I've been going through a bunch of pictures lately, looking over the last couple of years as I try to commemorate our lives into some sort of photo album system for the kids. It's a very self-reflective process, really, and I've noticed an odd trend in photos of myself.

Life is short, smile... quote

I call it the “close-lipped smile,” in which I seem to have taken up smiling with my lips closed or concealed altogether.

Life is short, smile... quote

Over and over.

Life is short, smile... quote

And over again.

Life is short, smile... quote

The kids have even started following my lead!

Life is short, smile... quote

It's actually a rare picture where I see a genuine grin slip through, usually in an overly-excited moment or a selfie with someone I'm really happy to see.

Life is short, smile... quote

After years of braces and a tragic failure to use my retainers as instructed, I've never had the most stellar smile. The recent regression, though, is due to gum surgery required after severe morning sickness caused dental decay. In the healing process my gum line over-attached, basically growing back vigorously and becoming more connected to my lower lip than before. That means that more of my teeth on the bottom show naturally when I smile. Not a huge deal, except that just happens to be the area where my teeth are crooked. I'm kind of self-conscious about it, hence the sudden hesitation when I smile.

Life is short, smile... quote

Seeing as how I'm on a self-improvement kick, I figured now would be the perfect time to get my teeth straightened out again. Invisalign reached out asking if I wanted some help with my overly-crowded teeth, and I was totally on-board when they explained that their series of nearly-invisible, removable aligners gradually straighten teeth without metal or wires. They can actually correct a broad range of complex dental issues. Best of all, the cost is comparable to braces! Most dental insurance plans cover Invisalign and adults like me only have to see the doctor once every six weeks or so.

Over the next year, I'll be sharing updates on my progress. As usual, you all can expect ALL the nitty-gritty details. I'm making this part of my New Year's resolution to get my health back on-track with attainable improvements, one step at a time.

What's your New Year's resolution?