Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Falling into place

Well, after my last post, I was just having a hard time getting back on here to write. I guess I have been stuck in a rut, having an extra long pity party, freaking out, or some combo of these things, but I am back, for now!

A lot of stuff has happened for us over the past week. Yep, it was only a week ago that EVERYTHING was up in the air and I was pretty much going out of my mind. Now, just 7 days later, things have all fallen into place. Praise God. I know it had to be Him, because I was certainly not doing anything productive or helpful during that time.

First, we will be closing on our house next Friday, the 28th and moving to our new apartment on the 29th. (If anyone wants our new address, leave your email address in the comments section and I will get it to you. ) So that is huge. I am feeling ok about moving. Honestly, I am not thrilled about moving to an apartment because we have been so spoiled having our own house, with our own yard, where we don't need to worry if the kids are stomping too loudly on the floors, a garage and shed for bikes and cars and so much more. Now we will have a three bedroom apartment, second floor, no garage, no yard. After storing our bikes for the winter (thanks Jon and Rachel!) we will be keeping them in our spare bedroom, assuming it is still a spare room and one of the kids isn't sleeping in it. Oh yes, we are going to try having them sleep together so that we can have one room to store all of our "moving to Africa" stuff. It is all going to be fine. Different, but good. The apartment complex is really nice and we will still be living right by all the stuff we are familiar with, so it is all going to be ok.

The other big news is that we picked a time to head overseas AND made flight reservations, which means this is really happening! On Saturday June 11 we will be leaving Grand Rapids around 4:30, heading to Chicago where we'll sit til around 8. Then we'll fly through the night to London, land around 9, have a TEN HOUR layover (hello Big Ben!) get back on another plane that night and arrive in South Africa a little after 6 on Monday morning. Crazy, I know, but I am also trying to tell myself it is going to be really fun and that we will all sleep for at least 3/4 of each flight. Maybe you can all start praying for that right now!

So, all is well. Right now I am just trying to sort out stuff to get rid of, stuff we need for the next 4 1/2 months and stuff we need to take along with us when we move. It is overwhelming and stressful, but compared to a lot of other things that people are dealing with, it's not bad at all. I can do ALL things through HIM who gives me strength!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tonight I am sad. I feel overwhelmed by all the choices we need to make in the next few weeks. For those who may not know, last week we sold our house. Yay! I know, it's only a tiny yay, but that's more than I was feeling this weekend. I feel like I should be so happy right now that our house has sold and our plans to head overseas can start moving forward. Instead I just feel sad and confused and like we were totally crazy when we decided this was a good idea, this of course referring to our plan to move our family to South Africa, start up a business that we have no experience in, and then support ourselves so we can get involved in some type of missions or community development. Who does that? Oh, yeah...we do that.

Right now everything is up in the air. We don't have a definite date that we are moving out of our house. We should know for sure next week. Once we know that, we can make a plan for some temporary housing, we just don't know how temporary our housing will be. We've talked about moving in April and we've talked about moving in June. We don't know where we'll be living once we sell this house and we don't know where we'll be living once we move to South Africa. It seems like so many things are dependent on other things and there are some decisions we can't make until we get information from other people, so everything just kind of stands still. In the mean time, we may have 3 weeks here or we may have a little more. In that time, we have a house that needs to be packed up, items that need to be sorted through, kids to explain things to, and normal life to live.

Tyson and Jori seem to be doing ok, but I honestly don't know what is going on in their little heads. Jori is fixated on taking one of her baby dolls along. It is an ugly baby, one that I took away several months ago and she never missed. However, I didn't actually throw it away, so it was discovered a couple days ago and now she is totally stuck on having this doll. I don't think she actually wants the doll, but I think it is just something for her to hold on to. So for now I'll give her the doll and then we'll figure it out in 2 months, or 4 months or however many months from now it happens to be when we finally move to South Africa.Because we ARE moving to South Africa. I think I need to say that more for myself than for anyone who might be reading this.

The reality is that at some point in the next 6 months (why not give myself some extra time!) we will be moving to a new country. A place where we (thankfully) have some connections and are somewhat familiar with, but a place that will be very different as a long term home than it was as a short term holiday. We will be far away from family and friends. There will be no 12 hour drives to Edgerton, no 4 hour flights to Washington. We will be thousands of miles away from the people that we hang out with on a weekly basis. We won't be able to stop in at Auntie Rachel's house for a few minutes, which often turns into a half hour or more. We won't have our church, our small group, my women's Bible study-all the things that have helped us with our spiritual footing will be gone. We will be in a totally different time zone. Making phone calls is not going to be quite so quick and easy anymore. We won't have our trusted babysitter Elisabeth right down the road, which means we probably won't be having many date nights.

Right now I am just kind of at a place where all I am seeing is the things we are giving up. The things that we will be losing. I know, deep down I really do know, that once we are on the other side, things will look brighter. I know that our family had such a great experience over the 10 weeks we lived in South Africa. I know that Darin and I grew closer to one another and closer to God as well. It is just really hard for me to push through all the chaos and confusion that I feel surrounded by right now. It is hard to think of the good stuff that's coming when I have so many goodbyes to say and tears to cry on this side of the ocean.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Our Despicable Night

On Saturday, we had a fun family night planned. It started with some "despicable" bacon pizza from Marcos. Yum! Check out our crazy girl wearing shorts and a tank top in the picture below! Seriously, it is snowing and so cold here, I just don't get it.
Then it was time to watch the movie "Despicable Me". I had wanted to see this movie since I first saw the previews. It just looked so funny. The kids loved it and Darin and I were also laughing throughout. Thanks Jenna and JJ for letting us borrow your Christmas present!
After the movie, we had a delicious dessert of "despicable" brownies and ice cream. When I went to dish out dessert for the kids, I saw that someone had already sneaked a few bites. It wasn't me, so that only leaves one dieting dad to blame : )
We had such a fun Saturday night. I love having movie nights with the kids, and pizza and brownies just made the night extra special.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas in Lynden-Part 4

Now it is Tuesday and Kristi and her boys are going to be leaving later in the day and Uncle Josh will be heading out that night. Josh and Darin are still making their way back up from Seattle with a load of Josh's stuff, so the rest of us head to the beach/ocean. My mom, Kristi and I drop off my dad and the kids so they can take Pebbles for a little walk. After making sure they were all bundled up, I left my camera with my dad and the three ladies took a little drive and waited for the kids and Papa to catch up.

Papa, Gage (10), Tyson, Jori Gram and Sawyer (9)
The kiddos
Pointing at the bald eagle
Showing off a rock
Another shot of Tyson peeking around Pebbles
The Eagle has landed
After we met up, Darin and Josh called to tell us they were back in Lynden, so we drove off to meet them at Bob's Burgers. We were all HUNGRY so the food tasted extra good.

Kristi and her boys left for home, so we had to say more good byes. Ugh! So not my favorite thing to do. Then we headed back to my parents house and hung out with Uncle Josh and Pebbles.

Loving on Uncle Josh
Snuggling with Papa
Josh left Tuesday night to finish cleaning up his house and moving his stuff to his temporary residence. It was a good thing he left when he did because we woke up to a light dusting of snow on Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon, Jori and I headed over to my friend Kelly's house so she and Addie could play together. It was nice to visit with a friend and I know Jori loved having a little girl to hang out with! We hung out that night and spent more time together on Thursday. It is pretty pathetic that it is only Sunday and I already can't remember what we did! I know we had an awesome steak dinner on Thursday. Sorry sissies, but there were only 4 steaks, so mom and dad saved them for me : )

Then it was Friday. We had to be up and ready to head to the airport by 8. Darin had left his backpack at Josh's house and our van keys were in the backpack, so we had to make a little side trip first. I made sure to take some pictures that morning, but I could tell that I was already starting to dread saying good bye again.

Gram and her grands
We love you Papa and Gram!!!
I wish I could say that the ride to the airport was uneventful, but it was not. Tyson was complaining about not feeling well and a little over half way through our trip he threw up oatmeal and blueberries. Poor kid. Then we stopped in at Uncle Josh's, changed Tyson's clothes, got the van keys and back pack, then headed to the airport. Then it was time to say good bye to my parents. I finally let myself really think about how long this goodbye could be for and when I was hugging my dad I lost it. Bleh. It's not that I don't like crying. I actually am a big fan of letting it all out, but saying good bye to loved ones is almost physically painful, and I am realizing that we have a lot more goodbyes to go. I am so thankful that my mom is coming out here at the end of January, so I didn't have to say the hard goodbye to her yet!

We had a wonderful time in Washington and I was reminded again and again of how blessed I am to be a part of my family and how much I love each person in it!

Christmas in Lynden-Part 3

On Sunday, we all got up and headed to church. Then we spent the rest of the day challenging each other on the Wii, playing cards and just hanging out. Jori loved spending time with Kelsey, the only other girl cousin on my side of the family. On Sunday, Gram and the Aunties let the girls use their makeup to get dolled up. I would have let them use mine if I had more than powder and chapstick to offer.

All dolled up
When they came down after almost an hour of getting ready, you could tell that Jori had been busy. I think Kelsey might have been hoping Jori would be her model so she could pretty her up, but Jori wanted to do a lot of her own make-up. If you click on the picture above, you can a larger image. I think she actually did a pretty good job, but her face and neck were two totally different tones and the purple (and pink!) eye shadow and dark lipstick were a bit much for a Sunday afternoon.

Did I mention how much we all love Pebbles the dog? Well we do. Even I love her, and I usually push people's pets off the couch if they try to sit by me, or kick at them if they get to close to wear I am sitting! I just love this dog. 

Hoping to find Pebbles twin in South Africa
Me and my baby
Then Monday rolled around. Laurie was going to be leaving later that day, and Darin and Josh were going to be heading to Seattle to pack up some of Josh's apartment, so they were going to be heading South as well. We (the ladies) decided to go to the mall and have Darin and Josh bring Laurie's loaded up van with her 4 kids to the mall so she could leave from there. That meant the kids had to say good-bye to their Auntie before we left for the mall.

Laurie DiAnn and Jori DiAnn
Three lovely ladies
Papa and Darin were going to take the kids to the park while we were gone, and the kids were so eager to go that they loaded themselves up and sat in the van for about 30 minutes while we finished packing Laurie's van.
Even Pebbles is buckled in

Since Laurie wouldn't be coming back with us, it was time to take a few more pictures. I knew it was going to be time to say good-bye soon and that really stunk.
Me and my "big" sisters
The 4 of us
We had a great time at the mall, and I managed to keep it together saying good bye to the Molan clan in the Kohl's parking lot. I know if I had let myself really think about how long it might be til I see them again I would have been crying, so it was just easier to stay in denial.

One more part of our Christmas vacation to go!

Christmas in Lynden -part 2

Ok, we left off with the cousins and Aunties and everyone else arriving. It was wonderful to have so much of the family together in one place. It would have been great if Danny and SooHee could have been there as well, but I am just glad we saw them this summer!

Being in a house with so many people, things are bound to get a little silly. The kids found Papa John's wig and decided to try it on:
Tyson in the wig
Pebbles looking like one of the Beatles
Maybe it's better that he doesn't have much hair...
Jori with her thick, dark locks
On Christmas Eve, Darin and Josh arrived with Pebbles and all the girls went to church with my parents that night. On Christmas day, we all kind of laid low (at least that is how I remember things) and then we had a really nice ham dinner that afternoon and then it was time to open presents.
New gloves from Papa and Gram
Barbie clothes from Kelsey
Money and a free hamburger coupon from the Molan's and Auntie Kristi : )

Thanks Uncle Josh!

Molan kids unwrapping their present from Papa and Gram
Papa and Gram getting hugs for the new Wii
Mario Cart and a new Wii fit for the Fey's
We all made out like bandits. I think my favorite things to watch people open were the gifts from Josh. He is in the process of moving (eventually to California) and had recently cleaned out his house. Darin and I received a meat thermometer, which will be handy when we braai (grill out) in South Africa. My parents received a down comforter that Josh was allergic too (I'd have snapped it up if we were staying in the states!), a duvet cover and a mattress pad. My sisters received the best things. Laurie got some swiffer wet pads, with no swiffer (although my mom later dug it out of Josh's trash) and a really nice insulated cooler bag and Kristi got a wine aerator and some spices. I loved laughing with my whole family as each of us opened our gifts! My parents made all the kids (and parents) happy and gave Wii's and Wii fits to everyone. Gage and Sawyer got theirs on Sunday, so they weren't left out. My sisters gave me a necklace, which I absolutely love.

It has parts of two Bible verses on it-Deuteronomy 31:8, which says "The Lord Himself goes before me and He will be with me" and Deuteronomy 30:19 "Listen to His voice; Hold fast to Him". I love it and if I had been forced to read the verses when it was given to me, I would have broken down in tears. So if you didn't know before, I love it and am so touched by the words on it!

The rest of the night was spent hanging out, playing the new Wii games and just relaxing.

Mario Cart
Our favorite pooch
My husband

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas 2010 in Lynden, WA

After 3 years of spending Christmas with Darin's family, we finally spent Christmas 2010 in Lynden with the Van Schepen's. Don't get me wrong, I wish we could be two places at once, because we missed being in Edgerton, but we sure had a lot of fun with my family!

On Friday, December 17, we headed for Chicago to stay at a hotel. Early the next morning, Darin took the kids and I to the airport and our adventure began. My Uncle Herm and his wife Libby picked us up at the Sea/Tac airport a little before 11 Saturday morning and we were in Lynden before 2 that afternoon, happy to be back with Papa and Gram. Tyson and Jori were eager to run around and I was glad to have some extra hands to help me with the kids!

The kids and I were the only ones at my folks until Thursday. We hung out that weekend with my parents and the Korean students that are staying at their house this year. My mom and I did some shopping and my dad entertained the kids at home and took them to his church so he could try and get some work done on his sermons. That was not going to happen! The kids just wanted to keep seeing what Papa was doing. Papa and the kids also went to a farm that a family from their church owns. They saw cows, donkeys and more. I think my dad took his camera along, so I might be able to add some pictures of their time there later.

On Wednesday (or was it Tuesday??) we drove to Canada to go to the indoor pool. We took James, one of the Koreans, along as he did not get to go home for Christmas this year. It was wonderful having so many adults to look after the kids as they didn't want to wear floaties. We were all happy that Tyson AND Jori were both able to go on the water slide. When we were in Canada this summer, only Tyson could go on the slide and he had to have a floatie on. They must have changed their rules, because as long as an adult went down first, both kids could slide down on their own. They also took turns jumping off the diving board. Jori even jumped off the 3 meter board (10 feet) but got hurt after landing in a belly flop. That ruined any chance of getting Tyson to go off the high board. We all liked being in the hot tub and the kiddie pool.

You'd think I'd remember more of what we did, but the older I get, the harder time I have adjusting to the three hour time change! I tried to sleep in a lot and went to bed early for the first few days. I am sure my parents were thrilled to have me around : )

On Thursday, Laurie and her kids got in around dinner time. Tyson and Jori were so excited to have some kids to play with and I finally took out my camera and started taking pictures. Auntie Kristi got in about an hour later, but her boys didn't come up til Sunday. Friday afternoon, which was Christmas Eve Day, Darin and Uncle Josh came up along with Pebble/Pebbles, our favorite dog!

Here are some pictures from the first couple days that everyone was around.
Tyson (6) and Carson (8) snuggle with Pebbles
Hanging out in the den.
Auntie Laurie and her 14 year old, Caden.
Early Christmas presents from the cousins (what happened to the NO gift exchange rule??)
Jori and her new Barbs from Kelsey (10)
Jori and Cameron (12)
Uncle Josh chilling
Jori and Pebs
More to come later...