Tuesday, May 24, 2011


So, in my blogging hiatus, we had a few birthdays around here.  Since I'm sure my kids will dig up these old posts some day and complain about favoritism ;) I should do a little catching up.  :)

March is a double-birthday month - Hana turned eight early in the month and Selam turned FOURTEEN at the end.  (Side note- I have a feeling that each one of Selam's birthdays will be in caps since they all make me feel old and out of place!)

Anyway, we enjoyed some quiet fun with the family and Grandma Diane for both.  I can't believe how much the girls have changed in the last year!


Hana may be one of the biggest changes in our family over the last 12 months.  Upon first joining our family, I would've said she had the hardest time attaching, kept herself a bit more distanced, and just generally skirted around the outskirts of things (although doing so rather successfully).  This year saw Hana really finding her groove.  She has really grown academically - reading started coming far more naturally, math was less stressful.  She has started making many more friends (which was a big struggle the last few years, even though she is very likable).

Hana is our little athlete.  Sports and general movement come very naturally to Hana.  She loves to learn new sports and is finding that is a great way to both boost her confidence and connect with people.

As a practical matter with 5 kids, we have put limits on sports and outside activities.  Yet, we are seeing the need to find Hana more opportunities to shine. She is currently enjoying soccer and doing great!


What a year.

It is hard to even put words to the changes and growth in Selam this year.  It's difficult for me to even catalog the growth in myself from parenting her this year.  Since we decided to go the homeschooling route, in some ways it is more difficult to me to explain her academic growth this year.  (I know - this seems counter intuitive since I'm the one watching her learn each day...).   I know things haven't progressed as I has assumed they would, but that is not to say that it hasn't be a year full of growth and learning.  Given that Selam was forced to learn and function in a new language (and culture!) at the age of 12+, she doesn't learn on a linear plane. It's a lot of up and back.  Some days I am simply in awe and other days I wonder how we have back-tracked so far.  That is simply the nature of language and, most importantly, self-confidence.  If I choose, I can look back on this year and see a series of parenting and teaching failures on my part.  Yet, I've been making an effort to learn from those mistakes and move forward to assist Selam where she needs it.

She has discovered the treasure in books and sometimes gets frustrated that she can't read (yet) at a level of literature that is interesting for her.  We have gotten around this by reading aloud more and using (lots!) of audio books.  She is now choosing to do this in her "free time" and I love seeing her appreciate good books!

Self confidence remains a bit of an issue.  Selam hasn't found her "niche" yet.  Hana has grown and developed as an athlete, but that isn't Selam's place exactly.  Language barriers still make some things difficult (e.g. the Spanish club she wanted to join...)  fortunately, she is really enjoying the youth group at our church and making some really nice friends there.

I think she is rather nervous about heading back to school next year.  We are trying to take steps to alleviate those fears.  As much as I enjoyed having her home and wish we had more time, I also see that school will give her some social and other opportunities for her to find something she enjoys and to make new friends. I'm very excited for her.  But will clearly need to keep a shotgun around - she just keeps getting more beautiful!

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