This is boy # 3 in the birth order, our loving Benny. He turned 9-years old while we there, two days after Millie's birthday. He has grown up so much in the last two years, and I especially enjoyed being with him. I felt that I got to know him better this trip, and he was sort-of my shadow and helper. He has such a tender heart, and is always ready with a hug and a smile. He patiently helped me get down their very steep hill to the creek at the bottom one day, which I really appreciated! Then he showed me all around, to the foundation ruins of old houses, to the fort the boys have built, to all the critters they find under rocks in the creek. Benny is very physical, and LOVES to be outdoors and climbing things. Except for meal times, I think he would be happy to live outdoors.
For our special time together, he and I built this castle/or fort out of Lincoln Logs and blocks. He was very sure of how he wanted it to look, and we were both pleased with the results.
We added some buildings inside to look like the Jamestown colony buildings, and decided which were the eating area, stable and smithy.
One of the other notable things about Ben is his love of food. You can generally find him hanging around the kitchen as meals are prepared. He doesn't mind helping to cook things up at all. Of Julie's children, he is the one that loves avocados like Julie and I. Her children all have to eat some of what is served, but Ben is the one that really LOVES avocados. So he was helping me mash some up and had a big smile, so I couldn't resist capturing the memory. Ben isn't particular about food, and will eat most anything.
Here is Ben on his birthday, with his special plate of birthday food. They each get to pick their breakfast and dinner on their birthday, and Ben chose a Tomatillo Pork Stew over rice. Yummy!
And after dinner comes the opening of presents. His parents and siblings hid his presents, and then he got to discover their hiding places. He got a new gun, some books and other fun things. It has been hard for Ben to sit still long enough to learn to read....so it was a real thrill to hear him say (after opening some new books) "Dad, can I just sit here and read for a little bit?" He is getting quite proficient. Ben is the true horse lover in the family. He has always enjoyed them...and all things about them. We got him a big horse encyclopedia for his birthday, and he was going to enjoy that for some time to come. His birthday cake was a horse, running in some grass (green tinted coconut) and everyone enjoyed decorating it for him. We rented the movie 'War Horse' for everyone to watch while we were there, and we had all enjoyed it, but Ben most of all. I'm so glad I got to share that with him, and enjoy all those hugs!