Thursday, January 20, 2011

Adeline Paulina Irby

Josh is writing a book right now about a cousin of his who came to Bosnia as a missionary 150 years ago. He wrote a short summary of her life including pictures that you can read or download here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Going to Slovenia...

Hey all!
Thank you for all your prayers and support of us here at Irby Road :) Just wanted to send a quick update. We Irbys are so excited to head to the coast of Slovenia on Friday for an area staff conference. Many countries will be represented. Please lift us in prayer as we will drive several hours there. Josh's brother Seth Irby (check out his music!) will be leading all of us in worship. Pray for the kids as they will have their own program, similar to VBS. This was extremely positive for the kids last year when we were in Spain. A team came (and a different one will come this time) to the conference and just played and loved on our kids. They felt very valued and extremely cared for. Please pray for this again and for the kids to make friends with other children in our region.

After the conference, we decided to drive the extra six hours to Florence, Italy! We have some co-workers there that we will stay with. We can't wait to see all the beautiful art and history!

Thank you for your prayers and I'll probably update while we are away or even a post before we leave :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Family Game Night!

Last night the kids wanted to play games. I really wasn't in the mood for Candyland. Then Josh had a stroke of genius.


But wait. Our kids are ages 4 and 3. How do you play Cranium with kids that little?

Josh set up the board and put out the die, playdough and paper/pencil. He never got out the cards. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, it has 4 categories: Word Worm, Creative Cat, Data Head and Star Performer. We made up the ideas for each category and each family member got to participate! Here are some things we did for each category:

Word Worm: for Israel who is just learning to read, we wrote out a three letter word for her to sound out. For Elijah who is learning the alphabet we wrote a letter that he told us the name of that letter or it's sound.

Creative Cat: We all took turns drawing something or sculpting something out of playdough that was related to what the kids are learning (i.e. Bible stories or something about Italy)

Data Head: We would ask the kids questions about Bible stories (basic Bible trivia) or ask them to quote a Bible memory verse they have learned recently.

Star Performer: We hummed familiar songs or acted out Bible stories and the other would have to guess which story it was.

We had so much fun! So much fun in fact that we played another game. A Christmas gift from "Aunt LouLou" (my sis...thanks, Lou!) A classic...COOTIE BUG!

Nothing spiritual about that, just having fun making those cute little bugs :)

What kind of games do you play with your kids?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day of Prayer

This Friday is a day we have dedicated to pray for Sarajevo. Thank you for taking time in your busy schedules to pray with us.

Josh with Israel and Ada, one of Israel's friends from ballet

Monday, January 10, 2011

First 2 weeks of January : Homeschool

Hello everyone! I just wanted to do a quick post about what we are doing in homeschool these days. I have been following the curriculum for My Father's World Kindergarten for Israel, but for Elijah (besides just sitting in) we do some Montessori-type activities. I have been so challenged since what I wrote in my last post about this. I am not a certified teacher for academics, just for music, so this is hard for me. It's tempting to spend all my free time searching the internet for ideas, reading more books and worrying. But I'm trying to keep my focus right. When I find myself stressing over it, I hear the words "Be still!" And I will be honest, it's hard to obey. But when I can get the stress out of my mind over it, we really have a lot of fun! Elijah really enjoyed building his tower:

So proud

Now the fun part!

Israel loved her moveable alphabet. She uses the letters to spell words on the card.

Elijah liked putting lentils on numbers. He lines the foam numbers in order and puts the correct number of lentils on each number

This idea came from Counting Coconuts. It's just a little box with clothes in it. The kids take the clothes out and practice buttoning, zipping and velcroing. I can't wait to add snaps and ties in there :)

Israel only did this one once, but Elijah wanted to do it again and again. The kids can pour water into their own glass, but they have a hard time knowing when to stop at the top. I put some green, red and normal color pasta (we're talking about Italy because we are going there in a few weeks!) into a kid-sized pitcher. They pour it into each glass.

Of course there were a lot of messes with this, but Elijah doesn't mind sweeping them up! :)

We did patterns too. Because we are learning about Italy, the kids are making patterns with red, white and green.

In My Father's World, we are doing a unit on Farm Animals. The kids have had this Fisher Price barn for a long time, but lately they haven't really played with it much. I put it out on the shelves along with this fun activity and today the barn was a hit! It started with Israel putting together basic words (red: adjectives, blue: verbs, black: nouns..but we didn't get into it that much!) to make basic sentences as she played. It was so fun and really cool to see her begin to read!

Last but not least...our composer of the month. We did this when I was a music teacher, but now that I'm teaching my own kids it's so much more fun! We picked Vivaldi because of the Italy study, but also because Israel danced to the Winter movement of the Four Seasons Concerto. Together, Israel and I made a scrapbook page about Vivaldi. Every week we will make a page or two about Italy, laminate them, bind them and take them with us on our trip. I think the kids will remember more that way.

And more about what is going on in our lives besides homeschool.....
Elijah received his first ice skating lesson with Jeff, one of our friends who plays on the hockey team!

I couldn't post without including this! Those of you who participate in Operation Christmas Child each year...a huge thank you! Because of all the shoeboxes given all over the world, we can minister more effectively. Here's a picture after our church's puppet show, where we distribute the boxes. We brought two of Israel's friends and their mothers this year. The girls loved their gifts!
Happy New Year, everyone!

Linked up with "Artists and Art" at

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Hey all,
First of all I want to say thank you to all who read this blog. It encourages me. Last year I rarely updated it, but now I'm getting into the whole blogging thing. :)

I wanted to confess something on here. Recently I have been trying to re-evaluate what is important. In light of our recent loss life has held so much more meaning. So in light of the new year I have tried to focus on 2 things: living in the here and now and words.

First: living in the here and now. Many of you know that I am a worrier. No, not in the visual sense where you see a frazzled worrier running around. I worry in the quiet. And if you have had a deep conversation with me, you hear me talk about the same things over and over again: my kids, their education in a 2nd language, our health, etc. This past summer and fall have held the hardest in the worrying department. I follow a blog called "Confessions of a Homeschooler" If you homeschool your kids, please check out this site! It's got some great ideas and free printables :) In her printable section she has a list of "SuperMom vs. Abiding Mom". I printed this out several months ago, but just five days ago I started looking at it. I committed to do one characteristic a day with the corresponding Bible verse as part of my time with God. The first one really hit me. Super Mom does. Abiding Mom is. The corresponding Bible verse? Psalm 46:10: Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted among all peoples (that includes the Irby home!) I realized I am striving way too hard. I spent countless hours researching the internet on how to do homeschool. I work really hard to create an environment where they can best learn. I try really hard to get my ideas up so others can see and hopefully benefit. And none of that is bad. In fact, it's all good. But it's just too much. Too much striving. All the while, I'm doing it worrying if it will be good enough. Worrying if I'm doing enough. And even when I create or the kids create something really great, I still want more. So. That's a thing I'm trusting with God now. Cease striving. Know He is God. He will be exalted in this home! I chose to live in the here and now, for we don't know how many nows we will have. I will not be afraid of the future nor carry the weight of the past.

The second: words. Lately under stress, I have muttered (okay, shouted) some careless words around the house. "How many times have I told you! come on...hurry up! don't you understand Mommy is tired too?! stop it, I'm busy!" I could go on and on...
I have been following another blog I highly recommend for encouraging us in life. Ann at A Holy Experience has recently written a post about the impact of words. I would encourage you to visit her blog and go to that post. There are two posts and both are very well worth the read (as are all of her posts!) Basically she sums it up in one phrase. "Only speak words that make souls stronger." Ouch. Have I made their little souls stronger by the end of the day? When we get in bed and turn off the lights, is my husband's soul stronger than the day before? I'm realizing that the words I speak carry a lot of weight. Out of the heart the mouth speaks.

I share all this to ask for prayer for me in these areas. I don't ever claim to have it all together. In fact, I probably will finish this post and carry on with my day still struggling. We will all struggle. But the difference is that God promises He will walk with us.

I leave you with this:

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice, let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus. Finally , brothers, whatever is true, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heart and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. " ---Philippians 4:4-9

Monday, January 3, 2011


If you would like to see pictures, you can go to my Facebook page and see!

We went to Jahorina mountain (site of the 1984 winter Olympics) and stayed in a cabin. We went with our teammates, the Trousdales and Jacksons. With 5 small children in the snowy mountains, we were pretty excited that Israel and Elijah would enjoy a fun-filled Christmas.

When we got to the cabin, it was a lot smaller than we thought. My initial thought was "if we survive this as a team, we can survive anything" But the guys moved around furniture, and we figured out how to have a small area for the kids to play and a place to put our small Christmas tree. The kids decorated ornaments for the tree. We woke up to a White Christmas. Jonathan began the morning reading the Christmas story from the Bible, and we opened the presents under the tree and in the stockings. We went sledding and drank homemade hot cocoa (thanks to Hersheys!)

More fun memories:
playing games (spades, Apples to Apples, Settlers of Catan), sledding in the deep snow!, making a huge snowman, eating snow ice cream, Christmas ham!, egg nog, children playing by the light of the Christmas tree, pancakes and eggs Christmas morning....

Definitely a tradition I want to continue!

New Year's was a harder time for us...3 of us caught a bad cold. Just Israel remained free of coughs and runny nose. I fell asleep for the big celebration.
But New Year's day was good...we joined some friends for lunch and enjoyed their company most of the day.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year, everyone!