Friday, September 28, 2012

Here We Go Again

Yeah, so, for all that talk I've done in the past few weeks about "settling," we are now moving!

In less than a month!

Our pastor called last week an said he had driven by a 3 bed (1 tiny bath) semi-detached townhouse with a delightful fenced in back yard. He had already negotiated the price down for us and said if we were interested we should call the landlord immediately.

Fast forward a week and I am starting to pack and plan room layouts.

I am beyond excited..... An extra room, basement and attic storage, the yard, being 1.0 mile from Herb's work instead of 1.1 miles, and a dishwasher!!!!

Yesterday I said, "Levi, we are going to move to a new house again."

He replied, "Baby. I see a baby."

Just putting that out there in case it turns out to be true and I have some kind of two year old prophet. Just kidding.

Kind of.

So, here we do again!!!! Bring on the boxes! You know I thrive on this stuff though, right?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Settling: The Living Room

So here's what happened a few weeks ago.

It was Monday morning and I was on my A game.  The coffee had been downed, the Bible had been read, I was dressed, and I was upstairs getting my little boy dressed for the day.  I threw a load of wash in the our upstairs washing machine (oh so convenient), and was organizing said little boy's sock drawer.

The sun was shining brightly, but from his upstairs bedroom, I could hear a sudden downpour outside.  "Wow, freak rain fall," I thought.  It was loud.  Really really loud.

I went downstairs to see the rainfall from the patio.  As I turned from the stairwell into the living room I quickly realized the rainfall was not outside and it was not rain.  A literal sheet of water was pouring from my ceiling into my living room through a crack between two drywall pieces and on to my desk/computer/important papers.

Things drying on the patio.
The washing machine had overflowed (a quick fix there).  My mom and the apartment complex handyman quickly came to the rescue.  The water was cleaned up, the computer was actually not damaged beyond a ruined keyboard and mouse, and the ceiling now supported by what I lovingly called "2x4 city."  And it stayed that way for over a week.

2x4 City
Do you know how much it sucks to have a really small house and then lose the function of your living room?  And basically your kitchen, too, because all the stuff from the living room went into the kitchen.

Anyway, everything is back to normal now, although the ceiling still hasn't been patched.

The silver lining was that when I put the living room back together, I had the perfect opportunity to rearrange it (just a little bit).  Previously, I had our very large entertainment center and comfy huge chair diagonally on corners for reasons of feng shui and tv  viewing.  When I put furniture back, I squared the furniture up.  It's not as feng shui, but I squeaked out a few extra feet of floor space.

See?  Craft junk barely visible from the door.

This rearrangement also gave me a hidden corner for my craft cabinet and some floor toys, and more of a purposeful cubicle-esque office space.  Please don't judge me for my mess of a craft cabinet - I'm actually considering a tension rod with a curtain between the entertainment center and wall to cover it up.

I donated my office floating shelf back to it's rightful owner (Levi's nursery) and crafted up a new pin board, using this tutorial from Emily.  I didn't have any burlap or linen on had, or any money to spend, so I cut up a brown twin size sheet from my goodwill pile.

Pin board close up.
Another problem area had been the guitar corner.  Fighting for floor space were several guitars, curtains, and a floor lamp.  The floor lamp had to go.  The curtains got raised and on ring clips now, they are much more moveable and I think it makes a huge difference.

To compensate for the lost floor lamp, I moved my hanging drum pendant light to the guitar corner and brought the blue gourd lamp into the living room.  That blue gourd lamp used to be amber glass and I got it for $5.  I love it, Herb hates it.  We did a facebook poll and I won, so the lamp stayed.  I think he actually likes it now that it's spray painted blue.

Another fun change (which Herb is legit happy about) is that the light switch now turns on two lights (gourd and hanging), the baby monitor, and my Scentsy burner.

Dare I say when I walk in to my living room and it is this clean I actually (gasp) like it?  It's crowded and multi purposed, but it works for us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Settling: Levi's Room

It all started with a train.

Levi got this little train set for his 2nd birthday.  As soon as Herb set it up on the living room floor, we realized it really needed a more permanent home.  (Someday I'd love to build something like this, but we'll get there.) A few days later I started my "settling kick" and Levi's room was the first to get hit.

Step one - get rid of the huge twin size bed that has literally never been used.  I blogged about Levi's room last November, but here's a little reminder:

The "Before"
We held on to the twin when we moved because a) my dad made the bed and dresser and I wanted it to be Levi's big boy bed one day and b)  I thought having an extra bed in our house would be good, even if it was in Levi's room.  Well, our couch has been working just fine for overnight guests and I finally found a solution of the unused bed and terribly valuable real estate in Levi's room.

The twin mattress got sent to our storage unit and the wonderfully sturdy, solid captain's bed (made by my dad) became a train and car table.  

Also, I stole Levi's dresser/changing table for myself (as seen here).  Levi really didn't need all the storage that the dresser and bed offered, in fact, half of the drawers on the bed were going unused.  But I still needed a place to change my baby's diaper.  Thank you Craigslist and lady in Lititz for the $5 changing table.

In rearranging the room, I realized most of the things hanging from the ceiling and on the wall needed to get moved around too.  The little shelves moved with the changing station.  The red lanterns which were crowded in the reading nook now serve as a mobile.  The large floating shelves finally made their way home to Levi's room after a year hiatus since we moved.  The birthday pennant banner now lives in a 2-D location instead of crossing the room.

I had some fun "styling" things on the large floating shelves - although I'm not sold on their placement.  The shelves house Levi's baby gift zebra, several trucks from Herb's late grandfather, a sentimental picture frame, a basket of baby necessities, and a sentimental airplane print.

Actually, the airplane is printed/stuck to the glass and there was a picture of a sunset behind it.  This picture hung in my dad's office for most of my childhood, and when it was on his "goodwill pile" a few weeks ago, Levi picked it up and said "Airplane!!"  Levi loved and and I swiped it for sentimental value.  I did swap out the picture of the sunset for some gray and white chevron, but the sunset pic is behind the chevron if I ever want it back.

Levi loves playing in his room now.  We went from just books and stuffed animals in his room to a afternoon of occupation.  He loves turning on his music, putting money in the "money pig," and playing with puzzles or trains at his table.  Another favorite activity is to see how tall he is.  Most nights before bed he says, "TA!"  Which means "tall."  Notice that huge growth spurt between May and June?

It's still not my dream house and a little more cramped than I'd prefer, but it will do.

For now.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beach Love

In case you didn't notice the deafening blog silence last week, I'll let you in on a little secret - WE WENT ON VACATION!  And it was awesome.

Originally, our plan (well, Herb's secret mother's day surprise plan) was to road trip it in our super gas efficient car to Florida for a week.  But when we started crunching numbers - 20 hours each way in the car ($300), one day and one night in Disney ($500), food (who knows) - we realized we were quickly spending much more than we planned, even though we were going to stay with family for most of the trip. Not to mention even though we had a full week set aside for our trip, almost 4 entire days would be spent in the car.

So scratch that plan.  It's a shame too - this is the last year Levi can go to Disney for free, and we also had plans to see family in Florida, Georgia South Carolina, and also get to meet Jack and Christina's twins (Herb's cousin in GA). Hopefully we'll get down there soon another time.

Back to the drawing board for us - we had one week of vacation, and wanted to spend waaaay under $1000.  In fact, we were really hoping for $500.

We rented a house in Bethany Beach, and my mom and step dad came down with us.  Then my brother, sister-in-law, and niece joined us for the end of our vacation on the weekend.  This was the first vacation my family has taken in years, maybe even more than a decade.

Here's some things we did that made this trip AWESOME...

1.  We went to the beach.  Enough said.  I think my beach loathing husband actually enjoyed himself.

2.  We went to the beach in September.  Have you ever done this?  Oh my goodness, I'm never going back to the beach in June, July, or August.  It's just not worth it!  September is SO gorgeous, perfect weather (around 80 all week), and because it's been baking all summer, the ocean is still warm enough to jump in.  Also, the beach was empty. We parked incredibly close to the water every day.

3.  Since it was after Labor Day, our beach house rental was CHEAP.  Especially when split with my ma and my bro chipping in.  And then we split the cost of groceries and ate in all week, too.   All told, we ended up spending about $600 for the rental, food, gas, and parking, but really $200 of that is gas and grocery money that we would have spent during a week at home, and another $250 was money Herb had set aside from a guitar sale.  So really, we only spent $150 on vacation.  How's that for awesome?

(I know, I talk about money too much, I can't help it, thriftiness excites me.)

4.  We opted for the bigger and nicer house that was farther from the beach (three miles).  In the past, we have stayed at some amazing beach houses with Herb's family directly on the water.  But since we weren't splitting the cost between 20 people, and just 4, the houses on the sand were definitely out of our price range.  In fact, they cost 3-4 times more that the house we rented.  Even when we looked at houses that were walking distance to the ocean (one block), the price was still hundreds of dollars more than we wanted to spend, and the houses were small and groody.  We decided that if we're going to "get away" it would be more fun and enjoyable to stay in a house nicer than our own, and it really felt luxurious.  But again,  it was after labor day, and 3 miles from the beach, so it was super affordable!

5.  The beach house came equipped with EVERYTHING we needed for the beach.  Boogie boards, beach chairs, bikes, bike with baby trailer, kayaks, sand toys.  Literally, the only thing we packed for the week was clothing, toiletries, and linens.

6.  Have you seen this article on pinterest?  Basically, if you are all sandy, or your two year old is all sandy, all you have to do is sprinkle baby powder on the sandy areas, and ta-da, you are all clean.

7.  We ate in every night except one,  well technically two.  Herb and I had one date night (one of the many benefits of vacationing with grandparents) and then the whole gang went out on the last nigth to celebrate my mom's 53rd birthday.  I was worried cooking and cleaning up meals woudl be annoying to do on vacation, but in all honesty, I loved it.  Working in a nice house with a big kitchen and a dishwasher was actually a pleasure.  And everyone helped out, too.

8.  Herb and I had a date night.  At the beach.

9.  Levi slept in a closet all week.  We grabbed the master suite (I know, we're jerks) and the closet was big enough to easily fit three pack and plays.  Levi called it his room all week, mommy and daddy got some privacy, and we all slept better because of it.

10.  The beach house we stayed in is kind of blog famous.  It is owned by the father of the author of one of my favorite blogs.  It was completely random - we had already decided we wanted to rent this house by the time I realized the last name of our landlord was the same as the bloggers.  I'm kind of embarrassed by how cool I thought this was, so I am definitely not going to say which blog it was because I don't want to seem like a stalker.  But here's a clue - Herb called our vacation "Beach House Love."  ;)

11.  Our vacation was planned at the beginning of a very busy and fun month.  So even when vacation was drawing to a close, I knew I had fun things to look forward to - this month is filled with a class reunion, a wedding, starting a new job, and the welcoming of amazing fall weather.

12.  We got to spend major quality time with my family.  I only wish my sister could have been there, too!

Vacation was so awesome, I actually got teary-eyed as we pulled out of the driveway.  Can't wait for next September to come!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Story of How I Became A Music Teacher: Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about my initial decision to pursue a music degree.  You can catch up here.

A few years and semesters of music education down the road, I found myself at a crossroad.  I was very much enjoying my music classes, and all my new friends, but was struggling with the demands that all the practicing, rehearsing, and homework took on my life.  It was an easy excuse, but I often felt like I let my degree get in between me and God - practicing clarinet was a priority, but reading my Bible rarely happened.  I realized God didn't give me a gift in order for it to drive a wedge between us.

Then one Thursday night in July 2003, I tearfully told God if he needed me to change my career path, I would.  

For 48 hours I was so devastated.  I couldn't utter the words to anyone else that I was considering changing majors.  I knew if God called me to do it, he would carry me through it, but I surely wasn't ready to talk to anyone else about it.  This was just between He and I.

And then Saturday night, as I was getting ready for bed, one of the gals I worked with at camp that summer knocked on my door.

"Hey, I was just reading my devotional and this page made me think of you!"

A weight came off my shoulders, my heart became light, and tears filled my eyes as I basked in the the faithfulness of my God.  The devotional page was about music; what a wonderful gift it is that God give us, and if He has gifted us with musical abilities, we need to use them.  It quoted Psalm 150:

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.

I took that as my answered - I had to be willing to surrender everything, including my love of music.  And I guess that was my wake up called.  Pursuing music was fine to do, but I had to purse my relationship with God first.

And I lived happily ever after  as a music ed major and then a music teacher.  Until I got baby fever and decided I really really really needed to be a SAHM, and now I am totally happy to be teaching several private piano and guitar students.  For now. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Love the Number 12: September

I can't believe I have failed to mention one of my favorite things that comes in a set of twelve!!
Picture of Piano Keyboard - Free Pictures -

{If you don't know what that is, then you really need to visit MS Music Studio.}

But really, I do find it special that the piano, well, western music in general, has 12 unique tones, further justifying my case that 12 is a totally awesome number.  

And in a full circle fashion, I'm going to tell you another hope fulfilled.  This one came long before a baby or a husband - my career as a music teacher.  This is going to be a two parter, but don't worry, I already wrote part two and it's scheduled to post tomorrow, so I promise I won't leave you hanging. 

The Story of How I Became A Music Teacher: Part 1

The year was 2000, I was a junior in high school.  It was early September, and I didn't realize everyone was already thinking about college until school started and my classmates were discussing college visits and majors.  And I had NO CLUE what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

The band director pulled me aside one day and asked me the big question - to which I had no answer - and then suggested I might want to think about music education.

HA!  I thought.  I never practice, I am barely holding on to first chair bass clarinet, and I play piano like a 7th grader.  Only in my wildest dreams did I entertain the idea that I might be capable of exploring music beyond high school.

Not more than 24 hours later I was sitting in a clarinet lesson (which I was probably unprepared for), and my clarinet teacher/ life mentor opened the same can of worms.  I shared my insecurities with her, and she laughed at me.  In a good way.  "Of course you can do it," said Janine.  Looking back, she had every reason to think poorly of me and my musicianship, but over the years, I think she was my biggest fan.
I'll pray about it, I said.  Talk to my mom and dad.  This is all surreal, I am not talented enough for this.

And then I found myself at a Bible Study, on my knees in prayer, asking God (privately) what I should do with the rest of my life.  An older lady came up to me (who didn't know what I was praying about), and asked if she could pray for me.  She prayed for clarity for "whatever I was dealing with,"  and then when she was finished praying, she said, "I don't know what your future plans are, but I feel like God is telling me you are going to be working with kids."

That was totally sweet and the time that God used three completely different people in a very short amount of time to help me with my decision about college.  

Check back tomorrow to hear about the time I almost changed my major.