Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seth's Depiction of Heaven and Hell

Seth:  "You can see the shining light coming out of heaven.  Hell is all black and darkness with gnashing teeth.  The guy in the middle is going into heaven--he's nobody we know."

Caleb thought the bloody elephant tusk copied from the front cover of the most recent issue of National Geographic magazine really just tied it all together. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Art Prize Part 1

I am posting just a bit of the art that we saw with Grandpa and Grandma B.  I labeled it Part 1 because we plan to see more of the art this coming weekend when Philip and Pam come up to visit us.  I will have Russ and the kids take pictures because I am scheduled to work:(

"Captain and the Kid"

"Hooked on Michigan"

"Copper Kids in a Copper Canoe"  Reminded me of Caden and Nicolas...

"The Temptation"  painted over the volumetric representation of the Island of Manhattan

"Crime Wave" made with steel rods and mesh

"The Chase"--creative taxidermy

"Blind Side"  a series of blinds--my favorite was the outside of the dollhouse when the blinds were closed and the inside of the house when the blinds were opened.

"Rebirth of Spring" oil on canvas

"A Second Chance at Life"  T-Rex

"Dining at the Grand"  Made of spoons, knives, and the waterfall out of forks.

"Norm" made from recycled materials welded together

Not sure of the name of this one

"Edge of the Forest"  chainsaw carving


"Fantastic Carousel of Dreams" I loved the detail on the stained glass horses.

"City Band" a large pencil drawing by the 2010 winner of ArtPrize

"The Nanny" mosaic.  Love this one--it is so cute!

"Marilyn"  I took the close up so I could remember what this picture was all made of--nothing was painted--the artist used the colors of the objects that she found.

"Elephants"  Another huge pencil drawing

Grandpa and Grandma's Visit

We love our visits from Grandpa and Grandma!   Although just having them here is blessing enough, I'd like to highlight a few events of the week:

Attended Caleb's soccer game.
Canned tomato soup from Grandpa's tomatoes.
Bought apples and made applesauce.
Visited the fish ladder--the fish were jumping and the fishermen were out in full force.
Ate at Russ' restaurant (always a treat!) 
Grandpa and Grandma took Seth and I to Sam's Club (Seth is still asking to go back to get the vacuum cleaner...)
Grandma visited the food pantry with me so she can now picture what it looks like when we talk about it.
Grandpa found Nicolas and I at his cello lessons after we sent out an SOS because I drained the battery in the van.
Took Grandpa and Grandma to the Blandford Nature Center (where above picture was taken) as Seth wanted to go see the wigwam.
Ate wonderful pastries from Van's Pastry Shop (love the bear claws!)
Walked through the Fulton Street Farmer's Market.
Experienced a bit of ArtPrize as we walked downtown on Wednesday afternoon.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Beauty of Light

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 
 2Corinthians 4:6

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

19 Years Ago...

Nineteen years ago yesterday Russ asked me to be his wife.  The night he proposed he gave me a dozen roses--one red one and eleven white ones.  He explained that for 11 years he had remembered Sept. 10 with sadness as it was the day his mom died, and  now he wanted to associate this day with a better memory to take the sting out of the day.  Thankfully, he still considers that choice a positive one and brought me a beautiful red rose yesterday:)  It was 30 years yesterday that his mom went to be with the Lord. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Glad to Have Homeschool Weeks 1-2 Behind Us!

I really was not ready this year for all the organization, preparation, patience, and planning that is required to home school the four young'uns.   Summer was not quite long enough.  But I pulled up the boot straps, prayed a lot and started up on the 27th.   After two weeks, I am still a tad overwhelmed and haven't really settled into a routine.   Part of my problem is that since I thought Seth would be bored with MFWs 1st grade content, I decided to teach the 2nd grade curriculum to him.  I am continuing to do the spelling/phonics and math for 1st grade, but the 2nd grade curriculum will challenge him more with reading and writing and will just be a more interesting subject to study (explorers, founding of the United States, pioneers, the 50 states, etc.).  So, a little more prep work for me since I also have the other three that are in the third year cycle of MFW--Rome to the Reformation. 

So this is what we have we studied so far..

Seth learned about the Vikings and Christopher Columbus in social studies. His Bible theme for the year is the different names of Jesus so we talked about the importance and the meanings of names.

A quick picture with clothes on and then it was time to strip down and play with Columbus' ships in the bathtub!
The other three studied the founding of Rome, the story of Remus and Romulus, the rise of the Roman Republic and then the fall of the Roman Republic with the murder of Julius Caesar.  Now we are reading about the war between Mark Antony and Octavius and the part that Cleopatra plays in this whole drama.   Along with the study of Rome we learned about education in Rome, classes of people (patrician, plebeian, slaves), and what the Roman homes and cities were like.  We also practiced math with Roman numerals.  The kids enjoyed the DVD, Roman City, which gave a great overview of how Roman cities were laid out using actual footage from the unearthed city of Pompeii and also a fictionalized story about building a Roman city in Gaul.   The girls are working on a Roman lapbook for our Rome unit and Nicolas has completed several notebooking pages which is basically writing up a summary of what we studied.  Nicolas started a reading unit using the book The Eagle of the Ninth and the girls are doing a unit on The Courage of Sarah Noble.  This might be a little easy for Anna, but I thought we could gradually work up to something a little more challenging for her. 

The girls (and Seth) have really enjoyed these Roman "wax" tablets that we made.  Well worth the late night putting them together and the trip to Hobby Lobby for non-hardening clay.  Love that 40% off they have each week!

Caleb started school this week and seems to enjoy his classes.  He is in U.S. History, Honors English, Algebra II, Orchestra, Government/Economics, Bible, and Chemistry.   He was signed up to take Spanish I, but it conflicted with Honors English, so is taking Government/Economics instead.  We reassured him that this is a great semester to be in Government.  Can't beat an election year!  He wants to work on Rosetta Stone Spanish at home instead.  Caleb is also in the GRYS Classical Orchestra this year.  He auditioned in May and found out in early July that they had a spot for him.  He had a day long retreat on Saturday at the Salvation Army Pine Island Retreat Center to kick-off the orchestra season which starts Monday night.  He is also enjoying soccer at NorthPointe more this year than last year.   They have only had 11 guys on the JV team so they have been playing most games without subs...and winning.  They actually even tied one game when they played with only 10 guys to the other team's 11!

Nicolas' soccer program through GR City Rec was cancelled due to lack of numbers in his age group.  I felt so bad for him as he had started running every morning to get in shape and could be found outside doing soccer drills to improve his ball handling skills.   We put him on the AYSO youth soccer waiting list, but since it was so late I doubt they will give us a call.  Home school orchestra starts on Wednesday this week.  After his audition this summer, Nicolas is now in the Symphony Orchestra which meets at 1:25 in the afternoon instead of 8:30 like the Advanced Orchestra.  Can't say I'll miss getting the kids up and out of the house early on Wednesday mornings.

Russ also seems to be settling into a routine at school.  He is taking Soteriology, Westminster Standards, Youth Ministry, New Testament Exegesis--Gospels and Acts, Apologetics, and Practice Preaching.  He will continue tutoring math at NorthPointe like he did last school year.  He was also asked in late August to consider taking over the Youth Group at the FRC.  With both boys in youth group he was excited to say "yes".  The youth group had a kick-off for the season on Saturday.  Pete and Minnie Van Kempen generously invited the youth group to their cottage on a lake for the afternoon/early evening.  Russ went earlier with Nicolas, and I joined them around 5:30 with the rest of the kids after picking up Caleb from his orchestra retreat.  The youth group kids seemed to get along great and have a good time together.  

Where's Russell?  A picture Dr. Beeke took of his Soteriology class posted on Facebook.  Russ counted at least 11 different countries represented in this one class.
I will begin my first night as a Level 1 Children's Leader tomorrow night at BSF.  This should be quite a change from Level 4/Senior Level that I had last year.   Seth will be in my class and I know I will love having him there with me.  This week we are looking forward to a visit from my Mom and Dad.  Like Lydia said tonight before she went to bed, "I just can't wait until Grandma and Grandpa are here."   

Another picture borrowed from Dr. Beeke's facebook page on the PRTS picnic at the Plymouth Elementary School.  Had great weather and a wonderful turnout  I enjoyed visiting Donna Kelderman and hearing what their older kids are doing (the ones I actually knew when they were small:).

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

We actually took our "holiday" and did fun things on Friday instead of Monday.  After Russ finished up with class on Friday morning we left for Holland, MI.  Our first stop was the Holland Christian Bookstore.  Don and Liz Deater (Gary Vander Hart's daughter) have a new and used bookstore in the basement of their home.  We enjoyed browsing through all the books and even picked up a few treasures.  Liz recently opened a bed and breakfast (Cottonwood Inn Bed and Breakfast) and gave us a tour of the rooms.  They have a beautiful home which you can see on their website here.  

We had planned to go to Holland State Park for the kids to enjoy the beach.  This would have been another 20 minute drive since Don and Liz live on the other side of Lake Macatawa from the State Park.   They live by Piper Restaurant on the map and so we would have had to drive all the way back around the lake.

 Liz recommended a beach only 3-4 miles from their home.  This beach is not very busy because it is limited by how many people can park in the small parking lot.  The drawbacks are that it only has one port-a-pot, no changing area, no access to drinking water, and...the steps.  You can plan to climb about 145 steps up and then 180 back down to the beach (reverse that on the way back to the parking lot).  Thankfully, benches are provided for rest along the way up and the view at the top is breathtaking.  I think the sore calf muscles for the next three days were worth it!  The day was warm, the waves were high, and the kids just had a great time.  They were reluctant to leave at 5:00, but we had only packed food for a noon lunch and mom also had to work the next day.

Going up and down the steps is bad enough, but with a cooler full of snacks and water?  I'd say "strongest man in the world," but I know that title is reserved for Dave:)

You can see how few people are at the beach

What you can't see are the additional steps above and behind these that take you to the top of the dune. 

I worked part of the next day (Saturday) while my dear husband did the wash and got rid of all the sand in the house.  Dave and Heidi Pronk invited our family to their home that evening for supper with two other families from the Free Reformed Church.   The only problem with the evening was that we got home too late and had trouble getting up for church the next morning!  We went with Russ Sunday afternoon when he preached at the Sheldon Meadow care facility.  The boys and I played a violin/cello/piano arrangement with three hymns about the Holy Spirit.  The boys sounded so good together (at least one resident was moved to tears.)  Sunday night Russ preached in Kalamazoo while the rest of stayed in town at the FRC.   Mark Kelderman preached both services.   Monday (today) Russ spent at the seminary doing school work and the rest of us treated it like another school day.  (Except Caleb who starts school tomorrow!)