Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A shout-out to dental professionals... yes, I am writing a POSTIVE blog about dentists! Commence with shock and awe.

I have had a long string of really bad dental experiences, and it has made me avoid seeing the dentist for the past 5 years. So when a filling came out recently (I had no idea it came out, I just noticed a big hole in my back molar) I freaked at the thought of having to go to the dentist. I called around and remembered that a woman had recommended a place nearby to me last year when I was talking about teeth whitening as a present for someone. They happened to be running a special so I made an appointment. The initial visit was nothing to be concerned about. X-rays, exam, and explanation of procedures that needed to be done. I have periodontal disease (genetically predisposed) and apparently it had progressed to a point where I needed scaling and planing. Since I already hate basic dental work (based on my many past experiences) I had a ridiculous amount of anxiety over having to get this done. I expressed this concern to the dentist, and he happily said that he and his staff would take care of me. I blew it off. I had heard that in the past with my previous "dentist", aka The Soulless Dark One.

I went in for all of my work at once, and I had mixed feelings about it (getting it over with as opposed to doing too much at once and hurting from it). We discussed pain options and communication options, which no other dentist has EVER done with me. They doubled up on local anesthesia with me, and I used hand signs with the dentist to signal discomfort. I asked him to explain what he was doing while he was doing it so I didn't feel completely powerless and out of the loop, and he gladly obliged. The mixture of enough anesthesia, proper non-verbal communication, and step-by-step information during the procedure made me so relaxed that I could have dozed off! I have never felt that way sitting in a dental chair before! The same went for the perio-hygienist who performed the scaling and planing. We laughted about my completely numb face, my drooling, and my suggestion to add my picture to the patient appreciation wall of fame. The anesthesia even started wearing off a bit during the scaling and planing, but she was so careful and involved with me as a human being (not some lump of flesh sitting in a chair) that I was completely comfortable with it.

All other dentists should take bedside manner lessons from Dr. Wallace and his staff at Eagle Ranch Dental!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Oh say, the silly games we play

I have found that as I grow older I require more silliness to distract me from the drudgery of being a "grown-up". We have some games that we play on a regular basis in our family that aptly make up for the tediousness of pretending to be responsible citizens.

Funny Face Time - It is what it says. We each take turns making silly faces to make everyone else laugh. When it's just me and Bryan it gets interesting!

Funny Noises - We each take turns making funny noises. This is Grace's favorite, even though she makes the same noise over and over and OVER again. :-)

Funny Words - We make up our own words. Some have made it to the wall of fame, such as shmergendorfmerfer and ploppledanglemuff.

Monster Time/Zombie Time - Bryan and I are monsters or zombies, and the kids have to escape our evil grip. This usually happens right before bed. Andrew usually decides to save the day by "crashing the bad guys". He is just the right height to hit Bryan in a sensitive spot......

Make Sam Mad - Our dog, Sam, is a great source of entertainment for all of us. He chews on his leg and chases his tail for what seems like an eternity when he is bored. He also barks and growls at the weirdest inanimate objects (paintings, booster seats, new plants, holes in the ground, a shoe.....). So we will get as bored as he does every once in a while and do goofy harmless things to him to make him go a little crazy for us. Andrew LOVES this, because he gets to steal Sam's bone from him and run around the house screaming and laughing while Sam follows behind.

Board Games - This is mainly for me and the kids, Bryan usually does not get involved. We play Mystery Date, Candy Land, Pretty Pretty Princess, and Ants in the Pants. Pretty Pretty Princess becomes a source of amusement when Grace and Andrew decide to put the jewelry in silly places (their noses, eyelids, eyebrows, chins, lips, belly buttons) and then try to chase me down to put the jewelry on me.

Swapping Talents - This is for me and Bryan but the kids sometimes play it on their own, and it gets pretty hilarious. The most recent one for me and Bryan (months ago, sadly) was when I showed Bryan some ballet moves and he showed me some kickboxing moves. We had to try our best to repeat what we had been shown, and the following display was clumsy and laugh-inducing.

Monster Pictures - This is Grace's territory, but Andrew tries it and they ocassionaly talk me into doing it. Grace will randomly draw pictures of the family members on post-its and put them on our bedroom doors, but the pictures are monster representations of each of us. Sharp teeth, crazy hair, funky bodies, and forked tongues. Andrew's end up looking like blobs with faces and stick legs/arms, it's great!

Ministry of Silly Walks Interview - We each do our best silly walk to see who will win. Bryan usually wins, his goofy walks are hard to beat!

Airing of Grievances - Thanks to Seinfeld's Festivus in "The Strike" episode, we take time once in a blue moon to jokingly poke at each other's quirks as a reminder that our weirdness makes us individuals that are loved for everything we are. This usually happens at the meal table or in the car, and it could be just me and Bryan, the kids could be included, or it could happen at a family gathering. The Airing of Grievances has to be light-heartedly approached and no intentionally hurtful revelations or accusations are allowed. It usually includes my absurdly musical morning gas, Bryan's forgetfulness of the English language, Grace's dramatic fits, and Andrew's weird made-up songs. When other close family members are around, socks are mentioned, as well as the names Bitter Betty and Debbie Downer, and more jokes about gas powering an entire state or country (the women in my family have musical bums).

Car Riding Song Time - This came in very handy on our road trip to Ohio. We pick a tune and sing the song using only words we read on road signs and other cars. While driving through Kentucky I started the song to the tune of Jingle Bells, and the only sign for miles was "Speed Limit", so I started it and had nothing else to go on. Bryan and the kids still make fun of it by randomly singing "SPEED LIMIT..." with long periods of silence. Thanks.

I am thrilled to have a spouse who happily goes along with all of this, and kids who still think we, as parents, are witty enough for us and our games to be considered cool.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This is what I believe

My profile has finally been approved on, so I would like to share it with my friends and family. Please take some time to read the summary of my personal journey and browse the site to learn more about the church that I belong to. Believers are not one-dimensional. We are your neighbors, your coworkers, and hopefully your friends. I want to share my faith with you in hopes that you will feel comfortable sharing yours with me. I want to know you as more than just another person, I want to know what you believe and what you stand for.

(click the picture to go to my profile)
I'm a Mormon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Absolutely, postively, 100% flabbergasted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I woke up this morning, these things were NOT in my plans! I expected a day of Bryan fixing his car, me taking Andy to the park, straightening up the house, reading with Andy, getting Grace from school, having a relaxing dinner, and maybe an early bedtime for all of us.

Yesterday Bryan's car fell apart, but we had no idea how bad it was until this morning. A piece of the power steering system fell off of Bryan's car when he was driving home from work yesterday. He went and bought the part to fix it and rented the tools he would need to get to it. Simple fix, huh? He went to remove the pieces, and he realized something else needed to be replaced. We would have to take the car apart to get to this piece. Now..... this car is 11 years old. It is a lemon. We don't want it anymore. Fixing the car right now would cost more than it is worth, because we do not have the resources to remove all of the parts to get to this one part and do the job ourselves.

While Bryan was figuring out how impossible his task was, a little boy came wandering down the street, alone. He told Bryan he was lost, so we looked around for an adult that might have been looking for him. When we found nothing we asked him some questions. His answers concerned us, so we bandaged his scraped knee, gave him a drink (he has dehyrdated, poor thing!), and I called for a police officer to come to our home. While the police were gathering information an employee for Katy ISD stopped in front of our house and asked for the boy by name. Even though he told us he was not in school, he was. He had apparently left school after getting into trouble with his teacher and had been wandering around the neighborhood! I won't get into details, but he was young.... and it worried us a lot that he had left school and had been alone for x amount of time. He was taken back to school, and we attempted to go on about our business. I still can't stop thinking about what a blessing it was that my husband was home from work today, outside trying to work on his car, when that boy wandered by. I am thankful that we were here to help him and that he was not hurt. It was so sad to realize how vulnerable this little boy had been, but so good to know that we were put in the path to help him without realizing it.

On to the last part of today....

Those of you who know me in person know that I am careful with our money. I have a monthly budget, a menu for meals, and I cut corners wherever I can. But I went against all of that today after an answer to a prayer told me to. Bryan and I talked last year about working towards him being able to get his "dream car". We discussed the amount we would save to put down, the amount of time it would take to do so, and how quickly we would pay off the balance after the purchase. Well...... he got his dream car a little sooner than we had planned. Okay, a lot sooner. He got it today. A good friend of mine reminded me today that, as wives, it is sometimes good to remember that our husbands need the opportunity to make decisions alone, no matter how big or small they are. She also reminded me that we should not openly doubt our husbands decisions, even if they do have a negative outcome. Her example was a pastor who had decided to invest in a business venture that eventually went down the toilet, but his wife never peeped a word of opposition and never mumbled an "I told you so" when it fell apart. She learned to submit and give him the opportunity to succeed or fail, and he learned that her devotion to him was something to love and respect for eternity. As a believer in equal-partner input, a strong-willed woman, and a cautious person, that is incredibly hard for me to swallow... at least for big decisions.... and a car is a VERY big decision. However, I felt prompted to take her words as wise counsel, and I decided to proceed with caution. I expressed my concerns to my husband in a very limited way, and then told him that I would support his decision, no matter what it was. Then I took myself out of the decision-making process completely. If this had been anytime last year or the previous years of our marriage, I would have been angry with him. I would have felt that he was being selfish and not considering the most cautious (or best, for me those words tend to be interchangeable) option and taking it. But I realized today that his sacrifices for our family have been beyond impressive, and that this could be the best (and most memorable) chance to show him how much I appreciate and respect his hard work and devotion to our family (for now). I realized that he would not have this chance again for several years if we decided to take the frugal and cautious route. I realized that it was my turn to sacrifice and give him a wonderful opportunity.

The car is within our budget. It is just way more than I would have spent. Ever. But that is my character. I am not right, he is not wrong. This time there was no compromise. There was loving submission. There was humility. We prayed about it as a family before the papers were signed and the keys were handed over. I thought for a fleeting moment that we would be reminded of our hastiness and that the answer would be to not go forward with it. But the only answer I received was "let him do it....". I was dumbfounded at the amount of peace I felt afterwards.

Will we receive criticism for this?? You bet!! Many people will not understand why or how we came to this decision. Many people will think my logic is flawed. Many people will criticize my husband and say or think that he was indeed selfish. This was not a frugal decision. Yes, we need two cars to get around. Bryan works and I am busy driving kids around and running errands in a community that is not very bike-friendly. Could we have waited? Of course. Could we have picked something more practical? Absolutely. Was that the answer we received when we prayerfully considered? No. I don't understand it, but I trust the answer nonetheless.

If the doubters had been present with us today, they would have felt the strong presence of the spirit and how truly humbling the situation was. I don't know what else to say about it. I will never forget how it felt to see the gratitude in my husband's eyes today, and I will never regret it.

Today, this is the gift I gave to my husband....