Monday, December 14, 2015

Thanksgiving, School, and Activity Update

I wasn't sure what to label this post since it is just a mix of what has been going on since I last updated.  I thought about separating it into separate posts, but decided to just put it all in one.  

First, Thanksgiving...

We did not have homeschool the entire week of Thanksgiving since Nicolas also had the whole week off.   The kids played lots of games, fixed puzzles, and read books.  Lydia and Seth loved spending more time outside, and Nicolas spent some time doing homework and working through ACT/SAT workbooks.  One afternoon Nicolas' friend came over to watch me make pies as he wanted to learn how to make a pie crust...too funny.  

Can't have a holiday break without homemade doughnuts!

Nicolas' friend joined in the game playing

Mostly Anna's handiwork:)

The week was pretty cold and the kids enjoyed their first snow of the season the day before Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving Day itself we began our day in church with a teaching on Lamentations 3, learning that often sorrow precedes true joy and thanksgiving.  After church we brought our pumpkin pies to the VanderStelt gathering and enjoyed fellowship with their family. 

No Thanksgiving is complete without a little clay pigeon shooting!

Next, school...

In homeschool we visited Canada, Brazil, Norway, and hope to finish up in France before Christmas.  We still try to do at least one project or meal that corresponds to the country we are studying. 

 The maple leaf painting project and the igloo were both Canadian projects.

Our yummy Brazilian meal
Other than keeping up with papers, projects, and problems (pre-calc and physics--note all the "p's":), Nicolas has enjoyed Business Professionals of America (BPA).  He is part a group that is marketing a professional hockey team.   Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that he would have enjoyed this project, but am glad he is!  He will finish up his semester this coming week with final exams.

Except for two finals next week, I think Caleb also survived his first semester at Dordt!  We are looking forward to having him back home for several weeks and know he is eager to join us, as well.

Last, activities...

Caleb began track practice at Dordt last week.  We were not sure if he was going to participate or not, but he decided to try it out this year, both indoor and outdoor.  That should make his spring semester pretty busy.

Nicolas and Anna both took part in a youth group service project early in November.  The group assisted an elderly widow in the church with various clean-up projects around her home.  

Nicolas had his first BPYO concert in November.  This time of year he is more than willing to play his cello in church as accompaniment to the choir, or in a string quartet for prelude/offertory.  The kids' piano teacher is also great about having her piano students assist in playing the prelude before the evening service.  I think all three of the younger kids will be playing in church the next few weeks.  Lydia is doing well on the viola and enjoys her 1/2 hour lesson each week.  

Anna is now just over 6 weeks into her ferrous sulfate treatment for anemia and is doing great.  She had her first blood work check-up and almost everything had normalized.  She will continue to take the meds for another two months and then will have another check-up.  I think she would agree that overall she is less fatigued and has more energy.

The cadets had their annual derby car race and chili feed a few weeks ago.  Seth was happy to finish 3rd in his age group and also to win a medal for his good-looking patriotic car.   

Nothing too exciting to report for Russ and I.  We have enjoyed attending the Boise Philharmonic (the adult version, not the youth one) for three concerts this fall/winter.  The latest one was the Holiday Pops concert this past Saturday with the Master Chorale.  They sang/played a beautiful rendition of "O Holy Night/Silent Night".  When the chorale crescendoed to "Christ is Lord" it gave me goosebumps.  It made me wonder how many in the sold out crowd at the Morrison Center really believed those words and for how many it was just the words to a beautiful Christmas carol.   

I also attended two continuing education seminars in November.  One was on low back pain and the other on cognitive brain function.  They both stretched me professionally, and it was good to use that part of my brain again. 

Crocheting projects have definitely taken a back seat since school and church activities started up this fall.  I did finally get an afghan designed and even completed the first 26 rows!  I am hoping to make lots of headway over Christmas break so stay tuned (I think it has 300ish rows of 200 stitches each).  I have been watching sessions on sanctification from the Magnify Conference while I crochet and highly recommend to anyone!

At a recent church baby shower the ladies in charge decorated so beautifully I just had to share a few pictures.  Four generations of the baby's family was present so the theme for decorating and devotions centered around God's faithfulness throughout the generations.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fall Weekend Trip to Iowa

Seth, Anna, and I flew to Iowa for a few days in October.  We were able to catch Caleb's last JV soccer game for Dordt and see almost all the Bleeker family and also Russ' brother Keith and his family.  I am posting a few pictures of the high lights of the trip.  (Nicolas and Lydia are already planning their trip to Iowa next fall with Russ, the Lord willing!)

I never tire of this view

Lots of cousin support at the soccer game!  (As you can see they played NWC in Orange City).

The Dordt JV soccer team
The perfect time of year to pick apples and make apple cider

Bryan and Becca's puppies were so cute!!  We didn't get to see the first litter of Hazel's so it was fun to be able to hold these cuties.

Anna met up with an old friend from OCCS and enjoyed a few hours at the Pumpkinland Corn Maze on Saturday afternoon.

Although it is awesome to see all the cousins, these twin boys were a treat to spend time with because we all know how much these little guys will change in their first few years.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall Activity Update

Seth began piano lessons this fall and is doing a great job of practicing without being reminded.  He also played flag football for the first time and improved quite a bit after gaining a little confidence in what he was doing.  To continue to keep him busy I signed him up for the homeschool program at the Boise Zoo once a month.   He is studying various animals and biomes in the zoo program which complements exactly what we are learning in our science curriculum this year.  He also enjoys Cadets every other Wednesday night and BSF on Tuesday evenings.

Lydia began formal string lessons this fall.  Up until this point Caleb had been giving her violin lessons, but she has actually always wanted to play the viola.  Caleb's violin teacher here in Boise is actually a viola player and she was thrilled to be able to take Lydia on as a viola student.  Since she is still taking piano lessons, she stays pretty busy with her school work and instrument practice.  She also enjoys GEMS at church every other Wednesday and BSF on Tuesdays.

Anna continues to love her piano and plays/practices whenever she has free time or is not absorbed in her new favorite book series (whatever that may be).  She graduated from GEMS this year and now attends youth group every other Sunday afternoon.  Since Dad leads the book discussion/teaching and both mom and dad help out with the youth group she just can't get away from us.  She also attends BSF with us on Tuesdays.  We are hoping since she is now being treated for iron-deficient anemia her energy level and desire for physical activity will improve!

Nicolas has had a busy fall since he decided to go out for football as the kicker for the varsity team.  He also ended up playing defense for two quarters of most JV football games.  So with team football dinners on Wednesday nights after practice, JV games on Thursday nights, and varsity games on Friday nights we did not see him much.  When he is at home he is usually parked at the kitchen table working on AP Physics or Pre-calculus problems.  He is playing cello in the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra again this year and has his first concert on November 14.  He is also attends the church youth group and hopes to join us at BSF now that football is over.  He just passed his "behind the wheel" driving test last Saturday, so if he passes the written test on Thursday this week, we will officially have another licensed driver in the house.  

A beautiful Friday night under the lights in Melba.  Truly felt like we were in Idaho with the rifle raffle for a football fundraiser and the big pickups escorting the homecoming court onto the field at half-time.

Caleb has had a super busy first semester of college at Dordt.  He left on the 13th of August to begin soccer practice.  He saw quite a bit of playing time in the JV soccer games and enjoyed moving from defense to outside midfield.  They ended the season with only two losses.   The Dordt orchestra conductor called Caleb this summer and asked if he would be willing to play viola instead of violin at Dordt.  He continues to receive his scholarship, but now has viola lessons instead of violin lessons.  He plays viola for the Dordt orchestra, but plays violin for the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra (NISO).  Seth, Anna, and I flew out to Iowa a few weeks ago.  We were able to catch his last JV soccer game, see his dorm room, and meet a few of his new college friends. 

Soccer photos courtesy of Dordt Athletics Facebook page...

Dressed as the Titanic captain in his first Dordt Concert--the Pops Concert

So if preaching twice on Sunday, teaching adult Sunday school, leading the youth group book discussion, making weekly pastoral visits, attending church meetings, and leading prayer meetings once a month isn't enough to keep this man busy, he has just been named Cole Valley's new head track coach.  He just can't stay away from the sport!  Nicolas is excited to be coached by his dad again this coming year.  

Here are a few pictures of the youth group at a couple youth group activities we had this fall.
First annual nerf gun capture the flag war

Corn maze winners...although their methods might have been a little sketchy.

Our last place finishers...they just couldn't find one mailbox.  Don't they look sad?:(