Ben :: Eight.

Today Ben turns eight.

We celebrated yesterday with the most low-key birthday party ever. I think it cost me a total of like $25, including treat bags. For reals. We blew up a few balloons, but Ben didn’t want them hung up. He didn’t want any games either. He didn’t even want a cake! All he wanted was to hang out with his friends in the basement, and eat cinnamon buns. And so that is exactly what we did.

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Everyone had a great time, including me, since this party required basically zero effort besides making cinnamon buns and opening up a couple bags of chips.

Today we got up and fed Ben some birthday pancakes and then he opened up his birthday presents from us. Ben is really into cars lately, and so Seth got him a model car to build, and Oliver bought him a lego car. Oliver came up with that idea all by himself, because Ben loves Lego City, and he loves cars, he said, and made him a couple birthday cards, too. He was so excited to give his present to Ben this morning.

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Neil and I (and Ivy!) got Ben a snow skate, which is basically a skateboard with no wheels that still costs just as much as a regular skateboard. Ben was really really wanting one and he was very excited to get one, so it was all worth it. After a little lego building he was outside playing on it at 8 this morning, and he had the best time.

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Neil flew to Edmonton today for the week, so I took Ben for a date after school today. I took him to Toys R Us and Walmart to spend some birthday gift cards. He bought more cars mostly. Why are there toys as big as that Darth Vader? I don’t get it. Who has one of those? And why?

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We had such a great time together. One on one time is such an unusual occurrence in this family- it was a real treat to get to spend three solid hours with Benji. We went for supper at Five Guys because Ben loves “burgs” lately. Especially with cheese and bacon, obviously.

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It really was delicious. He made me smile because he commented on how “old” he felt, eating a burger covered in all kinds of toppings, because when he was little he’d only eat a plain hamburger with ketchup and nothing else. I had to agree with him; his burger taste has definitely matured. And so has his appetite. Holy smokes, we ate so much delicious burger.

After Five Guys we needed a food break so we went to play at the pet store for awhile. Ben still loves animals, and we had fun holding tiny furry things and narrowly escaping ferret teeth. Ben found a baby ball python to pet, and a little kitten to play with through the bars. After awhile he asked me if I was less full now, and when I said I was, we went for dessert. Ben ordered a root beer float and an order of mini donuts. After all that food we basically had to crawl to the van.

The picture Ben drew in the restaurant totally cracked me up. I mean, the forks and the knife! And the noses! One of the girls in Ben’s class told her mom that Ben was the best draw-er in the class, and that she was going to write books, and Ben was going to illustrated them. I think she might be onto something, because seriously, that picture. Later he added the server carrying food and water, and some restaurant decor, too. Obviously I tore this part of our “tablecloth” off and brought it home with me.

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I have to say, I was so proud of Ben in there. He has just turned into such a confident kid, and I’m actually amazed by it. Only a few short years ago Ben would have barely made eye contact if a server talked to him, but today he happily made conversation and then even wore a silly hat and stood on a bench proudly while the staff sang him happy birthday.

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I’m just in love with this kid and who he is. He’s just so full of life, with such a mischievous sense of humor, a good dose of wit, and a whole lot of love and compassion. He’s getting to be so confident in himself, and his personality is really shining through. I can just tell all the girls are going to fall in love with him, if they haven’t already. Sometimes he calls me babe, and smacks me on the butt when he walks by, and I have to say, I think it’s seriously hilarious. Mostly I’m just glad that he feels like he knows who he is and is comfortable enough to be himself, because he’s amazing.

Happy birthday Ben. Like you said, we took the food too far today, but other than that, it was the best night ever. I love you and I love spending time with you. Happy birthday baby.

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ps. I just read the post I wrote about Ben’s 7th birthday and I’m actually horrified by how much he’s changed and grown up since then. *ugly cry*

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