Sunday, September 30, 2012

Brand New Chapter

It has been far too long since I have written here. I have been pondering the idea for a while of closing this blog and perhaps starting something new. However, this journey that we are on, all began with this amazing little boy, and although he is no longer with us, it still seems fitting for now that I continue to write here.

We have officially made the big move to Orlando. After tearful goodbyes to many precious friends and memories, we packed up the trailer and arrived here mid August. We were immediately welcomed with open arms by an amazing church (who literally showed up on our doorstep, fed us, unloaded the entire trailer, and put together furniture) and wonderful neighbors (who came by with cookies, and invited Kailyn to a sleepover on our second night here). Yes, from the very moment we arrived, we felt very blessed to be here. We literally picked this house off the internet, sight unseen, and hoped for the best. We couldn't have asked for a better community to be placed in. God's hand was obviously in it all and although we are still adjusting and missing our friends and family, we are quite happy here. 

We took some time to settle into our wonderful new house, do some volunteering at Give Kids The World, and then took a couple of weeks off to enjoy some Disney vacation. After putting it off as long as possible, we finally enrolled the kids into school. We hope to get into more of a routine of volunteering in the next few weeks.

Joshua is in grade 5 at the elementary school, which is very close to us, and reminds me very much of our school back in La Salle. He was assigned a fabulous teacher and much to our surprise, settled in almost immediately. He has made some close friends who happen to live just down the street and he is able to bike to school with them each day. Although the mountains of homework he brings home each evening are not fun, he is enjoying his school year. He is slowly developing his confidence and I am really enjoying watching him flourish here. 

Kailyn, on the other hand, has had a very different school experience. She entered the middle school system (grade 7) which was completely overwhelming for her. The first week brought many tears as she struggled to try and make friends, adjust to the HUGE school and adapt to a whole new school system. She is my strong, independent spirit, who usually excels in situations such as these, however this has been a real challenge. I was uncomfortable with the school from the moment we set foot in it. It was overwhelming even for me and I felt like I had absolutely no idea what was going on there. 

Meanwhile, as she was struggling at school, Kailyn began connecting with the girls in the church youth group, all of whom are homeschooled (homeschooling is very popular here in Florida). And suddenly it seemed as if we had been plunged this brand new world of homeschooling. Everywhere we looked, we were surrounded with homeschooling families who have made it work for them and have these beautiful, happy, well adjusted kids! It's an idea that I had been mulling about in my head for a while, even before the kids started idea that I never thought I would consider, and anyone who knows me well, knows what I used to think about homeschooling. I was never against the idea, and thought it was fine for others, but I definately never thought it would be for our family. I used to be one of those moms who couldn't wait for school to begin, and I cherished the time I had when they were out of the house. But our family has grown and changed so much since Noah's death, and I have come to enjoy my children so much and truly cherish the time I have with them. I also now suddenly find myself without a job and alot of free time, searching for a new purpose to my days. And the more I have thought about it and prayed it over, the more homeschooling just makes perfect sense for our family, and especially for our Kailyn who has such a heart and passion to serve at Give Kids the World. Homeschooling will give us the freedom and flexibility to spend time serving and and the same time, allow us to teach our children meaningful life lessons and instill our Christian values into their hearts and minds. 

And so tomorrow, our family will begin a brand new chapter in the journey, as we are withdrawing Kailyn from the public school system and officially starting homeschooling. We have registered with an online umbrella school (Homelife Academy) in order to make it simpler to abide by Florida state laws and give me some guidance. We will be using ACE PACES (an independent Biblically based workbook style curriculum...perfect for my independent daughter!) She will get lots of social interaction through church and youth group, as well as with other activities with other homeschooled kids. Kailyn is thrilled, and has already spent the entire weekend working on her assignments. Joshua will continue in the public school for this year as he is settled there and I think it's important for him to solidify the friendships he has made. However, since this is his last year in the elementary school, next year the plan is to homeschool both of them.

It really is crazy to think that we are here...sometimes I have to just take a moment to look around and take it all so much has happened in a few short years to lead us to this place in our from ashes...

We still miss our little Noah so very much...not a day goes by that I don't ache to have him in my arms. We celebrated what would have been his 7th birthday last Friday. I missed being able to visit his grave that day. Although I have never spent a lot of time there, there is something comforting about having a tangible place to go and visit. Instead, we enjoyed angel food cake, and envisioned Noah enjoying his special cake and dancing with the angels. Can't wait to dance with you my little man!!