Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Own Personal Handyman

     My husband is an amazing and talented man.  Over the years, he has picked up some valuable skills.  He used to be a carpenter.  When he started as a carpenter, he came in with no experience.  He had a wonderful and patient boss who taught him well.  Jeff worked in the trade for many years before it just got to be too hard on his body to do it on a daily basis.  He does however still use the skills he learned around our home and to help others.
    Years ago Jeff built a shed that is attached to our screened in porch.  It has been a great place to store the lawn mower, gardening tools, and also serves as a storage place for excess household goods.  He recently decided to re-roof it since it had developed a few leaks after storms had caused it some damage.  He also reworked the front of the shed so he could attach a downspout for the gutters in a place that was more efficient.  All of this was done on a hot afternoon after he got up from sleeping (he works the graveyard shift) and before he had to go to work that night.   
    His talents do not stop there.  He has remodeled one of the ugliest bathrooms I have ever seen into an oasis for me complete with a big soaking tub.  He rebuilt our back porch and screened it in.  It has now become another "room" that we use about 6 months out of the year and our indoor cats favorite place to lounge when the weather is warm.  Jeff and I eat many of our meals out there also.  He had customized closets, built furniture, helped friends with remodels, replaced all the inefficient old windows in our home with new ones, installed a new sliding glass door, laid new flooring, remodeled my kitchen and so much more.
    Jeff also does a lot of the work on our cars himself.  His father taught him some of the basics and he has also learned quite a bit by reading and/or watching videos on YouTube on how to do some of the repairs needed.  If it is beyond what he can do, then we take it to our trusted mechanic.
    I am blessed to have such a hard working and talented hubby.  He has not only saved us tons of money over the years but also has also improved our home and made it more comfortable and more efficient.  I really love that guy!

Verses to Live by: Ephesians 6:13

Ephesians 6:13
For this reason, take up the whole armor of God so that you may be able to take a stand whenever evil comes. And when you have done everything you could, you will be able to stand firm.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Garden Produce and Piggy Back Baking

Harvested some potatoes.  I just threw some potatoes that were sprouting into a deep hole and added dirt around the plants as they grew.

Our regular cucumber plants are doing great.  The Lemon Cucumber plants are not.

Fresh beans.  I only had 5 plants that came up this year out of 2 rows but those 5 plants are producing enough beans for the 2 of us.

Our 2 cherry tomato plants are supplying us with lots and lots of fresh tomatoes.

Roasting cherry tomatoes and eggplant in the same pan I used to bake 6 huge boneless skinless chicken breast.  I seasoned this with olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, salt and some garlic salt.  YUM!

Croutons were made with the ends of my leftover homemade bread.  These went in as soon as the roasted veggies were done.

Some of the diced up cooked chicken.  I froze 3 more bags of it for future meals.  The roasted veggies were added to this later.  We will have half of this with pasta for dinner and I will freeze the rest of it for a future meal.

More sourdough bread being made in the bread maker.  This is my second bread maker since I wore the other one out.  I did buy a another spare one this Summer just in case this one quits working.  I make fresh bread every 2-3 days.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reflecting and Relaxing

Bradley and Isaiah sharing a moment. <3

This past week had been one of reflection and a bit of relaxation.  Jeff and I both have been enjoying taking time just for us and spending time with our children and grandchildren.  Even with Josh far away in Washington DC, we still have face time with him via SKYPE and also on the phone.  All of our kids are starting to adjust to the big changes in their lives and are settling in nicely.  As a parent, it brings me great joy and comfort to see them tackle these big steps and to see them happy and content.

With the big changes, came big challenges. Sadly, Josh's marriage ended shortly before Isaiah was born and Jaysn and Rachel got married. It broke my heart to see my son in so much pain and needing answers to “why” so that he could move on with his life. Throughout it all though we learned some important lessons. First and foremost is that there are so many people in Josh and our lives who love and support him (and us). His friends and coworkers rallied behind him and made sure that he was ok. The timing of this, although never a good thing, came when he had friends (that we all consider family) from back home who spent some time with him while on their way to Germany. They helped him pack some things away and even rearranged his furniture so that he would have a bit of a fresh perspective and it really did help with a mind shift into a more positive place. Thank you Tiffy and Caleb! Our family also rallied around Josh and made sure to be available 24/7 for him. There will never be enough “thank yous” to express just how much we and Josh appreciate the support we all got from both sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings. Our friends, who knew what was going on, also checked on Jeff and I to make sure we were ok. We love you and appreciate you all! I don't know how people can get through something like this without a good support system. These are “defining moments” in our lives, when we learn just who is truly there for us, through thick and thin, and also about ourselves and our capacity for love and forgiveness. 
During all of this, our newest grandson Isaiah made his grand entrance into the world! He and his big brother Bradley bring such joy to us all. Spending time with them helps to just make everything else that is going on “disappear” for awhile. They are such sweet boys. Isaiah is the most cuddly baby around and I love to snuggle with him. Bradley keeps us in stitches with his keen sense of humor and antics. :) Chris and Heather are both great parents and it warms my heart to see them with their boys. Heather really should get the Mom of the Year Award. Even going on very little sleep with a newborn and a toddler in the house, she continues to be a very loving and patient mom to her very blessed little boys. Chris also started a new job as a Sheriff's Deputy with the county and has been juggling a changing schedule along with trying to adjust to having a newborn in the house. Lots of changes for their family all at once!

Then there is the start of a new family with Jaysn and Rachel getting married! They worked so hard on planning their wedding and it turned out beautifully! The both glowed with love and happiness. Jeff served as the best man for our oldest son and that was such an honor and touched Jeff's heart so deeply. Josh, who was able to take a short trip home, and Chris were groomsmen along with Jaysn's good friend David. Rachel's sister Michelle was her maid of honor and her friends Lucy, Denise and Faith served as her bridesmaids. Our hanai sons, Ben and Lee, were the ushers. We were blessed to have my parents, Jeff's parents, my brother Eric and his family, Jeff's brother and his wife, several of Rachel's aunts and uncles and cousins and some good friends (who are part of our hanai family) all join us for the special day. It was a small intimate wedding and it was made all the more special by Rachel wearing her mother's wedding dress. They are now settling into their new lives as husband and wife and enjoying that wonderful “newlywed” stage. :) We had lunch with them this past weekend and they still have that glow about them. :)

There were other major things going on as well in our lives during this time that took lots of time, energy and attention. It seems like everything hit at once and I felt pulled in so many directions. I kept picturing myself as a juggler with all these balls in the air that I had to keep from crashing to the floor. It was exhausting physically and mentally. That is why the big crash did finally come after the wedding and getting Josh sent back off to DC. It took me a good week to come out of the brain fog I was in. Jeff was also exhausted putting in long hours at work and trying to be there for all his kids, grandchildren and me and trying to get multiple projects done here at home and for and with our kids at their homes. 
So...we took the past 2 weekends off to just relax and do what we wanted to do with no set schedules. It has been wonderful! We slept in, had lunch with Jaysn and Rachel, visited with Chris, Heather and the boys and got to see Bradley's new bike that he is very proud of. Jeff finally got to see Isaiah with his eyes open! :) He has always been asleep the other times Jeff has been able to be there and hold him. We relaxed in the hot tub and had long talks, BBQed dinner and even made our first trip down to the river today where we picked some blackberries and had fun watching Caesar swim in circles around me. I have been puttering around the house and gardens for the past 2 weeks and just enjoying being home while cooking up all kinds of good food from the produce from our garden and that friends have blessed us with. There have been a few “blips” of stress from an ongoing situation, but for the most part, it has been so wonderful to just “be”.

This Summer has been one that has stretched me way beyond my comfort zone and at times I though it might break me but I learned so many things about life and about myself. As mentioned earlier, we all learned who is truly there for us through thick and thin. We can make it through anything, as long as we have our faith, family and friends. Forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to forgive and move on with our lives, regardless of what the other party has done or continues to do. Being gracious and loving is also a choice, even in difficult situations. Each new family member that joins our family just increases the love and joy that we have! We are so blessed to have added our newest daughter Rachel and our newest grandson Isaiah to our family and to still have our parents with us. I cannot even hope to explain how much they, along with the rest of our beautiful and wonderful family mean to me other than to say this...there are tears running down my cheeks as I think about each of them because I am just overwhelmed with the love I feel. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Coming up for Air


   These past few months have been crazy busy for our entire family.  Each of our kids has had major life changing events occurring in their lives and thus in our lives also. Our attention and energy has been focused on our children and helping them and also on a few other things...all of them important.  Lack of sleep, for both my husband and I, and the feeling of having a huge "must do" list with not enough time to do it all in, have taken their much so that I confused times and days of appointments this past week.  A friend of mine shared that she was concerned about me and could tell that I was not doing well.  She was right, at times it felt like I was drowning.

   Jeff and I decided that we needed to just relax over the weekend and not do anything that we did not want to do.  We stayed home, slept in, got a few projects done around here that we had been neglecting and did not make any plans with anyone else. We watched movies, took walks (including one at night with the warm wind blowing in a thunderstorm off in the distance) and sat in the back yard sipping on coffee in the cool of the morning. 

   Today I am finally feeling like my "Summer Vacation" is starting.  I have a few days to myself, with no outside commitments, before things get crazy again later this week.  Until then, I am going to enjoy this little respite and continue to putter around my home, doing things here to make our home comfortable, welcoming and full of good things to eat.  All too soon I will be back at work once again and my "sleeping in" days will be few and far between.

Grandson Goodness!

Bradley's first ice cream cone.  I think he enjoyed it!

Pretending to mow the lawn like Daddy.  Notice the ear protection and glove...this kid amazes me with his attention to details. 

Sleepy Isaiah rocking his tie dyed onesie. I love his perfect little bow shaped mouth.

A very special gift from the boys Aunt Lacey...what a treasure!

Bradley explaining something to Isaiah. Grammie's guess is that is went something like this..."the gray meow is mine, her real name is Midget but Mommy calls her Evil Kitty". ;)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Jaysn Gilbertson

Our son Jaysn married the love of his life, Rachel, on Saturday August 3, 2013.  It was a beautiful small and intimate wedding with family and a few friends.  Both the bride and groom glowed! :)  My husband Jeff was the best man and our twins Josh and Chris, along with Jaysn's friend David, served as the groomsmen.  Our hanai sons, Ben and Lee, were ushers. 

Congratulations to Jaysn and Rachel!  We love you both so much!