04 January 2015

Anniversary, Polar Vortex, and a Broken Arm

Have you ever experienced a polar vortex? We did...in Nebraska. I think there must be a worm hole that connects Nebraska to the arctic circle during the winter. We could be classified as part tundra. That classification came true this week when the low reached -21, unfortunately the record low was -22 back in 1968 so we did not break any records. Did you hear that folks? NEGATIVE 21. It was as cold as it sounds. The cold descended on us after all the snow. Monday the low reached -1, I had to put some air in the van tires on Monday. I had gloves on but the skin between my down coat and my gloves got frost burns. After only 5 minutes. Phillip opened the mail slot in our door on Tuesday and got a blast of frigid air on his face. He had a red strip on his face for 30 minutes after the air blast. Tuesday the low was -21, the high, the HIGH folks was -10. Brrrr. Tuesday we woke up and discovered Jack Frost visited inside our house again. He frosted the mail slot, the windows, and the entire door frame. Phillip was quite excited about Jack's visit. Wednesday we broke the record at -21 again over night. The high was a balmy 19 degrees.

Justin and I are preparing little Amelia for baptism in a couple months. We are going through "Preach My Gospel" for FHE until May. She is so ready but we want to make sure she is well-educated. This week we talked about Belief in God. Phillip had the activity. He wanted to hold a ninja class. So he hosted a ninja class. We all followed his lead then took turns leading the others in our individual versions of ninja moves. It was pretty hilarious.

Justin and I celebrated 10 years of marriage on Tuesday. Justin is in the middle of busy season at work. I reminded him of the event the evening before! He sort of lapsed that our anniversary was the next day. I found a babysitter and we went out for a steak dinner at Dudes. I found a new dresser on the Sidney For Sale page on FB, we picked it up after dinner. Tessa and Quinn came over to watch the kids. They did a great job actually playing with the kids. Phillip begged for the guy "who got a wallet from Santa" to have a play date with him. Phillip was over the top excited when the guy (Quinn) came to help his sister babysit. I think the boys had a blast! Quinn also helped Justin bring in the dresser from the truck. The new dresser also came with a large mirror, I replaced the small mirror at the end of the hallway for the larger one. The hall looks much larger now! Cheers to my partner in crime for making 10 years of marriage. It's been a fun haul so far!

New Year's Eve we headed over to the Rognon's for dinner and games. The McClellan's were also in attendance for dinner. The Hornbarger's and Salvation's showed up later for games. We played a game called Werewolves. It was pretty complex. I often feel at a loss playing games, especially in groups. We never really played board or card games growing up. Guess I never gained an appreciation and tolerance for games. The only game I really learned to like was Rummikub thanks to Miekka. Now I am trying to teach my kids to enjoy games more than I did. I never really think about games as a first option! Michelle had a 9 pm "kid" New Year celebration. We made it home by 10 pm. I enjoyed fun company this year.

New Year's day we lazed around until the kids went crazy. Justin took the older kids sledding while I started taking down Christmas decorations. I had a lovely ham baking on low all day, Lion House rolls, Brussels sprouts, and funeral potatoes completed our fancy dinner. I made orange rolls with the leftover dough. Man, those were scrumptious.

The kids and I ran some errands Friday morning. I donated some stuff as I slowly pare down the house during my annual deep cleaning. I cleaned out my craft room, making sure to go through all my paper, fabric, and yarn. I threw out a good garbage bag or two of stuff. The kids had a good time playing in the play house while I whittled away at my task. Amelia sewed together a spare stocking I cut out as a trial all by herself. Putting away the Christmas stuff also meant my living room mantle got a good dusting and rearranging. I finally hung my new painting, it looks great up on the wall. I scored an old window frame a few months back. I taped the kid's birthday photos to the back side and hung that down the hall as well.

The nurse called me to come get my stitches removed late Friday afternoon. The clinic was super busy with all the snow accidents and ailments the cold brings. My skin was starting to stick to the stitches since I had to wait two extra days with the New Year holiday. I will just say that the thumb is rather sensitive and stitch removal can sting a bit. The worst was when the nurse scrubbed my thumb until it bled fresh blood. It felt all squishy inside! Ewwww.

Saturday Miss Ella got to come play for a few hours. The girls had a nice tea party with hot chocolate and pretzels. Soon after Ella left the snow descended again. I would classify this snow as a light blizzard. Justin, with a little help from me, cleaned up the garage a bit. He removed all the boxes accumulated over Christmas and got random stuff back in its proper place. Evelyn was not very happy so I had her in the baby backpack. That contraption makes it really hard to bend over. I am pretty sure her little ears are bothering her as some new teeth try to move in. We also got all of the Christmas boxes stowed up in the attic. I spent the afternoon updating my photo blog while Justin napped and the kids played. I sent the kids upstairs after Justin woke up. I had rice cooking for dinner when Justin yelled down to me in the most panicked voice I've ever heard.

Amelia was standing on the back of the couch (which is NOT OK), Justin asked her to get down so she hopped on the coffee table then slipped on her long pant leg onto the floor. She landed badly on her left arm. I raced upstairs to find Justin half in his winter boots trying to get Everett into his boots so we could get Mia to the ER. I took over, got her boots, and a coat to drape over her shoulders. Her poor wrist was dangling quite uninhibited. A very strange and unnerving sight. Justin was beside himself to stay home with the kids. The Jones girls came over to watch the kids so Justin could join us. Brother Jones came over as well to help Justin give her a Priesthood blessing. Within 5 minutes of arrival we were situated in a room. The intake nurse asked Amelia to rate her pain on a scale of 1-10. Amelia replied, just a 6. I could tell it was much higher than a 6 but she is a brave little thing. After Tylenol and ibuprofen her pain went down to a 4. She did not cry the entire time. She commented at one time how strange it felt not to cry. The nurse cut away her sleeve to take a look. We all gasped when we saw her arm. It was a pretty bad break. The same Dr who attended me, attended her as well. She did a double take when she saw it was me back in the ER with Amelia. I am hoping for a frequent flier discount. NOT. Dr Fran looked at the arm, Amelia could only wiggle her pinkie and ring finger. That told us her radial bone was broken. An x-ray tech soon wheeled in a portable machine to x-ray her arm. He was very gentle and did not move her arm much. After the x-ray Dr Fran had a better view of her arm. At first glance it also looked like she damaged her elbow and wrist as well. The anesthesiologist soon arrived, he had a medication that would put her under for about 10 minutes per dose. The nurse put in the IV with no reaction from Amelia. I had her look at me while the nurse did her work. At this time Justin showed up with Brother Jones. They decided to wait out in the waiting room. I got to assist in the room while the Dr reset her bone. I cannot remember the anesthesiologist's name, all the nurse said was the big guy. He really did remind us of a teddy bear! He soon injected the general anesthesia medication into her IV. She immediately contracted most of her muscles and started thrashing uncontrollably. I was not expecting that since she was also throwing around her injured arm. I weighed her chest area, another nurse stabilized her head, and the anesthesiologist grabbed her legs. The X-ray tech had a live x-ray scan going while Dr Fran set the bone. During the process of pulling, pushing, and manipulating the broken bone back into place Amelia was moaning and crying. The first time she really cried. She got three more doses of general anesthesia while the bone was set. Dr Fran looked me in the eye at one point and asked if I was OK, I replied, "Course! I am a MOM!" That made us all laugh. Dr Fran wrapped up her arm with old-fashioned plaster cast. She soaked water onto a thick mat of fibers and plaster. She enclosed Amelia's arm from elbow to wrist, sort of like a rubber band to hold it all together. Then she wrapped around the arm with two ace bandages. The nurses got a sling brace fitted and adjusted while Amelia was still unconscious. Justin and Shane came to join us at that time. When the nurses filtered out we took a quiet moment so the guys could give her a blessing. Justin about broke my heart as his voice cracked with emotion. My eyes were tearing up because I finally let the action catch up with my heart. He blessed her to gain wisdom from her broken arm experience. I quickly dried up my tears before she came to. She started coming to about 10 minutes after all the action was over. The nurse told us to engage her as much as possible. When she first made eye contact I told her she looked like a silly elephant. I was rewarded with the cutest smile ever. So innocent and spontaneous. Once she was fully awake the Radiologist wheeled her back to the big x-ray machine to get better images of her arm after it was set. The x-rays were soon emailed to Dr Sisk, an ortho-pediatrician. We will see him on Thursday to recast her arm and get more details about the next couple months. The new x-rays showed she did dislocate her elbow and possibly a small sprain in her wrist. The Radiologist praised Amelia for sitting still and not crying. He told her that most adults cry and wiggle around. She felt very proud and brave over that compliment! Brother Lefferts worked that evening in the ER. He assisted us the last hour or so. It was so nice to have a familiar face around. He let Amelia choose a gift out of the toy box. She settled on a coloring book and crayons. Amelia is very excited that she can miss school on Monday and only go to school half days for the rest of the week. After an hour passed since the bone reset we were released! Yay. Amelia earned fries and a banana taffy slushie for dinner.

Now we are in the middle of figuring out how to deal with the elephant in the room. Several elephants like how to dress her, where should she sleep (she cannot get into her top bunk), how to bathe her, how to go potty, the best way to sit, stand, eat, and a pain medication schedule. This is a strange new world for us. Amelia's broken arm is our first experience in our family, neither of us has broken a bone. My plan is to go get a couple thrifted shirts and cut off the left sleeve so she can at least have one arm covered and warm. We are reminding the boys every couple minutes to stay away from Amelia's arm. We are giving them tasks to help out instead of brewing up mischief.

Due to the snow and road conditions the Bishop decided to only hold sacrament meeting. The boys went to church. While we were at home Amelia and I had a very tender moment. We watched the Mormon Message, "The Refiner's Fire." It is about a lady who loses her sons and husband to cancer in a very short period of time. While she tells her story a blacksmith is shaping iron. We finally see a beautiful rose. The conversation we had after about trials and being patient during hard times was quite tender. I told her about Dad's blessing and how the Lord counseled her gain wisdom from her experience.  I love that little girl. It was hard watching her saddle up at a tender age, but already I see the polish rubbing off little sharp corners. The entire experience was very emotional for me. Nothing can prepare a mother or father for the emotion and anxiety over an injured child.

Phillip: my belly is hot. I go outside to make it cold. He goes outside and basks in zero degree temps. Comes back in and stretches his belly, now my belly is warm. Mom, because hot + cold = warm. I see SOME logic.