No longer running on empty: Family time refuels us for the final push on the painting job

Things have been slow on the home improvement front.

We’re still chipping away at our two big summer projects:

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We’re still painting the exterior of the house…

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…and still renovating the bathroom we began demo on back in January.

We’re realizing that we won’t be finished with the bathroom when we return to work in a few weeks. This is more than discouraging, but we’re letting it go and focusing on getting the exterior paint job done. We can’t stand the idea of trying to work on that when we’re back at work.

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Trying out some different variations for the front door trim. (It won’t be as crazy as it looks here; those side panels will be the same color as the door.)

Frankly, we’re sick of this project.

It’s hard, we’ve run into some major hiccups, and it’s high-jacked our summer.

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We didn’t anticipate that we’d have to replace some of the siding. Cane removed this panel and put up a replacement panel all by himself. And then did it again.

The house looks about 100 times better than it did, but honestly? It’s not going to improve the quality of our life here. This is a have-to, maintenance job. At this point, we’re getting about as much feel good from it as we get from cleaning the gutters or vacuuming the carpets.

I’d like more than that from a project that’s cost us so much time, money, and physical strain, but we know this is just part of home ownership. And while I would like to have done a lot of other things with our summer vacation, I’m grateful that we have had this time to do the job ourselves.

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Still, by the end of July our energy tanks were just about empty. Luckily, we had some scheduled time with family–which is the reason things have been slow.

First I took my kids north to Washington’s Olympic peninsula to spend time with my parents and brother, and when we got home Cane’s mom was here visiting from Louisiana.

It felt so good to be away from the house painting project and in the land that most feels like home to me.

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For those of you living in other parts of the world, Oregon and Washington probably seem pretty much the same, but they’re different to me. Oregon’s rivers just aren’t the same kind of water as Puget Sound.

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We did the things that have become summer traditions. We drove to Bellingham to visit my grandmother and other family.

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My kids in front of the restaurant we took my grandma to. (She was feeling camera-shy.)

We went to the movies, browsed around Pt. Townsend, painted pottery in Poulsbo, and ended the week with a rousing game of driveway baseball (something my kids have been doing with my parents since they were little guys).

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One of my favorite thrift stores in Pt. Townsend.

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The kids at the end of a long day’s bumming around.

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He’s so humble when he gets a good hit. :-)

It was hard to see our great week come to an end, but we didn’t have much time to be sad because we came home to a visit from Cane’s mom. She flew out from Louisiana to spend a week with us.

I just love Cane’s mom. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures that really capture her. So you’ll have to take my word for it:  She is warm, fun, friendly, easy-going, and so positive about everything.

We had a great day at the Oregon coast (escaping the high 90s heat that finally hit us last week–nearly unbearable when you have no A/C).

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Cane’s mom in Seaside. We had a beautiful day.

Even better was our celebration of Cane’s birthday. It was a low-key day at home–just what he wanted–and we made a feast. By “we,” I mean Cane and his mom.

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Everything I’ve ever heard about southern cooking is true. It was the best dinner I’ve had in a really (really really) long time, and it was so fun to watch it being made.

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For potato salad:  I’ve never seen the eggs cooked with the potatoes. Isn’t that smart?

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A big pot of black-eyed peas with andouille sausage that Bonnie brought with her. A brand-new food for me.

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And this might not look like much here, but that’s the most amazing fried chicken I’ve ever had cooking in there. Bonnie dredged some in tapioca flour so that it would be gluten-free for me.

We had a great time just hanging out in the kitchen together.

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Grace got her own little mini-pie. Daisy wants some of that!

We had a late dinner on our back deck, followed by birthday pie. (None of our crew is big on cake.)

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And I just have to show you how gorgeous the chicken was:

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We feel so lucky to have had this time with the people we love best. Our tanks have been refilled, so we’re ready to push through and finish the house painting before we head back to school.

How about you?

Have you gotten done what you hoped to do this summer? Anything you’re still planning to do before the leaves begin to fall? And what fills your tank up when you’re running on empty?

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Grace’s birthday gift to Cane. We found this at Pt. Townsend’s Habitat for Humanity ReStore.