Saturday, November 20, 2010

Living, Loving, & Laying down your Life

This has been the longest week ever. Other than the time we spend at our jobs Monday through Friday, this is the first time I've spent time apart from Joe since we've been married and I really, really miss him. But it's funny, in one sense I feel good that I feel this bad. I mean, if I didn't truly love Joe and really like being with him I know I couldn't miss him this much. My mom tries to encourage me and to cheer me up by saying Joe is "making money for his honey".
At the same time I miss Joe excrutiatingly, I have also grown to love him more this week. I am beginning to catch a glimpse of the true meaning of sacrificial love. I'm beginning to understand what it means for a husband to love his wife and give himself for her (Ephesians 5:25). Working long nights, catching only a few brief hours of sleep during the day, going to work again, and doing this day in and day out- all this my husband does willingly and cheerfully. I'm am amazed and humbled. I also can't wait till tomorrow night when Joe comes home.

I love you Joe!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bombin' Omelets

This title wasn't exactly my choice. It was Joe's decision. He said that if I was going to write a blog article about his superior omelet making abilities, I had to title it "Bombin' Omelets", or else. (I would have preferred something more refined like "A Brilliant Breakfast".)

Experts have been telling us for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, I can't say I fully agreed with this statement till I'd tried one of Joe's specialty omelets. Actually, I never used to like omelets or any type of eggs for that matter. But that all changed about a year ago once Joe made me try an omelet he had made. Now I look forward to breakfast on the weekends (Actually it might be more true to simply say, I look forward to the weekends). We usually have omelets Saturday mornings or for Sunday brunch after church- it's become a sort of tradition.

Mmm.... our weekend omelets. A fusion of flavors, with loads of awesome goodness packed into every bite (wow! I'm starting to talk like Joe!). What's really great about them is that you can raid the fridge for just about anything good- tomato, green onion, avocado- ya! left over ground beef- why not? sour cream- you know that'll be good. The more stuff the better.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Red, Green, Handsome, & Handy

Ever seen the "Red Green Show"? Perhaps you haven't. It's a Canadian show, hence the humor is very... well, Canadian. And as the show says about itself: it's like the flu- not everyone gets it. Each episode features new and ingenious uses for the handy man's secret weapon, Duct Tape. Anyways, my post was not to tell about the Red Green Show. It just happened to come to mind because 'Red Green', the lead character, ends every episode by saying, "If the women don't find you handsome, at least they should find you handy." 

I consider myself doubly fortunate because my husband possesses both qualities- Joe is both handsome and handy. Joe is also still under the influence of the get-it-done mindset and so the handy man projects continue at our home (except we don't use duct tape). And once Joe has been  grasped by this mindset there's no turning back. Once the project is begun, he fanatical, and won't stop until things are perfect. I'm glad about this- glad Joe like things to be excellent. I am very thankful for our beautiful home and appreciate all the work he's put into it. Currently, Joe's favorite tool is his new drill. (I think the fun of finding new uses for his drill is part of the inspiration behind these upgrade projects.) 

Last night our evening included another trip to our favorite store- Home Depot, where we picked up a couple necessary materials. Back at home Joe drilled a hole in the wall behind the TV so that he could run the cords to a hidden electric source. He also mounted the DVD player on a small shelf just below the TV and ran those cords through the hole as well. No messy cords showing anymore. After that, Joe began weather-proofing our wood box using some type of foam insulator strips.

While Joe was working on these projects I was assembling our new coffee table. I like to help out with the home improvements and not just be a bystander.

It was quite late by the time we finished but now our living room is so well-organized and homey. We just sat on the couch for a while and enjoyed the fruits of our labor.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Project Closer

What do outlet covers, switch plates, vent covers, and towel bars all have in common? The power and ability to make me very happy! These items, though small, and to some seemingly insignificant, make a world of difference to me. Let me explain... Last night was home improvement night at our house. Joe was in a get-it done mood and I like to capitalize on these rare occasions. In the months leading up to our wedding both Joe and I were fanatically dedicated to our home remodeling and improvement projects. However, ever since we got back from our honeymoon we've not made much progress. But after three months, the gaping holes where switch or vents covers should be we really starting to bug me. So last night after dinner Joe disappeared for a while. When he resurfaced there was a towel bar hung up in the bathroom and the cover was put over the bathroom fan- I was ecstatic! And Joe was glad that such minor improvements could make me so happy. We also put switch and outlet covers up all over the house. We rearranged the hooks in the laundry room (the light switches are no longer hidden behind the apron rack) and we even got the large wooden dresser from my parents moved upstairs. Finally, we are starting to get things organized!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fire in a Bag

“Fire in a bag- The most genius thing ever created.” These are the words of my husband Joe who after some serious thought and consideration finally devised the perfect plan for helping me build a fire in our wood stove on my own.

This is how it works… Start out with a brown paper grocery bag. Fill it with crumpled newspaper and kindling chips. Gently roll up the bag, but not too tightly (remember, fires need air). Place the bag in the wood stove and carefully light the edge. Once the bag burns down and the kindling chips have caught fire, place slightly larger pieces of kindling in. Adding larger and larger logs until you’ve created a masterpiece of warmth.

Joe’s invention really works! - I’m living proof of that. Using Joe’s pre-made fire bags, I’ve successfully built my first woodstove fire. When I asked Joe how he thought of such a good idea, his response was, “I’ve always been amazing, so I’m not surprised that I came up with something this good.” He was joking, of course.

But the real key to every good fire is taking time to enjoy it. Enjoy the building process and after you’ve got it going, enjoy the beauty and warmth of its glow. Isn’t amazing how you can sit and watch the flames forever? The colors of the coals are exquisite and the fire flames are so fascinating.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Today is a very special day. First of all, the date itself is very unique - 10/10/10 - that will never happen again in anyone's lifetime! Also, today marks three months of marriage for Joe & I (and what a wonderful three months it's been!). Thirdly, today officially marks one whole year that Joe has lived here in Olympia, WA. When I think back to all the things that have happened in the past year I am beyond amazed. Joe left his hometown in Eureka, CA and traveled 500 miles to live here in Olympia. Within two months we were engaged. Not long afterward we purchased our home. And a couples months later we were married. What a year!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Our house is a very, very, very fine house

The song "Our House" has got to be one of the most idealistic songs ever. All about the perfect life where everything is good. I know that's not how life always goes but even still, I really like the song and it reminds me of our own cozy cottage. Joe and I love our little home. The remodeling improvements we worked on the months before our wedding turned out better than we ever imagined. We spend a lot of time in our living room (our favorite room) and enjoy watching our fire in the evenings. Our life does seem pretty idyllic. We've been blessed beyond measure.

Here's some photos of our house now that our main remodelling projects have been completed:

"Such a cozy room
The windows are illuminated
By the evening sunshine through them-
Fiery gems for you"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A New Cousin & A Birthday for Emma

Tonight we visited Jonathan and Molly Krawczyk. They were having a quaint family birthday party for Emma who turned 3 this month. We also got to get a glimpse at the newest addition to their family, Madelyn Adelle.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Joe Jordan and the Cherry Tree

Hope you like the title of this post. It's a little homage to the story "George Washington and the Cherry Tree" but in this case Joe was supposed to cut down the tree, the cherry tree wasn't beautiful, and lying about cutting down the tree never entered either of our heads so I guess besides the actual words of the title the two stories really don't share any other parallels.

Anywhoo... on with the story of why Joe cut down the cherry tree.

Just when I thought this summer was gone forever, Saturday turned out to be a glorious 78 degree day. Knowing that this could very well be our last sunny Saturday for a while, Joe decided it was now or never to tackle a project that's been on his to-do list for quite some time: cutting down the dead cherry tree in our backyard. Besides, we knew that cutting down this tree would make my Aunt Christine one happy neighbor, since the tree that blocks all the sun from her patio would be no more. So Joe, not forgetting his boy scout skills, rigged a sort of pulley system that connected the branches to be felled with our apple tree and then also connected the pulley to his Jeep. He drove the Jeep further & further away, inch by inch,  till the rope was tight- this way he could control the directtion the limbs fell as he cut with the chain saw. It was a very interesting and genius system and my explanation does not do it justice. 

Ruby enjoyed watching the tree come down.

While Joe was busy chopping down the tree, I too wanted to do some kind of outside work that would allow me to upgrade our home while enjoying the last fleeting rays of summer. I couldn't just watch Joe do all the work; I needed to help too so I decided I would mow our lawn. We have a lot of lawn and we don't have a riding lawn mower and for a girl who, as Joe put it, "didn't grow up on a farm" mowing the lawn was a big job.

Getting started.

Experiencing technical difficulties.

Back on track after help from Joe.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back in the Blogosphere

Hello everyone! I'm finally back to the blogosphere. Alot has happened since I last posted to my blog. I am no longer Grace Waters, I'm now Grace Jordan. Joe & I were married on July 10th. Our wedding was wonderfully amazing and we both enjoyed it immensely and had such a fun unforgettable time. Since being back from our honeymoon, we've been enjoying each day. We returned to our lovely cottage built for two and are happily settling into married life.

Since I realize this is my first post in over a month I've decided to make up for my lack of words with an abundance of photos.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Curtain Call

This afternoon my friend Kerry stopped by my house. She is making drapes for our living room. We had to hang them on the curtain rods to ascertain the correct pocket size and also to see what exact length to hem them to. I am so thrilled at how true to my imagined design the curtains turned out to be. I love the material I chose and Kerry has done a most excellent sewing job. Everything is really coming along- the fireplace remodel & newly refurbished wall are looking good, the built-in shelves are being built as I type, and our curtains are going to be a perfect finishing touch for our lovely room.

Single Digit Days

I just had to make a quick post to share my uncontrollable excitement that we have entered into a single digit count down to our wedding - only 9 more days. I have been finding every opportunity today to tell everyone in sight that "I am getting married next week"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rules of Engagement

Staying focused this afternoon seemed completely impossible. I can attest that being engaged doesn't lend itself to high levels of focus and profitability; but, looking forward to getting your marriage license after work definitely makes matters worse. Yes, that is the point of this entire post - we got our marriage license today! Joe and Liv picked me up just after four this afternoon and we breezed off towards the courthouse. Although we were very excited and the very thought of our wedding coming to pass is a beautiful thought; signing a stack of forms, paying $68.00, and swearing that we weren't previously married or second cousins to each other was almost enough to take away the magic of the moment. But not quite enough! Even though Joe thought it was the most ridiculous and trite thing to do, I made him take a photo with me so that we could forever remember this special moment. Ahh, how sweet! We then floated off to get a quick dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant... which in return rendered us useless in "floating" anywhere else. Afterword we attempted to grab a quick coffee but were thwarted by the unpredictable business hours of the waterfront coffee shop. I'm thoroughly convinced that they are running a front for a major Colombian drug operation! Oh well, as soon as we turned the corner and saw two large wooden ships in the port and docked just around the corner, the thought of coffee was already far gone. Curiosity obviously got the best of us and we were off like a four year old chasing a red balloon. They were quite an amazing site to behold and we were quite awe inspired by the craftsmanship and details. After perusing the docks for a while, marveling at the two boats we headed back for the car. Other than Joe almost getting in a brawl with six teenagers because they said some slightly indistinguishable comment to one of us girls as they passed, the rest of the evening seemed to fade into the obscurity of daily eventfulness.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One step at a time; now start over!

Well I thought it only right after Grace's neat little last post to offer a little more honesty into the inner workings of our projects together. To start, the tile that we laid on Saturday happend to be the first thing in our house that we actually worked together hand in hand; well, metophorically speaking! This meant that Grace wanted to try everything that I was doing throughout the process. Mix up a batch of thinset, "Hey I want to try!". Spread thinset, "Ooh that's me!". Lay the tile, "I'm on it!" (which she litterally was!). The funniest moment was when I finished laying all of the tile and spaced it properly (Grace was the official spacer, handler, installer) only to find that Grace had been crawling on the tiles all of the way across so each tile had shifted the moment we moved onto the next tile! Oh well, what's the fun in doing things right the first time anyway!!!

All in all we had a great time, didn't do a whole lot, but still felt very proud of ourselves when we finished. It is only the beginning of an infinite number of things that we have to work on together but I think we're off to a great start!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

One step at a time

This is how our weekends always seem to turn out: we get started on our house projects it's already incredibly late and we're scratching our heads wondering where the morning has disappeared to. Today was no different- by the time we'd grabbed a quick coffee, went to Home Depot to pick up necessary materials, and got everything unloaded back at the house it was already past one o'clock in the afternoon! (How time flies when you're having fun...)
Today's mission was to complete the next step of our living room/fire place remodel. First, while I tidied up the house, Joe cut pieces of hardi-backer to size (That was a very loud endeavor which left a thick cloud of dust lingering in the room). Next he had to screw them to the floor around the fire place. After this was done, we mixed up a batch of thin set. It looked easy as Joe spread a nice even layer of the mixture over the hardi-backer so I wanted to try- well, it wasn't quite as easy as it looked - Joe was much better at it than me so I just let him finish. The next step of setting the tiles was quite fun. Joe layed the tile on the thin set while I held & set the spacers. Using a straight piece of wood as our guide and leveler we set the next tile, and the next, and so on until it was all done. Now we'll wait for that to dry so that we can grout the space between the tiles.
One step at a time and working side-by-side is our mode of operations from here on out, and how we'll get it all done.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Just Keep Moving..."

Well folks, its about that time of year again that I personally make a post on our blog; at least the blog that has my name on it and tends to meantion me a lot. This however is only due to the faithful updates from my wonderful Fiancee! By the way, did you know that there is a "Fiance" and a "Fiancee"? Look, I didn't know until I was sending Grace a note and spell check decided to confuse me. I have a Fiancee and Grace has a Fiance; and there is the full extent to my french. Where was I? Right, I wasn't anywhere yet! Then I'll start with current run down on our to-do list. As far as we can tell we only need to finish the upstairs bathroom (install vanity, top, sink, and toilet), two light fixtures upstairs (deal with 60 year wiring that was originally done by a nutcase!), patch the paint in the dining room and kitchen (from moving the new heaters around), finish the hearth, set fireplace, build bookshelves (Thanks Chris Willy!), finish hearth wall, and the all important last step - flooring (You da man Stef... and Tabatha who is really the one doing all of the work in actually finding us our flooring - your prize shall not be forgotten!). This list is everything that is remaining on my "What I promise will get done before we get married" list that I made Grace a couple of weeks ago. What happens if it doesn't get done? Hmm, not a good thought, maybe I need to post this blog as it is and go work on my house right NOW! No, the true reality is that the more pressure there is, the more friends you will need. And we have some GREAT friends! We are very blessed to be surrounded by many aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, cousins (some times way too many!), and many friends (both near and far) that are truely committed to both Grace and I; even to the completion of our house. This may be, if only in one form, the Lord appearing in his church as the servant of all. Which in turn creates, such as Paul became, "A debtor to all men".

Removing tile in the living room.

Grace, Ellen, & Crystal organized our garage.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

O, I get by with a little help from my friends

Break of day dawned upon us with glorious rays of sunshine. It was obvious that this was to be a hot day. We took it easy throughout the morning, and of course could not begin any work on our house before watching USA in their first World Cup match against England. (Joe has already begun transforming me into a soccer fan- I think I see a new addiction looming on the horizon.) Once we’d seen the game’s conclusion, Joe & I headed to our house because we’d asked friends to volunteer to help us with some of our home renovation projects. Since the weather was so beautiful we decided on primarily outdoor projects- weeding flower beds and dismantling the fireplace/water fountain feature that no longer worked and was truly an eye-sore to our lovely patio area.

After the outdoor fireplace was dismantled, all the blocks and stones had to be hauled off to the scrap pile.

We also did a bit more painting indoors and completed a few small, next-steps for the living room fireplace remodel. But, truth be told, it really was too gorgeous a day for anyone to do much work. When a sunny, 80 degree day finally arrives here in Olympia, you have to capitalize on the moment.

Our helpers take a break and soak up some sun.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Nearly" Weds

Today is a BIG day! Today officially marks one month till our wedding!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time Well Wasted

Monday and Tuesday were both very profitable evenings in terms of work accomplished. Tonight turned at to be very profitable in other regards. It was the perfect night to take a step back, regroup, look at the progress we've made thus far, assess the necessary next steps and materials needed. In other words, we didn't do much "work" of anykind, but we did have a truly enjoyable evening. Joe spoke with Chris Williams, our friend and contractor, and together the came up with a plan for building new book cases for the living room and also a plan for how to apply the trim/crown molding around our new tile fireplace area. After this planning session with Chris we went up stairs to see how Jordan Williams was progressing with installing the new light fixtures. Well, the plan to hang the new light sconce in the upstairs bedroom went majorly awry- but not to worry! When something goes wrong, what do you do? Head off immediately to the nearest Dairy Queen and order yourself a blizzard, of course! And that's exactly what we did. Mmmm... mint oreo blizzards.

Joe has a very unique technique for removing masking tape.
(He is now applying for a patent for this new method.)

I loved this photo of our house.
From this angle it truly looks like a cozy cottage.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

That's what friends are for

As the big day draws nearer Joe and I have come to the conclusion that weekends alone do not provide us with enough time to complete the necessary renovations. Therefore we have decided to jam pack our week nights with profitable work projects at the house. Of course, what better way to get alot done than invite over some friends. Afterall, what are friends for?

Tonight we decided to get a jump on things by heading over to our house right after work and eating a quick meal there at the house while we worked. Daylight hours are too precious to be spent eating long drawn-out meals. Well, not really, but for now I'm trying to convince myself that is true in an effort to stay totally focused on getting our house ready. Anywhoo... Tonight's tasks included painting the downstairs ceiling, painting the upstairs bathroom, touching up the paint throughout the upstairs and in the downstairs bathroom. --- Might I just say that painting has turned out to be the most tedious of all our tasks- its never ending, but I think I'm beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel (and that light's a good sign just so long as it isn't a train coming straight for me). --- My sisters Olivia & Bonnie, Naomi Williams, and Emily Frost made up my painting crew. Joe was joined by Jordan & Joe Williams who helped him patch some rough areas on our walls and begin replacing light fixtures.

I'm getting pretty excited now as the progress we're making is actually becoming visible and I can now glimpse how lovely our new home will be.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tell me how your garden grows

This evening was so gorgeous; I almost thought summer had arrived. While my sisters were gainfully employed doing some clean up in our house, Joe and I finally got around to an outside project I'd been wanting to do for some time. Several weeks ago I'd purchased some plants but never got a chance to plant them because inclement weather had been proving a great hindrance. But Monday the golden evening hours allowed Joe and I a wonderful time to be together while creating a lovely garden niche. We used the rocks which had been dug out of the yard on a former day's weeding project, to create a layering rock wall which would contain our plants. So far its just a handful of colorful perennials but we'll keep adding...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Making Progress

Thomas Edison once said "Discontent is the first necessity of progress." Well, that's proven true yet again. When we first purchased our home, Joe and I were discontent with the shabby state of our living room but that has propelled us into greater realms of home improvement.
Over the memorial Day weekend Joe and my dad began the next step of our living room remodel project. The ugly brick has been overlayed with a beautiful tile. The wood box area has been reframed so that gusts of cold air can no longer seep into our cozy abode. We've also begun applying sheet rock over the existing wall so that "built-in" entertainment center that was too deep and just plain ugly, along with the cut out vents will no longer be visible. All this is going to creat a lovely backdrop for our new wood stove.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

If walls could talk...

It's not been all work and no play. Mid-way through today's fireplace project we stopped for a bit of fun & inspiration. We also coined a new motto: "Home is where the hearth is."

Weekend Warriors

The days have been very busy, the weeks jam-packed, and the weekends have been our time for cranking on our house. We've been doing so much house work on Saturdays and Sundays that by the time Monday morning rolls around Joe and I are exhausted from our weekend. But life goes ever onward and by Wednesday we're usaually feeling pretty good (just gearing up for another weekend). Well, it's been quite some time since I've posted any updates, but alot has happened in the meantime. Most notably our electric heaters have been installed (hooray! we actaully have a bonified heating system now!) and the old wood fireplace torn out (what a beast that thing was). Also, our friend Jordan Williams sanded down and restained the wood in the upstairs bathroom (that turned out to be a much bigger (and messier) project than origanlly anticipated). We also tore out the old pink toilet from the upstairs bathroom and discovered hidden treasure- a pair of white gold hoop earrings which had been lost in the pipes, what a surprise! We've added a door between the kitchen and laundry room to block out the noise from the washer and dryer and also to prevent the cold air from the garage from seeping into our main living space.

Today we started our next big project: remodelling the living room fireplace area. We purchased a new wood stove to replace the huge, old, ugly, and nearly broken one. Our new wood stove is a beautiful model from Vermont Castings in a lovely reddish brown color. To showcase the new wood stove we needed to cover over the existing brick that is so ugly and has gaping vents. We decided to cover it was a nice tile overlay. But first we had to knock out some of the bricks on the bottom to make the hearth level then frame up some built-in "shelf" knooks. Once the old hearth/fireplace area was framed up and leveled, Joe, my dad, and our friend Chris began drilling hardy-backer cement board over the brick so that we can apply the tile to that. The project is not nearly finished but we've accomplished the big important step of getting started. One can now begin to imagine how lovely our living room will look once the project is complete.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Help from designer Dad

The home improvement projects continue. So far there's been a lot of patching walls, and rebuilding walls where built-in shelves have been torn out, and repainting newly patched walls. We've also done a lot of 'invisible' work- this past week we had several heating, insulation, and fireplace people come take a look at our house so they could let us know what it'll take to install a proper heating system. All very important stuff although sometimes at first glance it can seem like nothing more has happened. But we've got some great solutions lined up. And getting everything set up and in place so that everything can happen it its proper order is all part of the process of fixing up a home.
Joe and I have decided (in light of our "old house mentality") to focus on an simple overall upgrade of new paint and new flooring throughout the home- just to make it clean and livable. We have come to the conclusion that owning a home is an ongoing project and we're willing to have a five year plan. Everything doesn't have to happen at once. The one place that we've decided to focus on right away is the living room. It'll sort of be a sanctuary of sanity.
My dad has been tirelessly devoting himself to helping us come up with the perfect design for our living room. First he drew up several different sketches. then we looked at a few books together to decide on the right look for our home. Next my dad took the measurements of the different walls and features in the room, then put them into a program Sketch Up, and created a 3D model of our living room so that he can add in all the new colors and design elements. This way we can see before hand how things will look and get an idea of how all the new elements will work together with the existing room. The main feature will be the fireplace. We're getting a classic wood stove to replace the battleship boiler that's currently gracing the room. The unsightly brick will be covered in a lovely stone veneer. A couple built-in book cases on the sides of the bay windows, some comfy furniture, and window hangings should complete the look. With help from my dad, and Joe and I more than willing to work, we'll soon transform this room from dingy and drab into a haven of comfort.