Saturday, April 25, 2015

Braces, Grandma & Adelaide Visit, and other Randomness

 
Braces
 
On April Fool's Day, I went into an orthodontist's office for a consultation about what to do about my teeth.  You know how every so often the question is posed about the one physical thing you might change about yourself?  Well, mine would be my teeth.  I had braces for 5 years as a kid and it was brutal.  My orthodontist then was 90 (or so it seemed) and from what I remember he was trying to retire, I was his last patient, and he couldn't figure out how to completely fix my teeth.  So he finally just removed the braces, told me I didn't need a retainer, and sent me on my way. 
 
Well, as it turns out, the real issue is that I have a "severe skeletal Cass II malocclusion with a transverse deficiency problem", which basically means a terrible crossbite and overbite that has been wearing down the joint of my left jawbone and back teeth because of the "open bite trauma" (this is all coming from a letter from my new orthodontist referring me for a surgical procedure).  It is like when you go to a restaurant and get the chair with one wobbly leg that is shorter than all the others - my bite is never stable and it is causing major problems, in addition to the fact that my teeth are just plain old crooked too. 
 
When the first orthodontist explained all this to me in his office and showed me videos of how this will all have to be corrected through a surgical procedure where my jaw is broken in multiple places to then expand my palate, I started bawling.  I mean, I knew my mouth had problems but I was not expecting to be told I was going to need surgery to fix it.  I'm sure this was naïve but I was kind of hoping against hope that Invisalign would be an option for me, but it won't work to correct the probems.  I went to two other orthodontists for opinions and they all said the same thing, so as much as I hate to go through with this, I decided to move forward and get it taken care of before I get any older and this gets any worse. 
 
The upside of it all is that my medical insurance will cover the surgery, which will involve an overnight hospital stay, breaking my jaw in 5 places, plating my lower jaw in place, and possibly a chin implant - Paul said I should ask for the Jay Leno special - and having my jaw wired shut for 10 days all for the cost of my co-pay ($25) which is totally insane.  And apparently the Kaiser surgeons in Oakland who perform this surgery are the best around according to all three orthodontists I talked to.  So, hooray, I guess. 
 
So yeah, I get to be a brace face for the next to years I guess.  Hopefully not any longer, but we will see.  I got the upper bands put on while my mom was in town visiting and could watch the girls for me.  The lower braces will go on later.  My teeth are killing me already (its been 2 days), as are my lips which feel raw in places where they are rubbing too much against the metal brackets, and I feel like I look like a 12 year old again.  When they finished placing the brackets on my teeth they held up 20 different colors of rubber bands to put around each bracket and I had a flashback to when I used to choose red and green or orange and black or whatever color combo best represented the holiday of the month.  I kept it classy and stuck with clear this time though, which is my intention for the entirety of this process.
 
I jokingly posted on Instagram the day I got the braces put on that I had gone to the mall and all the preteen boys were hitting on me and asking if I was babysitting Clara and Rose since we were there with my mom.  When Paul got home that night I mentioned that I had bought a new shirt while we were at the mall and he piped up: "Where? Forever 12?".  I'm glad he's getting such entertainment out of my suffering.  Just kidding, though.  He's actually been super sympathetic and supportive through all of this and the humor helps me cope. 


Grandma Cece & Adelaide come to visit

In other news, my sister, Jennie, had her baby girls two weeks ago.  Everything went well and they are identical (as far as anyone can tell).  Clara is super excited about her new cousins, Kaitlyn and Brigitte and spent a couple of days drawing pictures of the two of them and telling me all about them. 

 
My mom took Jennie's three oldest girls to her house for a few days so Jennie and Ryan could adjust to the twins before having all five girls (with Emma being the oldest at 5) at home.  Then this past week she flew out here to visit us and brought Adelaide, who turns 2 next week, so that Jennie only had the oldest two to take care of along with the twins.  And oh my goodness did we have fun with this girl.  Rose adores Adelaide and they got along great (most of the time).  Sure there were some jealousy issues when I would hold Adelaide or when they both wanted the same toy, but for the most part Rose was in stitches all week while watching Adelaide be her hilarious self.  Rose would crow with delight when we did dance parties and Adelaide would spin around and seat drop right onto her bum.  And when we took the girls to a splash park they were both having fits of glee over the spraying water and played and played until they were shivering like crazy and we made them change out of their wet clothes into the dry ones we had brought.  Adelaide was extremely angry over this and threw a massive tantrum, but aside from a few of those she was just such a sweet girl and gave me so many snuggles this week. 
 

 
Unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess) I got sick with some kind of stomach bug the first night my mom was here.  While it really put a wrench in plans to go out and do things, it was nice that my mom could help me with the girls while I tried to recuperate and hold food down.  She also made it so I could go to the orthodontist for two hours and put all three girls to bed on Wednesday night so Paul and I could make it to the temple for a date night. 
 
Go-Karts and Fondue
 
Speaking of date night, we had such a fun one a couple of weeks ago when we went to Boomer's in Livermore and rode go-karts (which I had never done before), played mini golf (we each got a hole-in-one so we are both winners but for the record I won by 2 strokes), and got chocolate fondue for dessert at a place in downtown Livermore.  We want to go back to the fondue place again and try dinner there, not just dessert.  We are so lucky to have a good babysitting-swap system set up with another couple so we can go out every other week.



Pedicures and Braids

Clara just loves having her toenails painted and the other week I actually even let her paint my toenails for me, which she thought was pretty awesome.  She even did an okay job of it and man alive was she focused on getting them just perfect.  I did both of our hair in milkmaid braids that day and she looked so darn cute. 




On most Thursdays I take the girls to Music Makers at the church.  There is usually a really good turn out of moms and toddlers there and Clara and Rose really enjoy the singing, games, storytime, and snacks.  I enjoy the chance to visit with other moms and watch the girls having fun with other kids their age. 


Kitchen Adventures

My friend Amy came over the other week and brought her pasta machine so we could try our hand at making fettucine from scratch.  It was super fun and interesting but probably more work than it was worth and I'm planning to stick to the dried pasta from the store rather than go through all the labor again.  But I sure love trying new things in the kitchen and we made plans to attempt other things that we have never tried making before like potstickers, baklava, and spring rolls.


Rosie-Posie

And last, but most certainly not least, Rose continues to be such a little sweetheart.  She has her hard days or hard times of days when she is a little fusspot and is prone to throwing tantrums when she is already cranky and doesn't get her way, but when she is happy and in a good mood she is the smiliest, sweetest, funniest little thing.  She has the best, most beatific smile and loves to tease and play.  Just this past week she has seemed to make some progress on forming some words.  She said "Adelaide" and "all done" with enough distinction that we knew what she was talking about in context even if it wasn't super clear yet.  Yesterday I'm pretty sure I heard her say "bubble" when getting into the bathtub and she seems to think a cat is called a "meow" because that is the sound she makes when we see one.  It's hard to say if any of these count as her first words because it is still more of just getting the correct number of syllables paired with the proper vowel sounds and maybe a consonant or two along with context but it is exciting to see her speech start progressing.



Rose loves berries, gummy vitamins, milk, all animals (she goes nuts over dogs and cats), her blankie (the purple one that Jennie made for her when she was born), touch-and-feel books, going for walks outside, being chased, Ring-around-the-Rosie, bathtime, and brushing her teeth.  She looks to be teething again given the state of her runny nose and drooling mouth and I am wondering if her canines are coming in next.  Rose is in size 2T and will move up to 3T by the end of the summer in all likelihood given how fast she is growing.  She is a very big girl and is the size of a 2 year old even though she is only 15 months.  She likes to climb on everything and follow her big sister around.  And we just love her to pieces.

 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter weekend dawned bright and beautiful so we took the girls out for a hike in the east hills of Dublin.  The hike was lovely - all climbing rolling hills through meadow grasses and wildflowers.  We know those hills will brown up before too long and it will get too hot to enjoy this type of hiking so it was nice to take advantage while we could.  Rose continued to show how much she enjoys hiking by pointing her little self straight uphill and trudging happily upward, holding our hands when things got a little steep for her.  Even Clara's attitude toward hiking improved on this one.
 



When we got home we watched General Conference and dyed Easter eggs.


Paul strung purple yarn throughout the house after we put the girls to bed at night and I put together their Easter baskets.  Clara' basket had new flip-flops, a loofah, gardening gloves, an Easter sticker book, a kaleidoscope, a mermaid beach towel (with brown hair so it looks like her), a magnet set for the four seasons (basically like paper dolls but with magnets - they are awesome and the girls love them), and some candy.  And she got a little watering can that didn't fit in the basket.


Rose also got new flip-flops and a magnet set (a sweet shop to make cupcakes, pies, cakes, etc.), sidewalk chalk, bubbles and blowers (that didn't fit in the basket either), new toothbrushes, finger puppets, and some candy and goldfish crackers.  Oh, and each girl got a hula-hoop that Paul picked up last minute that day - they have had a lot of fun with those.


Rose wasted no time getting into the candy.  She went straight for anything wrapped in colorful foil and even managed to sneak one of the milk chocolate See's eggs into her mouth before I could round them all up.  I didn't even know she had it until I saw chocolate drool dribbling down her chin and she opened her mouth in a chocolately smile and let me fish out the foil wrapper that she had sucked the candy out of.






After breakfast (cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, and bacon with fruit), we did an easter egg hunt in the backyard for the girls.  Rose immediately took a liking to the handful of glittery eggs that were spread around and would ignore the plain old plastic eggs.  And Clara seemed to enjoy helping Rose find eggs as much as searching for her own. 






We had the Hamby's over for Easter dinner that night (ham, potatoes, peas, a pie - normal stuff) and did a family home evening about the meaning of Easter and Christ's resurrection.  It was a lovely holiday.  And a few days in advance I took the girls back to Sunol to get a picture of them in their Easter dresses.  Rose kind of went berserk about the idea of posing on a slope for me (she either wants to go up or down but how dare I try to get her to stay put for a second) so I pulled out the small rocking chair that has turned out to be a valuable prop for me when it comes to taking pictures of kids but even that was making her angry.  The picture I got below was pretty much the only good one of the two girls together, but it has the redeeming feature of Clara looking lovingly at her sister. 


But this is how Rose really felt about most of the photo shoot.  (face palm)


Anyway, after I gave up trying to get a more traditional picture of Rose and just let her wander while I hopped through the weeds and wildflowers as best I could I was able to get a couple of cute profile and semi-profile shots of her, paparazzi-style.  Oh, and I changed her dress for a different look to go with the individual shot I got of Clara the week before that turned out so well.



 
 
And that was our Easter!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hiking in Sunol Regional Wilderness

Paul's dad is in town so this morning we took advantage of having grandpa around and went on a hike.  We have heard that Sunol, which is just south of us, has some beautiful hiking so we went to find a trail called "Little Yosemite".  The weather was absolutely perfect for hiking and the best part was that all of the wildflowers were in full bloom.  Everywhere we looked there were blue, purple, yellow, or white flowers, with lots of butterflies flitting to and fro.  Just to the left of the trailhead there was a gorgeous, shaded field of these flowers and I had to stop to take Clara's picture.  It's perhaps my favorite picture of her ever and I just can't believe how grown up and her own person she looks in the photo.  The pose, the facial expression, the choice of outfit - it is all her own doing.  Gosh we love her.
 



The trail is actually a wide gravelly path that we could have pushed a jogging stroller on (big enough even for a maintenance truck to drive on) but we didn't know that when we left so we just brought the hiking backpack to carry Rose and gave Clara as much encouragement as we could.  It turns out Rose is quite the little hiker as she did a lot of the walking on her own for the first mile or so (seriously! she walked far!  and she smiled and squealed and chattered the whole way).  The whole hike is about a mile and a half and ends at a waterfall before you can either go on or turn around and do the mile and a half back out.  We took a few breaks and she got carried maybe 1/3 of the way in spurts before being set down to chase after one of the many dogs we saw on the trail, which really helped keep her motivation up.  Clara, on the other hand, was begging to be held before we even got started and whined much of the way that it was "too hard" and "taking too long" and she was "getting all sweaty".  Sheesh.  We finally broke down and bribed her with fruit snacks to keep her moving.
 


A couple of times we took little detours from the main trail to cut over to a creek and throw rocks in the water.  This baby bonnet barely fits Rose anymore and she didn't leave it on as well as the woven hat that we brought for Clara.  Looks like I need to start searching for more hat options for the girls with summer coming up.






What really got Clara through the hike was the incentive of spotting butterflies.  She was thrilled to find one that kept landing on wildflowers right by the side of the trail and staying put long enough for her to observe without it flying right off again but she was too timid to touch it. 


We aren't positive whether we made it to "the end" of the hike because the trail kept going but I knew there was a waterfall along the way and this small jumble of rocks had sort of a little waterfall thing happening so we called it good.  It was nice and cool and just perfect for a break to eat string cheese, peanuts, and chocolate covered pretzels and the girls were happy to see lots of people stopping there with their dogs. 


 
Rose rode most of the way back on my shoulders even though Paul had carried the hiking pack.  It was just easier to swing her up and down from that position when she wanted to see a dog or walk for a stretch than to deal with all the straps and buckles of the carrier.  And Paul caved and carried Clara for a little bit of the return journey because her whining was turning into tears and a tantrum over having been forced to participate in what she apparently felt was some kind of death march (seriously, any suggestions on how to help this girl appreciate nature and hiking would be appreciated).  Really though it was a lovely outing and such a nice change from spending all day on Saturday working on house projects!