Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25, 2011

We have had a very merry Christmas at our house.  We opened gifts first thing this morning and then spent the rest of our time before church working on putting together the Lego police station, which was a very popular gift.  We went to church and they did not have Sunday school or children's church this morning so the boys were with us in big church.  I really enjoyed having them there and especially enjoyed hearing them sing.  I really think Christmas should be on Sunday every year.  It is just so special.  Our pastor had given such a wonderful sermon this morning and three people were also baptized.  The boys had never seen a baptism before so I was really glad they were there to watch and they were very interested.

After church we did our normal, every Sunday after church thing and headed to one of our favorite places to eat.  After driving around, we saw that pretty much everything was closed, which I kind of expected.  Sonic was open and they were being slammed.  We went there but it didn't take long for us to realize that it would be a long time before we were waited on and served so we headed home.

As it happens, I had bought a wonderful honey glazed ham so we cut off a few slices and heated them up, along with some baked potatoes and veggies.  It turned out to be a pretty good Christmas lunch and it was pretty quick also, which was good because everyone was getting pretty hungry by then.

Back to the presents.  The boys were very excited about all of their gifts, although some more than others, of course.  They got some fun science-y things in their stockings (a submarine that you put baking powder in and it makes it dive and come back up, magnet toys, a small volcano that requires baking soda and vinegar to make it erupt and a few other things.  They also got a Lite Brite and I Spy puzzle, a wrist watch walkie talkie, a pirate/treasure hunt maze book and another fun puzzle type book, a wood kit where they build and paint four wood projects (a jet plane, a bird house, a race car and a bird feeder) and their big Lego police station.  Last, but not least, we got a basket ball goal but we have not put it together yet so it is not on the radar.  I think the dad will put it together tomorrow.  As it was, the dad and I both ended up spending the majority of the day helping the boys with one thing or another.  It seems that the majority of the gifts needed some kind of help or another.  It was nice though because we really spent a lot of family time together today, which was a wonderful way to spend Christmas day.

My dear husband went above and beyond for me this year.  My big gift was a new, wireless printer.  It is not only a printer but it is a do-it-all kind of printer.  It prints in beautiful color and can print pictures.  It also faxes, copies and scans.  My biggest want though was for a wireless printer that could print in color.  It was a big surprise for me and dear hubby already had it set up and configured.  He had me open an envelope that had a letter in it that told me to print a Word document from my laptop, which happened to be sitting on the island counter.  Then I went to his office and there was my printer and the paper I had just printed with no connected wires!  Yay!  I can't tell you how nice this will be for me.  I have always had to take my laptop to his office and connect it to the printer to print something.  It will be so much more convenient and how lovely that I will be able to print in color now.  This will definitely be great for all of the school stuff we will be doing.

The other gift from dear hubs was a new blender.  The one we had was mine from about 30 years ago and it had a short so it was becoming more unreliable.  The new one is quite nice and may even make me want to bake a bit more often.  I also had some new kitchen utensils in my stocking, which we desperately needed.  I am a very practical person so I really like gifts like this:).  I was quite pleased and thankful for all of my Christmas gifts and also thankful for such a thoughtful husband.

I got the hubs a new router and a jig saw.  As it turns out, he already has a jig saw so he will return this one and put the money towards something else.  He got some nice office supplies, candy and some yummy cinnamon covered pecans in his stocking.

All of this is in addition to everything we all received when we celebrated Christmas with my family down at the farm yesterday.  It was so nice to see everyone and we even got to talk to my nephew who is a chaplain in the service and is currently stationed in Kuwait.  It was so good to hear his voice.

Above all, we are all healthy and were able to spend our Christmas with family, which is such a blessing.  Our sons are growing up too fast.  I think they skipped size 6 in their jeans and went straight from a size 5 to a size 7.  What's up with that?

We are going to be taking a vacation in the next couple of months.  We are going to go on a cruise and we are all very excited about it.  The husband has been on one before but this will be the first for the rest of us.  I am excited for the boys to get to see the ocean for the first time and to play on a beach for the first time.  I didn't get to do either until I was in college so this has been one of the things that I really wanted them to experience while they are younger.  It is so fun and exciting to have something like this to look forward to.  It will definitely make the time fly by.

Speaking of time flying by, we took most of this week off of school.  We schooled on Monday and I had planned to school another day or two but other things kept popping up.  The dad is off work Monday and Tuesday but we will plan to school at least Wed and Thurs and possibly Fri, although we will likely have co-op that day.

I have been spending a lot of time learning about the curriculum we will be using for history, geography, literature, some writing, church and art history and I can't remember what else it covers. It is such a wonderful product and I am looking forward to using it with the boys.  I have been learning so much from it already and I know they are going to enjoy it and we will do some fun projects.  It is called Tapestry of Grace and it seems like I have been researching it forever.  I am so hopeful that it will work for us and that we will all enjoy it and learn a lot from it.  I'm not quite sure exactly when we will really start it but I plan to do at least a couple of weeks after the new year so I can really get a handle on how best to prepare and deliver the lessons.  I have already placed a hold on the library books we will need for the first week of study.  We start out studying about ancient Egypt.

I was excited to learn about this library elf thing, where you can sign up to have this application send you emails in advance, telling you when your item on hold is ready and when your items out are due back, or overdue.  I am going to really love this little elf helper and, hopefully, I will never have another overdue item.  I have not been too good about that in the past.  I also found a ton of eBooks listed with our library that are are available for download to Kindle.  I will definitely be loading up on some books for me and the boys for our vacation.

So far we are having a pretty mild winter here, which I love.  Today it was nearly 60 degrees and it was a beautiful, sunny day.  I think the next couple of days will be even warmer.  We definitely need to get out and enjoy it.

Well, enough of a book for one posting probably.  I hope you are all having a lovely Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20, 2011

Below are the promised pics that go with the last post about the recital and orchestra concert;).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 17, 2011

Ben has been playing violin with a local youth orchestra.  This week they played at three elementary schools and a hospital.  This afternoon they played at a church, after they had their winter recital.  He and a few other youngsters are not actually members of this orchestra yet but they were invited to play anyway.  This younger group only played three or four songs with the orchestra and then they had to sit quietly for the remaining part of the concert.  He is the youngest one of the group and it was challenging for him in many ways but he came through with flying colors.

At each of the elementary schools, they passed around a microphone and each of the kids who were playing in the orchestra stood up, one by one, and introduced themselves.  Without hesitation, Ben stood up and introduced himself each time, telling his name, age, grade and how long he has been playing the violin.  He was excited to get to talk into a real microphone, as he had had lots of practice with the play one that he has at home.

He was the first one of the violinists to play for his recital this afternoon.  The piano recitals went first so he was able to see what it was all about before it was his turn.  Ben played Jingle Bells and brother Nick accompanied him by shaking some jingle bells.  They were so cute together.

All of the boys playing in the orchestra had to wear black pants and shoes, a white shirt and a red bow tie.  Ben absolutely loved his red bow tie.  They had a practice session yesterday afternoon and snacks were provided after.  After snack, he wanted to go to the restroom to wash his hands, but I wet a napkin to wipe them instead because I knew if he went to the restroom to wash them he would get his sleeves wet.  As we were walking out to the car, on our way to the hospital where the orchestra was to play, Ben said "I wish I would have had more time to admire my tie".   This was the real reason he wanted to go to the admire his tie:).  He is so cute.

Since Nick was to accompany Ben at the recital, he thought he should wear a white shirt and bow tie too.  So, even though he was not in the orchestra, he was dressed like the orchestra boys.  They both looked adorable.

They sat next to each other on the front row for the longest time, waiting for their turn.  There were a lot of piano students before it was time for the violins.  Ben and Nick definitely set a record for sitting quietly...and not only were they sitting quietly, they were sitting next to each other...quietly....for a long time.  It really was a sight to behold.  They normally can't sit next to each other for 2 minutes without starting to pick at each other and either get real silly, start wrestling or get upset with each other and start fighting over something.

Ben took $5 of his own money with him to the recital.  He wanted to buy one extra red bow tie so he could play with it at home but his violin teacher would not sell him an extra.  She said they were for the orchestra only.  I will definitely have to find another one for him to play with.  Both boys also got their first belt - and it matched their black shoes -  so they were very excited about that too.

Overall it all went very well.  I am so proud of Ben.  He did such a great job.  I think it also helped Nick to desire to start playing the piano soon.  I need to get busy tracking down a piano teacher for him.

I know this post should have had lots of pictures with it but I have not downloaded them from the camera yet.  I will try to do it and post them asap.