Things have been really quiet here on the blog, because things in real life have been anything but. Life is full of seasons, and some are more challenging than others. I won't lie. It's been a cruel, cruel summer so far. (Hey. You might as well sing some 80's Bananarama in the midst of it all, right?!)
So for any friends and/or family interested in keeping up with all things "Us"...
The Roof - We knew when we bought our house three years ago that we would have repairs and work to do. The major-est of the majors? A roof replacement. We noticed leaks, disintegrating asphalt shingles, and got put on a one-year waiting list with a local company for a replacement. This past late spring our number came up. And it has been up ever since.
What should have taken 2-3 days to complete, is now at day 57. Eight weeks. And it is still not finished. I will try to take the high road here, but it has been eight weeks of misordered materials, damaged materials, miscut materials, leaks which have resulted in water coming into our attic and home (we found seven in all), lies from the contractor and crews, no shows from contractor and crews, more running out of materials, more incorrect materials ordered. It will be at least another week before they will be finished. (We were told today that our gutter materials won't arrive until Thursday afternoon, and they don't work on Fridays. They might be able to come out next Monday. Or Tuesday. Maybe.)
John has had to research so much in and through this process that he wishes he had installed the roof himself. And you know what? He could have. And he would have been finished long before now. He has had to get up on the roof (twice in the rain) to try to patch places were the water kept coming in. He has been up and down, in and out of our attic more times than I can count. Our neighbor, a long-time Steamboat resident, shook his head and confirmed: this is the trade off of living in a ski resort town in the middle of nowhere. His wife smiled sadly and said, "Welcome to Steamboat!" Once the roofing crew is done, John will then begin the task of repairing the water damage from the leaks.
I told John this is what the ninth month of pregnancy feels like. You stand there and think, "This is never. going. to. end." Good times!
The Penalty Points - So Emma has discovered Taylor Swift. She has about a dozen or so songs on her MP3 player that she brings with her whenever she and I get into the car to go somewhere. After hearing said songs about a million times, I know them pretty well myself. If anyone knows me well, they know that I sing. All the time. Anywhere. It's a stress reliever, a mood lifter, and it's just fun, okay?
Emma decided that she doesn't want me to sing along to Taylor Swift in the car anymore. I tried to be good, honest I did. But that kid has NO IDEA the massive amounts of self-control I must tap into to keep my mouth shut. I negotiated a compromise: I am allowed to sing one line from each song. Just one. That's it. Whenever I sing it, she invariably tells me, "That was your one line, Mom. That's it. No more."
This week I made the mistake of belting out a second line. (It was "Mean". I couldn't help it.) "GASP! Mom! You already sang your one line! Now I'm going to have to give you a Penalty Point!" Penalty Point??? When did Penalty Points become a part of this deal? I didn't agree to this.
I quit singing and started dancing from the waist up instead. (Because it was now "Shake It Off".) "Mom, no dancing!" "But it's THIS song!" I told her. She wouldn't budge. Then she took a preemptive strike. "And no lip syncing!" I racked up four Penalty Points by the time we got home.
Life is so unfair.
The Feels - Perimenopause is for the birds. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Otherwise, I might start crying. Again.
The Shower Stall - I meant to share pics and post about this last summer when John was working on it, but it didn't happen. My bad. You might remember from this older post that when we bought our house, our master bathroom was in need of repair. We haven't completed all of those projects yet, but last summer John completed a big one: the shower stall.
After doing the demo, he discovered that the shower had been leaking for a long time. (More leaks!) The floor joists and subfloor were rotted. After replacing those, he installed the Schluter-Kerdi shower system (which he highly recommends!), took a deep breath, and did his first tiling job ever. I think he knocked it out of the park! We chose large tiles set in a brick pattern for the walls, two white shelves for the corner, and flat stone mosaic for the floor. That stone floor is my favorite.
We priced a replacement glass door, but that was not jiving at all with our budget. I found an extra long shower curtain liner and a spa-like white extra long shower curtain on Amazon.com to use instead. They work wonderfully, and I actually like it just as is. The curtain softens up the hard lines of the tile, I think. The chrome shower curtain rod, shower head, and valve handle were all affordable options on Amazon, as well.
John picks apart the work he did, but can I brag on him? It is gorgeous. Just beautiful. He did a great job, and I think it is the best shower ever. He never ceases to amaze me.
The Needs - I started this year with a business venture, and it has been an amazing experience so far. Difficult, but amazing in that I have learned so much about all things business and taxes and such, about myself, about my family, about my needs. I am challenged to really hone in on what my priorities need to be. I am challenged to take better care of myself.
I am lucky to have three amazing easygoing kids and a husband that encourages me to do things to treat myself. Trouble is, I usually don't. I am perfectly happy to take the backseat. John calls it the Chicken Neck Phenomenon. The mother takes the time to go to the store to pick out a whole chicken to feed her family. She lovingly seasons and trusses and roasts the chicken. When the family sits down to dinner, she sees to everyone else's needs. To make sure everyone gets what she thinks is enough, she looks at the chicken carcass left on the platter and says with a smile, "Oh, I'll just have the neck! I really wanted the neck anyway!" (Unless there's chocolate involved. I always take my fair share of chocolate!)
Am I alone in this? Self-care just doesn't come naturally to me. But I find myself in a season of life where I am seeing how important it is for me to be kind to myself. To give to myself, not just to others. Maybe it comes from my personality. Maybe it comes from being the firstborn child in a large family. Maybe it is, quite honestly, bad theology that teaches the sin of self. A teaching that ignores the importance of setting limits, or the importance of protecting oneself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. (Just thinking out loud here.) I understand that in a narcissistic and selfish society such as ours, caring for others in so vitally important, it's just that I also understand that, for me, things can get out of balance.
I think I'll make myself a hair appointment and read a good long book. :)
The Little Things - The best things so far this summer have been the little unexpected gifts. A day full of tears (see The Feels above) is the same day that the first Rufus hummingbird of the season shows up hovering right outside my bedroom window. A little personal reminder that God sees me. I am known by Him. He keeps me in the palm of His hand. It will all be alright.
Because we can't mow a lawn piled up with metal panels and construction materials, daisies are allowed to grow wild all over the backyard. I never realized until this summer that they grow there.
John and I take a walk down one of the hiking trails, and with every step I take, little yellow butterflies flit and flutter up from the grass and fly all around me.
The foxes walk through the yard regularly and stop and stare while I try to engage them in conversation. (I have decided that if I ever go to a Native American naming ceremony, I will ask to be called Talks With Foxes.)
A bear (A BEAR!) hung around our yard for 24 hours last month. He brought with him respite from roof drama and excitement for weary souls. Oh, I wish I could've hugged him. I feel quite certain he would have welcomed it.
A deer eats sarvis berries from our bushes. When she sees me at the window taking pictures, she turns and faces me for a photo op. I talk to her through the window, and she steps closer to listen. (The animals around here make me feel like I am living in a classic Disney Princess movie!)
John calls us out to the deck to watch bats flying overhead, their wings flapping erratically against the dusky blue sky. Emma giggles as I squeal when one flies right in front of us.
The roses bloomed and bloomed this year after their pruning from last. I walked through the flower beds every day, noticing every new leaf, every new bud, touching every stem, pulling every new weed, feeding every plant. I practically hovered and mothered over it all. I was thinking as I walked through the roses one day that this is my Heavenly Father's way with me. "The Lord will perfect all that concerns me." Not perfect (the adjective), as in perfectionism, but perfect (the verb), as in complete. He notices every detail, every change in growth, every hurt, every joy. He feeds and waters. He gives wisdom. He comforts and heals. He sends a meteor to blaze across the midnight sky for me to see at the exact moment I look out the window one last time as I climb into bed.
The same God that hovers over me and my small concerns, hovers over all of creation and hears its cries for peace, for hope. Life is hard, but God is good. <3