Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend - TONS of Progress!

This was quite the busy week!  The week included some fun (field day, dance class, play date) and a lot of doctor/dentist appointments.  The kids did a very good job behaving this week so I was very grateful. 

The big news of the week though is the progress on the patio.  We started this work back in October so it's been a long time coming. 

My parents came down to help us and it was wonderful!  My mom watched the kids while my dad helped us on the patio.

We started out with adding more base gravel material and lots of tamping.  It takes a long time to get the slope correct over the whole surface - and many passes with the compactor.

Once the slope was correct, we added a layer of sand before starting the installation of the patio pavers.  

We decided on a herringbone pattern in the center of the patio with a straight border to make it look a little fancier. 

Due to our pattern, we needed to cut several pavers.  This was a very loud and dusty operation!

The majority of the work this weekend was back breaking.  There was so much shoveling, pushing heavy wheelbarrows, lifting, moving, and placing large wall blocks and hundreds of patio pavers.  Each of us easily carried tons (literally) of material.  I think we'll all be sleeping well and be very sore tomorrow!

We were able to finish the lower patio and lower wall.  We still need to install the steps, upper wall, upper patio, and fire pit. 

At the beginning of last week the area looked like this:

And now it looks like this (with some added gravel to the upper level):

It's going to be slow going to complete the patio with no help with the kids but Samantha was enjoying the lower patio today so maybe she'll entertain herself by riding her bike in circles!

I'll end this post with a picture of our big sleepy baby.  After carrying all those pavers, blocks, and wheelbarrows of gravel, he seems light!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Few Reasons Our Backs Are Hurting

Both Chris and I are having some struggles with our backs aching.  There are a few reasons for is Samantha, two is Josh (more on this later), and three is shoveling a lot of dirt, gravel, and moving patio pavers. 

We worked on prepping the patio area this weekend.  We ended up having to add a lot of soil to the upper level and some more base gravel to the bottom level.  This activity alone will take up many more hours through the next week and weekend. 

We were able to move about 300+ patio pavers to the backyard as well.  This was some back breaking labor with all the bending and reaching.  The good news is that we moved about 1/4 pallet; the bad news is that we have about 5 full pallets left to move. In the end, however, we will end up with a fantastic patio and it will add value to the house.

The reason Josh is making our backs ache is that we have an enormous baby on our hands!  I took Josh to his one month appointment and he decided to start his own curve.  He was 23 3/4 inches and 14 lb 6 oz.  This puts him around the size of an average 4 month old...I really need to lay off the candy!

In other kid news, Samantha was accidentally bit by Tucker.  I left the room to finish getting lunch ready and Samantha decided to take that time to put all Tucker's toys on top of him.  He snapped at her and unfortunately made contact near her eye.  Besides some tears and a couple scrapes she is fine.  Hopefully she learned a lot more from this incident than from us repeatedly telling her to stop touching the dog (since that obviously hasn't worked). 

I think Samantha is really going to enjoy when Josh gets a little bigger.  Although with him being immobile, she has taken advantage of having a willing(?) participant in her play.  I think his blood pressure may be a little high due to the stress...

And in true toddler fashion, Samantha enjoys playing with her food.  Check out her nice zucchini mustache.

And speaking of zucchini, our garden is looking very good - we need some more straw but now our seeds are sprouting for the beans and soon for the squash.  The tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are all doing well.  Hopefully this year we can keep on top of the weeds (an ounce of prevention...).

This coming week we will have some help and will hopefully make some good patio progress!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mother's Day Gardening

The work we completed this week was all garden related.  We were finally able to get the garden in the ground.  Our plants were starting to get very large in the sunroom.  We planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans, squash, and okra.  With any luck the groundhog and other critters will leave it alone this year!

Since it was a light work week, I'll leave with these pictures of Josh.  Samantha really enjoys sharing with her baby brother (and apparently he falls asleep in the same position often).

This upcoming week will be doing some preparations for installing the patio.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Sheeps" are fun!

We had a pretty busy week.  Our big outings were a Mommy and Me dance class and the science center.  Samantha had a lot of fun at both but she was a little shy participating at the dance class.

Over the weekend, we just relaxed and ended up going to the sheep and wool festival on Sunday after church.  Samantha kept calling them "sheeps" and wouldn't stop no matter how many times we tried to correct her.   

Samantha has been trying to be nice to Josh - here she is showing him how to do a "puzzle."

Josh is a pretty good baby but he seems to be grumpy in the evenings...

Samantha is very independent and always wants to choose her clothes (and dress herself too).  I think we need to work on her style a little bit...

Our CSA type company gave Josh a present - his very own Friends and Farms onesie! 

Hopefully this weekend we'll be able to get some things accomplished - it's hard with two little ones though!