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*

Benji shoots his teeth out, turns seven, and holds a sugar glider.

Ben’s front teeth were so wiggly over the last couple weeks. At one point he came home and his tooth was so wonky, he looked hilarious. He took matters into his own hands, fetching his Nerf crossbow and some heavy duty thread, recruiting his mom for tooth-tying, and promptly shooting his front tooth out of his mouth. He’s so brave with his tooth losing, I can’t believe it. He repeated the whole thing six days later with his second front tooth, leaving him toofless for his seventh birthday two days later. I’m in love with his face.

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For his birthday we had Prairie Exotics come and show the kids a bunch of snakes, geckos, tarantulas, frogs, and even a sugar glider. Ben was very very excited for his birthday. His original “invite” list included eighteen children and his bus driver (?). I got him to narrow it down to a generous ten, but after handing his invitations out, he realized he’d forgotten three of his “best friends” so three more were added. Thankfully three kids couldn’t make it, because ten seven year olds is a lot, y’all. A loud, rowdy, extra cute lot. Those kids had some serious fun, and they loved the reptile show so much. It was awesome and so fun to see Ben with all his buddies. He has friends from mutliple classes and it really makes me proud how good he is at making friends. He’s obviously very well liked, and it just makes me happy.
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His gift wish list this year included Pokemon, Lego, a clock, and clothes. He got lots of everything, plus a pile of gift cards and cash, making for a happy boy. (That cake was green ombre, just so you know. I forgot to take a picture of my hard work. And I’m pretty sure the kids didn’t even notice, besides Ben.)

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I can’t believe my chubby little baby is seven already. He’s such a great kid; I just love him. He’s such an entertainer, and can laugh AND cry on demand. I’m talking real tears, if he wants. This boy better take drama class in high school because he’s totally convincing. It’s awesome. He loves making people laugh, and he’s pretty good at it. He loves music and dancing, although you’re unlikely to see evidence of this if you’re not family. He loves clothes and takes great care with his appearance. He’s good at pushing people’s buttons, and irritating his siblings when he wants to. He hates doing chores, and has no problem letting you know it. He can whine with the best of them. But he has the best smile, the tightest hug, the sweetest kisses, the biggest heart, and still the chubbiest cheeks, so I’ll keep him.

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I love you Benji, so so much. Happy 7th birthday.

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ps. When Ben turned two, three, four, five, and six

Mosquitoes and tiny goats.

Yesterday was a nice sunny summer day. It needed to be enjoyed. I thought an adventure was in order. Ben loves going on adventures, which is really just a fancy word for exploring a trail in Bird’s Hill Park.

So we grabbed the water bottles and the bug spray and hit the trail.

For like 90 seconds, at which point we were surrounded by approximately one hundred thousand mosquitoes. We ran back to the car and re-applied mosquitoes spray liberally. I sprayed our clothes, our hair, and our bodies again. We hit the trail again. We made it farther this time. We lasted a whole 3 minutes before we turned around and got the heck out of there. The air was just thick with mosquitoes and the buzzing in my ear was making me crazy.

So we bailed on that adventure and ran across the road to Pineridge Hollow, which was complete with beautiful flower beds, ponds with tadpoles, tiny goats, and a shop full of neat toys for kids and pretty things for moms. We stayed for two hours. It was great.

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Ben made friends with this goat. It liked when Ben scratched it’s side, so Ben just scratched and scratched that goat. They bonded.

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Ivy and Seth loved these little Pygmy goats. They will only be 15 inches tall when they’re full grown! What! Someone get me one!

 

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We played in the shop. I bought a pretty dish towel and the kids each got a stick of candy. Happiness all around.20140716-212611-77171510.jpg
When we were adventured out we headed home, are supper, and spent the evening working on the playhouse, playing with the kids from the neighbourhood, and finished it all off with a game of 500 Up. That game can be a little rowdy I guess, as Ben and Seth had a run in that resulted in a big puffy black eye for Ben.

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Poor Ben, he was so worried about what other people would say about his eye, worried that people would laugh at him. (This was likely because Seth took one look at him and totally burst out laughing. Jerk). It took some time to convince him that people would think it was cool but he did decide to go to VBS this morning and he came home wearing that shiner like a badge of honor.

Shiner or not, it was a good summer day. Tomorrow we’re hoping to crash my parents pool and then pick a few baskets of strawberries. I can taste them already.

Ben designs a hoodie.

Like two years ago I pinned this awesome t-shirt tutorial by Petit A Petit and Family, with great intentions of making one for my kids. But unlike most things I’ve pinned, I actually made it! Yes, it took years, but hey, it got done.

Ben drew me a picture, and I made it into a hoodie.

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I made the shirt part of the hoodie using the Tee for Two pattern by Patterns by Figgy. I could not find a link to that pattern- maybe they don’t sell it anymore? It’s also found in the book Sewing for Boys. I used the size 6/7 and just kind of widened everything so it would fit more like a sweatshirt and less like a skinny tee. I’m not a pattern drafter or anything, though, so I ended up with a super wide neck at the end of it all. Next time I try a trick like that I’ll make sure I stay away from all neck parts. I was a little at a loss what to do. I tried using some super stretchy ribbing and just making the sweatshirt fit into the neckband but after two tries, I realized it was not going to happen. It just left the sweatshirt with too many puckers, plus I didn’t like the color of ribbing I had anyway, so I had to come up with a plan B. Thankfully I had an old grey hoodie hanging out in my sewing stash and with a little cutting and a little sewing, the cuffs and hood got a new life. The neck still ended up being wider than I wanted; I should have overlapped the hood a bit more in the front, but it works, and Ben loves it, so I’m happy. I’m actually very happy with the overall fit of the hoodie. It’s not too big or baggy, but has just enough room to be the right amount of cozy and comfy. Just what I wanted.

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Clearly Ben loves a good photo shoot.

Did you notice? Ben lost his first tooth a couple of weeks ago! That’s big stuff, people.

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I may have to put Ben to work as a fashion designer more often, I think. This was such a fun sewing project, and I’d love to make one for Seth, but I’m intimidated by his ultra-detailed tiny drawings of dragons and warriors and various weapons. Oliver’s drawings would be perfect (and simple!) on a shirt, so I might have to get on that for summer. Maybe I’ll try a muscle tee or something.

Ben as a six year old.

Ben turned six on Saturday.

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We celebrated his birthday with a couple friends at The Lego Movie on half-price Tuesday, because that’s how we roll. He requested a rainbow birthday cake (I’m starting to curse the rainbow cake. But at the same time, I still love it). For his birthday this year he asked for Lego, anything ninja turtles, and new clothes. He got all of those things, lucky child.

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On his actual birthday we went to the museum and McDonald’s, per his instructions. Ben’s pretty low-key about his birthday celebrations, and I appreciate that. Last year he only wanted his grandparents, and this year, just a couple friends.

Ben as a six year old, well, he’s great. I’m really so proud of him; he’s come such a long way. Barely a year ago I probably would have described him as almost painfully shy, almost afraid to speak to someone he didn’t know very well. I would never describe him that way now. I’m so happy to see the confidence he’s gained. He’s made so many friends at school, and even told me that one of his friends described him as the class clown. He was pretty pleased with that, and honestly, I’m not really surprised by that. Ben’s always been a little entertainer here at home; he loves goofing off and making people laugh. I can remember Ben trying to be funny on purpose way back when he was just one or two. I think Neil and I called the whole class clown thing way back then. Still, he takes school seriously. He loves bringing home new home reading books, and he loves studying his sight words. He seems to be picking it all up really quickly. At the last parent teacher interviews his teacher called him a model student and said he was very bright and very neat. She’s right- Ben has much neater printing than Seth will ever have, I’m sure.

Ben’s a good brother, too. Okay he and Seth are not getting along that well these days, that’s true, but Ben get’s along very well with Oliver, and Ivy just adores him. Every night Ivy begs to “Seep Mun!” (sleep Ben!). She loves cuddling him in his bed. (Yes, this could also be a ploy by a genius two year old to avoid bedtime, and yes, it works a lot of the time. It’s just so cute.) He plays so well with Oliver and tries hard to include Ivy, and he takes good care of both of them if they’re hurt or need help.

He’s got style, my six year old Ben. He loves clothes (hence the request for new clothes for his birthday). I’m sure Seth has never even noticed what clothes are in his drawer or what they look like, he just pulls out what’s on top and puts it on. Ben, on the other hand, carefully (and slooooowly) picks out each days outfit. Occasionally he will come to me for my opinion, asking me which pants would look better with which shirt, but usually he makes his decisions solo. He often saves his favorite shirts for school days or Sunday school. But even though he loves looking handsome, he also loves his sweat pants, flannel jammies, and housecoat. He loves being cozy.

Ben can bust a move. I tell you, he’s got rhythm. He often has us almost falling over at the dance moves he comes up with, but he always makes it work. I hope one day I can convince him to try some kind of hip hop class or something, because I know he’d love it. He just seems to respond to music. He knows so many random song lyrics, and I love hearing him sing them. It always cracks me up when he wanders into the kitchen singing something like, “I came in like a wreeeeccccking ball” or “You left me, on the streets of Mexico…”
He’s always got a tune on his lips, and I love it.

Like all good Moran kids, he spends countless hours drawing, churning out picture after picture, always gifted to one of us, often signed from Ben. I don’t think he ever keeps a picture for himself, and the stack I have from him to me grows high on my dresser. I love this one he drew of me as a princess, and I love this giraffe he drew for Oliver. Giraffe’s are Oliver’s favorite, so Ben drew him one, because that’s the kind of thing Ben does.

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He really is so sweet, our Benji. He has always had a soft and sensitive heart; a good, kind, nature. We’re really so lucky to have him.

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P.S. I can hardly believe it, but I started blogging just before Ben turned two. Can you believe how much kids change? I miss Ben’s cheeks. They’re de-chubbing.

Kindergarten for Ben.

I’ve got one more kid in school today. It is Ben’s first day of kindergarten!

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It’s been a lot harder for me to think about sending this little sweetie off to school. He’s our gentle peacemaker and I know the babies and I will miss having him around. He’s grown so much in the last year and has so much more confidence than he used to, and I know he’ll do just fine at school. Still, it’s hard!

Not surprisingly, he didn’t want to go this morning. He HAS been excited about school, mostly, off and on, in the last few weeks, but I knew when it came down to it, he wasn’t going to be too pumped to leave us for the day.

But he did so great, walking across the street like he’s done it a hundred times, and getting on the bus like it’s nothing new. Of course, everything is easier if you’ve got your big brother with you, but still, I’m so proud of him.

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I, of course, got all choked up, seeing my baby on that big school bus. If our neighbor hadn’t been walking his kid to the bus, too, I’m sure I would have had some tears fall. It’s hard to put a kindergartener on the bus for the first time!

He was so cute sitting up in the front seat with his brother, just barely big enough to peek up out the window and wave at me.

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And so here we go onto a new phase in life. I’m not gonna lie, I am SUPER excited about having just TWO kids at home with me a couple days a week! And running errands with just two kids- oh it just sounds dreamy don’t you think?

 

 

Two Years Ago.

Benjamin was born.

We loved all 8 pounds 1 ounce of him immediately and couldn’t imagine life without him.

We couldn’t get enough of his chubby little cheeks and his sweet personality.

The last couple years have just flown by and have we ever had fun getting to know this little guy. Didn’t he just turn one like, yesterday?! It seems like that anyway.

How did he get to be two already? How did he turn out to be such a little turkey? When he was a baby I thought he would be a shy, needy little guy. He is growing into a confident, friendly, sweet, and very funny guy. He makes us laugh many times every single day. Yesterday Seth was talking about what animals eat. He said, “Frogs eat bugs”. Ben immediately piped in with an enthusiastic, “Ew.”

He is two now.

He:

weighs 28 pounds and is 88cm tall.

loves “mackyohnie” (macaroni) . He askes for it pretty much every day at lunch.

loves  “mannas” (bananas).

loves Seth. Formerly known as “Es”, currently known as “Yes”, occasionally known as “Says”.

loves being chased. “GIT ME!!!”

loves being thrown up in the air. “Up ‘ky!” (up sky!)

uses his imagination a lot. “Bear (or alligater or shark or t-rex or bad guy) right dere. Yikes! Keepie!”

likes shooting things with his sword while making shooting noises.

loves all animals. “Should we go see some puppies at the pet store tomorrow Ben?” “Cats. Boodies. Bunnies. Porkiepine?”

loves his crib. Asks to be put in his “kib” several times a day. Spends up to 30 minutes in there stacking up all the miscellaneous stuffed toys/blankets/books etc on one side of the crib and then restacking them on the other side.

reads in his crib. Remembers parts of stories and reads them to himself. “Riiiippppppp! BIG potato! Dirty potato! Wash it! Cook it! Eat it!” (From one of his favorite books, “The Enormous Potato”. )

likes Sesame Street characters. Rarely watches Sesame Street since Seth considers it to be a baby show because Ben likes it and therefore forbids watching of it. Ben reads lots of Sesame Street books and names all the characters. Sometimes can be heard reading it at bedtime, “Ni-night Big Bird. Ni-night Gover. Ni-night Ohker. Ni-night Zoe. Ni-night Ehnie. ” and so on and so on.

loves coloring. On paper, on magnadoodles, on himself.

loves dinosaurs. Just learned to say, “Dinoyour”. Names many dinosaurs, such as “ankysaurus” “t-wex” and “dactyl”.

loves his Gigi. This little blue blankie with a lion head sticking out of it must never ever be lost.

is potty trained!

loves movies. Asks for them many times a day. Often watches a DVD in the van and then gets mad when I pull into the garage, “NOOO home!! T-wex movie!!”.  Would rather sit in his carseat in the garage than come inside.

likes to be carried up and down the stairs and outside sometimes. Says “Cuddle please!”  when he want to be carried.

and the list goes on and on. He’s a character and we sure love him. It’s hard to believe that in a few months he won’t be my baby anymore. I can’t imagine that. He’s always been such a cuddler, still loves to be rocked in the rocking chair, and still has those chubby cheeks. He will make a great big brother though.

Happy birthday Benjamin! We love you!!