Sunday, July 17, 2016

2016 Week 16: Count your blessings

 Enjoying the lushness of summer. . .

Looking down on "the jungle" from the deck
Some samples add to the indoor decor.

Monday, surprised by the profusion of volunteer sunflowers at Dove's Crossing, Stephan and Karen's place.

Blessed to share several rides, errands, or appointments with these loved ones on different days.

Selfie by Leah

Selfie by Leah
Wednesday we were priviledged to join dear friends for their 50th anniversary celebration in Michigan. Fred was the best man at our wedding, only a week after Karen had given birth to their second daughter.

 We so enjoyed interacting with each of their children and grandchildren, and reminiscing with old ("literally" ;-) OM friends.

OM oldies                                                                       Los tres amigos
The children planned such a fun celebration. The best activity was when they were asked to move Flat Fred and Flat Karen around on the world map and tell their life story adding other little people along the way.
I don't believe I know any other couple that has lived in as many different countries as these two!

We stayed overnight at the same lodging as our dear friends the Bankers. After breakfast and much laughter and conversation, we each headed home.

We were back in time for Mike to put in a second eight hours of work on the robot this week with the team.
Friday, they left very early for the Indiana Robotics Invitational.
Saturday, after another short night, they repeated the same routine.

1720 is up next                                                                                      Talking strategy                              The protagonist: Sir Plus
So how did it go? Not so good, too many problems. Sir Plus is getting old and feeling beat up.
However, what an awesome opportunity for PhyXTGears to interact and compete with the top FIRST teams from all over the USA and Canada! Many came long distances and had to ship their equipment. For us travel time was only an hour and a half. Well, not for me, I stayed home. There was no room in the vehicle the day I could have gone. So I was glued to the computer watching our matches live, groaning when things went wrong.

Jared has been here all week, taking a course at Anderson University. Friday evening he could relax and not do homework. It was my opportunity to beat him soundly at Hand and Foot.

Brooding over his losing streak? Planning the next move? No! Checking messages.
 Today he is cooking dinner for us. Yeah!

We are very blessed in every way, eagerly anticipating the adventures that lie ahead in the new week.

Monday, July 11, 2016

2016 Week 27: Celebrating Independence

This week's pickings

The celebration began with a grand picnic/carry-in at church Sunday.

Monday, the 4th, we took a friend to the Indianapolis airport and spent a day in the city enjoying the sights and sounds.

Lucas Oil across from our hotel; Ivy Tech sign, a reminder that classes start Aug. 22; fun architectural designs

A sweet bonus was that coincidentally niece Tina and her young family were spending a few days in Indy and we got to hang out with them.

Betsy getting acquainted with la tía abuela (great aunt) 
Besides walking downtown and listening to a patriotic concert by the canal, we experienced the Rhythm Discovery Center, a fascinating percussion museum. (Take a virtual tour by clicking on the link and perusing the many images.)

Mike and I went back downtown later to see the fireworks display. We were rather disappointed. Due to weather conditions the smoke hung in the air in a growing cloud.

We caught a glimpse of Victory Field's fireworks, after their 20th anniversary sold-out game.

Tuesday, more family reunion fun--Stephan, Karen, and I spent the afternoon in Warsaw with my two younger brothers and their families--Ivan and Kim recently returned from Argentina, and nephew Jon visiting from California. 

Met great niece Adalyn and learned of her fascination with shoes.

Wednesday was a quiet day at home. Michael went in to the robotics shop nearly every day. They are getting ready for another competition next week.

I got tired of spending so many long days alone, so Friday evening I begged to go along on his regular bike ride. We ended up doing 22 miles on the tandem.

Saturday, the plan was to take Leah out to celebrate her adopted birthday, but that fell through, so I cleaned house all day.

It was also Argentina's Independence Day. I was moved listening to this very special guitar rendition of the national anthem by an 18 year-old--Himno Nacional

Sunday was a full day.  The friends visiting from Uganda shared in church and I was able to get an updated photo.

In the afternoon we went to a wedding shower for a dear young friend we met in the Basque Country three years ago. She is now marrying a young man from our town!
Courtney and Nathanael
 It was very fitting that Mike and I wear jerseys from that first Circle Tour for yet another pleasant evening ride, 20 miles this time.

My coloring page for the week also has a good message for us in these troubled times when the freedoms we celebrated even this week are being threatened.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

2016 Week 26: Mid Year

This week I spent many hours at my desk in the loft writing and rewriting some of my life stories. . . and staring at the hummingbirds that zoom in and out. One of those times I was entertained by a very confused bigger bird who kept coming back and could not figure out how this feeder worked.

Bird with identity crisis
Mondays Kayla teaches a Family Dance Time for ages 1 - 2 accompanied by one adult. Rebecca gets to participate and so far quickly picks up all the moves--a natural-born little dancer!
An added bonus is that while Kayla teaches her other classes, Rebecca has some cousin time.

Photo by Kristie Koch ‪#‎cousins‬ ‪#‎playtime‬ ‪#‎juderiver‬ ‪#‎sharing‬
The Tuggys, visiting from Uganda, were at Stephan and Karen's dinner, and I forgot to take a picture. So here is one from three years ago. Before they leave I must get an updated photo as the children have grown several inches.

Nikki was in Leah's high school class and John was at Taylor U when Stephan was there.

On the drive there and back I read to Mike. We just started a new book, Tripping.
The sunset was so beautiful on the way home.

The clouds as we neared home
Daisies are profuse now, a whole field of them growing behind the tree sculpture.

Wild black raspberries are also thick. I picked a cottage-cheese container-full Tuesday while Mike was at robotics. In the process I discovered new paths he opened up and more berry-picking areas.

So many trees have fallen through the years and seasons. When I came across these branches of a dead tree, I was reminded of the sculptor who creates huge installations out of sticks--Bending Sticks. As the wife and mother of sculptors, I was fascinated when I saw this video of an artist using a very different medium.

Wednesday, grandson Malachi came to borrow camping equipment for a trip with friends to the  Audio Feed Festival.

 Elijah, in the background, wanted to go but he had his own getaway last week at Miracle Camp.

The robotics friends planned a surprise birthday party for John and asked to host it at our place.

Happy 16th, John!

At last the lilies by the mailbox opened up!

Friday, while in Hartford City, I checked out how the pieces delivered last week were displayed at the Frolicking Roots. Can you find them?

Michael had a meeting with Andy Mark Inc in Kokomo to present two robot parts the team has been working on for some time, from design to completed sample product.Andy Mark Inc sells robot components to FIRST teams and they could see the potential of marketing these next year.

Saturday was I forgot day. So I'll just skip over that lazy day.

How are you spending this 4th of July weekend?
Come back next week to hear about ours.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

2016 Week 25: This is the life!

P.S. to Week 24:
When I signed off a week ago I was about to go to a wedding.
I arrived 10 or 15 minutes early just as the bride was trying to sneak in unnoticed.

"Just get me to the church on time. . ."
The lovely Mary Katherine was one of Mike's most advanced pottery students some years ago when she was in high school. He would have loved to witness this beautiful event, but instead was in Ohio at a robotics competition, being celebrated with the Mentor of the Year Award!

You can read the essay his students wrote that won him this notable recognition: CORI Invitational Robotics Competition

Week 25:
Sunday Michael welcomed two little guys who were going to spend a couple days with us while dad and mom went on an anniversary getaway.
When I came back from Sunday School I found this beautiful bouquet on the table. My photo does not do it justice.

 Zion and grandpa were playing backgammon. Jude wanted me to read his favorite books immediately! We kept busy both days. I managed a few photos to help remember some of the activities, but there were many more memory-making moments (even if I forget what they were ;-).

Looking up at the seat where grandpa waits for the deer during hunting season

Monday morning: drawing, climbing, watching grandma water the plants, before breakfast
(Note: Jude wanted to have one pencil ready behind his ear.)
Grandpa made his special GF pancakes and the boys stayed in their pajamas all morning until noon, when we went to the new Chick-fil-A Express in Taylor's new student center.

Mid afternoon I took the boys to play with Rebecca in her big new yard.
Kayla is enjoying the surprise of beautiful flowers she did not have to plant.

Kayla and I took the young'uns to the Gas City park where they fed the animals and tried out every challenge on the playground.

Michael makes good use of the good weather and whatever time is available to do house maintenance. . .

Caught caulking
. . .checking the bees. . .

. . .mowing and much more. However, all that is secondary to robotics.

I try to use the gift of time wisely, becoming more and more intentional about writing our life stories.
My writer friends that I meet with every Friday are a great help, as is my neighbor-friend, Petey.

Mike discovered a patch of ripe wild black raspberries in our woods, so we had a berry-picking date this afternoon!

I need to wrap this up because the Argentina/Chile game is on--the finals of the Copa América Centenario!!! Go Messi!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

2016 Week 24: Quiet or Lazy?

Somehow the week felt unproductive. Maybe not. You decide.

Cherished flowers of the week
A big surprise Sunday morning when we arrived at church: Josu, a friend from the Basque Country had come to attend the wedding of his American brother. We got to meet his girlfriend, Laura!

We were invited to join the Basque friends, former host families, at a lunch where Josu caught us up on his life and their plans.

We had one last robotics-graduate open-house in the afternoon, and enjoyed a delightful tandem ride in the evening.

Looks like I had DMD (decision-making-disorder)! Which would you choose?

Monday night Stephan filled us in on his intense week at Advanced Timber Framing workshop--hard work and difficult math.

It was a quiet week for me, with no appointments, only the usual daily exercise opportunities and writing goals.

Michael, on the other hand, seems to maintain a very full schedule, moving forward on several fronts, and always finding time for a bike ride.

Friday was the opening of the Farmers' Market, always a fun event.

And look who I met there wearing her new sun hat and holding a new toy!

Kayla posted this photo of Rebecca with her favorite purchase from the yard sale--a little wagon to pull all her stuffed animals.

 Today, Saturday, Mike and the team are in Ohio. I am watching the competition intently online, and trying to be productive at the same time, as in writing this blog.

The invitation and the "Squaring-off" photo Mike posted on Facebook
Just now, despite my screams (and prayers), PhyXTGears lost the semi-final tiebreaker and will not go on to finals.

Some other multitasking I do: knit while we watch TV in the evening; listen to audio books or podcasts as I do mindless tasks like weeding, cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc.; and coloring during Win's music show.

And, now I must get ready to go to a wedding, and spend the rest of the evening, late night, waiting for Michael to get back from Ohio.