Thursday, September 29, 2011

middle school.

Last night was Chaos Day with the middle school youth group at Rockford Reformed Church! I had never experienced Chaos Day before but boy, am I glad I experienced it last night. What an awesome and fun relational way to allow for a safe place for students to be themselves! (If you saw how the leaders were dressed...let's just say that no one could feel out of place!)

As small groups we competed in a bunch of crazy games. Just imagine a 2-hour long combination of Trix yogurt, a hoola-hoop, saltine crackers, a sardine, string cheese, a pair of pantyhose, Cheetos and a bottle of Mountain Dew. AWESOME.

It is inspiring to watch leaders interact with students, exciting to watch students encourage and cheer for one another, and so refreshing to laugh and laugh and laugh. I'm so glad to be back with youth group this year.

Here's a picture of (most) my small group from last night in our chaos gear. We're missing one person but she left before I had a chance to grab my camera. Can't wait to spend the year investing in these awesome girls!

And here is a more accurate depiction of our night...and hopefully a perfect foreshadow to the year ahead!

I know there are people out there who think we're crazy for loving to spend time with middle schoolers. To that I will say: "How do you look at those faces and not want to spend time with middle schoolers?"

The last two weeks as I drove home after youth group, the song below came on the radio. There is no better feeling than to have seen God actively at work in the lives of students and then jump in your car, roll the windows down, and drive down the highway with these words blaring through your speakers...Christ is risen from the dead, that's what this really comes down to anyways, right?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

catch up.

I think it is time to play a little game of catch up. Unfortunately, we don't have much exciting to share. Now, that's not to say that life isn't so good. We are blessed abundantly with a warm house and good food and dear friends and family and a cute puppy and the season for hot caramel apple cider and the fact that we only have one little tree in our yard to rake leaves from. Life is good. It's just really busy which means we don't have a lot of exciting stuff to share. Boo.

Here's a look into our typical week:
Sunday - Enjoy a restful morning then attend church at RRC (on a rotating basis we set-up for the service or run sound) and soon we will be starting to participate in the small group ministry that is starting up. We are calling them Intentional Communities and we are both really excited to get to know some new people.
Monday - Steph works at Kuyper, Rob works at Spectrum Community Services. Rob goes straight from work to class at WMU. Alyssa and Hannah come over to watching Dancing With The Stars while we all do homework. Oh, and the puppy goes crazy multiple times throughout the evening.
Tuesday - Steph works at Kuyper, Rob works at Spectrum. Steph goes straight from work to class at SAU (until 10pm!). Rob sometimes works at night (either from home or on the road) because he has to make up hours that he's using for his internship. We collapse into bed by 10:30pm.
Wednesday - Steph is to work at Compass College of Cinematic Arts by 7:50am to make a million pots of coffee to help the students make it through the day. Rob spends the morning working at his internship with Hospice and then spends the afternoon working at Spectrum. He heads straight to class after work. Steph has dinner at church and then hangs out with awesome middle schoolers at Youth Group. (Then we watch an episode of Criminal Minds.) 
Thursday - Steph works at Kuyper and Rob works at Spectrum. We FINALLY have a night when we are both at home. Usually we're too tired to do anything. We get to make supper together and catch up on the week's episode of Biggest Loser that we missed on Tuesday.
Friday - Steph works at Compass and Rob puts in a full day with Hospice. At night we try to do something fun - last week we went to ArtPrize! (If you haven't gone, DO IT.) This week we're celebrating Alyssa's birthday.
Saturday - We spend the morning trying to clean the house up from the craziness of the week and do laundry so we have clothes to wear again. In the afternoon we have puppy training so that we can learn to control the crazy ball of fur that lives with us now. *Insert mental image of the crazy ball of fur sleeping peacefully by the back door right now...* At night we usually have to do homework and maybe get to work on some projects around the house. (And then we watch more Criminal Minds.)
And then we do it all over again...whew.

As we were getting ready for bed last night I said to Rob, "When people ask how things are going, I don't like to respond because I always just feel like I'm complaining that we're so busy...but really, I'm not complaining." We have both come to realize that God has created this season of life for us and we're so grateful for the things we are learning and the ways we are growing. And we're thankful for a puppy to cuddle with at night, Mountain Dew and Diet Coke, and our bed that catches us when we collapse at the end of the day.

Here are a few pictures of some things we've been doing to try and relax and do things we enjoy.

It was definitely time to replace that yucky old light that was falling apart outside our front door. We had been on a hunt for quite some time for a light set that we could put on the garage and on the porch but everything we found was so gosh-darn expensive. And then it happened. One Saturday morning Rob was looking at the Menard's ad and found a 2-pack of lights for $14.99 - SCORE! So, we picked up 2 packs (4 lights total) and we put one on the front porch, two will go on either side of the garage and the 4th one will go on the back patio. Behold the goodness of a new light below.

And Oh! what a beautiful light it is. The glass is textured. And I love it.
(I also just realized that these two pictures could be one of those "What's Different?" games.
Feel free to play if you'd like. Consider it our gift to you.)

We also wanted to find a cheap solution to our nasty old garage door that is completely miscolored. It actually sort of looked white when the old tan siding was on the garage, but now that we've replaced the old siding for this shiny white vinyl stuff, the garage door stuck out like a sore thumb. So, I went for it with the industrial strength, flat white spray paint and primer. This is obviously an in-progress picture and it's a bit more completed now but it still needs another coat (weather got in the way, then life did). 

Like I said, we're also in the process of puppy training. We're going to a class on Saturday afternoons in Allendale where we learn how to train Beacon and then we come home and practice. The picture above is one of the few times he's actually sitting still (the puppy, not Rob). Right now he only sits when we have a treat in our hand and are pushing his nose up so he has to sit down. We're also supposed to be teaching him "down" and "heel" this week too...but something makes me think that we're not going to be the star pupils in class on Saturday. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. He's cute though, huh? (This time I'm talking about both Rob and the puppy.)

And there you have it. Life as the Bergman's currently know it. Crazy...and great.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

beacon. day 2.

Well, we're coming to the end of our second full day with Beacon at home with us. Boy, is he cute. He's cute, that is, when he's not peeing on the carpet or biting our hands or barking 427 times per night while we try to sleep. Ok, fine, he's still cute then, too.

Remember when he looked like this?

Beacon, 3 weeks old.
Or when he looked like this?

Beacon, 4 weeks old.
Or what about when he suddenly shot up like a weed and looked like this at our third visit?

Beacon, 6 weeks old. Alyssa, 1086 weeks old.
And here he is during his first night at home with us.

Beacon, 8 weeks old. Stephanie's hair, 2 days old. (Please, forgive it. It knows not what it's doing.)
Hard to believe he was so small and unpuppy like when we first met him 5 short weeks ago. We're already thankful for the fun he's brought us and we know that he will end up being an important part of our family in the days and years to come. So far he seems to have a great personality and makes us want to snuggle his soft fur all the time. I never had pets growing up, so this is a new experience for me...and I think I like it. *Insert silent cheering and high fives here! (Don't want to wake him up, you know.)* Beacon has now gone to his crate by himself and fallen asleep twice tonight! We must be doing something right with this crate training thing after all. 

Some of our friends from church asked us today how things were going with him. When we were talking with Beth I mentioned that I think it's a good thing we don't have kids yet - I don't think I can handle this getting up every 2 hours throughout the night thing for too much longer. She just laughed and said, "Puppies are harder than kids. If you can make it through training Beacon, you'll be just fine when you have kids. We did the puppy thing after we had kids and I will NEVER have a puppy again." Glad to know all the rumors of "puppies prepare you for kids" are actually true! (Here's a treat, Beacon. Our future kiddos thank you.)

And, just because he's cute, here's one last picture for the day. All tuckered out and ready for bed (I hope)!

Pardon the poor lighting. I didn't want to wake him up with the flash. It's easier to do homework when he's sleeping.