Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Activity Update

1.  Snow (are you sick of this topic yet?)

A couple days ago (Monday)  Seth and I decided to walk Zoe while the girls were at piano lessons.  When I initially went outside it was not snowing, but when I came back out after grabbing Seth's inhaler it was snowing buckets.  We decided it would be an adventure so took off on our walk anyway.   We had only gone 3-4 blocks when we realized it was snowing harder than we thought and the wind was blowing it right in our face.   For a little while we pretended to be Charles Ingalls trapped in a snowstorm while trying to get home to Laura and Mary for Christmas.  But that could only distract us for a few blocks.  After trudging in silence for a few minutes Seth turns to me with his red cheeks and snow plastered to his glasses and stocking hat, "Hey, Mom.  Good book? On the couch?  Hot cocoa?"  Warmed me up enough to make it to the end of the road where we turned around and had the wind at our backs and a much warmer walk back home.   Love that kid.

Anyway, we spent quite a bit of yesterday cleaning up after the last 5-6" of snow.  Russ helped a few neighbors clear out their driveways and we both helped neighbors that had cars stuck on the road.  I think the consensus is that we are all just tired of moving the stuff around.  Especially, as I mentioned before, because we are having trouble figuring out where to put it.  Seriously, we could crawl (Seth could probably walk) on the sidewalk and no one would see you because the snow walls are so high.   On a more positive note...we are having fun sledding and doing other fun snow things.

Seth is standing on the sidewalk!

Ice marbles.  The kids love to throw them in the snow and then dig to find them back.

Zoe likes to chase and dig for them too.

Snow Volcano

2.  Blandford Nature Center
Seth is loving his one afternoon a month at the nature center.  This semester I have the privilege of being a parent chaperone for three of the five sessions.  Last month I joined the kids while we walked through trails in the woods and looked for signs of animals:  scat, tracks in the snow, broken twigs, etc.  I learned so much!  Just last week they learned about simple machines and how they helped make the lives of the pioneers easier.  They taught all this while in the country school, the pioneer house, and the old blacksmith shop to make it all seem "real".  Looking forward to sugaring next month!

3.  Canada

Russ made his second preaching trip into Canada last weekend.  This time he took both older boys along with him to hear Paul Washer speak on "The Gospel and True Conversion" at Redeemer University College on Friday night.  On Saturday they traveled to Niagara Falls.  They thought it was pretty cool, but would like to go back when it is warmer!  They stayed with church families on Saturday night and during the day on Sunday when Russ preached at the Brandtford, ON FRC.

The mist from the Falls leaves a layer of ice on everything

4.  MWI

Last semester we enjoyed having the speakers address topics related to the "Pastor's Wife--Reaching out in the Congregation."  This semester we will hear topics related to the "Pastor's Wife--Reaching out Beyond the Congregation."  The first evening the wives met at the Omega House which is located right next to the only abortion clinic in Grand Rapids.  The Omega House performs sidewalk counseling and also offers post abortion counseling.  They are always looking for volunteers to assist with and pray for them.  I did not attend this evening as I had already toured the Omega House and was familiar with the ministry.  The next evening was cancelled due to snow, but last week Sandra Barrett spoke on the ministry of Amy Carmichael and what we are able to learn about service from her life.   As always, I appreciate the fellowship afterwards just as much as the speaker.     I was able to connect with the two new Brazilian wives and enjoyed getting to know them a little bit.  

5.  Solo/Ensemble

Both boys played solos (violin and cello) a few Saturdays ago for the District Solo/Ensemble Festival.   Caleb did not play in a quartet this year as they lost their viola player and did not have enough time to practice with a new one.  They both did well and will move on to the State Solo/Ensemble.  At least Caleb will... Nicolas is still undecided.  Evidently, the format is the same as districts for freshmen so Nicolas isn't sure he wants to repeat the same thing.  The upperclassmen not only play their solos, they also play scales and sight-read a piece of music.  

When they are not doing school work, practicing their instruments, or playing outside in the snow, the kids enjoy computer or Kindle time, playing on the Wii, reading books, playing games, fixing puzzles, or playing Playmobil.  I wish I had taken a picture of the homeschool room floor before we cleaned it up.  Every puzzle we own that has 25 - 100 pieces was fixed on the floor.  Any space not taken up by puzzles had an entire Playmobil village set up on it.    Lydia also likes to do handwork, either crochet or, as she is doing now, counted cross-stitch.  Anna would prefer to go to the other puzzle table in the family room and work on the 1000 piece puzzle that we usually have set up.  I think we have made 4 or 5 in the last few weeks...mostly Anna's work.  And of course the last few weeks we have enjoyed the watching the Olympics.  

We are all looking forward to Spring, but not for the mess that it will bring with all the melting snow.  Caleb has been trying to run outside 3-4x a week to prep for track season.  He had to cut his mileage just because it is much harder to run through snow (not everyone shovels their walks).  I think it will take many, many warm days before we find a track, though!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Anna Grace Turns 12

I can't believe our girl just turned 12 and is now only one year from being a teenager!  Since this girl loves her food (always has) it wasn't surprising that she had her birthday meal all planned out.  What is surprising is that she had no preference on a birthday dessert.  No matter how often or how many different ways I asked the answer was always the same: "I don't care."  I find this sums up Anna pretty well in many areas.   She never seems to have much of an opinion about clothes or shoes when we go shopping.  She is not particular about her hair--the easier the better.  And she is definitely not fussy about the food she eats.    Lest you think she does not have strong feelings, here is a list of things Anna feels strongly about:  math (loves),  Nancy Drew/mystery books (loves),  art/drawing (dislikes strongly), playing piano (likes),  Seth (loves/dislikes depending on the day),  exercising (dislikes).  Anyway, I made triple berry pie topped with ice cream for her birthday and she was as happy as a pig in mud 12 year old with an American Girl catalog (also loves).