Friday, February 20, 2015

International Pen Pal/Box Swap*Bringing the Beauty of Our Worlds Cultures To Avacake

Hello friends!  I am so excited to write this post and I really hope that it brings with it some success!  Today Avagrace and I had very limited schooling but the schooling that we did do inspired something that I think is going to be amazing.  You see she had a very difficult day with seizures and some other health concerns that I will talk about at another time.  It is still a bit much to take in but after consulting with her "team" of doctors both here and in Texas who were all speaking and emailing one another which is why I call them a team, they truly are phenomenal and the biggest blessing that we have being in Oklahoma, we finally were able to hammer out a plan and a back up plan that everyone was comfortable with.  These plans were being discussed from 10am until literally 8:30pm, well after office hours.  Our doctors are true gems!  But enough of that, this is a fun, light, airy blog today :-) and I hope that my excitement spreads!

So in between seizures and sleep I decided that I would make the most of the awake time that I had with Avagrace today by accomplishing some school but making it fun.  This is always my goal but some subjects are much easier for me to make fun than others. (cough math cough....).  Sociology and Cultural Studies, now that is GOLD for mama to dive in to and spend great lengths of time teaching.  My kids have always loved to learn about children in other countries.  We had a series of DVDs before the fire that featured a country and then several different children from across the county would tell us what a typical day was like in their life and location.  My kids loved them and so did I.  I cannot remember for the life of me who made those DVD's or where I got them, but they were treasured!  Can you guess what the first country was that I purchased?  If you can leave a comment.  I will tell you at the end of the post so no cheating/peeking :-)

Today we talked a lot about Japan.  At one point we had orders to move to Japan and we were so ecstatic!  But at the last minute the plug was pulled and we were told that we could not move because of the seizures.  It was obviously a total God thing that they cancelled our orders because just a few short months after we would have moved is when Avagrace's conditions went from being something that we could live with, with very little intervention-to her being in the hospital for months not knowing if she was going to come back home.

Anyway, I have been learning more and more about some of the Asian countries on my own (all sparked from my interest in their amazing beauty products!) and so I thought it would be fun to share with her some of the things that I have been learning. Then we could look up on my computer what kids are in to and how their school system works etc.  After watching a few videos on YouTube we were hooked.  Avagrace was so excited.  She fell in love with their current squishy fad.  If you follow her Facebook page then you may remember her bag that she carried with her to every appointment.  In it there was a heart shaped stress ball "squishy" that she used when getting blood work or going through tests that she wasn't fond of.  She also used it for therapy purposes after certain types of seizures.  When she saw that there are a plethora of squishy's including but not limited to cupcakes and characters she was so excited.  On top of that some of her very favorite movies are made by Studio Ghibli and Disney (like her very favorite Ponyo).

Then she saw some kids sharing their favorite candies and foods and if you know Avagrace you know that she not only loves to eat food, watch cooking shows, but she also loves to cook.  Before the fire we had so many different types of "Baby Cakes" type machines that were safer for her to use to cook than a stove top that she could fall on if she started to seize.  Even my super mom reflexes are not enough to make me comfortable enough to allow her to cook on a gas stove.  When we move back home and have the electric stove we will start cooking together again, but with an open flame I didn't want to risk anything.

So Avagrace said to me that she wanted to try candy's, treats, and good for you snacks from "all of the countries."  She then added, wouldn't it be so much fun to get a box with those things and some small toys and sometimes "fashion" from "all of the countries?"  Her whole face just lit up when she was telling me her idea.  She immediately thought of Breya and how much she loves Paris and all things fashion.  "Maybe Breya could get a shirt or dress from Paris...or something with Paris words on it."  :-)   We looked up a few sites that offer international subscription boxes.  And we found some sites that sell things like the "squishies."  But the more I looked the more I thought about her idea.  She really wanted to have an experience and a connection.  And all of the options that I was finding were just...what is the word...generic?  UnAuthentic?  Disingenuous?  They seemed to be lacking the heart and soul of the childhood experience just as much as the authenticity of choices made by locals.

SO, here is my hope.  (If you don't have kids I have an option for you too if you want to participate) My hope is that we can meet some friends from across the globe that want to participate in a box swap.  We will set up the specifics together but basically we will be sending a box of our favorite "All-American" treats, from edibles to play things, stickers and bobbles and if you have anything you want we can arrange that too (within reason of course).  Even if you have a "taste" that is unusual/acquired or a "dare you to eat this" thing like America's current obsession with bacon everything.  The point is to make it fun, educational, and personal.  So the MOST IMPORTANT PART is to include a single post card or a picture or two of the places in your area or even famous landmarks (they do not have to be famous it can simply be a picture of a park, the front of your school, a little shop, your favorite restaurant, the sky is the limit...well maybe not the sky (unless it is the Northern Lights or something unique like that lol).  Then write a little note about the post cards or your day or what your have included.  Just to make it personal.

Edited to say this..."I just went back to check on Avagrace and on her bed table she has a "life list" that we started when she was placed on Hospice care last year.  It has only a handful of items on it as she is not a child to ask for things.  Even when it is time for her birthday we have to pry out of her what she would like, several of my children are like this but she is definitely the child who is the least me-focused.  Anyway, on her little list of dreams that I fervently want to help her accomplish as soon as possible, she added "boxes shareing with new friends in all of the countrees" except there wasn't an "o" in countries but it looked to vulgar to write and I didn't want to get flagged lol.  and now back to your regularly written blog post....

We will then FILM our unboxing and if you want we can do a second filming of the tasting of certain treats.  We will share them on our YouTube channel and we will only say your name if you tell us too.  It would be great to see you or your kids unboxing your United States/Oklahoma edition boxes from us too but you do not need to feel obligated to do that.  This is meant to be fun and pressure free.

I have several military friends that are stationed overseas and I can only imagine the things that you miss.  Hint Hint Hint :-)

So what if you are reading this and do not have kids but are just as excited as I am?  You are MORE THAN WELCOME to participate too!!  Everyone has had a childhood and everyone still has a different degree of being a kid at heart.  You can either participate by box swapping or by preparing a box and we will pay for it (of course the goal is to be as thrifty as possible as we are on a tight budget, but all of this will be sorted out before hand).

So what do you say?  Who wants to participate in a International Box Swap?  Please send me a message on our Facebook page and we can get this party started!!  :-)

Also, the first country was my beloved Finland!  Have I mentioned that I had the fantastic blessing of being an exchange student when I was in High School, thanks to my amazing single mother?  I was able to live with one of the sweetest families ever and meet some of the greatest people that I have ever known.  I learned about a country that I think the world would gain much by adopting some of their practices and I dream of the day that I will be able to take my family there for an extended amount of time.  I still keep in touch with my friends in Finland thanks to Facebook and if I could be a dual citizen I would in a heart beat!    *One interesting fact, you may know that Nokia is from Finland but did you know that Finland is the country that the EmFit monitor was invented?  That is the monitor that is on Avagrace's bed that alerts us of seizures!  See, Finland is Awesome in countless ways!

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