Friday, December 6, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Snow Days, Something to Think about Next Time You See the Nutcracker, and Alternatives to Getting Dentures

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


Congratulations to Amanda, the winner of the Stella Nova game giveaway!

In case you missed it, Stella Nova is a fun family board game focused on the birth of Christ and it's perfect for playing during the month of December. You can see my family's review or go to the Stella Nova website to learn more.

If you're not Amanda and didn't win a free copy of Stella Nova, all is not lost! You can use the button below to get 20% off Stella Nova (regular price $39.95) in plenty of time for Christmas.


We got a foot and a half of snow earlier this week, totaling two school cancellations on Monday and Tuesday. This was directly after they'd already had several days off for Thanksgiving, so we were living it up.

The kids were joking about how we'd had Saturday about 5 days in a row, and we had no idea what day it actually was or where we were supposed to be. We mostly just sat around playing and watching Christmas movies in our jammies. It was pretty awesome.


As is our Christmas tradition, I took the kids to see The Nutcracker.

Just before the ushers came down the aisles with gigantic protester-style signs with a 'no pictures' sign that I really wanted to take a picture of but didn't.

It was my 5-year-old's first time. He was so intently focused, way more than certain 8-year-olds who were melting out of their seats with boredom by the end (to be fair, I've always felt like the second act dragged a little.)

He looked confused when the Nutcracker removed the bulky mask over his head, so I leaned over and whispered, "Look at the Nutcracker! He's a prince now!"

The 8-year-old heard us, looked the dancer up and down with a grimace, and added: "And I can see his buttcrack."

Those white tights just don't leave much to the imagination, I guess. (And dang it if I'm not going to think "The Buttcracker" every single time I see the ballet now.)


The 3-year-old is suddenly calling everyone "stupid" when he's mad. (That's actually a step up because he used to hit everybody instead. Baby steps, people.)

Phillip put the kids to bed when I was at church youth activities this week, and he said the 3-year-old was not happy about it. Their conversation went like this:

"I want Mommy."

"Sorry, Bud. She's not here."

"I want Mommy."

"She's not here."

"I want Mommy."

"She's not here."

He paused to consider this, then said, "I want Mommy."

Not knowing what else to do, Phillip put him down and said, "Fine. Go find Mommy."

With all his 3-year-old bravado falling away, he wailed "She's not here!" and collapsed, grief-stricken, into Phillip's lap. "You're stupid!"

I laughed and told Phillip not to feel bad. That very morning the 3-year-old called me stupid for not making him waffles from scratch for second breakfast.


I need some input or advice here. Backstory: I grind my teeth in my sleep (I clench them, actually) and need a mouthguard so I don't wake up with headaches.

I had a legit one made for me by a dentist a long time ago that I really liked, but a few years ago it got stepped on and broke in half.

I just about choked on my own tongue when my current dentist said a new one would cost $776, of which $0 was covered by insurance.

So I explored other options.

I bought a cheap over-the-counter boil-and-bite mouthguard, which was okay at first but it was so big and bulky that after a while it started to feel like I was sleeping with a tire in my mouth.

I did a more expensive ($100) Internet thing where they mail you a kit, you make a mold of your teeth and send it back, and they mail you a mouthguard made of flexible, soft plastic. It only lasted a year before I wore it out.

So then I tried another over-the-counter brand made of hard plastic, but I can't get the fit right.

I even considered just paying for the expensive dentist-made guard, but mine says he only makes soft guards which are the ones that wear out and need to be replaced every year or so, so that's out.

I'm about to give up and just get dentures. Any other suggestions?


Over the long (long, long) weekend, the kids and I watched The Muppet Christmas Carol, and even though we watch it every few years, I forget every time how much I like it.

When my 8-year-old asked what 'humbug' meant, my 13-year-old told her, "It means 'whatever.'"

I love how she can translate 1800s Dickensian English into modern-day talk.


Speaking of Christmas movies, I'm in the market for good suggestions. I want to watch at least a few more good ones this month, but in a family of 8 everyone's got opinions and someone's always vetoing every choice.

We tried A Christmas Story and the kids thought it was boring.

It's a Wonderful Life puts me in a stupor of existential despair.

I love Elf but the kids refuse to watch it, claiming that his social awkwardness brings them physical pain.

The Jim Carrey Grinch movie is weirdly sexual. I don't get it.

Home Alone was the biggest failure of all: the kids were begging with actual tears in their eyes to turn it off, which I guess is understandable because most of the "funny" parts are things that would actually kill someone in real life.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. What are your favorites?

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Unknown said...

The Man Who Invented Christmas is one of my new favorites. It's about Dickens writing The Christmas Carol. Did you know he did it in 6 weeks?!? It was really good.

Diana Dye said...

Miracle on 34th Street. I like the old version but the 1994 version holds my kids' attention better.

The Santa Clause of course. There's a 1980s Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas special at my library that I love for nostalgia reasons. Way better than new Alvin stuff.

And A Charlie Brown Christmas makes me choke up every single time.

me said...

I just introduced "Muppets Christmas Carol" to the kids and it was a hit! They're quoting Dickens (and Muppets) all day. We also love Charlie Brown's Christmas (and I have son named Linus so he really adores it!) The classic Grinch cartoon is awesome. Live action ones are not to my kids' tastes. The social awkwardness of some characters have them running from the room in embarrassment and anxiety for the characters. Frankly, I'm running out of the room with them.

Anne said...

Our favorite is The Hog Father. It's absolutely brilliant.

Jenny in WV said...

Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas has always been my favorite Christmas movie.
A Christmas Story has grow on my over the years. I used to really dislike it, but now it has a certain charm. My mom and I went to Cleveland to see the house where it was filmed a few years ago.

Maybe you could try clear plastic retainers from an orthodontist? It's been a few years since I've gotten new ones, but a single retainer would probably be $200-ish.

Barbara said...

The mouthguard I use is the Dentek Comfort Fit Dental Guard. About $27 on Amazon. So much more comfortable than the other options. I have a small mouth, so I keep it on the smallest setting. Even so, after about a year, I notice that it's stretching and so I buy another one. Good luck with this!

Nicola said...

Look at I don't know if they make the SCI (sleep clench inhibitor) in America, but I got one in London for about £350. It is small, it covers the bottom four teeth, but the gap it creates means your teeth can't grind. It took a few days to get used to, like they all do, but I really like it because it is so small and I can actually close my mouth with it in.
Anyways, just a thought. I've found it helpful.

PurpleSlob said...

I'm not a fan of white tights on a guy either!!

AnneMarie said...

All of your snow sounds so lovely-and what a great long weekend!
Oh my, the Nutcracker. I still remember the first time I saw part of the Nutcracker ballet as shown on TV (PBS, maybe?) when I was a little kid-my younger brother and I (I think I was about 8) were rolling on the floor laughing about the tights male ballet dancers wear :P

For Christmas movies: I also enjoy The Man Who Invented Christmas, and I remember enjoying The Man Who Saved Christmas (about AC Gilbert) when I was a kid-though I haven't seen that one in years, so I can't recall much about it. I'm also a big fan of the Bells of St. Mary's, but since it's a black-and-white Bing Crosby movie, I have an inkling that some of your kids may find that one boring. OH-and for nightguards, I just wear a boil-and-bite cheap one. I've been through a couple different designs, and have found that some designs are definitely bulkier than others, and it also takes time to get used to it; I've been wearing a nightguard for at least the past few years, and while it's annoying, it's not unbearable and because I really don't want to pay hundreds of dollars, I just put up with the slight annoyance.

Handsfullmom said...

Best Christmas Pageant Ever is one we watch every year.

Kristina said...

If you can't get a mouth guard that works, you can try some magnesium and see if it helps you stop clenching your teeth.

Unknown said...

The premise will sound stupid but Arthur's Christms. Nice message and some wittiness for adults.

Anonymous said...

Emmett Otters Jug Band Christmas is wonderful. So is "The Homecoming," which was basically the pilot for The Waltons.

Three Christmas movies I love: Holiday Inn (Bing, Fred Astaire), White Christmas (Bing, Danny Kaye), and Christmas in Connecticut (Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan). Holiday Inn has one scene with blackface that is, by modern standards, horribly racist; the rest of the movie is funny and charming, but you're going to have to explain that one scene.

I am a big fan of the BBC, and "Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas" is fun if you like reality shows; there's also a "Victorian Farm Christmas." The premise is three historians living in Tudor (or Victorian) times on a farm in England. It's surprisingly funny and kids might really like it, although the accents can get a bit dense.

I'm Julie, by the way; your commenting makes me anonymous.

Jenny Evans (sister, not author) said...

The Knight Before Christmas on Netflix was cute!

Anonymous said...

We really like the Curious George Christmas movie.

Anna said...

Have you seen Mr. Krueger's Christmas? It's an old (70's) shortish film with older Jimmy Steward and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It's sweet. I also like the cartoon Grinch Who Stole Christmas - not such a fan of the live-action one. I'm still looking for more good Christmas movies - I always think we have lots and then we pull them out of the box and there are 3. So we would like to add to our collection but it is surprising how few really good ones there are out there.

I am shocked that the guard costs that much from your dentist! Maybe get a second opinion, or ask an orthodontist? I had one from my dentist for years (and I know it didn't cost that much, because we never could have afforded it) and then after I had braces I got one as a lower jaw retainer from my orthodontist and it is still going strong after 5+ years. I started grinding my teeth when I had my 3rd baby and stopped sleeping...turns out total exhaustion will do that to you. Good luck!

Kimberly said...

I never get tired of The Muppet Christmas Carol. Best Christmas movie ever!

Anonymous said...

I got a mouthguard from my dentist in the $200 range about a year ago. I would suggest calling around to different dentists to see if the price varies in your area.

Kimberly said...

Have you ever seen the 1987 Claymation Christmas Special? It's a 24-minute collection of Christmas carols depicted in off-beat ways using old-school stop-motion animation. My kids and I love it.

You can buy the whole video collection on Amazon, or just watch them on YouTube. Our favorites are We Three Kings, Angels We Have Heard on High, and of course, Dumb Bell.