Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fall Weekend Trip to Iowa

Seth, Anna, and I flew to Iowa for a few days in October.  We were able to catch Caleb's last JV soccer game for Dordt and see almost all the Bleeker family and also Russ' brother Keith and his family.  I am posting a few pictures of the high lights of the trip.  (Nicolas and Lydia are already planning their trip to Iowa next fall with Russ, the Lord willing!)

I never tire of this view

Lots of cousin support at the soccer game!  (As you can see they played NWC in Orange City).

The Dordt JV soccer team
The perfect time of year to pick apples and make apple cider

Bryan and Becca's puppies were so cute!!  We didn't get to see the first litter of Hazel's so it was fun to be able to hold these cuties.

Anna met up with an old friend from OCCS and enjoyed a few hours at the Pumpkinland Corn Maze on Saturday afternoon.

Although it is awesome to see all the cousins, these twin boys were a treat to spend time with because we all know how much these little guys will change in their first few years.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall Activity Update

Seth began piano lessons this fall and is doing a great job of practicing without being reminded.  He also played flag football for the first time and improved quite a bit after gaining a little confidence in what he was doing.  To continue to keep him busy I signed him up for the homeschool program at the Boise Zoo once a month.   He is studying various animals and biomes in the zoo program which complements exactly what we are learning in our science curriculum this year.  He also enjoys Cadets every other Wednesday night and BSF on Tuesday evenings.

Lydia began formal string lessons this fall.  Up until this point Caleb had been giving her violin lessons, but she has actually always wanted to play the viola.  Caleb's violin teacher here in Boise is actually a viola player and she was thrilled to be able to take Lydia on as a viola student.  Since she is still taking piano lessons, she stays pretty busy with her school work and instrument practice.  She also enjoys GEMS at church every other Wednesday and BSF on Tuesdays.

Anna continues to love her piano and plays/practices whenever she has free time or is not absorbed in her new favorite book series (whatever that may be).  She graduated from GEMS this year and now attends youth group every other Sunday afternoon.  Since Dad leads the book discussion/teaching and both mom and dad help out with the youth group she just can't get away from us.  She also attends BSF with us on Tuesdays.  We are hoping since she is now being treated for iron-deficient anemia her energy level and desire for physical activity will improve!

Nicolas has had a busy fall since he decided to go out for football as the kicker for the varsity team.  He also ended up playing defense for two quarters of most JV football games.  So with team football dinners on Wednesday nights after practice, JV games on Thursday nights, and varsity games on Friday nights we did not see him much.  When he is at home he is usually parked at the kitchen table working on AP Physics or Pre-calculus problems.  He is playing cello in the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra again this year and has his first concert on November 14.  He is also attends the church youth group and hopes to join us at BSF now that football is over.  He just passed his "behind the wheel" driving test last Saturday, so if he passes the written test on Thursday this week, we will officially have another licensed driver in the house.  

A beautiful Friday night under the lights in Melba.  Truly felt like we were in Idaho with the rifle raffle for a football fundraiser and the big pickups escorting the homecoming court onto the field at half-time.

Caleb has had a super busy first semester of college at Dordt.  He left on the 13th of August to begin soccer practice.  He saw quite a bit of playing time in the JV soccer games and enjoyed moving from defense to outside midfield.  They ended the season with only two losses.   The Dordt orchestra conductor called Caleb this summer and asked if he would be willing to play viola instead of violin at Dordt.  He continues to receive his scholarship, but now has viola lessons instead of violin lessons.  He plays viola for the Dordt orchestra, but plays violin for the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra (NISO).  Seth, Anna, and I flew out to Iowa a few weeks ago.  We were able to catch his last JV soccer game, see his dorm room, and meet a few of his new college friends. 

Soccer photos courtesy of Dordt Athletics Facebook page...

Dressed as the Titanic captain in his first Dordt Concert--the Pops Concert

So if preaching twice on Sunday, teaching adult Sunday school, leading the youth group book discussion, making weekly pastoral visits, attending church meetings, and leading prayer meetings once a month isn't enough to keep this man busy, he has just been named Cole Valley's new head track coach.  He just can't stay away from the sport!  Nicolas is excited to be coached by his dad again this coming year.  

Here are a few pictures of the youth group at a couple youth group activities we had this fall.
First annual nerf gun capture the flag war

Corn maze winners...although their methods might have been a little sketchy.

Our last place finishers...they just couldn't find one mailbox.  Don't they look sad?:(

Monday, October 5, 2015

School Update

We are just beginning week seven of homeschool.  Since we finished the 5-year cycle in the MFW curriculum last year, we are starting over this year with Countries and Cultures.  The first few weeks we reviewed/learned the continents and oceans and how to read maps.  Now we are travelling around North America and have been in the United States and Mexico and just landed in Canada this morning.  Along with these country units we have studied two major biomes:  temperate forests and deserts.   I can't believe how much they remember from watching Planet Earth five years ago!  We usually end each country visit with an ethnic meal so we had a hamburger fry when we left the U.S.  and Saturday night we had a Mexican fiesta complete with homemade tortillas and a candy-filled pinata.  We ended our fiesta by watching the movie McFarland USA.  Russ and Nicolas assumed I chose the movie because it fit the theme for the night, but I actually had no idea it was about Latino high school cross-country team in California.  It had just been recommended to me and it happened to be available for check-out at the library!

Week two of our curriculum recommended beginning a leaf collection.  I remember doing this as a middle school project at OCCS for Caleb. Classifying leaves is not for the faint of heart, so  I looked on-line to see if there was a park in Boise that labeled trees to  make the project a little easier.   What I found was a wonderful map of Ann Morrison park in the downtown Greenbelt that had a tree walk.  The trees are numbered and labeled on the map, but you still have to figure out which tree they are referring to as they are not numbered or labeled in the actual park.  So it was challenging, but not too overwhelming.  Anyway, this project just happened to be the same time as the Spirit of Boise hot-air balloon festival in Ann Morrison park.  We got up super early to make sure we were downtown in time to watch the balloons inflate, then stayed in the park to collect leaves and label them for our collection.  Just a fun morning.

Just an example some of the pages in the kids' leaf collection.  Once they dry we will put them in a binder.

We just had conferences for Nicolas last week Thursday and he seems to be doing well his junior year.  Lots of stressful happenings during this particular year of school--PSAT, ACT, college fairs, etc.  Although he has a couple AP classes he also has a few "not as challenging" classes to even things out a little bit and make homework manageable.  More on his activities this fall in the next post.
Nicolas and his friend Trevor dressed in shark onesies for "Twin Day" during Homecoming week.

Caleb seems to be thriving at Dordt.  We talk to him at least once a week on the phone and have many texts in between.  I think he is finding a few of his classes to be quite challenging, but seems to be adjusting to college life pretty well.  His absence has definitely left a huge hole here at home and he is missed horribly.   Anna, Seth, and I are flying out on the 14th of Oct to see him and hopefully watch him play in his last soccer game of the season.  More on his activities in the next post also!

Enjoying frozen yogurt with the family the night before Caleb left for college