Saturday, July 31, 2010

Children's Theater

Maria is in the back row, third from the right in purple.

Maria's closest friend, L, is in the middle row on the left in orange.

Maria (in purple)

The Prairie Fire Children's Theater came to town this week and Maria and her girlfriends were able to participate. The program only lasts a week, so children who want to participate try out for parts on Monday. My understanding is that everyone who tries out gets a part. There were a variety of parts: large speaking parts, small speaking parts, parts that didn't require speaking, parts that involved singing and dancing - something for everyone. Maria had a small speaking role which called for a bit of attitude. It was perfect for a 13-year-old girl who has attitude in spades.

The children practice all week and then give the performances on Friday night and Saturday. It was so much fun for the kids. Maria loved it. The group was flexible, even allowing her to miss most of practice on Wednesday for her treatment. We had originally planned that she would go with her pump, but her port was being difficult again so that didn't work out. She did get there for the last bit.

The performances went great (yes, we did go to both). The kids did great. The play was funny and my boys laughed and laughed. The humor seemed to particularly appeal to Luke; he was practically rolling in the aisle. The play was called "Sleeping Beauty," but actually had nothing to do with the fairy tale. Instead it was about making a movie. Maria's role was assistant camera man.

The program must have sponsors that help fund it because it certainly wasn't set up to make money. The kids all participated for free. We didn't even have to provide costumes. Tickets for the performances were only $4 for adults and $2 for children (believe it or not, even college age children were considered kids). I would like to thank the sponsors and volunteers who helped make this a great week for this group of kids. We are already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


It doesn't look likely that I will be able to have the hearing implant surgery done. I am very disappointed! My insurance company does cover this surgery, but only for conditions that are "on the list" and my condition is not listed. For example, if your hearing is impacted by chronic ear infections, you can have the surgery. If you have complete sensory-neuro hearing loss due to having had the mumps, you can't. Anyone else think maybe they just didn't think to add that to the list? I've been told that the only appeal process available to me is for me to agree to take financial responsibility, have the surgery done, and then appeal to try to have insurance cover it. I've also been told that the likelihood of that working is slim. Oh well, a few months ago I didn't even know this option was out there. Maybe sometimes it's better not to know about the things you can't have.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Things I Love

I love seeing my children with their friends. Here are some pictures of Luke and Jon Felipe swimming with Luke's friend Ben this evening. Ben lives next door and goes to the same high school as Luke. We first met him this past fall, before we even moved to this house, because he volunteers at Kid Zone. A couple nights ago, he had a "guys" swim night at his house with some guys from the high school (including Luke), but he also invited Jon Felipe because, of course, JF is "one of the guys." JF was beyond thrilled. After they were all done swimming, they built a fire and I supplied stuff for s'mores. What fun they all had.

A lot of our socializing seems to revolve around pools this summer. It certainly has been a good summer for swimming. We get to the community pool most afternoons and that seems to be what many other families do too, so my kids always find friends to swim with. Maria and her girlfriends usually chat on the phone ahead of time, so their meeting up has a bit more of a planned quality. Jon Felipe is happy to play with whoever is there. Luke generally comes to swim a bit too, and that is often where these other pool get togethers get planned. Last night, all the school age kids (including Maria and her girlfriend) ended up at Ben's house to swim after the community pool closed.

Jacob's friend Tony has been around a lot too. He has a job working in computer services at Dordt for the summer, so he is living on campus (and cooking for himself). That means, most evenings and weekends, unless Jacob is working, he is usually at our house and often joins us for meals. Jon Felipe has started counting him as another brother and we have to explain to people that he really isn't a family member. He even goes to church with us every Sunday. I love having the kids' friends around and getting to know them!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Big Question

The most common question I get asked, now that we have sold our house in Michigan, is, "Do you plan to buy a house here in Sioux Center?" The short answer to that question is, "No." Here's why:

1. We did get a good price on our house, given the current economy and the fact that it flooded last summer. Unfortunately, we did not make any money on the deal. That means no money for a down payment on another house. We are okay with that (most of the time :-). There are always risks associated with investing and, obviously, buying a house is an investment. Some times those risks pay off and sometimes they don't.

2. We have been advised that in the current market, we should only buy if we plan to stay in the same house for at least 10 years. That plan doesn't work well for us. Right now, all five kids are living here. In 10 years, our youngest will be graduating from high school. So, what we need now and what we will need in 10 years are two very different things.

3. Finally, houses in Sioux Center are very expensive compared to what we are used to, even considering prices in Holland prior to the drop in the market. We would have to pay more a month for a mortgage than what we currently pay a month in rent. I know that we don't have anything to "show" for our money, like you do with a mortgage, but that doesn't always work out either (see reason #1).

So, we like Sioux Center, but buying a house here just doesn't seem like good stewardship right now. We have a great place to live. It works well for our family. We're happy here. Plus, no one is interesting in packing another box for a long long time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More Pictures

Here are a couple more pictures from the fair:

Have I mentioned that Jon Felipe has this thing about buses? He found this old bus at the fair and kept wandering back to it.
Last month, we finally asked to have our membership papers transferred to a church out here. The church asked us for a family picture, so we snapped one quick after church today. We are standing in front of the corn field that we can see from our front porch. Can you tell that some children were impatient with the process and wishing they could skip the picture part and go right to eating Sunday lunch?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sioux County Youth Fair

Dwight and I and Jon Felipe walked over to the fair tonight (Maria went with her girlfriends this afternoon). What fun! Dwight is judging the working exhibits at the fair tomorrow, but tonight he was sort of wishing he had been asked to judge the pie entries.

I was explaining to Jon Felipe about "the little house behind the big house" as my grandmother always used to say.

A little chainsaw carving.

Pigs being shown.

Jon Felipe is not familiar with many farm animals, but he does know horses, cows and pigs. We're working on sheep, goats, chickens, and roosters.

He really like the cows

JF singing a song in Spanish about a cow who has milk and says, "moo." As you can see, the cows were very impressed with his song.

These tractors were enormous.

My favorite funny of the evening was when we were looking at a display of prize winning eggs. I asked Jon Felipe if he knew which animal the eggs came from and he said, "chickens and bunnies." I have no idea where that came from, but in his defense the chickens were in the same barn as the rabbits.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jon Felipe

Here is a great picture of Jon Felipe with my nephew Liam during our camping trip (taken by my father-in-law). JF is doing so very well. He has been home for two and a half years now. In the dailiness of life, we forget how far he has come in that time. We are so blessed to have this child in our family. If you are considering adoption of an older child, my advice is to allow time for that bond to develop. These children have a lot of hurt to work through. It truly took about two years for JF to completely trust us. Yes, there are difficult times, much less so than in the beginning, but it is SO worth it. He is SO worth it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Here are a couple pictures of my beautiful 13-year-old daughter. My mom took these when she was here last month. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Not only is Sioux Center starting to feel like home, we sealed the deal by going to the DMV this week to get our Iowa driver's licenses.

On a side note, I have to mention what a different experience this was from previous DMV visits in cities that shall remain nameless. We did not have to take a number and wait for hours. All the people working there were cheerful and friendly. Despite posted apologies about the slow computers, it took less than 30 minutes for all four of us to complete the process. It was actually a pleasant experience.

So, I guess we are truly Iowans now. So far, I'm liking it.