Friday, April 30, 2021

Deck beginnings

I'm posting this in August, and we've been entertaining on our "new deck" since mid May. So we were working slowly on the "new room" - and had decided to extend the deck out from the french doors - the deck line was going to be higher than the siding, and so we had to replace the siding before we could start the deck. And it felt at the time like a never ending process. It always feels like WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AGAIN?! midway through a project. Or seven projects in our case, haha!
So we once the siding got delivered, we started with that, and finished. I'm bad with posting the pics of the finished stuff, I need to! Once that was done, we went back to picking away at the room inside. And then we had a little covid scare - Brian was driving around in his truck all day with a coworker, who that night came down with a fever and tested positive for Covid. So it was time to stay home for 10 days in case he were to catch it - and what better way to spend quarantine than building a deck?

Empty bags of concrete.
Now, none of these renos were "surprises". We had planned them/knew we'd be doing last March 2020 when Covid hit and things started shutting down, we noted the slight, at that time, rise in lumber prices. Mr. Construction Pro (Brian, if that weren't obvi) asked around and determined prices wouldn't come down - and would only go up from here for a long long time. So we hurriedly ordered all the lumber we'd need for the deck. It was delivered and sitting in massive stacks in our yard for a year. Of course it was. Lol. Green lumber need to dry out anyway, right?!
Spring 2021, and we were finally ready to put that sucker up. Right when lumber prices were through the roof!
With 10 days off from work, Brian set to work. Now, I am bad with dimensions. But I'll post pics and vids...this is no normal sized deck. It goes from the far edge of the new room, 6 ft out, and then all the way to the edge of our house (our bedroom). It's HUGE. But Brian is a true pro. And you wouldn't believe we went from this pic here, of him drilling the holes on a Monday, to a completed deck 8 days later. It was truly impressive to witness.
The site of the new deck! 
Although Brian is obviously the brains behind this all, we all did quite a bit of work to pull this off. We made some last minute decisions/additions to our initial plan, like those tall beams to make a shade area - He had the lumber "extra" so why not?! Teamwork really accomplished a lot, quickly. It was satisfying to see, compared to the slow progress of the new room - but it's also the difference 10 whole days off of work makes, instead of nights and weekends. If that were the case, we'd still be building the deck, guaranteed!

Thompson's WaterSeal Timber Oil in Walnut, Semi-Transparent is what we chose, and we had bought 5 of them last year - we were 2 short:-/ Lowes to the rescue for the additional ones we needed!


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Lesson from Eli

I read this a week or so ago in my Bible reading plan. And it stuck out to me. Then a bible teacher from our church mentioned the exact same thing I had been pondering that same week...When God comes to Samuel with that still small voice...we all know that part of the story.

But it doesn't end there, and we usually don't talk about what happens next as much. The news given to Samuel by God isn't all that great for Eli. And Eli, already having been told himself by God what would happen to him some time prior has an interesting reaction. It struck me in the moment when I read it...Eli is saying, if God is speaking, I need to hear it. Even if it's about his judgement - if he's saying it, I want to hear it. And then the thought that the bible teacher fully fleshed out for me - Eli knew that God was just, and merciful. That his ways were best. Even sitting under the judgment of the Lord is better than to be without him. 

I guess I've usually heard "negative" teaching regarding Eli and his character. And maybe some or all of those points could be true. But at the end of the day, he knew that God would judge him rightly - and he was glad for that. When I read his response, it made me admire Eli's reaction,  because  it made me consider my own. I want to be someone who can acknowledge that if God is speaking, I need to hear it. Even if it's an uncomfortable call to obedience, or repentance... but am I that person? Certainly not always. But I want to fall on the mercy of God again and again, knowing that he will do what seems good to him - which whether I like it or not, will always be the best thing.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Coffee, from Luc

My coffee skills are getting better - and so are the kids! After Luc died, Cassy was getting rid of this high end coffee maker at her garage was in the $5 pile 😱 needed a part - suspected water pump. It hadn't been working right, and Luc was going to fix it, but hadn't gotten around to it. Brian took it. It's a $1200 machine, and he figured we could figure out what was wrong with it. After watching tons of "problem" videos on YouTube, in fact, all it needed was a gasket because of a water leak. And I've been trying to perfect various beverages since then. I can do mochas & lattes pretty good - my straight espresso and cappuccino need juuuust a little help still - sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. All this coffee business is way more science than coffee, and while essentially formulaic, also just...not. You have to feel in your bones. You either have it or you don't. It's...hard work. 😄 My Mother in law got me a tee-shirt for my bday "I never thought I'd grow up to be a barista, but here I am, killing it" 😂

I have wasted a ton of coffee, just trying to get a consistent cup. I have made lots of yummy coffee too. Brian hates coffee, tho loves the smell of it, thankfully. But regrettably I don't have a decent critic for some of my stuff, I have to practice on "strangers" instead of family. Sorry friends! I have taught the kids how to make chai lattes (which they adore the decaf version). And the whole thing has been a really fun hobby to take on. I never would have even thought to take up such a thing, if not for this machine. Next up, I really need to learn a bit of latte art. YouTube to the rescue again, I'm sure. 

I'm grateful for a fun new adventure, and a kind friend, who made the best coffee, and always made sure our cups were full. While I'm enjoying making someone a special beverage, I think of him, and his hospitality. It inspires me to make sure I'm loving others well, just like he did. We miss you, Luc.

Identity Theft

There's a reason I can live comfortably in the "I'm a sinner" identity: I am, in fact, still struggling with sin. The qualities I want to exhibit all too quickly succumb to grumbling, complaining, impatience, anger, and self focus. Each day, I fail in a variety of ways.
...Satan shows us our sin so we might despair. He wants to steal, kill, and destroy. God shows us our sin to lead us to Jesus...

As quoted from Melissa Kruger in the book Identity Theft.

Willow House Updates

Well, in a certain sense I hate to post pics yet, because it's not "done"...we're like 95% there, and should be 100% by weekend - except for the shutters on order. Oh, and the gutters. Haha. There's a lot more drama in a before and after than there is in the incremental progress. However, this is a place for memories, not a place for grand reveals, and life is incremental, and slow paced, and sometimes looks like the current mess of my yard. But that's alright. It's supposed to be that way. That's not the "bad" part of life, that IS life! This space, like our home, is essentially a museum of all the things that are important to us. And I want to remember the work, the mess, the teaching and learning. The boys got a bit of experience (their first ever) with our shed build last summer. And now - they're really getting a hang of measuring, power tools, and all that. The boys have installed all the siding on the house, leaving the tricky bits (all around the lights, the HVAC and the up really high peaks for Brian). They have done a fantastic job. We are getting compliments left right and center from the entire neighbourhood - on the colour of the siding (a LOVE), and also on the work ethic of these kids (a proud parent moment - I don't know that we're "there" yet, quite...but I guess it at least appears that they are 😉) A few pics to document the process before I post the final dramatic before and afters, hopefully next weekend!

When we bought the house in 2013. My least favourite thing about it (I mean, outside of the fact that it's a "boring ranch") was the gingerbread on the front posts.

A few years back we painted the doors and shutters - from green to blue.
3 years ago, a new roof. 2 years ago, new windows. This year, new siding! 

We chose new vinyl siding. Our other houses are various shades of blue - different/darker than this blue, but we thought this shade would suit the house best. I suspected at the supply store, that we had picked a colour identical to our shutters, doors and shed, but wasn't sure if my minds eye was really that accurate. When the siding was delivered...Yup. It's almost identical!

Speaking of the shed. Here it is! With lawnmowers, bikes x6, etc etc etc...we needed this space.

It's tall, so there is plenty of overhead storage too. Super functional. Our garage isn't very big - it's a 1 car, but a very small 1 car, boo.

This siding was original to the house in '82. It's hard to tell from pics, but certain "boards" were discoloured/yellowed, and there were chips/cracks in places. Above the light fixture in this pic, the black "dots" - those are chips. Likely a branch or something hitting the house in a hurricane? Who knows. But with spots like that everywhere, it was time for an overhaul.

Gingerbread is GONE. PRAISE!!!!😂😂😂

As of today, (which was not this pic), all the trash & old siding is in it! Calling to get it pulled, YAY!

Brian has to do the peaks (we have 3 of them) painting and siding. It's a little too high for the rest of us to handle.

Boys, getting the last of the siding pulled on the two ridges. 

We decided on white trim, black doors & shutters. I painted the doors and most of the trim - our front door shows the progression over the years...brick red, soft hunter green, smokey blue, and black.

The garage side. Isn't it pretty? I'm super in love with this colour. It's called Coventry D5 Clapboard in Harbor Blue.

DIY HairSpray

Well, I ran out of hairspray - and I don't use it often and it makes my head SO itchy. Like if I spend the time to curl my hair, I can't have it last more than a day because of how itchy the hairspray makes my scalp - I need to shower to wash it out - but the curls don't last as well without it:-/ So a little DIY that worked!! Held my hair like a wanted, even into the next day with a teeny refresh on certain spots. No itchiness, so a win for me!

I heated up 1/2C water on the stove top and stirred in 2t white sugar until melted. I added a few citrus oils for scent, and put in a little spray bottle I already had. Use as normal hairspray. Simple and easy! I posted this on social media and someone commented that they used to work in a women's prison and the inmates would melt down jolly ranchers to style their hair - so yeah. This feels very hard core, but hey - sometimes the chemical free life feels like this 😂