Granddad

Granddad passed away this morning.

He got very sick last Thursday and was taken to the ER with suspected pneumonia. After evaluation, the doctor determined he had pneumonia, possibly a small heart attack, and very advanced dementia. He was not able to talk to us or feed himself at all. He had digressed so much and it was very hard to see him that way.

They transferred him to CICU, but realized over the weekend that he would never get well. He was moved to Palliative Care and taken off all support. He stopped responding to us at the beginning of the week and passed away peacefully this morning.

It has been the longest week of my life.

He was more than just a granddad. He and Grandma had a big hand in raising us. They taught us everything from how to tie our shoes to being successful in school. The most important thing he taught me was compassion for others. Even though he wasn’t always the easiest person to get along with, we always knew he would do anything for us.

Now we have to continue on without him, but I will never forget how much he cared.

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A Rough Patch in the Road

The past couple of weeks have not been the best.

It started with Jesse’s aunt passing away and the stomach bug. Then, as I thought things were going to smooth back out, my (very senile) granddad became combative and unmanageable.

My grandmother had to make the toughest decision of all to move him to a home where he can get the help he needs. He’s having a hard time adjusting because he has been very confused about everything for a while now, from the day of the week to who we are.

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As all of this was happening, Granddad’s dog, Belle, stopped eating. Belle was a stray who picked our house as her new home a few years ago. She forced herself into our lives, but was exactly what we needed.She quickly became the center of attention.

Grandma took her to the vet, who informed her that Belle had advanced kidney failure. Today, Belle wouldn’t get up, so we had to put her down. Even though we knew it was best that she didn’t suffer anymore, it was still very difficult to let her go.

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While all of this really sucks, I know I have to feel the emotions that go along with these things, then figure out where I go from here. Unfortunately, life cannot always be pure joy, and life most definitely cannot stay the same. We have experienced a few big changes recently and we will have to figure out how to live with these changes.

I will have to appreciate the time we had with Belle and spend more time with our dogs. I will also have to spend more time with Granddad, even when it’s difficult to see him this way. Most importantly, I will have to be there for my family members who are going through these same changes.

While times like these are trying, they are a great reminder to focus on the important things.

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Insert Foot in Mouth

Let me share an embarrassing moment with you…

Yesterday, Jesse and I went out to eat in his truck. He was really tired from a rough day at work, so I drove us home. This is a rare occurrence for us because I hardly ever drive when we are together.

About a block away from our house, Jesse says, “Do you always drive like this?” I reply with, “What? You mean SAFELY?” He says I did a sassy head bob. (I’m not so sure about that.)

About a minute later, as I was pulling into the driveway, I swiped my Trailblazer.

Jesse’s reaction:

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There was hardly any damage, but I was pretty upset. It wasn’t until we had time to get over it that we remembered I said that. That’s what I get for being “sassy.”

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What I’ve Brought To The Table Lately

I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes recently. One of the tastiest (and easiest) recipes has been fish tacos.

I didn’t come up with this masterpiece myself. I found it on food.com. This is one of my favorite web sites because you can try new things and see others’ comments after they’ve tried it themselves.

My favorite thing about these tacos is the sauce. It sounds too simple to be any good, but it really goes well with the taco seasoning.

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I’m not crazy about seafood, but these tacos are delicious!

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On another note, I have updated our dining room table with a new centerpiece. I got some inspiration from Pinterest, but used some things I had already laying around the house.

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The coffee beans are from my favorite roast. (I bought the whole beans on accident a couple months ago. I don’t have a grinder.)

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A very simple way to change things up just a little bit and it smells so good!

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Viva Las Vegas

My in-laws took us along on their yearly vacation to Las Vegas!

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We saw so much in our four days there and I tried to take as many pictures as possible, but pictures don’t do it justice.

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We stayed on Fremont Street, but visited the Strip also for shopping and site-seeing. We got to see many of the famous hotels.

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We took pictures, ate lunch, and watched the animatronic show at Caesar’s Palace.

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We saw the flower exhibit and the water show at the Bellagio.

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We played slot machines and had drinks at the Flamingo.

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Jesse and I got to do a little bit of gambling for the first time and see the Fremont Street Experience.

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Jesse’s step-dad, Greg, and I also did the Slotzilla Zoomline. The new zipline is 10 stories high and goes the length of the entire block. It was scary, but entirely worth it!

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I can now check Vegas off my list of places I’ve never been, but plan on going back. The trip was a great way to end the year.

Now, on to 2015…I hope it was as great as last year!

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Jesse Frank’s Alfredo Pizza

Jesse and I like to make pizzas together. One of our favorites is an alfredo pizza.

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Ingredients:

  • Pillsbury pizza dough
  • alfredo sauce
  • tomato
  • basil
  • chicken breasts
  • crushed red peppers
  • garlic salt
  • butter
  • Italian cheese blend

First, chop the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and cook in the skillet. Season with garlic salt and crushed red peppers to taste. Set aside.

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Next, pre-bake the pizza dough as instructed on the can.

While the dough is baking, poor the alfredo sauce in a medium-sized bowl. (I usually only use half a can of the sauce.) Season sauce with garlic salt and crushed red peppers to taste. Stir in evenly.

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Slice the tomato, then cut into small pieces. You can use diced tomatoes if you want. Set aside.

Melt one teaspoon of butter in the microwave. When the dough is done pre-baking, lightly cover with the melted butter.

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Spread on the alfredo sauce mix, then the chicken. Next, sprinkle the basil leaves and tomato to taste. Now, cover the entire pizza with the cheese blend.

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Bake as instructed on the pizza dough can, then chow down!

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Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. For one, we got engaged on Thanksgiving 2 years ago.

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It is also at the top of my list for it’s simplicity. I love that all we do the entire day is see family and eat great food.

This year, we split up our celebrations. Our meal with my family was today and we will spend Thanksgiving day with his family. I got assigned sweet potatoes for both celebrations, though.

I rarely make sweet potatoes and wasn’t crazy about the recipe I was using before, so I started hunting for a new one. Thank goodness for Pinterest because I found a simple and sweet recipe right away.

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I followed Jessica’s  recipe from Butter, with a side of Bread almost exactly, but I made a couple small changes. We chunked the potatoes with a fork, but then mashed them in the Kitchenaid Mixer. I also stirred the sauce into the sweet potatoes instead of using the sauce as a topping.

Pretty simple and easy to multiply for a big group, or two in my case.

Another perk of being married: Not only do I get to spend time with my crazy family on holidays, but I get to spend time with his too.

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Our First Anniversary

Yesterday marks our first anniversary as a married couple. We made it through the dreaded “hardest year of our marriage.” If the urban legends are true and this was the hardest year of our marriage, then I’d say I’m in for a really easy marriage.

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This year went much more smoothly than I expected. Not that I expected to be divorced or anything like that, but relationships seem to go bad more often than not nowadays.

The most important thing I have learned over this past year is something that I think will help me in our marriage in the long run. When things are down, we have to remember our ultimate goal: to build a life and a family , where we are both happy being ourselves together. 

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A lot of times, the details of a situation can make the big picture blurry. Learning to keep focused on that goal has helped me to remain calm when things aren’t going the way I want or expect.

Let me put a disclaimer here, because there were several times that I did lose my cool. But, when I found my head again, remembering to keep the right perspective kept me from even considering giving up.

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I know that our marriage will not always be as blissful as it was this past year, but I know that even through the worst years of our life, we can make it because we believe in the same goal.

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Now to get past the sappy part, we went on a weekend trip to Cloudcroft, New Mexico for our anniversary. Cloudcroft is a small mountain town, full of character. We spent the weekend walking from shop to shop, eating (way too much) delicious food, and cuddled in the historic Cloudcroft Hotel. It was the perfect place to spend the weekend alone.

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We left Cloudcroft just in time to beat the snow coming in, but there was snow waiting for us when we got home.

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I’m happy not only to be celebrating a year with Jesse, but the best year of my life so far. I know that we will have bad years too, but I am hoping that we have even better years ahead of us.

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Making the Man Cave Manlier

Previously, this was the man cave…

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Not very manly. In our defense, it was painted this way by the previous owners. While they did a great job, it just wasn’t working for us. We use this extra room for my husband’s many instruments and some extra, “outdated” game systems. Hints why it’s the man cave.

We knew when we bought the house that we wanted to repaint this room. I never imagined it would take this long, but I finally tackled it this week.

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The first problem was choosing a color. Jesse and I liked so many of the colors that it was hard to pick just one. We liked navy blue, grey, red, brown, and the list goes on.  Ultimately, we decided on (drumroll)…

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Lyndhurst Jade. We picked this color because it went well with the drum set, one of Jesse’s prized possessions. I also really wanted a color that would match the decor we have in the other rooms because I tend to move things around.

Prepping was the hardest, and by far the most important part of the painting. Because the walls were bright pink, we had to be serious about priming. I found some primer specifically for drastic color changes from Valspar. I’m so glad I spent a little more on it because it was definitely worth every penny. It not only covered up the pink, but also covered up the stripes the previous owners had made. Our paint went on evenly and smoothly.

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Priming and taping does take a lot of time, but it made all the difference. I also waited a day between priming and painting with our new color. Then, I waited another day and painted on an additional layer.

One thing I need to watch out for next time is painting the tape to the wall. I did that on a couple of places around fixtures without realizing it. When I peeled the tape off, some of the paint went with it and now I’ll have to touch up those spots.

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Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s a color we both love and it’s a big change from the hot pink.

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