Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From Washington, DC

"Happy Holidays" is for terrorists.

MERRY CHRISTMAS from the Steele's!

So it's been awhile....

Woa. It's been a long time since I've blogged!

So much to do.

So little time!

Well, a few things have happened worth noting:

1. Thanksgiving.
We hosted Thanksgiving this year and had turkey & ham, and many of the traditional sides, along with a huge salad provided by Carmen. She, Darrell, Oscar & Wynne, Ryan, and Carmen's brother, Dick, were all in attendance.

2. Sherbert the Cat.
Unfortunately lost her life to a circular, rubber object attached to a heavy, backwards moving vehicle which was driven by moi. She was a good cat...more like a dog than a cat...quite entertaining as well. Her resting place is out in the woods behind our house. My first grave digging. Case helped. We listened to some music and buried her. Case shouted, "Good-bye Sherbert!" as I covered her in the cold wintry soil.

3. Preparation for Christmas and a family vacation.
Need I say more?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

sherbert the cat

This is the cat who MUST sleep outside at night from now on! The two nights she slept in the garage are the same two nights mice showed up in the house.

So...she cracks me up how she sleeps...on top of this chair. Sometimes it's on the railing behind her.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Case is building a garage with his blocks in this picture. He is getting to be pretty fun and funny. Still working on the potty training, and it's going ok, just not as simple as it seemed about 7 1/2 years ago. :)

Last week, our friend Katie took senior pictures of Marijke. Whew! Lifesaver! She did a fabulous job, too!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Day Off

We had a Teacher Inservice day, which means no school for students, on Monday, November 1st. So, we went to Coralridge, shopped a little, did ice skating, took Case to the playground, and Case got a new hat!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Halloween!

For Trick-or-Treating, Brooke was Laura Ingalls Wilder, and she took along Case, dressed as a dinosaur (actually, his costume is a dragon). She took him to a few houses in our subdivision.

Case still points out to the houses he went to.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

College Football

Dan was able to secure one more ticket to the Iowa vs Michigan State football game Saturday, October 30th. We took Marijke so she could experience college football at its best, including pre-game tailgating!

Dan enjoying bbq'd ribs.

Marijke having fun! (Iowa is pounding Michigan State)

Me with my favorite food.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Jack O' Lanterns

On Saturday, in between a bunch of activities, we carved Jack O' Lanterns for Halloween!

From left to right:
Haley, Brooke, Moriah, Case, Marijke

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Case turned Three!

This is only the second time I've purchased a cake for one of our kids' birthdays. I looked into making an actual Lightning McQueen cake and using fondant, shaping it, etc...and I took the easy, slightly more expensive route and went to Wal-Mart. It was a good cake.

This is before we ate. There was a football game on, and Case was playing with usual.

Papa Murphy's pizza. MMM. The one on the right is really good - double stuffed pepperoni. The one on the left in the kids' favorite: cheese.

Haley and the gift she's about to give (a "vintage" fisher-price toy scored from a garage sale).

Case and his cake. Three candles!

Case likes the "new" toys!

He's so excited to see what's in Marijke's bag: a fire engine!

Case playing with his Lightning McQueen car, Mater, and Mac.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Caribbean Night at CMS

Case & Brooke don their new tatoos.

Students' Projects

There's Brooke's puffer fish!

We enjoyed a light supper of Caribbean (?) pizza.

Brooke helps Case try golfing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tractor Tipping

This is only funny if you've seen the major motion animated movie, "Cars" as many times as we have.

Case & Tennis

Case likes to hit the ball and then CHASE the ball.

He's actually standing IN LINE. He's got some help from Evan behind him.

Charley tosses him a ball and Case tries to hit it.


We were at Old Navy on Sunday and Case spied some costumes.

He tried on the Hamburger, and his face says it all: "Nooooo!"

Ok. This is the one. He was acting shy but he "lubs it!" Halloween will be a new experience for him this year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Paper Mache

Brooke has been working on a paper mache blowfish for her Caribbean assignment.

I made one, too, but my paint job was horrible! So, Brooke fixed it for me (mine is on the left, and Brooke's is on the right)

It was so fun, that these three girls decided to make a two-headed monster out of paper mache. They are still in step one. On TV: Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Harvest Time

Monday was a day off from school.

What a great way to spend the day: A little shopping at the mall, a pizza lunch, and a ride on the combine!

From Case's perspective

The grain "cart." It's actually a semi-trailer! And it holds LOTS of soybeans.

Moriah taking pics with her phone.

Harvest 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wie, bitte? Noch ein mal.

Upon returning from Mason City, Marijke was giving German lessons to Haley. Later, Moriah joined them, and today, there will be a test!

Lightning McQueen Shoes!

While Brooke, Case, and I were in Mason City, we did a little shopping for some new shoes. It was hilarious when we went down the aisle for Case's shoes, and we stopped right in front of two pair: Lightning McQueen and Buzz Lightyear. Oh, the dilemma...for about two seconds.

Lightning McQueen, of course, won that competition!

"I lub dem!!!"


"I lub dem!!!"

We found out a few minutes later that they even light up!

So, now he's been "ka-chow"ing and speeding through the hall with his shoes, hopping, and making them light up.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Apple Pickin' Time

Sunday afternoon was a beautiful day to go to the orchard!

We were about two weeks too late for my favorite apple, HoneyCrisp. Oh well, the grocery stores still have plenty of them. We discovered some new varieties at Wilson's Orchard in Iowa City that were just as juicy.

For some reason, I feel like humming, "hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go..."

Case actually finished off that apple!

My peeps!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Gathering

September 16-19, 2010
San Diego, CA

As board members of the New Hope Foundation, we were invited by Mr. & Mrs. Dave Stanley to join them at the annual "The Gathering" conference. This conference focuses on Christian philanthropy.

I was explaining to a friend what the conference was all about, and she described it better than I could. We were in the midst of great ministries doing great works for people throughout the world, and rubbing shoulders with the affluent people who help make it all happen.

Among some of the ministries represented, we learned a lot about Building Tomorrow, because Dan sat next to George Srour at one of the dinners. (I sat next to Dallas Willard's wife.) This ministry is pretty cool because it starts at American college campuses, where students raise money doing wacky things. They also involve architecture students in getting their help to design school structures in Uganda. Building Tomorrow then finds communities in Uganda that need schools, and they train the people there to make bricks for the structure.

We heard from Dr. James Dobson at a luncheon. He explained again why he left Focus on the Family, and that he didn't retire. Rather, he started a new ministry, called Family Talk. This has been on the radio for more than 6 months now, and the reason I hadn't heard of it before is because it is not carried on any of our local radio stations. Most of the rest of Iowa and Illinois are covered, but not the Quad Cities area.

After hearing a talk by Louie Giglio, I joined Twitter! He tweets every Tuesday a short quote from AW Tozer. Louie Giglio is pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta.

Dallas Willard was the Bible teacher, and spoke way over my head. It was like being back in Philosophy 401.

Worship was awesome. Chris Tomlin led music for the first two days and sang some of his most recognized songs. It was just him and his keyboardist.

Jars of Clay led the music the last two days, and even though I only knew about two of their songs, they were so good! They spoke in between songs, gave background, and so on. They also founded a ministry called Blood: Water The lead singer, Dan Haseltine, spoke at one of the breakout sessions and came across authentic.

I also learned about a cruel man named Joesph Coney (go google him and you'll see what I mean), who forces children to fight in his resistance army in Africa. It's terrrible...but, another ministry has been born out of it to help the invisible children that no one seems to be helping.

One of the best speakers was Donald Miller. I hadn't heard of him before, and he was truly "real." He admits that he writes books for the money. :) Not for the love of Jesus. :) He is a great story teller, and I'm now reading one of the books he gave away. Apparently, he wrote a memoir a few years ago that got the attention of filmmakers, and so a screenplay was made of his life...sort of...after they "tweaked" his character and made him more interesting. I don't think a movie has been made yet. I think I'm going to follow his blog for a while and see what I can glean.

We also got to see "Snowmen," a family movie that is coming out this winter. We met the star, Bobby Coleman, who spoke about what is like to be a Christian actor in Hollywood. I talked with his sister, who is now 18 years old and also an actor, for about five minutes in the lobby. She said that more than half of the scripts that they get for review are just garbage, and that sometimes she feels like giving up on acting because there's no good films anymore. But usually within a few days of that kind of thinking, God provides something good and she has another acting job. It just goes to show that Hollywood is desperate for good writers.

Bobby Coleman

The link below is for the trailer to the movie, Snowmen.

I took a bunch of airplane pictures...c'mon! It had been 17 years since I last flew!

Clouds are so cool!

This is Dr. James Dobson.

This is the veranda where we ate breakfast each morning.

Here's another look at that veranda and part of the hotel we stayed at.
The Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad, CA.

We had a few free hours on Saturday afternoon, so headed to the beach!

Behind me is the restaurant we ate at. Good food - I had steak & shrimp. Mmmm. Right on the water!

The buildings of San Diego.

It was a fun trip. Dan had to do some work, especially on Friday, which was hard to do because of the two hour time change. We missed the kids. We are so grateful to our friends, the Ellers and the Kerrs, and Grandma & Grandpa Steele, for taking care of the kids!