Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Laundry Room - Little by Little

We've had a busy couple weeks.  The work we've done lately include planting the rain garden and starting to work on the laundry room. 

Even though we had about two weeks with no rain, as soon as I planted the rain garden we had two big storms.  We'll see how the plants do with so much water. 

The very exciting work though is the laundry room progress.  Our goal for this space is to make it a place where I won't dread doing laundry.  This includes paint, drywall, new floor, better lighting, better storage, and reconfiguring everything. 

Just as a reminder, this was the laundry room when we first saw the house - it was tiny, disgusting (look in that laundry tub!), dark, and scary.


Since we bought the house, the laundry room hasn't changed much.  It is still dark and disgusting but we made it over twice as big.  Still not a place you want to spend much time!


The first step was to remove everything - this took awhile.  Besides the washer, dryer, and cast iron laundry tubs, there was also the beer fridge and large sink/cabinets for beer brewing.  Once it was all removed, it was obvious how disgusting it really was. 


The floor was not at all level or flat so we poured some self leveling concrete.


Once that was cured, we painted the wall (even though most will be covered) and installed a vinyl floor that looks like hardwood.  It turned out really nice - I can't wait to finish everything else and get my dream laundry room!


Fortunately, some of the changes just require some time - the laundry tubs look like new after just a few coats of paint. 


We have some plumbing to reconfigure before we can put the appliances back but hopefully they'll be in place by the weekend.

Some other fun things we did included a picnic, Mother's Day, and getting the kids' portraits taken.




The kids keep enjoying playing in the turtle (we've been using it as a pool on hot days).


Some big news - Josh can walk!  He still prefers to crawl but he is definitely capable.

video

And last, Samantha had her last dance class - she had fun and got her exposed to taking instruction from another adult.  I got a short video of her - she saw me so stopped dancing like she was before though.

video

Hopefully next week we'll have a nicer laundry room to show (not finished of course!).

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Garden is In!

It's been very warm (hot) here and there are no signs that we'll be having another frost any time soon so we decided to plant our garden a little earlier than normal.  At the beginning of the weekend the garden looked like this:


After many hours in the garden over two days, it looks much more like a garden should. 


This year I made three trellis systems out of bamboo and twine for our tomatoes, beans, and squash/cucumbers.  I really hope this helps them grow well and keeps the groundhog/bunny damage to a minimum.  We also installed the first part of our drip irrigation system and weed mitigation.  I still have more to do and hope to finish up this week.

We planted corn, okra, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, winter squash, pumpkins, watermelons, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and beans.  Our planter boxes contain our strawberries, lettuces, peas, beets, carrots, and chard.   Hopefully we'll have a productive harvest. 

Another big change in the garden this year is that Chris was able to find time to build a gate to keep Tucker out.  It only took 4 years to get one installed but it's already doing a great job!

One fun thing I did with the kids was to go to Kinder Farm with friends.  Josh loved the goats and chickens and Samantha loved the pigs (well really all the animals).  It was great catching up and getting the kids out of the house at the same time.




With nice weather most days, we've been spending a lot of time on the patio.  Even though we only put out cushions when we have company, the kids enjoy playing on the furniture anyway.  


Josh is enjoying using his walking toy on the patio a lot.  This weekend while we were working, the kids played in a shallow pool.  Josh left the pool and grabbed his walking toy.  Due to his wet feet, you can see the path he took around the patio.  Maybe we can teach him to walk in a straight line when he finally starts walking by himself.


The last picture of the week is the kids thoroughly enjoying our shredded paper.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Now We Won't Fall Down the Stairs!


The railing is finally installed!  This area has gone through quite the transformation since we first saw it over 5 1/2 years ago.  Here are just the recent photos of this space - the railing really makes it look finished.  Chris did a fantastic job (now I just need to finish caulking and touching up the paint).




Before the riots in Baltimore, I took the kids to the zoo on Monday.  We had a nice day and plan on going back often since we now have a membership.  Here are a few pictures of the visit:




The kids are generally pretty good about playing together.  Here is a picture of them playing with the rice sensory bin.


Finally, Josh is so close to walking but doesn't realize that he can do it yet.  Here's a video of him using his walker and every time he runs into something, he picks up the walker to head the right direction. 

video

He's fast so I'm sure he'll be running before we know it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Carpet and Critters

It's been a couple weeks since I wrote - we've been doing a lot! 

The big house news was the carpet installation upstairs.  What a difference some carpet makes in this space.  There were quite a few different tiles on the floor up here so it was nice to have a consistent flooring! 



We still have a few things to finish up here - installing the railing, caulking the bathroom, installing the bathroom fixtures, and painting the stairs.  Of course now the weather is warming so we're spending more time playing and working outside instead.  Maybe a rainy day will force us to finish so we can post some real before/after pictures.

I took the kids down to DC last week with some friends to look at the cherry blossoms.  We had a good time with a picnic and even stopped by the Air and Space Museum too.  It was great!



One thing that comes with warm weather is critters (and bugs and snakes) coming out.  Unfortunately, a baby rat snake found it's way into our basement.  I was able to take care of it (and in the process probably made Chris happy I'm not squeamish). 


We also had a lot of ants show up on our porch and patio - at least they're staying outside for now!


One other fun thing we did was to travel up to Penn State for the Blue-White game over the weekend.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures of the day but the kids had fun (particularly the Creamery ice cream!). 

Hopefully we'll have a lot more to show next week!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Josh's First Birthday and Happy Easter!

We had quite a day of celebrating on Sunday.  It was not only Easter but also Josh's first birthday.  We traveled to Ohio to spend the weekend with Chris' family. 


The kids had a lot of fun being with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  Not to mention the Easter baskets and egg hunt!




 

Josh had his first taste of cake.  Initially, he wasn't so happy about it but it grew on him.


 


During our trip, we visited the zoo at Oglebay for an Easter treasure hunt.  Samantha had a great time!  Of course the only good picture of her we got was with the goats.


One other thing Samantha enjoyed was playing with toys that Chris played with as a boy.  Here she has lined up all the dinosaurs on a "sidewalk" she built.  

 
A couple things at the house this week included getting (and spreading some) mulch...


...and removing this lovely railing upstairs.


Finally, our church hosted an egg hunt this morning and the kids actually went for a photo with the Easter bunny.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Almost Done...

We were able to finish up a lot of the bathroom this week.  The shower and floor are grouted and the vanity, lights, shelves, and toilet are all in place. 


I moved a ton of stuff downstairs that was not necessary for the remaining work.  It gave Chris plenty of space to install most of the trim.  Hopefully we'll be able to caulk and touch up the paint this week.

While Chris installed the trim, I took the kids to an egg hunt.  Samantha loved it and even Josh was able to collect several eggs for his bucket.  They did a nice job with crafts, cookie decorating, face painting, and even a couple moon bounces.


We also had an egg hunt today with my MOPS group.  Josh's face says it all - it was a blast!


Last week we hosted a St. Patrick's Day play date (a week late) with some friends.  Samantha loved the Irish music and requested it for many days afterwards.  Josh was a happy little leprechaun too.


Samantha had so much fun during the play date but wasn't so thrilled about the green mustache and goatee!  


I'll end with a couple pictures from the week.  Josh really enjoys knocking things down so Samantha and I started to build towers with yogurt containers.  Most of the time he'd only let us get two stacked but we finally made one almost to the ceiling (he loved knocking that one down!).


Samantha has been coloring a lot lately.  When the crayons are left unattended, Josh makes a beeline for them.  Unfortunately, one of these times was while I was getting dinner started.  He nibbled on quite a few colors before I realized why he was so quiet.  Little stinker!