Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nicolas!

Our Nickie Picks turned 12 today!   Even though it was chilly outside, the sun shone all day.  Nicolas started his day with a breakfast request of homemade buttermilk pancakes.  After filling our tummies we started in on school.  It had been a little while since we had played the geography game, so we started with a review of countries and continents.  After that it was time to work through our stack of schoolwork.   We ate a quick lunch and then Nicolas and I made our weekly trip to the seminary food pantry.  He always goes with me and is a great help with weighing bags and carrying things out to the van.  We quickly unloaded the van and then loaded up the cello for lessons.  Nicolas continues to work through a Sonata by Romberg.  He is sounding pretty good (and I'm getting better at accompanying him which is good since I will need to for his recital!).  After cello lessons, a quick snack and getting the kids settled watching the "Deep Ocean" in the Blue Planet DVD, I headed to Meijer for a few ingredients for the homemade pizza Nicolas requested.   He was able to open a few gifts after Russ got home from school.  We then enjoyed Dad's pizza and dessert pizza.  After supper the kids enjoyed setting up the Lego set Nicolas got from Grandma and Grandpa B.  The kids took quick baths and then I continued our current read-aloud "Daughter of the Mountains".    Seth and the girls then headed off to bed and devotions while Caleb finished practicing violin and Nicolas played chess on the computer.   After this, Caleb and Nicolas did devotions and headed to bed.  Now I am catching up on the blog and Russ is planning to work on a paper.  I think it may be a late night for him.  So, there you have how the Herman's spent Nicolas' birthday!

Reading a card from Caleb
Gift from Caleb

From Seth and the girls

From Mom and Dad
From Grandpa and Grandma B

"Is this mine or for Nicolas?"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Busy Week

I have not posted all week for two reasons.  One, the week was busier than normal and, two, our laptop is not working so I am forced to upload photos and blog on the desktop which is quite a bit slower.  Not sure what is wrong with the laptop, I think Russ will take it to the guy who does the technology work at the seminary and see if he can troubleshoot.  It runs a start-up fine, but then will either not open programs, or the open programs will stop responding after a few minutes.  We can use it in "safe-mode", but not use the Internet on it.  So, anyway, here is our week in a nutshell.

Mondays are typically busy as we organize a new week of homeschool, and take the kids to three piano lessons and a violin lesson in the afternoon.  This Monday "My Father's World" (our homeschool curriculum) had a showing of all their curriculum at a nearby hotel conference room in the afternoon.  After we dropped the older three at piano Russ and I were able to look at curriculum for next year and ask lots of questions.  We ended up ordering most of what we need for next year as shipping was free.    Once we got home it was rush to get supper on, eat, and off to BSF.  How wonderful to end the busy day with a study of Isaiah 53!

Tuesday morning I left Caleb in charge as I headed to the eye doctor.  My contacts were so bad that I was no longer wearing them.  I have daily wear, non disposable and they were 2 and 3 years old.   I am now moving to the disposable world, like most contact wearers as many companies do not even make my kind of contact anymore.  Caleb did a great job while I was away and the other kids worked through their list of schoolwork like troopers.  Maybe even better than when I am around!  From Tuesday night to Wednesday night we were in a winter storm warning for freezing rain, ice and snow.  Most of the yucky stuff ended up north of us but we did get a little layer of ice on the trees and a dusting of snow.  Wednesday was such a cold, gray day, but God sent us a little color in the form of this male cardinal who visited the feeder all day long.  He hasn't done that before and he hasn't done it since.  We occasionally will see him in the feeder, but not parked there all day like he was on Wednesday.  I used my "free" time on this day trying my hand at making kaloches.  They turned out so well that I ended up making two batches so Russ could take one to the seminary guys on Thursday.

Thursday was still very cold, but God gave us the sun to enjoy!  The sun shining on the ice coated trees was absolutely beautiful.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  When I went to my seminary wives committee meeting in the afternoon Mary Beeke mentioned that both her and Dr. Beeke on completely separate times both took the camera out and took pictures--and according to her, neither are quick to grab a camera.  I was asked to be part of this committee as the seminary attempts to organize a more formal "training" program for the seminary wives.   Caleb again "sibling" sat and did a great job. 

Friday we quickly finished up our homeschool unit on China.  We got together in the afternoon with the homeschool group from the Free Reformed Church.  All the kids are asked to give some sort of presentation (read/recite a poem, play on an instrument, perform a play, give a book report, anything really) followed by a snack time and then an art lesson.  The boys had made a model of the Great Wall of China and put together a brief report of some of the most interesting facts to present.  Anna presented her lapbook on Pandas.  Lydia read her story that began "What if insects were as big as people?" and Seth showed his drawing/painting of the Great Wall of China.

Besides learning about the Great Wall and pandas, we enjoyed learning a little of the history of China, a little about Buddhism, and about some of the missionaries that went to China.  We had fun with the tangram puzzle, did some map work, learned about the flag, and made lanterns for our Chinese meal decoration.  Since it was a busy week, I cheated for this ethnic meal and we ordered Chinese in!  The only thing I made was the tea!  Oh, well.   Maybe I can do better for Japan.    We did have the kids try to eat with chopsticks--that was a hoot!

Other than the chapter books listed on our book list, we also enjoyed the following picture books:  Six Words, Many Turtles, and Three Days in Hong Kong (McMahon); Pandas (Arnold); The Story About Ping (Flack); The Children of China (Zhang); Ping-Li's Kite (Sanne te Loo); The Great Wall (Mann); Red Land Yellow River (Zhang); What Do We Know About Buddhism (Ganeri); Mei-Mei Loves the Morning (Tsubakiyama), Mao and Me (Chen Jiang Hong), The Five Chinese Brothers (Bishop and Wiese); and the Warlord's Puzzle (Pilegard).

Kit and Ruthie enjoying eating rice with "chopsticks"

On Friday night Russ and I went to an organ concert featuring Martin Mans.  If you have never heard him I recommend going on YouTube to watch one of his videos.   The concert was at one of the oldest churches in Grand Rapids; it was a beautiful church with an amazing organ.   Martin played several  solo pieces and also duets with Dan Kwekel (Martin played piano and Dan the organ) and Jantine Kalkman (Martin on organ and Jantine on trumpet).   Dr. and Marie Willekes sat right in front of us; it was great to see them and catch up a little on what the Willekes family is up to.  Their granddaughter Allison is an excellent piano player and I noticed she has a couple of  CDs of duets with Dan Kwekel (her piano, him organ).    Once again Caleb watched his brothers and sisters for us.  While we were gone they finished up their China unit with a totally educational video on China--Disney's "Mulan".  Caleb said Seth had a little trouble falling asleep, but otherwise had an uneventful night.

Both Seth and Anna were under the weather most of the week with very full noses and terrible coughs.  On Thursday morning, Anna woke up with a sore ear, but it seemed to get better as the day went.  On Friday she mentioned it again, but didn't seem too serious.  On Friday night, Seth was up at 4:00 with intense pain in his ear.  It has been quite awhile since I rocked and sang someone to sleep in the middle of the night!  Russ was able to take both into urgent care this morning--both with pretty inflamed ears.  So, we have two on antibiotics.  Seth was still pretty miserable most of the day.  He ended up falling asleep after reading books in the chair by me just before supper.  I think he was finally feeling better when he went to bed tonight.  This morning while Russ took the two to the doctor, I took the other three to Hudsonville to pick up my "trial" pair of contacts and to make a stop at Kohls to return a few things and spend our "Kohl's Cash".  With five kids it is never difficult to find someone who needs undies or socks--I also had a 30% off so it made for a good deal!

One other thing happened today that was a surprise, blessing, and an encouragement for the kids and then for us as parents to see our kids so excited.  We received a package in the mail from OCCS with encouragement notes from classmates of each of the older four kids.  I sometimes think the kids wonder if anybody in Iowa remembers them--this was a reminder that they are indeed loved and remembered.  We were extremely touched.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Weekend for Encouragment

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a women's conference at a URC in Hudsonville, MI.   Becky Dibbet and I drove together and sat with some gals from the Free Reformed Church that we both knew. Probably about 150 women attended the conference entitled "Encouragement to Refresh Hearts".  The main speaker was Mary Beth McGreevy with a workshop led by Rev. Bob Van Manen.   I could tell that Mary Beth had been a BSF teaching leader for eight years, as she did a wonderful job working through a passage of Scripture for each of her three sessions.   She and her husband had been good friends with Dr. Boice; she even worked as his personal assistant while her husband was the CEO of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals for a short time.  She and her husband moved from St. Louis to Philadelphia 5 1/2 months before Dr. Boice's cancer diagnosis.  Following Dr. Boice's death only eight weeks later, she and her husband moved back to St. Louis where they currently live.   We were able to glean many Biblical and practical "kernels" not only to apply to our own lives but also to encourage/counsel others.

The music at the conference was also a blessing as it was very worshipful and uplifting.  Before each session the organ and piano played beautiful hymn duets.    Listening to all those women sing hymns was so inspiring.  Mary Beth mentioned it was worth flying in from St. Louis just to hear the women sing.  I think she was right!  The conference was very well organized--you could tell they had been doing this for ten-plus years.   After the session on Friday night they had cake with coffee/water and a time of fellowship.  Saturday morning they offered bagels/cream cheese, muffins, sweet rolls, fresh fruit, coffee and OJ before the sessions; cookies, crackers/cheese, water and coffee in the morning break; and sack lunches of either chicken salad or turkey and cheese on croissant, a bag of chips, a small container of pasta and of potato salad, and choice of coffee, water or soda at noon.  (I know the men reading this blog aren't really that interested in the food served, but I know the women are, so I included that vital information).  A book table was also set up with almost all  of the books from Reformation Heritage Books. 

I heard someone mention that there were fewer women attending this year and they thought it was probably due to the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology in Byron Center (very close to Grand Rapids) also going on this weekend.  Russ and I were also given tickets to this conference, but since I had already committed to the women's conference we gave the tickets to other seminary students.  I am sure the PCRT conference was packed with extremely rich teaching on a topic that is near and dear to me--the doctrine of adoption--but I was also nourished and refreshed where I was placed this weekend.   I am very thankful for a dear husband who understood my need for refreshment this weekend, even though he had much studying and research to do for the next week.  

On another note, we have enjoyed the warmer temperatures this week.   Seeing the first robins made us realize that we are almost through our first Michigan winter.  (Did you know the American robin is Michigan's state bird?)  We took a hike at the Blanford Nature Center on Thursday and enjoyed watching the Canadian geese flying over and in the ponds at the Center.  I think the temps are supposed to be cooler this coming week which is a bummer now that we have gotten a "taste" of spring. One thing that is hard to get used to with the time change is the sunrise at almost 8:00. (7:46 tomorrow!)  This makes it very hard to get our behinds out of bed in the morning--glad with homeschooling we are a little flexible in that area:).  The kids are outside right now enjoying a huge full moon "rising".  It is beautiful!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I had one of those "mother moments" the other day when you only listen to your child with half an ear because you're busy or distracted.  I know that sounds bad, but I think most moms know what I am talking about.    My day went something like this:

Nicolas:  "Mom, can have that old Pringle can in the garbage?"

Me:  "Uh-huh, sure"

Awhile later:

Nicolas:  "Mom,  can I spray paint something?"

Me:  "Um, sure. I think it is on the shelf in the garage.   Just make sure you do it in the garage or outside and put newspaper down."

Later on :

Nicolas:  "Mom, do you know where our beads are, you know, in that one can?"

Me:  "Um, yeah, they are in the closet in the office."

Soon after:

Nicolas:  "Mom, can I use your hot glue gun?"

Me:  "Uh, sure.  I think it is in the craft tub.  Make sure you unplug it when you are done."

On these distracted, busy days when you finally have down time (maybe in the bathroom?) all of the pieces of conversation come back at once.   For me it was "Pringle can? Spray paint? Beads? Glue gun?  What on earth!"   Finally I asked the question that I probably should have asked in the first place, "Nicolas, what are you making and why did you need to use spray paint and my hot glue gun?"

Here is the finished product...

...a quiver for his homemade bow and arrows.  Since this picture was taken, Nicolas made another arrow with red cardinal feathers found in the back yard.  

But this was his latest project, unveiled just this morning:

At least he isn't bored--and that is a good thing, because when Nicolas gets bored he tends to irritate the rest of us!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

100 Day!

Today we celebrated "100 Day" with Lydia.  Since Wednesdays are a science or "exploring nature" day, they have not been counted in the days of school.  So we may have celebrated "100 Day" a little later then most schools.   I remembered when the other kids celebrated this at OCCS so we tried to make it fun.   Rolling two dice 100 times and making a graph of the number of times 2-12 were rolled was probably our favorite activity.  This "teacher" mom liked it because it reinforced addition facts 100 times!   Some of the other activities we did included estimating and then measuring how far 100 steps would be outside, how far 100 inches would be, and how big of a tower we could make with 100 Legos.  

Lydia is actually almost done with her curriculum for the year.  She just completed her phonics workbook and no formal lesson plans are written out for the next four weeks.  This curriculum just gives some recommendations for challenging reading and creative writing activities, as well as continuing to review all the areas in math she has learned this year.   So I guess we will just make lots of trips to the library, find a special writing notebook, and think of some creative story "starter" lines.  If you have any ideas let me know...

Mel Trotter

In February 1900, Mel Trotter was instrumental in opening a Mission in Grand Rapids, MI.  Earlier in Mel's life during a time of heavy drinking and gambling he found himself homeless in Chicago, IL.  He was led to Christ at a Mission, became involved in the Mission in Chicago, and ultimately was led to Grand Rapids to open a Mission.   The Mission currently includes a men's and women's shelter, chapel, dental and vision clinics, Food Pantry, and Clothing Distribution Center.  From what I understand, in order to stay at the shelter the men (and women?) are required to listen to a short gospel message following their meal.   Since a message is given every evening, churches take turns providing speakers.  The Free Reformed Church has committed a speaker once a month and Russ took a turn this last Saturday evening--speaking just to the men at their shelter.  He spoke on Luke 5:1-11.  Since no screening of the men takes place, some men are sober, coherent and wanting to attend, while others are drunk having no desire to be there.  Russ knew he wasn't in "Kansas" anymore after one of the individuals who had too much to drink began to shout within the first couple of minutes!  Overall, however, it was a good experience and he would go back in a heartbeat.

This made for a busy weekend for him as he had this message to prepare for, a book review due by 5:00 last Friday, a typology paper/assignment due on Monday, and now has a five page paper due this Friday for Leadership.  Next week Tuesday he takes an Anthropology midterm.  All this time he also needs to stay on top of  Hebrew as a Hebrew exam is also looming.  Did I mention he also has a ten page paper on Calvin that he needs to begin researching?   And I think I am weary with teaching the kids school!  

Sunday, March 13, 2011


On Friday we finished up our unit on India.  Once again we thoroughly enjoyed learning about a country.  The boys again each created a country summary report on power point (fast facts, history, government, people, religion, education, land, and economy).  Anna had her own little form to fill out for facts about India and also learned about the people through the book Children Just Like Me.  We spent time learning the geography--countries and water around India--and played our geography game for Asia.   In studying the history of India we spent some time learning who Ghandi was and why he is a notable figure.  We looked at the Hinduism religion, as well, which helped us understand what Amy Carmichael had to deal with when we read her biography as a read-aloud book these last two weeks. 

One morning we spent some time with a bedsheet watching you-tube videos on how to tie a sari and a dhoti.  Anna enjoyed spending the rest of that day in a sari with a red dot on her forehead!   We also studied Indian currency, the rupee; learned about India's national bird, the peacock;  the banyan tree; and India's flag.  We read books about the history of the Taj Mahal and watched a short video on-line.  We also watched a you-tube video on henna tattoos which showed a henna artist painting the pattern on an Indian woman's forearm and hand.  Pretty neat.  On the last day we touched briefly on the Hindu "festival of lights" or Diwali and made our own rangoli art.  I think we had just as much fun coloring the rice as we did filling in and making our patterns!

Peacock by Anna
Seth and Lydia's designs
Nicolas' design
Caleb's design
Anna's design
Jars of colored rice

We read Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling as it takes place in India and also rounded out our Kipling/India experience by watching Disney's The Jungle Book which also takes place in India.  We learned that Rudyard Kipling was an Englishman who was born in India and returned back to England when he was five.  Both Anna and Nicolas did a little mini-unit on Tigers with Anna completing several lapbook activities and Nicolas filling out one fun booklet in which he had to research many different types of tigers. 

Tiger by Nicolas

The science topic to go with this unit was "mountains", so we studied the different ecosystems found on just one mountain and made a model of this for science class.  Note the grass for the grasslands, leaves for deciduous trees, pine for the conifers, flower petals for the tundra, and finally the snow on the peak.   Anna drew a mountain climber at the summit which I thought was pretty cute. For each of these ecosystems we would talk about the plants and animals that could live there.  We specifically looked and read books about Mt. Everest since is found in the Himalayas.

Our mountain "ecosystem" model
Lydia's mountain
Anna's mountain painting

As usual, we finished our unit with a meal from the country we studied.  For this unit we made Indian chicken mango curry served over basmati rice with naan bread on the side.  I think most of us enjoyed this meal thoroughly.  The naan was especially good!

We also rented a video from the library called Going to School in India.  These were 10-15 minute excerpts of Indian kids telling how and where they went to school in the various regions of India.  We did not watch this all in one sitting, but were able to watch the little excerpts throughout the two weeks.  These are some of the books we enjoyed:  Stories Told by Mother Teresa, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Taj-Mahal by Caroline Arnold, In the Heart of the Village: The World of the Indian Banyan Tree by Barbara Bash, One Grain of Rice, The Top of the World:  Climbing Mt. Everest, To the Top: The Story of Everest, Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (for the older boys), and two Magic Tree House books:  Tigers at Twilight and A Crazy Day with Cobras.   We are still waiting for the book Daughter of the Mountains by Louise Rankin to be in at the library.  We will catch this story about a Tibetian girl on our next unit--China!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How Much Do We Really Care?

This last week I have really felt a burden for the persecuted church around the world. I think God began working this in my heart during our study of Saudi Arabia and Islam.  This unit was not my favorite as I mentioned in an earlier blog, but I had trouble putting my finger on exactly why that was.  I think part of it had to do with the books I read (ones the kids did not read) regarding Saudi Arabia.  This closed, barren, oppressive country held absolutely no appeal for me.  I felt the darkness of the Muslim world and was convinced there could not be a believer in the entire country of Saudi Arabia.   About this same time, Caleb was just finishing up a book called The Calling by Brother Andrew.  It is basically his "sequel" to his classic book, God's Smuggler.  Caleb said, "Mom you have got to read this book."  I hadn't even gotten past the first chapter and I was already convicted in my earlier views of Saudi Arabia.  Brother Andrew points out that  during the time of God's Smuggler the world was divided into two spheres:  communism and the free world.   Now the main adversary/barrier to the gospel is oppressive governments like we find in the Muslim world.  If you read Brother Andrew's books you will note that one of his main goals is to seek out the struggling church and the brothers and sisters in these countries even just to let them know they are not forgotten.  He says even if you think there is no way there could be a believer or a church in that country, there more than likely is and it is suffering.   I couldn't push Saudi Arabia out of my mind anymore.  Now I had my eyes opened to the fact that Christians were struggling in that oppressive country, probably all alone.  I found myself more committed to praying for them.

A few nights later at the seminary wives meeting when I asked for prayer requests we were told that Siama's (a seminary student) mother and siblings had fled Myanmar (Burma) to New Delhi.  They were being persecuted for their faith and feared for their life so fled to a U.N. refugee camp in India. 

The following day we received an email from Anteneh a seminary student from Ethiopia.  His email read:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
I would like to ask prayer for Western Part of Ethiopia, Many Christians are suffering with persecution of Muslim extremists and more than 50 churches are destroyed in the last six days.

The boys and I went to the Open Doors website just to check out what they had to say about these two countries.  The list of the 50 countries where Christians are most oppressed was most enlightening.  We were also able to see a short video clip of an interview the Christian Pakistan government minister Bhatti gave shortly before he was assassinated last week.  I was so convicted of my "safe" life and my lack of concern for other Christians around the world.  As we study these countries, cultures, religions and missionaries in our homeschool curriculum these current event situations become more real since we have a better understanding of the circumstances in which they occur.  Knowing seminary students for whom oppression is reality has also increased our awareness.  Knowledge has helped to take away our apathy. 

So, I have committed to pray more regularly for my brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe.  This blog post is something I can do for them since someone else might also be led to pray for them...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eight Weeks to Go

Can you believe that after this week, Russ only has eight weeks left?  I can't believe how fast this school year has gone.  These last couple months will be pretty rough with lots of papers and assignments coming due while keeping up with regular class assignments and the volumes of reading.  Thankfully, he does have a spring break in there to help with "catch-up".

Since the end of this school year is in sight we have a couple decisions to make that we are praying about:  1) What will our summer look like?  2) Where does Caleb go to school next year?   The Sioux Center Hospital P.T. Department is looking for fill-in this summer for a therapist on maternity leave so we batted around the idea of spending the summer in Iowa while I worked and made a little money for the family.  Russ could do a little shingling for Dad, and the kids would spend the summer around family and old friends.  But that leaves us in the situation we were in last summer; we own a home several hundred miles away and need to someone to mow the lawn, etc.   The yard and landscape has been severely neglected the last several years and we had planned to do some intense work on it this summer.   We were uneasy about committing to an entire summer away from our Michigan home, so did not commit to the job in Sioux Center.  So, I have been wondering where I should apply for work here and Russ is wondering if he should find work here, or go back home to do some shingling while I stay in GR...But then this morning we may have had an answer to our prayers!  We have been attending Harvest OPC in the evenings.  Kevin DeYoung actually recommended this church to us as the pastor, Dale Van Dyke, is a good friend of his.  Harvest has grown quite a bit the last few years and is in the process of planting a new church in Alger.  They are hoping that at least a dozen families will commit to attend the new church plant to make the size of the current church more "manageable".  To make things more complicated, the associate pastor just took a call to a church in Maryland, increasing the workload on Pastor Dale.   So, this morning, as on all Wednesday mornings, Russ took the boys to the homeschool building for orchestra (which is really close to the Harvest church) and then went to the Target snack bar area to get a cup of coffee and study Hebrew until the boys were done.  This morning Pastor Dale walked in to get a cup of coffee, saw Russ and sat down and visited with him.  The result of the conversation was that there may be the possibility of an internship at Harvest for Russ this summer.    We both think this would be wonderful if it would work out, but will continue to wait for the Lord's leading.

The second decision is what Caleb will do for high school next fall.  We have some time to work on this, but it would be nice to have this figured out, if nothing else, for Caleb's sake (he likes resolution).  The options are homeschool full time, go to high school full-time (we are currently looking at NorthPointe which is a solid Baptist school right next to PRTS), work with NorthPointe and homeschool part-time, or try another homeschool route called Classical Conversations.  Caleb's choice is to go to school full-time which both Russ and I support.  Funds will be the only problem--thus we need to talk to someone at NorthPointe regarding financial aid before we can make a firm decision.  We would appreciate prayers for wisdom on this as well!

Not too much else going on here in Grand Rapids. We have a cold rainy day today, but the younger three did go splash in a few puddles and the boys played basketball with a neighbor boy.  We also listened to the MOC-FV state basketball game on-line and were disappointed they were unable to advance.

In other news...Last Saturday afternoon Caleb had a violin recital.  He played Adoration by Felix Borowski and did a great job.  He hit the high notes perfectly!  We treated the kids to ice cream afterward.  I had the seminary wives meeting last night which is always great fellowship.   I took my turn leading devotions last night before we discussed counseling.  Lots of different views out there so made for interesting discussion.   We finish our unit on India this week so will blog about our adventures in India sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon

Tuesday afternoon the Meekhof family (BSF friends at whose house we have sledded twice--once without snow and once with snow) invited us to their Sport Barn for some fun and fellowship.   This worked out great since Nicolas' cello lessons were rescheduled for Thursday due to a conflict for the teacher.  We ate an early lunch, made a speedy trip to the food pantry, and then made the trek to Nunica, MI where the Sport Barn is located.  Connie's husband does a little real estate business on the side and due to the economy has been unable to rent or sell this warehouse that is across from where he has his office.  So instead of leaving it empty, for the last two years they have enjoyed setting up a dream area for boys who love sports.   We arrived around 1:00 and left around 4:00.  We took snacks/drinks along to share and had a great time.

A nice carpeted area for kids to play.

Nice BB court completely enclosed with netting.

There is even plenty of room to ride bikes! 

I didn't realize how close we were to Grand Haven until Connie suggested we drive the ten additional minutes to check out Lake Michigan.  The waves that freeze near the beach are pretty cool to see.  My pictures do not do them justice as I was taking them into the sun.  I didn't get closer because it was quite windy and cold.  We did not come prepared with hats, mittens and boots so we were all freezing!  Maybe you can get a little bit of an idea?  This is the exact same park we were at when we came in September.   Had a slightly different feel this time!

Although freezing, still having fun!