Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January Newsletter

From Laura, 11 … A few weeks ago we went ice skating! It was a lot of fun. It is basically like rollerblading, except harder when you fall and harder to do. It is a lot more graceful though, if you’re good at it.

On the 2nd of February, I will be 12. One of the things I decided to do is play baseball! I am excited! I’ve never played it with proper teams and bases before. I was reading about it recently which might have helped spur the idea to play it as a family.

From Becca, 14 … We got to go ice skating a couple of weeks ago. I had thought it would be really difficult and I would fall down a lot and get hurt. But it was actually really fun. I did fall a lot, but I didn’t get hurt.

Anna and Seth have been teaching Laura and me semaphore—a signaling method. Arms in varying positions represent letters and spell words. I am planning to sew some flags so that we can see each other from a distance. We invented a game with it in which two people each hide an object and then must show their respective partners where it is using only semaphore.

From Seth, 17 … During the past few days I’ve enjoyed watching birds. We recently put out a feeder to use up some old seed, and, when the birds discovered the feeder, my interest was sparked. The birds’ different behaviors, appearances, and sounds have been fascinating to observe. Three of my more interesting observations have been a tiny wren chirping exceedingly loudly, a red-bellied woodpecker chasing a downy woodpecker, and a hawk sitting on a tree branch and grasping a dead squirrel.

From Anna, 20 … Over the last several months, our church has gradually sought to introduce hymns that are both musically rich and theologically deep. As part of that effort, the church has recently switched from using an overhead projector during the service to using hymnals. I’ve enjoyed the change. There are so many wonderful hymns of the faith that were written in the last several hundred years that have been largely forgotten or ignored, and I think that it’s high time they were resurrected.

From John, 26 … I spent most of last week in Orlando for the International Builders' Show. It's a huge show with over 1,000 exhibitors and 200 educational sessions. There were about 50,000 attendees, which made it a smaller show than usual, from what I heard. It was a great experience all around. I learned many new ideas, concepts, and techniques at the education sessions I attended, and I got to see cutting-edge technologies and products in the exhibit hall. It was a bit lonely traveling alone, but it was worth the trip.

About Ray, Katie, and Peter … The baby’s arrival is less than four months away. We’re all eagerly looking forward to his or her arrival! The Wades prefer to wait to learn the baby’s sex. It will be a fun surprise! Little Peter, at 14 months, is trying to say words. He uses lots of gestures and expressions to communicate. The Wades are thinking about to what extent they want to garden this year. With a toddler and infant, and Ray working hard to build up his business, they will have their hands quite full this spring and summer.

From Judith … Each day Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura spend one hour outside which is split between work and play. Recently they said they had run out of work, so I went out and walked them all around the property pointing out the work that remained. That revved their engines and their productivity rose. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the progress they have been making on many projects, large and small. It’s amazing what can be accomplished in just half an hour each day!

From Gerald … My most recent home project has been an island for our kitchen. Since cabinetry is new for me, it has required much planning and thought, including multiple trips to the store showrooms to look at how “real” cabinets are built. There are many things that require no thought at all for an experienced carpenter, but I needed to research and compare to know what the standards are. This included such things as toe kick size, amount of counter-top overhang, drawer spacing, and so on. The cabinet is not done yet, but it is already in use. The basic structure is complete; I still need to build the face-frames and drawers. We are planning to order a stone counter top for it.

Our Love, Gerald, Judith, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura

Friday, January 21, 2011

Island Ahoy!

When we first moved into our house, we spent one year without a fully functional kitchen.  After the completion of the sinks last spring gave us a functional kitchen, we moved on to other more urgent projects.  Recently, though, the kitchen island made it to the top of the priority list!

The plans.

Cutting out the pieces.

The pieces ready to go.

Screwing braces into the floor.

Beginning the assembly.

Finally the top!

A happy customer!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Laura's Gingerbread House

This gingerbread house was our first experience with a pre-built kit.  Unfortunately, it didn't survive the shipping very well, so the house actually came to us in more pieces than it would have if it hadn't been preassembled.  Never daunted by a broken-down house, we iced all the pieces together, and except for the cracks running across some of the pieces, no one would know!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Caterpillars to Butterflies

I received a butterfly house for a present recently.  I ordered these caterpillars and they came in the mail.  I took a picture of them every day to show their remarkable growth.

When they were about this big they crawled to the top of their containers and hung upside down.  A chrysalis formed around each of them.
When they had all done that, I transfered them to their butterfly house. 
About 11 days later I saw a butterfly sitting there!  It was very exciting.  Here is a photo of one in the process of emerging.
A brand new butterfly.

It has been almost a week since they hatched and they are fluttering about much more now.  I am feeding them sugar water and I have seen them unroll their proboscises and drink.

Here is Seth holding one.
They are very photogenic.
I have very much enjoyed watching the growth and transformation of these amazing animals.  At first they were gross squishy gluttonous wormies, but they were suddenly transformed into one of the most beautiful and delicate creatures.  It reminds me of the transformation God works on the sinner's heart.  I'm glad God created animals like this.