Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 Week 41: Birthdays, Art, and Friends

Another full week: two birthdays in one week; the usual weekly commitments (teaching, robotics, writing); and a fun fall trip to Michigan.

Sunday we gathered to celebrate Kayla's 24th. The crazy-version birthday song never fails to entertain.

I always hope for a family photo-op, but once again there were missing members. However, we did manage a Kern-family pic.

Monday,  on Kayla's actual birthday, we went to Bodies in Motion, her favorite dance supply shop, and had lunch at The Bridge Cafe, now her favorite restaurant.

 I dug out photos of Kayla in her first year and couldn't believe how much Rebecca resembles her.

Morning walks were chilly. One of the ladies gave us each fingerless gloves. She also showed us the jewelry she'd been making with her sister. We stocked up on Christmas gifts. And, of course, I couldn't resist the cute little turtle pins.
We noticed flowers strewn on the path and wondered who'd been tearing up the planters at the depot. Hmmmm...caught in the act--the friendly white rabbit that lives by the bridge.

Evenings, as I drive home from teaching, I see the most beautiful sunsets, and need to remind myself to focus on driving.

Thursday, the 8th, was Jude's birthday and party, but I was teaching and Mike had a robotics meeting. I am grateful for the pictures shared on Facebook. (Thanks Debby!)

Friday, we were excited to go to Elijah's last elementary-school Gradnparents' Day event.
He had several roles to play with the Royerton Rockers and the fifth grade music program--he sang, played the xylophon and the guitar.

Zion's program was earlier. We were unable to go, but got to see him in action in his classroom.

We happened to peek in after he'd had an unintended incident and was sad about it. I love this little guy so much.

Then we were off to ArtPrize!
We stayed overnight with a young family of friends that live 20 minutes away from Grand Rapids.
She is the daughter of our OM friends, the Babcocks--like "family" really.

Saturday we were joined by the Bankers, another OM family from way back. We lived and worked together in Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe.

Our tour of many ArtPrize venues began at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The entire experience merits another post, sometime this week.

That night we traveled toward Detroit to spend the night with Dennis and Donna Banker, delighted for the opportunity to see their "new" home. We'd been wanting to visit since they moved to Michigan in 2009. We loved each welcoming detail and every moment spent with our dear friends.

Sunday after breakfast we took off for home with grateful hearts for friends, fun, fellowship and gorgeaous fall weather.

Come back for more about ArtPrize sometime this week.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2015 Week 40: Not slowing down!

The temperatures plunged this week and I was constrained to bring my plants indoors, amazed at how much they had grown. This may be the first year I haven't lost any. However, I do need to lose give some away.

Sunday evening was our first "Open House" at pastor Dan's. The weather was still very pleasant and we were outdoors hoping to glimpse the Blood Moon. The clouds blocked our view most of the time.

These little cuties could care less. They were just eager to go to a special Chinese party at Taylor where they could have moon pies.

Monday, I got to spend a few hours with this cutie before going to my class in Muncie when his older brothers got back from school. Mom had a "good-Samaritan" errand that day.

Showing off various poses

Big bros chilling after school

Rebecca joined the walkers both days, lucky me! Tuesday was still warm.

Debby showing off her new hair design.                                                                                                 
Thursday was chilly enough that my friends were wearing ear muffs and gloves. I borrowed a sweatshirt from Kayla. Rebecca made it very clear she does not like to wear a hood, so her mom said it may be the last time she lets her go out in the cold. :-(

One of the routines Mike and I enjoy as often as possible is breakfast together, physical and spiritual nourishment--Mike's wonderful egg dishes and the Daily Audio Bible.

However, it is not always possible as we enjoy very full schedules.

Saturday Mike accompanied some of the robotics students to a special event--RAGE (Robotics All Girls Event)!

Our girl engineers
Much more to tell next week, which will explain why I'm so late posting this one.

¡Hasta entonces! (Until then)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 Week 39: Firsts

 A first for Rebecca: she climbed the spiral staircase to the loft all by herself! (Mind you, I was very close behind to catch her if needed!) And she did it her own way, placing her foot firmly on the next step and pulling herself up instead of crawling up on her knees--quite a feat for a tiny person.
The reward awaiting her at the top was the train table. Such fun!

Kayla and Rebecca visited us on Saturday and this collage was meant to be in last week's post, but I totally forgot--makes a great first photo for this week!

Sunday afternoon we went to support the Pray for Kelsie concert at the Lion's park and there was this lively attractive young lady taking donations.

We enjoyed the music, the atmosphere, the beautiful day.

The weekly teaching routine began Monday. The beautiful weather made grading papers outdoors more enjoyable.

Classes are going surprisingly well, for which I am exceedingly grateful--fifth week, eleven to go.

And I am still able to walk two mornings with whoever shows up at the Depot. We walk from there to Taylor and around the campus and back. Takes about an hour and a quarter and we get a lot of talking in too.

Back at the Depot, I noticed this interesting inscription on the brick. Who are Hombre and Majesty?

Leah called Wednesday to tell me the exciting thing that happened to do with her colorful girl paintings.

She loves her "girls" (and so does Rebecca who points to them!) Over time she has told so many people about her feeling that someday someone would be so drawn to these that they would suddenly notice and say, "I want one!" Sunday after the concert, one of the singers, a local acquaintance from way back, stopped by to visit, and that's exactly what happened!

Michael continues to be pain-free, rides his bicycle almost daily, has kept very busy preparing for next week's robotics team Open House, and many other things, as well as taking on two additional people-helping responsabilities.

Even so, he agreed to go with me on Friday to a few of my college Homecoming events. This was a first for me, I'd never been to any Homecoming. Next year will be my 50th year with the many accompanying celebrations, so I thought perhaps I'd give the experience a practice run.

Two learning institutions next to one another: McClain Hall where we had chapel and some classes when I was in college and/or seminary; and Jefferson Elementary where I went to second grade.

In the first one I found the wall of past presidents. I was especially interested in seeing Uncle Herman's plaque.

Our favorite activity of the day was the bus tour of Winona Lake, narrated by Dr. Terry White who wrote the most recent history of the town:

We enjoyed the fascinating stories. For me the ride stirred many memories.

The tour stopped at what used to be the Westminster Hotel--my first dorm room, and later where I waitressed at the smorgasboard and for many banquets during my student years. We visited the museum and listened to our guide play many old hymns popularized by Homer Rodeheaver whose music company was housed there.

Then we visited Mother, she treated us to dinner at the Grace Village cafeteria, and Mike set up her new iPad.

I can't resist adding some fun pictures of Stephan's weekend occupation--carving pumpkins. On Facebook he posted these large and strange specimens pondering what to do with each one.
Sometime later he shared the resulting creations.

One small step for Minion                                       Baby elephant                                                  Happy dance!
How creative have you been lately?
I picked sunflowers and arranged them. That's the extent of my creativity this week.

Although I suppose this blog post may be considered creative expression. I don't get much feedback anymore, comments are few, but I still feel the need to record our days and weeks by this means. Someday my descendants may be as fascinated by these notes as I am by what my ancestors have left behind.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 Week 38: Pain free!

The biggest news this week is that Mike has been pain-free!
He did get around on the little segway  when we visited the Covered Bridge festival last Saturday evening, but since then has not used it. And has exercised all week more than in a very long time!
It began when he went back for the scheduled shot Monday, yet no matter how much he tried, he could not trigger the pain. No need for a shot and no problem since. We do not understand why--delayed effects of the first shot, a new pain medication; time???  Thank you, God!

Sunday afternoon we got together to celebrate a couple birthdays.
I've been wanting a new family photo. Sadly, this is the only photo we ended up with. Or, maybe that was just as well as there were two missing family members and we were wondering how to use modern tricks to graft them in.

This was our practice run. Mike was setting up the camera on the tripod. Zion insisted on sitting next to me, Grandma. Kristie is asking me to do something about the orange-drink stain around his mouth.

The celebrants enjoying their crazier than ever birthday songs: Kristie, 37; Diane 62

Jude entertained himself (most of the time) upstairs with the train set, but really wanted Grandma to join him.

By the next day, the dining room table was back to its usual size and decor. But I must confess, the loft where I work every day (and the children play when they're here) is as messy as ever.

After teaching for two hours, I head straight to Daleville, hungry and eager to enjoy the food and relaxed Monday Night fellowship. These were staring at me across the table: the model of the timber house Stephan plans to build; and the littlest guest who sat there quietly longer than I ever imagined possible for someone so young (or even an older person!).

Tuesday's walking group was the largest ever.
Remember the beam with our signature--Rita + RR? It's up now!

We've had beautiful sunny weather. It almost feels sinful to work indoors. However, one drawback is that several of the times I drive are when the sun is dangerously blinding.

Wednesday, Mike and Stephan went to an event to watch the debates--eleven candidates, three hours! I sat at home grading chapter one tests. I looked over and saw a peeping frog on the window, watching me!

Thursday's walking adventure ended at The Bridge Cafe to meet a dear friend who's been through a long journey back to health.

Friday date night: the new true-story movie--Captive (highly recommend it); a shared fajita dinner at La Charreada after, seated next to a dividing wall that had a long line of bicycling Mexican figures. We remembered that the manager and his brother belong to the Marion cycling club. We joined them years ago for several days of riding the hills of Tennessee.

Saturday we watched Elijah's soccer game, most of the time, between enjoying the little ones.

I think I'll save today's fun for next week's post. ¡Hasta la próxima!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

2015 Week 37: Parade, party, people!

Someone has said that my blog is more about people than anything else.
That is probably true. A higher percentage of the photos are of people.

We were so privileged to host friends from India overnight Sunday.
Monday they had a taste of small-town America--the Upland Labor Day parade.

Stefan and Neeru Eicher and their children

Mike and I participated with a group to promote the Upland Area Greenways--Mike on his little Segway-like machine, an InMotion R2, which makes him a foot taller than me!

Photo credits: Jim Slater and Kristie Koch

I dropped off the parade route at Leah's place, which is close to the end anyway, so I could enjoy all the family gathered there.

Actually Leah arrived later. She walked with the Pray for Kelsie group promoting a benefit concert to help a young victim of a motorcycle accident.

We all enjoyed the event and being together. A few more favorite photos:

The little guys fascinated by their favorite CARS' character the Mater (Kristie's photo)

The big guys luv their long hair!

We were so tired that evening that we decided to use a gift certificate for dinner at Payne's. Delicious delightful date!

Tuesday, holiday over, it was time to get back to work--lesson planning. The long weekend threw me off and I almost went to the wrong campus, turned around just in time!
When I left home everything was in readiness for the robotics team social to kick-off the season.
When I returned at 8 PM, the mentors were sitting around the table discussing and planning while the kids were all outdoors playing. They straggled in sweaty, scraped-up, bug-bitten, but happy. Those who lingered played games. One of the cards required them to add "izzle" to every phrase from then on-izzle.

Wednesday, no photos-izzle. Evenings after I teach-izzle, I am worth nothing-izzle. We watched a movie-izzle--The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996)-izzle.  I had seen it before-izzle. I recognized quite a few of the scenes-izzle, but had forgotten most of the story-izzle. I can't believe-izzle, that I was in Argentina when this happened and was totally unaware-izzle.

Thursday morning-izzle, I walked-jogged alone-izzle, until Rebecca joined me for the stroll around Taylor-izzle. Part of our adventure was to add our name to the beam going into the new construction later that day-izzle.

We've had several birds fly into our windows lately-izzle. Friday, Mike heard a terrible crash-izzle, and got these photos of a young hawk-izzle. 

Saturday Malachi's cross country meet was in the neighboring town-izzle! I think he said he had his best time for the season so far-izzle.

Have a great week-izzle. Game over!