Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Date Night!

A few weeks ago Darin and I started talking about our need for setting up a date night. Ok, I started talking about it and Darin decided he better jump on board! We go out a lot during the month, but not on dates. We have small group, get togethers with friends or coworkers, family nights... but not date nights. When you have all that other stuff going on it's hard to find any money left for just the two of you to go out! So we decided to have Monday Night Date Night at home. Once the kids are in bed the tv goes off and the date night fun begins.

Ok, our first date night was more of a "let's talk money" night where we went over our budget. It was still fun just to be together, and we did need to talk about our budget, but it wasn't really my dream date. The next Monday I had a meeting. Then yesterday Darin sent me an email that he had a surprise for me. I really try not to get super excited about Darin's surprises because when we were just married, he led me on a wild goose chase that led me to believe that he had bought me a puppy and what I found instead was a stuffed dog behind my bedroom dresser. This time my hubby got it right!

Welcome to Date Night, Fey style:Here is our brand new 3000 piece puzzle! Last night we got almost all the edges (minus about 6 or 7 edge pieces) done! Puzzles may not be your thing, but when we were in Africa, Darin and I discovered that doing a puzzle together is a nice way to relax, talk and accomplish something big. Remember this? Here is what that puzzle looked like:

So, I'll keep you posted on our progress!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Luka is out of the hospital!

Read more about what's next for him and his family here

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Super Saturday

We had such a great day today. This morning the kids slept in a little bit, which is always a treat. I headed out to a consignment sale at one of the local schools and found stuff for both kids. Jori and I went to a sale yesterday and other than a pair of pjs, there wasn't anything for Tyson, so I was happy with my finds today.

After the sale, I met Darin and the kids at the high school for swimming lessons. This was there 4th week and other than thinking the water is too cold, they both are having a great time. Here are some videos from last weeks lessons:

Tyson and his friend Jenna (dark hair)

Jori Jumps

Tyson swimming some more

Jori swims (look at those little legs go!)

I am so glad we decided to put them in swim lessons this year. I am not a very proficient swimmer myself and always feel very nervous when the kids are around water because I am not sure I could save them. The only time I remember taking lessons was in 5th grade through my school. I signed up to be in the same level as my friends and ended up being demoted 2 or 3 times the FIRST DAY because I did not have any "skills". I still plug my nose on occasion and cannot dive. Sad, but true.

After lessons, we raced home, tossed the kids in the shower, then I headed out to another sale. Again I found a few things for Tyson, which made me so happy. I also found some cute things for Jori. I picked up a couple puzzles as well because the kids, mostly Jori, have been getting into the puzzle scene. Tyson can only take so much, but Jori will happily put together a 100 piece puzzle. She loves to have help, but is actually really good at putting together big sections by herself. I think she is a "visual" learner as she also does really well in the game Memory. Tyson just seems to have a photographic memory and soaks stuff in and spits it out again almost word for word.

I got back home around noon and the rest of the fam was just finishing up lunch. Then the kids played outside for a while and I watched them try to "help" a caterpillar find its way back home. I told them that God made caterpillars and they know how to get home on their own, but I could not persuade them to listen. I am not sure the caterpillar survived their assistance. Darin and Tyson took off to fill the vending machines and Jori and I watched a movie then worked on a new puzzle.

After the guys got home, we all went outside. I tried to teach Jori to ride a 2 wheeler, but she was not interested. I'll let Darin teach her once his heel is better. Then Darin started a fire and I decided to make a quick run to Family Fare for some hot dogs and marshmallows. Hot dogs cooked over a fire. Mmmm. Marshmallows. MMMMMMM! I think the kids had 5 each and I might have had a couple more than that! It was a great way to finish up the day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Updates on Luka

There are a few new updates on the Shaarda's blog. They have seen a lot of positive improvements in Luka's health, but there are still many areas of concern. They hope to be traveling back to Michigan in the next week. Keep praying!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thank you for all the kind comments and commiseration on the last post. I'd like to say I am free from all insecurity and have turned into a completely calm mother, but strangely enough, since I wrote that last post I have been feeling even more out of control. Ok, maybe it's not so strange. I know that Satan would like nothing better than for me to feel like a failure and act like a failure, so it makes sense that things have been not so great around here the last week or so.

First I almost had a full blown panic attack the other night thinking about...SUMMER BREAK. Last summer was a total nightmare for me. Like an "I almost ended up in Pine Rest because I am losing it" nightmare. A lot of this was because of my issues and "the crazy". Ok, most of the nightmare was because of those things, but it is also because of my children and their deep desire to be included in everything the neighbor kids do. A brief run down on the neighbor kids: 2 girls are in 6th grade, 1 girl is in 2nd grade and 1 boy is in 3rd grade. Then there are my kids, a kindergartner and a 3 year old. My neighbor kids (and their moms) are great, but they are kids, which means they often do things that I wish they wouldn't do. For instance, they'll tell my kids "in 20 minutes you can play with us", which might not seem like a huge deal, but when your kids still don't really have a great concept of the passing of time, it is. The neighbors also like to tattle on my kids for staring at them, or calling them names. These things are usually done during those 20 minutes that my kids are supposed to be patiently waiting.

I know I probably shouldn't let the neighbor kids stress me out so much, but they totally do. I think I worry too much about what they and their parents think about my parenting and lack of control over my children, or I start to think that my kids really are THAT bad and the neighbor kids haven't done anything to provoke them. So last summer my kids spent a lot of time inside, making me even more nutty and unstable. It was ugly. I mean I had a total breakdown in front of my neighbor, Beth, who was so kind and gracious towards me, but now I can't stop myself from thinking "She thinks I am a total nutcase" every time I see her.

Then, if you are from Michigan, you know we had this totally beautiful and sunny week last week followed by a less than stellar weekend. My kids had such a great time being outside and the extra Vitamin D did good things for me too. Then for almost 2 days we were all kind of stuck inside and it was dreary and blah. Now the sun is out again, but all the changing and adjusting to being out and staying in seems to have messed with me and my oldest. I love that boy with my whole heart, but I do not understand how his mind works. Sometimes I think that disobeying and pushing limits is what makes him tick. The past two days I have hollered so much I've given myself a headache. I've started feeling that despair and darkness creeping back in. I've said things I wish I could take back and I am sure that my mean mommy face has been out more than was necessary. I felt like we had come so far, but then I wrecked it all forgetting that I am the adult and that I need to remain in control. Poor kid.

Ugh. I know the battle isn't over yet, but sometimes I think "why am I even trying??". I don't like those times.

Friday, March 19, 2010

For the Insecure Moms Out There

Does the phrase "insecure mom" describe any of you, or is it just me? I used to think I had the motherhood thing in the bag, but then my first kid started walking and talking and it was all downhill from there. I briefly recaptured those "I've got this" feelings when I had my second, but then she started following her brother and I realized it was 2 against 1 and threw in the towel. I know I am not a horrible mother (don't get me wrong, I DEFINITELY have those horrible, very bad, no good days), but I have known for quite a while that my kids have been getting the short end of the stick.

While I have always taken much of the blame for this, I have also blamed my kids. "If only they'd listen to me, I wouldn't yell so much. If only they weren't so nosy, I'd take them into people's homes. If only I knew they'd behave, I'd let them go on/let them have more play dates." Can any mom actually guarantee that her kids will behave?

I started reading the Beth Moore book, "So Long Insecurity, you've been a bad friend to me" about a month ago. After reading the first 2 chapters I thought "Now why am I in this book club reading this book? I am a pretty secure person", but by the second week I realized I suffer from some decent sized insecurities that have stolen a lot of joy from my life and caused me to live a life that is less than what God desires for me.

One of my biggest areas of insecurity is being a mom. I think I always kind of new this, but never really gave it the label "insecurity". There is a chapter in the book that gives a lot of different ways that insecurity makes a fool of us, and the one I most identified with said "Insecurity can cause a mom to be over controlling or just generally out of control". Why do I not always go on play dates or moms groups-because I then have to keep my over controlling OUT OF CONTROL nature hidden, and it really just stresses me out. I know that my kids are not the most horribly behaved children out there. Really, I do know this. Yet I sure don't act like it. I am so worried about every. little. thing. they. do. that I prefer to stay home where they can run free and I can not feel like every eye is on me watching my every mothering move. Do the other moms really even care?? That's another whole insecurity-being self absorbed and thinking all eyes are on me.

Thankfully the "So Long Insecurity" book doesn't just want you to label your insecurities, but deal with them and instead live as women secure in our God given dignity. Thank you Jesus! So I have a lot of work to do, but "He who has begun a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion!"

I read an article in the Focus on the Family magazine, "Thriving Family" that also really spoke to me. It wasn't about insecurity, but guilt, which kind of go hand in hand. Here is a portion of that article:
Guilt is a common emotion among mothers-whether out kids are 17 days or 17 years old. Sometimes guilt comes when we compare ourselves to other mothers. Other times it comes from an ideal we've dreamed up.
One of the best ways to slam the door on guilt is to realize we compare our weaknesses with someone else's strengths. The best guilt buster is to focus on what we do best and humbly build on that.
I love Ephesians 2:10; "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
This verse reminds me that God made me with specific talents. By inviting Jesus to work through me in my parenting role, I will do good works-not identical to other moms, but good works all the same.

It is so easy to fall into the comparison game and that can really fuel a person's insecurities! Stick me in a room with a bunch of mom's and their kids and I will A.) be overly aware of every little thing my kids are doing and B.) be almost equally aware of the kids doing everything "right". Let the games begin! (Ok, occasionally there is a C.) enjoying an evil laugh in my head as a kid that is NOT MINE does something naughty that makes my kids look calm for once.) I have never really thought that when I compare other mom's and their kids to me and my kids I am often letting myself get so stressed that my kids aren't just like all the others, that I don't see the strengths that I have as a mother and that I have passed down to my own kids. Instead I find myself putting my own kids down in front of other moms, or coming down hard on my kids and letting their little friends have their way all the time.

Lots to still deal with and process, but I have wanted to be free from this for so long, I just didn't quite know what I was dealing with!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

WOW-Amazing update on Luka

Here is the latest on Luka Shaarda. I will try to keep up with updates as they come through, but I also have a link to the Shaarda's and Sliedrecht's (Beyond News) blogs on the right side of my blog, so check them out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Praise God!

Here is an update I just copied from Shaarda's blog:

I am so excited that I just had to write and let you know. I have had a real burden for Luka's doctors here because we love them so much but they don't know the Lord. Last night as we prayed over Luka I asked the Lord to do some healing that was such a miracle the doctors had to see it. Today Luka's oxygen came up suprisingly. The doctor came in for the normal check up and talk and he asked Josh if he had any explanation for the change in oxygen. Josh said a lot of people were praying. The doctor said you have powerful prayers? Josh said no we have a powerful God. He yes it does appear that way.

I am so excited! Praise be to God. Keep praying!

While I am writing anyway, Josh and I are beginning to feel a lot of emotions. With all the decisions we have to make for our girls, details to take care of with shutting up our home in Soroti, and not know how long we will be here we are feeling a bit stressed. Please pray for God's peace over us, wisdom to do what is right for our family, and help to do all the detail. We are busy and tired. Thanks.

Luka update-lots of praises

Click here to see some pictures and read the latest update

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some Good News about Luka

Click here to read about the improvements in Luka. There are still many things to be praying for as well!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Latest update-keep praying

Click here to read the latest update from the Shaarda's.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Playing Dentist

Last week Tyson decided to write out a birthday list. This list quickly grew, but I was so happy to see him excited about writing things on his own that I (uncharacteristically) encouraged his desire for more and more and MORE. I was so proud of his writing accomplishments that I called my mom to brag on him. Then Tyson got on the phone and began listing all the things he wanted and my mom, being a generous and loving grandma (my kids are blessed to have TWO such grandmas!), decided to send him a few things off of his list last week.

What was SO desirable that my sweet boy could NOT stop asking "Do you think my package will come today? Can we call Gram to see if she mailed the package already (Sunday night)? If my package comes today, you won't open it, will you mom?" over and over and over and over again--the answer, my friends, is dentist stuff. Gloves, masks, TEETH, office open and office closed signs, dental certificates, toothbrushes, glasses and floss. Of course Gram included some stuff for "Nurse" Jori as well, but Tyson Fey, DDS was the primary recipient of these wonderful gifts.

At the end Tyson is saying 'A big thank you a big spanking, a big thank you a big spanking. A whopper". Why? I have no idea.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Link to Shaarda's blog

Click here to read an update from Mandy Shaarda regarding her son, Luka. Please also keep the Sliedrecht's and Mandy and Angie's mom, Mary, in your prayers as they all began the LONG journey back to Soroti today.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I just came across this update through our church and through a mutual friend of the Shaarda's.

In case any of you didn't get the e-mail: My name is Dotun Modupe, a co-International Teams missionary of the Shaardas. I serve and live in Nairobi, Kenya with my wife, Ami. I'm sending this to you on behalf of Josh and Mandy. Some of you may have already received news that Luka, their youngest child, was airlifted to Kenya last night for emergency medical treatment. After a long and rough day, they finally arrived in Nairobi at midnight.

Upon arrival, they were immediately taken to Gertrude’s Children's Hospital in Muthaiga, Nairobi (http://www.gerties.org/) where Luka was admitted. He has already had blood transfusion and is currently at the ICU where he is undergoing dialysis. He is far from where he should be. His condition is still critical but he is somewhat stable (not doing worse, just not much improvement). The doctors and staff are doing their best to ensure that he is well taken care of. I visited them today and even though they have had some tough experiences, they are doing okay. They are handling the situation with much grace. They have unwavering trust that the Lord will complete Luka's healing.

Here's a link to some pictures taken by Mandy of Luka to share with you at http://www2.iteams.org/~modupea/LukaPics/. You can click on the link and it should take you to the pictures. The Shaardas continue to covet your prayers. They are seeing the Lord's hand and feeling the prayers you are offering up for Luka. They will continue to update you whenever possible.

Thank you all so much.
Dotun for the Shaarda family

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Latest Luka update

Keep praying for the Sliedrecht's and Shaarda's!

Luka remains in the ICU undergoing dialysis in Nairobi. His kidneys are only functioning at 8%. The next week is very critical. Continue to pray for a miraculously fast recovery! My mom will now be joining us on our flight to Uganda on Sat. She will help us care for Lydia and Grace. Everyone is happy that Grandma will be there! 1 more day until we leave!

Update on Luka

Here is the most recent update from Tim and Angie Sliedrecht regarding their nephew, Luka:

Luka Shaarda is undergoing a blood transfusion and dialysis in Nairobi, Kenya. He has Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). They REALLY like the doctor that they are working with. But, PLEASE PRAY that he responds quickly to the treatment. It could be a 6-8 week recovery in hospital! Mandy and Josh cannot be away from ...their 2 daughters for that long! We need miraculous healing and recovery!!

Please also be praying for Tim and Angie and their children Avalien and Moses as they are heading back to Soroti, Uganda on Saturday. It is stressful enough packing and saying goodbye to loved ones here, but there is much added stress and worry now that Luka is so sick.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pray for Luka

Luka Shaarda is the infant son of Josh and Mandy, missionaries that our church supports in Uganda. Mandy's sister Angie and her husband Tim serve with them in Uganda and lived in our house while we were in South Africa and they were home on furlough. You can click here to read what is going on with Luka. I will try to update my blog when there is any news on his condition.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chicken Noodle Casserole

This is a super fast and easy meal that both of the kids will eat WITHOUT complaint. My friend Rachel gave me this recipe-it is handwritten in the front cover of a cookbook that she gave me as a bridal shower gift. Memories...

Chicken Noodle Casserole-original recipe
One bag of egg noodles
One can cream of chicken soup
One can of milk
One can of chicken
Potato chips on top

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour

We have made some changes to the recipe to suit our taste.
I prefer to use rotini, mini shells, bow ties or elbow noodles. DO NOT use too many noodles. I have often made this mistake! Two cups dry of the noodles I listed is a great amount. Otherwise You should probably add another can of soup.
You may not need a full can of milk depending on your noodle to milk/soup ratio (you don't want a dry casserole, but you don't want a soupy mess either)
CHEESE!!!!! I always throw a handful or two of shredded cheese in with the noodles, then put more cheese on top.
Garlic Salt-A couple dashes make this extra tasty
Chips-I've used plain potato chips, bbq, cheddar cheese, salt and vinegar... They are all good.

I will often cook the noodles early in the day when I am not busy. After I drain them, I throw all the other ingredients (except the chips and some of the cheese) into the same pan I cooked the noodles in. Mix it all up then put it in a baking dish (size depends on how many noodles you use). Then put the cheese and chips on top and stick it in the fridge until an hour before you need to eat. Cook it and enjoy!