Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weird Science: Jack turns 7!

Can you believe Jack is SEVEN!?! Wow, that has gone by fast!
He had a really special birthday that included having his cousin, Sam, over for a sleep-over. They had so much fun together. It's nice that they're old enough to do stuff like that, since they don't get to spend as much time together as they'd like. We started out the day with a the birthday gifts. Jack got spoiled. He loved every second! His friend party was at 10 am, so we went from that to frantic party-prep.
We started out the friend party with a little monster-making. The kids all made monster puppets with paper bags, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and markers. They loved all the dry ice! The also really enjoyed some homemade "lava lamps". Those were just water bottles with 1/4 water and 3/4 oil. We let each kid choose their color and added 3 drops of color. Then we dropped in 1/2 of an Alka Seltzer. The bubbles pulled the colored water up through the oil, making it look like a lava lamp. These cool little bottles were also fun to shake. Because the oil was yellow and the kids chose red, blue, or green, they could make new colors and then watch the colors separate out again.
Then we moved on to the show.
For the fun part of the party, we had some 15 year-olds bring their science to our garage! They started out with water surface tension. That was cool. Then, they brought fire. That was even cooler!!! They built all of these experiments themselves and were great at explaining the science behind the reaction to the kids.
The kids loved it. We repeated the warning "do not try this at home. These guys are trained in safety measures. Don't ever play with fire. Or matches. Or electricity. Oh, and don't run with scissors!"
See! They burned right through the foil using electricity! Don't try that one at home, kids!
The kids were entranced by all the fire. They were cold, but they enjoyed the show! Awesome.
The grand finale? These boys made their own Jacob's Ladder. That fire is moving up between 2 wires. It was very, very cool. Later, some of the kids told their parents that "at Jack's party, they had 2 scientists with 2 years of experience and they blew stuff up." Yes!
All the party people. Partying. They loved all the containers filled with colored water and dry ice. They also enjoyed their cake.
The beaker cake. It's from Family Fun's website, but I'm not going to link you because it's late and might take some effort. Heck, I'm blogging. Just be proud of me for getting the pictures up before the end of November and Google "mad scientist flask cake" and you, too, can find it!
There was no way to top last year's R2D2 cake, but dry ice makes every cake cooler (get it? cooler?). I made the inside a rainbow by tinting cupfuls of the cake batter and pouring them in order into the bundt pans. This cake takes 2 bundt cakes and a tall, skinny glass (such as the "Italian Soda" glass from The Old Spaghetti Factory that I got my Freshman year at BYU--thanks, Kelli "Buttafooko", I still owe you for that one!) filled with warm water and dry ice. I'd recommend covering said cup with foil so that the warm water doesn't start melting the frosting before you hit it with dry ice. Not that I had that problem or anything... Oh, and pretend like I staged that picture properly, not with the breadmaker and paper bag and microwave behind.
Time to sing a little song for the birthday boy!
Amelia occupied herself during the fun. She seemed to enjoy getting stuck under the plant stand.
Aunt Rebecca came to pick up Sam and all the kids enjoyed slime-time. Except for Sheridan. She literally ran screaming from the room every time we busted out the slime, shrieking "it stinks! Put it away, it smells so bad I wanna throw up!". No one else had this issue. I'm hesitant to call her "crazy", but I guess it was a Mad Scientist birthday party, right...
After dinner (pizza, as usual!) we polished off the cake with one last candle-lighting and song.
Jack had a super-fabulous birthday. He proudly proclaimed it "the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!"

SPICA cast diaper tutorial

A little diapering tutorial for spica casters. Also, some bonus pictures on how I prevented major problems with the whole "diapering" thing.
This will probably bore you to tears if you aren't going through the Spica thing. Family and friends, don't feel obligated to read this (but you can if you want, it's a free country).
Bonus pictures first!
If you've been to many web sites that have pictures on Spica Casts, you've probably seen pictures of moleskin petaling (called thus because it looks like the petals of a flower. cute.).
1. Wait until the cast is TOTALLY dry after the casting. Otherwise, the petals just pull a bunch of moisture from the still-drying cast and you'll just have to re-do your work when you get home from the hospital. Not that we EVER had issues with this when we got her re-casted. Right.
2. Get as much moleskin as you can from the hospital. You will need it. They cut it into rectangles, then rounded off the edges. Very handy to have.
3. Some people don't like moleskin because it absorbs moisture and smells. I like it because if there was just a little accident, the moleskin tended to suck up the yuck. I could then pull it off and throw it away. Far less work than blow-drying out the entire cast, or trying to mop up any grossness with whatever you can find!I liked to start my petals at the back and at the front, making sure to overlap all the way around (I finish the sides last, since that's the area where we usually had leakage. Then, I wouldn't have to remove the entire job just to get a few damp ones from the sides). It is easier to change the petals when they aren't wearing a diaper, but be sure to put something like a cloth diaper in the front to catch any pee that they're sure to do when you have their diaper off).
Oh, those blue pieces of tape you see sticking up at the back? I took pantyliners and cut them in half (the short way, not the long way!) then taped up the cut short side. I put those all along the back opening, as far onto the sides as I could. Just to catch anything that might make it out. Then, I put this on top of the moleskin. It's far easier to change 2 or 3 of those than it is to change the entire moleskin/duct tape job. Oh, and I put 3 uncut pantyliners side-by-side along the back of the inside of the cast, too. Because I learned after the first cast...
I tore off small strips of cute duct tape and petaled those on as well. Another layer of protection for the cast and a little layer of cuteness! BTW, they have super-cute duct tape online and at most retailers that carry any type of home improvement. We found the cheapest ones at walmart. Our favorite is the zebra print for girls, esp with the purple cast. She got a tons of compliments on that combo! For boys, I really like the flames of skull-and-crossbones. Fierce. Make sure you line the bottoms of the legs with the moleskin (if there are any sharp or rough patches, or places that will rub on your sweetie) and duct tape.

And, on to diapering! These picts were just after we got home from the hospital for re-casting. She did not enjoy me taking the pictures :)
So, I found a couple of different things that worked for us, depending on where we were in the process. In the beginning, the cast is really snug, so it's a little more difficult to get your diaper stuffed up in the cast. I know most of the information I found out there said to use a newborn diaper with a very large diaper on top of the cast. Honestly, though, I had so many leaks when I did that. There was next-to-no absorbency inside and I had problem after problem. Having the diaper on the outside only caught a little if there was a leak (most of it went into the cast) and seemed to just hold the tiny diaper in place. My method may take a minute longer, but I avoided so many problems by going this route!
I used either a large (on my itty-bitty baby, a size 4 since that's what I had around from her 35 pound brother) diaper or some Poise pads I was given (and since I was given a lot of those, that's what I used most of). I found that a really good diaper like Huggies sucked. The elastic at the top of the back led to a worse fit inside the cast. A cheaper diaper like Target's Up & Up brand or Luvs worked WAY better. The Poise pads worked well if I didn't pull them too tightly against her bum--I had to leave a little poop space or it'd get all over inside.
Have everything you need ready. Keep a couple of cloth diapers or old towels around in case there's any problem, or in case you need to get up and get something else. Always stuff one in the front if you need to leave the baby (or you'll end up getting lots more out to mop up the inside of their cast and the floor!).
Start with baby on their tummy. I found it easiest to change her on my lap, with her legs on my legs (that way I could tip her a little forward or down, so I could get my diaper in better).
Stuff the diaper up as far as you can in the back, pushing it out to each side.
Use your other hand to reach down the back of the cast and pull the diaper up. I generally could just catch the edge with my fingertips. This gets easier as the cast stretches out over the first few days, but my husband couldn't get his large hands in to do this (or so he says...;) and yes, I believe him!) I usually kept my one hand pushing the diaper up in the back while using the other hand to pull it up. I couldn't do that while taking pictures. From the top, spread the diaper out as best you can. Turn your baby onto their back.
Push the diaper up in front, again spreading out the front wings.
Get the diaper as far up as you can!
Use your other hand to pull the diaper snugly up. Make sure it's spread out in front.
You can put another diaper on top, use a cloth diaper cover (the one-sized "econobum" were a frugal option--and through Nov. 30th most online retailers have them "buy one, get one free", which works out to $5 each--and you only need 2-4). I prefer to stuff my diaper cover inside.
Another layer of protection, baby. I'd rather get a cover dirty than the diaper. When I did that, I almost NEVER had a problem. It's how I was able to use Poise pads without any issue. It's a tiny bit different if you do this...
First, stuff the cover in the back. Spread the wings out. Pull it up from the top. Then, stuff in your diaper or poise pad as far up in the back as you can. If you are using a Poise pad, make sure you leave a tiny bit of space around the bum, so poop has somewhere to go.
Flip baby over, you'll now have 2 layers to stuff up the front. Stuff up the diaper/pad first. Use your fingers from the top to fish it up as high as you can.Tuck the diaper cover up the front, again spreading it out. You'll grab it from the top, as well.
Ta da! Get a high-five from someone, you did it!
I think that having the diaper cover inside of the cast is the a little cuter than on the outside. If you don't want to invest in a couple of covers, just use the large sized disposable diaper. If you need more absorbency (she always did at night), tear some of the backing off a pantyliner or maxi pad and add it inside the diaper/Poise pad. This allows the pee to go through to the diaper, rather than going over the sides of the pad and risking wicking into the cast.
Realize that you'll have some "incidents". Everyone does. The worst one was 3 weeks into the first cast. I was getting cocky, thinking I was the Spica Cast Diaper Champion. She blew out so badly that it was around her knee. It was up the back. It was down the long and short legs. IT WAS HORRIBLE!
Of course, it was also the day I'd promised Amelia's big siblings we'd be going to the library. Instead, they got to watch a show while I desperately soaked up pee and poop with cloth diapers and rags, ran a cool blow dryer with the occasional shot of warm up to try and dry out the cast, while I tried to figure out how to clean poop out the the long bent leg, without being able to get anything really in there. I cried. It took around 2 hours. I felt guilty and worried that I wouldn't be able to get the darn thing clean. Amelia got really, really tired and grumpy since she was due for her nap about an hour into the incident.
But you know what? We got through it. It sucked, but we did it.
You can do it, too!
Know you'll have those times where the poop will overwhelm, or where your baby can't get comfortable at night, or where you feel like your kid has worn the same 5 outfits for 2 months. It went by so much more quickly than I could've imagined (and I've got a pretty good imagination!). So, if you're going through this, join the hip dysplasia support groups (there are some in Yahoo groups and at Babycenter). Let me know if I can give you any ideas. YOU CAN DO IT!!
Oh, and my other tip? Go for a solid-colored cast. Man, our doctor talked us into a cast with 2 colors this time, but I got so annoyed with the pink--it got so dirty, it was SO bright, and it wasn't as versatile as a 1 colored cast. Fortunately, Duck Tape's colors are pretty close to the cast colors...but it would've been better if we'd just stuck with one color. When it was only 1 color, people were less-inclined to notice it and think we were child abusers. If they did notice it, they sometimes thought it was clothes (I guess they didn't see the bar?). Word to the wise!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


CAST IS OFF!!! Baby is doing GREAT!! More info in future post (also, upcoming posts on SPICA diaper changes--hold the excitement!!--and Jack's 7th). I'm going to go snuggle my light-weight, soft, pose-able baby :)


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

May the Force be Vigue!

Carving pumpkins a week before Halloween. It was still, like, 60 degrees outside. Henry wanted a "mean pumpkin with star eyes", Sheridan wanted a pumpkin with a "heart face. Heart eyes and heart nose and a heart mouth." Jack drew out his design and had Tyler cut it out.Making Halloween costumes is something I really enjoy. It's one of the few times I really pay attention to detail and finish the project. The deadline of Halloween without a costume is a surprisingly great motivator for me. This year, I needed to have costumes done for our church party on the 25th. Fortunately, Grammy had purchased Jack his Jengo Fett costume at a yard sale the summer before last, so he was at least good to go!
Still had some costume tweaks to make after the Trunk or Treat. Needed to figure out how to keep R2D2's shoulders from sagging all over the place, add the "lights" to the bottom of Amidala's dress, and hem up the Leia dress--that thing was BLACK by the end of the church party!

The whole, nerdy famPrincess Leia, complete with "Leia buns" hat and belt. She insisted that she needed the hood, and I have to concur that she made a good fashion call. Sheridan was SO PROUD of her costume!
I tried to talk him into something simpler--like Yoda or a Jawa--but he insisted that he would only go along with the theme if he was R2D2. He made cute little beeps and boops when in costume.
(to make: use white felt covered in reg. white fabric for the tube part. Sew a channel at the top for a clothes hanger. Sew on various blue felt and silver-covered felt shapes--use an R2 toy to figure out the shapes. Quilt the white lines with grey thread. Cut armholes low enough that the tube comes around mouth level. Curse when you realize that you've cut them too high and add the leg hubs to cover the fact. Spray paint your recycle trash can lid silver after you've cut a hole out of the lid using tin snips and hot glued it shut. Add various felt shapes, again using the toy as a guide. Raid your husband's shop and find odds and ends for the 3-D elements. Use a mirror for the "light" part since you waited too long to make an LED light, then lose said mirror while trick or treating. Glue the insert of a hard hat into the head, then duct tape to keep it in place. Still spend half the time trick or treating carrying it. Sew up the side of the tube and insert the mangled wire coat hanger into the channel. Use various coat hangers bent up and pipe insulation or pool noodles to keep the top of the tube from sagging. Call it good!).
Queen Amidala
(to make: use all those old pieces of red satin from your wedding centerpieces. Make a skirt from 3--long and wide enough to fit over the body cast!--by sewing them side by side and putting elastic along the top edge. Use black felt left over from a pirate costume 3 years ago along the bottom edge. Sew on circles that were white felt painted yellow and orange with black felt circles sewn on top. Use 1 table-topper to make the top--a T shape with a neck hole and cut down the front. Line with black felt. Make that silly bib-thingy with yet another centerpiece thingy, velcro, and a gold fabric paint. Make sure that it is a defective bottle of fabric paint so you can't just squeeze it on, but have to use a paint brush and try to make the gold lines look consistent. Laugh at yourself when you realize how long your taking on a costume your daughter will never be able to fit into again! Then make the hat--using a bonnet as a guide--with gold for the bonnet part and accents, and another wire coat hanger and pipe insulation as the hair. Do this knowing she can't possible keep the silly thing on for more than 10 minutes!)You know your costumes are cool when people (you don't know) walking down the street stop to take pictures of your kids. When neighbors you don't know give your kid dressed as R2D2 extra candy just because "R2D2 needs extra candy!". When a random person (again, whom you've never met) stops their car, gets out and says (of Leia), "That is the cutest costume EVER!" and drives away.
I don't know that I can top this year. Maybe next year we'll all just go as nerds or something...oh wait, I think this year's costumes showed that already! :)
All said, it was a lot of fun.