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Our oldest, J, has a broken arm, and the doctor’s imperative to “keep the cast clean and dry for three weeks” seemed like a death sentence to a kid whose primary decorating scheme is mud.

However, after almost a week with restrictions in place, I have tried my best to glean the good out of our misfortune. Here’s a Top 10 list, written mostly for myself:

What’s So Good About Having a Kid in a Cast?

10. You can finally use up that stash of arts and crafts supplies. And old pasta. And fabric sample books. And Dad’s old socks.

9. You’ll be unable to deny the truth that yes, actually, the house is a complete disaster. Since you are stuck indoors, your only recourse will be to clean the house.  Rats.

8. Child labor will seem more and more like a possibility worth investigating.

7. You’ll invent creative ways to help the kids burn off some energy. “We’ll watch a movie just as soon as everyone runs 10 laps around the kitchen, living room, and dining room.” (I just knew that open floor plan was going to come in handy!)

6. You can reduce your laundry by two-thirds, since dirt, water, popsicles, free-form chalk body art, large slices of watermelon, and rolling in the grass are all OUT.

5. Your water bill will breathe a sigh of relief as baths-per-child-per-day go from three to one. Added bonus: arriving at 8 p.m. without breaking a sweat. Well, at least in the traditional sense.

4. Finally, you’ll have time to teach the kids how to properly have a dance party. Every 5-year-old should be able to correctly pronounce and define “choreography.” Extra points if you actually invent/remember any.

3. You’ll come to appreciate neighborly gestures like “Here, you can borrow a bunch of kids’ DVD’s!”

2. All household projects will grind to an immediate halt. This could be good or bad, depending on your willingness to participate in & complete such projects.

And the #1 reason to have a kid in a cast:

1. You will appreciate a whine-free night of peace like NEVER before. Promise.

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The Scene: 7 a.m., kids’ bedroom.

J: “I had the best dream!”

S: “I had a pink bunny!”

J: “We were at a conference, and it was full of fish tanks!”

S: “Da pink bunny was in my hand, and I holded it.”

J: “And they had this ride, it was like stairs that went up, and then they went down…”

S: “Da bunny was pink, ‘cuz pink is my favowit!”

J: “And there were some boys there, but all the girls did something funny–we were being mean to those boys.”

S: (tackles Mommy) “Hug hug hug.”

J: “There were five stairs. What’s half of five?”

S: “Fuzzy pink bunny!”

Mommy: “Half of five is two-and-a-half.”

J: “The girls had two-and-a-half stairs, and the boys did too.”

S: “I holded it. It was a pink bunny. Pink is my favowit.”

Once upon a time, there was a fairy named Fat Fairy, and she loved to play with dolls. One doll looked like a fairy, and the other doll looked like a princess.  One day she was surprised to see her two dolls come alive.

“I’m so happy to meet you!” said the fairy doll, whose name was Bella.

“Hello,” said the other doll. “I’m getting you guys dressed for a trip to the circus.” (The princess doll’s name was Elizabeth.)

The Fat Fairy’s house had a special hook on it. It could catch stuff with a little hole.  One day, some people in a blimp landed on top of the house. They tied some helium balloons to the top of the house to make it fly.

The Fat Fairy and the dolls felt very sad. They wanted to go up to the roof to send those balloons back to the people in the blimp.

The Fat Fairy felt very fluttery when her house started to fly. Then came some people in fancy dresses called the “gliding guides.” Their names were Jocelyn, Shannon, and Christy. They had wings on their dresses. When they were far away, they looked very small, like a tiny dot. You couldn’t even see their eyes, nose, or mouth. And if you went up in a space ship, you couldn’t see them at all. Their job was to help people who get lost in the sky.

As the house was flying, the Fat Fairy saw a beautiful rainbow, and she tried to use her magic to stand on top of it. It worked! It was the right kind of magic.

The rainbow had yellow, puffy clouds with little, pink hearts in the middles. The rainbow could talk, even though it had no eyes or mouth. The rainbow could even write letters with no hands. The rainbow wrote a letter to the Fat Fairy that said, “Please come to the royal wedding of the princess. Her kingdom is going to be destroyed, and the royal wedding will be cancelled! We need your help to save the kingdom and keep the princess from being kidnapped. Love, Magic Rainbow.”

“I’ll be there as soon as I can!” wrote the Fat Fairy. “My alive dolls, the gliding guides, and everyone who wants to come and help will be there in a minute.” She gave the letter to a special Mail Fairy, who carried it all the way to the princess. (After she delivered the letter, the Mail Fairy had to go home real fast and go potty!)

The princess who was in danger was named Princess Sparkling Beauty. When she got the Fat Fairy’s letter, she really liked it! She believed that the Fat Fairy and her dolls were going to help her. But one of the bad guys was holding her captive. His name was Bad Warrior Bonzo. (He had a bunch of bad friends, but they didn’t really like him. They were always putting on wars to try to kill him.)

Meanwhile, the Fat Fairy’s house was still flying. Another fairy flew to the house and said, “I can carry you and your dolls all the way to the kingdom. My wings are big enough, and I never have to go potty.” (But if someone never has to go potty forever, it means they never have to eat forever!)

She led them to the kingdom. The Fat Fairy had some pets which were really just bats. They gave the bats to the bad guys, and the bats drove the bad guys batty! It worked! The bad guys and the bats started fighting! The Fat Fairy started using her magic to send a signal that said, “I’m saving the kingdom!” The fairy and her dolls kept fighting the bad guys. The bad guys were flying in a real bad guy plane.

The magic key was given to the Fat Fairy. The bad guys were so scared, they died! There were some magic trees called Ents who ate the bad guys all up.

The princess’ wedding was great! She and the groom poured colored sand into a little bottle. Someone explained to them how hard it is to separate two people after they are married. It’s like trying to separate two colors of sand.

After the fairy saved the kingdom, they had a long ride to the circus. The balloons on the house had popped and made the house fall down. They had a long, long ride to take, and it was long, longer, and even longer because the Fat Fairy was driving, and the little dolls kept asking questions.

They finally reached the circus. There was a blimp with balloons on it. The people on the blimp said,” We are sorry for playing a trick on you.” Then they flew away.

Suddenly, there was a storm. The wind blew, and the rain was falling down to the earth. People were even drinking the rain! The red clouds had thunder in them, and the blue clouds had rain in them. Thunder and  lightning struck the house, and the house began to fall down!

A hang glider flew by. It had a rubber person and a long string. The people at the circus were very frightened. They couldn’t tell if the rubber person was real or not. He had horse hoofs, legs like a person, and the stomach of a pretend bird. He had pink eyes, nose, and mouth, and a yellow face. He had little ballet slippers on his hoofs. The rubber person was named Horse Laddie.

The hang glider was magic. It could blend through walls. Horse Laddie flew the house back down to earth. He put some cement on the ground so the house would never fly again. Some pieces of gold fell down, and there was a gold wind, too.

The Fat Fairy and the dolls went into the circus. They saw some trapezers jumping off their trapezes. They saw rats trying to cook. They saw jugglers and all sorts of alive creatures. They saw pieces of gold in a fish bowl. At the end of the circus show, the Fat Fairy and the dolls felt very tired, so they drove home and took a nap. They dreamed of being princesses, all good and grown-up.

THE END

I was checking out Pinterest one day when I came across this gem:

http://www.onceuponachef.com/2010/08/black-bean-salad-with-corn-red-peppers-avocado-lime-cilantro-vinaigrette.html

I love the concept, but I immediately felt a little sad, bacause I was about to start the Whole30 eating plan, which is a kind of a body cleanse that eliminates dairy, grains, and many starchy vegetables for 30 days. Black beans and corn do not play nice with Whole30.  What’s a girl to do? Reboot the lovely recipe, of course!

Savory Southwestern Chopped Chicken and Vegetable Salad

Combine all these ingredients in a large (about 2 1/2-quart size) storage container:

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken (I used leftovers from a roasted whole chicken)

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped

1 cucumber, roughly chopped

1 large can black olives, each olive cut in half

2 vine-ripened tomatoes

1/3 purple onion, roughly chopped

1/2 jicama root, chopped

1/2 cup washed, chopped cilantro (optional)

Reserve until serving time: 2-3 Hass avocados

Dressing:

Juice of 3 limes (if you do not have a juicer, cut into long wedges before squeezing to get the most juice out of them)

1 Tbsp ancho chili powder

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup EVOO

1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Whisk all ingredients together and taste for flavoring.  Adjust seasonings as necessary.  If you want it sweeter, you could add 2 Tbsp. apple juice.  Pour over salad and resist the urge to *immediately* gobble it up. It’s tasty right off the bat, but the flavors really shine when the salad sits for a few hours or even overnight.

When it’s time to serve the salad (if you have not, ahem, “sampled” it to nothingness), spoon out individual portions and top with chopped avocado.

Extra tip: Save juiced limes in a jar by the sink for the next time your disposal starts to reek.  Throw in a lime wedge to get it sweet and limey. 😀

Mommy: “If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?”

Jocelyn: “I would go to where Aunt Hanna lives.” (Dallas)

Shannon: “To Madi’s house.” (2 blocks away)

___________________________________________________

Mommy: “If you could only eat one food all day, what would you eat?”

J: “Eggs.”

S: “Carrots.”

Mommy: “Carrots? Really?” (Shannon dislikes carrots.)

S: “Yes, carrots. And I would spit ’em out.”

_____________________________________________________

Mommy: What will you do when you grow up?

S: “Like a person.”

J: “Go swimming.”

Mommy: “I meant, what job would you like to do when you grow up?”

S: “Like a fairy.”

J: “I would like to be a princess.”

_________________________________________________________

Mommy: “If you could change anything about our family, what would it be?”

J: “Christmas is gonna be in spring.”

S: “I’m dizzy!”

__________________________________________________________

Mommy: “What is something you love?”

J: “I love my family. And playing games. And Shannon. And everything in the world. But I don’t like bad guys.”

S: “Carrots.”

J: “Do you love carrots so much you want to marry one?”

S: “No.  Here you go, I’ll give you one carrot.”

____________________________________________________________

Mommy: “If you could be any animal, what would you be?”

J: “I’ll be a fish.”

Mommy: “Why?”

J: “I like to see other fish.  Oh, and I just want to swim underwater.”

S: “Bunny.”

Mommy: “Why will you be a bunny?”

S: “Because I love to eat ’em.”

Mommy: “You love to eat bunnies?”

S: “Uh huh.”

____________________________________________________________

Mommy: “What color will you paint your house?”

J: “Rojo [red]. Green, pink, and gold.”

S: “Blue.”

Mommy: “Why will you paint it blue?”

S: “Because I’m gonna paint it pink.”

____________________________________________________________

Mommy: “What would you order if we went to a restaraunt?”

J: “I’ll order a cinnamon crunch bagel and a very yummy apple pie.”

S: “Bananas!”

Mommy: “Why would you order bananas?”

S: “Because I’m gonna get pink bananas.  Eeeeew! Pink bananas smell eeeeewww!”

________________________________________________________________

Mommy: “What do you think Dad does at work all day?”

S: “Because he finished his work time!”

Mommy: “But what does he do?”

S: “He was going to worship practice!”

J: “Work with computers!  Do programs.”

S:”He crawls!”

_______________________________________________________________

Mommy: “What is the moon made of?”

J: “Rocks!”

S: “Plastic!”

_______________________________________________________________

Mommy: “Tell me what creatures live in the ocean.”

J: “A jellyfish! A shark.”

S: “A purple fish. Eeeeeeee!”

____________________________________________________________

Mommy: “What is something you like to do every day?”

J: “Jugar!” (play) (Makes sign language sign for “play.”)

S: “Climb up the couch!”

Mommy: “What do you wish you could do every day?

J: “I wish I could fly!”

S: “Climb on the couch!”

J: “I wish there were real bouncy shoes.”

___________________________________________________________

Mommy: “What should our last question be?”

J: “What does a fishy swim?”

S: “Why are you doing?”

Mommy: “OK, last question. How old is Mommy?”

S: “Trees.”

J: “Thirteen.”

__________________________________________________________

I asked the questions, and she answered.

Mommy: What happened?
Jocelyn: I had to go to the hospital for two days. They squeezed my arm. I know about surgery, too.

M: Why did you have to have surgery?
J: They had to take my appendix out because it got super big. [thinking] And I want my appendix back!

M: What was your favorite part about the hospital?
J: Going home. And the beginning part, because it was easy. We just waited, and that was OK, ‘cuz I got to see the fish in the tank [in the ER waiting room].

M: What made you feel sad?
J: When they put the needle in my veins and took the blood out.

M: What made you feel happy?
J: Going home. And the bubbles, paint, a book, and crayons.

M: What was your favorite thing to eat or drink at the hospital?
J: I liked the cheeseburger. And water. I love water.

M: What was something you did not like to eat or drink?
J: The orange juice. It tastes awful.

M:What can you do for fun at the hospital?
J: Be brave. And you can ride in a car. You can play with a little Yoshi guy. But I wanted to take him home.

M: How did you sleep in the hospital?
J: A bed. And cover me with blankets.

M: Who works in the hospital?
J: Nice people. They take care of people in the hospital. But they’re not like zookeepers.

M: What can you do if you have pain in the hospital?
J: You can get surgery.

M: What if you have pain after surgery?
J: You get a little button that gives you medicine. You have to do something. Push the button.

M: What do you remember most about being in the hospital?
J: What does the Brazillian flag look like, anyway?

[end transcript]

We fought rush hour for a long time and finally arrived safely at the pharmacy to drop off J’s prescription.  As I was about to push the call button for the pharmacy tech, J woke up and said, “I can’t breathe!” and proceeded to throw up every single thing I had fed her the whole day.  Apparently, we had advanced her diet too quickly, and I was the one who paid for it.  I walked in the door when I got home and said something like, “Hello, don’t touch me, I’m covered in barf!”  All her clothes went in the wash, and I gratefully disappeared into the shower.  I cranked up the radio as loud as I wanted and ran that water scalding hot.  The last time I had a shower that good was after a 3-day backpacking trip into the mountains of New Mexico.  It was so wonderful to take my brain off high alert for a minute and just relax.

When I got out of the shower, Tom had taken the nasty car seat out of the car, and I noticed that he had folded several loads of laundry and washed all the dishes.  A friend had brought dinner, and I was especially grateful for a green salad with strawberries after eating garbage food while I was at the hospital.  Somehow the kids were bathed.

The evening was rough, as transitions of this sort often are.   I barked at my husband.  The kids fought with each other and with me.  I spent too long at the grocery store, just trying to figure out what we needed. (Getting groceries was part of my original plan for Thursday.  Getting an appendectomy was not part of my agenda.)  I felt like my head was going to explode.  I felt angry.  I felt guilty for feeling angry.  I was completely frazzled and spent.

The next day was better.  Jocelyn slept soundly throughout the night.  Shannon woke up at 2:30, but at least she quickly returned to bed after getting a little attention from Mommy.  Tom did not have to work, since it was Saturday, and we just tried to rebound from the whirlwind that had hit us.  J started her day lying on the floor and acting very weak and tired, but by the end of Saturday, she was somewhat improved and seemed almost normal as long as she took her pain meds. Today (Sunday) was the best by far.  She only took some over-the-counter Motrin for pain around 10 a.m.

Thanks to the modern wonders of internet and cell phones, we have been able to at least partially keep in touch with concerned parties.  We certainly did not make it a priority, since our child’s health was our first priority, but we did the best that we could.  Looking back on the experience, it wasn’t an ideal situation, and certainly not part of our plan, but the Lord held us and protected us through it all.