Friday, February 25, 2011

Surgery was Today

Got up at 5:00 this morning to drive through this crazy snowstorm for the oral surgery appointment.  Too tired to write coherently right now, but the Girl came through well.  Her face is just now beginning to swell a bit, and she is hurting, but all in all it was over quickly and she feels alright.  The surprising part is that they found no cyst in her jaw- just air and a little clear fluid.  There was nothing to send to pathology, so no report to wait for.  We go back in about 10 days to have it checked, and then she'll need X-rays in six months.  The trip home took almost two hours because I didn't want to drive the highway, and it was snowing so fast and furious.  As soon as I pulled into the garage, the front tire on the car went completely flat.  That couldn't have been timed better unless it didn't happen at all.
That's a potentially long story made short if I ever wrote one!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winter Carnival

Caution to my South-of-the-42nd parallel friends: You might want to put on a sweater before reading this post.  

This past weekend we visited the Saranac Lake Winter CarnivalSaranac Lake is a small village in the Adirondack Park, about two hours drive from our current location.  My first acquaintance with this town was in 1988 as a canoe camper canoeing the lakes.  This is also the High Peaks Region, where our family climbed the lowest High Peak, Cascade, in 2006.  We were very proud of the Mayor that day, who climbed the whole thing without complaint at the age of 3.

We got up at some ridiculous hour and met Todd's parents at their local McDonalds.  We switched some kids into their car and proceeded.  On the way we passed through Lake Placid, where the Olympics were held in 1932 and 1980, and saw the ski jumps. A light snow fell throughout the drive up there and all through the day.  I instigated this excursion when I was scanning in pictures for The Girl's birthday blog.  I saw pictures of it from 2001, when our girls were 2 and 3 years old, and thought, "Has it been that long?"  I mentioned this to Todd, and off we went, with his parents along for the ride.

Our first stop in the Village was on the shores of Lake Flower (don't ask me where the actual Saranac Lakes are in relation to the village or why it's named that way, I don't know!)

This is a nice, roomy ice castle.  It's lighted at night, but we didn't stay past dark.  Sorry.  In the inner part of the castle you can climb the ice stairs to an ice balcony, and we had pictures taken with the royal court.  Behind it, there is  "maze," with a tunnel into the inside. 

Ice thrones, ice fireplace, ice roast beast on the table (?).  Yes, seriously.  It was lovely, really.  The members of the court were handling out rubber duckies in knights' gear and jousting costumes. 

I had a new experience this day- using a port-a-potty while snow drifted in through the ventilation screens.  Chilly!
Outside vendors were selling fried bread dough.  Behind that, we found another small ice structure which a passerby said was supposed to have a sword in the stone.  It didn't, but we got a photo op anyway. 

We also met a Civil War regiment where a soldier was happy to allow The Mayor to hold his rifle for a picture.  He even attached the bayonet.  They had just shot over the Lake. The castle was also swarmed by costumed characters- Snow White and the Dwarfs (3 or 4 anyway), Mother Goose, Medieval Mickey and Minnie, and that purple thing from McDonalds.  That's North Country random, right there. 

Next came lunch at the Blue Moon Cafe.  I am not being paid to advertise this place.  One reason it was chosen was the availability of breakfast all day- a good choice for my gluten-free kiddoes.  It was so busy when we got there that they weren't making lunch at all.  And it was a bit slow, understandable since the place was stuffed with people.  The hot chocolate got very good reviews, partly because it came in cute mugs.

Everyone was very friendly at the restaurant, and there seemed to be a town-wide silly hat contest going on.  The 8 of us were crammed into a table for 6 near the window, so we got a great view of parade participants walking by, and others as well, just in costume for the fun of it.  Even little babies were wearing princess or dragon snowsuits and hats.

The parade was due to start at 1pm. and due to long lines at the restaurant bathroom, we just barely made it outside in time.  We wedged ourselves into a spot where the kids could see, standing in a 2 inch deep mud puddle.  What can I say- we knew from experience it would be a good parade.   It has to be, to get people to stand around in below-freezing temperatures to watch it!  We had hoped to get a spot on the sunny side of the street, but there was no sunny side, as it snowed lightly all day!  We were all wearing snowsuits, lined pants or layers, so most of our bodies were warm enough.  It is, however, difficult to keep ones toes warm when standing on icy pavement, so that's where we felt it.  I wished I had warmer socks on under my LLBean Barn shoes.  Thankfully no one's boots leaked, so standing in the puddle wasn't a problem.

The Little Princess became a costumed character hug magnet.  When one of the Dwarfs came running for her, I thought she would hide!  Sounds like a nightmare to me!  Nope, she was reaching for him.  Many people gave up on the parade after about 20 minutes because it was so cold.  That made more room for us to get a good look!  I had told my kids to expect a lawn chair brigade and lumberjacks from Paul Smith's College rolling logs down the street.  However, thanks to the parade theme, they saw knights, princesses, dragons, and castles.  And twenty-five human sock monkeys, dancing to the Monkees and various other jungles-themed songs.  Many, many groups drew inspiration from Monty Python, ("Bring out your dead!") and Todd was elated about the large wooden rabbit on one of the floats.  

I have never laughed so hard at a parade, unless it was at one of my children.  A band of Vikings passed us, waring fur capes and horned helmets and brandishing long spears.  Soon after that, a small band of redcoats (Revolutionary re-enactors) passed as well.  Eventually, the troop of Civil War re-enactors (my apologies to those whose sensibilities I offend by not knowing exactly what to call these people) we had seen at the ice castle approached and paused at the bend.  Next, we saw the Vikings approach from the other side and mount an attack!  A melee broke out!  The Civil War guys loaded their guns and shot at the Vikings, who turned and ran down the street, only to be confronted by the Redcoats, who were stoically waiting for them!  Before we knew it everyone was shooting everywhere!  The Vikings were throwing their spears down the street and the lines of soldiers were firing into the bystanders on the second floor of buildings! 

I was just about to say I was ready to go home when the anachronistic melee broke out.  We made it through the entire two hours,  20 minutes of parade, but I will admit to wishing it were shorter.  We did see the lawn chair ladies eventually, as well as a junior brigade of them.  No lumberjacks, though.  I guess they went with the Medieval theme instead.  This is apparently alumni weekend at the area college, so after the parade quite a few characters were seen in area bars.  We slogged back to our cars, threw the kids into the soft snowbanks at the library, and wished we had the energy to go the library book sale. 

After another two hour drive we finished off our day by attending the roast beef dinner at Todd's parents' church.  We don't eat roast beef and half the kids couldn't eat the cheesy broccoli dish either, but what we did eat was yummy and the last of the food, too.  Having had a full day, we were home and in bed in our warm jammies right away.  I can't say that I want to go every year, but I would definitely recommend this experience if you live nearby and have never been.  Just consider bringing some toe warmers.

Friday, February 11, 2011

OS Update 2

The only news is, there is no news.
All this week I fought the urge to call the radiology facility and ask them if they had been able to satisfy the doctor's request.  I kept telling myself to be patient, but yesterday I decided that 6 days was long enough to wait for the doctor to call back.  I called the oral surgeon's office and talked to the nurse in surgical scheduling.  She couldn't find any new information or additional disks, but she thought that the doctor might have it in his possession.  He only works in that office on Mondays and Fridays.  (That's actually why I called on a Thursday- hoping that if additional communication was needed I could get the ball rolling before he got there.) 

After giving the nurse two phone numbers, I went ahead and called radiology.  I worked in a doctor's office for 3 years- I should have trusted my pushy mother instincts about this.  The receptionist there told me that they had no records of the doctor calling to ask for anything, and so of course they hadn't sent anything.  No post-its on her records.  *Sigh.*
I don't understand this, because I saw the nurse with the phone in her hand as we were leaving the oral surgeon's office.  The doctor said he would call me.  Clearly, someone dropped the ball.  Now, I am expecting phone calls from both offices (the receptionist at radiology was on her way out the door, but was going to call the oral surgeon's office first thing in the morning and then let me know what she found out).  Somebody had better call me with something useful to add, soon.  I'm trying to plan life (crazy, I know) for the next few weeks and it would be great to know whether we need more scans or will be scheduling surgery, and how much school she's going to miss for it.
I snooped around on the doctor's office website and pre- and post-op instructions, and now I just feel sad.  Of course there's nothing specific to her surgery because it's somewhat rare, so all I had to go on was surgery for denture implants or wisdom teeth.  God help us if she gets a black eye, paleface that she is!  That's the news, such as it is. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oral Surgery Update

Wow, two posts in one day!

On Monday, 5 days ago, The Girl had her CT Scan.  I called around before scheduling it to make sure that the facility could handle what the doctor ordered.  He had wanted her to have it done at the Imaging Center in the same building with his office, where he knows they know what he wants, but they don't accept our insurance.  So, I chose a small facility instead of our local hospital, thinking they would give me the best answer about doing the scan.  They told me they could do it, but didn't have "the dental software."   Maybe I should have saw it as a sign of trouble when their radiologist said she thought we should have a Panorex (panoramic x-ray) instead.  That is what she had in September that caused all the interest!  Done that!  I called the doctor's office back and asked whether that was a problem, but they didn't think so.  They didn't really seem to know what dental software was, either.  The CT Scan took all of 5 minutes and was uneventful.

After the scan we waited a few minutes and they gave me a disk with the scans on it.  On the back was a label that said, "You may or may not be able to view these scans on your home computer."  So of course, I tried it.  there's the cyst, the empty looking spot on the left.

I called the doctor's office Monday afternoon, expecting that now that we had the scan in hand, we could schedule surgery. Not so lucky.  We made an appointment to come in today so the doctor could look at the scans on the disk.

We drove an hour to get there today, only to be told that he didn't like the scans.  It wasn't what he wanted, or, he couldn't navigate the disk to find what he needed.  Not sure which.  Sorry for the inconvenience, he sent us home.  His nurse got on the phone to the Imaging Center, hoping that they could send him raw films, I think.

He did tell us that he was still debating whether to take the tooth, but that he was leaning towards taking the tooth because it offers a better chance to prevent recurrence.  Basically he has to get all the remnants of the cyst, and that is easier to do if the roots are not in the way.  Certainly I don't want her to have to go through this again.  And if her two back molars don't slide in a take the place of this tooth, she can gum it, right?  She has other teeth.  We don't actually know whether the tooth is alive or dead, anyway.  And we don't know for sure what kind of cyst this is, until he sends it all to pathology for analysis.  I am not sure why I care what "kind" it is- it's not supposed to be there so let's take it out!
So we're left no further along than we were on Monday, with the possibility that we'll need another CT Scan next week.  *Sigh.*
I am thankful that The Girl isn't nervous.  Of course, she's never had much dental work, so she's got no idea what to expect.  And they are going to put her out, so she won't know anything til it's over.   Thus far the worst of it is knowing how early we'll have to get up for the surgery, considering the long drive and the fasting.  But I appreciate the prayers so many of you are saying for her and for all of us, so please, keep it up!

Peanut Butter Vegetable Soup, by request

Here's a recipe that gets very distinct reactions from people when we mention it.  About 30% of people are totally disgusted by the idea, but the other 70% are intrigued and enjoy this combination.  So, for the adventurous among you, I post this recipe which I must state from the outset is NOT original to me.  I am a cookbook cook.  However, I can't tell you which cookbook it came from because, after about 13 years of tough love, the spine came apart and I put the favorite recipes into sheet protectors in my recipe binder.  I can tell you that it was a small vegetarian cookbook with a green cover, and it might have been put out by Better Homes and Gardens. 
Without Further Ado:

Peanut Butter Vegetable Soup.
3 stalks celery, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
2 medium carrots, chopped (1 cup)
1 large onion, diced (1 cup)
3 gloves garlic, minced
2 T butter or margarine
3 cups water
1 medium potato, diced (1 cup) I leave the skin on, personal preference
1 medium zucchini, sliced (1 cup)  I do half slices
4 tsps. instant vegetable or chicken bouillion (I use 4 cubes Herb-ox vege)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 16oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 T snipped parsley or 2 tsp dried.
1/2 cup peanut butter

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and cook celery, carrots onion and garlic for about 5 minutes until onion is tender.  (All good vege recipes start with onion and garlic, I think)  Then, add the water, potato, zucchini, boullion cubes and pepper, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes.  Check potatoes for done-ness- this depends on how big your dices were.  Stir in undrained tomatoes and parsley.

Put the peanut butter in a small bowl and add about 1 cup of the broth to it.  Stir to combine until smooth.  Add back to pot, stir, heat through and serve.

I have never tried this with reduced fat or other modified peanut butter, so if you do, let me know how it works because this recipe has gobs of fat.  I wouldn't recommend it though- i suspect it would un-emulsify.  
I have another recipe for an African peanut soup where you puree a portion of it and add it back.  That recipe also contains tomatoes, leading me to think that these are understood to be complimentary flavors.  I never would have thought so.  But, I also love my apple salad with chili and lime juice, so, what do I know?

Please let me know if you enjoy this recipe.  I recommend serving it with fresh  bread and butter.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Fun

We've missed the snow!  Last year, living in PA there were a couple of big storms, but it wasn't a winter full of them.  The schools and events there canceled so easily, that we got very frustrated when it was just some big, wet flskes, or even just a rumor, that got the closings started. 
This year, we had heard that NY was going to have a long winter.  It seems to me that winter gets a later start every year, so I had my doubts about that prediction.  Snow season is now here in full force though, and we like it!
The Sleeping Giant, otherwise known as the Girl who Hates to be Blogged, actually insisted that I post these pictures of her snow creations. Being the mean mommy that I am, I wouldn't give them my spray bottle for this project.  So they used some bottles out of the recycling bin.
I don't know why, but they did these facing the house across the street.  It's a good thing those neighbors' house is set back from the road!  They might not like these faces peering in the window.

Do you think I can count this as art class?
They even monogrammed some of them.
Unfortunately, they are getting covered over today by another 3-6 inches, which will be followed by even more tomorrow.  I am not the one who has to go out and clean it up most of the time, so I am excited about the storms.  Todd is out now stocking up on some essentials- along with the rest of the town, I imagine. 
 In other snow news, we had a birthday sledding party this weekend.  It seemed risky to me to plan an outdoor birthday party because it could have been too cold, or too warm and soggy, or we could have had weather that would prevent people from wanting to drive for it.  Having already postponed the party twice due to holiday conflicts and sickness, I certainly didn't want that to happen again!

 We took the risk though, and planned to go sledding at a park we'd never been to (for sledding) before.  Honestly I don't know why I do these things.  I heard some moms talking about this hill near our old house, and I had hoped to get there before the party to check it out, but didn't.  Boy, were we pleasantly surprised!  The rest of the year, this spot is a soccer field (bowl).  Now, the town has groomed it into a great sledding hill!  They don't just "let" you sled there, they put up signs and encourage it!  Fun!

We all had a great time, but the highlight for me was when The Princess hopped onto a sled and took off, no coaching or cajoling required! 
 She went sliding down on her belly with her mouth wide open, laughing!  We didn't do much sledding last year and she was somewhat timid, so I didn't know she would be so enthusiastic.  I hope this doesn't mean that she lacks risk aversion like the Girl, but I do love that she grabs life by the horns!