Monday, June 15, 2009

Size and stuff

Two funny "little" stories ~

One day last week we went to collect eggs and the kids said there was a small blue egg. I didn't think much of it until I actually saw the egg!? What happened to that henny? It is as big as a large grape! It sounds like a real egg when I shook it, but I've yet to crack it open. Crazy!

Also last week the kids found an inch worm on Sandra's dress. It was really cute. It wriggled around - the kids loved it! We took it back outside to live. Well, today Talmage found another inch worm. This one however was so tiny!!! Can you even see it on his wrist? It's the tiny line, you might need to enlarge the photo! It was just as cute, but seriously small!

The kids just love the cement patio! They ride their scooters back and forth. They do running races too! Jeff and I have enjoyed sitting outside on it and watching the kids play. What a great thing to have!
Grant and Talmage riding!

Mhari was not to be forgotten in the fun! She is in the middle of the action (a casualty sometimes) with her lawnmower toy! Great fun outside!

We had some storms last week. One of the nights when we just missed one of the storms this is what the clouds looked like. Crazy! One of the kids (Grant?) said it looked like marshmallows. It kind of did. I think it looked like snowballs or something. It was hard not to just stare at the strange clouds. The circles were too perfect and right on top of each other - just so unreal! God's creations are amazing!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Got Concrete

Sharla thought it best that I type this post since I know the details personally whereas the rest of the family were avid spectators only as seen below by the kids in the window. The reasoning: We have had a brick pad we put in last year. It has looked rather strange all by itself to the one side of the house. We figured that if we had to move for a job in a couple years, we would need to "connect" it with the back door in some way; so why not just do it now. We will be just as poor in two years anyway and we might as well enjoy it too. So here it went

Bro Jones and Bro Olson were there to help this monumental task happen. Bro Blair received a cryptic phone call from Olson asking where he was at and saying, "Got to go, the truck is here!". Blair had no idea what he was referring to, but like the good home teacher he is, he swung by to see if it dealt with me. Both he and Olson are experienced cement workers. It was great to have both there to learn from. They each had different styles of doing it so that was good exposure for me too.

We rented a trailer that would hold 1.25 cubic yards of cement. The first 9x10 slab went great. We had the perfect amount of cement. Blair gave instructions on tamping down the aggregate (even while in his nice clothes) and Olson showed me how to float.

No one had a float on a pole so we devised a way to reach the middle of the pad. We laid a 2x4 across some raised supports. Simple yet effective. Being in that position for extended periods of time floating cement would gladly influence anyone to buy the pole float though. Good investment in the future if I do it again.

The first slab turned out pretty good considering it was my first time floating. I am quite pleased. Next on the list was another 9x10 slab (#2) on the other side of the back door. As you can see, Blair came back in some regular clothes to finish his home teaching for the day. The lesson: Service with a smile.

This is where the story begins to get interesting. Unfortunately I don't have time to give details of hard life lessons here so I will try to be succinct but feel free to ask any questions if you need more details. The 2nd slab required more than the 1.25 cubic yards of concrete we could get in one load. We had to send Jon back to get another 1/2 cubic yard to finish it up and slab #3 (6x6 slab between the two big slabs). A complete picture is below if you need to reference it.

Jon got back, we finished filling slab #2 and beginning slab #3 but then #3 needed more. In an effort to get the rented trailer back in time, get a cement mixer, cement, and so forth; slabs #2 and #3 were getting really hard (you could walk on it :( ). Blair worked hard on slab #2 and his hard work saved it; all things considered. I am grateful for his effort. Don't you love quick setting concrete? Olson, Jon, and I worked on finishing up slab #3. The bags of cement we mixed in slab #3 turned out to be brown in color unlike the grey in the other two. Oh well. Time was of the essence and no time to be picky. We mixed it all up and got it in there and had #3 looking good about 6:15pm. Super hard day.

Here is where it gets funny. In the effort to clean up, the kids were admiring our work (ya, you know where this is going). Punkin decided to go inside and walked right across the only part that happened to be wet (part of #3). We had nice foot prints. Poor Punkin. I moved her off the pad and refloated it. Not but a few minutes later a big storm began moving through and blew a patio chair across the yard and guess where it landed. Slab #3. I "removed" the chair and refloated the slab. Guess what was next: Ten minutes later a nice big rain storm. I couldn't win. It removed the cement layer on top and left us with a nice looking slab of cement with the exposed aggregate. It doesn't look all that bad but still would've liked the smooth surface. Now we have a nice (I still consider it nice even though not perfect) 10x24 patio and an 8x16 brick pad.

Despite the challenges we faced, I still consider it a success. I care more about functionality than aesthetics so I will take what I have and move on. It is character. I learned a lot from the project. It is great to have experienced guys around you can learn a new skill from. We thoroughly appreciate all those who helped with this project. They were all needed and worked hard. Our calico patio is now finished.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fun in the sun!

Here's some of the fun the kids have had outside. Sandra didn't enjoy the sprinkler so there's not many photos of her. I didn't get much of Mhari in the water, but she liked it enough - if you can tell she's really wet :).



Mhari is getting good at sliding. She has a nice dirty bum to prove it!  She finally started landing on her feet - no more bum landings.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ready for a Picnic!

For Christmas last year I made my brother's family a big denim picnic blanket. It turned out way cute (sorry no pics) and I decided that I wanted one for my family too. I just hadn't gotten around to making it yet..

I found the old jeans I had been saving for this project and got motivated to put it together!
Here are the beginnings... jeans and squares. I ended up making the squares smaller because I liked that look better.

Then the scraps - which also turned into more squares. I really like adding pockets to the quilt. It makes it so much more fun for the kids something to play with :).
When I made the first one I had the raw edges on the top so they would fray. Jeff didn't care for that look so I turned the edges under, but sitting on bunches of frayed edges didn't sound fun. I was talking to a friend (thanks Shannon) who suggested I zigzag stitch over the seems to help them lay flat. here is the zigzag stitch on the bottom of the quilt. I then trimmed down the excess so it would only have a little room to fray. It worked pretty well in the end.

Part of the fun of making this type of quilt is making it personal! I just loved adding our initials to the blanket... to make it our family picnic blanket!

Here is the finished product. It was wider than my rug, but not quite as long. We'll see how well we all fit on it :). This was before the fraying (sorry no photos of that). I'm happy with it and am excited to use it!

I know this next part isn't for a picnic, but I've been putting this project off for too long and got it all done yesterday!
I made a bag for my friend a few months back and her daughter loved the bag so much that she asked me to make her one... well, ya, it's been a while in the making. She even made me a cute necklace for payment - so now I just feel guilty when I wear it, because I hadn't made the bag yet.
So here it is!!! No more guilt!

It's a baby mini-bow bag. Mine is the large navy one and hers is so cute and little next to it.

I even stitched her initial onto the bag to make it even cuter. I hope she likes it and forgives me for it taking so long!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our Second Graduate!

Talmage has graduated from Kindergarten! He has done so well in school! He was friends with everyone in his class and was so good for his teachers! The year has gone by so fast! The program was very sweet. They sang a song at the end about being flowers in life's garden. It was too cute. We took some pics of some of his friends - if you notice they are all girls (well, his class was mostly girls too!)

Here he is walking across the stage and shaking the vice principle's hand.

Daddy and Talmage

Mommy and Talmage

Talmage and Jamie

Talmage and Brooklyn

Talmage and Kailyn

Talmage and Hannah - they were carpool friends!

Talmage and Miss Slemons. He also had Mrs. Richey, and Miss Kieser during the year.

Talmage is a great kid!! He is very excited for 1st grade! They grow up so fast!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Our First Graduate!

We finally have our first Graduate! Well, I'm not sure how long we have been anticipating this event, but Grant is the first :). One day Daddy will join him in graduating :)

Preschool is officially accomplished (other than the rest of the week at school)! Jeff asked his teachers if there was a valedictorian or anything (jokingly) and one of them mentioned quietly that if there was it'd be Grant. He did a great job this year and we are so happy for him! He can read simple books and just loves school!

Here he is receiving his "diploma", shaking Miss Jennifer's hand.

Miss Elaina with the box to collect the diplomas after the kids walk off the stage - too funny!

Grant sitting down after getting his diploma :)

Daddy with Grant and Sandra

Mommy with Grant, Sandra, and Mhari

Grant with his two teachers - Miss Elaina and Miss Jennifer! They were so great with him!