Monday, March 28, 2016

2016 Week 12: Amefufuka

Daffodils, narcissus, jonquils in abundance, 
deer enjoying the green grass
spring weather warms our bodies and hearts.

Kayla and Rebecca's visit midweek also brought cheer.
Rebecca wasted no time in finding her toys and favorite things, like anything that resembles an animal--the duck decoy, the knights on the chess board. She found her tricycle on the deck and immediately knew what to do.

Mike had a difficult week! He went to the clinic Monday, but the antibiotic prescribed contained sulfa and he suffered an allergic reaction that made him even more miserable and unable to sleep when he most needed it during the robotics competition. I don't know how he made it through other than sheer determination driven by loyalty to the wonderful group of students, and strengthened by God's grace!

My commitments did not allow me to cheer them on from the bleechers, but I did yell at the TV as I followed  them closely online. Here are a few of my screen shots:
  • Before each match the alliance teams are introduced with great fan fare. Each team has their own unique salute in response. I especially watched for Michael to know if he was coping.
  • At the end of qualifying matches, team 1720 made it to selection round. The top eight teams are eligible to choose their own alliance. Captain and driver John, wearing the distinguishing head gear, announces his selection for the third team to round out their alliance.
  • Again this week PhyXTGears won the Judges' Award for their smorgasboard of talents, impossible to categorize!
  • Every single team member high-fives each one of the judges. After the numerous awards, when it was all over, I watched the judges one by one file past the hand sanitizer!

Sitting next to Kenyan friends in church yesterday, I learned their customary greeting on Resurrection Sunday and beyond: Amefufuka! Yesu amefufuka! (He is risen indeed! Jesus is risen indeed!)

When I went home I found that Michael had risen indeed. . . from the bed! For the first time in weeks he was able to sleep through the entire night (with the help of Nyquil)! After another intense competition week and very little sleep, struggling with a sinus infection and coughing constantly, he was very grateful for the good rest.

Half of the family were able to join us for Easter dinner (Jimmy had a vicious headache, Matt had to work, and Sam's family needed to rest after their spring break trip.) The center of attention was. . . again. . . the little princess!

She had her own safe markers and coloring book, but took over Nanna's special He is Risen coloring page. That didn't last long, however, so they went outdoors for lots of different fun activities.

Queen of the Rock

She earned the title by walking all the way up the lane!

An early start on the skateboard!
Rebecca's first Easter egg hunt
Food is gone; Delicious desserts; Time to go

One more Easter-related anecdote:
This week one of my students said: "I always thought Good Friday was a Jewish holiday because they are the ones who killed him."
"Well, I see your point. But can you think of something good about Jesus' death?"
"Maybe the sin-thing," he said.
"Yes, He took our punishment. What a gift! And then He was raised from the dead, otherwise it would not have been valid."

Yesu Amefufuka!

Monday, March 21, 2016

2016 Week 11: Sir Plus

At the beginning of the week I brought in just a couple flowers.
Almost the very next day there was an explosion of daffodils.
We are now officially in spring!

Monday, we were entertained by a little visitor in our tap class.

Tuesday we started a second 8-week Spanish class, 102. Always good to be reminded of the Spanish vowel sounds.

Wendesday, Michael did not work with the kids at the Red Barn. He just left some ideas and instructions for the college girls that help out there, and brought home some of his new pieces to add to the collection.

He then went on to Muncie to work on the robot. He worked many extra hours and very late nights (5 out of  7) to get Sir Plus ready for their first competition.

While he was having fun helping his young roboteers solve problems, I was entertained by my estudiantes,  like this scene--fighting over who will read the paragraph! Imagine that!

Who won?

Friday the members of the drive team took off for Warren Central HS to set up their pit and keep working on Sir Plus--an unending task!

They spent the night in Indianapolis and were joined the next morning by the rest of the team, mentors and many parents--a great cheering section.
I could not be there this time, but at the end of each day I watched all their matches online.

We were able to arrange for our planetarian friend, Kyle, to offer two presentations at the Red Barn Friday evening, actually inside the special dome.

Stories the Greeks made up about the constellations
My Christmas present from Kristie was, at my request, an outing with all my girls. She gave us gift certificates for pedicures.We were finally able to arrange a time that suited us all, even so Leah was not able to make it. We had such a fun time, we decided we'd do it again before summer, with Leah!

Your challenge is to match the feet to the women. 

I wonder if the husbands can recognize their wife's feet?

I had two other important commitments over the weekend. When I finally was able to relax and watch the progress of the robotics competition, I had already read the exciting news on Facebook:

"We won we won we won!!!!!! Thanks 868 and 1024!!!!!!" 

They were the last team picked to round out the # 1 seeded alliance. The other two teams had been hoping they would still be available for the pick!

Over the course of the competition, as usual, there were problems with the robot and what they thought would be its strengths, didn't work. So they focused on other roles they could do well.
The alliance demonstrated wonderful team work.
This is Mike's 11th year with the team, their first time to make it to finals, and their first win!

"We won the 2016 Judges award at district this year!!!! WHOOOOOO"

I think the judges liked all the Sir Plus bling!

And, last but not least, Mike is one of the finalists nominated for the top mentor award.

It's amazing that Mentor Mike survived this intense week while trying to get over a serious head cold and cough. Today he finally went to the doctor and is being treated for a sinus infection.

Another competition is coming up later this week!

Monday, March 14, 2016

2016 Week 10: Spring Break

Many photos this week. 

Sunday, Michael helped with the first grade Sunday School class again. This time they were focusing on some of the metal works in the Bible so he explained and illustrated the 6000 year-old lost-wax process: sculp clay figure; make a mold then a plaster mother-mold; coat with wax; parts on a tree; coat with ceramic slurry; melt wax out; fire in kiln; melt bronze and pour; break off ceramic; saw tree apart; weld parts together; chase; fix joints; texture; patina. Voilá!  I may finally have understood it, or not!

Proud of grandson Skye who is completing high school courses online. . . with a little helper.

Speaking of Rebecca, here are a few photos that appeared on Facebook this week:

Trend setter: a new style--pant-leg arm-warmers; Budding artist; Dog-lover; Sesame Street fan.
Spring break allowed me the freedom to take Mother to her six-month check-up. She had prepared a carefully written list of concerns, among them a persistent cough which kept her awake. He ordered a chest x-ray and the results sent us to the ER. After hours of waiting and more procedures, she was admitted for overnight observation and treatment for pneumonia.

I went back to Mother's apartment and took care of some things like laundry and cleaning out the fridge. I had not come prepared to spend the night, but Mother has extra toothbrushes and one can be resourceful.

Soon after I arrived at the hospital, a family friend and neighbor showed up. Mother asked if he was going to sing for her. He did. She mouthed the comforting words. I was reminded of her college years when she was quite the singer herself, as her letters to her parents revealed.
Speaking of old letters. Last week I received a packet from a cousin--correspondence from Grandpa Hoyt, the grandfather I never knew, who left the family when Dad was 16. I always questioned why. I read all those letters to Mother and was comforted by this loving exchange with a granddaughter who'd taken the opportunity to reach out to him. He recognized in his lonely old age the many wrongs of his youth and expressed regret for all that was lost. He had wise words for her and spoke of faith and trust in God. I imagined him now reunited with all his children.

Mother's room was the last one on the top floor. We heard that the resident doctors had started their rounds at 7:00 a.m. on the first floor. It was closer to 7:00 p.m. when one of them made it to her room. He discharged her with a prescription for an antibiotic. It was closer to 8:30 by the time we were settled for the night in her apartment at Grace Village.

Mother was very glad to be able to keep her appointment with the beautician. "They washed my hair at the hospital and it's a mess," she said.
We met Aunt Margaret (as we called her when we were growing up in Argentina) for lunch in the dining room. What a dear friend she has been to all of us. To think that she was our neighbor in La Carlota when they began missionary service in Argentina, and now again lives nearby Mother in the same hall. Margaret will be 95 on May 25th!

That afternoon I drove home eager for a change of clothes after three days and ready to communicate online again. Thankfully I had been able to post a couple photos on Facebook to let people know about Mother, but my phone ran out of data so I experienced a forced semi-technology fast.

We planned to go out in the afternoon, but Michael was coming down with a serious cold so we couldn't do much. However, we couldn't miss Malachi's performance that evening! We enjoyed watching him and Lexi, his girlfriend, play two of the leading roles in the Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, as Hero and Claudio.

Meanwhile in Alaska, the World Ice Art 2016 Championship's award ceremony was taking place.
Of course, we couldn't be there, but I watched it online, and you can too if you go here. At 20:51 you can see his team receiving 4th place in the realistic category. If you hang in there, or go to the end, you will see the ice candles being lit--six huge towers of ice with wood inside. They said the ice does not melt. Really?

And if you go to Site #15 of the Multi Block sculptures you can see some of the daily photos which show Stephan at work.

The baby gorilla cannot be seen in the final view. Stephan later posted a side view that shows who papa Silverback was protecting, in the nest at his right side.

Michael spent another loooooong day with the robotics team despite the miserable head cold. BTW, the robot has been named Sir Plus.
I drove back to Winona Lake to check on Mother and take her some things.
I had almost forgotten that we were expecting an overnight guest--Kyle Doane, who grew up here and went to school with our older kids. He is now a traveling planetarian--one who virtually displays and explains the universe with the help of the Digitarium Planetarium System.
I arrived home in time to get the guest room and bathroom ready. I had just finished when the doorbell rang!

We had a delightful visit. Kyle has stayed in touch with Leah's family all these years. They all came over that evening and he shared some of his learning games.

Without the special dome, he lit up the guest room with numerous pictures and aspects of the mysteries of our vast universe.

Do you recognize some of the constellations? Notice the varied paths of the stars. We could even virtually fly over the earth. Can you see old lady Spain touching noses with Africa?

Sunday after breakfast, we said goodbye planning to see him come back and do a presentation in our area for a much larger audience.

After 20-some years, the red hair is almost gone. He is now the "salt and paprika" version.

A full week. A different spring break. Much to ponder. Confronted with life and death issues. A family member faces cancer. A community member passed away. A recurring thought, "How does one die well?"

Monday, March 7, 2016

2016 Week 9: Relentless Passing of Time

Sunday the 28th of February, we finally got together as a family to celebrate first-quarter birthdays--Leah 43, Stephan 45, Jimmy 42. It is getting more and more difficult to combine our busy schedules as the family grows.
This Mom barely got the house in order. No time to buy new candles. However, being very resourceful with four ones worth ten years each and a big 3 & 2, we managed. You can't see it but Stephan's was an equation: (4x10) + (3+2).

 Is Rebecca sad the candles are out, or bewildered by the crazy birthday song?

Monday I left early to take Mother to her post-op check-up. She treated me after to a great meal in the Grace Village dining room.

She is doing quite well, but noticeably slowing down, which is not to her liking.

I got back in time to eat again, at Stephan and Karen's. He had to show off his favorite toy--his recently-purchased tractor! I didn't get out there in time with my camera. He was already parking it.

Tuesday, Michael had to descend into the septic tank area and check into a lingering blockage issue, even after Lancaster Septic had made an emergency call the previous Sunday.

My job was to turn the water on and off when told. And also to listen and mark the spot where I could hear the gurgling to determine the location of the buried box.

Between orders I tended to wander off and explore. I discovered several glimpses of spring!

I'm not sure if the blossoms survived the next days' snowfall, or simply went undercover.

When Mike dug for the box, it was gone, totally disintegrated! He hired someone to replace it. You can see the darker spot after it was covered over.
It was fascinating that day to see the snow on the ground had melted, but still clung to the trees.

Thursday was the last day of the eight-week course. I like to get a funny photo to remember the fun times and their unique personalities.

Friday evening Michael offered to stay with the three grandboys and encouraged me to go to Debby (my consuegra)'s 60th birthday party. Kristie and her sister planned a wonderful celebration for their mother, who was dreading the progression into a new decade.

Saturday morning Mike was off bright and early for another long but enjoyable day of working on the robot with very eager young budding-engineers.

I had fun with the little boys who despite going to bed at 11:00 the night before, were up and and about before 7:30 a.m.

They could easily have spent the morning playing games on the computer, but I wanted to make some Grandma-memories, so we went for a walk, ventured down another lane and discovered a new path back through the woods. Can you tell who was leading the way?

Meanwhile, Stephan began his 6-day Ice Alaska adventure. This year he was invited to join another team for the Multi-block competition. You can watch them at work here creating an ice sculpture titled Protecting the Nest. The webcam updates every 30 seconds.

Looks like Stephan was caught by surprise. Hmmmm