This December hasn't been feeling like the usual holiday season for us. We've skipped on doing any Advent activities, and I've decided to forgo getting a Christmas tree. If you've noticed, we've yet to do any Christmas-related crafts this year. We've also opted to spend our time quietly at home, rather than join many of the December camps/programmes, save for art classes for Junior J.
December is usually full of celebrations for us (we have three birthdays in the family!), but this round, we've kept it as simple as we could go. Baby J's turning two was celebrated with a simple dinner out with my parents, while I asked for a home-cooked dinner for my own birthday, because it was just so much easier to feed the kids at home.
Instead, I've been using this month to think hard about the year ahead. 2016 will be a year of many changes. We've received our certificate of exemption from compulsory education (thank you God!), and are gearing up for our first official year of homeschool. Opening up that letter from MOE, and finding the cert brought a rush of mixed feelings: of relief that our application was successful, of terror at the enormous responsibility of being the almost sole educator for Junior J, of excitement for the school year that is to come. To be honest, I must say I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of having to juggle homeschooling a Primary 1 kid on top of regular household chores and caring for the kids. For now, I'm trying my best to focus on matters of the heart, and the ingraining of good habits, instead of looking at the academics and activities, so that we can have a smoother journey forward. God knows that I sorely need to inculcate some good habits myself!
With that in mind, I think my one little word for 2016 would be "Grow". I hope the new year would be one where we can see the boys growing in character, and I've been talking to the older two about how they would need to assume more responsibility at home, especially when baby comes along in February. (You can read about our one little word for 2015 here.)
I was busy doing up photobooks for the grandparents recently, and came across these photos, taken in the months after Baby J's arrival. It reminded me of how the first year after having a new addition is a year of juggling and of having to adapt to many changes. It is a year of learning to cope, of taking it step by step, of having to slow down. Yet, it is also a year of sweet memories, of baby smells, of new discoveries, of seeing your little ones grow, of having the triumph of surviving yet another day of crazies. After having three kids, I've learnt that life does settle into a more predictable and easier flow after baby turns one, and I'm hanging on to that hope for the year ahead.
And as if a newborn and homeschooling is not enough, we might also be looking at a move to a bigger home in 2016 too. (Talk about growing huh?) We've stayed in our current home for a decade since the hubby and I got married, and it's seen the arrival of all our babies. However, with four, and us staying home more often due to homeschool, we are thinking it might be time to move some place bigger so that the kids have more space. (So if you happen to be looking for a fairly large HDB flat with three bedrooms, a hardworking kitchen, and located near many good playgrounds and amenities, drop me a note!) This is still in the works though, since there are many uncertainties and what-ifs, so we'll see how it goes, and are leaving it in God's hands to see if everything pulls through.
I am very thankful for the year that has passed, and God certainly has been faithful. While 2015 has been a blessed one, I am looking forward to 2016!