Saturday, April 25, 2015

Catching Up

We are almost 5 months into 2015 now … and I haven’t written a single blog post this year. Pathetic, I know. Rather than explaining and justifying and apologizing, let’s just catch up, shall we?

January started off with a bang—we’re in Kosovo: the New Year is celebrated with countless not-so-mini family fireworks displays. I continued enjoying our last true winter for the next few years, while Jeff continued looking forward to its end. (I can’t blame him; he has to drive in the snow and ice, whereas I stay home and enjoy the winter wonderland.)

Toward the end of January, we finally made it out to Gadime Cave, not too far from Prishtina. The Community Liaison Office organized a trip. We decided not to go with the large group—caves plus large groups equals lots of echoing noise, which would not be a great introduction to caves for our sensitive girl—but we did take advantage of the reservation to go a little early with a smaller group. It can be difficult at times to know when the cave will be open, so this opportunity was not to be missed. It was a great morning! The caves were much larger than we anticipated, and Alexa loved exploring them. She didn’t even notice that she also was learning, as she asked question after question about the cave, its features, and the life it contains. I found myself wishing I had an age-appropriate book about caves that we could have read before or after the trip. I’m hoping to correct that oversight and then find another fun cave to explore with her within the next few months.

We spent most of February in the United States. We traveled to Washington, DC, for some appointments and to see some friends. Unfortunately, we only saw about half of the friends we wanted to see—as we landed, my ears grew pillows where my ear drums should be; the next morning, my ears were better but my sinuses were awful, and it only got worse from there. I became so congested that my entire face hurt, even my teeth! After a week, I gave in and went to an urgent care doctor, because I was afraid of what would happen if I flew again 10 days later without treatment. I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and a double ear infection. The antibiotics started helping immediately, so I felt much better for the rest of the trip, but we’d already missed out on visits with a few friends. We hope to see those friends this summer instead.

We arrived back in Kosovo on schedule in late February, but a week later, Alexa and I were back on a plane. There was a medical situation back home with a close family member, and my help was needed. Jeff was needed at work, especially since he’d just returned, so he remained in Kosovo. I am thankful that the medical situation was not as bad as it easily could have been, and my family member seems to have made almost a full recovery. Alexa and I spent our time in the United States helping with everyday tasks and transportation, but we also were able to do fun “America” things like celebrate my sister-in-law’s RN pinning, go to my niece’s football soccer games, and entertain random passersby with Alexa’s TCK questions and comments (for example, “Does everybody in America know the name of that store is Wal-Mart?” and “Why is there more than one McDonald’s?”). We returned to Kosovo just after Jeff’s birthday, at the end of March.

After our second return to Kosovo this year, I realized just how close we are to the end of our time here. I spent a few days getting over jet lag, then dove in and finally started preparing for packout. So far, we’ve rid ourselves of almost all of Alexa’s baby clothes, most of our “we severely overestimated how much Kleenex we’d use” consumables, and several bags of my ill-fitting or unflattering clothes. We’ve sold the elliptical machine for which we expect to have no room in Greece, and we’ve made arrangements to sell our second vehicle once we can get the paperwork in order. I’ve organized several full drawers of small items into labelled gallon-sized Ziploc bags. Now I need to start focusing heavily on my list-making, which has been sadly neglected due to all the travel earlier this year. We’re leaving in less than a month, and I’ve never been so far behind on my preparations.

At some point during and between all these other activities, we completed the Sonlight P4/5 preK curriculum. We ended up dropping a couple of workbooks that were too advanced for Alexa at the time, and there’s still one book in which she has shown no interest whatsoever. I left that book in South Carolina back in March, assuming we could try it again this summer and see if she’s interested then. She’s still working through her Mathematical Reasoning workbook, which she does not do every day—but when she does do it, she wants to keep going and often does 10 or more pages! That is quite the change from when I required her to do it daily, when she resisted and often did no more than 2 pages. We intend to continue working through this book over the summer until it’s done, as well as continuing to “play” Reading Eggs and Math Seeds. I’ll have to do another post about our plans for homeschool next year, as I never finished that series, and we’ve changed our plans for language arts. 

That’s for another time, though.

Right now I have some lists to make.


  1. Love the football/soccer dig you made! And Alexa's TCK questions. Why would any place need more than 1 McDonald's, right? :)

    1. The football/soccer dig actually came from one of Alexa's TCK questions. She asked, in front of my mom, if we were going to my niece's football game or soccer game. As I hesitated, my mom jumped in with "Soccer." Lexa looked confused, as well she should because she doesn't understand the difference between football and soccer, so I explained to her that we call it soccer in America, but if we were in Kosovo or Cambodia or anywhere else in the world, we'd call it football. That seemed to satisfy Alexa, and I think my mom suddenly understood where the question had come from :)


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