Saturday, September 24, 2016

Braces, flossing, cleaning, expanders, aesthetics, rubberbands!

It's almost been a year since I got these braces on my teeth (Nov 2)! I can't believe how time flies! I've gotten into a pretty easy schedule with taking care of my teeth everyday. At first it was hard because I hated cleaning them. It felt like it took so much more time that I didn't have but now I've got it down to a science. 
At home I use a Water Pik for flossing. I seriously don't know what I would do without that thing. It blasts a stream of water in between in each of my teeth instead of flossing with string. This saves time and effort in getting all the food debris out of my braces after each meal, as well as in between each tooth. I also carry around in my purse packets of Interdental brushes for cleaning out any food that gets stuck in my braces while I'm away from home.
The things I hated the most about having braces at first was eating in front of other people and then having food stuck in my teeth. Both of those things were just awkward and gross to me in the beginning. 
The most hard thing, however, was having that palatal expander on the roof of my mouth. Food was constantly getting stuck in it, I couldn't swallow pills very easily, and it felt huge and bulky. Fortunately they were able to take that out after 4 months and replace it with a thin, metal retaining wire. I think the wire comes out in another few more months.

The purpose of the expander was to provide space for my tooth to come down however my orthodontist always likes to remind me of ALL  benefits I get from having an expander and braces, besides just the new tooth. He says he's not only fixing my adult tooth that never came down as a child, he's rounding out my smile, making my mouth more symmetrical, straightening out all my teeth, and giving me an overall more aesthetic appearance.  So, I guess in another year or so I'll also have a new smile! This wasn't something I always longed for in my adult life, but I'm not one to turn down improvements. 

So here we are NOW at 10 months:
My upper tooth is coming down a lot faster than we expected. The expected range for it's appearance was between 6 months to 5 years and it came down just 5 1/2 months after the surgery was done and the chain was attached to it. I'm feeling pretty awesome!
Also, they have been working at straightening out my bottom teeth as an added bonus. That tooth on the bottom that looks a little crooked used to be shoved behind the other teeth while they were crowded in front of it. They've been slowly making room so they could pull it forward to be with the others. It feels really weird in my mouth.

Anyways, this stuff is really fascinating to me. It's amazing the technology we have to actually move rock-hard enamel around in our mouths and to restructure the entire shape of our smiles. 
My only problem right now is that I'm running out of color options for my braces. I go in every 2 weeks to get my wires moved around and my teeth yanked on and my rubber bands  changed. My favorite color combo tends to be light pink and dark pink because it matches my gums but I've also done pink and green, rainbow colors, purple and blue, and then solids like all pink, all black, all pearl, all clear, all white, and now all yellow.
I used to take suggestions from my kids but I think they're losing interest. My niece Waimea suggested I do light pink and lime green so I did that for her last June:
June 2016
Perhaps I'll just start dressing my braces for the seasons. haha. Fall colors for Fall, Black and Orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, etc. 
I know, I know, these are such hard decisions to make in life. 

Aloha for now and have a Happy Saturday!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A lovely day for Cops

Something unexplainable happened last night that I may never have the answers to. I keep going over and over the scenes in my head trying to make sense of it all, with no luck.
It had been a long afternoon alone with my 4 boys, with my husband out of town for a conference. I was feeling very exhausted so by 9pm I made sure all 3 of my older children were tucked away in their beds. I had to skip all the usual bed time routines for each child, and instead did one, big Goodnight, I love you call out to everyone within hearing distance. All of our bedrooms are in close proximity to each other so saying one grand GOODNIGHT for the night was going to have to work. I was too pooped. 

Lastly, I went down the hall to my bedroom with my toddler. We snuggled up in our big bed, read a few books, and then I nursed him to sleep. All those comfy, snugly, relaxing hormones surged through my body as I watched my last child slip into happy dream-land. At last, the house was quiet! Hallelujah. And it was only 9:15pm. I had the entire rest of the night to lay in bed and watch reruns of Gilmore Girls (because that's all I really felt like doing). 

As I turned on my phone and pulled the blankets up over my shoulders I remembered that I forgot to make sure the doors were locked upstairs. "Oh well, I thought,"Micah will be home soon enough. He's only a couple hours away and he can lock the doors when he comes in." I wasn't too worried about it. After all, we live in a pretty safe neighborhood with wonderful neighbors and if someone came in I would hear them," I reasoned.
So I turned off all the lights, turned on my little hand-held screen in front of my face, and became completely immersed in the world of Stars Hollow. After one episode I decided I was ready for sleep, but I had a few things I wanted to check on the web first.

As I was google-searching something, I looked up just in time to see someone walking past my open bedroom door. It was a tall person. A man. But it was very dark so I couldn't make out who it was. This person silently walked past my door then up the stairs, coming from the direction of my boy's rooms. I immediately thought, "Oh! Micah is home already!" Then I angrily thought,"But why wouldn't he tell me? And why would he be sneaking through the house like this scaring the crap out of me??" I started yelling up the stairs for him, with no answer. Complete silence. I then realized that there was no way that couldv'e been Micah. He still had more driving to do and there was no physically possible way he'd be home by now. So of course I figured it must be my oldest son going upstairs to get water or maybe he's sleep-walking. He does that sometimes and we usually have to just turn him around back to his bed. He never remembers in the morning. However, he's not exactly a tall man, but with the darkness and the shadows maybe I mistook him for one? 
But, when I looked into his bedroom I found him fast asleep, right where I'd left him an hour earlier. I quickly checked my other boy's room and found them fast asleep, too.  

That's when I started shaking with fear. It seemed to me that someone strange was in my house and I was going to have to do something about it. I tried to stop and reason with myself for a moment, afterall I didn't want to act rashly and make any stupid decisions.
 First of all, perhaps it was a trick on my eyes. One time I thought I saw a giant tarantula on the wall and it wasn't really there. Or maybe it was from watching too much tiny screen in the darkness of my room. Maybe I had transferred  an image into my house that wasn't really there. Could I have imagined a tall, dark figure walking past my bedroom? Is that possible? Perhaps if I had been watching a horror movie (which I never ever ever do) I could've imagined myself into a frenzy like this, but I was watching Gilmore Girls for goodness sakes!
Or maybe......there was someone lurking in my house and they wanted to hurt me or my children. 
This last thought pushed me into action. I rationalized that when it comes to the safety of my family, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Micah and I have a plan for if we think there's an intruder in the house. I can't go into detail but It involves guns and positioning and actively waiting. I never thought I'd have to put this plan into action, until now. I stopped shaking so I could do it properly. Then I called 911. I told the emergency response people that I suspected an intruder in my home. Then I waited. I didn't dare go upstairs where I thought he must be. I didn't dare move away from my position.
The 911 operator stayed with me on the phone until they got there. She said there would be a knock on the door and If I felt safe enough I could go answer it. 
I heard the knock, but I didn't feel safe. However, I didn't know what else to do. Just sit there and wait? Wait for the cop to break in and find me in my position? I went upstairs. 
Going upstairs to answer that door was one of the scariest things I've ever done. I mean, I knew that when I went upstairs I would find a police officer at my door (or 5) but I didn't want to leave my children downstairs alone, and I didn't want to find anyone waiting for me between my bedroom and the front door.

I opened the front door to find the entire small-town police force. I guess they take these phone calls seriously, which is comforting and amazing to me. I told them to come in immediately and check every room in my house, which they did. We walked from room to room so I could see for myself that there was nobody here. 
They checked all my windows. No evidence of a break in. We walked around checking for missing valuables. Everything was there. 
Miraculously my children stayed asleep the entire time, which was good. I didn't want them to wake up to find a houseful of policemen in our home to scare the pants off of them.

Finally after we had reasoned that there was no one in my house, no evidence of a break-in, and no valuables missing, we concluded that there could  only be 3 explanations:
1. My son had been sleepwalking and I didn't see him turn around at the stairway and go back to his bed.
2. Since I might have left the doors unlocked, perhaps someone came in the house then quickly left when they saw I was home. 
3. I imagined the entire thing.

I said goodbye to the nice policemen and went back to my room. I was still really freaked out about the entire thing and knew I wouldn't be able to go to sleep until my husband came home. I couldn't stop rethinking over and over the scene in my head of the person walking past my doorway. Then I kept scaring myself even more by thinking that the cops hadn't checked the house good enough and he was probably hiding under the couch or behind a closet door. Any moment he was going to come down those stairs with a giant machete yelling, "Sucka! I got you now!" 

I knew it wasn't my son sleepwalking. When I went to his room to check on him he was tucked under his blankets exactly how I left him. And I knew it wasn't my imagination. I looked up and I saw what I saw. I saw a person walking. My imagination would not have prompted me to hold a gun (which I hate)  in my hands and call the police to assist me.
However, it's really hard for me to imagine that someone would come quietly into my home, walk around, and leave without taking anything. Not that we have any valuables, but I'm sure there's a few things here and there that could be pawned off.

Like I said in the beginning, something unexplainable happened last night that I may never have the answers to. 
What I do know, however, is that I proved to myself that when I am put in a position to protect my children, I'm not going to be messed with. Intruders beware. 

Rewind to yesterday morning: I got my first speeding ticket in close to twenty years. I was barreling down the road trying to get my kids to school on time, not paying any attention to the speed limit. I was going 45 in a 25 zone. Whoops! The policeman who pulled me over was not very happy with me. And I was not very happy with the policeman for citing a nice mama with a clean driving record who was accidentally going over the speed limit on a busy school morning. A big fat warning would've been enough to put me in my place! Instead, I have to go to court, do traffic school, watch my insurance go up, and wear the crown of shame on my head for being a supposed reckless driver. I was feeling pretty irritated with those darn cops, until of course they all showed up at my house in my desparate time of need.

Oh yesterday! I am so glad you are over. It was not a lovely day. Not a lovely day at all!
 But, I guess it was a lovely day for cops. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

August 2016 Calendar

August 1-Micah and Zadok headed out to hike Kings Peak, the tallest mountain peak in Utah. They planned to be gone for 5-6 days.

August 3- Grammie Barb Stokes flew in from Seattle for a visit.  We picked her up from the St.George shuttle at 7pm where she had come from Las Vegas airport. The boys hadn't seen her in over a year! before we picked her up we went to the St. George Children's museum. 
When we got home from St. george Micah and Zadok were already back from their trip. They didn't feel good about making the trek up to the top with Micah's hurt shoulder and some fires nearby,  so they camped a little then came home. 

August 4- Malachi fell down and hit his head really hard. Nobody saw it happen, but we knew something was wrong when he kept throwing up and acting strangely out of character. Micah took him to the ER while I ran Cub Scout Pack Meeting. Grammie Barb helped with the pack meeting activity of putting jokes together, and also helped with the boys. We had a fun Pack Meeting playing games and also a glow-in-the-dark-glow-stick dance party. Malachi turned out okay. No major head trauma or brain damage, thank goodness. 

August 5- La Leche League monthly support meeting. 

August 6- I ran the Parowan Half Marathon. I'm still waiting for them to put the results online. I think I ran it in about 2 1/2 hours. There was a lot of downhill and I ended up having a really sore foot the next few days after the race. I went to instacare and had some x-rays done to see if it was broken bones, but it was just tendinitis. I got some crutches at the thrift store and stayed off it for a couple days. I'm fine now, but no more downhill races--too hard on the body. Overall, the race was fun. My favorite part was looking at all the beautiful scenery while listening to my ipod for 2 1/2 hours straight!

August 8- Back to school night for Zadok. We got to meet his teacher and see his classroom. Exciting!

August 9-Grammie Barb left. We took her to St. George to catch her shuttle back to vegas to catch her plane back to Seattle. It was a fun week full of activities! We: went to see Mary Poppins at the Shakespear theatre, went to the lake on the hill, drove up to Yankee Meadows,  went to my half marathon, ate at Applebees (not really our kind of restaurant but we had a gift card), walked the Bristlecone Pine Trail, and had lots of fun down-time to play at the house. 

August 12- Birthday party at the Chavez home. Baby turned 1 with a Monster Truck themed party. I sewed him a Monster Truck pillowcase with a new pillow inside, and threw in a couple monster truck toys. The food was fantastic and we had a lot of fun visiting. I really like the Chavez family--some of my new favorite peoples around here. 

August 15- End of summer water-party at our backyard with friends. 

August 16- BACK TO SCHOOL: Odin (3rd grade), Jonah (1st grade), and Micah (teacher) !

August 17- Took Malachi to the dentist. He has 3 decayed teeth that need capped. Boo!
Odin's first soccer practice for the season at the Wilson's house.
Back to school night for O and J.

August 18-Grandma Sandy came up to visit!
Took dinner to a family in the ward that had a baby. 

August 19-Started my period after 26 months of no period. Sorry if that's Too much information but it was on my calendar so I had to include it. That's the longest break I've ever had while breastfeeding and it was reeeeeealllllly nice, by the way.

August 20-Odin's first soccer game. The "Polar Bears."
Sandy watched the boys so we could go out on a date that evening . First we ate Thai food then we attended the wedding reception for our friend's son and new bride. I was asked to make Cherry cheesecake Cakes, which I'd never made before. I thought they turned out pretty delicious but you can't really go wrong with a cream cheese, powdered sugar and whipped cream combo. By the way the Green Papaya Salad at the Thai restuarant was awful. Note to self: do not order that again.

August 21- Grandma Sandy left back to California with Aaron and the gang who had dropped her off and then picked her back up on their way back from Northern Utah. We had a fun week hanging out and talking, went to the Green Show, watched Odin's soccer game, ate some Mexiacan food, went to church, went to the river, and got Jonah hooked on online puzzles. 

August 22- Zadok's first soccer practice. His coach seems pretty good and willing to teach them technique and new skills. Z is so excited for soccer season to begin!

August 23-Heritage Park group book club meeting at the Jackson's house. We discussed the Book "Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli. I made gingerbread stars with cream cheese frosting for refreshments. Great book! I loved the powerful message of non-conformity and being true to your uniquness. 

August 24- Malachi's first day of Pre-school, which is more like 3 days a week at our friend's house doing awesome stuff while I work on college. When I said goodbye to him he said "Bye mom!" and happily ran to  look at the caterpillars. I never could've done that with my other three shy, anxious, and attached boys. See? The timing is right to go back to school. 

August 25-Braces appointment. They attached a bracket to my descending tooth to help pull it forward and down into place! I'm making major progress here! They also attached a bracket to my lower tooth and are pulling it forward to be with the others. 

August 29,30,31- School, college, soccer practices, repeat, repeat and repeat.

And now here's some pictures not exactly  in order of events:
Micah and Z heading out on their camping trip:

Hiking along the Bristlecome Pine Trail:

Malachi at the St. George Children's Museum:

Parowan Half Marathon:

Lake on the Hill:

First Days of School:
 Not really Malachi's first day of school but he needed a photo by the tree:

Jonah doing morning work sometime the first week of school:

Mom and Sally at Mary Poppins. It was practically perfect in every way!

Odin and his Lake weed from Yankee Meadows. He still has some of it in his bedroom:

Z and one of our dogs Brownie who needs daily hugs and affection:

Personal Mission to Graduation

        August 22nd was my first day of (online college) class and it was tough. Not because the content was hard or I lacked understanding of the course material, but because in between studying I was hurrily dropping off kids, picking up kids, going to the orthodontist, making lunch, eating lunch, feeding lunch to Malachi, getting said toddler down for a nap, washing dishes, tidying up the house, and lastly, taking care of my own personal needs. When I went to college ten years ago, I only had to consider the last thing on that list. I honestly don't know how I'm going to do this, yet something inside still tells me I can and I should. I've been doing some pretty serious soul searching lately about why I chose to go back to school to earn my degree. Looking back the past several months I knew I needed a change but I didn't know what it was that I was going to change. Then suddenly it hit me one day that NOW was the time to go back to college. After that, everything fell into place to get me started on my way. I feel that the gentle whisperings of the Holy Spirit started planting these ideas into my head, gently nudging me towards new ideas about the future and new pathways for my life. First it was "You need to go back to school", then it was,"You need to go into teaching children," then it was,"I'm going to help you do this," and now it's,"Hang in there, it's going to be a wild ride but I'll still be here to help you."  These are the thoughts I hang onto when I start to doubt myself. I need the guidance of the spirit in my life and I am so grateful for it!
Within my college program there is a Student Success Center designed to help students on their goals towards graduation. One of the suggestions on their blog is to develop a personal mission statement as to why you are following the path you are on.  I thought I would do this little question exercise to help me.
From the Student Success blog:
"Going to school is not easy, but it is worth it. There is no doubt you have personal reasons for why you are going to school to earn your degree. After all, having a mission is critical to success. Articulate your personal mission by answering the following questions:"

Why am I going back to school?

Because I want to finish what I started ten years ago. Because I love learning and will enjoy the classes I am taking. Because college can be enriching, exciting, and invigorating to the mind and soul, and I want to experience all of that again. Because I want a career that I will love and enjoy and finishing college is the only path to that goal for me. Because going back to school feels right. Because teaching children in a school setting feels like the next logical step in my life. 

Why is this the time for me to go back to school?
Good question. Because I feel in my heart of hearts that it is right. Because the spirit has told me it is right. Because my boys are at an age where they are more independent and able to do more things on their own, thus I have more free time to work on college. Because I am at a place in life where I feel more responsible and more capable of managing my time and energy to make this work.

If I start to feel overwhelmed, why should I stick with it and stay on track to graduation?

Because this is what I am making time for in my life right now and I can do this! The time is now! I have worked hard to downsize any outside responsibilities to make it possible for me to do this. I have put graduating college at the tippy top of my priority list and I know if I stick to my plan, I won't fail. 
 I can envision my life as a teacher. I can visualize my personal teaching philosophies and the positive impact I'll make on the school I work at. I can visualize my classroom, my students, and my busy, happy  life as a mom and a teacher.

**Refer to your personal mission statement often during your degree program to remain motivated.