So, a while back, when I was displaying my daughter's Sweet Bottom, my sister posted a comment asking what that chain is in the background. And now...the answer.
This is the doorway between our living room and our dining room. And that chain that is hanging there is our "Countdown Chain". The kids and I made it the day that Craig left. And this chain is simply the kind of chain you used to make at Christmas time for decoration. But this time we made it to count down the days until Craig comes home.
At first, I decided to do this with the kids that evening as a distraction, a way to keep from being too upset that we had just watched Daddy leave for his deployment. This Countdown Chain is something I did with the kids when Craig deployed when they were younger...because back then, they didn't have such a firm grasp on the concept of months and days. It was more visual and helped them figure it out better. And back then, it worked like a charm. Although, this time around, I had my doubts. I wasn't sure if this constant reminder of how many days Daddy would be gone would be a good thing or not. Would it help them to see time going by? Or would it be a constant reminder that he is gone, and we have x amount of days until he comes home? I wasn't sure. But I figured, it worked before, I'd give it shot. Worst case scenario, I'd have to take it down. Luckily, that didn't have to happen...
So...every night, part of our bedtime routine is to take one more link off of the chain. When we first put it up (I should have gotten a picture of it then, darn it!) It hung all the way to the floor on both sides of the doorway. And on the left side, it even puddled a bit. So, over the course of the summer it's been good for the kids to see their chain shrinking.
They get excited when they've noticed that it's "halfway up the wall" or that it's "halfway gone". And it was fun when we had our summer guests; even Grandma, Kelly, and Amy got in on the action and were excited every night to see the a link come off the chain.
Just the other night they got to reminiscing about how it used to look, how long it was when it started, how few we have left to take off. And to me, that's a positive. Much better than dwelling on the fact that we still have a month to go; that Daddy will still be gone for about 30 more days.
So that's it folks. Our Countdown Chain. It's three-fourths of the way done. As hard as it has been to go four months without Craig here, we've tried to make the best of it. And this Countdown Chain has definitely helped!
How did we make it?
I chose to use brightly colored, patterned cardstock from Stampin' Up that had different patterns printed on both sides. This is the kind of paper I use for scrapbooking. You don't have to do that. You could use construction paper, or whatever kind of paper you have on hand. I decided to use paper that would be bright, cheery, fun, and would match my decor...well...because that's me. And I figured that if I was going to look at this chain for four months, that I might as well like looking at this chain for four months! But by all means, if you plan to do this, use what you have on hand. In the end, you're just going to be throwing it away night by night anyways.
So, after choosing the paper we liked, we came up with a pattern. We figured out how man days Craig would be gone (this is approximate, since we still don't know exactly when Craig will be home -- I have some extra links to add to our chain if that need arises), and how many links we would need. When the kids realized that it was going to be 120, they got a bit overwhelmed about how many links we were going to have to make. So, I had them take turns helping me. First, I cut strips 1/2 inch thick and 6 inches long. Then, I let the kids help me build the chain. We just looped them through each other and used a stapler to fasten it. Simple. It took a while sheerly because of the length of our chain. But all in all, it was a fun project. A good way to distract the kids (and me too, probably) the first night Craig was gone. And a good way to positively keep track of how long he's been gone and when he'll be home.
A Countdown Chain...it's a Good Thing!