Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

For Mother's Day this year, I decided it would be nice to rent a pavilion at the park, pick up chicken strips from KFC and just have a fun, easy time together with family. No cleaning, no cooking, no work. Just easy and fun for everyone! It ended up being a beautiful day and we all had a great time.

My sister rented the pavilion at a park over near her house and we just all met up there after church. We ate lunch and then the kids played at the playground. We were near a pond so we went down and fed the ducks some bread and then my brother-in-law made snow cones for everyone for dessert. It was a great day!

Here are a few pictures from our day.

Jackson, Avery and I at church Mother's Day morning. 

Avery feeding the ducks a biscuit at the park.

Avery giving her sweet cousin Emerson a kiss at the park.

Avery giving her Papa (my Dad) some love.

Jackson and his cousin Landon feeding the ducks.

Yummy snow-cones!

My mom, sister and I on Mother's Day.

My mom with her 2 kids and 5 (soon to be 6) Grand-kids. :-)

Along with having a very nice day, I got some very nice gifts too. :-) Jake, Jackson and Avery gave me an Alex and Ani bracelet with Jackson's birth-stone on it (now I just need Avery's).

Then, the kids each made me something at school. Jackson's class made a book of questionnaires of each of the kids about their mom. This was Jackson's page about me. :-)

Then Avery's class made flower pots with little bugs on them using their thumb-prints in paint. So cute! She also made a "All about my Mom" page and they laminated them for us. :-)

All such cute gifts! I just love the "All About My Mom" questionnaires. They are so funny. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Jackson's second Spring Soccer Season is in the books. He had his last game this past Saturday! It was a 5 week session and though it was supposed to end the first Sat. in May, it just ended this past weekend because of rain-outs. He had a lot of fun playing and I love watching him play.

Here are a few pictures I took over the course of the season. :-)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Handprints in the Driveway

While we had the concrete company out to re-do the concrete around our pool, we also had them poor some new-concrete by our drive-way. When we bought our house, there was a little area between the drive-way and the house that the previous owners had used for landscaping. However, the owners right before us didn't take care of it and it looked pretty sad. So, after ripping out all of the old plants and trying to figure out what to do with the space, we ultimately decided to just widen the drive-way some and give us more space to walk along-side the cars.

Here are a few before pictures right after we closed on the house.

So while they were pouring concrete for this space, we thought it would be fun to have the kids put their handprints in the concrete. I've always thought it was so cool when families did this somewhere at their home and I've always wanted to do it with my kids. So this seemed to be the perfect time. The kids both got a kick out of it and love going over there to see their names and handprints in the concrete. :-)

I got a little video of them doing it and then some pictures afterwards. :-)


Monday, June 5, 2017

The Last Day of School 2017

The kids' last day of school was just a little under 2 weeks ago. It was Thursday, May 25th. It was the last day of Avery's first year of pre-school. She did great this year and learned so much. She had a wonderful time with Ms. Jessica and Ms. Anita in the Butterfly Room. She went 2 days a week this year, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I measured her at the beginning of the school year and she was 35" tall and now she's 37 1/2" tall, so she grew a whole 2 1/2" this year and you can tell in these pictures.

She made this at school for the end of the year and I thought it was too cute not to share. :-) I think it's hilarious that she says when she grows up she wants to be "biggest", ha.

It was Jackson's last day of Pre-K. He'll be off to Kindergarten in just a couple short months!! He also went 2 days a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He was in the Caterpillar Room with Ms. Darr and Ms. Beel. He had so much fun and loved going to school and made lots of new friends. When I measured Jackson at the beginning of the year, he was 44 inches tall and he's now 45 inches tall, so he grew an inch this year. :-)

We had a great first year at Lindbergh Early Childhood Education and we are loving being in the Lindbergh School District. Next year Avery will return to LECE and will be going Mon./Wed./Fri. in the Frog Room and Jackson will be going to Long Elementary for Full Day Kindergarten. It's going to be such a fun year for both of them, but for now, we are looking forward to enjoying our Summer.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Metamorphosis of Our Pool

This post has been almost 2 years in the making, so it is going to be a little long-winded and picture heavy, but worth the wait to see the transformation, I promise.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, our house came with an in-ground pool, which was actually a huge selling point for us. We knew we either wanted a pool or a yard big enough to put a pool in.
(This is a picture from the house listing.)

The pool itself was great, but all the concrete around it and the tile inside was not-so-great! The original owners of the house had the pool installed back in the mid 90's. You could tell they enjoyed the pool and the yard. They planted a lot of trees and flowers and gardened often. However, the second owners, the owners before us, did not take care of the house or the yard and let it all get over-grown and let the house fall into dis-repair. They only opened the pool one year while living there and just didn't really take care of anything. They had the pool blue when it was up for sale, but as soon as our offer was accepted, they let it go and this is what it looked like when we closed.

Pretty gross right?

It was September of 2015 when we closed on our house, right past Labor Day. (Here in the Midwest, pools are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.) So we started calling around to see what we needed to do to get the pool closed. They said we needed to get it blue and clear again and we took the steps necessary to do that before they came out to close it. We also got the yard cleaned up as best we could so you can see that looks much better as well.

It definitely looked better at that point, but as you can see in this close-up above, the concrete was in terrible shape and so was the coping and the tile.

So we had the pool closed for the Winter, thinking we'd probably get it back open in the Summer of 2016, but with so much work needing to be done to the inside of the house, it just didn't happen.

So it sat closed for 2 Winters. The cover we had them use was just probably meant for 1 Winter, so towards the end, it was starting rip and fray in spots and ended up looking horrible by the time we were ready to start work on it.

We had several companies come out and give bids on all the concrete and pool work that needed to be done. After choosing the company we wanted to work with, they came out May 10th to start working on it in hopes it would be ready by Memorial Day.
(This picture was taken on May 10th, the day the concrete company came to start work on the pool.)

There was a lot of work to be done and with rain, we just barely made it to having it open for Memorial Day. They took out all the old concrete, took out the walk-way from the patio to the stairs going down to the pool, took out the old retaining wall on the right side of the stairs and put in a new one on both sides. They also put in new coping and new tile around the pool and then stained the stairs to match the rest of the concrete. Before they could lay new concrete, my Dad had to get all the electric work done behind the scenes and we had to get the pool drained, cleaned out and power-washed which was quite a gross chore as you can imagine. It was a stressful few weeks to say the least, but I'm so happy with how it all turned out!!

(Here they are, starting to tear out all the concrete.)

(And this was after demo-day!) 

They started on a Wednesday, but due to rain, they couldn't come back out until the following Monday. So that weekend, we got the pool all drained and cleaned out, while my Dad worked on fixing and re-burying the electric lines.

That next week they worked on the retaining walls and getting the area around the pool staked out for the concrete and the gravel laid to go under the concrete.

By the end of that week it was finally starting to look like something. :-)

The following week they worked on getting all the tile around the top edge of the pool in and grouted.

And they also staked out where the coping would go.

I love the way the retaining walls turned out.

We had to power wash the inside of the pool again that weekend because of all the grout and dirt that ended up in the pool from the previous weeks worth of work.

The following Monday was the exciting day. It was finally time for concrete!!

 By the end of that Monday, they had all the concreted poured, stamped and stained. Yay!

The next day they came out to power wash the concrete, which made it look even better.

And the next day, they came out to seal the concrete which again, made it look even better. After sealing it we had to wait a day or two and then we power washed the inside one last time and started filling it up with water. We dropped the hose in on Thursday evening after work and it ran all night Thursday night, all day and night Friday and all day and night Saturday before it was actually full. The pool company we use came out Friday to transfer the pump from chlorine to salt water. We had heard so many great things about salt water pools that we decided to go that route.

So by Friday night we were all set and ready to go, we just had to wait for the pool to be full and by Sunday, it was looking ever so nice and inviting. :-)

We partied in it all weekend and are looking forward to so many more.

Although we love the transformation so far, there are still some things that need to be done in the backyard to get it where we want it. We plan to start on the railing for the stairs this weekend which will look much better and be much safer. We also had someone out to get a bid on laying sod all around where there is dirt now because of the construction and to also replace the retaining wall above the pool that is now mismatched. Next year we'd like to have the inside of the pool re-finished which would make it a dark gray to match everything else, so we're looking forward to that. Over the next few years we want to replace the fence with a white vinyl fence and we also want to replace the upper deck and make it big enough to cover the lower patio.

So that's a wrap, at least for now. :-) We are so happy with the work done so far and are really enjoying the pool. We can't wait to enjoy it all Summer long and for many Summers to come.