Thursday, September 30, 2010

...And Fishing Won

Sorry to leave you in suspense so long.  We decided to try out some fishing areas last Saturday.   Since Detroit swept the Twins in that series, I think we made the right decision!  Our sewer line was blocked again Friday night and the plumber couldn't clean it out until Saturday afternoon.  Two of our bathrooms were usable because they drained to a different pipe, but we were unable to run water in the kitchen and laundry.  So it was good to be away until that could be fixed.

 We first went to Pickerel Lake.  This reminded us of Lake Pahoja near Inwood.  The lake is actually part of a nature preserve with a beautiful handicapped accessible trail around the entire lake.  Fishing is done from this bridge/walkway that spans the entire lake at its narrowest end.  We caught a few little sunfish, bluegill, and Nicolas thought maybe a little small mouth.  We would have stayed here longer except the wind was so cold coming off the lake.  The kids were asking for mittens!  Since there were several lakes in the area we thought we would move on to see if there was a more protected area on another lake.  The other three lakes we looked at had residential homes around the entire lake with no public access, no parks, etc.  We stopped at a grocery store in the area and Russ asked about other fishing locations.   They recommended Rockford, MI.  A river runs right through town and they have many parks and areas to fish.  So that is where we ended up having our picnic with hot chocolate and sandwiches.  We put our poles in the water, but did not even get a bite.  The area was beautiful, though, and all the kids had fun exploring.  Not quite the fishing expedition Nicolas hoped for, but he was happy to get his fishing pole in the water for a little while.  Enjoy the pictures of our day!
Seth enthralled with the green worms

Fishing on the river by Rockford

The leaves were beginning to turn color around the river--so pretty!

Seth wasn't that excited about fishing anymore so I took him exploring

The serious fisherman

The river from the bridge

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grandma Herman Went Home

 Bernice L. Herman
On Sunday morning, my Grandma Herman finally realized the hope of her life - she got to go home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Grandma had lived here on earth for 99 years and now, in the words of the book Big Truth for Little Hearts, she is "truly living".  On the morning of her death she kept trying to get out of bed; finally her aides asked her where she was trying to go.  My Grandma's simple response was, "Heaven".  A few hours later she died peacefully with my father by her side and had her wish fulfilled.  It was the end of a life lived faithfully for God.  The early Christians used to carve in the tombs of the martyrs, "In Jesu Christo obdormivit" - In Jesus Christ (s)he fell asleep.

For the last couple of weeks the boys' devotions have been from the part of Pilgrim's Progress that deals with the end of Christian's and Hopefuls lives.  It has been good for me to read and has also provided great opportunities for conversations with Caleb and Nicolas. 

The funeral will be this Saturday.  I would say burial, but I think it is not quite appropriate to speak with such terms when you are talking about a child of God.  I think 1 Corinthians 15 would indicate that Christians do not bury their dead but sow them.  In the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q. 37), 'What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?'  The answer:  The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ , do rest in their graves till the resurrection.  I think that is absolutely beautiful.

I will miss my Grandmother (especially her prayers) but my memories of her are precious.  In my heart and mind she will always be this warm, fun-loving, kind, gentle, godly woman.  She loved unconditionally and always had time to sit down and talk.  I always loved her stories; her sense of humor; her patience while allowing me to "help" her in the kitchen; her wisdom she dispensed in thousands of small ways; the Christian walk she modeled so faithfully; and most of all, I will always remember her selflessly giving of her time to come and be a "'mom" to me when mine was fighting and losing a battle against cancer.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Field Trip to Grand Haven and Lake Michigan

We have been waiting for a good day to go to Lake Michigan with the kids, but Russ just doesn't have as much free time as he thought he might.  Naive, I know.  So, since the weather was going to be quite warm (in the 80s again) I decided to take the kids on my own.  I thought the water would be too cold for swimming so I didn't take their suits and told the kids they could just wade  However, I didn't take into account the wind and size of the waves, for wading that is.  Caleb said it was just like being on the Atlantic Coast in Florida, only the water isn't salty!  Needless to say, they were soaked and I was glad we had a box of clothes in the back of the van that needed to go to the Salvation Army.  One of the city workers that did our line out front dropped off a huge box of clothes for Caleb.  Almost all were Caleb's exact size, and he was able to use a lot of it.  Some t-shirts were not that Calebish (skull and crossbones) so we packed some of those up to take away.  Of course, typical Herman fashion, we hadn't gotten around to it yet.  But that turned out to be a good thing today because everyone was able to change before going home.   I wasn't that excited about putting skull and crossbones on the girls and Seth, but hey the t-shirts were dry.  Enjoy a few pictures of our day!

Shorts were just too wet to wear!  Seth liked the wildlife.

Seth in his dry t-shirt.  The girls thought it looked like a fashionable dress.

They enjoyed making sand mounds and seeing how long it would take for a big wave to destroy it.

Caleb thought I needed a picture too.  Did I mention it was windy?

Late afternoon--time to go home!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthday pictures

I wish the aunts, uncles, cousins and Grandpa and Grandmas could have seen Seth's excitement as his packages and cards came for his birthday.  I tried to take pictures of most everything, although I know that is not quite the same.  See the pictures posted below.

Smokey has now been on antibiotics since Monday night and her sores look clearer and appear to be healing.  Tonight Nicolas said in a relieved tone "I think she's going to make it!"  It is apparent to all the family that this is his cat.  This morning Seth hollers out, "Nicolas, Smokey is on the porch.  I think she needs a snuggle."  Of course, Nicolas immediately gets up and gives his cat a snuggle. 

We are trying to get used to living in a bigger city.   Part of that includes how to handle those who ask for money.  We had one fella come to our door asking for our pop cans (they were in a box outside our door and had not made their way to the garage yet.).  He took a few that afternoon, but the box was gone the next morning. A little disconcerting as he had to walk down our driveway and up a rather long flight of steps to our door where the box was located.    Russ also had an incident outside of the grocery store two blocks from our home.  We were thankful for a timely blog post by Pastor James that sent us to a link regarding mercy ministry  Russ was able to appropriately interact  with this guy and we were also able to talk to our kids about this.  Not sure we would have had that "teachable moment" in Orange City!

I took the kids to the Home School Building (HSB) this afternoon to investigate the orchestra program.   There are four different orchestras based on ability.  We sat in on the highest level which is a full symphony orchestra.  I think the boys will be in the intermediate or advanced; both meet on Wed mornings at 8:30. Caleb and Nicolas are quite interested, but also know it will not be like playing for Mrs. Wielenga.  On the same note, although they like their music teachers here in Grand Rapids, they miss their music teachers in Iowa.  I am sure it is hard to get used to another personality, teaching style, etc.

Russ is enjoying his classes so far and has even been able to stay on top of Hebrew.  He has temporarily set aside Greek as he attempts to better understand Hebrew.  Probably it would be best if you did not ask him about the English Grammar Diagnositc Test he is required to take.  Let's just say that some of the faculty and staff of PRTS are now aware that he is an individual with strong feelings.

The boys are tempted to head to Detroit this weekend for the Twins game, but I think fishing will win out.  I will let you know...

The first birthday package

"Andrew has these!"  No better recommendation then that.

Thanks, Uncle Mar and Aunt Petey!

The girls can't wait to get their hands on the Calico Critters!

Thanks, Grandpa and Grandma B.!

Loving all the packages

Thanks, Uncle Cory and Aunt Lynn

Thanks Uncle Dave and Aunt Nikki.  We went to Wal-mart and Seth picked out his own Star War lego kit.  Of course, Nicolas helped...
"She came!"  He never doubted this would be a birthday gift since he specifially told Aunt Becca this was what he wanted.  Thanks Uncle Bubbs and Aunt Becca!

Meijer came through for us during this busy time, but definitely not a Sara Crane cake... (

Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma H for the card and money and to Uncle Greg and Aunt Shantelle for the magazine subscription which mom still needs to order...

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Many of you know about the Smokey incident before we moved.  She got away from us at mom and dad's house and we (Russ and I--Nicolas was pretty sure she'd be back) were afraid she would not come back.  Even though I have not been that fond of the cat, I was relieved when she showed up that night because I know how much she means to Nicolas.  After we arrived in Grand Rapids we kept her in the garage/house for at least a week.  Now she has been free to roam, but she is usually in the garage at night.  If not, we keep the garage door open a crack so she can get in at night.  Yesterday we noticed that she was not quite herself--wanting to come in the house, lay around instead of explore, and touchy when petted.  I was actually on the phone with Becca when I noticed a spot on her back hip, got up to look and was horrified to see several large open sores.  Not sure what happened, but I am afraid she must have met a territorial animal.   We shaved the area to keep hair out of it and put some antibiotic ointment on it, but she may need other antibiotics to keep infection away.  Nicolas is pretty upset, so, of course, we are too.  Pray for healing for our Smokey.  It would break that boy's heart to lose the cat. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fishing was out so Wii was in

A few Fridays ago Dave and Mary Beth invited us to their trailer by the lake for fishing.  The only problem was that is was extremely windy and cold that day and shortly after we arrived that night it started to rain.  The kids were disappointed about not being able to go out on the pontoon to fish, but then Dave got his Wii out and all was well.  I thought I would share a few of the pictures that I took of that night.
Dave and Mary Beth's home by the lake

The playground by the beach

Did I mention it was chilly that night?

Seth on Mary Beth's keyboard

Wii action

Cute isn't he?

Cute, too!