The Nutcracker

Today was M's first time seeing The Boston Ballet's "Nutcracker" performance at the Boston Opera House and she really enjoyed it. We have been reading the book and listening to the music for months now which helped her to understand and appreciate the story. It was great to see her make connections to the book, like when the godfather's life-size dolls danced, M said: "Oh that must be Columbine!" And when I asked her if they were going to Sugar Plum Land, she quickly corrected me to say, "No, it's the Land of the Sweets." But she did not like when parts of the ballet differed from the book, like a dancing bear in the initial party scene and a hot air balloon ride for Clara and the prince. We took a fun taxi ride to the Opera House and then the subway home, while stopping for hot chocolate along the way. All in all, it was quite lovely and the perfect way to kick-off the holiday season! I hope this becomes an annual tradition for us!

Vacation Days

With Daddy's busy and often unpredictable work schedule, we cherish the times when he can take vacation days or rearrange his schedule to be home in the morning or come home early in the afternoon. As we stomped around Harvard Square on this gorgeous Fall morning, we remarked how nice it is to be able to have the kids home whenever he can take time off, rather than relying on school vacation schedules which would rarely mesh with his work schedule. The flexibility that homeschooling provides is just another wonderful benefit of this educational and lifestyle choice.

Symphony Hall

Today was M's first visit to Symphony Hall for a family concert performance of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," and it was wonderful! She was absolutely mesmerized by the instruments and the surroundings, and I was so glad that we've been reading the book and listening to the music for months now so she really understood the story and appreciated the experience. There are two more family concerts in the 2010/2011 season, so we will definitely take advantage of them-- particularly where we are so lucky to be just a quick bus ride to Symphony Hall! Once again, how great is city homeschooling?!

Summer Remnants

We've been lucky to have such a mild fall, relatively speaking, and yesterday we spent a good portion of the day outside enjoying the lovely fall weather. M found some wild flowers still blooming and decided it would be a good idea to "plant" these as bulbs for next spring. This gave me the idea to save our nearly-dead impatiens from the yard waste bin and instead let M and J play with them, dump them out, plant them, and generally have a great time in the backyard. And what a treat to be able to eat lunch and read books at our picnic table in mid-November!

Natural History Museum

Today we took a nice walk/bike ride to the Harvard Natural History Museum, which we had been avoiding recently because J had been at that awkward, 18-month-old stage when it was hard to engage or contain him at a more "sophisticated" type of museum. But today he did great. I'm also starting to see M moving to a new stage of interest where she will actually sit at the exhibit stations and listen intently to the audio narrative or really study items with the magnifying glass, instead of just playing with buttons. It's fun to see them move into new stages of development and interest and it keeps each museum visit fresh and enjoyable.