Monday, January 16, 2012

I've resolved to be more consistent in updating my blog this year--great New Years resolution I thought! Unfortunately, at this present moment (which has seemed to last the past few weeks) I'm suffering for lack of interesting news... Work for me has been expanding-though I still only have 9 students at present, my web article writing has been growing quite a bit in the past couple of months. I'm now contracting with my boss to write weekly articles on music-related topics for the Piano Central Studios blog. I must admit that I've found writing about music education to be much more enjoyable that describing the benefits a certain brand of window awning offers...I am loving working with my little students. This next month my studio will be having a competition to see who can memorize the most number of pages. It never ceases to amaze me what a child will do to earn a candy bar or a 'special' pencil. :) At the same time however, it makes me stop and remember that it's the seemingly little things in life that are truly important--and if you're not looking for those little things, you'll miss the joy they can bring... In the kitchen, I've been experimenting some with some new ingredients. This past week, I made a French vegetable soup (soupe legumes de maman)that had, among a number of other things, leeks and turnips. As I really didn't know exactly what either vegetable looked like, I had quite a thrilling search through the produce secton. :) In addition to be rather tasty, the soup was beautiful just to look at! I thought I had made a ridiculous amount, but Daniel liked it so much it quickly disappeared...which was a good thing because otherwise it would have quickly lost its eye appeal. ;) I recently read a book entitled "French Women Don't Get Fat" (thanks to my good friend, Julia). Reading that book has motivated me even more to look at my cooking as a chance for exploration and as an avenue for expressing myself artistically. It's amazing how much your mind can influence your attitude and how you look at things... our lives our short on news, you get a random update on the more mundane and typical events in our lives. :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Catching Up

As I was sitting here "watching" the Michigan football game, I realized that I have been sadly neglecting my in not having written anything for four months at least. In order to restore my blogging face, I'm posting the following catch-up update on all our happenings: My Christmas vacation ends tomorrow for me--I have no idea where the time went. Though looking forward to seeing all my adorable little students, I am going to miss the extra time. With a number of work meetings and performance events approaching, this upcoming semester will prove to be a busy one. This year I've also started expanding my writing business. I addition to my current writing job, I have contracted with my current boss to write weekly articles for her business blog. Should you ever be short on reading material or find yourself board, go ahead and check out one of my articles posted on ;) Daniel just completed his A+ Certification. He's excited to be done with it and is hoping that it will prove to be a marketable point on his resume. This past week, Daniel started another of his MBA classes. Financial accounting is the topic for the next nine weeks. Daniel thinks it may be one of the more difficult classes he takes, but he's looking forward to reviewing some of his accounting skills. The next school quarter he may take a couple classes simultaneously, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it! Looking forward to what this next year seems like it will be one of a lot of changes, but Daniel and I are both excited to see what God has to bring.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Teaching--a new perspective

Vacation over, back to routine...or not quite for me...This past week, I began my new job teaching private piano at Christ Church Episcopal School (CCES). The previous weeks had past somehow in a blur of teacher's meetings, parent/teacher meetings, planning, digging into creativity and trying to think outside of the box. Somehow, I managed to finalize my curriculum, design my studio theme, decorate my studio and filter through the mountain of paperwork by the time lessons began...All the while, I kept thinking to myself how strange it felt preparing to be the "teacher" and not the "student." I was still making schedules--but this time I was scheduling my students instead of my own classes. I was still buying textbooks--but this time there weren't for me but for my students. It still seems strange...but I'm enjoying being on the opposite side of the desk now! ;) 

The way the program works at the school, I am required to go to each child's class and pick them up for their piano lesson. This first week proved to be very interesting as I tried to figure out where each of their classes were. I don't think I want to know the number of miles I walked this past week in search of all my students...One student proved to be especially elusive. When I walked to her classroom, both her and her class were gone. I walked to playground--but no success. One of the maintenance workers asked me if I needed help (I must have looked more lost than I thought). It was really embarrassing to have to admit that I was missing a student...oh yes, I know I'm the teacher, but somehow I've misplaced my student... ;) Eventually I found her, thankfully before the entire lesson time was gone! Later that day I was walking around outside after having dropped a different student off when I ran into the same maintenance worker...oh sigh...he laughingly asked me if I was still looking for the same student (this was three hours later). My first day was certainly not without it's comical elements! Having completed  my first week, I'm immensely thankful that with the exception of one, all of my students are in the lower school building!

I have the most adorable students, ranging from 1st grade-7th grade. Each one is so completely different from the others. My first student of the day was all seriousness--she wanted to be sure she understood everything perfectly right. One of my other 1st graders excitedly told me that he had been looking forward to his piano lesson aalllll day!!!! He was so excited the entire lesson, it was hard not to laugh--and cute! Curly, blonde hair and big, blue eyes... :) I met another one of my students on the playground when I picked her up from recess. Her first words to me were not the usual "Hi," "Hello" or "My name is..." No, she quickly informed me "I don't usually wear these glasses. I just wear them outside sometimes so I can see my friends better." I almost couldn't contain myself that time, but she was so serious that I knew I had better not laugh. :) I could go on and on about some of the things one of them said or did, but I'll forbear for now and just say that I have been blessed with some wonderful students that all seem excited to learn to play piano. What more could I ask for?!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Moving across town...

Now granted, moving across town doesn't necessarily count as "moving" (at least not for me as a military brat), but it was enough to satisfy my craving to move somewhere. My mother and I have this rather curious disease--every 6 months (at minimum) we have this strange and overwhelming desire/necessity to start packing a box. Any box will do--big or small, square or rectangle. As long as we have A box to pack SOMETHING into we're quite happy and perfectly content. For those who may be concerned that our sole reason for moving was my wanting to pack a box, let me relieve you of such fears.

The Lord has blessed Daniel and I over and beyond anything we could ask or think by providing an amazing private piano teaching position for me at Christ Church Episcopal. Not only will I be working Monday-Friday 8-3pm, but I will have all holidays off in addition to a generous number of breaks for Fall, Christmas, Spring, Easter and summer--perfect in allowing Daniel and I to still spend a good deal of time together despite my working full time. The only negative aspect to my job--we were faced with needing to purchase another car...not something either of us were really wanting to do since we're looking at moving in a couple years. However, in searching for a car for me, we came across some apartment listings. Long story short, after some discussion, evaluating and visiting several apartment complexes, we decided it would be the wisest thing for us to look into finding another apartment closer to our jobs and staying with the one car--We were able to find one that is so close to where Daniel and I both work not only would we not have to purchase another vehicle, but Daniel could literally walk or bike to work if need be. Once again, the Lord  provided in such an rich and abundant way.

So much fun!!!
The move came up faster that I thought it would--but I was loving every minute of filling all my wonderful boxes. Sorting, wrapping, labeling...ah, such bliss! ;) Granted, on the night before the move when I was up until 2am the bliss was becoming a little blurry...but nonetheless, moving is just lots of fun. :D The next morning some friends of ours came and helped us move  all my delightful boxes to our new apartment. One of the ironic things--while they were working on one of the hottest days of the summer I was sitting in an air conditioned room for a 2 1/2 hr. school meeting...that wasn't planned, it just happened...though that part did work out well for me. ;)

Living Room-first floor sighting ;)
 Because of the amazing help of wonderful friends, we were able to get everything moved out so we could permanently move to the new apartment without having to go back and forth between the old and new apartments. Thanks to all who helped--it was much appreciated!!! Next came the unpacking...even more exciting than the packing! :D Boxes were everywhere--stacked in mountains in some areas--the race to unpack was now on...
Boxes can always double as temporary bookshelves ;)
 The one thing that struck me unpacking (and this is not the first time) is how incredibly many books I have managed to collect. Collect is a much better word than accumulate--you accumulate stuff, but you collect books...Overall, there's a lot of storage in the apartment. Not so much in the kitchen, but since the majority of people don't cook anymore, I can understand that...I guess...but's a kitchen and I like to cook...A LOT! Moving in you always see things that you didn't see before when you were surveying the apartment (The completely furnished, show room apartment of course). I realized once we moved in that there wasn't any overhead lighting in the living room or the bedroom--not a problem until about 6pm...easily remedied however. I can deal with having to buy a lamp. ;) Loving the additional space, the fireplace, the balcony/porch, the pool, tennis court and many other great things that far outweigh the couple smaller challenging things. We're both extremely happy with everything.

Now, after such a verbose, lengthy, extended, prolonged, wordy, drawn-out and long-winded introduction...the main purpose of this blog post. Many people have been requesting pictures of our new apartment now that it's decorated. It's essentially completed, though I'm still making adjustments and haven't done anything with the dining room yet. However, lest any of these people should think I've completely forgotten to post pictures--You can now peruse the following pictures to your heart's content. :)

(Inside the bedroom door):  In the bedroom I added a crimson red to add a little more color and the beautiful window! I was really ecstatic to find out my stenciled letters were truly transferable! :)

 (Facing the bedroom door): I get to show off  my brother's amazing photography. :) It's so nice having great pictures of our special day. It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year ago already! My desk has made it through several trips has a history all it's own. Not many pieces of furniture can say they've been to AK and across the states more than once...and remained in one piece. ;)
 (Bathroom): Brown and turquoise-I'm enjoying having a large-size bathroom with sink counter space. The bathroom in our old apartment was a little short in that department...trying to balance your makeup bag on the sink edge without knocking it off in the process of leaning in closer to use the mirror...have you ever knocked over an open container of loose powder blush?...not a pretty sight, not a pretty sight at all....
(Living Room): The door on the left leads to the balcony area--quite lovely in the mornings and evenings. As you can see, we now have  a fireplace! Looking forward to sitting in front of a fire, drinking hot chocolate and reading a good book...I really enjoyed putting the living room together and seeing all my ideas turn out like I pictured them. :) I themed it around the objects on the wall shelves--a collection of mementos from past travels. It brings back memories to see things from Alaska, Kuwait, Egypt, etc...
(Living Room): I've filled up this bookcase as well...and there's books in the main storage closet...and in the walk-in closet...and under the bed...there's literally books everywhere. :) The Lord was very good to us again in helping us find all the furniture for our apartment for amazing deals. Moving from a furnished to an unfurnished apartment was a big change! Our God is always and forever good to us--He truly is a good God all the time!

(Kitchen): The kitchen, while not large, is still a functional size. I still have my red and black...and I haven't grown tired of it yet! Julius is still with us, despite our adding a cat to our family. ;) I'm hoping that Denali will continue to ignore would be tragic for him to be eaten...but then, I guess it would be a romantic way to go...for a beta fish... (for all those Anne of Green Gables lovers ;)

(Dining Room): As you can see, I haven't had the time yet to tackle the dining room...I'm waiting for my complete decoration inspiration to come the moment it's only pieces and parts...the puzzle has yet to be put together. :)

And so, we have come to the end of the annotated tour of our new apartment. We are greatly rejoicing in God's amazing provision and continued direction in our lives. This next phase of our life is certainly bringing many changes for us, but we're excited to be in the center of God's will, for truly there's no place that is more secure, more satisfying or more joyful than being exactly where God wants you to be at any given point in your life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To sum it all up...

So it all began with a crazy day...

Monday, July 4, Daniel and I were busily working on the last things for our trip to Canada. A few more grocery items, some more suntan lotion (I tend to turn lobster red with any direct contact with the sun), a few snacks for the trip, etc. Early afternoon Daniel left for work and I finished packing and cleaning...and oh yes, 34 articles were due by 10pm that night too. Suffice it to say, the evening did not drag. I had just finished the last thing when Daniel drove up at 11:30. All the bags were quickly loaded and we were off and on our way to Canada!

The original plan was for me to sleep for awhile so we could take turns driving on the way up. Unfortunately, I have trouble sleeping in a car when it's dark, so I didn't get much sleep. Onward and upward we went through the mountains of West Virginia...we stopped to get some breakfast around 7:30--the goldfish just weren't quite cutting it anymore. My turn to drive came after breakfast. The only problem however was that the sun was up now and it's almost impossible for me to stay awake in a car when the sun is out (thank you Mom and Dad). So, while Daniel slept I did everything in my power to stay awake--finally, we made it to Sandusky, OH about 11:30am. I was absolutely amazed how large Lake Erie was! I had never been to any of the great lakes before, so I was quite impressed. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought I was standing on the beach of either the Atlantic or the Pacific...and the was exactly like the ocean smell (minus the saltwater) that brings back so many pleasant childhood memories...

Our ferry didn't arrive until 3pm, so Daniel and I walked around Sandusky for awhile, exploring some of the little shops, eating a picnic lunch by the lake and grabbing some much needed coffee. The Pelee Islander arrived shortly after 3pm. Standing in the shade of some nearby trees, we watched everyone disembark and walk through customs, trying to patiently wait our turn to board...Our trip to Pelee Island took a little over 1 1/2 hrs, giving us time to relax from the drive and enjoy all the views.
On the Pelee Islander just leaving Sandusky, OH

Daniel's mom was there at the docks waiting for us when we arrived--we quickly loaded up all our luggage and off we went. Everything was very unique and charming. In some ways, it was almost like taking a step back into the past. On the way to the cottages, we passed a few small farms lining the dirt road (the ones with the red, old wood barns), a Mennonite boy driving a horse and buggy, long shorelines...and I thought to myself, "I think I'm really going to like this place."

The Pelee Islander
The cottages were all on the east shoreline of the island, four in all. We unloaded the luggage into our cottage and were soon free to explore. I met Daniel's aunt and three cousins--quite fun. Throughout the week we enjoyed exchanging comments about Americans vs. Canadians. As the day was rather warm and quite humid, swimming seemed the only logical option...and the water was so warm! After driving through the night and staying up for 24 hrs straight or so, taking a dip in the lake felt amazing. Biking to the island cemetery, enjoying a wonderful dinner, building a fire on the beach, making smores, and shooting off fireworks finished our first day on Pelee Island.

View of the sunset from our beach

The following days were filled with a mixture of activity and relaxation. In the mornings Daniel and I got up at 6:30 to go running around the island and enjoy the morning sunrise. One of our first excursions was to Fish Point, a large sandbar extending into the lake. We all enjoyed walking the shorelines together looking for lucky stones and lake glass, catching the waves and they came in and watching the hoards of seagulls gathered on the beach... 
Erica and I following the shoreline

Vacationing by a lake obviously means going fishing. Daniel, his dad and I went fishing later one evening. Lake Erie is filled with Sheephead fish. Unfortunately they're not edible, so we ended up throwing them all back. They do put up quite a fight though, so it was enjoyable catching them. About an hour into our fishing trip, I felt a little nibble on my line...I waited until the fish completely took my bait and then hooked him. It took awhile, but I finally managed to reel it to the surface. When it finally got it up to the surface, I noticed that it looked different than the other fish we had been catching. Daniel took one look and exclaimed, "That's a walleye...a huge walleye!!!" It was quite exciting--even more enjoyable because Daniel was so ticked that I had caught the only walleye and the biggest fish that day. ;)  (4lbs) We were out late enough to catch the sunset (no pun intended) was completely breathtaking...

Standing in front of the Pelee Island Lighthouse

Another excursion we made was made to the Pelee Island lighthouse. I've always enjoyed going to see lighthouses, and this was certainly no exception. It had been reconstructed, but it still retained the old, historic feeling. I would have liked to have been able to walk up into the lighthouse, but it wasn't open for that as of yet. The walk back was interesting...Daniel decided to play explorer...we got lost and took several dead ends walking through marsh and clawing our way through low bushes and tree limbs...sigh...we finally ended up making it back to where we started and going back the way we came. Walking on the beach was so much more enjoyable...

Friendly bike race :)
Daniel, Erica and I took a few bike rides around the island the North Docks, to the West Side, to the bakery (yummmm). Riding bikes was a great way to see the windows, so you can easily take pictures and you can take everything at a slower pace...For our longest bike ride, Daniel ended up with the best bike. One tire was broken and both  tires were flat. Needless to say, he wasn't able to go very fast most of the time. ;D

With all the activity, it was nice to take a break every once in awhile to just sit by the lake, listening to the waves and watching the birds, reading a book...every wave rolling in calming you down...

I tried kayaking for the first time--absolutely loved it! Daniel took me around the point to Hulda's Rock. According to Indian folklore, an Indian princess through herself from the rock after being spurned by her lover. Quite a sad tale, but a beautiful spot on the island. I was amazed by how much work it was to maneuver a kayak through water! I was definitely feeling it by the time we got back to our beach! :) One downside to the kayak trip however--Daniel and I both got amazing sunburns...

Our time on the island came to an end all too quickly--time truly does fly by when you're having fun. We took the Pelee Islander back to Sandusky, OH and drove out to Marblehead to see another lighthouse and tour the park area. The lighthouse was really quite beautiful. As we walked out to the lighthouse, we saw someone having the wedding there on the grounds. The groomsmen were wearing shorts and flip flops and the bridesmaids we wearing a motley assortment of was rather...too unique--but enough of my fashion critique...There were hundreds of people out on the lake boating and fishing.

Posing in front of the Marblehead Lighthouse Museum

Perry's Monument
Statue of Commodore Perry
We stayed the night in Fremont, OH and then took the ferry out of Put-In-Bay to South Bass Island for the last day of our vacation. We picked up a golf cart and began our tour of the island, stopping first at the Perry Monument. Unfortunately it was under construction, but we could still see the majority of it even though we couldn't walk up to it. The museum of the battle on Lake Erie was quite impressive as well--very informative.

Inside the biggest room
Touring around the island, it was quite apparent that it was more of a party place--every other building it seemed was a bar of some sort. We did enjoy watching all of the boats (lots of yachts). I found it funny seeing all of the golf carts. Instead of being lined with cars, the roads were lined with golf carts. They had golf carts that could seat up to 10 people! Quite impressive... ;) We also made a stop at Perry's cave. History side note--While Perry's troops were waiting for the British to arrive, they ran out of fresh drinking water. Somehow they found the cave system and the underground lake that furnished them with the water they needed--There were a lot of people on the tour, so it was a bit cramped a couple times, but the history was interesting. Interesting part of the tour for me was climbing down all of the steep narrow steps into the cave with a recently broken toe...but that's another story...

Our ferry to and from South Bass Island

Early afternoon, we had to head back as we still had a 12+ hour drive back to Greenville...sadness...Coming back on the ferry, it was hard to believe that our vacation had come to an end so soon! We had had an amazing week though, with many many memories to forever cherish.

Taken on the ferry heading back from South Bass Island

More pictures will be posted on facebook shortly...

Monday, June 27, 2011

North to Canada!

Today for the first time, I realized that June is essentially over...not sure how we came to this point, but July starts in three days and there's lots to do!

Part of preparing is packing and getting ready for our upcoming vacation. We're really looking forward to our trip to Pelee Island this next week---breaks in any routine are always welcome. =) For one week, we'll be able to escape the heat and humidity of the south and enjoy just being...too often life overtakes us and we forget to "Be still" and even more often we fail to stop "and know that He is God."

We'll be driving to Sandusky, OH and catching a ferry to take us to Pelee Island, the southern most inhabited point of Canada. With no cable, TV, facebook, internet or cell phones, we'll essentially be "cut off from the world," but I can't wait. =) With no distractions, all that will be available is creation, conversation, books, running, swimming...sounds like the ideal situation to me! Before making the drive back home, we'll be stopping at Cedar Point Amusement Park for a day to catch a few rides...I'll be posting some pictures of our trip after we get back...

As far as the remaining events of July---I'll have about 1 1/2 weeks to pack everything in our apartment as we're moving the 23rd to another apartment closer to where Daniel and I both work. After we move, I'll have exactly two weeks to unpack and pack for my trip to Montana. =) It's going to be a busy month---all the more reason I'm excited to be able to go on vacation before it all starts!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Engagement Story...

Just for all those that never heard the story...

So I knew 'the conversation' had taken place between my Dad and Daniel on the phone over Christmas break...and I was dying to know what all had been said between them. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear everything from my upstairs bedroom...just kidding... =) Daniel called every night during the break and I tried in so many ways to try and figure out what had been said, but all to no avail. He knew exactly what I was doing and wasn't in any way going to cooperate with me...

I flew back from break a couple days early so I could spend some time with Daniel and his family before the last semester of my senior year began. I flew in late in the evening and Daniel met me at the airport with a beautiful red rose and a big smile. =) We spent the evening talking about break and exchanging our Christmas gifts...all the while I'm wondering if I'm going to get engaged before the semester started and trying desperately not to show my excitement...the evening ended quietly with plans to get up early the next morning, have breakfast and drive to Blowing Rock, NC.

The next morning (Jan 11, 2011), I got ready for the day and ate breakfast--Daniel wasn't hungry, but I knew he wasn't much of a breakfast person, so I didn't think anything of it. With some coffee for the road, we started out on our expedition. The drive was beautiful! With the snow on the ground (strange for the South) and the Blue Ridge Mountains, it was almost like being in my beloved West again...Blowing Rock was the quaintest town. Daniel and I enjoyed exploring all the little shops--the chocolate shop, the candle shop, a curiosity shop. It was a simple town, but utterly beautiful in its simplicity. Lunch time came quickly so we stayed in Blowing Rock for lunch. The food was amazingly least mine was...Daniel still didn't seem very hungry...

The farther we got into the day, the more anxious Daniel seemed...but, maybe it was just the bad roads. We got back into the car and started to drive further down the Blue Ridge Parkway...until we hit the road block sign. The highway had been closed due to all the inclement weather the previous night. At that point, Daniel was showing obvious signs of stress. As we started driving back towards Blowing Rock, Daniel turned off onto a drive of a private resort nearby. We drove around and parked in the lot by the pond on the resort ground. The pond was nearly frozen, with a white gazebo on one side of it. We walked over to the pond and sat in the gazebo looking at the pond, the woods surrounding us and the sun starting to set in the we were reveling in the beauty (at least I was) we saw a beautiful white swan swimming in the only unfrozen spot in the pond. The beauty of the scene was serene and almost ethereal...

As I was standing in the gazebo leaning on the rail and watching all the beauty before me, Daniel put his hand into his pocket. As it was cold, I thought he was just trying to warm his hands up...but he pulled out a ring box, opening it and revealing the most beautiful ring! As I turned toward him, he began to propose. I stood entranced, hardly believing that this was actually happening. I had been waiting for this moment for so long, but now that it had come it was hard to believe. He said many beautiful and sweet things...but he asked me to marry him...and I said YES! =) The moment was priceless.

The remainder of the day passed in a dream. Shortly after, beginning to feel the cold, we returned to Greenville and went to California Dreaming for a wonderful dinner together...The day passed all too quickly, but it was a day that we will both forever remember.