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

 

Airport Adventure

February 22, 2014

I was tucking Ethan and Caleb in for bed the other night and as I kissed Caleb goodnight I asked, “What time is it?”

“Bedtime.”  Caleb replied as he snuggled down in the covers.

However, Ethan jumped up and shouted his answer at the same time, “It’s adventure time!!”

“No. No, it’s not adventure time.” I said to Ethan, “Caleb is correct, it’s bedtime.”

As I left the room I smiled as I thought back to my childhood and the fun adventures I had playing with my sister, Leslie. When we were little we enjoyed playing Barbie’s, making cookies, and playing games. In high school we spent many hours laying out by the pool, working on scrapbooks and doing each other’s hair and make-up.  I loved having a little sister and miss those times as we have both grown up, gotten married and had children of our own.  We live several hours from one another and it’s hard to find time to get together. On the rare occasion that we do see each other it’s usually at family holiday gatherings where there is so much chaos with all the kids that it can be hard to carry on a conversation.

IMG_6804Last weekend Leslie and I traveled back to our hometown of Bakersfield, CA for our grandfather’s 95th birthday party.  It was a great celebration and I loved seeing our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. However, my favorite part of the trip was spending quality time with my sister talking, laughing, and reconnecting.  When it was time to fly home I was excited to see my husband and kids but a little disappointed that I didn’t have more time to spend with Leslie.  The weekend had gone so fast and I really didn’t want it to end.

IMG_6880

We got up at 4:00 am Monday morning and my dad took us to the Bakersfield airport to start our trip home. The plane they put us on was “quaint and charming”, as our stewardess called it. I called it “teeny tiny” and I was amazed at how bumpy and loud the flight was.  We flew from Bakersfield to San Francisco to catch our connecting flight to Chicago and then home to Indianapolis.

However, when we got to the gate we were told the flight out of San Francisco was delayed. Apparently the Captain’s chair needed to be replaced. At least that is the reason they gave us over the loud speaker. First it was delayed 15 min, then 25 minutes, then 55 minutes. At this point we knew we would not make our connecting flight in Chicago since we only had an hour layover.

IMG_6884We decided to make the best of it and do what we always do when we are stressed – eat!  Even though it was only 9:00 am we had been up for hours and hours so we decided to go for a burrito with chips and salsa.

As we were enjoying our burritos and discussing what to do about missing our connecting flight, we looked up and saw the pilot and co-pilot walk off the plane with their rolling suitcases trailing behind them.

“That’s not a good sign.” I said to Leslie. “I guess we may have an interesting day ahead of us!”

The agent at the terminal desk came on the loud speaker again to let us know that the flight had been indefinitely delayed. She advised that if we had connecting flights it would be very unlikely that we would make them so they would suggest that we go to the customer service desk to re-book and find an alternate flight to our final destination.

I am not one of those go-with-the-flow type of people. I am a planner and I can get stressed when plans change unexpectedly. However, I found myself laughing uncontrollably as Leslie and I finished off our burritos and speculated on what went wrong with the replacing of the Captain’s chair.  A few minutes later we headed towards the customer service desk to see if they could help us get back home.

As we approached the desk we saw the line was very long and the faces in the line were not very happy. Leslie and I got in line and again found ourselves talking and laughing while we waited for over an hour in the line. The other customers in line were griping, complaining and getting angry and rude with the airline employees. Leslie and I decided we’d get a lot further by being nice since we both know what it’s like to be on the other side of that counter.  Not that we have worked at an airline as ticketing agents, but we have both worked in customer service and public service jobs and know how exhausting it can be to deal with upset and angry customers all day long.

While we were waiting in line my husband, being the awesome guy that he is, had researched and found a direct flight home that was leaving at 1:30 pm.  We needed to try and get on that flight since the next available flight out would not leave until 10:30 pm and had several connections on it’s way back to Indy so we would not arrive home until 10:30 am the next morning.  As we wound around in the line closer and closer to the ticket counter a stewardess came along offering all of those in line cookies, juice and soft drinks.  It was a nice gesture on the airlines part and it did seem to help bring a few more smiles to those waiting in line with us. As Leslie and I finished our Diet Cokes and cookies we finally made it to the front of the line.

We walked up to the ticket counter together and politely explained to the gentleman behind the counter that we both needed to get back to Indianapolis for work the next morning.  Leslie told him that we had looked online and saw there was a flight leaving at 1:30 pm and how perfect it would be if they had 2 seats available for us on that flight. She also threw in that she thought the stewardess should be serving steaks to the ticket agents since they were the ones working so hard – that seemed to bring a smile to his face.

The ticket agent typed some information into his computer and said, “It looks like we have 2 seats together on that flight in the economy plus seating so I will upgrade you to that level at no extra charge.  Do you have any bags you need switched over to that flight with you?”

Leslie and I had both checked suitcases and so we handed him our claim tickets and with a few clicks of the mouse he had re-routed our bags to accompany us on the flight home.  “Wow, that seemed to go really smoothly!” I thought to myself. I just hoped the rest of the trip home would be that easy!

We called our husbands and texted our mom and dad and let everyone know of our new flight information.  We still had a couple hours until our flight so we went and got some ice cream for $4.00 a scoop and sat down to enjoy it.  Although our trip hadn’t gone as planned we both said how thankful we were that it was just us, and not us plus all our children, stranded at the airport.  Not only would it have been a lot more stressful, but it would have also been a lot more expensive. With the high cost of food at the airport it would have probably costs us $100 for lunch!

IMG_6883The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful. We enjoyed the extra leg room in the economy plus seating and passed the time watching Baby Momma on my iPad, talking, and reading books and magazines. Before we knew it we were landing in Indianapolis. The captain came on for his landing announcement and told us the current temperature was 9 degrees in Indianapolis and we shivered just thinking about the shock our bodies were about to experience! As we walked down the tunnel from plane to the gate we felt the frigid air against our faces and actually saw ice that had formed on the floor inside the tunnel. Welcome home to the frozen tundra of Indiana!

We were impressed that our suitcases were actually waiting for us on the baggage carousel. We grabbed our suitcases and braved the cold as we left the airport and headed for the car.

IMG_6793What an adventure we had been on!  It was an adventure that we could never have planned, but one that we will never forget. It’s funny how an unexpected change in plans can provide us with some of the most memorable moments in our lives. So next time your plans change or you have unexpected delays try to stop and enjoy the moment and remember that we all need a little adventure every once in a while.

The End of the World??

December 13, 2012

“Mom, mom! Look what I made in computer class today!”  Emma said excitedly as she burst in the house after school. 

It was a calendar for the month of December and she proudly showed me how she had even added special dates to the calendar to personalize it. I looked over the calendar and was impressed with her hard work but then I noticed one small error.

“You did a wonderful job Emma, but right here where you have Dad’s birthday it’s on the wrong day. His birthday is on December 22nd, but you have it down on the 21st.”

She came over to take a closer look and then smiled and said, “Oh, that’s right! The 21st is the end of the world!  Dad’s birthday is on the 22nd, and Christmas is on the 25th.  I guess I’ll need to fix that because we all know the end of the world is before Dad’s birthday this year.”

We were both laughing when Ethan came in the room and asked what was so funny. I showed him Emma’s calendar and after a quick review he caught the error and said, “I made a calendar like this in computer class too. Yours is wrong though, because Dad’s birthday is on the 22nd.” 

Ethan reached in his pocket and took out a little square of paper that had been folded in half 3 or 4 times.  “Here’s my calendar” he said as he unfolded the paper square. “See, Dad’s birthday is on the 22nd.”

“Yeah, that’s what mom reminded me.”  Emma said as she continued to look over his calendar. “Wow, you even remembered to put the end of the world on your calendar. Great job Ethan!” 

I glanced at Ethan’s calendar and sure enough, on the 21st he had written “End of the world??”

Now before you start thinking that Dwight and I are crazy for letting our kids believe the world is going to end a week from today I need to explain that this has been a family joke for the past few months since Dwight’s birthday is one day after the end of the Mayan calendar. Back in late October the twins heard about the Mayan calendar ending on 12/21/12 and the speculation by some that it would be the end of world.

“What! The world is going to end on December 21st?” Dwight played along, “Of course! That’s just my luck! The world is going to end on the 21st and my birthday is the 22nd!  Well, I guess there is no need to buy me a birthday present!”    

The kids all know that 12/21/12 will come and go and will be just another day on the calendar. They know that life will go on as normal (well, as “normal” as life can be with four kids) and we will still get to enjoy cake and ice cream on their father’s birthday.

August 2012 042That reminds me … I need to get going on making that happen.   Note to self: buy Dwight’s birthday present this weekend and don’t forget to order the birthday cake!

Party in the Parsonage

January 25, 2012

The past two weeks have been just party, party, party here in the parsonage. “What could be that party-worthy?” you may be thinking. Well, if you guessed a birthday you would be wrong. But if you guessed TWO birthdays you would right on the money.  The twins, Emma and Ethan (aka: Fred and Ethel), turned nine last week and we have been celebrating their birthday like it was Mardi Gras. 

Party # 1 was with my side of the family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) and with 9 grandchildren on that side of the family it was one rowdy party!  We had ice cream cake to top off a delicious taco dinner – a birthday fiesta!

Then a few days later we had party # 2 which was a high energy bouncing party at an inflatable wonderland called Monkey Joe’s with cousins from the other side of the family.

Later that same evening we had Party # 3 with my husband’s parents where there was lots of yummy food and, of course, cake (what’s a party without cake?)

After that party was over and we got the kids home and tucked in bed I found myself up at 2:00 am making brownies and scotcharoos for the class party(s) the following day (Party # 4 & # 5 since the twins are in separate classrooms).

Party #6 was on their actual birthday and was a small intimate gathering of just our family and we ate dinner, sang “Happy Birthday”, opened presents and …. Hmmmm …. What else? Oh, yeah … ate cake!

Then this past weekend we had Party # 7 at the parsonage and it was an exciting hour-and-a-half of high energy boys screaming and cheering in one room and giggling, giddy girls laughing and squealing in the other.  Ethan and all his friends played football in our living room (with a Nerf football, thank goodness) while Emma and her friends painted nails (toes and fingers) and made cards with stamps and colored markers in the family room (my coffee table …. my poor, poor, coffee table).  They did all congregate in the same room for the important stuff like when the pizza was served, when it was time for cake and when they were opening presents. But other than that the girls pretty much stayed in one room and the boys in the other.

After Party # 7 was over and the kids had all gone home (well, except the four that live here – we let them stay) I walked through the house trying to decide where to start cleaning up the party aftermath.

Ethan was eating his third piece of birthday cake for the evening and asked, “So, is that all the parties we are gonna have?”

“Yep, that’s about it. Mommy is about partied out and needs a siesta before we have any more fiestas!”

“Oh, I get it.” Ethan said with a smile. “Siesta and Fiesta rhyme.  I know what a fiesta is, but what is a siesta?”

“It’s a nap” I said sighing as I wiped chocolate frosting out of the carpet.

“Why would you need a nap?” he asked innocently. “Parties don’t make me tired at all. They just make me very hyper and happy!”