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Braces as an Adult: Month 20

Braces as an Adult: Month 20 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

As of November 7, I’m 20 months into my braces journey. As my initial time frame was 18 months, I’m beyond ready to be done. But I’m not quite done yet. So I’m still plugging away, enduring braces one day at a time and checking in here with occasional updates for you.

When I published my initial post about my first month with braces, I said that I would share periodic updates about my journey with braces as an adult. In these posts, I don’t share month-to-month progress, full details about what I’m getting fixed, and lots of before/after shots. Instead, I’m writing real-life updates every few months, discussing what it’s actually like to have braces as an adult.

In that first post, I talk about why I need braces and why I made the decision to get braces in early 2017 after putting it off since HS. The short version of the story is that I finally did it because I need a night guard for teeth grinding/clenching. I couldn’t imagine wearing one the way my teeth fit together (or more accurately, didn’t fit together) prior to braces. I’ve also finally reached a stage in my life where finances, time, and general life circumstances (i.e. no upcoming plans for a move) allow for braces. So I went for it.

What’s been happening with my braces/orthodontic appointments the past few months.

I broke my usual three-month update streak because at the 19-month mark, I’d had just one appointment since the last update. Consequently, I didn’t have much to report. So I waited an extra month to check in again. I do have more to share after my most recent appointment.

To recap, in late May, I had a new set of full X-rays and scans so that they could create a set of custom wires. These wires will (hopefully) finish out my braces treatment. I got the first set of custom wires in mid-July, along with chains to keep closing the top gaps and a new bottom gap that appeared over the summer. Thankfully, the chain closed this bottom gap very quickly, within a week or two at most of this appointment.

The two most recent appointments

Since then, I’ve had two more appointments. At the mid-September appointment, I got my second set of custom wires, which was pretty uneventful (hence pushing back this update). I had the usual temporary (a week or so) setback with eating, and then I was more or less back to normal again.

At the late October appointment, I got my third set of custom wires, as well as new chains for the top and bottom (which go all the way around, a first) and rubber brands (also a first). It’s the most I’ve had done in a single appointment since very early in the process, and I’ve definitely felt it. I’m very grateful that I made it this far into my braces journey without rubber brands. They’re a special sort of torture.  Eating wasn’t any worse than it usually was after an adjustment. But I was in a lot more pain. And you switch in new rubber bands every single day. So there’s constant pressure/pain.

The recommendation for wearing rubber bands is “as much as possible,” with breaks no longer than 45 minutes. I’m not going to lie: it is so hard. I can’t wear them while eating because they pop off too easily. So I take them off…and I forget about them, even when they’re right next to me. I’m doing my best but definitely breaking the 45 minute rule more often than I’d like to admit.

What’s happening with my braces/orthodontic appointments over the next few months.

The late October appointment is the first time the orthodontist has told me that the end is in sight. I think they’ll have a better idea exactly where I’m at after this stint with my third set of custom wires and the accompanying six-week stint of rubber bands. My gaps are nearly closed (more on that below). There’s just a little more adjustment work that needs to happen before I can have my top right lateral incisor built up.

As I discussed in my month 16 update, since the beginning of my braces journey, there’s been the possibility of building up my top right lateral incisor. It’s noticeably (not significantly) smaller than my top left lateral incisor. We are still moving forward with this plan. When everything else is finished, they’ll space out the incisor. This will allow me to have as little time as possible with a gap on either side of the tooth. In late October, they mentioned wanting me to consult with my dentist on the final placement of the incisor prior to having it built up, which is fine. He’s been on the same page as the orthodontic team throughout the process.

I have no idea how long it will take to finish up the braces adjustment, do the incisor work, and then complete the routine braces finish up (taking them off, taking new impressions for retainers, etc.). I’m not sure where the incisor work will fit in the timeline either. The process will still take a minimum of a few more months. It’s a drag that I’ll continue this journey into 2019. At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Montana Highlights 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Early September 2018

Halloween 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Halloween 2018

My creepy gaps are finally almost gone.

Over the past few updates, I’ve been sharing pictures of my creepy gaps slowly getting smaller and smaller. You can see this progress in the month 10, month 13, and month 16 updates. During the past four months, I’ve reached a point where at last, it seems like they’ll eventually be gone. Honestly, you don’t notice them in the above pictures. Jake took the early September 2018 picture before my second set of custom wires. Even zoomed in, the gaps are barely visible. The left gap is nearly closed. The right gap is slightly bigger and won’t close all the way on its own. Hence we’ll need to build out the incisor.

Needless to say, the lack of creepy gaps is very exciting. I had the two teeth pulled about two weeks into my braces journey. So I’ve been dealing with the gaps almost the entire 20 months. Of course, I hate how they look in pictures. But more generally, I hate dealing with them because food gets stuck in them really easily, etc.

Braces Rubber Bands | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Finally, I don’t share a lot of specifics about my treatment in these posts. But I had to share the name of my rubber bands. So random, right? Who comes up with these things? And what are the names of the other strengths of rubber bands? In the orthodontist’s office, they kept referring to this type of rubber band as Rocky Mountain.

To those who are sticking with me, reading these lengthy updates about my experience with braces as an adult, thank you. If you have personal experience with braces as an adult, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Past braces updates:

My First Month With Braces as an Adult

Braces as an Adult: Month 4

Braces as an Adult: Month 7

Braces as an Adult: Month 10

Braces as an Adult: Month 13

Braces as an Adult: Month 16

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10 Reasons You May Not Be Ready to Adopt (Yet)

10 Reasons You May Not Ready to Adopt (Yet) | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Pursuing adoption is a huge decision. For most couples, it comes after years of struggling to have biological children or having biological children and then growing a family further through adoption. Adoption is not a decision to arrive at quickly or a process to take lightly. Even under the best circumstances, adoption is expensive and comes with a lot of emotional baggage. The following factors are reasons you may not be ready to adopt yet.

I add (yet) after reasons you may not be ready to adopt because many couples face one or more of these factors at some point along their journey to adopt. You may not be ready to move on from fertility treatments or you may not be sure how you feel about open adoption right now. That’s totally fine. It doesn’t mean you’ll always be in that place.

1. You’re still in the middle of or planning to continue pursuing fertility treatments.

Pursuing fertility treatments and adoption simulatenously isn’t a good idea. Both paths to growing a family are expensive and highly emotionally charged. In order to be committed fully, you must pursue one or the other. Don’t start contacting adoption agencies and getting your ducks in a row for a home study until you’ve wrapped up your final fertility treatment.

Some people encourage couples to wait until they’ve finished grieving their infertility to pursue adoption. Personally, I don’t think that this is realistic and should be on a list of reasons you may not be ready to adopt yet. Until I feel like our family is complete, I won’t be able to move on from my infertility past fully. The same is true for numerous couples.

2. There are general life circumstances that would make an adoption very difficult for you right now.

I make this point with care. Of course, there is never going to be a time in your life when everything lines up perfectly for an adoption. There are also no guarantees in life. You may adopt a child and then immediately lose your job or have your dad get really sick. However, when you’re working through a rough place in your marriage or you’re in a tough spot financially due to an expected medical expense, adoption may bring more stress than blessing.

3. You and your spouse aren’t on the same page with adoption.

It’s important that both you and your spouse feel great about pursuing adoption and are ready to move down that path to grow your family. No, you don’t have to agree about every single aspect of adoption or have everything figured out ahead of time. No one does. But if one partner still wants to pursue fertility treatments or is unsure about a major aspect of adoption (i.e. the financial burden, open adoption), it may not be the right time.

4. You’re tired of the social pressure to have kids and don’t want to answer any more questions about why you don’t have kids yet.

As soon as you’re married, there is so much pressure to have kids. Like, right now. Why aren’t you trying to make babies already? Some people will even start pushing this topic before you’re married. There’s something about pregnancy and babies that makes people incredibly nosy, soliciting a lot of inappropriate questions and comments.

It gets old, I know. But ultimately, growing your family is no one else’s business. You need to pursue adoption when you and your sponse are ready. Not when everyone else in your life is ready for you to have kids.

5. It’s the cool thing to do.

You’re wrapped up in the latest story about a hot celebrity who just adopted a baby. You can’t stop Googling all of the details about said celebrity’s baby. Everyone you know who was facing infertility five years ago now has a beautiful adopted child. You can’t get enough of their adorable pictures on Facebook and Instagram. No matter who you know (or whose celebrity life you’re trying to live through vicariously) who has adopted children, adoption has to be the right path for you and your spouse.

6. You want to adopt a child because you’re trying to save the world.

There’s a common misconception that most couples are trying to adopt because they want to save the world. Instead of having a biological child, they’re choosing to “rescue” a child, which is so noble. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Most couples pursue adoption because they want to grow their families. Period. It may not sound very romantic or glamorous. But it’s the truth. And it’s a much healthier perspective.

7. You’ll do whatever it takes to adopt a child.

Many couples who pursue adoption have been trying to have children for many years. It’s tempting to say yes to every single profile opportunity that comes your way. It’s also tempting to pursue every path possible to adopt a child as quickly as possible. You need to pursue the adoption opportunities that make sense for you and your family, which includes being realistic about your limitations. When you say yes to a profile for a child with known significant health issues, you need to feel prepared to handle those needs appropriately. If you do feel prepared, that’s great. But don’t say yes just because you’re willing to do anything it takes to adopt a child.

8. You are prepared to wait until you have the opportunity to adopt the perfect child.

On the flip side, some couples approach adoption with the notion that there is a perfect baby out there for them. They will wait as long as it takes until that adoption opportunity presents itself. There are never any guarantees that you’ll be able to adopt within a certain time frame. However, when you see couples sit in the waiting pool for five or six years, they’re often being extremely selective about having their profile shown.

Adoption comes with a lot of risks. Even under the best of circumstances, there’s a lot you won’t know in advance or there are things you would have done differently. You should feel good about saying yes to having your profile shown to an expectant couple considering adoption. You shouldn’t have to feel like it will be a match for a perfect child.

9. You’re not willing to consider the possibility of open adoption.

Encouraging open adoption is relatively new concept. As such, most people understand very little about open adoption. There are also a ton of misconceptions about open adoption, only made worse by frequent inaccurate portrayals of open adoption in popular culture (TV, movies, books). It’s completely understandable why most couples, even those who have always thought about adoption to grow their family, aren’t considering open adoption initially.

Despite all the pushback, when you put yourself in an adopted child’s shoes, it should be clear immediately why open adoption is so important. We all know people who are adopted and know absolutely nothing about their birth families. They would give anything for a name or a photo. Having an open relationship with your child’s birth families is one of the best gifts you can give them.

10. You don’t plan to tell your child he/she is adopted.

Children deserve to know where they come from, right from birth. Waiting to tell children until they’re “old enough” to understand or not telling them at all leads to so many more questions, confusion, and hurt feelings. Pushing away your adoption story and leading the world to believe that your children are biologically related to you isn’t healthy. No, you don’t have to tell everyone you meet that your children are adopted. But your children deserve to know the truth. And you should feel comfortable sharing their story with others as it’s appropriate to do so.

Are there other reasons you may not be ready to adopt (yet) that should be on this list?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment.

More adoption resources:

10 Things No One Tells You About Adoption | http://www.roseclearfield.com

10 Things No One Tells You About Adoption

Building a Birth Family Relationship | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Building a Birth Family Relationship

Adoption Doesn't Fix Everything | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Adoption Doesn’t Fix Everything

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Milwaukee Events: The Holiday Edition

Milwaukee Events: November 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I haven’t been keeping up with my Milwaukee events posts lately. Frankly, they haven’t done as well as I hoped they would, and I’ve had other priorities on the blog this year. But my November posts always do well with people looking up holiday event information. So I’m bringing it back to give you all the details on fun holiday festivities in the greater Milwaukee area this year.

Please note that as of publishing this post, I haven’t been able to find any information about the 2018 Milwaukee Christmas tree lighting. If I do, I will be sure to update this page. Thanks!

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival: The festival kicks off on November 15 in Pere Marquette Park. The pre-show events begin at 5:30 p.m. with the Christmas tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. There will be local performers and free cookies and hot chocolate. Once the tree is lit, the rest of the downtown lights display will kick off. There will also be fireworks. Following the show, the free Jingle Bus will take people through the downtown to view the newly lit display. The 2018 display runs through January 1, 2019.

Holiday Folk Fair International: Nov. 16-18. Held at the State Fair Park Exposition Center, the folk fair features three days of traditional music, dance, and food with a music pavilion, cooking demonstrations, international stage, coffee house, world cafe, vendor booths, interactive exhibits, and much more.

Milwaukee Holiday Parade: Thursday, November 17, 9:30 a.m.  The parade features over 100 units including floats, marching bands, costumed characters, local celebrities, giant helium balloons, speciality vehicles, live animals, and of course, Santa.

Deck the Streets of Old Milwaukee: November 17, 2018 – January 22, 2019. The Milwaukee Public Museum transforms the Streets of Old Milwaukee into a Victorian-esque holiday wonderland featuring wreaths, holly, garlands, ribbons, bells, and more. The exhibit kicks off on Saturday, November 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event includes holiday craft making, interactions with costumed docents, and holiday musical performances. View rarely seen Streets of Old Milwaukee artifacts as well.

Annual Tree Lighting @ Bayshore Town Center: Friday, November 18, 6:00 p.m.  The festivities kick off with a performance on the Town Square stage from the North Division High School Drumline, followed by a parade with Santa. The parade begins at Fountainview Drive and completes at Centerpark Way at the back of the stage. A section of the Patriot Brass Marching Band heads up the parade, followed by the Mayor of Glendale riding in a horse-drawn carriage, and then reindeer pulling Santa in his sleigh. There will be free cookies and hot chocolate in the Town Square.

Candy Cane Lane: November 23-December 26, 6:00-9:00 p.m. on weekdays, 5:00-10:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. There are over 300 homes that participate in the annual Candy Cane Lane. View decorations in West Allis from 92nd to 96th Street between Montana Avenue and Oklahoma Avenue. The event is free, but donations to the MACC fund are always appreciated.

Country Christmas: November 23-25 and November 30-December 31, The Ingleside Hotel in Pewaukee. Country Christmas is the largest, grandest drive-through holiday lights event in Wisconsin. Country Christmas admission includes the Christmas Village, Country Christmas Trail, and Streets of Bethlehem.

Christmas in the Ward: Friday, November 30, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Kick off the holiday shopping season in the Historic Third Ward with a tree lighting, fireworks, live reindeer, visits with Santa, costumed characters, live entertainment, cookie sale, horse-drawn carriage rides, and of course, shopping.

Also, don’t forget to check out the winters’ farmers market, which kicks off Nov. 3! Located in the Mitchell Park Domes Annex, the market runs every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon through April 14. 50 weekly vendors supply produce, eggs, meat, poultry, and dairy products as well as locally produced jams, honey, baked goods, maple syrup, cider, sauces, soups, and global cuisine. Market admission and parking are free. Coat check is available. Regular Domes admission applies to enter the conservatories.

A few more happenings in Milwaukee in November:

Nov. 3: Family Free Day at the Milwaukee County Zoo
Nov. 3-4: Journal Sentinel Wine & Food Experience
Nov. 4: Sticky Fingers Food Competition and Fest
Nov. 4: Grace Fine Art & Craft Festival
Nov. 10: Veterans’ Day Parade
Nov. 10-11: Trainfest
Nov. 17-Dec. 31: Christkindlmarket
Nov. 24-25: Urban Garage Sale

Are you looking for even more things to do in Milwaukee on the cheap?
Check out Free Things To Do In Milwaukee WI.

[Disclaimer: I do not work for the city of Milwaukee. I am not paid to promote any of the events listed on this page. I’m simply a resident of southeast WI who loves Milwaukee and enjoys attending and generating exposure for events in Milwaukee.]

 

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2018 Goals Update: October

2018 Goals Update: October | http://www.roseclearfield.com

In an effort to keep myself accountable, I’m sharing monthly progress updates for my 2018 goals.

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30 Days of Healthy Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes

30 Days of Healthy Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes | http://www.roseclearfield.com

As we settle fully into cool weather season, it’s time to get the slow cooker in regular rotation. Healthy slow cooker dinner recipes ensure you’re making the most of slow cooker season, preparing nutritious, tasty meals that your whole family will love. Personally, I don’t cook more than three meals in a given week. As such, 30 days of healthy slow cooker dinner recipes is enough to keep me rotating through new dishes all fall and winter. I’ve rounded up a mix of soups and chilis, chicken dishes, vegetarian meals, and more.

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