Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Where Did the Summer Go!?

This summer disappeared so fast! It is already mid-September and I am having Lagoon withdrawals. Boo...

I say that, but to be honest I absolutely love the fall. The crisp air, the feeling of change, a new start with a new school year, football games, Halloween, apple cider and hot chocolate... (and my birthday, but we're skipping it this year). 

I'm not ready to completely say goodbye to summer on the blog yet. I guess that's the advantage of being behind on posting, I can keep it summer as long as I want!

August ended up being fairly cool and wet this year. It was pretty nice actually. Especially for our brand new lawn we put in. No worries over it not getting enough water! One evening when a summer rainstorm set in the girls put on their swim suits and went out to play. And because it just looks hilarious, I gave them each a floatie to wear as they ran around.

Hailey had a blast! She ran up and down the side walk screaming and splashing!

Keira on the other hand thought a bit more about it and mostly watched. (With one piggie in, one piggie out.)

It didn't take too long before Keira was done. I don't blame her, it was actually just under 60 degrees out there. Not exactly swimsuit weather. Hailey didn't care and played a bit longer until I dragged her inside to warm up.

That August weather some days felt a bit more like fall. It was so refreshing! Now it nearly is fall, everyone is back in school and back to a routine we go again. (Though not yet on the blog- I still have yet to blog about our vacation we FINALLY took at the end of August.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Yard Re-Do, Part 3: Sod

After all of our hardwork this summer, the time had finally come for sod! The old weeds and grass were dead and cleared away, topsoil was brought in, sprinkler lines were adjusted for hopefully optimum coverage, new curbing was in place, weeds that grew back were pulled out, and the ground was level, or as level as we, the non-professional diy-ers, could make it. 

It. Was. Time. FINALLY! 

We had 5 pallets of sod delivered to our home. Never in my life had I ever been so happy to see grass!


Kyle came home early from work that day to get started. It was Friday, and we knew we had to get started right away or sod laying would spill over into Saturday. 

Kyle laid an entire pallet on his own before I had the chance to come help him. My mom came over around dinner time and helped watch the girls. Then I put my work gloves on and joined him. Laying sod isn't hard to do, but all of the bending and lifting makes it physically exhausting! Thank goodness we have some good friends (and my dad) who came out and saved the day. Just the addition of a few extra bodies dramatically sped up the process. We are so grateful to them for helping us! Seriously, by ourselves, Kyle and I would have been at it clear into Saturday afternoon had we not received some help. We are extra grateful for the help knowing it was a bit of a sacrifice. Isn't laying sod on everyone's list of favorite Friday evening activities? :) 

There it is all done and green. Kyle and I couldn't believe our eyes the next day when we saw it in full sunlight. Green grass in our backyard! It really looks like a different place. I really nearly cried. Now our girls have a space at our home where they can run around and play!

The grass is in and green as ever. In fact, Kyle is out mowing as I type. But... there is still a lot of work to be done to completely finish our backyard transformation. I don't want to post a full before and after picture yet, I want to wait until it really is finished. For now, here is a pre-sod and post sod.

The girls and I have been able to enjoy the new yard already. We have picnicked, read books, and brought out the soccer ball. Now I can actually spend a little time in the garden (which is a total mess this year, but full of tomatoes, grapes, and peaches) without worrying what those two are getting into. I never realized how important a good backyard would be to me, until we really didn't have one. Hurray for one more step towards completion!

If you missed out on all of the work we've done see our yard clean up, new patio, adding topsoil, and new deck.

Monday, August 11, 2014

An Evening at Lagoon

After spending a straight week+ of evenings working on the new deck we decided it was deserving celebration of it's completion. Off to Lagoon we went! I have taken the girls there at least once a week all summer long. It's a blast. Sometimes we meet up with friends, sometimes we hang at the water park, and most of the time we raise our hands in the air and ride the rides. Kyle has been a handful of times with us (and once on a man-date with Chad), but not enough! Once we got a free night, Lagoon was definitely calling our name.

We hung out in kiddie-land. Though Hailey was most excited to have Kyle with her so she could ride Bombora, a REAL rollercoaster, not the little dragon one. Hailey is big enough to ride it accompanied, Keira is not. So when we go poor Hailey looks fondly at Bombora and always comments that she'll get to ride it next time Dad comes with us.

Keira loves the whales, and raises her hands way up in the air and she goes up and down and all around.

I do think Keira's overall favorite ride is the cars. She is always super anxious to get in- she's even shed a few tears over having to wait her turn. Once it's her turn her face immediately lights up and you can't get her in that car fast enough. I'm glad she isn't 16 yet, we have some work to do on driving, she yanks that wheel back and forth as fast as she can- it would make anyone sick to ride with her driving!

I am NOT a roller coaster rider. I get car sick pretty easily. And I really don't like that stomach drop feeling (which Kyle says is a tickle). Hailey has been able to talk me into a couple of bigger rides, like Bombora. How do I say no to her? What am I going to do when she's big enough to ride the really big roller coasters!? Anyway... Hailey asked, so I rode on the pirate ship with her. Luckily for me there were restrictions on where Hailey could sit, so we were in the middle, the more calm area of the ride. That was a good spot for me. I don't know if I could handle the very back. It doesn't look that bad watching it, but something changed once we were on and suddenly it was a lot bigger of a ride than I had thought! Yes, I am a total whimp. 

Though I'm not big on riding the rides, I still love trips to Lagoon because I enjoy watching my girls have fun. I'm sad summer is almost over, what are we going to do without Lagoon!?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Yard Re-Do, Part 2: Deck

Before we first bought our home we paid for an inspector to come out and look it over. He mentioned to us that the deck needed some TLC. Really, it was pretty obvious it needed something. What he failed to notice or mention was that it needed more than just TLC, it needed to be replaced. After years of wear and winters of snow piled up on it, the support beams underneath had begun to rot, a couple of them nearly completely through. We didn't realize this until one day when Kyle stepped out on it and felt the decking begin to give way underneath him. It was then we decided it needed to be torn down and replaced.

Deck before. Kyle started working on taking it down before I got my camera out. So here it is at the beginning of deconstruction.
Here is some of the rotting wood we discovered during tear down.

After the deck was torn down the house sat for over a year with no new decking. Until this summer when we fully began to tackle our backyard transformation. While I was in Washington for my sister's wedding open house, Kyle and his dad put up the frame for the main portion of the deck. A few weeks later Kyle began work on the rest. Since we put in the patio last fall, we decided to shrink down the size of the deck to just a landing down to the patio, instead of clear across the back of the house.

We did a lot of back and forth on what type of material to use for the decking. Composite vs. redwood. It was a hard decision! Ultimately when it was time to make the decision we opted for the redwood. Composite has a lot of fantastic advantages, but we decided redwood was a better choice for us right now: Kyle understood how to work with it, we could stain it whatever color we would like, it doesn't get melt-your-feet-off-hot in the sun, and it costs half as much as composite. 

Look! A deck! No railing, but the decking is complete!

I love the wide stairs. They are the same width as the deck.

Once it was time for the railing the construction became a two man job. I got out my work gloves and Kyle set me to work cutting down the balusters.  

I didn't get any pictures of putting the railing up because I was busy helping Kyle by holding railing in place, checking that everything was level, and putting screws in place while Kyle came along with the drill to secure them down. It was a straight week of deck building in the evening. We would eat dinner and then head outside to work on the deck. Some evenings I wouldn't make it out until the girls were in bed, other times they went to Papa and Rara's house to play. Kyle and I would work until dark, until we really couldn't see any more. Then inside for a shower, quick TV show and then bed.

Now it's done. Another project to check off of our forever-long to-do list. 

And we love it! We still need to pick out a stain. That can wait for a little bit. We're just happy the construction is over and we have a functional deck once again!

Notice the addition of curbing? This yard is starting to come together! Next step: sod.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Adventures in Bowfishing

Our Saturday this past week was super fun. Way more fun than I had originally thought it would be. Kyle and I met up with Corinne & Taylor and Chelsie & Cody and ventured out into Utah Lake for some bow fishing. Yes, fishing with a bow and arrow. 

I really had no idea anyone did such a thing until we welcomed Cody into the family. Now look at us, out treading the murky lake waters in search of nasty carp. I really am no fan of fish. I don't eat it, I don't touch it. But yet... I had a blast trying to propel an arrow through it.

Kyle had been one other time a few weeks before. This was my first. Kyle amazed me. As we first made our way to the lake immediately he spotted a carp swimming at the water's edge. He walked right up (didn't even get into the water), took aim and hit the fish. I didn't even have the camera out and ready to go. One shot, one fish. And then the rest of us struggled to catch anything, or even find anything to shoot at. At the end of the day Kyle came away with 6 hits, and the rest of us a big pile of misses. That's ok, I didn't want to come up close and personal with the fish anyway. 

Chelsie, ready to for action.
Look at that not-so-beautiful water.
Corinne up to her knees in lake water.
 When Kyle came with Chelsie and Cody a few weeks ago the fish were hanging out near the shore. This time they were in a bit deeper water. That meant wading into waist deep (sometimes deeper) water. The boys were pretty advantageous and got down to business submersing themselves. Us girls hung back by the shore, keeping the water to the knees and below. Eventually I built up some courage and headed out to fish with the boys. I figured if I'm going to come out here to shoot a bow and arrow I had better go find myself a target. I didn't want to leave without taking a shot. So off I went.

 I was kind of nervous at first to shoot the fish. But once I got going, it was fun! I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Hopefully we'll get back out there again sometime.


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