The new and improved cast

So today was finally the day that Chloe got to take off her yucky wrap/sling and get a sleeker, more stylish cast. I think I was more excited than anyone else, but her arm was pretty gross. How do you tell a 2 year old not to play in the dirt with her Papa while he was weeding and planting? How do you explain that dragging her hand through the ketchup at dinner is something that can’t be wiped off by saying “Keen me up, Mama!”?

We went early this morning and again I was impressed with the lack of waiting involved in the entire process. They had a cartoon playing in the waiting room and we didn’t even have a chance to watch it before they called us back, and even though we had three or four steps involved in the event, we kept moving at every turn. They took x-rays again and after that, Chloe had her first cast removed and the new one placed. She picked the color herself, but that probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows her. She sat perfectly still and said nothing while her arm was wrapped. I couldn’t tell if she was fascinated with the procedure or concerned that something was going to happen, but she never looked upset–just quiet. Afterwards, though, when we were in the parking garage, she exclaimed: “My arm looks PRETTY!!!”

My only disappointment came when I learned that we couldn’t get a waterproof cast for her. That seems like a no-brainer to me, again (didn’t I say that before!?), but it was not to be. Her cute little cast is apparently fiberglass, which technically can get wet, though not repeatedly wet like one would do getting in and out of a swimming pool. They did suggest using Saran Wrap, though, so I have a plan. I bought some exam gloves, Saran Wrap, and waterproof medical tape and we’re going to conduct an experiment tomorrow for swimming time. Hopefully it will work out, but if it doesn’t, I have some other options, including the knowledge that she’ll only be in this cast for two more weeks.


All’s well that ends well

The happy ending to this tale takes some background story, so I’ll have to start back in mid-April, a week that truly seemed to be a several-day period where one thing happened after another. First, Todd had rented a utility van for the weekend so he could put some insulation in a house for which he was wrapping up a sale. The van sat in our driveway more than he used it, and we took it over to the parking lot of the rental store on Sunday afternoon so it would be back by early Monday morning when they opened. Before noon the next day, Todd received a phone call from the rental place telling him that the van had been damaged and he would have to pay the deductible for our insurance to cover the cost of the repairs. This was especially bad news to us considering that we had most definitely not damaged the van. He went over to the rental place to talk to them in person and see the van, and when he returned, relayed the news to me that apparently someone had backed into the van sometime overnight and had driven off. We were stuck with the $550+ deductible, an expense one never plans for and one made even more frustrating because of the situation surrounding it. That news, on top of a house issue that he also had to deal with the day before, seemed like enough bad info at the time.
The rest of the week didn’t go much better, however, and included Todd losing his iPhone and having to replace it with my upgrade. The very next day Hannah and I were at Kohl’s and she went into the fitting room and found someone’s iPhone in there! Before I could even entertain any deceptive thoughts, I took that puppy up to the Service Desk. The poor clerk who had to hear my rant (that went something like this: “You need to keep this safe because whoever left this incredibly expensive phone is probably freaking out about it RIGHT NOW and I know if it were me, I would be praying that no one took it but turned it in instead, so that’s what I’m doing! No one should EVER take anyone else’s iPhone!!!”) most definitely thought I had lost my mind.

A few other things happened that week that don’t bear repeating, but we lived to see another day. Fast forward to yesterday, when Todd was making phone calls and catching up on paperwork. He called the rental car company to check up on what his $500 has done for that blasted utility van, and found out that just a few days ago, they had actually refunded our money and hadn’t charged us after all for the “damage” to the van. Praise God! It was a good ending that came much after we thought the story was already finished. And since sometimes we can get so caught up on “look what terrible thing happened to me,” I thought it was especially important to share some good news.

Favorite Recipe Friday: Chicken Pot Pie

Without a doubt, one of my favorite recipes of all time has to be one that I found while searching for something easy and yummy to take to a new mom. I didn’t create this recipe (and in truth, I have created very few recipes; I just find the good ones), but I have made it more times than I can count. My dad requests it almost every time he visits, which makes meal planning easy. It’s just another meal that is simple to make (and in large quantities) in my Pampered Chef deep dish baker, pictured below. I use it for so many things: quiche, taco dip, and of course, a wicked huge deep dish apple pie. The recipe that is posted here, though, is for a smaller pie. I figure not everyone has to feed a small army at every meal. If I’m not using my baker, I would use a regular pie plate for this recipe.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 10 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. chopped onions
1 potato, peeled and diced
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 ¾ c. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk
3 c. chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 pie crusts (9 in.)

In a large skillet, melt butter and add onions, potato, flour, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook until bubbly, remove from heat. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Stir constantly and heat to boiling. Boil one minute while stirring. Stir in veggies and chicken.

Prepare bottom pie crust and pour chicken mixture into crust. Add top crust and crimp edges or pie. Prick top of crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken pot pies can also be frozen before baking for use later. When ready to use, thaw in refrigerator and bake as directed above.

Notes from me: I have found that cooking the potatoes once they are diced works better than just hoping they cook through in the pie. I boiled them in some broth I had leftover after cooking the chicken for about 5 minutes before adding them to the butter mixture in the first step.

Pot Pie ready to serve

My beloved deep dish baker after the pie was devoured

Update on Chloe

We were disappointed to learn that the first available appointment to give Chloe a more permanent cast wasn’t until the middle of next week. This means that she’ll be in her temporary (glorified-ace-bandage) cast for another 7 days. I’m not sure how well this is going to work out for her, since she’s been pulling on the wrap today more than any other day so far. It may not last until next week!

Thanks to everyone who suggested the waterproof cast as well as covers for casts. I think that’s a brilliant idea, but when Todd called to set up the appointment yesterday, the receptionist couldn’t definitively say whether waterproof was an option or not. Seems to me that it would be a no-brainer in a two-year-old, but since I didn’t go to medical school, I don’t call the shots. (Maybe we could try a paper mache do it yourself cast? I’ll google it later on.) Either way, I’m relieved to know that there are options for us to keep our summer schedule close enough to our original plans.

Other than the time frame, she’s doing great adapting to her “new” arm. Since it’s her dominant arm, eating has been somewhat difficult since she’s not adept at holding a fork or spoon in her left hand, but she hasn’t complained. It has been a challenge to keep her from dragging it through her food at times, though! Other than that, she has handled it well. Her brothers and sister (along with Nonnie and Papa) had a chance to sign the tape Dr. Owen put around her wrist and drew little pictures for her. They are so sweet with her.

The Great Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

I’ve been making this dessert for years and it’s one of the tastiest and easiest treats I’ve come across. It also gets rave reviews whenever I serve it! Todd requests this for his birthday dessert every year without fail. My only recommendation is to make extra and keep it in the freezer. You never know when a craving for this will hit…or when unexpected guests will make a stop. I didn’t have a photo of it, though, but I think that’s a great excuse to buy some ice cream sammies and get crackin’! The picture here is taken from my cookbook where I originally found the recipe.

Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

2 boxes of 12-count ice cream sandwiches
1 carton (12 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 jar (11 3/4 oz) hot fudge ice cream topping
1 cup salted peanuts

Cut one ice cream sandwich in half. Place one whole and one half sandwich along a short side of an ungreased 9×13 pan. Arrange 8 sandwiches in opposite direction in the pan. Spread with half the whipped topping. Spoon fudge topping by teaspoonfuls (yeah, right!) onto the whipped topping. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup peanuts. Repeat layers with remaining ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping, and peanuts (pan will be full). Cover and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving. Cut into squares. Yield: 12-15 servings.

Notes from me: Obviously we don’t use the peanuts in this recipe, but it’s great without them. A friend said she’s put crushed Oreos in the middle layer and on top! The last time I made it, I tried vanilla and chocolate ice cream sandwiches (one half of the treat was chocolate ice cream with vanilla cookie, and the other half was chocolate cookie and vanilla ice cream). It turned out well, and looked pretty too.

Two words: Buckle fracture

No one said life would be perfect. Nor did they say it would be easy. Lastly, we weren’t promised quiet–especially since there are six little (and not-so-little) ones running around here! Although it has eluded us for the first 12+ years of parenting, we can add “broken bone” to our list of things we’ve had to deal with.

Last Thursday night, right after I had finished teaching my class and had seen my couples off for another week, I set to the work of putting the kids to bed. Todd was still gone to the auto auction (a post for a later time), so the kids conveniently had “forgotten” their bedtime and were all up when class was over. Not a big deal since we’re on ‘summer hours’ and sleeping in would be a welcome change. I sent everyone to bed after we prayed and put Chloe in her crib. She’d been tempting fate for a few weeks every so often by swinging one leg over the side of her crib and fussing about wanting to climb out, but she never had gone through with it. Tonight, however, she felt she could fly and crawled out. She learned a tiny bit about gravity, though, and landed on her arm (or so she said after we ran in there when she started howling). I’m guessing she tried to catch herself with her right hand when she fell.

As you can imagine, cries of pain ensued for quite some time, but after careful inspection by my not-medically-trained eye and hand, I couldn’t see any obvious deformity nor could I see any swelling or bruising. She was still holding her arm when Todd got home, but after crying on his shoulder for a bit, she quieted down and seemed ready to go to bed.

She slept all night and didn’t complain about it throughout the day. I asked my nurse-friend what she thought about it, and Becky gave me suggestions for little tests I could ask her to do to assess somewhat. Later that evening, we were at the aforementioned friend’s house and when Chloe did those tests, she recoiled a bit and said that they hurt. We also noticed a wee bit of swelling around her wrist. Becky suggested we have her looked at by her pediatrician. OF COURSE children don’t have accidents or get sick in this house until 4:55pm on Friday evening, though, so Todd and I decided to call her doc on Monday morning.

The rest of the weekend we didn’t see any real change in her wrist; it seemed to get neither better nor worse. On Monday, Chloe’s pediatrician suggested we take her to the ER since the wait to get an appointment for an orthopedic surgeon could be several days, and since we’d already waited a few, she felt it was best to get moving on finding out if it was truly injured or not.

We went to the UK Emergency Room and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly-moving the entire process was. We didn’t wait in the waiting room for longer than ten minutes, didn’t wait at all in triage, and waited very little time between initial assessment and x-rays. After talking to two different doctors, they thought it would be best to do an x-ray, even though Chloe wasn’t howling when they inspected her arm and was able to use her hand pretty well. Basically she didn’t like it to be pulled on and she didn’t want to put any weight on it. During the entire time we were at UK, she acted very reserved and quiet. She just barely answered their questions, and didn’t protest at all when they had her sit still for x-rays and putting on the cast.

After the x-rays were done, the very understanding attending physician (who had two kids of her own) told me that Chloe had what was termed a buckle fracture–the bone didn’t actually break, but bent (much like a green twig would bend when pushed, but not snap in two). The verdict: Chloe would have to have a cast, first a temporary one, which they put on today and the one she’s wearing in the photo, and then the hard cast she’ll get later this week.

So far she’s been OK with it, although about twenty minutes after they put it on, she was asking me to take it off. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we get the hard one put on so that there’s no chance of her taking it off. What this means to our plan of swimming and soaking in the rays of summer I haven’t figured out quite yet, but I’m sure the orthopedic surgeon will have most of my answers.

Welcome, summer.

To have and to hold Part 2

So….I’ve really enjoyed walking down memory lane. When I told Todd I had only gotten through the first seven years, he looked surprised. “What on earth can you be writing about?” he asked, his voice tinged with a bit of worry. Well….sometimes I tend to get carried away, and that’s especially true when it comes to writing. I’d like to finish this, though, and move on.

6/15/04 Our 8th anniversary fell on a Tuesday, which, up until recently was known as “class day.” I taught my class that night, so obviously we didn’t go out to celebrate. For other people, this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but for Todd and I and our personalities, days became weeks and before we knew it, it was October and then November and we hadn’t done anything to “mark the occasion.” Perhaps our tradition had ended, I wondered, in one of those moments between acceptance and grumpiness. But I digress.

Then, in early December (the 10th to be exact), Todd told me to prepare for a night out without telling me what exactly we’d be doing. By this time, I was pregnant with Andrew, but not at the obviously pregnant stage; it was definitely more at the (as my good friend Maria called it) “Are you pregnant or have you been eating too many cheeseburgers?” stage. Not to worry, though, as since it was my 6th pregnancy, I hit the obviously pregnant stage probably the very next day, as it came sooner and sooner with each baby.

We left the house and drove to Harrodsburg, KY where we had a lovely dinner at the Beaumont Inn. It is an historic bed and breakfast with a restaurant, and reminded me somewhat of the Monro House where we had our wedding reception in scenic downtown Jonesville, MI. During the course of the delicious dinner, Todd revealed that afterwards, we would be going to Centre College to see Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for their Christmas concert. If any of you know me at all, you know that I love Keith–and have loved him since he took over the Boston Pops as conductor in 1995. It was a wonderful concert (even though Centre’s Norton Center really needs more aisles and a cooler temperature as it was blazing hot in there and if there had been any kind of fire or need for an emergency exit, us poor people in the center of any particular row would have most certainly gone down with the ship, but maybe that was the pregnant me talking). Thankfully, the concert proceeded without the sound of any fire alarms, however, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Sometimes good things come to those who wait almost 6 months to celebrate their anniversary.

6/15/05 A mere short half year later and it was our anniversary again! This time we were thick in the throes of preparing our hearts and home for the addition of Andrew, who was due around this time. We had been painting bedrooms and moving children from one room to another and generally making a mess of the house. My parents were here again and I was large with child again, so this year we had a quiet dinner out to Johnny Carino’s. I probably carb-loaded, thinking that I would most definitely need those extra calories in the rare even that labor would start later that evening. It most certainly did not, however, and Andrew would not arrive until June 24. Somehow my parents stayed here (and survived) a visit to our house for almost two weeks. We took advantage of them being here and let them stay with the other 4 while we welcomed Andrew Walker Beauregard into the world on a brilliant summer afternoon. It was a great way to start year #10.

6/15/06 We wanted to do something to mark the tenth year of our marriage, and really went back and forth between spending some serious change to do something “big” and doing something slightly more “fiscally responsible.” At one point, we even talked about going to France to visit our friends Alex and Andrea who we met in Korea, but that still hasn’t panned out quite yet. I do believe they’ll be in France, however, until we have the chance to go! With the coin landing on the ‘fiscally responsible’ side, we decided we’d splurge a teeny bit, though. With the kids at Nonnie and Papa Tighe’s house for the evening, we drove to Louisville and had dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, an event not to be missed. If you’ve ever seen the movie What About Bob, and specifically the scene where he eats dinner with the family, then you’ll have some idea of how I sounded throughout the entire meal. It was absolutely magnificent.

After dinner, we went further into downtown Louisville and found Shakespeare in the Park. I can’t remember which play we watched, but it was fun to sit outside and spend a few hours back in time.

6/15/07 After what seemed like a brief respite, I once again found myself pregnant for our anniversary. (insert snide remarks here) It just so happened that much like with Ben’s pregnancy, the date fell around the time that I was 18-22 weeks pregnant and my ultrasound appointment was actually scheduled for our anniversary. It was on #11 that we found out Chloe would be joining our family. We were so excited to learn that we would be having another daughter! It was a gift in and of itself, but as if that weren’t enough, Ralph and Laura generously offered to host a sleepover for the kids and we enjoyed an evening to ourselves. We celebrated by going to Malone’s for dinner, one of Todd’s favorite restaurants.

6/15/08 For year #12, we sort of lost all thoughts of originality and had our first repeat restaurant in our anniversary history. Since Todd liked Malone’s so much, we opted to return there for the first time since we’d been for our last anniversary. It was a nice night, one that ended with the most delicious freshly baked enormous chocolate chip cookie served warm and gooey and covered with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. It is heavenly. Malone’s is famous for its steak, but in my mind it’s all about the dessert.

6/15/09 After much thought, debate, consideration–along with a bit of looking through emails, date books, and calendars–Todd and I have come to the conclusion that either we didn’t do anything to celebrate our annivesary last year, or we’re that much closer to absolute insanity since neither of us has no early idea of what we did to mark the date. We can’t remember going out or going to anything. We can’t remember taking the kids somewhere or having a babysitter. (Then again, I can’t remember what I cooked last week for dinner, so this should not be as alarming as it seems to me) When it comes time to list the years in the future, I suppose year 13 will hold a special place as “The Year We Can’t Remember.”

And that concludes my chronicle, with the exception of this year. Since our date fell on a Monday, we’re still trying to find a day that works to do something to celebrate. Maybe we’ll have to wait till December again?

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