Saturday, February 17, 2007

Color the Wind- 2

A few more pics from the kite festival.

Color the Wind Kite Festival

Today was the annual "Color the Wind" kite festival over frozen Clear Lake. It was an almost perfect day for flying a kite. The temps were in the high teens, the sun was bright and the breeze was 'kickin. The only problem was the wind chill- which was in the single digits. There were many people out on the lake and along the "seawall". Kite flyers from all over the midwest were said to be in attendance.

There were a variety of colors and types of kites flying over the ice. Spinning kites; kites in the shape of fish and other animals and acrobatic kites were in abundance. Caitlin took her kite and added it to the mix. She was able to get the kite flying, but the breeze was too strong. It was hard to control and soon crashed to the ice, breaking her string. We noticed that most of the "professional" kite flyers had higher grades of string than what we had. Oh well, a good time was had by all, even though our time out on the ice was limited by the cold.

One of the advantages of living in a place like Clear Lake is that the town has quite a few of these types of activities planned throughout the year. There is a bandshell on the waterfront which hosts different types of concerts all summer long and the annual Christmas by the Lake weekend in early December has a lighted parade on Saturday night that is followed by fireworks over the ice. We enjoy the small town atmosphere and the many activities.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Phantom of the Opera

Caitlin has had the Phantom of the Opera DVD for quite a while and watches it often. She just loves the movie!

For her Christmas present, I (John) gave her two tickets to see the touring Broadway production of Phantom while it was in Des Moines. The show was here for 3 weeks in January/February and has been a huge hit.

So, last Friday night the 9th, Caitlin and I drove to Des Moines. We had dinner at the Olive Garden in West Des Moines (her choice!), then went downtown to the Civic Center. It was fun getting all dolled up and going on a "date" with my little girl! We had good seats, about halfway back and in the middle.

10 years ago Mary and I went to see Phantom, also at the DM Civic Center. Our tickets that night were in the 3rd or 4th row from the back of the auditorium and it was very hard to see. The seats this time were much better.

The production was great. We had a very good time. Afterward though, Caitlin seemed a bit disappointed. I think she was so used to the movie that the stage production was a bit of a letdown for her. A stage production will never be as crisp as the movie, so I think it just wasn't exactly what she was expecting.

All in all, we had a great night. The drive each way was about 2 hours, so we had a chance to visit with each other for 4 hours in the car and another hour or so at dinner. Quality time that is very important!

Sarabeth's 7th Birthday

Our family's first birthday of 2007 is Sarabeth's seventh, but her first with us. Her special day was on January 31. We had a small family party at suppertime and then, since it was Wednesday, we went to church. Our church's Wed. service consists of prayer time and Bible study for the adults, while downstairs, the Kids Klub meets. On this day, the Kids Klub enjoyed a birthday party! Mary brought cupcakes and other goodies and the kids sang and played games, including Duck, Duck, Goose (photos attached!). A great time was had by all. (click on photos to enlarge them)

A family photo!

Back row: John, Sarabeth (6), Juliana (3), Jeriah (20), Nathan (3) and Mary
Front: Caitlin (14) and Grace (12)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Christmas 2006

Here are a few Christmas pics from December 2006. As according to tradition, we cut our own tree again this year. In October, we went to Kragel's Tree Farm in Ventura, IA and tagged a tree. Usually we cut down our tree and decorate it on Thanksgiving weekend. This year, because of our trip to China during the first 2 weeks of December, we decided to wait until we were home before we did the cutting. No sense putting up a live tree and then not being home to water it for 2 weeks!

Our family enjoys traditions. Our Christmas tradition is to have a Christmas Eve dinner (usually with at least 1 seafood entree), then go to Candlelight service at church in the early evening. After church, we open presents. Typically, Caitlin and Grace will seperate out the packages and then we open them one at a time, from youngest to oldest, then back to youngest etc until all are opened.

This year, we had a great dinner of ham and steamed shrimp. The Candlelight service was lightly attended, but was a good time of hymm singing and fellowship. When it came to opening presents, we elected to do things a bit different this year. During Christmas, we celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ coming to earth so that He could eventually GIVE himself up on the cross of Calvary to pay the penalty for our sins. This Christmas, we wanted to focus on the aspect of GIVING presents, rather than receiving them.

Each family member had purchased one present for each other member of the family. The girls seperated all the presents by the FROM name on the gift tag instead of who they were for. We then started by having the eldest family member GIVE a present from their stack to someone, and worked down from there until the youngest, Juliana, gave out a package from her stack. Then we started over again and continued until everyone had given a gift to each other member of the family. I think we may have a new tradition!

Our new blog

Mary and I have been home from China for 9 weeks now with Sarabeth, and have been way too busy to post to our "Journey to Sarabeth" blog site. Today, I decided to begin posting some new photos and we decided that a new site was in order. We are no longer journeying to Sarabeth! She is here and a part of our family, growing in her confidence every day; learning the English language by leaps and bounds; eating every bite of anything we put in front of her! For those of you who don't know Sarabeth's story, go to and read about our trip to China.

Since we have so many friends and loved ones in different time zones, we intend to use this site to post pics for all to see and keep up on our family's adventures. Feel free to check back often and we'd love to hear your comments.