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Oh, it’s been a long time..

Greetings, my peeps!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done much here on Mom of Many. But I have a good excuse – honestly!

I’ve been crazy busy with a ton of irons in my fire (had to start a fire, it’s been so cold out here in Wisconsin!) Last July I started Love My DIY Home because I want to work from home.

Love My DIY Home

I saw an opportunity to start a monetized blog (more on that later) and thought it would be a good fit for me. We’ve talked a lot about what we want for our future and working outside the home for me wasn’t an option since I wanted to be available for my church and family in a full time way. BUT, funny how things work out. There’s always a “but” isn’t there?…especially if you are open to whatever God has planned for us. Yep. Sometimes God turns the tables on you (if you’re willing) and throws things in your path you wouldn’t ordinarily choose.

I have been on Care.com for a while, looking for a nanny opportunity one or two days a week. I got a call from a very nice lady at a placement agency asking if I would consider a family of hers that had just moved to Wausau. I had already been contacted by this family through Care.com and turned them down when they told me how many days they needed. Since we had decided to keep my outside work down to one or two days at the most, I thanked her and told her I wasn’t available for that many hours. BUT…and here is the “BUT” God threw in…But, the offer was so sweet and the family was so sweet, and the little girl was so sweet…you get the picture.

I agreed to meet the family and interview at their house. Long story short, I took the job. Oh my goodness. It’s been a chore keeping up with everything – church, family, Love My DIY Home and our new business Adark Holsters, in which Mark and I partnered with Adam and April.

Adark Holsters

I figured I’m putting in at least 60 hours a week juggling all of my responsibilities, not to mention keeping up on our house and projects that go along with my LMDH website.

So here you have it. I told you I had a really good excuse for not keeping up with Mom of Many!

Fortunately my husband is patient and understanding when I drop the ball on keeping our home in order. Good thing he does his own laundry! He even cleans the kitchen at 5am before work when he sees I’m worn out! He’s such a good dooby. My family has been kind to me, knowing my tight schedule and only plans family events AFTER they look at my nanny schedule. My church people, oh my, talk about fab!, my church family has been filling in for me and my pastor has been so very patient with me when it comes to my responsibilities. Yes, I drop the ball constantly there and they ALWAYS pick it up and give it back to me KINDLY! Did I mention we moved into a new building?

Northside Baptist

I am surrounded by the best people in the world. If you can’t say that – then make a change!

I’ve given much thought to my responsibilites – the big ones – and can’t believe I’ve roped myself into being so busy again!

  • Church secretarial/publications/nursery/choir/discipleship
  • Family – plus keeping my home up/decorating (only been here a year)/putting up a garden/canning
  • Adark Holsters – I’m mapping out the marketing plan and website
  • Love My DIY Home – two posts a week/DIY projects plus all the marketing hoopala that goes along with it
  • Photography – events/family/photo restoration/manipulation/correction
  • Mom of Many (this is the one thing I’ve so terribly neglected!)
  • Writing my ebook (on Creative Discipline)
  • Writing my book (This went on the back burner)

Plus, crazy me, I’m signing up for a 14 week online marketing course.

I am eventually going to change Mom of Many to a self-hosted website. So stay tuned as the changes are coming! Thanks for being loyal even when I’ve DROPPED THE BALL! You are the blessings in my life that keep me going!

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2013 Family Update – Crazy Busy Days!

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There has been so much going on in our family these days – I simply have to update you! Sorry for not manning the “Mom of Many” ship lately, but like I said, so much going on!

How about I give you a quick run-down? We’ve been crazy busy…

  1. We’ve moved to a new home where my mom has her own third level MIL apartment.
  2. We have a guest room in our new home that has frequent visitors – love this!
  3. I’ve started a new blog: Love My DIY Home.
  4. I’m constantly doing DIY projects, not only for my blog, but for my home and family.
  5. I am always in the process of editing pictures from photo shoots.
  6. Our church has a new building where I work in the office one day a week.
  7. I am a part-time nanny.
  8. April and I share tables at craft shows.
  9. We have started a new business with the Jones family: Adark Holsters.
  10. I help home school April and Adam’s boys a once a week.
  11. We have a new baby in the family – Emeryk Markus

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Let’s start with #1 – the new home.

Oh my. God has blessed us there! We looked for 2.5 years for just the right house. It had to have a place for my mom, one that was big enough for family to come visit and stay, and a good sized kitchen/dining room for our ministry of hospitality. Since empty nesting, we’ve wanted to do what we could never do before – have people over, lots of people! We didn’t want a lot of stairs since Mark’s knees aren’t so great, so we spent a lot of time looking at ranch style homes. We needed a nice sized garage for Mark to be able to get back into his wood working and other such endeavors, and a good yard for the grandkids. It didn’t have to be big, just safe and big enough for them to play. We had a really decent size yard when we lived in town, and we surely didn’t want to give that up. It was so great to see the grandkids playing out in the yard. This new house has a dirt road that the boys can ride their bikes down without fear of traffic.

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It also had to be within 20 minutes of church and the Joneses. That was a tough one, but I stuck to it! I think we may have looked at 70+ houses. Our realtor was so very good about being patient and looking for just the right house within our price range – under $150,000. Even that was a bit high for us. One day Mark was looking in the Homes and Land magazine, you know, the one where you can never find a house? Well, he found one that was a foreclosure in our price range in Wausau, about 9 miles from the Joneses and about the same to church. When we called our realtor to follow up on it, he couldn’t find it in the multiple listing. It had been on the market, but wasn’t listed on the  multiple. Huh? That doesn’t happen, unless you are us – the ones who prayed God would find us just the right house that would fit every criteria of our “forever house.”

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Here is Mom’s side of the house where her walk-out opens out onto her own driveway.

Up to the left you can see the door leading to nowhere from our guest master.

Some day there will be a deck up there, but for now it’s bolted shut.

We made the offer.

We made our offer – which was the second offer that week and waited for the outcome. Fortunately our offer was the best one (we offered $500 over asking price) and we took possession a month later. Our mortgage company required a long list of things to be done in 30 days time and our family along with our church family came to our aid and helped us get it done in time.

So much to do!

I had never painted before, but that job fell to me since the roof had to be done and Mark and all the guys focused on that while April, Mom, a couple of church friends and I painted every room in the house. It had to be done before moving in since every room was sponge painted – let’s just say not to my liking and leave it at that. Little by little I’m showing before and after pictures on my other blog. Kitchen before and after here. Kitchen half bath before and after here. Every ceiling was popcorn – ugh! Mark was kind enough to make it a priority to scrape the ceilings so I wouldn’t be in hate with our ceilings! Once he got busy on the roof, I finished up and scraped the last two ceilings before I could paint.

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All the rooms were sponge painted so we painted every room a neutral color.

  www.momofmany.wordpress.com

My mom’s apartment had ugly wallpaper that had to be scraped and then painted. We did this room first.

It’s a good thing because it was the hardest.

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Isaac wanted to join in on the “fun”.

It was in pretty nasty shape. Oh it was sound and built well. But it smelled so bad from the animals that used to reside in the house and the cosmetics of the inside were atrocious. I’ll just show you some of the before pictures so as not to steal any thunder from future posts on Love My DIY Home. Suffice it to say we had our work cut out for us!

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

Somebody apparently liked the “under the sea” theme. This was going to be our master bath.

We did the work.

We got it all done (painting, fixing, replacing) in time thanks to all the help and moved in. Mark was still working on the roof when we needed to move our stuff, so I spent many a day toting boxes from our little rental to our new house. I got to the point I could lift a TV by myself! God was good to me and sustained me through it all, even temporarily giving me exceptional strength for the job. The big stuff came last and fortunately we had a few guys and girls to help with all that. I NEVER WANT TO MOVE AGAIN!  I love our new home and God was so good to give us so many needs AND wants in this house.

God gave us a home tailor made.

It already had a complete mother-in-law apartment with its own walk out and a kitchen bigger than mine upstairs! Where we first thought was a closet turned out to be a huge storage room, the fourth level! The house is a quad-level. The listing agent thought it was a tri-level and was as surprised as we were when we found the fourth level. Top level is our master suite (more on that in a sec), main level is our kitchen, half-bath and living room. Third level is mom’s apartment, laundry room and my photo studio (Yes!) and the fourth is the basement that has three little rooms off shoot from the main very large room. She has her own driveway and we share the laundry room.

The upper level has 4 bedrooms, one being a master. April had the idea to make the master a guest/library/craft room and for Mark and I to take the other three smaller rooms that had a full bath near all three as our “master suite” that would eventually have a door in the hallway separating it from the other master. In the three rooms we have our office, bedroom and walk-in closet. We also have plans to give the full-bath a walk-in shower.

God supplied more than just our needs.

The kitchen has very nice cabinets with an island. It was pretty icky to start with, but turned out to be one of my fave rooms. Mark bought me a nice Kitchen Aid french door fridge with the freezer in a bottom drawer and a vegi drawer – it’s a dream! We found a microwave/stove fan and dishwasher on clearance, so we have nearly all new appliances in the kitchen. Off the dining room is a nice size deck. Friends helped shape the walkway there down to the garage and another helped Mark build a nice little deck by the front door. We sit on an acre and have discovered a nice big fenced in garden that we took advantage of this summer. Who’d a thunk it? I actually enjoyed gardening and our yield wasn’t too shabby either for it being our first year. April and I canned tomatoes and grape jam for the first time. Click here for a couple of garden pics and here for our canning story.

This home has great potential.

I don’t have my photo studio up and running yet, but hopefully that will be our 2014 project. The house has tons of wall plug-ins – a great perk! The garage is huge and has built in for heating (once we buy a boiler). There are 3 out buildings, one is big enough for us to set up a little shop. We are set on one acre in a dead end dirt road. There are only two of us on our road and we are out in the country with deer, turkeys and bears! There is a lot to be done to bring the outside up to speed, but we have forever to do it!

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

Over the next year I will be showing our before and after pictures of the inside of our home on Love My DIY Home. It’s amazing what a little elbow grease and paint will do for a room! I hope to see you there!

Next I will tell you about our ministry of hospitality…

Please stop over to Love My DIY Home where you will find lots of DIY home projects.

~Val, Mom of Many, Wife to One, and Grammie to 10

Virginia Trip Travel Log #4

The last two days we focused on getting Jillian’s front room finished. We’d painted the deacons bench, nightstand, shelf, and corner bookshelf. We bought all the little do-dads that she needed to complete the look. We hung everything that needed hanging.

She went with the Old World Style, a look that I am rather fond of myself. Here are pictures of my last day when we pulled it all together. I have to say, I think I enjoyed the process as much as she did. Maybe some day we will go into interior decorating together. We have many similar interests, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
Don Williams, Jr. (American Novelist and Poet, b.1968)

I definitely enjoyed the journey as much as the destination in this case. So often we will see “before and afters” published but not the “in-betweens” – the grunt work, so to speak. Yet, I just can’t show the in-betweens – check out the “before and afters” on Love My DIY Home. We finished Jillian’s front room the night before I left for home.

It was with a happy heart I drove home. I spent nearly three weeks away from home visiting family – many people helped me on my trip. My peeps not only gave me gas money, shelter, and fed me, but they cared for me in a way I never ever expected. I will never get used to being loved. It’s a malady I will always carry with me, I suppose, because of the difficult times I have experienced in the past. But that can’t be such a bad thing, can it – to feel so blessed each time love is shown, to be in awe of the moment, to choose to look back over and over to relive it because it is such a treasured memory? I think not. I hope it never changes for me. I love being loved. I love knowing that a handful of people in my life will love me no matter what. Wow.

Here are some more pics of my trip. Such a blessed person I am!

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I stayed with family in Ohio on the way home – such a fun family they are!  Though I traveled alone, I had the support of family, church family, and friends. God showed me His faithfulness by protecting me and giving me people in my life who care. Thank you everyone for giving me such a memorable 3 weeks!

Virginia Trip Travel Log #3

Jillian and Taylor moved from an old house in a bad part of town to a beautiful tri-level duplex near their church, in Madison Heights. I helped them finish moving out and have made a few trips in to town buying things they need for their new house. I have to admit, I’ve enjoyed spending their money! I tend to have that affect on people. We go shopping and I find things that would look great or fit just right, is a great price, fits their planned decor, etc. What can I say? It’s a gift.

Here are a few pictures of the past few days. We’ve already enjoyed the new table top grill, patio set, dining room table, and even their new vacuum cleaner. It’s like Christmas in August!

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We went to a peach farm that had the most amazingly flavorful fruit I’ve ever eaten. My mouth curls up every time I even think about taking a taste of the apples that I brought home from that place. Isaac, and Hudson, I will try to save you both an apple. I bet you have never tasted anything like it. They sold some pretty unusual jams and sauces. Ever had TOE Jam?

We finished making our laundry and dishwasher soaps today too. It was pretty easy, but I’m glad we’re done with that. The house smells like Dial and Zote soap. If you’ve never tried it, put a bar of soap in the microwave – it reacts just like that Great Stuff men use to insulate around doors and windows.

Virginia Trip Travel Log #2

My excursion to Virginia from Fort Wayne went without a hitch as I traveled alone from 8:30am to 7:00pm. I did miss an exit, but it only cost me 4 minutes according to my Garmin and then a few minutes later he (Mr. Garmin) recalculated my route and took a half hour off. So, I don’t know, maybe missing the exit was a good thing. Since I’m not traveling with a map in front of me, I honestly don’t know. I arrived to Jillian and Taylor’s church exactly at 7:00, right when church started. They are teen sponsors, so I just sat and watched them as they put on an ice cream social and ran games. I also was able to watch Jillian and Taylor teach their Sunday School class.

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We have jam packed a lot in the past four days…shopped for mattresses for their friends, watched After Earth at the dollar cinema, shopped for blog diy projects, shopped for the grandkids at Ollies (can’t forget the grandkids!), blogged, freezer cooked, church 2x, finished their move from their Lynchburg house to their new one in Madison Heights, bought a diningroom and patio set for their new house, visited Sonic, had dinner out to Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and LaCaretta, finished graphic design and photography projects for both our churches and a local business, started my Smash Book project, and today we’re going to make our own laundry soap after evening church. Oh, and I can’t forget the 8 episodes we have watched of that show everyone is talking about – Duck Dynasty. I will post the recipe we used for homemade laundry soap soon on my Love My DIY Home.

Trip to Virginia Travel Log #1

The Mark and I trip turned into a “just I” trip. We’d planned it for months and when it came right down to it, we couldn’t afford for him to take work off and Jillian couldn’t come back with us and fly back either. So, off I went, by myself for an 18 hour trip by car. Fortunately my mom let me use her car and we were able to dig up the needed gas money from saving change, extra surprise $80 in Mark’s check, and a generous gift of $50. Then at church someone gave me another $20 anonymously. I had what I needed to get to Fort Wayne for two days to see some of my kids and then on to Virginia to see Jillian and Taylor, and hopefully a couple of my other kids on the way home.

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A couple of things went south and I lost my first stop that would allow me to have a half way stop off point – I certainly wouldn’t be able to drive the whole 18 hours in one sitting. But Lauren came to my rescue and she reserved two nights at the Super 8 motel she worked at for her and me. We had a great time in Fort Wayne! I got to see Devin as well, and Carol, and old friend, came down for the evening and bought us dinner at a fab Chinese restaurant. Good times! I left Lauren early Wednesday morning and drove all the way to Madison Heights, Virginia that day. I arrived at Jillian and Taylor’s church right on the dot for the Wednesday night service. It was an enjoyable trip and my trusty GPS didn’t let me down. It was the first time I’d driven so far alone – and without a map or written directions. Since this is my year to focus on proving God – not only are we making a major effort to trust our finances to God, we are also trusting God to see me through in my travels to see my kids. Like I told Isaac, my 7 year old grandson, “If you trust God 100%, then you will never fear.”