Wednesday, June 26, 2013

anatomy of a backyard {warning - photo dump ahead}

First, dig a hole for your patio. Then, fill it with rocks and sand hauled via a trailer. This may take two trips due to the fact that you don't know what you're doing don't have enough rocks.

Then go buy a pallet of paver stones and haul them home. In the trailer. Again. Keep in mind you'll be begging to borrow your dad's vehicles and trailer for about a month straight to haul all the stuff to make a yard. Remember to thank him profusely. 

After laying out the design of your paver stones in Excel (oh yes, Jess did this), lay the design out on the ground to see if you like it. Then put the pavers in place. One by one. All eighty of them. (Totally all Jess.)

Buy some plants - boxwoods for the hedges and some pretties for color - and plant them in your clay dirt with a little Miracle Gro for good measure. Then move around the extras that haven't yet found a home. (Still moving them around.)

After spraying the weed-riddled yard and waiting the requisite month for the poison to seep out, begin gutting the entire yard. Be aware that it will be somewhat like the Amazon jungle, filled with ant beds and bugs and spiders that are for sure poisonous and want to kill you. Because you've got bedrock for soil and years worth of root systems, you'll want to use a pick ax for most of this. Your biceps will suddenly appear on your arms. Along with a tan. 

If you have children, you can create a fort with towels or umbrellas for shade, and then employ any and all toys and methods of entertainment possible to keep them occupied while you work on your biceps the yard. Making their first acquaintance with a potato bug is requisite. Your kid will probably name the bug her Squishy. But will thankfully not squish said Squishy.

At this point, you should start thinking about grass. Initially, seeding might seem like a good (cheap) option. But then you'll read about the likely fail it will be and decide to go with sod. You'll spend an entire day raking and pick axing the ground, flattening out the lumps and preparing it for sod. You may not have photos of this because you may be busy flattening the earth. Photo taking is likely not a priority. Mostly just drinking Gatorade is.

To save a couple hundred bucks, start trolling the Classified ads looking for people getting rid of excess sod. It'll be free and/or cheap. Of course, this method requires a trailer and a truck of some sort. So you'll be calling in a favor again. And you'll probably be hauling it out to who-knows-where to get said cheap sod.

Once you find the sod, drive out to the farmlands with your kids in tow, and pick it up. You'll need 1,100 square feet of sod, so roll up 150 of those bad boys and stack 'em high. Remember those biceps? 

If after loading the sod and driving away, you suddenly hear a loud pop and grinding noise, you should probably say a silent prayer of gratitude that you were going slow (in the farmlands) and your busted trailer filled with about two tons of sod...

... just busted and didn't turn your (dad's) car over. Remember. Babies in tow. (Blessing in the disaster!)

Call Triple A, and they'll be out in a jiffy with a flat bed semi. They'll load your now not cheap sod onto the trailer and escort that pretty grass all the way home for you. This would be a good point to find the humor in the situation. Maybe a joke about your sod being safely buckled in it's car seat (trailer).

With the help of friends and a brother, roll out that sod in no time flat. 

Now this is the best part. Bring the babies out. Tell them THEY CAN RUN.

Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy.

But don't get too comfortable. Because it ain't over. You've got little projects in the back to finish, and you haven't even touched the front yard yet! 

But still. Enjoy. :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

story teller

At least a few times a day, Lou Lou crawls up on my lap, and with the most serious face you've ever seen, says, "Pigs. Stow-ee." Which is to say, "Tell me the story of The Three Little Pigs." And so I begin, little Lou supplying any portions that she knows. Sometimes I ask her to tell me. And it sounds a little like, "Wolf came. Pigs chinny chinny chinny! Wolf huff puff!!" Then she blows the house down. And continues, all the while maintaining the practiced composure of a serious story teller.

It's maybe my favorite thing she does right now. A perfect combination of growing up and baby. Telling a big story with little words. And serious determination.

{These photos were taken during the first-thing-in-the-morning telling. Can you spot the "blow your house down" part?}

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

handmade critters

I can't believe I haven't blogged about these critters.

Let me back up. Every year for Christmas my mom pulls a giant rabbit out her hat. A thoughtful, usually handmade, and always time consuming gift. One year she compiled all our baby pictures, report cards, tithing slips, accomplishment certificates into binder(s). One year she gave Annabelle a phonics reading system. Like she wrote the system. Because why not?

This past Christmas, she was all giddy about a few boxes that she brought up, and she asked if the girls could open them while she was here (she was here just before Christmas). Of course I obliged and the girls were happy to open some early Christmas cheer. 

Out of those boxes came these critters. These homemade critters. Just like the blankies my girls treasure and trash with love, these little friends are crocheted, one by one, stitch by stitch.

They're ridiculous. It's the same kind of reaction you get when you see a tiny baby animal. Squeeeee. Both girls took a liking to their monkeys first and foremost. Annabelle named hers Jane and Lou's Jayna (creativity folks!). These monkeys even went to Hawaii with us. This morning I found them in their rooms playing with their Jane monkeys. And I couldn't resist some photos. 

I'm a sucker for handmade, thoughtful gifts. Especially the ones that come from my mama. These are the kinds of toys we'll hold on to forever.

After she gave them to the girls, I threw a minor tantrum because I didn't get any, and then convinced her to sell them in her Etsy shop. They're super durable and soft all at the same time. And the baby bird is a perfect baby shower gift, don't you think? :)

Oh hello mini Grandma.

Monday, June 17, 2013

it's been said

Belle: Lou, can I switch places with you?
Lou: Uhhhh...
Belle: Can I switch places with you? Can you say, "Yeah"?
Lou: Yeah! 
Belle: Okay, let's switch places!
{or alternatively}
Belle: Lou, can I have those dolls?
Lou: No! Mine!
Belle: Okay, after I say, "Can I have those dolls?" can you say, "Yes"?
Lou: Yes.
Belle: I can have the dolls?
Lou: No! Mine!


Belle: Hey, can I have some jlmns?
Me: {sounding it out} Some julemenes?
Belle: Okay. Can I have some...J-O-O-S?
Me: {sounding it out} Some juuiiicce. Some juice?!
Belle: Yeah! Some juice!
Me: Yes, you can! Because wow!
{consequently, we have abandoned the real spelling of juice, 
and when referring to said liquid, she always says, J-O-O-S}
Belle: Can we go to the skirt party yet?
Me: Nope, remember, not til after dinner.
Belle: Well...can we eat dinner right now?
{doing some random tumbling move}
Hey Mom, am I reflexible?
{after her pen runs out of ink}
This pen is not useful.
{a random shout}
I'm the luckiest girl in the world! Because I was born first! 
I came out of your tummy first! 
Then came all the other babies out of other mommies tummies!
Home Depot and Lowe's are just small stores. 
I don't like those stores. 
I only like two Targets and two Wal Marts.
{while visiting our friend's apartment}
His kitchen is small. He should buy a bigger house.

{while talking with her dolls}
Doll One: We can use my water ski to float the bus!
Doll Two: Excellent idea!
Mom, if I get married to Dad when I get big, 
then you won't have a Dad....that's the problem...
{during a particularly hard day for me}
Mommy, I'm sorry things aren't working out today.
{she's the most tender thing}
{while at Grandma Lichelle's house}
Me: Why don't you go get some toys upstairs to play with?
Belle: It's just random junk up there.
{my mom's house is far from cluttered or full of junk, for the record}
Don Don: Do you want to rest in the other room 
so you don't have to listen to the dogs bark?
Belle: No, I don't mind the barkness.
Me: You need to try a bite of your baked potato.
Belle: Ohhh, okay.
{eats a bite}
Belle: Mmmmmm. Wow! This is good! 
I thought it was going to be gross, but it's not! 
{thus the one bite rule my dear! :) }
{while reading a Clifford book to herself}
Clifford is not like the other dogs in our ward.
Clifford is a really smart
{while watching a movie}
Belle: Hey, Mom? Can you re-forward
Me: Rewind?
Belle: Yes, rewind. Can your rewind this?
I just love the smell of the garage! 
The garage is perfect for my nose!
{side note: she regularly informs us she loves the smell of the garage. weird?}


{all the time}
I'm tide. {tired}
{while Annabelle stands on her chair at the kitchen table}
Sissy, sit down! Sit down!
{Annabelle sits down}
Goo guhrl.
Oh, I lub it! {toys, her blanket, etc.}
Juuuuiiiiccceee! Juiiiccceee!
{thank you Annabelle for passing on your obsession}
{while picking at a hang nail, and this happens at least daily}
Lou: Look! 
Me: Oh, here, let me...
Lou: No, I cun do it!
Pojjy! {Potty!}
{when she wants to use the toilet - we aren't potty training, 
but we do cartwheels when she wants
 to use to toilet and does so successfully!}
Me: Lolly, who loves you?
Lou: Jeejus and Daddy.
{while coughing}
I choking!
Me: Do you want some mashed potatoes?
Lou: I do!
Me: You do?
Lou: I do!
{this is really excellent when you can hear it - I dooooo!}
one, tree, for, fife, sis, seben, ate, non, ten, lellow 
{confusing the color yellow for the number eleven}
welve, turteen, foe-teen, fiteen

Me: What do you want for breakfast Lolly?
Lou: {always this answer} Um...eggs!
It mine! I hode it! My turn!
Lou: What doing Daddy?
Jess: Eating some licorice. Do you want some?
Lou: Lic-ish?
Jess: Yep, licorice. Do you want some?
Lou: I don't.
Watch me Mommy!
{all the time, which is adorbs}
Tank 'ou Mommy.
{after grabbing a bag of Wint-O-Green Lifesavers at the store}
I buy it.
{while Belle does some random death-defying trick off a chair}
Caweful Sissy!
Mere, mere. {Come here, come here.}
No! No talk! {Stop talking.}
Daddy lubs ewe! = Daddy loves me!
{she walks around saying this all day}
{whenever you ask her where something is, always the answer is}
Hind you. {Behind you.}
I like it. = I don't like it.
{while walking past the nursery at church, where she SHOULD go,
but instead comes to Sunbeams with me}
Me: Don't you want to go play with toys in there?
Lou: {thinking} No...I no like toys.

All photos taken at Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head, North Carolina 
(the Outer Banks). Jockey's Ridge features endless sand dunes 
(it's the tallest natural sand dune system in the east), 
perfect for hang gliding. Or maybe just playing. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

dad's day

For years, I prayed for a husband who would first be faithful, and second, who would love his babies. Really love them. I prayed that his babies would know that their Daddy was their biggest fan and truest defender.

And the second that garage door roars open every evening, both of his babies jump up and down, shouting for Daddy, running to the door. And truth be told, he's jumping up and down when he gets out of the car as well.

He loves them more than he has words. Everything he does he does for them. They are his most prized possessions. I am incredibly grateful for a faithful man who not only kisses me on the forehead but also is his little girls' "gentle friend," the thing they count on every evening. Kisses and hugs and wrestling and everything he is - it is theirs.

This little Mormon Message has been around for a while, but I think it's perfect:

I didn't pray for a man who would take out the trash or do the dishes or fold the laundry. I prayed for a man who would love us and who would love God. And how blessed I am that prayers like those are answered.

Happy Father's Day.


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