Monday, September 30, 2013


After many, many years with a very blank canvas or very bad landscaping, we finally have something planted that makes it appear that we care about our house.  Here is a photo from the street of "Before" - no landscaping and a bunch of debris.

Here's a closer view of the lack of landscaping and junk.

We first had to prep the ground for planting - some shoveling and a good pass with the tiller.

We laid out the landscaping fabric (because I hate to weed) and placed the plants before planting everything.  

We finished up the behind-the-sidewalk area on Sunday.  Of course we went through the same process - remove the junk and prep the soil...

...lay out the plants...

...and plant everything.

We still have an area in the front of the house to finish after we install the retaining wall.  And this week will be busy spreading all the mulch we just got delivered this morning.  I'll be sure to post more pictures when we finally finish the landscaping (and get the porch railing installed!).

Samantha and I had a rather low key week - some play dates but not anything too special.  We did have some fun at the nature center - she threw a lot of rocks in the river with her friend, Alex.  I think we'll be repeating that every time we go there.

She still tries to wear the bucket on her head even though her head is outgrowing it.

And last but not least, Chris bought Samantha some bubble bath this week.  Now every time she goes in to take a bath she repeats "bubbles, bubbles, bubbles" until they appear.  We think we'll have to buy bubble bath in bulk now...

Next week we'll hopefully post some post-mulched photos of the landscaping!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Aquarium, Biking, and Crabs

After a year of having the master bathroom 92% complete, Chris was finally able to finish the caulk in the shower.  We had to order a custom color to look right with the marble tile and we just dragged our feet about selecting a color.  Now even though it's 96% complete we are able to shower in there and Samantha gets her own bathroom.  The shower is huge and luxurious! 

Chris' sister Paula and three of her girls came up this weekend for soccer games (that ended up canceled).  Samantha was so excited to have guests - she went insane running around and squealing when they arrived.  On Sunday after church, they offered to watch her so we could get something accomplished.  We drove over to the nursery to buy our first round of landscaping plants.  We ended up with about 50 plants which covers most of the front of the house.  We'll get the rest after we install the retaining wall.  Hopefully next week we'll be able to have some plants in the ground. 

We also had a lot of fun this week.  A friend of ours invited us to go to the aquarium for free (her husband's company has some great benefits!).  Samantha had so much fun there - much more than the last time we went.  Here are some pictures from our visit:

On Saturday, we went on the Columbia BikeAbout.  It was a 10 mile course that visited some of the historical sites in the area.  We decided to bike to and from the start/finish so it ended up about 18 miles.  Chris was great and pulled Samantha in the trailer (with his single speed bike).  I realized how out of shape I am - particularly when I had to walk up several of the bigger hills.  I think I'll be very sore tomorrow. 

After the bike event, Chris went to the Zymurnauts crab feast.  He was very happy to have some time to relax.

Samantha has been making us laugh quite a bit (when she's not having tantrums!).  She is really enjoying wearing glasses and hats.  Here are a few of the better ones (and Chris is not happy I'm comparing her to Elton John).

And she's not mischievous at all... 

Next week...landscaping! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Big Sister, Art, and Injuries

The first thing we want to share is that Samantha will be a big sister!  My due date is March 28, 2014.  This is part of the reason we haven't done much lately - I've been too exhausted!

Chris had very good intentions to work hard on the porch railing this weekend.  He started Saturday morning but after about half an hour, he gouged his hand with a chisel.  So instead we spent a couple hours at the urgent care place.  He ended up with 3 stitches and has to leave them in for 10 days.  He was able to complete some of the cutting and routing even with his hand bandaged but there's still more to go.

I do want to share the progress my parents made on the River House this week - it's very impressive!  They both took a week's vacation and had a lot of help - my brother, uncle, cousin, etc.  They started the week with the foundation and one beam (not shown) in place.

They added the floor, walls, another floor, and roof.  Here are the progress pictures they sent me throughout the week:

They still have a long way to go but they really flew through this framing job.  I really hope some of our projects start going this well!

Of course we had some fun this week as well.  I went to a "Wine and Canvas" event (don't worry - I drank water) at a local restaurant.  Each person gets a canvas, paint, and brushes and a local artist walks you through a particular painting.  It's so neat to see how each person has such a different painting when the evening is through.  It was a lot of fun!  Here's my rendition of "Flower Blast."

I also went to my first official Mothers of Preschoolers meeting.  The MOPS group was very welcoming and I will enjoy going each month. 

Some fun things that Samantha and I did this week were a few play dates - one at an indoor playground store, one outside with water (on the 96°F day), and one at an inflatable play place.  I'm really appreciating all these free events!

After church on Sunday, we went to breakfast with Kate and Corbin.  It was a nice change to our Sunday routine.

This week I plan on ordering our retaining wall block so that we can finally get some landscaping installed - it'll make a huge difference in the look of the house!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Slow Week

Not a lot happened this week - absolutely no house work and not many activities.  We did get to see our friends Kate and Michael over the weekend - they are moving back to the area and hopefully we'll see a lot more of them. 

Since I don't have anything to write about I'll just show you a cute picture of Samantha dancing after church on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor-less Labor Day

I know I was a slacker last week and didn't post but there wasn't anything accomplished on the house and I only had one photo (of Samantha) from the whole week.  I still don't have any work to write about but I'll still fill this post with plenty of photos!

Samantha has been spending a lot of time with friends lately.  We went to the zoo with the Briczinski's a couple weeks ago for Free Day - it was extremely busy but we had a good time.  We also spent the day with them last weekend - Chris and Steve went to the Kegs and Corks festival and Samantha and I hung out with Diane and the boys.  It was a nice relaxing day!

I watched a couple of Samantha's friends the last couple weeks.  Alex and Caleb were both great while they were here.  It is funny though to see how differently they interact with different friends.  Alex and Samantha feed off each others excitement - one screams, the other screams; one runs around, the other follows.  Caleb and Samantha are very kind to one another - Caleb would hold up Samantha's water bottle so that she could drink - and Samantha would reciprocate.

And of course there was the usual library classes, nature center visits, and a trip to the playtime center.  We also went to a Toddler Tailgate that was a lot of fun - and we got to dress in our Steeler gear!

We also had some excitement on the street - they finally paved it after 31 years (according to our neighbor).  Samantha had a good time watching the equipment!

Our family friend was here for a week to watch her granddaughter during the day.  It was very nice to have her here.  Plus we got to have a nice dinner downtown with her daughter and husband too.

Our garden is doing pretty well (better late than never!).  We have a lot of tomatoes and peppers with a bunch of eggplant close behind.


This is the first year that our carrots have grown big enough to eat but they are still pretty short and squat.  I made chicken soup and a chicken pot pie with them (and Samantha ate adult sized portions!).


For Labor Day, we went up to PA for the weekend.  On Saturday, we went up to camp for the day to spend time with aunts, uncles, and cousins.  It was Braden and Beckett's birthdays so we had a nice big party.  Samantha (as usual) was spoiled rotten by everyone - check out her new jewelry, purse, and shades:

She tried to go on a ride in the Power Wheels with Braden but it didn't last long!


On Sunday, we took a trip to the River House to see the progress that my parents have made.  Since the last time we were there, they removed the old addition off the back and installed the foundation for the new one.  

The inside looks similar to the last time but there's much less of it!  They also finished up the mortar in the basement.  It looks much, much better.  

Samantha was ready to help Pap move around some dirt before he returned the backhoe to "Crack House Jim" (who apparently has just about every tool my parents need and don't have themselves).  It's a good neighbor to have!

That's about it!  Hopefully we can get some work done at home this week!