Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September Newsletter

From Laura, 11 … Every year we do a celebration of a different country of the world. This year we are doing Morocco. We are studying about it right now. I am doing a report about food and clothing. In mid-October we will eat a meal with food from Morocco and maybe read our reports.
This month we flew to California to visit our grandpa. It was the first time I had flown since 1999. Going through security was fun, but the most exciting parts of the whole thing were takeoff and landing. We cruised slowly to the runway, and, when it was our turn, suddenly we were thundering away! When we got going really fast, the front wheels lifted, then the back wheels, and we were in the air! It took just a few minutes it seemed, to be way, way above everything.

From Becca, 14 …We went flying! It was a fantastic experience. First it was like a field trip, because I saw and learned how the airport system works. But the most exciting part was taking off. We waited and waited while the airplane drove around slowly. Then we started going faster and faster and suddenly we could feel the nose lift off the ground. Then the whole airplane flew way up in the air! We could see the city far below and getting farther away. We saw many pretty puffy clouds around us and below us. I’ve always wanted to be up in the clouds! We saw lots of fields of different colors. Some were all straight boxes in an orderly arrangement, while others were different shapes all squished together randomly, and there were some perfectly round ones. I liked looking at the cities when we were landing in them. All the cars and houses looked like toys.

From Seth, 17 … Over the past few weeks, we have been preparing some music for Mama’s birthday. My favorite two pieces are probably “Swallowtail Jig,” an Irish tune which I enjoy much more now that John has shown me a good guitar strum for it, and “Since by Man Came Death,” a selection from Messiah with excellent words (straight from the Bible), and a tune that fits the words beautifully. I’ve enjoyed our time playing together.

From Anna, 20 … A few weeks ago we went to see a show done by a group of Chinese acrobats. The various acts included feats of agility, flexibility, strength, and coordination. Each act was structured in such a way that it continued building on what they had already done. For example, one act featured performers juggling large balls with their feet in perfect unison. That would have been amazing all by itself, but then they started passing them to each other as they went! There were several times when they were setting up for something, and I thought that surely they weren’t really going to do that, but then they did! It is amazing what God made the human body capable of doing.

From John, 26... I heard someone comment recently that history is linear, not circular, meaning that although we see repeated patterns due to the nature of man which hasn't changed since the fall, history had a distinct beginning and will have a distinct end. God has placed each of us in a particular place on this continuum of time; we stand on the shoulders on those who came before us, and what we do will define the world in which our descendants live. So don't waste your life.

About Ray, Katie, and Peter … The Wades recently and unexpectedly dropped in one evening while they were out walking and gave us the sweet and wonderful news that another little Wade is on the way! We couldn’t be more thrilled! There just isn’t enough of Peter to go around!

From Judith … Ever since Katie became an adult, it has seemed like the others have been racing up behind her! Besides having Katie married, we currently have John and Anna marriageable. Then there’s Seth. He’s getting a fair bit of our parental attention right now as he is finishing high school, learning to drive, working through a career assessment, and taking steps in consideration of possibly needing a college education. Whew! Also, in five and seven years, respectively, Becca and Laura will be finished with home education. That seems like such a brief time considering that we have been home-educating for 23 years! I have a strong sense that I must be careful to relish these years with my children before they have all left their childhood.

My dad hasn’t been able to travel in recent years, which is why we went to San Diego. It’s important to Gerald and me that our children know our parents. The visit wonderfully reconnected them with my dad and his wife. Also, this was the first time for Ray and Peter to meet them. Yes, all ten of us flew out there. All things considered it really wasn’t that much more to fly than to drive. Also, by flying we saved work and vacation time. Besides that, it was worth every penny to see how much delight the flight produced! Our fellow passengers were quite amused!

From Gerald … We had a good time on our trip to San Diego. It was really fun for me to see the excitement of Becca and Laura on the airplane. The last time they flew, they were both too young to remember it. We were able to get a good mix of time with the grandparents and various sightseeing activities. It was also a really refreshing break from the Houston heat. Seventy degrees felt so much nicer than ninety.
Our Love, Gerald, Judith, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spanish Learning Opportunity!

A friend has just started offering private Spanish classes to homeschoolers and we would like to help her get the word out …

“The start of the new school season is upon us, and I am eager to inform you that I am currently offering private Spanish classes for homeschooling students in the Westchase/Katy/West Houston/Maplewood areas! Spanish is the fourth most spoken language in the world and second most spoken in the US and Europe. As I am sure you have considered, learning the language would open the door to multiple opportunities, such as future employment endeavors, international relations, foreign missions, or speaking with your Latin American neighbor who just moved in. Academically, studies have shown that younger students who study a foreign language score higher in math, reading and social studies. As for high school students, those who studied a foreign language scored higher on the verbal section of the SAT. Not to mention, Spanish is so much fun!”

~Bridgett Donald



Monday, September 20, 2010

Sightseeing Around San Diego

We went out to a point of land that overlooks both the San Diego skyline and the ocean.  It was beautiful there.

There was an old lighthouse out on the point.  We were able to go inside and see both the keeper's living quarters and the light.

How would you like to carry your furniture up these stairs?!

We also went to Balboa park.

There were lots of interesting plants there...

...including one of the biggest fig trees in the country.  When we were standing around the tree, we could smell the figs.  It was really amazing!

Balboa Park is home to various museums, including a model railroad museum.  When we arrived 45 minutes before closing time, we asked if it was possible to really do the whole museum in that amount of time, and the lady at the front said no, not really.  Then Papa asked if there was a special late-in-the-afternoon rate, and she said that if we came back thirty minutes before closing, we could get in for a dollar per person!  We all agreed that we got a dollar's worth of fun out of the museum.  Some of the layouts were really impressive in the amount of detail and realism they displayed.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Pacific Ocean!

While we were in San Diego, we took the opportunity to go to the beach and experience the Pacific Ocean.
We enjoyed admiring the beautiful view...

...feeling the waves (which sometimes came up higher than expected!)...

...exploring the rocks...

...and investigating the flora and fauna.

Ray tried more than once to take Peter down to the water, but it was too much noise and out-of-control water for him.  He did enjoy playing in the dry sand at a safe distance from the waves.  A friendly passerby even gave him a toy army jeep!

Friday, September 17, 2010

In Which the Pedersens Experience Exotic Modes of Transportation

Our trip to San Diego involved a number of novel travel experiences for us.  The last time that we flew anywhere as a family-- and thus the last time that Seth, Becca, Laura, or I flew-- was in 1999, so we soaked up the experience this time.

Riding the shuttle bus to the airport.

Here comes our airplane!

We had several kinds of terrain and weather for our flight, including clouds...


...and the ocean!

It was great fun!

Our rental car was a little white van.  We enjoyed the bells and whistles of the van that is much newer than ours, but it was actually harder to get in and out of the backseat because there was much less head room.

Since the Wades were with us, we numbered ten, so when we went anywhere together, we split up between the rental van and Grandpa's convertible.  We had great fun tooling around San Diego in a convertible!  San Diego has perfect convertible weather, and it's great for sightseeing, since it's so easy to see all around you.  Of course, we would have enjoyed it exceedingly even if there had been nothing to see...

...even though it got a bit windy on the freeway!

Oddly enough, in spite of the fact that we live in Houston, we felt a little like hicks in the big city.  It's probably because we were spending most of our time in the middle of the city there, whereas we only go downtown for special occasions here.

We stopped at two different grocery stores while we were there, and neither of them had parking lots!  Instead, they had underground parking garages and moving ramps to get up into the store!  We were very impressed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Visit to Grandpa

Last week, we were able to travel to San Diego to visit our Grandpa (Mama's father).  Mama and Papa had flown out to see him last year, but the rest of us hadn't seen him in more than three years, so this was a very special trip.  Becca and Laura were able to get to know him, and we were all able to reconnect.  We enjoyed hearing his stories and learning more about his past and his family.

Peter wasn't sure about Grandpa at first, but on our last morning there, he finally decided that Grandpa was all right!  We were all glad that he warmed up and Grandpa was able to hold him and enjoy that time with him!

We were there very close to Grandpa's birthday, so we had prepared a couple of songs to sing for him.  Grandpa has a beautiful bass voice and enjoys singing, so we also did some singing all together.

Grandpa modeling the hat that Becca knitted for him.

The view of San Diego from Grandpa's porch.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Becca!

Becca turned fourteen on Monday, so we had a fun time celebrating with food, singing, games, and general good cheer.

Mama makes the best grilled-cheese sandwiches.

Making bubble bread... one of those foods that is best made with a group of people all working, laughing, and visiting together.

Dessert was Bienmesabe, a delicious coconut dessert that we discovered during our study of Venezuela last year.

It has been exciting these past few years to watch Becca making the transition from little girlhood to young womanhood.  Becca's exuberance and penchant for storytelling keep us smiling, while she also exhibits a sincere desire to know God's truth and to rightly understand the world around her.  I can't wait to see what God has in store for her!