Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On the Fence

There comes a time when you have to tackle a maintenance project at your house.  One that simply has to be done because it is falling apart.  Well that is our fence.  We knew it was in bad shape, and it was on our list of things to repair, but when we had a storm pass through with high winds the fence jumped to the top spot on the repair list after a section was blown down.  We decided to replace that one side of the fence in an effort to save forking over a huge chunk for the entire thing, which we will do, just in phases.  

So we had the plan, we had the help, and we had the funds.  So it began.  This is Devin's best "Wilson" impression from the old TV show Home Improvement. 

You can see how worn the fence is and the post that was holding the fence up by the back fence completely broke off.  So Devin started demo on Friday evening.  It took maybe an hour to have all of the pickets and cross braces out.  That was the easy part.  Oh and if you really want to meet your neighbors, tear down the fence between your yards and you will get to know them quickly.  We did notify them in advance that we were working on this project over the weekend and we did get some help from them.

We were encouraged that the project wasn't going to be as bad as we were dreading it was.  Then came the posts that needed removing.  Ugh!  They were concreted in which was good, but the posts were being slowly eaten away by some kind of ant, perhaps of the carpenter variety.  Therefore, several of the posts completely broke off at the base making it extremely difficult to get the concrete out.  We rented a construction hammer tool from Home Depot to help with the task. 

It helped, but in the end it took all of Saturday and most of Sunday to get all of the posts and concrete out.  But we did have help...at least moral support.  Here she is checking out the new fencing materials which included metal posts and cedar pickets (so we won't have the bug issue again hopefully.) 

After we removed the concrete from the post holes, we tested the depth by placing one of our new posts in the existing holes.  From there we determined that the holes need to be deeper to prevent having to cut the metal posts.  So back to Home Depot Devin and my mom went to rent an auger.  The auger worked to get the holes deeper in some areas, but in the end, there was either more concrete deeper or it was bedrock that the auger just couldn't get through.  The final solution, cut the metal posts.  So back to Home Depot Devin and Mom went to rent a reciprocating saw fitted with metal cutting blade to cut them.  The Home Depot tool rental staff by this point knew Devin by name, true story.  

Devin measured each post in it's designated hole to make sure the posts were all the same height above the ground.  I don't have any pictures of that part as I was on baby duty.  (But here is a gratuitous picture of her while my sister was also here helping watch her.) 

By this time the sun was setting on Sunday evening and it was time to mix and pour the new concrete to set the new fence posts.  We bought the fast setting stuff that costs a little more but is totally worth it if you want to start putting up pickets in the same day.  That was our plan, little did we know that we would spend two days digging out the existing holes!  

This part I could help with, since it was after Vivienne went to bed.  Don't worry I had the video baby monitor at hand.  So with a big work light we were able to set the posts, mix and pour concrete, and level the posts all within an hour.

Monday morning was wood installation time.  Mom and Devin got the cross braces installed relatively quickly with Roxie's help of course. 

They measured the distance needed for each cross brace and then cut the treated 2x4s to size.  

Then it was picketing time, you know, when you install fence pickets, not protest something.  

You can see the string line Devin used to align the top of the pickets.  He simply installed the two end pickets at the correct height above the ground and them used a small nail in the top of the pickets to run a string from one to the other.  

The picket process was relatively quick also, this all relative to how long it took for those stinking post holes.  He had the majority of the pickets completed by the time I got home from work Monday evening.  He finished the whole shebang by 9pm.  He was one determined man, and that is the man I love.  I also love our new fence!  I snapped a few pics this morning before work.  

Now we can't wait to have new fences on the other two sides, but we might have to pay someone to dig those posts out for us on the opposite side.  The back fence will likely be next since it already has metal posts, so potentially easier.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vivienne's Weekly Photo #13

Lucky 13!  Another week down and Vivienne continues to delight and make us laugh.  She is working up the arm strength to eventually get a hold of her feet.  She continues to work on it.  She thinks that her sneezes are so funny and loves to play peek-a-boo.  She is definitely a sleeping champ and we are eternally grateful for that.  She wakes up so happy and I love to see that big toothless grin when I get her up in the morning.  She has been getting better with tummy time and she is holding her head up a little higher every time even if it is only for a few minutes.  

Her outtakes this week include this one where she is having so much fun with mom taking her picture and is striking a pose...

and this one where she looks like she is thinking, "ok, now is it time to eat?"

What a cutie pie that girl is!   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3 Years Ago Today

Devin and I were married on this beautiful spring day at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden.  It was an unforgettable day and I'm so lucky to have married my best friend.  I love you my husband and baby daddy!  

To see more details about our special day, feel free to visit Our DIY Wedding.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vivienne's Weekly Photo #12

We have reached the 3 month milestone, 12 weeks!  Vivienne has newly discovered her hair and loves to twirl it in her little fingers.  She also has learned how to fist bump, you know the important things, and can put her fist to mine when offered.  Hilarious!  She has finally been able to swat that dang monkey that hangs from her play mat and loves to talk to us.  This week's photo might be my favorite thus far.  The fabric is cute and her expression is priceless.  

The first outtake this week is Viv with a face like she is saying "WHHAAAAT?"

This is a hilarious face, I think caught as she was "talking" to me.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shelving It

I have long been contemplating what to do with the wall in our breakfast area now that we added a cabinet and refinished a dresser to include in the space.  I sit on the sofa and look over at that area and try to envision different scenarios. 

I wanted to build in cabinets and basically make it an extension of the kitchen, which still might be the ultimate solution, but for now I wanted to try the open shelf scenario.  I have been seeing lots of open shelving in kitchens lately and I really like the look.  It is a less formal look and I like that for our living space.  It also would provide a nice area for me to store some of my prettier items in the kitchen, thus freeing up some space for the not so pretty items.  Here are some examples of what I've been looking at. 

It's a good look.  It's an affordable look.  It's the look for us.  And the planning began.  

To fully figure out how to build in the shelves to my breakfast area, I utilized a drafting program (AutoCad) to get the feel for what I want.  I like that I can draw to the actual scale of the room and render in 3D to really get the idea.  Here is my plan:

Eventually we plan to build in the refrigerator to make it a cleaner look and that will balance out the tall cabinet at the opposite end.  I want to center the re-finished dresser between the fridge and cabinet, then add a counter top that runs the length between the two tall cabinets to create a "built-in" look.  The plan includes some kind of dog food station also, and of course the open shelves and some new artwork.

I have started the process of building the open shelves.  Things get completed a little slower these days with Vivienne being so darn cute.  I just can't stay away from her!  More to come.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Vivienne's Weekly Photo #11

Week 11 it is!  1 week from her 3 month mark.  Crikey that was quick.  She is just awesome.  She has been sleeping at night in her room successfully and is sleeping for about 6+ hours each night.  Yee Haw!  She is spending more of her days awake and enjoying things like kicking her soccer ball daddy bought for her and practicing her balance as she tries to sit up by herself.  She thinks that getting her nose is the funniest thing ever and is quite ticklish.  We love her so much!

Her outtakes this week are one mid blink...

and looking like she's busting some sweet dance moves.

We are running out of fabric so it's time to start shopping the sales!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Project In Progress

Steps have been taken to start a little project I have been wanting to do for a while...then I had a baby.  You know just little set backs in our home improvement schedule.  Appropriately I am taking baby steps...har har.  Alas, I'm not finished but I'm started!  Here is a little sneak peek of what's going down at our casa.

Remember when I refinished this dresser for the breakfast area?  Then I added the bookcase to house my precious dishes.  Well that is where it stopped...

but I've got big plans including these items.

Can you guess what's up next? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vivienne's Weekly Photo #10

10 weeks and loving it!  Vivienne is getting such a personality.  This morning she was laying on our bed in our master bedroom and was laughing and talking to the ceiling fan.  She just loves that fan.  She is a fan:)  She can easily entertain herself and is working hard at getting that hand eye coordination thing down.  As you can tell in this weeks photo, she isn't missing any meals either, I could just eat up those chubby legs!

As for the outtakes, well she was easily distracted by her feet...

and talking to the camera.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Our Easter 2013

Warning:  This post has lots of gratuitous baby pictures!  We hope everyone had a great Easter weekend cause we sure did!  With this being Vivienne's first, we spent a lot of time trying to explain the Easter bunny and why he hides eggs being that rabbits don't lay eggs.  Thank goodness Vivienne really had no idea what was going on.  It was a low key weekend with Easter Sunday bringing baskets of goodies for all of us as per normal.

Vivienne received a egg shaped rattle that she wasn't quite sure of...

and some finger puppets that she really liked.  

But her absolute favorite was her new shades!  She thinks she looks super cool.

We finished up our Easter festivities at church, but before we left, we took our first family photo.  

We are so lucky to have each other, and it was nice to have a day where we can stop and remember how blessed we really are. 
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