Friday, January 9, 2015

Home front Update January 2015!

First things first! We've got snow! Very excited! (I'm probably the only one in the MidWest but that's ok!)

Now that I have that out of my system, it's time again to give you all an update on how we are doing. 

The girls are doing well. Grace had strep throat early December which required a visit to the Nurse Practitioner and some antibiotics. She is feeling much better now. Last Friday/Saturday she again had a fever with cold symptoms but thankfully this didn't last long. Zara also got a fever, apart from that the girls have been healthy. Very thankful for that as there has been a LOT of sickness going around. Michaela turned 13 on the last day of the year, can't believe it was 13 years ago we became parents! Looking forward to the teenage years, should be lots of fun! (At least if she lets me win!)

Albert finished his second to last semester in December. He actually did really well on time management this semester and managed to start studying for exams before the exam period started, a first. The dates are VERY tight and so you finish class one day with exams the next. He promised me to take some time off especially as we had visitors. Next item on the calendar for Albert is an Oral exam late January 2015. This is a pass or fail test hence there is some pressure to pass. I for one have full confidence that he will do well :). 

Well we've past the half way mark which is exciting! I did some extra weeks over summer and so hope to finish early May. We had three weeks off and started again this week. Albert has been pretty busy with Seminary especially the last few weeks of last semester. So one of the seminary student's wives is a teacher and volunteered to teach the girls occasionally. WOW what a blessing! She spent two mornings with Michaela and Grace so far. I really do NOT have the teaching gift. Teaching is a GIFT and WOW she has it! God is faithful even in my homeschooling journey! As far as counting down, this is one area where I'm counting down, 17 more weeks to go! (Girls continue to do well especially since I'm using a bribe for all us to get our school work done everyday!)

It's a year of change for us as a family. It's a year of lasts, a year of goodbyes, a year of hellos, a year of packing and unpacking with plenty of tears sprinkled in. I get sad just thinking about it. Exciting times ahead also too which I'm looking forward to. We have enjoyed our time here so much, learned so much, being humbled and grown so much in all areas of our lives.

We've had the privilege of playing hosts to 3 lots of visitors over three weekends. How nice to be able to serve since we are on the receiving end so often. I know people don't expect anything in return but it's more blessed to give and so it was nice to give some back over these three weekends! I LOVE the fact that we are all so different and not all cookie cutter humans. There is so much to be learned from each other and so our weekends with our visitors were special times indeed. A couple of funny things that happened to us while we had our three lots of visitors. 
  • We forgot to offer milk whether in coffee/tea or with meals. NOTE to future visitors, please ask if you haven't received what you asked for or better yet, help yourself, we're not offended!
  • Snacks - plainly forgot about them. You know the feeling that when they leave and you open your pantry and there are all the snacks, oops! 
  • Rodent (a plastic one) - We had nothing to do with this one at all. There might have been a rodent in a bed or not, I suppose you had to be there!
  • Meals - I will try NOT to smoke the house out (which happened when I cooked the turkey (in an oven bag I might add) and some of the fat spilled out. Also will try to aim better when I transfer the hot cinnamon buns from the tray to the counter. Glass dishes shatter in lots of pieces, ask me how I know?
  • God's perfect timing - We received several items of food before or while we had visitors including lots and lots and lots of mashed potatoes! 
(Michaela got a tablet for her birthday and so is now receiving my updates, better keep this PG rated :) )
I'm doing well as always as I refuse to look on the dark side. I have had a cold for a week or so but my immune system is doing an excellent job of fighting it.  Thankful for a healthy diet and being able to exercise. I did some running with Albert early in the semester, taking advantage of the beautiful Fall/Autumn but since the weather got colder I've stopped running. I have increased my yardage in the pool instead. I have managed 2 weeks of 9000 yards (8.2km) in three sessions a week. A HUGE improvement. Despite me being a slow swimmer compared to all those athletes in the pool, I do really enjoy swimming and will miss it lots when we go back.
I promised Albert that I won't start packing the house up until the new year despite me itching to pack. It's not that I'm itching to leave, just like to be organised that's all. I would hate to do it all at the last minute. Also Albert is not going to be of much help in May in particular as he needs to concentrate on finishing well!
I've taken a couponing holiday as well for the last month. It's been nice not to chase deals for a while. The girls are flying through conditioner at the moment so I will have to get back to couponing soon. It is a part time job. I've done some shopping online through a cashback site. Nice to get some money back on things you were going to buy anyway or got giftcards for! Every little bit helps! (I would do all those things regardless of whether I was a student, I'm all about getting more for my dollar!)

Mini Holiday
After Albert's oral exam and before classes start up again, we are going on a mini family holiday. We are going to the same waterpark as in 2013 through one of the families of the church. I looked at staying an extra night as there were only two nights available this time on the cheap rate, WOW, it's expensive. Thankful for our church family to share with us their discount. People have generously donated money with specific use for family fun. Also the older girls have been helping our neighbor for which they earned some pocket money. We are all looking forward to going away just the six of us! 

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