantly I really enjoy being an integral part of his life and influence.  He is my best bud!  We’ve always been a team.  Even though he is finding different interests and venturing out on his own with his friends, we are still as thick as thieves, at least for now.

In honor of such a milestone birthday, below are a few key funny moments in Kyle’s life we all remember and love and some are still in effect today.  I hope these instances are as bad and as stressful as Kyle’s life will ever get!   

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Kyle & Gigi for Kyle’s 1st birthday! 7/30/02

As a baby, Kyle was always strong willed.  ALWAYS!  I would never have it any other way.  But his attitude would change in a blink of an eye.  My sister called it the 2.2.  He would go from happy little baby to upset child in 2.2 seconds.  I hate to admit it, but it was kind of funny, especially when we would laugh at him and say 2.2.  He didn’t find it humorous in the slightest, not when he was an infant nor later in life.

Kyle was never shy about sharing his feelings or his grievances with us, at any given moment.  I remember clearly one day, Kyle got made at me, I’m guessing I was instigating the little package, and he showed me.  He walked out on the porch and chucked his beloved bottle over the bannister into the front yard.  The snarly look he gave me was way too cute!  Me being me, I found complete humor in the situation.  Mom witnessing the entire thing, yelled at me to stop picking on the kid.  He was adorable, even when angered.  At least at that age.

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Kyle working hard in the strawberry fields. Pollock’s Strawberry Farm Bush Valley 6/28/14

I always did love observing Kyle with his activities.  He would spend hours upon hours lining up his matchbox cars.  Thanks to my sister he owned hundreds of them (no joke).  They always had to be perfectly in line, front to back, front to back, covering the floor or coffee table.  He would concentrate so hard, he blocked out the world around him.  Did I mention his focus included his tongue sticking out like my Uncle Sonny?  I always did find him fascinating, wondering what was going on in his little head.

When Kyle was around two and three years old, and a banana was requested, we had to peel it for him.  The banana had to be stripped down all the way.  Yes, we had to hand him a naked banana and if it broke, well, that was the end of the world.  He would throw a fit and not accept the fruit to eat and demand another.  I’m guessing he felt he couldn’t eat a broken banana or it wouldn’t taste the same or something.  It was a complete tragedy!  Usually I ate the broken pieces, which ticked him off even more.  I never gave in on this one.  He had to learn not to waste food and he wasn’t going to always get his own way.

For a few short years, Kyle would walk around the house with his Scooby-Doo slippers, which were initially three sizes too big.  He loved those things, asking to wear them every waking minute.   Surprisingly, he made his way around the house with minimal trip-age.  After he outgrew those slippers, wearing them until they were too tight, mom and I decided to take him to the store to get another pair.  He picked out ones that looked like a car, even with stuffed wheels on the side.  Letting him try them on to ensure we had a proper fit, Kyle’s mind surprised us again.  After placing the plush cars to his feet, Kyle stiffened up.  He held himself so still and hung onto my arm with all seriousness.  Why?  He thought the wheels were going to shoot him across the floor like roller skates and he was going to roll away!  Mom and I died!  We were laughing so hard, we couldn’t help the panicked kid.  He had no idea what was so funny.  Needless to say, we bought the slippers.

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Kyle’s cakeface for his 1st birthday! Pappy was under that hat … He always did love his sweets! 7/30/02

For years, Kyle believed that the sock manufacturers were making uncomfortable socks with a large seam at the toe just to irritate him.  He believed he was the center of everyone’s attention, even the sock manufacturer and they were out to make his life miserable!  Solution?  We learned that if you turn the sock inside out, the bulky seam was on the outside and didn’t really bother his little piggies.  Believe it or not, there were plenty of other sock issues, including touching his ankle, and the heel of the sock not matching up EXACTLY with his heel etc.  Unfortunately, even though these problems have toned down a notch or two, only because he wears flip flops in the summer, it’s still an argument.   He also believes socks and shoes make his whole body sweat and makes him too hot to wear cloths.

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Kyle lining up his Legos for the ultimate battle! c. 2013

When Kyle first started to wear walking shoes, getting them on with assistance, he would tell us the shoe didn’t fit if his big toe wasn’t able to be lifted comfortably in the confined space.  Yes!  He wanted his big toe to stand up in the shoe, all the way!  To this day, he won’t properly tie his tennis shoes and his hunting boots are about two sizes too big.  Although he is getting better, letting his pap lace up his boots for hunting so he doesn’t trip in the woods.  His tennis shoes still hang off of his feet, making it appear that he will walk out of them at any given moment.

While we’re on the topic of cloths, let’s discuss jeans.  Yes that basic article of clothing that everyone posses, at least a single pair.  Yes, that item that can be dressed up or down and is accepted at most venues.  Kyle HATED jeans.  From the time he was able to give his own opinion on his wardrobe, first grade or so, till he hit the junior high in seventh grade, Kyle never wore a pair of jeans.  EVER!  What did he wear?  Sweatpants or shorts.  Sometimes his sweatpants were the cotton kind and sometimes the shiny pants (which he still wears to this day)  For church, he was and still is never ever permitted to wear sweatpants.  Clothing of choice?  He has to wear dress slacks and in the summer, nice dress shorts.  At the time they had to have the elastic waistband.  Kidding?  Nope!  That always about killed him, but we worked through it, kind of.  He still hates cloths, and getting dressed for church sometimes poses a problem.

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Kyle being held by the Hulk at Legofest 2012 … Kyle’s humor!  Yes that’s made entirely out of Legos!

Switching gears a bit, train gears that is, let’s move onto toys.  No matter who played Thomas the Tank Engine, as instructed by Kyle, they had to be Diesel.  Kyle never did like Diesel, I really don’t know why?  I decided early on, this rule did not pertain to me.  I wouldn’t have a three year old tell me what I was playing with, which always resulted in little temper tantrum, sometimes a big blow up.  He would also dictate how I was to play, which direction to move and what I was doing.  Again, nope!  Kyle had to learn early on that he didn’t always get his own way and others had the freedom of choice.  I reinforced the ideas of compromise and sharing.  It was a struggle, but one learned, kind of.

Around two years and up, Kyle LOVED puzzles.  By the time he was walking till about three years, he was putting together some thousand piece puzzle sets!  Did I mention I hate puzzles?  However, I would turn over the pieces so they were facing up and sit with him while he matched piece after piece to create the picture represented on the box.  He said, “Loot pappy, I’m puzzle boy!”

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Chad Piper (cousin) & Kyle at Gutchess Picnic, Idlewild. c. 2003

Then, after the puzzles came the Legos!  Lego Love Kyle’s Lego Dream @LegoFest 2012 Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise Another Lego Christmas  Happy Lego Birthday Kyle – 11 Years Old! Lego Obsessive or Driven Going Retro With Star Wars Legos etc. That phase lasted the longest thus far.  Once he discovered Legos there was no going back.  When Kyle was five, we made a bet at his peewee football ceremony and naturally he won.  The prize?  He wanted a Bionicle man, which needed to be assembled, for ages seven and up, I believe.  Kyle always loved a challenge and began putting those pieces together and eventually graduating to a thousand plus piece Lego sets, with movable parts.  I never let the suggested age restrict him.  EVER!  I always encouraged Kyle, especially when it was a challenge!  He knew it and was always proud of himself and his accomplishments.  So was I!  Did I mention he called himself Lego Man? Yes!

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Kyle’s Lego army about to do battle! c. 2011

One last walk down memory lane.  One that we are all grateful he grew out of and did a complete one eighty, reading!  I HATE READING! Reading Brings Generations Together Reading Brings Generations Together…Or Not? Harry Potter Made Me Do It! etc.  Kyle started off loving books.  He would always drag a book to our lap and have us read and rock him in the rocking chair.  LOVE IT!  Then, came the time he had to do the reading, which didn’t go over so well.  In fact, it pushed him to hate reading, which saddened me beyond imagination.  Though, I tried many tactics to change his perception of reading, my sister remembered one method, bribery!  Yes, for a very brief stent, we would pay Kyle in cold hard cash to read to us.  Judge us if you will, but it worked and the benefits of him reading outweighed the idea of bribery.  Of course, I tried may avenues including yelling, grounding, sharing the reading, acting out the story while he read etc.  In the end the most effective was reading to Kyle, Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets, with the most gusto and the best British accent I could muster.  After that book, Kyle chose on his own to continue reading the rest of the series.  I was very proud of him.  Since then I kept up his interest in reading by buying him books anytime he needed one, getting them for him with every holiday and special occasion and sometimes reading the same books so the lines of communication were open.  Yep, that was a struggle but again one well worth it!

In addition to reading, Kyle still loves to hunt, shoot his .22 and his 243 (his dad would be proud), fish, sled ride and snowboard, build (anything), and he loves his dog Scooby (plus Seven, Avery and Storm a.k.a. Lady Fluffington).  Over the years his interest in movies have grown, being a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings (movies and books) the Avengers (all superheros), video games (mostly Minecraft) and now he’s taken an interest in fantasy games such as Summoner Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, and WarMachine.

One of Kyle’s piano lesson songs happen to be Happy Birthday. I thought it be appropriate to record it for all to share on his birthday!

Happy Birthday Kyle!  I hope you have a blessed and exciting journey!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Church,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Kyle’s Lego Dream @LegoKidsFest 2012

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when I was six and my biggest problem was what kind of dress to put on Barbie or whether or not I had enough Legos to build a fort.  ~Unknown

Kyle Lego Hulk Aunt Heather Piper 12-1-12

Kyle being held by a giant Lego Hulk. @LegoKidsFest 12/1/12

It has been nearly a week since the Lego Kids Fest in Pittsburgh and it’s still being relived by Kyle, daily.  Like many others, I purchased our tickets in advance online to ensure our coveted spot.  Nicole was suppose to join us, but alas she couldn’t make it home for Lego Fest 2012, guess she’ll have to catch up next year.  On a side note, there should be some sort of site for those who have extra tickets to give them away.  Buying two adult tickets and one child and only using one adult and one child was a little costly.  Not that I ever wanted reimbursement, I just didn’t want the money to go to waste.  Anyway, Aunt Nikki participated through social means as much as possible.  Used correctly, social media really does bring families together.

Originally, when I saw Lego Fest on Facebook, I was going to get our tickets and surprise Kyle, but I blew it.  When we were talking about Kyle’s schedule and everything going on with hunting season, youth group and school, I accidentally let it slip.  His eyes got really big and was in kind of shock.  He started to say something, but then his brain caught up to my words and registered before saying, “Wait? What?  Did you say we’re going to Lego Fest?”  I could see my statement replaying in his brain, making sense of the words as if he was learning a foreign language.   Now I couldn’t deny it, so I did what I usually do when I want to be coy.  I flashed Kyle a huge ornery grin and shot him a wink.  He instantly went running to my mom saying, “Gigi, Gigi did you hear?  I’m going to Lego Fest!”  That’s my Kyle!  Always focused on the word Lego.

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Me & Kyle on a huge pile of Legos! @LegoKidsFest 12/1/12

Everyone, who is even remotely familiar with our family and Kyle, knows Kyle’s LOVE of Legos.  Maybe that’s a bit of an understatement, he has an infatuation for the multicolored plastic building blocks.  One might say I added fuel to his already obsessive fire with the Lego Kids Fest event.

With the weeks leading up to Lego Fest, Kyle really impressed me.  He was on his best, and I mean being the champion and poster child for a well behaved kid.  Did I also mention he made a conscience effort to point out this behavior?  To ensure it was not overlooked.  He knew the stakes, and was not about to gamble with his victory ticket to attend an event solely revolved around Legos.  To be honest, I was really excited to take him and let him experience the popularity of Legos with those of like minds.  I knew this was a dream of his and if there was anyone who would appreciate Lego Fest, it was Kyle.

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Me & Kyle posing with Lego Harry Potter & Lego Hagrid… I couldn’t get over how enormous Hagrid was.. @LegoKidsFest 12/1/12

One day, hopefully before he outgrows Legos, I will take him to California or Florida to visit Legoland.  He’s been asking for years to fly him to California to be surrounded by all things Lego.  He really wants to go for his birthday, but that’s such an expensive birthday gift and I never just wanted to take Kyle, I would want my parents and my sister to also tag along to share in Kyle’s enthusiasm.  Maybe that should be my next goal to work toward, making it happen.

By now, I thought Kyle would have outgrown Legos.  After all he’s 11 years old.  Nope, he loves them equally as much now, as he did when he first laid his pudgy little fingers on the Lego pieces.  In fact, the bridge built between Kyle and Legos has strengthened with every building block put together over the years.  I don’t remember who gave him his first Lego set, probably his Aunt Nikki, but it was all downhill from there.

He always loved to build, even as a tiny kid just able to walk.  He started with his first Thomas the Tank Engine set, courtesy of Aunt Nikki.  Now don’t get me wrong, he enjoyed playing with the train set, but he really liked to build the tracks, making each configuration more challenging and exciting than the last.  His setup looked like a miniature roller coaster ride for trains.

Then, came the puzzles, first easy ones all the way into thousand plus piece sets.  His building interest moved onto Legos and Bionicles.  I will take credit for the love of Bionicles.  Kyle won a bet with me and for his winnings he chose a Bionicle.  At the time he was five years old and the box stated it was for eight or older, but I figured he could put it together, which he did with ease.  Now, the Legos started off small and his collection has expanded to overtake several bedrooms at multiple houses.  Kyle still likes the smaller Legos, but his newest obsession is putting together Legos with thousands of pieces.  It’s almost a badge of honor he wears when tackling such challenges.  He loves to brag about the number of pieces the Lego set has and his anticipated ETA for project completion.  Too much!  Once he has the Lego set built, he does play with them just like any other toy, but that’s secondary to the real pleasure of building.  Remember Going Retro with Star Wars Legos?

Kyles Lego Twin Towers Aunt Heather Piper12-1-12

Kyle showing off our Lego Twin Towers (slightly modified for our own creative expression) @LegoKidsFest 12/1/12

Saturday morning Kyle and I were up bright and early to get ready for the 9:00 am session of Lego Kids Fest 2012.  It was held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.  As I expected, especially with a sold out event, there were lots of parents and loads of kids.  I thought it was going to be a struggle getting in and walking around, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The convention center moved everyone in with ease and once inside, all activity areas were spaced out pretty well and all booths were labeled adequately.  When I bought the tickets, I anticipated Kyle being at the older end of the age spectrum, but he was not!  There were kids of all ages, mostly his age and younger, but every age bracket was present.  As we moseyed around I saw that look, the same one Kyle has shown be time and time again coming from other parents.  Yes!  The parents!  Some where more obvious than others, but as the adults built alongside their kids, the look was definitely there.  It was the Lego obsession that had remained dormant in the over sized kids and was now shining through their eyes into their creations.  Some parents where so engrossed in building, they had no idea what was going on around them.  Yep, that’s Kyle as an adult!  I just saw the future, and it still involves Legos!

Kyle with Lego Club Aunt Heather Piper 12-1-12

Kyle hanging out at the Lego Club section @LegoKidsFest 12/1/12

The minute we walked in and Kyle saw the Lego signs hanging from the ceiling, he was in complete awe!  He couldn’t focus on which direction to go first and what he wanted to do.  His brain was in overdrive!  He really couldn’t contain himself, he wanted to do everything all at once, at that moment.  Even though it was his day and his experience, I stepped in to guide him around the floor to take it all in first before participating in any one event.

We had a blast!  I must admit, I was so impressed with the event and how it was handled.  But what really struck my fancy was the Lego artwork.  Amazing!  Really!  As we approached the Batman sitting on the edge of a building scene,  I couldn’t help put touch the structure, even though there was clearly a sign instructing all visitors not to.  Upon closer inspection, I realized the pedestal in which he was residing was made out of Legos!  Unbelievable!  Even the huge Lighting McQueen!  Those displays were by far my favorite part of Lego Fest!  I wanted to keep walking through the Lego sculptures, however I was told differently by a somewhat patient young man.  Kyle was kind enough to entertain my picture taking nature and after we got a few snapshots, Kyle was ready to move on.  They were truly pieces of art and I appreciated the effort and talent behind each display.

Kyle Lego Master Builder Aunt Heather Piper12-1-12

Kyle with Dan the Lego Master Builder @LegoKidsFest 12/1/12

On the far side of the event, there was a huge section to build pieces of the United States.  Actually, everything about Lego Fest was huge, so let’s get that straight, huge was the new norm.  Anyway there was this roped off section which, was an outline of the United States with white Legos.  On the other side, they had tables set up with an unlimited supply of Legos building blocks.  Every color, every shape, every size known to man in large bins ready to be put together.  All the children and adults alike, were encouraged to build their own creations to complete a map sculpture of the United States and certain landmarks, or whatever was dreamt up by the creator.  Everyone had the opportunity to build as high or as wide or as fancy or as conservative as desired.  There was no end to the supply of Legos and no time constraints.  It was seriously so cool!  Even I helped Kyle, getting a bit of Lego fever myself.  When the artwork was completed, we were instructed to give it to a Lego representative to place it wherever we wanted it to go.  Then brilliantly promoted, we could take a picture of our Lego creation and post it to the Lego Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, which I did as instructed by Kyle.  He was excited to have everyone connected to Lego see his building.  We built a modified version of the Twin Towers.  I’m not sure why that was chosen, but it was Kyle’s vision and who am I to stifle creativity.

There was another section where they just had Lego’s dumped in the middle of this large area.  Children where crawling all over the small pieces and building and having a blast!  It looked like too much fun, I wanted to join in.  Kyle wasn’t that enthused with sitting on Lego’s with the smaller kids, so I was happy when he allowed me to get a picture.  As I was doing so, a Lego worker showed up at my side and offered to get both of us in the picture.  I was so excited to sit in the pile of Legos!  It was at that time, that I seriously started to catch the Lego bug.  It’s addictive.

Lego Egypt Kyle Aunt Heather Piper 12-1-12

Kyle posing in front of the Lego Pharaoh. Too Funny! @LegoKidsFest 12/1/12

While walking around and participating in the raffle and other displays, we managed to run into friends of ours at the ramp races.  Out of all those thousands of people we literally bump into people we knew, the Tobins.  It was great seeing them!  I looked around for my cousin Denise too, but I’ll be darned if I saw her and the family among the sea of people and kids.

Naturally, we hit up the Lego store area.  It was an insane confined space with of out of control parents and their kids.  Being a claustrophobic person, I had a hard time standing in the roped off area with Kyle while he made his decision on his next project.  Again, to give Lego another shout out, they had it every organized and the flow of buyers moved along pretty quickly and with ease.  It helped that the Lego workers stood out in their matching shirts and there seemed to be swarms of them.  With much deliberation, Kyle finally made up his mind with the Lego Lord of the Rings. Good choice buddy!

As we neared the end of our Lego experience, Kyle spotted one of the Lego Master Builders walking around and talking with parents.  Kyle had this star stuck look in his eyes, like he was about to meet a famous person.  The Lego Master Builder had his own type of uniform top with his name on it, which Kyle noticed.  My little man just stood their patiently waiting for the Lego Master and some parents to complete their conversation, as to not be rude and interrupt.  He so desperately wanted to meet this Lego celebrity and get his picture with him.  Dan, as I later found out was the Master Builder’s name, was great with Kyle and took the time to pose for a picture.  Boy did that just top off Kyle’s day!  As we exited stage right, I walked alongside one little boy who was beaming from ear to ear.  On a side note, he instantly pulled out his free Lego given because he was a Lego Club Member.  He started to contemplate when he was going to put it together.  The decisions of a young mind!

Aunt Heather Piper with Lego Superfriends 12-1-12

Me in front of the Lego Superfriends! @LegoKidsFest 12/1/12

On our ride home the conversation was naturally all things Lego.  That was a really neat event!  Kyle decided he wanted to build his very own life size Lego man.  Actually, I thought that would be the coolest thing for his bedroom!  Even I considered having one made for my house!  After all, even though they are toys, I do consider them pieces of art, fun art!  I told Kyle he should go into business building those Lego sculptures and rent or sell them for kids birthday parties, something to match the birthday theme.  He loved the idea!  We might start looking into this for him.

The day after we ran into other friends of ours who attended the Sunday session.  They were equally as impressed!  Marty told me that he was talking to someone about the United States section.  He gave me some fun facts, which I did not know.  He said, they actually had to tear down the United States section on Friday night because it was completely full.  He also said they take the built pieces to sick or handicap children and have them disassemble the structures, then ship the building blocks to be sanitized before returning them to be built into something from another child’s or adult’s imagination.  Lego pays these children for this job.  That’s awesome!  I love hearing stories like these.  Great job Lego!

Lego Creation Nation Aunt Heather Piper 12-1-12

Lego Creation Nation! @LegoKidsFest 12/1/12

I’m surprised Kyle didn’t know that fun fact.  After all, while we were driving down to Lego Fest, Kyle began to shoot statistics at me that he read from his monthly Lego magazine.  Example, he began to tell me how much it costs to make one mold for a brick and he even knew how many bricks can be made in a day.  I which I could recall the numbers, but unfortunately I didn’t commit that to memory.

Well Lego, great job!  You certainly have a serious fan who will probably be so his entire life.

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Travels and have No Comments
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