Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Not at Book Group

This school semester, even though I'm in charge of book group I've only been once.  Either Brent was gone, or I was, three of the months. Plus I took one month off for maternity level.
But I've still be reading, not very challenging literature, but still reading. These are the books I've read since my baby was born.

The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3)The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Out of all the Percy Jackson books this is the least memorable of them for me.  I did enjoy the new characters, the Hunters, Nico and Bianca.  At the end when Percy and Nico are talking, I though Nico has so cool skills. Lets have a spin off series about the Hunters.

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my favorite Percy Jackson book, although my 8 year old found it to be the oddest of all of them.  He told me every couple of hours Percy Jackson books are getting really weird.  I liked when they ended up at the Cattle ranch; I liked the introduction of middle aged adult demi-gods.  Its nice to know not all the heros are killed as kids or teenagers.  Considering where I lived, I loved when they ended up in the Garden of the Gods, and then the mining museum that is down the street from me!

Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)Heist Society by Ally Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first I found this book annoying.  The characters acted like such teenagers, imagine that in teenfic.  Then I totally got into it, and was so obsessed with their Heist.  This book is super fun if you like heist stories.  I love heist movies, and I'm currently watching White Collar on netflix, so I could see all the plot details weave in and out like a movie. Plus the book talks about Nazi stolen art, which is the season of White Collar I'm on. Very cute, and clean. Although not the most challenging of literary work. Also I hated the cover, that girl does not look like she is 15, like the main character.

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book really dragged for me, it was hard for me to get into. I decided being a son of Hades is way cooler than a son of Poseidon.  My 8 year old disagrees, thinking the being the son of Poseidon is the best, but the kids of Hades has a lot of awesome talents/gifts, while Poseidon children only have water powers.  As far as I can tell Zeus's kids are the least cool out of the three main gods.  Nico was definitely my favorite character out of the series, I wish there was more about him.

Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2)Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 2, I'm not sure what I should say.  I enjoyed it a lot.  They mostly fixed my cover complaint, it looks much more like a 15 year old acting like an adult.  I liked that book 2, was shorter than book 1.  I get annoyed at series where each book gets increasingly longer.  It was a fun read, and still clean.

Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society, #3)Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are so fun.  I didn't want it to end, except for Hale's sake I did want it to end.  I almost cried in the book, except I was so shocked I couldn't  My husband says I'm heartless because I don't cry in books about a boy and his dog, so I'm not sure if my near crying means I'm heartless or not. I don't want to include any spoilers so I won't say when, but you'll know when you get there.  Anyway, Kat and Hale have another adventure with their friends. I liked that Bobby Bishop played a bigger role in the plot.

The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #6)The Enchantress by Michael Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've only been reading this series for 7 years, but the other day I finally FINISHED! I reread the whole series before reading this last book. Sometimes I felt like he had too many characters, and I started to wonder where the heck he was going with the story, especially when it came to the island of Danu Talis.  But then when it finished, I loved it.  So here is the break down of how I feel about the characters (the immortal humans, not the Elders).
Nicholas Flamel- sort of lame,
Perenelle Flamel- one of my favorite characters and her love story with Nicholas is his only saving grace. I love their story together, and that they can't imagine life one day without each other.  I love that she is the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter.  I love that she is more powerful than her husband.
Josh Newman- blah, he is annoying, and his teenage angst and jealousy of his sister is more annoying, but then by the time he grows up in the period of a week I liked him. I liked who he became, in fact I love it!
Sophie Newman- not as angsty so not as annoying. But she does have that big sister know it all attitude so that is annoying. I despised her name, but then I looked it up, Sophie means wisdom, so then I got why the author picked it.  Josh means salvation.
John Dee- Also not a fan of this character.  In fact as I read the book I wondered why I was even reading the book since I don't like most of the main characters
Aunt Agnes- All I can say is totally didn't see it coming.
Scathach- I think I liked her, she had some tragic flaws so she was more likable than annoying.
Niccolò Machiavelli-  I really liked Machiavelli.  I'm not sure how much of that was from previous opinions.  I found studying The Prince in Political Theory quite interesting.  I liked the way the author painted the character.
Comte de Saint-Germain- I'm not a fan of his. He is too proud, which I believe is the way he is suppose to be.  I also think I would hate the way he dressed.
Joan of Arc- unlike Perenelle her marriage doesn't make her more endearing. I like her friendship with Scatty but not St. Germain.
Palamedes- I feel like there isn't too much of a description of him. But he is super awesome and hard core.
Shakespeare- I loved when he showed up in the story, but overall I don't have an opinion of him.
Billy the Kid- I love Billy so much, I could read about his part of the story forever.  Overall I think I'm just a true blooded American, I loved all the immortal American characters.
Gilgamesh the King- So tragic, how could you not love him?
Aoife- I liked her much more than her twin sister.  I'm not sure why.
Niten- The reason I love Aoife more. I guess I love the quiet silent not alpha male. I would have love to read more about them.
Virginia Dare- one of my favorite characters.  Her flaws were so tragic, I was so intrigued by her story, and loved what she ended up standing for; Liberty, so founding American.
Black Hawk- I don't know much about him, but if he is friends with Billy and Virginia, he's alright in my book.
Marethyu- So much I don't understand about him, I should reread this last book.
Isis and Osiris- I think they were written to be annoying, not annoying immature.  I feel like I should reread to understand them better.
Tsagaglalal- I'm not sure how I should have pictured her in my mind.

My oldest is now reading the series.  Normally he reads series faster than me, so I can discuss it with him.  This time I made him wait until I was almost finished. I was rereading number 5, when I finally let him read 1.  Now I'm waiting with baited breath, so say, "CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?" I totally didn't expect the twists and turns in this book.

View all my reviews

P.S. I need to remember my books label.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

3 months

This other day I was out with just my 8 year old and baby. A lady smiled and asked how old my baby was. She was wrangling four kids so no doubt she was feeling nostalgic to when they had no choice to but to listen. To when she had a hand per child. I said three months. She replied oh a big three months. I unsurely said I think he is closer to four. She looked puzzled, when I added he's my fourth so as long as they are all fed, it's a success. She laughed. She walked away. I could faintly hear her chastise her kids for not listening to her. Point of the story, I thought closer to four months, but I was wrong. Exactly three and a half, almost to the day. I think she was right, he probably is big. He started into his 3- 6 month clothes at 2 months. He is my biggest for this age. But other than memories I don't have much to compare him to. My first two wore clothes exactly on schedule. The next closest baby I know older than him is 6 months older. I know one baby a week younger who is quite a bit smaller, but one proves nothing. Then a friend has a baby 2 months younger, but I've only seen her once. It's odd, it seems like all my other babies were born in a big slue of babies. Not him, there are only two other pregnant women at church, he'll be 4 months and 6 months before those babies are born. When he was born their moms weren't even showing. The baby next closest in age older just had her first birthday. (Actually the baby a week younger goes to church with us, but he is moving in a few weeks.)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Slipped Disk

First off you should know I know absolutely nothing about what I'm talking about other than I've been in pain off and on for about 6 months. Finally I've figured out I have a slipped disk or herniated disk or a bulging disk.  Apparently according to the internet, they are all the same thing.  Also apparently you can't be certain you have one without an MRI. I don't need an official diagnoses.  Two weeks ago I went in for a chiropractic adjustment.  The adjustment caused the upper/outer tissue in my leg muscles to tingle.  I told the Chiropractor this, he said if you are in pain by the weekend call me.  It took me a few days to put two and two together.  I have a 3 month old remember, I'm not operating with all my cylinders. A lot of other stuff happened and I ended up not going back in for about 10 days.  After me describing what it felt like, we've decided its a slipped disk. I think he said my third vertebrae. Which is in the lower back and unusual. I think its the fourth that is normal.  I said, I'm unique, I've sprained the inner arch on my ankles three times! Which apparently only has a 5% chance.  I beat the odds THREE times! Ok, I didn't get that animated, I added that for you my three readers.
We figured this out, because I had severe muscle spasms in my right thigh from my hip bone to my knee.  My muscles got so tense, I was probably at a 5 or 6 on the pain scale.  I started taking the prescription strength 800 mg of Ibuprofen, every 5 hours instead of the recommended 6-8.  It dulled the pain, but it was still always there. Apparently the nerves that control that part of the leg come from the vertebrae that is out. (Remember I have no idea what I'm talking about.) This is explains why I feel like my core strength is so weak even after doing core strengthening exercises. 
Long story short, since at least my sixth month pregnant if not before, I could sometimes feel a vertebrae poking out my back when I sat on a firm but soft chair, like a captain's chair in a car. I think this is the reason I had so much pain when I got my epidural and why the anesthesiologist had such a hard time giving me it. In fact as I write this, I know it is, he told me had to use a different vertebrae than normal.  Ewe, just thinking about it makes me nauseous.
This is what says, in case you are wondering what I'm talking about
A herniated disk refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions (disks) between the individual bones (vertebrae) that stack up to make your spine.
A spinal disk is a little like a jelly donut, with a softer center encased within a tougher exterior. Sometimes called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk, a herniated disk occurs when some of the softer "jelly" pushes out through a crack in the tougher exterior.
A herniated disk can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. On the other hand, many people experience no symptoms from a herniated disk. Most people who have a herniated disk don't need surgery to correct the problem. 
It also says, weight can be a risk factor
  • Weight. Excess body weight causes extra stress on the disks in your lower back.
 I'm not for sure, but I could almost guarantee that two back to back pregnancies where the cause.  I have a very petite body frame, albeit tall, but my bones are thin and unprotected with hardly any muscle, then I gain 40 lbs when I'm pregnant almost all in my abdomen.  Then I give birth to 9 lbs 2 oz, and 8 lbs, 8 oz babies, yeah, they killed my body. The second baby wasn't too kind to my body, but it slowly recovered after a few years, but the last two babies, murdered my body.  Sure I still look thin, but appearances are deceiving.  Looks aren't everything.
My chiropractor can fix it, but its going to take a while and its going to be painful in the beginning. I'm not sure I'm up it.  But yet I am, because I'm sick of this pain I've been feeling.
Actually I think the problem probably started during my third pregnancy, after the baby came, I couldn't lie on my back without my legs going numb, until after adjustment.
Had the same problem after four.  I doubt it would have been classified as a slipped disk a year and half ago, but I think it was aggravated during number 3 then butchered during number 4. Probably why I could barely walk during either of those pregnancies.


Did I mention my 5 year old daughter is reading?  She tells me she can't read but she can.  Her brother did the same thing during the spring of his pre-k year also.  Coincidentally, they were both 5 years and 2 months old, when they could read a story independently.  (But since her birthday is in december and his is in february she read earlier in the Pre-K year.)

I didn't really teach my son how to read, but we read a lot of children's books.  He did only one year of preschool, and played a lot of We also watched the new Electric Company every afternoon. Our local library also had a HUGE AMAZING selection of beginning reader and pre-reader books.

My daughter doesn't play starfall no matter how much I encourage it.  So I knew that would not be an effective method. Our current library has a PATHIC selection of pre-reader and beginning reading books. And since she has spent so long in preschool, I really haven't done too many preschool activities with her.  She is drained from school related stuff, so we just play and have screen time. (I won't lie, she has WAY too much screen time.) Last year it was nice because she finished off the school year knowing all her letters. Really?, I never taught her that. I also never taught her how to spell her name.  Although we read LOTS in this house, I rarely read to her by that point.  She didn't like me reading to her, so why was I going to force her.  We've never really done bedtime stories with her. We are sort of pathetic parents with her when it comes to that. She never had an interest in it, so why force it. I've heard books in the house are more effective at determining a child who grows up to be a reader, and reading to a child. What I mean is a child who isn't raised around books, but is read to every day because the pediatrician says to, or because its the good thing for a child to do, or because books are donated to underprivileged kids, or because that is what the daycare worker/head-start teacher/preschool teacher does is less like to grow up and be a reader than I child who isn't read to daily but has books surrounding them in their house. I can't remember where I read that so maybe its not actually true, and maybe I just tell myself that to help me sleep at night.  But she didn't like be read to, but often played with books, and looked at pictures in books, saw everyone else in her family read, so I didn't push daily reading time with my daughter. Honestly it made my life easier. Then in October I went in to a parent teacher conference for her, and her teacher was showing me her "grades". She knew all of her sounds! Say what? where did she learn all those? apparently from four day a week preschool and speech therapy? I also started to notice at home she had all her pre-reading skills down. She could go on a picture walk in the book (look at all the pictures in the right order) and tell me the entire plot of the book.  She started to have an interest in us reading her library books, not to mention she started picking out library books. So in December or January after her fifth birthday, I started The Reading Lesson with her.
I know a lot of people have a lot of different opinions on reading methods, but I am dyslexic and had to go to tutoring in the fifth grad because I had no phonic skills.  So this book was good for us.  I could understand it (a lot of  learning to read books, I can't even understand), it taught us the phonic rules because I still barely know them. Four years ago, I found Electric Company tv show to be very insightful and helpful, to learning reading rules.  Learning reading rules for ME. So every school day for a few months we diligently did two pages in the Reading Lesson book. I wouldn't give her screen time without doing the lesson.  It worked well, we got through chapter 5.  Then she quit on me, I think it started to become overwhelming to her, too many letters on a page.
So we switched methods, we are now reading the I see Sam books.

We have the first two collections/sets on loan.  And they are working for her, she seems to see the accomplishment easier where it is a thin book.  But our skills together were too low for us to have started with I see Sam book, we needed someone to explain phonetics to us.
After we finish if there is still time before school starts, we'll move on the Bob books at the library, but from what I've seen with her and heard from others, they aren't good to start with, because the words and pages are too small.
My all time favorite books are flip a word books.

But at $10 a pop, I can't justify buying too many, even if I have two more kids to teach to read. I didn't use a specific method with my oldest, and I say it was starfall, but honestly we read every single one of these flip a word books, until he had them memorized, because they were all at the public library.  They are AWESOME at teaching word families.
By the way, I always intended to teach my daughter to read before kindergarten.  I think public schools do a lot of things right, but I don't think a ratio of 1:25 or even 2:25 can teach reading.  I think kindergarten will be great to build her reading self esteem, get her exposed to lot of books, really teach the rules, but for learning to read 1:1 is the best, and so I always planned on her reading before kindergarten started.
I just find it so odd both of my children were exactly the same age.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sneak Preview

I would like to write my latest birth story, I've been thinking about it, but all I have time for is thinking not writing. I pretty sure I spend the whole day holding either my big baby or my little baby. Occasionally when they are both asleep I either shower, sweep or eat ice cream. Anyway, back to my birth story, I wish I world have known 8 years ago that there is no failing or succeeding when it comes to giving birth. So many have such strong opinions when it comes to women giving birth, but it's all so ridiculous. Each woman is different and each birth is different, just like each baby and child is different. There is no right or wrong way to give birth, all that is important is the mother and child are healthy. And sometimes no matter what everyone has tried something does go wrong, and no amount of statistics could have fixed it. Still the woman did nothing wrong, life just had unexpected tragedy. When it comes to giving birth there is a lot of finger pointing and blaming and I for one wish it would all stop. Eight years ago I bought into the idea that the medical industry treats births like problems like a disease to be medicated and fixed, but if we embrace nature everything will all work out, as long as we have planned ahead. Guess what that works most of the time, but it didn't work all of the time. If it worked all of the time infant mortality rates 200 years ago wouldn't have been 140 out of a 1,000. And it worked all of the time there wouldn't still be rates that high in some third world countries in the world. Anyway, with all that prefaced, I accepted by body for its limitations, and been very pleased with the medical care I've received, over the years even if I absolutely hate staying in the hospital more than 20 hours. Especially since two out of my four babies were born blue and needed infant resuscitation. It makes my heart bleed to know some women still give birth in areas that don't have access to medical knowledge to solve such issues.
Turns out this has ended up much longer than expected, but I wish more of society was about helping everyone to find the best for them, instead of selling people to their cause, by demeaning the opposite side.