Friday, June 03, 2016

Benjamin's four!

Because Andrew is amazing he got up this morning (with Benjamin, who was so excited to be four he had to tell the world bright and early) and assembled four pans of enchiladas (one for our family and three for others) so all I had to do was stick them in the oven this afternoon (in addition to decorating a cake for Benjamin, which I'd baked the night before). With my morning much less cluttered, I decided to take Benjamin to the Museum of Life and Science, because that's one of his favourite places to go.

He was very interested in building today, so we spent quite a bit of time at the KEVA planks:

Then we sped through the native wildlife exhibit:

And then parked ourselves at the big blue blocks for a long time:

When we arrived we were the only ones there and Benjamin decided he wanted to make a castle in the corner. I helped him get the basic frame up and then he went to town. As kids came through they'd remark about how awesome his fort was and then would join in playing. It was an ever-changing fort, with pieces being pilfered away to other projects and then pilfered back again and reinstated to the unsteady structure. Overall, I think the kids all did a very fine job of sharing and borrowing and playing together while the parents sat back and watched.

I announced that it was time to go and Benjamin said, "But we haven't even played outside yet!" In all honesty, the outside exhibits are my favourite so I'd been urging him to get outside all morning but he insisted that we do the inside stuff. I couldn't say no to a few minutes of outside play, though, so out we headed:

Benjamin loves Hideaway Woods:

There's so much to climb on and so many wonderful places to hide:

There was an interesting yogi perched on a log in sukhasana (simple cross-legged pose) when we arrived there. I must admit that Hideaway Woods, though possessing an idyllic name (and surely it is idyllic in its own right), is not exactly a place I'd go to meditate. An older woman interrupted her meditation to ask her if she was sleeping.

"No," she answered solemnly, with one eye open. "Merely at peace."

I rolled my eyes internally as I worked a thumb tack out of the bottom of my flip-flop (which I'd stopped to remove, allowing me to witness this conversation). I enjoy yoga and think a good meditation session can do wonders for relaxation and centring.

But to do it in the middle of a very crowded park struck me as...interesting...that is all.

Also interesting: the thickness of my flip-flops seem to be the exact measurement of the pointy part of a thumbtack. I could feel it jabbing me but it never quite broke through my shoe, so that was nice!

Here's Zoë helping herself to a drink:

And here are the kids playing in the creek (because we really can't visit the museum without getting wet; that would just be weird). Benjamin's my jump-right-in man...

While Zoë is like, "Are you sure this water's sanitary? It looks questionable to me." She hated all the stuff (sticks, leaves, pine needles) floating in the water.

But she had no reservations about gnawing on rocks from the stream itself.

When we got home I tried desperately to put Zoë down for a nap (multiple times, actually) but she was completely convinced that the two minutes she fell asleep in the van counted as a nap, so I was out of luck. I had to decorate the cake with both Zoë and Benjamin bumping my elbows and biting my toes (seriously) and wrestling in the living room and so forth. But I got it done!

This year Benjamin wanted a Darth Vader cake, which worked out nicely because Uncle David recently gave us a Darth Vader pan, but he wanted it "rainbow," so...

When the girls came home from school they asked if they could play with the leftover icing, so I said they could. Usually I "save" it, but then never use it so I figured they may as well play with it. They practiced writing and making stars and had a grand old time.

Here's Benjamin giving things a go as well:

We sang to Benjamin and had cake before dinner, since Rachel had a prior engagement (a friend's birthday party (and I just realized that I forgot to get a present ready for said friend...oops)). So, here's Benjamin with his cake:

And here he is with his siblings (they're all looking at Dad instead of at me):

Here he is while we were singing to him:

He was so excited to blow out the candles (he blew Zoë's out for her before she even had a chance to try (she's pretty good at blowing)) but when it came time the cake was a little too far away. He was huffing and puffing but only managed to make the candles flicker.

I love how the girls are blowing along with Benjamin in the background. It's hard to watch someone try to blow out a candle without miming it yourself, kind of like how it's hard to feed a baby without showing them how to open wide.

Eventually Benjamin stood up so he could lean over the cake and successfully blew all four candles out:

They're crayon candles; we used the same ones (well, just one of them) for Zoë's birthday and Rachel and Miriam both panicked a little when Andrew stuck it into her cake.

"What? Dad!?!" Rachel said. "I'm not sure this is a good time to be experimenting!"

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"You just stuck a crayon in the cake instead of a candle..."

They both thought they were real crayons. Today Miriam asked if she could try colouring with them.

Benjamin got the first piece of cake today, since he's the birthday boy. He wanted a piece of Darth Vader's chin. We've been calling his cake Darth Vainbow, actually.

He thought it was good stuff!

After we'd sung and cut the cake, Rachel and Andrew left to deliver dinner to our friends and to drop Rachel off at her friend's house while I hung out with the little kiddos and threw our pan of enchiladas into the oven. Our fridge was feeling a little crowded today, what with a birthday cake, four pans of enchiladas, and a couple of desserts other people had dropped off (for us to take to this friend) crammed in there. Now that everything has been consumed, delivered, or repackaged into smaller containers, our fridge is feeling rather lonesome. Tomorrow is shopping day, though, so we'll soon fix that.

Here's Zoë with her icing "beard" that Miriam and Benjamin thought was hilarious:

Grandma called us during dinner asking if Benjamin was available to Skype, so he finished up and then we called Grandma back. He was excited to open the present she'd sent.

"What do you think it is?" Grandpa asked.

"I don't know!" Benjamin said.

"I think it's underwear," Grandpa said.

"I don't know..." Benjamin said and then he ripped a big gash in the paper and exclaimed, "IT'S NOT UNDERWEAR!" before he could really even tell what it was.

It was a set of construction vehicles, which all three kids found fascinating. He also got some Cars toys from us.

My mom sent a card with some cash. When she told me she put Zoë's card in the mail she said, "I put a ten dollar bill in Zoë's card because that's all I could find but I was hoping to put two five dollar bills in there. Maybe you can fix that for me when it gets there."

Outside I was like, "Sure, Mom. I can do that."

Inside I was like, "Ummm...why does it even matter?"

But then the envelope arrived and I opened it up and, lo, there were two cards inside. One for Zoë (with a ten dollar bill in it) and one for Benjamin (with no dollar bill in it) and suddenly everything made sense. She really did mean to put two fives in the envelope!

I stuck five one dollar bills in the card and Benjamin was happily surprised when money came pouring out of his birthday card (though he carelessly tossed the check from his other grandparents aside with his discarded wrapping paper; it meant nothing to him (I rescued it))!

"Dad! I'm rich!" he squealed, counting his money. "One, two, sree, sor, sise! So much money!"

Miriam made him a bunch of cards and things at school. Here she is reading one of them to him:

The kids spent the rest of the evening pleasantly playing with the new toys. I'd call that a birthday success!

Happy Birthday, sweet Benjamin!


  1. Looks like he had a great day!

  2. Awesome cake! I'm super impressed that you could make a rainbow Darth Vader.