Darwin has been home more now that it's winter. I think he went to Ketchikan once in the last month and a half (but it was only for one night) and he went out to the Greens Creek mine last week, but was only gone for half the day. This week he is getting a little longer lunches and is home a little earlier because of the holidays, but he has also had duty for the past three days, so he didn't get to go to church this Sunday because a call came in right before church...something about the ferry... Next week we are planning to take the kids hiking out across the lake to the glacier (and maybe do some sledding if the snow cooperates...and it doesn't rain) and having a family outing to the shooting range. I can't do either of those activities by myself, so it will be nice to have him around and not on duty. =)
I have been working my buns off in school. I managed to pull an A- in both my World History class and my Pre-calculus math class. My other two classes (Spinning and Piano Lessons) were pass/fail, and I passed both of them. I really hated my history class. The class covered from antiquity to right around 400?? AD, and should have been called "Evolution and Religion" because that was the main focus for the class. The first third of the class we were taught about evolution...and the last two thirds of the class we studied gods/goddesses and religious origins. It was very "hard evidence" based, and was hard for me to stomach. I had to write two papers that I didn't believe a word of...one was on whether or not Adam was the first man, referencing only The Jerusalem Bible version of Genesis (which was given to us), and the other paper I had to write about how the apostles (Peter, Paul, John, etc.) were just legendary stories to guide the Medieval Christians to be good. There wasn't really a way for me to state my opinion in either case, because I was writing about what I had read, not on what my personal beliefs were. I'm very glad that is over now and I don't have to take another history class (in particular from that professor). I thought I liked history, and I chose to take the early history so I could avoid getting into too much political history...haha! Instead I got too much religious history...and all from a historical facts base. Blah!
Anyway...The math class I took this past semester was really hard as well. I felt lost for most of the semester and logged over 60 hours in the tutor center! My professor rarely finished any of the problems we worked in class, he just set them up and then put three dots after the set up and said, "You should be able to finish it from here." I scored a 73% on my final exam, but ended up with a A- overall because my homework average was 99% (only because I got help on all of my homework from the tutor center). This math class was the hardest by far, and also the last. I don't have to take any more strictly math classes for my bachelor's degree...so I'm not going to! =) I do have to take a few Accounting classes...and I have no idea how hard those will be, but I am ready for something new.
My next semester starts on Jan. 19th and I am taking 10 credits again this semester. I am taking Principals of Financial Accounting, Principals of Economics I: Macroeconomics, Intermediate Digital Photography, and Core Conditioning (PE). I think this will be one of the last semesters I will be able to take a "fun" class in my schedule.
Wow! On to Brooklin. Brooklin sang in a concert last week and none of us were able to attend! It was on a Tuesday night, and Darwin has scouts that night (yes...he is the scoutmaster again), and I had the Girls Activity Days with London ( I am the leader of a kind of girl scout program at church for girls ages 8-11. We have it twice a month on Tuesday nights for an hour, and do stuff like crafts, service projects, talent building, gospel teachings, and sometimes just fun.) We dropped Brooklin off on the way to our other activities, and she had to walk home! She is getting straight A's in school. She is also in four advanced classes: Language Arts, Reading, Social Studies and Math. She is taking Choir and Technology for her electives. She showed us a flash media she made. It was really cool but I don't know how to link it...if I figure it out I will post it. It was Snoopy and Woodstalk hopping around. She put Technology down as an alternate elective and wanted to get out of it at the start of the year (she didn't know anyone in the class...none of her friends were in it) but it turned out to be a really fun class. In her Social Studies class they do mock trials where they dress up and re-enact historical events. Brooklin dressed up as Richard Palms (who was a citizen of Boston...possibly a rope maker) and participated in a Boston Massacre Trial between the Boston citizens and soldiers of Britain's 29th Regiment. Again...it was during the school day so I don't have a picture. The teacher has pictures, and I am going to see if she can send me a picture of the group Brooklin was in. There is one in the school newsletter, but it is a black and white grainy picture printed on green paper...so not worth trying to scan...but I didn't even recognize Brooklin in the picture!
Caleb had a band concert the day after Brooklin's choir concert. We were able to go and listen to him play his French Horn. The little sixth grade band is a hoot. He did a good job and we are proud of him for tackling an instrument. Caleb had straight A's as well on his report card...but we just got his progress report and he now has a C in Reading...so we need to find out what happened. Caleb is in one advanced class (Language Arts). He played indoor soccer from September to November and his team (the Renegades) made it to the second round in the finals. He had a good coach this year and he is so much better than he has ever been playing soccer. He still is pretty funny to watch when he over anticipates and starts jumping and waving his hands around... =) He was really good at out running the other team' s player to the ball and is a really good defender. When school starts back up, he is going to try out wrestling. Darwin was a wrestler all through high school, and is excited that Caleb will be able to try it out this year. We'll see if likes it or has a talent for it. =) (oh...and Brooklin said she might try out volleyball. She wouldn't try it last year, but one of her friends told her she had an awesome overhand serve at a church activity, so I think she is going to try volleyball finally).
London has been busy after school this year. She was having Lego Robotics every Wednesday but that is over now and she has Guitar Club every Monday. The guitar club has 20 students and they had their first performance two weeks ago. I missed it... =P ...but Darwin took a picture with his phone. They played the school song. London is doing well in school. Her teacher isn't one to just hand out "Outstandings" but she did tell us that London was an amazing student, and she was very caring and helpful to everyone around her. She just has a way of helping her peers without them feeling like they are being helped. She has been testing over the last week of school for the Extended Learning program. She already participates in the program as a guest, but they want to test her to see if they can extend her more services.
Isaiah is doing ok in school. I don't know how to make it any better for him, but he is definitely left handed, and I wonder if he has some form of dyslexia. He struggles with reading (but I think mostly because he thinks he can't read...and some people have told him he can't read) and it takes him hours to do his homework. He still writes a lot of his letters and numbers backwards and his teacher told me that he just zones out during class. He tells her he is just going to do his work as homework, and then if I don't prompt every single homework question on his homework pages, it won't get done. We have bribed him with some success, but it is draining on all of us every day to get him to do his work. He never has any time to play during the school week, because he takes so long to get his homework done that by the time he's finally sort of done, it's time to eat, do dishes, bathe, and go to bed. I feel so bad for him. He is really smart in other things, but school learning is really hard for him (and it always has been...even for preschool I had to pay him nickles to do the coloring pages the way the directions said to do them). He has been working on earning a gerbil since October. His teacher has gerbils in the classroom (along with fish, turtles, and frogs) and they had babies once and he really wanted one...but the babies "disappeared" after about two days, so he didn't get one. (Pretty sure the mom or dad ate them...eeewww.) Anyhow, we told him that if he could do his homework more consistently, he could earn a gerbil. I made a chart up and if he did his homework (and turned it in) for a whole week he could earn the water bottle. Week 2 was a food dish, week 3 the food, week 4 the bedding, week 5 the cage, and week 6 the gerbil. It took him about 9 weeks to finally earn his gerbil, but he has one now (and London got one too for something very different and a lot less work but we read a book about gerbils and they really do better in pairs and he technically didn't earn two, so we let London choose one also). We have had the little critters now for two and a half weeks and they are really fun! We got two girls (so no babies we hope). Isaiah's is brown and he named her Buttercup. London's is black and she named hers Toto. I will have to take some pictures of them. They are just really cute. We haven't had a pet since the fish in Hawaii, so this has been fun.
Brooklin just came in and said, "How long have you been working on that post?! It's like one of your papers you had to write for school!"...and she right! The two essays I had to write this semester only had to be 1000 words each and this is right around 1900 words! (haha! both essays in one post!)
It is nice that I am able to have a little break from school for a few weeks. I have been sewing a lot this past week and I just started reading a book! I can't ever read anything for pleasure while I'm in school, so this next few weeks are going to be fun. I have three books lined up to read and several sewing projects to finish. I hope you all don't mind that I didn't send out a Christmas card this year, but I never fit a family photo into our schedule, much less a long lengthy letter of all the things we have been up to ...which this sort of is. =) I could have just sent out a generic Christmas card with our signatures on it, but that just isn't me...I need the picture and the letter or it feels like cheating and a waste of stamps. Thank you to all of you who did send them! I really appreciate hearing from you. I will try and do better about keeping this updated...mostly for me...but so you can know what we are up to also. I made part of my blog into a book a few months ago, and it was so awesome and I want to do it again soon to have a sort of hard cover family journal.
And now I really am done typing!