Monday, May 25, 2015


We have been meaning to plant some flowers in our backyard for a long time. Lately with all my purging and projects, I decide there is no time like the present! Mike is the muscle in this operation, so I set him to work. Ben helped collect the dirt, get the plants out of the pots, water them, etc.

At one point, he came up to me, hugged me and told me he loved me. I said thanks and asked why. He told me because I bought beautiful plants for the backyard. He was totally sincere. It was so cute. I told him he should thank daddy for doing all the hard work. He sat down in my lap, laughed, and said that he and I are lazy and are just going to watch daddy. (He did hug and thank him too though.) LOL.

I picked out some azaleas, knock out roses, and spirea from Costco, Lowes, and Home Depot. Then we waited for JULIE to come mark the power and gas lines. And of course, the fence perimeter where we'd had the mulch dug out years ago to plant is littered with all our lines. Doh.

That meant that only this side of the yard was safe to plant in. So we moved all the plants over here and Mike got busy.

You'll notice since they will grow 3-4 feet, I had him plant them outside the mulch area. There was some miscommunication when the workers came to dig the mulch years ago, and they dug out only a few feet. I'd wanted it at least double that. So we planted these bushes where I want them and we'll hire someone to come in and extend the mulch bed either this fall or next spring.

There were two rose bushes that wouldn't fit in the one safe side of the yard, so I asked Mike to plant them under our windows, flanking where the fireplace sticks out. I plan to fill the area around them with some smaller plants like daylilies.

This is a very bad pic of the finished work. I bought smaller bushes in the 10-15 dollar range so as not to break the bank but that means they don't make much of a statement yet. They should grow to be 3-4 feet each. Which means they will fill in nicely and look better eventually.

We also have plans to extend the mulch out on the two other sides of the yard, plant large lilac bushes in each of the corners, plant a row of evergreens to block some of the street view, and add smaller daylilies and other plants to our "garden" area over the years. This way I can see what does well, how much room I really have, and spread the cost.

And just because it is so darn cute, here are Ben and Liv holding hands at Home Depot.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Creative World had a "princess and super hero day" last week. Ben wore his Batman costume, but we don't have a super hero costume that fits Liv. I found out about the dress up day the night before, so I had to scramble.

I rummaged through her stuff and found this little leotard with tutu that Mom picked up for Liv at a garage sale. Now, Liv is a tomboy but she absolutely LOVED wearing this to school.

Notice the shoes she has on? I tried to get her to wear these pink ones with silver glitter. Nope. She insisted on her old grubby tennies with this outfit.

Then this tomboy also insisted on helping us carry in the recycling bins on our way out. Yep, that's my girl!

Sunday, May 17, 2015


As with any siblings, Liv and Ben have their good and bad moments. In general, they are kind to each other and get along well. Sometimes they fight over a toy or Ben yells at Liv when she ruins his Lego build or perfectly lined row of trucks. But the best moments are when you catch those random acts of love and friendship.

Like this moment that I happened to catch with my iphone where Liv rested her head on Ben's shoulder and he gave her a kiss.

Or here where they were playing some sort of "game" where Liv would pretend to hit Ben with her fork. (Yeah, interesting kids--but they were both quite entertained by this.)

Friday, May 8, 2015


I came across this short little video of Liv coloring last month and thought I'd share. It's just so Liv. She does not do anything gently or half-heartedly.

When we were having her speech evaluated, the program also sent a developmental therapist as standard practice. That therapist told us that Liv requires a lot of physical stimulation. Tight hugs, stomping, jumping, etc. are soothing to her. Given that information, it is no surprise that Liv colors like the paper is her enemy and the crayons are her weapon.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Garage Purge

Our garage was a mess after a long winter. It definitely needed some cleaning, purging, and organizing. It was too large a project to sneak in during Liv's nap, so I took a day off this week and got it done.

Here is our before. What you don't see is the broken fridge that was sitting where those coolers are now stacked (as the coolers were stored on top of the fridge). The fridge had been broken for months now, and we finally got the doors off and got it down to the street for pick up.

It doesn't look horrible (or maybe it does to some). I'd done a mini clean out in the fall, so this was sort of like round 2. We were able to park both cars in here, and it is a small 2 car garage, so I feel like that is a small victory. But there was definitely extra stuff that we'd collected, and it was totally disorganized. See:

I went through every item on the shelves one by one, with a bag for tossing and a bag for donating by my side. Once the shelves were cleared off, I moved them away from the wall and vaccuumed. One of the bags of grass seed had ripped open and there was seed everywhere--ugh.

Next I texted Mike to ask why we have 4 large jugs of coolant/antifreeze and 3 jugs of lawn mower oil. All partially full. He had no real answer but wanted me to keep it, as we'll use it. Oil yes; coolant? 4 huge jugs... I don't remember the last time we topped off our coolant. But, as the book says, you should only purge your own stuff. So back on the shelf it all went.

I then thoroughly swept up all the dirt and leaves and put everything back in zones as best I could. Some items had to go up high due to their size, but I put like items together as best I could--all the kids balls, bubbles, chalk, etc. on one low shelf so that they can help themselves. All the bike helmets together. All the gardening stuff on one shelf. And so on.

I realize this "after" doesn't look much different. I should have taken a close up shot. But it is so much less cluttered, everything is binned and labeled, and there is room to breathe on the shelves, whereas before it was like a house of cards trying to get anything off of them.

I made it a point not to put anything down in the basement. I wanted to deal with it all now. The only things I relocated were a shelf that ended up empty that I can use down in the basement and Mike's bean bags (since the bag boxes themselves were already being stored down there. Made sense to put like with like).

After all was said and done, I had a trunkful for Goodwill and three full garbage cans (plus some stuff that won't fit in a can like that broken screen). I guess we'd better not throw anything away this week as there is nowhere to put it! I went straight to Goodwill after that and said good riddens to the rest of it.

With the rest of my day, I started tackling the basement. Are you ready for the before? Sneak peak at the disaster.

Yikes, that one is going to be awhile. More to come. I had to start piling garbage because our cans are full. I'm tempted to try out the bagster so I can quickly get rid of everything once and for all...

Friday, May 1, 2015


Ben has been learning about planting and gardening in daycare; they even took a field trip to Home Depot to tour their garden center and learn about plants.

With that in mind, I couldn't resist picking the kids up their very own watering cans and spray bottles to help me in the yard. Big hit! And how cute are those watering cans?!

Side note: That pot trio is filled with strawberry seeds. Last weekend, Ben had a friend over and they decided that if you plant the seeds from strawberries (that they were snacking on), you can grow strawberries. So we planted some and are experimenting.

Ben picked me this "flower" that was growing in a crack in the patio.

Liv "watered" by upending her watering can from the wrong spout and dumping it all out onto the box that the plants are sitting in rather than the plants themselves. :-)

But the real highlight for her was the spray bottle. I showed her how to do it, but she doesn't quite have the dexterity yet. That didn't stop her.

Ben sprayed down his own shirt, and then told me he had to take it off. Okie dokie.

Liv watered the weeds in the fire pit. And not the three potted flower plants right next to it.

Then I got out these cute little kits that I bought at Target where you plant seeds and watch grass grow. Sort of like a chia pet for kids. Livvie refused to leave her seeds planted. She dug out all the dirt and seeds with her hands and dumped them in this bin. She was very proud of this effort!

Ben's little grass pot is ready to sprout. Liv's not so much.

Fingers crossed that we get some good grass growth because Ben is very excited.