1. He loves Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. He’s watched every episode on DVD and recites lines from it frequently. Yesterday he was watching it and writing down all the secret words of the day, including Zyzzybalooba (or however it’s spelled–I’ll have to ask him later). We’ve showed him Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure also, but he wasn’t as into that.

2. He can throw a ball with astonishing accuracy. He has a very strong arm. He can throw a ball over our second story roof. He’s also good at shooting baskets, provided he is concentrating. When he played basketball this year he found the game part of it rather distracting.

3. He loves to play board games, especially Monopoly. He has his own set of rules that he plays by. If you land on a property, you have to buy it, and you play until all the properties are bought. This makes what is already a long game into an even longer game. On the other hand, he never gets upset about not winning because as far as he’s concerned, when all the properties are bought, everyone wins. (There’s probably not an economic lesson to be learned here, but if you think you can draw an analogy, go for it.)

4. He loves the music from Spamalot. He also likes Barney and The Wiggles. And Stevie Nicks. And he sometimes likes to listen to My Chemical Romance, thanks to his older sister’s influence.

5. He still enjoys writing words with shaving cream. A few weeks ago I found him on the front porch writing sentences with deliberate mistakes so he could edit them.

6. Every Sunday he puts up the hymn numbers before sacrament meeting. It’s pretty much his official job now. He feels called to the work. Once they made a mistake with the program–they had the wrong number attached to the closing hymn. He almost had a stroke. Fortunately, such incidents are few and far between.

7. His favorite books are still Frog and Toad, but he also enjoys Mo Willems’s Elephant and Piggie books.

8. He’s developed a taste for sparkling water in a variety of flavors. Originally he just wanted to use the bottles to make bottle rockets, so he’d force himself to drink the stuff even though he found it kind of disgusting, but now I think he really likes it. We always have to buy all the flavors when we go to the store. Safeway sells Arrowhead sparkling water in natural, lemon, lime, orange and pomegranate. Trader Joe’s sells its own sparkling water in natural, lemon, lime, orange and mixed berry. Nobody really likes the mixed berry, but we have to drink it anyway because it’s part of the collection. He has a different flavor for each day, but I can’t remember which is which. Tuesday is usually orange. He insists that we finish the bottle at a given meal. It doesn’t matter if you’re not thirsty. You must drink the sparkling water. You must do it expeditiously. He’s kind of insufferable about it. But it’s a healthier habit than juice or soda, so we indulge it.

9. He is nine years old today! Woo-hoo!