Birthdays and Braces

January 18, 2016

“Smile!” I said to the twins as a snapped a quick photo on my phone.

“It hurts to smile.” Ethan complained

“Look up here” Emma said as she opened her mouth and tilted her head back. She pointed to plastic attached to the back of her front teeth. “These are called stoppers and they are to keep my top teeth from breaking off the brackets on my bottom teeth” she explained. “It feels like I have two sets of front teeth!”

Fred & Ethel (aka Ethan and Emma) got braces for their 13th birthday. Not exactly the “presents” they were hoping for. I had scheduled the orthodontist appointments for the first week of January, but they had to be pushed back a week due to a scheduling conflict at the dentist office. This meant that they would get braces just 3 days before their birthday.

We had several pain-filled days where they could only eat soft foods that required little to no chewing. Applesauce, yogurt and mashed potatoes were pretty much all they ate until their birthday when they pushed through the pain to eat some Fazoli’s spaghetti and breadsticks.   They couldn’t resist Fazoli’s breaksticks!

Of course, you can’t have a birthday party without birthday cake and ice cream. Fred & Ethel were happy to discover that there’s not much chewing required for cake and ice cream. They were also thrilled to receive their presents and to be able to enjoy spending time with family.

Happy Birthday Ethan & Emma! IMG_0727

 

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Emma and Ethan will be getting braces this week, just in time for their 13th birthday. They have both expressed their displeasure with the timing of this not-so-pleasant birthday surprise. In preparation for braces I was told they need spacers so today I had to take them to the dentist for this pre-braces appointment.

I picked the twins and Caleb up from the Junior High and we traveled though the snow-covered roads towards the dentist office. We were running a little early (I know, so unusual for us) and so we stopped at McDonalds for a quick snack.

“What would you like?” I called towards the back of the van.

“Is this a meal or a snack?” Ethan asked.

“Just a snack.” I replied. “We will eat dinner after we get home from the dentist.”

“Hmmm…” Emma thought aloud. “I already had popcorn for breakfast. What else won’t I be able to eat after I get braces?”

“I want chocolate chip cookies!” Ethan shouted

“No problem. But you don’t need to yell. I’m right here.”

“I guess I’ll have a milkshake. Can I have milkshakes when I get braces?” Emma asked.

IMG_9268“Yes, milkshakes are OK. Really, there’s not a whole lot you can’t have. Just nothing too hard or sticky.”

“Can I eat Three Musketeers, Famous Amos cookies and brownies?” Ethan asked

“If you eat all that at once you will be tossing your Famous Amos cookies” Emma replied with a smile.

Caleb tapped me on the shoulder and said, “French Fries”. I smiled and thought how great it was that he could communicate what he wanted so clearly. Caleb’s verbal vocabulary is limited due to his autism but he can communicate fairly well through written or typed words and he can verbally say quite a few words now too. It’s great to see him communicate, especially when it is unprompted.

When we arrived at the dentist I told everyone to bundle back up for our walk across the parking lot since the HIGH today was only 17 degrees. Winter is not my favorite season, but I guess I shouldn’t complain since it’s really been pretty mild so far. Once inside the warm dentist office we unbundled ourselves and found seats in the waiting room.

“I hope they call Ethan back first.” Emma said.

“No way! I always have to go first!” Ethan protested.

“Well, that’s what you get for being 4 minutes older than me.”

While Emma and Ethan were busy taking bets on who would be called back first, Caleb was quite the social butterfly in the waiting room. He worked the room making sure to say “Hi” to all the other patients. (You can read more about Caleb’s improvements in social skills over on my other blog, Caleb’s Voice.)

IMG_9269“Emma and Ethan” the dental hygienist called out.

They looked at each other and laughed.

“I guess you guys BOTH get to go first.” I teased as they got up and followed the hygienist back into the exam room.

I read a few magazines, checked my email on my phone and before I knew it “Fred and Ethel”, as we affectionately call the twins, came strolling back into the waiting room together. Emma was smiling as big as life but Ethan looked less than thrilled. Apparently only Ethan needed spacers and Emma got off easy this time.

I asked Ethan if it hurt and he said it did when they were putting them in, but his teeth felt OK now.

“Mine didn’t hurt at all.” Emma said, teasing Ethan.

“Just wait,” Ethan warned,  “Thursday is coming and you are NOT getting out of the braces!”

So stay tuned for more of this story when we journey back to the dentist on Thursday for part 2 of Fred and Ethel Visit the Dentist.

Why I Blog

January 3, 2016

2015 was not a great blogging year for me. At the end of December I got a really cool report from WordPress showing my blog stats. It was really cool until I looked at it realized I posted a total of two times. Two times in 365 days – wow! That’s nothing to brag about. (On the bright side, I only posted one time in 2014 so technically I posted twice as much in 2015)

My goal for 2016 is to blog more. However, I want to be more specific in this goal so I am challenging myself to post at least once a week. I’d love to post three or four times a week, but considering I didn’t even post three or four times in an entire year I thought I’d try to be realistic.

I’m starting with asking myself the question of why I blog. Why did I start blogging in the first place? I thought back to when I started my blog. I had been posting things on Facebook about my kids. I’d post funny things they said or did or share my struggles (and humor) of motherhood. I liked sharing with others and I enjoyed hearing how the stories often helped other parents or made people laugh.  It also was very therapeutic to write about motherhood when I was stressed and up to my eyeballs in laundry and dishes. My mom encouraged me to start a blog to share these stories.  I checked into blogging and was excited because I could post more detailed stories (no word count limit) and add photos and other cool widgets.

So I think I have determined that my original purpose for blogging was to relieve stress in my own life as well as to give my readers some humor and joy in their stressful day.  Is that still the purpose of my blog? I think so, but it’s different now that my kids are older.

When I started blogging Drew was 13, Caleb was 9 and Emma and Ethan (the twins) were 7.  In fact my “Meet the Pastor’s Family” page on my blog still reads:

My husband Dwight and I were high school sweethearts and we have been happily married for 17 years.  We have a 9 year old son, Caleb, who has Autism and is non-verbal (he also has a fascination with flushing toys and other un-flushable objects down the toilet … we now have the plumber on speed dial). Then there are the twins, Emma & Ethan, who are 7 years old. They act like a little old married couple and so we affectionately refer to them as “Fred & Ethel” from I Love Lucy.  Our oldest son, Drew, just turned 13.   Wow, I am a mother of a teenager  ~ That makes me feel old !  I sometimes feel like I’m running in circles trying to balance a full time job, motherhood, and all the church activities and responsibilities that come with being a pastor’s wife.  Well, now you know a little about my family and my life … I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of our not-so-perfect pastor’s family.

So I guess one of my first tasks of 2016 is to update this page since the twins are about to be teenagers and Drew will be graduating from High School in June!

New Year’s Resolution #1 : Blogging once a week in 2016

What is your New Year’s Resolution? Feel free to share in the comments below.

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions