Saturday, June 18, 2011

Who said summer was relaxing?

This week was the official start of "summer" in Grand Rapids.  Most schools finished on the 9th or 10th last week, so school kids were on summer break as of Monday of this week.  We really noticed this with the number of kids around the neighborhood all week.

The kids started summer music lessons this week.  Lydia would like to start piano lessons this summer, as well, so she will join them next week.  Their piano teacher recommended rotating the older three for lessons each week so we only have to pay for three lessons each week instead of four.  Nicolas continues with cello on Tuesdays and Caleb has violin on Wednesday mornings.   Nicolas had his first cello recital on Wednesday night.  He gets so nervous, but he did a great job and sounded wonderful on his new 3/4 cello (thanks to the wonderful couple who donated this to him!) 

Both older boys had soccer camp this week.  This camp at NorthPointe HS did not require a huge time commitment, nor was it very expensive. We've officially sent in an application and financial aid request to NorthPointe HS for Caleb next year.  On Thursday of this week we met with the principal and guidance counselor for an interview.  Now we have lots of paperwork to complete to make it official.   We found out from the principal that they may be looking for a track coach next spring...hmmm...wonder who would be interested in that?  They are also looking for a full-time math teacher (probably too much of a time commitment?) and math tutors.   Since the HS is right next to the seminary, I think Russ might be interested in helping out with the tutoring thing.

Russ called Bruce Kuiper regarding construction work this summer and met him at the job site Monday afternoon.   An old Latvian Catholic church and the surrounding buildings have been purchased for inner city ministry work and now have to be renovated  for apartments, etc.  Russ started the job on Tuesday.  That afternoon while he was working in the apartment area right next door, a large fire broke out in the church.  All were evacuated and Russ has not yet been called back to work. You can read more about the fire and watch some video including one of a short interview with Bruce here.   Our 90 year neighbor, Tina, who lives across the street (Bryan and Becca met her at Lake Michigan) is a Latvian Catholic.  Russ asked her yesterday when he went over to fix her basement handrail if this was her church.  She affirmed that this indeed was where she worshipped every Sunday for many years. 

We have also taken advantage of the beautiful weather.  Connie Meekhof  (BSF home school friend) invited us to their in ground pool on Monday afternoon and our neighbors invited us to their above ground pool Tuesday.  Both pools were pretty cold yet, but kids can always find fun in a pool, right?

A little scared in the pool, so spends most of his time watching.

All the kids signed up for the library reading program on Monday.   Nothing says summer more than the library reading program!  We haven't kept track of minutes or books read for over a year so this will be good for the kids.  Now if we can just keep track of everyone's recording sheets...

We bought a wooden playset from Craigslist on Thursday. We have constantly been looking but they go pretty fast. Russ was just pricing making one himself when he found this one. It was a steal of a deal if you consider the time and money you need to put into making one.  The kids are enjoying having a "tree fort" again. 

We are enjoying watching our garden come up and grow.   It has also been fun to explore all the overgrown vegetation in the yard and find treasures like hidden rose bushes and other flowers.   We noticed a house finch made a nest in our hanging plant. Glad I took the plant down to water it that day.   If you look at the picture you'll notice one egg that does not match--the cowbird egg.  Cowbirds do not make their own nests, nor care for their own young.  They lay eggs in other nests and let the "adopted" parent feed their young.   Usually,  the cowbird hatches first and steals all the food from the other birds when they hatch.

What else have we done this week?  Russ took the boys fishing early Friday morning.  The girls and Seth worked on an outdoor nature scavenger hunt that I put together for them. We enjoyed our portable fire pit a few times--making pudgy pies with apple and blueberry pie filling and smores.   Russ continues to work on Hebrew and construction projects around the house.  I finished 10 of the 20 home study credits I need to renew my Iowa PT license in August.  I also plugged away at a handbook for seminary families that I am putting together with one other seminary wife.  We are part of a committee and this was our project.  The project is ending up being a much larger, time consuming project than what either of us signed up for.  I think it will be pretty nice when it is done and hope the incoming families appreciate it--I know I would have liked something like this the first few months I was here!

Taking a break from biking to eat pudgy pies.

Alexa and Anaiya--neighbor girls.

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