Thursday, March 13, 2014

Homefront Update - 12/3/14

Peanut butter biscuit with a mini snicker bar inside
Grace made these for dessert, YUM!
Thanks heaps for 'bearing' with me while I catch up on all my photo's and adventures. (Still lots more to come!) I especially do it for the girls so that they have a record when they get older from their time in the USA! So skip the posts if they don't interest you. I'm not offended ;). 

Now to an update on how we are REALLY doing, just in case you are interested :). 

I'm not sure what I would talk about if I can't talk about the weather :), just having you on. On Monday of this week it got into double figures in Celsius which is the first time since December 4th 2013! Also since 10.30am local time, this is the 3rd snowiest season since they began recording snowfalls in the Chicago area! It's pretty cool to be part of that. I've learned so much about snow, ice and cold. I'll share a few with you. (OK quite a few)

  • Salt doesn't work anymore at certain temperatures. 
  • Snow does melt in negative Celsius temperatures, I always thought that ice/snow doesn't melt below 0C but it does!
  • You just about need an engineering degree to plow snow, I mean where do you put it all? Especially when it keeps snowing, and snowing and snowing and none of it melts? 
  • Snow blowers are very cool (ha!) and are almost essential item if you lived here. We 'poor' students use a snow shovel but before you feel too sorry for us, our lovely neighbor lets us borrow his snow shovel and sometimes snow blows our paths for us. 
  • Melting snow is ok during the day but oh dear not so great when it freezes into ice overnight and then it snows. Ie ice under snow, dangerous! Don't ask us how we know that!
  • You DO NOT put water into your car to spray your windows! OOPS didn't know that, thankfully our lovely friend told us BEFORE something happened. 
  • You shovel snow BEFORE anyone walks on it, trust me on this one ;)
  • After living in a deep freeze for so long, anything above 0C seems tropical, "you mean that I can go outside without my nose hairs freezing instantly", WOW that must be tropical!
I was looking through some photos the other day and noticed one photo with lots of green trees and wondered where that was. I looked closer, ha that was in our street! It's amazing on how quickly you get used to your circumstances, green trees seem from another world! 

Saying all this, we have thoroughly enjoyed this winter. The landscape has been magnificent, I've never seen anything like it! I have a dryer, central heating, plenty of food, snow gear, snow shovel (although it's seen better days) and a car. We truly can't complain. I am however looking forward to the change of season. 

Some great news to report here! Zara is reading by some miraculous means!! I'm convinced it has been by some miracle as her mother is not really a teacher! Thank you for your prayers in regarding to our homeschooling, they are being answered. The other girls are doing well also. Albert is continuing doing English with them which is so helpful for me especially since I find English difficult. We are aiming to finish our school year by the middle of May so that I only have to take the new year school year over summer. I'm currently two weeks behind on schedule to make the deadline, so please pray that I will be able to get all the school done that I need to get done. 

My plan for the next school year is too start doing the new school year over our summer internship. I'm hoping to get at least 4 weeks done. The reason for this is that next year (scary thought) I would like to finish our year in April 2015 so that I've got May to pack/clean/sort etc before we move back to NZ. I'm unsure at this stage what the future holds on our homeschooling 'career'. We will make a decision closer to the time. 

Ok just a little mention. It has been soo cold that going for a run is not that easy. Albert and I have gone on a few runs in the last couple of weeks. It's been nice just to get out of the house even though it's been cold. Plenty of merino has come to the rescue! The law here with regard to babysitting is pretty vague and as long as the parents are happy with the ability of the child in question they can leave them at home by themselves. So Albert and I have left the girls for about 30 minutes while we go out for a run together. A new stage in life :). 

He has been pretty busy and one of these days I'll ask him very nicely to write you another update from his perspective. He just finished an intensive course on biblical counselling. We were able to have the Pastor over that was teaching the class which was very interesting in a good way. His main 'point' was 'What do you do/how do you act in the circumstances that God gives you?'. Now that's a challenge for all of us!

They are continuing to do well. As a testimony to our healthy eating/lifestyle, they have hardly been sick at all in this harsh winter and are continuing to thrive! Next year our adventure into the teenage years start! I'm glad you mature with it and that it doesn't 'spring' onto you all at once :). We are having plenty of interesting discussions on all sorts of topics which is lots of fun. Growing up of course (in fact parenting in general) has plenty of 'heart' issues. This is a continual challenge to not only the girls but also the parents! 

I was going to tell you how we are all REALLY doing so I better tell you how I'm doing! I'm doing well, staying inside ALL the time does get a bit 'tiring' but nothing that can't be over come. I'm doing well on my 'part-time' job of couponing and managing to get lots of things cheap. In fact this week, the shop paid me $3 to buy vitamins. I don't normally buy them as I don't really believe you need them (see how well the girls have done over winter with a healthy diet!) when you live a healthy lifestyle, ie eat well, exercise regularly. (of course there are exceptions to this, I'm talking generally!). But when you pay me $3 I'll buy them so that I can buy a gallon of milk with my 'profit'! I'm going to miss this very much when we get back to NZ. Hopefully I'm able to take some of these non perishable things back to NZ. 

On a final note, it is sobering to note that we are counting down the days until our return. We are making so many friendships, meeting so many great people and are enjoying life so much that it will be a bittersweet day once we leave. On a positive note, we will get to meet our new cousins which have been born since we have been here.

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