Tag - Birthdays

Happy Birthday, Bip!
Lego Star Wars Birthday – The Party
Lego Star Wars Birthday – The Plan
Birthday Bip
A Gift
A Six Boy
About Today

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!






Quiet at times, boisterous at others.

Loves a good book.

Hovering in the brief moment between being a young girl and being a young woman.

Creative.  Loving.  Sensitive.

This is my Pumpkin Girl and now she is twelve.


Two years ago today, Pipsqueak was born at home.

It was a long time coming, a homebirth. I have a history of quick and pretty easy labors. I can’t stand hospitals. Nobody likes them, though, do they? But I really, really can’t stand them. Especially for giving birth. I was reading somebody’s blog the other day. She’d just given birth and showed a picture of a sign in her room. “Babies are weighed between 2am and 7 am.” Seriously? Like, someone is going to come in during the time that both mother and baby should be getting some much needed rest – just to weigh the baby? . I tend to ignore lame rules. Reason number one right there for having a homebirth.

OK, so questionable hospital policies and previous quick labors were in my top 5 reasons for choosing to birth at home. Here in Colorado we have laws dictating exactly who can give birth at home. Your health history, including prior births, current health, position of baby, number of babies (singleton vs multiples), health of the baby – all factor in. I got a green light in all of them.

I wasn’t scared that something would go wrong. Well, just a little. Not scared that something would go wrong because I was at home, but because sometimes things happen no matter where you are. But I was mostly scared that I couldn’t deal with the pain. I’d had 3 unmedicated births before Pipsqueak, but each time the safety net of the epidural was right there. Any time I needed to I could get some relief. My midwife was really great, though. Not only did she address all my “what if this happens” questions, she also helped me through my lack of confidence in myself. When she told me that she had never transferred a mom to the hospital because of pain, I knew with her help I could do it.

And I did.

It was truly the best birth experience I’d ever had. I was in my own bedroom most of the time. I was encouraged to eat whenever I needed to and in fact I had some of the gingerbread that my mom and Pumpkin Girl had made for dessert. Several times an hour someone was putting my water bottle in my hand and having me drink. My children were in and out of my room whenever they needed to touch base with me. I got a full night’s sleep in my own comfy bed. When my contractions finally got started I had a team of midwives supporting me. They frequently reminded me, “This is all about you.” Never in my entire life has something been completely about me. Whatever I wanted to do, go, or say was fine. It was all about making things as easy for me as possible, while keeping both me and baby healthy.

I labored a bit in my bathtub. Then I leaned on Phil and did the labor waltz, my arms around his neck, his hands at my waist. I got tired – weary – of that, so I laid down. I got sleepy and my midwife nodded sagely, knowing that this urge to sleep sets in right before the pushing is about to happen.

Pumpkin Girl came in to my room to witness her brother’s entrance into the world. She sat quietly on a chair and was one of the first people ever to see him. The boys and my mom were waiting not too patiently in the hallway and as soon as I was ready, Pumpkin Girl let them in. Within minutes of his birth, Pipsqueak was surrounded by the very people who love him the most.

Within the hour Boo was holding Pipsqueak and reading fairy tales to him while Pumpkin held the book up. My mom made me Polish sausage and eggs for breakfast. When everything was cleaned up and packed away, my midwife and her team left. She returned the next morning and again two days later. I was confined to the upstairs of my house to recover and it was wonderful and restful. It was the easiest recovery I’ve had.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Little Pipsqueak!  We are glad you are here.

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.

A Gift

Eight years ago we received a gift – baby number 3, a little girl.

My mother flew all the way to Korea to be with us and help with the older children when I went to the hospital.  When she received the call that the baby had arrived and we were both doing well, she headed up to tell Boo and Pumpkin Girl about their new sibling.

Pumpkin Girl, with her not-quite-three year old, bossy self stood at the stop of the stair case and demanded, “So, what came out of my mama’s belly?”

My mother replied, “A little girl.  And they named her Rebecca.”

To which five year old Boo wailed, “Oooohh!  I wanted to name her Rosie!!”

For a long time we called her Rebecca Maria Rosie Banana.  The “banana” came later and is a story for another time.

Today we celebrate her with love and happiness.  It was truly a blessing to have loved and been loved by her.

About Today

What if you had a blog contest and no one entered? I’m laughing over this, actually! It’s a good thing that the free game was free for me, too.

So now Delta Dawn and I have one thing in common. When I was really little, and I mean really little, that was my favorite song. I used to think that 41 was terribly old. Now, not so much.

I try to have low expectations for my birthday. That way, I’m not too disappointed. Gee, could I be more of an Eeyore? Though a popped balloon and an empty hunny pot would look good in comparison with what I’ve got in store today.

Oh yeah, baby – today I get to sit through an hour of mandatory religious education parents meeting. With a baby. Booyah! We have to do this twice a year. I don’t know why. The first meeting of the year I can understand. Lots of new information, we’ve got to be volunteered to sit in on each of our children’s classes, we get leaned on to provide stuff for the silent auction fund raiser.

But the second meeting? I don’t know. Last year the meeting started with an announcement that the bishop still had not made a decision about changing the age for Confirmation. Then a show of hands as to how many of us had children in the Confirmation class. Nobody. So then we proceeded to discuss the moving of the Confirmation age. For thirty minutes.It was painful. I don’t know what was discussed for the next 30 minutes because at that point I was hugging my knees, rocking back and forth in the corner, humming “Delta Dawn”. At least in my head.

I could probably get out of today’s meeting by just dropping the kids off in the parking lot like usual – buh bye!- then driving away. I can avoid the RE coordinator person who is standing outside the building rounding up parents for the meeting. But I’m such a rule follower that I’ll park the car properly and drag little Pipsqueak to this meeting.

Do you think I’ll earn time out of Purgatory for this? Probably only if I stop complaining about it!

But it is my birthday and that’s a Good Thing! There’s a couple of presents sitting on the table and the children made me cards. Surely that outweighs one lousy meeting!

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