That's why I really do sincerely hope to keep up with this online journal better as we plunge into a new year with new goals. I can't promise anything, but I can try.
Look at these faces. Look at how much they have grown.
The second half of 2013 was full -- and I mean FULL -- of fun, hard work, and a lot of changes. I've missed so many opportunities to write down small events, funny things the kids have said, and activities we've done, but here are some highlights:
SEPTEMBER: We started school. Rae is now in first grade. She will be SEVEN years old in one month, which I can hardly believe. She is so smart, learns quickly, and is very tactile in her learning style. She loves anything hands-on, which is why science is her favorite subject. She always wants to try a new science experiment or get involved in some sort of mixing/baking/trying out new things. Her reading has taken off in the last month or so as I stepped away from the curriculum and just started reading fun and educational books with her. She is very helpful around the house and really needs very little from me these days, besides a good snuggle, answers to her questions, and someone to share her ideas with.
Rosie turned three in September, and we were lucky enough to have Micah, Missy and the kids in town at the time. They came over for the day and we had a great time celebrating and playing outside with our dearly-missed cousins. Micah and Missy are based in Ft. Campbell, KY. Rosie wanted to create her own birthday cake this year, and this is what she came up with. :)
Rosie is the definition of "sugar and spice," combining the sweetest of the sweet with a streak of feisty drama queen. She loves to play dress-up, especially princess, and is amazingly talented in heels.
Later in the month, Ruby turned 5, which means she was allowed her first big birthday party. For the theme, she chose her three favorite things: horses, rainbows and ice cream. We had an amazingly fun day that included a bouncy house, horsey pinata, and real live pony rides thanks to a willing friend.
Ruby is in kindergarden and is doing very well. She is reading now and loves to sound out words just for fun. She is my imaginative girl, always pretending and playing make-believe with her stuffed animals and collection of tiny toys. She loves to sing and tip-toes through life with music in her heart.
With the start of school came the start of a new activity: homeschool co-op. We had been wanting to join a co-op for some time, but hadn't found one that seemed to fit our needs. So, I decided to just start one myself! I am now director of a group of about 10 homeschool families. We meet twice a month for science, art, and gym. Next semester we are branching out with more class offerings through electives. It has been fun but very challenging for me, as I am not used to this responsibility on top of everything I am doing. The kids love it though, so we push forward!
Science activity: making "craters" like meteors
Russian Systema class for gym
Also in September, I launched a new career as a consultant for Usborne Books & More. I'll post more about that in a separate post, but it has been an amazing opportunity us, and I'm having tons of fun with it while simultaneously earning a small income and collecting free homeschool books.
OCTOBER: In October we celebrated Silas' first birthday without much excitement. He loved his angel food cake with strawberries, though, and his smiles were contagious.
Silas is such a boy, all grunts and giggles. Although he is less verbal than the girls were at this age, he still has a handful of words (light, hat, daddy, mama, dog, etc.) and can communicate with some sign language. He started walking at 10 months and hasn't slowed down since. He is very good with his hands and loves using tools. He refuses to eat without a fork and loves to hammer anything mommy will allow. By far his favorite thing to do is to hang out with JP in his workshop. We all adore this dimple-cheeked cutie, and he is definitely doted on by his big sisters.
In October we also went on our annual family hayride with my side of the family. We missed it last year due to the cold and the newborn babies being so small. This year was extra fun -- as the kids get older, the hayrides get better. They had fun jumping off and on the wagon, having hay fights, and hiding in the woods to jump out and "scare" us all.
Also in October, JP began working for a friend at our church who owns a countertop company. His volume had become so great that he needed someone to install so he could stay in the shop and build the tops. WOW, has this opportunity ever been a blessing! We have never had so much work during such a regularly slow time! JP is thrilled with this job situation and the stress it lifts off of his shoulders. We are thankful that God has provided everything we need -- and then some.
NOVEMBER: November was busy as we learned how to adjust -- as a family -- to Dad's new work schedule + homeschool + homeschool co-op + book business + AWANA + women's group + 3 dogs + 2 new cats + Dave Ramsey classes + Bible study + family time.
It hasn't been an easy balance, but the family has been very resilient, and I'm thankful that we seem to be getting into a good groove.
Did you hear me mention that we got two new cats? Meet Killer (gray) and Claws (black) -- names meant to inspire mouse hunting. They hang out in JP's workshop and
distract him keep him company while he does his tinkering. JP never considered himself a cat person, but he is smitten with these kittens.
DECEMBER: There's no place like home for the holidays, and we had a lovely Christmas spending time with family, both immediate and extended. This year was a little different, though, because for the first time since we were married 8 years ago, we spent Christmas Day at home together, just us and the kids. It was a special, relaxing day, and we hope to keep that going in years to come.
Now, here we are in JANUARY, with a brand new year ahead of us. When I look back on 2013, I just have to smile, then weep at God's faithfulness. 2013 is the year when God fixed things that were broken. We saw healing, restoration, provision, and overwhelming grace. I'm confident that 2014 has only more blessings in store.