Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Birthday Campout

An annual tradition has begun for Ethan, Tyler, and Steve...each fall around the middle of September the boys get to invite several friends to go camping for Ethan and Tyler's birthday! (Ethan's birthday is October 2 and Tyler's birthday is September 4...so it is right in the middle) This was the 3rd year for their fall camping adventure. They chose to go to the Anchor River campground which is just up the road.

Now when we go camping as a family we camp in either our trailer, or like this year in our borrowed motorhome, but when the boys go for their birthday campout they go for "real camping"!! What can be more fun for boys than setting up the tent and cooking over the fire! Tyler had some new camping gear that he had gotten for his birthday that really needed to be tried out plus various other camping gear that just doesn't get used when we go in a motorhome!

So on Friday afternoon Ethan and Tyler started gathering supplies and loading it into the suburban for the drive up the road. 4 o'clock couldn't come fast enough which is when the friends were scheduled to arrive. By 4:30 the suburban was packed to the ceiling and every available space was full of sleeping bags, tent, cookstove, backpacks, boots, raingear, camp chairs, and two coolers of food to feed those growing boys...will there be room for the driver...barely!!

Friday night and Saturday was filled with plenty of fun and laughter as the boys enjoyed themselves along the Anchor River...co
oking around the campfire, eating plenty of food, climbing trees, walking along the river, playing soccer, and so much more.

They had so much fun with their friends spending the time camping in the great outdoors!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rainy days...

...are always so much fun for kids! It has been raining all night and is still raining this morning...not just a little drizzly rain, but really raining. Despite the rain the kids were already talking about playing in the rain when we are done with school...fun for them, lots to clean up for mom!! They have so much fun collecting rain from the gutters and pouring it into as many buckets and containers that they kind find! Here is my rainy day boy...the cutest little boy in his yellow raincoat, shorts, and boots!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

School has started...

...at the Veldstra academy! We are off and running for our 4th year of home school...hard to believe it has been that many years already, time just seems to fly by so fast around here. I have 5 students in 5 different grades this year, although I guess you could say I am teaching 6 kids. Adams is preschool, Alyssum is in Kindergarten, Kailee is in 1st grade, Tyler is in 3rd grade, Ethan is in 6th grade, and Ann Marie is in 7th grade. They are all doing so well in school and most of them enjoy their studies! Ann Marie is doing so well in school and applies her self to her school work. We have decided to enroll her in a lower grade so that she won't be working toward high school credits until she is ready academically. She seems to be in no hurry to get done with school and move on, so we are content to have her at home with us and actually enjoy the extra time we will get with her since we missed so much of her early years. Not only is she great at her school work, but she applies herself to learning all she can about cooking, baking, and lots of handcrafts...she does such a great job of helping out any way she can!

We are still figuring out our school schedule and how to teach all those different grades and curriculum! I think it is alot more challenging for the teacher than for all her students!! I sure do love teaching the kids and seeing their excitement at what they are learning, and I enjoy learning with them! Amazing how much a teacher learns too!

Steve is teaching some again this year. He is teaching Bible in the morning which includes Bible memory passage, studying the Bible, missionary stories, and praying for people groups all over the world and then current events from God's World magazine. He also is teaching Botany several evenings a week...we are continuing our study from this summer (we found it was better to teach Botany in the summer rather than in the winter in Alaska...not a whole lot is growing)! We all enjoy having him around teaching some of the classes and I certainly enjoy having the help!

We love teaching our kids together and watching them grow, not only in knowledge, but in their understanding of the Bible and their relationships with Jesus Christ and with each other as a family.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

End of Summer

Last weekend we embarked on our annual drive up the highway at the end of summer to do some shopping in the big city, Anchorage, and to spend a few days with my sister Kristen and her husband Charlie who live in Palmer. While we are in Palmer we usually spend a day or two at the Alaska State Fair, but this year we decided to take a break from the Fair and see a few other things of interest in the area as well as spend some quality time at Uncle Charlie and Aunt Kristen's house!!

One of the highlights of the weekend was hiking in Hatchers Pass up to Gold Core Lake...I think the pictures will say it all.... It was a beautiful hike on a trail and then up the canyon climbing on huge rocks. The kids were in climbing heaven...our kids just love to climb and can never seem to get enough! Just over the ridge at the top of the rocks was Gold Core Lake...you wouldn't even know it was there until you step up over the top. Beautiful crystal clear cool water with mountains all around. We took a rest by the lake before we descended back down the hillside. Our legs felt like jelly by the time we got to the bottom (at least for those of that are not seasoned hikers)!! It was alot of fun and such beautiful scenery! There were quite a few of us on the hike...Steve and I and our 6 kids, my mom and dad, Charlie and Kristen, my brother Eric and wife Theresa and two girls, cousin Aaron and wife Jenny and 3 kids, and cousin Jakob! We made for quite the group of hikers!

The rest of our weekend was filled with hanging out at Kristen and Charlie's house and playing outside with the kids, doing a little shopping, and celebrating Tyler's birthday with family. Tyler is 9 years old now!!

We had a great relaxing weekend...a great way to end our summer and begin our school year!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Fishing with Uncle Jim

Uncle Jim and Aunt Joan came to Homer for a few weeks of fishing fun, not sure if that is what they had in mind for their whole time here, but my kids sure enjoyed it! Halibut fishing was just the beginning although it was the most profitable! Ethan and Tyler got up almost every morning for about a week and a half at 4am to be ready for their ride to the Anchor River! They were hoping for a few silver salmon...they caught a few, but not as many as they would have liked. They had lots of fun though! One day the rest of the kids got to join the mighty fisherman at the Fishin' Hole to see what they could catch...they had fun practicing their casting!!