Cold

Nat has a cold, since hers often come with sneeze blowouts (which are just as unpleasant as they sound) and a lot of coughing, she’s home from school. She also woke up this morning with a low grade fever. Oh well….looks like rest is on the agenda for today!

I have almost finished mulching the front bed and I’m about to start working on the gravel path. Photos to come soon!

Happy Wednesday, I’ll leave you with a picture I found on our camera….taken by Nat, starring Conrad:

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Monday

We’re back in our morning routine for school and this year it feels like putting on an old hat, which is really  nice! This past weekend was the first weekend in about two months where we didn’t have any social obligations, so we finished the brick border (which I blogged about extensively, haha) and James cleaned out the garage, put together some shelves and put everything back again! The result is that the kids can easily access their gear and Conrad has been riding his little bike for HOURS since the big clean out.

We also harvested a bunch of mint (well, the kids did) and we made some fresh mint iced tea! It was a big hit for all but Conrad (adding some honey didn’t help him like it) and we look forward to our next batch!

Conrad is loving his, ‘days with just Conrad and mama’ as he calls them, so we’re glad he’s home this year. It will be his last year at home!! Which is both exciting and sad. We’re currently discussing our kindergarten plans for him and I think we’re going to go with our same plan for Nat. Neither one of us is for full day kindergarten (it’s a long day), nor do we agree with how academic it is versus being more play based. He would have standardized testing three times a year (twice a year it would be two different tests) and we’re not for that at 5.5 years old. It looks like a half day preschool program that meets 5 days a week will be on the agenda for next fall, and then enrolling him in first grade the following year.

Happy Monday!

Front yard tour

I’m currently obsessed with the front yard, can you tell? Let’s take a tour through – we hope to have all this work completed by summer 2017.

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99% of the bricks and all the stones for the side path wall were salvaged from our property, so the savings here has been fantastic! It also provides a patina that I love, since my other goal is for this to look as though it came with the house. Anyways, what you’re looking at is the start of the side path – it will have a slight step up and be paved with salvaged bricks and will lead you to a white cedar picket fence and gate. The fence will begin at the house and extend out towards the bushes, so be in front of the chimney. This serves three purposes: to hide the crazy weediness that exists there currently (until we can fix it) and to provide a transition to the ‘private’ part of our yard, and to simply be a nice focal point where you wonder, hmm…I wonder what they’ve done back there! We will remove the grass to the left of the path and fill it in with primarily natives. So taking a step back, here is the view from the sidewalk out front:

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The trellis that hides that gas meter will be covered with a native clematis and the brown evergreen will be replaced with a native shrub in the spring. We also plan on putting in cedar window boxes under the living room windows (painted white) and this will finish off the bed directly in front of the house. Moving on to the front door….

On our list for the fall is to replace the front steps and walkway. We have mentioned before how it’s pitched towards the house and so therefore water from rain and snow/ice pools against the house and sits there. This is bad! So, it needs to change. We’ll have a larger porch area, so that when you open the storm door you will no longer need to back down steps, and our front walkway will lead straight to the city sidewalk. We’ll have a small side path off the main path, made of salvaged flagstone which will lead to the driveway. The plan is for more natives – grasses which provide year round interest and once established require little to zero care or watering!

Next year calls for a new roof and gutters and then we’re considering painting the house….but that seems like a huge ordeal, so maybe not, haha. We’re really excited what’s to come!

Done!

I finished it! Now I’m going to really get the planting bed right in front of the house done and then work my way slowly to the path and the adjoining planting bed. We also have to rework the front steps and put in a front path, so it’s a lot of work. My elbow is hurting, so I’m off this weekend from any strenuous lifting or work, but I did it!!!!

I had to take it in two pictures or else I had to stand so far away, that you couldn’t really see it, haha. Looks great!

Little bit of progress!

I managed to finish the first section of the brick border today! There will be a path that guides you to the back of the house along the side, so I had to delineate the start of the path with some larger pieces from the outdoor fireplace. It’s hard to tell in the picture…so maybe I’ll take some close ups, but here is the border so far!

Next year, we’ll fill in with plants and that part done. So far so good!

2nd grade!

It’s going well! Nat has a small class this year – they just picked up a new student on Monday, so her class is up to 19 kids. She told me that feels like she can focus and relax more because it isn’t so loud and busy. Her teacher is absolutely lovely and as usual, we’re happy with all the wonderful staff at her school. We’re excited to see how Nat grows this year and what new things they learn.

We have a plethora of meetings for the beginning of the year and then things should quiet down….or so I naively believe….haha. Nat’s only complaint is that she doesn’t feel that lunch is long enough. This is both true because it IS actually short (20 minutes) and because over the summer, dawdle eating whilst leisurely reading became our new norm….so we think that she’ll adjust and things will work out ok. She thinks that recess is plenty of time (also 20 minutes) so….it might just be more of a slow eating thing.

School pictures should be coming up soon, so if you’d like a photo, let me know!

I’ve started rebuilding our brick border for our front planting bed. I’m laying down a layer of gravel and sand (from supplies we already have to save cash) and then laying down 2 layers of bricks that I dug up from around the property. So far the cost is zero, my favorite price! Also on our agenda is digging out our sad dead pine tree….but that will have to wait until we have a suitable replacement. The border is extensive and I dug it all out on Monday. Whoo!

Some of the plants have filled in quite nicely and we anticipate even more growth next year. We’ll also fill in as things mature, so that we have a densely but not overpacked border. The rest of the yard will have to wait though, as we focus on the front and get it squared away! Not too bad from where we started a year ago….a little sparse, but it’s going to be fabulous once we’re all done!

A year ago today….

Our entryway has come along way too! A year into living here, we have mostly unfinished spaces, however, in some ways I’m glad we’ve waited because my initial design plan has been changed and somewhat discarded in favor of a better one. This has happened for a few reasons, but with growing kids, it’s important to have flexible room and house plans and after living here for a year, we learned how we use the space and what we would really like to have!

The entryway is half finished and is on my list of things to tackle this fall. Though it is a small space, with all the wallpaper scraping and multiple coats of primer and paint, it did take me a week to simply do the one wall. Oh yeah, and still having a kid around means I have an extremely limited workday….haha or a really cute assistant! It could go either way!

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You can just see the black carpeting that covered all the floors on the main level. We’re so glad that’s gone! So hopefully soon, I’ll get this space done. It feels good to complete my to do list!