Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Around the fort.

I have mentioned a few times that we are knee deep in projects (as soon as one ends, another begins) here at our new house, and today I want to share some of our outdoor completed projects!
When we first looked at the house, we noticed the deck (which had never been treated) was getting really grey and weathered.
June 2011

The house was built in 2009 and since we were the first owners it sat empty for those 2 years. When we decided to put an offer on the house, we knew staining the deck would be our first priority if and when we moved in. It took us weeks to finish it (due to the size and the heat of July and august) but it's finished and looks so much better.

Underneath the deck was a hot mess of weeds and bizare looking insects and it was honestly kind of odd to me why the builder didn't put concrete there. Knowing we would have a hard time growing anything underneath should we attempt to do so, it seemed like an obvious (not to mention maintenance free) solution to have a concrete slab poured. We ended up finding a concrete company who also did decorative concrete as well, so we had a stamped concrete patio poured at the same time. We spend a lot of time outside and knew this would be a worthwhile investment. I happened to be home over the several days that they poured the patio and it was really neat to see the whole process. I will admit though, that as they were pouring the cement into the framework, I was freaking out because it looked nothing like the color of concrete I chose (that I spent hours agonizing over). It was dark. And ugly. And sort of permanent.Here it looked dark red-brown, almost like a terra cotta planter. I wasn't a fan at this point.

I nervously watched from our patio and windows all day, and what I thought was looking less than great morphed into the most beautiful patio. I was a happy girl. I was so amazed at this stamped concrete process- it was pretty neat. (sidenote: everywhere I go now I notice all the stamped concrete around and there's such a wide variety of patterns and colors.)
After the cement was smoothed out, they threw a thick dusting over it and then stamped it with a mold that was somewhat rubbery, moving the molds piece by piece.
The stamping portion was relatively quick- it took about 30-45 minutes to do 400 square feet.
After it cured, it was powerwashed and then sealed. I love it. No, actually I LOVE it. Love the texture, love the color.
Next year we will probably do a little landscaping around it.

At the same time the patio was being poured in the back, we had a retaining wall put in the front. This is a project I seriously contemplated doing myself, but seeing as how I can barely find time to paint our laundry room, I figured I would never find the time to start- much less complete a project like this. Boy am I glad I didn't! I was able to watch the retaining wall go up and it was so much more tedious than I ever though in my mind, even after reading about DIYing it. Getting the concrete in the right consistency to be workable, keeping things level...definitely a learned skill. I feel though that I might be able to attempt a brick and mortar planting bed on a smaller scale ( like in the back of the house where no one could see my imperfections- ha) someday when I don't have a whiny, teething child attached to my hip I have a little more free time.

My goal was to landscape this area before winter hit, but the selection of plants aren't great right now, so I think I may wait until the spring.
So that's whats been going on outdoors! I have some fun stuff going on inside too- I'll be sure to share very soon. As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kylie is 8 months!

My sweet Kylie turned 8 months Saturday!

You are crawling faster and faster each day; your brother has learned not to leave his cups in your reach because you will steal a drink! And speaking of your brother, you certainly have a best friend in him (whether you like it or not). You are loved to pieces by him and he wants you near at all times. If you nap too long (which is twice a day, around 2 hours each) he will keep asking to wake you up until he hears you talking in your crib, at which point he runs like lightning to your room and bombards you, which makes you cry most days.
You have 2 teeth and are working on 4 more which explains your fussiness and your need to be attached to my hip if you are awake. It's pretty much the end of the world if I walk by you without stopping! My guess is that you weigh around 20 lbs right now- you are definitely starting to grow into your chunkiness! =) We rarely go anywhere without someone commenting on your bright blue eyes.
I love this girl with all my being!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer in a post.

It's been a long while. Time is going so much faster than I can keep up with these days. How is it September already? I for one am looking forward to fall and our first Christmas in our new house. It's just around the corner, ready or not!
I've obviously been missing in action around here. I didn't blog once in August. This summer has certainly been a crazy one and I'm going to attempt to recap a bit for record and for anyone who wants to catch up!

The weekend before Memorial Day, we listed our house for sale and sold it in 5 days. We quickly found a home we loved, and we were supposed to move right into our new house the same day we closed on our old. That would have been convenient, huh? Instead, because of bank/paperwork/appraisal issues, we sat homeless for the entire month of July.
Us in front of the old house a week before we moved out

July was a really hard time for a lot of reasons. It was extremely difficult to explain to my 2 year old that we couldn't go "home". That we didn't have a home anymore. I cried once on the way home from work one day because Cameron didn't want to go back to grandma's (where we were staying)- he wanted to go back to "Cameron's house". All I could say was, "I know you do, baby. I'm sorry" as I tried to fight tears. To be honest, I wasn't even certain that we would get this new house (or any house for that matter). Because my husband is self-employed, we had to show SO much more paperwork than the average couple looking to buy a home. Evey single day, the bank was asking for some sort of documentation of some sort, among many other problems we ran into. Long story short, we ended up switching lenders from Bank of America (who eventually denied us a loan despite our pre-qualification) to a different, smaller bank-and that made ALL the difference. That, and we were on our knees daily asking God to provide this house for us- with a lot of our friends and family praying too. Getting the house was certainly a testimony to answered prayer. Even with all of that said, we were still unsure about when we were closing until about 5 hours before it was scheduled to happen. So, yeah. Pretty stressful summer. At one point, I think Jon and I were in agreement that we made a huge mistake selling our house. As you can imagine, we were extremely relieved when we pulled the moving truck up to our new house!
The nice thing about staying with my parents was that we were able to go out on LOTS of dates since there was always someone able to be there with the kids. We would put them to bed, and go out to dinner, a movie, or ice cream several nights a week. We even took Cameron on a few of our outings after Kylie went down (which we probably enjoyed more than him!). It was nice do something special with just him.

mini-golf with Cameron

Several weeks ago, we took a last minute (and much needed) trip to Branson last weekend! One of the perks of Jon's job sometimes allows us to go along with him when he moves people to different states (like when I joined him in Vegas last September). The customer he moved to Branson encouraged him to bring his family for a weekend of fun, and we did just that. We stayed at the the most adorable, rustic little cabins called "The Wilderness" and we will definitely be going back there. Quietly nestled in the woods, the cabins bunked 7 people and had a nice little kitchenette where we cooked our breakfast each morning.
The Wilderness Lodges
We spent that Saturday at Silver Dollar City (so fun!) and Sunday browsing around Branson's downtown shops and flea markets.

We've since settled into our house and are now knee deep in projects- finishing the basement, staining a deck that's larger than our living room, pouring a new stamped concrete patio and landscaping when it cools down next month. Cameron loved watching the big concrete truck that came and poured the patio!

I have so much to share and I promise it won't be another month before I update- I hope to post much more regularly. If you made it this far, thanks for reading! =)


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