We have been a blur of activities. Which is OK because that means the last two weeks of December should be free to shop and stay at home.
First, we went to a local area junior college's performance of the Nutcracker. The kids love this. The first year we went the talked on and on about it for weeks. We have the book too. This year I printed out some coloring pages and talked to them a little about what we were going to see the day before we went. This year all the homeschoolers got put up in the balcony which was new for the kids and slightly dizzying for me. First thing they said when we came out is that it was different from the last Nutcracker performance we'd seen. I guess they thought it would be exactly the same every year...
The performance we saw was more of a warm up for the real thing so it only cost $2.oo per person. Brandon was quite bummed to hear that if I'd take them to the "real" show he would have gotten a chance to hear a live orchestra, see the whole story not a section, and see special guest dancers. What 13 year old boy wants to see a live orchestra? A boy that has discovered the Trans Siberian Orchestra!
That evening I had a Mom's Night Out at a friend's house. We each baked 6 dozen cookies to exchange. So, we went home with a mixture of 6 dozen cookies. This is the first time the family has been all behind me going to be with my friends. They are just now finishing up all those cookies!
As for my friends and I.... we enjoyed a quite night in front of the fire with our original 5 core members of our homeschool group. The only thing that we seem to have in common on the outside is that all 5 of us is that we are all homeschooling Moms. Other than that we are each so different. I love the mixture but most of all I love that we have decided to love each other and value each other for (not despite) our differences. These ladies have become family to me and I always know I can turn to them when needed.
The next day we went to the family showing of Toyland put on by a local theater group. Some of the kids from our group were performing in it. This was such a cute musical! The story is of three sisters (the littlest of which is slightly naughty) that get taken to Toyland by the bed bugs. The bed bugs are working for the evil toy master Jack who turns out to be the littlest girl's discarded jack-in-the-box. In the end Santa saves the day! The kids work so hard practicing several times a week and did 9? performances in all. We saw it on family day (because our homeschool friends are family to us) and again the day our group went as a whole. Emily is still singing the songs from the play!
After Toyland we went to the Christmas parade. BUT not to be IN it. Brandon and Emily went to sell light up Santa hats, necklaces, braclets, teeth, etc to raise money for our 4-H group.
Sunday after church was the December American Girl Tea/Fashion Show with guest speaker. This was a really cute event. It was a "dress up" holiday tea for girls and their mothers. Girls brought their favorite dolls (American Girl or otherwise) to be part of a doll display, and the girls "walked the runway" for a fashion show. Our fashion show announcer was a proffesional belly dancer! LOL The kids got a real kick out of her. I hope she didn't over shadow our speaker too much!
Our special guest was a woman who has paved the way for others in the world of television. Joan Hallmark has appeared for over 30 years on KLTV 7 News in Tyler and her Proud of East Texas has long been an audience favorite. Joan has interviewed hundreds of news makers, including President Bush (both father and son), Nancy Reagan, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, George Foreman, Hank Aaron, Carol Burnett and many more. She told us what it is like to be a real American Girl and encouraged the girls to believe they could be any thing that they wished as long as the worked for it!
After the AG Tea we headed to meet Brandon and Friends at A Journey with the Wisemen... This was put on by an area church. I was torn between wanting pictures and not wanting to ruin the moment with camera flashes. In the end I decided to skip the pictures and enjoy the moment. They did a really nice job of setting up a Bethlehem market place with animals, sales booths and the works. The show was guided by a Wiseman that walked us through town to witness the birth of Jesus, his crucifixion and resurrection. The emphasis was the true reason of Christmas. Kudos to this church and all the hard work that had to be put into building, acting, and praying for this endeavor.
We stayed the next 2 days with friends in an exercise of spending time with friends covered with the guise of saving gas money by not going home between events....
Tuesday was our group's Christmas party. We had a low turn out for us but we didn't let that stop us! We had several Christmas crafts for the kids to do, lots of good food, and a gift exchange. For the gift exchange we asked we family to bring a board game. One representative from each family stood in a circle and we read the Night before Christmas occasionally replacing a word with pass at which point they would pass the game to the right. When the story was over you got to keep what ever game your holding. Then each child got a stocking with a few presents. After the party our field trip for the month was to go to the Toyland play. We were supposed to go to our 4-H party that evening but considering that we did all the above events starting Friday to Tuesday I just wanted to GO HOME. I felt bad about missing the party. After the low attendance at our event I know how it feels when people don't show up but sheesh I was tired!
We had two days to rest...Well, almost Emily and I still had Awana on Wednesday night.
Finally, we wrapped up on Friday exactly a week from when all the action started by replacing our monthly park day with a showing of Prince Caspian in my church's youth building. Big Thanks to my youth director for setting it up just like our own private Movie Theater complete with popcorn, big screens, surround sound, cocoa and soda! Someone asked if we could do this every Friday! LOL Our youth leader Luke said no problem but I said may be next month for park day!
Brandon has a progressive dinner tonight with the youth group but other than that things our settleing down around here for the rest of December. I purposely made all our plans for early December so we wouldn't be rushing around the last two weeks building up to Christmas. I hope everyone is having a wonderful month! God Bless!