Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Girls' First Visit to the Dentist

I was a bit worried about taking the girls to the dentist for the first time.  Especially Kaylie.  Elora and I had talked about it before hand, and while she admitted to being a bit nervous, she was also excited.  I couldn't really talk it over with Kaylie, she's only two.  I didn't really expect her to let them do much, but I'd forgotten that Kaylie loves to do whatever her sister does and they both blew my expectations out of the water.

When we got to the office, they checked out the aquarium (they have an eel!) and sat down to wait.  I can't say that they waited patiently, And I did have to move Elora over so that I could sit between, them, but over all they were good.  When the hygienist came to call us back, I pleased to note that it was Tara, the same one who had cleaned my teeth the week before.

When we got into the exam room, Kaylie saw Elora up in the chair and climbed right up after her.  At first, I didn't think there would be room for them both, but she wedged her bottom in next to her sister', and looked  perfectly happy to be there.  Even better, Tara was totally cool with them sitting together.
They were so cute sitting in the chair together that people kept coming over to look at them and exclaim over how sweet they were.  By the time we left, I bet that every doctor and hygienist on the place had come to take a peek.  And of course, I was about to burst with motherly pride.  :)

Tara was great with the girls.  She started out by showing everything to them, and explaining what she would be doing before she did it. She continued to do that along each step of the way, and I know they liked it.  She was so thorough that Elora later complained that she didn't get to ask any questions, which I thought was adorable.

 Elora let Tara count her teeth, do a thorough cleaning and flossing, apply a fluoride varnish, and let the doctor do a complete exam.  HOLY COW.  Did I mention that I nearly exploded, I was so proud?

Kaylie did just as well.  When it was Elora's turn, she kept leaning over to see what they were doing, and then laying back to point into her own mouth.  She was clearly impatient for her turn!  And when it was her turn, she hardly paid any attention to Tara as she showed things to her.  She would just glace at whatever Tara was holding, and then open her mouth so Tara could get started.  She made it all the way though the counting and cleaning and flossing, and halfway through the exam, before the missed nap caught up to her and she lost patience.  I was so impressed!  YAY!

They'd both liked brushing their teeth before, but now they're almost obsessive about it.  And honestly, I couldn't be happier!  I don't have great teeth, and neither does Brandon.  Probably because we're both horrible about flossing.  I know, I know.  I need to do it.  And I do.  Sometimes.  But I have a mouth full of fillings (an an appointment for a crown) to prove that I don't do it often enough.  I want better for my girls.  Not that I'm criticizing my own mother.  She got me to the dentist for regular cleanings, taught me to brush and floss, and impressed upon me the importance of keeping my teeth clean and healthy.  It isn't her fault that I didn't listen, it's mine.  If the girls end up with a ton of fillings, I want know that I did all that I could to encourage them to develop healthy oral hygiene ( like my mom did) and I want them to feel comfortable going to the dentist. So far, I'd say we're doing great!

Now, if you live anywhere other than Norfolk or Chesapeake, Virginia, you can stop reading.  If you do live here, but you already have a dentist that you're completely happy with, you can stop reading.  But for anyone in my area who happens to be in the market for a dentist, this next bit is for you!!
 I would HIGHLY recommend Konikoff Dentristry.  I've been to the Volvo office twice for myself, and once with the girls, and I can't offer even a single complaint about the care we've received.   Everyone we've encountered has been friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.   When Dr. Konikoff told me that I would need a crown, a bite guard, and several fillings, he took the time to really show me why.  I couldn't argue with the x-rays, and I definitely couldn't argue with the detailed photographs that were clearly of my mouth.  And when I called on Thursday, April 25 to beg for an appointment for those fillings before my insurance rolled over on May first, their office staff bent over backwards to get me in---the very next day.  And when I peppered Dr Fields with questions about that crown, he and his assistant happily provided me with clear answers about differences between the different materials and costs.  And I've already said how great Tara was with the kids.  Seriously, they are amazing, and if you happen to be looking for a dentist, this is the place to go!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekend With Aunt Peguy

Peguy and her boys (T-man and J-bird, as she calls them on her blog) came down from DC for a visit a few weekends ago.  It had been almost a year since we last saw them.  (Wait, what?  Where the heck did all that time go?)  Her little one is already 8 months old, and we just got to meet him.  Crazy.  They came down on Saturday, and we spent the afternoon just relaxing around the house.  

We ordered take-out for dinner, then Peguy and I took the three older kids out to play for a bit while J-bird took a nap.  We didn't take anything but the camera out there with us initially, but I kind of face-palmed and then ran back to the house for the bubbles.  


Sunday morning was just as relaxed.  We took our time getting moving, letting the kids enjoy one another's company.

We didn't do much of anything until after lunch, when we walked the kids to the little playground behind our neighborhood.

We decided--unanimously--the we aren't going to wait so long between visits this time.  Maybe next time, I'll pack up the girls and head on up to DC for a nice relaxing weekend at Peguy's.  :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Greenbrier Mall Carnival

I got a new tablet 50mm lens and external flash for my birthday, so I spent some time playing with those.

I love the clarity, and the brightness of the photos taken with the new lens.  I can now get perfect indoor photos without using the flash at all, which is amazing!  The downside?  Because it's a prime lens (fixed focal length) I have to physically move myself to change the framing, and the 50mm lens in particular takes really close-up photos.  The zoom lens that I've had right on along is a lot more versatile.  I cannot tell you how much I'd undervalued being able to zoom in and out so easily!  But, the pictures aren't always as crisp, and, for whatever reason, it won't always let me choose the shutter and aperture combinations that I want. (More info on prime and zoom lenses here and here.)

The external flash is great because it is more powerful, it can be redirected, and I have a handy little diffuser that can further soften the light of the flash. It illuminates the whole area, rather than just what's immediately in front of the camera.  So wonderful!  The drawback to this is that it's huge, and kind of heavy.  I will definitely be using it, but probably not for everyday photo-taking.

I got my first chance to really get a feel for the new lens at the little fair that came to town a few weeks ago.   It was great for taking pictures of the girls while on the rides, but not so great for taking pictures of someone right in front of the camera.  This is where we really came to appreciate the versatility of the zoom lens.  In hind sight, I ought to have put the other lens back on for this particular outing.  Oh well.  You live, you learn.

The carnival was tiny.  It seemed to me to be a lot smaller than even the St Teresa's fair back home, but maybe that's because it's been so long since I've gone.  It was perfect for us, though.  We got drinks, cotton candy, and tickets (in that order) then, and we drank our sodas, walked around the fair to get an idea of what was there and what we wanted to do.  

We ended up letting Elora make most of those decisions.  She chose to do the Ferris wheel first.  It was one of the smaller ones, and the seats could only two each.  Brandon took Elora up with him, and I took Kaylie with me.  Now, I've always liked the Ferris wheel, and while I always feel a little shaky when I'm at the top, I don't think that I'd ever been afraid of the Ferris wheel until that day--when my tiny little girls were getting on it.  I kept at least one hand on Kaylie the entire time and tried not to think of the things that could go wrong.  Obviously, nothing did, and the girls loved it.  
After that, we did the two big slides.  And when I say "we", I mean, everyone but Kaylie.  Brandon took Elora up on the big twisting slide, and I took her on the wavy yellow one, but poor slide-loving Kaylie was too small to do them.  I was especially sad that she had to sit out the yellow slide, because that was what I'd been most looking forward to taking her on.  :(  Next time, right?

She wasn't able to go on the race track ride either, but after that, we found the grouping of rides intended for the little ones, and thank goodness.  She kept trying to climb onto the racetrack ride after her sister, and was not please at being excluded yet again.  When we got to the train ride, she tried to haul me in there without so much as a by-your-leave to the attendant.  When it was over, she was so upset about leaving that we ended up just letting her ride it again while Brandon took Elora to the dragon ride right next to it.

By this point, our supply of tickets (50!!) were nearly depleted.  We had enough for them to ride one more together, and then for Kaylie to ride the dragons and Elora to go on the merry-go-round with her Daddy.

It was nearly dinner time when we finished, so we drover around Red Robin, on the other side of the mall.  Elora loves the place, because they have a TV in the floor near the entrance, and a 4' statue of a red bird in the dining area.  It isn't my favorite restaurant (poor desert menu) but they do have good burgers and it was nice and cool.  I took the opportunity to play a bit more with the camera, and was really excited about the pictures I got.

I haven't touched these, except to arrange them for posting.  Had I taken those with my old lens, they would have been super dark.  Maybe I'm doing something wrong with the other one.  Maybe  I need to do a bit more research into how to use it to get the best results.  But in the mean time, I am loving that lens!

I Ran Out of (Blogging) Steam

Can't you tell?  Five posts in rapid succession, and then....nothing.  For nearly a month.  Oops.  We haven't been idle for the past month.  If anything, the opposite is true.  The girls and I met Rebekah and (big) James, and Lydia and  (little) James, at the zoo.

watching the giraffes--apparently one of them is pregnant!
African Elephant, giraffe, red panda.
photo op at the rhino statue!

look at the baby!!

We had a mini-party with Rebekah, Josh, James, and Rebekah's mom, Sharon, on Elora's birthday.

And then we went to to James's birthday party the very next day.  Rebekah and I decorated the cake in the evening after the girls' get-together, using this tutorial.  I wouldn't say that we nailed it, exactly, but I think we did a pretty good job.

Not too bad, huh?  I'll definitely be using that technique again.

The party was a success.  :)  We stayed until Kaylie got cranky, and then took her home before she could go into a full tantrum over something silly.