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" 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 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!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Wonderful Baptism Weekend!

We had a very busy but wonderful week.  We worked very hard to finish (95%) of the patio, get the house cleaned, and get food prepared for Josh's baptism.

The baptism itself was great - Josh was the only baby being baptized and the deacon did a fantastic job.  Here are some pictures from after the sacrament (the "baptism" photo is a reenactment).

I'm not sure how we only ended up with one picture of my parents together with Josh but they both had their eyes closed - hopefully someone else got a better one!

We had a lot of family in town for the baptism and we wanted to treat them right for coming so far.  I made a LOT of food for the pre-baptism lunch.  Here are a couple of my more colorful dishes.

Since we don't entertain often, I forgot how much work it is to throw a party but it was definitely worth it!  We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family support us. 

I mentioned that the patio is 95% complete - there are still two small wall sections to finish around the fire pit area, some "privacy" lattice to install, landscaping, and dirt removal.  I'll try to get some preliminary "after" pictures to post next week.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Coming Up Short

We thought this weekend would be the end of patio work...and we were wrong.  We got very close to finishing only to realize that we were short about 100 pavers.  We knew the store wouldn't be open on Friday for Independence Day so we tried to go over on Saturday to buy the remaining blocks.  I called first to made sure they were open and checked their website - no mention of being closed on Saturday.  So we got the kids in the car and drove over only to find that it was indeed closed.
This left us with only two things to work on - the fire pit and remaining wall sections.

To fill the rest of the weekend, we bought and planted some flowers in our planters to make the patio look inviting once it is finished.  We took a look at patio furniture too and realized that we either didn't like it or it was too expensive.  We may just have to borrow some neighbors furniture for the upcoming baptism party.

The work we did accomplish turned out very nice indeed.  The fire pit is ready for action and the walls are very close to finished.  The flowers and plants look great and hopefully will remain nice (I am horrible at remembering to water them!).  Having a party in one week means that we have a lot of work to do - inside and out!

I'll end today with a couple pictures of the kids from the week.  Hope you had a great Fourth of July!