Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Backyard

This past weekend we had family over and got to spend lots of time in our backyard, which is something we really want to do a lot of this summer.  Rob has put a lot of hard work into our yard, and it's come a long way since we moved in.  I thought I would share some pictures of all we've (mostly Rob) done.

One of the (many) reasons we love our home is because of the large space we have for an in-town twin home.  When we looked at our house for the first time, Rob fell in love with the yard.  He saw all the potential it had and realized how much space we have out there.  It was basically a blank slate, which he thought was perfect.  Here are a couple pics of the first time we saw the house, 5 years ago.  Please excuse my ridiculous expressions.

Here's a picture that makes it look really pathetic, the first winter we lived here.  

I believe one of the first things Rob did that next summer was put in the garden in the back of the yard.  Rob spends a lot of time in his vegetable garden, and now, Aiden is old enough to help and gets super into it.  I can take absolutely no credit for this garden.  It is 100% Rob, and it is pretty great.  

The picture below is from a couple of years ago inside the garden.  You can see in the picture above that we also got a shed that summer. 

Rob started breaking up the sidewalk that runs down the middle of the yard and used it to edge around the left side of the yard where we have hostas and other ground covering plants.  He also filled it in with mulch.

A major project a couple years ago was the deck.  The patio off the back of the house is not in great shape, but, it would be out of our budget to get that all broken up and rebuild something else.  The other negative about the patio was that it was a few different levels, not giving a large space for any furniture.  So, Rob had the idea to build a deck off the existing patio, making one large space.  Here are a few pics of the process.  Rob did an awesome job.  I love the built in bench.

Another huge project was the fence on the right side of the yard.  Our yard backs up to a firehouse parking lot in the back and we wanted to add more privacy.  Rob built the "gate" door when we first moved in so that we could let Bailey out in the yard.  It wasn't until a couple years later that we extended the fence from that, but that was Rob's plan all along.  ( I took the rest of these pics this past weekend, when the yard was at it's best since we had company)

Of course, the newest addition is the "tree house".  Rob had the idea to build it into the fence and like I said, he found this slide in the trash along the side of the road.  I got it cleaned up and it was ready to go!  Here is a closer look:

Some other projects over the years was the picnic table, which Rob built, and some areas with pea gravel.  I love pea gravel.  It's an inexpensive way to make things look nice.  Rob dug out this area next to the patio and put down pea gravel after he built the deck.  We would like to expand it to make it even larger and we have plans to do pea gravel under the picnic table since grass doesn't grow under there and it can get to be a mess.

The fireplace came from Rob's family's cabin up in Maine.  A previous owner was a potter and actually made that!  It is extremely heavy but Rob and his dad were able to bring it home from a trip they took up to the cabin one fall.  It is my favorite thing on our patio.  

This past winter we hired someone to put the back covered entry off the back door.  We mainly use the back entrance to go in and out.  So, we decided we needed something with a landing and that was covered to make it easier to get the kids in and out, carry groceries, etc.  It has made a huge difference.  We'll stain it later this summer.  

(it cracks me up how Bailey is posing in this pictures.  He's so weird)

There are lots of little touches, like the potted plants, the sun shade (which we got years ago from Ikea for $20!!), pillows, and a few projects I just finished for this weekend. 

I made a tablecloth for the picnic table.  The picnic table is really long, so I decided to use this old duvet cover from Ikea.  I love how it turned out!

I also covered seat cushions that I found at Target.  I would like to get a couple more for the bench.  

I put these paper lanterns up for the party on Sunday.  I picked them up at Marshalls a couple years ago for a couple dollars.  If we were having a party at night, I could string up lights and put them inside.  

Doing this post has made me realize how much we've really done out back.  It has happened over a span of 5 years, so I didn't realize how much it really was.  It's good to look back and see all our (Rob's) hard work!  We're looking forward to many more great memories out there!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer projects

I've been trying to write this blog post for weeks now.  Life feels so busy all the time and unfortunately, a lot of things I love, like blogging and house projects, have taken to the back burner.  Some days this really gets me down and I feel like I will never have time for these things EVER again ( I can be a bit dramatic!).  But, I've said it many times before that I will never get these times back, when the kids are young.  So, even though that means we've had to endure 5am wake-ups and dinners that are anything but peaceful, I am doing my best to cherish these times.  I mean, just look at these 2.  Persepctive, it's all about perspective.

Brady does have a diaper on, I promise.  He's just so fat he looks naked.

Ok, back to my post...

I love summer.  It is hands down my favorite time of year.  I love the warm weather.  I love the long days.  I love going on vacation and I love coming home.

Last summer was super busy.  With the anticipated arrival of Brady and numerous vacations, it felt like we didn't have a lot of relaxing time at home.  We spent a lot of time working on the third floor with the boy's room and I still can't believe we got everything done in time for Brady.

Even though that was a fun, big project, I am looking forward to working on some smaller projects around here this year, and having some more time enjoying our home. 

Rob and I sat down a couple weeks ago and went over things that we want to put our time and money into around the house this summer.  There are some things outside that Rob is working on.  One, which he worked on last week:

A "tree"house for Aiden.  To say Aiden is excited about this is a huge understatement.  Rob found that slide in someone's trash.  It just needs a good cleaning and to be attached and then it will be ready to go.  

We talked about how we want to spend a lot of time in our yard this summer.  So, doing some things to make that space nicer is a priority.  Rob's already done a lot of clean up in the yard and is of course hard at work in the garden.  I have some little projects for out there too; making a tablecloth, cushions for the bench.   We're having some family over on Sunday so I will try and remember to take some pictures of it looking spruced up.

Inside I have quite a few sewing projects I want to do.  I spent a lot of time  looking at fabrics, figuring out yardage, etc.  Here's my pile of fabric just waiting to be made into something.

One project I am super excited about is this floor cusion from pinterest:

Aiden is always wanting to put the pillows on the floor, which I'm not a huge fan of.  So, I'm hoping this will make him happy.  

We have one major project inside that we are going to do, and I'm super excited about it.  We need some closed storage in the living room for all the kid's toys, games, etc.  We love the shelves we have now because they work well in a small space.  But, with an almost-crawling-into-everything baby plus lots of kid stuff, we need closed storage, end of story.

Rob had this idea, it's on quite a few blogs, but I like this one the best from The Brick House.  I like the clean look, and I like the white with the wood.  It's also budget friendly considering how much storage it will provide.

Rob spent time doing lots of research and pricing things out.  We just need to sit down and find a few days on the calendar to work on this as we'll probably need to have the kids out of the house to get this done.

So, that should keep us busy for now.  I feel like my mind is always full of ideas and an endless list of things we want to do around here.  But, I am really going to do my best to enjoy our home this summer and not always feel like I need to get something done.

Happy Summer!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Organizing inspiration

I've been working on a blog post for 2 weeks now and I just can't get it together.  It's all about the projects we are planning for the summer, some of which have already started.  I'm hoping I'll have some time this weekend to finish it.  But, until then, if you need some inspiration, I stumbled upon this blog yesterday...

iHeart Organizing

Oh, be still my heart.  This woman is my hero.  And we have the same name.  And she has 3 boys.  Seriously, the amount of organization loveliness is almost too much for me to handle.  Seriously amazing.

I am most jealous of her laundry room.  Oh, to have a laundry room and not a creepy basement that has crumbling walls.

This may be the reason why I can't get  a blog post together, because I find blogs like this and I just can't stop looking at them.  

Hope you have a lovely weekend and are feeling inspired!