Friday, January 27, 2017

Goodbye 2016, hello 2017!

I know we are almost coming to an end of the first month of 2017, but I figured the eve of the Lunar New Year would be as good as any time to look back at 2016! It was a really full year. So full, that I found myself neglecting this space as there was just no time at all to write!

The highlight of the year would have to be the arrival of Baby J. She arrived in the wee hours of Lunar New Year, and she now adds a certain softness to our loud and rowdy household of little boys.

It has been the most amazing year of seeing these four kids growing up together, each so different in their personalities. They teach me lessons every day, and while most days are long and sometimes hard, I thank God for blessing us with them. They are the ones who drive me to my knees, and yet are also the ones who make my heart sing. 2016 has seen Junior J and Lil J growing in maturity, and we've seen so much growth in Lil J in terms of his strong will. This year has taught them how to love and care for each other, and I am so very thankful for them.

2016 also was our first year officially homeschooling. I say officially, because we had a kid who was supposed to be in Primary One, but we successfully applied for exemption. It took quite awhile for us to get into a workable rhythm because of the move, as well as having to care for a newborn, but I am glad things are now moving slowly along. Junior J has been progressing pretty well with regards to learning, and it has been so satisfying learning alongside with him. Lil J has joined us with regards to desk work and has been learning phonics, math and Chinese, and we will be applying for exemption for him later this year. I must say I am really excited about what 2017 has in store for us with regards to homeschooling! (You can read about what a typical day looks like for us here.)

2016 was also the year we bought our new place, survived the renovations and moved. The packing, renovations and move was a huge thing for us. This was our first ever move since getting married, and we had so much stuff to shift! To date, I still have some stuff that isn't unpacked, and the home could do with another good round of decluttering. That aside, we have another round of renovations to complete, as we only did selective renovations at the start due to budget constraints. Whatever the case, I am glad we have settled into our new home, and are slowly doing up the spaces as we go along.

We decided to do away with birthday parties this year, and focused on family traditions such as having pancakes for breakfast, and making a cake for the birthday kid. I am so glad we made that decision, since that really helped to reduce stress (I can't imagine planning for four parties a year!). It has been quite a learning experience too, since I never baked much until after the move.

Since the move, I've been enjoying cooking for the family, and the kids have been joining me more frequently in the kitchen to help out. I am starting to enjoy planning meals and hosting friends, and it now feels like a blessing to be able to feed people! I'm hoping to get the kids even more involved in the year ahead.

2016 was a really stressful year for us, especially for the hubby, since we purchased our new home. I am so thankful for how he has been such a pillar of strength in the family, and how he still manages to help out at home and with the kids even though he can be tired after a long busy day at work. We couldn't have done what we did in 2016 if not for him!

And finally, on the personal front, 2016 has been quite a year of learning and growth. However, it has meant my plate has been so full, and many a times it threatens to overflow. I am so thankful for the hubby and good friends who keep me grounded, and for all the opportunities given to me to explore. But because of that very full plate, something had to give. As such, I cut down on blogging, and made a shift to Instagram (where you'd find most of my updates these days). In a sense, this shift was liberating. Previously I felt the need to blog frequently as a way of remembering things. However, I've found that IG can achieve that same purpose, and yet takes up far less time, and it freed up my time so that I could get my chores or homeschool preparation done. I won't stop blogging just yet, since I realize I still enjoy writing, but I don't think posts here will be as frequent as before. (A big thank you to all of you who still pop by to read this little blog!)

All in all, 2016 has been fruitful, in many sense of the word. I thank God for His faithfulness and for bringing us through such a full year, and I am looking forward to what 2017 has in store for us!

Here's wishing everyone a happy Lunar New Year, and may the Year of the Rooster be a blessed one!

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