This past week has been a roller coaster, ending on a high note :). We've been praying through a lot of things as a family, and a lot of things have been confirmed for us. God has made it clear that we are exactly where we need to be, and we need to be planted here. Things aren't easy, but it doesn't matter where you are; life is not easy. God allows us to go through trials to grow stronger, test our faith, and learn things. We're starting to see how much stronger we have become in the past few years of marriage, and I couldn't be more joyful and at peace. My relationship with Jesus is closer than it has been in a long time. My prayer life has grown, studying the Bible is amazing again, and Robert and I have grown closer in so many ways. I have gone through a dry spell in my relationship with Jesus (praying some, reading the Bible some, but just doing it to check it off my list), and some hard times have strengthened it.
We're excited about the things to come, and are making decisions that affect our family in tremendous ways.
School for our kids has always been something that I've been in prayer about. I've never been one to like homeschooling because I feel that without Christians in the schools, there's no one to tell the kids about Jesus. BUT, I also feel that I need to do what's best for my kids and what God has told us to do with them. Since we came here, thoughts about school have definitely been more on my mind. The school that they would have to go to is 30 minutes away, and 1-2 hours by bus. I don't feel comfortable for my kids to be sitting on a bus for a few hours at a time, and I can't drive them to school and back every day. Also, I've not really heard anything good about the schools here. So, I would have to teach full time in order for them to be in whatever district I work in, and I honestly don't feel that's God's plan. I feel called to teach at Faith Academy. I love it there. So, we're praying about, and have pretty much decided to, homeschool our kids for at least the first several years, then possibly put them into Faith (it starts in 3rd grade). I could still teach a class or two and homeschool because it is VERY part time, and homeschooling isn't all day every day (one of the perks of homeschooling!!). I would always have to teach some (for financial reasons), and I love it there, so it's not a problem for me. That way, too, I have the opportunity to get out of the house sometimes. Their granny watches them 2 mornings a week, and Robert watches them one morning a week (it works out perfectly!). They can always do their independent work while I'm gone if necessary. I feel that I have a better ability to teach my kids than a public school, because I know how hard it is to be a public school teacher. It is not possible to teach each child to their level and ability.
Tomorrow, we are going to create a little "school area" in our house because I've already started some lessons with Karis, and I feel that it would work better to have a specific area for it. This way, we will just continue on and it will just be normal for her. It's going to be fun :). She's such a smart kid. She knows all her letters, can count to 14 (to 20 when helping her), can (almost) sing several songs, and talks in sentences (with up to 10 words). Some people can't understand everything she says, but most of the time she's pretty clear. She also has an amazing imagination. She'll just randomly say "oh no, I'm stuck in the mud!" and things like that. She makes me laugh every day.
I love my family!!! I'm SOOO blessed. I have an amazing husband and amazing children. I also have amazing friends, parents, and siblings (and grandparents...)!! Some days I don't understand why God has blessed me with so much. Praise God for his love and mercy. I definitely don't deserve all that I have.
We are working hard on making transitions to a more healthy and natural lifestyle. It's difficult because we eat in the camp dining hall a lot, but I'm not going to complain about free food!! I can at least eat a salad at every meal!
I am working on our "whole foods pantry;" buying items to make home-made foods. We buy mostly whole grain flours and pastas, try to get organic items when possible, and buy natural meats and milk (no hormones, antibiotics, etc). I am going to start making granola instead of buying cereals, and we have started making our own bread and snacks.
Our goal is to start an organic garden this spring, and eat from that. It will save us money, and will be better for us. Our eventual goal is to possibly also get a pigmy goat, and have milk from that. They are great with kids and will help keep a yard "mowed." haha We may one day get chickens, too. We'll see. :)
I've started making my own cleaners, and I'm just trying to figure out which recipes I like the most. Next, I will be making laundry detergent (when my stock of Purex free and clear has run out), and possibly dish detergent (when my stock of Electrasol runs out). I'll let you know how that goes! I'm excited to try a new laundry detergent recipe! (thanks Aunt Lisa!)
We love our cloth diapers and would never go back to disposable. Every once in a while I have to use a disposable, and I don't like them anymore. It's nice to never have to buy diapers! Karis is almost potty trained, so our diaper buying days are pretty much over!
I also love my Ergo baby carrier. I wear Ethan a lot, especially when we're out of the house. I wear him while buying groceries, anytime we're out and about, when we walk to the dining hall, etc. Sometimes I wear him at home, too, if he's having a cranky day. It is the best $ that I have spent :).
I wish I would have continued to breast feed... I regret that every day. But, I can't do anything about it. So, I just make sure that everything that I put in Ethan's mouth is natural and healthy (except for nasty formula- I wish we could afford organic)... If we have another child (we probably will have one more, one day), I will do everything that I can to at least continue breastfeeding part time. I was just struggling so much because I can never produce enough for my babies to be nourished... It's really hard doing both. But, some breastmilk is better than none, and I know now that I will regret it if I stop... :( (of course, I regretted it with Karis, but I think I regret it more this time!).
Anyway... enough about that. I'm sure no one cares about my breastfeeding troubles :).
I know it seems like we're big time hippies, but we really enjoy doing things the "old fashioned way," and we enjoy doing things that we feel are best for our family. It's a challenge, and I love it. I also love taking care of our home and children.
I could probably go on and on and on about things because I am on a "mountain-top high" right now, but I'll stop for now!! Just know that my heart is full!!