CategorySlice of Life

It’s definitely spring

It’s definitely spring – wow – is the pollen count through the roof or what?!?

It’s been so beautiful out lately. It makes me just want to stay outside all day, but of course that doesn’t happen. There’s too much to do inside.

Sunday our church is having Homecoming, and then revival with Bro. Alfred Willis all week. I am so excited. Services have been SO good at church lately, and the Holy Spirit has really been working on my heart, showing me where I need to change and grow. I’m definitely looking forward to the services. If you’re in the area and would like to come to services, send me an email for details!

On the home front, Samuel has spring fever and is ready for school to be out. To be honest, this mommy is ready for a break too. :O) We are almost done for the year so break time is coming. My parents are also coming for a visit in the next couple of weeks so we’ll have that week off too.

Our rabbit had babies – 7 of them. They’re about 3 weeks old now and are SO CUTE. They’ve just learned how to jump out of their nest box and it’s so fun to stand there watching them.

Stephen and I also had our practical test for the bee school last Saturday. It’s the first step in the South Carolina Master Beekeeper Certification. I’d love to go farther with it but we’ll see. The last certification involves writing a book, and there’s only one Master Beekeeper in the state. . .It sounds like fun to pursue but honestly, probably not at this stage of life with our little ones. At least not for me, anyway.

Little Miss Esther is teething already. At 5 months, her first two teeth are about to break through any day now. She is one miserable teether. Poor little girl. :O) But it looks like her teeth will be through tomorrow or the next day so hopefully she’ll have some relief then.

We’ve also been making some pretty drastic changes to our diet. We’ve been trying to cut out all white processed food and sugars. One of the children (who shall remain unnamed) is so sensitive to sugar that we notice a dramatic change in behavior after eating it. Our first experiment is to eliminate all but the natural sugars and we’ll go from there. We’re also trying to eat as many whole foods as possible. It’s been a challenge, and here I was thinking we ate pretty well.

Our garden is huge this year and we’re in the process of making it bigger. Lord willing, I’ll be able to put up enough tomatoes/sauce so that we don’t have to buy any over the winter. It’s a huge project but I’m hoping to be able to do it.

Jewelry has been keeping me fairly busy as well. God has grown my little business and I am so thankful for that! I’ve added a Medical Alert Jewelry line and have quite a few other new design ideas as well. I’ve been trying my best to work the business during naptime/Family Quiet Time (more on that later if I can ever find the link again!) and when the kids are in bed. I don’t want my kids to think all I ever do is work on jewelry. But I have to admit it is a struggle sometimes.

This post is plenty long enough now so I’ll quit. . .more later. . .

Growing

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Here’s a picture of Esther that my friend Sara took the other day. Esther is now 3 months old. Crazy. I can’t believe how quickly time goes by.

Today is Caleb’s birthday. He turned four today. . .and I didn’t take a single picture. He was so consumed with his “Happy Birt-day take” and the fact that it was going to be chocolate! There were three little ones at my side the entire time, watching and hoping for licks and tastes of the frosting. Homemade frosting is so good. . .

Ok, so I’m behind on posting like never before. The kids and I took a two-week trip to Michigan to visit my family, and we got home last week. We haven’t stopped going since. Hopefully I’ll get more than a moment to blog soon though – God provided for us in a miraculous way while we were there and I do want to at least blog about that! I keep meaning to come over and post, and then usually end up promptly forgetting.

Life gets busy

Sometimes it feels like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, when life has just been super busy. There have been so many things going on, but making it here to post about it has not always been easy.

The boys have a blast outside and often come to the door to show me the treasures they’ve found.

boys playing with the lizard

This time it was a lizard.

lizard

They also like to be silly.

playing under the piano

Anna loves her baby sister.

Anna bouncing Esther

I partnered with Groopdealz.com a few weeks ago again, and my desk has looked like this since then.

making bracelets

Here’s what the bracelets look like finished.

Stick Figure Kids Personalized Cuff Bracelet
Stick Figure Kids Personalized Cuff Bracelet

I’ve had a little helper sometimes. . .or maybe she’s a supervisor. . .

little jewelry helper

Our babysitter has been wonderful in helping watch the kids at times so I could finish bracelets faster. She brought supplies to make Christmas ornaments with the kids last week and they had a blast. This was before things got really messy!

crafting

Anna decided to see how the green marker tasted!

green mouth

So mostly a lot of daily life and work around here.

Oh! I realized last night that I never mentioned here that we got our new well put in a couple weeks ago. It was so neat. God sent us a check for $2000 – exactly the amount needed to put a down payment on the well so the crew could come out and start drilling. It was amazing to see how God provided. Now I’m looking forward to seeing how He provides to finish paying it off.

We had some adventures once it was installed too. They drilled the well (they had to go to 300 feet to hit water!), and connected it to the house. They turned the water on, and a pipe burst under the house, creating a geyser. Stephen went down there to fix the plumbing and discovered that the ductwork from our new a/c (installed this spring) was in the way. The company who put the a/c in is the same company that owns a plumbing business, so we called them. They sent out both a plumber and an a/c repairman to fix the ductwork. . .but didn’t charge us for the extra service call. In fact, they even offered to put us up in a hotel overnight so that we could have water. We decided to stay home though because the kids sleep better here, and because we could still get water at the well itself to flush toilets.

We got the plumbing fixed and started enjoying water pressure again. Then the hot water heater decided to act crazy. It’s been failing for a while but we’ve been putting off replacing it. Stephen is planning on going today to pick up a new hot water heater at Lowes – I’m thankful there’s enough money from the bracelets to be able to go get one instead of having to wait longer.

Oh – speaking of jewelry – I’ve been really busy with jewelry other than the Groopdealz bracelets too. I’m so thankful God has sent the orders my way. It’s such a blessing to me to see how my little business has grown this year. By the way, all handstamped jewelry in my shop is 25% off today and tomorrow for Black Friday. Then for Cyber Monday the discount will be 20%. If you’ve been eyeing a certain Hope of My Heart Designs piece of jewelry, now is the time to get it. I won’t be running another sale for a while.

I try not to blog about my jewelry too much here, but if you’re interested in seeing some of the other jewelry designs I’ve been making, head over to my jewelry blog to see them.

So that’s what’s been going on around here. . .

I’m still here

I have been really neglecting my blog lately. Wow. We’ve been so caught up in day-to-day life that sometimes it feels like there’s not a lot to blog about.

Let’s see.

Anna’s birthday is tomorrow. I can’t believe my little girl is going to be 2 already.

We got another rabbit – we now have a male and two females. They’re so cute and are actually friendly (which is what we were wanting – we don’t want them to be afraid of us).

I’ve been very busy with jewelry lately. It is such a blessing. I am absolutely overwhelmed at how good God has been with the jewelry business, and am really loving getting to make everything and come up with new designs for customers too. If you’d like to see some of what I’ve been up to, check out my jewelry blog. I started that a while back so this blog wouldn’t be all about jewelry all the time.

On the baby front. . .we’re just waiting at this point. I’m 37 weeks now so the countdown is on. My church threw me a lovely baby shower a couple weeks ago, and I just realized yesterday pictures of that never got posted. So more on that in a minute. Also, a day or two before that, I got put on restricted activity. I’d been having a lot of contractions, and my midwife was concerned that I’d go into early labor. She didn’t put me on bedrest (for which I’m thankful; I would have gone crazy!), but there were a lot of things I wasn’t allowed to do. Now that I’m considered full term I’m allowed to go about my normal life. I never dreamed it would feel so good to make breakfast and do the dishes! Stephen and Samuel have been amazing, doing everything I normally do, but it feels SO good to be able to do it myself.

As a result of so many episodes of contractions, people are now calling me almost daily to see if the baby has arrived yet. I told Stephen last night it’s tempting to just keep it a secret for a couple days once she does arrive. . .not that it’s really possible. . . ;O) I’m just thankful to have made it this far though. We had one preemie (Samuel) and that was hard enough. I can’t imagine having a premature little one while having other kids to care for too!

Anyway, here are the pictures. . .

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Our church throws a baby shower for every baby. That was a new concept for me when I moved to the South. I was absolutely blown away at how our ladies gave for this shower. They make me feel so loved. I don’t deserve such a good church family, but I sure do love them!

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I was hoping for a good picture with Anna, and this is the best we got.

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The expression on Anna’s face here is too sweet; I just love it!

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She did NOT like the “melted chocolate in the diaper” game. I like to watch people’s reactions when the game gets played. This time it was especially disgusting as the diapers were still warm from melting the chocolate bars! :laugh_tb:

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Anna really wasn’t interested in helping open gifts, but got really excited when she discovered that one was for her.

I am so blessed – the ladies gave us so much. We’re still trying to figure out where everything will go!

What can I handle?

Aren’t you so glad God knows what you can handle (and what you can’t) better than you do? I am.

We got some unexpected news this week. We have been having ridiculously low water pressure in the house lately, so we called the well repair company to come look at it again. This is the third time they’ve been out here this year, by the way. The first two times they replaced parts on the motor and tank.

Wednesday they didn’t replace anything. Instead, they told us we need to dig a new well. It turns out our well is quite shallow and is going dry.

When Stephen came in the house to tell me what the repair men had said, I cried. It hadn’t occurred to me at all that digging a new well would be mentioned, so it was a shock.

Normally I’d say it’s ok, we’ll just save up for it and pray that God lets that happen quickly. But this time. . .we don’t have a lot of time to save up that kind of money.

So we’re praying for a miracle. I’m wondering how God will provide for this. He has always provided our needs, and this is most certainly a need.

It’s been an interesting few days. We’ve done our best to use as little water as possible. We’re praying for rain to help keep our well from going more dry in the meantime. But mostly, I’m doing my best to keep my eyes on God, my Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. I’m curious to see how He works this out. I don’t feel like I can handle this trial right now, but it’s good to know that God can.

My birthday and this week

What a great birthday I had this year!

It started out like this, with breakfast in bed:
breakfastinbed

It was great. Stephen got up early and made homemade waffles, and prepared the fruit. Once he was just about done, Samuel got up and brought me my plate, and took all the credit for me getting breakfast in bed. :O)

It was such a wonderful day. Later in the afternoon, some friends stopped by with a container of mocha brownies for me. Yum. It was the first time I’d ever tried mocha brownies, but they were good. What a treat.

Later that day, Stephen caught a huge praying mantis on one of the bushes outside the house. He put it in a jar and brought it inside for the kids to watch. I caught a smaller bug (thought it was a stink bug but Stephen said it wasn’t actually a stink bug. What do I know?) and we put the two together. It was so fun to watch the praying mantis attack and eat the other insect.

watchingbugs

The rest of the week has been fairly uneventful so far, thankfully. We’re trying to really get into the swing of school (though honestly we are on week 4 already). We’re using My Father’s World for the bulk of our curriculum, and while I love it, the style is so different from my usual “get up and do four other things during school” mentality. It’s forcing me to slow down, and while that’s not a bad thing, it has taken some adjustment, that’s for sure! I do think that once the new baby is here it will be wonderful.

Then today, my jewelry is being featured on Groopdealz.com again. Last time went really well, so I’m excited to be able to partner with them again. I also made some changes to how I prepared for it this time, which should allow me to get the bracelets shipped out faster too.

Heard in my living room

Right now the sounds in my living room are:

The 7-year-old walking in circles reciting his addition facts (he is a very kinesthetic/tactile learner and we’re trying new options to cement those facts in his mind)

The 3-year-old standing behind me in my chair, hugging my back and saying, “Mama, what’cha doing?”

The almost 2-year-old trying to get up in my chair too and getting frustrated at the lack of room in the chair

The quiet humming of our air conditioner – new this season – something I’m VERY thankful for with the heat we’ve had!

Now the almost 2-year-old has pushed her brother out of the chair and is driving a truck on my back. . .

My life is crazy and I love it.

Random updates

stewed-tomatoes

The garden has been going crazy. A friend from church came over last week to help me can tomatoes – we got 24 1/2 quarts canned that day. That was a very tiring day but I’m SO thankful for everything that got done!

At the moment there’s a 3-gallon bucket full of lima beans to be shelled, and that same amount of tomatoes to be canned again (which should work out to 5 quarts or so of stewed tomatoes if I remember right). There are also green beans that have been snapped that need to be canned. I’m hoping to get those done this afternoon but we’ll see how the day goes.

We planted potatoes for the first time this year, but the millipedes ate most of them.

We’re having VBS at church tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday. My kids are thrilled.

stuck

This silly boy fell into the crock and couldn’t get out. We all laughed before getting him out – it was just too funny!

God has sent an amazing amount of jewelry orders lately. I have been absolutely overwhelmed at His goodness.

My last piano lessons were this week. Was that ever bittersweet. It hit me more the next day though, when I started packing things up in the studio to store them. I’ve had a wonderful arrangement for years – including a keyboard/computer setup to allow easy typing and printing of music. Now that I’m no longer teaching the keyboard will go into storage. I didn’t expect packing it up to make me sad, but it did.

My brother-in-law is coming over today to move the piano out of the studio and into the living room. The studio is now going to be the girls’ room. Anna slept in there last night and did fine in there by herself, but I’m anxious to get the rest of the music equipment moved out to turn it into a regular bedroom for her.

Before the piano can be moved out of the room, we’ll need to move the bookshelf that’s in there, so sometime soon I’ll need to box up all my music reference manuals and extra teaching books. . .not looking forward to that either. Wow, I’m really going to miss teaching.

We’ve been rearranging things throughout the whole house. That’s been fun. What has been even more fun is I haven’t had to move any of the furniture myself (not that Stephen would let me at this point anyway), and I just get to decide where it goes. THAT has been fun.

Pregnancy-wise things are going well. I’ll be 30 weeks on Monday. I can’t believe things have gone this quickly! I feel okay, but keep forgetting that my energy level isn’t what it used to be. These three keep me so busy to start with, but thankfully they have been really understanding about me being slower than usual.

coloring

I have had a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions this time, like I did with Anna. They serve as a reminder to keep drinking my water and not to push myself too hard. :O) Next week is my glucose tolerance test, and we find out if baby is still breech. Hopefully she’s turned since my last appointment though.

Lord willing, I’ll be delivering at a local birth center this time around and I am SO EXCITED about it. My midwife is wonderful. The hospital births I’ve had weren’t exactly terrible, but there were quite a few interventions both times that I didn’t feel were necessary. I’d hoped to deliver Anna at the birth center, but they opened about a month after she was born, so that obviously didn’t work out. This time though it has worked out, and I’m loving it so far. The facility is beautiful and the midwives there are wonderful. It really sounds like a huge dream come true.

Drastic changes

I love being a piano teacher. I started teaching as soon as I moved here after our wedding, and have only stopped once since. That was the year we spent in Indiana. When we came back to South Carolina, I reopened my studio and resumed teaching almost immediately. I absolutely love being a piano teacher, though I very rarely blog about it.

Things are about to change.

Several weeks ago, Stephen and I decided that it would be best for our family if I closed my piano studio for the time being. It was not an easy decision and honestly, I really struggled with it. However, since deciding it was something that needed to be done, I went ahead and started making the preparations to stop teaching.

I told my students one month ago. One student found a new teacher almost immediately. Last night and today, I heard from three more students that they have found teachers. Suddenly, I find myself with too few students to keep my studio open any longer.

My original plan was to teach until the beginning of October. My due date is mid-October, so we thought that would give me enough time to stop before worrying about going into labor early. However, since many teachers tend to follow school schedules, I ended up telling my students in June that I’d be stopping so that they could start looking for new teachers.

I knew it was possible that they’d all find new teachers right away, but I was not expecting that to actually happen. Guess I was wrong there. Now my last lessons will be next week, since most of my students are starting with their new teachers in August.

It really surprises me how things ended up working out. I never really considered having two full months of break before baby’s expected arrival, but I’m thankful for it. We started school this week here so it will be nice not to worry about overlapping schedules.

One student brought a scrapbook she made me to her lesson tonight. In it, she outlined her feelings and reactions to each year studying piano and how much she loves it. Her assignment notebook and theory book each had little notes scattered throughout: “Please don’t go,” “I don’t want to stop,” “I love you,” “You make music fun,” “I’m going to miss you.” The tears almost started right then. I have kept all the little cards and pictures from students over the years, but this is one thing I definitely treasure and she caught me off guard when she gave it to me.

I didn’t realize it would be this hard to stop when we first started discussing it. While I am completely confident that this is the right decision for our family for right now, I am definitely going to miss it.

Maybe someday I’ll start teaching again, but for now it’s time to concentrate on my family. It’s hard to let go of something I love so much, but I’m looking forward to having more time to spend with my children now because of it.