Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Checked Off Checklist and Fully Completed Patio!!!

This week has to be one of the most productive we've had in awhile.  My mom came down on Thursday evening and helped watch the kids so Chris and I could accomplish some things around the house. 

Ever since we got whole house HVAC, our closet situation has been horrible.  Some of the ducting had to go through Chris' closet and all his clothes have been separated into a couple different closets.  Josh's closet was full of our clothes and my closet was jam packed with clothes, boxes, etc., etc.   I decided that I'd had enough and bought a couple closet organizers at Lowe's that attach to the back closet wall (due to the ducting it was our only quick option). 

Chris installed an organizer into his closet early in the week and one in mine on Thursday.  That meant that Friday could be spent trying on every article of my clothing to decide what should stay and what should go.  Fortunately my mom is great at telling me honestly what looks good (and what doesn't).  We now have five garbage bags full to head to Goodwill and two very organized closets.

While I was on a closet kick (and since it rained most of Saturday) I decided to tackle the kids closets too.  These are the time consuming tasks that are always put off for a long time but make such a difference once they are complete. 

Since we had a built in babysitter, we finally went out for a date night!  We went to the Korean Barbeque place we'd been wanting to try for a long time.  It was very good food and so nice to have an adult conversation again!

The rest of the weekend was spent on a lot of small tasks that have been bothering us for awhile.  Some of these included cutting down the dead apple tree, moving the remaining mulch pile from the side yard, weeding around the deck and "dirt pile," shaping the trees near the deck, and planting our fall garden.

Speaking of gardens, ours is still producing quite well (with the exception of tomatoes - most got some type of disease this year). 


Due to the unusually cool summer all of our plants are doing quite well - including the flowers.



Of course the big house progress news of the week is the completion of the patio.  There were a couple wall sections that had not been completed yet and it was hard to get motivated to finish them after Josh's baptism party. 

It only took several hours of heavy lifting, marking blocks, cutting, and assembling to finish.  Chris really is the best husband (and since marrying me he has gained all types of new skills!).   



Chris is now a master sculptor due to all the chiseling he had to do to get the ends of the walls to look right.  He did a fantastic job and I know he is very happy to be done with this (seemingly) never ending project.  

Once cooler weather hits we will be able to finish moving the dirt pile and landscape around the patio.  I will be sure to take a lot of "after" pictures when the whole area is cleaned up and looking its' best!

In kid news, Josh started eating solid food this week.  He's had avocado...




...and sweet potato.



I think he likes the sweet potato much better!

Samantha has been enjoying the patio and even got to eat her first s'more roasted over our very own fire pit.


Even though we live on one acre and have a house over 4000 square feet, we constantly find all (or most) of us in the smallest area possible.  I'm sure this will change as the kids get older so we should just appreciate all the loving now! 


And here is one final picture of Josh enjoying the new patio.


What a chunky monkey!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dutch Wonderland and Wall Building

We had fantastic weather here this week.  During the week we had some play dates and activities but the real fun was this weekend. 

On Saturday we traveled up to Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA.  To say that Samantha had fun would be a huge understatement.  I was a little concerned about how she would handle the rides (some of which she would need to ride alone).  She surprised me by how comfortable and adventurous she was with everything. 

We met three other families there and so the kids were able to ride some things together.  Chris and I got to ride a few rides with her and it was great to see how excited she became.  Here are some photos from the day.








After our long day at the park, we went to dinner as a group and then headed home.  We were all exhausted but very happy that the trip went so well.

On Sunday, Chris worked hard to get the one wall section around the fire pit complete.  There is one more section before the patio building is 100% complete.  Of course there is still work to be done around the patio but that's considered another project!


Here are a couple more photos from this week...Doctor Samantha is ready to take your vitals...


...and ready to clip coupons for you (I finally went to buy scissors for her after many months of forgetting).


Hopefully we'll be able to finish up some small projects this week.  It's hard to believe summer's almost over!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

County Fair and Enormous Baby


We had a pretty fun and eventful week here.  We spent some time with friends going to the gym and pool.  The highlight for Samantha though was going to the County Fair. 

We met some friends there and she had a good time seeing the baby animals...


...playing on large digging equipment...


...and enjoying the corn box.


Josh, however, was slightly less impressed.


I do think that with all the gardening work she helps us with, she may want to be a farmer when she grows up!


I took Josh to his 4 month checkup this week as well.  As expected, he is enormous.  He's technically back "on" the chart with weight at 98th percentile (19 lb. 13 oz.) and way, way off with length at 28 1/8 inches long.  Other than that, he's very healthy so we are very pleased.  



One thing the doctor said at Josh's appointment was that we need to try to get rid of the flat spot on his head so there will be a lot of tummy time in this little boys future!  



I was asked to join my Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group steering team this year.  I will be helping out with crafts.  The theme of this year is "Be You Bravely" and it's all about courage and taking risks.  So the steering team got together for the once a year planning session...and started it with a high ropes course challenge. 

It was a lot of fun - and quite challenging as well.  There was a lot of balancing required and both physical and mental challenges.  Here are a couple pictures taken of me from the day.



And here is a picture to gain some perspective on how high up we were during the course.


I didn't realize how challenging it was until Sunday morning when I went to pick up Josh in his carrier and my forearms were aching badly.  I guess I used muscles that are normally pretty inactive!

We had hoped to get the final wall sections on the patio built but instead we spent Sunday doing yard work.  Someday soon it will be complete!

I seem to be ending with a cute kid picture lately so here's another one.  Sometimes when we arrive home from a play date, Josh is passed out.  I try not to move him until I have Samantha's lunch ready in case I can't transfer him to the crib.  Many times when I come to get him I realize that Samantha has been taking care of him in the meantime.  This is her favorite bear "Bobo" and "owl betit"...at least she's sharing!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Relaxing, Beer Brewing, and Samantha's First Race

We have had a pretty relaxing week here.  The only real work we accomplished was removing the paint from the wicker furniture we purchased for the patio. 

From far away, the furniture doesn't look too bad...


...but up close, the paint was all flaking off.


A little time with the pressure washer and we were left with a nice clean surface to re-paint soon. 


One thing Chris has been wanting to do again for many weeks is to brew more beer.  He spent so much time building the patio that he definitely deserves the time to brew beer to enjoy on the finished patio.


One fun thing we did this weekend was Samantha's first race.  My mom's running group hosted a fun run for the kids.  It was a small group but the kids all had fun.  Samantha was the only girl and the youngest there.  She was very hesitant to run so I had to run with her.  Needless to say, she came in dead last.  There were medals and goodie bags at the end and that's all that mattered to her.  We'll have to try again next time!


Now that we're better rested, hopefully we have some motivation soon to get more accomplished around here!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Patio Progress: 95% Complete (with pictures!)

I know it's been a couple weeks since I posted...life got busy! 

I wanted to provide a little update on the patio - we're still about 95% complete.  We worked so hard to get it ready for the baptism party that we're tired and don't want to do any more right now.  The items still left to be completed are:
  1. Build small wall sections around fire pit area
  2. Remove remainder of dirt/debris/root pile
  3. Bury downspout and extension
  4. Move planter boxes
  5. Landscape 
Some of these items will wait until cooler weather (particularly landscaping).  We think it looks pretty good right now though - and it's functional!



It's also quite an improvement from the "Before" shot.


Last weekend, we took a trip to PA to visit with family and friends.  Traveling more than a couple hours away is rough with the kids but we had a good time. 

We went to a reunion with my parents sports car club.  There was a small pond there so Samantha went fishing with Uncle Rob.  She was pretty good at reeling and carrying worms around but she needed some help with this large mouth bass.  This is her "nice smile" face apparently.


In other news, our garden is definitely the best we've had since we moved here.  Here are a few shots of the produce from the last couple weeks.


 

We found renters for our condo (the previous tenants moved out a month ago after four years).  In order to get the condo ready for the new tenants, I spent over 16 hours cleaning everything over a few nights.  After dinner each night I would head over and clean until around 11.  It was in great shape when I was done!  I'm tired of cleaning though so I think our house will suffer for a couple weeks.

Now some pictures of cute kids.    


She does love her brother!


She loves him so much that she puts on tea parties for him in the den.


He really is a happy baby...


...with some really crazy hair!