February Snapshots

After January, February was a bright spot.

For one thing, we celebrate The Daughter’s birthday in February!  Her birthday usually falls within our six-week break, so we have time to celebrate, catch up on reading, and relax.  We had a great week!  We started the week watching “Rear Window.”  Then – Board Game night! Our board game buddies were in town to Mr. Garner’s delight! The next night we had Papa Gene over for dinner.  The Daughter and I took an entire day to shop, go to lunch, the Aveda salon, and then the eye doctor for contacts (thank you Papa Gene).  Mr. Garner took The Daughter to Bangkok Garden for Thai on her actual birthday.  #1 Son came home for the weekend and took The Daughter shopping for a “geeky t-shirt” and to Volcano for sushi.  Big Brother rocks.

Also in February, we hosted our home group. We are not used to the home group thing, but almost every church we visited had “life groups” or “small groups” or “home groups.” We avoided them, with much the same attitude with which I avoided a sorority in college.  But when we joined this church, we knew that we might have to relent.  So I polled my friends on FB who were members of a similar group in their churches asking them what to expect. It was pretty interesting.  The answers ranged somewhat from the lofty “living life together” to the transparent “Yeah – I don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing, but it’s fun to get together!” to the cynical “a glorified supper club” to the authentic “It’s like a Bible Study with families except no one does the readings.”  In our case we’ve hosted twice and fixed food and cleaned house for 3 people the first time, and 14 people the second time. So, we’re calling it “an adventure” for now.

Timed to coincide with Lent, the Daughter’s confirmation class was inaugurated with a Blessing during Sunday worship, and a dinner with the mentors. They will be studying the new Anglican Catechism. In case you’re wondering, here is a link.  I am looking forward to working through it myself. We are also excited to be participating with a group of Chamber Singers at church. This is answered prayer.  With the move to praise bands, many of the churches we visited no longer have choirs, or sing actual hymns, but that’s another post.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to digging into the abundance of great Anglican church music with fellow music lovers.

February is also the month that District Chorus is held for participating schools in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. We are fortunate that the teachers at Young Musicians of Virginia, are members of the organization that sponsors this event.  Singers audition, and if accepted, receive a packet of music to work on through the winter.  They gather with a guest conductor for two days, and then perform. Thanks to a snow storm, the all-day rehearsal scheduled for Friday was cancelled. Saturday morning rehearsal started at 8:30 am.  They sang, ate lunch, sang some more and then gave a concert at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I was amazed at how much the guest director, Sally Albrecht, was able to accomplish with so little rehearsal time.  We thoroughly enjoyed the variety of pieces and the interesting way she staged them. We followed the performance with dinner at Rigoletto’s. Not only was the food fantastic, but there was a guy playing standards on a trumpet! We got dessert!

The Daughter is slowly but steadily working on a few American Heritage Girl badges.  She started the Home Care and Repair with Papa Gene last month, and has just a few things to finish up for Musical Performance.  Our troop visits an assisted living home monthly and the girls give out cards, visit with the residents and sing and/or perform on their instruments.  The Daughter played hymns in February for the residents to have a Hymn Sing. Another requirement is to teach a collection of songs to a younger group and have them perform for the troop.  She is working with the Tenderhearts on American the Beautiful, Grand ‘Ole Flag and the National Anthem.

Of course we celebrated Valentines Day!  During downtime we watched a six episode British detective series on Netflix with Stellan Skarsgård, called River, that we found well-acted, unique and oddly compelling.  I’ve also recently found a treasure in the podcast, A Delectable Education. The conversations provide a great deal of food for thought and encouragement, and have re-energized my flagging efforts to finish Volume 6 A Philosophy of Education of The Original Home Schooling Series by Charlotte Mason.  One of the podcast hosts operates Living Books Library, and a recent episode on history offered some great book suggestions.  So, in my reading stack are several books I’ve borrowed from our local library to preview for homeschool history – a few biographies by Paul Johnson; I think Mozart for the summer, Napoleon for the fall, and Socrates for in a year or two. I also borrowed  Proud Tower, and Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman, and Book of the Ancient Greeks by Dorothy Mills.  So many good books!

“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”  Eudora Welty


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