Reflections for the season

For the last few years, I would think about a One-Word as a focus of the year. This year was “Finding (Peace, Joy, Anything in the world)”. To be honest, I am not intentional about making that as my focus.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how, what, I do as a mum, wife etc. And in picking The Peaceful Preschool curriculum for Judah, that is what I desire for my home.

PEACE

It’s difficult and challenging to exhibit peace in everyday life, when tantrums, tiredness, whines, discipline kicks in.

I find that peace is so hard to achieve when the kids are not napping, or sleeping early, and right now we are potty training Judah who for some reason often refuses to go and end up messing the floors. That drives me real mad and peace is flown out of the window very quickly.

So, in my everyday life, mundane life, I wish for peace, a peaceful heart and mind, exhibiting a deep peace that transcends all understanding.

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Happy 1st Birthday, David!!

Get the party poppers out! David is ONE!

Our little trooper who surprised us 5 weeks early has brought so much fun to our family.

He is mostly peaceful and quiet unless being ‘bullied’ by his Big brother.

While he is upset whenever his big brother bullies him, he is also always so excited to be around him.

Super interested in our food and gets upset if we are eating and he is not.

We are so excited what another year will bring and all the fun we will have.

Doi Inthanon

Every November to February, the hiking trail “Kew Meh Pan” at Doi Inthanon is open for hiking. We had heard about it from church friends since coming back but had always missed the chance to go.

This year, we managed to go up with the DTS.

Doi Inthanon is the highest point in Thailand, it gets really cold during this season. On the morning we went, it was 7°C at 6am. We had previously went with some Singaporean friends in September and it was raining with temperature at 16°C. We were totally unprepared and went up in shorts and skirts!

We woke up at 3am, yes woke the boys up at 3.30am to meet with the group at 4am. The boys were surprisingly not cranky at all! Judah was excited from the night before, the moment he woke up he said ‘Go mountains ? See polar bears and penguins?’ Erm, yea but not really. He was really talkative at 3.30am! David just fell right back to sleep in the car.

There are different points to stop but we drove up to the top to catch a cloudy sunrise, that is also where the hiking trail was.

Us all bundled up!

David fell right before the hike and slept through 3km of the 3.2km! I babywore him in the carrier the entire way until he woke up and our friends could carry him.

The first part of the hike which was a series of upwards steps and then stairs/slope going downwards. I thought I was not able to make it through the hike. My legs were going wobbly!

The air is thinner because of the high elevation so it was important to stay hydrated and rest frequently as needed.

However those scenic viewpoints were worth it all for sure. The morning fog covered the mountains so we were ‘in the clouds’ which Judah calls them ‘fire’.

I’m looking forward to the next time we hike up again, maybe when David and Judah are ready for hiking on their own. Judah wanted to walk and not be backpacked, he did not last 20 steps.

If hiking is not your thing, there is always a waterfall at somewhere along the driving route which you could rest in nature.

Homeschool + Preschool

I’m currently using The Peaceful Preschool for Judah. I really like the curriculum and the activities are mostly low prep and engages multiple areas like practical skills, arts, science, language, numbers etc). It’s alphabet-based and literature-based. We do a letter each week. I supplement activities from Simply Learning too.

How did I know about TPP?
It was from Simply Learning Kids blog that I learned about TPP, I may have stumbled on her blog on Pinterest. I downloaded the free sample and within a week, bought the curriculum. The feeling when you know you’ve found something good and just gotta have it.

Before that, I would search on Pinterest on activities pertaining to the alphabet I want to do. But it was getting difficult because I have to do all the lesson plans myself and I don’t know where to start.

Sadly, I don’t have access to many of the books in the book list. We also don’t have children libraries in Chiang Mai. I really wish I’m in Singapore for this, then we would be able to borrow most of the books. I’m not sure if I want to buy them because it is ALOT of money. We have been using Youtube videos of the book titles to learn instead. Not the best, but at least it gives a focus as to what Judah is watching.

I like it that after using this curriculum like the name of it suggest, Peaceful Preschool, it has brought Peace into our learning. I have a guide for what to do, and I don’t feel guilty that I don’t know what to do. Some days or week, we do all the books and activities and have great pictures to show. Some days or week, we just do one book or a few activities and it’s fine. Every day and every week is different, each day the needs of our child is different, we just have to see what would work and what would not.

Some days we go with the flow of the child. If Judah picks up “Pancake Pancake” by Eric Carle and says he wants to eat pancake, then we will read it and let him make pancakes for lunch.

The good thing is after I’m done with all the alphabets, I am likely to repeat it and so Judah gets to learn more when he is abit older, so I am not going to beat myself up if he is not able to write all the alphabets or know the phonics now. The key is to spark the learning light in him!

Many people ask if Judah is going to school yet. I’m thinking maybe in Jan 2018, we might send him to a Christian preschool for a few days a week.

But we are having so much fun at home, I feel like we don’t have to send him to school!

Systems in the Season

To be honest, I’m starting to enjoy the absence of Tee in the daytime, mostly because I have an idea what is going to happen. Like I know all morning and lunches, he is not around, so I have to feed ourselves or bring the boys to the park or our favourite cafe with the sandpit. Afternoons, will be nap times, they usually take 1-2 hours to settle down and 1-2 hours to sleep, during that time, if dinner is on our own, I will do the meal preparation or cook so that when the boys are awake, food is ready to eat after they are out of the cranky slumber state.

I find setting a system for our home learning is useful so that Judah does not attach himself to the iPad or the TV all day long. I’m not opposed to the iPad or TV, just that whenever we want him to stop, he throws a tantrum.

We try to do some learning activities after breakfast and before David gets cranky for his nap around 9.30am. Then I have to leave Judah to his own devices as to what to do. Sometimes he has the TV, sometimes he just plays on his own. One time, I asked him if he wanted to be upstairs with me or stay downstairs and he said ‘Downstairs, I want to do MY things’ – We had gone through some ‘Goodnight Gorilla’ activities over the week and he wanted to play with it. The learning activities helped to take some negative energies off the desires to watch the iPad and TV…

While David is napping, I quickly give some attention to Judah before getting lunch ready (usually we have noodle/macaroni soup, or fried rice or leftovers or claypot chicken rice that has been in the rice cooker). If we are lucky, we can enjoy lunch without the baby, otherwise baby joins us for lunch.

Some days I think I’m too ambitious and we have a big activity like baking while baby is asleep and then he chooses not to sleep long! OMG!

Another system that helped me through is meal planning. It takes away so much pressure trying to figure out what to eat. I made a one-month plan and ran it the second time now. The meals are easy, baked in the oven, or steamed or cook in one pot or cook advance and freezed. I know I can’t do much stirfry with 2 kids, especially when David gets really cranky some times. Meal planning also helps in grocery shopping, so we just hit the supermarket once or twice a week.

I think these are all the systems that helped me get through life in this crazy season.