Friday, June 29, 2012

It is hot.

I'd hoped beyond hope that this post would be about how good it feels to bask in an air conditioned home, but alas it is not.  I'm trying desperately not to be angry about it, and most of the time I fail at that.  We are getting lots of loving help and we are so grateful!  We had one sweet neighbor bring by a plate of cold watermelon and another neighbor is in the process of installing the air conditioning, but he needed some welding equipment because the hose doesn't fit quite right.

I suppose I should just tell the story.  Maybe writing it down--if I can remain indifferent--would help?

Like I said in previous posts, the AC was the "prize" at the end once we'd used all the contingency funds we wanted to.  Cody and I raced through our fence, getting it up first.  Then we waited for a few days to get the go-ahead to call the sprinkler guys.  After the sprinklers went in, we waited another week to get the go-ahead to order sod.  Meanwhile, many of these days it was in the 90's outside and 80's inside.  We open the windows at night, run fans (thanks to mom and dad for loaning us two of theirs!) day and night (often with a damp cloth over them so that it works as a mini swamp cooler) and I've been cooking in the garage--I take my crock pot or rice cooker out there so that the house doesn't heat up.  The laundry is piling up because I can't stand to run the dryer during the day.  I only do a single load in the dishwasher and the house jumps up 3 degrees.  We begged our program manager to order the sod faster, but he just refused and quit answering our phone calls and text messages.

Finally the sod arrived on Tuesday, and we quickly put it down.  We had all that wonderful help and it was so nice!  That same night I texted our program manager to ask when we could expect the air conditioning.  And then I waited some more.  The next day he got back to me and was incredibly rude, ultimately saying that we'd have to wait about two more weeks before we could even hope for air conditioning because we didn't give him a chance to inspect the back yard (*snort*...indifferent Lisa, indifferent...).  Cody and I had finally had enough.  We both agree that we felt like dogs being laughed at as they rolled over over and over again, waiting and begging for the bone but never getting it. 

We've carefully set aside some money while we were building for situations just like this, and we just got a good sized refund check from the energy companies for having an energy star rated home-and decided to just pay for the AC out of pocket.  Since our neighbor (owner of House 3, way back when...) is being super nice to help us out with this one--and we owe him big time for it--we are getting the AC for $700 cheaper than quoted and 2 weeks faster.  I'd say that's a deal any day!  I'm glad we were in a position to take it.  He just needed to locate some equipment and then he'll finish it up tomorrow.  So probably then I'll be in a better mood.  I think this will be the last night of my obsessive routine that is wearing on the nerves of my whole family.  Hopefully within a few short hours I'll be able to cook and clean again the way I love to, and Katie will be able to sleep in something other than just her diaper, and I'll actually be in the mood to go to bed at a reasonable hour instead of sitting around blogging because the bed is just too hot... let's cross our fingers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back yard sod

 It has been quite an awesome afternoon.  It started with the above: six pallets of sod!
 


With only one note on Facebook, we had ten people here helping us from around our neighborhood.  It only took two hours to get it all done, and that's including a dinner break.  I can't explain how wonderful it feels to live here, with such fantastic neighbors.  We had ice cream sandwiches and sodas on our new lawn and watched the sprinklers run.  I love this place.

And in other really great news, a weak cold front moved through and dropped us ten degrees.  It is 10:00 PM and already 70 degrees in the house!  wohoo!  (It has been very, very hot.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another quiet Saturday

It still feels a little odd to have Saturdays to ourselves again.  I guess I shouldn't say odd, I should say normal.  Too normal.  So we usually end up filling our Saturdays with projects and all kinds of work, but not after sleeping in a bit. :)

We'd really been hoping for sod this Saturday, but just couldn't get it coordinated, so we worked on some other fun things instead.  I was especially naughty and did a craft day.  I feel like I should have been working on the yard or cleaning, but instead I locked myself up with a movie and worked on a birthday present for our neighbor across the street:
Just a preview.  Not pictured: Belle, Jasmine, and maybe Tiana or Aurora
Then I got reeeally crazy and put together this calendar for our house.  I found the idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago and picked up some paint chips from Lowe's in the colors I liked.  Then, when I was buying ribbon for the bows at Hobby Lobby, they had a bunch of their "Home Accents" on sale for 80% off!  Woot!  I found a couple of pictures that were really dumb but the frames were great, and really cheap.  I was able to complete this whole project--all 2'x2' of it--for just $12!  I also picked up a $100 lamp for our bedroom for $24, and a couple other pictures and things for really cheap.  So nice. 

 
So while I was goofing off inside, Cody was being the awesome man that he is and finished--yes, I said FINISHED--the fence.  Gates, the last post and panels, caps, everything.  Then he worked hard on raking the back yard and prepping some more for sod.  If we weren't ready before, we most certainly are now! :)





Friday, June 22, 2012

Alisa and Casey's Wedding

Cody's baby sister got married yesterday!  Alisa and Casey, this post is for you.

Cody and I were late to the luncheon, but thank goodness it was just the luncheon and not the wedding!  Traffic was horrible, and we accidentally forgot the kid's shoes and had to run back to the house briefly (we'd only been on the road for five minutes, so it was no big deal).  Everything just added up though so we were about an hour late.  But it was all good!  The food was yummy and we had fun at the Chuck-a-rama for lunch. 

Then we went to downtown Salt Lake to the temple for the wedding.  The sealer spoke of always saying "I love you," especially when you think your spouse knows it.  Those words are so important for us to hear.  He also reminded you to pray together every night and to always express your gratitude to the Lord for your eternal companion and your marriage.  Then he spoke about each of the blessings in the ceremony, and I was reminded how glorious those blessings are! During the ceremony I loved watching your faces because you were both so calm and focused.  Usually couples are a little overwhelmed or love-struck, but you two were both very prepared and I know you were really certain of this decision.  It is a good one. ;)

After the ceremony, we waited patiently in the near 100-degree heat for you to exit. :)  The kids were particularly excited to see your dress.  And finally you did come out, looking so in love and so happy and radiant.

After pictures and hugs and well wishes, we went to the reception.  We snuck some food and helped get things ready, and then you arrived.  The reception was so pretty!  The yard just sparkled and I think I might have gone a little bit over board with the red sash bows, but it was fun.  I cried with you during your father-daughter dance and then as you two shared your first dance.  The cake was yummy and the reception was lots of fun.  At last we waved goodbye and helped clean up just for a minute.






I asked mom if I should save my corsage or anything, and she just shook her head and said "I am DONE with weddings."  I think she's happy for you. We are too.  It was a beautiful day, and I'm sure it's the start of a beautiful marriage.  Congratulations.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Backyard Sprinklers

Another part of our contingency money is being put to good use: we are getting a sprinkler system in our back yard.  Since I didn't chronicle the process very much when they did the front yard, How about I show you now?

They started on our anniversary--Thursday.  They brought in a skid steer with a trencher attached, which looks like a massive chain saw.  Then they cut into the ground leaving great big trenches.  We were pretty glad to be gone that day because this thing is noisy!  The only problem with being gone and not there to babysit them: they tore right into my flower bed, completely destroying the new peonies and pink shasta daisies I had just barely planted.  *pout.*  Oh well; my budding little herb garden made it, which I really do prefer over the flowers anyway.




When they did the front yard, we had them cap off water mains to the back yard so that we could hook up a system later, and that's what is happening now.  It's nice that it will all tie in together, and they don't have to put in another meter or console--it will all just work together.  We've designed a pretty fancy system, including a hose bib by our garden and a drip emitter/mister hookup for flower beds.

After they dug the trenches, they put in the pipes--long white PVC pipe with a softer black hose to the heads.  Then they filled the trenches plus raked up the rocks plus smoothed the dirt out in one fell swoop with this awesome claw-like rake thingy on their skid steer.
 After the pipes are buried they put in the sprinkler heads on the black hoses still sticking up through the ground.  It was very windy when they were leveling and raking the back yard, and the whole house is now coated in dirt.  The poor guy driving the skid steer could hardly breathe.  We gave him a glass of ice water and holed ourselves up in the house until it was done--and I tell you what, it felt SO good to watch someone else do the work (getting paid very adequately, thankyouverymuch)!

All done!

We have high hopes for our back yard: hopefully sometime in the future (perhaps next summer) we will be able to build our raised beds for the garden.  I'm hoping to collect all kinds of starts of perennials and bushes this Fall so I can finish the landscaping.  Thanks to some very generous gifts from our Grandparents, the trees have already been funded (although they have not been purchased yet).  We are hoping there will be enough left in contingency to buy sod for the backyard.  But... that'll be another post!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Katie the Cheeseball



If you get out the camera, she will smile and pose.  After you take the photo, she loves to see it in the little window of the camera.  What a ham! We love digital cameras--they are a source of endless fun.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day


We're trying hard to treat our daddy right today.  We let him sleep in, made him breakfast, went to church together, made an amazing lunch (our big meal today) of crab stuffed salmon and ravioli, and are now making homemade bagels for our "dessert."  But I did self indulge slightly today by making new hair bows for the girls.  I tried to think of something that would be an homage to our awesome dad... a little tie? a little hammer?  And then it hit me: Duct Tape.  Oh yes.



We all had one, though I only snapped a quick picture of Anna's.  They are all different, and they are all fun.  Happy Father's Day!  We love you, daddy!

Anniversary gift

First, a story.  I always have to tell a story, right?  When I was about 8 months pregnant with Lee, we moved to an unfurnished little house.  That house still holds many good memories, even if the move-out tainted our time there a little bit... anyway--when we moved in, there was quite a bit of furniture we needed to acquire very quickly to make it liveable.  We found a couch at a garage sale, someone gave us a dresser, but the main point of this post is the kitchen table.  Cody and I found a usable table in the local thrift store, but there were no chairs, so we bought some really cheap folding chairs at Wal-Mart.  I hated them then, but didn't see much of an option.  I planned on very quickly finding a table set, but the months changed to years and we just couldn't afford a table set.  We used the folding chairs with the D.I. table for a long time.  (well, in our defense, we didn't have a lot of room in that little house for a big table...)

In September, while we were building the house and we could finally measure out our dining room, Cody built me a table.  We love it and is exactly what we wanted--I loved being able to design it to it our style; simple, straight legs, dark stain to match our kitchen, easy to clean and move.  It is perfect for us.  But we've still been using those now-falling-apart folding chairs, that were never meant to have six years of daily use on them.

At last, on our anniversary we went to IKEA and found what we had been hoping for for years: kitchen chairs!  We want to do a bench for one side of the table, so we purchased 5 chairs (three for one side, one for each end).  It is finally time for this upgrade.  We are in our house and don't have to worry about moving out any time soon.  They fit perfectly and look sooo nice.... well, how about I quit bragging and just show you a picture?


Hopefully we can make the bench very soon, but this is perfect for us now.  I'm in heaven.  :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

7 years is just a drop in the bucket of Eternity

Thursday, June 14th, Cody and I celebrated our seventh anniversary of marital bliss.  During the build it was so hard to leave to do anything that we really wanted to make this day special.  My dad was giving a lecture on Mormon Pioneers with Disabilities in Salt Lake City, so we decided to go there for a day date.  We dropped off the kids with Cody's parents and went to Salt Lake.

We didn't lose the van, thanks to this picture I so cleverly took (and Cody teased me mercilessly about)
 First we went to IKEA, and bought ourselves a very awesome anniversary gift, which I will brag about in an upcoming post.  Then we went to downtown Salt Lake and checked out the new City Creek Center.  Neither of us had worn very good walking shoes, but we still had a blast roaming around, enjoying the flowers and trees and shops.  We held hands the whole time, which was the real fun!
 We met my sister Sara, her husband Eric, and sweet baby Lucy at Tucano's for dinner and gorged ourselves on the delicious meats and pineapple and other fun items.  We went back to Temple Square and wandered just for a bit until my dad's lecture.
 The lecture was fantastic.  My dad is a terrific public speaker, and I know the topic was very close to his heart.  There was a good turnout too.  After that, we went to Leatherby's ice cream for dessert and Cody and I shared a lemon ice cream soda.  We picked up the kids late and drove home--fortunately I'd been smart and left them at Cody's parents with pajamas and toothbrushes, so they were all ready for bed--getting home mega late at about 1 AM.  We gave them pillows and blankets and they slept all the way home and didn't even stir when we slipped them into their beds.  We have such great kids! 

It was a fun little trip.  It's been an even funner marriage.  It felt so good to just enjoy each other for a day and not have a schedule or agenda.  Wohoo for us!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Reprimanded

I've had my wrists slapped a little bit... apparently I've let this blog slide since finishing the house.  Sorry!  I'll try to do better now.  I have just been enjoying the quiet of life and our beautiful home and recovering this last month.  I have been reading again--something I haven't done in nearly a year.  I'm cooking a lot, and I love my oven!  I should do a post just about that.  I will.  Just be patient with me.  I love you all and promise at least a few more posts coming very soon. <3, Lisa

Father and Son's/Girl Party

On Saturday there was a church campout for the boys, and Cody and Lee were really excited to go.  I knew Anna would be heartbroken not to join them, so we decided to make both kids feel really special by sending Lee with Cody and we girls having a girl party.  It was such a fun weekend, I just have to share.

While we waited for Cody to finish work, we girls got started on our girl party.  We dressed up in our pretty dresses and put bows in our hair and "make up" (chap stick) and I even used a little body spray for our perfume. 
 Of course, Lee wasn't gone yet and he kept trying to crash our party.  We told him it was for pretty girls only, so if he wanted to join us he'd have to look pretty.  Then we'd pin him down and put a bow in his hair and called him "Lee-ahLou."  He laughed and laughed and Anna really got into it, teasing her brother mercilessly and finding him dresses and bows to wear.  One time he even went downstairs to Cody's office and pouted, "Dad, I look like a girl!"  Cody gave him a hug and said, "wait, you even SMELL like a girl!"  (I promise I didn't put body spray on him!) Lee smelled himself, gave the most disgusted face he could and said, "Yeah, I smell.... good! Blech!"  Ah, so funny!
 What girl party isn't complete with a little photo shoot of how pretty we all look?  Katie just refused to keep her bow in her hair. 
The boys left pretty late that night, but Anna and I put on our PJ's and tried to find a chick-flick... it's amazing how difficult it is to find a movie that appeals to a 3 year old that is distinctly "girly."  I really wanted to watch Tangled with her, because that is her favorite movie, but my internet on our DirecTV receiver wasn't working, so I couldn't get it to download.  Anna was a little bummed, but we watched an episode of Curious George and went to sleep.

Meanwhile, the boys swapped stories around the campfire, set up their tent, and had a great time camping.  The box of Twinkies I sent with them didn't come home, so I'm assuming they were a hit.  Cody said the event was "obviously planned and executed by men, because there were no forks."  Cody took Lee and some other kids hiking in the morning and didn't get back until almost noon.  I had planned on taking Annalisa and Katie to breakfast at IHOP that morning, but I had left my purse in the van so I had no money or means of transportation... bummer.  Instead, Annalisa and I made a tea party for breakfast and drank our OJ with our pinkies up. 

It was such a fun weekend for all of us!  It is a special thing to spend one-on-one time with each child.  We love those kinds of opportunities, when we can really see how amazing our kids really are.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Finishing the Fence

 Woot woot!  It is done.  Well...we still have that one last post to put in and of course the adjoining panels, but we won't do that until after the sprinkler system is done.  We also need to seal the caps on the posts, but we don't have the silicone for that yet, and as it is it's just a bead in the corners and put it on... no big deal.  Anyway, looky look!  Look how straight!  Look how GORGEOUS!
Looking West

Looking East


Front, angled to the West.  The extra wide gap is the unfinished post, and the other two gaps are gates


Between us and the house to the West

Cody is out standing in his field.

It felt great on Saturday to have a day to just relax and not need to work on the fence.  Cody still tried to go help our neighbors with their fences, especially since they were so kind to start on our sides and really help us get it done fast (we were the first done--Wahoo!).  We're grateful for their help.  We worked in the mornings and they would work in the evenings, so both of us ended up feeling like the other family had done the majority of the work.  I think it's opened the door for a very healthy relationship with our neighbors: we both feel indebted and grateful for each other, and want to help each other out.  I guess if we have to have a fence that separates us now so starkly, at least we'll have a great experience to keep us bonded. Which is good--we really like our neighbors.  We would also love it if you wanted to come see this lovely fence in person!  :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Mama Bear Incident

I'm kind of embarrassed, and I'm not sure what to do about it now.  I'd love some honest advice in whether you think I should apologize or just let it go.

Here's the story.  Our new ward has a park play group on Wednesdays, and I was excited to go today.  We were the first ones there, and our kids were playing nicely as the other kids arrived.  Pretty soon there were about 12 moms and tons of kids, including a few who wanted to rough house.  I was okay with that, and Lee thought it was cool to tag along.  They were mostly just goofing around being normal little boys--showing off their strength and play fighting.

After about ten minutes though, it started to get a little rough.  I called Lee out of the group a couple of times, just to get him away from it, but they kept it up.  When one kid wrapped an arm around Lee's neck and clamped on really hard way in the back of the park, I ran over and broke it up, encouraging them kindly to choose a different game--maybe tag or space explorers or building sand castles.  A couple of the kids agreed and ran off in different directions.  But a few still were insistent on playing violent, inappropriate games, and this time they had at it right in front of the group of moms, right where a group of smaller children were playing.  In a matter of about fifteen seconds, I watched them throw each other around, hit and punch, knock over a couple of little girls leaving them in tears, and then I heard Lee yell "Hey! Stop it, that's not nice!" and they wrapped another arm around his neck and threw him to the ground.  I couldn't take it any more.  The looks on the boys' faces had changed from playful to downright mean, and so I jumped up, put a firm hand on each kids' shoulder, looked them straight in the eye and told them that the way they were acting was absolutely inappropriate.  I told them that they were not allowed to act that way, that they needed to be nice and quit hurting other people.  I pointed out the three crying kids on the ground and said that they'd hurt them and asked them if that's what they wanted--to hurt people?  When I'd been stern with them to the point that they were both whimpering, I told them to please play nicely and apologize to those they'd hurt, let them go, and turned to go back to the group of moms. 

That's when I noticed that the chatty group had gone dead silent and everyone was staring at me in shock.  I was about to burst into tears myself when one sweet girl broke the ice with, "You GO, Lisa!"  Then everyone laughed a bit and someone asked me what had happened, and I told them that the roughhousing had gotten out of hand and there had been a few casualties along the way.  Someone joked that I didn't care if the boys beat each other up, as long as nobody was in the way, and I tried to laugh it off... but the tension was still there and after that no one talked to me again.  We stayed for another fifteen minutes and I didn't dare approach the moms of the boys who I'd just scolded. 

Now I feel embarrassed and I worry that I really offended those moms.  Some parents I know would be really cool with what I did, and would feel grateful that I was watching out for their kids when they were maybe a little distracted with something else.  But some parents would be offended that I disciplined without their permission--even if someone else was in danger.  I'm not ashamed of my choice to step in when I did--people were getting hurt and I didn't feel like the actions being taken (or not taken) by the parents were appropriate.  But I'm not sure if I should just let it be and play it cool or if I should approach the two moms and apologize for ripping into their boys.  I really don't want to be tagged as the mean mom or the helicopter parent of the ward.  I'm normally pretty chill with however other people choose to parent.  I'm sure they would also do the same if their kid was in danger, but I don't think these two moms actually witnessed what was going on until it was too late.

Anyway... thoughts? opinions?  should I apologize or just let it be?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Fence in progress

While we were building our house, every six weeks we had a budget meeting and were given a line-by-line list of all expenses, from the rental of the port-a-potty to the roof trusses.  We were also given a list of each expense and how it fit into the overall budget for the house, and where we sat within that budget, so we always knew if we were going over or staying under.  Part of that budget was a $7000 "Contingency," which was available as a buffer in case we did end up going over in any category.  But blessed day, we didn't, and now that money has been turned to us to either remove from the principal of the loan, or to use to enhance the house in certain ways.  We've chosen to enhance the house, because we won't have the pocket funds to do these things ...well, forever, probably.  Our plan is to use this money to 1. Reimburse our backyard neighbors for half of the fence, 2. build the remaining white vinyl fence around the rest of our property, 3. Install Air Conditioning, 4. Put in a back yard sprinkler system, 5. Buy sod for the back yard. 

The fence must come first.  AC will be the very last thing installed, because our project manager knows that if we get too comfortable in our houses, we won't have any drive to get out and finish stuff.  So, because I'm a wuss when it comes to summer heat, we've been devoting at least 2-3 hours a morning to the fence.  (By the way, did I mention that Cody's schedule got bumped back to evenings for the next month?)  As for the choice in pricey vinyl fencing--the part parallel to the road between houses is required and there's a separate part of the housing budget for it.  If we choose to finish the back yard with vinyl, that's our choice...which we decided was kind of a no-brainer.  It's cheaper to just do it all at once, and the finishing results are gorgeous.  Besides, we have our contingency money to spend it on!  So we got it measured about a week and a half after moving in.  The materials were delivered on May 25, but that first Saturday we were gone.  After that, we used strings, measuring tapes, and whatever else we could figure out to mark where the posts would go.  We are grateful our project manager has a skid steer with a big auger attachment which he used to dig all the holes for us (although we still had to clear them out and take them down another six inches or so).  After that, we were able to place the post and pour concrete around them.  I'm a bum and didn't take pictures of that while it was happening... I'll have to remember to do it on our last post (read on).

East Side of the house
 We opted for 2 5-foot walk in gates; one on each side of the house.  We weren't too fond of the double wide gates because they have a tendency to break.  But we may widen a gate later in life if we scrounge up enough money to buy a metal one.  Also, part of this deal is that we do this together with the neighbors who share the property line.  On the East side, I told that neighbor Cody had to work in the evenings but to please leave us half the posts to put in.  He didn't listen.  Now we'll owe them forever because he just went and put them all in.  :) 


West side posts, and kiddy-corner neighbor's odd partially finished shed/playhouse
We've been working together with our west-side neighbors as well and put in the last few posts today.  See the last post sitting on the ground? Because we aren't doing a double-wide gate, we received permission to leave out one post until after the sprinkler system is installed.  Those tractors have to get in and out somehow!
Test panel
 Now we get to do the fun part as soon as we can scrounge up some saws: put in the panels!  It's kind of like a jigsaw puzzle.  We cut the top and bottom runners to length, slide in the bottom runner, put in the panels (cutting the last piece to size if necessary), then pop on the top.  The fence company will measure our gates again and build them to size, and we will install them when they arrive.  Lastly, we cap off the posts and that's it. 
Front of the house where the panels and posts are being stored
I'll put up more pictures when it is done.  What little we have finished looks great, so we are excited to get it all in!