Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ezra's 19 {Celebrating in Style}

Ezra celebrates his 19th birthday with a bowl of ice cream.

Ezra doesn't ask us for much. In fact, Ezra limits his conversations with adults to a bare minimum. We don't take it personally (usually), but we do continually encourage him to expand his communication skills.  Out of the blue a week ago he approached me and asked if he could host a movie night to celebrate his birthday. In an effort to help him develop better step-by-step planning skills, I required him to write up a proposal with all the details and his guest list so that Tim and I could discuss it before a decision was made.

The guest list, proposed date and time, as well as the top two movie titles were listed on Ezra's movie night proposal.  Fine evidence of a well thought-out beginning of a plan for a low key gathering at our house; we gave him the go-ahead. Phone calls were made, brothers and friends from Scouts and youth group were invited and told, "bring a snack to share during the movie."

Party planning 101 behind him, Ezra soon began party planning 201. Not a little shocked to learn that since it was HIS party, HE would be the one responsible for the dinner menu, he suggested pizza. We let him know that the cost of pizza was prohibitive, and guided him toward a more cost efficient (and home cooked) alternative. Ezra chose pulled pork sandwiches, watermelon, and mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Ezra wrote the shopping list, selected the items at the store, prepared the meat, cooked it overnight in the crock pot and even led a blessing before dishing up and serving the sandwiches to his 10 guests. 

Ezra trims the pork before slow cooking

A rough and rowdy game of soccer out front before dinner

Ezra serves his guests pulled pork sandwiches and watermelon.

Since neither of his movie titles were in our (limited) collection, Ezra had to figure out (with coaching) how to get the desired DVD in time for the screening on party night.  At first he seemed downright shocked to learn that the movie wouldn't just appear out of thin air! The library's copies were all checked out by the time he got down to business, and several attempts at looking up movie stores in the phone book were fruitless at first attempt.  But Ezra persevered, making many phone calls with varying success rates until he was able to locate a copy of the DVD.  With only hours before the showing, Ezra hopped on his bike and rode downtown.  He found the place using a street address he got over the phone, opened an account, and rented the DVD with birthday money from his grandparents and brought it home.  (This required great courage on his part, and he almost didn't do it out of fear of not being able to find the place.)

D--, Enoch, T--, Judah, Zachary, Peter, Ezra, Joseph, Boaz, Chris and Kevin

Planning and preparing behind him, with his guests on site, Ezra orchestrated a game of "football" (soccer) before calling everyone to the table.  The big screen (projector) showing of Percy Jackson {not to be shown here again} captivated the gang and the assorted snacks were passed around and shared.  Afterwards Ezra and company ate homemade ice cream and cookies, before saying goodnight.  Heading to bed for the night, Ezra went out of his way to come find us and say, "Thank you for letting me have a movie night to celebrate my birthday." 

Blacked out windows and rearranged furniture were all part of the plan for Ezra's movie night.


Anonymous said...

Sure looks like a great time for Ezra & your family! Love, Papa

Sarah said...

Way to go Ezra, happy birthday.

Ellen said...

Happy Birthday Ezra from Hilton and Terry and the whole Nuechterlein family! You did a great job planning your party - I know it takes a lot of courage to do new things. Hilton also has to find courage to do things as well. God's blessings on you!!!!

C said...

Sounds like a great way to get a child (young adult?!) to show some independence, and planning skills.
Curious to know why the movie won't be shown again in your house?