Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hallelujah Party

It is going to take me awhile to catch up on posting all the photos I've been taking lately, so you will have to be patient. Pictures of Jon Felipe's birthday and pumpkin carving to come. Here are the photos from the Hallelujah Party. Some of you will remember that we attended this last year too. It is sponsored by our church and held at the Dordt College Recreation Center. It is great fun! I love seeing all the kids in their costumes, everyone is having a great time, and it is free to anyone who wishes to attend. Here is Jon Felipe dressed as Curious George (or Monkey as he calls him). Okay, so he doesn't look much like a monkey. He was happy and he had a great time at the party and that's all that really counts :-)
As you can see, pretty much everyone in Sioux Center was at the party. Jon informed me that he was sure every student from his class was there. I love seeing so many of the kids I've gotten to know from volunteering at Kid Zone and at the public school. One of the bonuses of having an indoor party is it is light enough to actually see the kids' faces. Plus, they don't have to wear coats, so you can really see their costumes too.

Maria and her girlfriends were working "behind the scenes" at this fishing game.

About two dozen carnival games are spread out all around the gym. The kids play to win tickets. Tickets get traded in for small, medium, and large prizes. Every kid gets a ticket every time they play. The prizes are mainly various sized pieces of candy as well as some small toys. So, you play a few games, you trade your tickets in for some candy, you go play a few more games, get some more candy, etc., eventually leaving with a good sugar buzz.

Dwight and Luke ran the hockey game. All the volunteers got orange Hallelujah Party t-shirts.

The TP toss game. Self explanatory, I think.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Swim Meet 10-23

Maria had nice swims on Saturday. The event was held at a beautiful YMCA facility in Sioux City. Maria's main goal is just to have fun being part of a team. Her second goal is to try to improve her times. As you can see, she's doing just fine with that first goal. As to the second goal, two of the events she swam this weekend were ones she had also been in on the previous Saturday, so that gave her a chance to see how she would do at improving her times. In her 50 freestyle, she improved 3 seconds. In her 100 backstroke she improved 10 seconds. We were quite proud of her. She even earned a fourth place ribbon for one of her events.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm an Iowan?

I always park my car in pretty much the same place at work each day. Someone else at work has a car that looks very much like mine and they also park in the same area. Now, it's not that I'm an absent minded professor or anything, but I will admit to almost getting into the wrong car on more than one occasion. Fortunately, the upholstery of the other car is a slightly lighter shade of gray than mine. In addition, that car has a different collection of flotsam floating around in it than my car. Not that my flotsam is any classier, just different.

Anyway, when I head off to my car I am quite aware that I have to do a quick check to make sure that I don't try to drive off in the wrong vehicle. So today as I was walking toward my car, I quickly glanced at the license plate. When I saw the Iowa plate, I swerved toward the other red car parked nearby. Then I remembered that I have Iowa plates on my car too. Oops. That's right, I'm from Iowa now. It's hard to get used to all this change. The other day, someone asked where I worked and I said "Holland Christian," and then had to explain that I used to work at Holland Christian. So, I'm not an absent minded professor and I'm working on adjusting to all this change. After all, I only tried to get into the wrong car twice today.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Iowa Landscapes

I think Iowa is particularly beautiful in the fall. I took both these on Saturday morning as we were heading to Maria's swim meet. The top one is of one of the fields across the street from our house. I took the other from the window of the car as we drove down 75 toward Sioux City. It was so stinky out that morning that Jon Felipe complained loudly every time I rolled down the window to snap a picture, so I didn't take any more. Maybe you'll just have to drive on out here and get a look for yourself. I promise it won't be stinky if you come visit :-)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Swim Meet 10-16

Maria had her first swim meet today. I was proud of her and of her teammates. Even though it took her about twice as long as the rest of the swimmers to do her events, the whole team cheered her on and gave her lots of positive encouragement. Even the other girls on her relay team, who were great swimmers and could perhaps have won the event without her on their relay team, congratulated her on doing a good job.

Her team is called the Seahawks and their team colors are black and green. Team suits have been ordered, but they didn't arrive in time for today's meet. Her coaches have been great. They don't push her too hard, but they do push her to do just a little more than she thinks she can. It's a fine balance. They never seem to hover over her, but whenever it was time for her to climb up onto the starting blocks, one of her coaches was always there to help her. They did it so unobtrusively that I would guess not one person even noticed.

As for Maria, she just smiled and did her best. You should see her swim. She has beautiful form, her muscles just don't move very fast. If they handed out prizes for the most graceful swimmer, Maria would win hands down. The meet was in Sioux City and on the way home we stopped to refuel with the traditional dose of fat and salt.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pool Shark

My Jon Felipe is totally a child of routine. When I drop him off at Kid Zone, the first thing he does is join the group that is playing air hockey. At a certain point in the afternoon the staff turns off the air hockey table so kids can do their homework in that area. During that time, he will often go to the listening area to listen to books or to the gym to play. Eventually, though, he always ends up at the pool tables.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

$2 Tuesday

We haven't done this often enough yet for it to be a tradition, but I sure think it would be a good one. The Fruited Plain is a local coffee shop that offers $2 coffee drinks on Tuesdays. So, after dropping Maria at swim practice and Jon Felipe at Kid Zone, Dwight and I meet up there. Okay, so we've only done it twice, but I think it could be a good tradition. As you can see, I was even getting some work done while waiting for Dwight to meet me. Add in $2 mochas and this definitely has promise.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

House Envy

There is this house we often walk by on our evening strolls. Almost every time we pass it, I comment on how much I like this house. It isn't large or fancy, I just like the look of it. The other day when we walked by, we discovered a For Sale sign had sprouted on the front lawn. Now I know that we don't plan to buy a house, that we don't know how long God plans for us to be in Sioux Center, and that we are very content with our rental home. However, I couldn't help myself. I checked the price on the house. Oh my goodness, it is listed at $275,000! So, just to reiterate, we are very content in our rental home and we have no plans to move.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday, Oct. 8

We have been having such fabulous fall weather here in northwest Iowa! This is Dwight this morning as we were leaving our house to walk over to Dordt for day 2 of the Heartland Christian Educators Convention. We both enjoyed the convention - great worship time, good learning opportunities, and the chance to chat with fellow educators.

I presented one of the sectionals today. Last night I revised my presentation, worried I had made it too short. I wondered if anyone would even come to my sectional. Of course, today people did show up, we had a good time talking about the topic together, and I never even got to the part I added last night. I need to stop over thinking these things.

This afternoon, we went for a bike ride with the kids, enjoying the beautiful summer-like weather. The temperature right now is 89 degrees! We rode the whole bike trail, stopping to enjoy the park along the way. (Maria is at her friend's house, so she didn't have to deal with riding a bike yet.) The only downside is these Asian beetles that look like ladybugs. Did you know they bite? Ouch.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


We finished our Head Start testing today. I had planned to finish testing yesterday, but the flat tire I had last week set me back a day. Dordt has reading break today and tomorrow, but these two wonderful students volunteered to come with me today and help with the assessment anyway. I know, I have the greatest students!

We gave the fall assessment to over 300 preschoolers. We will assess again midyear and then again at the end of the year. Overall, I am really pleased with how the project has gone so far. The young man who has designed the computer program we are using has done an incredible job. My students have been really enthusiastic about participating. The Head Start teachers are excited to be able to get this data on their students. It's all good. Now, though, I am looking forward to a little break in the action.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Twice a week I get to head over to Sioux Center School and help out in the ESL classroom. Last year I mainly helped middle schoolers. This year I work with a small of group of high school students. I love it! I love interacting with the students. I love the teachers I work with. I love that Dordt College thinks this is a great way for me to spend my time.

This is Nancy. I'm so glad she invited me to come into her classroom. She is a good teacher, enjoys what she is doing, and generally a lot of fun.

This is Jessica. She is fluent in Spanish which makes me very envious. SC could really use about three of her. She always seems to be needed in about three places at once. She is also a lot of fun. I really look forward to my time at the school every week.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Pics

We have been enjoying the beautiful fall weather here in Iowa. Last year there wasn't much by way of fall color, but this year that is not the case. It may not be up to Michigan's standards, but it is quite lovely. These are the trees I see along my route home from Dordt.

Twice a week I get to help out in the ESL classroom in this school and I love it. (The school is only a block from my house.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Maria - day 3

Some pictures of Maria to show you that she is healing. (Notice Colin getting in the act, being goofy and making Maria smile.) She is still very stiff and sore and, as you might guess, her lip really bothers her, but we got through what the doc predicted to be her worse day. We are all hoping that she starts feeling some better tomorrow.

All the kids were here for dinner and a movie tonight. I love having my family all together. During the movie, my friend Gwen came over with a pan of homemade caramel rolls, warm from the oven, for us. She said we could save them for breakfast, but we couldn't resist sampling them tonight. Plus, they were soft enough that Maria was able to enjoy them with us. Yum! We even managed to save a few for breakfast.

Maria has managed to do a good job of handling the discomfort without too much complaining. It helps that friends have come by to help distract her. We are grateful to everyone who has helped us, prayed for us, and loved on our daughter. Thank you!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Maria took a bad fall from her bike yesterday. She was feeling quite weak, so she wasn't able to do much to help herself and she landed on her head. As you can see, she did quite the number on her lip and chin.

She was only about a block away from home. Some bystanders called an ambulance right away. I gather it was quite the spectacular fall and she wasn't responding to those who came to help her. The paramedics had some concern about potential head trauma and there was talk of calling the med helicopter to take her to Sioux Falls, but thankfully they decided to check her out at the hospital here first.

Even while she was strapped to a back board in the ER, waiting for the results of the CT scans to determine whether she could stay in Sioux Center or needed to be transported to Sioux Falls, Maria's biggest concern was that she still wanted to go to school today. Her second biggest concern was that she needed to use the restroom and this whole process was taking entirely too long.

After confirming that nothing was broken in her neck or face (there was some concern about that so extra scans needed to be taken which meant a longer wait on the backboard), she was admitted to the hospital for observation. I don't think she realized that staying over night was in the plan until after she was tucked up in bed, at which point she was too tired to do much by way of protesting.

I didn't realize how often they come in and check on patients under observation during the night. It seemed like I'd just fall asleep and the nurse would be back shining the light in Maria's eyes and trying to get her to coherently answer questions. Somehow, Maria managed to do a pretty good job of ignoring them.

After some follow up concerns this morning about a possible fracture in her neck, Maria was finally released to come home so that she could go to the dentist and have her mouth x-rayed. She chipped her front tooth and it has a crack in the root, but we are hoping it will heal on its own. She managed to knock quite a few other teeth loose as well, so she is on a soft diet so that everything can heal.

I was swimming laps with Jacob when it occurred, but good friends Regina and Jana learned what was happening, called me at the pool, stayed with us at the hospital, and took all my boys home to be fed. Regina came back and sat with me at the hospital again this morning. A couple of Regina's daughters came and cheered up Maria and brought her flowers. That makes two days in a row when I needed someone else to be a neighbor to me. I am so thankful for all the neighbors God puts into my life!