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.

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