Tuesday, December 29, 2009

December's Gone with the Wind

December ends tomorrow and I have a months worth of things to blog about, including Christmas, which makes for a long blog with lots of pictures....but if I complete it then I will have chronicled all of the highlights of homeschooling for 2009!
This December has been an amazing month. I have to say it may have been one of the best Christmases I have every had, which is ironic considering we all had the stomach flu and less money than we've ever had at Christmas. I realized as I "suffered" through some "hard times" this month that they were actually the answer to my prayer that we would keep Christ as the focus of our Christmas. When everything else was stripped away, even our health for a few short days, we were able to see the Glory of the Babe and the purpose of His coming. Our traditions are fun and giving gifts is wonderful but to truly be blessed with the understanding that all of it passes away and Jesus is more than enough, was the best Christmas gift for me this year.

So this is what we've been up to. We did manage to do a lot school work this month. We finished up a really awesome unit on plants. We did some awesome dissecting and ate the things we dissected! Isabella was a little skeptical about this but when she saw we were dissecting flowers (which we didn't eat) and fruit she warmed up to the idea.

Here is Isaac studying the petals of his flower.
Isabella is inspecting her leaves and stem.
Lexie is showing off her perfectly dissected pistil.
Ian did a wonderful job keeping the stamen all in tact for observation.

We learned a lot about fruit as we were dissecting. Did you know that strawberries and raspberries are not actually berries at all?! They are aggregates and tomatoes are berries! We also learned that every diamond shape on the outside of a pineapple is it's own individual fruit and they are all fused together by one core.

We were blessed to spend a morning outside and got some adorable pictures...perfect for Christmas cards!
We did some fun Christmas crafting. These little trees made perfect gift tags.

It snowed. We made a snowman. I tried to enjoy it...I almost did...but not quite.
Lexie had a really cool experience this month. She got to meet a celebrity named Nathan Kress. He is one of the actors from the show iCarly. I had never heard of him myself but he is certainly very popular among the younger crowd...those with cable anyway. She got to ride in a limo with him to an event at a mall and he signed her shirt! How cool is that!?

It snowed again...they played outside...I shoveled...I almost enjoyed it...but not quite.
My little man Isaac turned 6! So hard to believe that 6 years have passed since I held that little newborn in my arms!
Here he is, making his requested birthday lunch of Annie's mac and cheese, all by himself. He's so grown up.
Our gift to him was a new pet. He has been waiting to get one since we let his turtle go this summer. He chose a teddy bear hamster. He named him Harry Hamsty. Sadly, he died 3 days after we got him due to an illness that was apparently widespread through the teddy bear hamster population because Petco didn't get a new shipment until yesterday. So we finally replaced Harry Hamsty with a new hamster who looks remarkably the same. The new hamster's name is Chippy Mickey. We hope he does better.

RIP Harry....
Isaac got to celebrate his birthday a few times because so many people love him!
Not being a big fan of frosting, Isaac requested a birthday cake that looked like dirt. We made mud cake and added a few gummy worms for effect. He still didn't really eat it lol.
He was blessed to have lots of friends come to celebrate with him.
We had a TLC field trip to the grocery store this month too. It was so much fun! I gave the kids a budget and they made a list of all of the snacks and meals for the TLC for 2 weeks. They estimated their prices and then off we went.
It was pretty funny to be taking pictures in the grocery store. I think most people thought we were crazy...I certainly got a lot of looks...maybe it was having 5 kids in the grocery store in the middle of a school day...

as you can imagine, it was a bit chaotic.
But they did a great job, they even bagged the groceries themselves and they came in just under their budget! Their estimations were very close. I was impressed.
O Christmas tree O Christmas tree...why are you so expensive?

I have never had a fake tree. The frugal person in me does see this is a more economical thing to do but the true New England girl in me says NO. The tree must be real. They are so expensive though and w/ the budget being so tight we couldn't bring ourselves to spend 1/2 a weeks grocery budget on a silly we found one in our own back yard...

Despite it's "fullness" we could see it's potential to be shaped like a real Christmas tree. I cut away about 2/3 of it and we dragged it in the house!
Of all the Charlie Brown trees in the world...this may be the Charlie Brownest :)
Fully decorated it was pretty nice. It's branches were perfect for holding 6-10 ornaments...just the way little kids like to hang them. It was very special to all of us, and another reminder that we don't need a lot of money to make wonderful Christmas memories!
Jason can never wait until Christmas to give the gifts that he gets for the kids. His gift to Isabella was a chess set. We are now all playing at least once a day. It's been fun. I am amazed at how well Isaac can play. I thought the strategy portion would be tough for him but he is able to think ahead quite well! Bella gives Jay a run for his money most games. I beat Jason once and he has kicked my but 4 times since...I am plotting my revenge as we speak. We'll probably have a New Years Eve marathon and I am determined to beat him...
The week before Christmas our family got hit with the stomach flu. One by one we were all affected. Isabella got it on Christmas Eve. She was so sad because we had to miss a special breakfast with her grammy and papa but she recovered quicker than anyone else and was able to make it out for the evening to see some of the people we love!

First stop was great grammy's!

Isaac and Nico are getting so big!
Natalie got a new puppy!
Next stop...Rara and Papa's...Bella was so tired.
Aunty Kathy and Annika.
Everyone looked so adorable in their fancy Christmas clothes.
Crystal charmed us all with her incredible Ukelele skills...doesn't Jacob looked charmed?
At the end of the evening on Christmas Eve...the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...
and the kids were all in their new Christmas jammies!
Annika got a new hat from Auntie's a little tall :)
Isabella got a Bitty Baby. She was so excited. Her name is Daisy Paige.
Unfortunetly Jason got the stomach flu on Christmas morning. When he was finally feeling well enough we headed back home and just relaxed. Then a day and 1/2 later the kids and I headed back to my mom's for the evening to have Christmas one more time with the Beaulieu family.

My cousin Bridget brought a funny hunting video game that the boys loved!
Here are the cousins...we missed Mona, Waylynn and Gage out in Vegas...hopefully we can get them home to be in next years picture!

So that about wraps up December...
I'm ready to move on to 2010. I have lots of planning to do and some rearranging for school. There have been and will be some changes happening, some we are looking forward to, some we are sad about but we'll make the best of all of them. We will be learning about Europe for the next few months and maybe a little dinosaur unit for the boys and some diorama book reports. I have lots of ideas churning...I just need to organize them and get them ready to execute! I'm running out of usual!
See you next year :)