2018 began very low-key. I had to work on New Year's Day so we were just looking forward to being home and relaxing. Christmas/New Year's is still a little messy in expectation-wise in our multi-cultural family. For those of you who don't know, Ukrainians traditionally celebrate Christmas on January 6th (They follow a different calendar.) Shockingly, Christmas is a RELIGIOUS Holiday that involves church. New Year's is when they put up their tree, have presents, and eat. We are still working through all of this...remember our girls did have some traditions but even when they lived a very untraditional life style (in an orphanage) so tradition is...well...like I said, "Messy."
Speaking of multi-cultural, we attended our first quinceañera in January. It was one of the most beautiful expressions of parenting I have ever experienced. After celebrating Mass (on Epiphany no less), we were guests at one great party!
When we moved into this small town, the Garcia family was the first to invite us to their home and life. Although this was the largest and most opulent event they have ever thrown, they were still attentive and thoughtful hosts. One of the things I admire about and try to emulate from them is multigenerational entertaining especially the way they include their own children.
We started back to school and I feel like we are still struggling to get back into a routine. This semester we started Geography. It has opened many conversations about worldviews...without inviting too much controversy into the subject...let me share that raising children from two different continents and cultures truly changes the way I teach and the way I learn AND leads me to question what and how I was taught. As an American, I have certain biases that aren't necessarily bad but I need to recognize that I am viewing the world through them.
Anyway, we have been working on world maps, first blob maps and now more detailed. I am amazed at what we can accomplish and learn together....yes, I am including Jo in this although it is a high school level class. She gets most of it and isn't technically graded, which is a good thing because one day her map was upside down so her world is different than everyone else's. Truly art imitating life!
Two weekends found us at Swim Meets! Due to weather and what I consider a ridiculously early warm-up time, we spent the night in a hotel the night before one of the meets. It was fun to swim and hang out in the hotel (why must you eat pizza and junk food in a hotel???) with just our two swimmers: Stacey and Jo. And in a first, we allowed the other two to stay home overnight for the first time. With grandparents literally across the street and an Aunt who can see our house from her's on the other side we weren't exactly worried about large parties! ;) They were delighted to have the opportunity to prove themselves trustworthy. As a parent I felt like it was a major milestone moment for me too!
Speaking of parenting milestones, January found us having our first big cell phone issue. Anyone with kids knows there is not better example of a LOVE/HATE relationship than that of your child having a cell phone. We love the ability to connect with them when we need to. We hate the ability for them to connect with others when we don't want them to! For the sake of privacy I will leave it vague but gosh darn it, this private "little" issue took up a big part of my month.
Michael hosted soccer registration and is getting schedules set up. His goal is to have a co-ed traveling high school team. It is tricky to get teens and parents to make a commitment even just to a recreational team. I hope he isn't disappointed and it makes me all nervous to see him investing in something I think is going to be frustrating...
Professionally it was a busy month! He is always busy this time of year preparing for the Annual Housewares Show. In addition, his company moved into a beautiful new corporate office. This move involved and continues to involve some special projects he never dreamed would be part of his job as a graphic designer! Just this week Michael and the owner took a "field trip" to photograph their first local factory only to return to over a million of square feet of factory and office space. It has been a blessing to see and be a part of this company's continued growth.
I am continuing to work part-time at the shoe store at the outlet mall. It is our "slow" season so we have reduced hours. It really helps me appreciate how much easier it is homeschool without working! Organizing and utilizing my time well has never been something I was good at...so I continue to grow and be challenged in this area. It has been good for all of us to share in more of the household duties especially preparing meals (which takes on additional responsibilities to most families since we eat all three meals every single day at home).
I ended the month in a very unhealthy way with lymphangitis. (Yeah, I had never heard of it either so I had to google it and found this LINK.) Pretty much it is an infection. It started in my thumb and literally left painful, swollen, hot, red lines of infection up my arm, into my armpit, and to my chest. It escalated quickly...and recovery took way longer than I expected (and included an allergic reaction to the initial antibiotic). It's over. I never want to do that again!
Nadia continues to plug away at her classes. I know it is tricky for her to still be in high school when technically graduated in Ukraine. Our school systems are different so she is earning the credits she needs to have an American diploma too.
She stepped out of her comfort zone this month and applied for a job. It wasn't the right timing for them and her but it was great practice. It is exciting to see her trying to figure out what God has created her to do.
She joined an adult Bible Study in our community. Not only has she enjoyed participating but she has also enjoyed bringing snacks to share each week. Again it is exciting to see her stepping out of her comfort zone and trying new things and making new friends.
The biggest thing to happen this month is a booooooyyyyy! Yes, Stacey officially has a boyfriend so we (that means you and me!) can officially tease her.
Seriously though, we are "those" parents who in order to make life better we first make it more embarrassing. This meant that we sat down the four of us (Michael, Laura, Stacey, and P) to discuss expectations, guidelines, and issue warnings.
Remember at the beginning of this blog how I discussed how things can be a little messy regarding expectations because we are a multicultural family??? Well, that is in all areas of life especially communication. This guy needed a few warnings about dating our daughter...not just the typical ones. Although her English is great, somethings still get "lost in translation", and our proud daughter is almost never willing to admit this. It makes parenting her tricky sometimes; I can only imagine how fun it is to date someone like this!
He is a great kid and we have enjoyed meeting with weekly for dinner. He comes on Wednesdays if you want to join us and interview him! (You're welcome, P!)
Nan started taking drivers ed at the local high school. She is the youngest freshman so it is a long time until she will even actually get her permit (by long time I mean 10 months...which is nothing compared to the 22 months until she can get her license but she's not counting or anything).
She continues to be a part of our church worship team. Mainly on the piano with some vocals (yes, she has her own microphone so she looks like Barry Manilow or Elton John...okay, she doesn't look like them but I knew she would read that and complain, "Moooooooooom!") Occasionally she brings her acoustic guitar or does a special.
Her friend, Susie and her, enjoy playing and sometimes recording music together. It is fun to hear them practice. Speaking of practice, she is still trying to get the hang our her electric guitar and so refuses to allow us to see (though we can still hear).
Since this is my blog and I can type what I want. I want to publicly congratulate Nancy for being the messiest person in our family. Her clothes are not able to be stored on hangers or in a dresser. They are somehow all attracted to her bedroom floor. I know that her roommate finds this adorable and amusing. (Right, Stacey?)
|This pretty much sums up Jo. The paper prompts her to finish this sentence "My snowman melted because..." Jo's response is simple, "NANCY"|
|Jo received a membership to Little Passports for Christmas from her Meme. Our first country was Brazil. She made these yummy treats!|