At church right now, there are more expectant mothers than you can shake a pregnancy test stick at.  I've been carefully avoiding the weekly emails for baby shower after baby shower because in most cases, I couldn't pick the person out of a line up if I had been mugged by her that morning.  But I knew I had to end up knowing one of them, eventually.  In fact, the latest one, I work with rather closely because she helps me teach the teenage girls.  So not only was I invited to the shower, but all the girls I work with were invited too.  And as the default person who does such things I wanted to help them create a baby shower gift they could give to her as a group.  The last time someone had a baby, we had the girls tie her a quilt.  The finished product was passable, but nothing special.  And really, I was given about eighty-eleven quilts at The Dormouse's baby shower, all of which I appreciated, but only about half of which I was actually able to use unless I was building a blanket fort.  So I really wanted something more useful - or at least more unique - for these girls to work together to create.  

Enter, the diaper bouquet.  Oh how I love the internet.

I've made diaper cakes before, but that's more a one person job.  This was awesome because the girls could all work on it at the same time.

Here's what I used:
  • two packages of newborn sized diapers (I bought one package of forty, then ran out and had to go buy another which I used about half of - so probably about sixty total diapers)
  • heavy glass vase ($4 at the craft store)
  • 4 inch Styrofoam ball (or whatever size just looks right)
  • Styrofoam cone (mostly big enough to fit the inside of the vase)
  • clear elastic bands
  • florist's plant stakes (or wooden dowels)
  • random ribbon or what have you

Basically, you stick the cone into the vase upside down and cut it to fit if necessary.  You'll want it to fit snugly so it won't wobble.  Once I sized the cone to the vase, I wrapped the cone up with a wide ribbon before sticking it in the vase so you couldn't see the Styrofoam.  It was just what was handy, but you could probably just leave it and fill the vase with confetti or marbles or sand, or candy or whatever you wanted to use to hide the Styrofoam later.  I skewered the cone with a couple of plant stakes that stuck out a few inches so I could push the ball on over the stakes to keep it in place.  Then I had to take it all apart and cut the cone down a bit more to make it fit just at the mouth of the vase where it looked right.  So you might want to test it all out first before poking those sticks into the foam.

I had the girls each take a diaper, roll it up tightly around the end of a stake and secure it in place with an elastic band.  Once that was done, they tied a pink ribbon around the roll. They did that until all the diapers were rolled up.  If you wanted to tie ribbons around the center of each and every diaper, I suppose the elastic wouldn't need to be clear.  But what we ended up doing with tying ribbon around about 2/3 of the diapers and leaving the rest with just the elastic for diversity... and laziness, I suppose.  

Then what you do is drive the non-diaper end of each stake into the foam ball, arranging them like a flower bouquet until you either use all the diapers and have to buy more (me) or fill up as much of the space as you want because you planned correctly (not me).

Once all the diaper stakes are in place, cut up some squares of crinoline, ribbon, stiff fabric, whathaveyou, roll them and push in between the diapers to fill in any spaces where you still see the Styrofoam or just where it looks like it needs it. Raid the ribbon box and poke some pieces of ribbon in there too for variety.

Slap on a bow.

Ta da:

Seriously, this is the coolest thing I've made in a very long time and it took us all of forty minutes.  Would have been less if it had just been me.  But no one needs to know that.  Shhh.

My thoughts: 

Benadryl is My Friend

Posted on 2/26/2013 01:00:00 PM
It's been an interesting month here at Camp Underground.  I feel like I've been just going through the motions as I take children from one appointment to the next. What was I thinking with all those lessons at Christmas?!?  I now understand the freedom my parents must have felt when my brother and I finally secured our drivers' licenses. Freedom to sit on their behinds at home and let me go to all my many weekly meetings, lessons and rehearsals on my own power must have been sweet, indeed.  I never really thought it was a great idea to let kids get a drivers' license before age sixteen, but now I'm considering moving to Idaho just to make that happen a couple of years sooner.

I did play a concert a couple of weeks ago, which was interesting in that I almost didn't actually go to the concert. A couple of hours before my call time, The Caterpillar was goofing around with her sister and playing dress up - parading through the room in one outfit after the next - when she next to me on the couch and I noticed what looked like a mosquito bite on her leg.  I thought to myself, "That's odd, it's like eighteen degrees out - where did the mosquitoes come from?"  Then a few minutes later, when she had asked me where the backscratcher was three times, I decided to investigate.  

"Hey, come here for a minute."

"Why, Momma?"

"I just want to know why you're so itchy."

And I lifted up her shirt to find her entire back covered with red, raised welts:

What the what?

Within about twenty minutes, it had spread to her entire neck and torso, arms and hands:

We're not a household that tends to see a lot of allergic reactions so this was totally new to me - especially how fast it hit.  Why do kids always get sick between 6:00 Friday and 8:00 Monday?  I think they plan it.

We peppered her with questions about whether she could breathe, took her temperature and listened to her chest dozens of times but it seems like the only real thing that was bothering her was the fact that she was itchy.  The really weird thing is both girls had been using the dress up clothes interchangeably and we'd all eaten the exact same thing for lunch, but The Dormouse showed no reaction whatsoever. So I gave her a bath to remove whatever it was that might still be on her skin, filled her with antihistamines and rubbed cortisone cream all over her torso while I searched in vain for a bar of Fels-Naptha Monica had given me back in the summer should I ever need it.  I was certain I had put it in a "safe place" which apparently was so safe I could not find it until a week later when I was looking for a spatula in the kitchen.  So, you know, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure and stuff. 

I also took a sharpie and drew Lewis and Clark's map on her back because I couldn't figure out whether it was continuing to spread and we needed to visit the ER or whether the antihistamines had done their job and it was receding.

Fortunately, either the Benadryl or the cortisone cream, or both, did the trick and by the time I had to leave for my concert, the welts had gone down and we could see the red patches receding somewhat.  So I decided to go ahead and not leave that empty chair in the violin section and left her in the able care of her father, but obsessively checked my texts at intermission and immediately after the concert anyway.  Just to be sure, I made The KingofHearts put her to bed on the couch next to him so he could hear her if she started having trouble breathing.  By the time I got home just before 11:00, she the rash was almost completely gone and all that was left was my sharpie map on her back. 

That was fun explaining to her teachers the next school day.

The next day I threw out all the dress up clothes they were using. 

Still never figured out what it was, but on the bright side, it was a good way to clean out a drawer in their toy bins.

My thoughts: 

I Got Craploads of Poise and Culture

Posted on 2/20/2013 06:39:00 PM In:
It's always nice to have one o' them there regal Siamese cats around to class up the joint when visitors drop in.

My thoughts: 

Just a Wild Guess

Posted on 2/17/2013 07:58:00 AM
"Hey, Caterpillar, were you playing with Monica's iPad?"


"Remember last week, when you all were with us and you guys were listening to a book on the iPad?"


"Were you also playing around with it?"


"You weren't playing any games or taking pictures or anything?"


"Are you SURE?"

"Well, maybe she let us play just a little bit... how did you know?"

"Because Mommas ALWAYS know what their kids have been doing."

...and this, found later by the owner of said iPad:

My thoughts: 

She Runs Hot and Cold

Posted on 2/16/2013 06:49:00 PM
In the grocery store produce aisle:

*squeal of delight*

I turn around to see The Caterpillar, carefully cradling in her hand, a Brussels sprout she has found on the ground.

"Ooooh, Look. At. This. Tiny. Little. Thing! It's so cute.  It's precious.  I LOVE IT!  Can we get it Momma?"

"That's a Brussels sprout, honey."

"EEW!" *throws it across the room*

My thoughts: 

Making Our Point, Exactly

Posted on 2/11/2013 07:59:00 PM
Me: "Okay it's time for bed. Daddy wants to take you to bed."

Caterpillar: "No. Mommy!"

KingofHearts: "You never want Daddy to take you to bed; why can't I take you to bed?"

Caterpillar: "Mommy!"

KoH: "Why is Mommy better than Daddy?"

Me: "She's not. It's just that you wanted to take her to bed.  If I wanted to take her to bed, she'd want Daddy."

KoH:  "Ah yes. Caterpillar, Caterpillar quite contrary, how does your garden grow?"

Caterpillar:  "It doesn't. I DON'T HAVE A GARDEN!!"


Sometimes it's just too easy.

My thoughts: 

Survival Underground

Posted on 2/10/2013 06:50:00 PM
The Dormouse and The KingofHearts are both currently obsessed with paracord bracelets for some reason I cannot currently fathom.  Neither one of them hikes, or secures cargo, or lashes together poles, or fixes broken straps or belts, or assists with water rescues, or controls bleeding with a tourniquet, etc. In fact, I'm the one in the family most likely to need one as I have, in fact, strung mallet percussion instruments.

Me? I'm just obsessed with a camera lens that can get this close to a paracord bracelet.

Hey there, sexy.

My thoughts: 

Is That All it Took These 9 Years?

Posted on 2/06/2013 04:19:00 PM In:
Me: "I want you to take a bath tonight before you go to your karate lesson."

Dormouse: "Why?"

Me: "Because I want you to take a bath tonight before you go to your karate lesson."

Dormouse: "Ooooooh, NOW I understand."  *heads for the bathroom*

My thoughts: 


Posted on 2/05/2013 06:03:00 PM In:

Is it wrong that all I want to do is drop something on them to see if they both look up at the same time too?

My thoughts: 


Posted on 2/03/2013 08:56:00 AM In: ,
I made egg sandwiches for the children this morning and as I was emptying the fridge to add cheese to their sandwiches, I picked up a slice of white cheese from an older package of cheese - the last one - and then had to open a new package of cheese for the next slice, which happened to be orange.

This became a subject of much dismay during the eating of said sandwiches BECAUSE OF COURSE IT DID.

Caterpillar whining:  "Heeeeey!  Why do I get WHITE cheese and you gave sister ORANGE cheese?"

Me:  "Because I love you the whitest.  And I love her the orangest."

Dormouse:  "That sounds pretty racist, Mom."

My thoughts: 

Me in 3 Seconds

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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