Tag Archives: birthday

Broken finger, birthdays, art and travel

Here’s a summary of the past week:

  • Emma broke her little finger
  • Grandma Yayoe came over for a fun art afternoon
  • Duncan and Berry finished up summer camp
  • We celebrated birthdays
  • I got Duncan and Berry packed and ready for their trip to New York

You can’t say we haven’t been busy.

Afternoon art with Grandma Yayoe.

The broken pinky and afternoon art

Sweet Emma broke the pinky finger on her right hand (she’s right-handed) on Thursday morning at her mom’s house. At first, we thought it was just sprained, so when she came over in the afternoon, I manufactured a homemade splint and she got down to some serious artwork with Grandma Yayoe.

The boys couldn’t be persuaded to leave their computers, even though they are talented artists as well.

Yayoe brought over a mysterious substance from days long ago called carbon paper. I have vague recollections of the secretary at my dad’s office using carbon paper in the typewriter and of messing around with it myself. But I haven’t seen any in years. Neither had Yayoe — she found it at Goodwill.

End of summer camp

The end of summer camp week inevitably came, much to Berry’s sorrow. The kids went on a field trip to the Enchanted Forest in their tie-dye camp t-shirts and cemented their bonds with their camp counselors.

Meanwhile, I took Emma to the doctor to have her finger looked at. The swelling and pattern of bruising around her knuckle worried me. Something just didn’t feel right.

We got an appointment that morning, so I took kids to school, then Emma to the doctor. She got xrays. The pediatrician thought it was just a sprain so she got an impressive-looking professional splint (none of my Popsicle stick and gauze nonsense).

A radiologist read the xrays and called Adam later in the day. The verdict: a fracture near her knuckle in the growth plate. After a visit to an orthopedist a few days later, she ended up with a fiberglass cast for 3 weeks.

Birthday celebrations

Family dinner on the patio.

We celebrated a cluster of birthdays over the weekend – Adam’s on Saturday, Duncan’s on Sunday, Grandma Susie’s on Wednesday.

Saturday evening we hosted family dinner, enjoying BBQ chicken and various salads on the patio in the 92-degree evening. I didn’t get any good present opening pictures and the cake, while delicious, wasn’t truly impressive looking (Chocolate Mocha Torte aka Chocolate Potato Cake).

But presents were opened to the gift-receivers’ delight and Adam got the socks and underwear he’s always wanted.

Child-eating donut
A giant donut with teeth has eaten Duncan.

Sunday morning, I surprised Duncan with a trip to Voodoo Donuts for some healthy birthday breakfast. He got to choose two for him and one each for everyone else. Alas, no gluten-free donuts were to be found, but sugar makes me grumpy anyway.

Duncan opened his gifts, quite happy with his loot, almost all Minecraft- or Pokemon-related. He also asked for a Sorry! boardgame, so we had a round of that at some point, after putting together all the Minecraft papercraft boxes he also received.

Getting ready to leave

And then it was time to get the little kids ready to go to Rochester to see their for 5 weeks.

I got a bit maudlin and wrote about it on my other blog, Irrepressible Spirit.

Duncan crammed in as much time with his friends as possible — one sleepover, a birthday afternoon Minecraft spree, a trampolining play date, and a morning at another friend’s house. Berry and I hung out together, squeezing in one birthday party where she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. We were going to get in one more bike ride, but it strangely rained (unusual for summer in Eugene). And we’re not that hardcore.

I washed all the kids’ dirty clothes in order to pack them — plus a couple of stuffed animals that had become a bit stinky. And I took lots of pictures of them while they were asleep. So cute that way.

On Wednesday, we succeeded in using the kids’ coupons for a free crepe at 16 Tons, surprising Grandma Susie fortuitously with birthday cards and a present. Emma and Sam were at her house being put to work, so everyone came along.

Somehow, Duncan and Berry had never tasted Nutella before. Clearly I have failed as a mother. I made up for it with a hot chocolate to go with it. I ate salad and drank jasmine tea. Then we zipped over to the airport to surprise their Dad as he arrived.

We made final trip preparations, getting their case packed to its full 50lb weight limit with Pokemon cards and stuffed animals. And then it was time for dinner, bath and bed, our normal routine. We finished Duncan’s last Looniverse book, and crept through a little more Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, sadly leaving Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing unfinished. I popped it into his carry-on bag. We’ll see if he manages to read it by the time he returns.

early morning wakeup3:30 a.m. Thursday morning arrived and I woke up the kids, sleepily getting them dressed and fed and packed into their Dad’s car at 4 a.m. Off they went, as I waved through the living room window, the car’s taillights disappearing into the morning’s dark.

Onward

What will the remainder of the summer bring for Camp Mummy?

Well, with a cast on her right hand, bike riding and swimming are out for Emma. So I’ll have to come up with something more creative for the days she’s home with me. Hiking? Reading? Board games? Stay tuned.

Celebrations begin

It’s been a quiet week at Camp Mummy, as Duncan and Berry are at a French camp at their elementary school this week. It’s our only week of official summer camp and the summer has, essentially, been structured around it.

Last Saturday we began our summer birthday celebrations with Duncan’s birthday party. He chose a party at Splash! — a local swimming wave pool with a waterslide — partly because he thought it would be fun and partly because he wanted to invite as many friends as possible. I didn’t concede to his entire 3rd grade class of 26 or so students plus a few from the other 3rd grade class, plus a couple of other friends, but the invites did total over 20. Fortunately, I suppose, people’s schedules are as busy in the summer as the rest of the year, so not everyone could attend. We ended up with 16 or so kids, including siblings.

Waiting for the cake.

I confess, I’d been slightly dreading it. Splash! is noisy, often crowded and chlorinated. None of these, alone, make a place appealing to me and combined… Well, there’s a lot I’ll do for love.

Feeling incredibly unprepared, I managed to get the cake ready right before we had to leave, barely, remembering on the way there that I forgot to bring a knife to cut it with.

“We’ll improvise,” said Adam, calm as ever. “It may not be sterile, but we’ll figure it out. We could use a credit card, if we needed to. Or we could borrow a knife.”

Maybe I’ll just use a plastic knife, I thought, slowly rotating the cake on my lap so that the heat of the sun was spread out on the melting icing.

After we arrived and checked in, I realized I should have brought two table cloths to be able to actually cover the entire length of the tables. And beverages. Yeah, I forgot those.

But we arrived before any guests did, which was a minor miracle in itself and, as Duncan’s friends showed up, I began to relax a bit. Eventually there was a critical mass of 8- and 9-year-olds and I shooed them all into the pool to play.

I chatted with other parents, keeping a general eye on kids, then waded out into the waters myself. Berry was playing with our neighbor across the street. Duncan’s friends gathered into little groups of twos and threes and fours, splashing and playing, bobbing in the waves. Everyone was accounted for and all the lifeguards looked attentive. Phew!

I’m a person who enjoys finding adventure even in the mundane. Life can be boring and annoying, or amusing — however you choose to make it. Too often, even for me, my funny bone remains untickled, as if I have something I can hold over life if I’m grumpy about it. Generally, though, I prefer to be amused. Swimming around the pool, searching for Duncan and his friends to inform them it was 15 minutes until cake time amused me. It was an odd mix of bizarre and fun — a bit like laughing at myself for my balloon paranoia.

That done, it was time to fix the missing drink fiasco by purchasing several 32-oz cups of soda from the concession stand. They were kind enough to give me free water cups along with my $7.50 in soda. In retrospect, should have tipped them more.

Pokemon birthday cake
Cake!

And then another lap of the pool, this time swimming one-handed in order to keep my change dry. Giving it to another adult to hold, or just tucking it into my swimsuit top, would have made too much sense.

Then it was time for the birthday song (which no one could hear over the noise) and cake! Cake with really melted ice cream (I remembered the ice cream scoop). Cake cut with a thin, plastic knife from the dollar store.

None of the kids minded. They didn’t care I didn’t get the Pokeball the proper shade of red, either. It was cake. And ice cream. And soda.

Then it was present-opening time. So many Pokemon cards. So, so many. Followed by more splashing in the pool until finally, the last kid was picked up and dragged home, the car was packed and we straggled out ourselves.

We drove home, contented and worn out. It was a super birthday celebration, which is just what’s called for with a really great kid.

Sorting out his many Pokemon cards.