My Ben is 9!!!

My Benjamin is 9 years old.  Unbelievable.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was seeing his little face for the first time, and now he's HALF way to moving out on his own!  

Let me just go back to Ben's first day for a moment....{sigh}

We're just a Billy-Bob teeth kind of family...

And now, here he is with his 'buddies'.  Not his friends.  We're not playing anymore.  We're "hanging out" with the "buddies".  Oi.  I love the action in this shot - there's just something about boys - they just can't seem to sit still.

See?  This is sitting still.  Notice the discomfort written all over their faces!

Okay, I can't help put throw in a disclaimer here.  These shots were all taken with my little point and shoot camera.  I love it's size, convenience, and ability to switch quickly to taking videos as well as still shots.  But seriously...every camera should at lease offer you the OPTION of setting your own shutter speed.  Drives me crazy.  Rant over.

Ben had a blast opening the gifts his friends brought him - building things, noisy things, and shooting things...that about sums it up! :-)

He's been after us for a guitar for about 6 months - looking forward to getting him some lessons now.

Ben had all sorts of ideas about what he wanted this birthday party to look like.  I wish someone would have told me last year that I was in the process of planning Ben's last "little kid" party!  He wanted just a handful of his best buddies, he wanted Dad to help them all make their own pizzas, he wanted donuts instead of cake, and he wanted to watch boy movies and have everyone sleep over.

What?  You don't want me to plan any games?  Make a special cake?  How about a pinata?!? 

I have to say - I just adore Ben's friends.  They're all such good, kind, and polite young men!  I hope he stays close to this circle of boys for a long time.

Does this look like a fun boy's party or what?

Luke just stuck a candle in one of the donuts, and we sang Happy Birthday.  Then we opened a few cans of frosting, pulled out the cookie crumbs and sprinkles, and let everyone go to town:

Dear Ben,

I'm so proud of you!  You've grown into such an incredibly kind, generous, gentle, fun, and smart young man in just 9 short years.  I'm so blessed to have the honor of being your mom and watching you grow.

You had a big year this year.  You saved for months to purchase your very own iPod - what an accomplishment!  You also did gymnastics, and we had such fun watching your confidence grow as you pushed yourself to try something new.  And of course, you've been an excellent student.  Your teachers have always told us that you're a great kid to have in class and that you're a "quiet leader" among your peers.

You're a tender-hearted boy, Ben.  I hope that as you grow in strength and courage your tenderness remains.  It's one of my favorite things about you {hug}.

One of the things I've enjoyed most in this past year has been watching your relationship with the Lord be tested and grow.  To hear you pray so honestly, openly, and with such devoted faith is one of my most treasured times each day.  He is with you each and every moment, Ben.  My greatest prayer for your life is that you stay tuned in to what He's telling you and that you have the courage to go where He leads. It seems impossible from my perspective...but He loves you even more than I do, and as long as you're in Him, you can be assured of a plan and a hope for your future!

Happy Birthday my sweet boy.  I love you with all my heart!


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