Thursday, August 28, 2008

John Ball Zoo and Bug Catchers Too

We had a busy Thursday. Grandma Willie leaves tomorrow for Lynden, so we had to cram in the fun. We actually left the house a little after 9 and headed to the zoo. We brought a bunch of bread and some hamburger buns to feed the ducks. As you can see, there were plenty of beaks to feed.

As with most animals, Jori had a love/hate relationship with the ducks. She would be laughing and talking to them, and then run behind grandma for protection.

It was a beautiful day outside and I am so thankful we took the time to head out and enjoy the day. After checking out the lions, monkeys and more, we headed to McDonald's to meet Rachel, Jenna and JJ. Then it was nap time for Jori and Tyson and I headed to the doctor for his x-ray. He did great, and we'll hear tomorrow if the doctor wants to keep trying the milk of magnesia or try something else to get things moving. Poor kid.

After daddy got home, we went bug hunting. As you can see, we caught some very unusual specimens.

I'll leave you with a final shot of Tyson and his new pet, Pweebee the ladybug. We're sorry you weren't all here to pet Pweebee, as we had the pleasure of doing. I wonder what they'll catch in Africa.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hudsonville Fair

Last week was the Hudsonville Fair. We had a lot of fun going through the animal barns, eating elephant ears and deep fried vegetables and we even took the kids on a few rides. Lucky for us, their favorite rides are free. Each year the fair has a big tractor and riding mower display and kids are welcome to climb on and test the merchandise. Both kids had so much fun running from machine to machine. Jori's legs were a little too short to climb on the big tractors by herself, but Tyson had no problem getting to where he wanted to go.

It was great having the fair in town this past week. It was a good diversion for the kids, and it got me away from cleaning and packing. Speaking of which, things are going great. Grandma Willie is in town and she could clean circles around me. There are only a few things left to finish around the house and I am feeling much better about it all. I cleaned out the garage today. It worked out well for me that it was also garbage day. I had made quite the pile of junk by the time the garbage man came around. Darin's college papers and notes are now in a garbage dump. I only wish I had done this in June.

Tomorrow we are meeting with Scott and Lia who just returned from SA a couple weeks ago. We are excited to hear about their time in Africa and how things have been since they've been back. I am also excited for Lia to pass on her blogging knowledge to me. I have a picture of Jori I wanted to add to this post, but I don't know how to do it. Hopefully I learn how before we go!

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tyson Alan

What can I say about Tyson? Life is never dull when he is around. One grandma says he's "greased lightning". The other admits that she gets tired just watching him. He loves to play dentist, ride bike, color, have friends over, dance, and play bears with his sissy. He is mommy's honey who loves to read and snuggle, but he is daddy's buddy. They go to the races together, take care of the vending machines, work on projects, watch the Cubs and the Vikings, and lots of other guy stuff. Tyson loves taking care of his sissy. He is always ready to find her blanky and peeper for her when she is sad, or offer his one of his own special blankies. Tyson loves learning about God and his creation and about how Jesus loves him. Though there are times where we can hardly keep up with all the action Tyson brings to our loves, we never stop thanking God for giving us such a precious gift.
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This is my first attempt at putting a picture on our blog. If it works, I will find a pic of Tyson too. For now, here's our little Bubba. She is always full of giggles and lots of hugs and kisses. One of Jori's favorite things right now is playing with her dollies. She has just started calling all of them "DiAnn", which is her middle name. Jori also loves to make all sorts of treats for us in her kitchen. Jori loves her big brother TyTy. There is the usual fighting, teasing, and rivalry that most siblings have, but there is also a lot of love and lots of fun when they play together. We sure love our little girl and thank God for the blessing that she is in our lives.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finding time for FUN

I just got back from the Hudsonville Fair. For those of you who aren't from around here, it's the highlight of the summer, or if not the summer, at least the later part of August. It really is a nice fair. Today was $1 ride day, so Darin got home on time and we took the kids to go on some rides. They both loved it. There were some tears from Jori, because she was too small to go on the rides Tyson went on, but she did get to go on a magic school bus ride with me. (It really was a ride. I didn't just stick her on a bus and tell her it was a ride. Although I think that is what we did last year, only with tractors, not a school bus.) Our family doctor was doing a magic show at the fair, so we headed over to see that with the Huisman's. I think the kids enjoyed seeing Dr. Dykstra on stage, but they didn't really get it. Jori was more interested in her buddy, JJ, and Tyson was determined to see how close he could sit to Jenna without actually laying on her. Good times. I walked around the animal barns with Jori and Jenna for a while then headed home. Darin and Tyson stayed for the off-road derby. Tyson LOVES going to "the races" with his dad. It is definitely something special for the two of them to do. They called me a little while ago to report on various car crashes.

My mom comes on Thursday and I am hoping to get some more fun activities in while she is here. We have a zoo membership and we got free passes to the children's museum. We'll have to make a point of heading to the bowling alley for some ice cream too. For those of you who don't know, we live right behind the bowling alley and it has become very hard to resist heading over there for $1 baby cones on a weekly, or twice weekly, or even a thrice weekly basis. For only a dollar, I think we can swing it.

For those of you keeping track, I have been doing some work. Today I cleaned out my fridge. I also dusted all three bedrooms and started packing a carry on for the kids. I've got color wonder paper, some special finger paint that is clear on the hands, but shows up on paper, pipe cleaners, four rolls of scotch tape, activity books and some other random things that we HOPE will occupy them on the flight to South Africa. I also cleaned out my side of the closet and left Darin a big note to take care of his stuff in the next two days. Work with me man.

I am hoping to learn how to post pictures on here, but I so do not understand how. We did just get our new camera today, so I am hoping that after Darin messes around with that for a while he will also try to figure out how to put pictures on this blog. Priorities people.

I hope this has been as enlightening for you all to read as it has been for me to write. I am tempted to just delete this whole post, but this is our life right now and boring as it is, it's what's going on.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Every Morning

Last night we got together with our small group for a farewell party. It was such a blessing to be with these friends (minus all the kids!) for a chance to reconnect, give updates on our lives, laugh and all sorts of good food. Darin and I were then privileged to be prayed for by this great group of people. Thank you for blessing us, loving us, and for challenging us as we get ready to head to Africa.

My new blog was a topic of much discussion and good natured joking. (No worries, someday you will ALL have your own blog, which I will proudly link others to through my blog). My "links" to other blogs were also much discussed, especially the fact that other than Lia's and Michelle's blogs, I do not personally know the people who write the blogs on my list. Why have I chosen these blogs, which are all stories of incredible sadness and pain? In the midst of all the heartache, these people have chosen to rely on and tell others about God's grace and love, about his goodness and mercy. They are all stories about faith that is being tested, but continues to grow.

I am sure by now that many of you have heard about the tragic loss of Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter Maria Sue. I have been been following this story (and of course have a link to their blog) since it happened in May. Recently, the Chapman family was on Larry King Live. I watched the interview on YouTube recently and was really convicted by something that their daughter, Emily, shared. She was asked how she has been able to cope with the loss of her littlest sister, and she said it has been through God and his mercy. I won't try to give a direct quote, but she said that God's mercies have been new every morning and that he has given her enough mercy for each day. Wow.

I don't have a perfect life. Who does? However, I have been so very blessed and so often take for granted the life I am living right now. The life that God has chosen for me to live. When I read stories from other people who have been walking through the "valley of the shadow of death" on a daily basis, people who are facing life ending illnesses, the loss of a child, or children with multiple disabilities I usually end up crying. The tears, however, are not just for the difficulties that are being faced, but tears that I, who am living a "more perfect" life (by worldly standards) do not realize minute by minute how blessed I am.

So that is why, in a long nutshell, I am linked to so many blogs written by people I will probably never even meet. Amidst all the running around and stress of packing up our family for our time in Africa, I hope that I don't lose sight of God's mercies and faithfulness.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Questions? Comments?

For those of you who are even less familiar with the world of blogging than I am, I wanted to pass on some helpful information. At the bottom of each post is the word "comments". You can click on this word and then leave me, your favorite new blogger, a comment. If you do not have a blog or a Gmail account, you can choose "anonymous" and then just write your name after your comment (because I really want to know who is leaving messages). I am going to leave the "word verification" up for now because it will lessen the chance that I will get spam comments.

I really do hope you will all leave comments, especially while we are gone. It should be an easy way to communicate with each other. I can even respond to your comments in the comment section! (This is where you insert the oohs and ahhs).

We are off to lunch with Rachel, Jenna and JJ now. Tyson is going to be staying to play and Jori will be coming home to nap so that I can get some more work done. Inch by inch, every things a cinch!

updated August 15: Darin read this and said "now you are begging people for comments", which makes me sound pathetic. If you don't want to comment, no pressure, I just want you all to know you can.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Countdown Continues

I am really starting to feel the stress of this whole Africa adventure. A couple months ago I was starting to have that anxious feeling, like an elephant was sitting on my chest, but then it went away. Now it is back with a vengeance. It doesn't help that I have been so tired lately. I don't know if it was that Arts Camp last week or what, but I am wiped. I am one of those oh so fortunate people that cannot handle The Tired (yes, it is an actual disorder). I get so emotional. All day long I feel like I am going to burst into tears. I have that feeling right now and the elephant must have invited a few friends to join the party because I feel like I am getting smothered. Thank God for Word Girl on PBS. Tyson and Jori are downstairs, patiently waiting for their mommy to come back down.

On a more positive note, I am starting to get some things accomplished around here. I did start packing a bag of toys for Love INC and I threw away a bunch of McDonald's toys and other little treasures. I also sorted Jori's clothes and started packing her stuff (she has the equivalent of 2 wardrobes thanks to the generosity of friends and family). Today I started in our room and my dresser top is almost empty and I cleared two closet shelves. I know it will all get done, but there are so many people we want to spend time with and things we have to get done before we go. I know, I know, we are only going for 10 weeks, so I need to just chill. It's not like people will forget us. Right?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Welcome to Slackerville

In case you don't know where Slackerville is, it's located pretty close to Procrastinationland and Naptime Neighborhood. It's August now, and all summer my good intention has been that once August 3 arrived (one month prior to our departure) I would start getting things ready for Africa. Well, it's now August 8 and nothing has come of those good intentions. I have been on the Internet for the last hour, just kind of piddling around. I also mowed about 1/2 the yard, which needed to be done, but mowing didn't help me make any progress in packing or cleaning or anything else trip related. Jori is sleeping, Tyson is "resting" and I am dreaming about taking a nap.

We had a busy week, so a nap isn't completely unjustified. I helped out at Arts Camp at our church and the kids got to be in nursery Mon-Thurs from 8:30 til 1. It was four fun, but LONG days. I am not used to so much busy-ness and running around. I sound like an old woman! Good grief. I did fall asleep 2 out of the 4 days when we got home.

Tomorrow I am going to be a little productive. We have a babysitter coming so we can go camera shopping. That has been on my to-do list since we first started talking about going to Africa almost a year ago! Hopefully we find something tomorrow because our days are filling up with things to do and people to see and a repeat camera shopping extravaganza is not likely to fit in our schedule.

My goal for today: Sadly, I don't even want to give myself a goal. Oh, the pressure. Ok, my goal is to pack up one box of the kids toys to bring to Love INC. I'm counting on you to hold me to it, faithful blog readers. (I am guessing this blog won't get read for several days as I don't really have any faithful blog readers as of yet, so maybe I am off the hook!)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

In case you missed it

I thought I'd use the title of our blog to teach the correct pronounciation of our last name. It's 'Fey' like 'Hi' not 'Fey' like 'Hey'.

One month to go

In one month we will be heading to the Gerald Ford International Airport to get on a plane headed for Africa. Ok, so first we'll go to Detroit, then there's the 8 hour flight to Amsterdam, and then we have that last 10 hour leg to Jo-berg. After all that travel we will be ready to begin our ten week South African adventure. Hopefully I will have the whole blog thing down by then so that I can keep you all updated on our journey.