A Tribute to My Gramps

“I still have four grandparents.”

As of last Saturday morning, this statement was true.  For me, and one I said often.  As of last Saturday afternoon, I can no longer claim this amazing fact as my own.

My Grandpa Roberts, my Gramps, passed away peacefully at his home this past Saturday, surrounded by his family.


For as many times as I have typed and texted that statement over the past few days, it still reads as something surreal.  A dream, perhaps?

Yes, he was 93.  He lived an extraordinary life.  He was a solider brave enough to defend his country and fight in World War II; yet humble enough to model compassion and unconditional love to his family.  He was a poet, whose words further conveyed the depths of his faith and demonstrated his sentimental side.  He was a grandpa to more than his own biological grandchildren; to friends, to neighbors.  Bud in a bottle, or Hamm’s in a can.  Lucky Strike till the end.  A loving husband of 67 years to Adabelle Juanita, he passed away in the home he raised his two children.

Grams & Gramps Wedding Day

I told my family that his obituary reads like a storybook.  And as all good stories must ultimately come to an end, his time here on Earth is now done.  It is a reality that I understand, but am still learning to accept.

My Aunt summarized it similarly: “So difficult when your heart says PLEASE STAY and your head says YOU NEED TO GO.”

Christmas 2012

Logically, it all makes sense.  Humans do not live forever; all you can hope and strive for is a life well lived and to see your family grow and flourish.  I have nearly 30 years of memories with my Gramps tucked away, and I am so thankful for each and every day I was able to share with him.  It was his time and I did not want him to suffer.  With 3 other living grandparents still around, I should be thankful to still have that generation around as an ever present influence in my life.


30 years of memories means that you don’t know Christmas, or a family birthday celebration, or a casual lunch of Gram’s famous Sloppy Joes without him.  The memories are infinite.  Personal violin lessons, playing Lincoln Logs on his floor.  Learning how to operate a scroll saw and a sander and everything in between.  “So what’s the good word?”  Trips to the Ozarks, Yellowstone, Victoria.  Advice in marital longevity.  A war story here, a relevant scripture there.  Dancing with my Grams at my wedding; at every wedding.  Stories of Prohibition, while tasting (&loving) John’s moonshine.


His presence was so obvious, so expected, that it’s hard to fathom any family gathering without him there, rounding things out with a prayer only he could pray.  Who will tell his stories?  We all know he is the master storyteller.

Gramps turns 90

It’s unfathomable, yet necessary.  It’s the ‘passing of the torch’ as my own Pops said.  The generational shift.  The family will live on, because he built this family and that’s what we must do to honor him and his legacy.

A Soldier for Life

It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it will happen.

love you gramps…always and forever.


Filed under Life Stuff, Relationships

It’s Coming on Christmas…

I looked back on my 2012 posts and confirmed my realization of how terrible of a blogger I’ve been this year.  Gah.  Darn.  Disappointed.  But, that’s life.

I do love having an on-demand journal of our life, though, so I’m trying to think of ways to record relevant life events while still maintaining sanity in balancing a demanding career/marriage/life. 

So, maybe I should try quicker, shorter posts?  WordPress seems to be trying to emulate Tumblr these days so I may as well conform.

In that case, here’s my home, currently, all ready for the season.  Apologies for not being a better iPhone/Instagram photog.  We all have our own spiritual gifts, as my dear friend likes to remind me, and mine just so happens to be making soup. Sorry folks…unless of course, you happen to be eating my soup right now.  In that case…lucky you!


Nothing makes me smile mas grande than seeing my beautiful Christmas tree as I walk down the staircase in the morning.  I kid you not, every morning I turn the corner on said stairway and awkwardly breathe “Ahhhwwwwhhhhh…”  That’s code for “Hi, you’re perfect, and you make my day”.  I’m sure I’ve uttered something similar to John recently.

Dragging out the Christmas boxes from the crawlspace was half the Christmas decorating battle, but stumbling upon this gem was just the inspiration I needed to keep going…


You see, that box contained my Mom’s Christmas Village.  The one I grew up admiring and fantasizing about; making up stories about living there.  The perfect Christmas Village.  Last year, my mom decided to finally gift her village to my sister and me (as of a couple year’s ago, she prefers displaying my Great Grandma’s now), so my sister and I civilly (more civilly than we thought possible, actually) divvied up the utopian village…


And wouldn’t you know, it fit perfectly in the dry wash basin I also acquired (without force, I swear) from my mother.


Love this season, actually.


The dingo is excited, too.  As you can see, he looooves chomping on his bone from beneath the tree.

The frequent 60 degree weather was throwing me off for awhile, but I can now officially say: bring on my Christmas.



Filed under Uncategorized

Welcome to The Asylum

I hereby interrupt this 5 months of silence to bring you…Halloween 2012.

So it’s been awhile?  I blame the spirits that live in our house for holding us hostage.  Hadn’t you heard?  515 is haunted!

Scary, right?  Fortunately, Halloween is John’s favorite holiday.  So in true John Cheney style, we encouraged the creep factor out of our house’s woodwork, starting with the outside.

A little caution tape, a hanging skeleton, and a “CONDEMNED” sign (found here) helped set the scene for our haunted asylum.  Bonus points if you can find the man creeping on the second story.

Our guests were then greeted by the former receptionist who met her untimely death years ago…

Perhaps this guy did it?

Meet the proprietors of this once thriving estate…they may or may not have died the year the asylum was condemned, but have now come back to reclaim their domain.

A sacrificial table paying homage to those suspiciously lost endures, complete with freshly bottled water and fluorescent paint.

Photographs of the former owners and their family continue to be displayed throughout the estate…

One thing is for certain, you should be thankful this guy is chained up.

Though it would probably be best if this one was, too…

Haunted nursery rhymes have not been painted over since the asylum residents of past left their rambling, incoherent messages.

And a strong psychosis-inducing drink continues to be served by the asylum proprietors…their intentions for this so called ‘Black-out Punch’ are yet unknown.

Guests dined on charred appendages from unknown sources…

…and poor Frankie had no idea what would become of him.

The chief nurse is known to keep order through tranquilizing techniques.

And the mad doctor frequently performs experiments of all kinds on his many…visitors…

Welcome to the asylum.  Think you could last an evening here?


Filed under Festivities, Relationships

…And Another Month Passes By

I know, I know.  I’m starting to sound like a broken record.  Speaking of which, is there a more modern expression we use these days in lieu of ‘broken record’?  Do the kids even know what that means??

Anyway.  I don’t even know where to start!  Life has been absolutely crazy busy and while I tend to like that, I’m a little burnt out.  Work has been exhausting and after coming off of almost 3 straight weeks on the road (including weekends – which were fun and by choice, but exhausting), I’m finding all I want to do is zone out in front of the old boob tube (again – is this expression outdated?) and my frustratingly slow computer at the end of the night.  Or just escape to here.

Beyond that, I am so overwhelmed by all the things I need to blog about.  I realize my use of the word “need” here is a little overdramatic…I don’t *need* to do anything when it comes to updating the internet on our life…then again, my sensitivity around the word may be due to John’s frequent ramblings on the subject.  But really, I just want to write about it all!  The baby and bridal showers I’ve been throwing, the landscaping that is a constant challenge but is totally rewarding, all the wonderful family time we’ve had over the past couple of months both here and elsewhere, the new roof, drywall in the basement, and oh yeah…the (almost) finished garage I mentioned awhile back but never really finished discussing (speaking of which, it would help if I could find those ‘final’ pictures…).  Yikes.  Maybe I should teach Jackson how to blog?  ‘Bout time he earned his keep around here, right?

Despite my occasional freakouts and fairly high stress levels these days, I realize I have so much to be thankful for and every day I try not to forget it.  I’m constantly telling people that “2012 is a big year” in my family/friends circle.  My beautiful sister is marrying the love of her life in August, my amazing parents are celebrating 60 years of life and 40!!!!! years of marriage.  That alone is incredible.

On top of that, one of my oldest and dearest friends is pregnant and due any second with her first little peanut and I cannot wait to meet her/him.  John’s brother recently got engaged and is also getting married this year, in fact, in the same month as my sister!  Crazy, eh?  But so exciting.  And then our goddaughter, who is the ultimate blessing to our family, just got baptized and then turned 1!

We traveled to Spain and have some other fun adventures in the works this year, which is something we definitely prioritize and work hard to be able to do but recognize how fortunate we are to be able to do so.

(excuse the crappy iPhone pic…)

Oh yeah, and somewhere in there, my favorite guy turns 30.  Say whaaaaaa?

It’s easy to get overshadowed this year…but we got plans to celebrate appropriately.

So it’s a crazy year, but a good one.  And despite the inconsistent blog updates on my life, I’m happy to say that I’m living it.  And that, I know, is a good thing.


Filed under Life Stuff, Relationships

Life, Lately

An update is overdue, this I know.  Probably one on things like the garage.  Or that trip to Spain we took almost 2 months ago.

But, I/we’ve been a little busy with things like planning this…

And crafting things like these…

For this beautiful lady-friend of mine…

And I can’t forget to mention there’s been a lot of activity surrounding the much anticipated August wedding of my dear sister…

…who also managed to squeeze in a little trip out West with the rest of the fam.

Why yes, we have beaches in Denver.  You hadn’t heard?

There was even time for a quick getaway where I managed to stare at these all weekend…

With these lovely ladies…

Of course, after the mountain fun was said and done, a (heavy) drywall hanging session ensued with this guy…

But somewhere, between all of that, plus a lot of long hours at work (I’ll spare you any photos…as if any even existed), we’ve even found time for a little of this:

It’s been a crazy, hectic, but fun past month or so.  However, the warm weather is (about) here to stay, the days have definitely gotten longer, and I’m ready for more backyard campfires.  Even if I have to earn it through some extra work hours, drywalling, and my arch nemesis…landscaping.

Happy Spring, All!

(and, I’ll try to get some more detailed updates posted soon…)

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Filed under Backyard, Life Stuff, Relationships

Raising The Roof

Ahhh, the garage roof.

I believe I left off with something like this, yes?  With framing finished, we were ready for roofing.

Guess who was lucky enough to be in town visiting when the tar paper (aka, the waterproofing component of the roof) arrived?

That would be my poor unlucky Pops.  He acted excited to help, but really…is this what you would want to do on a sunny, warm Colorado day like this (keep in mind, this all occurred last August…I’ll catch up someday)?

Unfortunately, it was game over once John started hauling said tar paper up to the roof.

They got into a rhythm pretty quickly though.

Notice this guy (in the pic below) from anywhere?  That would be the cupola from the old gazebo that used to live on our property.  We thought it would be fun to save it and affix it to the top of the garage…and we loved it very much so, until a severe windstorm recently knocked it off its perch. :(  Luckily it seems repairable…but of course we just need to find the time to said repairs.

Anyway…back to roofing.  John and my dad continued to nail down the initial layer of the roof while the girls were, I’m sure, doing something equally important.

You know you wish you had a camo hat.

Confession: I have one too.  Thanks, sister.

Another confession…I kind of love them.

Ahem…where were we?  Tar paper, on the roof.

Soon enough it was all covered.  Unfortunately, the garage sat for some time and thanks to a few more crazy windstorms, John had to perform some minor roof surgery, but eventually he got to haul the shingles up that same ladder and got busy making a proper roof.

Exhausting, eh?  It appears John would say so.🙂

Next up…shingles.  I promise, we’ll be done rambling about the garage soon enough.  And in care you’re wondering…you’re not the only one hoping for a conversation change.

(Not that I don’t find garages fascinating, John.)


Filed under Backyard, Big Projects, Exterior, Garage

Framing Round 2

Umm…what was I saying?  A couple weeks ago?  Oh yes, I was talking about framing the garage.

And then John and I skipped the country, and between prepping for it and then actually doing it, I forgot to finish talking about the 2x4s that made our garage vision an actual structure.  Whoops.

And to make matters worse… this all occurred during a time when green leaves were still on the trees.

Forgive me?

Framing always makes me smile.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I think framing is fantastic because it’s the realization of what was previously just a concept, a plan.

And the garage was no different.  I’m a highly visual person, so this culmination of many pounds of wood was all I needed to fully grasp what exactly we were doing to the backyard.

Good thing I liked it, eh?

Once the structure was up, you know what the immediate next step was, right?

Cue the kid with a truck that has been waiting for 13 years to park his own truck in his own garage.

A monumental moment, I tell ya!

It’s like us kids finally grew up and became adults.🙂

And it’s like we now have a little house that sits behind our real house.

And uh, the occupants are a couple of Dodges, a lot of tools, and an unnecessary amount of camping stuff.  Cozy ,eh?

Next steps: roofing and siding.  Not necessarily in that order.  Or maybe in a back-and-forth kind of order.  If that even makes sense.

And if it doesn’t make sense…then I guess just check back soon.  I don’t think we’ll be skipping the country within the next week, so perhaps finishing this long-winded garage progress ‘series’ will start to draw to an end.

(I think this is where I’m supposed to say: “don’t hold your breath”)

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Filed under Backyard, Big Projects