Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Craft Time

My little craft-crazy preschooler wanted to do a Christmas Eve craft last night before dinner, so we did the "Grow Borax crystals on a snowflake-shaped pipe cleaner."  I'm pretty pleased with the results:

Jealous?  Here are the instructions.  Dissolve borax in hot water in a wide-mouth container.  Recipes I've seen on The Internet said about 3 tablespoons of Borax per cup of water, but we had trouble getting nearly that concentration.  You can dye the solution if you want colored crystals, or you can use a colored pipe cleaner, which is what we did.  We used a single pipe cleaner, cut into thirds, and twisted to the shape of approximately a snowflake, but really any shape will do as long as it can be totally submerged in your saturated borax solution.  We used a piece of thread and a popsicle stick to suspend the snowflake in the liquid and waited over night (about 16 hours).  Voilá!

Some brief research says that, while light exposure shouldn't burn your skin, you probably want to wash your hands thoroughly after you touch borax, including the crystals on your final snowflake.  Interesting, considering this project is touted as safe for kids.  I guess "well-supervised kids" are technically still kids...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Have yourself a Merry Christmas parade down Memory Ln

Last night the local ABC affiliate decided to broadcast a local Christmas parade.  The guide info said it was from 2004 (no, not a type-o) and the broadcast was scheduled for 2 hours.  I watched about 5 minutes of it, dumbfounded, and I believe I identified the reason (other than commercials) for why it took 2 hours.  All of the floats in the parade were boats and apparently anyone with a boat was welcome to be in the parade.  I still have no explanation for why a local Christmas parade was A) televised in the first place; we don't live someplace like NYC or Miami or LA where they have cool parades that other people might want to see.  What we have is an over-abundance of boat owners. And B) why said parade was rebroadcast nine years later.  Craziness!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Not part of the original story

Our church Christmas pageant was last weekend.  Nora decided to go for an alternate interpretation of the story.  She was a shepherd (1 of 2; there was also 1 shepherd herder and 2 shepherd herder herders).  Nora felt that her first task as shepherd was to collect (some might call it "stealing") as many stuffed sheep as she could.  That kept her entertained long enough for all 3 (kind of 4) angels to appear and direct the shepherd/herder/herders to where they might find the baby Jesus in the manger. Nora toddled over to the manger, looked down at her sheep, up at the baby Jesus, down at the sheep, up at the baby Jesus, dropped the sheep, and tried to take off running with the baby Jesus.  It was quite entertaining!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Waiting and seeing

We had Spina Bifida clinic last week and got some expected, but not fantastic news, that Addy has some early symptoms of tethered spinal cord.  Spina Bifida is a condition (disease? I'm not looking to make this a semantics issue.) that hits several medical specialties, which is part of why specialty clinics are so important.  Because the early symptoms of tethered spinal cord (neurosurgeon) are changes in bladder (urologist), bowel (urologist or gastroenterologist), or gross motor function/mobility (orthopedic surgeon), it is critical that your doctors can and do talk to each other.  Seeing them all on the same day, at a facility where they all have access to all lab reports, diagnostic tests, etc. that have been performed at that facility is a time and sanity saver.

So we waiting for a chance to see an MRI of the spine to be able to visualize the extent of the tethering that is going on (most, if not all, people with myelomeningocele *look* tethered on an MRI, so most neurosurgeons act based on the severity of symptoms).

In the mean time, we also had a swallow study done today to try to figure out what has been going on with eating.  The good news is that it seems to be just texture issues (still) and a wicked case of acid reflux.  So our next step is to resume feeding therapy and try to figure out what is causing the reflux.

The up side of having tests at the children's hospital the week before Christmas is the fabulous holiday activities they have!  There was live Christmas music near the food court today, so we stopped to dance for a little bit before heading back to the car.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On the first day of Christmas

I just can't bring myself to participate in "Elf on the Shelf" and I got too side-tracked to do a proper Advent calendar this year (again), but I still want to start some fun holiday traditions.  We're going to try doing 12 days of family activities leading up to Christmas this year.  Here's our list (order still to be determined):
1.  Find an "angel tree" and play Santa to someone else
2.  Read Christmas stories (titles yet to be determined)
3.  Make handprint ornaments out of salt dough
4.  Decorate handprint ornament (No, it's not cheating!  The dough has to bake and cool before you can paint it.  It really will take 2 nights.)
5.  Make cookies or Chex mix
6.  Watch a Christmas movie
7.  Drive around and check out Christmas lights
8.  Get out our Nativity set
9.  Sing Christmas songs
10.  Make Hot Cocoa
11.  Color Christmas pictures
12.  Put together a Christmas puzzle

And as long as we're on the topic of Christmas, I saw a suggestion I actually like from the deepest, darkest, most evilest, time-suckingest part of The Internet: Pinterest.  It's a fill-in-the-blank Christmas list idea.  You give your kid 4 lines to fill in.  1) I would like ___. 2) I need ___. 3) I would wear ___. 4) I would read ___.  Short, sweet, and not too gluttonous.  Hopefully we can pull it off.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dear Other Parent Shopping At Target Yesterday

You were about 20 feet away from us, but I heard your little boy ask you a question yesterday.  I'm sure you were uncomfortable--he was loud and his question probably felt kind of rude.  But over the noise of the Sunday-after-Thanksgiving shoppers, over the beeping of the barcode reader at the check-out line, and over the sound of my own kid's voice I heard your inquisitive child ask you "Why is she doing that?"

I secretly hoped he was talking about someone else, but since he was looking in our direction and pointing at my daughter, there is little doubt that he wanted to know why my 3 year old was using a wheelchair.  I didn't hear your answer, but I did hear your son's follow-up question: "You mean she can't walk at all?"

Get ready for a constructive criticism sandwich.

Bravo to you for patterning more polite behavior by using an indoor voice when responding to your child's question.  It isn't rude to have questions.  Certainly there are rude ways to ask them, but your son is young and curious.  Please don't be embarrassed.

Don't ever assume what my child can and can't do.  And don't you dare tell my child--or allow your child to tell mine--what she can't do.  It just so happens that she can walk.  She works hard--REALLY hard--at walking.  She needs the help of a walker and leg braces to do it, but she *can* walk.  It is, however, tiring and not practical most days for her to walk while shopping, which is why she uses her wheelchair.  Don't think for a second that she can't walk.  And I'll thank you to make sure your son does likewise.

Finally, thank you for answering your child's question.  Kids are curious.  They ask questions.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Answering his question means he's more likely to be accepting of different kids at school or our shopping or at the park.  And just for the record, yesterday was pretty hectic, but on most days it would be okay to ask me and my daughter about her wheelchair.  I'd much rather have you know the facts than make up some wild story about how she can't walk.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Addy's thankful list:

A warm house
Mommy and Daddy