Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Babies' Dedication

Last Sunday we had both Jurnee and Joelee dedicated in church.  We should have done it a while ago for Jurnee but while I was hugely pregnant just figured we'd wait until Joelee got here and do it at once!

Our church doesn't practice infant baptism but does baby dedication.  This comes from the story of Hannah when she dedicated Samuel to the Lord.

We were asked a couple of questions, both of which we answered yes to.  One was if we believed in Jesus and the other was if we were committed to raising our children in the knowledge of Christ (I don't remember the exact wording used but something along those lines.......  I'm nervous any time I'm in front of people, even if I don't have to say anything.)

Jurnee wasn't too thrilled at being taken away from her daddy.  The plan was for Pastor Josh to hold her and I hold Joelee as he prayed.  That wasn't what Jurnee had planned so she was quickly given back to her daddy.

Love our church!  Great worship.  Love the program for the kids.  Strong Biblical teaching.  And people from all over the world worshiping one God together!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

An Ice Cream Date

I am determined that I want to have some one on one quality time with each of my kids.  It may not happen frequently but I want it to be often enough that they each feel they are important.  And it's a great way for me to really get to know them as individuals.

Throughout the day, it seems like I'm running around in chaos (not really true but feels like it at times).  At home with four kids it's hard to really give each one the individual attention.  Joelee, of course, probably gets the most just because she's a newborn and needs it.  And Jurnee still demands quite a bit too.

Homeschooling the big kids has been great because it lets me sneak in a few minutes of each day with them just by themselves.  Sometimes it's reading a book together, working on a worksheet, or talking through a Bible lesson.

But, it's also fun to get away with them on a "date" once in a while.  So, today I needed to run to the supermarket to pick up a few things for the next week.  I decided to let Yosam go along with me and we had ice cream before shopping.  He was so mature.  He was opening doors for me and carrying Joelee's baby bag.  We sat and had ice cream and he talked a lot.  He was sharing with me things he was remembering from different Bible stories, asking me questions about when I was a kid, and talking about things he doesn't like.

But, the cutest thing was when we went into the supermarket.  I put Joelee's carseat in one shopping cart and he was pushing the second shopping cart so that we actually had somewhere to put the items that we needed.  Joelee started fussing a bit.  Yosam suggested that I shop and he push Joelee and make her sleep.  I was scared that she'd start screaming and knew she was sleepy.  He did an awesome job.  He made sure to not go to fast, but also not go too slow and in no time she was fast asleep!

All in all, even though it was running an errand, it was a fun ice cream date too.  I loved getting to talk with him and hearing what's going on in his head!

He's growing up and really is turning into a remarkable young guy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ugandan School System Explanation

 I get questions from time to time from sponsors about various things involving sponsorship, Vision of Destiny, Uganda, etc.  So, someone suggested that I blog the answers to these questions.  I have a list of about 25 or so questions that people have asked (and I'm sure others are asking themselves) that I'll be putting up a blog post about from time to time.

Here's the answer to the first one:

How does the school system work in Uganda?

Here's a brief explanation of how the school system in Uganda works.  You'll be able to see how it is a bit different from the U.S. school system.

Uganda has both private and public schools.  The public schools are the government schools where students can attend for "free."  I say "free" because these schools in the city still have fees and all (even in the remotest village) government schools will still have fees, just not tuition.  These fees will be in the form of building fees, lunch fees, etc.- whatever fee the school can come up with to add on to the little the government provides for each child.  Also, the student's family would still need to provide shoes, lunch, uniform, and books. 

Often these schools are not the best schools.  Children frequently are squeezed into inadequately ventilated rooms.  Sometimes there are no desks.  Students will sit on the floor (if there is even a floor) and teachers will rarely report to work.  The students beginning their educational career in these schools don't read and write well and the percentage of students actually completing primary school from these schools is very low.

That's where the privately run schools step in.  These private schools (especially if a school that performs well on national exams) are usually not cheap schools!  However, most parents feel that educating their children is a good investment and for those that can afford to do so, will send their children to the best schools.

The school year runs from late Jan./early Feb. to late Nov./early Dec. and is divided into three terms with about 3-4 weeks break between terms 1 and 2 and between terms 2 and 3.  The summer break coincides with the Christmas break!

Instead of having kindergarten up to 12th grade, Uganda has 3 years of nursery school (baby, middle, and top class), 7 years of primary school (Primary 1-7), and 4-6 years of high school (Senior 1-6).

Nursery school is not compulsory.  Therefore, all nursery schools are private schools.  Obviously, those students that don't attend nursery school, begin their school career already a great deal behind.  Schools (especially in Kampala) expect children entering Primary 1 to already be reading.  Children can begin nursery school as early as the age of 3. 

Students can begin Primary 1 after completing nursery school or at the age of 6.  However, again, those 6 year olds beginning without attending nursery school will be far behind.  Also, it's not uncommon to find a child at the age of 10 in Primary 1 if that is when his guardian is able to first send him to school or to find a 14 year old in Primary 6 because of missing a year or two due to lack of school fees.

At the end of Primary 7, students sit the Primary Leaving Exam (PLE).  This is a national exam which all Primary 7 leavers are expected to take and determines whether a student will be able to continue to high school and what high school will accept the student.  The better score you have, the better high school you will be admitted to.  The best score on the PLE is a 4.  The higher the number is of your score, the worse you have done.

Senior 1- Senior 4 is called O Level.  Students will study around 10 subjects (depending on the school, sometimes more).  At the end of Senior 4, students will sit another exam to receive their Uganda Certificate of Education.  Again, this exam determines the child's future.  It determines if and where they will be eligible to continue their last two years of high school.  Students who don't pass can either repeat the exam the following year or switch to vocational training.  The best score on the O Level exams is an 8.  The higher the number of the score, again, the worse you have done.

Senior 5 and 6 is called A Level.  Students are studying 3-4 subjects over these two years.  Schools will give the students the subjects to study based on how they performed on the O Level exams.  The subjects taken will determine what you do in university.  For example, a student wanting to study medicine in university, will take biology, chemistry, math, and physics (or a similar combination of subjects).  At the end of Senior 6, students will take their last national exam.  How they do on this exam determines whether they will be eligible to go on to university or not.  The highest score on the A Level exams is a 24 or 25 (depends on the year and the examination board).  The lowest score is a 0.  A 0 means the student has not passed the exam. 

University students will enter university and directly study their major courses, no taking two years of basics!  Students also can go from O or A level to a vocational training course and complete a certificate, go on to complete a diploma, and still be admitted to university.

Hope that explains a bit about how the Ugandan school system works!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Poo Poo, Blankets, and Dogs!

No, this post isn't about a dog that poops and uses a blanket!  This is really more just to remember the funny things that Jurnee says and does.  I need to be keeping up with what the kids do, say, etc.  I know some day I'll be forgetting it (or which child was it) and want to have a place where it's recorded.

So, while I don't have pictures for these stories, I at least want to have them written down!

Well, it's really one dog, and a puppy at that!  The guards got a puppy.  Jurnee likes snapping her fingers and "shouting" for the dog to come to her.  Of course, when the dog gets near her she wants to shout and run the other way.  However, she really likes the dog, and often will let us know she wants to go down to see the dog!

Jurnee is already a wonderful, caring big sister to Joelee.  If I set a blanket down near me, she'll pick it up and give it to the baby- or at least to me and then demand that I put it on the baby!

Jurnee is learning to talk and one of her favorite words at the moment is poo poo.......  AT least she says it at the right time- either right before she goes or right after (so that you can change her diaper and get her out of it as fast as possible).  This evening she even got her changing mat and laid it on the floor for us, said poo poo and laid down on it.  Funniest thing ever!

So, while not any profound writing in this post, pictures, or even anything amusing to anyone else, just moments that were funny to me that I don't want to forget!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sleeping Princesses

I love watching the girls sleep.  They're so peaceful.  Tonight I caught them both sleeping with their hands flung over their heads! 

Also, I love seeing the girls with their daddy.  They are such daddy's girls!  Here we had just come back from Joelee's 6 week check up and immunizations.  She was miserable but all was well with the doctor.  She's now up to 13 pounds and 5 ounces!  She resembles Jurnee to me in a lot of ways, although most people tell me they don't think so.  I think it's just because she's so much bigger than Jurnee was but I see her making the same faces that Jurnee used to make!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sleep Deprivation and a Christmas Recap

OK, so if you've ever had a newborn you understand sleep deprivation!  Joelee is the most peaceful baby.  However, she doesn't believe in sleep (during the night).  We've had a couple of all nighters where she just decided she wanted to hang out ALL NIGHT LONG!  Love her though!

Anyway, the sleep deprivation has made my mind work not so well.  I'll do things like ask where my phone is and I'll be holding it in my hand.  Of course, Jackie thinks this is HILARIOUS!

The latest humor coming from me due to lack of sleep was while we were eating lunch after church on Sunday.  We were sitting in a booth eating pizza.  I was on the outside and Jackie was in the middle.  About half way through lunch she told me she wanted to go to the toilet.  I knew she didn't have to go that bad and could wait.  It just sounds gross to me to go to the toilet in the middle of lunch.  So, wanting to tell her that people don't go to the toilet while eating lunch, I instead said, "They don't go to the bathroom while eating the toilet."  She fell out laughing.  After realizing what I'd just said I also laughed until I cried!

Hopefully I'll be getting more sleep soon!

I realize I didn't put up photos of the kids opening up their Christmas gifts........  Here are a few!  We were so excited that Alice spent Christmas with us.  She's such a gift to our family so it was nice to have her spend such a special day with us.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Car Seat

Joelee loves riding in the car and falls asleep quickly once sitting in her car seat- the car seat that was first Jurnee's!

Jurnee now uses a big girl car seat- which for the most part she enjoys.  However, she also enjoys amusing us by putting herself back in the "baby" car seat.

And just cause Baby Joelee doesn't get as much attention on here......  Here's a picture of the sweetest cuddliest baby in the world!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Playing Outside!

Tenacious Hope

Hope- a strong and confident expectation that God is real, present, and working for my good, even when life spins out of control

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hop that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.  You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.----  Anne Lamott

Today I find myself questioning hope.  Am I hoping for things that are not even God's will for my life? Am I hanging on to things I need to let go of?  

A little prayer taken from Becoming a Woman of Extraordinary Faith by Julie Clinton- "Lord, give me hope in the areas of my life where I've quit believing that things could be any different.  Give me wisdom to know the difference between my heart's hopes and your plans for me.  Even when you say no, God, I want to trust you."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's A New Year

Happy New Year!  Love this little girl that loves to make cute funny faces!

A lot to say but instead of just rambling on, I'll let you enjoy the pictures and if you have time, I recommend this blog to read:  The post that is called repairable.

So glad that our lives are repairable, circumstances are repairable.  So glad that God can redeem and repair even the most broken lives!

I don't know about you, but I'm so ready for a new year.  I would love to say (and believe) that it will be a hundred times better than 2012, but I don't know what 2013 will bring.  However, I am sure that in 2013 we will see opportunities to grow in faith and love, that God will work many things for our good, and that Jesus will be with us every single moment of every single day!