Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer: Days 12 - 18

Let me begin this update with an apology for being offline for so long. We lost our much-loved Paw-Paw Chuck recently; my husband's step-dad. From the day Paw-Paw and Grammy discovered he was sick with stage 4 small cell lung cancer until the day he passed was just one month. We barely had time to prepare ourselves or Spawn before he was already gone. Maybe I'll write more about that experience later, but it's too fresh and too raw for me to touch on it right now or share my thoughts, so I'd like to give it time. I'd like to be able to write about this man who meant so much to all of us the way that he deserves - without me sobbing and blubbering all over my keyboard while I try to sum up what he meant to us and how his life and death affected us. Give me time. =)

I'd like to move on with Spawn's awesomesauce-filled summer and share what we've been doing to try to keep things light for him. Thanks for indulging me and understanding if it's not ALWAYS light. =)

Day 12 (June 13): CSA Pick-up Day & a Visit to Klein's Dairy and Creamery.

Day 13 (June 14): Christmas in June - Polar Express to the Rescue! We got out Spawn's Christmas train. The really good one that Poppy Neil bought him two Christmasses ago that only comes out for Christmas. Christmas in June. You'd think I'd given him the keys to a toy store the way his eyes lit up when I told him we were getting his train out. =D

Day 14 (June 15): Backyard Rainbow & Crayola Colored Bubbles (in green). It's hard to see, but there really is a rainbow in this first picture!

Day 15 (June 16): Spawn went for a run with the dog after we heard Paw-Paw was rapidly declining and had maybe just a week or two left and that he was at home with hospice care. This ugly can I ever show her or tell her how grateful I am for what she did for Spawn that day?..The day we told him how sick Paw-Paw was and began preparing him for Paw-Paw's impending death. She was just what Spawn needed - an emotional lobotomy for a very sad little boy who couldn't even begin to wrap his head around losing his other best friend so soon after the first. (His godmother's pitbull, Hank, died just last November and he and Paw-Paw were Spawn's kindred spirits.) 

Day 16 (June 17): Storm-watching with Daddy. There was a lightning storm to the north of us over the mountains, but it was really still nice enough for us to stand outside watching (close to the house, just in case, though ;)).

Day 17 (June 18): We said good-bye to Paw-Paw just minutes before he died at home on this Saturday afternoon surrounded by his wife, children, and shrieking, playing grandchildren. We thought we were going to have a fun afternoon visit; that Paw-Paw was still awake and talking and it was just going to be a fun family day. We thought it could be several more weeks before we were going to lose Paw-Paw. 

When we arrived, we realized how bad things were. Chuck's eyes were closed and he was no longer speaking, though he smiled and responded with facial expressions to the things we said. His breathing was labored and he was restless. We'd bought Father's Day cards for Chuck in an effort to get Spawn to write the things he would have trouble saying to Paw-Paw when he needed to say his good-byes. Thank goodness we did. We said our good-byes almost as soon as we arrived. Spawn read his card to Paw-Paw and we each had a private moment to say our good-byes as well. I think he was just holding on until we arrived and I'm so grateful he did. But...this post is really not about Paw-Paw. It's about Spawn and his cousin and how the sound of their joyful playing with the hoops in the yard and learning to snap their fingers was the last thing Paw-Paw heard before he left us.

Day 18 (June 19): The day after Paw-Paw's passing was a sad one and we opted for a quiet family day at home. Spawn was under the weather with a tummy virus and just all around sad, so we didn't plan anything or do anything. We just enjoyed each others' company while we caught up on Top Gear episodes and snuggled on the couch together.

[No pictures for this day. Sorry. None of us were in the mood for photos.]

I realize even without a long explanation of our family's heartache, this turned out to be a sad update, but it's been a sad few weeks. It'll get better. It already has.

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer: Day 9, 10, and 11.

Day 9, Friday, June 10: Silly Hat and Pajama Day!

I'd planned on a jammie day for the first official calendar day of summer vacation, but Spawn came downstairs in this long spiked, mohawk hat Friday morning for breakfast and that was THAT!

Fat Nugga wanted to participate, but she doesn't have any pajamas or hats, so she tried on Daddy's sunglasses during a nap with him in the ugly chair:

Day 10, Saturday, June 11: Pixar Movie Marathon Day.

The Disney Channel was running a Pixar marathon most of the day and it was a gloomy rainy day anyway, so we took them up on it.

Day 11, Sunday, June 12: Scooby Doo! Board Game Day!

I bought these last summer at Dollar General for $5 each. I like to stock up when I see them because they make great birthday and Christmas presents at $5 a piece. And Spawn LOVES Scooby Doo AND board games! A two-fer!

I just went through the summer checklist and we are bangin' out the summer highlights here! Check back this week for more outdoor fun, crafts, and a recipe or two!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer: Day 8: Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint

I found this recipe online and I thought it was a great idea. It is - just limit yourself to one color. We got a little too ambitious (by mixing 5 colors), had a heat wave roll up on us, and really needed to get it done to take pictures before the storm hit and before we had to leave for fencing class. It made it a little less fun than I'd hoped for, but we'll be doing it again soon because it's fun when it's not 101 degrees out. ;)

Sidewalk Chalk Paint
- 1 part corn starch - The original recipe that I found called for corn flour, but the kind we can get around here is more like cornmeal than corn starch, so we stocked up on cheap corn starch.
- 1 part cold water
- food coloring, LOTS! - We used a mix of traditional and neon food colorings to get the tints and shades we wanted.
- disposable container(s) - We got ours from our awesome neighbors at Little Creek Bar B Cue. (Thanks, Kim and Rich!)

Mix everything thoroughly in a bowl with high sides using your hands - OUTSIDE. Your hands aren't just the best tool for this job - they're really the only thing that works to combine these ingredients. And corn starch can be a little bit like concrete resting on the bottom of the bowl. Dig in, pinch, grind, mix, and slop it everywhere. Doing it outside will save your floors, if not your clothes. ;) The food coloring might not seem to be mixing at first, but keep at it and it'll blend in eventually. I added probably 20 drops to get the really bright yellow, red, and green, but the blues and purples don't require as much food coloring to get a bright, pretty color. You really have to experiment with the colors to get what you want.

Then, use whatever you've got on hand to apply it to your driveway or sidewalks. We tried all sorts of things - brushes, car wash sponges, splashes, hurling clumps, slinging it with our fingers,  stamping with our hands, and dumping it straight onto the pavement. It goes on thin and wet, but dries just like chalk! It's also just fun to play with!

You will get messy, your fingers will look tie-dyed, your nails will have corn starch caked under them, but you will have fun!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer: Day 7: Newborn Fun!

What we did on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

        Sorry for the delay, guys! I was hoping to have a picture of Spawn holding our newborn friend, Pinklet, but I took the picture with my friend's camera instead of mine and she's understandably busy with her own kids now that she's home from the hospital. She'll get it to me soon and I'll share it with all of you.

We made a special trip down to the hospital on Wednesday night so Spawn could visit Stephanie and Pinklet. Steph and Spawn have a special relationship. He has soft, downy, blond hair and she likes to pet his hair. =D 

While we were there, one of the nurses brought in a breastfeeding video for Steph to watch and Spawn got all excited, "A breastfeeding video?! Awesome! Let's watch it!" The look on the nurse's face was priceless. I don't imagine she meets a lot of children who nursed so long that they actually remember nursing. Spawn weaned when he was three, so he has very fond memories of the the "Breastaurant". =D He was genuinely looking forward to watching the video. There was no time during our visit, though, so we took the time to reread "It's Not the Stork: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends" by Robie H. Harris when we got home. The book very briefly mentions nursing. It's more about babies and bodies.

This book is intended for children ages 4 and up and I would recommend reading it yourself and picking and choosing the topics to read to your kids about beforehand. Spawn's a very bright kid, but it's a lot of information all at once and some of it can make you squirm when you're just 6 or 7 and finding out for the first time where babies come from. Spawn knows their origin pretty well by now and might even be ready for the next book in this series for ages 7 and up: "It's So Amazing". 

There were a lot of raised eyebrows and curious looks when we picked this up at Barnes and Noble a few years ago because of some of the hilarious illustrations in the book like this one (at right). We had to special order it because they don't stock it on their shelves due to its "mature" content. It's written to children/for children, so it's in terms and with drawings children can understand. It has mature themes that should be discussed with mom, dad, or another trusted adult present, but no vulgar content.

There's an entire series of these books for all ages that I highly recommend. The books also touch briefly on okay touching vs. not okay touching and feature beautiful illustrations including body parts and a picture of a woman nursing twins at the same time. It is by no means an all-encompassing book, but it is thorough enough to open a conversation about bodies and where babies come from.

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer: Day 6: Summer Adventure Mysteries!

Spawn was desperately in need of a "down" day yesterday. (We all were!) We spent a quiet day at home. Walt preparing for a job interview, me catching up on laundry, and giving my sciatica a rest, and Spawn playing with Legos, his Wii and avoiding the melting heat wave outside at all costs.

A heat wave is as good as a rainy day to introduce a quiet activity as far as I'm concerned, so Spawn started reading the very first Hardy Boys mystery ever written, The Hardy Boys #1: The Tower Treasure. 

Spawn wasn't much in the mood for photos yesterday either, so my apologies for the lack of pictures. He's a moody little Russian boy!

Chriss, Cyber School Mom

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer: Day 5: A Brand New Baby Human, An Afternoon at Klein's Dairy Farm and Our First CSA Week of the Season

Yesterday was a busy, busy day here at the ranch! My new baby niece was born yesterday afternoon at 2:29 pm, 6 lbs. 15 oz., 17 1/2" long. In the way of things here at CSMD, we don't share the first names of children (ours or our friends/family), so we'll be calling this new addition "Pinklet". Why? Because she's a girl, she's still very pink-looking, and she grunts like a tiny piglet when she nurses. ;) Isn't she beautiful? Takes after her awesome mom!

Mom and Pinklet are both doing well, learning their way around each other today with a quiet family day. I'm hoping to have more pics of baby AND mom tomorrow, but all the photos I took of them together yesterday are nursing photos for the baby book - not for public sharing, at Mom's request. ;)

Before we got the call yesterday afternoon from proud, new Dad, Gerry, we were frolicking on the farm at Klein's, picking up our first bagful of CSA share goodies (early strawberries, rhubarb, red bib lettuce [don't remember the variety] and some garlic scapes) and some treats from the dairy - raw milk, vanilla-maple yogurt, and SMOOgurt (a yogurt smoothie). Next week, we're bringing home some of their cheeses because I have got to try those! Unfortunately, we didn't take pictures right away of the CSA goodies because I'd planned to take a photo at home to share with you today. Then I got the call from the hospital as we were leaving the farm, rushed home, tossed the boys out at the curb and sped down to the hospital. By the time I got home, the berries, raw milk and SMOOgurt were half gone, everything was put away and I was beat. Then we ate all the berries and most of the SMOOgurt for dessert and I'm resigned to just snapping a photo of our CSA bounty next week instead. Yesterday beat me to my knees. I admit it!

Before the call and all the freak-out-rushing-around, we had a little walk around to visit the animals on the farm. We'd planned to stay and play a little, but someone had other plans for the day and they got bumped to the top of the list. ;)

THIS is what greeted us upon arrival at the farm. =O He was shakin' and struttin' and he intimidated Spawn into running away from him!

Also there to greet us, ducks:

More peacocks and peahens:

A baby rooster: 

Sheep and goats (at least, I think that's what these are - hard to tell without the "fluff"!):



Spawn, trying to make friends with The Intimidator:

Playing on the playground behind the barn and farm store: 

His favorite part was the corn pool. Dried feed corn and toy tractors make a little boy's heart go pitty-pat! I wish we'd had more time, but we were getting a call about a new baby about then and had to book it. More next week! I think we'll pack a picnic next time and make an entire afternoon of it.

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer: Day 4: Cousin A's 3rd Birthday Party!

I apologize in advance for the brevity of today's post - I'm a little distracted at the moment. My BFF is waiting to be wheeled into the OR to deliver her 2nd baby right now. =D

Yesterday, we spent the day at my-laws' house in the Poconos, celebrating Spawn's younger cousin A's 3rd birthday. He's not totally into opening gifts yet, but he had NO problem blowing that candle out! Since Cousin A is so young, there were no games or anything during the party, just lots of car and truck play with the contents of the toy bin from the shed in the backyard. It's a good thing we left so many of Spawn's old toys up there!

Note, everyone gobbling up their cake and ice cream and Spawn is the oldest child by several years.

Now, note Spawn is the only one STILL NOT FINISHED with his cake and eating by himself. You'd think there were onions on that plate, not cake!

Cousin A and his mom, KC, loved his new Crayola Sound Studio and Toy Story Expansion Pack! And the homemade wrapping paper was a huge hit!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer: Day 3: Cookie Cutter Hand-stamped, Personalized Wrapping Paper

Spawn's youngest cousin's 3rd birthday party is today and we NEVER buy birthday-themed wrapping paper. Being homeschoolers, we don't get 30 party invites every year. (Thank goodness!) We attend just a few parties for cousins and best friends and that suits us fine! =D  So I always keep some brown and white craft paper on hand so we can make our own paper or I buy deeply discounted gift wrap, turn it inside-out, and stamp or draw on the back side to make DIY birthday wrapping paper. ;) Kids parties can be really spendy if you're not careful! $20 for a gift, $6 - 8, for gift wrap, $3 for a ribbon or a bow, and $5 for a card adds up fast! That's at least $35 per party!

This time, we opted to re-gift a gift that Spawn received for Christmas this past year from a well-meaning family member who frequently forgets that he doesn't care for coloring books. Thankfully, being my mother, she doesn't take offense when we make gifts of these items for other family members. ;) She also works for Crayola and gets a hefty employee discount, so it's not particularly pinching to her wallet or ours to give it to someone who will ultimately enjoy it.

Now, all things considered, I wouldn't use the plain white craft paper for a child any older than age 3 because it is a bit see-through, but my 3 year old nephew isn't likely to notice or care at his age. ;)

My apologies for the dark photos. Indoor crafts on cloudy days in a yellow family room  that has only one window make for some interesting photography challenges. :P

Cookie Cutter Hand-stamped, Personalized Wrapping Paper
What You'll Need:
a gift to wrap
scotch tape
plain paper of some kind, large enough to cover the gift
acrylic paint
glitter markers
paper plates
plastic cookie cutters
paper towels
smocks or old clothes to wear
endless wells of patience ;D

Where to Begin:
You may want to lay out some newspapers or an old tablecloth to cover your workspace. We did this on Spawn's school table in our family room and the acrylics are water-soluble, so I wasn't worried about the surface of the table. The acrylic wiped right off. 

We began yesterday afternoon by wrapping both gifts BEFORE stamping the paper. It's so much easier and less wasteful to stamp the front of a pre-wrapped gift than to stamp the paper, find somewhere to lay it out to dry flat, and keep kids and cats from smearing it or dragging it across floors and furniture. ;) My craft paper came from Michael's and had these weird ridges like corduroy across it, so I turned it inside-out to get the flattest surface possible. It worked great! We had two gifts to wrap: a Color Wonder Sound Studio and a Toy Story Expansion Pack for the Sound Studio. Two great gifts, one low (nonexistent) price! =D

Let me begin by saying - we did not have the exact colors Spawn wanted to use. I wanted to use the basic 3 primary colors we had plenty of because it's a gift for a toddler, but Spawn wanted to use black and white. Then, he wanted to use secondary colors. Then, he wanted to use cool colors. get the idea. ;) We finally settled on mixing our own sky blue, leaf green, and plum colors. Take my advice, don't skimp on the paint or you won't have a deep enough well to dip the cookie cutters into!

For the design, we chose a "3" cookie cutter for obvious reasons ;), a star because it's a party, a train because my nephew and Spawn love to play with Thomas trains together, and a plane because my nephew loves planes and things that GO!

You'll notice the cookie cutters are sitting on a little strip of paper towel to be used for blotting excess paint between color changes. I underestimated the amount of wiping I'd need to do to keep from mixing the colors up too much. So take my advice and keep a few extra paper towels on hand. ;)

Spawn was chomping at the bit, so I showed him how and what to do and set him loose! He worked so carefully, so diligently that the only really bad smudge...was caused by my own big fat arm getting in the way! Ugh. I was upset with myself, but, let me tell you, it was nothing compared to Spawn's "disappointed in you" face. ::sigh:: Clumsy, fat-fingered mothers are the bane of your existence when you're 8 and a tidy little neatnick. :P

 After Spawn had thoroughly stamped every available area on the front surface of both gifts, we decided it need a little blingy embellishment. Spawn was NOT willing under any circumstances to risk smudging his paint or getting it on himself, so I lent a steady hand for this part and added the bling where and how Spawn instructed me. These are the times that test my resolve to be a good mother. ;) I deserve sainthood, I'm telling you! I did further smudge the paper, but Spawn doesn't know it and I didn't own up to it, so there's a tenuous peace for the time being. ;) I think these last few photos say it all. ;)

The very last thing we did this morning (when everything was dry) was to polish the gift off with a repurposed Christmas ribbon. I buy a bunch of wired ribbon every few years for Christmas/Solstice gifts and we reuse and reuse and reuse them until they're falling apart and ready to be recycled into other projects or composted (sans wire). We chose one that had some similar colors to the gift from our stash of leftover ribbons and tied a nice big, fancy bow on top to keep the two gifts together. We'll stuff them into a Crayola Factory Store reusable grocery bag (courtesy of Grandma!) as a gift bag and it'll keep the bow from getting mangled on the ride up to the Poconos this afternoon. ;)

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with like-minded friends on facebook or pin it on Pinterest to save this craft idea for your next kids party and help us spread the word about Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer!

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

If you're interested in reading the preceding summer project posts that we've already completed, you can always search the tag cloud in the lower right sidebar for "Spawn’s Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer," or click here to go straight to the search results: Spawn's Supermegatotally Thrilladelic Not Bummer Summer
Related Posts with Thumbnails