Saturday, June 26, 2010

Speaking What Is instead of What If

The other day I caught the tail end of Family Life Today. The episode I listened to was called "Walking by Faith, not by Sight" and the speaker was Jennifer Rothschild, a woman who went blind in her teens. You should be able to click here to listen to the whole broadcast. Right before I had to go in to get Tyson from VBS she said something that has been running through my head the past few days. As women who claim to walk with God, we don't speak "what if", but "what IS". Wow! Really, let it roll around in your head for a little while.

I went back and listened to the end of the broadcast today. Here are a few more of the things she shared that really resonated with me:

1. We [as women] are dominated by our feelings.
2. Fear is a legitimate feeling, but it should walk us to the place of truth, not be our final destination.
3. We should walk by faith, not by feelings
4. "What if" is the language of fear and speculation

I am totally dominated by my feelings, and fear is right up there near the top! Many nights I lay in bed for hours playing the "what if" game. I think about the things that could happen to our family, the problems that might arise because of decisions we have made, the probability that someone close to be could die soon, the possibility that I have messed up my kids beyond repair and on and on and on. I know that many of the paths my mind takes lead me to LIES straight from the devil himself.

Thankfully Ms. Rothschild did not only talk about the "what ifs" that trouble our minds, but also what IS. She said "God who called you IS faithful", which is something we all need to remember and hold on to.

Thursday night, just a few hours after I listened to this broadcast, Darin and I went to a Chris Tomlin/Toby Mac concert (which was AWESOME) and while we worshiped God, I heard more statements about what IS

1. Our God IS greater, our God IS stronger, God You ARE higher than any other
2. Our God IS healer, awesome in power
3. If our God IS for us, who could ever stop us
4. If our God IS with us, then what could stand against
5. Forever God IS faithful, forever God IS strong, forever God IS with us

And I am sure that Toby Mac spoke some truth about what IS as well, but I was too busy doing my old lady groove to notice : )

So I am working on taking my thoughts captive and not letting my life be ruled by fear. After reading through journals that go way back to my elementary school days and seeing how much of my life has been ruled by the "what ifs" I know that things may not change overnight. I will keep remembering that God who called me IS faithful and will remain so til the end.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jori Turns 4!!

Today our sweet Jori girl turned 4! Last night I told her that I was so sad that it was the last time I would be hugging my three year old girl. She said "I will wake up, then go back to sleep, then wake up again in the morning". Why?? So that she would still be 3 the first time she woke up, just for me! Love her so.

This morning the kids had their last day of VBS. They didn't have a program, but I did take some video during their regular singing time.

This first video is of Jori. That's my girl!

Here is sweet Tyson singing "Ancient Words". I love this song. At the end he is looking around for his sweet sis who seems to have disappeared.

When we got home I asked her why she was sitting and not singing and she said "You weren't taking pictures of me." Is that a typical girl answer or what??

They had a lot of fun at VBS. I am guessing it won't be the only time they attend this summer : )
Today they had ice cream sundaes to celebrate the end up VBS, so both kids ended up having sundaes for lunch on their birthdays.

It is very hot and humid out today, so this afternoon we watched Monsters vs Aliens, from Teo and Avery. Even I didn't mind watching it, so I give it a thumbs up. Tyson and Jori were laughing a lot too.

After Darin got home it was PRESENT TIME. Jori was pretty excited that it was finally her birthday and her time to get a gift.

It's funny how she set the Leapster aside really quickly, but then once she realized it wasn't Tyson's she was a little more excited about it!

For dinner, Jori chose Frosted Flakes. Yes, she chose cereal as her birthday meal. She was thrilled. Since dinner, she's been playing her new Backyardigans game on her new Leapster. Tyson is playing his Leapster as well, so it is actually pretty quiet in the house. Every once in a while I hear one of them shout out "I got 2 right" or "It's a Yeti!"

It is just 6, so we have a couple more hours to celebrate our girl before bedtime.

Jori DiAnn, we love you so very much and are thankful to have such a lovely 4 year old living in our home.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Birthday party 2010

We had Tyson and Jori's birthday party tonight. I am glad they still don't mind having a party together. We had three families over and a total of 7 other kids. Other than baby Reid, there were three 6 year old girls and three 3 year old boys. Funny how my kids are just the opposite of the other families as far as gender and birth. Tomorrow Jori will be leaving the ranks of the three year olds and will be turning four!!

Here are a few pictures from our night:

Thanks for my new notepad Jenna and JJ!

Argh! I can't wait to be a pirate, matey!Monsters vs. Aliens from Avery and TeoThe party is in full swing!
Check out the pirate (thanks Huismans)
No birthday would be complete without at least one round of Happy Birthday!

Here is a close up of the "cake". It was actually brownies, which make much better leftovers in my opinion!! This is a sad little cake, I know. It doesn't help that Jori stuck her finger in the red icing right before I took the picture.

It was a very fun night. Thankfully there were still lots of little frogs for the kids to collect (and take home as party favors!) and lots of space to run around. We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends!

Tyson's 6th Birthday

I can't believe my little boy is 6! Yesterday was Tyson's birthday, and according to him it was a "great day". He was thrilled to discover that the WHOLE DAY was his birthday-morning, noon and night!

He started off his special day by going to VBS-Vacation Bible School. I picked the kids up around 11:30 and we headed to McDonald's for hot fudge sundaes. Yes, they had sundaes for lunch. I felt led to indulge them after talking to my sister, Laurie. After a nutritious lunch the kids watched a couple cartoons, then they went out to play with the neighbors for a while. Tyson rode around in his jeep, rode bikes with his sissy, and just enjoyed running around. Darin came home a little early, which is always a treat.

Tyson had been patiently waiting to open his presents all day, so we decided to do that right away. Here is a video of Tyson opening his quilt:

Tyson's "wonderful" new quilt
We also gave him a new game for his Leapster and he was so happy with that as well. We let him play it in his room before bed and he thought that was super special.

The new Ratatouille game
Then, just when we thought the gift giving was done, Jori decided to shower her brother with gifts. First he got a handcrafted bookmark, made by sissy.

"Do you want somefing else?"
In this video, you will see the pile of gifts that she gave him-a bookmark, a birdhouse, a little puppy, and a few other random gifts. I finally had to put a halt to her generosity, because I was starting to worry she'd regret giving so much of her stuff away.

After opening presents, it was pizza time! Pizza was Tyson's choice for dinner. Jori wasn't done sharing with her big brother and she poured some of her pop into his cup. I wish she would have poured it ALL into his cup, because about 3 minutes later she tipped her cup over and it ended up splashing all over the floor and half way up our wall... c'est la vie! After dinner we went outside and Darin and the kids rode bike for a little while. Then we came back in, had baths, Bible story, and then let the kids have some quiet time in their rooms before bed.

Tyson Alan, I am so glad you enjoyed your special day. We love you so!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tyson's Quilt

Remember this??

If you knew where that little tag is from, then you are well acquainted with our boy. When Tyson was born we bought a pack of receiving blankets to swaddle him in. We soon discovered that he loved his blankies.

I am not quite sure when it began, but the tags on the blankies were soon making their way into Tyson's mouth. He would suck the tags so hard they'd come off! I'd sew them back on and when they were too worn to be safe, I'd go buy a new pack of the same blankies.

Tyson still sleeps with one special blankie, but the tag was cut of long ago. I had kept all of his other blankies and recently, with the help of some very crafty friends, I used Tyson's blankies to make him a quilt.
Top Side

Back Side
Close up of the planet fabric
This turned out to be a way bigger project than I had first planned, and without the help of Sarah, Amy, Michelle and Kara it would have never been finished (or even started for that matter!). So thank you dear friends, I appreciate it more than you know.

It is not without its flaws, but I love it and hope that Tyson will too. It is full of such precious memories of our favorite boy. I'll be giving it to him next week for his birthday, so I'll be sure to let you know.

Jori rides a big girl bike

On Thursday we found the training wheels for Tyson's old bike and got it all ready for Jori to try out. She has been happily riding her little princess tricycle for the past couple years, but I have been in a mood to declutter the garage, so the trike had to go! Thankfully Jori picked up on riding her "big girl bike" right away.

Again, just ignore my yammering and enjoy watching our girl.

Leapin' Lizards!

We do not actually having "Leapin' Lizards", but that sounds so much better than "Leapin' Frogs", which is what we do have! After a one year break, the tiny tree frogs are back, covering our street, hopping across our driveway and coming into (and then dying in) our garage. We are not sure what exactly brings them, but they are here just the same.

They are just so tiny, yet so hard to miss with our van tires! Oh well, soon it will rain and wash away their little remains.

Just look at them leap!

Here is a video so you can see the froggies in action. Just ignore my annoying narrative.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

King Solomon-wise guy or not so much?

Tonight we read the story of King Solomon's wisdom. If you are unfamiliar with this story here is a brief summary. Two women and two babies live together. One morning the mom's wake up and one baby is dead. Both claim to be the mom of the living baby. They go to King Solomon to have him settle the dispute. He says "Cut the baby in two". Mom #1 says "Great idea" Mom #2 says "Let the baby live, give him to mom #1". So, who's the real mom? (It's mom #2, in case you didn't know.)

I asked Tyson if he thought this was a wise way to figure out who the baby belonged to. He said "No", so I asked him what he would have done. He thought for a bit, then he pointed his finger to the moms in the picture and proceeded to do "Eeny Meeny Miney Mo".

And that was that.

(Please forgive any grammar mistakes, especially any missing or misplaced apostrophes. The grammar police is gone for the night, so it is what it is.)

First Day of Summer

We just had such a fun filled day, full of little adventures. Darin has to head out of town for work tonight, so we headed to Holland to say goodbye to him around 11. We hung out at Nuvar (did I ever mention that he isn't at Innotec anymore??) for about 1/2 hour talking, letting the kids run outside, and finally saying good-bye. I decided to stay away from home for as long as possible as I knew it was going to be a long night without Daddy to tire out the kids!

First we headed to The Hive, a consignment store WITH a play area for the kids. They stayed entertained the whole time I shopped, which ended up being well over an hour. After trying on 9 different tops, I came home with the following:

Plain blue top. The sleeves have elastic, which isn't my favorite, but for $3 I can handle it.

I love the color of this top and remember trying it on in a store. I was not willing to buy it at the time because it made me look like I was pregnant, but for $2, I can live with the curious stares (and no, I am NOT).
This was a little bit of a daring, or maybe dumb purchase. It is a dress with pockets, but it is knit, so it kind of clings. I worry that it will cling to my not so firm back end, but in my mind it looked so cute for a night out, so I decided to go for it. Can I wear navy-ish blue with brown sandals?? How about a jean jacket? What about a gold "coin" necklace? For $8, I'll try it out. Don't mind the white spots on the dress, they are just particles of dust that I stirred up!
So that was my shopping fun. Then I took the kids to the Salvation Army where I used to work. I had left a message for my friend Michelle that Special K was coming to sort food. That was one of our clients and apparently it gave Michelle a little scare when she received the message. Ha ha. I know, you had to be there. Anyways, the kids emptied a few boxes of tuna onto a shelf and then got into some games in the "pantry" and I got to chat with Michelle for a few minutes. Good times, good memories.

Then I called Rachel to see if she was still in Holland (we had talked earlier and I knew she was headed out that way). She was, so I took the kids to Dairy Queen for some ice cream, then we went to the outlet mall to wait for Rachel and her crew to arrive. While we were waiting, Jori spilled ice cream all over her legs and crocs. I cleaned her and she spilled again. And again. And I am pretty sure there was one more "again" too. Oh well. Then Rachel came with JJ, Reid and Auntie Becka. They had some bread, so we fed the ducks. JJ and Jori then tried kicking the ducks back into the water and played with duck poop while Tyson pushed Reid around in the stroller and told him stories. It was good fun.

After getting a tip from Rachel, we headed to the Zeeland McDonald's for customer appreciation day. They had free samples of their new frozen strawberry lemonade (yum!) and $1.99 Happy Meals and 10 piece nuggets. So we headed inside to the play land with our free samples, the kids played for about 45 minutes, then I bought them some food. The play area filled up with screaming kids (not mine for once!) and so we left around 5:30.

I heard two funny things today while we were out and about. One was from Tyson. While we were driving to the outlet mall I told him to try reading some signs on the buildings. He very excitedly told Jori "Sissy, I see Juh-Kuh Penney! It's Juh-Kuh Penney!" I did not laugh, but I did call Darin to tell him Tyson's version of JC Penney. The other funny thing was at McDonald's and it was said by a kid who must have been about 8 years old. He came back from the bathroom, walked up to his dad (who was there alone with 3 kids) and said "I just stepped in pee and my socks are all wet." I just couldn't keep myself from laughing. You should have seen the dad's face! It was so funny.

So, that was our day. The kids played outside for about 15 minutes, then they showered, got pj's on and have been watching a movie. When it's over it will be time for Bible Story, bathroom and bed. Here's to the beginning of a GREAT summer break!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tyson's Last Day of Kindergarten

Today was Tyson's last day as a part time school goer. Next year he'll be in first grade, heading to school 5 days a week. Fsxzor the last 3 years I've been wishing and longing for Tyson to go to 5 full days of school. Now that it is almost here I find myself feeling sad and longing for my boy to stay little for just a bit longer.

Here are some pictures of Tyson's last day. The 2 kindergarten classes had a "tasty tidbit picnic" at lunch time. Each child was supposed to bring a favorite thing to share-enough for 10 other kids. My sweet boy chose batman fruit snacks. I must say I felt slightly embarrassed by his choice, worrying that the other moms would think I was a slacker, but another mom at Meijer helped me get over my insecurity and embrace Tyson's choice of food. Thank God for mother's who have been there!! The fruit snacks were a big hit and Tyson was so proud to tell the other kids that HE was the one who brought them.

Tyson loading up his plate

The 2 classes enjoying their tasty tidbits
Jori was SO very excited to be at Tyson's school. She said "Today is MY first day of school"
I LOVE seeing these 2 interact with each other. Tyson was so kind to his sissy today.
Coming back with seconds, or maybe even thirds : )
It started to rain, so the party moved inside. (Mom, here's the infamous root beer)
Tyson and Mrs. Weiss
We are so thankful for the year that Tyson had at Park Elementary. We felt like he was known there and loved. We are so thankful for Mrs. Weiss and all the wonderful things that she taught Tyson and for what a fun teacher she was. Tyson will miss her and so will we!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Surfari Joe's

We had a very fun Memorial Weekend. On Saturday we drove to DeMotte, Indiana for the wedding of my friend Rachel's little brother. It was fun to be with good friends and share a part in this special day. Rachel's in-laws were kind enough to let us stay at their home for the night. Tyson and Jori LOVED it there. They had goats, chickens, geese and of course, Sparky the dog. Tyson milked a goat and both kids drank goats milk-Jori did it more as a way to keep up with her brother, but Tyson seemed to genuinely like it. We also picked fresh strawberries and enjoyed a big Sunday breakfast before heading out for the beginning of our adventure.

On our way back to Michigan, we stopped at the outlet mall in Michigan City. It was SO hot. Unbearably so. I couldn't believe how many people were out shopping. We didn't really need to be out, so after Darin found a couple shirts, we left. We went to IHOP for lunch and it was nice to not be in a rush. Just after 3, we pulled into Surfari Joe's in Watervliet, Michigan. Our original weekend plans had been to stay in Chicago and go to Lincoln Park Zoo and maybe one of the museums. Then we had decided to go to the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, but after a lot of thought, we realized that our kids would be most excited to go to a water park and boy were we right!

We hadn't told them where we were going and when we pulled up to this hotel with water slides sticking out the side of it they were just giddy with delight. It was so fun to hear them clap and laugh. Then we went into the hotel and found out why it was called Surfari Joe's. The "Surf" part was obviously the water slides, but the "ari" part was because the owner had been on many hunting safari's in Africa and around the globe and had the mounted heads and even full bodies of so many crazy critters in the lobby. We loved it because we recognized so many of the animals from our time in South Africa, but if you are a big animal lover and anti-hunting, you would probably throw up a little because there were animal heads EVERYWHERE (not in the rooms, thankfully, because I would not have been a fan). I regret that I did not take pictures of the animals, but then again, that is not really my thing.

Here is the kiddie area
Tyson and Jori hugging it out in the lazy riverJori floating away down the river

This place was the perfect size for our kids. We could see them from pretty much wherever we were sitting. There were at least 5 lifeguards around at all times, which was great. Our kids were too short to go on the big water slides by themselves and I felt confident that A: the lifeguard up top wouldn't let them go down the slide and B: if the lifeguard did let them down, it would only be with a life jacket on and another lifeguard would be at the bottom of the slide. There was one slide that you went down with an inner tube and they could both go on that slide if were were in the tube with them.

As you can see from these videos, they both loved being in the lazy river with their floaties on. They looked so funny bobbing around in the water and Darin and I didn't have to be right there holding on to them. It was great.

We had such a fun and relaxing weekend!

Tyson's MRI

On Wednesday morning, Tyson and I headed to the hospital for his MRI. The doctor had called in a prescription for Tylenol with Codeine to keep Tyson from being so wiggly. I was warned that I would probably have to carry him around because he'd be SO tired. Ha ha. He did yawn a couple times, but that was about it.

Here's my sweet, sleepy boy waiting for his hospital bracelet.

We found a little play area in the waiting room. Here I am getting a "thumbs up" from my boy.

In the waiting room by the MRI
This was actually taken AFTER the MRI was done. Another thumbs up!
Tyson did so well during the whole procedure. I ended up standing right next to him so I could hold his hand or touch his shoulder. I am glad I could be in there with him as he did not like how loud it was. My ear plugs kept popping out and by the time we got home, I had a terrible headache! He was so cooperative and he laid as still as a little boy with lots of energy could have possibly laid. He did have a few wiggly moments and some itches he just had to scratch, but I was so proud of him.

This morning I called the doctor's office to get the results. The good news is that there wasn't any tearing. There was some swelling around his knee, but nothing that our doctor was too concerned about. We are supposed to continue "conservative care". Do you know what "conservative care" is? No, me either, so I wasn't sure how I could continue something I didn't even know I was supposed to be doing. Basically we should be icing the knee, giving ibuprofen, using an ace bandage or brace to stabilize the knee and just try to keep Tyson from doing too much. We've done the ibuprofen, but honestly no one had said to do the other stuff and it seems like you always are told to be more cautious with how much treatment you give a person, so I've been waiting for some direction from a medical professional.

We are truly thankful that there doesn't appear to be anything seriously wrong with Tyson's knee. For now we will be keeping an eye on it and praying that it doesn't get worse!