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Monday, August 30, 2010

ANTZ


...and I'm not talking about the kids movie! Folks we have an invasion of ants and I don't like it!

When we got home from the park on Saturday I was setting things down on the kitchen table and Ryder started yelling "bug" "bug!!" so I kneeled down next to Tucker's food dish that's in the kitchen and these were what I saw crawling around and even worse, when I lifted it to look for more, it was an army of them and I think I found their queen! We aren't sure if it's the heat or the fact that we now have a very active toddler who seems to always manage to throw his meals on the floor and walls no matter how hard we try to keep him clean. We first noticed a few ants near the window and above his canvas toy bins in the living room a month or so ago. I thought it was because it was near the window but later found the cause. Ryder had dropped a few crumbs of his cheez its and had attracted the pesky crawling ants! I don't know what we are going to do because Scot and I are so grossed out that we are thinking it's time for an exterminator! I'm hoping that once the weather cools off that the ant problem will help too. We are very clean and keep our house spotless (or try to at least with a toddler) and this is just GROSS!
Ryder is definitely better at spotting the ants than Scot and I are, and whenever he sees one he is right on it pointing "bug" "bug" that it's not hard to miss one if he's around! We sprayed ant raid and wiped down everything again and are desperate to try anything we can to solve our ant problem before it gets any worse. I think we're past the ants marching one by one haha.
Other than the ants it's been a good Monday so this is a sign that we are off to a good week!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ryder meets birds @ the Carolina Raptor Center





On Saturday I took Ryder to the Carolina Raptor Center at Latta Plantation park. It was an activity for just he and I to do because Scot was spending the day and night with friends doing his annual Fantasy Football league draft. This gave Ryder and I time to bond and hang out just the two of us, something we rarely get to do. I wanted to do something fun and inexpensive and thought he would like to see the different birds.















I had never been before so I wasn't sure quite what to expect. The park opened at 10am so I wanted to get there when they opened so that Ryder would be in the best mood he could be in before nap time. Funny how you learn to plan a day around your child's sleep patterns but it's what works! We got there and a few other families with older children had already arrived. Ryder was very fascinated with the older kids and we followed them into the park. We weren't really sure what to expect but once we got inside, I was shocked at how big it was and there were lots of different types of wild birds that had been rescued.


I think Ryder had more fun lifting these quiz boxes than he did seeing all the birds. He was a little young and small for the Raptor Center but we did get to make it around the loop and see all the eagles, hawks, vultures, crows and owls.















We made it to the show and got to see the handlers feed the birds. We got a good seat in the front and Ryder did enjoy seeing them. I was a little shocked that the birds ate the mouse head whole but I know it's part of nature and part of the food chain. After awhile Ryder started getting antsy so we left the show and saw the rest of the bird exhibits before heading home.


There was also an equestrian area where you could come ride your horses and open to the public. As we were leaving the park these were the horses we saw crossing to ride along the trails. It was very cool to see them so close and I would love to bring Ryder back one day so he could see the horses. All in all it was a fun day with just Ryder and I and I think we should have more days spent like this just the two of us!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Prepping for Beauty

I am 27 years old. I was born with only 18 out of 32 permanent teeth. Since I was 8 years old I remember hearing Dentists tell my mom and I that I was "an unusual case" to have that many congenitally missing teeth. It's genetics that I was born with missing teeth, and if I were from West Virginia, this would be the norm haha. Growing up my parents put me in partials and bridges and braces and as I got older the Dentists would tell us that I had to wait to turn 18 to have dental implants. I remember hearing about dental implants when I was a young girl, not really having any idea what I would go through one day. Middle school girls were mean, teased me because I had small teeth and I always felt insecure about how I looked. I hated middle school. Then there was highschool. Eventually I had enough teeth and jaw bones had matured enough that I was able to get some more dental work that helped temporarily. My self confidence grew but I was still wearing a partial and always worried that one day if I had a boyfriend what would happen if I kissed a boy and he could tell I was wearing fake teeth like a grandma. I would be mortified!

I got older, turned 16 and got my first job, as luck would have (and I know God had something to do with too) in a dental office as a sterilization assistant. I worked there for two years, fell in love with the world of dentistry and felt like I had a connection with it since I had been going for so long to a dental office to try to come up with a solution to my missing teeth. Then my parents got divorced, and my plans to get teeth came to a hault due to financial reasons. I decided my senior year that I wanted to become a dental hygienist. I didn't even apply to any colleges except for community colleges that offered the dental hygiene program. I took all AP and honor classes in highschool so that I could get into the competitive world of dental hygiene. I put my whole future in it, and then I found out I didn't get in. I was devastated. Instead I was offered a spot in the dental assisting program. I thought I would give it a shot, but it turned out that it was hard and it wasn't really what I wanted to do. I got distracted in college, dating and partying, and being a normal young adult, and I just don't think I was ready that early for the responsibility of getting a certificate in Dental Assisting. I dropped out when I didn't pass the radiation exam and instead focused on boys and making bad decisions. I didn't care at the time what my teeth looked like, I figured that I had a partial and that was that.

When things didn't work out at 20, I decided to get my life back on track and finish the one year dental assisting program. I never wanted to be a quitter. I was ashamed of myself for slipping and letting my life get to where I was. I re-enrolled at the same community college I was at before, and after turning 21 and living life to its fullest in anyway that a 21 could, was ready to turn my life around and finish what I started. Dedicated to finishing dental assisting so I could make something of myself as an adult and getting certified as a DA II, nothing was going to get in my way. Then I met Scot.

I remember my mom even warning me not to get distracted with a boy this time. I even had a discussion shortly after we met and told him if he wanted me to come over he was helping me review flash cards for a blood borne pathogens test. We were just friends at this point and being younger than him, I'm sure he was asking himself what he had gotten himself into haha! I trudged through dental assisting and was anxious to graduate. I finished school, passed all my state boards, and got my DA II pin. I was so proud of my certificates and still have them framed. I got my first taste of the real world as I interviewed for a dental assisting position. I got hired and we celebrated. I was so excited. I worked a year for a dentist who was impatient and not used to working with someone straight out of school. He lost interest and I lost confidence. It wasn't a happy time. Looking back I'm not sure why I didn't just quit and find another dentist to work for that would have appreciated my fresh bright eyed attitude but that is LIFE. I had let my teeth take a back seat while I was going about my life. Scot and I got married. Then I was on our honeymoon and the unthinkable happened. My lower bridge broke. On the first day of our romantic honeymoon cruise. It was awful. I wasn't about to go out of the room with no bottom teeth. Poor Scot knew my teeth woes a few months into dating me.

After finding super glue (worst thing to do by the way) on one of the islands a few days later, I was able to at least enjoy the latter part of our cruise. We had so much fun even with the drama but as soon as we got home, I made an appt with my dentist to fix the solution. He referred me to an oral surgeon and then the oral surgeon referred me to an orthodontist. Scot and I talked, decided this was a long road still ahead of us, and went ahead with ortho. Even with a professional discount braces aren't cheap. I finally got the courage halfway through my stage of braces to quit my job and found a new one.

I found a job for another dentist and found what happiness was. 18 months of braces and getting close to getting them off and having implants finally and then we got news unexpectedly that we were pregnant. Scared to be at a new job in braces and getting dental implants, how would I tell my new employer that I had only been working at for 3 months that I was pregnant. Not to mention being this close to my dream, only to have to push it aside for the next 9 months. No oral surgeon would touch me if they were a decent surgeon. After having Ryder, I finally went in to have my braces off. Retainers with teeth were made and appts scheduled for implant consults. After going over the finances we went ahead with the first implant surgery. There would be 4 surgeries and 9 implants that would support implant crowns and bridges. We gave them our first born and went through with the first surgery in Sept 09.

It was hell. And then some. There wasn't enough bone to support an implant so bone grafts were place. Another few months of waiting. Then the implants were placed. More time, tears, blood, bone, and money were shed. Finally ready for my dental implants. The final surgery was done on my birthday of this year. I was emotional as I had my first round of temporary implant crowns placed. 27 and I had never experienced what it was like to eat without a partial. I had never looked in a mirror to see a tooth in every position as it should. I cried. Then on Friday Dr G prepped me for my upper teeth for veneers and the final implant crowns. I took this picture of what I looked like before with my prepped teeth. Hideous.


















Even though they are just temporaries, when I looked at myself and my smile after, I started crying. Happy tears but I was crying. As I cried, the assistant started crying, and then Dr G even got teary eyed. I apologized for getting emotional but I was so happy and had spent so many years and emotions and pain and more emotions. Sadness. Lack of confidence. Pain. Happiness. They all came running back. I was so thankful to work for a generous dentist who has and will do more for me than I ever could have imagined. He is only charging me what the lab cost is per tooth ($1700 per tooth and my fee is only $100 per tooth or even less, we still haven't finalized but that is more than I could ever thank him for all the expenses of the amount of dental work and veneers I will be receiving from him.) I know now that God orchestrated my life because he knew that I would one day be able to get dental implants. I know now that he wanted me to be still and let him be the one in control and I have accepted and appreciate the final product that much more. As Dr G asked me to bite down and asked how my bite felt, first I didn't know how (as crazy as it sounds) because I had never had a tooth in every place like a "normal" person would. I was so used to having to accomodate my bite according to the amount of teeth I had or the position they were, so I didn't know it was "normal" when I bit down to feel my back teeth. He laughed and I laughed and then I looked in the mirror.

Beautiful




I am still getting used to "big" teeth eating and my jaw has been stretched and over stretched and pulled and prodded so much the last two years that I have some serious TMJ going on, but it's worth it. I LOVE my smile!

I feel beautiful and in a way that I never imagined I could look. Thank you God for putting the people and the circumstances you have placed into my life. I owe it all to you! Thank you Scot for all that you have endured the last few years. I love you so much and I can never thank you enough for making this all possible. Thank you for loving me toothless on our honeymoon, pregnant with braces, bloated and bruised and full of stitches after my bone grafts and implant surgeries. Thank you for the love and support both emotional and physical that you gave me all those months and years along the way, always letting me know you found me beautiful no matter what. I am so happy and can only imagine how beautiful the final implant crowns from the lab are going to look!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What A Week!

Well it's official.. it's the last week of August and I am definitely ready for Fall to get here. Even though summer is probably my favorite season because I am a beach bum at heart, I do love to start seeing the leaves change, temperatures drop, college football (yes Scot I am becoming a fan haha) Panther games, hearty meals like Chilli and chicken pot pie, cute fall clothes, fabulous boots, winter coats and scarves, pumpkin carving and costumes, Ryder's birthday, Thanksgiving and family time, and much much more! As September gets closer I know that all of these things are just around the corner and that makes me so happy.

It has been one crazy week though, and I'm starting to think that God might be trying to get our attention. After such a fun vacation at Holden Beach, reality set in as we were driving back home and my passenger window dropped down and wouldn't go back up. Apparantly the clips that hold the windows up aren't made to last long, and this happens more often than not. I know that cars will have their issues and so we just summed it up to the fact that it's going to happen and thats just life and we rode the whole way with the windows down which turned out not to be so bad as long as we didn't run into any rain which we didn't thank goodness. I wasn't prepared however to get ready for work on Monday, having Scot follow me to work so that we could drop my car off at a repair shop, only to barely make it out of our driveway as he stopped, waving me in front, to tell me that we had to change plans because his car had died and he couldn't get it out of first gear.

Disaster.. Monday morning.. and we were faced with not one but two cars having issues. We regrouped and he got in the driver side of the Jeep, still taking me to work and hoping to make a plan to get his car worked on because at least my issue was only a window. When I got to work I realized something was off and then later realized that Dr G was late because of a delayed flight, meaning that he had gotten home by 4 that morning! Okay so maybe I wasn't the only one having a bad day. The day continued to get worse from grumpy patients to frazzled co-workers. I couldn't wait for 5'o clock to get here so that I could call it a day and hope for a better one tomorrow.

Scot picked me up, then we rode together to pick Ryder up and at this point it was close to 6pm. I always feel so bad picking Ryder up that late, and he just looks like this sad little puppy that's been left behind. We grabbed a quick dinner of a Little Caesars pizza and came home to call it a day. After doing some thinking, we decided to drop Scot's car off at the local Good Year early the next morning since he could only drive 20 mph, and hope for some good news. The good news didn't ever exactly come, but at least we knew what was wrong with Scot's car. A bad transmission= $1100 to repair. The funny thing is that we had just opened a new credit card and as life would have it I guess God knew we would be needing it in this emergency. Just when we thought that we could get ahead this month, we got slapped with reality check and I think we need to stop and listen. We have been on vacation after vacation, and although we've been having a great summer, we've also been missing a lot of Sundays at church and since we haven't served or attended Life Group, I honestly haven't had God as my #1 lately. Maybe Scot feels differently about this, but I do feel like he is trying to get my attention and realize that I am not in control, He is. I haven't spent time listening but it was made pretty clear this week that I need to turn to Him and let Him take over.

Ironically enough, I got an email just today from the host of our Life Group who wanted to check in on us to see how we were doing. We had also made the decision to take Sept and Oct off from serving at church and we hadn't really decided what to do about our Life Group on if we were going to start it back up with the rest of our group this September or not. It really made me think that maybe we needed to re think some things because as soon as we go off the path He has made, things turn south. I am guilty of being selfish and lazy when it comes to putting God first these days just as Scot has, and I think that after evaluating this week that some change is gonna come because I'm ready to start paying attention and listen.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Day at the Beach


If I could sum up the last day at the beach, I couldn't just choose one picture which is why the past few posts have included so many! When we walked down to the beach Saturday morning, it was so quiet and peaceful because most of the crowds had gone home for the summer until Labor Day in a few weeks. It was nice to have most of the beach to ourselves without having to worry about finding a good spot in the sand to setup our beach chairs and towels and all the other sand toys that we would be playing with. Scot was ready for surfing!

While Scot surfed in the ocean, Ryder and I played in the sand and Nana swam in the ocean. I am still trying to convince myself that the ocean isn't dangerous but I have just seen too many creatures to believe it! I have already told Scot that in the years to come, I will be the one to play in the sand since we all know his fear of it, and he will be the one who goes in the ocean. A perfect match! We played and played and played and one of the things that I will always take from this trip is watching Ryder dig for clams. We sat by the ocean's edge and dug a big hole in the sand, and as the waves would fill the hole we would look for clams. At first Ryder didn't realize that the clams were alive but I showed him how they would dig themselves in the sand and bury themselves up! He squealed with delight when I showed him and kept saying "Cams!! Cams!!" This was a favorite memory because I remember loving to dig for clams and sand fiddlers (not really sure what they're really called) when I was a child playing on the same beach years ago. As Ryder gets older he too will enjoy all that Holden Beach has to offer but for now he wanted to stick to digging for clams and when he's old enough we can go crabbing together.



Pointing to the "cams"



Mommy and Ryder's footprints in the sand




Running free along the shore looking for shells up and down the beach.





Daddy and Ryder- after awhile we did have an issue when Scot was surfing, once Ryder had enough clam digging for the day and wanted his daddy. I tried to tell him that daddy was surfing and would be back, but it wasn't good enough an answer and he started having a tantrum. Eventually Scot came out of the ocean and took Ryder out in it with him. Ryder was much braver this time and just wanted to be with his daddy. When I tried taking him in, maybe he sensed my fear and didn't want me holding him, only his daddy. I was so proud of Ryder for being such a brave boy this time and can only imagine next summer at the beach, we probably won't be able to keep Ryder out of the ocean!






Scot was one happy man at seeing his boy following in his footsteps. After seeing daddy put wax on his surfboard many times before, Ryder found the wax in our beach bag and started waxing up the surfboard all on his own! We may have the next pro surfer on our hands!!







That night we got dressed for our last night at the beach. We went out to eat and had a great time! Ryder was on great behavior but it probably had something to do with the fact that he kept eating his Nana's chinese noodles that were on her salad and was loving the attention the waitress was giving him. We also went early to try to avoid any meltdowns and it seemed to do the trick! After dinner we came back and played a few more rounds of cards and then we fell asleep, full with more memories of the beach. I think that Scot and I would be very happy living at the beach one day and we have made this a goal of ours that we hope to one day achieve.




On the ride home the next day, we couldn't resist stopping to get produxe at a local produce stand and homeade ice cream too! This was one happy boy after he ate a few bites of his homeade strawberry ice cream. Delicious!





Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday Fun @ the Beach

Friday morning came and we were eventually greeted with warm sunny skies and a good day to be had at the beach! The rain clouds cleared and so we headed to the beach for some fun in the sun.


Later that afternoon my mom met us at the beach house after work and was just in time for Happy Hour, a tradition spent with my Grannie. This is where we usually get to sing old songs together, laugh, eat chips and dips or mixed nuts, or any other kind of appetizer you want, and have a drink before dinner while we sit either on the front or back porch with the breeze blowing. Relaxation at it's best!


After dinner we decided to take a walk on the beach. It was perfect lighting as the sun was going down! I am a momma's girl and will be until the end. I am so thankful to have such a sweet, loving, generous mom that loves me no matter what and has a heart of gold. She is so easy going and loves Ryder so much it makes my heart smile. I was so glad for the time we got to spend together and we had a good time talking and laughing and just being together. We are very close and I can talk to her about anything and know she is always there for me, just as I always will be for her. I love you Mom!



Scot being the comedian.. Big Foot!




A family portrait.. but really Tucker just looks like a big ball of fur in Scot's arms haha!





A happy Nana with her Little Guy!






This picture pretty much sums up our trip. Happiness.







Memories I will always cherish.








And look back on to make me smile.









A beach is where the terrier in a Yorkie comes out and wants to dig in the sand.








And where a 21 month old can dump sand on his daddy.









And thats okay. Even if the daddy doesn't like sand, a beach vacation is for breaking rules and staying up late. And dumping sand.















And going in the ocean with clothes on just because the water felt warm and the moment was too good to pass by. The beach is for breaking the rules and letting loose, and making memories like these.









Happiness.

















What more could you ask for!




Friday, August 20, 2010

One Last Summer Beach Trip



Since my office was closed for a few days last week, Scot and I decided to take advantage of the long weekend and I called Grannie to see if we could make plans to come down to Holden Beach for one last Summer beach trip. Of course she was happy to have us and to see Ryder for a few days, so we headed down on Wednesday night once I got off work that evening. I don't usually like driving that late but it's always nice once we can wake up the next morning and be at our destination and actually get to enjoy another day without having to waste the time driving.

Since we were in a crunch to get to the beach by a decent time, Scot was driving and at some point along one of the very curvy country roads that takes us to the beach, Ryder ended up getting car sick. This has never happened before and it was awful!! The poor guy was screaming and couldn't be consoled so since I had no idea it was because he was getting motion sickness I was yelling and Scot and I were yelling, because there's nothing worse than driving with a crying and screaming baby in the backseat. Then Ryder started throwing up and it was then that we realized that was why he had been crying and I felt about the size of a big jerk. Bad Mommy! Lesson learned and we have found that to avoid this we won't eat before the curvy back road and we will drive below the 55 mph speed limit to hopefully keep any motion sickness at bay. We did end up stopping in a church parking lot to get cleaned up and Ryder a change of clothes. We finally made it to Holden Beach around 10 that night and Grannie was there waiting for us with open arms. She truly looked happy to see us and to get to spend the weekend together and that made me glad that we were there with her. We visited and unpacked and then we kissed and hugged good night and made plans to go to Fort Fisher to see the aquarium the next day. The weather had predicted to be a cloudy day so we thought it would be perfect for the aquarium. We decided to drive to Wilmington which was about a 45 minute drive from the beach house. We would have made good timing since there wasn't much traffic but we did get lost a few times because our GPS got us turned around. Good ole technology! We did make it to the aquarium along with the rest of North Carolina. After struggling to find a place to park we hurried in to see lots of the exhibits.
First on the agenda was the Alligators. Ryder loves to do the motions of an alligator with his hands and will open and close them as he says "the Aldader goes Snap Snap!!!"

We saw a few other exhibits outside and then decided it was way too hot in the middle of August to be standing around in the screened in outdoor area with all the swamps and buggy waters they had made to recreate the habitats for the creatures. Instead we were ready to go inside the air conditioned building to see the fish exhibits. We didn't realize at first but apparantly the ferry schedule had just dropped off a load because when we first walked in it was so crowded we couldn't find an area to even stand and look at the fish, but after awhile the crowds started thinning out and we could finally see what all the hustle and bustle was all about. Down the stairs was this huge amazing recreation of what the ocean floor and above would be like. There were so many big fish, fish of every size and color, we saw blowfish and stingrays and lots of different types of sharks. I think the sharks were Ryder's favorite! He kept yelling and pointing "Shaak Shaak!!" If we took him close to the glass he got scared, but I held him and showed him that they were inside the glass and wouldn't hurt us and after awhile I think he realized he was safe. It was definitely worth the crowds to see all the beautiful sea creatures and I think Ryder had a great time just standing in front of the tank watching all the animals swim by.



















Next we came to another tank filled with different kinds of shiny fish. The funniest part of it was that Ryder was more scared of this tank with the fish than he was with the one that had all the sharks. Maybe because he could stand on the ledge he got closer to them, I'm not sure, but I got him to calm down and look at the fish when we started seeing the blue fish that looked like Dorie from the movie Finding Nemo. It became a game for us to try to find Dorie out of the other shiny fish and he would point and laugh and forget for a second that he was standing so close and then he would squeeze me if he got too close, but he seemed to be having a good time as long as either Scot or I was standing closeby.






For the ride home, we decided to take the ferry back so that Ryder could see what it would be like to ride in a boat. We arrived at the gates 20 minutes before the next ferry departed but it wasn't soon enough, and we missed our ferry. Instead of leaving and driving back home the way we came, we decided instead to just stay and catch the next ferry in 45 minutes.






Besides, there was plenty for a 21 month old to see and do like smelling the wild flowers..










taking pictures with his daddy next to the inlet and throwing shells into the water..









And before we knew it, the next ferry had arrived! We boarded the ferry and once it was safe to go upstairs, we found a good spot next to the window. A storm was in the near distance so we stayed inside and watched as the rain came. We didn't mind the rain because we were so hot, and we were safe inside so it didn't matter if it was wet outside or not. We watched birds dive down to catch fish, and saw other boats drive past. Ryder was most entertained with playing peek-a-boo with his Daddy though, and loved being able to see out his own window. At this point, even waiting for another ferry, I was glad that we had decided to take the ferry home so Ryder got to experience it all.





Once the rain had stopped enough for us to check things out down below, we walked outside to get a few pictures.








We made it back to land and then we were on a mission to find lunch. On our way home, we stopped at Surfers for a bite to eat, but it was 2pm by this point and the kitchen was closed. I was surprised that a place would be closed but I guess it was their summer hours or something. I still couldn't resist taking a picture of Scot and Ryder next to this red headed surfer on the bench! Priceless haha!!








We made it back to Holden Beach and Grannie was there to greet us. We had Happy Hour on the balcony and watched as a small storm rolled in. It was still peaceful and there was enough of a breeze to keep the mosquitos and no-see-ums away. Afterwards Grannie made us country style steak with gravy, rice, okra, butter beans, and coconut pie for dessert. Talk about delicious! Ryder ate a whole plate of it all by himself and loved every bit of it as you can see! I helped clean it all up and then we were all ready for a good card game of Gin Rummy.





My Grannie is a very competitive card player and doesn't mess around when it comes to Gin Rummy. Scot, being just as competitive gave her a good run for her money, but we all had fun and gave Ryder the Jokers out of the deck so that he felt like he was playing too.
It was a great day and a great night and we all got a good nights sleep in, but later awakened by huge thunder and lightening outside. At one point I must have been dreaming because I thought we were having a hurricane and even the house shook a little with one of the bolts of lightening. It woke Ryder and I scooped him into bed with us and told him we were just having a bad storm. The rain had stopped by the time morning came, and it looked to be a good day at the beach.