Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Happy Gotcha Day to Jada

Thirteen years ago today we met a little girl who immediately took our breath away.  As first-time parents, we hit the jackpot.  Jada is now a young lady who we are so proud of, for her self-confidence, independence, and intelligence.  What an honor to watch her blossom.  We can't wait to see what's next for this rising star.  We love you, Jerds!

Monday, October 08, 2018

Rehoboth Beach Without the Kids

 Rehoboth Beach has become a special place for our family, having been the site for not one but two summer vacations.  It's a cute town with everything we need in a getaway, including beaches, carnival rides, ice cream, and the local Y.  So this past summer and three summers ago, it's been where we've gone for a week or two and we've had a blast.

But Amy and I had a sneaking suspicion it would be a fun place for just the grown-ups too.  So we took off last Friday morning after dropping Asher off at preschool and barely two hours later were pulling up into a familiar place, yet without three kids and tons of boxes and suitcases in tow.  How freeing!

Friday, October 05, 2018

Transitioning into Adolescence

Even as most of our parental energy is spent corralling and cajoling our little tyrant Asher, Aaron (age 11) and Jada (13) are in need of significant care as they enter into adolescence.  So I am thankful for two remarkable readings that arrived in my life just in time.

The first is "Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood," by Lisa D'Amour, an incredible window into what is going in with teen girls and how we can help them grow, and which I will be excerpting later this week on my "Musings of an Urban Christian" blog.

The second is "Multiple Writers, One Pen: Welcoming Your Child to Adolescence," a beautiful open letter from a father to his son, written by the husband of a friend of mine. 

If you have kids heading into adolescence, I strongly recommended both resources.  O how precious our kids are, and how great a responsibility and joy it is to watch them flourish.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Huang Family Newsletter, September 2018

The start of the school year brought new rhythms to our household.

Asher is adjusting to preschool and to the notion that you have to listen to others and not say or do inappropriate things even if they get you laughs.  He's also enjoyed soccer class on the weekends at the Y.

Aaron moved up on the swim team and now has more and longer practices.  He's having some ups and downs in 6th grade, excelling in math and stumbling along in English.

Jada is doing OK in 8th grade.  She's scoping out high schools prior to applying, and is also juggling Philadelphia Girls Choir plus school orchestra plus all-city choir.

Amy's job continues to be a slog.  Plus she starting teaching three clinicals at Penn back to back to back.  And is trying desperately to cook enough food for our growing kids.

Lee is also juggling a hard job and teaching a class at Penn.  Plus his role on the Philadelphia Board of Education has picked up now that the school year has started.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Pray For Our Kids

I absolutely adore when people tell me they love following my family on social media.  It’s part of what’s great about posting and viewing pics online, is sharing in milestones and enjoying vacations vicariously and basking in the cuteness that is your kids and mine.  How wonderful to multiply happiness by sharing in it.

But I don’t have to tell you that being a parent isn’t all sunshine and smiles.  All three of our kids have special challenges that we as parents struggle to handle and love our kids through.  Both the toddler and pre-teen years are emotionally fraught times that have placed unique strains on this harried mom and dad.  And, for some same and some different reasons, we fear for the very physical safety of our children every day, whether because of their gender or race or because of the proliferation of guns or bullying.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Chronicling the Older Ones Too

You may be excused if this blog feels less like "Huang Kids Khronicles" and more like "Asher Huang Khronicles."  What can I say, the little guy is photogenic.  Also, as kids get older, you kind of ease off the over-sharing.

But you obviously don't ease off the parenting.  Indeed, wading through pre-teen and teen issues is like a second toddler-hood, and marks a crucially important phase of childhood development.

Without going on and on, much of this phase is about giving kids space, but also being in their space in ways that they can feel safe, learn right and wrong, and know you are there if they need help.  And so you have to put in the time, in order to establish that presence in their lives.

Which is why I took Aaron and Jada out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse in the suburbs after Asher went to bed on Saturday night.  Between that and hitting the grocery store afterwards, it made for a way later evening than I'm used to.  But it was worth it to have quality time with the older kids, to talk real talk with them, and just to watch them be.

As with Asher, Amy and I love Aaron and Jada dearly, and are so honored to be in their lives.  Their evolution into young adults is scary but also wonderful, and I know I'll be glad when I look back that I took time for things like Outback.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Upside of Conformity

Asher has now been in preschool for a few weeks and...well, it's been a transition.  He's gone from being the center of his own universe to being one of many kids in a structured classroom setting, which has been an adjustment for him.  But a necessary one: despite "conformity" seeming like a bad word, it is good to understand that we can't just go through life doing whatever we want whenever we want, but sometimes we have to follow a schedule or follow instruction.

Of course, there are different learning styles out there, and some tend towards elevating child-driven explorations, and I respect that.  And, even within a structured environment, the goal is for kids, who have different talents and learning styles and temperaments, to thrive according to who they uniquely are.  But, count me among those who are glad that Asher, at this stage in his life, is learning that he is not the center of the universe and that he needs to learn to play well with others and listen to instructions.