Magical laughter…

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play IS serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood” – Fred Rogers 

dsc_8538“Play is the highest form of research.”-Albert Einstein dsc_8540“They are much to be pitied who have not been given a taste for nature early in life.”     -Jane Austendsc_8539-2“Think left and think right, and think low and think high. Oh the thinks you can think up if only you try.”-Dr. Seussdsc_8551“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They ARE the most important work.” -C.S.Lewis dsc_8548“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” -Albert Einstien dsc_8561“Every experience God gives us is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see.” -Corrie Ten Boomdsc_8571“The process of shaping the child…shapes also the mother herself. Reverence for her sacred burden calls her to all that is pure and good, that she may teach primarily by her own, humble, daily example.” -Elizabeth Elliotdsc_8563“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.” -Jane Austendsc_8568“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” -Fred Rogers

Things that have brought me encouragement in this season of my life…

(If you follow me on facebook- you will probably see a few repeat images/shared moments….I’ve got to stop doing that- I forget to place it here and in my excitement of the moment I upload things to facebook…  Some of these pictures are cellphone pics and then some of these are from this winter, so there’s that…I’m working on it- there is no perfection in my life…lol)


It’s often easy to get caught up in sharing the highlights of life… I’ve tried to be open about some of the struggles (with parenting, homesteading issues, postpartum depression, etc..) But there are still struggles that we go through in life that we keep private. We all do for different reasons… some are going through harder struggles than what others face, some are less difficult than what others face…Regardless, we all desperately seek encouragement and answers from some place. Where that encouragement comes from is so vital in making it through.

And while pretending to be happy and hiding everything is my normal preference, I’m learning the importance of genuineness. No, that doesn’t mean I will always share details, or even that I’m required to give any explanations of my situations in life…But I will try to be honest in saying (and this takes courage regardless of who you are)- “I’m going through a difficult portion in my life, and would absolutely love your prayers.” DSC_7739.jpg I’m so thankful that the people who have surrounded us in our deepest struggles, have continuously shown God’s love and been the hands and feet of Jesus. Even if we are in the beginning still, I am trusting that God knows what He is doing.  Even when we don’t understand why things are allowed to happen, or what is going on- GOD DOES! And who are we that we question him? He created us for HIS purpose didn’t he? Surely HE sees us and our struggles…He is God. He is GOOD! And He SEES US WHERE WE ARE.

These  specific scriptures have been so encouraging to me lately:13977783_10154432648723833_1581476366_o.jpg

“Whether for correction, or for the course of the world, or for His loving kindness- He causes these things to happen.” -Job 37:13

“I know that you (GOD) can do ALL things, No plans of yours can be thwarted.” -Job 42:2

“The LORD of Hosts Himself has planned it; therefore, who can stand in its way?”           -Isaiah 14:27 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” -2CORINTHIANS 12:9

With my WHOLE HEART I seek you, let me not wander from your commandments. I have stored up your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”        -Psalm 119:10 -11DSC_6770.jpgAnd when my heart fears situational things…things that might fall to the wayside and we can’t keep up…GOD PROVIDES…even in ways that might seem small to others…like a mowed yard by a stranger, or a close friend.

God SEES.13698018_10154396480283833_1157012535203484060_o (1)Here are some things that I have found encouraging lately besides Scripture and the godly people that have surrounded us:

This Bible study book, Flowers, Essential oils…13903292_10154416606033833_6835015964649146040_n.jpgReminders of God’s provision, protection, lovingkindness…these beautiful gifts…13920922_10154414153378833_79966577325806904_nReminders of the lone flower I talked about a few blog posts back & God holding me…DSC_8313Joyful reminders of the strong people in my family & the legacy they have given me…(This is actually a flower pot base that belonged to my Great Grandma…So I put boiled eggs in here in the fridge and it’s like a burst of happy in my fridge!) DSC_8536.jpgEven God is teaching me daily through my children…I catch a glimpse of Gods view and help in our own lives…In this picture- Josiah is putting his books back on the shelf, he is overwhelmed and feeling like it’s impossible. I as his parent SEE him, I know how they all fit back together-even though he cries out in frustration, and I step in and help my overwhelmed child…Just like God is our help & I am His child.
13627146_10154397627143833_8053812373900270890_n

These two CD’s have encouraged my spirit in SO MANY WAYS… Especially the songs: “I Will Trust in You” & “Power to Redeem” by L. Daigle, as well as the songs “I Am Here” & “Peace be Still” from the Hidden in My Heart VOL 2 &3  CD’s….13950683_10154432635833833_511480433_oListen to the song: “I Am Here” from the Hidden in my heart Scripture lullabies Vol. 2…It’s amazing. I’ve been playing it as I fall asleep.

I’m SO thankful to be reading through this book right now :

51WMJ-Ubs2L

I also was directed to this amazing prayer Journal by Lysa Terkeurst (apparently this author has greatly impacted my life!)… If you are going through any struggle in your life I HIGHLY recommend going through it! Its amazingly encouraging & a free download on the Proverbs 31 Ministries website:13988641_10154432648678833_878273241_n.jpgJournaling has been such a huge part of this portion of my life too! I had forgotten how important journaling can be & how you can see growth (or lack of growth) in your life just by reading previous entries…I had stopped because of situations, but I have started back at it…  It is blurred because-it’s my journal…haha…and yeah, I’m wordy….13931689_10154432856528833_45122232_oFinding joy in simple moments that otherwise would simply be passing has been important…DSC_8456.jpgSoaking in the little smiles…DSC_8494.jpgAnd relishing in the quiet that comes with the morning hours (IF I wake up before the kids-haha!)…Pondering on the selfless love others have shown me…DSC_8525Enjoying the coffee…DSC_8532.jpgDSC_8528.jpgOne of the things that is helping me most is this-  refuting any and all fears with Scripture, God’s Word- BECAUSE THE TRUTH SETS US FREE… 1d4cfdf29fa2af3319cedf839561fc52

I’m thankful for a pastor who is continuously reminding me of the importance of this vulnerability…I am still learning…It is not an easy thing for me…I know that we all deal with deep struggles, go through deep valleys, have seasons of sorrow- That is why this life is a journey. Journeys are not always easy paths, but they have high points and low points… So let’s learn how to be genuine together, be vulnerable with each other, and pray earnestly for one another…Maybe one day it will become a more natural state for me… In the meantime, this is where I am.

I’m thankful that God paints these beautiful moments  of beauty to enjoy…They encourage my heart that he REALLY DOES have the whole world in His hands. And if He can hold the world, He can hold us in our struggles. DSC_6459

 

Exciting news! *Read to the end for an amazing deal!!! 

I am SO EXCITED to let you know I have joined up as a distributor for Young Living essential oils. I have been wanting to be a part of a business that I could run from home (while staying with and raising my children), that would help financially, but MOSTLY that I could share something that I truly believed in. While I loved doing photography as a way to accomplish this, it took hours away from my children that I wasn’t ready to part with. And I’m not talking about “a little extra income” I’m talking about a paycheck! …Like a REAL one!..DSC_8452.JPGI kept having problems finding a business that I could 100% stand behind and believe in. So many other companies promise good health and even “natural” health, but their products don’t have ingredients I could sell in good conscience because of either misinformation, straight up dangerous products, or lack of quality.

But Young Living is different. Their products are pure, tested, unadulterated- Now that is something I can absolutely recommend!!! My doctor was shocked that I wasn’t already a part of the company because I’ve used (and sworn by!) them, and she gave me the push I needed to get going. I’m thankful that the Lord has put her, and many other wise people including my team leader, in my path to encourage me on this journey.

(These are three FAVORITE oils that are seriously helping this mama of three under three!)DSC_8436.JPGI have been using essential oils for a few years now & our family has loved the many benefits to our health and wellness! They help support the immune system functions on levels that far outweigh other popular methods. I’m constantly learning something new and I love sharing the information I’ve learned.

The benefits I experienced from using them during the labor and delivery of our sweet Adelaide were too numerous to list. (I will ALWAYS have oils during childbirth, and postpartum from now on!)…I am currently looking forward to the “feelings kit” that I have coming in the mail. It will help with my feelings of being overwhelmed, as well as help releasing emotional stress in a healthy way, and overcoming emotional hurdles I have been facing lately. It’s more than just making your house smell great…God gave us multiple senses for a reason, and NOT using them to help you in areas of your life where there is a need is a missed opportunity.DSC_8449.JPGI have found Young Living to be the purest and most effective oils, and I love that they have a seed to seal promise-that is why I recommend them 100%.

I’ll be completely honest and say that I didn’t start off using Young Living oils exclusively because of price. But over the years I found I was having to use more quantity of the other brands because they weren’t strong enough, thus I was purchasing them more frequently than needed. (Basically throwing money at them and hoping they’d be just as effective-they weren’t). And then some brands I’ve learned were using ingredients that weren’t even listed in the advertised oil! Others were using pesticides on the plants, or used seeds that already were formulated to grow with pesticides. These plants would then be used to make the oils, thus the products were spiked with these TOXIC chemicals…YIKES! DSC_8440.JPG(I didn’t actually throw the other brands of oils away- although the thought did cross my mind- I ended up KEEPING them so that you can compare quality if you would like to… You can definitely tell they are NOT the same quality, just by smell!)

Whereas, Young living products are SO pure that just a tiny bit went a LONG way, and I didn’t have to worry about poisoning my body. If you want to use essential oils for these amazing benefits- I definitely recommend using Young Living to actually save money in the long run, as well as see better affects from usage & be worry free of the product and its quality. There are SO MANY benefits to aiding your body’s health in these God given ways!DSC_8444.JPGAnother thing I love about young living is they also have natural cleaners, beauty products, natural supplements, and products for your pets! I recently started using the thieves cleaning solution and LOVE, LOVE it! A little goes a long way, it smells AMAZING, but most importantly gives you a deep clean without the dangerous chemicals that are in so many store bought products. And for people with young children who are crawling and seem to put everything in their mouths, this is a huge benefit! NO WORRIES!DSC_8437.JPGI am SO excited to see where the Lord leads this business and I would LOVE to have you on my team! If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, if you needed to find someone to order through, or if you already use oils but have been looking for a way to be a part of sharing these amazing products with others- contact me. I would love to have you learn alongside me, and I would LOVE to help you get started!DSC_8447.JPG

* The HUGE deal-I’m  offering ONE  $20 OFF coupon when you join up with a premium starter kit- but this coupon is first come first serve-so it will go quick! I am making my next order on August 18th, so let me know if you would like to purchase anything or if you want this amazing discount. (The coupon expires on the 18th, so DON’T miss this chance!)

Summer on the Minter Mini-Homestead…And a few deeper thoughts…

So our little place in the city is slowly becoming our “practice homestead”… I say practice because *we hope* it is temporary, and that we will one day be able to do it for real and more large scale on a farm house with land…

Our little chickens are growing up…DSC_8297-2Our lady hens are all finally laying together again, so we currently get 6 eggs a day. Those promptly get eaten…lol…I can’t wait until we actually have more layers!DSC_8369.JPGLook though, they even smile at you! Chicken smiles make it the wait for eggs worth it…sort of.DSC_8370We have beauty all over the place and some of these pretty things have been teaching me things in simple ways. For example, this blossom… it was the ONLY thing left on the entire branch after one of the chicks went “leaf eating happy”…and yet, it was still there, holding on…or rather, the branch was holding on to the blossom. Sometimes I feel like I’m all alone and grabbing on to anything and everything just to stay afloat, with nothing left to give, but I know that I can stand strong because God has given me the strength… because God is holding onto me…DSC_8313.JPGThere have been moments over the last few weeks that I have become overwhelmed by everything: laundry, cooking, cleaning, nursing, cuddling babies, yard work, diapers, going out in public (apparently I’m anxious about that now?), missing my hard working husband… The list could go on actually, there is so much going on in our lives that I won’t even go into all the details here…

So, some things have slid by the wayside…Healthy food was a big one that flopped several times this last week. And if you know me, that right there should tell you something is wrong…Because I’m pretty strict about what I feed myself and my kids after learning (continuing to learn) the effect food has on our bodies -immune system function, the way food actually affects hormones & mood, etc….DSC_8391.JPGThey didn’t taste good anyways…not worth it!

I think I’m dealing with postpartum depression (easier to admit behind a screen). But it doesn’t look like I thought it would. I don’t know. These clouds describe my feelings in a way: a great darkness attempting to cover the joy…and yet, struggling to peer through the clouds at the same time. Dramatic, I know…DSC_8428.JPGPeople will probably just say we bit off more than we could chew, why are we trying to “mini- homestead” right now anyways?…

But actually it is giving me relaxation and teaching me so much, so I’m pretty sure that’s not it…DSC_8427.JPGI have been cruel to myself with thoughts of failure, guilt of  lowered immune systems in my family (due to bad food choices), blaming myself for all three kids coming down with some sort of viral rash with low grade fever (due to said lowered immune system), guilt from letting my kids watch WAY too much TV (my husband even asked if we could go no TV like we’ve done before because we were more intentional with our time together), low self esteem from neglecting self care, and  in serious need of words of life..Anyone with me???

*This picture is just the beginning this was Callie Grace on the second day after the dew drop looking lesions formed, and before a few have since scabbed over…I think it is chicken pox and so does our family doctor. It looks identical to when my older two had mild cases of chicken pox before, but who knows, rashes are hard to tell… Each kid is spotty, itchy, and feverish… I’m glad they have it as kids and not as adults if that is what it is, so fingers crossed it is chicken pox, build up immunity and all…And they aren’t acting like it really bothers them other than itchiness, so that’s good…*13713344_10154367509768833_528817909_n.jpg

I have had self guilt, self pity, self doubt… self, self, SELF… yeah… I see a pattern here. I am so thankful for the Lord gifting me with a husband who points me towards Christ and away from these selfish actions, despite how uncomfortable those conversations might be. And I’m SUPER excited that the I have some Essential oils in the mail coming from Young Living that are seriously going to be helping me work through those emotions! (Yes, I’m all about me some essential oils-God gave us different senses for a reason).

I was so thankful for the encouragement several friends gave me over the past few weeks, without even knowing the need… this picture only captures a few of such kind acts…I was reminded again that I need to give myself grace. I am only 4 months postpartum after all…DSC_8393So my challenge this next month for myself: Determine to speak words of life and preach the GOSPEL to myself. Change my focus from inward (selfishness), and focus outward (on what God is doing in my life, on my family and time spent with them, blessings God has given us, and being intentional with friends), and to change the things that I can control (Food choices, self care, Remove and SERIOUSLY limit Screen Time-In fact we sold our Living room TV set today!, no self blame, etc.)…

To cause myself to be kind with my inner and deepest thoughts…Take a moment in the busy day and  read scripture, the very WORDS OF LIFE I so desperately need… and to simply breathe deeply– God is holding me and knows exactly how I feel! He is using us in His own way… and if I am willing to be encouraged by Him, he will show me grace in the simple things. And maybe…just maybe I can grow a little bit… My husband gave me this encouragement from the Word, a verse that seems to keep popping up everywhere:

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2DSC_8337.JPGSo, apologies for the necessary detour this blog took…now focusing my attention back on our family and mini-homestead life:

Our baby is trying to grow up too quickly on me…DSC_8405.JPGAnd I keep finding things that my little boy always has done, but is growing too big for…Baths in the sink will be ending too soon…Documenting it one last time…DSC_8334.JPGAnd several weeks ago our big girl  discovered her ability to twist and loop her tongue. A talent I do not have, but wanted to make sure I documented just in case it was a fluke (it’s not, she does it all the time now). DSC_8316And look, some of our bunnies have turned out lop eared after all…Here is the airplane look before the crown fully developed into a lop…That was something I didn’t know, I thought that if they were lop it would be that way from birth, but not so…DSC_8303And then here it is after a few days…DSC_8380.JPGAbsolutely precious… This bunny I think will be kept as a pet??? I know…not doing so hot on the sustainable homestead part…lol… No, actually I think this litter will be sold as pets…I just don’t think I can eat the adorableness…especially with those lop ears!  I mean, it’s so cute it doesn’t even look real!DSC_8376.JPGWe WILL raise meat rabbits soon. Using the same doe, but a different male who won’t carry the peanut or dwarfing genes…Remember, we thought that one was female, and this litter was an “accident.” Although I’m glad it happened so that we could get in some practice, and these baby bunnies have given us all so much joy…  I think I just got too close to these for them to be eaten…they were born in my kitchen after all… or maybe that’s where the irony is…hmmmm…

Just using the materials we have available to make their colony. I’m excited because we are going to have tunnels & fake burrows, when actually the run is dig proof.DSC_8383.JPG While we were building, look who found herself a new place to nest…haha…We do need to get working on the real chicken nesting boxes, poor things only use a basket right now…DSC_8384.JPGBut it is really for the buns…There is only one out of the litter that isn’t a lop eared bun…Isn’t it adorable? DSC_8300.JPGIt still looks like a mess here… still working on it…I love that this is all right outside the children’s bedroom- they can look out the window at all the animals…HOW FUN! DSC_8388.JPGThe bunnies really love being out in the yard!DSC_8307.JPGBut they are so happy in the colony we built. We have a separate place for the male, but it’s right next to the others so it doesn’t get too lonely… They have even been rearranging the stuff to their liking…But since we aren’t finished & need to add the tunnels, dirt, and actual roof it’s all okay…DSC_8425.JPGWe know the white gates look off, but it was the only materials we had on hand to build the doors with… I will eventually make it look nice- either I’ll replace them later when we have the funds, or I will paint the rest of the run white & possibly just cut off the fence tips….Hey, free materials are always better regardless of looks…Am I right? haha! And that patch of dead grass in the middle is going to be a free for all (Chickens and humans) herb garden with some they avoid (so it doesn’t look demolished), and some they enjoy eating but that grow very quickly…I want it to look nice somewhat, we are in the city after all…*I know it can be done because I’ve seen it*DSC_8423.JPGThe chickens had all just gone in the run because of the rain, so I was able to get everyone in the pictures.DSC_8421.JPGAnd I know the rabbit colony isn’t huge, but we are starting small remember? And there is way more space here than what most people have for rabbits…DSC_8420.JPGAnd what did we do with the kiddos if we were both building you ask? I wasn’t wearing her on my back this time because we were using the saw and I didn’t want the noise bothering her ears, or sawdust to get in her eyes…so, Pinterest Mom hack for the win…The kids played in their sandbox & play house…baby played here…No bugs or sun on baby…Isn’t that an awesome idea??? DSC_8386.JPGWe really have loved the benefits of growing fresh food, even the little tiny bit we have done this year… This year it all sort of feels like a lot of effort for little return, but we are still majorly learning and we still can’t do as much because of our young babies. Next year we are hoping to do a large garden that will take up a third of our yard… Praying that we are able because I would like to get back into canning…I really miss having shelves full of beautiful home canned foods…DSC_8315 We are also going to be growing my favorite flowers that we can cut for bouquets instead of buying flowers…I’m one of the weird ones that always wants fresh flowers in the house…I don’t know why, but it always makes the house feel cleaner.

I know it’s going to be a lot of work, and I’m sure some of you reading are probably thinking the same as stated above, “why are you trying to “mini- homestead” right now anyways? You have so much on your plate…” But this is our dream, and we want it to become a REALITY! DSC_8315.JPG

… 4 MONTHS…ALREADY???

I didn’t take as many baby growth photos this month as planned. I mean, I’ve taken a million pictures this month, but I’m talking about the “sort of profesh styled pics” …Things have been SUPER crazy around her the past few months, and I’ve barely been able to catch a breath. (I KNOW, i know…excuses) …So it is less of a prepped and planned “photo” shoot, and more of a “Oh my goodness she’s ALREADY 4 months old?!!!” Shoot… But that’s okay- I definitely got a frame-worthy picture (In my eyes anyways)…so, that’s what matters to me! DSC_8355.JPGShe weighs in at 14lbs. 3oz. She only needs a little bit more and she will double her birth weight.DSC_8342

She is successfully rolling over and she has found her adorable toes. Of course I didn’t catch a picture of that… but I should have, because it’s absolutely adorable!

She is (and has been) a super laid back/happy baby! DSC_8345.JPGShe laughs and giggles more times than I can count, and I LOVE that! And she is a thumb sucker!!! (A MILLION HEARTS TO SHOW HOW MUCH I LOVE THAT!)DSC_8340.JPGI love that her personality is starting to bloom…She is growing up WAY TOO FAST! Happy Four months baby girl- we LOVE you!DSC_8353.JPG

Embracing the joy when the sorrow doesn’t seem to fade…

So…Here We are again…

A year ago my sweet, you were born into heaven…

 You never felt fear. You never had tears. We only got to know and love you briefly. 

And yet your presence is missed dear…

*breathe deeply- Oh, be held in His arms sweet one…


We know you are beyond happy, united with your sibling Shiloh, with great grandparents, and ancestors I haven’t had the privilege to meet yet.

 We are here, waiting to join you both in your current fellowship with the Creator. How amazing that must be!

There is a deep absence… 

Tears still flow from mommy and daddy’s face…

A deep sorrow and also  a deep joy…

It’s conflicting emotions that somehow go so well together…knowing that you are with the Savior…knowing that you are home and we will join you one day…

A pain deep inside that longs to hold you… That has longed to hold your sibling. That longs to hold you both. 

Your footprints should be next to your sister’s…

But there is this empty space…

God’s timing isn’t understood by us. I don’t like that you, (or before you sweet Shiloh) were taken from us sooner than we thought you should be…and yet God knew. 

Your time of conception was appointed by God, as well as your last moments with us. They were not hidden from Him. Your days were planned and written in his book long before time. And your purpose on earth was accomplished to His glory. 

When I see your sweet twin sister growing so well, I think of you and give her extra kisses…
We will love her so well, and as long as we are privileged to…to the best of our ability. We will enjoy the moments we get to have with her! 

And we will always love you sweet Aiden… We are still grieving for you… We are still grieving for your sibling who went before you… We always will be, until the time the Lord has appointed for us to join you in His glorious presence…and then in that moment, there will be no empty spaces. But we are also continuing to embrace life, experience joy, and love on your other siblings as much as we can. You can never be replaced, you will always be held in our hearts. 

Love always, Daddy & Mommy…

Glimpses of Northern adventures…(mostly cell phone pics)

Our family isn’t huge in the true sense of the term. But it is large enough that when we all get together, there is enough noise to cover a mile…but in a good way: lots of little feet running around, the “big” kids forming cousin friendships, and the little babies being passed around because everyone wants to hold them. It’s a rare occasion, all of us being together, since us older siblings are married and in different states spread across the country. But we all came together to celebrate a few joyous moments- the wedding of my little brother and his sweet best friend, my little sister getting married, and my youngest sister graduating high school… We all drove up North, and started another summer adventure. ​

Gaining a new sister is always fun! And she was a gorgeous bride! June 18, 2016.

Callie Grace got to be a flower girl for the first time…   

She had other ideas about how she wanted to go about the job, and I was worried…but she did it! She had so much fun hanging out with the girls too.

She danced the night away, and my brother drove away married…


Adelaide was a trooper being out so late, and daddy held her lots…

I got good camera pictures of all three kiddos before the wedding in their fancy clothes, but I haven’t had a chance to upload them yet…Nic had to go home and me and the kiddos stayed at my parents house until the next wedding two weeks later ….lots of music jam sessions were had with siblings …

Our babies played…(3 months and 9 months)…

Thrift store fun was had. 

Look at this old navy dress I snagged for 99 cents!

And all the cousins had fun with their new aunt.My little sister graduated…and a party was had…


Things were tightly packed into the time, but I tried to remember to slow down and enjoy Indiana beauty…

We were filled in with more wedding plans…Wedding preparations meant lots of sister time.

Lots of playtime at GiGi& Pops house. 

 I drove to Ohio, and met up with an awesome friend from my childhood, and finally our children met.

My youngest brother turned 18, and officially made me feel old.

There were sad moments, filled with memory…as we all gathered together and received pieces from the life of the woman we loved dearly…

I had a few “moments,” on this emotional day…I seem to never be rid of having these, especially in emotionally charged moments…so “grounding” was attempted. Lots of release and awaken oil, prayer, and tapping …Because, while my feelings about what happened were valid, my response was incorrect…
  …and my pride had to be set aside and forgiveness asked for from people because as “moments” go, they tend to affect more than one person, even when you don’t realize it. And then forgiveness had to be asked for once again  from one person, because I became defensive while attempting to protect my feelings …oy… *still stings to admit! Embarrassing!!! Ugh, why does my pride and selfishness win more than naught? I hate conflict, and yet I cause it so often… Reconciliation is easy for some people, but I have a harder time because my root tendency is to hold a grudge… And you probably are wondering why I’m sharing this- but, I’m just a sinner saved by grace and some days I need a reprimand and quiet contemplation and repentance  with the Lord…we are all sinners with unique struggles…embarrassing or not…just some of my struggles seem to be around how I respond…

Moving on…
Grammie and poppi have an awesome hideout in the yard.

My cute boy kept trying to find hiding spaces…


 I had my hair dyed by my sister to cover the grays and whites…

I love, love, love it! I feel like I look like a normal young mom instead of a falling apart/aging person. Yay!

We had a lovely tea thrown by my grandma, in honor of the two brides and the graduate.


They had fun at their great grandpa’s house.And  then fun at their other greats- GG & Pops

This little lady wanted to be with the big kids so much
Napping or “book time” was needed all around…

More beauty was found…

Walks were lovely because of the brief cool front. Look at those big kids!

Lots of play…It was hard being away from daddy and this kiddo showed it by acting out more, (plus he is two)…so lots of cuddles were given…

Grammie found fun plates for all the grands…

Flowers were appreciated…And when daddy came home everyone was happy! He and I went on a romantic date…watched the sunset and then watched fireworks… I love my guy!

Wedding set up and baby wearing…

And then the morning of the wedding, I jammed or broke  my pinky toe on a door stop. My poor toe was sticking off to the side weird, and I felt nauseated! Thankful my older sister was there to help put it back in place. I was going to just suck up the pain and wear my heels. But the Lord graciously provided, and someone else in the wedding party had an extra pair of silver sandals my size. Praise the Lord, I didn’t have to squish my toes in a heel! 

I was honored to be a part of my sister’s wedding and she was a beautiful bride! July 2, 2016
Nic did a fantastic job managing the kids during the wedding! I only wish I had a picture!
Callie Grace enjoyed the dancing again!And Adelaide gave so many people smiles.

July 4th celebration happened at GiGi and Pop’s house… Food, games, baby holding…
 Then it was time to go home…

We had a short detour to see the “giant boy” in Athens, AL 

And when we got home these cuties were found with another mess…they were hopping over the playpen…So we went outside to build a temporary run so that we can build the bigger colony style run this week… 
 After we finished we promptly fell asleep from exhaustion… Now to unpack and get settled back in…

Baby Bunnies- Newborn through 1 month old

Okay…So… We bought a doe rabbit from a farm & feed store and Callie Grace affectionately named BUNNY… She has been a super sweet rabbit & is the one that chases and hops around our back yard chasing Josiah, sitting on laps, loving attention.DSC_7970.JPG We planned on breeding her for meat, not knowing much about it …that was all Nic’s project because I have only ever had pet rabbits…but since we believe in the importance of knowing where your food comes from & the gravity of eating meat- it’s important for us to continue towards self- sufficiency when it comes to food…We hope to raise them “colony” style… I hate the tiny cages most are forced to live out their lives in, and this is the closest way to raise them humanely that I’ve found… We are to treat animals with kindness after all…DSC_7971.JPGDSC_7974.JPGWe also rescued a small black Holland Lop from the vet down the street and they checked and told me that the rabbit was about a year old & was a female. Callie Grace named it Dolly. Both rabbits we litter trained and so they were inside/outside rabbits. They hopped around the house together and were best buds (We did not plan to breed this one)… well… Bc I assumed the vet was correct I didn’t check to confirm that it was INDEED a female like I had the one we purchased.DSC_7696.JPG

Well…they were wrong… Nic and I caught the black one chasing the grey one and then, do the deed…we tried to separate them in time, but couldn’t because it takes like one second…lol… I marked it on the calendar, and counted 31 days. (UM… WHY DO THEY GET SUCH A SHORT GESTATION ANYWAYS? LOL) I looked up everything I could think about how to care for pregnant rabbit, the baby kits, and all the stuff around the subject.DSC_7973When it got closer to her time, I put a nesting box in her outdoor house so that she could begin nesting. I checked it daily and when I found she had made a nest I knew we would have baby kits by morning. I desperately wanted photos of her giving birth, but knew the chances of that would be slim- despite her being comfortable with me…DSC_7975.JPGI brought her inside along with the birthing box & checked on her every few hours. But of course I still missed it, I should have set the camera up overnight  like my mom did all those years ago when we wanted to see the butterflies come out of their cocoons, (btw- I totally CAN’T wait to do that with the kids later on in life!)… And in the morning, there they were… totally precious TINY kits all in a pile!DSC_7978.JPGEverything I read said that if the doe was comfortable with me, if she knew my scent, and if she was a first time mom-that I should try to check the kits, (count them, check for still borns, check for birth defects, etc.). I did, and we found six healthy little kits. I realized an hour later, that the set up we had wasn’t going to work out in the kitchen so I needed to move the birth box out of the other big box and fixed the problem. I’M SO GLAD WE DID TOO! With each kit that is born the mom licks them and then tucks them into the nest(this is per videos of different rabbits birthing that I watched on You Tube)…well, apparently she had tucked one of the babies outside of the nest and it had fallen in between the wall and the nest. It was SO TINY compared to the others, and it’s eyes bulged out a little. I checked it and it was breathing/wiggling and thankfully still warm. So I put it with it’s siblings and then left them alone to cuddle. Thinking nothing more about it’s birth & hoping it would make it…DSC_7980.JPGWe also had Dolly, um…errr… Doug, in the house too. Rabbits form strong bonds with their mates and Bunny was happy to see him… But obviously we couldn’t let them be out together, (males will impregnate again-yes even after birth…breeding like rabbits isn’t a joke, lol).DSC_7987.JPGEvery morning when I would come into the kitchen Bunny would be laying down outside her nest. But during the day she would pretend that her kits didn’t exist.DSC_7986.JPG I’ve read this is because rabbits are prey animals, and it is a safety instinct to keep animals away from the nest. But she was super calm and didn’t act over protective like I’d expect when I would check on the kits. Rabbits also only nurse once per day so it was super hard to catch a picture because it was usually really early! I did google how to give the tiny one we found an extra feeding and attempted that, but it didn’t really work until a few tries. Sadly one evening as I was counting, I found the little poor wee thing… It didn’t make it.  I stayed up a lot that nigh looking up about runts and what else could I have done to save it…and found out that there is two different types of tiny kits… the runt which is just smallest but a normal developed kit (sometimes they make it, sometimes they don’t), and the peanut (they don’t make it). A peanut is bred to certain types of rabbits that carry the dwarfing gene. These peanuts will usually live only a few days, a few weeks at most. So the mom probably intentionally birthed that one away from the others, because instinctually she knew it wouldn’t make it, and if that were the case it would cause the others to be sick… only six of these kits remained.

I never knew how much newborn rabbits looked like little mice! (This picture was taken before we found the peanut).DSC_7981.JPGI realized at my reaction to the peanut’s death, that I have a lot of maturing to do before we take on full scale farming. I know it’s important to respect the gravity of where our meat comes from, that a life has been taken, etc…. And I know that farm life (the life we dream of) is going to have lots of these types of hard blows (dead calves, stillborns, coyotes,  worse, etc….) It’s still hard for my childish, creature-loving heart… (unless it’s a roach or snake -all them nasty things need to die! lol)…So anyways…we are getting our feet wet with our chickens, our little garden, and now bunnies…

(Newborn kit)DSC_7983.JPG(kits at one week)DSC_7996-2.JPG(kits at 11 days)DSC_8009-2This little kit at 11 days was really getting curious about being outside the nest…I popped it back in and within minutes it had dug away from the nest and was back at the edge… haha…DSC_8088.JPGThis one followed suit a little while later…I think I popped three different kits back into the nest twice each… It would soon be time for the nest to disappear anyways to avoid nest eyes…

(Picture-Eyes still closed but determined to explore everywhere!)DSC_8073.JPGThis one was trying to sneak another feeding from mom I think..she didn’t have any of that nonsense…poor little kit… DSC_8074.JPGI think this one is my favorite…DSC_8080.JPGDSC_8089.JPGDSC_8090I love being able to watch these kits grow… and man do they grow FAST! DSC_8078And mama Bunny is such a laid back doe… I’m thankful she is our first experience… (Here she is nursing the kits- I loved seeing this!)DSC_8120.JPGIt has been amazing to see how differently sized they each are…DSC_8101-2.JPGDSC_8098.JPGAnd there is one that has been bigger than the rest, we named him “Hoss”DSC_8091.JPGNot one of hem had floppy ears amazingly enough!DSC_8127.JPGOh my goodness- HOW CUTE ARE THEY??? DSC_8135.JPGThey started nibbling on mama Bunny’s hay…Even more adorable to watch!DSC_8126.JPGI made them a temporary “bunny play pen” so that mom could still nurse, but could get away when she wanted too…DSC_8114.JPGPiles of bunny cuddles!DSC_8122.JPGOf course, it didn’t last long and they were hopping out…DSC_8118.JPGShe didn’t seem to mind too much… and they appreciated being near her…DSC_8125DSC_8103-2.JPGSince I wasn’t going to be in town for the rest of their growing up time I decided to take some “cute” pictures outside with them & I’m glad I did too!DSC_8151-2.JPGDSC_8159.JPGDSC_8150-3.JPGDSC_8147.JPGDSC_8146-2DSC_8161.JPG

A week full of family memories…

DSC_7882-2.JPGThis little boy’s imagination is BIG… I love it! DSC_7885Sundays still have chores… Apron on and outside…Our girl loves feeding the baby chicks…DSC_7989.JPGBecause it means she gets to hold them more…Man is it getting hot already!
DSC_7991.JPGDSC_7994.JPGSundays also have early bedtimes according to this guy…he didn’t even make it through Bible time with daddy… we found him asleep next to the couch…haha…DSC_7746.JPGMonday we awaited the special visit from (my mom) Grammie and (my grandma) Gi-gi… And I found my girl taking longer than she should going potty…This is what I found…DSC_7998“I soaking my tired feet mommy.” She didn’t learn it from me, although I’m tempted to follow suit…She said “I like the water VERY hot!” I can tell because her pale skin is so red from the water…DSC_7999.JPGGrammie brought a fun craft/art jar with her and creations were made…DSC_8004.JPGOur time with Grammie and Gi-gi was so special..DSC_8000.JPGAdelaide meeting her Great Grandma for the first time… DSC_8003.JPGI hated when it was time for them to go so soon and that I didn’t take many pictures, but So thankful they could come! 13243767_10154239464483833_6937945886916369825_o.jpgThen just a day after they left we headed to visit with Nic’s family on the farm in Mississippi…DSC_8017.JPGLots of fun on four wheelers was had…DSC_8010.JPGDSC_8012.JPG13254358_10154250034373833_7465991223784165839_n.jpg(phone picture above)

Josiah can’t get enough of them and always wants to go, go, go!DSC_8029.JPGDaddy showed our newest girl around the farm…He whispered memories of loved ones in her ears…DSC_8014.JPG13335548_10154250034228833_1774958308513182339_n.jpg

Josiah picked blueberries and was so proud of the hard work…DSC_8022.JPGHe had apparently forgotten last year’s discovery of the blue ones being sweet and the green ones being sour… but his remembering face is priceless!DSC_8026.JPGWe wanted a picture of our rainbow baby with this beautiful sunflower…deeper meanings behind it…despite the pictures imperfections it is a special moment for us. *Looking forward… breathe…be held in His arms sweet one*DSC_8019.JPGDSC_8031-2.JPGWe had fun seeing the cows and helping in the barn a tiny bit…DSC_8042.JPGDSC_8044.JPGOne day these dreams of ours will be a reality we hope… but for now, we will be content with our Minter Mini-Farm… I’m going to be honest here- I almost didn’t put this picture of us in because of how I felt about my looks… but ya know what, looks and size REALLY AREN’T as much worth as I give them credit for… the happiness in this moment was worth more… Realizing how shallow about myself I really can be…I am human after all…and I just had a baby…so there’s that…I need to keep practicing speaking life and truth into myself as well…work in progress here…DSC_8046.JPGWe even had a short date away… 13256369_10154246067733833_5643010851703496517_n

Fun was had with lots of family…DSC_8051.JPGDSC_8040.JPGDSC_8063.JPGYummy meals were lovingly prepared and shared together…DSC_8053And Josiah loved helping Ma-maw in the garden…DSC_8032.JPGDSC_8034.JPGWe all relaxed in the outdoors… there is just something about farmland…DSC_8065.JPGDSC_8028.JPGDSC_8056.JPG Finishing off the visit with watermelon eating, and fun at the nearby park…DSC_8067.JPGDSC_8069.JPGDSC_8072.JPGThey were all worn out and slept the majority of the long ride home… Lots of good memories from both sides of the family in one week! 

Backyard fun…

So our yard isn’t HUGE compared to our dreams of never-ending farm land… But it is pretty big for “in town.” We had the privacy fence around our yard completed to make a safer environment for the kids and so that our dog could run freely.  (So thankful for Nic’s parents coming to help us build one side)…And the kids LOVE playing outside!DSC_7812.JPG And on these hot days lately they really appreciate these homemade coconut milk popsicles!DSC_7805.JPGJosiah got a bubble mower for his birthday from Gigi & Pops, and it’s absolutely adorable watching him mow! DSC_7795.JPGOf course, every time it starts to bubble he can’t help himself trying to catch them…If this was real mowing going on I could see lots of hospital visits…haha…DSC_7793.JPGI mean seriously though, HOW CUTE IS THAT!DSC_7791.JPGDSC_7788.JPGSpeaking of mowing…after Callie Grace’s meltdown about daddy “vacuuming” (mowing) her flowers (clover & other weeds), mom suggested we let her plant her own flower garden! GENIUS! We took her to Wal-mart & had her pick from the $1.20 priced plants and a bag of seeds, went home and she planted them… DSC_7855.JPGI had to convince her it was OKAY to get her hands all dirty… I told her that dirty hands meant hard work…so she wanted me to take her picture of her hard work hands…DSC_7853.JPGShe picked out where she wanted to plant each flower, and actually I was surprised that her layout had a matching pattern!DSC_7851.JPGBut her favorite part was actually planting the seeds. and I didn’t even need to teach her how, she started a little sing-song for each little seed,”Poke a hole, put the seed in, and cover it up!” It was cute…I think she remembered from one of the board books we read a million times about gardening… DSC_7862.JPGAnd at this point she wasn’t worried about her hands being dirty…DSC_7860.JPGShe watered everything…that’s one of her daily chores now, and she actually reminds ME it needs done…haha! Maybe she will break the mold and have a green thumb…mine seems to be black unless it’s a plant that CAN’T die…lol…DSC_7875.JPGDSC_7874.JPG Thank you free pallets, Pinterest, hammer, and nails…the kids LOVE this play house (shanty)! I know it looks like it could fall apart any second, it’s actually quite sturdy for what it is…lol…She was so proud of her hard work! We plan on cutting down the white piece of fencing in half to make a mini picket fence look around her garden… but ya know…time… haha.DSC_7867.JPGMeanwhile Nic was working on my mother’s day present…A HOOP HOUSE for my chicken ladies!!!  YAY! DSC_7879.JPGAND they got me 2 new baby chicks! So we now have a total of 10 baby chicks…meaning we now have 16 chickens total! Of course I’m sure there will end up being roosters that will end up in the freezer (sorry, but we can’t keep them here and we have to eat too…)13112790_10154203784528833_5526356493586548255_o.jpgAnd Callie Grace even knows… the precedent has been set…because the other day I went into the Kitchen hearing her talk to the little chick saying, “I hope you’re a girl chicken… If you’re a rooster you’ll grow up and be in our freezer and then in our bellies.”

We attempted Mother’s day pictures, but the kids weren’t into it… But there was one that was salvageable! lol…DSC_7888-2.JPGI love being their mama!

We attempted to get mother’s day cards in the mail, but that didn’t happen…STILL…DSC_7839.JPGI’m a terrible “card on time” person…sigh…But hey, I have proof that we worked on them! The bottom one I framed and hung up for us…Maybe I should work on my handwriting too…hmmm…DSC_7850.JPGCallie Grace wanted to paint more afterwards of course…DSC_7825.JPGShe is a VERY “hands into her art” type of person! I forgot to put an apron on her, but she manages to NOT get it on her clothes, so it works…Why she LOVES getting paint on her hands, but freaked out the day before about getting dirt on them- I have no idea… DSC_7826.JPGThe table was a completely different story…She helped clean some, but I needed to get most of it…lol…DSC_7847.JPGLook at who found her thumb? DSC_7896.JPGJosiah was not into painting more, so he went and played trains…DSC_7780.JPGAnd then saw I had my camera so he started showing off… lol…DSC_7785.JPGAs evening came, we were all tired… cartoons were played but Josiah was having more fun with the basket…lol…DSC_7778.JPGAnd this handsome hunk was worn out from all the building projects, so he found a comfortable spot and fell asleep with his littlest princess…I love seeing him wear overalls… I especially love seeing him holding sleeping babies!DSC_7589.JPGPlus, moments like this helps me forget the PILES of stuff that need organizing… Clothes sorting is the worst… seasons, sizes, ugh… It is SUCH a blessing- because we HAVE clothes! But it is overwhelming…and we only keep enough of each size and each season for each gender as we go, because we will (hopefully) use them for future children and definitely can’t afford to buy new for each child… I was so thankful that a friend came over to help me sort through some things, so at least progress was made… but here these boxes still wait… DSC_7965.JPGBut babies don’t keep so…

I’ll soak up her smiles…DSC_7736.JPGI’ll watch my little boy grow more and more independant…DSC_7968.JPG

And I’ll giggle that my little girl is becoming Alabama’s FINEST chicken lady…DSC_7964.JPG(She is still working on how to hold a chicken… but she sure is great at catching them! poor chickens…haha!)