Monday, February 28, 2011

Playgrounds and Preschools: Children and Language Acquisition

Many moms struggle with the balance of home and work, and I am no different. My language year started off lonely. I didn’t know many people and had two young children, ages 3 and 2. Through a friend, I found a reliable babysitter for my 2 year old and after much searching put my 3 year old in preschool. I found a teacher through another friend and started attending classes 3 days a week.....

Head on over to Language Year, a friend and colleague Jonathan Trousdale's blog about learning a foreign language!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quick update

Irby family still busy and doing fine! Josh is trying hard to finish his book on Miss Irby's life in the next couple of weeks. The kids are still enjoying vrtic although sometimes they ask to go back to their old vrtic and often they ask if they can just stay home with a sitter! But the vrtic is really good for them and they are already making friends.
Sarajevo is once again covered in snow and it's just really beautiful. The snow is powdery so there is not much ice, which is a good thing. Not a lot of slipping around!

Has anyone started a gift list? I got to 100 the other day. Here are some things from my list yesterday:
...Josh made dinner last night
...My mom read a book to the kids that her mom read to her when she was little over skype (gotta love technology)
...the way the snow falls so delicately from the sky
...a city covered in a blanket of snow

Life is more colorful and you live more awake when counting the gifts God has given. I always remember my Nannie (who is now 100 and still fully alive and well!) "Count your blessings count them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done!"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Fight Fair

Hello all!
It has been a busy week here at Irby Road. On Monday the kids started their first day of vrtic (preschool). We have been waiting for space at this school for 6 months so it was really exciting to finally send them. It sounds like a great place. They have a singing circle, different crafts every day, puppet shows, acting, play instruments, cook, and have a great deal of outdoor play. Here's a picture of them at their first day. Aren't they cute?

Last night we spoke at our Svaki student cafe. The theme was Valentine's day so Josh and I decided to talk about conflict and how to "fight fair". We started with a fake fight about forgetting the notes. It was hard not to laugh (I'm not the best actress) but I think it got the point across on how NOT to argue! We talked about laying ground rules before there is a conflict so that when you are fighting you can remember the boundaries you have set. Here are the ground rules:

Generalize: Stay away from using terms such as "always" and "never" (you ALWAYS do that, you NEVER do that!)
Speak non- truth: hurtful words you don't truly mean and you will regret later
Threaten: with physical harm or with leaving forever. Josh and I have a promise that we will never mention the "D" word or even entertain the possibility of leaving each other for good.
Leave: There is a healthy leaving referred to as "Time Out" but it needs to be used properly. Instead of huffing off mad and running to a place where the conflict can be avoided and maybe even forgotten, Time Out has to be verbalized. "Can we talk about this in an hour? I'm really mad right now and I don't want to say anything I will regret. I need some time to clear my head and think." My coping mechanism in conflict is to run away angry. This never helps and should be avoided. Josh knows it's my weak spot so when he sees me start to turn, he lovingly takes my shoulder and draws me back in.

Stay Calm: Avoid raising your voice. This is where Time Out can come in handy!
Use "I" instead of "you": State how you feel without accusing the other person
Apologize: This is a big one. From the beginning of marriage, we have tried our best in conflict to search the conflict to see where we could possibly be wrong. Even if you feel totally innocent and that the other is COMPLETELY at fault, find some place where you said the wrong thing, responded wrong, etc.
Forgive: Again, another biggie for us. Not just for us, but for the whole family. When someone says "I'm sorry" (according to a sin committed against the other, not in a total accident), we never respond with "It's okay." This implies that the offense was not heavy or was just "nothing". When you respond with "I forgive you" it does something within both people. For the one apologizing it makes them feel the weight of what they did, and the sacrifice the other person took to forgive them. For the one giving forgiveness it makes them search the soul and truly offer forgiveness. Such power in words!

We closed with 1 Corinthians 13, the ever familiar love chapter of the Bible:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

I hope this helps a bit in all your relationships, be it romantic, friendships, children/parent, work....

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! (and happy birthday to my Mamma, Sylvia Sharron!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

1000 Gifts...

Hey all,
Just wanted to recommend a book I'm listening to and hoping to have a hard copy soon. It's called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I just listened to the 3rd chapter yesterday in a crowded cafe. The challenge excited me. She challenged me to keep a running list of gifts God has given to you. The small things. Basically the small things add up to become one giant miracle in your life. They are seeds that are planted in your soul that grow over time into a beautiful great tree. So I will periodically post some gifts that I will write in my "gift journal". (you can do this don't have to have a pretty journal...a scrap of paper or a spiral bound notebook will do just fine) Remember, it's the small things. Ann Voskamp found joy in grated cheese. Grated cheese!
The goal is to get to 1,000 gifts. She said after she got to 1,000 she hasn't stopped. It has changed her life and brought joy. So here I go...

#1. Finding peace and joy in a crowded cafe in Sarajevo
#2. Family movie night "Despicable Me" and esp. watching Israel's fear turn to laughter
#3. First day of school and the excitement that goes with that
#4. Early Sarajevo Mornings
#5. The way the light perfectly shines on the red cathedral

Will you make a list with me of the thousand gifts God has given you? Let me know if you do!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Slovenia, Italy, etc...

Sorry I have been silent for a while! We left the 21st of January and drove 8 hours through Bosnia, Croatia and into Slovenia where we arrived at the coast for a conference with 1200 other workers from our organization. What a tremendous blessing to worship with them!!! I can't spend time posting all the fabulous please visit me on facebook to see the pictures from Slovenia and Italy!

It was so much fun to have Josh's brother Seth there to lead us in worship. He is a talented musician who has written and recorded lots of new worship songs as well as just plain fun songs with his beautiful wife Laura! Of course we really missed seeing Laura and the kids as they stayed home, but it was fun to hang out with "Uncle Seff" as the kids call him.

We had a great time being with people from all over Eastern Europe and Russia. The weather was also so beautiful and called us to a beautiful walk through the old town. Such beautiful architecture!

The kids really enjoyed themselves in their own kids' conference. A church team from Laurelglen Bible Church in Bakersfield, CA came to serve our kids. They did an amazing job! Our kids really learned a lot and have carried what they learned home with them.

After the conference we took a family vacation to Florence, Italy...just 6 hours away. A friend has an apartment there and she let us stay great! We saw so much art. My favorite was getting Israel her own guide to the Uffizi gallery. You should have seen the expression on her beautiful face when she would find certain pieces of art her kids' guide would lead her to! We also enjoyed seeing the David, going to Michelangelo plaza to look over the city, and visiting the Duomo Cathedral.

Sorry this post is so short, it's Sunday morning and I need to start getting ready for church. Josh and I will lead in worship today (in Bosnian! Pray for us!) and then I will teach the small children in Sunday School. The kids start preschool tomorrow (!) so look forward to a post with lots of pictures soon!

take care!