Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wuh-wuh-wuh, what’s happening Dude??

If you are at all familiar with the Leapfrog phonic’s DVD, you can thank me later for putting the alphabet song in your head. The volunteers are working hard to help Thato learn her letters and their sounds, so this DVD is frequently played and parts of the song repeated by all of the kids up at the main house. When Thato said “The T says Tuh, for Thato and Tyson” without any prompting, it made having this song in my head totally worth it!

The Warrior Race is coming up in less than 2 weeks. Sadly, my training has taken a nose dive. I was just starting to feel all athletic and strong and then I realized I was walking around like a robot, a robot with very sore knees and shins. I have been resting and icing, but it appears that allowing my muscles to remain dormant for so long is making my recovery time move at a snail’s pace, which is about how fast I’ll be running in the Warrior Race! Ha. We really do covet your prayers as we run this race, that we will spread the word about Tshepo ya Bana, raise money, and stay injury free!

We have become a 2 pet family! Yes, it is true. We went from zero pets to 2 in the span of less than 2 months. You all know about Perry the not-so-loveable Parakeet (we are hoping Papa John will break him of his biting habit), but now we have welcomed Harvey Finkelstein into our family. Harvey is a chameleon that Tyson received from a friend at school. He is small, climbs fast, and loves flies. On the whole, our family is way more impressed with Harvey than with Perry. What’s not to love about a creature with little puppet hands who catches bugs by unfurling his tongue? Darin and I sit and watch him walk, stalk bugs and lick water off of leaves long after our kids in bed. We have an exciting night life!

My parents arrive next Wednesday!!! We are so eager for them to arrive. We are hoping to go on a holiday with them, but haven’t decided on where we will go. Swaziland, St. Lucia, and Botswana are a few of our options. Whatever we do, we know we’ll have fun.

Just over 2 months after bringing my parents to the airport, we’ll be heading there ourselves. Yes, if you haven’t heard we are coming to the states for a 6 week tour of awesomeness! We will be arriving in Michigan June 14, heading to Minnesota around the 25th, and ending up in Oregon a couple weeks later. We will be seeing lots of family and friends along the way and making tons of memories to carry back with us to South Africa.

We have a lot to look forward to and are so thankful for all of the opportunities we have to do fun things with friends and family. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Warrior Race 2014

In college, I had to take three Physical Education classes. Now, I am not the most athletic person (shocking!), which led to my taking the following three classes; Social Dance, where I learned to waltz, fox trot, line dance and more, Women’s Self Defense, where I learned some sweet moves to protect myself and Walking. Yes, walking. I was supposed to walk around and keep a journal reporting how many laps I completed, but even this proved to be too much exercise for me and most days I walked myself right back to my dorm room where I watched TV until I needed to return to the gym to turn in my journal.

Since college, there have been a couple times where I decided to get serious about exercising. I bought an exercise ball and DVD from one of those “As Seen on TV” ads, promising my husband that I would workout every day. This did not happen and I spent the next several years trying to find a convenient place to store a giant inflatable ball that I would surely get serious about using at some point. I went to one Yoga class at our public library, but could not keep myself from laughing as I tried forcing my body into impossible poses.

Why, then, with my history of exercising fails, have I been jogging around the property, stretching, doing jumping jacks and more daily since February 1st? Why do I pull on my tennis shoes to run around a track that has been worn by volunteers who actually care about being physically active when I would much rather be laying in bed or enjoying a cup of coffee? I will tell you why: On March 1 of this year I, along with Darin, our friends the VanGilders and a few TYB volunteers, will be participating in the Warrior Race. What is the Warrior Race? Instead of telling you, let me show you:

Now why would I, a person who obviously does not enjoy physical activity of any sort, want to put myself through something so physically taxing? Why would I want to jump off of a very, very high platform and jump into a pool of water when I hate heights? Why would I want to crawl under barbed wire and climb over tall wooden walls? Again, instead of telling you, let me show you:

The only reason I am jogging every day, even when I don’t want to, the only reason I am “training” so that I don’t make a complete fool of myself on March 1 is to raise funds for Tshepo ya Bana. This place that we currently call home, this place that touches the lives of the children pictured and of others in the community and will hopefully continue bringing hope to children for many years to come. We are here, on the ground, doing our best to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but we could not do what we do without the financial support that we receive from a variety of sources, none of them governmental.  Supporting us as we run this race is a way for you to be involved in what we are doing here. The needs at a place like Tshepo ya Bana are ongoing and unending. There is always something that needs to be done! There are staff salaries, petrol for the vehicles, school fees, groceries, and diapers. These are just some of our basic, monthly needs. There are also one time projects or needs related to specific children, such as wheelchairs or other assistive devices.

We would love for you to join with us as we do something beyond ourselves (ok, just beyond ME!) to help this place that we love. If you want to contribute, you can use the PayPal button on the right of our blog. Or, if you want to send a check, please message me at thefeyfamily@gmail.com and I can send you details. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Grandma Karen and Grandpa Rick part 2

We were having a wonderful time with Grandma Karen, but were eager for Grandpa Rick to arrive. After a quick stop in Germany for business, Grandpa finally arrived on Wednesday, December 11 and on Thursday the 12th, we headed to Magoebaskloof for a holiday.

We arrived at the Magoebaskloof Ruskamp late in the afternoon after a few stops along the way for food and bathroom breaks. We picked up some groceries and got settled in. Tyson and Jori were eager to explore and were running all over the property. It was nice and quiet as the weekend hadn’t quite started.

On Friday we headed out for our canopy tour, anticipating some fun, some thrills and some fearful moments! We experienced all of that and more. First, we were fitted out with helmets, gloves, a harness and a variety of cables and ropes. Then we followed our guides down a steep trail until we reached the first platform. This is where the action began. Tyson, Jori and Darin were thrilled. Grandpa was happy. Grandma and I were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. We all lined up and were hooked on to a cable, which would keep us secure if we were to slip off of the platform. Hooray for safety. Then, one by one, we were hooked on to the cable that made up the first leg of the tour. We subsequently rode on 12 more cables, moving from platform to platform over the river, passing waterfalls, huge rocks and tall trees. It was amazing. Once I was over my initial apprehension I actually enjoyed myself. I did continue to have an irrational fear that my children were going to plummet to their deaths, but I kept the crazy at bay and thoroughly enjoyed the morning. Jori screamed like a typical girl on each cable and Tyson was just a smooth character the whole time, taking everything in stride. Even Grandma had a wonderful time and would happily go again if given the chance! After our canopy tour was complete, we had a fabulous lunch and enjoyed looking out over the valley. Then we headed into a small village for some sightseeing. We found a used bookstore, where I could have spent the whole holiday and all of our money, but we kept moving (after Darin let me buy 2 books), enjoyed an ice cream treat, then headed back to our cottage to enjoy the rest of the day.

On Saturday we headed out to see a few more local sites. First, we went to see a giant Baobab tree, estimated to be over 6,000 years old. This thing was HUGE. How huge is it? Well, it is big enough that the inside has been carved out and has a small bar area and another little “room” as well. These are not big spaces, mind you, and the smell was horrible, but it was in a tree, which was pretty cool. The outside of the tree was even more amazing and our kids had a great time climbing high up onto its wide branches. After seeing all we wanted to see of the giant tree, we headed to Debegeni Waterfall for a picnic lunch and some waterfall fun. Tyson and Jori jumped right in, even though the water was freezing. There were some pools that they splashed around in, and a sloping rock that was like a rock-water slide. They had fun slipping and sliding down that and landing in the water below. They would have happily stayed swimming all day, but the rest of us were ready to move on. Instead of heading back to our cottage, we decided to check out the Pekoe View Tea Estate, which had been recommended to us by someone at church. I’m so glad we went as it was amazing. We had to drive up a long, winding road, past thousands and thousands of tea plants. The higher we climbed, the more amazing the view. We finally reached the top and decided to go in for some dessert. This was a good decision on our part. The adults could sit and enjoy the view, and our food, while the kids watched a fish pond being cleaned out. Good times for all! We headed back to our place and the kids swam and did some more exploring. They know how to keep themselves occupied.

On Sunday we packed up to head back to Hammanskraal. We did make a few stops on the way. First we went to an organic farm where cheese was made by hand. It was fun tasting the different cheeses and seeing the different animals on the property. We also enjoyed swinging on their awesome rope swing. After buying some cheese, we headed out to our next stop, a blueberry farm. Now, these were definitely NOT Michigan blueberries, but they were pretty tasty! We bought some berries and some blueberry syrup, then packed back into the car for the rest of the drive home.

We had a wonderful time and would definitely go back to the area. It was beautiful and there were so many things to see and do. We are so thankful that we have been able to enjoy so many of the beautiful places in South Africa and are especially thankful that we’ve been able to share so many of our travel experiences with family.

**pictures will be up soon on Picasa!

Build Them a Home Progress Report #3

Wow, wow, wow!!! We are only $50 away from reaching our goal!! Thank you to everyone who gave over the past week. The house is really taki...