Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday School Christmas Pageant

I am sure a lot of you have this annual tradition...watching your kids in their Sunday School Christmas pageant.  Ours was last night at the evening service.  All 5 kids had parts.  The 3 oldest were in the play, "Born for You and Me" and the 2 youngest were among the littlest ones who each recited a verse from the Bible passage Luke 2:4-7.  The oldest kids all got to read their scripts, but the youngest had to memorize b/c they can't read.  It went well.  Olivia memorized her line and spoke it loudly into the microphone and did great.  But Tristan had never wanted to practice his line and would never say it at any of the practices.  And we thought the same was going to happen last night, as he hid in the back behind the other kids and wouldn't come up to the microphone when it was his turn to say his line.  So the girl after him went (she was also the last person to go).  When she was done, and there was a lull btw. the end of that and the singing of "Away in a Manger," Tristan comes running to the mic and yells out "It was a boy!"  That was his line and he said it perfectly, though so fast that most people didn't understand him.  It was, of course, in the wrong place, but at least he said it.  Jason and I were dying laughing, as was the woman who had coached the little kids, b/c we all knew how stubborn Tristan had been.  And we all understood him, b/c we knew what his line was.  It was so cute and funny and we were so proud of him b/c he said his line.  Hope your pageants were as eventful as ours.  :)    

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Homeschool mom's devotional

The first time we homeschooled (when my now-6th grader was in 1st grade) I looked for (and found) a devotional book written expressly for homeschool moms.  We have our own unique problems and triumphs and I thought it would help me to have better ways to turn to God and better things for which to pray.  And a good support system, too.  The book I found (there are probably others) is called "101 Devotions for Homeschool Moms" by Jackie Wellwood.  She has 7 kids that she homeschools.  Incidentally, all their names start with "J."  I just remembered about that book a few weeks ago, found it on our book shelf, and pulled it out and put it on my bedside table.  I read one devotion every night (well, almost every night:)) at bedtime.  They are encouraging and concise and even have a few thought-provoking questions at the end that you can answer...preferably not out loud or you might freak out your husband.  So far, I have been able to personally identify with most of the devotions.  It is always an encouragement to know we aren't alone in our struggles.  If y'all have a good devotional, let me know.  I am sure there are other good ones out there.      

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Here a few pictures of our house

Geo Bee

Maiah and Anya are participating in the homeschool geography bee.  The winner will participate in the Grand Rapids regional bee.  They missed one practice, b/c we didn't know about the bee, but went to one in Nov.  Now the one in Dec. is cancelled b/c of a family emergency, so there isn't another practice before the Bee on Jan. 5.  At the one practice they attended, they had to label on a map the countries and capital cities of Central America and South America.  How many of you could do that?!?!  Before this, I could've told you most of the countries of both places, but pretty much no capitals.  But now I have been helping them study, so I know them all.  At the practice that has been cancelled, they were supposed to know the countries and capitals of Africa and Asia.  Wow, that is a lot to know!  We are working on those.  I am thinking they did Europe and the US at the first practice we missed, but those the most familiar to me, so it is easier to help with those.  I think this is a great experience for the girls.  A great way to learn geography, which is a favorite subject of mine.  I will let you know how the Bee goes. 


The Rop household is a bed of germs this week.  It started at 1am early Mon. morning when Tristan threw up all over himself and his bed.  It was really quick, though, and after that he didn't throw up again, though he had a tummy ache all Monday.  Also, Anya felt bad Mon., with what I think is the same bug but manifested differently.  She had a stomach ache and head ache and fever, but never threw up.  Then Tues. Maiah had the same as Anya.  And Jason stayed home from work Tues. b/c he felt lousy...also no throwing up, just upset stomach and nausea.  Well, here I am thinking the rest of us escaped it, when at 5am today Isaac throws up all over his pillow and bed.  I so far have been OK...maybe just a touch of a stomach problem, but not like the rest.  I almost never get sick when the kids do, so I think that is God's mercy, b/c someone has to nurse all the sick ones!  I'd much rather play nurse than be sick!  Jason has to go to court this morning, but is still feeling bad, so is coming home after that.  Olivia seems fine so far, but I am expecting her to be sick sometime this week, as well.  At least it is before Christmas!!    

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Homeschooling, anyone?!

I really like homeschooling, which is probably b/c I was a teacher once upon a time.  I love lesson planning and talking with the students (which now happen to be my kids, so the stakes seem higher) and seeing how much they learn as we go along.  It really helps to have a great curriculum and we have found one in the form of Tapestry of Grace.  It is a Christian, classical, academically rigorous curriculum that fits us perfectly.  And the biggest benefit...it was designed to teach multiple ages.  The kids learn the same stuff, but fit for their grade level.  I think God had in mind all along that we would homeschool, preparing me by calling me to the teaching field.  My least favorite part is teaching my kids to read...not that I don't love reading to my kids and spending the time with them, but this is the area where I feel very inadequate.  I failed with Anya 4 years ago, when she was in Kindergarten...when Maiah and Anya went back to school for that 2nd semester, she was really behind.  She caught up during the semester and ended up at the top of her class, b/c she is smart, so that was good.  Maybe if we had stuck it out for the year, it would've worked itself out, who knows.  Now Olivia is in Kindergarten, and so far I think we are maybe doing OK, but it is hard to tell.  We are using the "Explode the Code" primer books and she likes those and is learning her letters and sounds.  Plus we are enforcing the letters with her Handwriting book.  I pray that I am doing well enough! 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cool field trip...we got to see famous GR TV people!

This week Tuesday morning we took our first homeschool field trip.  A really nice lady, Bernice, decided to arrange one field trip a month for the year, for the homeschoolers in the GR area There was a Meijer field trip in Oct. to which we didn't go, but this time we did.  It was to WOOD TV8, on College St. in downtown Grand Rapids.  It was so cool!  We got to see Rick Albin do one of the his morning updates and Matt Kirkwood do the weather.  Then Matt led a 30 minute Weather Experience, teaching the kids about various weather and tidbits about Michigan weather.  Did you know that Michigan is 2nd in the nation for lightning strikes?  Florida is first....it is b/c of all the water.  He was so great with the kids, and all the kids were on their best behavior.  And actually, Bernice asked for feedback from them on how the kids' behavior was, and was told that they couldn't believe how well-behaved the kids were, so different from public school kids (no offense if your kids go to public school...my kids did until this year!)  And it was all free!  Plus they gave the kids goodie bags, with a pencil (those are a hot commodity in our house...the kids are always trying to find one to do their school work), a magnet with important weather info, and a T-shirt.  

We left Tristan at home with Jason but took the others and they were really good.  So if you have a chance to go do this, I highly recommend it.   

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, we hosted our first family Thanksgiving and it went well.  We had 22 people, mostly Jason's family (parents, 2 sisters and their families, gma, aunt, cousin and his 2 kids) though my parents were also able to join us, which was so nice.  We are truly blessed and it is good to set aside a day to be reminded of that.  I am thankful for this house, which we moved into almost 2 months ago now.  I am thankful for Jason's job, here in Rockford.  They love him there and gave him an unofficial bonus last week (meaning cash under the table) just b/c they like him and are impressed with the good job he is doing.  I am thankful for 5 beautiful, healthy children.  I am thankful that I can homeschool them.  I am thankful to be living near family again.  I am thankful for all my friends.  And food to eat and clothes to wear and the list goes on...

Man, I am tired!  And I only had to make the cranberry sauce!  Jason did the turkey, and the rest of the family each brought something.  A very nice way to do it!  I was going to do the turkey, but last night Jason informs me he has a great recipe and our 23 pound turkey will cook in 3 hours...not possible, I say.  But it turned out great.  So he had to miss church to get it ready, since it had to go in the oven when church was starting.  

Jason's aunt played the piano (our free one off craigslist!!) and we sang several thanksgiving hymns...We Gather Together, Now Thank We All Our God, Come Ye Thankful People Come, and Let All Things Now Living.  And earlier in the day, my mom and Jason's mom serenaded us with that last one, "Let All Things Now Living!"  No joke.  You can stop laughing now.  But they both love that song and one thing led to another...

So be thankful today and spend time with family and remember how lonely life would be without them!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good Christian parenting book

I have been going to a weekly book study at my church.  We are reading and discussing "Being a Great Parent, Raising Great Kids," by Sharon Jaynes.  I had not heard of her before, but she apparently founded something called Proverbs 31 Ministries (or something along those lines.)  The book is good.  She starts with the word "blessed" and uses that as an acrostic (is that the word I want?!) where she says moms need to be Beacons, Listeners, Encouragers etc.  That is as far as I have gotten.  Then she goes on to give real life stories and examples, which I always like, and also practical ways to be those things to your kids.  And in the back are discussion questions that you can answer, even if you aren't a part of a group.  Being a very practical person, this book works for me.  I'd love to hear what parenting books y'all have read and what you think of them...good or bad.  I can always use help in the parenting department!  Especially since I am with my kids all day every day, and we don't get the break from each other that non-homeschoolers get.  Not that I want that break...:)  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


We are so excited about all the snow!!  It hasn't been inches or feet or anything, but for us'uns here from Kentucky, it is a lot!  There, we got about one inch one time for the whole season and that was it!!  I am not kidding.  We did get a lot of ice/freezing rain, so there were always missed days of school, which the kids liked.  We cannot wait for piles of snow!!  I hear Holland got about 6 inches on Monday, and was very sad that it wasn't us.  The kids have already been out this morning (and this past Sunday after church) making snowballs and eating snow.  I remind them not to eat the yellow snow.  :)  Enjoy the white! 

Friday, November 14, 2008

RSS Feed

OK, I am not exactly sure what that means, but I put a subscription link over on the side there so y'all can get my blog posts if you want.  Jason said I had to do it b/c people like that.  So now I am all cool b/c I have one, though I dont' really get it.  But at least I LOOK cool!  :)

Great husband!!

Y'all may have noticed that the irritating rectangular ad sign for cutestblogontheblock is now moved to the lower right hand corner of my blog.  My wonderful husband read my blog and took it upon himself to fix it for me, all without asking!  I am so excited.  Now if he would only do housework without asking...    

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Our 5 adorable children, Nov. 4, 2008

Spelling Bee

Maiah is in the Homeschool spelling bee this year.  When we were in S. Indiana, she was the runner-up for her school in 4th grade and in 5th grade.  This one is for 5th-8th graders.  She had her first practice on Tues. at the Plainfield Twp. library.  There are 20 kids registered.  After the practice was done, she said to me, "I can win this."  Too funny.  Nothing like a little confidence!  I know she'd love to win, after almost winning the last 2 years.  She gets her spelling prowess from her mom.  When I was in 5th grade, I won my school spelling bee (this was in the days when 6th grade was still in elementary school, so I was all that b/c I beat all the 6th graders! :))  I still have my prize-a red hardcover dictionary with my written on it in gold.  Maybe we should watch those 2 spelling bee movies that come out a couple years ago, one with Richard Gere.  If they are appropriate for an 11 year old....Let me know if you've seen them and what you think!  And pray for Maiah to win, or at least to place well.  :)  

Blocked Titles

Sorry about that little rectangular sign that totally blocks out the title to my posts.   I got the cool green background with pink flowers from that website, so now they get to advertise on my blog, which is fine, but I wish it didn't block my stuff!  If anyone knows how to move  it, please let me know!  I even tried to start my title in the middle of the title block, but it moved back to the beginning after I posted.  Oh, cool, I just noticed up in this tool bar lots of cool tools, like how to add photos, which I was wondering how to do!  Yayyy.  Now I can upload our house photos and our Christmas photos.  

Getting Life in Order

Well, I just unpacked 2 more boxes, after not upacking any for a few weeks...isn't that awful?!  But man, real life just gets in the way!  It would be sooo nice if normal life could be put on hold until the rooms were set up and all the boxed stuff put away.  As it is, most of my time is spent homeschooling the kids (or researching, lesson planning etc), making meals, doing laundry, doing errands and keeping the house in order, so that the things still left in boxes start to look like a part of the decor!  Today I revolted against that by unpacking the 2 boxes sitting in the dining room.  I hope to get to the 2 in the kitchen as well.  I love to be organized and have a place for everything, so it is stressful for me when I see the mess.  I like the house to be straightened up, everything put away, but I am not as good at the actual cleaning...mopping floors, dusting.  Jason and I make a good pair b/c he doesn't mind stepping over stuff (which he does quite often without picking it up and it drives me nuts!) but he hates dirt and dust.  Not that he ever mops the floors or dusts...      

Monday, November 10, 2008

Calvin Alumni Board

I just got back from my first meeting of the Grand Rapids chapter of the Calvin Alumni Association.  Sounds pretty official, doesn't it?  Pretty good for a SAHM. :)  I was involved with the Calvin alumni in South Bend, in the years 2002-2003, where I started the first Calvin/Hope Satellite Game Watch for that area...it is still going strong.  I also started a Calvin Alumni group in Louisville, where we hosted 2 game watches, Jan. 2007 and Jan. 2008.  We also took a trip to the Louisville Slugger Museum, which was great.  When I moved back here to GR, I figured that with so dang many Calvin grads around, they wouldn't need anyone to help with the Alumni.  Boy, was I wrong!  Donna Joyce practically begged me to be involved...very flattering!  So though I am new to the GR chapter, I am not new to alumni stuff.  It is fun to be involved again.  Coincidentally, Mike TerBeek also attended his first meeting tonight... small world.  I think it is a 3-year rotation...not sure if you can get back on if you want sometime later.  So I am going to be on the "Christmas at the Bookstore" committee along with the "Calvin Spring Classic 5K Run" committee.  Should be fun.  I remember I ran in the 5K my freshman year at Calvin and won a prize, a Howard Jones CD.  I was way excited.  Woohoo!  I encourage you to go to "Calvin Around the Town" events, one of which is next Tues. Nov. 18 at the new Burton Elementary-Middle School.  Sounds pretty impressive...they have their own medical and dental clinic!  I can go for free, one of the perks, I guess!  :)    

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Let's hear it for Martin Luther!

In our family, we don't celebrate Halloween.  Never have.  Its pagan roots just don't sit right with us, we feel it is a celebration of evil.  The whole idea of having to wear costumes to scare off the dead spirits is chilling, to say the least.  I know that a lot of y'all do celebrate it and think it is harmless and cute, even most of my Christian friends, so please don't think I am condemning your actions.  As long as y'all have given thoughtful consideration to why you do celebrate it, that is all I ask.  But we do celebrate Reformation Day, and have for several years.  It started at our wonderful church in Louisville, Redeemer PCA (Presbyterian Church in America).  It is a celebration of the beginning of the Reformed church tradition, began on oct. 31, 1517, when a monk by the name of Martin Luther posted his "95 Theses" on the church door at Wittenberg, in Germany, listing the grievances he had against the Catholic church.  He didn't want to leave the church, just wanted them to see the error of their ways (by really reading the Bible), and "reform," but he eventually did leave b/c the Church didn't want to change.  We have him to thank for all the Protestant denominations we have today.  And he also wrote my all-time favorite hymn, "A Mighty Fortress."  Which we sang at our Ref. celebration, along with Jason's 2 sisters and their families and his parents.  There was also a quiz I found for the kids, and a quiz for the grown-ups (Thanks, Ben!!)  We all learned something that night, which is what it was all about.  I really want my kids to know about how the Reformed tradition started, and that time in history is fascinating! (can you tell I was a history minor?!)  Plus as a homeschooler I am anxious to turn anything into a learning experience!!  Alas, we didn't get to dress up in medieval costumes, b/c one of Jason's sister's and her husband are against any costumes on Halloween, even if what we are celebrating doesn't resemble Halloween in the slightest.  So my kids were bummed, b/c they play dress-up all the time and it would've added to the learning, as far as I am concerned.  But for family unity, we had no costumes.  
So maybe next year you should have a Reformation Celebration instead of going trick-or-treating.  Think what a testimony that could be for your kids!  That is all for now.  Good night!      

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Election 2008

So Obama is now president...I am not pleased.  FYI, I didn't vote for him.  I am hoping that he will be like most politicians and won't live up to his campaign promises, b/c I DO NOT want my federal taxes to pay for women's abortions and I DO NOT want sub-standard universal health care and I DO NOT want there to be a universal preschool...kids are in school long enough in this life...we don't believe in preschool and think it is the parents' job to teach their kids (clearly we think this, as we are homeschooling :)).  And how does he think he is going to pay for all these enormously expensive programs with the gov't in such debt?  He'll have to raise taxes, which he has said he won't do.  And don't get me started on his "share the wealth" plan.  

Well, after all this ranting, I can know that God is in control and knows what He is doing and take comfort in that.  Remember the Israelites?  Time and time again He caused their enemies to defeat them b/c they were disobedient...maybe it's our time, until we wise up....   

Welcome to my blog and my new house.

Hey all, I am new to this blogging thing, so bear with me.  I can upload our family Christmas pics as soon as I figure out how to do that.  We took them last Tues. along the river here in Rockford.  Very nice.  

I was busy today trying to get my homeschooling room in order...we've been in our new house 5 weeks and it still is a mess, though is looking a lot better.   The Lord has really blessed us with this house...5 bedrooms, 1 of which is our school room, which is soo nice.  Now the school mess won't be all over the house...and it is upstairs, which helps with mess, too.  We have ripped up carpeting in the LR, the Library and the hallway.  Nice hardwood underneath, which we much prefer.  We've also torn down wallpaper in the LR and started with that in the DR.  There is a TON of ugly wallpaper in this house, in pretty much EVERY room, which we will slowly but surely take down.  I will also upload pics of our house along with the Christmas pics soon.  

That is all for now, I should help my dear hubby get the kids in bed.  Soon I will post about our crazy life this past 6 months and the journey God has brought us on.  One thing I have come to realize...when you REALLY give your life over to God's will, it will be a wild ride!!