Family Photo Friday


Friday is here again. The end of July already. The time goes quickly, which is why I regularly try to grab some shots of everyday life as it happens. Here are few photos from the last week or so. 

A silly shot of our garden veggies. Our cucumbers this year are LONG. They look more like zucchini than cukes, but they make great horns!

A picture from more than week ago that never got shared. Daddy-daughter hugs. 

A shot of me with some of our beautiful lilies in the backyard.

I've never mentioned this before but my husband is AMAZING at making homemade pizza. He has perfected his own recipe and we very much enjoy it every time he makes pizza. This week he decided to stick some chunks of ham along the crust of the pizza (a little trick making the kids more likely to eat their crusts). Yum, yum, yum!

Always melts my heart to see Daddy reading to our little boy. We love books and we love reading together.

Here's my daughter doing some Chinese calligraphy as part of our 5th grade schooling with Sonlight. This was a fun side project she worked on as she's currently studying the country of China. 

Happy Friday to you!

Pregnancy - Week 20


20 Weeks Along

We're halfway there! 

In the last week, I removed my wedding ring from my finger. I now wear it on a chain around my neck. My fingers swell during pregnancy (especially last week with plenty of summer heat). When pregnant with my son 6 years ago, I forgot to remove my ring before it was too late. I ended up not being able to remove my ring for the next 5 years... until I had it professionally cut off by a jeweler. Hoping to avoid that this time! 

We had the standard 20-week ultrasound earlier this week. Everything looked great. The baby was plenty active - opening and closing its mouth, punching with its fist, turning and moving. As far as the sex of the baby goes, the technician told us... the baby is a normal gender. :-) 
We don't want to find out the sex ahead of time, so we'll be surprised later on. 

My hubby created a "Flutter Phone" this week - a megaphone to talk to Baby Flutter. The kids think this is very funny, but he did similar things when they were in-utero so the baby was used to hearing Daddy's voice. 

We love you, Baby Flutter!

Summer Bucket List


We've been busy with items from our Summer Bucket List, since summer is quickly slipping away (in case you hadn't noticed). We went camping a week ago and have enjoyed some ice cream on numerous "it's just hot" occasions.

And this week we took a day to visit a nearby water park. The kids had earned free admission through a reading program and of course, I'm all about discounted or free fun! :-)

I didn't get any pictures of the kids in the deeper water because I was in there with them and didn't want to destroy my camera. But we all agreed that the lazy river was the best part. 

We went on a day that was perfect, in this pregnant-mama's opinion. The temps were in the 70s. It was sunny, but cloudy so there was some natural shade at times. There was a breeze that helped keep us cool. The weather made it a very enjoyable day. 

How are you doing on your summer bucket list? Time is running out! Get it done!

CVS Deal & Diaper Stockpiling


I've been keeping my eyes out for diaper deals, as I stockpile diapers for cheap before our baby comes. CVS has a great diaper deal this week that I scored big on. 

Here's how it worked for me. I had $5 in Extra Care Bucks (also known as ECBs, which are like a gift card to use for purchases at CVS) saved from a previous diaper deal. I also received an email from CVS last weekend with another $3 ECBs via a printable coupon. 

When I walk into CVS, I always head to the coupon printing machine, which often spits out more money saving coupons or ECBs. On this visit, it printed a $5 off $25 purchase coupon, which fit perfectly with what I had planned to do anyway. It also printed a 79 cents off CVS brand paper towels, which are on sale for 79 cents this week (making them free after using the coupon).

I bought 2 packages of Huggies diapers at $9.99 each, the paper towels, and 2 packages of generic baby wipes that would help get my total to $25 or more. 

Then I used the $5 off $25 purchase coupon.
Then my $5 ECBs and $3 ECB coupon. 
Then I had 2 coupons for $3 off Huggies products = $6 off.
And the 79 cents off coupon for the paper towels. 

My total out-of-pocket for all 5 items was $6.61.

AND the Huggies purchases generated $5 in Extra Care Bucks to use next time at CVS, which makes it kind of like spending $1.61 to get all of those items! 

Even if you don't have a child in diapers, you could consider doing some of the "diaper deals" at CVS to give brand-name diapers to a new mom as a baby or shower gift. At prices this low, you could gift her with her multiple packages of diapers which are SO VERY practical!

It feels exhilarating to save money!

Garden Update


Our garden is producing! We've had an abundance of green beans and cucumbers in the last few days. Prior to this, we had lettuce (which we harvested from May all through June and into early July, when it started to turn bitter). 

Cucumbers on the left, sprawling out, providing lots of shade for those big cukes to hide. Sweet corn on the right of the picture. 

Sweet corn on the left, starting to tassel now. Tomatoes in the middle - none to harvest yet, but starting to come in. Green beans on the right - coming in strong now.

Broccoli is getting eaten up by beetles, so I don't know how much of this we'll be able to harvest. Next are turnips. Then some peas, which we planted late and aren't ready yet.
In addition to the vegetable garden, we've got some beautiful flowers blooming right now too. I love strolling around the yard when these beauties greet me!

We have multiple rose-of-sharon bushes/trees that are in full bloom right now.

Some marigolds that line the perimeter of the garden.

My favorite hydrangea in the foreground, with big pink and lavender blooms. Behind is a stargazer lily that is just stunning right now, with a few more blooms ready to pop in the next few days.

Cosmos in various pink shades.

The way that the flowers come to life just encourages my heart. The beauty of creation makes me sing with gratefulness that I can be alive to experience it!

Pregnancy - 19 Weeks


19 Weeks Along

So we're at the halfway point of this pregnancy. As with anything, it seems to have gone fast and gone slowly at the same time! 

In the next few days our routine 20-week ultrasound is scheduled. At this point, we're opting to NOT find out if Flutter is a boy or a girl, but to be surprised at birth. My husband and I will be happy either way, though my son wants a little brother and my daughter wants a little sister so one of them will end up disappointed.

I continue to feel great. I have a good amount of energy, which I've put to use to do some cleaning and organizing (nesting instinct?) around the house. We went camping last weekend, which I tolerated well. 

I'm feeling more baby movements on a consistent basis now, which is encouraging. Once in a while I still have feelings of anxiety about miscarriage, but overall I am very hopeful that things will turn out well with this pregnancy. 

We love you, Flutter!

My Man's Birthday


My man celebrated his 38th birthday recently.

I'm so thankful for this man! His life has been spared on my occasions, as God has protected him. He isn't perfect, but he's perfect for me. I love being his wife and sharing our lives together.

So again I say "Happy Birthday, Babe!" 

Family Photo Friday - Summer Edition


It's Friday, which means that I post some family photos. This week I've got plenty of photos that show some of the fun we've had so far this summer. 

My husband and daughter took in a baseball game. This was on my girl's summer bucket list. Check. 

The kids playing in the neighbor's small pool on a super hot day. That's on every child's summer bucket list! Check.

Free slurpees on 7/11 from all 7/11 stores. And free Chick-Fil-A meals when you dress like a cow on 7/12. Summer fun at its finest includes freebies! Check.

Kids hanging out with friends at a nearby park.

Last and certainly least, we are pig-sitting some guinea pigs this week. My kids are thoroughly enjoying the experience (while my husband and I, not so much). But we're glad to help out Aunt Sheila and Cousin Racquel while they're on vacation. 

Happy Friday to you! 
Make your weekend a good one - life is but a vapor and will be over before you know it!

Pregnancy - 18 Weeks


18 Weeks Along

I feel great! 

I have energy. 
I'm not sick. 
I've got a little belly, but moving around isn't uncomfortable. 
I'm still enjoying the newness of my borrowed maternity wardrobe.

I had an appointment this week with my midwife. All is well. She could feel the baby kick her when she was trying to hear the heartbeat, so that confirmed that the movements I've been feeling really are baby (and not gas or something)!

 Since my last baby was born extra large (over 11 pounds), they ordered an early diabetes bloodtest to get a leg up on the possibility of gestational diabetes. I have gained about 10 pounds so far, which is in the perfectly normal range.

 According to the books, Baby Flutter is now about the size of a large tomato and hair is starting to sprout.

Next doctor appointment is in 2 weeks for the 20-week (halfway point - yahoo) ultrasound.  

We love you, Baby Flutter!

Fair Fun


Last week was our county fair. What fun we had this year, as we visited the fair numerous times throughout the week. 

My son LOVES looking at the tractors.

One of my favorite parts of the fair are the exhibits. Such creativity on display! 

Of course, there are also the rides!

Here's my boy with his Cloverbud Project this year. He was very proud of his ribbon!

Another item crossed off our summer bucket list: enjoy the fair!

Good-bye to Grandma

Early this morning my husband's Grandma Hart passed away. We knew last night that she was failing, so we gathered around her bedside to pray and sing hymns. 

Grandma Hart had lived with my husband's parents for 5 years. For the last 3 years she's been bed-bound. 

This picture was probably taken 15-20 years ago, Grandma Hart and her second husband.

This picture was from my daughter's birthday party in 2006, where 4 of her 5 living grandmas were present. Grandma Hart is on the left.

And here was Grandma Hart with my son in 2009, probably one of the last times she was able to get out of the house.

We love you, Grandma Hart! And because you love Jesus, we know that you are rejoicing in heaven with Him. 
We'll see you again soon!

Pregnancy - 17 Weeks


17 Weeks Along

That means I'm at the end of the 4th month - yeah!

Morning sickness is pretty much gone. I think I had just one instance this week with gagging and I can go in our basement again without problems (the musty smell used to be a big problem, a month or so ago).

This was my first full week in maternity clothes. The rounding belly is making this pregnancy feel more like reality now. 

According to the books, my womb is about the size of a small melon at this stage and the baby is about the size of an avocado. When making the rounds at bedtime, my daughter now includes a "good night" for Baby Flutter. And she sometimes looks at my belly and just says "Grow, baby, grow!"

I have a check-up with my midwife in the next few days.

Cherish Your Freedom


Happy Independence Day! 

We took part in our annual neighborhood parade to celebrate. 

My daughter had a friend over to join in the parade fun. Here the kids are, decked out with their red, white and blue. 

And here is our family, plus one.

The parade starts. 
First come the police cars and fire trucks.

Then come the people - walking, bike-riding, roller-skating, you name it. Approximately 300 people take part!

Here's my gang walking in the parade.

The parade organizers have donuts and popcorn for everyone. What a treat!

It's been a great family day and a wonderful way to celebrate our freedom here in America!