Early 2017 Update

Paula is still the Director of Teacher Education and I am still the Department Chair for special education, foundations, and technology (SEFT) with approximately 24 faculty in my department. So, we’re busy. The kids are plugging away in school. Ellie drives JD to school each day. JD is now taller than me by a few inches. We are going on college visits with Ellie and have more planned for spring break on the east coast. So far, she has really liked Cornell and the University of Michigan, but there are many more visits planned. We also saw a university in the NYC area that I will not name, but it was not an impressive campus visit and quickly fell out of consideration.

Ellie is the president of her junior class. JD is secretary of the freshman class. Ellie’s Odyssey of the Mind team is competing again this year. They’ve gone to the World Finals the past 3 years and they have 2 teams this year and both have already qualified for State (i.e., regionals > state > worlds). At least this year the world finals are located at Michigan State University, so it’s close. JD has skipped a year ahead in math. Both kids go to the #2 high school in Michigan and it’s an IB school, which they love.

This past summer, Paula and I presented at a conference in Bali and we took the kids. It was gorgeous.

Beach, Bali
Bali Beach Scene

Bali, waterfall
Bali Waterfall

I also presented at a conference in Ireland back in April. Of course, I made time to visit the Guinness headquarters as well:

Guinness

I also made it out to the west coast to see the Cliffs of Moher (there are 30 people in this image, if you can believe that):

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

JD and I went hiking in the Rockies during the summer of 2016.

Rocky, Rockies, RMNP
Rocky Mountains

And Paula and I had a quick business trip to St. Louis with a cool view from our hotel:

St. Louis, Arch
Arch

As you might be able to notice, my little photograph project from 2011 where I shot a photograph each day blossomed. I’ve entered some art competitions and done very well. I took second place at the 87th Annual Regional Exhibition at the Muskegon Art Museum. They had 725 art entries from watercolors to oils to sculptures and more. My photography took 2nd place overall. I have had 3 photographs hanging in the museum now. I have placed and have photographs featured in other shows as well. I really enjoy photography, but being a department chair has severely cut into my time to devote to photography, unfortunately. It’s still my escape from time to time when I need my head cleared. Here are some of my favorite images.

Summer in Grand Rapids

Ellie is now 15 and driving on a learner’s permit. JD is growing like crazy this year (left Paula in the dust). Paula is now the Director of Teacher Education in our College of Education. I am now the Department Chair for Special Education, Foundations, and Ed. Technology (SEFT). We’re a long way from moving to Michigan 15 years ago with a little 3 month old.

Long winter

We just experienced a very harsh winter. The first order of business this spring is to get a garage built before the next winter. Heh.

house, winter
Our House in Winter

New House

Well, we’ve gone and done it . . . after years of remodeling our home, we decided to move into another fixer upper. Sigh. The new home is in a historic district just outside of downtown Grand Rapids.
P.S. Anyone looking for a 4 bedroom home in East Grand Rapids? ;~)

March update

Okay, March Madness is in full effect. I am still trying to get the kids excited about KU basketball. They sort of follow the Jayhawks, but not enough to watch. Hmmm. In due time, I suppose.

Ellie and JD are busy playing tennis. Ellie just finished being in the school play (Sleeping Beauty) and she was a narrator. JD is getting ready to start lacrosse.

Our house is in disarray as our kitchen is being remodeled . . . I mean really, really remodeled. Our old kitchen and dining room have been combined into a very large kitchen. The old formal living room is now 1/2 formal living room and 1/2 formal dining room. It was a large room so it looks natural with the new look. And, the kitchen cabinets and flooring and new walls and openings are all in place. We’re just waiting on tile, backsplash, some lighting, countertops . . . and appliances, which come tomorrow.

I am leaving for 3 weeks to South Africa near Cape Town to work with some GVSU students who will be teacher assisting in township schools. We’ll also spend about 10 days touring the country along the Indian Ocean to see elephants and much more. Should be loads of fun. Be sure to check back for photos of the trip and of our kitchen.

I have been taking a photo each day and there are bunches of the kitchen in various stages. You can access our photos using the link at the top.

late July musings

so, Ellie and i were hanging out down on the floor with Ziggy the other day and we started laughing. and then we laughed harder . . . and harder. i think we laughed for 5 minutes straight. in fact, we laughed so hard that Ellie nearly started crying because her throat started hurting. and the first thing she said when we finally regained our composure??? “dad, can you write about this on thelancasters.net?” ta da!

both kids are attending camp this week. Ellie is attending a National Writing Project camp on the Grand Valley State University’s Holland Campus. she goes for 1/2 days this week and is working on writing her memoir along with some other creative writing. i plan to film her reading some of her writing at their performance so stay tuned for that.

JD is at Camp Manitou-Lin. he attended last year as well. every morning he jumps on a bus at 7:40 AM and returns home at 5:20 PM. in between, he rides horses, kayaks, and generally does camp things. fun stuff. we have a big parent night planned tonight and the campers will put on a performance so i’ll film that and post it soon as well.

OM State Finals

quick follow up . . . Ellie’s Odyssey of the Mind team finished 4th at the State Finals this year. Kudos to the team for improving over last year.

Ellie and No Child Left Behind

so, Ellie took our state test for the No Child Left Behind law — the MEAP in Michigan. in 3rd grade last year she did quite well, but this year she improved on the 4th grade test. in fact, she could not have improved any more because Ellie aced the reading half of the test; she got a perfect score. KUDOS to Ellie!!! on the math test she scored near the top and missed just one fraction problem, so she has some room to improve next year. ;~)