Extremely Rewarding Makeover

Three months ago the Extreme Makeover Home Edition bus rolled into Iowa. A lot of the work is completed by volunteers and I had the privilege of being one of those volunteers. The build site was about an hour and a half away from us but I made the trip. I mean, why wouldn’t I jump at the chance. I signed up for a shift from 8pm-2am on a Saturday night. I started staying up later each night to prepare myself and it just wasn’t working. Then my niece Hailey decided to help me out a little bit. My sister was 39 weeks pregnant and was having high blood pressure so they decided to induce her on a Friday night. Miss Hailey was born early Saturday morning so my sisters, Cora and I were all up most of the night. Thank you Hailey! Two nights of little sleep…totally worth it.

I could show you more pictures of Hailey, but unless you’re one of my siblings or parents that’s probably not why you stopped by. So how about I show you some of my favorite things from the Gibbs family Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode? In case you missed it, you can see it on ABC.com. It was two parts, so set aside two hours and grab a box of tissues (if you’re a crier) and enjoy. Here’s the link to part one and part two. The pictures I’m going to share with you are screenshots from when I was watching, so the quality isn’t great…please forgive me.

I volunteered before I knew the Gibbs’ family story and then after I heard it, I knew this was for me.

Here’s the basic story. Audrey lost her husband in 2000 after a battle with cancer and while she was adjusting to life as a widow raising six kids, just nine months later she had surgery for five brain aneurisms. Five! She had 20% of her brain removed and lost most of her eyesight. They also just found a cyst in the same part of her brain where the aneurisms were. I told you a few months ago that Michael and I took a trip to Mississippi to see his sister and brother-in-law because Michele was having surgery. The surgery she had was to remove a cyst on her brain. There was just a week between my volunteer time and when we left for Mississippi. What a “coincidence”…I don’t believe in coincidences…just divine intervention. Really, what are the chances? As you can imagine, people who fight through brain injuries are very close to our hearts.

Evidently there were a lot of people who wanted to help out

Can I just tell you that not all of Iowa is corn and tractors…just like not all of New York is Manhattan? But the family lived on a farm, so it did work for this. After they surprised the family and did the tour of the farm, they sent the family off on vacation to Florida

They tore down the house using, what else, tractors and the new house started going up

and up

Here’s the tent that my friend Kayla built

Maybe not built so much as assembled. Kayla also got to do a couple shots with some of the “stars” She did one with Ty, one with Paul and one with Tracy. The one with Tracy while they were cleaning up the grandfather clock made the cut.

Audrey’s husband was a woodworker/furniture builder and had saved a bunch of wood to build furniture for his kids when they got their own places but never got the opportunity. So the Extreme team took that wood and made furniture for the house. Gotta love reclaimed stuff like this desk that they made for Audrey’s room

He was also a motorcycle enthusiast and they had his old bike redone. How great is this paint?

It’s also totally fitting that the oldest guys in the family went to meet Paul Sr at OCC

and that one of the fundraisers they did for the family was a motorcycle ride

Another fundraiser was an auction and a concert by Bret Michaels!

Okay, I’m going to end this post here because I have a ton of pictures for the next post. Watch for it tomorrow morning or later tonight 🙂 You can check out before pictures on ABC’s website (link here)

Photo from ABC.com

But I’ll leave you with a beautiful Iowa sunset. I’m telling you…they are the best!





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