Sunday, June 28, 2020

A not so little, Little Buddy...............

The big news is Little Buddy is now nine!  It is official and even though I was not going to allow this birthday it somehow happened and my sweet boy is officially one year older.  He has grown 3 whole inches this past year, which may not be much for some kids but it is huge for my boy.  His face is changing, his attitude is too!  Maybe not always my sweet little boy, more of a bossy, back talking boy who can't always control his temper, but then again neither can I!  We had cake and presents on Wednesday with both brothers here to celebrate, which does not happen very often.  Thursday was our adoption anniversary, six years now this boy has been officially ours.  He has been here longer than that but for those months we still had to deal with the foster care system and have their approval for all decisions.  June 25 will always be a special day in my heart. 

Little Buddy also started his camp for kids with special needs this week.  It is where he usually goes during the summer.  I am thrilled that they are having it even if it is only for a few weeks this summer.  There are five children and two adults who wear masks all day.  They are very careful not to mix personal craft items like scissors and glue and they wipe down all the toys constantly throughout the day.  Little Buddy has so missed interacting with children, there are no children around for him to even talk to at a safe social distance.  So this is just wonderful for him and his already delayed social skills.  He was so happy all week just getting out and having a schedule.

In other big news our favorite splash park has opened with hourly appointments that allow a very limited amount of people in at one time.  They were booked for over two weeks when I got the opportunity to log on so we finally got a slot for this morning from 9-10.  There were only three other children there, and a total of seven adults including me.  We were the first group of the day which made it even better.  Little Buddy had a great time.  This is an activity he can do almost as much as his peers.  He was so happy to go even if it was only for one hour.

On a rare occasion when I actually sit down on the sofa there is always one or two fur boys sitting next to me.  The boys are finally looking better after their drastic hair cuts of 6 weeks ago.  I actually have to brush them a bit now.

Hank has the most beautiful caramel eyes and brown nose.  He takes care of all of us all the time. It is a big job.

Can you see Bear's long eye lashes?  They are so gorgeous as are his deep brownish black eyes and dark nose.  We love these boys so much.

And just because I can't resist that sweet crooked smile, here is another photo of Little B.  He sure is getting big!

As Florida continues to set records for positive cases of Coronavirus day after day, I want you all to stay as safe as possible.  Be smart and safe when it comes to this horrible illness.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Take today to make a difference.................

No pretty pictures or talk about flowers or yarn today.  No cute little boy to talk about his silly antics.  Today is the day to make a difference.  I have been slapped in the face, or so it feels like with the hypocrisy of so many people this week, on TV, and certainly in person.  I have heard the lies of one medical foster family and their complete lack of awareness of what a very challenged child needs.  I have seen hate spread online with texts from our president.  I have watched the absolute ridiculousness of our current government deal with the issues of police brutality and the pandemic.  And this very much includes my very own governor for implying migrant works are the cause for the surge of Cornavirus cases in Florida, instead of taking responsibility for opening up this state too fast. We hit another record yesterday, adding over 4,000 new cases in just one day, and those are only the cases that have been tested.  And today we have a massive amount of people congregating to praise and worship one of the most despicable men alive, one who cheats, lies and does not care for the people of this country, only himself.  With over 119,000 people now dead, which is a low number I believe, I am taking a stand.  I am doing what I can from my very own house.  As of a few minutes ago I am now a proud member of the NAACP.  And I have also made a contribution to Joe Biden's campaign in hopes that he will be able to pull this very fractured country together.  I hope you will take this day to contribute to who and what you think will make a difference.  It helps to ease some of the sorrow in my heart.  Sorrow from people who lie, people who would never put up with the same things if the president was not in their party of choice, sorrow for people of any color, sex or sexual orientation who have had to deal with inequality for their whole lives, and sorrow for the mess our country is in.  I also think contributing is a great way to honor my father, who would have been absolutely devastated at the state of the country he so bravely fought for in WWII. Stay safe my friends, be smart and safe.

Friday, June 12, 2020

The long tale or tail of rat's nest chair...............

Years ago I found this rocking chair at the Whistle Stop Antique Mall, in Franklin, NC.  I fell in love with it and so I bought it.  My friend Lynda brought it down months later in her truck and we were just so excited to see it at my house.  We sat in it and rocked, but every time we did there was bits of grass and straw on the floor under the chair. Finally we tipped it over and took a peek in the bottom of the chair to find what we believe was a rat or mouse nest from years ago.  There were bones........... I will just leave it at that.  There was also some broken webbing, so I sent rat's nest chair to someone who repairs antiques and thought we were good to go.  

Fast forward to the present.  I rarely sat in rat's nest chair because the bottom seemed to be missing springs or stuffing on one side, so much for that repair person fixing the chair.  It would tilt off the platform if you rocked to much, still I sort of loved it for the beautiful chair that it was.  When I recovered all my kitchen chairs I decided to take on rat's nest chair, good or bad I would see it through to the end.

Let me just say that rat's nest chair was even more disgusting than I thought it would be.  It was covered in some weird bordello fabric on top and some crazy avocado green/orange fabric from the 70's on the bottom.  And yes my friends it was stuffed with horse hair, a sign of a very quality piece of furniture from the late 1800's.  There was burlap wrapped horse hair bundles in the bottom of the chair and loose horse hair on the top and bottom of the chair.  The stuffing must have been cotton and it was very, very old.  

Upon further inspection I found that it had springs but only one of the springs was actually tied to the chair, the rest were broken and just hanging there among all the horse hair.  I swear I needed a hazmat suit to take this apart.  I did wear a mask and gloves and showered for what seems like hours once I got it taken down to the bare bones. 

Poor rat's nest chair was just covered with nails and upholstery tacks.  It took me three hours to remove them all.  I saved some of them and left them in the chair because I thought the whole thing would fall apart if I took them all out.  Then I did a whole lot of studying up on how to refinish the chair.  I believe this is an Eastlake platform rocking chair. It was probably made in the later 1800's.  And to keep the integrity of the chair you must keep the horse hair and springs.   So I kept all of that in a big garbage bag and just let the chair breath for a week or so.


After a week of letting rat's nest chair rest I decided to get busy with the redo.  I also decided that no matter how wonderful the chair was stuffed with 140 year old horse hair and maybe remnants of a rat's nest and very rusty springs that I just could not put all of that back into the chair.  So I got busy redoing the chair the way I felt was cleaner and safer for all of us.  I worked webbing onto the bottom of the chair with a thick layer of batting on top of that.  I covered the bottom with a cream utility fabric and stapled it in place.  I also put webbing on the top layer of the chair, but did not take photos of it.

I placed a dense piece of foam on the webbing and surrounded it with lots and lots of stuffing.  I kept it all in place with more utility fabric.

The back of the chair was a problem because it did not have a piece of wood that went in the space for stability, and any wood where the fabric had been attached was just coming apart because of all the nails that had been used in it over the years.  I found the perfect solution with this super dense cardboard that came with Little Buddy's bed form IKEA.  It worked perfectly.  My husband drilled it into the actual wood of the chair and I put dense tape on it just to make it a wee bit more stable.

Here it is from the front, you can see the disintegrating wood where all the fabric had been attached.

I put a thin layer of foam on the inside of the back of the chair and then filled it with lots and lots of stuffing, then used more fabric to keep it in place.

The one mistake I made, probably among many, is that I should have done the top of the chair completely before I took on the bottom.  It was very, very hard to get the fabric nailed in place at the bottom of the top of the chair because the bottom cushion did not leave me much room.  Still I did the best I could and hopefully it will hold.

The bottom cushion was a breeze to put into place.  I used upholstery tacks and staples to get this fabric in a  hopefully permanent position.  I added the decorative edge with a glue gun and nailed in the decorative nails just to add more stability.

I had to be creative with the back of the chair because I ran out of my beautiful fabric and after 10,000 trips to Joann's for this chair I was not going back for more.  I used more of the utility fabric from the bottom to hold in all the fluff, and a bit of the nice fabric.  It doesn't look bad and frankly not many people will even see the back of the chair.

I asked Little Buddy to give it a test drive, he said he liked it.  It is a small rocker, one built for a woman I believe because generally women were a bit shorter in those days, not my 5 foot 10 inch height.  And I did stuff it very full thinking the stuffing would sort of condense the more it was sat on.  So rat's nest chair is reborn into something I can use and I think it looks rather nice.  I know all of you antique lovers are cringing that I did not keep the horse hair and rusty springs, but frankly after spending a lot of time cleaning it out of the chair I just could not fathom putting all that dusty and disgusting stuff back in.  This project took me three full weekends, remind me never to recover another chair!  Hope you like it.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

A different week............

Well my friends it has been quite a week.  I am confessing I am watching the news a lot.  From our own President promoting violence, and using tear gas, rubber bullets and military helicopters to clear a path for a photo op, to more violence and police intervention that is excessive and harmful, to police kneeling in solidarity with their fellow citizens for a cause they also believe in.  Riots and looting have turned into more peaceful protests with even police officers joining in to talk to people and walk along side them in solidarity.  It has been some week in the United States but also across the globe.

Much of my week has been the same, work, and more work, cleaning and giving Little Buddy what I hope to be his last Mom haircut.  By the time this grows out I hope I feel safe with him returning to the, "hair cut store," or so he likes to call it.  It isn't too bad, and I finally cut the back so it does not look like a bob anymore.  It will do for now.

I finally bought some flowers to go on this beautiful doily that my dear friend Betsy  made just because I sent her some interfacing she needed.  I'll tell you my friends anytime Betsy needs something I am going to jump on it because look what I got in return.  It is so beautiful and delicate, thank you Betsy.

There was even a finish this week.  I finished my Canyonlands Boho Top made with Universal Yarns Cotton Supreme yarn I had in my stash.  The color is Lime and I used about 660 yards of this yarn and a size H hook to make this sweater.  The color has a little more depth to it than these photos show.  I made it much, much longer than the pattern suggested.  They wanted more of a crop top, but let me tell you this 55 year old body is in no shape for a crop top if you know what I mean.  I think I like it but I am not entirely sure.  Does the yarn make it look too crafty?  Or does that even make sense?  I find many times when I make something I don't get a real feel for the finish.  Is it too green?  Too silly?  Or just fine?   My vote is still out, but regardless I am done with it and onto something new.

This giant bra like looking thingy is hopefully going to be the Palmer's Vest but right now it is just looking like a giant bra, one that would certainly never fit me.  I ordered this Remix Light yarn specifically for this project.  I actually ordered six of them, three in purple and three in gray, it has been my only Coronavirus/quarantine yarn purchase.   As each of these balls of yarn is over 400 yards that was a lot of yardage added to my stash, which if you remember I am really trying to decrease.

This little boy continues to make me laugh.  This was him after his first night in his new bed.  He told me he only liked it, 54%, but after some questioning he raised that up to 95%, but then it went back down to 84%.  He is always about numbers, there are numbers for EVERYTHING!  I was a bit irritated because that was a lot of work putting together a bed for only 54% approval, but a solid 84% I can take.

And just to make you laugh, Little Buddy's teacher dropped off an end of the year packet that had some Fun Dip in it, because it was, "Fun to have you in my class this year."  I can only imagine what that green dye is doing to my sweet boy.  But every once in a while Fun Dip is okay, right?

Hope you all have a good week.  Stay safe my friends.  Stay away from all those crazy people not wearing masks like they are in Florida, pretending that 110,000 have not died from this pandemic and just going about life like nothing has happened.  We are still being super cautious because even though the conversation has shifted and no one is talking about Coronavirus it is still very much a big issue.  Be careful and stay safe.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

On a day where the world seems to have gone mad..................

On a day, or shall I say a week when the United States has gone mad, and for good reason, I put together a big boy bed.  I watched the news about protesting and the riots that ensued and I put together a bed.  I thought about how very entitled I am, how very dangerous it is for others, and I put together  a bed.  I watched the rage, the endless, endless rage that permeates the whole country and I put together a bed.  I listened to tweets that perpetuate violence from the pathetic leader of our country and I screwed in screws, read directions and built something that a little boy will love.  I am safe, my family is too simply based on the color of our skin and where we live.  Still that means I should care more, I should understand more, I should do more, have more conversations and certainly more empathy and compassion.  I teach my children that we all matter, our skin color does not, our sex does not, who we love does not and how much money we have does not matter.  But that comes from a very white woman who has never had to deal with the discrimination that is woven through the fabric of our country.  We should be better, we should do better and that starts at the very top.  How I long for a true leader, or should I say leaders, that do not incite violence and threats but who lead by example, compassion and a true love of the people of this country.  It seems years ago that we had that.  Vote my friends. Stay safe and VOTE!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

My not so relaxing long weekend................

How are your my friends?  Any news?  We here in the US are enjoying a long weekend and in my usual style I have been way, way to busy!  

But first a picture of my darling boys last weekend.  This is how they sleep in their crate, hugging each other, or face to face with their paws touching.  They are adorable or they were until they got a much need, but very drastic hair cut.

These are not the same boys I dropped off at the groomers that is for sure.  They took everything off, and I mean everything.  Hair fur, leg fur, belly fur and chest fur.  And no they did not trim a heart in Hank's chest, that is just a reflection of the lighting.  I was a bit shocked when I first saw them to be honest, but am trying to get used to it.  They certainly don't have any mats now, and they should be cooler for the summer but still they don't even look like the same dogs!

Friday after we finished all of Little Buddy's schooling he took a break and did some weaving, well sort of.  He can't quiet get the over/under part so he just pulls the loops across the loom.  It is a great fine motor task so I encourage him to do it as much as I can.  I love it when he really concentrates.  One more week of school to go!  Woo Hoo!  We have handed in all the graded assignments so now it is busy work until the end of the week. 

And just so you all know this superstar rode his bike one mile last Saturday!  It was amazing!  Yesterday he rode it a half mile but rode so fast I had to jog to keep up with him for most of the ride, which he thought was hysterical.  Time for Mom to get a new bike too so I can keep up with this boy on his.  Thank you so much for your wonderful comments on my last post about Little Buddy's new bike.  And thank you from the bottom of my hear for those of you who donated to One Simple Wish, it is such a worthy cause. 

In typical Meredith fashion I can't sit still on a long weekend, so I decided to recover my kitchen chairs.  It has been on my list of things to do for over a year but when I look at fabric I can't find any I like.  I also wanted to wait just a bit because all the chairs I have are frayed from the velcro on Little Buddy's braces and I wanted him to grow just a wee bit more so he his brace would be past this part of the chair.  On a whim Friday I went to Joann's for just a peek and of course found exactly what I wanted, and it was on sale which is a big bonus.

Here is one of  the finished kitchen chairs, there are six in all.  Of course I underestimated the fabric so I had to go back and get more.  I also used Scotch Guard on all of them to make sure they would be protected from Little Boy spills.  My husband helped me screw them all into place which was a great help to me.  

I even did my office chair.  And of course this new fabric makes me so happy I went back and got even more to redo a very old antique rocker I have.  But that story is for another day.  I have now ripped that chair apart and oh my, well my friends lets just say it is really, really old, and needs a lot of work but I am up for the challenge.

This Little Boy has had several days of back talking and not being the nicest boy when he is asked to do something.  And to be honest  after a long day at work, working with very difficult children and sometimes difficult parents my patience is not the best.  So I thought he really just needed to get out of the house.  I decided that since the beaches are open with social distancing rules that I would take him very early today before the crowds.  We left my house at 8:15, ready for a 25 minute drive and well I guess I was not the only one thinking this because the roads were packed!   Even on this very cloudy day.  We were waiting in one lane traffic for close to 45 minutes just creeping up slowly in line.  Finally I pulled off and we went to this little patch of sand on the causeway and had a little beach time.   We filled buckets with sand and rocks, we chatted and walked in the rocky water.  Then we headed home to jump in the pool.  Even if it was not the beach morning I had planned we still got out and we were safely away from others.  

I am still trying to be as cautious as can be but I fear others are fed up with restrictions and are going about life as they used to.  At Joann's most people had masks on and kept a bit of space between people, but at other stores I did not find this to be the same.  People are just shopping about, no masks and no distancing.  They get so close to you, don't wait for you to pass, it is all so crazy.  We are nearing the 100,000 death mark in the US and should reach it this weekend.  It is thought to be much, much higher but that surely would not look good to publish for our government.  So I hope you are staying safe,  wearing masks when you are out, sanitizing as much as you can.  It is so  much better to continue to take this seriously my friends.  Be well.

Friday, May 15, 2020

A feel good story to warm your heart.................

Well my friends I have a feel good story for you that will warm your heart.  Little Buddy got a brand new bike and it is amazing!  But there is more to it than that.  I have been trying for months to get a new bike for him paid for by his insurance.  I went to the top of the top, and even though he needs this for endurance, trunk control, balance, visual orientation, lower extremity use and independent function they would not pay for it.  Here is the thing, special needs bikes are super expensive.  You can't go to the local bike store or even your local Walmart and buy one.  You can if you are an adult, but not a child with special needs.  

I was talking to a woman who is helping us with Little Buddy's subsidy and while I was talking about his need for a new bike, his need for a new bed which has to be lower than a regular bed and has to have a really good mattress for his tight muscles, and while I discussed how much his special needs camp will be this summer, twice the amount it was last year, so we are restricted in the weeks we can afford for him to go.  While I was upset about how much this will all cost, when I am not working as much and paying my babysitter twice as much because my boy is home from school due to the Coronavirus and we all have to work...............well she had an idea. 

She told me about an organization that helps children in foster care or who have been adopted out of the foster care system get one item they need. It is called One Simple Wish and it works with children throughout the country.  She contacted her friend who runs the organization and then asked me to submit a photo and a little background information about my sweet boy.  So I did.  I checked their Facebook page a few times but I am not a big Facebook user so I did not keep checking.  It seemed that there were emergencies for kids needing laptops and tablets due to online schooling from the Coronavirus.  Little Buddy was not an emergency.  So you can imagine my shock when I got home from work last Tuesday and there was a big box in my garage.  I opened it and saw the most beautiful blue bike.

My husband put this beauty together on Sunday with a little help from Mr 26.  It is a wonderful tricycle that actually rides like a real bike.  The pedals are hooked up to the chain and your legs have to move independently of each other unlike a tricycle whose pedals are hooked up to the front wheel.  When that wheel moves the pedals move so you don't have to use your legs independently of each other, your legs keep moving as long as the wheel is moving.  Little Buddy was so excited to try his new bike but it was really hard and he just could not get that right leg of his to move up and over the rotation of the pedal, it just kept getting stuck.  He had a complete meltdown and said he never wanted to ride his bike again.  After talking about working on things that are hard, practicing until you get it, which might take some time, and a nice break he decided to try again.

We went outside and my friends he did it!  He rode 3-4 rotations at a time with help getting his right leg to move only at the beginning of the ride.  I screamed so loud the first time he did it he almost fell off the bike!  Since that ride on Sunday afternoon he has improved so much.  He can ride it two and a half times around our cul-de-sac without stopping.  He is even starting to start his ride with no help if his right leg is not at the top of the pedaling cycle.  He is getting so much stronger and he is so, so proud of himself, as we all are.  Riding a bike is so hard to do for a child who has cerebral palsy.  You have to make those legs work independently of each other, especially your weaker side. You have to balance on the seat, control your trunk and head, hold onto the handle bars with both hands, even your weaker hand, visually attend to where you are going, and you have to have the endurance and strength to keep going.  He is amazing and getting stronger every time he rides it.

There are such good people out there in this complicated world of ours.  As I did not know he was even on their site I have no idea who contributed to help him get this bike.  The day after it arrived I made a nice contribution to help other kids in need.  It is the least I can do.  All I know is that someone out there, or many someones out there helped my special boy get something he so deserves, and helped to ease some of the financial issues that we have to give him the life he so deserves.  

This amazing bike is such a blessing to him and our entire family.  It is good for him therapeutically but will also make him feel more like a normal child, just out riding his bike like other kids do.  It will last him years and years because it is positioned at the very smallest it can be and has room for lots and lots of growth.  It is our feel good story of the year.  Well actually Little Buddy and his perseverance in all he does in life is our feel good story every year.  

I hope this story has warmed your heart as much as it has mine.  I feel like crying every time I think of how strangers have helped my son.  I hope my contribution, in some small way, will help other children to be as happy as my Little One.

If you are interested in One Simple Wish just click on the link and you will be directed to their website.

Stay safe and well my friends.