Ohh, but it’s been a while. Last Friday, I ended up finishing Ian’s cake. It said “Happy Brrrthday.”
I sent Brian a picture of it and we got ourselves all hyped-up and decided to celebrate that evening, instead of waiting until Sunday. Even Sunday would have been early, because his birthday is on Tuesday (today), but we were going to spend Sunday spoiling him so we could have a whole day. Brian brought home “balloons and silly hats” (as Thomas the Tank Engine had in his birthday story). Ian carried around his “honker” most of the evening.
He finally got to dig into his “snowy house” cake that he’d been drooling over for days. Notice how he helps his lips to blow out the candles.
Probably his favorite toy was the set of Automoblox Minis cars we got him – little cars he can build and take apart. They really are very awesome. He definitely needs more of them!
Saturday night, we took him to The Rock Ranch, Truett Cathy’s (of Chick-Fil-A) totally awesome ranch wonderland, to their free Journey to the Manger program. It was incredible. When we arrived, we filled out our ‘census’ papers and received our ‘tax money’ coins and hopped on a bus (which the boys could have ridden all night and been thrilled), which took us to the main gathering area. We got some chili dogs and chili-cheese fries and hot chocolate. It was fu-reeezing out! When it was our turn to board the hay-ride-esqe wagon, pulled by a tractor (again, another thing the boys could have enjoyed all night), Ian shot off ahead and boarded, with no apparent use for the parental units. We caught up and took our seats next to him and off into the night we rode. We stopped next to an encampment of Wise Men, who told us about their star-studying findings. Ian stood up and asked them if they saw the school bus. Then he told them he was going to the manger, and that he had on his mittens. Sure, he will cower behind our legs when we ask him to say hi to a friend at church, but he’ll stand up in a wagon-load of strangers and chat up some oddly-dressed Wise Men below.
Next we proceeded to the edge of a corn field, where we were escorted off by some Roman soldiers and directed down a torch-lit path through the corn-field. As we entered the town of Bethlehem, we were directed to turn in our census papers and tax money. Ian faithfully coughed up the gold. Inside was quite a spectacle. Rows of trade booths, in probably-accurate biblical detail, lined a small clearing in the field. There were carpenters, potters, people peddling wares of cloth and bread, people selling animals for sacrifice (that the kids got to pet), and soldiers stomping around impatiently barking orders. All along, Ian kept asking where Baby Jesus was, and so we kept up our search. As we continued down another path, we came to the Inn, which of course had no vacancy, but we were permitted a tour. From there we followed the path to an encampment of shepherds, with their sheep in a corral. They told us their story and pointed us in the direction of a star, bright over the corn field. It led us to a sweet little manger scene. The boys stood in awe, from a safe distance, and yelled “hi” to Baby Jesus. Then they yelled “bye” and “congratulations” and proceeded down the path to where a poor red-eyed fella told us a synopsis of Jesus life & sacrifice. We hopped on another tractor ride back, listened to a sermonette, and then Ian tried to offer up a competing prayer over top the speaker’s.
We returned to the gathering area, checked out the gift shop, and warmed up again to some hot chocolate before another exciting bus ride back to the van. The boys couldn’t stop talking about the school bus, but when asked what his favorite part was, Ian said he saw Baby Jesus.
Sunday arrived after a quick night and we decided to continue the spoiling (instead we earned yet another Horrible Parent of the Year award). We took Ian to an Italian restaurant (?!) for breakfast. He ate his favorite breakfast of banana pancakes, while Isaac scarfed his favorite — cheesy eggs. Someone asked if we were going next door to a movie afterwards. I took the boys to several kids movies during the free summer showings and they loved it, so we thought that was a great idea. Brian had a co-worker tell him he thought Ian would really get into the new Christmas Carol movie, so we got tickets for that. Later, I asked Brian if his co-worker has any children and he sheepishly admitted he (obviously) didn’t. Long story short, what, in our fanciful imaginations, we thought would be a fun family holiday movie was probably terrifying for the little guy. He did hop into my lap, and I did cover his eyes a few times, and he did comment afterwards that the guy (scrooge) was scared and sad and wanted his mommy. Otherwise, he didn’t seem traumatized, but I knew those images could stick with him. That night he said, “There’s noooo monsters here.” Brian talked to him a bit and tried to explain the concept of “pretend” and promised to gobble up any monsters, if any were to exist. Ian seemed content with that and fell right asleep and had a calm night. But, yeah, we hang our heads and humbly accept our not-so-genius parenting award. The next morning at breakfast, Ian said “Daddy gobbled up all the monsters.” I think he’ll survive.
Sunday evening, we had a leaf-raking party and a beautiful sunset.
Today is his actual birthday. It’s a rainy day, so we’re stuck tearing the house apart. We are expecting a grandparents’ gift in the mail, and he gets to open some cards, take some phone calls and there’s still a few walls of the “snowy house” left, so there’s still some celebrating to do. We plan to take him out for ice cream, too, and that always makes his day.
This morning, Isaac woke up, grabbed my hand and started rubbing his leg with it (as to demonstrate) and said, “Get going.” Ian said that last night Grandma was a giant and was mad at him. Ian later balanced his body in “flying position” on his Sit ‘n Spin handle and said he was a “golden flying horse.” I think we’ll find plenty to do today.