Friday, January 6, 2012

Update and Christmas Trip Highlights

Russ and Caleb started back to school on Tuesday so the Herman Academy decided to go ahead and get started as well.  I didn't realize how difficult it would be get back into the swing of things.  The fact that I had few days of extreme tiredness and "aches" didn't help.  I am doing better today--I think I am ready to tackle some cleaning and finally put Christmas decorations away.

Russ is enjoying a slower pace right now as he is just taking the one class on Ecclesiology until regular spring classes start the last week of January.   Caleb had a fun J-term week this week, as well, before regular classes start next week.  He took classes on forensic science, cryptography, and also chamber music to work on pieces for solo/ensemble.  He will be playing a solo and is also in a quintet.

From the NorthPointe Christian newsletter (forensic science)

Right now the kids are outside enjoying an awesome day although they are disappointed the snow has all melted.  They went out after supper two nights ago and enjoyed sledding in the backyard with light from just the outside porch lights.  They found that since the slide was covered with ice it worked great to sled down!

So here are a few of the highlights from our two week trip at Christmas:

Although we didn't think we were going to, we were able to see everyone in both of our families on this trip.  Lynn and Cory made an unplanned trip home from Haiti to complete the "Bleeker" side.  Russ' brother Keith and family drove down from the Luverne, MN area (Beth's family)on the 24th, and we stopped in on Russ' parents in Glidden and his sister Renee and family in Dekalb, IL on our way home.  Russ' brother Nathan and family were still at Renee's house on their way home from Indiana (Tisha's family) and Philip and family drove down from the northern part of Chicago for part of a day to make the "Herman" side complete.

We were also able to connect with several friends:  Anna spent time with Sophie Swart, Lydia saw both Emma Byker and Kate Walhof, and Caleb was able to go out for lunch with Klay Byker.  Both Anna and Nicolas spent time at OCCS, and while they were reacquainting themselves with friends, Russ drove to MOC-FV to see his former colleagues.  We also had a nice evening with Abe and Amy Scheaffer, complete with Mom's ollie bollen.  Thanks, Mom!  Sarah Walter was also able to come over and spend the night.  It was so good to see her again and to make sure she was in one piece after her scary accident.

Russ preached two sermons on the 25th at First CRC in Orange City.  We were also able to worship at Heritage and hear Dr. Beeke and attend Harvest PCA to visit with some of our brothers and sisters there.

Trinity Reformed Christmas program:  We all enjoyed seeing Emily, Andrew, and Rachel up on stage.

Seeing baby Finn for the first time.  Watching Nora do her "silly walk" was pretty hilarious too!

Shopping and eating lunch at Black Bear Diner with Mom and Cora.

Going on walks with my Dad--the weather was just great!

Sharing meals at both Cora and Marlon's and Bryan and Becca's homes. 

Other highlights from the kids:

    Sleepovers with cousins:  Brooke, Lauren, Dayle, and Caden all spent a night at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  

    The prime rib dinner and Bingo table.

    Watching Michael "Just Dance" with the Wii.

    Fixing one 500 piece and two 1000 piece puzzles.

    Eating breakfast at the bakery the morning we left Sioux Center.  Thanks Dad! 

One other highlight of the trip was meeting Cora and Marlon at Greg's dairy near Harlan, IA and getting a grand tour.  I will post pictures of that on the next blog.  Here are a few snapshots of the rest of the trip.

This girl loves her "Papa"

Lydia loving baby Finn

On a bridge over the Raccoon River at a park in Coon Rapids

The kids thought it was neat to see where dad went to elementary school in Coon Rapids.  This school is closing after this year as all grades will move out by the high school on the edge of town.  

Grandpa and Grandma Herman's kitten that the kids named "Harley" because of his loud purr.

Watching "Beezus and Ramona" on New Year's Eve

Playing "Rollick".  I regret not getting a picture of Andy as a dog for the word "fire hydrant".

Nicolas putting to use what he learned in his new whittling book

A little blurry, but here are a few flowers he whittled  for me.  Too sweet!

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