Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Backyard Reno...VanOort Style

So here's the deal.  I've painted, repainted, renovated, primped, plumped, and refinished EVERY. ROOM. IN. MY. HOUSE over the last ten years.  Realistically, it's time to start over. (Don't read that part Levi)  I want to change paint colors, room arrangements, etc...but it's summer and in summer we should go outside.

After ten years, we thought it was time to do SOMETHING outdoors.  Last year we built the Little House, which is adorable and maybe someday I'll write a post about it...maybe not.  I don't like to blog anymore....but I'm doing this for my mom and dad, so they can see what we've been up to! :-)  We've built raised beds in our garden and those work out fabulously.  BUT NOW....NOW we are undertaking our "backyard oasis" as our ten year old calls it.

Up there I was standing in the pool.  Okay, not IN the pool, but in the pool spot.  That was last year in September.  My advice if you're considering buying a backyard pool, do it in September or October.  Now you'll have to possess super human patience, since you'll now have to wait approximately ten thousand years eight months to use the blessed thing, but the price difference is staggering....and affordable.

In September 2013 this beauty came to live in our backyard.  Lovely, yes?  We love it, the kids love it, the birds love it, leaves love it...everybody wins.  HOWEVER, it sort of looked like it was dropped from outer space into our yard. Plunk.  It's not especially easy to find a spot where a 27' circle can fit in your yard, that goes over no electrical wires, gas lines, cable lines, water lines, ant get the idea.  This is where our 27' circle would fit.  
As soon as the pool was installed I started to think about how we could landscape to make it shed it's "plunked from outer space" status.

And that's where Rich enters the picture.  The famous Rich who remodeled our bathroom to vintage perfection, drywalled our kitchen ceiling to perfection (without sanding...I know, right?  Is that a thing?  It is.)  Anyway, I got my ideas all pulled together, sent those off to Rich so he could digest them all ideas tend to give Rich the longer the better.  
We decided on a set of stairs for the pool with a platform at the full on deck...just a place to do cannonballs from.  Priorities people, priorities.  That doesn't seem so bad, right?
We won't discuss what happened when Rich dug the post holes.  It will give you nightmares.  It gave me nightmares....serious, no our entire Subaru with all of us in it could have disappeared and no one would ever have known where we disappeared to.    Alas, Rich handled it and we moved on.  The "post hole problem who shall not be named" is forever a closed case.

We moved on.  And the magic started to happen.

Platform!  We love this platform.  See how he laid the boards around the outside first, then laid the others there are no cut edges exposed from the front?  Such nice work.  Rich and my dad are a lot alike.  Think, think, think, then build to perfection.  

 The bird's eye view from the upstairs window....lovely steps nearly complete AND the big load arrives from the lumberyard.  That truck pulled into our yard at 7:45am...apparently they don't believe in beauty sleep.

 And then.  Then the big, honkin' beauty of our backyard begins.  Pergola City...that's the new name of our backyard.

 Up go the posts.  These posts are no joke.  Like, they each took a whole tree to produce those suckers.  Honkin'.

Standing tall and proud!  Concrete drying, drying, drying.  I'm trying hard to be patient.

 In the meantime let's take a look at these lovely pool steps.  Aren't they lovely?  Railings and risers will be white, treads and deck will be stained.

 Since I don't possess SuperMan strength to lift crazy heavy beams in the air I made myself useful by beginning the landscaping around the back side(non construction zone end) of the pool.  My lovely friend Todd wants to rid his entire yard of anything green besides I've been digging like a crazy woman...hostas galore!!

 Last night this was the scene in the backyard.  I'm so excited I can barely stand it.

Before Rich left for golf afternoon today we got to this point!  Aren't the end details lovely?  And the hole...that was Rich's idea.  Isn't he a smart fella?  For hanging baskets, windchimes, twinkle lights, you name it.   Smart.

That's it for now.  I'll post more later Dad!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How Project Life Rocked My World

So....Pinterest.  It gets us all in in, I want to learn 3897 new crafts....before tomorrow....because I saw it on Pinterest.  HOWEVER, this time Pinterest did not lead me led me to the scrapbooking promised land.   I was scrolling Pinterest...because that's what I do when I'm sleepy.  It's like warm milk for my brain.  THEN, a friend had posted a pic of a Project Life layout.   My brain stood up, shook off the warm milk and was hooked!  I googled Project Life, I hashtag searched, I YouTubed Project Life videos during my morning treadmill can see it's developed into a *smidgen* of an obsession new hobby interest.

Let me begin by saying, I am not a scrapbooker.  I tried once, bought three sheets of coordinating paper, and a folder thingy to hold those three sheets of paper.....and they sat there for...hmm....I think I only had one child at that time....that's been a while.  I just couldn't commit.  I have lots of friends who scrapbook and create amazing layouts...but I just couldn't do it.

Project Life is super different...tiny little pockets, to fill with lots of beautiful paper, little snippets of our week, day to day photos....maybe that's what hooked me.  I revel in our day to day.  The adorable things our kids say, funny Instagram photos, all the poop jokes that seem to pop up at the dinner table (I live with three men)'s all awesome and makes up the entirety of our life.  It's basically scrapbooking for life, rather than occasional special events.  I. LOVE. IT.

Oh, and it indulges my penchant for squirreling away every little bit of paper/ticket stub/business card.....

The first week of 2014 lasted for...I'm pretty sure....eleven years.  I was so excited to get my first photos from the year developed and jump into my first layout!! I've decided to do a two page spread for each week (unless we have a super boring, everyone slept all week, kinda week)  One layout= one week, for the entirety of the year.

 That grapefruit photo = Love.  One of those things I would probably forget Marshall ever said....but now I have it captured.  I just keep my journal with me, laying on the table, in my purse, whatever, and just jot down quick tidbits of the day....then at the end of the week I go through my dslr, my Instagram pics and the journal and pull out the good stuff.  No staging, no fancy stuff, just our real life.

My folks are gonna be all over this.  Can't wait to show it to you Mom and Dad!!  Now if I can wrangle in "artist" Jen and let the layout come to rest rather than fiddling it to death and we'll be all set!!  I'll post a pic of the finished layout when it settles in!

love and light,

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Listening From Inside

I love Christmas.

I love preparing for Christmas. I love thinking about Christmas. I love Christmas music.  I love decorating for Christmas.  I love buying "the perfect" gifts.  I love food.  I love cookies.  I love spending time with family.  I love Christmas movies.  I love snow.  I love being a Capricorn.
I love you man.

Basically when the kids threw off their Halloween costumes, the holiday season began at our house.  For real.  I bought gifts early, wrapped gifts early, felt super prepared.   The "festive" level at our house was at Def-Con 5.  

Then the real world happened.
I worried, I fretted, I obsessed about something (that will remain nameless to protect folks' privacy).
As I read the other day, I "borrowed trouble".  Why do we do that?  Worry about the unknown?  It's's unknown!  Isn't that stupid?  Worrying is like rocking in a rocking chair. It's something to do to pass the time, but it's not going to get you anywhere.

The festive went on, I stayed pretty festive.  But the worry would creep back over me, like a fog.

And then.
I had a dream.  Do you believe in the power of dreams?  I mean...not like I wished for a unicorn before I went to sleep and then woke up riding one....not that kind.

Do you believe you can receive messages when you're not so darn busy worrying about stupid things?
I do.

At least I do, until I let the worry creep on me again.  I'm naughty like that...human I guess.
This dream, which was very warm and full of yellow and orange, if that makes any sense, told me everything is all right.  Everything is going to be all right.

I've received messages in dreams before...but I shant go into those right now, for fear you already think I'm fit to be shipped off to the looney bin.

Believe your inner voice, friends.  It won't lead you astray.

The holiday season went on......AND message came true, I was filled with joy and laughter and giggles and remembered why we shouldn't borrow trouble.  It takes away from today.

Oh, and I let my kids play video games until they fell over in exhaustion.  Don't worry, this one reads more in his free time than you, me and the rest of the free world put together.  It's okay to break rules sometimes.

And listen to the messages that lead us to lives of happiness.

love and light, 

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