Time goes by faster the older you get, but seriously I don’t know where 2015 has gone. It seems to have gone by faster than previous years. Perhaps it was the kids starting a new school and the busyness that school brings. Perhaps it was all the gymnastics competitions and karate championships we watched. (Side note: Joshua just advanced to purple belt, and Emma Grace won gold at her recent Rock and Roll competition! Scroll the photos at the bottom of this article
, and you’ll see her in action.) Whatever made it go fast, I’m choosing to savor this season that is upon us so as not to rush into 2016.
Monday the kids and I flew to the states and met Jeremy in Dallas. I was happy that we breezed through immigration in S. Africa with all the new laws regarding traveling with children. Perhaps that’s a post for another time. We endured four flights, but the kids were troopers, the benefits of traveling with older children.
The days leading up to our departure were full, making the days pass faster until we saw our much loved husband and father. The kids wrapped up their school year with end of school parties and awards ceremonies. I am so proud of them for doing so well as third culture kids in a new school. They made friends quickly and did well in their academic studies. My biggest shock was Emma Grace receiving academic excellence in Afrikaans. This girl had to take two languages. Apparently she has a knack for them. She spoke Afrikaans to me the whole way to the states. When I try to answer back, she just laughs at my accent. I’m not so good at languages.
We also made sure to thank our teachers for such a job well done. My kid’s education is our responsibility, as parents, and I’m so thankful for the teachers that put in so much time investing in our children. Combined, the kids had about 14 teachers we needed to thank, so I had to think of something that was lovely but could be mass produced. We settled on some homemade goodness with cloth gift bags stuffed with chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, and jam thumbprint cookies. A little beaded keychain was attached for that extra flair. Emma Grace was a master seamstress as she sewed all the bags…just a simple dishtowel cut in half and then sewed up the bottom and side with a ribbon sandwiched in between. We printed thank you cards from here and here, and the kids and I wrote our own words on the back. Emma Grace also made lovely name tags for each gift. We packaged it all together with recipe cards for each cookie. Thank you, teachers! We appreciate you!
We are now in full holiday mode, decorating the tree, making our annual gingerbread house, and squeezing in a game or two here and there. I hope you are having a lovely holiday season, savoring the goodness all around you!
Emma G’s birthday fell right during school holiday this year. Several of her friends weren’t going to be in town, so I suggested we wait to do a party until after school convened. Well, it took us a month, but last weekend we had the best horse party ever! Ever since taking horse riding lessons last year through her school, she has loved horses. She wanted one for her birthday, but that didn’t happen. A dog is enough for me. When given the option of inviting several friends for a big party or a few friends for a horse ride, she chose the horse riding. She went for an experience, and I love that.
I decided to go along on the horse ride. When I commented that I hadn’t ridden a horse in 25 years, our single staff that work with us at Ten Thousand Homes gently said, “We’re not even 25 years old yet.” Thanks, guys. You just reminded me that I’m not in my 20’s anymore. I still think I am.
We rode through the forest and along a cliff edge. The views were stunning. I felt like we were filming a scene from The Man From Snowy River. It was breathtaking. I must have gotten an old, lazy horse, because I’m the only one that got a whip to nudge Baobab along. He made it through the one hour ride, and so did I.
We enjoyed a picnic and then ventured over to the sketchy zipline for a little fun. This thing would have been illegal in the states. I still can’t believe we zipped on it. Even Emma G went for a gander down the line. That’s parenting at its finest…letting your kid ride the unsafe zipline. It was another experience to add to the mix.
What a fun day it was celebrating our sweet 11 year old!
I’m sharing my thoughts over at Petit Elefant on three easy things to do to help raise your kids to be world travelers, including the funny story of where my son wanted to go on his big trip when he turned thirteen. The world is his oyster!
My boy turned thirteen earlier this year. I never would have thought that turning another year would bring about so much change. Most days I feel totally inadequate. I navigate these waters with uncertainty as I’ve never tread them before. Parenting a teenager is no joke. I’ve learned that I can’t take anything personal, that loving unconditionally is my number one job, and that growing from a child to an adult is not an easy task. It’s just so different to be on this side of it.
Jeremy and I had parent teacher interviews yesterday with all of our kid’s teachers. I never know what to expect at these things, especially as my children have had to adapt to a new school in a foreign land. As I listened to Joshua’s teachers talk about how much he’s matured this year, how polite and well mannered he is, and how intelligent he is, I realized once again that home is the place to stretch his wings and see how far he can fly. It’s so very messy at times, but I have to be ok with that. Growing up is messy. No one has the perfect formula, because there isn’t one. Every child is different. Every parent is different. When I hear he’s getting it right at school, that he’s making good choices, then I realize that there is fruit from all this stretching. It just doesn’t always feel like it in the midst of teenage muck.
I tell myself this truth often, that our hard work as parents is paying off, but still, in the midst of the stretching and growing when emotions are flying, I forget, and I must remind myself all over again. Thank goodness Jesus is on my side. I need His help every.single.day.
I think parents need a little encouragement every now and then. I pray today that you get a little encouragement for all the hard work you are doing to raise children!
Differences are everywhere. It’s what makes us beautiful and unique. It’s also what can be difficult. Join me over at Tommy Nelson as I share three ways we can teach our kids to appreciate the differences in all of God’s creation!