Thursday, February 27, 2014

Weighted blanket DIY

Alayna has been waking up at night since around the time I started chemo.  It then becomes a domino effect as she wakes Dariya up and she has to bang her head to get back to sleep which is crazy loud.  Jason and I live in pretty much a zombie, sleep deprived state all the time.

Over the past few months I have been researching weighted blankets and thought this might help the sleep problems in our home.

However, after researching and talking to others I quickly realized they are very expensive to buy, running around $100 for the size blanket I was looking into buying.

So I set out to make them.

I searched the internet for a pattern and found one at .  It sounded a bit daunting as I don't really sew.  Sure I had lessons when I was like ten but, truthfully I don't sew.
This pattern is only 8 steps.

Easy peasy!  Really go check it out.  If I can do it so can you!

I researched poly pellets and found out they are the extras from plastic companies.  Well, what do you know we have a company that makes plastic cups a few miles from home and Jason happens to deliver to them. He inquired about extras and if they would sell them to us.  The company gave us as many pellets as we need, for free! Yep, I will be making Dariya and Aidan each a blanket.  You can buy the pellets at W*lmart, online or any fabric store, be sure to check for coupons at the fabric stores as you can get 40% on an item many times making the pellets very inexpensive.  The good thing about pellets is you can wash and dry them.

Next, I hit W*lmart for their sale material and bought enough fabric to make both girls 40 x60 blankets for $13.50, fleece on one side, flannel on the other. Throw in a spool of thread for $2 and I was on my way home.

I followed the pattern completely besides the poly fil in step 7, I left it out as I find it to be too scratchy.  Here is an overview (check the link for complete details).

First, I washed and ironed the fabric. Then put them right sides facing each other.  I pinned around 3 sides and sewed a seam around the three sides.  Turned it right sides out and sewed another seam. Steps 1 and 2.

Next I measured my width and divided by 6 (to form 6 equal columns).  I marked the fabric with chalk and sewed along these lines.  I then measured the height and divided by 6 to make equal squares.  I marked the fabric so I had 36 equal squares..  Steps 3 &4
I wanted to make Alayna's blanket 6 pounds.  
Recommended weight is 10% of body weight plus a pound.  I did Alayna's a little heavier as I made the blanket much bigger than her so I knew all that weight wouldn't be on her.

I calculated the weight in ounces (6 *16 =96) then divided that by my 36 squares (96/36 = 2.66 oz per square)
I borrowed a digital kitchen scale from a sweet friend to do all the measuring accurately.   I then poured the pellets into each column and sewed across my marked line so that my first squares were completely encased. I then repeated this process with next 5 rows.  Steps 5-7
 Finally I was finished filling and had to seal up the remaining side.  I then made another seam all the way around the blanket (I don't really want 6 pounds of pellets falling out anytime soon ;)!

One word of caution:  I broke one needle when it hit one of the pellets.  Be very careful to get them out of the way of your machine.

After a few hours of work I had a finished product for only $8.75!

Now, I probably won't win any blue ribbons at the fair but, Alayna was thrilled with it.

Here's to hopefully more sleep coming our way.

Did you make a weighted blanket?  Tell me your success story!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dancing fun

Sunday afternoon the girls were able to don their dancing shoes and take on the big stage at the Kansas City Music Hall to perform on the Tribute National Talent competition.  Tribute has a special angels category which allows children with special needs to perform on the program free of charge.  Access dance signed us up and away we went.

The girls were super excited when we arrived at this HUGE hall and quickly warmed up.

Alayna and Jillian have an incredible bond.  Jillian helps in the girls dance class each week and she and Alayna are stuck together like glue.
They wasted no time jumping out on the big stage and showing their stuff.  Alayna was a little stunned as they started the music while the kids were still walking out.  But, overall it was a fabulous performance and a fun afternoon.

And if pics aren't good is the video!
Enjoy!  Dariya is 2nd from left and Alayna is 3rd from left.

We are grateful to Access Dance and all their volunteers who make our Sundays full of dance!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Patching really does work!

We have been patching Alayna's right eye for almost a year now.
Valentines Party at school

Her left eye has always been weaker but, today we had her three month ophthalmology appointment and the great news is her left eye is just slightly weaker now than her right.  Last appointment in the fall her left was showing 2 levels weaker!

Yahoo!   It has really changed in the last 3 months!

That darn patching is working!

I am thankful to the preK crew as they patch her while she is in school each day.  mwah!

The Dr. wants to continue patching her for the couple hours a day as her left is still lagging behind the right.

I did ask if she could predict how long we will be patching and she couldn't give me an estimate.  She said eyes continue to develop until around age 8 so we could be patching a minimal amount up until then.

For Alayna's sake I hope that the next three months show as much progress and we can either stop or decrease the amount of time she is in a patch per week.

the girls passing out their Valentines to their classmates

We hope you have a great Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Happy birthday, Dariya

Six years ago today you took your first breath.
It was a sunny, beautiful day in Cherkasy, Ukraine.
Your birth family loved you but no services could they find.
I wish I had every detail so to you I could explain.

Thinking of you they signed on that line 
Hoping and praying to give you the best chance.
Leaving your birthplace was the best decision,
and they knew this in advance.

You were loved and chosen 
right from the start.
A beautiful gift from God
you grew in my heart.

Oh, the things you have learned
and the love you have shared.
It is beyond our expectations
with none have you compared.

We pray your day and year
find you truly blessed.
Our family is whole now
to that we can attest.

After the candles are blown out
 and it is the end of your special day.
Remember you are beautiful, wonderful
and perfect in every way.


We love you to the moon and back!  
Your giggle is contagious, you give the best hugs, love with abandon and we are blessed to have you!

З Днем Народження!

Mommy, Daddy, Aidan and Alayna

Monday, February 3, 2014

Finally an accurate hearing test

Today Dariya and I went back to the audiology clinic as we have been unable to get a proper hearing test completed on her since bringing her home from Ukraine.  She has been unwilling to allow anything in her ears or headphones.

We know that her left tube is out now so her ENT wanted a hearing test completed to see if having a tube will make a difference or not with her hearing.

Dariya was SUPER cooperative and such a big girl today.  She didn't cry or throw a fit for the headphones or anything.  That part was amazing.  I mean TRULY amazing.  You have no idea how big a fit she threw last time we did this.

Thankful for Susie, her private OT and listening therapy.

What wasn't so amazing were the results....although it is what I suspected all along.

She is hearing well in her right ear with both voice and tone tests she passed with flying colors.  However, in her left ear once the audiologist put "noise" in her right earphone to block her from cheating Dariya didn't respond to anything.  Not voice, not tone, nothing...

They tried the conductive bones behind her left ear and got no response either.

Dariya even allowed them to do a tympanogram and her ear drums were vibrating as they should be so placing a tube back in the left ear isn't needed as it won't improve her hearing.

We will do more testing in 5 weeks (and forever) but at this point the audiologist is classifying her left ear hearing loss as profound.  With the results of today's tests a hearing aid would not benefit her.

The audiologist did say that as Dariya gets more used to the tests and they can test more in depth and over more testing dates we could fine that her hearing loss is not as profound and a hearing aid might benefit her in the future.

I won't say I am not a little disappointed for her.  With such poor vision I was sure hoping her hearing would be great!  But, no matter what the outcome she always continues to amaze me with how far she has come and how much she has overcome in her short almost 6 years!

So proud of you Dariya!!!