Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bean's Baptism

Today, my 5 and a half year old son, Bean, got baptized.

Being quite honest, I have the most difficult time blogging about important events such as these. I'm just not good enough of a writer to convey what I'm thinking and feeling, and none of my attempts ever do it justice. But, for the sake of just getting it out there and sharing the great news, this post is just a taste of what happened.

He's been wanting to get baptized for just over two years now, but we've been somewhat holding him back to ascertain his genuine belief in Jesus and his ability to understand salvation at a basic level. On March 4th of this year, he prayed the prayer of salvation with our pastor. He's been invited to participate in baptism since then, but has been hesitant mostly due to a slight fear of drowning.

Since then he's been devouring the Bible and we've been really intentional about making faith part our everyday lives and conversations.  When another opportunity was coming up this Sunday, he said he was ready to take the plunge, literally.

I talked to him about the need to share his belief in Jesus and why Jesus is important. So I asked him questions, typed up the answers he told me, had him edit it into his story, and then he transcribed it to read at church. Yes, my 5 year old who HATES writing, copied this onto about 5 sheets of paper over the course of 3 days. He was not even nervous at all as he shared the following testimony.

"I want to give some information to you about Jesus. He did some good stuff for me. He forgives me when I make mistakes. Mistakes are called sins. Sins  make  you  supposed  to  not  go  to  heaven. But, God loves you too much that He sent Jesus to earth and for Him to save us from our sins. Jesus died on the cross so he could be the perfect, perfect, perfect sacrifice. Now I can be with God for ever and ever and ever because I invited Jesus in my heart and believe that he is my savior. I will still make mistakes, but I love God.  God is with me right now and I love him and he loves me. I want to get baptized because I believe in him."

Then, the baptism!

I'm such a proud mama. I am full of joy for the most important life decision that my son made and the public sharing of his faith that he did today. I know his decision to follow Christ will happen over and over again during his life and his understanding of this faith will change and develop over time. I too need to recommit myself daily to foster my own walk, so that I may better guide him.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Positive Reminders

Our second week of homeshooling is complete and I'm still alive to tell about it. This week was a little more challenging perhaps because the adrenaline has worn off, perhaps because I had higher expectations, perhaps because it is colder outside. I dunno.

What really helps is focusing on the positive. Each night I document what we did during the day and I am sure include some specific positive developments. Perhaps more seasoned homeschoolers have learned to shake off the feeling that there is always more we can and should be doing, but I struggle with this BIG TIME. Documentation reminds me that we are making progress, not just academically, but socially and otherwise.

Thanks to modern technology such as the digital camera, I can also capture the little sweet eaglets when they are acting their best and remind myself that they aren't monsters all the time. We started off with a rough morning of the boys not listening and being disrespectful at times. I made it through mid-morning, promising myself a wine break after the kids went to bed. We put the academics aside and focus on household chores and that's when I caught these.

In the first, Bean is teaching Tey how to fold socks. Keep in mind that Bean drags his feet at most household responsibilities. Last week he made the comment. "Laundry again? I just folded laundry yesterday..." Plus, I don't think I've ever taught him how to fold socks and I know DH hasn't cuz he doesn't even fold his own, just tosses them in his drawer. I don't ask the kids to match and fold their socks, but just to keep them in a sock draw and they can match in the morning. Bean initiated this on his own, for some reason decided that doing it in front of a mirror would help the teaching and was also super patient with Tey in his teaching. And Tey learned! I'm very proud of my boys. I'm glad I caught it. Ok here it is:

Right after the laundry was put away, Bean wanted to teach Tey how to read. This didn't go nearly as smoothly, so I taught Tey how to read "is" (Bean's idea from earlier that morning) and then Bean followed up with asking Tey to find the "is" in each page of "What Color is your Underwear?" It's so fun to see Tey learn from his older brother.

When the times get tough, moments like these are great reminders that we're doing ok. We did eventually finish our academic stuff, but even if we didn't, the family cohesion fostered today was a good enough accomplishment.

Now for that drink that I promised myself at about 10am.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I survived!

I don't know what I was afraid of, but homeschooling is sitting fairly well with me. The first week home with just Bean went well, but I was more nervous about how to manage 3 kids. By myself. All day.  Everyday.

It seems unreal that just 2 months ago homeschooling was not even on our radar screen. I never planned to be a stay-at-home mom, let alone a homeschooling mom. On one hand, I feel I completely unprepared for this undertaking. I have spent my whole life preparing for a career and working. That's how I was raised. I wanted to work. To be quite honest, I didn't think I'd want to spend that much time with my own kids. They are tiring! On the other hand, I am completely prepared to care for and educate my own children. No one else in the world is a better fit for that job that ME!

Contrary to my "achiever" nature, I set my expectations a little lower and also attainable without stress. I don't know why over the years I have convinced myself that stress is necessary for success. Having immediate successes and some fun together as a family what just what all of us needed. The positive energy was momentum for us to exceed expectations and feel proud of ourselves.

Being home finally gave me the opportunity to slow down to stop and smell the proverbial roses that are my kids. I never realized how funny Bean is, how entertaining Tey is and how smart Mei-Mei is. And they are all so darn cute each in unique ways!

Don't get me wrong, it was not always perfect. There were frustrating times. There were times when I just needed to stop and pray. But there was not a single second that I doubted that homeschooling was for us. I know we'll continue to have adjustments to new routines, responsibilities and schedules, but it's great to see some growth already and know that our homeschooling is to credit.

Here are just some highlights:

  1. The boys have a new morning routine that includes making their beds, which they have done sometimes without reminding. They also go potty, wash hands and get dressed, which is not new. 
  2. The boys now are responsible for sorting the laundry by owner and folding and putting away their own laundry. This is a HUGE help for maintaining my sanity.
  3. Tey has also really taken to putting the silverware away from the dishwasher each morning. This helps hold us accountable for running it each night and keeping the rest of our kitchen clean.
  4. Mei-Mei has learned to sign several new words and make a couple animal sounds. The most adorable by far has to be when she beats her chest like a gorilla saying "AAAAHHHHH!"
  5. Bean still really doesn't like writing utensils in general, but he actually wrote several things this week.  He even colored on two different days and both times it was his own idea. I told you I had low expectations. I can count on one hand the number of completed works that came home from school this year. This was not something I was going to address for a while.
  6. I had no exceptions for Tey this week except to ascertain his interest. Boy is he excited for table work! He loves to write, color, do math, etc. He does seem to be a little perfectionist and doesn't ever want to give up even when he has no idea how to do something and is very frustrated. I'm gonna really keep an eye on his perfectionism I don't want him freaking out over his work.
And some pics:
Bean drew himself having a dream about going outside to play. Go figure! I love how he copied the actual outfit he was wearing. 

Bean actually held  pencil AND WROTE! For #2 I wrote the answer he dictated and then he copied it. For #3 he copied words from the book. I'm going to hold off on handwriting lessons for a while. He held a pencil, YAY!

Tey learned about shapes in math. He glued all of these on  the hideous clown I drew. I think he has an astute observation of body hair. LOL! Note the 'stache and armpit hair. No really, I don't know what those are, I didn't ask.