Friday, January 24, 2014

The time I test-drove a mouthguard

Every Thursday night for the past 3 or 4 years (time flies), I've laced up my roller skates for a Derby Lite workout. I wear a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads and a mouth guard because it's the rules and also I don't want to break anything.

Mouth guards are tricky. I have a pretty pronounced gag reflex, and most mouth guards are too bulky. As soon as I bite down, I start gagging and have to spit them out. I've had good luck with ProTech's Dent mouthguard, as they are slim and provide a very custom fit. They're also expensive, so I've been using the same one for a few years. I clean it every couple of weeks, but ew.

Anyway, I was thrilled to try a new flavored sports mouth guard called the MoGo M1 Flavored Mouthguard. I picked Fruit Punch and fit it to my mouth following the directions in the package (soften in hot water, bite down and suck, harden in cold water) and wore it to practice last night.

Four pros:
The flavor was great. The flavored part of the mouth guard is located next to one's saliva glands, and my mouth kind of tasted like I had just sipped watered down Kool-Aid. I felt like my mouth was wetter that usual and I thus I didn't feel quite as thirsty (although I still drank a bottle and half of water).

It's a tough, well-built mouth guard that made me feel very protected from collisions and falls.

It comes with a helmet strap that let me spit it out without dropping it on the nasty practice floor.

It's a bargain at only $11.99. My regular mouth guard cost well over $20.

One big con:
While I didn't gag constantly, the mouth guard was too bulky for comfort. I couldn't close my lips or talk--something that's crucial when you're working a team drill or scrimmaging.

Unfortunately, not being able to communicate with the mouth guard in place means that it won't work when I need it most. It's a deal killer, which makes be sad because I really, really liked having a flavored mouth guard to suck on.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New house tour--the first floor!

Now that we've been in our house for a few weeks and I've got art on the walls and window treatments on order, I thought I'd share a few photos. Obviously, a wide angle lens, a fancy camera and a bright, sunny day would make these much better pictures, but you'll get the idea.

This is the living room, with a view to the 5 windows overlooking the street. All of the furniture came from our old house, with the exception of the new coffee table, which I purchased on clearance from West Elm. The table is too busy for our old area rug, so it's now in the guest room and I'm anxiously waiting for this rug to go on sale. The modular shelves had been arranged differently at our old place--now they are in two spots, under the windows and agains the wall. In a week, the windows will have plantation-style shutters covering the bottom half and we'll stop living on display to the neighborhood.
This is the view of our living room into the dining room from the foyer. I've always wanted built-in bookcases, and the idea of having them extend over the pass-through into another room is something I stole from Houzz. Don't the floors look nice? I just about went nuts trying to pick just the right stain and ended up going with Special Walnut.
Dining room
The dining room has our existing table and buffet. I added 4 Nate Berkus window panels from Target and the chandelier, which is hard to make out in this picture, is this lovely number--again from West Elm.

Dining room 2

Another view of the dining room, this one from the hallway. Walk down that hallway and look right and you'll see our breakfast nook.

Breakfast nook 1

The table is from IKEA, the benches lift piano-bench style for lots of storage, and the chairs I purchased from Overstock.

Kitchen view of peninsula

The light fixtures are from Pottery Barn (with the two orangey ones on clearance). We purchased our appliances from Abt: an LG French door refrigerator (with ice maker! and water dispenser!) and gas range and a Bosch dishwasher which is so quiet I can't even tell when it is running!

Microwave on peninsula
On the inside of the peninsula is our microwave, a KitchenAid with a trim kit that gives it a built-in look. The big drawer under the microwave is our new catch-all bin for student directories, park district brochures, Scotch tape and other important bits of clutter. Also, see that vertical cabinet to the left of the stove? We have two of them, one for cookie sheets and muffin pans and one for cutting boards.
Here's another view of the kitchen. To the left of the fridge is a large pantry cabinet. The three drawers to the left of the pantry are huge. One holds all our storage containers and another lunchbox paraphernalia.

Light over sink
I'm so happy in our new house that I feel incredibly blessed every single day. Although we did have our first home-owner's emergency. The drain outside the basement exit is clogged and with all the snow melting water came under the door today and soaked the carpeting in the back of the basement. Josh rented a wet vac and sucked out a lot of liquid and our builder is sending a plumber tomorrow to clear out the drain.

Not pictured in this first floor tour is the mudroom, the small foyer and the powder room. There's also an area near between the breakfast nook and the mudroom that doesn't quite have a purpose. For now it's home to a large bookshelf and the girls' musical instruments.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Our first house party, 10 days after moving in

Last year we didn't throw our annual New Year's Day Open House because we were in Australia. This year I refused to commit to the party because all I could focus on moving. But once we were in and unpacking, I decided there was no better way to celebrate the new year and our new home than by reviving an old tradition.

Read the whole story on the Chicago Parent Blog.