Obviously there are a lot of things that have happened around here since I last posted! We've had birthdays, vacations, lots of everyday activities and lots and lots of growing up. Our children are now 11, almost 9, 6, 4 and almost 2 -WOW! Just this week we started homeschool again, with a 6th grader, 4th grader and 1st grader. Our boys have the blessing of having a teacher (not just Mommy) this year and I am excited for them. They are excited about it and I am confident that they are going to have a great year.
On the first of this year we had the wonderful blessing of seeing our oldest son, Caleb, be baptized. Caleb was so excited about this! About a year and a half ago we went to the sea to baptize him, but he got sick on the way there - I think from nervousness. This time he was both nervous and excited. Before his baptism he prepared a short testimony that he gave in both English and the national language. We are so excited to see what the Lord does in his life.
We were blessed this year to have company for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. For Thanksgiving were able to have good friends come to visit. We had a nice, encouraging time with the Wolf's and their "ladies" (as Micah calls them).
This Christmas we had a special treat in that Nana was able to be with us. The boys also appreciated the long distance gifts from Grandma Tricia and Grandpa (Caleb actually shed a tear over his Tim Tebow jersey) and the NFL jerseys from Uncle Rob - do we see a pattern here? Celebrating Christmas overseas has its pluses and minuses. Living in a country where very, very few people celebrate Christmas means that we do not get wrapped up in holiday programs and parties and we are able to spend more time as a family focusing on Christ. We do, however, miss being able to celebrate Christ's birth with other believers in our heart language. This year we did have the privilege of worshiping in another language along with some who, for the first time, celebrated the birth of their savior.
We celebrated Josiah's 8th birthday on the 16th of October (yes, that long ago). Honestly, Josiah is a boy with very few interests. He likes video games, sports, thinking math thoughts, and breakfast! This year he received a few games for the Wii and was especially excited about the Madden football game from Nana. He was also blessed to receive a large box of goodies from friends in the states. I tried to capture his excitement as he opened the large box and looked through it. He moved too fast and was way too excited for me to capture his reaction to his favorite thing - a large box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Thankfully Josiah is a very generous boy so he shared with his brothers. There are many neat things about Josiah's personality - he is funny, smart, easy going, and loveable. Though he has grown so much since we moved here over 4 years ago, some things remain the same. He still hops up and down whenever he is excited about somethings, still rises early, still likes to snuggle up, still loves math and still loves to eat breakfast.
On September 2nd we celebrated Abby's first birthday (already!). She is a sweet little girl, though a little impatient. She is not necessarily a "social" person like most of her brothers. She takes a little while to get used to people and is rarely fine with having neither Ted nor I around. I love to receive her hugs, watch her love her babies, the way she "dances" to music and her special giggle to let you know that she wants more food. How blessed we are to have this little girl! I often look at her in unbelief - is this really our little girl or are her real parents coming to pick her up? My children are such a sweet reminder of how good the Lord is to me.
A few months ago Ted and I decided to brave the odds and take 5 kids on vacation! We figured that if we waited until all the kids were done with naps and out of diapers we might be pushing it off into Caleb's teenage years. The boys were really excited about the vacation and we parents were looking forward to a "quiet" break from a busy summer. From looking at our pictures you might think that we spent most of our time at the pool - and you're right! We went to the sea only once during our trip. The boys were not that impressed and Abby was not a fan of the sand. The boys preferred to be at the pool where they could do cannon balls and back flips! Most of us came back a shade darker and thankful for the opportunity to spend time together as a family. Now we readjusted to life without a pool or air conditioning! Nothing like taking pictures of your kids to remind you of how big your kids are getting, huh?
Abby is following in her brothers' footsteps and seems to just keep growing and growing. She is 11 months old and, for the most part, she is a happy baby. She loves music, being held, being entertained by her brothers, being outside, and (most recently) walking. She does not like for her Daddy to leave and does not appreciate if he enters a room and does not immediately pick her up. She does not like loud noises or extreme sports - like being thrown too high in the air or being spun around really fast. To be honest I get a little excited when she does "girly" things, like cry for a long time over a small scratch or when she squeezes her eyes shut when she is fake crying. These are some of my favorite pictures over the last six months or so.