It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about our family happenings, so I thought I’d play a little catch up. We’ve lived through all four seasons here in DeWitt, MI and now we’re on round two. I like where we’re at now. I no longer feel like we’re getting used to our lives here. We’re trying to conquer it. Here’s the latest:
We had a great first season for our U-Pick Blueberry business. When we first decided to buy the house, we had no idea about the blueberry bushes. It wasn’t mentioned in the property description. It did say there were “fruit orchards”, but we thought they were referring to the apple & pear trees. After moving in, we got a good look at what we were up against. The property had been overgrown for over a decade! My parents began coming every weekend to help us clear the yard and we came across some amazing treasures. The best was discovering the 10+ cherry trees in the northeast corner of our property! The biggest project was the 2 acres of blueberry bushes. My parents dedicated countless hours to pruning and tending them – especially my mom…which is why we named the business, “Grace’s Blueberries” and the land, “Grace Orchard”. The business took off with the one Craigslist posting that I put up. I posted that we have all-natural u-pick blueberries and if anyone was interested, email email@example.com to be added to a list. Within the week, we had nearly 50 responses. I then started a public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GracesBlueberries. We had lots of people stop by and pick our all-natural blueberries. We gave away free Balance magazines to our customers which we hope were a blessing to them. We were able to eat blueberries to our hearts’ content, but hope for a bigger and better harvest next year.
TRIATHLON SEASON ENDS:
We are done with our season training and are now in our off-season training. This year Israel raced in one sprint triathlon (Hawk-i), one intermediate triathlon (Lansing Legislator), and finished his season with a century ride (Tour de Witt). I raced in one sprint triathlon (Hawk-i), one olympic distance triathlon (Tri2Finish Holly), and ended my season with a half-marathon run. Manu and Micah raced in their first triathlon, the Muncie ToughKids. We’re planning our End of Season Bash for Team Revolution which will be on Sunday, November 18. Endurance athletes can still sign up to be a part of the team for next season here. We hope to stay in shape by going to the gym and getting on our bike trainer throughout the off-season until we get back into race mode in the spring!
This fall, Manu started first grade and Micah is in Pre-K. Ty is trying to learn how to color. It’s been different, but going well. Last year, school wasn’t as structured and we did more projects and unit studies. This year, I am following a curriculum for Manu so it is more structured. I decided to go with a few different programs to try them out. I’m using Christian Light for Math, Social Studies & Reading, and A Reason For Handwriting & Spelling. Bible & Science are still on our own. I’m enjoying it and it actually brings more independent learning which can be nice. We also have taken advantage of being on the road. This past trip, we were able to stop by Fruita, Colorado and visit a Dinosaur museum. They were able to see many different dinosaur & “prehistoric” skeletons and also see real paleontologists at work in their lab! The kids had a blast.
A couple months back, the boys signed their first official contract to be a part of the Lansing Lightning Bugs Adventurers program. We had to miss their induction (since we were in California), but they are now legit. Micah is a Little Lamb and Manu is an Adventurer Busy Bee. Ty is a wannabe Little Lamb and every time it is time for a meeting, he has a pout on his face because he doesn’t have a uniform to wear. The Little Lamb teacher is so sweet and she lets Ty participate in basically everything for that class.
POTTY TRAINING COMPLETE:
It is with great satisfaction that I am able to announce the promotion of Ty from being a baby to a Big Kid! I decided to do a one-week intensive potty training session with Ty while Israel was in Austria. That meant the diaper came off and we lived in our bedroom with wood (aka washable) floors where we ate all our meals, munched on salty snacks, and drank water like it was going out of style. #1 was taken care of by day 3, but #2 took some time. We went on a crazy, last-minute road trip to Cali soon after Israel came back and Ty successfully completed his training during our vacay. Go Ty! Diapers, I will miss you…said definitely not me!
BENTLEY SEES THE WORLD:
I already mentioned our random hiatus to Cali and a post will definitely be coming soon. But something special about that cross-country trip was that we were able to bring Bentley. He has never left the great state of Michigan, save the greater state of the U.P. At first he was a little nervous during the drive. He was a little shaky and didn’t eat much. But by the time we drove back, he was hanging in the back with the rest of the boys begging for food and looking forward to each stop. He was able to see Weimar, CA and chase some of their infamous deer, hike at Lake Tahoe, relax at the Im resort where he received his new favorite dog toy, meet his 3 cousins: Scooby, Sunny, & Brownie for the first time, and stay in the many pet-friendly hotels along the way. He left a piece of himself (literally) in nearly every state we passed. Just another way he is building his legacy. He did miss his cat-brothers Aroe & Chance, though. When we got home and he was reunited with them for the first time, he gave them licks and carried them off the ground as he ran under both of their legs. They didn’t seem to mind it at all.
As a family, we have traveled from coast to coast in the past few months. We also spent a wonderful weekend out in Camp Akita in Illinois. The boys rode horses for the first time and ever since, to ride horses in Camp Akita has been a reoccurring prayer request! We had a relaxing time at the CAMPUS vision retreat out in Williamsburg, VA. The boys were able to swim in the Atlantic ocean at Virginia Beach for the first time. We also took a tour of the historic Berkeley Plantation on the James River. We have spent many Sabbaths traveling around to different churches in Michigan for Israel’s speaking engagements. He and Sebastien preached an evangelistic series on the campus of Western Michigan University. Israel also was asked to be the Pathfinder Pastor so he led out in his first Pathfinder Investiture. And of course, most recently, we drove to the west coast and spent time in Sacramento for the Waterbrook wedding and then to SoCal to spend much needed time with Israel’s family. It had been too long! When we weren’t traveling, we were watering & harvesting my parents’ numerous tomato and Korean pumpkin plants!
This past year has required a lot of adjusting to new scenery, a new job, a new schedule, and the changes that come with a growing family. We are so thankful to God for leading the way. Challenges come and go, but one thing is certain: our family and friends make the journey so much more worth it. We are praying that we can be more faithful, more loving, and one more step closer to Eternity.