Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fun in the leaves

This week Travis has been home.  Brookelyn was suppose to get her two new tubes in each ear on Thursday.  Travis took her into the hospital & I had told him to call me when she was done.  He called about 45 minutes after he left.  Come to find out, Dr. Blotter didn't feel like her lungs sounded good enough to put her under anesthesia.  He was worried that if he put her under something might happen and she might not come out of it.  Better safe than sorry.  So, no new tubes yet.  I did call his office and reschedule the surgery for this coming Wednesday (so I won't have to miss work but it will be a long Thanksgiving break for little sister).  On the bright side, since she didn't have tubes, she was happy & feeling good enough to go outside and play in the leaves with her dad & brothers the other day.  This was the first time she's every played in the leaves.  Brookelyn loved every second of it too!

She never did actually jump into the pile herself.  Rather, her dad tossed her into the pile every time she went in!

She sure adores this brother.

What you could see of Nash after he did a head dive into the pile!

Travis showing Nash how to do a really good head dive into the pile!

Nash burying Brookelyn with more leaves!

And in other news, the resin on Nash's tooth has completely chipped off.  Friday morning he woke up and it had split in half down the center and one half chipped off.  By today (Sunday) there is only a tiny bump of the original resin left on his front tooth.  The good news however, is that when he bites down his top teeth sit on top of his bottom teeth now!  He has another dentist appointment tomorrow afternoon so we'll see how that goes.  I did call and make an appointment with an orthodontist on Friday (Dr. Guymon).  His appointment isn't until Dec. 6th, but I figure we may as well get it scheduled and get an opinion because the kid is going to need braces eventually!  And, he got me to pull a loose tooth out tonight.  He's been wiggling it for a few days.  I felt like it had quite a bit of root left on it still but he was determined that sucker was coming out today!  Once we got it out I looked at it and I was right, there was still quite a bit of root left on it!  I'm just glad he isn't a complete wuss like his sister!

Travis is headed back to work at about 4 am.  He did call and get some information about a new job prospect.  He would be driving a gas & diesel truck all over the Wasatch Front.  He would work five days on and have four days off.  He would have to start out on a night shift and stay there for who knows how long.  It pays about a dollar an hour less than what he makes now.  They do offer insurance and it's suppose to be a good package (no idea who it's through or how long he has to work until it would be effective though).  He's going to call again and see if he can interview next time he's home and then possibly start training (two weeks of training).  If he can break the training up he'd do some of it the next time he comes home then go back for one more shift with Halliburton to give them his two weeks and then come home and start that job.  I'm not excited about the idea of him working nights, but he would be home every day and there is the possibility of moving to days eventually.  I hope that this job works out because it would be really nice for our family to have him home more often.  I know he's ready for it and so are the kids.  To say it will be an adjustment for me is putting it mildly!

And, in other exciting news...we took the whole family to church today and Brookelyn got to go to nursery for the first time!  Yay!  I've been counting down for at least two months!  Relief Society was so quite today that it was a little weird!  They said she did great and that "She even knows how to share!"  I credit daycare for her knowing how to share!  I was really lucky with getting out of there too.  I took her in, found her the kitchen toys & got her playing so she was side tracked and slipped out.  They didn't have to come find me once!  After church was over I walked out into the foyer to find her running around by her dad and giving him high fives.  Apparently she liked nursery as much as mom liked her going!  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nash's first attempt at straight teeth

Yesterday I took the kids to the dentist for their well check.  All went well - no cavities.  We did have to talk about Nash and his horrendous anterior cross bite.  Our dentist, Dr. Gehring, gave us several options.  #1-try pushing the front tooth out with a Popsicle stick (we tried this several months ago & from the picture below, you can see it didn't all).  #2-Try a retainer (that can be can see where my thinking is headed, right?) or #3-Place two braces on both his front teeth, build his back molars up with resin, put braces on his back molars so that rubber bands can be placed, which will close the gap between his front teeth and pull the front tooth out in front of the bottom tooth.  According to Dr. Gehring, a retainer and the braces would cost roughly the same ($600-$700).  My thought was that if I'm spending that kind of money I don't want a retainer that comes out, can get lost or broken just to have to replace it.  My other thought was that since our orthodontic benefits are 50/50 up to $1,000 per life time, I don't really want to use it up on something that is considered a temporary fix until he gets a full set of braces.  So, I called my dentist, Dr. Lambert, who I've seen since I was a kid, my sister worked for him & he was the one who performed my sister's marriage ceremony (in short, a very trusted family friend).

Here is what Nash's bite looked like when he went in to see Dr. Lambert today.  You can see the bottom right tooth is in front of the top right tooth.  You can also see that killer gap between his two front teeth (also known as "Nash's favorite place to hold his sucker").

Dr. Lambert told me we had three choices.  #1-A retainer (a removable one again) #2-build up his front right tooth with resin to push it out in front of his bottom right tooth.  Or, #3-Popsicle stick (again, didn't work).  I told Dr. Lambert what Dr. Gehring had suggested.  Dr. Lambert told me that yes, we could do that, he'd just send us over to an orthodontist.  I'm not too keen on seeing an orthodontist right now because I think that an orthodontist is going to want to do something that's going to cost me an arm and a leg that will only be a temporary fix until he gets a full set of braces.  I asked Dr. Lambert if he felt like it would avoid a full set of braces if we did the two brace idea that Dr. Gehring suggested.  Dr. Lambert kind of chuckled and said, "No.  This kid is going to need a full set of braces."  Dr. Lambert told me that if Nash was his kid, he'd do the resin build up on his front right tooth.  I asked him what that would cost us.  He told me that it would run about $80.  (I'm thinking that sounds a LOT better than $480 right about now.)  Dr. Lambert told me if we wanted to wait a few minutes he could put the resin build up on his tooth in about 15-20 minutes.  I looked at Travis and told him I thought that was the best idea.  So, we stuck around and now Nash has a slightly different colored resin build up on his front right tooth.  Another bonus to this vs. the two brace idea is that the resin build up should only be on about 3 weeks vs the two braces would have been three months.  We will have to go in and see Dr. Lambert about every 4-6 days until his tooth has moved all the way.  Each time we go in to see Dr. Lambert he will shave a bit of the resin off so that Nash can bite down more.  Once his tooth has moved completely the resin will come all the way off and he shouldn't have the cross bite anymore!  
Here is what Nash's bite looks like now:

It's a little hard for Nash to eat because he can't bite down all the way.  We did spaghetti for dinner tonight so it was something that would be pretty easy for him to practice with.  Lucky for him it's only about 3 weeks.  Unfortunately, it's smack dab in the middle of Thanksgiving time!  Poor planning on mom's part.  Oh well, we'll survive. :)  My mom asked me if I had taken Nash to see an orthodontist at all and get an opinion from them.  I told her I hadn't yet but that I would call Dr. Belnap (who did my siblings' braces) in January and make an appointment for Sam (who's missing a permanent I tooth), Nash (for the impending full set of braces), Caleb (for his horrific under bite & impending ordeal there), & possibly Brookelyn (who's baby teeth are so crowded and crooked right now it's ridiculous)!  I was hoping that we'd outgrow our visits to the ENT before we had to start visits to the orthodontist.  Doesn't look like we quite made it!  Oh well, my kids will eventually have beautiful (and expensive) smiles!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Another day, another cake

Today is my nephew's (Jack) birthday.  He's SEVEN.  Holy Cow!  I keep wondering how the heck it is that time goes by so fast when you're an adult but it seems to drag on forever and ever when you're a kid.  I swear when I was a kid it seemed like Christmas only rolled around once every other year.  As a parent it feels like I blink and it's Christmas again!  I really wish time would slow the heck down!

My sister asked me last week if I would be willing to do cupcakes for Jack's birthday.  Of course I said yes. She told me he wanted an Angry Birds party.  So, I hopped online, found a few pictures of what I wanted to do and made a shopping list.  Here's what I found pictures of online....

Here's how mine turned out...

I also made a cake so the family can eat more cake after the party is over!  How nice is that? ;)

Now that I've done this once, there are a few things I'd do a bit different. 
1. When I went shopping I originally couldn't find any black licorice pieces to do the eyebrows.  I had resigned to having to do them with chocolate frosting colored black.  Finally, I came across some black licorice ropes.  Boy am I glad I did!  No way would I have liked the eye brows nearly as much if they were frosting.

2. I think the beaks might need to have been cut a bit smaller.  They are made out of the sugary orange slices.  I just cut one slice in half to get two beaks.  But, since I couldn't fit a half a large marshmallow onto the cupcakes as the white stomach, I think I would try a smaller beak to fit the stomach.

3. I put the sugary sprinkles on all the cupcakes because it showed them on the cupcakes in the pictures I was copying.  I don't know that I love the sprinkles.  The way the sprinkles are on the red bird in the picture, they are different sprinkles (just regular red sprinkles, not necessarily the sugary kind).  You'd have to frost the cupcake and then roll the cupcake in it and then put the rest of the face on the cupcake.  I don't think the rest of the items would stick to the cupcake as well if you did it this way.  I think I'd just omit the sprinkles all together next time.

4. The noses on the naughty pigs were difficult to do.  I cut a large marshmallow in half (so it didn't stand up so high off the cupcake).  I placed the marshmallow half onto the cupcake, frosted the top of the marshmallow and then frosted the sides.  Since I used homemade/scratch cream cheese frosting and the frosting was warmer than it probably should have been, there was a lot of sliding around.  Not sure how to get around this problem for next time.

5. I don't love the "horn" things on the red bird.  I think I'd leave those off next time.

6. Don't cut your black licorice eyebrow pieces too long.  Mine are roughly an inch-inch and a half.  I think they could have been a bit shorter.

7. I really wanted to do some of the naughty pigs like the one with the little marshmallows for teeth.  However, the cupcakes I made just weren't big enough.  I don't know if I needed to make bigger cupcakes (I made regular sized cupcakes), change the nose somehow, or just squoosh everything up higher.  There also really isn't room for the red jelly bean tongue on the pig that I did do, so I left that off.

8. The eyeballs on all the birds/pigs are mini marshmallows with mini chocolate chips squeezed into them.  I wondered if I'd need to use a dab of frosting to keep the chocolate chip in or if they'd stay if I just squished them together.  I just squished them together and so far, so good.  I did use large marshmallows and regular chocolate chips on the cake angry bird instead of the minis.

Overall, I think they turned out cute.  I hope my nephew likes them anyway.  I'm starting to branch out and do cakes that don't have specific pans to cook them in.  Scary!  But so far, they've turned out to be lots of fun to make and really cute to look at.  I heard the penguin tasted pretty good too!

Happy baking!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

When it rains, it freaking pours

Where do I even begin?

Monday - The day went ok, but that night I felt like I was getting strep.  My throat hurt so bad I could hardly swallow.  Not a great way to end the day.  Earlier (after school) Brookelyn kept grabbing her right ear and telling me "owie".  She had been doing this off and on for about four days.  I called my pediatrician but they were booked.  So, I dropped the three older ones off to Grandma Terri and headed into Instacare (followed by a nice 2 hour wait!).  The dr. we saw told me 2 things.  Number 1-the tube in B's left ear is out.  We knew this a month ago.  What I didn't know was that the tube was still hanging out in her ear canal stuck to a piece of wax AND the hole (aka perforation) has not yet healed.  Awesome.  Number 2-the right ear was not infected.  HOWEVER, it was extremely plugged.  The dr. did not feel like he could get ahold of the tube in the left ear canal and remove it without hurting B.  I don't think he was confident in his tube clog removal skills enough to even attempt it because he didn't even suggest it.  He did say her ear was red behind the top of the tube but that it was from irritation because the tube was trying to push out.  Awesome again.  I resolved to do ear drops, thought about calling the ENT and went home dejected.

Tuesday - Forgot to call the ENT until school was out.  I was told he was leaving early that day and that he was going to be in surgery all afternoon on Wednesday afternoon.  Knowing our history of clogged tubes, I didn't want to let it go because I knew it would just get worse.  I asked what the earliest appointment they had on Wednesday was.  The earliest they could get us in was 8:45 am.  I took the appointment knowing how slow that office is but hoping that it was going to be early enough that it wouldn't be a three hour ordeal.  Second Tuesday event - the election....enough said.
Third Tuesday event - Travis called to tell me that there was  a rumor that Halliburton would no longer be paying their employees on their week off.  Not cool.  Not cool at all.  Meeting to confirm or deny said rumor would be 8 am on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday - Got to the ENT's office at 8:30 with some wishful thinking.  It wasn't until 10 AM that I finally saw the dr.!  I was suppose to be at work at 9:15!  I had emailed the first group of teachers that I work with and told them I'd pick up there students when I got to work.  Since we were so long, I had to call the second group of teachers and tell them the same thing!  GRRRRR.  Considering we sat for an hour and a half and B didn't feel to hot, she was a really good girl.  She discovered the joy of pushing the button on the drinking fountain!  I had hoped that we would get there and get in quick and it would be a quick unplug the tube and be on our way scenario.  NOPE.  Left ear looks just as Instacare dr. said it did.  Right ear is a mess.  It isn't just clogged.  It has Keratin growing over the opening of the tube.  Keratin is like skin.  Dr. Blotter couldn't just poke the clog through the tube, give ear drops and send us on our way.  If he did that, it would be excruciatingly painful.  AND, it looks as though skin is growing around the base of the tube as well.  OH and by the way, the ear is trying to push the tube out too.  So, the ear tries to push the tube out and the tube resists because it has skin attached to the base and over the top of it!  NO WONDER she's been saying owie!  My poor ENT just shook his head not knowing what to do.  He told me that she has two problems and everything they do to fix one of those problems is a really bad solution for the second problem she has!  It seems that her tubes are coming out way too soon.  The tubes she has in now should only be half way through their life (they were put in in March/May & should last 12-18 months).  What they do to solve this problem is they either use a beveled tube (think funnel put in backwards) which they then half to go in and remove with surgery after 18 months.  Or, they anchor the tube in the bone in their ear.  Both of these solutions are fine with tubes that don't tend to get clogged.  My ENT informed me however that if these kinds of tubes become clogged you end up with a real nightmare on your hands (like we need that!).  After much head scratching and discussion, we decided that the best solution is to put two new tubes in each ear.  The biggest draw back to this is that it increases the chance of perforation (this would lead to a fat graft like Sam had a few years ago).  Dr. Blotter assured me that double tubes in the ears doesn't guarantee a perforation, it just increases the chances of one.
After all that fantastic news we left the dr.'s office with a surgery scheduled for Thursday Nov. 15.  I called Travis to tell him about what was going on.  He had the pleasure of then informing me that the rumor at Halliburton is in fact true.  Halliburton will no longer pay their employees in Travis's region for their week off. What does this mean?  It means a loss of $750/month.  This makes it so that it isn't financially worth it for him to work at Halliburton in Rock Springs anymore.  He's been there for almost four years (four in February).  Halliburton has treated us well.  We have excellent insurance (that started the day he started working there), we have great benefits, retirement and stock options and regular bonuses.  However, with the loss of $750/month but the maintenance of living expenses in Rock Springs, we just don't feel like it's worth keeping the job.  The new policy will take effect beginning Nov. 19th.  This means his week off next week will be his last paid week off.  We have a couple options here.  He can take his week off and then work two weeks and then quit.  He could take his week off and then quit.  He could keeping working there and we'd have to figure out how to make up the $750/month loss.  Or, he could keep working until February when Halliburton will match his retirement (about a $10,000 value) and then quit.  Luckily, my brother in law recently told me he knows a guy who drives truck for one of the gas station companies in UT.  He's home every night and the pay is only $1/hr less than what Trav makes now.  And, the best part is, he could get Travis a job really quickly.  I don't know what is in store on this front, but at least we have some options!

I keep telling myself there's an end to all of this.  I was talking to the computer teacher at Millville today.  She told me her daughter outgrew her ear problems by 16.  I...will....DIE!  I guess this is a good way of learning patience, right?

Thursday - When I went to get kids from daycare I found out B had been napping for about 4 hours.  Laura woke her up for me & I thought she felt quite warm so Laura took her temperature.  B's temperature was 101.9.  Seriously?!  She can't have ibuprofen until after her surgery next Thursday!  She can have Tylenol, but I don't think it works as well & since she can't have ibuprofen I can't dose her every 2 hours by alternating the two fever reducers.  I have a feeling it's going to be a long weekend!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Old projects & new projects

Last night I took down all the Halloween decorations & pulled out all the Thanksgiving decorations.  When the kids make things for the holidays I try to keep them & pack them away with the decorations when the holiday is over.  In going through the Thanksgiving box, I pulled these out again.  I decided that since I haven't put them out on display since they made them, I'd take a picture of them & then throw the actual project away.  Saves space & mess but we can still look at it!

 It was fun to see these little hand prints.  Sam was three & Nash was not quite 1 1/2.  Seems like it was forever ago!  Where did the time go?  I think we might have to make new ones this year so we can have a picture of all four hand prints!

My goal today was to get two cakes made.  One was for my brother's friend, Scott, who had a birthday last Saturday.  I really wanted to get it made for his birthday but since I was trying to finish a Halloween costume, the cake had to wait.  The other cake I made is for my sister's best friend, Heidi.  Her son has a birthday this week.  I made her little girl a cake this past May and she loved it so she asked me to do one for Dawson.  Dawson really wanted a shark cake.  I've never done a shark before and don't have a pan for one.  I also haven't seen a pan at the store before.  I decided to just google "shark cake" and see what came up.  There were some really bad ones and some decent ones.  I finally found one I wanted to try to duplicate.
Not too bad for a first attempt I'd say!  The teeth and eyes are out of marshmallow fondant (so much easier than frosting since I had fondant already made & just begging to be used!).

 Scott really likes penguins (a lot).  I had seen a cake idea for a penguin online months ago and printed it just so I could do this cake for him when it was his birthday (I found a squid to do for my brother but didn't get it done this spring.  That will happen next May I guess!).  The directions on this cake told me to do two cakes that were 1 quart and two cakes that were 12 oz.  You then stack the quart size cakes on top of each other for the body.  The 12 oz. cakes go on top of the quart size cakes for the head.  Once I got the quart size cakes made I realized this "little" penguin was going to be HUGE if I did the 12 oz cakes on top of the quart size cakes.  So, I eliminated the 12 oz. cakes and just did the two quart size cakes.  I didn't shape the head/neck at all because I had to put skewers through the two quart size cakes to hold them together and upright.  I didn't want to end up cutting into the skewers when shaping his head/neck, so I just left him with a little bit of a flat head.  I'll have to figure out an adjustment if I make this cake again (like make two cakes that are smaller than a quart!).
The snow is shredded coconut.  His wings are fudge covered oreos (a new thing I discovered while looking for the actual chocolate cookies the directions told you to use.  These are not cheap oreos either - like $5 a bag!  Good thing Nash likes oreos!)  The beak and feet are the orange circus peanuts.  The white of the eyes are NECCOS and the brown of the eyes are m&ms.  I did use frosting on the white part of the belly.  I piped it on in order to avoid smearing it too much and lifting the chocolate frosting.

I also made cupcakes to go with Dawson's shark cake.  I wasn't sure if the shark would feed enough people so I did a batch of cupcakes & decorated them to look like water with a shark fin coming out.  The shark fin is made out of gumpaste & I just colored it grey.  I did put blue crystal/sugar sprinkles on too because I thought it would help it make the water look like it was sparkling.

It's my nephew's birthday this next week & my sister asked if I'd make some cupcakes for his birthday party.  I told her I'd be happy too.  Here's what I'm attempting....

Should be a good challenge for me!  I told her I could do a cake as a big angry bird too if she wanted me to.  I think I could just do an eight or ten inch round and make one of the angry bird cupcakes into a large cake.

Happy baking! :)