Tuesday, 31 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 31 - Looking Down

Today's assignment: Looking down

Well, today wraps up the daily July photo challenge and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised that I managed to post every single day.  Though I really shouldn't be - usually an internet promise is exactly the kind of accountability I need.  Today I'm just squeaking in under the wire - though I do have a good excuse for that.

I dropped my iPhone in the toilet.

I know - I freaked out too.

It's currently sitting in my FIL's silica gel (for his hearing aids), drying out so that hopefully it will be back to normal tomorrow morning!  Anyway, instead of conveniently taking a picture with my iPhone and emailing it to my computer for an easy blog upload, I now had to take a picture with my actual camera and then hook the camera up to my computer to download all the pictures before I could post it to my blog.  It seems like more work to me for some reason.

Anyway, here it is.

Looking down from our covered back porch onto the new composite deck that Nathan and my FIL built today. (Yes, there will be stairs joining the two at some point) The square part at the end is where our outdoor washroom will be - we decided that was a "necessary luxury" with the number of children that will be likely traipsing in and out of the facilities constantly once our pool is in.  A decision we won't regret I'm sure!  Speaking of the pool - they are coming to mark out tomorrow afternoon and start digging Thursday morning - woohoo!

Monday, 30 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 30 - Something you`re grateful for

Today`s assignment: Something you`re grateful for

It took me a LONG time to decide what to share for today`s challenge.  There`s sooo many things I`m grateful for.

My relationship with God
My Bible
My Bible Blog and what I`ve learned from it
My husband
My children
My parents and siblings
Nathan`s parents and siblings
Our health
Our new house
Everything in our new house - both old and new
Baret`s miraculous healing
Family coming to visit
Summer vacation

You get the idea.  The list could go on and on and on. 

So, I tried to think of something that was at least somewhat unique to me.

 Inspired by my cousin Tammi who was grateful for something she had because she lost it for awhile, I realized that one of the things I`m most grateful for is my eyesight.

Those of you who know me are thinking, YOUR eyesight?!  Your eyesight is terrible!

And it sure is.  Both eyes are worse than -9, which is really bad, in case you`re wondering.  You know how bedside alarm clocks have these huge glowing red numbers on them? Yeah, I can`t see those when I wake up.  Not even close.

But thankfully, because of modern optometry, they actually have glasses (crazy expensive as mine might be) and contact lenses that can correct my vision so that I can see just as well as "normal" people.  

Which means I can see all those things I`m thankful for.  

I can see the faces of my children, including their distinguishing features.
I can see my husband and the way he looks at me. 
I can see firsthand the results of all my husband`s hard work on our home.
I can see my son`s face light up over pretty much everything.
I can see that my middle daughter`s hair is turning curlier than it used to be.
I can see my oldest daughter turning into a woman right before my eyes.
I can see my youngest daughter`s mischievous twinkle in her eyes and her brilliant smile.
I can see the amazing things our Creator has made.

And even though it`s doesn`t come naturally, but rather through scientific advancement,
I can see.

And for that, I am very, very grateful.

Tomorrow`s assignment: Looking down

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Book Review: Tales of the Not Forgotten by Beth Guckenberger

About the Book: Follow these real-life stories as they take you on a journey to faraway lands and unknown faces. Travel through their challenges and see the hand of the great Storyweaver writing endings you’d never imagine!

Joel dares to ask for what he can’t have. Seraphina sacrifices what she can’t afford to give. Ibrahim looks for an answer buried out of reach. Christiana, saved by a mission, searches for her own.

These are the tales of the ones the world doesn’t see . . . the tales of the not forgotten.

In this collection of four real-life stories written for preteens, a compelling storyteller paints a picture of God’s dynamic movement in four foreign cultures, inspiring children to trust that God is weaving a story in their lives as well.

This resource will shrink the macro picture down to approachable, individual stories of real children and teach about fundamental survival issues. The stories address some of the challenging questions that kids have and weave God's promises to orphans into each one.

The Tales of the Not Forgotten Leader’s Guide is a 6-session kids' missions resource (sold separately) that walks adults through an easy-to-follow guide for making the abstract real and for designing an action plan to help others.

Preteens will be challenged to answer the questions:
How do I pray? What can I give? Where can I go? Who will I serve?

My Thoughts:  I'm not a preteen, but I was challenged by these real life stories as well!  I was completely drawn into each of the four stories, literally to the point of tears during at least one of them, as I read how amazingly God answered prayer and worked through complete strangers, weaving their stories together for His glory.  Written at a level preteens can easily understand, it still captured my attention as an adult reader.

I'm definitely going to be giving this book to my preteen to read.  I pray it impacts her the way it impacted me.  

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 29 - Something You Don't Like

Today's assignment: Something you don't like

Potatoes - hate 'em.  Even my fries have to be so thin and crispy that they don't taste like potatoes at all.  Sweet potatoes are better though!

Tomorrow's assignment: Something you're grateful for

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Saturday, 28 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 28 - View from your front door

Today's assignment: View from your front door

Hopefully in several weeks it'll be a greener view :)

Tomorrow's assignment: Something you don't like

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Friday, 27 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 27 - Mail

Today's assignment: Mail

Now that's a mountain o' mail!

Tomorrow's assignment: View from Your Front Door

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 26 - Younger You

Today's assignment: Younger You

This is my pre-school picture - probably one of my favourites.     

Shortly after this my mom chopped my hair off, I got gigantically huge glasses and my overbite started getting really bad.  In an exercise in humility I will share with you my least favourite picture - my Gr 6 school photo.  At this point my hair had grown out and I had it permed, wearing (at the time!) stylishly huge glasses, and my overbite was at it's worst.  I began orthondontic treatment after this and wore a combination of permanent retainers, braces, and removable retainers for 6 yrs in order to correct it!  I had bite marks on the roof of my mouth from my bottom teeth, and my jaw would've eventually cracked if it hadn't been fixed. Yup, pretty brutal.  Now that you're sufficiently prepared, here it is.

This is my Grade 9 picture, I show it to you to show the incredible difference between Grade 9 and Grade 10.  

Over the summer I chopped off my hair and got contact lenses.  In Grade 10 we always had an influx of new students from another nearby school, and at first everyone thought I was one of the new kids - until they heard me laugh!  

Tomorrow's assignment: Mail

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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 25 - Home

Today's assignment: Home

Nathan is a now a homebuilder, but even when he was "just framing" we built and flipped several homes (working evenings and weekends), so we are currently living in our 6th home in our same small town.  I drove around town today taking pictures of all our houses and what they look like now (excuse the window marks, I didn't think to roll the window down in the van!)

We lived in an apartment in the city for 2 yrs before we built this home in the summer of 1998.  During those two years Nathan worked for my uncle as a flooring installer and after quitting my job as a server at a nice restaurant in the city, I worked first as a receptionist and later, as the Administrative Assistant to the Corporate Sales Manager, at a computer store.  The same summer we built this house, Nathan partnered with his dad to start a framing company.  This house was a 1170 sq ft bungalow and we lived here from the summer of 1998 till the fall of 2001.  I began teaching piano part time in the fall of 2000 (I think!).  Emma was born in March 2001 and was 6 months old when we moved out of this house and into an apartment while our next house was being built (purchaser's wanted a quick possession date - would NOT do that again).

This house we moved into in February 2002 - we even hosted a couples baby shower one week after moving in - talk about incentive to unpack in a hurry!  I did not return to work after my one year maternity leave was over, but I did continue to teach piano part time in the evenings.  Sophia was born in this house in March 2003.  This was an 1199 sq ft bungalow and we lived here until early December 2003 I think. 

We moved into this house in December 2003 and even managed to get the Christmas tree up right away.  Olivia was born in this house in June 2005 and I stopped teaching piano part time.  This was a 1225 sq ft bi-level and we lived here until late winter or early spring of 2007.

We moved into this 1385 sq ft bi-level in early 2007 and had no children in this house, however, we only lived here for about 6 months and moved in October 2007 when I was 6 months pregnant with Jacob. 

(Excuse the finger in this picture, didn't notice until now or I would've taken another one!).  We moved into this house in October 2007.  It is the exact same floor plan as the previous one but we cantilevered the master bedroom to make it slightly bigger so it was 1405 sq ft and fully finished out the basement.  Like I said, I was 6 months pregnant with Jacob.  But, as anyone who ever saw me pregnant, that means I looked like I was 9 months pregnant.  I think the movers thought I was nuts.  After moving again very recently and knowing how tiring it was, I think I must've been nuts too!  Jacob was born in this house in January 2008 and we lived here for a record 4 yrs and 8 months before moving into our current house.  In May 2008 Nathan started his own home building company called Nathan Reimer Custom Homes.

This is our new house that we moved into on June 22nd, 2012.  It's a 1565 sq ft bungalow with a fully finished basement - more pictures to come soon.  We're planning to break our previous record and stay here several years. I'm not so foolish as to say we're not going to move again, but we're putting an inground pool (hopefully starting next week!) so we'll be here awhile for sure.  The outside is not quite finished yet, but we're well on our way.  

With moving so much, there hasn't been any one place that I think of when I think of "home".  All our children were born in different houses and all have numerous wonderful memories. What is home to me?  

Tomorrow's assignment: Younger You

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 24 - Artwork

Today's assignment: Artwork

Aside from one family photo, we still haven't hung up any pictures on the walls of our new home - whether photos or artwork, so I don't have a picture of any wall hung art to share today.

We were, however, at a Nature Playground today with my mom, sisters and their kids, and there are numerous pieces of artwork there.  Here are just a few examples...

Tree art....

Musical frogs....

These two shots were taken by my sister...

Tomorrow's assignment: Home

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Monday, 23 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 23 - Animals

Today's assignment: Animals

We don't have any animals in this house, at least, not any of the non-human variety! ;)   

Neither Nathan or I are animal lovers to begin with, both of us are not at all interested in having animals in the house and I really don't need another "child" making a mess around here and needing to be fed and exercised. ;)  If we had a 2 acre yard then we would definitely have a couple of outdoor pets, but I just have a thing about animals being inside.  No offense to all of you pet lovers who also have very clean houses, but I can't help imagining cats running on the counters that my lunch was prepared on and dogs licking the table I'm about to eat on.  And that's the toned down version so that y'all won't hate me!   

We did have a couple of fish for some time, but I got tired of cleaning out their fish bowls so we gave them away before we moved.  

Stuffed animals on the other hand, we have aplenty! 

Tomorrow's assignment: Artwork

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Sunday, 22 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 22 - Something Old

Today's assignment: Something Old

 I like to bug Nathan about him being old (he's only 1 yr older than me), so it's rather fitting he's in this picture, but it's really of the tree.  I took this picture on our most recent cruise during our stop in St. Kitts.  We took a tour of the island and this magnificent tree is at Romney Manor - it is about 400 yrs old, 24' in diameter and covers 1/2 an acre!  The estate of Romney Manor was once owned by Sam Jefferson II - the great great great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson.  

Here's the poem that's on a plaque below the tree....

The Tree
by Sue Mackiewicz
of Middletown, CT, USA

A majestic Saman tree for hundreds of years has stood,
And now under its canopy a chair of carved wood
Shading the chair from the sun and rain
Through changing times of laughter and pain
Decades ago the seed started to grow
And a fragile shoot started to show
And there on the hill high above the sea
Began the life of an amazing tree.

As time went by the tree watches below
As war began and blood would flow
Sadly watching slaves toil in the sun
Sugar cane for miles-their work never done
The tree grew on-a strong symbol of pride
Its branches stretching out for all to see
A pinnacle of strengthen-a wish all could be free.

Years later at last the island peace
After years of hardship a welcome release
Tranquil and quiet the tree stands still
In its shadow a ruin of the sugar mill
Now under the branches children laugh and play
Lovers meet and go their separate way
Such a special place they thought to add a seat

In the shade and calm-a peaceful retreat.
I am here for a visit –I wish I could stay
For moment I sit –how many passed this way?
Through the leaves of green –the suns rays of gold
Ghosts of Caribbean Legends untold.

I only sat for moment –on this chair that I love 
Alone but for the wind in the branches above 
But I will keep this eternal place in my mind
For more special tree I will never find.

On a more personal note, this is now 16 yrs old.   It was a wedding gift from one of Nathan's cousins and still sits on the dresser in our closet.

Tomorrow's assignment: Animal

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Saturday, 21 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 21 - Something New

Today's assignment: Something New

Since we just recently moved into our new house and purchased several new pieces of furniture, there's a lot of options for what I could've posted today.  But I decided to go with this...

I've been looking for a better solution for cleaning my hardwood floors for a long time now.  I tried the Norwex mop but didn't like it (couldn't get into the corners and edges well), I tried the Swiffer Sweep N Vac which was ok but I hadn't heard great things about the Swiffer Wet Jet so I didn't want that.  I've ended up doing a combo of things - sweeping after mealtime, vacuuming occasionally, using a wet microfibre cloth on my Swiffer to mop, and sometimes using a hardwood floor cleaner spray bottle and the microfibre cloth mop that came with that - but the whole spray-put the bottle down-mop-spray-put the bottle down-mop gets old real quick. So, I kept looking for a better option.  Finally I came upon this review and thought the Bona Hardwood Floor Spray Mop with refillable cartridge was the perfect solution I'd be looking for!  So, this week I picked one up (from Home Outfitters) and tried it out as soon as I got home.  I love it!  I also bought a second microfibre cloth so I can still use one while the other is in the wash.  I also got the dust cloth as well.  So happy with my new toy! 

Tomorrow's assignment: Something Old

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Friday, 20 July 2012

July Photo Challenge Day 20 - Something You Drew

Today's assignment: Something You Drew

The only thing I like to draw is house plans.  In fact, I'd love to one day take a draftsman course and either do that for others as a side job, or simply take care of that part of Nathan's business.  When we build houses for ourselves and our clients we often find a plan we generally like and then adjust it to suit our needs or the lot size.  And I always draw out our own basement plans as well.  Here is one of the plans I've drawn up - we haven't used it yet but it was one we considered when we were debating about building on a narrower lot.

Tomorrow's assignment: Something New

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