Friday, January 29, 2016

Thankful for My Man

We've had much to celebrate this month. On January 4th, Jeremy and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. We are expecting our fourth baby coming up in July. And my sister had her twin baby girls on the 1st of January.

These days we don't have date nights often. Maybe once a month at the most. For our anniversary we went to Newt's and enjoyed their yummy burgers. It was fun just to get dressed up and look nice outside of the house.

These are some of the things that I admire or respect about my husband. He is a man with whom I feel completely safe. Unlike many women in the world, I have never once had to think about what it would be like to be threatened with violence. I am very lucky. He also is not one to tell me exactly what to do with my looks, hair, make-up, etc. He doesn't even tell me that he wants me to have long hair. He says he just wants me to be happy with my hair, whether long or short. Now I happen to like my hair long and find it easier to care for after all. The one thing that he does complain about is this: jeggings. He doesn't like jeggings, and that's understandable!

He neither requires me to work outside of the home nor requires me be a stay at home mom forever. He just wants me to be fulfilled in the work I do. Right now, I feel more fulfilled being with my children and teaching them than I would be at a job that does not pay for childcare expenses. But if I did happen to find a job that was both meaningful and paid for things, he would support that too.

Jeremy is also a good father. He is sensitive to the children and is concerned for their character development. He takes the time to talk with them about serious issues when I am busy doing stuff around the house. He is very thoughtful.

It's important to take the time to think about your spouse and why you married him or her. I am reminded to be thankful for the man I married and not take him for granted.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Homeschooling Stateside

Last year in Shanghai was our first official year of homeschooling our kids. Annalise was a kindergartner. For two main reasons we made the decision to start our kids out homeschooling. First, we were not "high budget" and couldn't afford kindergarten or international school tuitions. Second, and maybe more important of a reason for us, we have always had a family goal of being together. This becomes especially important if any kind of ministry is involved. While often kids can get left out of their parents ministries and plans, we have always sought to involve them as much as we can. So, rather than sending them away for 6 to 8 hours every day, we have enjoyed the privilege of teaching our kids at home with us. We love to travel together as a family and have the flexibility to do that, exposing our kids to the world in a much more positive way. As a married couple, we think it's also important to travel together. Jeremy and I have enjoyed going on outreach trips together. When we went to Brazil many years ago, Annalise was only 16 months old and we were gone from her for 10 days! We could have brought her with us, but since it was a little over a week we decided she would be happy with Grandparents. It worked out well.

While we were in Shanghai, we were told by one of Annalise's sunday school teachers that she is very assertive. Our homeschooled daughter is assertive and can speak her mind in a class! Hudson also has bloomed in many ways at home. He is very creative and comes up with all sorts of inventions around the house. Sayde has learned to talk and say so many words from being around all the schooling and talking going on at home. She has learned so much just from watching and playing while we do school.

Homeschooling last year went so well that we have decided to continue it stateside this year. Hudson is now Kindergarten and Annalise is in 1st grade level of her schoolwork. We still love the Sonlight Curriculum and all the books we get to read together. However, instead of attempting to write as if I have to defend homeschooling and how superior my own kids are to non-homeschooled kids I will tell the truth. Nearly every day it is a struggle, sometimes over many hours, to get my kids to stop playing and do their schoolwork. They hate sitting down and doing handwriting or copywork assignments. My kids are probably not any better behaved than public schooled kids, while many homeschool blogs brag about homeschooled children being better. Because of the struggle, it takes many extra hours of the day to get their work assignments completed. Many times Jeremy has to work with them on a Saturday to stay caught up with their weekly schedule. I won't know how they are really doing until next year when at least Annalise is due to test. I am hoping that she is at least in her grade level. Maybe she will be ahead. I don't lack in confidence that Jeremy and I can homeschool our kids successfully. I just want to be sure that what I write about is for the right motives. And we are still quite new at this. I don't want to brag when I still have so much to learn.

There may always be this conflict I have inside that I'm not allowing my kids enough opportunities to be "salt and light" in the world, Daniels in a very secular culture, and that I am sheltering them too much. And it is a legitimate concern. Every year we will probably ask the question, are they ready to be greater influencers of those around them than they are at being influenced (by the world)? I imagine that I am saving my kids from all the pimps and sexual molesters out there waiting to nab them. But even homeschooled kids can be vulnerable to abuse and molestation, as apparent from the recent national news. It could happen in the church, despite safe haven policies, especially if people go unreported and undealt with. Our purpose isn't to shelter our kids from making choices for themselves. But what we do want to shelter them from is those who would not allow them any choice. Whether my kids are homeschooled until high school or college, or only for their first few school years, I want them to grow up free.

Recess time on our hill

The kids' first snowman of the year

My little superheroes on Halloween

Our cozy wood-burning stove, which in learning how to use this thing prompted a homeschool tour at the local firehouse. I am all about safety and rules! 

Jeremy and I on a date at Silver Lake

At the beginning of our school year, in our new house