Monday, March 30, 2015

Piano Recital

Our piano recital will be in May this year.  So right now we are in the middle of practicing our pieces.  Wesley's, Kate's and Sophia's songs are stretching them in good ways, although two of them might not agree. ;)

We find that they do excellently with hands separate; but once we try to put hands together, it requires brain muscle that is not fully developed yet.  It's been awesome (and sometimes frustrating) to see (because I tend to get emotionally involved).

Wes denied my suggestion to play a piece that I can't even remember what it was right now.  He was determined from the get-go to play Flight of the Bumblebee (Rimsky-Korsakov).  Kate is playing Sugar Plum Fairy (Tchaikovsky).  And Sophia's is Ode to Joy (Beethoven).  Simplified versions, of course.

A few weeks ago Wesley secretly recorded Kate while she was practicing.  The result has caused much re-playing of the footage, and laughter all around.  I think I laugh more at their reactions than at the recording itself.  But I think it warrants documentation here.

Baltimore Break

We live about 2.5 hours from a whole lotta history.  That's fantastic!  But it's amazing how. far. away. it seems sometimes.  Plus, there's a toll road.  I dislike toll roads.  But nevertheless, we do venture over the Monster Bridge about a half-dozen times/year.  Probably more, but I've never really kept track.

*Side note:  we need to start calling the bridge by it's actual name, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  We never actually call it that, so if someone asked our children the bridge's name, they'd answer "the Monster Bridge".  A common common question as we're traveling is, "have we hit the Monster Bridge yet?" 
photo credit: MPT

Another side note:  I have a fear of heights.  It's not a crippling fear, but enough that I find myself tense up and hold my breath a little longer than usual while crossing this bridge.  I've had more than one dream of us plummeting over the edge of the bridge, mainly due to a news story from last year when a big rig inadvertently did exactly that to a poor little passenger car.  The college-age gal was unhurt outwardly, but had to spend some time in the psychiatric wing of the hospital.  More than once I've asked Matt what to do in the event this actually happened.  His response - crack the windows a little so the water slowly comes in, equalizing the air/water pressure, while I quickly unbuckle seat belts.  Good grief, I'm a basket case.

Back to Baltimore.

We had a long weekend in February in the middle of snow storms, in which we declared a Field Trip Friday!  It was a chilly one, but ended up being so much fun.  Matt had school so it was just our kids and me.  (I really try to say children instead of kids, but sometimes I just want to be relaxed and say what comes naturally.  :)  My mission president's wife would cringe - we had a talk about this.  And the first thing that probably pops into my sister's mind is that I'm talking about goats.  But I do draw the line at saying - my kid - singular.  That sounds like an object, not a person, to me at least.  I'd much prefer to hear my child, or my daughter/son.  Good grief I'm picky and somewhat fickle. :)) 

On we go.

Our first stop was Fort McHenry: best known as the Fort that withstood British bombardment during the War of 1812, thus inspiring Frances Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner.
I love National Parks that have special programs for children.  We got a booklet and started on our journey of discovery.  After 90 minutes of looking for clues and learning of the fort's extensive history and uses, we earned our Junior Ranger badges.  :) 
Jail Quarters
I think we could've spent another hour or two taking our time exploring the fort, but it was late afternoon and we had another stop to make.

The first year we lived here (I think that's when it was), we visited the Baltimore Aquarium.  It's a sister aquarium to the National Aquarium in D.C., although MUCH cooler and much larger.

Once a month they have a discounted night, so it was pretty packed. 

 We were pretty beat by the time we got home that night.  I love days like that!  Full of fun, learning, and adventure. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Shark Teeth ... the sequel

Sophia's mouth is full of wonder.  Just last month our dentist said, "she seems to be the one that everything happens to."  Other than the time when Wes' front tooth broke off in an unfortunate accident, the dentist is right! 

Sophie had shark teeth on the bottom last year.  She also had a rapid decay of a tooth that even astonished the dentist.  Two pustules along her upper left gum that won't go away - sorry for the graphic description, but the poor thing has constant drainage that hasn't cleared up with series of antibiotics, and x-rays say the cavity's filling should've taken care of the problem.  And now upper shark teeth.

This picture was taken just before Christmas. 
 And this is her mouth, as of last week.  WOWZA! 
We have a dentist friend who goes to our church and he gave us the hint to start twisting the teeth, rather than jiggle.  He said, and our dentist confirmed at our appointment the next week, that her roots are most likely dissolved, but the ligaments are what's holding them in. 

The poor thing.  She talks with a major lisp now - who wouldn't, with a mouthful of teeth right at the front.  Her lips protrude.  Her baby front teeth are overlapped.  She looks like a neglected little lady whose parents are oblivious to her needs. 

The dentist has given us a few more weeks to pull them out ourselves or else we'll be contributing to her vacation fund (the dentist's, not Sophie's). 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Snow Days ... (ahem) Weeks

This winter has been exceptional.  By that I mean an exception from the norm - at least from our short 4 1/2-year history of living here.  I guess it happened a bit last year too, but from what we hear, isn't usual.

I'm talking about the excessive use of Snow Days by the county board of ed.  I do and don't object to them.  I don't object to them because everyone stays home!  But I do object because it means the days have to be made up at the end of the school year. (boo)
Joshua on the only hill in SBY  :)

Kate and Sophia
Our friends and family in the West would laugh at the amount of snow we have to receive in order for schools to be closed, but then again, this is the Eastern Shore, and it isn't the norm.  Last week we didn't go to school even though it didn't start snowing heavily until after everyone would have gotten home from the school day.  There must be a history of an terrible accident of which we're unaware.   

Snow Fort built into the Crepe Myrtle at the end of our cul-de-sac
Snow Fort at the end of our cul-de-sac
We're woefully unprepared for snow - gear-wise.  But Wes made do by cutting some holey socks to make double-layered gloves that extended down the arm to cover that part between where your glove ends and sleeve begins.  (They do have gloves, hats and scarves, but they're the cheap 99¢ yarn kind. No snow pants. My excuse is that we usually don't get enough snow to justify pants and if we did, children grow so fast they'd wear them once.  Matt's is, "I never had them growing up."  :))

Each storm only brought about 4", but with two storms back-to-back, and living in a cul-de-sac, the plowed snow was a child's dream.  :)