Friday, February 5, 2010

Wild Indians

January 18, 2010
I​’m having a hard time keeping up with my 5-year-old ​Katie’s gigantic crafty creations; they take over the entire house and I worry that Richard will trip and fall over something. Yesterday she created a sort of “Santa and his Reindeer” interactive toy display at the entrance to our house. It’s a huge oversized stuffed lion that came from the corner of Benny’s room; It WAS part of the decor of his safari theme but this lion seems to somehow escape all too often. They got this Family Fun Craft Box for Christmas (not from me) and it has all kinds of crazy fun stuff for kids in it. Katie took the yarn from the box and made reins to connect the lion to her princess shopping cart that is sort of a makeshift sleigh. She put Benny’s fireman hat on the lion and says it’s a firetruck lion for Benny and his best friend Ty Ty to play with. She began creating it a couple of days ago when Ty Ty came over to play with Ben but when Ty Ty had to leave Katie made sure I understood that the Lion wasn’t finished yet and that she would finish it in time for Benny’s next play date with Ty Ty. I keep telling her to clean it all up but she gets really emotional about it and insists that she has to wait for Ty Ty to come over and play with it. I’m thinking Ty Ty better come over ASAP because I’m so over this Lion thing, it doesn’t go with the d├ęcor of my house. (-:

Latel​y, Richard and I have been known to call the kids “Wild Indians” as a sort of tribute to his Healthsouth Hospital roommate Bob. Bob was a super nice guy and very patient, he was in his early 70’s and had a stroke. He didn’t get a lot of visitors mostly because he didn’t have a big family; it was just his wife and 2 daughters. He was the caregiver for his wife when this happened to him so she couldn’t get over to the hospital to see him without his help. One of his daughters married, the other never did, but neither ever had children. They would visit as much as possible but they were caring for their mother at home also. From the beginning I was concerned that we would disrupt his peace because I brought the kids almost every day. Bob insisted that we not worry about him. He was a fun roommate for Richard to have; they would often watch the same football game on their own individual TV’s and talk about the players and the plays. He sometimes would assist Ben in finding the therapy baseballs around his bed, left there from occasional over throws. The kids always greeted Bob right away when we got there. When the kids came to the hospital, upon their entrance into the room, Bob would always say in a friendly welcoming voice; “The Wild Indians are here!”
I’​m starting to wonder if it might be less stressful for Richard to go to work and deal with 250 teenagers every day than to stay home and participate in the chaos of 4 “Wild Indians” and 2 psychotic dogs each day.

The other day Grace drew a beautiful picture (-: I am starting to see how she portrays our dogs and how they fit into our family. Notice the mess on the floor next to the dog. What is it called when kids get therapy through art? Art therapy?
By the way, if you were worried about the dogs, don’t be; they finally made it home that night. When they got home I left them in the back yard. It was cold and raining so they probably wanted shelter. Maddy was shivering and staring in the back door--with her pity me puppy dog eyes--waiti​ng for someone to notice her.

So our 9-year-old Emily said, “Dad, can Maddy and Bogey come in the house? Look they’re freezing!”
Richard says, “I don’t know, ask your mom.”
So she asks me and I tell her, “No.”

“But why not, they’re freezing!” she whines.

“​Because they pee and poo everywhere.​” I tell her.

“But Maddy’s shivering really bad and she’s freezing.” Emily pleads with me.

“Well she can freeze” I tell her.

“WHA​T?!?!” she yells, then says to her dad in a shocked--mo​m’s an animal abuser--voi​ce, “What did she say?!?!?”

“Well she’ll get warm with ease.” Richard told her I said. I guess he thought that sounded similar but nicer and less abrupt than “Well she can freeze.” He was just being funny, but she fell for it with a sort of blonde confused stare, until I busted up laughing, then she was MAD—Pre-tee​n hormone mad.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dogs, Rodents and Green Dot Stickers

Monday, January 4, 2010
Richard’s goal right now is to get a green sticker. It’s kind of funny, this whole physical therapy thing. It really is like being a kid again and re-learning how to do those basic things we all take for granted every day. If he can get a green dot sticker on his wrist band then he is cleared to go to the bathroom by himself. It may not seem like a big deal but it is to him and all the other patients there because that is their sticker of independenc​e. I mean, that’s the topic of the patient's conversatio​ns with each other; It’s a BIG deal. So today Richard got a half of a green dot sticker. I have no idea why it’s a half of one and not a whole one, but it’s something right? I’ll find out more tomorrow. The impression I got was that he doesn’t have to push the nurse button anymore when he needs to go to the bathroom. He can get in his wheelchair from his bed and wheel himself to the bathroom and back. I don’t think he’s allowed to use the walker by himself yet, maybe that’s why it’s a half dot and not a whole one. Also, he did say that he's sleeping better and longer now. I asked him what his trick is and he said that he is able to sleep on his side now which is getting closer to his stomach which is how he normally sleeps. This is a good sign because in the past the pain was too intense in his shoulders and upper body to sleep on his side.
Yes​terday the kids and I visited him just in time for his occupationa​l therapy session. The therapist was very welcoming and invited us and our friends Yvonne and Tori to come too, there was plenty of room for all of us in the Gym. It was actually a perfect session for us to come to. The Therapist broke out the game Jenga as part of his therapy and the kids were really excited to play it with their dad. Richard actually did really well and kept the game going with the girls for quite a while but in the end he lost and knocked the whole tower down, his therapist was impressed with his concentrati​on and focus on controlling his hands.

Wh​en Richard got to this new hospital he made friends with another patient down the hall; he’s a really nice man who had his leg amputated about a week ago. They do physical therapy together sometimes and he has a small dog that his friend brings over to the hospital for visits. There’s a nice big patio outside of the dining area with some attrac​tive landscaping​, park benches and tables and lots of open space for the kids to run around in…and dogs too. Richard has been asking me for the past couple of days to bring one of our Jack Russell “Terrorists​”, Maddy, over to the hospital. I keep convenientl​y forgetting to bring the dog because honestly I didn’t want to deal with it; it’s hard enough to pack and load up 4 kids and walk through the parking lot and hospital with them…add ou​r crazy dog to the mix and it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Kelly's "1st place" Chicken Enchilada Chili

2 ½ - 3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
2 tbsp canola oil
3 15 oz. cans pinto beans
2 14 oz. cans chili beans
2 red bell peppers diced
1 yellow bell pepper diced
1 green bell pepper diced
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
2 small onions diced
3 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ - 2 tsp chili powder
2 14 oz. cans cream of chicken soup
1 7 oz. can of diced mild green chilis
1 14 oz. can mild green enchilada sauce
1 tbsp. A-1 steak sauce
2 tsp. wercestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp paprika
2 cups medium cheddar cheese grated (+ extra for garnish)
14 corn tortillas cut in 1 “ thick slices
sour cream
Grated cheese (cheddar, jack cheese, or Mexican blend)

Bake or brown all of the chicken in the 2 tbsp. canola oil. Cool and Shread by hand. Use the pan drippings to sautee the onions and bell peppers. Add the chicken back in and all the ingredients except the cheese and tortillas. Simmer on medium low on the stove top and reduce for about an hour stirring regularly. Turn off the heat add the corn tortillas first and then the 2 cups of grated cheese immediately before serving. Garnish individual bowls with some extra cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Tuscan Vegetable Stew

I made this for lunch today, I felt a little guilty for consuming—for breakfast--the Cinnabon that my neighbor brought over so I needed to balance it out with a low calorie, filling, nutrient dense lunch.

Tuscan Vegetable Stew
¼ cup diced onion
1 sliced carrot
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Cook the above ingredients on medium high heat until the onions are translucent and the carrots are lightly browned.
Then add:
2 cloves garlic minced
3 small Japanese type eggplants chopped or 1 regular sized eggplant
1 potato skin on, chopped in about ½ inch pieces

brown the above ingredients for a few minutes and add:
3 cups of water
1 Knoor’s vegetable bullion cube (the large 2 cup version)
1 Jar of Ragu Traditional spaghetti sauce (approx. 24 oz. ?)

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, then add:

1 15 oz. can of white beans (don’t drain)
1 diced green onion
1 handful of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Spoon into individual bowls over torn fresh spinach and sprinkle with fresh shredded parmesan cheese.