better than expected

life has thrown us a few happy curveballs in the past few months! most important is an update on Cecilia's teeth. Cece brushes her teeth faithfully, but our dentist has explained to us that her enamel is weak so she will always be more prone to cavities. she needed fillings in both lower pre-molars at age five, poor baby. fortunately she's been cavity-free since then, but when her six-year-old molars erupted, they came in hypocalcified; there's a noticeable difference from her other teeth as they are softer and almost crumbly (which sounds horrifying but fortunately they don't cause her pain). the dentist said it likely had something to do with the tooth formation either in utero or as a baby that may have been affected by illness or fever. she's had exactly the same exposure to fluoride as Greta, and Nick and I both have "good" teeth. 

anyway, in January she developed an infection in one of the pre-molars that had been filled previously. the pain and swelling improved right away with antibiotics, but when our dentist did x-rays, he said he couldn't visualize a permanent tooth underneath the pre-molar, and he wanted us to see an oral surgeon to extract the tooth so the infection wouldn't spread. our own dentist has a fairly small x-ray machine so he wanted the surgeon to get better films too. 

of course, when I called the oral surgeon, the first available appointment was for March. I took it and figured if the pain or swelling came back, I'd call back for an emergency appointment. fortunately, it didn't bother her all that time, but of course she was nervous about the extraction. we had many conversations about what to expect and how the surgeon would be gentle and that it might hurt a little bit but then the tooth would be gone and wouldn't cause her any more problems, and then the tooth fairy would bring her a big reward! the tooth itself was already slightly loose and I thought it might fall out on its own prior to the appointment, but no such luck. 

originally the appointment was set for 1:30 PM on a Monday. the surgeon's office called me the Friday before to say that they usually schedule children's extractions to be done under IV sedation on Fridays, which is the only day their anesthesiologist comes into the office. she wasn't sure why the original scheduler hadn't done that, and of course now if we wanted to reschedule for a Friday, there would be another lengthy wait time. since the tooth was already slightly loose, I thought we should just keep the appointment and see if the extraction could be done with laughing gas alone and get it over with. so then, she offered to move the appointment to first thing Monday morning so Cece wouldn't have to go the whole morning without eating or drinking.

"first thing" turned out to mean 6:30 AM (!). fortunately the office is less than ten minutes away and I had Cece change into fresh, comfy clothes before bed the night before so she could just roll out of bed, brush her teeth, grab her stuffy for moral support and we were on our way by 6:10 AM. she did balk once we pulled into the parking lot and said she didn't want to go, but finally she mustered up her courage and we went in. the office is in a large complex with shiny elevators, a balcony on the second floor and a TV in the waiting room, so she was quite impressed. the surgeon and his team were so kind and friendly, and truly put her at ease. he examined her whole mouth and said he didn't see any visible infection or gum disease, and then did a full Panorex mouth x-ray. and -- there was no infection! he said since it's a baby tooth and the infection fully cleared without antibiotics, he did not recommend extraction unless she develops pain again (I always respect a surgeon who opts not to do a procedure if it's not necessary). he did say that for whatever reason, she does not have permanent teeth below the premolars on either side, so whenever those teeth do fall out, we will need to consult with an orthodontist to get a dental appliance fitted to help her permanent teeth stay in alignment as they move into that space. 

so after all that, we walked out of there about 15 minutes later, no procedures necessary! and she still had time to get ready for school and get on the bus at 7:30. of course, that was another mini-meltdown since she had been anticipating a day off of school and lots of TLC after the extraction-that-didn't-happen -- but she pulled it together. she was also understandably sad about not getting a prize from the tooth fairy, so I did get her a small LED drawing board of her own (Greta and Elizabeth each have one). and they printed out this copy of her x-ray for her to display proudly at home :)

you can see the filling in her second premolars (more visible on the right) and how there is no permanent tooth underneath. the roots of that right lower premolar are starting to lift above the gum line as the tooth is wiggly but thank goodness there is no infection or bone loss in the jaw.

secondly, the old trusty Amana fridge that came with our house gave up the ghost overnight last month. fortunately, it happened when Nick was home, so while I was at work, he transferred everything to our chest freezer and the second fridge in the garage (#'MERICA). then he scouted out some replacement options at our local appliance store and I drove there after work, before picking up the babies from daycare, to check them out. our refrigerator sits in an alcove surrounded by cupboards to the left and top and the kitchen wall to the right, so we are limited to a relatively narrow width compared to a lot of the refrigerators on the market now. we weren't wild about the best option at this store, so the next day he went to look at a different store and found the same model but in a deeper version that added 5 cubic feet of storage space, plus it was actually cheaper than the model at the other store, and they could deliver it that week! 

I wasn't sure how I felt about switching from a traditional single door style to a side-by-side with a drawer freezer, but after living with this one for a month now, we are so happy with it. whenever the old fridge was opened, no one could pass between the kitchen and dining room because the door blocked the entry point. the new fridge has a water dispenser on the inside (!! so great with toddlers) and a working ice maker. I actually love the freezer drawer and find it easier to find and organize things. and both fridge and freezer make such better use of the space with the configuration of shelves and door space (I especially love the sliding dividers on the bottom drawer that can easily shift back and forth to accommodate fluctuations in our cheese and meat). I do love the look of stainless steel; of course it does show fingerprints, but they wipe right off with a dry cloth. best of all, the appliance store offered a no-interest payment plan so we can spread out the expense. eventually we want to do a mini-upgrade on our kitchen (replace the horridly ugly floors-which-I-loathe and countertops, repaint cabinets, etc, while keeping the same footprint). a shiny new fridge that works much better in our space is an unexpected but appreciated step in that direction!

had to look back through the archives to find this photo from 2022 with the old refrigerator (and the stash of beverages we now keep elsewhere since Elizabeth started trying to climb on it)

shiny new fridge!

I really love the layout, even the tiny little shelf on the bottom of the doors that at first I thought would be useless!

unrelated but in searching for "refrigerator" in my Google photos, this gem from Rome in 2018 popped up: showcasing our very first ice cubes made in ice cube trays shipped over from a friend (we hadn't known they would be so hard to find in Italy!) and the fridge itself is so tiny by American standards!


  1. We have the world's oldest, tiniest apartment-sized fridge (obviously not true, but it is old and it is tiny!) and I am ready for a change but we have such a small space for the fridge to fit in our kitchen...and the one we have is still functional...but it's SO TINY!

  2. Functional is good! Our new fridge is not much bigger than our old one but the layout creates so much more useable space. It still tickles me every time I open the door.


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