Thursday, January 02, 2014

It's about Time...

This is dedicated to the 3 people who possibly read my blog;)  I have not written in awhile, but before you get into a huff, do consider that I've moved country and started working 3 hours a week in small town KY.  Just about everything has changed, including Claire losing her two front teeth in time for Christmas.  We are in yet another new country, new town, new home, new school system, new church, and new stage of parenting.  Here's a brief update:
Keith is continuing to pursue his PhD in New Testament from St. Andrews University in Scotland, but now finishing from his man cave in our large basement- his walls lined with books.  He is enduring his PhD work with steadfast effort, focus, and patience in the face of criticism and skepticism.   He does a bit of part time work here and there, but otherwise wrestles with the girls, teases them like the brother they don't have, and cuddles them unconditionally. Their love of the outdoors and animals certainly comes from him.

I am working as a Children's Minister at a church in Versailles, KY.  I work some 30 hours a week- juggling a variety of tasks.  I am able to be home with the girls after school so that I don't miss the homework whining, incessant need for creating crafts out of cheap construction paper and tape, sister wear and tear, after school snack sugar highs;)  I do cherish my time with the girls even more now when I am with them, but also enjoy getting out and doing some of my own work . Fortunately, Claire is in most of the children's programs I lead so she gets to spend a lot of time with me while I am working, too.  Aside from home and church, I've been able to do some little kid-intense soccer coaching and some devotionals for a local high school girls team.

Claire is enjoying 2nd grade and exceeding expectations in math and reading, sometimes expressing anxiety about being the youngest in her class.  She continues to be a bit of a "drama queen" when it comes to any pain (including hair brushing and feather-like hits from her toddler sister) or not getting what she wants (and I mostly mean food or candy) . She is maturing as protective and nurturing big sister, growing in her faith, and continuing to love arts and crafts and imaginative play.  She spent a year trying gymnastics, and not enjoying standing still so much, will now be trying some swimming lessons.  She is a sensitive, but sweet girl with a generous heart for others and does amazingly well at making friends in new places despite a shy exterior. 

Autumn is our little dinosaur.  Silent in public, but a roaring lion at home.  She is a shorty (must come from Keith's side), but full of energy and general happiness.  She is experimenting with the usual mean faces and back talk, but really enjoys family time and playing babies.  Her favorite phrases include "Wes" (yes), "You teasin' me", " I go poo poo pee pee", "I love you Mommy-e-o, Daddy-e-o, Claire-e-o", "I happy girl", and "God made me". She loves running and flapping her little feet on our wood floor and stripping down as much as possible.  She goes to "school" 3 days a week and enjoys her friends.

Small town KY is challenging for us in this time . We are exhausted from transition, adjusting to life with a child in full-time school and extracurricular activity, and still adjusting to two full-time vocations outside of family time.  But we are growing in our ability to live simply, rest as a family, enjoy the work that we have, and to share and receive more generously with those around us. 

For now, we are enjoying a break from work and playing in the snow in Wisconsin and Illinois in our brief time visiting family.  Hope to see you blog-readers soon!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Snow, Sledging, and Haggis days

Winter is here.  We have snow in St. Andrews! Autumn had a near death experience as on the bottom of the "sledging" hill when a 6th grade boy rammed into her and she popped onto his back for a few feet only to be flung off in mid air.  But we are all alive and well with a few snowmen to show for it;)
Our girls are growing.  Autumn's vocabulary seems to be doubling weekly.  She now says "truck", "tracks", "sissy" (for Claire), "snack", "stroller", "Dora" (sick, I know!), "snow", "where go?", "help", "butter" (she does this one with a licking sort of "tt", almost like she imagines licking butter as she says it), "poo-py", "doll", and a number of others.  She is gaining a temper and is constantly on the go.  She loves putting together puzzles and car tracks, blowing up balloons and letting the air out in her face, playing in tents, sitting on the window sill, eating snacks constantly, helping me hang up the laundry, coloring, painting, reading musical books (the ones with cartoon buttons on the edge), and singing songs with actions.  She loves yelling out for Claire when Claire comes out from school, too.  Her favorite friend are Jonah ("Jo"),  Spud ("Spu"), Lewis ("Lou"), Charlotte ("Char") and Paige ("Pay"). 


Claire seems to entering a sweet stage which is warmly welcomed after the past 6 months of whiny, tantrums every 5 mins stage.  She is growing taller, thinner, more social, and overall more sophisticated everyday.
She is good friends with a new American boy in her class named Abel.  They two love to laugh and act crazy together.  She said some other boys in class have been calling them "married" or "boyfriend and girlfriend", but she got a big smile on her face when I told her that they were just jealous that didn't have a girl who was a friend.  She loves having friends Elisabeth and Spud over to play after school on a regular basis.  She's begun reading some books on her own, even bits of chapter books and is enjoying the Narnia series.

She has expressed some deep thinking as of late.
Claire shared this with me on the way to school the other day,
"Mommy, I used to think God had 100 heads.  That is how He can see everything at the same time.  But, then I realized that God just has the whole world in His hands"  and she proceeded to giggle at herself for having such a silly thought as God having so many heads.  An innocent and heartfelt thought, a priceless moment of insight into my little Claire's spiritual imagination.  She has been struggling recently with friends in school who do not believe that God is real.  She told me it made her wonder if God is real and she didn't know what to think.  I also know this has been on her mind as she asked recently if her friends will go to a "dungeon" if they don't believe in God.  Not too long ago, we had a bit of a postmodern conversation.  As I was explaining the difference between her earthly and heavenly Father, she said that she would be with her earthly father in heaven one day where her heavenly Father is;)  I took a minute to explain to her that we won't just "go up" to heaven, but that God is going to renew and restore heaven and earth!  She said, "Yeah that might be true, might not to be true."  I asked her what she meant.  "Well, you know, that might be true for us, but maybe not for other people who don't believe it."  I did my best to explain that Truth is real, whether or not a person believes it.  But, already, Truth is quite confusing to one so young who lives in a culture of relativism.  I'm just glad she is sharing her thoughts openly with us and cares enough to consider her friends' opinions.  Despite ballet lessons, she still loves her crafting best of all.

The Jaggers are headed to Dublin, Ireland for one last European adventure in Feb.  Did I mention that we made it to see the Chevy Chase "European Vacation" roundabout in London?  Good times!  Once spring hits we may have some more news to share in terms of our plans for next year which are likely to reside out of the UK.  And, since we'll be leaving the wonderful NHS, we hope those plans won't be including another little Jagger anytime soon....And Happy Robert Burns Day as today is Jan 25- a day of poetry, haggis, neeps, and tatties!