Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday AJ!

What an honor it is to celebrate AJ's 5th birthday!

Hard to believe this little guy is five years old!!!  AJ is a happy kid full of energy and life.  He loves cars, things that play music, and Mickey Mouse.  His favorite foods are eggs, noodles, and watermelon. AJ thinks anything with a button is a good activity...we do not because that includes the stove, dishwasher, ice maker, tv remote, computer, etc.  He is very sweet and likes to share things.  AJ thinks his big brother Brody is awesome, and he now loves for Brody to pick him up and carry him around.

AJ knows his colors, alphabet, and he can count to 20.   He has learned a lot of words in English, and we have found he knows more English than he can speak.  He enjoys for friends to teach him new things like giving a thumbs up, taking a selfie with a phone, and how to sing "Bless The Lord/10,000 Reasons."  AJ likes bath time and changing his clothes.  In fact, AJ would change clothes 50 times a day if we would let him.  He loves for his hands to be clean.  His favorite place to sit is on a Cars couch from Mrs. Wendi.  AJ is very social, and he enjoys greeting and shaking hands with people.  His favorite thing to say to friends is "See you later."

Ryan and I are so proud to be his parents.  AJ has brought great joy to our family, and we feel very blessed that we are the ones who get to celebrate him today and everyday.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Our New Journey

The Brices watching planes land and take off at Charlotte Airport.

Our family is beginning a new journey.

It's not a trip, but I'm sure it will lead to all kinds of places.

An idea started back in November.  I saw a woman with cancer, and my heart broke for her as it was very apparent her days left were few.  Oh I hate cancer!  As I softly prayed for her, a thought came to my mind.  Here was the thought, "If a countdown started today and I only had one year left to live, what would I do?"  While dwelling on that question, I was surprised at how many answers I kept thinking of.  There were things on my bucket list I would accomplished, there were a few places I was certain I needed to see, and most of my to do's were spending time with people I loved.  I thought I would take Brody out of school and teach him myself.  Within minutes I thought about dozens upon dozens of things I would love to teach and show my children.  So while I was thinking of what I could teach the boys if I homeschooled, I became very excited.  Whoa!  When I realized my excitement, I convinced myself this was a crazy thinking and my Carpe Diem thinking way of life had gone too far.  Too far I say!

But the idea didn't really go away!  If homeschooling is what I would do if my time was short, what was I waiting for?  Why not seize the day and make the most of all of my days?  If my heart was to be with my children and teach my children, why was I not doing that?  I thought of many cons of why I shouldn't, but the pro of "I just really want to" weighed more heavily than the cons. So one day I brought it up to Ryan, and I expected him to say "Have you lost your mind?"...he just thoughtfully listened.  Without hearing the word "no" the door opened up to begin to dream.  I began to pray about it.  Then a Girls Night Out with my Growth Group friends from church happened, and I listened to women whose hearts felt just like mine.  Maybe this idea wasn't so crazy. My friend Shannon had the courage to do a homeschool meeting that would answer questions for ladies thinking about doing home education.  Hearing Shannon, Nikki, and Leslie's passion was one of the best encouragements I have ever received.  At the meeting the idea went from crazy to really doable.  One thing that really interested me that night was Classical Conversations.  It has a way of memorizing information that is perfect for Brody's learning style.  I knew instantly it would be a good challenge for him.  So a couple of weeks later I dragged Ryan and Brody to the CC information meeting.  Team Brice needed to all be on board for this to work.  My guys liked it which only left the big question of how would this work with AJ.  We traveled to India just a couple weeks later, and we meet AJ and found out what he might be capable of.  We think AJ is capable of great things!  There in India we made the decision to turn our family's lives upside down...upside down in a very good way.

Let me answer the question before it gets asked. We are not taking Brody out of public school because we dislike it.  In fact, Brody's little school is a precious place to be.  He has had 3 outstanding teachers and 2 wonderful assistants.  Brody has been in great hands for three years in a very loving environment.  I just want the opportunity to do what these awesome women get to do.

Our sweet little AJ was a big part of the decision.  He will be turning five years old next week, but he is a lot like a three year old in height, weight, and maturity.  He is not ready to be sent off to school. To be honest, this momma has missed out on five years of his life, and I don't want to miss out on any more of it.  Brody would also think it was completely unfair to homeschool AJ next year and not him too.

So let the home education journey begin! There are adventures to be had, and we are going to take them.  There is simplicity to be had, and we're going to enjoy it.  There are precious moments to be had everyday, and we are not going to miss out on them any longer.

Sure I will have days this Fall I will want to pull my hair out, and you my friends will have to remind me of this post.  This will not be an easy journey, but it will be a journey worth taking.  I can't wait to see where it takes the Brices!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Growing Together

Children are not the only ones who grow.  Parents, adults, can continue to grow if we allow ourselves to grow.  We may not grow in height (although weight comes very easily), but we can grow in our understanding of life.  I've grown so much lately in compassion, knowledge, and maybe a little wisdom.  Watching AJ be content with the simplest of things, makes me realize how much unnecessary junk I have.  Hearing AJ's laughs of pure delight, makes me realize I don't laugh enough in life.  Holding AJ when he gets hurt or is sad, or just needs a snuggle, makes me realize how much more love I have to give.  Seeing AJ experience something for the first time, makes me realize how much joy and beauty I take for granted.  I have been told by so many people how blessed AJ is to have us as parents, but that is just not true.  It's the other way around.  He has blessed us in so many ways.  And Brody too!  Watching Brody give of himself, give of his time, give of his things, and give, give, give to his little brother shows great love.

This growth is awesome!  This growth also comes with growing pains.  It's not always easy.  Sometimes after a meltdown with AJ or just a moment I started to lose my patience, I can look back and see how if I would have taken a different approach things would have gone smoother.  I can put my pride aside and acknowledge I can do things better the next time.  I've learned it's ok to teach/train AJ in different ways from how I taught Brody in order to get the same result.  And it's also ok when the ending result is different...after all each little heart is so very different.  I think the difference between a good parent and a great parent is the willingness, the humbleness, to say the way I just did this could be done better.  I've got a long, long way to reach great parent status, but I'm willing to set out on that journey.  I just want to encourage others that growth requires adjustments.

Today's pictures are of our garden and AJ's first time to touch and feel the rain with his Uncle Corky and Aunt Tanya.