Monday, November 2, 2009

No School Activities (11/1-11/2)

Katherine scoring a goal in the last game of the Fall Season

All Saints' Day get-together with friends
It was a smaller group this time with their oldest and our oldest out of town.

Today Katherine donated 10" of her hair for Locks of Love. Her hair is so thick that the stylist put her hair into two ponytails. Katherine told her Dad that the lady took 20" off. A friend of ours joined us at the salon. Afterwards we went out for ice cream. It was a special girls' time!
As you can see, her hair is quite a bit shorter than any of us are used to seeing. It will take time to adjust to the new look. This is the second donation she has made in 22 months.
We are so proud of Katherine!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

MLHS 2009 Homecoming (10/2/09-10/3/09)

Friday evening was Homecoming activities at Milwaukee Lutheran. I made sure we were dressed warm enough. Brett grumbled about wearing a sweatshirt. He is 'never' cold! He appreciated the extra layer once it got dark. The parade started at 5:30 P.M. Katherine and I heard the band and ran to watch as they marched from the neighborhood across the street onto Grantosa Drive. There were quite a few floats with students throwing lots of candy our way. Brett and Katherine made out quite well with their pockets stuffed with treats for the next couple weeks! After the parade, Logan had some time to eat before getting ready to play (his trumpet) for the football game. The forecast wasn't good. There were sprinkles on and off, and the field was muddy. The marching band did play during half-time, but without their uniforms. They did wear their band hats, though. Brett and Katherine found some kids and played football on the grass outside of the cafeteria. It was after 10:00 P.M. by the time we got home. We were busy with a lot of visiting and catching up, but that is for a blog entry by my James.

*Logan (with the black sweatshirt) marching in the Homecoming parade
*Logan performing during half-time of the Homecoming game
*Katherine, Brett, and Logan after our fun-filled Friday night at the Homecoming game
Jim was kind enough to let me sleep Saturday morning, and he took Brett to Saturday Morning Band. What a nice treat! Logan's soccer team tied at Wisconsin Lutheran, 0-0. Then it was off to Katherine's soccer game. Her team lost, but she had an assist on a goal and she scored a goal right after that (which was right after I left for the florist shop!). We had some time to come home and relax. Logan worked on homework for a bit. Then he needed to hit the showers before getting ready for the Homecoming Dance. Everything turned out quite well. I'll let Logan write about his experience sometime. These are all the pictures I took. Nastassia took a few, as well. Maybe I'll be able to post those, too.
*Logan and Nastassia at the Coronation
*Nastassia, Logan, Romario, Marissa
*Mr. Bartz (my walking partner) with two of his granddaughters: Katie and Hannah

Saturday, October 3, 2009

September in Review

Saturday, September 12: Celebrating Grandpa's Birthday

Sunday, September 14: Holy Cross Sunday was celebrated at Mount Olive. We invited Bill & Bobbie to join us for the worship service and Bible Class with Brad Alles. The music was wonderful! Afterwards we had brunch at our house in honor of Grandparents' Day.

Katherine has joined a new soccer team: the Robins.
Their record was 3-1 in September, and
Katherine scored three goals!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Moment (9/1/09)

Today was Logan's first home soccer game of the season. MLHS is in the North Shore Conference, which is not a good thing when it comes to soccer. There are only two subs, so the boys get tired. JV lost to Homestead 1-7. We tied last year's record for Conference games. After the game Logan asked to stay for the Varsity game. We took him to get something to eat first at the concession stand. Logan put his arm around my shoulder and talked to me most of the way there. Jim was walking behind taking it in. Logan is not our affectionate child! This was such an amazing moment! Jim was surprised that I didn't put my arm around him. I thought it was best to simply walk and enjoy this time with my eldest son.
Here's the rest of his schedule:

Tuesday, Sept 8 at Germantown 5:00 P.M.
Thursday, Sept. 10 at Watertown 4:30 P.M.
Tuesday, Sept. 15 vs Port Washington 5:00 P.M.
Tuesday, Sept. 22 at Grafton 5:00 P.M.
Tuesday, Sept. 29 vs Nicolet 5:00 P.M.
Saturday, Oct. 3 at Wisconsin Lutheran 11:00 A.M.
Tuesday, Oct. 6 at Whitefish Bay 5:00 P.M.
Saturday, Oct. 10 JV Red Knight Quad (at MLHS) 9:00 A.M.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Logan's Sophomore Classes (8/31/09)

Semester I
1. Concert Band (Mr. Schmidt)
2. Latin II (Mr. Darien)
3. Design Survey (Mrs. Janousky)
4. English II-Genre (Mr. Weyhrich)
5. Advanced Algebra-Trigonometry (Miss Bolz)
6. Physics (Mr. Koebert)
7. Sophomore Religion (Mr. Koebert)
8. U.S. History I (Mr. Kalkopf)

Semester II
1. Concert Band (Mr. Schmidt)
2. Latin II (Mr. Darien)
3. U.S. History II (Mr. Koch)
4. Boys' P.E. (Mr. Niedfeldt)
5. Advanced Algebra-Trigonometry (Miss Bolz)
6. Physics (Mr. Koebert)
7. Sophomore Religion (Mr. Koebert)
8. English II-Language Usage (Mr. Rohde)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Family Vacation - Jim's Perspective

I feel like I'm writing that dreaded, cliched essay "What I did last summer." Our vacation really had two distinctly different parts to it: visiting family/friends and visiting our great country. Both parts were great.

Seeing Jeff and Grace at their home was a special treat. I honestly can't remember the last time I visited a cousin in his/her own home. The closest thing I can think of is visiting Liz in Germany, and we met in Heidelberg, not in her home (when you travel thousands of miles and cross an ocean, I think meeting someone in a nearby city should count). It still seems like yesterday when our families would crowd together at Thanksgiving and Christmas in our parents' homes; now it's our turn. It was fun seeing the Michigan Wilhelm family in action. Softball games, VBS, Jeff's church, Grace's tour of Greenville, and their fabulous home were all highlights, but it was their hospitality that stuck out the most. They made us feel at home, and that was a blessing.

It's been years since we've been back to the Detroit area, and our son Brett couldn't wait to get there. Since he was born in the Detroit area (Grosse Pointe), Brett has laid claim to the Motor City as his home town. Of course, he was only two when we moved back to Milwaukee, but that hasn't stopped him from supporting the various Detroit teams, especially the Lions. It was great seeing the Justice family again. Just like Jeff and Grace's family, the Justice family made us feel at home. We had a great time hanging out together, making campfires, going to Frankenmuth, seeing Don's school, and going to Trader Joe's! The best part was reconnecting with the Justices. To be honest, the happiest times I've had as a teacher were at Lutheran East in Harper Woods, and the Justice family was a large part of that. That staff was like a close-knit family, and it was like lighting in a bottle. I don't know if it will ever happen again, but I'm glad it happened at least once.

Leaving Detroit was a difficult process, not because we were sorry to leave, but because the city closed down the major highway we needed to take. I felt like we were being quarantined! Anyway, on my birthday we went from Detroit to Philadelphia all in one fun-filled day. The absolute worst part of the trip was all of the tolls we paid out. Talk about organized crime! The actual driving wasn't that bad; the kids were well behaved and we made good time once we escaped Detroit. We got into our hotel just in time for us to unwind in the pool.

Philadelphia. Well, there are a few things that stuck out to me about the city of brotherly love: homeless people, extortion, and fantastic history. I don't think I've ever seen so many homeless people like I saw in Philadelphia. Everywhere we went there were homeless people camping out and staking their claims. They were in church entryways. They were in the parks. They were at the street corners. We even saw one bathing in a fountain in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Not to be too political, but I wounder why most of the homeless can be found in the cities that have been controlled by Democrats for decades. They care so much about the 'little man' in society, you thing they would be able to help all of these homeless get a job. I guess they think giving them a park bench is good enough.

Anyway...on to extortion. We though we'd save money by driving; however, our car cost us almost as much as out great hotel prices we got. Thirty dollars per day to park! Between tolls and parking we must have dropped almost $200 on our vacation! In spite of the larceny, I'm glad we went.

The history of Philadelphia is fantastic. We got to stand in the very room where our nation declared its independence and eventually solidified that independence with the ratification of the constitution. Just being in the same room that those great men graced with their actions was a moving, unforgettable experience. We saw the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross' house, Ben Franklin's grave, and we even worshiped in the same pew that George Washington worshipped in! Of course, the service itself was a travesty of secular humanism that never mention the name of Jesus Christ once in the sermon, but what can you expect from the Episcopal church? It's like one of those gourd rattles you see in the fall - pretty on the outside, but inside it is dried-up and empty; it sounds good but you get no nourishment from it.

One night Logan and I visited the Star Trek exhibition in the Franklin Museum. While it was interesting being able to walk around a mock-up of the NCC-1701D's bridge (Trekkies will get the reference), I was disappointed by some of the displays. They simply made $18 models and spray-painted them silver - cheap! We did get to sit in Kirk's classic captain's chair, and we saw various props and costumes from all of the movies, including the current one, Star Trek (which is a must-see, by the way). I thought the exhibition overall could have been better, but it was cool doing some of the things we did.

We also visited historic Little Italy. It was interesting seeing not only Italian shops, but Asian and Hispanic shops as well. My favorite shop was the butcher shop that sold kangaroo and python meat (no, we didn't try any). And, of course, we had several Philly Cheese Steaks. We had one downtown, we had one from a cart selling them, and we compared Pat's and Geno's cheese steaks. The winner hands down was Geno's.

Our side trip to Atlantic City was interesting. It was cool having a hotel room with an ocean side view. Unfortunately, as is the case with so many of our vacations, it was overcast and rainy. The best part of Atlantic City was the ocean. We just couldn't relate to the rest of it.

On our way back home we made two more historical stops: Valley Forge and Gettysburg. Valley Forge was my favorite historical site because of a simple railing. You see, on the grounds you can visit George Washington's headquarters and tour it. We were the only people there at the time, and the park ranger told us that while most of the house was in original condition, the one thing they knew for sure was original was the railing used to go up stairs. Normally something like this would be roped off to be preserved, but here we got to touch the very handrail that the first President of the United Stated touched. That was by far one of the coolest things I have ever done! That alone made the trip worth it.

The trip through Gettysburg was interesting. We purchased a CD tour guide and took the car tour around the battle site. I was impressed as to the large area over which the battle took place. The CD brought the battle to life and gave us a richer understanding of that significant battle. The best part was at the end where we saw where President Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address. That was the perfect end to our vacation. Of course, we still had hundreds of miles to go to get home, but that was not a bad trip back (except for going through Chicago during their cheat Summerfest knockoff, Taste of Chicago).

Was the trip perfect? No, but what trip ever is? Did the kids get on my nerves at times? Sure, but they do that at home too. Did Fatime drive me crazy as we drove over the mountains? No! Of course not! Would I do it all over again if I had the choice? In a heartbeat

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vacation: Atlantic City, New Jersey (6/25/09-6/26/09)

Atlantic City
On the 10th day of our family vacation, we drove from Philadelphia to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Jim found a nice hotel right on the boardwalk. Katherine couldn't wait to swim in the ocean. I had packed gallon-sized ziplock bags for seashells. We found lots of them! We walked on the boardwalk for a bit with the children, got them dinner: gyros, and then left them in the hotel room watching cartoons. Jim & I walked all the way down the boardwalk and into four casinos: the Tropicana, the Trump, Caesar's Palace, and Bally's. It was our first time being in those establishments and discovered it is not for us. We did not gamble and couldn't wait to get back to our hotel.

*We had an ocean view from our hotel windows!
*Katherine running on the beach
*Katherine, Brett, Jim, and Logan on the beach with our hotel (the Atlantic Palace) in the background

*on the boardwalk
*at the Quarter, a section of the Tropicana Casino

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vacation: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6/20/09-6/24/09)

On the sixth day of our family vacation, we spent Jim's birthday on the road for over 10 hours. We got to our hotel around 8:30 P.M. The kids couldn't wait to get to the swimming pool.
Sunday morning we went to Christ Church. We were there for the history, not to convert to the Episcopal faith. Pastor Wangerin was surprised to see us there, as we were supposed to be in Canada. Our plans had changed so we were able to spend a few hours together.
*we sat in the same pew that George Washington and his family sat for worship
*Jim and Katherine sat in the Franklin pew.

*starting our walking tour
*outside the first bank of the United States
*on the grounds of Independence Hall
*in front of Independence Hall
*at the home of Benjamin Franklin
Afer doing some site-seeing with our personal tour guide, the six of us walked to
Sonny's Famous Steaks for lunch.
It was time to go our separate ways...Pastor to the train station, and we were continuing our Philly visit.

*at the home of Betsy Ross
The second bank of the United States houses a gallery of paintings by Charles Wilson Peale.
I loved looking at the paintings!
*Brett looking at a Charles Wilson Peale painting of John Adams
*Katherine and Brett imitating Benjamin Frankin in thought
*portrait of Martha Washington
*outside of the Second Bank of the United States
*Logan outside of the Franklin...Jim and Logan saw the Star Trek exhibit there. Across the street is the spot from National Treasure where Riley was getting the letters from the kid to crack the next code

*next to the Liberty Bell-a must see for Katherine!
*inside Independence Hall
*the upstairs room where the Declaration of Independence was signed
*if you look closely, you will see Wangerin firing Dackel out of the cannon
*This is the actual document that was read to the public
Jim & I ordered Subway for the kids and left them in our hotel room. We went out to the City Tavern ( I ordered the Martha Washington Colonial Turkey Pot Pie, and Jim had the lamb chops with steamed veggies. It was all wonderful!

*My James and our clam chowder soup
Who expects to walk through a department store and find the world's largest organ? That's exactly what we did (!
*Wanamaker Organ inside of the Macy's Department Store
*console for the organ

*City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia
We walked up and down the streets known as the Italian Market. Ironically there are also Mexican stores and restaurants. We sampled a Philly cheesesteak from both Geno's and Pat's (across the street). Geno's gets our vote!
*famous cheesesteaks in the Italian Market
*'Adam' in the Rodin Museum
*Rodin's The Thinker
On the last day of our stay, we stopped at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The building itself was very impressive. Brett couldn't wait to run up the steps like Rocky Balboa. Logan was tired of walking around and seeing things, so he waited in the van.

*Philadelphia Museum of Art
*Katherine and Brett posing with the Rocky statue