Christmas Week Part 2

The weekend celebration was at a hotel with a water park. We really had a great time, enjoying each other and the water slides.  Here's  a few of my favorite photos:
The 3 musketeers

Little fishy Sienna

Ethan and Elijah

Ben and Payson

Ethan did a great job watching Sienna when Rachel needed a little break and Sienna loved to follow him around.  Sooo Cute. 

Big boys make big splashes. 

Uncle Jason leg length made the slide a little difficult.  He almost got stuck a few times. 

Christmas Week Part 1

We have had a wonderful Christmas season.  I have taken lots of photos and have lots of photos to share. I titled this part 1 because I suspect to add part 2, 3 or maybe 4.   I will start with the most recent and work my way backwards.

We spent the weekend celebrating my Parent's  40th Wedding Anniversary.  We had a family photo shot and a lovely dinner. 
  For Better or Worse...  My parents after 40 years of marriage.We had a great time reminiscing about all those times good and bad. 

My siblings.  We were responsible for lots of good times and a few not so good times.  We learned that the Pella Christian Principal called home for everyone except Jason.  WHAT?!  We decided he must have given up on the Vos kids. 
My family

Rachel's family - Tito.   He had just started a new job as a flight attendant and was busy flying the world. 
Michael's Family
Melissa's Family
Jason and Sarah
The 10 Grand kids
The whole crzay bunch of us! 
Cold Air and Blizzard like conditions have arrived in Iowa.   Our first snowfall for the winter arrived during the night on Saturday.  The snowfall totals were low, only about and 2-4 inches, but the winds were almost unbearable.   Our temperature today was 13 F/ -10 C ;   wind chills feeling about -20 F / -29 C.  Wednesday and Thursday we had balmy temperatures of above 40 F / 4 C.  It was a really a drastic change.   The blowing snow caused many road closures, which lead to canceling of Ben's hockey games.   He was so disappointed, but he played Scrabble with Great-great Grandpa.   He actually beat me, which is somewhat embarrassing.  I don't really have the patience for the game. 

We spent the weekend in Oskaloosa.   Rachel and Sienna arrived in Iowa earlier this week and we wanted to spend sometime with them.
Friday evening we attended a live Nativity walk-through at Grandma and Grandpa's church. 
The temperatures and snow started falling during the day on Saturday.  Sienna and Nadia grabbed a little time in the snow.

Thankfully the road crews had plenty of time to clean the roads and the trips back to Ames was uneventful.  

Sienna and Nadia at the Christmas Tree

I caught this shot of Nadia, I can't wait to play a little with the colors. 
A little romp in the snow....

Sienna does not seem to be bothered by the cold, maybe she is so excited not to be hot! 
Here's a few photos of our weekend. 


Had a few minutes this evening to share our Halloween photos with you.   Unfortunately, Andrew and I had a church meeting and missed the Trick or Treat.  The kids did not seem to mind spending the evening with friends.  There is not shortage of Candy around this house! 

Princess Nadia

Poseidon God of the Sea

Ninja Ethan

Missing a few weeks

It seems that I have missed September.   Okay and most of October.

I am teaching 4 classes this semester.  It was really over taken my life.  I am still pretty busy with Roland-Story football.  Along with running the kids to and from activities, cooking dinner, laundry.....  You get the picture.

The boys have been busy playing soccer.  They have really enjoyed the season.   Saturday is the last game, which is good since Hockey has already started.  Ethan's first games are Saturday.
Ethan takes the ball to the goal
Ben maneuvers around the Defense
Hockey has started.  Pictures were Tuesday.  I add my own photo shoot before we left.  I might have to photoshop a little snow into the background  :) 

School has also been keeping the boys busy.   We have had several big projects due this last few weeks.  
Ethan's diorama about the jaguar.  He had a little help with hot glueing the trees, but he did a fantastic job. 
Nadia is loving preschool.  She is often disappointed when I pick her up at noon.  She would love to stay all day like some of her friends.  I went on her field trip this week to De Moss Pumpkin patch.  The weather was perfect for an outdoor trip.  It was a beautiful morning.
Our little pumpkin. 
That's all for tonight.  I hope to be back a little sooner this time.  Only time will tell.  

New Preschool

New schools for all 3 kids this year.   Today was Nadia's turn.  She is attending United Community School, which is 1/2 way between Boone and Ames.  A nice convenient location for Me.  We meet her teacher last week and was able to visit the classroom yesterday.   Nadia was very excited and showed very little nervousness.  She announced that she had a great day when I picked her up at lunch time.  Here's a few photos of her first day. 

New School Year

Today was the start of the new 2010- 2011 school year here in Ames.  The boys were not really to go back,but I think they were getting a little bored with summer.  How can that be?   First, the heat and humidity after the floods have made it almost impossible to play outside.  Second, the smell.  everything is wet and rotting.  Ames smells a little unpleasant at the moment.  Third, they are sick of each other.  Each knows how to push their brothers' and sister's buttons.  I must say, it's driving me a little nuts. 

Both the boys started new schools this year.  Ben graduated to the big new middle school. He did not seem worried about all the new things.  He told me, "it's just school"   His bus picks him up at 7:25, which was a little early for everyone.  We should get used to that.  He arrives home earlier, which is nice to have the extra homework time before dinner and sports. 

Grade 6
Exiting the bus

Ethan transferred to Fellows Elementary.   Due to our house move last year, he needed to switch to our neighborhood school.  He rode his bike this morning with our neighbor Ryan and did not look back. 
Grade 3
Off to school

I hope and pray it's a great year for both of them. 

Nadia starts her new preschool next week. 


For months I have been thinking and brain-storming about creating a mini album as a memorial to my Grandfather. I finally finished it just in time for the Iowa State Fair. It won a white ribbon. I am very happy with how it turned out.

If the slideshow is a little small, you can view the album here: grandpa

Summer Flooding

Several Summer storms over the last week have brought record amounts of rain to Ames over the last few days.  With record rain, comes flooding.  Most North and South Routes in Ames are closed.  13th street was closed for most of today.   Andrew was able to get to work, but not get home for lunch.    It looks like he will be able to get home this evening. Getting home was a bit more challenging than we thought.   13th street was still closed, so Andrew went North to the Roland exit, then over to Gilbert and finally south.

  Interstate 35 is also closed South of Ames and Sections of Highway 30 are inaccessible. It really is quite a mess.  

Just to add to the chaos, the city has recommended that we boil our water.  The store shelves has been emptied of bottled water.  Ethan and I biked to Wal-Mart for school supplies, which by the way was a big mistake.  Since Target and Super Wal-mart are under water, everyone north of Lincoln way came here for bottled water.

For curiosity, the kids and I biked to the new pool.  Here's what we saw: 

The bike path is completely covered and the new pool is surrounded by water. 

Such a Bummer with only 1 week of summer left. 

The Des Moines Register sent an ariel photographer and here's some of the photos. 
Highway 30 


The pool... there was some controversy about building it in the flood plain. 

This is Duff ave.  in front of Super Wal-mart and Target.  You can see the Red Pizza hut roof. 

Super Wal-mart. 

Thankfully, we are safe and sound with a dry basement.  That's more than many people can say.  I have water boiling on the stove as we speak.    Pray for sunshine, but a little break from the heat would be nice.
Day 7 -   Today was the day to pack up and start for home.  We said our Good-byes to Opa, Oma and Uncle Rick's family and we headed back downtown to finish the Museum of Civilization.  The museum was a extremely enjoyable look at Canadian culture through history.  The new Children's museum is well worth the trip.  
Exploring the Pakistani Bus
Nadia poses by her self portrait. 
Exploring the Totem poles in the Great Hall, which has been dedicated to the Native people of Western Canada. 

We left Ottawa at about 4pm had started on the road home.  We crossed the border at Odgensburg in Northern New York.  If you are still counting, this was border crossing #4.   We decided not to cross the border again so our homeward route did not include southern Ontario.   We drove to Pulaski, New York and spent the night in the Super 8.

Day 8 - Today we drove through Northern New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  This night the hotel was a Holiday inn with a Water park.  The kids were so excited.  Unfortunately, these are the photos that I have lost. 

Day 9- We played in the water park until around 1 in the afternoon.  We had bought ice cream and sandwiches at Meijer and headed back on the road.  Our drive today included Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.  We stayed in Morris, Ill.   

Day 10  Home at last!

Here's our trip summary by the numbers:

2 Countries
2 Canadian Provinces
4 Border Crossings
7 US States 
6 Nights sleeping the tent
3 Nights in a hotel
over 2500 miles and Countless hours in the van the actually driving time was over 50.

I am glad you are still reading along with me.

Day 6 - Canada Day.   We spent a relaxing morning and early afternoon around the campsite. 

Baseball Team Mates

Family Photo

The younger Tulps - minus Oma and Opa - headed back to Ottawa to take in the Canada Day Celebrations.   It seemed as if people had materialized over night.  The streets were so crowded we could hardly walk.   At Ethan's request, we headed to the Museum of Civilization for the horse exhibit.  Ethan enjoyed every single display in this exhibit.  He spent time reading and studying every plaque.  I was impressed, most of us, including the adults were finished long before he was.   We decided to forgo the rest of the museum due to the crowds.
Ethan's favorite   

Next up on the agenda was finding some dinner, which proved to be a little tricky with the people everywhere.    We were blessed to find a small pizza place, with a chairs to sit and rest our feet and feed our stomachs.

Pizza Dinner
  After dinner we ventured back across the river to secure a grassy spot for the fireworks show.  We watched the rest of the evening's concert on the big screen, including BareNaked Ladies.
Ben and the Bass player

Uncle Rick and Eric wait for the Fireworks
Nadia dancing to the music

The fireworks were some of the best we had ever seen.  It was a nice way to end the day.