Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kate!

Yep, today is Kate's first birthday. I can't believe she's one! I also can't believe we don't have more pictures of her up here, but we'll remedy that soon-ish.

The birthday party is going to be a picnic dinner at the community pool. Nothing fancy, no friends, etc. Just us, wishing her a happy birthday and continuing to be so glad she's a part of our family.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Backyard Improvement

We've been silent for a while now on this blog, but all the while I've been dying to share photos of a project that has been underway in our backyard. If I had put more thought into it beforehand, I would have taken more photos, made sure they were from the same angle, etc, so you could flip through them and see the progress, but oh well.

The only real "before" shot I have of this spot in the backyard is a picture we took almost two years ago before we moved in, showing the redbud tree that was there:

That picture does not reflect all the pruning we had done, but it doesn't really matter, because a month ago it looked like this:

Yep, bye-bye tree. We hated to pull it down, but with two other large-ish trees in the backyard and no other place for what was coming, it had to go.

Next step? Those are 6x6 timbers surrounding a 10' x 20' area covered with 6" of play mulch, or chips, or whatever it's called. Why do we need a huge area for mulch...?


Keep in mind this is time-lapse photography. It took about 40 man-hours over Memorial Day weekend and the following week and a half to assemble what you see above from the individual pieces of lumber and accessories that came pre-cut and labeled. Many, many thanks to Grandpa Peck and Uncle Matthew for helping with all the sweat and hard work!

Just yesterday, Amy and I got out and finished the last step, which was creating a sand-box underneath part of the structure and lugging in about 450 lbs. of sand for it. Here are some close-ups:

Some of what you see in the sandbox are dinosaurs Amy bought to be buried and found by our budding archaeologists, which never would have occurred to me, but is the ultimate crowning touch!

The kids are gonzo over this thing, which Sydney has insisted be called "Redbud" (see the first photo above...) Peter would spend all day every day sitting in the swing and being pushed, and he can't wait until he is big enough to climb up to the second floor without Mom or Dad being outside to supervise. Kate pretty much just sits and plays in the chips, but I think that's her way of saying "wicked cool, Dad!"

I'm not quitting my day-job, but this was a rewarding project, and it gets more rewarding every day they spend playing outside and enjoying it!