Monday, July 24, 2017

Backyard Transition (& Garden)

What is our luck and back yards with no grass? lol Back in 2008 when we bought our first home the backyard was a wreck and we bought a sledge hammer, busted up concrete and laid sod.

Well our new house was definitely in better shape but no grass.  Here are the before pictures: 

There was a thick weed barrier underneath which made this great for us because it could be done in phases. We worked on clearing the woodchips and relocating them to other parts of our yard (south side of our house needed a new layer of mulch). The kids were enthusiastic about helping clear and rake and shovel. We started about mid-May.

Then at the end of May we pulled up a 2'x8' area for our raised garden bed and discovered there was ANOTHER weed barrier under another layer of woodchips...

You can see here we had almost all the woodchips raked back to around the area we planned to stop.

Here's our raised garden bed:

Then father's day we laid sod on half the backyard. Kyle went to get it while I started on getting the additional layer up. It turned out to be a lot more work than we had planned and wished we would have prepared the yard before having the sod. But it was one of those things if we didn't just do it the amount of work would have been a discouragement from getting it done. So we've had half grass for a month or so and it has grown pretty good. A few spots Harpo has killed but nothing horrible. 

We had sod on our list to get finished before baby came... but that didn't happen. We had a pile of woodchips that was slowly getting taken from a guy who responded to my craigslist post. He ended up taking it all the day Thomas was born so we knew we needed to get the rest finished how that the pile was gone. Saturday we got up the other weed barrier and someone different came that evening to get the small pile.

Then while we were all napping Kyle picked up the sod on Sunday and finished the backyard! Woohoo done in time for him to return to work Monday.

Now it's complete and looks SOOO much better! Excited to have grass!

And while I'm at it, here is my garden update.

Sweet pepper and jalapeno pepper. And the eggplant is growing good, just no fruit yet, two blooms though.

My broccoli plant is thriving... it had a worm nibbling on it's leaves but I've been trying to get out there to spray it after each rain which appears to be helping. I have three little leaves that have no signs of nibbling so far. Not sure if it'll produce anything or not.

And our two tomato plants are growing like crazy. I don't think our garden gets enough sunlight so it's been slow to produce. I'll have to look into low light gardens next year and do a better job of planting things that will do better with only 4 or 5 hours of sunlight.

Isaac riding bike

Our goal this summer was to get Isaac riding on two wheels. It's been quite difficult with the girls because it requires us both being around and making the time to get it done. Well it was one of those things we wanted to get done before baby then turned into, before Kyle returns to work. So last night, a mere 12 hours left to hit one of our goals, Kyle took him back out to try and learn. We had bought Isaac a new bigger bike at the beginning of summer, and there were a few attempts to teach him but they were not successful. We noticed he couldn't touch very well and I suggested we take the training wheels off his smaller bike and see if that wasn't an easier one to learn on then we'd move up to the bigger one. So sure enough last night the other training wheels came off and he did much better. The other key was getting him off the sidewalk. He was too distracted by the narrow driving field that he would get distracted by a rock wall, tree stump, or bush. Once Kyle moved him out into the road he immediately picked it up. And tonight when we went out he was able to take off on his own AND moved onto the sidewalk by the end.

Here are two videos from tonight (I didn't get any last night)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

New Water Filter

The more we educate ourselves on things, the more I learn about the impact of what we're putting in our bodies and what it actually does. I'm reading a new book, off and on, called Superlife and it's been a great read. I recently read the hydration chapter and decided to look into our water supply. Minneapolis water is taken from the Mississippi river and they actually have a really good filtration system, over 80 billion dollars worth. But the scary thing is that it still contains a LOT of stuff... chlorine, ammonia, organic & disinfectant contaminants, radionuclide contaminants, and many other cancer causing elements that are over the health limit (but under the legal limit) or sitting right at the health limits. Scary stuff, especially when it's our sole source of water and we drink A LOT of it! So we looked into reverse osmosis and to our surprise it wasn't really that expensive, nor difficult to install. Super easy DIY. My friend shared a 4th of July deal so we got it ordered and hoped to install it before the baby arrived... haha well the baby arrived Friday and the system arrived Monday. I was bound to the upstairs per my midwife's postpartum rest requirements, so Friday when we left the house for Thomas's first appointment/outing I stayed downstairs when we got home (limited to one set of stairs a day during the second week, and one brief outing) and we got it all set up. We had a sitter watching the big kids so she stuck around a little longer so we could get this done. 

It's typically installed under your kitchen sink and has it's own little faucet. We didn't want to clear out our trash and compost bins from under our sink so we installed it right below in our unfinished basement. Super easy, just needed a little extra tubing. We made by with the extra tubing in the ice maker set up kit, but needed to run to Home Depot for a little longer for the drain and a connector piece for the back of the fridge. 

Here's our set up below:

We were worried that having the tank a floor lower than the faucet would cause low pressure, but it actually doesn't effect it at all. We toyed with the idea of making a shelf closer to the ceiling but that can wait for another time. It also nice it's in the basement because other wise the water wouldn't be very cold, but it's being stored in a cold basement so cheers to cold water. :-)

We're pretty excited to have it in and start drinking from it. I can't really tell a difference in taste, but Kyle was able to the first day. He drinks RO water at work, I'm just happy I'm offering my family a safe substance for their bodies, we drink a lot of water in this house :-)


The kids were asking to see fireworks this year so we wanted to attempt to make it happen. Bedtime is usually 7:30-8 and fireworks don't start here until after 10 so we knew it was going to be some work. There were really only two shows: July 3rd Monday night one option and July 4th lots of options. We decided to shoot for the Monday night so if it didn't work we had a back up night on the 4th. 

We stopped for dessert on the way in Edina at Yogurt Lab: 

Then made it to Bloomington for the Summer Fete display. We parked in a parking ramp and then walked over to a higher ramp and camped out at the top of that. Everyone around us hadn't been there in the past so we weren't sure if we were going to have a good view or not, or if the building that was somewhat in that direction would be in the way....

The kids tried to stay occupied while we waited but still asked every 3 minutes if they were starting yet.

They got to see some off in a distance the other way.

Wrestle time, getting anxious for the show to start.

Once they started, they did end up being somewhat behind the building so most everyone walked to the south for a better view near the edge of the top of the ramp.

Mary loved them (as did Isaac, he remembers seeing them last year). Emma was not such a fan.

She wanted to snuggle with me and ended up falling asleep, lol. We were pretty close so they were somewhat loud (which is what we were going for, for the 'real' experience)

The show finished and we got back to our van to wait in the long, long line of traffic to exit the ramp. Everyone was asleep by the time we got home, so it was straight to bed. 

End of Belly Pics

Figured I should do an update. When I blogged the last update  I thought I'd have at least 5 more weeks maybe even 7 or 8 to include in the final but turns out I only have 2.5 weeks to share.

36 weeks, baby is the size of a spaghetti squash:

36 weeks was also the mark of home delivery! We had our home visit at this time and if the baby had come before 36 weeks we'd have to transfer to a hospital. It was pretty exciting to have her come to our home. It was Kate, my midwife, Jess, my doula, and Elizabeth the midwife's assistant. They got to see the space, make sure we had all our supplies gathered, she sized the bathroom faucet and left the hose adapter which would be used to fill the birth tub. And then it was like all the other visits where we got to hear the baby. The girls are very familiar with this part and love to turn the machine on and off. (one turns it on and one turns it off)

 37 weeks, the baby is the size of romaine lettuce...? Okay whatever.

That was the last Saturday picture I got because baby came the following Friday. But here is a pic from Thursday evening out to dinner: (37w5d)

Oh this is actually my last 'baby in belly' pic, taken Friday July 7th roughly 4:00pm. Light contractions had started, we just ate lunch and were getting ready to go for a walk to get the contractions going more and I found my P90x3 shirt had arrived in the mail! 

Sunday Children's Museum

Oh Sunday, July 2nd we made another trip to the new Children's Museum. Our last trip it was pretty busy, so we were hoping for a slower day. Kyle was with us too so that made it easier. The kids love the Scrambler play place:

And since it was slower they got lots of turns on the big slide!


There was a Sprouts area, for 3 and under which we didn't go to last time. But this time Kyle took Isaac into the laser activity while I took the girls to this play area. They are almost too big for it and we didn't spend much time there, but they had fun with a quick explore.
 Another area we didn't hit last time: land of noodles

Then their second favorite area is the world area with the mail room and fire truck and grocery shop. Spent a lot of time here.

We finished our St. Paul trip with lunch at Cossetta's :-) 

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