Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nicolas is 14!

Nicolas' birthday activities:

Eat awesome doughnuts from Van's
Get a haircut
Clean room (on his birthday!?!)
Visit the Titanic Exhibit at the GR Public Museum
Eat yummy pistachio cake
Open gifts
Watch Napoleon Dynamite
Enjoy Dad's homemade pizza with ginger ale
Get twirly thing caught on roof (Easter basket gift from Mrs. Tina across the street)
Watch Ray VanderLaan Passion week video for Good Friday
Pack for Kentucky mission trip with the FRC youth group

The kids love anything pistachio.  They should have been born in the 1970s.

Thanks, Grandpa and Grandma!

A hot/cold cup for all his drinks and a new Ironman watch from Mom and Dad.

We all received boarding passes as we entered the Titanic.  As we left the exhibit we could look at all the names of those who perished and those who survived and find out how we fared.  I survived along with my daughter, Edith.  Nicolas and Caleb also survived, but Seth, Lydia, Anna, and Russ did not fare as well.   Anna was the person on the above boarding pass.  She was quite saddened to see that not only she perished, but also her 3 year old daughter and 9 month old son.  If you click on the picture you can read it better.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Boys and Girls Club 2013 Pinewood Derby Car Winner!

Seth picked out the design from ideas we found on a couple websites, and Nicolas did most of the carving, sanding, painting, etc.  Seth won in his age division, K-2, then raced against all the other division winners and found that Nicolas carved him a really fast car as it beat out all the others!

The other division winners and runners-up

The Eagle

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Afghan #3

The third Knifty Knitter afghan is completed, and one girl is extremely happy.  Now I have a 6-year old begging for one, too.   The yarn is I just need the time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Activity Update

Here is an activity update on each member of the family.

  • Most of his days are consumed with the seminary and seminary work.  Although he does not have class on Mondays, he uses that day to work for Dr. Murray or get caught up with other schoolwork.  With as much snow as we have had in the last few weeks he spends a fair amount of time on snow removal as well. 
  • He does a great job organizing and planning TableTalk discussions at the seminary through his leadership role in the newly formed PRTS Student Society.
  • Gearing up for track!  He has helped design and order new uniforms which goes a long way towards legitimizing the program in the eyes of the athletes.  From the initial track meeting last week, Russ estimates having about 35 track athletes this season.
  • He is also assisting the planning and organizing for the FRC youth group mission trip to Kentucky the end of March/beginning of April.  Russ continues to lead the youth group which meets on alternate Sunday afternoons.  They are finishing up Ryken's book Loving the Way Jesus Loves and will finish out the year studying The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges.
  • Russ continues to tutor math at NorthPointe, even picking up a new student recently. 
  • He is preaching most Sundays, usually in Kalamazoo.
  • He also recently played tax man.
  •  My life still revolves around homeschooling and all those other things moms do.    I still do the PT thing two Saturdays a month and can finally anticipate and go into work without a knot in my stomach.   I really enjoy the Saturday work crew so am little nervous about working during the weekdays this summer.
  • I just came back from a wonderfully refreshing weekend with 3300 other BSF leaders from OH, KT, IN, MI and Ontario, Canada at a BSF Leader's Retreat in Cincinnati, OH.  The theme for the weekend was "Eradicating Biblical Poverty" and we enjoyed talks from Susie Rowan the director of BSF and Dr. Walt Kaiser, former president of Gordon-Conwell Seminary.  The theme song for the weekend was "Ancient Words" and I will embed it here just for you, Bubbs.  When I mentioned the song to Russ the first thing he mentioned was his recollection of Bryan standing in mom and dad's kitchen after church one Sunday singing that song and holding out a pretend mic to Becca to join him (take over?) singing.  I have no memory of this so if you want to deny the story, Bryan, you certainly may.  

  • I relax at night by doing some form of needlework.  I am finishing up an afghan for Lydia and just bought yarn to start one for Seth.  This is what I did on the 6 hour trip to Cincinnati.  I completed one on the way there, and finished the other on the way home!

  • I am still part of the Ministry Wives Institute (MWI) committee.  We plan the talks for the following semester/year, working to come up with a theme for each semester and trying to cover the major topics that would be of concern to a pastor's wife.  We also work with the PRTS student society on ideas to best serve the seminary community whether it be updating the handbook, creating gift baskets for new babies, or planning social evenings (just to name a few).  
  • Caleb had his first exposure to snowboarding at the Cannonsburg ski area a few weekends ago.  He spent the afternoon/evening with friends snowboarding from 4-10 and then spent the night at the LaRoque twin's home.  He was incredibly sore for a few days, but had a great time.  I think all that wake boarding at Big Sand made it much easier to pick up snow boarding and his friends were impressed with how well he did.  (Thanks, Greg and Shan!)
  • 'Tis the season for music festivals.  He received a Division I rating for both his violin solo and string quartet at the district festival several weekends ago and plans to participate at State.  Last week the NorthPointe Orchestra received all Division I ratings and will also participate in State.  
  • We just enjoyed a GRYS concert a few Sundays ago.  Caleb is in the smaller Classical Orchestra but plans to audition again in May with the hopes of being able to participate in the big orchestra next year.   Just this last weekend he enjoyed a Saturday in Chicago with the youth symphony taking in the Art Institute, Millennium Park, Chicago-style pizza, and finally the Chicago Symphony featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma. 
  • He is teaching violin lessons on Tuesdays after school to a middle school student whose older sister is in orchestra with Caleb both at NorthPointe and in the GR Classical Orchestra.  He seems to really enjoy this and appreciates the extra spending money!
  • To relax, Caleb loves to sit down and play piano, or fiddle with my camera trying out new settings.  He also enjoys playing games on his iPod, including but not limited to, Words with Friends with Uncle Dave and Uncle Michael.   He is also out running more as track season starts next week!
  • Nicolas spends a large part of his time trying to convince me that he should go to NorthPointe next year.  Just kidding.  In all seriousness, finances permitting, he hopes to be a freshman there next fall.  I will miss him so--I love having his sweet personality around and it doesn't hurt that he is a huge help to me during the home school day.  He is my right hand man!
  • 'Tis the season for music festivals?  The Homeschool orchestra participated in the same festival as NorthPointe.  Since we had to transport Nicolas to the festival venue, we were able to be in the audience when both boys performed for their individual schools.  Nicolas is planning to participate in the middle school festival in about a month and is working on a cello solo for that.   He would also like to audition for the GRYS in May.
  • Nicolas still loves creating with Legos.  When we have packing snow he enjoys being outside building snow forts with Seth. 
  • He still bugs us to play games all the time, but if we can give him a good book he will be happy just to read, read, read.
  • Nicolas is looking forward to warmer weather and getting his whittling knife out again.  He is planning to work on Seth's derby car so will see how that turns out. 
  • Anna loves to sit and play piano.  Since she quit violin, I enjoy seeing her spend so much time just playing songs for fun on the piano.  She received a new piano book for her birthday that both girls have really enjoyed. 

  • Anna loves to read, play Barbies and American Girl dolls with her sister (and Seth if they get along), help me in the kitchen, and play solitaire on the computer.
  • She absolutely loves Zoe and the affection is mutual.  She is a great help in playing with Zoe outside to work off some of that dog's endless energy.
  • Anna recently found a new interest--calligraphy.   Calligraphy was the "craft" one night at Boys and Girls Club and all were impressed with Anna's knack for picking it right up.  She has made a few cards for us and just enjoys practicing different letter styles. 

Lydia enjoys playing around with calligraphy, too

  • Lydia also plays piano...a lot.  She has picked up the violin, but I have had to use a little bribery to get her to practice regularly.  
  • Lydia's warm caring heart comes out in her care of the pets (loves to take Zoe for walks and feed Smokey) and in her patience with her brother, Seth.    She loves to help in the kitchen, but that love does not extend to dishes.  
  • She still struggles with crazy hair and tires of big brother, Caleb, asking her if she, "combed her hair today."
  • She is not an avid reader, but has started enjoy it more.  I find that it helps immensely to go to the bookshelves with her and pick out 4-5 options and then to let her pick one from those.   It is just overwhelming for her to go to bookshelves and see all the options at once.  Kind of like clothes shopping for me...
  • Lydia enjoys her Knifty-Knitter and recently started cross-stitch project. 
  • Both girls enjoy nights out at BSF and Boys and Girls Club
  • Seth has had a tough winter--sick all the time.  With the lastest relapse a few weeks ago I finally took him to the Dr.  The prednisone and antibiotic seemed to have cleared up his sinuses and his cough, so hopefully, that is all behind us.
  • Seth is chief pest whether it be his siblings or the pets.  He is "King of Annoying."
  • He loves to read Lego ninjago books, Peanuts cartoons, and the comics.  I do not have too much pride to admit that I also bribe him to read small chapter books.  He can finish a small chapter book in an hour so it isn't a lack of skill that prevents him from reading--only laziness!  
  • He constantly wants to watch a video or play on the computer.   We are all exhausted from channeling his interests to something else.  What has worked wonderfully is bringing out forgotten toys:  Rescue Hero guys, matchbox cars, action figures, and the train sets.  He more consistently plays dolls with the girls, Legos with Nicolas, and Playmobil.  He also enjoys his Leapster.  
  • Seth loves to snuggle with mom in bed in the morning and also to drink my coffee.  
  • He loves to snuggle on the couch and be read to and enjoys listening to music, especially while doing his school work.  Music tames the wild beast in him and actually helps him sit and attend.  Pandora has become our best friend. 
  • Seth is quite social, kind of like his big brother, Caleb.  BSF and Boys and Girls Club are also great outings for him.
Sorry this got kind of long...I promise not to bore you like this again:)