7 Quick Takes Friday - #16

Here's my 7 Quick Takes for this Friday, February 25th. I'll share more pics of the last 9 months, while I'm at it...
  1. HOMEWARD BOUND. It's interesting to be heading back to Texas. There is a bittersweetness about leaving here several months earlier than we'd planned. I'd hoped to get a little more language under my belt before returning home for a visit. I only recently stopped having "I-hate-it-here-we-should-move-back-to-Texas" moments every 6-months or so... in fact, I have even grown to enjoy living here over the last 12-18 months. So there's a weird sense of it being both wonderful and a (teeny) bit sad. Of course, we're VERY excited to see family, so that will be awesome.

  2. Plans for our time in the US- As I think of what we'll do with our 9 months in the US, we have all kinds of do-able and potentially wild ideas. I'm thinking of getting an Entertainment book. We're also looking forward to getting great homegrown meats, cheeses and other treats to enjoy during our time there. We're considering Six Flags season passes for us & the boys. There's talk of a round-the-country Amtrak trip. On that one, I can't decide if it'll be awesome, or if we're nuts. And I'm not far from joking when I say that within the first 36-hours or so, I plan to buy a 2-pound block of cheddar cheese, and that our family could consume the whole thing in about 3-minutes flat. Our oldest son said the other day, "let's make a deal that we have to eat bacon in some form every single day while we're there." :) Maybe not every day, LOL! ... but often. There are some treats that leave me just about salivating... this is what 4-years of deprivation does to a person, LOL.
  3. Friendships overseas are different (even if it's with other Americans!). Tomorrow, we'll reconnect with a family we were very close to (and churched with) for more than a year here. They're passing through, and it will be special to see them. One thing I've noticed with friendships overseas is that it seems like they are in a constant state of flux. It seems like just about the time we get close to someone, they (or we) have to move. And then, because we live in somewhat of a transit/intermediate city, there are people who pass through that we see very irregularly, but get to host in our home for whatever time they get to stay.

  4. There are more ebbs and flows to relationships overseas, and it has taken some getting used to on my part. I really miss the long-standing, steady, dependable nature of relationships that I had in Texas, but there are moments of depth and really spending time together here (for example, hosting people, even entire families, in our home for several days or longer) that we never had in the US. And it teaches you to go deep, quickly, if you really want to know someone, and to make good use of your time together.

  5. Moses is eating more, and doing more, than I remember any of our other children doing at this age. Walking around furniture, waving bye-bye, doing sign-language for all done, eating 2 bananas (or 7 food cubes!) at a sitting... he's a little miracle! I love him so much...
  6. I said this to a friend the other day, and she laughed at me, but it's really true: from our vantage, it doesn't seem like we have a crazy amount of children. It doesn't feel anything other than normal. Granted, our normal is different from other people's normal, but really... it doesn't feel excessive. In fact, we rather like it. I love that our kids have playmates at the ready. I love that when I pull out a book, or am teaching a concept to a younger child, the older children who have already done that thing or read that book, get all happy about it and encourage their younger sibling. I love that we have a family culture... ours includes tickling (requested by the kids!), Cosbys, memorizing scripture passages together, goofiness, cooking together, family-hide-and-go-seek, and more... but it's fun to have things like this to share with so many people. Yes, I know that these 4 boys will probably eat us out of house and home come 10 years from now, and yes, I know that we'll have to be more creative about how to get these kids to college, but I love our family.

  7. I guess I'm just sharing this for some random woman out there, who has some "different" or unique desires for your family... maybe it includes more kids than normal, or homeschooling, or foster-parenting, or something else that seems unusual from the outside... I just want to encourage you that different can be really good. Really great, actually.

  8. Do you know about Sir Ken Robinson? This talk by him, called "The Element", gave Doug & I a lot of food for thought... both for *us* and for how to guide our children as they move towards adulthood. I particularly loved the video (included in his talk) by Blue Man Group. The talk is about a variety of things, including educational systems, the joy of being "in your element", and how we learn. I've been thinking lately about the differences in culture and lives that caused the pioneer era to produce a rash of inventors and creative thinkers, vs. how kids are currently being educated (like the Blue Man Group guy says, like a train of empty cars that we just "fill up" and then move down the track). Anyway, lots of interesting thoughts were flying after listening to that lecture.
  9. A few interesting links/posts on various topics:

ENJOY! Have a great weekend!


Jacquelyn said...

Jess, I love number 5! I was just trying to explain it to a friend the other day. (She really didn't get what I was saying!) We have 5 boys aged 8 and under. Compared to the norm we have a crazy, large family. But for some reason we don't feel like we do, it's just normal -for us anyway!
Hehe and it is funny how people look at me strangely when I tell them we're not done yet! Some really do think we're crazy. Good thing I like cooking...

Sam said...

Jess, on #5 too - that was good, so thanks for sharing it! I'm in a little bit different place, but that's exactly what you were saying :)

I'm 25 and we have two boys, and my husband and I are really ready to be permanently done having kids. (This is primarily because we feel called in a few different ways to adopt in the future, primarily as an alternative to abortion for women.) I can really struggle with it, though, because it's "different" and can even think it's not "Christian" to stop having kids! See, I'm battling the opposite, that it's some rule if you're a Christian to have a ton of kids, and so to stop having kids at 25 (before most people have started!) is different.

More and more, though, I feel God's call to do it this way, and am just having to speak the gospel to myself and free myself from this "rule" I've made up!

Sam said...

PS - Oops, I'm signed in my husband's account (Sam)!

-- Christen

Catherine R. said...

Those rolls look SO GOOD. I am guessing they are those infamous pumpkin rolls. I really gotta make those.

It's so interesting how different 2 babies can be. Moses is not even a month older than my Petunia but she has almost zero interest in food, crawling, going anywhere etc. Her brother was basically eating cheeseburgers and almost walking at this age. She's just so babyish and so unambitious! Maybe it's a boy/girl thing.

Tiffanie said...

If you liked the talkby Sir Ken Robinson, I encourage you to get the book if possible. I watched two of his videos then bought his book, looking for encouragment. My son does not fit the happy homeschooler mode (he is now 17). I found the encouragment I was looking for.

Jess said...

Funny how different becomes "normal"!

25 is pretty young to be thinking "permanently". I'd encourage you to get counsel from wise people around you (pastors, older godly couples, wise women you see at church, etc). I'm not encouraging some sort of "go do something, anything, and tell them Jess @ Making Home sent you!"

Catherine, they were actually from a brioche recipe in that "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" book... I made them with tomato bisque soup one night on a "La Madeliene" inspired whim. :)

Thanks for the recommendation... Doug & I filed that book away in our memories for the soon-in-coming frequent trips to Half Price Books!

Jessica B. said...

#2- We are 3 hours north of Thessaloniki and the first time we drove there after being overseas for 9 months, we went to Carrefore to get cheddar cheese. We sat in the car in the parking lot and ate a whole pack of it in a minute :)
#3- You put into words exactly how I feel. It is hard to get used to and sometimes it just plain hurts.
Will you be in one place in Texas? I'm trying not to count down the days until we return to the states... we still have 10 months before we do.
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoy your blog because of your honesty, good tips, and spiritual insights. I also appreciate how pro-family you are! The love for your kids was so evident in this post and I'm grateful for this! Thank You Lord for motherhood!
PS-I'm an ex-pat living in Bosnia and married to a Bosnian, so I understand many of your overseas adventures as well.

Kelly said...

Hi Jess, I've been reading your blog for at least 2 kids. Meaning I started when Maranatha was a baby, I think? The more kids I have, the more I measure my life by the ages of my children. :) I am so with you on #5, and my girlfriend who also has five kids under 7 as I do feels the same. Five kids used to sound like a crazy huge family, now that we're here we both feel like we could do ten! Not because we're perfectly efficient or can get it all done every day, but just because our vision for our families has changed and we accept a certain amount of chaos as a matter of course and we LOVE our children and big families!

And I almost hate to say this because I don't want to sound stalker-ish, but I'm in Texas and oh, I think we could be great friends. :) It's a huge state though!

Praying for smooth travel for your family!


Jess said...

It doesn't sound stalkerish, LOL. I've been thinking maybe we should have a blogging meetup at a ChickFilA playground or something. Just this week, I got found on Facebook by a gal who says she's been a long-time blog reader... turns out we have 4 friends in common. None of whom know each other, isn't that crazy? We're connected that many different ways and didn't know it.

Anyway, what you said here really resonates with me:

"we accept a certain amount of chaos "

I've been thinking about that very thing, and how essential it is... just not expecting to have a Pier One home with "weekly date nights" (necessarily) and the huge custom-built suburban home and the latest vehicle craze... anyway, just embracing the season of children.

Thanks for piping up!

Carletta said...

Will be glad to meet you, Jess! Are you still coming home this summer, or have you moved your plans up a bit?

Jess said...

Just a couple weeks, Carletta! We did end up moving up our dates. I would love to get together with you.

Kelly said...

Jess, make sure it's a BIG playground... :) If you decide to do that, let me know and if it's within a couple of counties, I'll be there. Now if that doesn't sound like a stalker, I dunno what does, but we're rural and accustomed to driving to get anywhere or see anyone!

About the chaos... I think it's just that life with a large family of littles LOOKS different from a small family. I figure I'm right at the apex of the messy-house curve, because I'm so outnumbered by kiddos who are still in-training on meaningful chores. In a few more years they will be capable of doing those jobs more efficiently and well, and things will get easier. At least in that department, anyway!