A family affair

Mother-daughter duo attend conference for brain anomaly that’s affected three in their family

It’s been 14 years and six surgeries since the Korcal family learned the phrase “Chiari malformation.”

The anomaly of the brain is characterized by a protrusion of a small part of the brain through the bottom of the skull and into the spinal canal.

First, eldest son Andrew Korcal was diagnosed at age 14, and then they realized it was also the reason for teen daughter Amanda’s lifelong struggle with headaches. Once her children were stable, mom Layna went to get her diagnosis, but her Chiari likely won’t require a surgery. She’s hoping her youngest son continues not to display any symptoms.

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“Andrew and Amanda had different complications, but they both had really good outcomes,” Layna said.

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Groove to the beat: DIY drum activity

DIY drum activities for kidsPlaying music is fun, but you don’t need expensive instruments to make music. Using some simple household items, you can make your own instruments and then start grooving and playing together.

DIY Drum Activity

Supplies:

  • Packing tape (clear)
  • Cylinder-shaped object open at top and bottom (cardboard oatmeal cylinders work well, ice cream buckets, or a section of large PVC pipe)
  • Scissors

Instructions:

Remove both ends of the cylinder you plan to use. Be sure to cover any rough or sharp edges with tape. Take the packing tape and make big strips across one of the open ends (run the tape about two or three inches down the side of your drum). Be sure to keep the tape tight across the top as you work. Make an X with every two pieces of tape you use. Keep placing strips of tape until the entire top of your drum is covered with at least two layers of tape.

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Going on a bug safari

Play your own bug safari!Nature provides boundless ways to engage children. A walk outside can become an adventure with just a few helpful tools and an active imagination. Here’s an activity that can be easily done anywhere with kids — including your own backyard or the neighborhood park!

Bug Fun Facts

Did you know that if you put all the insects in the world on a giant scale, they would weigh more than all the humans?

Scientists estimate there are 6 to 10 million insects in the world and only about 1 million have been identified and named.

Insects are an essential part of the natural world and vary in size, color and shape — just like the plants they depend on. Insects have specialized eyes, mouths, legs and wings that allow them to interact with plants and animals in unusual and interesting ways.

You can take a Bug Safari anywhere, just step outside to discover the wonderful world of insects.

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Glowing fun: DIY glow stick activities

DIY activities for kids using glowsticksGlow sticks are perfect for brightening up a rainy day or creating some late night fun. If the weather is dreary, head to the basement or a dark interior room for some glow fun. Or, if you’re taking advantage of a beautiful summer night, you can enjoy these activities outside.

You’ll just need a variety of glow sticks, necklaces and a few more supplies depending on which activities you want to do.

Before you get started:

  • Check the yard or play space for any tripping hazards.
  • Hand out flashlights, or put an extra flashlight near a safe place for children to take a break.

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DIY summer nature journal

mott blog - clv 2015 - SUMMER NATURE JOURNALA summer nature notebook is a fun way to notice the changes and special events of summertime.

Throughout the summer, the days grow longer and then shorter again. Temperatures rise and fall. We have days of rain and days of sunshine. Plants grow and bloom. Encourage your child to notice changes, in the light, the stars, in plants and animals and the weather. Have him or her make note of these observations in the journal.

Collecting a few leaves or flowers (with permission, of course) will also tell the story of summer and give you material for beautiful summer cards.

Materials:

  • A small notebook
  • Plain paper to press plants. Think about how many pages you want to have in your notebook, you can add more later. Stack the paper up and use a three-hole punch to make a row of holes the left side of the pages.
  • Heavy paper or card stock, for summer cards. Cardstock should be cut in half, and folded later to make small cards.
  • Pencils, watercolors, colored pencils, or pens
  • A small collection of plants that you have permission to collect
  • Large heavy books to press your plants or a flower press
  • Online sunrise/sunset calendar

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To the mom of a child with a chronic illness

Lexi Behrndt, Charlie & Lincoln's momI’ve seen you in those hospital rooms. I’ve seen you hand your child off to surgeons, not knowing if you would ever get to hold them again with a beating heart. I’ve seen you pray, hope, and hold on to faith with a sheer will that would put most to shame. I’ve seen you hold your baby with tears streaming down your face because this kind of sickness isn’t the kind that just comes and goes, this is the kind where no one can assure you that your child is going to be okay.

You fight for your children when they can’t fight for themselves. You hope for them and you stay positive for them, and then run to the bathroom just to cry in the stall where they can’t see. You research and talk to doctors and talk to other parents to find the best possible treatment plans and solutions to give the best life to your child. You take part in care for your child in ways even some in the medical field are intimidated by – dropping NG tubes, changing trachs, giving IV meds through a Broviac at home.

You go to the places no one wants to go. You know a side of the world that most would like to pretend doesn’t exist. Continue reading