Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A summer project worth writing about

Last year we moved into a new-to-us home.  Since then we have been busy trying to make the place into exactly what we want it to be.  It was already pretty good, but there is always something Sarah and I can find to use our time and money making better.

One such project we did this summer was to put a two level retaining wall in our backyard. The project started in December when Jakob came up for Christmas. 



There was a tree growing out of a giant stump.  We decided that we wanted the whole area to be used for a garden, so that meant the tree and the stump had to go.  Jakob helped me cut the tree down.  I have made good use of my reciprocating saw and would recommend one to anybody.

Over the next few months we had to clear the hill of what was there.  I wasn’t sure how to get rid of the stump.  It was really big and not really something I could dig out like I did with this one.


So, we cleared the rest of the bushes that were there.

In May we started working on the retaining wall.  We should have taken more pictures, but we don’t ever seem to take enough pictures, so I don’t have any.  Sarah and I worked hard on the lower half of the retaining wall before Memorial Day.  Then my dad came up and help me do the rest of it.  He was a big help and I thank him for all the help he gave.

Shortly after we did the lower wall we decided to have a tree stump grinder come in and grinder the huge upper stump.  We now have many, many wheelbarrows full of ground up stump, but we don’t have a huge unmoveable and fairly ugly stump taking up half our garden area anymore.

With the stump out the way and the summer quickly leaving us behind we decided to get working on the second half of the wall and by far the bigger portion of it.  For the first half I went to Home Depot with a friends truck several times to get all the blocks.  I didn’t really enjoy doing that so this time I had Home Depot deliver 100 blocks, 16 inches wide, 12 inches deep, 6 inches tall, weighing 66 pounds each.  Along with the blocks I had 15 bags each of gravel base and sand delivered.  It was so much easier.



I still had to get the blocks to the back yard, but with the help of a friends hand truck it was pretty easy work.  It’s nice to have friends.

Sarah and worked all day September 8 to get the second wall started.  I hoped to have the whole thing done, but we left it at this:


The first wall is in front, the second is in back.  That day we dug out the area for it and placed about 13 base blocks.  We still had to go the rest of the way up the hill and then place the rest of the blocks.  That required getting something to cut concrete. I ended up buying a new circular saw and diamond blade to go with it.  The end result is pretty good though.




We still need to level a lot of the dirt, remove all of the bark and try to get some kind of cover crop down before it starts raining.  It shouldn’t take too long to do all of that though, since we don’t have to place anymore base blocks. 

In the end it was a fun summer project that will hopefully allow us to have some sort of garden next year.  Now to figure out what we can spend our money and time on next year.

And because you all made it this far, here are some fun shots of the kids.











Just in case you didn’t know, Sam’s favorite thing in the entire world, and I mean this literally, is hammers.  Any hammer will do put he prefers dad’s big hammer which is just a regular nail hammer, not the mallet in the lower picture.  At the moment he is in bed sleeping with, no not a stuffed animal, but a toy hammer. The kid loves hammers.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The girls having fun

I’m Blogging Again–I Know You’re Shocked




Much has happened in the last several months, but I just wanted to share a few stories from this week.  First, Samuel. 

Today at church, as Sam wandered the back aisle of the overflow (we’ve starting sitting in back so he can meander without distracting everyone behind us), he paused and looked up at the chair he was standing behind.  He saw something black, something that looked like it wasn’t part of the chair, so he reached out and poked it.  It was squishy!  He poked again, and the person sitting in the chair looked around and smiled at him.  It was someone’s back! 

Way cute, right?  Except then, having figured that out, he decided to try it out a few more times.  Walk up behind a chair, poke the squishy part as hard as you can, and wait—sure enough, every time someone turned around to smile.  It was great! 

Adam and I, of course, instead of stopping him, got the giggles and just sat there, laughing helplessly, while he distracted everyone in the back of the chapel.  Yep, we are those parents. 

Here are some pictures from Sam’s birthday last month, a fine and festive day. 




Next Anna.  Earlier this week, we were all having a bickering, unpleasant morning.  I, in all my perfect-mother glory, told Anna that I was going to sell her.  Instead of being phased by that, she looked up at me with a delighted grin and said, “Mommy, would you sell me to the Frei’s? (a family in our ward)  They like me.”  “Sure, Anna,” I laughed.  “I’ll ask them.”  Then she thought for a moment and came back with “Actually, Mommy, you might make more money if you just invite all your friends and Daddy’s friends over and have them talk about who wants to buy me the most.  And then the Frei’s can win.”  I answered, “That’s called an auction, Anna.  Should we auction you?”  “Yep,” she said  happily.  “That way you can make lots of money on me.”

She really is Adam’s daughter, isn’t she? 




And last, but never least, Mariah. 

Mariah loves to pretend.  This week she has spent a significant amount of time being a beagle named Lou, a Pegapony (thank you, Barbie) named Sparkles, and a Planet Hero from Earth named Ace.  As we were walking into Fred Meyer on Friday, I said, “Okay, Mariah, we’re going to go potty.”  She said, “No, I’m NOT Mariah.  I’m Ace.”  “Oh, sorry, Ace,” I apologized.  “I am not a girl,” she emphasized.  “Got it.  Sorry.”  “Girls don’t wear clothes like this, Mommy.”  “Um, like what?” I asked, looking at her pink skirt and green shirt.  “Like this orange shirt and blue pants and big boy shoes that I am wearing, Mommy,” she answered, obviously flabbergasted by how dumb I was.  “Oh, right.  My mistake.”

Luckily, little Ace had no problem going into the girls’ restroom. 



Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sam learns to walk

Since so many of you weren’t actually at our house when Sam learned to walk I thought I would post a few videos of the fun progression from non walker to walking maniac.

Of course, anyone can walk if they have a chair.

First steps, at least on video

There is a lot of controlled falling before they can actually walk.

This is Sam almost really walking. It was always hard to get him on video though because he always goes after the camera.

And then the distance gets greater:

And here is Sam showing us that not only can he walk, but he can go between two girls yelling "Have a Merry Christmas" while holding a broom.

And just because this has to do with walking:

The End of the Year (Ok so not anymore.)

The end of the year is always exciting. Here are some pictures from ours.

For Halloween Sarah made lovely matching Diego and Alicia costumes for the girls.  And of course, since Sam was big enough, he got to be a the duck.IMG_0522

Anna got fun stuff for her BirthdayIMG_0560

Sam, before he could walk. Ok, so it has been a long time since we updated and Sam has grown a lot. IMG_0581

We actually got to see Snow this year because we went to Utah for Thanksgiving. And once again, during the drive home, I remembered why I don't like going to Utah at Thanksgiving.IMG_0584

A boy and his dad.Adam's Face

A boy and his mom. IMG_0605

The wise men from the '70s. IMG_0684

Christmas Morning. I don't really remember much about it, except that once again the kids got way more toys than we planned. It just never seems to work out that they get the right amount of toys.IMG_0693

More Christmas toys.IMG_0692

And more Christmas toys.IMG_0712

Another one of Sam with Sarah, both of them being cute. IMG_0546

This one is just great.IMG_0688

From Christmas to New Year, half my family came up to visit us. We went to all sorts of fun places, like the zoo. We didn’t get a lot of pictures of them, but here are the kids sitting on a bronze, I think, elephant.IMG_0741

Monday, October 25, 2010

The kids are growing

Over the last few weeks I have noticed that are kids are really growing up.  Several of the pictures can attest to that, as can the fact that we almost need to make two batches of waffles.

So, here are a few pictures and videos showing off all their great personalities.

Anna’s face is starting to look like a little girl instead of a big baby.

IMG_0500< IMG_0517

Since I last posted, Sam has learned to sit up, and to do an awesome army crawl.


And he is looking more and more like his old man everyday


Mariah recently had a birthday.  She turned 3.  Here is an awesome video that shows all the great personalities in our family.

Anna is just the best, isn’t she?

Here are a few more pictures, just for fun: