Monday, October 8, 2012

Legoland Rocks!

 Legos are the number one toy in our house!  I think I love them just as much as Ran.  So, when we began planning out trip to Florida last March, I just knew that we had to make a stop to Legoland Florida.  
We decided to make the visit a surprise.  And what an awesome surprise it ended up being!  
The morning of out park visit started out really nasty.  The storm we drove through the day before hit Winter Haven that morning.  Thankfully it passed through quickly and the sun came out in time for us to hit the park.
My parents decided to go with us.  While they didn't ride any of the rides that day, they had a wonderful time also!
The park was well worth the trip.  There were so many fun rides and roller coasters.  The best part is that Ran was able to ride on ever single ride and there were almost no lines! 
Ran got to ride on his first roller coaster!
He got to drive a cool Lego boat!
We all got in on the fun!

He got to meet one of his favorite Bionicle characters - Stormer

 The life size Lego sculptures that are located throughout the park are absolutely incredible!

It was such a wonderful day. We let Ran decide how long we stayed and I think we pretty much stayed from opening till close!  In the end we had a very happy and very tired child (and parents and grandparents)!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The sun is shining again

What a difference a few weeks makes!  

The past few months have been very hard for me (and I am sure my family).  But I am finally seeing the light at the end of the dark tunnel, thanks to all the support from my friends, family and yes, my doctors.  It isn't always easy to talk publicly about mental health problems.  However, I have come to realize the only way I can truly heal myself is to be open and honest about what I am suffering through.  I don't think it helps anyone involved to hide or be ashamed of what is going on inside my head.

Not only do I have adult ADHD, I also suffer from clinical depression.  There, I said it.
I have taken medication for many years.  Some days, weeks, months and years are better then others.  But thanks to new medication dosing and the help of regular visits to a wonderful psychologist, things are really starting to get better.  Much better then they have been in a really long time.  

So, thank you all for your continuing love and support!

- Mirja

Friday, August 31, 2012

I'm loosing my mind!

This summer we have been going through the ADHD diagnosis process with Ran.  After receiving his results, his doctor asked me if I would like to come in for an analysis of myself.  After hours of testing, I officially received an adult ADHD diagnosis.  This summer the symptoms have become glaringly obvious.

Memory, what is that?

A few weeks ago we went camping in northern Michigan.  It was a wonderful and relaxing trip.  However, the first night away I discovered that I had completely forgotten to pack myself any pants!  I am the one that normally WAY over packs for trips.

This week I went for my allergy shots, which I thought were only a week overdue.  I normally go every three weeks.  I discovered that I had completely forgotten that I had received new bottles of serum at the last appointment. That means I was supposed to come every week for three consecutive weeks to build up the maintenance dosage again.  Now I have to try and make it there at least 3 more times in the next week to build my dosage back up before allergy season hits.

 I have also messed up three appointments in three days this week.

Monday, I thought our dentist appointment was at 3:20 but it was really at 2:30.  I was still sitting at my desk – 20 minutes away from the dentist – ten minutes before the appointment time, and I still had to fetch Ran from daycare!  

Tuesday, I would have sworn that mine and Ran’s dual doctor’s appointments were on Wednesday.   So, there I was sitting at home in my pajamas 15 minutes before the appointment was actually supposed to start.   Once again, with Ran still at daycare.

Wednesday, I thought a school function was supposed to run from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  We did a lot of unnecessary rushing around all afternoon to only discover that the ice cream social was actually from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

 I haven’t even been able to remember to finish my sewing projects!  

Last winter I was commissioned by a friend to make an Elvis quilt for her mother.  The quilt top and backing are all pieced and ready to be sandwiched and quilted.  They have been that way for months.  I just can’t seem to remember to take everything to church so I can use the tables there to baste it together. 

Last month my mother-in-law asked me to make a special skirt for one of her wheelchair bound patients.  It was supposed to be a birthday present.  On Sunday she called to ask me if I had finished it yet.  Nope, I had completely forgotten.

My nieces’ second birthday was in May and my cousins’ second birthday was in July.  I have yet to finish either of their birthday presents.  They have been sitting partially finished in my sewing room for months.

What the heck happened?

I started this blog in 2010 and did okay at keeping up on my posting for a while.  Then in March that all petered out.  It’s not like I didn’t have any post ideas – there are TONS of those rattling around in my head.  So, what happened in March that changed everything for me?  Last you heard I was headed to the Florida Keys for my brother’s wedding.

It turns out that while we were enjoying the resort, I sustained a fairly severe injury to my foot and ankle.  I jumped into one of the pools and hit the bottom – hard – while my knees were locked.  I sprained my ankle, tore my peroneal brevis tendon and developed swelling in the bone marrow in my heel bone (something called bone marrow edema).  

After hobbling around on it for a few months, I was put in a non-weight bearing cast for 6 weeks and then onto physical therapy for 4 weeks.  After all that I learned a few weeks ago that the cast didn’t work, I will need to have surgery – scheduled for early October.  I will then be BACK into a cast and have more physical therapy.  This whole ordeal was just the right amount of stress to push my symptoms over the edge.

I hate feeling this scattered.  I hate not remembering things.  I try so hard to stay focused and on top of things for Ran’s sake, but lately I have been failing miserably.  My doctor has recommended keeping a journal.  I have never been any good at maintaining journals or diaries in the past.  I would go for a few weeks and then peter off.  I did pretty well at posting on here for longer than I ever did in any journal, so maybe this is a good forum for me.  So just have to bear with me as I get back into the swing of things and regain my senses!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Crazy Start

You guys might remember the crazy weather that we had on Friday March 2nd?
Well, Friday March 2nd also just happened to be the day that we hit the road with my parents for the long drive from Detroit to Miami for my brother's wedding.
The Weather Channel is calling the weather that weekend "Potentially Historic".  We drove through that stuff, and let me tell you, it was INSANE!  We spent most of the day driving through rain storms.

THEN we hit Tennessee.  That is when things really got ugly.  The sky turned dark.  There was driving rain.  It was so windy it was scary.  Lightening was lightening up the sky left and right.  And then, it started hailing AND I just happened to be the one behind the wheel. 

The boy thankfully spent a good portion of the drive either watching movies on his iPod or sleeping.

We were desperately trying to get to our friends house outside Marietta, Georgia before we got sucked up in some tornado!  We made it there before the heavy rains hit at their house.  But we walked in the door, exhausted from a 16 hour trip that should have only taken 10, only to find out that we had to head straight for the basement.  Tornadoes had just been spotted in Marietta!

After spending an few hours hanging out in the basement we ventured upstairs.  Thankfully our car wasn't sucked up in some super-cell or smashed by some random tree.  Everything was safe and sound. 

We enjoyed the rest of our evening with some my hubby's best friend and family.

And according to Ran, the best part was playing with their dog, Sherbet!
The trip really did get MUCH better after that.  More to come.  Including Legoland fun!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Blogger: Kristin Wells

I am so excited to have my first ever guest blogger.  
 Kristin Wells is a recent college graduate from The University of Georgia and an aspiring writer. She wants to make a difference in people's lives through her writing. Kristin also likes competitive cycling, running, and traveling as much as possible.
               A Family Who Crafts Together, Stays together
In today’s technological world, it’s more important than ever to engage children in hands-on, low-tech activities like crafting. Research has shown that children spend nearly five hours of every day staring at televisions, mobile devices and computer monitors. One recent study found that 50 percent of children under the age of eight use mobile phones and tablets and that about 30 percent of children under the age of two have televisions in their bedrooms.

All those hours spent in front of screens is time that is not spent interacting with parents, time that could be spent strengthening family bonds. Research also shows that people who do not establish strong bonds with their parents during childhood are less likely to develop secure attachments later in life. Spending time creating crafts together is not only psychologically beneficial, but a pastime that can be hugely enjoyable.

Much of the fun of family crafts comes from participating in an exchange of ideas. The collaborative experience offers children the opportunity to develop creativity and innovative solutions, skills that are very important in school and work. Through encouragement and positive reinforcement, family crafting also gives parents opportunities to build the confidence and self-esteem of their children.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of families creating crafts together is the sense of a job well done when the crafted item is completed. In today’s modern world, where each school or work day can feel much the same, seeing a project from its start to its completion is a hugely rewarding experience. Parents and children alike will take pride in saying, “I made that!”

Time shared, a sense of accomplishment and pure fun is more important than the particular craft that is ultimately created, but parents may want to suggest creating items that can be used and enjoyed by the whole family. A quilt that the entire family has worked on together, for example, will be enjoyed together for years to come. Each time that the family snuggles up on the sofa to watch a favorite movie, the quilt will remind them of the time that they spent together creating it.

Whatever the craft, the item will serve as a memento of childhood, a representation of the child’s unique contribution and participation at the time it was created, and will serve as a reminder that the family that crafts together stays together. There are many ways to get your family back to spending more time bonding together. The main thing is putting forth the effort. These moments will stay with you forever. Relieving your daily stress by spending quality time and having fun with your family is one of the main ways people dealing with illnesses cope. It is also one of the idea activities when dealing with
Pericaridal Mesothelioma, helping them through such rough times. Personally, some of my fondest memories were made doing similar activities. Of course, being the young person that I was at the time didn’t like spending time as a family, but now that I’ve got more perspective and can appreciate those times. Especially, since I no longer live at home, when I go back and see some of those things we created that my mom kept it brings all those memories back. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Felting Rocks

When I saw the tutorial back in November on the Living Crafts blog on creating felted rainbow rocks, I just knew that I wanted to try this with my Camp Fire group some day.  They are just so beautiful.

Last month was the perfect time.  Every year Camp Fire holds an art competition with a different theme each year.  This year the theme is fiber.  So, felting is perfect for them!
A number of years ago my mother taught spinning at Greenfield Village.  She has three beautiful spinning wheels hiding out in the attic!  She still has a very large quantity of wool fleece, so I didn't need to buy any roving.  However, all the fleece was gray and tan - so if the kids were going to make colorful rocks I needed to do some wool dying.
Before I could do any dying, I needed to wash the fleece.  It still had hay, dirt, and sticks in it.  Since I know absolutely nothing about cleaning wool fleece I turned to Google to help me find some tutorials on washing.  There are a number of tutorials out there.  I ended up washing the fleece, after picking out the big pieces of hay and sticks, in the kitchen sink with shampoo. 
Thankfully it was a fairly sunny day with minimal wind, so I took my drying rack outside and hung the soggy fleece out to dry. 

I then took over the kitchen and got to work dying most of the fleece. This time drying in the bathtub.

I used 4 different types of fabric dye - powdered Rit, liquid Rit, Jacquard iDye and Dylon. Because out group is made up of mostly girls I did way more pinks and purples. I also left some fleece natural colors so they could use it as the outside of their rocks.

I will say that the Jacquard and Dylon dyes worked much better then the RIT.

The washing and dying process took me the better part of an entire day!

Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of they felting process. The tutorial on Living Crafts has a lot of great pictures on the process, which is pretty simple. You start with a small ball of roving and continually wrap different colors of roving around the center until you get a wad of wool about the size of an orange or even grapefruit.

You then use soapy warm water and start the LONG process of felting up the rock. We tried it at home the day before out meeting and it took us a good 30 minutes of working the ball to get it felted. The kids lost interest in about 10 minutes! In the end the we directed the kids to take their balls home and stuff them in an old sock, then wash it on hot in the washing machine. We tried this with Ran's and it worked great!
The best part is cutting it open to see you creation!

Here are two made using brighter colored roving. 
The entire process was a lot of work, but worth it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Boy - the Artist

Last month Ran's class studied Mexico.  He had to choose a project to turn in at the end of their studies.  They were given a bunch of different suggestions of what to make.  Ran chose to make a sculpture of a lizard.
The lizard he chose to model is a Short Horned Lizard.  These little guys have a defense mechanism to please any young boy - they can squirt blood from their eyes when threatened!

I think he did a fabulous job!  We made if using air dry clay.  Ran painted all on his own once it was all dry. 
We glued Lizzie onto a piece of plywood covered with sand.  Ran also made some pipe cleaner cactus and a snake to further decorate his model. 

Flowers for Mom - A Tutorial

This is LONG overdue!  I'm home sick today, so I decided to spend a little time doing some blogging.
Recycled Sweater Flowers
Wool sweaters - felted
Various buttons
At some point I ended up with a very large box of medium floral wire.  It was perfect for this project!  You need on piece of wire for each flower.

You will need to start by felting your sweaters.  I am not going to go into that process because there are a ton of tutorials out there on the net already to felt.  Just do a Google search and you will find what you need.

I had recently bought an Olfa Circle Rotary Cutter.  I decided to give it a try, but it didn't work very well.  The sweaters were just to thick to cut easily or evenly.  In the end I just used scissors to cut the circles.

You will want to cut various sized circles and flower shapes using different colored sweaters.
Take a piece of wire (approximately 18-20 inches) an fold it in half. 

Feed a button onto the wire and bring it all the way to the end. 
Pick out 2 or 3 different flower pieces. 
Carefully slide the flower pieces onto the wire one at a time, bringing them all the way up to the button.  Be careful that you don't poke your finger with the wire.

Once your are satisfied with your layers twist the wires to prevent the pieces from sliding off. 
There you have it - a perfect gift for mom. 

An Elvis Quilt for Roger

My father-in-law, Roger, is a huge Elvis fan.  When I found this quilt panel a few years ago I knew that I would have to make a quilt for Roger! 

Roger loves taking afternoon naps on the couch, so a lap blanket would be perfect for him. 
I added a thin white and a thick grey border around the main panel to make the quilt into a lap blanket size. 
For the quilting I did some stippling around the edge.  I added some free motion musical notes at each corner.
(sorry the pictures are so terrible)

In each of the Elvis blocks I free motioned around Elvis (not easy!) and then I did stitched each set of jail bars. 

I was a hit!