Tag - Bip

Summer Projects with Bip
Happy Birthday, Bip!
First Communion, Bip’s Turn
Bip’s First Communion Banner
Teaching Bip to Read
Lego Star Wars Birthday – The Party
Lego Star Wars Birthday – The Plan
Birthday Bip

Summer Projects with Bip

According to my summer plan, I had three weeks set aside to work on projects with Bip.  My plan was more of a guideline so I wouldn’t waste away too much of my summer.  You know how it goes, though.  Things come up and plans get pushed aside. Still, I did manage to do quite a number of things with Bip.  He loves to spend time with me and do craft type stuff.  And build Legos.

We’ve been working on the Death Star for ages.  He’s pretty amazing.  The set is recommended for ages 14 and up, but Bip does most of it himself.  Sometimes he needs a little help with the tinier pieces, but mostly my job is to look ahead and locate the blocks for the upcoming stages while he builds.

Bip Death STar 2

We also did some sand art.


Bip Sand Art 2


Let me tell you a little about the sand art.  Last summer I found a few craft kits while cleaning out the basement.  I thought they might be something that Bip and I could do together.  He was really excited to see them and wanted to get started right away.  It was June 26 and it was hot and dry and the Waldo Canyon fire was raging.  It wasn’t a good time to play outdoors at all.  So I crafted with Bip.  Later that day we evacuated when the fire entered the city and in the urgency to leave, Bip’s sand art projects were left behind.  It wasn’t even a deliberate decision.  They were just left sitting on the table, waiting to show his daddy when he got home from work.  For some reason, those little art projects tugged at my heart as much as the other things that were left.  I’m sentimental that way.  But there they were when we returned a few days later.  I was glad to see them.  And we’d had so much fun that day, before everything went wrong, that I searched high and low and found him another set for Christmas.

So back to this summer…

We also started building a paper R2D2 model that is way harder than it looks.
Bip R2D2

We didn’t get a ton of stuff done, but we had several afternoons with just the two of us spending time together.  Time I will always treasure.

Happy Birthday, Bip!

Ah, my little Bip.


He doesn’t get much air time on the blog, being neither the oldest nor the youngest boy.  But he is no less important to me.  He is so naturally funny, wonderfully loving,and affectionate. He is the first one in our family, to include me and Philip, to be scientifically minded.  He loves all things science and can remember what he learns in school with surprising accuracy.

He likes to play soccer and he even has taken up tap dancing!  A renaissance man in the making, I say!
BipGoalie(His first time playing goalie was the longest 20 minutes of my life!)

He was born at a time when our hearts were still in pieces over the loss of his big sister and we loved him even more for the joy that he brought us.


He turned 8 years old on Saturday.  He started the day with Pumpkin Girl helping him read his cards before they both headed off to their dance classes.


We had his traditional lunch at IHOP (free for joining their birthday club!) and then Philip took Bip and his best buddy to play miniature golf.


I love that he has a best friend.  They have known each other since they were babies, when we were stationed together in DC.  They were born just a few weeks apart, too.  And now his friend’s family has retired from the Air Force and has moved here with us.

Home again for his favorite dinner (Burgundy beef tips), cake and presents.


When you’re 8, it doesn’t get much better than Pokemon games and Nerf guns.


Happy Birthday,  Bip!

First Communion, Bip’s Turn

Last month it was Bip’s turn to receive his First Holy Communion. Our sweet, funny little guy was a bit nervous and excited – just like his mama!  He seems so much smaller than Boo was at his first communion, but Bip wore Boo’s old suit, so apparently they are the same size.

He didn’t really want to wear a suit at all.  But after much glaring and threatening…er, sympathetic nods and patient understanding…he agreed.  He felt better when he saw that some of the other boys in his class wore suits, too.


It was Pentecost Sunday, so the church was still bedecked in red from Confirmation two days before.  Funny enough, I made my first communion on Pentecost, too, all those years ago.BipAndFatherCommunion

Here we are at the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto at our church. Let us focus on how nice we all look, and not on the fact that Pumpkin is taller than me.


Bip’s First Communion Banner

Now, before I tell you about Bip’s First Communion, I should show you his First Communion Banner.

We showed Bip many examples of banners from all over the internet.  He chose the elements he liked best, those things that he felt most expressed his faith.

Now here’s a little story of how God takes care of all the little details.  Bip’s banner is significantly smaller than Boo’s and Pumpkin Girl’s, due to the fact that at our current church the banners are hung from the side of the pews instead on the walls.  That means that the big bucket o’ foam letters that we have were too big to fit Bip’s real, very long first name onto the banner.  So when I went to the craft store for the felt, I was also keeping my eye out for something, anything, that I could use for his name that wouldn’t require me to cut out 8 teeny, tiny letters.  And whatever it was would preferably be green, Bip’s favorite color.  And I found one lone package of pre-cut (!), one inch (!!), felt letters in green(!!!).  Not one other package of those letters were left on the shelf.  I think I actually said, “Thank you, God!” aloud, right there in the store.  It was Hobby Lobby though, so if anyone had heard me I probably would have gotten an “amen”!

Ok, where were we?  Oh yes, making the banner.

So I drew the figures that Bip wanted onto the felt and cut them out.  He glued them down.


And here it is!BipBanner2

Teaching Bip to Read

Just when I think I’ve got this parenting thing down, somebody goes and proves me wrong.

This time it was Bip.

I started teaching Big Brother Boo to read when he was about six years old. He wasn’t too enthusiastic about the process, being a young boy who would rather run around like a crazy person. But we both stuck to it and he learned to read. My torture of choice was Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, known as 100EZ in the homeschool circles. I liked it for the cheesy title.

At about the same time, four year old Pumpkin Girl insisted she wanted to learn to read, too.

“Ok, ok,” I told her. “Later. When you’re older.”

But she would not be ignored and one day she told me again,”Teach me to read.” And the she dropped that heavy 100EZ book on my lap. Have you seen that book? Almost 400 pages thick!

When I recovered, I let her learn to read. Next thing I knew, girl friend was reading at a second grade level. I don’t think I finished the book with either child. They just didn’t need to since they were both strong readers.

So the years passed and now  it was time to teach Bip to read. Out came Ol’ Reliable, 100EZ. I can’t say for sure when the tears started. Lesson 1, maybe? With 99 more lessons looming ahead of us. From day to day, Bip couldn’t seem to remember which sounds the letters make. Ten lessons into it, we quit.

He’s just not ready, I told myself. Boys are often late readers. Yeah, that’s it.

Several months later, we started all over again. It was only slighter easier. Day after day we trudged on, often repeating lessons. Bip was in serious danger of learning to hate reading. I finally shelved 100EZ permanently. I got out some Catholic readers, circa 1950. Bip struggled some, but got through them. We got out the Bob Books, too and he really liked those. Next in line were the Sonlight readers. Then I found a Dick and Jane anthology and Bip sat down and read story after story aloud. He was reading!

Over this past summer we all caught Bip reading various things. Labels, signs, that kind of thing.

“I thought you said you can’t read,” we’d say.
“I can’t,” he’d reply.

Until one day I turned the question around and said, “You can read, can’t you?”
” Yes,” he admitted. Aha!

So now Bip is reading. He is still working his way through the Dick and Jane book. He really enjoys those, as well as the Catholic readers which are very similar in content and illustrations. He reads more and more outside of the context of school.

I really don’t know how it happened or where I go next with him. I like a well laid out plan, 100 easy lessons all bound in one book. I do have a stack of readers that I’ll just let him work through and I’ll teach him phonics rules as they come up. Bip’s not the only one learning here. I’m being challenged by him in many unexpected ways.

But I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Lego Star Wars Birthday – The Party

The day of the party arrived! Jedi robes hung near the door and lightsabers were ready. We played the Star Wars Main Theme as the guests arrived and donned their robes. They gathered in the living room until everyone arrived. I gave a short briefing on the upcoming Jedi Training Academy and introduced their Jedi Masters, Obi Boo Kenobi and Pumpkin Secura.

First up, the Jedi Reaction Course. A Jedi must be quick witted and physically fit, ready face any obstacle or climate. First, they raced across the lava of Mustafar. I used a cheap, vinyl tablecloth with peices of cardboard taped on it.

Bip negotiates the lava of Mustafar while Master Pumpkin Secura looks on. Ignore my dead backyard. We’re having a drought.

The next challenge was to enter the Cloud City by way of the ladder, then slide to safety. Here they met Obi Boo at the Death Star and shot the three Storm Troopers with a Nerf gun.

Obi-Boo prepares to help a young Padawan shoot the Storm Troopers. Please to be noting how lush the lawn looks here. (Note: the Storm Trooper pictures were supposed to be hanging down from our deck, but it was too windy that day. We attached them to the back of a bench instead. Typical. No wind for days. DAYS! Then it decided to gust for the party.)

Setting the gun down, they moved on to Hoth where they mounted their TaunTaun. They navigated through a series of cones to reach safety before the rebel base closed its doors for the night.

Each young Padawn went through the course once on their own, then we let them go again and again until they were worn out. Then we had a water break. Background music: Tie Fighter Battle from Episode IV.

Basic Lightsaber Training was an exercise in spontaneity. For me, that is! The idea was to keep balloons off the ground with their lightsabers. Once they’d mastered that, or got bored, they would bat the balloons back and forth with a buddy. Then we’d have a relay race, keeping the balloons off the ground and passing it to a team mate. What really happened was that the wind got involved and blew the balloons everywhere, like into the creek and the neighbors’ yards. It was actually pretty hysterical. At some point we ditched the plan and just whacked those balloons until they either blew off or popped. (No pictures for this as my photographer went to the Dark Side.)

Advanced Lightsaber Training was all about combat training. Obi Boo and Pumpkin Secura taught basic dueling moves and then Padawans practiced on Pumpkin.

Suddenly a disturbance was felt in the Force (music: The Imperial March) and who should arrive but Darth Phil! Each young Padawan had the opportunity use his skill to battle Darth Phil multiple times. The Jedi Masters called out each move in sequence to help them remember. Have you seen the Jedi Training Academy at Disneyland or WDW? It was just like that. Finally Darth Phil was defeated and left to plot evil for another day.

Next was Safe Handling of Thermal Detonators. Just your basic hot potato game using a funny ball. The music for this was the Cantina Song from Episode IV.

To wrap things up the Padawans were given a “final exam”. We played Bingo using the cards I downloaded for free here: Lego Star Wars Bingo.

After food, gifts and cupcakes we finished with a graduation ceremony. Obi-Boo and Pumpkin Secura lined up the Padawans and marched them up to the deck, once around the fire pit, then had them line up. They formed an arch with their lightsabers for the new Jedi Knights pass under as their name was called. We used “the Throne Room” from Episode IV for the music.

As the Jedi Knights got their goody bags and left for their home galaxies we played the End Title in the background.

And there you have it! Much fun was had by all.

And in case you missed it, see how I planned this whole party here: Lego Star Wars Birthday – The Plan.

PS. Sorry about the inconsistent photo editing. I’m still trying to figure which look I like best and I edited these pictures on different days.

Lego Star Wars Birthday – The Plan

In a fit of maternal generosity, I agree to let Bip have his very first friend birthday party.

Have I told you I’m an introvert? And though I like people and love my kids, they just plain wear me out? Alas, Bip finally has friends of his own and he asked for a party. I couldn’t say no. I wanted to. But I didn’t.

He requested a Lego Star Wars theme.

I’d love to be one of those moms who can create a super cool themed party with coordinating everything and homemade food and cakes and all that. As I scoured the Internet looking for party ideas, I became increasingly intimidated and discouraged. Plus, everything looked so expensive! So I got a grip on the reality of what *I* am capable of doing and played to my strengths. I like Star Wars. I like to craft. I like to do graphic design stuff. And I’m a bit of a goofball. (But you knew that last part, right?)

So here’s how I got it done.

I bought this invitation here: Princess and the Peas

Yes, I could have done this myself, but by the time I remembered I needed to create, print and send the invites out, I was out of time.  (Get it cheaper by starting extra early and creating the invite yourself.  Even cheaper if you print them at home.)

I made these light sabers out of fun noodles. Fun noodles!

There are instructions all over the Internet, but I’ll tell you how to do them right now. Buy fun noodles. Cut them in half with a serrated knife (measure first!!). Use silver, not grey, duct tape to make a handle. Use electrical tape to embellish. Three things to note. 1)cover the bottom of the handle first because it doesn’t turn out very neatly and then you can cover that bit up when you start wrapping the handle. 2)Buy the silver duct tape at WalMart. Look in the craft section. 3)Use electrical tape for the black because duct tape is really hard to cut into the small pieces you need. (Cost: Fun noodles $2 each, they yield 2 sabers.  Electrical tap $3. Duct tape $5.  Total: $10 to make 4)

I’m not generally a fan of party favors, so if we’re going to give them out I want them to be worth while. I made the toppers myself, added a sheet of stickers, a Star Wars Pez, and a Lego Star Wars bottle cap key chain that I made myself.

(Cost: Pez $2 each.  Stickers $1.50 for 4 sheets.  Cellophane treat bags $2.50 for a pack. Bag toppers I printed at home on card stock. I had the keychain supplies already because we’re going to be selling them in our shop.  But small kits are available all over the place and finished ones are available on Etsy.)

For games we went through a Jedi Training Academy. We had an obstacle course, basic light saber training, advanced light saber training, safe thermal detonator handling and a final exam. More on those in another post. (Cost for a vinyl table cloth as part of the obstacle course $2.  I used things we already had for the rest of the games.)

I’ve seen a lot of clever ideas for food – Yoda Soda, Han Burgers, Wookie Cookies, bottles of water spray painted gold like C3PO. And the cakes, oh the cakes! A three dimensional R2 D2. Multi-layer cakes with fondant Lego figures. Very impressive. But yeah, not going to happen here. We ordered pizza, had water and Capri Suns, and bought cupcakes from the store. Half of them had stars on them. For the other half, I made toppers out of toothpicks, leftover stickers and card stock. Sounds way more like MacGiver than it was, but the boys really liked them.  (Cost: Cupcakes $10, plus pizza and drinks.Get it cheaper by making your own cupcakes. I don’t include the drinks in the cost because we buy Capri Suns in bulk at Sam’s Club and just pulled from our stash.  Also, pizza’s vary by brand and toppings, so I don’t include the price.)

Bip’s cupcake was topped with a Darth Vader holding a red candle as his Lightsaber. Also a big hit. And you know what? We had very little left-over food and I didn’t send the boys home all revved up on sugar.

To set the mood we played various songs from the Star Wars soundtrack. Different activities had different songs. I had an index card that told which song (and track number) went with which game and I kept it with the CD player. (Cost: $.99 for each track.  We only needed to buy one more, since we already had several from our Star Wars Halloween.Get it cheaper by asking friends if they already have the music and then borrow their iPod.)

And finally, for graduation, I made these Jedi Training Certificates using Photoshop and the Force. I had them printed as 5x7s and I wrote the boys’ names in the yellow box with a black sharpie.

(Cost: $21 as part of all the printing I had done for the party.  Get it cheaper by printing them yourself.)

Total cost for the party, not including pizza and drinks $40.50 and I could have taken that down by half by just doing more of the printing myself.

Next time I’ll show you how the whole party played out.  No surprise, it was a HUGE hit!

Birthday Bip

Our funny man Bip turned 7 last Friday. Seven. Wow. Where did that time go?

We took him to IHOP, his favorite restaurant, for his free birthday meal.

Just for fun, here’s Boo with his Monster Cheeseburger, made with real monsters. He’s taller than me now.

It turns out that since we were there on his actual birthday, Bip got a free sundae, too! We were already paying our bill when we found this out, so they packed it up in a kids’ drink cup for him. Thanks, IHOP!!

And Happy 7th Birthday, Bip! You bring us joy every day.

Copyright © 2014. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.