Monday, April 29, 2013

Round Two Begins

We started to take Sophie into the Orthodontist when she was about 7 years old. She shortly got an extender that we had to crank each day to push her top jaw out to make it wider. She got braces shortly after and had them for almost 2 years as they prepared her mouth for the bone graft surgery she would need. She had a retainer for about 6 months while we waited for her surgery date. Once she had surgery the retainer no longer fit her mouth and the Maxillofacial surgeon didn't want anything to interfere with her bone graft. That was almost two years ago. 

Sophie hasn't had any orthodontics since that time because the Orthodontist has been waiting for her 12 year molars to come in. Lucky for us they came in before she turned 12.  A few weeks ago, at an appointment with her whole cranial facial team they (the Maxillofacial surgeon, plastic surgeon, and Orthodontist) decided it was time to start round two finally. Over the past two years her beautiful, straight (and expensive) teeth had reverted a bit to their original crocked state. 

Today she got braces again. This time she has brackets on the top and the bottom. 

She is going to have to have an extender put in next week to also help the process along. Wow! does that sound like a lot of metal in one little mouth. We are really hoping to correct her teeth and jaw with orthodontics rather than have to have jaw surgery again.

She has been very positive about the whole experience. She wants to see her teeth straightened. However, she certainly didn't like the spacers (little rubber band like things they placed between some of her teeth) which were placed last week. She took a bit of Tylenol to sleep at night and sampled a lot of popsicles to keep the pain at bay during the day.  I have a feeling I need to stock up on those two things while she goes through this process again. I can see this round is going to be a little more extensive than the first round.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Adoring Addie - Review

I often pick up books that are retellings of familiar tales. It is fun for me to see how a well known plot can be placed a new time, local, and circumstances and still work.  Leslie Gould has taken Romeo and Juliet and put in Amish country in her book Adoring Addie

Since I already knew the story and how it ends the fun of this book is to see how the author fits the different elements of the orignal plot into the new setting. I really enjoyed the first book Gould wrote in this series. Courting Cate is a retelling of Taming of the Shrew and was very well done! I was excited to get to review this next installment in the series and even get to revisit some of the characters.

Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's tragedies. It is a romantic tale but doesn't have a very happy ending. So I was surprised by the choice of this story to be the basis for an Amish romance.  Gould does veer a bit from Shakespeare's tale to give her story a happier ending (not to spoil the story for anyone).

I enjoyed getting to know Addie and could understand why she had such a hard time going against the wishes of her family. But I was so happy she finally decided to do something for her own happiness and not just to please her parents.  The book also plainly illustrated how a misunderstanding or a small lie can lead to so many bitter years and trouble between people and how the bitterness can be passed on to the next generation so easily.

It has been a long time since my freshman high school english class when I last read Romeo and Juliet, perhaps I should break it out again to compare the two.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


 I love it when my kids decide to play duets together. Sophie decided to try to play a variation on a song the kids have learned at piano lessons. She played the variation part up in the higher keys while Ian played the original song down an octave. It sounded good together and they were actually co-operating and counting so they could go the same speed. A nice change from the usual fighting or rushing through their piano practice.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Draw Squad

Art or drawing instruction has always been sort of a hit and miss subject around this house. We have tried formal type programs but usually the kids just end up checking How to draw books from the library and practice drawing.

One book my kids keep coming back to over and over again is Mark Kistler's Draw Squad. They got this book out again this morning and sat happily going through lesson after lesson. I didn't have to do anything except look at their page when they excitedly told me to see what they were able to draw.

Sophie by far is my most artistically minded kid. She loves to draw and is usually the one who checks out the drawing books. The other just give sketching a try now and again.

 I was surprised at how long Henry sat and worked on these drawing lessons. He loved them so much he went back to the book for more lessons after he finished his other school work.
 He filled the front and back of two large pieces of paper with these little drawings.
 Ian didn't participate in these art lessons. He had an art assignment to complete for his online art class.  He got to work with pastels and did a little still life of blocks.

 Ian is creative just not with the medium of pencil and paper. His medium of choice at the moment is legos. His online art class has really challenged him. He needs more formal instruction.  I think we are going to need to have Ian go through the first few lessons of the Draw Squad too. So he will feel a little more confident in his drawing ability.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A few highlights from our Week

Since I can't seem to pull an actual weekly review post together lately. I thought I would just share a few things from this week

+ Sophie's online Literature class has been reading A Single Shard and she was asked to draw a picture of something from the book. Here is what she came up for her assignment.

+ Ian has put the legos aside for a bit and broke out the Knex and was building some of the simple machines along with a bunch of his own personal creations.
Here is Archimedes' screw.
Henry enjoyed the Knex too. He was busy trying out his fishing rod and elevator that he built.

+ Ian sang a solo with our co op choir. He sang the boy part of Pie Jesu. I wish I could share the video of him singing at the performance but with Molly in my lap and another little girl giggling and laughing with her right next to me the video isn't very good. But I am proud of my shy boy who was willing to get out there and sing a solo in front of a small crowd.

Here is a professional version of the song from youtube.

We have been singing it over and over again with Ian for months so now even Molly knows all the words.

The rest of our week has been more or less the same. We are plugging away at all our school work and still find plenty of time to play and learn all sorts of other things as well.  I am so glad to be home with my kids. I love being able to see and be a part of all the great things they are doing.

Threads of Grace - Book Review

Threads of Grace by Kelly Long is the third book in her Patch of Heaven series. I received a free copy of this book in return for a review. But since it is the third in the series I decided to check my library to see if I could read the other two before this one. I hate jumping into a story in the middle. Luckily my library had the second book, Lilly's Wedding Quilt , that I could borrow in an ebook format so I didn't even have to walk into my library in order to borrow it and get started. The first book wasn't available so I decided to just jump in at the second book and hope it filled what I needed to know from the first book, Sarah's Garden.

I read both books very quickly. I didn't feel like I was missing anything since I didn't get the first book but it would have only enhanced the story if I had had the back story a little more filled out.  I am glad I read Lilly's story before Grace's. I think I would have felt like I was jumping into the middle of a story if I hadn't. Threads of Grace really does need more of details from Lilly's story. So this isn't really a stand alone book. It also had a lot of side stories which leads me to believe Kelly Long hasn't finished this series yet.

I liked Lilly's story more than Grace's. I don't know if it is because so much of the Threads of Grace book felt like a repeat of Lilly. They each marry a man before they really know them and have to figure out married life.  Grace was married before and has a son which has its own issues  but mostly it felt like more of the same.  It was a nice story but nothing spectacular.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Heiress of Winterwood - a Review

I wouldn't call myself a Janeite exactly but I certainly love Austen's novels and often read other Regency set novels. I went on a Georgette Heyer readathon last Summer. I must have read about 10-15 of her books over the course of a few months. When I saw a regency set book listed on Booksneeze to review, I couldn't help but be drawn to that title. 

The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd seemed to fit right into that regency genre. It had the feel of a Heyer novel with it's twists to the plot and bit of adventure to go along with the romance.   I admit the characters weren't as well developed as Austen or Heyer were able to portray in their novels. I would have liked to know some of those characters a bit more. I may have felt more for them when they got into trouble if they weren't such cardboard characters. 

Thomas Nelson is the publisher of this book so you know it is a Christian novel. The scriptures used throughout were, to me, a nice addition. Amelia turned to the Psalms a lot in her distress. It made me want to revisit the Psalms again. I wish Graham's character had been a little more filled out. We could have gotten more of a glimpse of what he went through to change from the wild sailor of his youth to the man of character that he is portrayed to be in this book.

The book is worth a read. A very engaging plot that will keep you turning the pages (or swiping the screen on your ereader). 

Stone Park

Last week the three older kids had to take STAR tests. This was two days where they had to get up early, I packed them a lunch and then dropped them off at the testing site. That left Molly and me with nothing to do. One of those days I took her to a park that was near the place the kids took their tests and we stayed there almost all that day.  Ever since that day she has been talking about "stone park" and how much fun it is. The other kids felt like they needed to go there.

Stone park is actually a park we used to visit quite often when Sophie and Ian were my only babies. Then for some reason we just never went back. 

 So taking my kids to this park felt familiar to me but they seemed to think it was totally new.

 We hiked around the little lake. We saw ducks with their little ducklings, geese, turtles, and coi fish. They liked this little hike but still wanted to see what Molly kept calling "stone park". Molly of course told the other kids that she was the leader and that they should follow her. She is becoming a bit of a prima donna and is so very bossy! But the kids followed her to the park.

They quickly found the old playground and started in on climbing up the tower of logs and all around on those large stone blocks.

I spoil my kids sometimes. I got them ice creams from the ice cream man. I never do this. They usually know not to even ask but since I had a little cash in my bag I surprised them with popsicles.

They played games of tag with some of the other kids there at the park. They climbed, hid in the "caves" and just had a great time running around this playground.

There was nothing plastic on this one. This is one of those old playgrounds where everything is metal, wood, or stone.

They could have stayed all day but after about 2 hours of play I felt ready to head home. I am sure we will be heading back to "Stone park" again sometime.