Pictures!

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Our family at the airport…yes, we all had orange shirts and it was the BEST decision I have made in a long time!!! No one came between our “family line” as we walked through the airport and we were given special privileges because people just looked at us and knew immediately we were all together then would put us first in line.

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Our beloved van that makes me feel like a truck driver. ūüôā

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the kids’ school

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Darrell and I on a Wednesday morning when the older kids have school and Shiloh and Darrell and I don’t! Wednesdays Rock!

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Love these silly girls.

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Yes, this view, it’s breathtaking! This was taken next to our house.

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Tea party time in our kitchen, thankfully we also have a large dining room to eat in.

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I love this picture. All of the Dads who commute to the school everyday with so many kids on bikes were stuck at the train tracks so Darrell took this awesome picture of everyone.

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Market time!¬†This was actually before we started school, we can’t wait to visit the markets again once we have a break in 4 weeks. ¬†Maybe then I can actually ask for what I want and then know what they are saying when they tell me how much it is!

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Newsletter, Sept 18th

Here is our most recent newsletter!

Albertville, France

To attempt to put into words our first four weeks in France is a daunting task.  There have been so many great moments and so many debilitatingly overwhelming moments. I think the best way to convey our life here and our transition would be through pictures and high/low bullet points.

High: We arrived after an uneventful flight in Aug. to a 5-bedroom fully-furnished, wonderful 104-year-old house on the school campus.
Low: It can be hard to make a house your home when nothing in it is actually yours, it takes some settling and getting used to.

High: The kids have shocked us with how well they have adjusted to French public school. ¬†There have certainly been sad days and tears from¬†them, but overall, Darrell and I are rejoicing in God’s provision of friends for them and joyful moments at school.
Low: With school comes illness. Since class started two weeks ago Darrell and I have actually only attended two full days of class due to sick children. We have come up with a good system where each of us stays home half a day, but missing half a day of class over and over again makes it very difficult to stay on top of things.

High: There is a precious single woman here (a student at the school) ¬†who has felt God’s prompting to help our family. This has been huge…HUGE! ¬†She has come once or twice a week to help with dishes (we have no dishwasher so hand washing is taking a large amount of time each day)¬†and laundry. ¬†I don’t think I can even express to you how awesome this has been, such a gift from God!

High/Low: We had a sonogram of baby 7 last week with an OB in town.  He spoke English (bonus!) and was very kind, but we did find out that I now have placenta previa  (it was low lying before now) and a c-section is necessary.  We are rejoicing that we are in a safe place for surgery and for the medical care leading up to it, but it was still disappointing and not our favorite news to hear.

High: I, Becky, attended my first sewing class ever….in French. ¬†Our school strongly encourages us to be involved in the community. ¬†As you can imagine, that is very difficult for us, but Darrell and I each wanted to at least attempt to be involved. My sewing group meets twice a month to do a small project together. ¬†It was exhausting because of how little French I know, but even in that one night I learned so much just trying to communicate!

High: We prayed for God to provide a vehicle for us seeing as our kids go to a school that is a 20 minute walk away. ¬†For two weeks Darrell has been biking with a trailer with two little girls and then three big kids trailing behind him….4 times a day,¬†rain or shine.¬† French school has a two-hour break at lunch so you drop them off, pick them up, drop them off, and then pick them up again….it’s kind of A LOT! But we have found that two hour lunch break to be a great time to connect with the kids and touch base on how they are feeling emotionally and physically. ¬†All that said, God finally showed up the perfect¬†van to buy here in town. It was so cheap, so old, and works great (so far)! ¬†We are so thankful! (picture below) ¬†It will be such ¬†blessing to us to help us buy groceries and commuting children back and forth to school on rainy and snowy days.

I have to say, I am actually surprised the highs have outweighed the lows on this page. Even though living in France sounds so fancy (when they say, “Madame Baskin” at the hospital I feel like I should walk straighter and stand taller)¬†and you imagine sitting at cafes sipping expresso, it’s just not like that, at all, with 6 kids and two parents in full time language school. Darrell and I study at least an hour and a half most nights after we put all the kids to bed and do the dishes. ¬† We feel exhausted and overwhelmed most days and when kids keep waking up with fevers, it can be¬†very disheartening.

Please pray that we would be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. That we would spend time with Him daily to renew our strength and rest in His peace. ¬†Praise God with us that our kids are doing so well in school and please pray that they continue to enjoy it and to make friends. Please pray that the last 5 weeks of this pregnancy would be problem free and that God would remove our fears and we could walk peacefully into the c-section on¬†Oct. 26th. ¬†And lastly, that our time here in France would be used by God to share the love of Christ with those who do not know Him. That somehow, with broken French, we could convey God’s love for the people of France.

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer and financial support.  We could not be here without an army behind us!

With Love,
The Baskin Brigade

Our First Three days of French public school….

Needless to say, I am far behind on blogging. I can never decide if it’s time for another newsletter or just a blog post, but doing both never seems to materialize. So here we are, exactly 2 weeks into our new lives as students in France. ¬†Our kids had their first day of French public school on Tuesday. ¬†To say that I was nervous about this day would be the understatement of the year….the decade. I was ready to throw up. I dreamed all the night before about missing classes and test and my stomach hurting so badly I needed to go to the ER and could never eat again! But on Monday night I sat down with my Bible and, as I often do I, was straight up with God. “Lord, I need a word here…a verse…SOMETHING to tell me that you see this and you are going to care for my babies as they go off into this place tomorrow.” ¬†I opened my Bible and read what was next on my reading plan, Matthew 18. ¬†Then I bumped into 18:10…”For I tell you that in heaven their (this would be children’s) angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” ¬†I was kind of stumped at this. I am not a “oh we each have a guardian angel” sort of person, I don’t think I have ever said that. But then I read that verse, then some commentaries, then a few more verses. ¬†“For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11) ¬†And then I knew. I knew God was telling me that my kids, my 5 precious 3-9 year old kids were NOT going alone to French public school. God was with them, an angel was with them, SOMEONE was with them. Though I had anxious sleep that night, I still felt at peace, and really full of joy because God had answered my prayer to give me a word to cling to as I sent my babies off alone. And at drop off on Tuesday morning not a single one of my kids cried (a TRUELY huge miracle!) and I only cried for a few minutes….another huge miracle.

So, how did it go? ¬†Remarkably….amazingly…..totally unexpectedly….terrific. In France kids come home for a two ¬†hour lunch break every day, and on Wednesdays they don’t go back to school after that break. ¬†So only 3 hours after dropping them off on the first day I got to hug them and ask how they were doing. ¬†I was so nervous that I would have 5 kids in puddles of tears, but NO! They loved it. They were jolly and merry as they trotted away after lunch to go back. ¬†I was floored. Totally taken off guard. Seriously kids????? You actually liked be thrown into a school where they only speak French to you and you have no idea what is going on? Really? ¬†But they did, and they do. ¬†I don’t expect it to be a tear free year by any stretch but to have our first week go so well has been a huge answer to many prayers for us. ¬†Locksley, 3, has been crying a bit at drop off but so are all the other French 3 year olds.

In all, we actually really like the French system. ¬†Seeing our kids every day at lunch gives us a chance to check in and reassure them before they march back in to face 3 more hours of French. ¬†They are so courageous and strong, we could not be more proud of them. ¬†We also love that Wednesdays are half days. ¬†It’s the perfect time in the middle of the week to get extra outside playtime in and to build up the stamina to go back in for Thursday and Friday.

Some things that are different at French school:¬†Children start public school at 3, they go the same hours as their older siblings. ¬†The preschool classes have to have special inside shoes, like slippers, that they must put on before going into class. ¬†All their writing is on graph paper. ¬†Our boys will be taking swimming lessons once a week while at school….that’s cool! And France has a law that the streets must be quiet after 10:00pm….that is probably my favorite law ever. You can count on the entire town being silent after 10:00 so when your windows are open at night you aren’t disrupted by your neighbor’s party!

On other notes: We live in a beautiful, very old, 5 bedroom house on our language school campus. ¬†The elementary is about a 20 minute walk (with kids) away from our home. ¬†When you factor in the lunch pick up situation that makes for hours of walking. As it stands now, Darrell rides a bike with a trailer in the back while Seattle, Hudson, and Jack trail behind on their bikes. It is enjoyable for the kids but highly stressful for Darrell because of traffic. Thus, we are praying about purchasing a van for our time here that will ease some of that commute time to school. ¬†The kids will be crushed if we completely take away the bike riding option (which we won’t), but I think once the snow comes they will be happy to hop in a van. ūüėČ

Our flight over here was uneventful. Airports treated us very well and we were often allowed to the front of most lines. It was such a blessing. ¬†The actual plane flight was slightly painful, but not worse than expected with an 18 month old and a 3 year old…..and 4 other children.

I want to post a thousand pictures but I am afraid that if I don’t just get this posted then it will never be posted. ¬†So, I promise to try and post a blog of tons of pictures once time allows….which may be never considering things are sort of insanely crazy here!!!! ¬†Oh and Darrell and I start our full time class work tomorrow. We are nervous, excited, and wondering how this will all work out. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Baby girl 7 is due in 8 weeks, we are so excited to meet her and so far she is doing wonderfully in the womb, praise the Lord for a great pregnancy.

Blessings to you from France!