In keeping with a tradition that I have a hard time keeping up with, I give you the Haveman highlights from 2016…
The majority of last year was spent in anticipation of a new kitchen. And after six months of noise, dust, mold, a do-over tile job and a revolving door of subcontractors, our kitchen was finally finished last spring. The good news is, it only took our family a few weeks to make it look old again. So if you visit, you don’t need to worry that you might scuff up our new kitchen walls, crack a brand new cabinet door, chip the enameled paint or even splatter our freshly painted ceiling with an entire jar of salsa. It was all taken care of ahead of time so you can just relax … and kick a door if you want to.
This summer we embarked on our very first road trip as a family. There is nothing more sanctifying for parents than a fifteen-hour van ride with four kids. Particularly one that should have only taken ten. But we were gifted with an incredible cabin and had an absolute blast exploring the wonders of South Dakota, including the Bandlands, Mt. Rushmore, fishing in the mountains and completing seven breathtaking (literally and figuratively) hikes in Custer State Park.
Gillian and Obbe continue to be homeschooled but Violet and Ty began school this fall in kindergarten and 4th grade. It was a tremendous adjustment for everyone to go from our hippie homeschool ways to a structured school setting. Violet took to school like a duck to water. She loves her teachers, her friends and the entire experience of school. It has been really fun to watch our spunky and joyful girl blossom.
Ty, on the other hand, had a rocky start to the year. After two straight months of morning tears, I arrived at two conclusions: my son is incredibly tenacious and his teacher has the patience of Job. Thankfully, one day a switch flipped in his six-year-old brain and he suddenly decided he liked school after all. He has been thriving in his classroom ever since.
We are grateful to have found a school with leaders and teachers that all have a heart to disciple kids. These amazing folks create fun experiences and point the students to Jesus all while providing a wonderful academic education. As for me? I want honorable mention for getting my kids to school on time and with lunches in hand every single day. It nearly kills me.
Obbe kicked off his 7th grade year with a father son adventure in Iceland. They started their week with silica mud slathered all over their faces while lounging in the Blue Lagoon, a large natural “hot tub” in the middle of a lava field. The trip only got better from there as they ventured across the country to take in some of the most incredibly beautiful sites on earth: waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss, Gullfoss, Skogafoss and Faxi. (Google these!) An excursion to the Reykjanes Penninsula involved Icelandic horses, boiling mud pots, geysers and other historical sites.
Obbe’s favorite experience was a four-hour food Reykjavik Food Walk to sample traditional Icelandic fare – including horse. (We didn’t tell our horses about this treachery.) Dave’s favorite spot was Reynisfjara, the famous black sand beach on the South Coast. The Atlantic Ocean’s waves slammed against the beach in a stunning and powerful show. The Northern Lights made an appearance on three different nights and even the locals were impressed by the brightest display in months.
Gillian started high school this fall and her big milestone was earning her driver’s permit. She now plans to fulfill her God-given responsibility to learn how to drive so she can cart her siblings around for her parents.
She is also busy preparing for a trip to Washington DC this January as she was selected as a 4H delegate to the presidential inauguration. She will join 4H youth from all over the country for a leadership conference where she will meet lawmakers, tour historic sites, learn about our government and attend the presidential inauguration. She will then get gussied up and dance the night away at an inaugural ball. We are all excited and proud of our girl!
No Haveman Christmas letter is complete without a nod to our animals. The big news around here is that this fall we finally bred the goats. I was never able to discern whether my goats were in heat. So I had to resort to hormone injections, careful timing and watching goats for signs of “raging” heat – which apparently is heat that even a dummy like me can’t miss.
When all systems were go, we made two trips to the goat farm so our does could be … introduced … to the buck. Trying to make small talk with the buck’s owner while she was literally holding my unwilling goats during said “introduction” was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. My goats survived but Dave is still speechless about the whole affair. He notes there are some things you just can’t unsee.
And after all that, there is no good way to know if they are even pregnant other than to wait and see if they have babies this spring. Dave is secretly relieved that there is no goat pregnancy test available because he knows I’d make him try to capture goat pee on a stick or something crazy like that. And I would – if it were an option.
I continue to work part time in the emergency department and homeschool/cart kids around. I also recently accepted the position of assistant director for Safe Families for Children Minnesota. Dave loves his work for Hastings Public Schools as Director of Special Services. Life is full and we are grateful for the friendships, church family and community we are privileged to be part of.
We hope 2017 brings more faces to our dinner table, more Safe Families kids to our home, more fun experiences for our kids and goat babies come spring!
Our amazing friend Steve corralled our family for a pic. Thanks Stephen Holm Motion and Stills!