Shepherds, superheros, & elephants {oh my!}

Happy new year!

I made good use of my “quiet” holiday season, on hiatus from social media and on break from many of our usual activities. I reorganized my closet (again!); made some homemade gifts, plus Christmas stockings and a rag wreath; read books; spent time with my mom, had lunch with my longest-time friend, and attended a Christmas party with Ken; started learning to play chess (thanks to Kathryn); and we’ve been doing a few home improvement projects.

Early in December, Kathryn and I played shepherds in a walk-through-Bethlehem event. It was frigid that weekend; I don’t think I’ve ever worn so many layers. But it was fun to do together, and we even got to play with sheep!

shepherds

Gratitude is essential.

Possibly the most important thing I did was to begin a gratitude journal to re-focus on my “1000 gifts.” In all the stress of the past year, I’d taken my eyes off the the significance of gratitude, and this new focus has already begun a much-needed turn-around in my faith life. Even my new little office pal, a vintage 1950’s etsy find I named Alfred, is part of this new focus. {Read why elephants are a big deal for me.}

alfred_elephant

A first Christmas.

This was the Christmas without my dad, and it was also the first with Scout and Jem. A few things came up behaviorally over the holidays that may or may not have been related to their past experiences, but all in all, they did well and got to meet dozens of new-to-them family members on Ken’s side. We enjoyed a relaxed Christmas day, and celebrated later that week with Brandon and Diane and Lindsey. It was good to have all the kids under one roof for a little while, and we had Ken’s mom snap the first photo in existence with the whole family.

Christmas Collage

Learning never stops.

Kathryn has been crafting like crazy. She made Christmas gifts, including adorable felt superhero masks for the kids. {They LOVE them!} She’s been knitting up a storm, and we’ve decided we’re going to learn crochet together. She’s giving Barbie-clothes-making a try, and is experimenting with the sewing machine. I really should learn to master that sewing machine so I can be more help to her, but maybe she’ll master it and can teach me instead!

Super Heros

Scout has been working on reading. It used to be painful to sit and listen as she sounded out words, but she’s making good progress and loves the new books she got for Christmas.

knitting and reading

We stretched a birth of Jesus study out past Christmas. We didn’t do nearly as much Truth in the Tinsel as I’d planned — partly because I was lazy and partly because I tried to slice off a chunk of my thumb, which greatly impaired my craft-making abilities. (Knives are sharp, y’all!) But the kids enjoyed the crafts we did, and these studies helped cement more of their knowledge of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Next year we’ll do more, and they’ll get even more out of it.

Starting next week, we’ll s-l-o-w-l-y begin working towards a new routine.

I’m linking up with these fine ladies:

– Mary’s “Collage Friday” at Home Grown Learners
– Kris’ “Weekly Wrap-Up” at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers