The Big Rocks

Some activities that we are involved with take a lot of attention, but are very important to us. In the analogy of the rocks/pebbles/sand filling our time, these activities are the big rocks – the things worth spending time on to make us better.

25K River Bank Run


Mark set a goal for himself last winter, to run the 25K at the River Bank Run in Grand Rapids. He spent months training over the winter, with a personal trainer at the gym to work on strengthening his core, and running miles and miles on a treadmill (or outside once the weather got nicer). He got himself in shape, and accomplished his goal. It is the longest race Mark has run, and we are very proud of him!


Boy Scouts

Ethan is very involved in Boy Scouts. He found a renewed interest last spring, and was elected into Order of the Arrow (the National Honor Society of Boy Scouts). Our Arrowman also ran for Patrol Leader in his troop and was elected for that as well. He is now Star Rank (very close to earning his Life Rank). He also holds a leadership position as Den Chief for one of our local Cub Scout Packs (helping to lead the younger scouts in their meetings). Trista is also still involved in the operation of the troop as the Troop Committee Chairperson.



Abby and her cousin Lana took a photography class for teens this summer. She really enjoyed the new art form, and we hope to see much more beautiful art coming from her.

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Water Polo

Ethan completed his second year on the Middle School Water Polo Team. He loves it even more than competitive swimming. He scored and assisted quite a few goals this past spring, and we are excited to see how he does as an 8th grader. The matches are very exciting!


Our year has been very busy with robotics. Ethan has been involved in middle school robotics since 6th grade, and volunteered Mark to be a Mentor the very first week. Mark has mentored Ethan’s team each year, and last spring found out that although the team hadn’t been competitive enough to make it to the State competition, they were chosen in a random lottery to attend the World competition (in order to fill the spot of a team who couldn’t make it). So in a matter of two weeks, the team built a robot (theirs had been disassembled by then) and headed to St. Louis for a 5 day event. It was amazing! The team wasn’t very competitive, but the experience was well worth the trip.

This fall, Abby joined robotics as well, but on a sister team to Ethan and Mark’s team. And to round it out, Trista started “sous mentoring” with Mark. During the regular season, the sister teams did very well, winning awards at both competitions they attended as well as both qualifying to compete in the State competition later in December. We only have to make a trip to Battle Creek for that one, thankfully. Wish us luck!

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Robotics kids love Mark!

This is video from a GoPro mounted on the robot at the Kentwood Qualifier.