Monday, January 21, 2013


January has kind of sucked, and not even for the usual reasons. I think it all started when I took the kids to the dentist (yay!) and found out Anna had eight cavities (boo!). One in each baby molar, in the spaces where one can't see/brush. I'd like to pass the buck and agree with the dentist that it's (partly) because her teeth are so close together. But frankly I have not pushed the flossing. It's hard enough to brush their teeth. And I figured... they're baby teeth! Come on! I didn't have cavities in my baby teeth. Well, not ones that we saw until the teeth popped out. Curse you, x-rays.

So $2800 to fix. Needless to say I have a second opinion scheduled for this week. What a pain. And so much regret. Maybe we should have sprung for dental insurance. And surely we should have flossed more regularly. On top of that, I'll bet you anything that Isaac's teeth will be rife with cavities, given his shockingly deep molar grooves. Not that we'll ever know, I suppose. Isaac hates dentists. HATES them, thanks to the less than tactful dental hygenists that he observed working on Anna's teeth back in Colorado. This time, in the friendly and patient confines of the pediatric dental office, he showed some improvement. Although he made the dentist sit in the examination chair, while he himself sat in the doctor's chair in my lap, he actually opened just enough to let the dentist count his teeth. $200 for that honour.

As a counter to this staggering financial news, the shock of being here has worn off. I am in Maryland, dear readers. A year ago, Jon was still securely positioned in Colorado, and now I am in a town home with no yard, no family, and no close friends. And it's dark in this town home, people. Why would anyone paint dark tones inside a home with such little natural light? I cannot fathom the reason. But we bought more lamps today. Maybe that will help.

So, it's been a struggle this month. We are homesick. We miss our families and friends. We miss our old life.

And I hesitated to write about this and come across as all complain-y, since both Jon and I are really trying hard to work on contentment and to be aware of where the Lord is leading. I am often reminded that God's timing is not our own, and what really is important can be unexpected or at least against our natural grain.
patience patience contentment.
patience patience contentment.

The best solution for self pity is to list what one is thankful for. Here is a brief list. A few things we thank God every day for:
(1) Jon has a job. So many people don't. This is not to be downplayed.
(2) Our marriage is strong. I was appropriately reminded that this should not be taken for granted.
(3) Our kids are healthy. Yes, they are catching every. single. virus. that comes along, but overall they are healthy and strong.
(4) Our extended family is supportive. We both have amazing families that care about our lives and what's going on, and are willing to provide support and advice.
(5) We've found a church full of people that love the Lord. It's not a perfect church, of course. After all, they let us attend.
(6) It's cheaper to fly to Calgary from Baltimore than Denver. Go figure.
(7) We have a good place to live. Yes, we've invested in more lamps. But it's a good space and cozy and clean and safe.
(8) Today is MLK day. Important for many big reasons. But one small reason was that this extra day gave me a minute to sit down and write out what I am thankful for.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January, we meet again.

I just completed one of the most stressful tasks in these modern times: the purchase of airline tickets. And not just straightforward, there-and-back-again tickets. Instead, numerous one ways from different cities with different combinations of people, using a mixture of miles and cash and airlines. I'm emotionally and financially spent. And not even relieved. The post-ticket buying period always leaves me feeling icky and stressed. After all, it just takes one pukey family member to upend the whole complicated algorithm. 
But it's done now, and I can look forward to where these tickets will take us this summer: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Colorado, and New Mexico. Two immediate families, two extended families, and some dearly missed friends. Homes, RVs, cabins, and 4-star retreats. And about 24 hours of driving. But let's forget about that last part, shall we?

It's good to have something to look forward to, since this is January. Every time it comes 'round, I lament this long and drawn out month. So let's save some time this year:

*insert long, drawn out lament here*

Okay, now THAT'S off my chest, and we can chat about more pleasant things, like Christmas.
It was a lovely and peaceful Christmas, for many reasons. To begin with, Jon took a week off work. It was nice just to have him around so we could all decently decompress; a typical two day weekend still doesn't provide that for us.
Even more delightful, Jon's parents were able to join us from Christmas to New Year's. The kids were over the moon to have their grandparents here. Not to mention the fact that they watched the kids while Jon and I went out to dinner one night, and to see The Hobbit one afternoon. Babysitters have been hard to come by, so we hadn't gone out since... well, since our trip to California. And it was just nice to chat with them and catch up and have actual adult conversations.
[Aside: I liked The Hobbit a lot. And although I was initially skeptical, I now welcome the idea of having it spread out into three movies. So often I say "that move didn't do the book justice in the time allotted." Finally, a decent amount of time allotted.]

The week was also peaceful because we let some things go. For example, we debated whether to venture to D.C. or even Pennsylvania, but in the end we stayed close to home. And that was perfect. We didn't have to go anywhere, or do anything in particular. Instead, we read books, went on walks, built Legos, and played games. Actually, if I had to pick a theme for this year's holiday season it would be games - both real and virtual. New this year were Uno and the Game of Life. Anna made up her own rules for the former, and they ended up being numerical flash cards. But fun flash cards. Isaac has a better handle on this whole "number thing" now. Anna received a great memory game; simple enough, but with a nice combination of verbal and nonverbal items to remember. Her memory never ceases to amaze me - she leaves us all in the dust. Isaac isn't far behind, although now he'd rather just build towers with the game pieces.

The virtual games also turned out to be a family affair. As in, I actually played a video game and enjoyed it. Lego's Indian Jones, to be exact. It's not too complicated, and there's plenty of puzzles. So Anna helps solve the puzzles, and Isaac yells at us to "Get the money!!" and "Shoot the bad guys!" and "Blow that up!" Interactive fun for everyone. Shocking, really.

The last component of our peaceful Christmas was good health. No one was sick for the entire week. We had forgotten what that was like, and seem to be forgetting again. The viruses are back from vacation too, it seems.

Oh, and it SNOWED on Christmas Eve!!! For the first time! I felt this was a miracle. We ran around and caught snowflakes on our tongues, and managed to make a mini-snowman. It even snowed a couple of more times during that week. Nothing major, but enough to make the mood a little more festive. (This reminds me: Anna watched White Christmas with me and actually enjoyed it. I like that she's getting old enough to enjoy non-cartoony media.)

Next up is finding a dentist. I am so behind on this, and we need to find someone stat. I just hate putting in that detective work. Pediatric dentist? Regular dentist? Too many choices. And not enough insurance. Maybe I'll tackle that tomorrow.