A Journey with Love and Laughter

Read about our family as we journey through life as a family, with siblings, school and spina bifida, and lots of fun and laughter along the way!

Monday, October 31, 2016


Halloween is here!
The pumpkins are done

I had to work the night before, but I brought some Halloween-themed treats in

The kids went to school in costume, Nick with his tie-fighter and Katheryn as Princess Aurora.
When the kids got home from daycare we had to eat quickly and then reapply makeup, and Katheryn had to do a quick wardrobe change.

Then it was time to start trick or treating!

The kids had their giant hands that we've used for the last couple of years
And the kids were ready to go!

Of course we needed to get a group picture first!
X-wing fighter, Darth Nickolas and Elsa

We left our pumpkins and candy on the porch and then headed out!

First stop was Grandma and Papa's house!

We had a routine as we went.
I would go up to the door with Katheryn (until Katheryn ditched us for another family), and Nick would yell "Happy Halloween" or "Trick or Treat" from the bottom of the stairs. I would have his bag, and then Nick would say Thank You.
It worked out well. And Nick had fun
When Katheryn left us, and it was just me going to the door, I got some strange looks, but usually I stepped away from the door so they would see Nick.
Some people came right out, one neighbor stopped and told me about a local accessible farm, and a group of teenagers loved Nicks costume and wanted a picture. We have 2 houses in our neighborhood who have ramps, so we made sure to go to them, so Nick could actually knock on the door.

The weather was beautiful (for the first time in a long time) and we went out to about twice as many houses as we have before. So half way through Kyle ran home to get a pillow case so we could dump the candy in.

When we got home, Katheryn dumped her candy into our (empty) candy bowl.

Nick was so happy with all of the candy he got, it was such a fun night for them! We were out for 2 hours

They are both already talking about what they want to be next year!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Gradview Trick or Treat

Grandview had a trick or treat at a local high school.
The kids had fun, and we got to trial the Death Star

The kids had so much fun!
Running around the school and go to different classrooms.

Alejandra was there too and we all trick or treated together

 They also had some games to play. Like bowling for ghosts
There was also crafts to do (Nick was off racing with Alejandra)

It was a fun party for the kids to go to, and it was fun meeting with the other kids and parents.
The death star tolerated everything well. So we are all ready for Halloween on Monday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ice Queen

When we were talking about Halloween I told Katheryn she could be anything she wanted.
And she wanted to be Elsa again. But this time, instead of Elsa at the cornation, she wanted to be Ice Queen Elsa.
And she wanted to shoot snow

The first step was for her to find a dress she liked.
Ebay is my go-to place for options regarding Halloween. Especially when we started looking in September (because shipping can take up to 6 weeks)

And she wanted to Elsa wig.
When it first came, it was and Katheryn put it on, she said it looked like a mad scientist!
I looked at the picture, and her hair is a little crazy. So I got some clips to try to tame it a bit

Then I had to figure out how to shoot snow.
A co-worker came up with the idea of the webshooter
We painted everything white, and the webshooter is able to shoot water as well. And it worked pretty well. We painted the spiderweb at the side with blue to match her dress.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Darth-Nickolas' Tie Fighter

After we completed the Death Star Nick reminded me that he wanted a tie-fighter for school. After spending days and days on the Death Star there was no way I was sending it to school (and I don't know if it would fit on the bus, and I didn't trust anyone else to get it on and off the chair).
I told Nick if we had enough time I would make the tie-fighter. I figured it would b easy, I just needed some black foam board and duct tape.

I got 3 black foam boards from the dollar store. I cut 1 board in half, and then sliced the other 2 so that they folded.

I balanced the middle board on a toilet paper rolls and then duct taped it on the angle (the angles are the same on both wings) and taped the last half on the same angle.


I needed a way to fit it onto the walker, and make it easy for Nick and the teachers to get them on and off.  I am always looking for things that we have around the house. This was an expandable gutter-extender. You know the things that you put on the end of the drain, to direct where the water will go?
Well we had 2 of them and they were perfect to fit on the walker.

I cut it to fit on the handles and then I had Velcro to make it stay on the walker.

It worked out well. But when Nick went to a Beavers Halloween party, I found that it wasn't making it the completely right place. So I added some wire to the front wheel and middle of the bottom braces so that I won't slide off.

I added some more duct tape, and an Empire symbol to both sides and it was complete!

I did it all in an afternoon, and now Nick will have a walker costume for school.

Sledge Hockey

Nick has been playing sledge hockey for a couple of weeks now.
Every Sunday for 2 hours he goes on the ice and learns how to play.
Every week he gets a little better. The rest of the kids just zip along the ice, but Nick is still learning to move himself.

We come out to watch nd cheer him on (and Grandma Ridding came out this week)

Katheryn likes to be right up and close to the ice watching.

This week we got to watch a game that the intermediate league played. And after the game then Nick got out on the ice for his practice.
This week Nick also got his own hockey jersey!


He isn't zooming around the ice yet, but he is getting better. I wish there was a way to get him out more, maybe we ca borrow his sledge for some public skating? Once he is better at moving himself, he can work on hockey skills.
But he does like passing the puck back and forth under his sledge.

He is so proud of himself that he is playing hockey!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Death Star Plans

For Halloween Nick is going to be Darth Vader, and for his wheelchair costume I made him a Death Star! I wasn't always 100% sure it would turn out. So I had a couple of back-up plans, and I started really early in case I need to start over.

I thought the best way to do this was with paper mache. I looked to see if I could water proof paper mache, and I could. And I figured it would be light enough so that it wouldn't weigh down the wheelchair, and I can cut out what I want.

First thing was blowing up a 3ft balloon!
I picked 3 ft because it would cover the chair. I bought a 5 pk on ebay, but have since found them at our local Michaels.

I looked at some different recipes for paper mache and wanted something that was strong enough.
Ultimate Paper Mache is a blog that I used for all of my resources. They have recipes and videos.

I had lots of torn up newspaper, thanks to some co-workers and collecting newspaper over the last couple of weeks. And I made the traditional flour and water paste.

I had to find a box to sit the balloon on and support it while I added the papers. And also to remember that if you do it all on one side, the balloon with tilt.

I spent one day, and used a whole 5lb package of flour, but I finished it.
I put about 5 layers on it. I added some features to the paper mache, like the laser lens and the equator of the death star.

Kyle was excited to pop this huge balloon, but after it had dried, the balloon popped itself. I was at work, but Kyle said he heard it from upstairs, and the dogs ran upstairs terrified of the animal that sounded like it was scrambling around inside.
It took a couple of days for the balloon to dry and once it was dried I could see how it fit on the chair.
And it ended up fitting perfectly!

Once I knew it was fit it was time to problem solve to try to get it to sit how we wanted on the chair. Of course I first looked at what we had around the house, and we had a bunch of large hula hoops. Which fit perfectly into the base of the chair. Just one hula hoop isn't enough, so I wrapped 3 together. It still needed another base farther down, so after exploring our home depot I found that sign stakes that can fit into the inside of the hula hoop, and then hold against the base of the chair. And then I taped everything together.
I added some pool noodles inside to help the hula hoops to stay in place.
I also added a hula hoop around the middle to help it to stay in place

After making sure we had it balanced properly it was time to make sure I cut it out properly.
I spent an afternoon pulling Nick in and out of the chair so that I could get it cut the right way.

I wanted to make sure Nick wasn't hidden inside the Death Star, but that he also had the ability to fully move himself around (so there had to enough space for his arms to go back).

Once I had everything cut out properly and I knew that Kyle and I could get it on and off (yes it takes both of us), then it was time to paint it.
Looking at the website and recommendations to make paper-mache waterproof, I wanted to put a base that would then get painted. So I made a gesso, which is a paste that will harden and help to make it waterproof.

I used white glue, drywall paste and white paint. It called for 2/3 joint compound and 1/3 glue. But I used about half and half by the time I was done. I watched a video and pretty much you just mix everything together.
But here is the thing. It dries very quickly! So don't do what I did and just mix everything together in a large batch. I ended up losing half of it once it started to dry before I was done.

I ended up using a paint brush at first to put it on, but that didn't really work. Towards the end I just grabbed a handful of the compound and smoothed it out by hand.
The recipe said to sand paper it to make it smooth. I started to sand paper it, but in the end I decided smooth wasn't that important. This took about 1 day to dry

Once I had my base it was time to paint it. But I needed some inspiration for how to paint it. And by this time this was my one chance, I wasn't going to make another one if I messed this one up. I used metallic grey and black paint to use.

To help to clean up the edges I also used pipe wrap (which I use almost every year) to go around all of the edges to make them cleaner. And painted everything.

I did 2 layers of paint and then drew out the squares.

I mixed the black and grey metallic paint to make a metallic dark grey. Which turned out well. And then coloured everything in. I also added some green into the laser. I wasn't that happy with how my laser turned out (it looked more like a radiation symobol to me). And so I redid it a couple of times before I was happy

I also added Nick's name into the bottom of the Death Star, fitting it into the design.

I found the right picture of what I wanted to do with the lights. And then just started painting the lights on. Again no design, just random lights.

I did the lights one time, looked at it and didn't like it after a couple of areas, so I painted over it and started again. And I redid the laser part until I was happy with the design.

After a coat of verathane it was done!
Darth-Nickolas was happy with the result!

Now I just have to hope we can get it onto the wheelchair!
But you will have to wait for the final result!