On Saturday, we celebrated Big Ben's 2nd birthday with his grandparents. We loved seeing his reaction to his gifts--all perfectly selected to bring out all the ooh's and whoa's in his vocabulary. I begged my mom to get him a pair of appropriated-colored Crocs so he would stop wearing R's old pink ones. He knew exactly what they were for and who they were for. He wears them all the time, including with his snug-fitting, too-tight, winter pj's. (Those were NOT made for my children!). The new cars, trucks, and race track from Mom and Dad and Grandparents Fleming were also big hits--with Dad, too. D enjoyed racing Lighting McQueen and The King over and over again, experimenting with switching the cars on the tracks, putting them backwards, etc. Boys are all the same!
The big winner--the easiest birthday cake I've ever made. I cannot take credit for the idea; I found it on FamilyFun.com, choosing it over the front-end loader cake made from Twinkies and pound cake. I am not super crafty and intricate icing is beyond me. So, this......
...became this: a dump truck cake--dessert and present all in one.
The face of concentration!
The kids were able to help make the ingredients the day before, using the meat pounder to crush Oreos and Nutter Butters for the rocks and gravel that top the layers of chocolate cake chunks and pudding. After filling him with sugar and trolling out new cars and trucks, we put the birthday boy to nap with a bit of protest. So mean.
The day ended with a date to see Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson and friends. About four years ago, we stumbled onto this sorta Christmas musical and rediscovered Andrew Peterson, who had hit the scene with Bebo Norman and Caedmon's Call years ago. We listened to the CD while traveling at Christmas and were amazed. It is one of the most creative works of art we've experienced--musically, lyrically, artistically (there are illustrations throughout the liner pages). AP takes the big story, THE story, of rescue and redemption that culminates in the incarnation of Christ at Christmas. The show, which we first saw two years ago, is incredible. It begins with the "Friends" showcasing their own works in a singers-in-the-round format. AP opened the show with "Hosanna" from Resurrection Letters. Amazing live! Then we got to hear songs from Jill Phillips, Andy Osenga, Andy Gullahorn, Bebo Norman, and Ben Shive. Andy G. (Jill's husband) sang "Holy Flakes" about a generic cereal that starts selling once they put a picture of the Pope on it. D was almost in tears he was laughing so hard. Jill sang from her new CD, All the Good Things, and had me in tears (the CD should be under the tree for me!). The title track recounts not only the "good things" in life that God blesses her with but all the events and tragedies that shape her character and teach her about God, the truly good things. After joining in with "Hosanna" as a congregation and then hearing Jill's beautiful voice praising God for all the good things, I was a pile of mush.
After intermission, the players and singers put on an intricate show of voice and instruments. I remarked to D that I was glad I knew the lyrics of all the songs because I can get lost in watching the musicians, seeing them play, seeing what instrument they pull out next--dobro, mandolin, lap dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, accordian, steel guitar. It was so great to sit there in a row of good friends, knowing what their year has been like and to absorb the lyrics: "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away our sin," "O Hosanna! See the long awaited king come to set his people free." To have BTLG songs prefaced by the Resurrection Letters brought everything together. It's about God coming as man to die for mankind to rescue mankind.
A very, very good day.