Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tree Fort & Backyard

I promised pictures soon, didn't I! Pretty impressive with my timeliness, if I do say so myself...

Anyway. Tree fort first, since the pictures uploaded that way.

Here is the view from the porch (newly finished, I might add! Pictures to follow)

The windows: (again, from the ground)

Inside the fort portion:
And, finally, the crow's nest. Here are the stairs going up, and then the kids at the top:

Impressive right??

On to the patio/backyard. It was actually really hard to find pictures of what the back patio looked like before our version of extreme makeover! These pictures are from when we first started to do the project. You can clearly see that we used to have a plain concrete slab. Take special care to notice the pole.

And here is the totally finished project!:

YES! That is the pole! We basically enclosed it with 2x8's stained the wood and then built a concrete block structure as high as we wanted the base to be. We covered the concrete blocks with real rock panels and viola! A totally kick-booty drink holder!

Here are more pictures of the area: (note how impressive the grass seed has come in)

A cute purple bench that I built:

And, my favorite views: (this is coming in from the side gate)

I did manage to find this picture from when I came down for the house inspection in February 2010.

We basically eat outside for every meal. These past two weeks of to-die-for-summer-weather has been heaven. We are definitely getting our use out of the patio!

I am eagerly awaiting your comments announcing your arrival for summer bbq's, fires, and margaritas!

An Overdue Update

Good morning faithful readers!

As you may note on the date/time stamp of this post, I am writing this at 9:30 on Sunday morning. Any other Sunday the computer would be off, the children would be dressed nicely, coffee would have not been made, and we would be heading to church. Alas, Hurricane had to work today and Slim was throwing up in the middle of the night. I had brief visions of sending Peaches to church with friends, but all our friends have young children. I thought it would be particularly cruel of me to add one more child to any of our friends brood for them to keep an eye on during church. Especially my hard child. So, we three are home. The house is particularly messy (more on that later) and the kids are playing nicely today. In fact, they have been playing nicely for the past four days... I wonder why? Oh, right, that is the exact amount of time that Slim has been sick!

He got this virus from me actually, so I can totally empathize with how miserable he is. Basically it is a very severe sore throat. The reason the kids have been getting along so well? Slim cannot talk. That is right! It hurts so bad, you just shut up. That was me last weekend. I survived on Starbucks frappuccinos. Slim has been requesting Costco berry smoothies. Something about the coldness of those drinks makes the pain bearable when you swallow.

Last night, at about 11pm, Slim woke up, stumbled out of bed all groggy-like and came into the living room. He coughed and then threw up. It was pretty sad too, he is just miserable. We eventually made it to the bathroom for the rest of the discharge. (Part of why the house is a mess)

But, since I had this exact thing last weekend, I know that he is on the mend, and should start feeling a lot better tomorrow.

So, let's detail the other things that are going on in our lives.

In Alaska, Slim went with his cousin to a Taekwondo class. Love was instantly formed. The first thing that he wanted to do back in B-town, was find a Taekwondo place. There is one a mile from our place and we are now proud parents of a Taekwondo enthusiast. Slim begs to go each night, concentrates super hard and puts forth tons of energy and effort and comes home super sweaty but happy.

I have to say, I really like the style of Taekwondo too. Each child addresses the teacher and other students as "sir" or "ma'am". They are expected to be polite, quiet, focused and obedient. During one class, they were practicing flying jump kicks (yes! Slim totally did it!) and one child was having some difficulty breaking the board. The other students started laughing and the instructor immediately told them all do to push-ups. Six-year old push-ups are pretty cute and funny and not technically good, but the point was instantly made that laughing and making fun of others in simply not tolerated.

We are also back into swimming lessons for the summer. We go Tuesday's and Thursday's and FINALLY Slim graduated enough to be with his sister in the 'C' class. Peaches is still a total fish and loves, loves, loves being in the water. Slim tolerates it. At least we have left the fear stage of water for him, though.

I started my half-marathon training this week too. Only two weeks behind schedule! My girlfriend from Utah is flying up and we get to do the race together! So I have some wicked good incentive to actually train and not slack off.

After living high off the hog for June and July, we are back into super strict budget mode. I swear, it is SO easy to spend money. A little too easy! I am seriously considering a cash-only budget, and Hurricane is totally willing, but the thought is very daunting.

Summer, thus far, has been a bit disappointing.

Don't get me wrong, we had a fabulous time in Alaska, we have been having fun hiking and playing. I guess I just have this nostalgia about summer being care-free, easy, and relaxed. I dream about sunny days, my kids running through the sprinkler, eating Popsicles, laughing. Ahh, summer. But summer is actually a lot of work! Who woulda thought? Somebody actually has to wash those towels, clean up the grass clippings that eventually make it inside the house, open up those Popsicle packages, make snacks, and pack lunches. Who? MOM!

But I have also been sick twice, just in July. Slim is now sick, our backyard has totally consumed our lives, we drastically overspent on our vacation, Hurricane's new work schedule is very demanding and my summer activites plans are harder to implement than previously thought. I have been pretty dedicated to manners though. Especially dinner manners. We have made tons of progress in that area!

I find it hard to get 'normal' activities done. By that I mean anything I want to do: sewing, knitting, reading. You know fun things. When does school start??

Finally, a back yard update. And a moment to brag about my husband.

We finished the patio. We built an incredible fire pit. We added a post to the patio that looks structural and elegant. We laid down grass seed. Hurricane completed the best tree fort imaginable. It even has a crow's nest that you access with a winding staircase and rope rails. It is pretty freaking cool.

My hubs has been working on this project since January. This past week he was on total complete mode. Yesterday, his ONLY DAY OFF for eleven days, he spent working and completing the fort. Like most of the projects my husband wants to start, I was less than enthusiastic about this one. I liked the "elevated porch" idea of a fort, but not so much the enclosed structure or the crows nest. Especially not the spiral staircase! But, like most of the projects he completes, he did a fabulous job and I stand corrected. The kids love it. Peaches wanted to sleep on the crow's nest last night and went so far as to bring her pillow and blanket up. Yikes, now there is a scary thought!

We will let them sleep in the house part, but Slim is still too sick to even entertain the idea. I guess the throw-up mess could have been avoided right? Better to hose off a fort then clean up toilets, carpet and towels.

I will add pictures soon. And not two weeks soon, hopefully later today.

Okay, I think that is enough of an update! Off to tackle the kitchen and laundry!