Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Work Week


Grab a saw, or a hammer, or a crow bar, or a paint brush, or ... well, or just about anything, and you would fit right in with our family over the weekend. Our first project was Josh & Abbey's new house.

Goals on their new residence (which is located just a few miles west of our residence) include new flooring throughout the entire house, and new paint on every wall and the ceilings throughout the house. So, from Thursday through Saturday we spent much of our time over there, tearing up old flooring, priming walls and ceilings, painting walls and ceilings... pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the lawn and, in general, preparing the abode for inhabitation by its new owners.

Master bedroom/hallway/guest room - as they WERE. They look very different now, but all the "after pictures" are on Josh & Abbey's camera, which I believe is still over at the new house.



On Monday the men of the family headed down to Grandpa & Grandma's house to rebuild their deck.

Train 'em young, is our motto... so William got in on the act, too. The day was very productive as the men worked, and a few of us ladies drove down to visit for awhile as well.


We are so grateful for our family, and for the blessing of having them nearby. What a privilege it is to be able to tackle the projects of life together!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Homeowners


Congratulations, Josh & Abbey!

BTW - if anyone is interested, they may be open to having help this coming week as they tear up flooring and repaint walls and ceilings... :-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eggplant


In the comments on one of our recent posts, the meaning of our surname - Erber - was brought up. Well, we have some other surnames in our genealogy. One of our Italian surnames has no obvious meaning (in fact, it's current spelling isn't exactly Italian) but it is said to be close to a couple of Italian words. We haven't actually looked them up ourselves, but we are told that one means - quite flatteringly - "mad dog." The other - quite insignificantly - means "eggplant."

However, I think we have proof that "eggplant" truly is the word our name is derived from, as our family LOVES eggplant. [Actually, Nathan D. is the one who makes sure we are frequently supplied with eggplant (he somehow manages to frequently find deals on eggplant that is about to go bad - and so we just have to have an eggplant feast!) Perhaps his "French but sounds Italian" surname actually has some Italian in it after all???]

Anyway, yesterday afternoon a phone call alerted us to the fact that we needed to have an eggplant feast that evening. So the Del crew came over and the 'sistahs' breaded and 'fried' up a bunch of eggplant, cooked the pasta, got out the mozzarella, made a yummy fresh tomato salad, and then called the family to the feast! Oh, yes, and I can't forget the strawberry rhubarb pie that was thrown together for dessert.

Ymmmm...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Catchin' up


Well before we get too much further behind, I thought it might be good to post a bunch of pictures to quickly catch up on a lot of what has been going on around here. Most of these pictures were taken while I was gone, but I think there are one or two taken in the last two weeks...

Latest update on the RV crew is that they were in Oklahoma this morning and hope to get home - or close to it - by tonight.

Ravinia

I'm not really sure when, but at some point while I was gone, Jonathan took Joanna to hear Joshua Bell in concert at Ravinia. Reports are that the enjoyed themselves, the evening - and the music.



Church

Also while I was gone, two families officially joined the membership of our church! A very warm welcome to the G and W families!

July 4th

I hear that in our area the weather on July 4th was what the weather is supposed to be on July 4th - warm and sunny! Based on the pictures, it looks like everyone congregated at N&J's house in the morning to watch the parade, and then headed over to visit with church families during the afternoon, and then headed up to J&A's in the evening to watch fireworks over the lake.

Speaking of J&A, the closing on the house they are purchasing is scheduled for this week!

Company

Last Sunday we had the Carlson family to our house after church. While the older/mature people sat in the living room discussing issues the younger set learned the "Cup/Rhythm Game" and also played with little plastic frogs... Thanks for coming over, Carlsons! We love you guys!

Storms & Flooding

While our area hasn't had the major flooding that parts of the Midwest have been dealing with, we still have gotten more than enough rain lately!

Not only are there fields flooded, but en route to the Strand's house last week we encountered some flooded roadways, as well!

But, after the storms come both rainbows and impressive sunsets...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Resounding Voice is off again!



This past Monday the Resounding Voice crew drove off to Arizona to record the Arizona State Convention for Home Educators (AFHE). It was three full days of driving to get there. So far we've heard of a few of their challenges - illness, an overambitious fire inspector onsite at the convention center, and 112 degree weather.

The convention is now over. It's time to pack-up and start their trek home. May God grant you all a safe journey back home! We look forward to seeing you in a few days!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Three weeks away


Let's see. With such a trip the question always is, "Where to begin?" For those of you who don't know where I was, when or why, here's a simple (very simple) timeline:

Saturday, June 21st, Jonathan & I flew out to Seattle, Washington.
Sunday, June 29th, Jonathan flew back home.
Thursday, July 10th, I flew back home.

Technically, the whole reason for the trip was educational. Trinity Church, out in Kirkland, Washington, was hosting a week long music camp. Due to conversations we have had in the past, Dr. Erb (who was directing the camp) invited Jonathan out to attend/observe the camp. Dad and Mom thought it would be good for me to go out with him as two heads can at times truly be better than one. So, during that first week of the trip, when Jonathan and I were both out in Washington, the Erb family hosted two of us Erbers.

The first day we were out there happened to be Dr. & Mrs. Erb's anniversary, so Jonathan and I took the afternoon to drive down into Seattle and see some of the sights. Our first, and main, stop was the Pike Place Market (above). We had fun squeezing through the crowds there and enjoying a little of the local culture...

There also was a piano shop in the area that had this instrument for sale. If you think you might be interested in such a piece of furniture, start saving. The price tag was $450,000...

After getting our fill of "city" we headed over to a quieter part of town - a park overlooking Lake Union. There we enjoyed watching the seaplanes take-off and 'land' and just sat and relaxed awhile.


The next morning, though, music camp started in earnest. By the end of the week, the 100+ students (4-12 grade) had learned an amazing amount of choral music, studied the scriptures supporting the lyrics, analyzed the musical structure of the songs being sung, and learned some folk dances.... and found some time for a picnic and games!

Jonathan and I learned much during the week and are very grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the camp. Thanks, too, to Dr. & Mrs. Erb for their gracious hospitality to us in the midst of moving!

And certainly not the least part of the week was the opportunity to meet new people and establish new relationships. Oooh, yes and I musn't forget. We also brought home a new mind/hand coordination game (aka. rhythmic torture) to share with our friends. :-)

But, despite our enjoyment of our time away, it came to an end - at least, it came to an end for Jonathan, but simply a transition for me. After church on Sunday, June 29, Jonathan and I were dropped off at the airport and Jonathan soon made his way through security (his bag just made it at 49.5 lbs.) and headed for home.

I sat in the airport for a little while and exercised my great skill in people watching. Incidentally, during the short time I was there I did happen to see a familiar face from Texas!


Soon afterwards, though, Amy Ellen arrived to pick me up and the second part of my trip had begun. From the evening of June 29, through the morning of July 10, I was hosted by one of the most hospitable families I know. The Bradricks welcomed me warmly - in spite of already hosting a house full of out of town family. They all made me feel right at home and quite like another one of the aunties.

Much of my first week there was spent getting everything ready for the Independence Day picnic they host on their farm. But we did make sure to take some time to play, and we did spend an evening celebrating Amy Ellen's birthday.

During the birthday evening, we played a few games of "Running Pictionary." Due to the absence of certain ladies, the girls were seriously outnumbered, but in spite of the imbalance we decided to go ahead and play girls vs. guys. Those who know me well know that I am too generous of a person to humiliate the losers by declaring just which team soundly beat the other...


By the time we were approaching the 5th of July (the day of the picnic) the house and yard were looking quite lovely, but our discussions centered around the reliability, or not, of the weather forecasters. In the end, the weather was considerably wetter than even the pessimistic forecasts had predicted.

Bright and early, the gentlemen of the house were out cleaning out the barn and moving tents to make a somewhat dry place for the 250 guests who were due to arrive late that morning.

Thankfully, we discovered that neither hosts nor guests were made of sugar and we all managed to greatly enjoy the very wet picnic. Besides, out in the rain a water balloon can't make you any wetter than you already were...

... and there is nothing quite like tug-o-war in the mud!



By dinner time the rain had mostly stopped and we were able to serve dinner without much complication. We also were grateful to not need our umbrellas later in the evening as we sat around the campfire singing together.


Oh, but I mustn't forget to mention the pies! 40+ beautiful, delicious pies were entered into the contest and the judging was a long and very serious affair as a panel of fathers and grandfathers selected the very best ones.


Now, we also did many other things during my days away - but very few of them were captured on camera, and though they were all greatly enjoyed by the participants, few of them would truly interest the general public. There were many games of volleyball, games of croquet, late night conversations, a certain very long morning conversation...

...a canoe trip down the river, a couple of movies watched (one specifically under amusing circumstances), an afternoon of frisbee golf...

...a walk at a local state park, hours of living room games, laughter, card games, board games and brain teasers! Meals were shared, (along with their preparation and clean-up), weeds were pulled, windows were washed, convictions were discussed, a few minor injuries sustained, new nicknames were earned, and friendships were deepened. What more can I say? Praise the Lord for the fellowship of the saints! Praise the Lord for friends with whom we can walk, work, and laugh! And praise the Lord for these rare special times to enjoy and encourage one another!

Would we take these relationships for granted if we lived closer? I doubt it, but regardless of the reason God has chosen to settle our families at great distance from each other, I'm grateful that He has crossed our paths, knit our hearts together, and given us such sweetness of fellowship!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sighting!

There are now multiple eyewitnesses to the fact that Jessica has returned safely and is again dwelling at the paternal abode. She claims to have had a wonderful time, and hopefully will soon share here at least an outline of her time away.

There are also multiple eyewitnesses to the fact that Josh and Abbey - and crew - are here right now and are busy packing up Resounding Voice for a conference this weekend and hope to be on the road within another hour or so. Most hands currently are (or ought to be) busy helping them accomplish that goal...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Upgrade?

Well, Jessica is on the road and has given us a hard time about not updating this blog. So, here we are posting in her absence. What you are about to experience is a four-minute, zero-budget, five-hour project start to finish. Where Jessica simply posts snapshots and text, we are ratcheting things up a notch or two. ;-) You may thoroughly enjoy this post, or pray for Jessica's quick return. You be the judge.
video

Thursday, July 03, 2008

On the road...

Greetings from the great Northwest!

As this blog hasn't been updated during my absence, I thought I'd sign in from afar and let you all know that we are still alive and well!

Shortly after the last post on this site, Jonathan and I (Jessica) left town for a trip to Washington state.  Jonathan flew back early this week, but I am still out of town for another week.  I am having a wonderful time out here, but I'm not able at this point to get pictures from the camera onto the computer!  So a better update will come later.  In short, the first week of the trip (with Jonathan) was 'business' (a music camp), and this week for me is actually just leisure with some hospitable friends.  We're getting ready for a big weekend here on the farm, so I need to go lend my hands to the cause, but thought I'd take just a second to let you all know that the Erbers haven't fallen off the edge of the earth!  Adieu for now.