Friday, October 24, 2014

The deck from start to finish

The house as we bought it 3 years ago. Twin french doors from family room that lead to backyard.

Its hard to tell from the picture but the ground is really unlevel from the doors to the swing set so whenever we get a heavy rain we get a river of sorts running through the backyard. We decided to put a gravel pad under the deck to help with drainage.
We had 7 cubic yards of gravel delivered and it was our job to shovel it and spread it. The tractor and dump cart came in handy to get the gravel from the driveway to the backyard.



We hired Whitney Birch Construction to build us the frame since its a 2 person job and Mike has limited time and energy, They were supposed to do the frame and Mike was going to do the decking boards and railings. Project started in July and quickly stalled because our deck plan was too close to the fence line according to our city zoning ordinances.  We had to go for a variance with the city zoning board ( or cut the deck plan short by 4 feet which we did NOT want to do) and that set us back about 2 months  ( and several extra hundred dollars) as we waited for the meeting to happen and the approval to go through.  We got the approval and building continued in late Sept.  By this time we knew that Mike was having back surgery on Oct 10th. We were at the mercy of family, friends and co workers because any money we would have had to pay construction company to finish the deck had disappeared due to my adventures with my first root canal ( a story for another day).

 But Mike has amazing co workers and his dad and uncle and brother and a few other friends helped and the deck is DONE DONE DONE! We are very grateful for those that helped!! Its absolutely beautiful and I love it so so so much. I can't wait for Spring so we can enjoy it. Its like we gained a whole outdoor space. We used cedar decking boards (which Mike will stain in the Spring) and vinyl railings. We tried to keep it with the colonial theme that the house has and I think it came out great.



We also bought some Green Giant Arbor Vitaes ( at 50 and 75% off) and planted them along the fence line to the L of the deck to give us some privacy from our neighbors that are not our biggest fans. Some in a few years ( or sooner as these things can grow 3 feet a year!) we should have a nice live fence that will give us some privacy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mike's back surgery and some random Fall pictures

 On Oct 10th Mike had a microdiscectomy. He has been dealing with sciatic pain for probably 5 years but last Jan the pain really got unbearable. He went to see multiple Dr's and tried lots of different things and had a few MRI's and all they noticed was it was getting worse and nothing was helping.  When the pain became so bad he couldn't sleep ( and he can ALWAYS sleep) we knew it was time to consider surgery. Thankfully its a relatively minor and quick procedure. 1 hour surgery time. Surgery at 9:30 am and he was home by 2:30 pm. Neither of us realized how stiff and sore he would be afterwards however and how much help he would really need getting up and moving around. The first few days were difficult for everyone. I am glad for my nursing background on how to move patients and manage pain and change dressings. Haven't had to deal with any of that in 8 years. His pain was hard to manage and getting up to use the bathroom or switch positions  was excruciating but now 5 days post op he is walking around the neighborhood and doing much much better. He will start PT after his 2 week post op appointment and hopefully be back at work in a few weeks.
 Switching gears here. Weather has been fabulous and Fall is in full swing. We are staying outside as much as possible before winter hits.












Monday, October 06, 2014

Dear Israel as you turn 5....

I can't believe this kid  http://tmvigneau.blogspot.com/2010/02/israel-videos.html is 5!!!

Turning 5 is such a milestone because suddenly you are eligible for school.  Real school. It means you are growing up. Just last week you suddenly told me you didn't want a mower ( gasp!) cake you wanted a Star Wars cake which is funny because you have never seen Star Wars and you don't even know all the characters and you ask me who such and such is and I have no idea! I know some of the main characters because I grew up with 4 brothers but my Star Wars knowledge is slim to none. So we went with a Star Wars theme. You picked out your plates and table cloth and we found light saber cupcake toppers and the theme was born.  Daddy and I wanted to take you out on a birthday date just you and us for some quality time. You picked 5 Guys Burgers as the restaurant. We went our for burgers just you and me and Daddy and then we went to Toys R Us to pick out just one more gift. You picked out 2 Lego sets. We already gave you some Lego sets but all you wanted for your birthday this year was Legos and an excavator.  You also wanted to go to Tractor Supply and pick out a mini fork lift so we did that too. You bought the fork lift with your own money that you earned helping Daddy with yard work and other various chores.
After our date at 5 guys and Lego shopping we went home and had Star Wars cupcakes made by Daddy. You wanted vanilla cupcakes with jimmies in them and chocolate frosting.



 Your birthday chair. The birthday chair is very important in this house for some reason.

 Your Star Wars decorations you picked out
 Holding the mini fork lift you bought with your own money you earned
 An excavator! Thank goodness for Tractor Supply as this thing was hard to find for less than $50 but Tractor Supply had it for $20.

 Samuel is excited that you received a truck for your birthday
 Keira made you the cutest card complete with pictures of Darth Vader and pictures of the birthday boy

 You kindly let your sisters help you open your presents, something they have talked about for the past 6 months

 The awesome cupcakes
 Its always so much fun to go anywhere with just one kid as we can actually listen to everything you say and just enjoy being with you. No fights to break up, no one to discipline and no toddler to chase.
 You ordered a cheese burger with pickles and bacon and ate 90% of it
 Holding one of the Lego sets you picked out at Toys R Us

Samuel thoroughly enjoyed your birthday as well!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Carter Hill 2014 / Apple picking

 " Daddy this  apple cider doughnut is the most amazing thing EVER!!"
 Another awesome family picture with at least 2 children frowning
 We pretend we love apples the most but really we come just for the  apple cider doughnuts