Sunday, July 10, 2016

June 2016--Science/Art Workshop

I signed the three youngest up for two science/art classes at the Boise Watershed again this summer.  (Actually, Anna only agreed to one.) The Watershed offers about eight different classes, but you are only able to sign up for two due to limited class space.  

The first class was entitled "Birds Got Swing!" and the science lesson discussed the distinctive voice of each species of bird.  This was followed by an art project in which they made "antiqued" images of birds using watercolor paper, paint, and stencils.

The second class was entitled "Bowl of Life".  Water and its importance for sustaining life was the topic of the science lesson.  They made a ceramic project of their choice and it was glazed with blue glass beads in the bottom, making the finished project look as if it had a shallow layer of water in the bottom.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

June 2016--Service Project

I don't have pictures of Nicolas' student council retreat in McCall or Lydia's camp out with the GEMS group, but I did make sure Anna took pictures of the youth group service project in Cascade, ID!

While I was in Indiana for the wedding, Russ and the kids went to Cascade (about 1 1/2 hours north of us) to paint the Depot which is currently used as a training facility for YWAM.  The connection to our church is that many years ago, prior to it being used by YWAM, the Depot was a special place of ministry for an elderly couple in our church.  The gentleman worked for the forest service and spent his summers in the national forest areas north of Boise.

The youth group spent a day scraping, a day painting, and day exploring the beautiful area!

Not sure this is the safest way to paint.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

June 2016--Appointments

So, with all those appointments in the month of June, this happened:

Anna got her braces off and Seth now has contacts.  Contacts at age 9 (almost 10) was not really our choice, but his eyes continue to make huge jumps each year.  He is now -6 in his right eye and -5 in his left.  (I think I am half blind without my contacts and I am only -4 in each eye).  Last year the optometrist told us to think about contacts and this year he highly recommended it.  So, to help slow the near-sighted progression and for the health of his eyes we decided we should follow his advice.  Lovin' those pearly whites and those beautiful brown eyes!

June 2016--Travels

The first month of summer absolutely flew by.  We have had travels, meetings, retreats, camp outs, service projects, science/art workshops, swim lessons, and lots of appointments (ortho, physicals, eye exams, etc).  

So, for travels and meetings...

The URC had Synod meetings in Grand Rapids the week of June 13.  Russ and I flew out a weekend early to visit friends, relatives, and former neighbors.  We landed in Grand Rapids on a Thursday afternoon and, after picking up our rental car, drove to a senior living apartment to visit our elderly neighbor.  She is now 95 and just as sharp as ever.  We then drove to Holland, MI to the Cottonwood Inn Bed and Breakfast. We had a wonderful dinner at Boatwerks right on Lake Macatawa followed by a hike over the dunes to watch the sunset on Lake Michigan.   

Truly waterfront dining!

My calf muscles hurt for days.  This is only a fraction of the stairs.

The next morning, after a wonderful breakfast and great conversation with two other couples staying at Cottonwood Inn, we looked up two special girls who were our former neighbors.  It was so good to see them and give them big hugs!

Russ couldn't be in Grand Rapids without stopping at the seminary and bookstore, so we spent some time there on Friday afternoon.  For supper that evening we had a  mini-reunion with two of Russ' seminary friends (Dave and Ian) and they were able to FaceTime Stan who not able to make it.  

FaceTime with Stan

Russ and I visited Aunt Alyda the following afternoon.  Cousins Dave and Linda also came, and it was good to catch up on their growing families.  For the rest of the weekend we stayed with good friends from the Free Reformed Church, Paul and Laurina.  Russ preached at Mel Trotter on Saturday evening and we worshiped at the FRC for both services on Sunday.   Paul and Laurina invited a few couples to their home Sunday evening which was really a sweet time of fellowship with those who meant so much to us while in Grand Rapids.    On Monday Russ and Paul drove to Grand Haven to pick up bales of hay, so I trekked downtown to visit a dear friend from my Grand Rapids BSF days over her morning coffee break at Spectrum Health.  Russ drove me to the airport on Monday afternoon and picked up his synod delegate at the same time.  Russ' synod meetings were long but uneventful, and he came home late on Saturday evening.  

My flight was not so uneventful; I ended up getting home over 24 hours later than scheduled (Tuesday night).  Thunderstorms over Denver on Monday night prevented us from being able to land.  After circling for over an hour, the plane was diverted to Lincoln, NE for fuel.  We sat in Lincoln for an hour before getting clearance to land in Denver.  Obviously, I missed my flight to Boise, so stood in the United customer service line for over four hours (until 2AM !!) to finally be told that the best they could do was send me Alaska Airline to Seattle in the morning and a late afternoon flight out of Seattle to Boise on Delta.  The recommendation was that perhaps I could try standby for earlier flights to Boise while in Seattle all day.  After dozing in the airport for a few hours, I boarded the plane only to get off an hour later due to mechanical issues.  The plane ultimately was delayed 6.5 hours, and I got to Seattle at 3:00PM.  I hurried to the Delta concourse to make my connection only to find that flight delayed 2.5 hours.  By this time I thought I was in a bad dream!  So thankful to finally arrive home late Tuesday night.

On the ground in Lincoln my attendant call light malfunctioned and would not stop dinging.  Because it was an annoyance to EVERYONE on the plane we were thankful for the MacGyver who jimmied a piece of cardboard along the side of the button and kept it in place with duct tape.  Worked like a charm.

My PTSD from that experience wasn't enough to keep me from flying two weekends later to my cousin Jason's wedding.  Everything on the way out worked like clockwork--I flew into O'Hare, Renee and Andy picked me up, Mom and Dad picked me up in Dekalb, and we made the drive to Lafayette, IN.  (The Chicago traffic wasn't great, but we weren't in a hurry so it wasn't too big a deal).  It was so good to see all my aunts and uncles again and also just to spend time with Mom and Dad.  We spent Sunday night with my cousin Joel and Shelayne near DeMotte, IN.  After a great breakfast at the Cowfe on FairOaks Farms, Mom and Dad dropped me back off at O'Hare.  Everything was going smoothly until I boarded the plane. Evidently, the wrong catering carts were put on the plane.  By the time we waited for the new ones I had missed my connection to Boise in Salt Lake City.  Since it was Delta's issue they put me up in a hotel in SLC that night and Russ made sure I was on the first flight out to Boise the next morning!  Not sure I want to fly anytime soon, but maybe after the first 12-hour day of car travel with five kids, I will be writing odes to the airlines again?  Or not.

Who would have thought these little straws for the the kids from the Cowfe gift shop would be such a hit!  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Another School Year Ends

School is officially over for the Herman family!  We finished our curriculum two weeks ago and had standardized testing last week.  So Monday of this week was our first day of summer vacation.  I always feel a little lost that first week of summer break since my day usually revolves around homeschooling, but I am finding plenty to keep me busy, especially those things that are usually put off for a later time.  I am grieving a little at the thought of Anna moving on to Cole Valley next year.  I am excited for her, but packing up her homeschool books/supplies was bittersweet.

A few pictures of our last homeschool units:  Australia and Coral Reefs and Antarctica.  

Anna shaped her clay coral reef in the shape of Australia and Tasmania.

Grandpa and Grandma were here to enjoy our Australian "kangaroo" pies with pavlova for dessert.

There is not as much to study in Antarctica, but we enjoyed studying Shackleton's adventures via DVD and designed a flag for the continent.

The older boys were both blessed to find jobs this summer.  Caleb is "mannying" for a family in church four days a week, stripping wallpaper and painting for another family, and also doing some painting at church.  This past weekend he drove to McCall to babysit for a church family who was attending a "location" wedding.  Nicolas is working at a milk testing lab 5-6 days a week.  He will also try to attend football camp when it does not interfere with his work hours this week and next week.   He has been asked to play cello for a wedding in a couple of weeks so he is trying to fit in some cello practice as well.  A couple weeks ago he auditioned for the BPYO again and found out he and his cello will play in the orchestra another year. (I think mom was more pleased than he was:). Towards the end of the school year he ran for student council president and was voted into office after a very effective campaign:).  This position requires him to attend a retreat in McCall the last week of June with the other council members and class representatives to plan for the next school year.  The only problem we have is how to get everybody where they need to be with four drivers and only two cars.  A family from church loaned us their suburban until we found a reliable used vehicle in our price range.

The newest addition to the family, 1999 Mazda 626, 140,000 miles with basically one owner.  

The other kids will be typical summer kids...library reading program, swimming lessons (Seth), a few art/science lessons at the Boise Watershed, piano/viola practicing, a little math/Khan Academy, playing outside, and doing chores for mom.  Like most parents I am trying to find creative ways to limit screen time.  Russ also has some book cataloging for Anna to do for him at his church office. She loves to organize and help in the church library too, so not a hardship at all for her.  Seth performed in his very first piano recital while Grandpa and Grandma were here, and Lydia her first viola recital the following weekend.  Since most of the string students are beginners, Lydia's viola instructor (and formerly Caleb's) asked if Caleb would be willing to play a piece.  This gives all those beginners (and their parents) a little bit of an idea of what they are working towards!  I had not heard Caleb play his Dordt recital piece and was impressed at his progress on the viola.

As for Russ and I...we fly out on Thursday for Grand Rapids.  The URC Synod is meeting next week, but we are going early to spend some time together and with our seminary and Grand Rapids friends before Synod actually begins.  I will fly back to Boise on Monday and Russ will stay for the meetings and fly home on Saturday.  While in Boise this summer, Russ will continue with his Mark sermon series on Sunday mornings and will preach a series on Ezra at the evening service.   Every Wednesday night we are offering the Bible Study, Behold Your God, at church. Since I have watched the videos twice, and my kids have also watched them, we volunteered our services in entertaining younger kids so both parents could attend.   Last Wednesday was our first session and was it was very well attended.  The kids and I played competitive games of kickball, ultimate frisbee, Bocce, and croquet.  Since it will be about 20 degrees warmer this week, we did come up with a few craft options for those who would prefer to stay indoors in air conditioning (like me!!).

All in all, I think the summer will go by quickly, so we will just enjoy each day as God gives them to us!