Making Music

I try to write a small blog post about our kids individually from time to time, so that one day, I can make them a little book with all of these posts compiled together. Well, today I want to mention something that Jay has been doing lately, making music. He likes to sing, he likes to create music on the piano, and he really likes to listen to music. If he could have music playing on a super loud speaker all day long, he would!

Here in Rogaland Norway, the YWAM team has done so much to try to make us feel welcome. When they heard that our kids wouldn’t be able to continue piano lessons for the next few months because we didn’t have anywhere to practice and do lessons online, they found us an older keyboard they had and put it in our room. Now the kids can keep learning piano, and the exciting part is that it can record different tracks that Jay can save on a USB stick and then compile together on my computer. He is thrilled! I’ll share one of his creations here soon.

Jay’s Beanbag challenge

About a year ago Jay, Kai and Egan had a lot of fun creating a beanbag challenge. Basically, the challenge was, you couldn’t get off the beanbag. Last one on, wins. Well, since that day Jay has been dreaming of ways to do this challenge even better. He bought a special prize for the winner in Canada (Coke flavoured tictacs) and he planned out all sorts of challenges for the game. He put these challenges on small pieces of paper and then put them inside balloons. Some of them are benefits (you get to walk around for 5 minutes) , and some make the game harder (like eat salty pretzels, drink lots of water, and then once you have to leave to go to the bathroom you are out.) Well, after lots of planning, tonight was the night and Jay, Kai, Egan and Jay’s friend Mark enjoyed another night of the beanbag challenge 2.0.

Online Schooling and a warm heart

Last year around this time Cassie decided to try an online school that is based in Alberta. The basic concept is that each course (math, science, social studies, and English) has four lessons that need to be completed each week. Some students do all four courses each day, and some do one day of math, one day of English etc. The fun part of this method is that we have been able to supplement Cassie’s other classes like piano, russian and health class during the daytime rather than in the evenings. Also, we can go work in a library together or go to a coffee shop. It has been so wonderful to have so much time with her this past year. Probably for grade 9 she will go back to her regular school, but for this past season, it has been just so life giving to get to spend so much time with Cassie!

Given the gift of a Jets hockey game

The Boys are both in the same school here in Winnipeg that they went to a few years ago when we were home. It has been fun to watch them reconnect with friends. They both really enjoy school, learning and friends. I am amazed at how these boys excel in their learning and also in the way they express love to all of us in our family. Every night the kids yell from one room to the next “I love you!” to each other. I am so grateful that while throughout the day there are definitely arguments, by the end of the day we can all still say, “I love you!”

Some insight from our boys principal

We had travelled back to Winnipeg for the summer and due to some different circumstances have had to stay for the fall. Thankfully, our children are flexible 🙂 Cassie does online school so she can really be anywhere. Jay and Kai were happy to go back to the school they went to when we were home on furlough last time. Yesterday was their first day and they were both super happy to:

#1 Bike to school!

#2 See old friends

#3 Bike home from school!

They gave their day an 8 out of 10 which says a lot for going to a ‘new’ school again after having been away for 3 years.

Yesterday I was visiting the school’s blog site and I came across this encouragement from the principal. I thought it was quite insightful:

I remember visiting The Manitoba Museum years ago and seeing the Living Prairie display. Among the many exhibits I saw a sample of prairie grass that was collected after a long drought years ago. What caught my eye was how the small tuft of grass was on display about 25 feet above the floor, followed by its root system that stretched right down to where I was standing. The plant had continued to search for water by sending its roots deeper and deeper into the earth, not only helping it survive in the short run but also providing it with an anchor system of support that helped it weather future storms, high winds, floods and other calamities.

Perhaps the current situation of ever-changing health protocols and the increased sense of anxiety that these create can serve a similar purpose for people of faith. When our daily routines of interaction and community become altered and interrupted, it can drive us to develop a deeper connection to God and His word. When our church community drastically changes, we can still make a connection with God through a deeper devotional life – that source of comfort and guidance is still available to us. And when we feel we are at our wit’s end, prayer can take on a more vibrant role for us. 

Kai and Jay (along with Cassie) – Little Business Men

A few years ago the kids decided to start their own business (along with some urging from mom) selling things like cards and keychains with a Ukraine theme to people that come through YWAM Kyiv. It is pretty low maintenance because they just put out all of their stock on a window sill near the dorms with a jar for money. When they start running out of stock or are walking by they grab the little bit of money in the jar and we input it into the spreadsheet. Hopefully everyone is learning a little about how to run a business.

Growing Up

These past few weeks, the kids have been home doing their school here. With covid, the kids went back to school in September, however their school stopped for 2 weeks when a few cases popped up in their classes. Even though I have many commitments to work on here in Kyiv, I had to put it all aside because all day long I would be with Kai helping him get through assignments after assignment. Jay would need me to come and just help him focus and not start listening to K-Pop and watching Mr. Beast videos, and Cassie would be pretty much all on her own (but I would miss seeing her so I would pop in there too if I had time).

I have been realizing how precious these times are, though I also have felt a bit overwhelmed because my commitments are getting pushed to the side. This morning they went back to school and I felt sad. I went into each of their rooms and just took a picture of their beds, their tables etc. Each one of them has such a precious personality.

Kai’s Bed Age 8

Kai loves his stuffies! He has dogs, elephants, bears, and everything else you can imagine! He loves them and has ALL of them in his bed at night!

Jay’s bedside table Age 10

Jay fills up the table beside his bed with everything you can imagine. Of course, legos still take a high priority, next to his books, brush, alarm clock, Bible, and let’s not forget his pocket knife. This table represents so much about his energy and love of life!

Cassie’s bedside bookshelf – Age 12

Books, pretty lights, fun stripes, plants and probably a hidden chocolate bar in there, Cassie loves to spend time in this little cozy corner. She is really becoming a young woman that tries so hard to be patient with younger brothers, but definitely needs some alone time!