Tag Archives: fun

The Weighted Blanket is Complete!

I was at a Thanksgiving party this past weekend with a few families from Kepler’s school. The guest list also included the kids’ Special Ed teacher and one of the wonderful aides who has been with us for a few years now. After dinner, listening to the squeals of glee from the basement as the kids romped and played, stories about traveling with the kids began to be shared.

I’m not a particularly dramatic person. While I do not actually think I am boring, my low-key, laid-back manner tends to fit more into the background than the spotlight. I like my stories, so I don’t mind not being in the spotlight. I just observed that my “traveling with kids” stories tend to be more about fun, meaningful times, and less about dramatic scenes including vomit, diarrhea, and emergencies.

Maybe dramatic stories get a bigger bang for their buck, but like I said, I like my stories. I like the memories we have made as a family.

On my blog, hot diggety dog, I get to tell MY stories MY way, and YOU get to decide whether or not you want to read them. Here, then, is the story, with all the little details, of blankets and Eli.

When I was expecting each of my babies, I made each of them a baby blanket. Valerie, my first baby, got a blanket made by a mother who had all the time in the world — tiny squares, hand quilting. I think I finished Jude’s much smaller, much less complicated blanket the night before he was born! Eli got a pieced quilt, but with MUCH larger squares (LOL). Although the first three quilts were mostly unisex, I was sure (without any medical confirmation) that Anna-Jessie was a girl; I chose a floral print.

Kepler got this whimsical, joyful Winnie the Pooh fabric.

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Kids are all so unique! Of all five of our kids, Valerie and Eli are the ones who wore their blankets out with all the love they gave to and received from their blankies. I remembered this years later when I heard about sensory processing disorder and saw that maybe Eli could have been diagnosed with that as as child.

I heard about weighted blankets. From the Magic Blanket website:

Recent studies have shown that deep pressure touch, the type of proprioceptive input generated from a
weighted blanket,  releases serotonin in the brain. This is a neurotransmitter that creates a feeling of calm
within our nervous system.

Depression, Anxiety, Aggression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD) and Bipolar Disorder all have a common link: low serotonin levels.

The deep pressure — proprioceptive input —  generated from the Magic Blanket signals the brain to release
serotonin, which in turn naturally calms and relaxes the body, promoting sleep and stress relief.  This effect
has already had tremendous success helping to calm children and adults with sensory integration disorder,
autism, Rett Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome,  ADHD, PTSD and Restless Leg Syndrome.

To find out more about how proprioceptive input and a weighted blanket can calm and comfort,  please talk
to an occupational therapist.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it! We procured one of these for Eli’s 19th birthday. When his belongings were discarded by his ex-girlfriend earlier this year, his weighted blanket was one of the things that she saw fit to throw away like trash. I was so sad about its loss until I realized that having to start over wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. This was when I decided to make him a new weighted blanket.

Knowing that Eli was going to be coming home after his stay in rehab (just recently), I planned to have his new blanket completed by the time he came home. As Robert Burns said in a slightly different form, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” (You REALLY should hop over here and read his wonderful poem “To a Mouse” aloud.)
So, twasn’t until about 20 days after he had come home that I finally finished his blanket.
For a weighted blanket, one sews an inner layer into channels (16 in my case), then fills each channel with about 3 TBSP of the kind of beads that fill beanie babies.  After filling the 16 channels, I sewed a horizontal seam,  sealing those 16 little compartments, twenty rows worth, 320 compartments all together.
The top layer fabric I chose was as soft as baby’s hair, which seemed like a really good idea in the store. As I considered how IN THE WORLD I was going to sew it though, not so much. I ended up added a backing layer to it to stabilize it, which worked beautifully.
Finally, it was time to assemble the layers. My machine hummed along, happy to be part of the creation. After sewing three sides together, I stalled again. I was just doing this all by feel, and I could see the blanket turning out whopper jawed, which I didn’t want.
Laid the whole thing out on the living room floor and aligned it and pinned it and felt like it would be ok. Sewed it up. Finished the opening by hand, and then just sat back and marveled. The top layer is the minky, soft brown, and the underside is the flannel with the coffee mug pattern. (I thought he could look at the coffee cups in the morning and wake up a little easier. HAHA!)
It may not have turned out to be EXACTLY 18 pounds, but the word from the guy under the blanket after the first night was PHENOMENAL. Phenomenal — I like that.

To the Day: You Oughta Be in Pictures

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The sun almost completely obscured this loving moment between Kepler and his big brother.

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Kepler with the special treat of his big brother and his girlfriend coming along to swimming lessons.

A piece of clipart taking the place of a short video of Kepler swimming which I can’t figure out with my tired brain tonight how to upload and insert here.

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A visit to our puppy, Rocky, who will be coming home for good on Wednesday.

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Eli having a sweet little moment with Rocky. Rocky is just the sweetest dog.

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Kepler admiring his new little buddy.

And we finished off the day by going to a super fun party. Maybe the funnest thing Kepler has ever been to. I’m definitely feeling like it’s the end of the day, with the logical amount of energy present for such a time as this.

Good day, though, sunshine.

More on the Miblary (as Kepler says) Adventure

  
Kepler and I visited two more branches today. I’ve decided that grouping them makes more sense because of time and distance. 
I’d been to the first branch we visited but never to the second. Our visit to the second was interesting. This must be the smallest branch in the entire system. The parking lot only had 10 spaces. 

He enjoyed both, as did I, but I was very tired when we got home. I think I must hold my breath/stay tense when driving to an unfamiliar area. 

I got the feeling that the tiny branch might be where they put new hires. I overheard a librarian talking about the summer reading program and what she was saying made it sound like it was all new to her. 

The branches all have little differences. It would be pretty interesting to me to study them. But for the time being, we’ll stick with our visits and sussing out the children’s area in each branch.

By the way, the photo is of a huge water tower which is part of the Cincinnati water works. It’s just nearly on top of the tiny branch. I bet they have great water pressure!

104 Days of Summer Vacation

imageThat’s a snippet from the Phineas and Ferb theme song. We love Phineas and Ferb around here! And we also love summer vacation!

As each of our children have done at some point, our 16yo daughter has recently shifted into high gear when it comes to friends. She has always been social; she has reached a developmental step where she is paying more attention to her friends than her family. And this is perfectly ok. It’s just a difference from a few months ago.

So, Kepler and I will be spending a great deal of time together this summer, one on one. We started today with the great library adventure of 2015. There are 41 branches of our public library system and we are going to visit all of them this summer.

His delight at a new branch was  palpable. He couldn’t quite take in all these new books and new DVDs to choose from. It was great fun. With my new movie making skills, I’m compiling photos and video to make an epic film of our adventure later on this summer.

Great start to the summer!