Wrap Up

This year brought so many new blessings to be grateful for and a few obstacles along the way to overcome too, because life isn’t just about coasting; sometimes you have to kick push too. I’m not a skater, but you get the reference right? Ok good. Just checking.

Life has brought us to Northern Virginia this year. We are slowly but surely making progress on our skoolie and in the meantime, the kids have made friends and developed routines here. Their days are filled with family, love, and adventures that only the Capital region can bring (Smithsonian museums, treks through the woods with Grandpa, lots of delicious Asian meals, and conversations with their 96-year-old great-grandmother).

M turns 7 here in a few short weeks and is blossoming into a fierce, intelligent, creative, kind-hearted (and quite sassy!) young lady. She has been enjoying fencing a few times a week and while she’s still the smallest and youngest in her class, continues to get in at least a few hits during each sparing session. She is continuing to progress in her ice skating skills. New to this season is a musical theater class where she’ll learn to act, sing and dance. It’s a class she takes with a friend so she’s as excited about the class itself as with spending time with a girlfriend without having to worry about keeping an eye on her siblings. We joined a local co-op of homeschoolers and M and G will also be starting a new LEGO engineering class this coming month. M continues to love drawing, painting and all things art-related. She is still in love with cooking, baking and is the best helper a mom could ever ask for. Academically, she is easy to teach. She excels in whatever I give her and loves to read. We recently started chapter books and alternate between reading out loud and having her read to herself. We need to work a little on getting her French up to par for our upcoming trip, but I’m thrilled with the progress she’s made on all other subjects so I honestly have nothing to complain about.

G will turn 6 this coming year and that sort of blows my mind. He still has a love of all things firetrucks, fire fighters, police men, cars and construction related. This year he really got into Legos, Star Wars and Ninjas. He’s currently obsessed with the Ninjago series from Lego and loves to twirl around yelling “Spinjitsu!”. Like M, he’s continuing with ice skating. His goal is to play hockey and short of working on various tricky foot maneuvers, he’s pretty quick so I have no doubt that’ll happen in the next year or so. New to this season is wrestling with the local youth association and the Lego engineering course this next month. Academically, he’s starting two digit math and learning sight words. He wrapped up the name and location of the 50 states this year and learning through song continues to prove beneficial for him. Science experiments are a favorite especially when it involves movement. He enjoys coding games on his iPad and of course, gaming on the iPad (StarWars Lego of course) with Dad has become a favorite pastime too. French is a struggle, but we’ll get it eventually! He doesn’t complain when we review so there’s that! G is forever a sweet little guy, with a huge heart (and sometimes a temper to match… though he gets that from me, so we usually hang together and figure it out when he’s grumpy). More often than not though he’s quick to offer a smile and a hug. He’s also the entertainer of the group, happy to dance and sing, and also tease his sisters (I mean, he is a brother, right? It’s coded in their DNA).

S will turn 5 this coming year and officially start Kindergarten this Fall. That breaks my heart a little. Not having little-littles in the house makes me melancholy and wistful for babies. With S, it’s always bittersweet because she’s my last child so everything she grows out of will forever be the last. At the same time, I’m grateful for this age because we can do so much more together and she understand so much more. The conversations are enlightening. S is bright and quick-witted. She’ll call you out on something you said before that you think she may have forgotten and she’s about as stubborn as I am (which is a lot). She’s timid around newcomers but affectionate once you’re in the inner-circle.  She pouts like the best of ’em and will let you know when she’s upset but is also quick to laugh and is the best snuggler. Academically, she’s working on number recognition beyond 10 and the last 25% of her letter recognition. She enjoys Science and History most days if they involve stories and crafts. French is also a struggle but I think that’s more because I keep forgetting to speak French to them instead of English. Everyone recommends teaching them that way, but it’s hard when they realize you speak English to everyone else. For this upcoming year, S is reluctant to take classes without her siblings and since her sister aged out of the ballet class, we’re taking a break there. She’s going to continue ice skating courses with them however and seems happy to hang out with me and watch when M or G have classes on their own.

The hubby and I finally have the bus back and have spent the last few months working on it. We are still going back and forth between Charleston and Washington DC monthly. We are so grateful for family that allows us to crash at their homes when we’re in town (essentially living there considering how long we’ve stayed) and when the itch strikes for us to be in our own space we go back to Charleston for a few days and enjoy some sun and sand. We are grateful that we have friends in both cities that are willing to get together with us at a moment’s notice even if it’s just to chat over a bottle of wine while the kids play together. Those are the best times.

As the year comes to a close, I try not to make resolutions, because God only knows I’ll break them within the first few weeks, but I do like to reflect on the things that I did okay with the last year and the things that I failed at and need to improve on for the coming year. I saw a printable somewhere on social media in the last few days that had fill-in-the-blanks like “one thing you want to try, one thing you hope for, one thing you want to do more of, one thing you want to do less of” — I think that’s a great way to look at it. It’s a lot of pressure to completely throw yourself into something or to completely stop something all together but if I start off telling myself I’ll do less of something, hopefully I can get down to not doing it at all (like, losing my temper with my kids and yelling loud enough the neighbors could probably hear… I want to do waaaaaay less of that). I plan to interview the kids and ask them the same questions, along with what their favorites were. It should prove interesting.

What about you? What things are you hoping for this coming year? What new thing(s) do you want to try?

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