101 Posts and 1 Final Goodbye!

It’s time. Really.

After exactly 101 posts on this blog over the last 2 years, it is time to say goodbye to Crown Chasers. But don’t get too sad. Because it’s also time to say a big HELLO to our brand-new-hot-off-the-press New Tribes blog!

As official missionaries we thought it’s time for an official blog and all that. All the old posts will still be on it as well, so if you ever have the strong desire to click through 59 Fun Foto Fridays, you can still do that :).

Here it is, our new lifeline to YOU:


Check it out. Read it. Comment. Share. Pray. Connect with us. And SUBSCRIBE (top left hand menu bar) to not miss another update :).

Love from the crazy Anyans!

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In 2014, a couple in Germany pulled their 7 children out of the public school system in order to homeschool them. The result? Over $9,000 in fines and a an imminent jail sentence. School attendance is required by law for all children in Germany, and anybody pulling kids out of the school system will have to deal with the legal consequences.

Who would have thought that I, a proud product of the German school system, would ever end up at a Homeschool Conference?

Well, I did last weekend!

My Linguistics and Homeschooling buddy Rachel :)

My Linguistics and Homeschooling buddy Rachel 🙂

Going to my first Homeschool Conference was both exhausting and beneficial… Lots of good workshops and a huge room full of vendor booths. I restrained from buying any materials (I was very proud of myself) but am very thankful that I was able to make some decisions in regards to what I would like to use with my boys when it’s time. Anyone who’s homeschooled and had to make curriculum decisions can understand what huge milestone it is to just decide on what materials to use!

Some background info: Last semester, I had the privilege of being trained as a Education Consultant for missionaries. With that training (and my teaching degree), I could be a resource and help to other parents overseas who have questions about the education of their children. Coming from such a homeschool-hostile background, it took a while for me to see the benefits, beauty, and sheer possibility of educating your children at home. Now, I could (and did) spend hours looking over the hundreds of curriculum options and am hoping that I will be able to educate my boys at home one day!

Enjoying a delicious dinner at Olive Garden with the Homschool ladies

Enjoying a delicious dinner at Olive Garden with the Homschool ladies

Bonus: On the way home, we saw the most amazing rainbow!!!

Bonus: On the way home, we saw the most amazing rainbow!!!

By the way, the German family now lives in the U.S., where they continue to homeschool their children.

Fun Foto Friday #58

It was a beautiful, sunny, and warm afternoon. Perfect for a family jog. We took a break by the lake to let the kids play a bit. I stood looking at the water with Judah next to me.

“Schau, Mama, eine Schildkroete,” (Look, Mama, a turtle) he said nonchalantly and pointed next to him. I looked. And I screamed a high-pitched, panicky-kind-of scream.

It sure was a turtle. It actually was an enormous turtle with 3-inch claws and a tail that “looked like an alligator tail” (Judah’s words). So, being the protective mother that I am, I grabbed my firstborn in a hurry and ran away.

We’ve never seen a turtle that huge before. Judah was puzzled with us as we tried to guess what species it was. “Maybe it’s a Ninja Turtle,” he said thoughtfully…”but it doesn’t have a mask.”

So that option was ruled out.


Turns out it was a “Snapping Turtle” that must have either lost its way or was finding its way to somewhere unknown when we stumbled across it. While Judah wouldn’t even let his feet touch the ground within 50 feet of the turtle, Elias was desperate to touch (and probably ride) him. But we figured letting him get close to an animal that has earned the title “Snapping” before its name was probably not the wisest parenting decision ever.


Random fun fact: The very next day, the boys found a tiny turtle outside of our apartment! Weird.

Elias: 18 Months

As I’ve pondered our Elias hitting the 18-month mark, I’ve found myself thinking, “Oh my, when Judah was this age, I was 8 months pregnant with Elias” (Shout-out to my 2 sisters-in-law who both have 18-month-olds and are expecting the next baby in May!).

That being said, our Baby Li-Li is still our baby although he has turned into a wild, active, and fun little boy since the day we brought his little newborn self home.

18 months ago...

18 months ago…

In honor of 18 months of life, here are 18 things to know about Elias:

1. His favorite word: “Ball!” (He calls everything that is round a ball and tries to throw it)

2. He loooooooves his brother. “Wo Judah?” (Where Judah?) is a constant questions whenever Judah is not in his vicinity. Elias also brings his brother blankets, his lion, and water whenever he thinks Judah needs any of those things.

The bros!

The bros!

3. He’s dramatic. Food not ready? Judah has the toy he wants? Result: Elias screams, throws himself on the floor, and crawls backward (which, for some reason, shows defiance in his mind).

4. He’s full of joy. He laughs freely, easily, and straight from his little heart.

Letters are so fun :)

Letters are so fun 🙂

5. He’s tiny. He weighs about 20 pounds, which is below 5th percentile for his age in weight. Tiny.

6. He out-eats Judah at every meal. Which seems to contradict #5. But it’s true. Yesterday, he ate 3 bowls of cereal and 2 cups of applesauce for breakfast (and wanted more).



7. His favorite toys are sticks and rocks. When we go on walks, I usually end up holding a handful of rocks and a handful of sticks he collected on the way.

8. He’s a good sleeper. He is quite attached to his “Decke” (blanket) and his “Nulli” (paci) and gets very excited when he gets to cuddle up with those. He still takes 2 naps (YES!) and sleeps 12 hours-ish at night (DOUBLE YES!)

9. He is quite the Daddy’s boy. John being home with the boys really got Elias attached to John, which is so precious to watch. “Wo Daddy?” (Where Daddy?) is another constant question whenever John’s gone.

With their Daddy

With their Daddy

10. He climbs. Everything and everywhere and onto objects way too high for him.

11. He can speak! Yay. His most impressive words are: “Bau-bee-re” (blueberry) and “Tu-ta-ta” (sound of a fire truck). His first multi-word utterance that he came up with by himself: “Judah poo-poo” (not the most elegant first sentence but we’ll take it).

12. He is constantly moving. Unless he’s strapped in somewhere, he’s on the move (and even then he tries to get out). Finding him just sitting still for more than 20 seconds is a rare sight.

Got him! Ha!

Got him! Ha!

13. He’s a rule-breaker. Or at least a rule-bender. Unless Judah, who is much more sensitive and responsive to our discipline, Elias breaks the same rule over and over again. The best discipline for him? Having him sit still on our laps. It’s quite the punishment for him (see #12).

14. He is a mini John. The same passion, the same energy, the same defiance (right, Mom?), the same love for any sport involving a ball, the same ability to eat whatever he wants without gaining weight.

15. He loves to sing. Favorites: “Do you want to build a snowman?” “Let it go” and “Jesus loves me.” Precious.

16. He’s a sharer. It’s heart-warming to see him give away some of his beloved food (pre-chewed or not, it’s the thought that counts) and offer toys to other kids.

17. He’s a cuddler. As much as he moves around, he’s usually the first one to grab his blanket, cuddle up and give slobbery kisses.

18. He’s full of passion. Whether it’s giving me a big hug after I come home, his excitement over dinner, or his amazement at a roly-poly (aka “ball”), our little Elias has a big heart full of emotions and full of passion. Our prayer is that he will use every ounce of that passion to serve the Lord and love others.


Happy 18 months of life, Elias! We can’t imagine our family without you!

Fun Foto Friday #57

Uncles are the best. Especially when they buy superhero pajamas for their nephews.

These days, most of Judah’s thoughts revolve around superheroes and the newest superhero moves. That requires the proper attire, of course. And Elias tags right along as he’s Judah’s “Baby superhero.”

Hulk and “Buzzlear” (as Judah calls Buzz Lightyear)

Real superheroes hug their brother

Real superheroes hug their brother

Superheroes smile and superheroes have to go to the bathroom

Superheroes smile and superheroes have to go to the bathroom

To top it all off, we found a free Iron Man outfit yesterday. Judah was pretty excited about his “fireman” pajamas (iron man does sound very much like fire man, I have to admit) AND Daddy’s headlamp.

Thanks for making us into superheroes, Onkel Christopher!

Fun Foto Friday #56

“What are you thankful for, Judah?” 

That’s a question we often ask our little ones. In return, we get precious glimpses into the simple yet wonderfully profound minds of children (well, the glimpses into Elias’ mind are not quite understandable yet, but I’m sure they’re quite profound as well).

So as we were eating pizza yesterday, Judah was thankful for these things:



3. Seahawks

3.Essen (“food”)

4. Deine Haare (“your hair”)

As for me, I surely am thankful for my boys, some warm(er) sunshine, and afternoon walks with sword fights, frisbee games, climbing adventures, and find-earthworms-digging-contests in the dirt.

Watching Daddy play basketball. Elias ran out on the field twice wanting to join the fun! That kid loves balls!

Watching Daddy play basketball. Elias ran out on the field twice wanting to join the fun! That kid loves balls!

We found a snail! Someone (not me) was very happy about that.

We found a snail! Someone (not me) was very happy about that.

Love his little face

Love his little face



... and brother kisses.

… and brother kisses.

Happy beginning of spring!


How To Raise Bilingual Children

This is a post for all of you out there who are raising bilingual children, are thinking about raising bilingual children, are going on the mission field and want their kids to learn the national/tribal language (or both), or if you are just interested in what life with bilingual (and often confused) children looks like.

Here are some tips & tricks from our short 3 years of experience in raising our boys in German and English:

1. Pick a Strategy

The 2 most common strategies are the following:

OPOL = One Parent One Language. One parent speaks the majority language to the children; the other parent speaks the minority language. If there are 3 languages to learn, one parent speaks the first minority language, the other parents speaks the second minority language, and the “outside world” teaches the kids the majority language.

– ML@H = Minority Language @ Home. This is what we chose to do. The minority language (German, in our case) is spoken at home. BOTH John and I speak German to the boys and mostly German to each other. This, of course, often requires one spouse to learn the minority language, which I would recommend no matter which strategy you choose. There’s so much value in learning your spouse’s heart language!!! 

Getting ready to learn 1...no, 2 more language in the next years! Not sure how that's going to work :)

Getting ready to learn 1…no, 2 more languages in the next years! Not sure how that’s going to work 🙂

2. Choose One Mastery Language

The goal of bilingualism is NOT creating adults who are semi-lingual in two or more languages and have not achieved mastery in any of them. Sadly, this is often what happens: the children can converse in several languages but have not reached a capable academic level in any of them. Then, the bilingualism becomes a disadvantage rather than the blessing it can and should be. So here’s my recommendation: Make a conscious choice as to what your mastery language will be. For us, that’s English for several reasons: there are a lot more homeschooling resources in English, both John and I have mastered it, and college in the States (in the far distant future) is more likely than college in Germany. The goal is still to teach them to speak, read, and write correctly in German.

3. LOTS of Exposure!!!

Books, music, movies, nursery rhymes, Skype, talking their little ears off…as much exposure as possible in the minority language!

Care packages from Germany with German books and toys... yeah!

Care packages from Germany with German books and toys… yeah!

4. Practice Persistence

“Sag’s auf Deutsch,” (“Say it in German”)was a constant mantra in our home for about 6 months until Judah learned to mostly speak German to us. At times, it felt frustrating to keep encouraging (or forcing) him over and over again and to see very little progress. BUT progress came and it will be so worth it if you want your child not only to comprehend the language but also produce it and communicate in it effectively.

"Stop correcting me, Maaaaaaaaaaama"

“Stop correcting me, Maaaaaaaaaaama”

 5. Expect Mistakes

All children make mistakes when they learn to speak. Bilingual kids have double the chance to make mistakes. Expect a delay in speech (for some kids) and a mixing up of grammar and syntax rules… Judah, for example, uses English plural rules for German nouns. He just adds an -s to everything: “Blumens,” “Schuhes,” “Tigers”… which, if you know German, is not the way German makes plural nouns. With lots of exposure and gentle correction, they WILL learn the right way to say things!

"Blumens!" "Ja, BLUMEN, Judah." "Blumens!!!"

“Blumens!” “Ja, BLUMEN, Judah.” “Blumens!!!”

Most importantly, ENJOY raising your children who may be a little confused, may sound a little funny, may not communicate as well as their peers, but are given a gift to truly last a lifetime!

Fun Foto Friday #55

A quick trip to Kansas City to take care of some business was the perfect opportunity to visit Africa!


Going in the right direction!


We made it!



Africa as in “Africa in the Kansas City Zoo,” of course.

The zoo is so big that we only managed to walk through half of it before it was time for our drive back home. So we picked the “Africa route,” which housed some of the boys’ favorite animals:

…like elephants


“I want to see the elephants, I want to see the elephants” was Judah’s zoo mantra



…and lions


There WERE real ones, but they were too far away for a picture.

…and even taught us some Swahili! This might be useful in the future :).


Did you know “Hakuna Matata” is Swahili???


Besides the African animals and the huge rhino that actually charged at us (poor Elias got quite scared), the penguins were another big hit!


My big boy with the little penguins

My big superhero with the little penguins


Love the big smile on his face!


Yo! Penguin! I come in peace.

Yo! Penguin! I come in peace.


Oh, and what’s a road trip without junk food, right?!?

That's a happy ice cream face

That’s a happy ice cream face

"Thomas and ketchup!" (He means "Pommes und Ketchup," which is the German word for french fries)

“Thomas and ketchup!” (He means “Pommes und Ketchup,” which is the German word for french fries, but it doesn’t always come out quite right)

A trip to the zoo always serves as a good reminder to see God’s amazing creation through the eyes of children a little bit more…




Fun Foto Friday #54

What do you do in the middle of the hardest, most frustrating, most tear-filled week of classes yet?

1. Have a dance party with friends.

The boys love Miss Kaylee!

The boys love Miss Kaylee!


2. Go to the coolest thrift store in Camdenton and sit on a stuffed bear.

Elias wasn't sure why in the world he'd want to sit on a bear

Elias wasn’t sure why in the world he’d want to sit on a bear


3. Go out and eat lots of tacos.

My foodies

My foodies




4. Remember Truth.

Perfect reminder this week!

Perfect reminder this week!


No labor in the Lord is in vain? None? None. Something to be thankful for 🙂

Fun Foto Friday #53

Christmas in February! 

That’s what it felt like the last 2 days here at the Anyan home. On Thursday, we took the boys shopping with some Valentine’s Day money they got from Papa & Nana. And ohhhhhhhh, the options! I think Judah was a little overwhelmed by all the choices. Ninja Turtle outfit? Little airplane toys? A big car? Action figures? At the end, he settled for a Batman shirt (with cape!) because that boy loves his superheroes (even though he gets confused about who’s who).

“I’m Supermaaan! I’m Superman, Mama?” “No, you’re Batman.” “I’m Batmaaaaan!”

Elias kept on running off as fast as his little legs could carry him through the toy aisles at Target. Talk about chasing your kid! He kept on bringing us different animal figures and settled for a cow, a fox, and a lion (well, we kind of decided for him because he just grabbed as many as his little hands could hold).

Animal fun

Animal fun


The very next day we received a long-expected package that traveled all the way from Oma in Germany to little Roach! Can you tell the boys were excited to open it?

I told them to do a "surprised face" and that's what came out :)

I told them to do a “surprised face” and that’s what came out 🙂

And ohhhhhhhh, so many presents. Not just for the boys but for John and me, too (thanks, Mum!!).

Judah LOVES swords and has carried this one around everywhere, including to sleep

Judah LOVES swords and has carried this one around everywhere, including to sleep. He wasn’t sure what to do with the shield and is using it as a sheath for his sword. Oh well. 

Elias just went for the giant chocolate bar. That's my boy!

Elias just went for the giant chocolate bar. That’s my boy!

Remember Judah's love for superheroes? A whole Spiderman outift made him oh-so-happy (with his new Batman shirt underneath, of course!)

Remember Judah’s love for superheroes? A whole Spiderman outift made him oh-so-happy (with his new Batman shirt underneath, of course!)

Kisses for his new bunny

Kisses for his new bunny

And that's what he did after I asked him to show me that he didn't stuff any of the little Playmobil pieces into his mouth.

And that’s what he did after I asked him to show me that he didn’t stuff any of the little Playmobil pieces into his mouth. Good job, Li-Li. 


Bottom line: Grandparents are the best :).