Sunday, August 29, 2010

Down By The Creek Bank

We have a fabulous bike path that ends (or begins, depending on how you look at it) right in our cul-de-sac. We are big fans of the bike path. When the kids where really little, I used to put them in their strollers and take them for walks. Sometimes we would just walk. There were always interesting things to see along the path-caterpillars crossing in the fall, frogs in the spring, ducks, geese, herons and even a few swans throughout the year.

At one point, the bike path has a decent sized man made pond on one side and a creek on the other. I'll write about the pond in another post, but tonight I want to share about our recent adventures in the creek. Since we haven't had very much rain lately, the creek is quite low. There are times when it is close to overflowing and rushes wildly by. Yesterday the kids and I had gone to the pond to feed the fish, and then Tyson wanted to go look at the creek. After they saw how low and calm the water was, both kids wanted to go in, and being in an agreeable mood, I said yes. They had so much fun! The only bad thing was that Darin wasn't with us. So we decided to head back again this afternoon for more fun.

First, check out my new ride.

No, I do not normally ride on Tyson's bike, but my own bike is having some issues and it was way too hot to walk, so this was my only option. Let me tell you, next time I will walk! It was so uncomfortable and my knees were hurting like crazy on the way home. Oh well, it was totally worth it to see these smiles.

Jorin DiAnn-4 years old
Tyson Alan-6 years old

Running away from a pretend water snake
Looking for litter
They just had the best time! Splashing, jumping, pretending there were water snakes, smooshing the mud with their toes, finding litter and throwing it up on the shore and so much more. They did not want to leave!
Best buddies
I am sure we will make it back to the creek a few more times before summer's end!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Can you see that I've been busy over here in my little corner of the blogosphere? I've made a few change to our blog and would love to know what you think! So please leave me a comment and tell me if you like what I've done.

First, I've added a link to our Picasa web albums on the right side of the page. When working properly, you should see a few of the most recently added pictures displayed and there should also be a link that says "View my gallery", which will take you to all of our Picasa albums if you click on it. You may have to sign in to Google to see the pictures, but I don't know for sure! 

Second, I am trying out something called a "jump break". I've seen it on some other blogs and am not sure if I really like it or am really annoyed by it. What a jump break does is show a short summary of the post followed by a "read more" link. When you click on "read more" the whole post will open up. As I tend to be quite a wordy writer, this would allow more of my posts to show up on the first page of our blog so you wouldn't have to scroll through as many pages to see what you might have missed out on. However, when you click "read more" you are then taken to a page with JUST that post, and will have to then click back to get to the page where you see all of my posts. (I know that many of you are aware of that already, but not everyone who reads my blog is very tech savvy, so I am trying to cover all the bases!) I've done a jump break in the following posts "A big night for Jori" and "The kids", so check them out and tell me what you think!

I might be making a few more changes and there is a good chance I will do something to make a royal mess of our blog, so if you notice anything really out of whack, please let me know so I can have my friend Michelle make everything right again!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A big night for Jori

Tonight during our devotions we read the story of doubting Thomas. After I had finished reading, I was telling Tyson that, because he asked Jesus into his heart without seeing Him, Jesus is talking about him when He says "blessed are those who do not see and yet believe". Of course Tyson had to point out that Jori has not yet asked Jesus into her heart so she does not believe in Him. I was in the process of explaining to Tyson that his sister would make the decision when she was ready and that he shouldn't try to make her feel bad about it when little sis leans over and says "Mom, I have a secret to tell you."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When Tyson reads the Bible

I already shared this on Facebook, but not all of you are on that, so I'll share it here too. Tonight Tyson was reading the Bible story about when Jesus appeared to 2 disciples after the resurrection. He does such an awesome job of sounding out words, like recognize and prophets, but tonight after a misplaced comma and missing "p" he added a little something extra to the story.
"As they were eating, Super Jesus took a loaf of bread, thanked God for it, and broke it apart." I had to hide my mouth to cover my giggles when he said "Super Jesus". It should have read, "As they were eating supper, Jesus took a loaf of bread..."

I love having a new reader in the house!

The kids

Tyson and Jori both love to sing and dance. This summer they went to one really fun VBS together and Tyson went to one with a friend. They loved the songs they sang at these programs and thanks to some special Cd's, they've been able to keep singing all summer long!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hudsonville Fair 2010

Hooray, it's fair week! We LOVE the fair. It is good, cheap, fun entertainment for the whole family. Mom loves it because I can take my kids out of the house for hours and only spend $3, or if I decide to treat myself to an elephant ear I spend around $10 ;). The kids love it because there are animals, rides, tractors to climb on, friends to see and more and more. Dad loves it because of the fried vegetables and the off road derby, which the kids love as well.

Today I took the kids to the fair from 11:30-3. When we first arrived, we waited in line for 1/2 hour so the kids could pick up the 5 free ride tickets they earned for reading 450 minutes this summer! I am glad we got in line when we did because that line just kept growing and growing. After we picked up our tickets, we headed over to the animal barns. Both kids love looking at all the different farm animals-cows, pigs, horses, goats, bunnies, chickens, geese and roosters. OK, the roosters are actually not a favorite because they make so much noise, but all the other animals are great fun to see and feel!

This year the goats were #1
After hanging out in the barns for a while, we climbed on a few tractors. Another favorite FREE activity. Before last year, our kids didn't even realize there were rides at the fair. They were just happy to look at the animals and climb on the tractors.

Wishing they could really take this baby for a ride

Next we headed over to the bleachers to watch a little show. Both kids were sitting down in front of the stage having a great time. They were laughing, clapping, dancing and singing. Then Tyson got picked to go on stage.
Mr. Cool

This caused little sis to feel kind of jealous, so she chose to sit by me in the bleachers instead of getting on stage with a plastic shaker. Here's a video of my main man Tyson rockin' out!

After watching the show, we met up with the Huisman's and headed for the rides! First the kids wanted to go on the race cars.
Ready, Set, GO!

They both were laughing and thought it was so cool. Then we headed for a little roller coaster. I do have a video of them with their hands up, laughing and screaming, but it will not post : ( So you'll just have to use your imagination!

By this time, I was ready to go home. I had neglected to put sunscreen on any of us because it was so cloudy when we headed out that morning. However, I had started to feel my skin burning sometime around 1 and it was now 2 hours later and I was starting to feel a little sore. So we headed home, the kids watched TV, I took a little nap, and then Darin came home.

After doing a little yard work, we headed back to the fair around 5:30. First the kids used their last 3 tickets to go on more rides. The best moment was when Jori was in the fun house and couldn't figure out how to get through the maze of windows. She was literally running into them and the ticket man had to go and help her get out. Tyson came out and said "There wasn't even anything funny in there!" Oh well, live and learn. After the tickets were gone we bought some fried food-french fries and fried veggies. Yum. Then it was back to the animal barns and tractors to show daddy all the cool stuff we had seen that morning. I left a little after 6:30 and have been enjoying some peace and quiet! Darin and the kids are at the off road derby. He is a brave man being there with the two of them, and I love him for it.

Hooray for the Hudsonville Fair. We will be going back. I still need to get my elephant ear!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Swimming-Round 2

Tyson and Jori are taking round two of swimming lessons. This time, instead of being in a class of 5 or 6 kids, they are in a class of one. Yep, we are doing private lessons, and I couldn't be happier about it! Their teacher, Miss Courtney is on the Jenison Public swim team. She is so kind and patient and is actually teaching my kids to swim! It is amazing what a little one on one attention will do! Surprisingly, these private lessons cost the same, if not a little less, than the lessons through Hudsonville Public did. Each kid gets a 45 minute swim lesson for 5 days. These videos were taken on day 2 of lessons. Enjoy!

Here are a couple of Tyson swimming and jumping off the diving board. We are SO proud of him!

A couple of Jori. I am amazed she doesn't swallow the whole pool with the amount of talking she does!

Friday, August 13, 2010

All I ever have to be

I've been sorting through some stuff around the house and I came across a piece of paper with some song lyrics on it. No, it wasn't a song that I had written in my youth, but rather one of my favorites from Amy Grant. Growing up, we had a couple Amy Grant records, and I can remember getting the record all set up on the player (carefully so I wouldn't scratch it) and then laying on my stomach in our living room (now your living room, Amy T.) and chilling to some Amy Grant. Unless of course the song "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" was on. Then I was dancing all around the room to that awesome opening music. Good times.

Back to the piece of paper I found. Here are the words that were written on it:

When the weight of all my dreams is resting heavy on my head- and the thoughtful words of help and hope, have all been nicely said. But I'm still hurting, wondering if I'll ever be the one I think I am-I think I am.
Then You gently re-remind me that you've made me from the first. And the more I try to be the best, the more I get the worst. And I realize the good in me is only there because of who You are-who You are.
And all I ever have to be is what You've made me. Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan. As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind, that I only have to do what I can find. And all I ever have to be, all I have to be, all I ever have to be, is what You've made me.

WOW! I must have realized that these words were something special to have written them in one of my notebooks, but even today as a grown woman they kind of make me teary, in a good kind of way. As you may have read before here or on other posts, I have my struggles with insecurity. After going through a lot of "childhood memories" lately, I've realized that this is not a new phenomenon for me.

This afternoon I watched a video with my kids. It was from my high school graduation "after party". There was some business there that provided dress up clothes, instruments and back up music and then you could lip sync a song with a group of friends and they'd make a video for you to keep as a souvenir. So we're watching this video and I hated it. I hated seeing myself. All of my friends were being goofy and having fun, and I was trying to look good-you know, cool, but fun. And instead of just being myself I was trying to get other people to do things with me, like "let's do the can-can" or "hey let's do a little shimmy here". Totally unnatural, and totally not cool or fun. It kind of made me ill seeing myself. I recently reread a bunch of journals I had kept in high school and I was a basket case. Seriously. I was so paranoid about what other people thought about me, about who was friends with who, when I was going to get a boyfriend, trying to be cooler than my friends and then feeling like I was cooler than all my friends(sorry Tami, I know now how untrue that was!!). Seriously, I don't recommend reading over things you wrote in high school, unless you were a totally secure person.

I just wish that my younger, 9 or 10 year old self, who had copied the lyrics of Amy Grant's song would have ran up to my high school self and said "Girl, get a grip. Read this. Go find that record and listen to the words. Listen to Him and what He says about you". I wish my 9 or 10 year old self would run up to me each day and shove this paper in my face and tell me the same thing.

All I ever have to be is what HE made me. If I try to be anything more, or anything less than I am not in step with His plan. He wants to recreate me each day-to mold me and make me into who He says I am and not who I think I am. I don't have to go around worrying about what this person is doing, or what that person has going on. I only have to do what I can find-the things He puts before me.

That sounds a lot better than trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing, but I know it does take some work. If it were as easy as reading the words or listening to the song, I'd have nipped this insecurity thing in the bud over 20 years ago! It is a daily process of dying to self, of capturing my thoughts before they lead me into a dark place, of reading what God says a life modeled after His Son should look like and then putting it into practice.

In the meantime, I think I'll try to track down this song so my sweet Jori (and her equally sweet brother) can listen to it now and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls that I have made in my own life.