Monday, September 28, 2009

We found a Preschool!

We have officially found a preschool for Israel! It's called "Vrtic Sunce" (that means "Kindergarten Sunshine") and it is absolutely beautiful. It faces a massive park and has windows all along the walls, letting in lots of natural light. Israel's classroom has a loft with lots of "girly" toys. When we visited, she liked to play up there and used her imagination. The teacher is nice. Her name is Amra and she speaks both Bosnian and English, which is helpful. Israel's health tests will come in on Thursday afternoon, I'll turn them in to the Vrtic (pronounced "VER-teach" on Friday and then she will start Monday! She'll start at 3 days a week and go from 8am until 12pm. She'll have breakfast there. There will be a lot of time where she will be able to play outside in the beautiful park. She will learn songs, her numbers, her letters and more. And, most importantly, she will make friends. There are 2 children in the school (which only has about 30 children) who speak English. We can walk to the school or take a bus. Elijah will not go to Vrtic yet, but he will start play dates with Merima, our awesome babysitter, who will teach him lots of Bosnian words and speak to him a lot in Bosnian while I take my Bosnian language classes in the mornings. It's a wonderful set up. Thank you all who prayed for us during this process. We felt truly led and we are hopeful for a wonderful first year of school.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting Izzy into Preschool

So we are trying to get Israel into preschool here, but it's so complicated! So today, we tried to get some things done. We went to the medical offices (30 minute walk away) with Merima (our God-send!) and tried to get all the medical stuff taken care of. I found out then that I have to take her to ANOTHER doctor on the OTHER side of town, get her breathing test, get a stool sample (and carry it back to the medical office!), then RETURN to the office (with the stool sample) as well as her birth certificate, passport, and some more paperwork we have to fill out. Oh yeah, and her immunization records. Which of course I didn't have. So I had to call her doctor and get her to scan it and email it to me. UUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHH.
Tomorrow we are going to the doctor to get Israel's breathing test. Then back to medical office.

We checked out a couple of preschools. I'll keep you updated. They were all different from one another. Please pray for us to find the right one for us.

Also, Israel started ballet tonight. She goes 2 times a week. The studio is right around the corner from our house, which is cool. She did well...the first part she started crying and said she didn't want to take ballet. But by the end, she was participating and was so proud of herself.

Okay, that's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Merima and Homeschool

Hey everyone, quick update here. It's good to be back home in Sarajevo. We love being home!

Some quick pictures: Israel and Elijah with Merima, their sweet babysitter and our dear friend. We love this sweet woman and are so grateful to have her in our lives. She made these heart pillows for us by hand.
The other picture is Israel and Elijah after our homeschool play dough time. We made a "B" out of play dough.
We will be looking for Israel's preschool in the next day or so. Please keep that in your thoughts!

Monday, September 21, 2009

To Croatia, back to Sarajevo...

Hey everyone, I'll try to give you a brief update of our last week. We went to Croatia for a few days for a conference with our organization here. Tuesday morning, we woke up and got ready to go. After Izzy ran down the stairs after Josh, I chased her, I fell down the stairs, she was disciplined, we all got in the rental car (a VW Golf 6) and drove the 5 hour drive to Split. On the way there, Izzy said "there is something I miss really bad about room and my nana and grandy". That's when it tears started falling...are our children going to grow up okay without having what they had? A yard? Sweet neighbors? A pink room for Izzy? (She and Elijah share a room) Grandparents close by? Good solid teaching on Sunday morning? Then, a song came on our CD player in the car. It's from "Sing Over Me" (all you parents out there, get's the best lullaby CD)...Here are some lyrics:

When it's dark and it's cold and I can't feel my soul, You are still good.
When the world has gone grey and the rain's here to stay You are still good.
With every breath I take in, I'll tell You I'm grateful again.
And the storm it may swell even then it is well
And You are good
So how can I thank You, what can I bring?
What can this poor man lay at the feet of a king?
So I'll sing you this love song, It's all that I have
To tell you I'm grateful for holding my life in Your hands.

I couldn't stop crying and every time I hear that song I cry now.

Then, we got to Split and stayed with the Brents. They have 3 little girls and Izzy and their youngest Claire who is 6 played forever with girly things. Claire and Ana share a pink room so Izzy thought that was great. Elijah had a good time too. But I got a fever, then passed out almost! I laid down and then we left for Porec the next morning, although my stomach was killing me and I cried a lot on the way there.

We got to Porec for our conference 5 hours later. I got in touch with some other moms there who have been serving in Croatia for a while. Karen, Jane and Lynn were amazing. They all met with me individually and shared with me their experiences. I told them about my homesickness and they talked me through it. They said it is normal and I will get through it. Through talking with them, we have decided it is best for me to put Izzy in Vrtic (preschool) this year and Elijah in it next year. It will be best for them for learning language and making friends.

The conference was great, although my stomach hurt the entire time and I had to take naps every day. I'm feeling better now. Not 100%, but much better.

So now we are back in Sarajevo. We got back last night. Izzy said how much she LOVES being back in Bosnia. She LOVES her new Bosnia home. That made me feel better. And Wednesday I will check out a Vrtic nearby. Today and tomorrow is Bajram (our city celebrates this, it is the end of Ramadan) most of the Vrtics are closed until Wednesday. We'll see and I'll let you know what happens! I can't believe I'm sending my baby to preschool! This is a challenge for me, the homeschool freak, but also exciting!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Accountable Kids

We just started this new program with Israel. It's called Accountable Kids. You can check it out online at It's a board with several pegs: start, finish, ticket, date, and chores. The cards on the left (start peg) are the tasks Israel must complete in a day. They are sorted by color, so the yellow ones are the ones she must do in the morning. So every morning, Israel looks at the chart and sees she needs to make her bed, so she makes her bed and then flips over the card to the finish peg. Then she sees she needs to take her vitamins, etc...then she brushes her teeth, combs her hair, dresses herself, eats breakfast, and reads her Bible. It's been a great thing for all of us. If she completes all her morning tasks, she gets a ticket, redeemable for a priveledge later on. (TV, playground, etc.) If she disobeys in the day, she gets a ticket taken away. And if she is able to make it a day without loosing a ticket, she gets a star on her date card...10 stars equals a special date with Daddy wherever she wants to go and do whatever she wants to do.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Israel is so funny

Here's the quote from the week:

Me: Let's eat lunch on our patio today. it's such a nice day.
Israel: No, there are too many bees out there (there were a lot of bees that day, as well as some birds that come often).
Me: Okay, we don't have to eat outside today.
Israel: Yeah, Mom. I'm afraid of the birds AND the bees!
Me: (trying to hide my laughter!)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The life of the Irbys in Sarajevo

We created this blog so people back in the States (and around the world) can keep up with our family. Check back for updates and pictures soon!