Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tour My Home - part 3 {Brianna and Micah's room}

First of all, a huge disclaimer:  I ADORE my 8-month old baby boy who shares this space with his older, 4-year old sister.  Seriously, the boy could not be more loved.  However, you are understandably going to be skeptical when you look at this room!  {yikes}  So, before you start thinking I'm ready to give that sweet, chubby-cheeked baby boy up for adoption, you have to understand a couple of things here.... First of all, Micah was not even in our thoughts when we built and decorated this room.  Secondly, the big future plan is that all three of our boys will eventually have a huge, shared bedroom upstairs.  (Oh, wait... We don't even have stairs yet.... but more about that later...)  So, we have opted to just keep this room very girly, and we try to comfort our baby boy (who really has a very serious complex about living in a pink room, you know) that at least there are two green walls in here!

(Below) I got these very amazing, glittery butterfly stickers at Target, when we were in America last winter.  Love 'em!  We opted to buy a full-size bed for this room in order to have extra space for guests.  Usually, our guests get our bedroom (because it has its own bathroom), and David and I share this room with Brianna on those special occasions.   

(Below) The yellow stripe in the curtain inspired me to choose yellow shades for the windows and to add a yellow pillow to the bed...  Doesn't yellow just fill the room with cheer?!
(Below)  This water heater is how we heat our bedrooms.  In fact, we have them running for the first time tonight, since we just installed them a couple of weeks ago.  Our bedrooms were only heated with electric space heaters our first two winters in this home.
 (Below) Our little man's bed.  I love that it is portable, yet has a full-size baby mattress in it.
(Below) This is our Fisher Price Loving Family dollhouse that we gave Brianna for her 2nd birthday.  Let me tell you, Mommies... This was worth the investment!  It opens into 7 rooms, there are countless accessories available to buy later, and the details are just too adorable for words!  And, Brianna plays with it so much more often when I store the accessories in a box (as opposed to keeping the house always decorated).

 (Below)  I am not a very big fan of toy boxes, so we work hard at keeping our toys separated into buckets. This helps the children keep similar toys together and makes clean-up so much simpler!

 (Below) This is where we store out-of-season clothes...
(Below)  This closet is a dream-come-true for me!  These type of closets are not common here in our area of the world. (The people here use stand-up wardrobes / armoires for storing clothing).  Therefore, we stored our things in boxes for years, not wanting to invest in the wardrobes since we knew we would eventually have closets.  And, praise the Lord, eventually has finally come!
(Below) The dresser in the closet is obviously not going to work for much longer, but for now, the room is so much more open and airy without the dresser out in the open.

 (Below) Brianna's view from her bedroom is the kids' "clubhouse" / fort next door.  I love where we live!
Thanks for coming for a "visit" today!  As you can see from this room, I LOVE bright, cheery colors.  I haven't finished decorating the walls, but.... all in due time.  I do have that sweet, chubby-cheeked baby taking up much of my time these days, after all!

I also thought I would mention that many of the toys and clothes you saw in this room were gifts from many, many dear friends.  As I took pictures of this room, my heart smiled when I realized that many of you just might even recognize something you gave us!

Okay, here is what we have left to do in this room:
1.  Add doors to the closet and storage area above the closet
2.  Baseboards
3.  Maybe one day change the carpet which is really just pieces left over from a past apartment.  But, I really doubt we'll do that for a long, long time
4.  Fix a hole in the wall left from the recently installed water heater.  (Micah's bed was covering that area in the pics).
5.  Finish decorating

Next room... main bathroom!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

David Sloan family 2011

David Sloan....

Born in Mexico to a second-generation missionary.

Surrendered to be an evangelist at the age of 12.

Called to the country of Ukraine at the age of 17.

Married at 21, and blessed 4 times over.

Sweeter gets the journey every day.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Green Eggs and Ham

The beloved Dr. Seuss.  Can I tell you that we collect Dr. Seuss books around here?  They are the books my kids most frequently read.  They are the first books my children ever read.  And they keep going back for more.  {And hubby and I can quote many of them by heart!}

Each time we are in America, we pick up a few more...

My sweet little 4-year-old Brianna taught herself to read with Dr. Seuss.  Don't believe she can read?  If you are anywhere within listening distance, she will gladly read to you... just like she reads to me {and anyone who will listen} each day.

But, Green Eggs and Ham is her all-time favorite.  What draws her to this book?  I'm not sure... Could be the idea of green food.  Could be all the silliness throughout the book.  Could be the great illustrations.  For whatever reason, she just can not get enough.  So, while other little girls are carrying around baby dolls and stuffed animals, my little girl has her beloved Green Eggs and Ham in her hands.  Each of my {bigger} kids have their very own flashlight, and we let them go to bed with a book and their flashlight each night.  Even on school nights {gasp!}.  So, while other little girls sleep with their dolls and teddy bears, my little one sleeps with her favorite book.

And I'm okay with that.  After all, readers are leaders, right?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tour My Home - part 2 {garage entryway}

We just finished our driveway a couple of weeks ago, so I wanted to start with that improvement.  Of course, this is an ongoing house construction so there will {hopefully} always be little pieces of new-ness here and there. 
Another new aspect of our construction are these gas butane tanks (below).  Since there is no gas in our village and our electricity is too low to handle heating our house on its own, we have resorted to these tanks.  A percentage of our house will now be heated by electricity and another portion will be heated by gas.  (And, no, those are not "live" wires of electricity you see there...)

In our culture, you take your shoes off at the door.  So, take your shoes off, come in, and stay awhile!

(Below) Because we use coats half of the year around here, and since I do not like to look at all of the clutter that winter dress brings, we have opted to hang our coats inside the boiler closet.  Perfect solution!

Wanna see what is behind those doors?  Well, you're gonna have to come back for more.... in the next parts of this Tour My Home series!

Left to finish in this area:
1.  White baseboards
2.  Decorating walls (I plan to hang "extended family" photos in the entryway hallway
3.  Door for the boiler room
4.  Light switch and fixture for the hallway

Don't ya just love the gorgeous golden color of the walls?  And how about the pretty tiles?  Let me tell ya, I look at them every day and haven't grown tired of them yet!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Written with Love

Do you remember this post over at Raising 4 Princesses, where I talked about writing love letters to your children?  I have had such a positive response from lots of other Mommies, and I want to say, "My hats off to you, ladies!"  Apparently, we all hope to leave our children a positive legacy to their childhood.

One Mommy of 10 children even posted on her blog ("Knights and Maidens Gathering") about her own love letters to her children.  Click here to read about this amazing gal's inspiration.  This sure does keep me encouraged to keep writing in my notebooks!  After all, if she can do it for her 10, I can do it for my four!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thank you, Anonymous!

When I was in the sixth grade, my sister (a 5th-grader at the time) wanted to take piano lessons.  My grandmother asked me if I wanted lessons too, so I said, "Sure, why not," having never given it any consideration before that.  The piano lessons proved to be too expensive for my grandmother (who was rearing both of us alone, on her welfare income), so the piano lessons stopped.  However, my desire to learn how to play the piano never did.

Throughout high school and college, I took piano lessons off and on.  It seems like I signed up for lessons at the beginning of each year we thought we could somehow make the payments, and each year I started with a new piano teacher, having lost my former teachers due to falling out on payments throughout the year.  And such was my piano education... each year with a new teacher and having to start over in my {rather elementary} books.  Quite the disadvantage, really.

However, one year my sweet piano teacher (Becky) told me that I would no longer need to pay because someone wanted to anonymously pay for my lessons.  I was sincerely touched.  I mean, who really cared about this little high school girl (who couldn't play very well in the first place!) with not much natural talent and her desire to learn to play an instrument?

Well, today I want to thank that person here on my blog publically for that monetary sacrifice.  I don't know if you read my blog or not, "Anonymous," but I want to thank you for paying for those lessons.  Although I'm STILL not a grand pianist (hubby is the professional pianist in this home!) and although I STILL don't have much natural talent, God has used those piano skills over and over again here on the mission field.  

Thank you for investing in a future missionary wife!  I SO enjoy being able to serve the Lord in this way!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sonic the Hedgehog

This post is dedicated to our dear friends, the Thompsons.... especially for Titus Thompson, since I was not able to find a hedgehog for you when you were visiting us last year.

One year ago, the Thompson family came to visit us from California.  During that visit they ever so graciously gave our family a Wii gaming system (from their Sunday School class "Two Committed") which included a game called "Mario and Sonic."  And the character Sonic is a hedgehog. 

My kids have played their Wii game on lots of occasions.  What a perfect gift for a family with kids who get stuck inside for several months out of the year during the cold, winter months! [Thanks, again, Thompsons and "Two Committed" class!]
Something unique we have here in Ukraine are hedgehogs.  Today little "Sonic" joined our family of six.  He is spending the night in a cardboard box out in our garage.  I promise we usually treat our visitors a little bit better than this, but with spikes like this guy has, I'm keeping him at a safe distance!  (And, check out how he walks!)  

Some people have dogs for pets, some have cats.  And, we have a hedgehog!  Anyone else think that is a little strange?!  But, hey, you work with what you've got... And on our mission field, hedgehogs just happen to be in abundance!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Back to School

September 1st is the start of the school year in Ukraine, no matter what day of the week it may fall on.  This year it was on a Thursday.  However, we started early... August 8th to be exact.  And this was only three weeks after we finished our last school year. 

What?!  Only three weeks of summer vacation?!  Yep... unfortunately that was the case with us... and two of those weeks were filled with ministry.... VBS and Teen Camp.  We're not terribly mean parents if that is what you are thinking... in fact while all other kids were going to school last winter, our three little munchkins were enjoying their "summer" vacation... a whole 5 months worth!

And that is how it sometimes happens on the mission field.  Family always comes before ministry, but sometimes the two have to compromise.  And that is how we look at schooling.  We have learned what works for us.... homeschooling AT HOME.  We have heard too many stories of the trials of homeschooling on the road (and missionary kids can spend lots of time on the road).  In order to forego the trouble of traveling with school books, we just don't do it.  So, every couple of years our summer vacations happen during the winter... when we are traveling on furlough, seeing the world, visiting new places, trying new foods, and meeting new people.  So as much as missionaries dislike the question, "Isn't furlough just one big vacation?" for our children it really is! 

Maybe your family is different.  Maybe you do not have any other option because you are on deputation with school-aged children.  If you have to homeschool on the road, go for it; but when you get to "furlough status" try leaving the books at home.  You'll be glad you did.

And now, introducing our three homeschoolers this year:

Aren't they just darling?!  And they are each as different as could possibly be.  Davey is our studious child.  Brianna is our organized one.  And Nate.... hmmmm..... Nate is as smart as they come, but he is a "square that doesn't fit into a circle" if you know what I mean.  He is easily distracted and would rather be outside playing or drawing pictures on the sides of his papers.  He is my child that was born into a family of musically inclined people, but is tone deaf.  Is this just the "second child syndrome"?  Nate is absolutely the most fun person you would want with you if you were ever broke down in the middle of nowhere.  Seriously... the child is a walking piece of entertainment!  I can hardly wait to see how the Lord chooses to use his unique personality. 

We love each of our children and consider it the biggest privilege ever to oversee their education!  It is going to be a great year!