Ben turned two on February 26th! About a month before his birthday we received a birthday card in the mail from a little preschool club we belong to through our neighborhood grocery store. Ben gets fun things like crayons and coloring books when we check out and I get coupons. (Not a bad deal…and for free). This card set the birthday wheels a churin’ in Ben’s head and for the entire month preceding his birthday we’d hear him singing, “Happy Birthday, Dear Ben!” He’d also tell anybody and everybody he came in contact with, “Ben will be two on birthday!” And I’m pretty sure he asked for cupcakes just about every day too! How exactly do you explain to an almost two-year old that he has to wait 30 more days before he can celebrate his birthday?!? I can assure you it wasn’t an easy task and yes, a few tears were shed.
We chose a race car theme for his party this year (shocking, I know). In the weeks and days leading up to his party, we picked out steering wheel plates and speedway napkins, checkered flags and pennants, a monster truck bounce house, party favors, food, and cupcakes. Jake built an awesome racetrack for the kids (and adults) to race their cars down and a bean bag toss game (I’d forgotten how fun that game is!!).
I share all of that to say, you can pick, plan and predict many things when it comes to pulling together a birthday party, but there’s one thing that no one can predict quite accurately…guesses anyone…not even the chief meteorologist got it right…yep, that’s right…the weather!!! Weather.com predicted rain to begin at 1 pm and we were keeping a pulse on any weather changes hour by hour as the minutes ticked down to party time. With the party scheduled to begin promptly at 10:30 am we thought a 1 pm rain shower would be alright. The party would be over by then and everyone could enjoy a nice nap at home while listening to the pitter patter of rain outside their windows. At 10 am there were a few drops of rain, then a steady sprinkle and then…we had a downpour, people. So we quickly opted for plan B. Rearrange living room furniture to accommodate a racetrack (10 inches wide X 12 feet long), serve all food inside (including cupcakes…I’m pretty sure the thought of that made my blood pressure spike just a little), and pray. I prayed that nothing would be destroyed by little hands and wet feet trampling through our house and that everyone would have a good time, especially Ben!
We ended up with forty something people packed into our house (a little like sardines) and we had an AWESOME time!! The kids picked out their race cars as soon as they arrived and they all had a blast racing them down the track! I had recorded the Daytona 500 from a couple weeks back as another back-up for this particular situation so we had it playing in the background. Many of the kids even braved the cold and rain to jump in the bounce house outside. Who am I kidding, they were thrilled to play in the rain! After the whirlwind of a party was over I was beyond pleased to find that no red, yellow or green icing had been smeared on anything and other than some seriously dirty tile floors, our house was in decent shape.
Most importantly…Ben had the time of his life surrounded by lots of friends and family (my dad and step-mom flew in to surprise him)!! I was reminded of one of the Bible verses Ben and I had memorized a couple of weeks earlier from Ezekiel 34:26, “I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessings.” The little story that goes along with the verse says, “the next time a raindrop hits you on the nose, think of God’s many blessings.” We are blessed to have such wonderful friends and family and a little boy who laughs so hard he gives himself the hiccups, sings at the top of his lungs and doesn’t care what he sounds likes, dances like no one is watching, can radar a mud puddle from several yards away, believes a kiss can instantly heal any boo boo…who brightens our lives and melts our hearts each and every day! This will be a second birthday to remember!! And as one last funny little side note…a few days after his party, I was getting Ben out of his crib one morning and he said, “Mommy, friends come over and play with racetrack today!” “Not today, honey,” I replied. (I need a few more weeks to recover!)
Here’s a fun little slide show all about Ben’s big birthday weekend!! (A big thanks to my Dad for taking all of the photos at the birthday party, if he hadn’t I’m pretty sure I would have forgotten to take any!!)
Thank you to our friends and family for making this such a special day for us. We missed those of you that couldn’t make it, but greatly appreciate all the birthday messages, cards and gifts sent/given to Ben! I have to say a special thanks to my Dad and Linda too! They flew in the night before Ben’s birthday and were delayed…arriving at 2 am instead of 10 pm. Then we were up early Friday morning (and in bed late) to work on the final preparations for Ben’s birthday bash. After a whirlwind of a party on Saturday morning we all settled in that evening on the couch to watch the Olympics (and the back of our eyelids)! Thank you for all of your help…I don’t think we could have pulled it off without you!!
From the mouth of Ben:
We were outside playing one afternoon when Ben ran up to me and said, “Mommy, you are so cute!” Ah, those sweet words melted my heart especially when I’m not feeling so cute these days…with a basketball for a tummy!
A couple days later while hanging out in the playroom I heard Ben tell Jake, “Mommy is big!” So that statement didn’t quite give me the warm fuzzies like the “so cute” statement, but I did get a nice big chuckle out of it!
Jake, Ben and I were outside playing basketball one evening and Jake was trying to teach Ben how to tell me I had “mad skills” (clearly because I have such amazing basketball skills). When Ben turned to me he said, “Mommy have mad squirrels!” Yikes, I hope I don’t need a tetanus shot for that!
Ben was eating some diced cucumber at dinner one evening and said, “Tastes like Larry!” (In reference to Larry the Cucumber from Veggie Tales!) He likes to have a little Ranch dressing to eat with them too. The first time he tried Ranch dressing he said, “Mmmm, smells like candy!”
We’ve been working with Ben on asking, “May I be excused please,” when he is finished with dinner. Since he is usually the first one finished our reply is most often, “No, you need to wait until everyone else is finished.” So recently after he asks to be excused he answers himself, “Yes, you may.” And to make it even more fun (I’m thinking this has some connection to the “terrible twos”) he says, “That’s not fair,” when we repeat that he’ll need to wait until everyone’s done. “That’s not fair!” Really, are kids born with that phrase ingrained in their brains or just where did he pick that up? We’re still trying to figure it out!
Jake and I were sitting at the table after dinner talking one evening while Ben played with his cars and trucks nearby. Some time during our conversation Ben came up and put one hand on my leg and one hand on Jake’s leg and gave us both a little pat at the same time and said, “Be safe.” I’m pretty sure he’s heard us tell him that about a million times!
Ben was sitting on my lap while I was trying to put his shoes on. The entire time I worked to put them on he was pulling on my little finger. Then he said, “Ben pulled mommy’s finger. Mommy toot now.” After a good laugh, I called Jake and asked who was responsible for teaching our son the “pull my finger” joke. His response, “Well, Uncle Tim taught it to him, but I might have reinforced it!” Fantastic! I can’t wait for him to do that to me in public!
Our prayers with Ben have become quite lengthy lately. At meals he likes to pray for everything on his tray (milk, chicken, grapes…you get the idea), friends and relatives (calling them by name), mommy, daddy, Dakota, himself, baby brother, cars, trucks and anything else that might have really made an impression on him that day (like the fire truck we saw at the station or the car transporter we saw on the interstate.) It’s always fun to find out what he’s going to pray for next!
I was sitting outside on the back porch soaking up some much-needed sun while Jake and Ben de-pooped the yard and pulled a few weeds. (That makes me sound kind of lazy doesn’t it…I’m pregnant people…with puffy ankles…I needed the rest!) I was leafing through a magazine and not paying much attention when I heard Ben say, “A leaf, Mommy,” while placing something cold and wiggly on my arm. I immediately jumped up and screamed scaring Ben half to death. I looked down on the porch to find a chubby, round worm struggling with all of his might to get away from us. For those of you that know me well, you know that I’m a big scaredy cat when it comes to bugs. I wonder if there is some sort of therapy I can receive to help me overcome this fear because apparently Ben LOVES bugs and I have a feeling this will be the first of many many encounters with them!