Sunday, May 27

A Long But Gratifying Week

Ever since we bought our new house we have been planning and dreaming about putting in our yard. One of the reasons we bought the house was because we wanted a big yard, and our lot is 10,000 square feet. Since our house is only 1,520 square feet, that leaves quite a bit of yard! Over the last 16 months we've watch almost all of our neighbors put in their grass, shrubs, etc., and now it is our turn. Eddie took a week off from work so we would be sure to have lots of time to get it all done.

The first thing to arrive on Saturday morning was the Bobcat we rented. We knew we would never be able to finish the job if we had to move 50 yards of soil one wheelbarrowful at a time. We also had a unit of cedar chips to move and 10 yards of 3/4 minus rock to spread for an expanded driveway (we hope to concrete it in one day). As soon as the Bobcat arrived we got to work gathering up the piles of weeds and rocks (and even our Christmas tree) and moving them to our truck. We ended up removing about two tons of debris from our yard this weekend, and that's in addition to the tons we already had removed last year! We then laid rolls of weed block on areas that were going to be borders or flower beds, and then it was on to some heavier work.

The next thing to arrive was our mulch/sand mix which we used for topsoil. Our ground is nothing but clay and rocks, and though we spent hours and hours raking rocks up last year, the ground is just not suitable for growing grass in. We spent two days moving and leveling the mulch, but we got rained out on the second day. We worked for hours in the rain, but eventually the rain started coming down too hard and it was just too soggy to continue and we were totally drenched.

It rained a good portion of the next day as well, so we took most of Monday off and went geocaching and to the zoo. It was a nice break from the work, but the next day we were back to work finishing up the mulch. I was amazed at how much better our yard looked with just the new soil.

We did a few more odds and ends around the yard while we waited for the sod to be delivered Wednesday morning. It arrived right on time, 4,000 square feet of it (400 rolls), and we were eager to get started on the most gratifying portion of the yard work. It was heavy and hard work, but it was so nice to see the lawn taking shape right before our eyes. We got about 1,600 square feet laid the first day, and did the remaining sod the second day. We worked for over 12 hours on Thursday, almost to the point of exhaustion. We had to get it in the ground before it died, and so we continued to work until it was all rolled out.

It looks terrific, and I am so pleased with the result! It took lots of planning and an incredible amount of hard work, and I don't think my body can do it again. I'm just too old for so many days in a row of such strenuous work. We still have a few minor things to finish, but we're just too tired to deal with it this week. We need a bit more topsoil for a small portion of the front yard, and then we need to spread the barkdust on the borders and flowerbeds and over that small portion of the front yard. Next year we will plant some trees, shrubs, and flowers, but for this year, I think we're almost done!

Tuesday, May 15

Today We Baked Cookies

A few days ago Ryan came up to me and asked, "Mommy, how come we don't make cookies any more?" Guilt flooded over me, and I wanted to cry. It has been months since things have been "normal" around here. I have been consumed by trying to get all of Abby's "school" done and Ryan's school done, making meals and still maintain a fairly clean house. We have also added swimming lessons for each of the kids twice a week, and then there's the zillion regular things that need to be done each week. But the hard truth is that I haven't MADE it a priority to spend some fun quality time with my kids. We used to go to the park or for walks, paint and do crafts, bake cookies and make cards for grandparents, etc. We haven't done any of that since about February, and I need to let some housework go and focus on having some fun with my kids.

Why is it one of the hardest things for me to do, sit down and play when there is laundry to be folded and dishes to be washed and floors to be mopped, etc.? I like things orderly and clean. It gives me security and peace and calm, but what gives my children security and peace is knowing they are more important the house and laundry, knowing that Mommy enjoys being with them and playing with them. So by God's grace I am going to again make them one of my top priorities and move housework lower on the list. I recently heard someone say in reference to parenting, "The days are long, but the years are short," and I know that is so true. I want to enjoy these precious years with my children and not look back and be full of regrets. I want to put feet to my convictions right away, so today we baked cookies...

Monday, May 14

Mother's Day Weekend

My hubby and I are loathe to endure crowds, so we celebrated Mother's Day on Friday instead of Sunday, also because he had the day off and because we had a couple days' worth of yardwork we had to do as well.

The kids had swimming lessons, and afterward we got in the pool with them and splashed and played with them. We had the pool completely to ourselves, and we had lots of fun! Then we went home, got cleaned up and took Ryan to an eye appointment. We went to the mall and let the kids play a bit at the Lego store and then at the indoor playground. Then we headed to one of my favorite places to eat, The Cheesecake Factory. The kids were well behaved most of the day, which always makes the day special, and I really enjoyed my day.

Saturday the work began. We had to remove all the weeds from our yard in preparation of laying topsoil and sod next weekend. We rented a weed burner, which was pretty effective on the grass that covered so much of our yard. It took a while for this California girl to not feel paranoid about setting fire to the neighborhood (my dad told me these are actually illegal in California), but eventually I relaxed.

Look at all those weeds!

It took us over 18 hours to get rid of all the weeds! After all those hours spent among the smoke and dust, I felt like I spent the weekend in Mordor. My carpal tunnel syndrome flared up and I couldn't make a fist with my right hand for two days, but the yard looks so much better already! I can't wait to see it with grass.

Weeds are gone at last!

Friday, May 11

Medieval Help Desk

Since my hubby is the IT Manager where he works, I have come to appreciate some of the ups and downs of that job. This post is in his honor, and this video clip would be hilarious if it wasn't so true to life!

Thursday, May 3

New Posts

I have been having a very hard time getting pictures uploaded and posts written on my blogs. I simply don't have the time available that I used to have since we began doing Abby's "school." However, today I have a "free" day, so I am going to publish quite a few posts. Some of these posts are pretty old, but since I use this blog as a kind of an online journal, I am going to post them anyway. We have had an extraordinarily busy month, and we took lots of pictures!

Wednesday, May 2

Going Crazy?

This week I have been feeling like every day is spinning wildly out of control, and today was no exception. As I sought a minute's escape from the demands and chaos of my day this afternoon, I read this timely article and heard the Lord speak to me through Ann...again. If you're feeling like you're going a "touch crazy," this post may bring you back to Peace or maybe even to Him for the first time.


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