Sunday, September 29, 2013

From Bark to Bricks

When we first moved into our house, the pathway from the driveway to the shed looked like this:

Although it looked very nice at that point, I could see potential problems with this particular type of path. First, little boys love to dig! Second, bark must be replaced every year.

One year later my fears were realized. All the bark had been dug out, buried, or piled up by A & B. They love 'working in the yard with Dad' though, so we just turned it into a new project (one that I'd been planning for since we first moved in)!

After removing all the remaining bark and border blocks, I borrowed my neighbors tiller and dug out a 4' wide, 6" deep trough. Thanks Jackie!

I had a wheel barrow, but Austin had a DUMP TRUCK!

After laying landscaping fabric along the path, we filled in a 3" deep layer of 1" gravel, and then leveled and compacted it with a plate compactor that I rented from Home Depot.

Preparing to dump a load of dirt. We laid pvc pipe before dumping in the leveling sand, and then pulled a piece of wood across the pipes to screed the surface until it was level.

Timber! A & B got really excited with every dump.

We did it team! Only 307 more dump truck loads...

Don't worry Dad, I got it.

Once we filled in all the leveling sand, we removed the pvc pipes and filled in those gaps and leveled them by hand. A good soak with water and we were ready to lay the pavers.

I was able to save about half the cost on the brick pavers by re-using some 16x16" grey stepping stones from our front yard. And we liked the color combo.

There's that dump truck again; turns out it was pretty handy for hauling about a dozen bricks from the pallet to the path. I laid the bricks by hand and tapped them in with a rubber mallet.

After a few hours (with some planning and redesigning along the way), I'd finished the whole path.

The next day I rented a diamond blade wet saw to cut some pieces that would smooth out the curves.

With the cuts finished, the last step in the process was to fill in the space around the outside with dirt and all of the cracks between the pavers with fine-grained sand to lock things in place.


After sweeping the sand into the cracks and spraying it with a little water, we were finished!

The dream became a reality. No more bark, some quality time spent with the boys working together in the yard, and another improvement to the backyard. This kind of stuff is just way to fun to be called work!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

S'Mores Fun!

 FINALLY! The weather cooled off for the weekend so we busted out the fire and had s'mores!  Look at Blake! He's getting so big and roasting all on his own!  He takes it pretty seriously.
 OK this picture is just funny! First it looks like Spencer has a flame coming out of his head and Makayla is eyeing that marshmallow pretty intensely.  Never a dull moment hanging out with the Simmons.
 This is how Austin eats a s'more
 This is how Makayla eats a s'more
 and Blake...
 and Kai...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

24 Week Belly

ALMOST 24 WEEKS!  I debated whether or not to post any belly pictures of me from here on out...I looked back at pictures I posted on my blog when I was pregnant with Austin and I am this size at 30 weeks with Austin.  I was this big with Blake as well at 30 weeks.  So.....I must be growing a major baby in here. Just slightly worried.  Granted, this is at the end of the day after dinner...but still.  That belly is huge!
I still continue to go to RPM/cycling 4 times a week. I do a FIT camp/BOOT camp class at the YMCA twice a week and I usually fit in a 2 mile to 2.5 mile run once a week.  So the belly hasn't slowed me down yet.  In fact, I feel great right now and have the most energy that I've had my entire pregnancy.  So I'll just keep on keeping on. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Six Flags!!!

 Tyler's company had their annual work party at Six Flags this past weekend! It was incredibly hot but so worth it to go since we got in free.  We could go all day, but from 7pm and on it was just open to XTO employees.  We ended up getting there around 4:30pm and the first ride of the night was the carousel.  Bad picture quality so I'll let you try and find the boys! It was an over 100 degree day so we were sweating the minute we got out of the car.
 Along with getting in to the park free we each got $20 to spend so we ate some horrible tasting chicken nuggets but we were so hungry! We also got free water bottles that had free refills everywhere which was sooo necessary! 
 Austin and Blake also got these Superman shirts with capes for free.  Tyler and I got shirts too with the entire Justice League on the front but we didn't wear them.
 Boys being silly
 Austin loves making silly faces.

 We all got to ride the antique cars. They loved them!
 Blake was so excited to go on rides!
 I was glad I didn't have to sit out!
 Austin popped two out of three balloons and won a ducky! There were two older girls right next to him that were about 12 and they couldn't pop a balloon.  Austin has a rocket arm!

 Tyler took Austin on the go carts! They got to go for free on these too.  It was worth the half hour wait because Austin loved it!
 Blake was a trooper waiting with mommy.
 Here's the ducky Austin won.  Blake and him became fast friends.
 Zooming around the corner in the go carts

 Tyler almost made it in basket 2 twice! So close. All we walked away with was a little soft snake. But Austin was happy!
 Tyler did ride one big ride. Superman!
 All the boys in the truck
 Enclosed ferris wheel.  This was a great test to see if the boys liked rides.  It was their first time.
 Watching Austin ride his biggest coaster yet!
Tyler got Austin to raise his hands almost the whole time. This kid loves thrill rides! Another ride they did was the mini mine train that takes you in complete darkness. Austin loved that one too.
It was a fun adventure even with the heat.  It definitely was bad timing since I couldn't ride any rides.  But it was worth it to take the boys on all the ones we could in the amount of time we had.  I hope they do this again next year!