Sunday, August 30, 2015

The backyard reno with 47,000 pictures

Not a lot of words but a TON of pictures.

This all started WAY back before Miss Maddie was born.  That was the first time we started talking about this potential project with a contractor.  We were getting the itch to make a more family-friendly backyard and one that we could and would want to use more that just the simple slap of concrete that was so small out there.  We were completely spoiled with our backyard in our old house...two patios, lots of green space, etc.  We talked to him but that was it.  The main reason was that where our house is in the neighborhood we get all the run off from the rain, sprinkler systems, etc on one side of our house and it has no where to go.  It would just sit there and get hot during the summer and the bugs were HORRIBLE.  Then, our sump pump pipe had a crack in it and made the standing water even worse.  For a quick fix, Jimmy took an extra long sprinkler pipe that we had and ran the sump pump drain out to the street.  We were curious how long that would last in our neighborhood because they have rules and someone always complains :)  It actually lasted longer than we thought - all through Fall and Winter of 2014...then we got the note that we couldn't keep the pipe.  Which we understood.  

But where would we send the water??  Well, enter in teh professionals to tell us what to do.  They thought they would be able to just run the pipe into the storm drain on that side of the house..but per the city, we couldn't do that.  So they were going to have to dig and run it back behind our house and then to the other side.  SHEESH.  When we found that out, we started talking bigger.  Our current retaining wall wasn't fall down, but the concrete was starting to crumble for sure.  And it just wasn't the layout we wanted.  We talked to multiple folks and got bids on what we were thinking.  we talked about doing it in phases to space out the expenses...but then each time we did a phase we would have to deal with the pain and expense (buying sod or planting grass seed) of the yard being all torn up.  So we decided to go all out.  Bite the bullet and have them do it all.  At least so we could start to enjoy it.  
This is the before:

They started this at the end of April.  They said it was supposed to take 5 days to dig and bury the pipe, take down the retaining wall, put a new one up, pour the two new concrete patios AND level off the top for a playset.

Looking back, I should have KNOWN it was going to take more than 5 days of work.  More like 10, right?


The above right picture is what our yard seriously looked like for a MONTH.  I'm not kidding.  It rained SOOOO much in KC this spring that they were so delayed and were always giving excuses as to why they couldn't be out working.  I got some of them, but others I did not.

Needless to say, it was frustrating.  And our dogs were with my parents because they permanently removed part of our fence for their tractors to come in and out.

My dad was out at our house what felt like all the time supervising the project.  He's the best! Just wanted to make sure they did everything just right.  He also helped A TON when it came time for all the finishing touches.  He's quite the skilled electrician so he don't lots of time running new electrical outlets and wires all around so we could plug stuff in as needed. As well as helping jimmy put down a crazy amout of sod.  We ended up buying the sod from the contractor but Jimmy and my dad laid it all down because their timeline just didn't cut it. It was delivered on a Friday and then they spent all Friday and Saturday laying it down- even through the rain!! Like I said. They are the best.

Because the freaking project took SOOOO long, I kind of quit taking pictures (oops).  So this is after the wall is mostly up and the concrete patios are poured - but then there was like another month delay after that because it was never "dry" enough.  Anyways, they missed our deadline (that had LOTS of leeway) of Maddie's birthday party on June 28 - so I told him it HAD to be done by Charlie's party on August 2.  Yeah, the rain sure didn't help.

And yeah, that was a slight set back to the project when Charlie found this "waterfall".  HA.

But finally, the ground was leveled out and the playset arrived.  Jimmy and Casey, my sister's fiance, put it all together and it was SOOO hot.  Needless to say, they are troopers and it looks amazing!!!

The kiddos freaking LOVE it.  We are out there every night!!!

After the hard labor was done, it was my turn to style it.  I found some great patio sitting furniture at that we actually got on a great sale because it was so late in the season (I guess that was the one upside of having it so delayed!!)

See the awesome outside of the play set area to keep the pea gravel in? My dad (per usual) spent so much time working outside to get that all just right.  He had to level it all off and measure it like 40 times.  The pea gravel is awesome though!  I recommend it if you are looking for something under a play set!!

Then I went to Kohl's and found all this outdoor decor on MAJOR sale.  Maddie and I looked crazy walking through the store with it all - but our receipt said we saved $400 and I believe it!!!!!!!!!!

Our dining furniture was from IKEA and we had bought forever ago.  I love it so much and the bench is just great!

We have had two parties now at our house with it and we just love it (besides the minor setback of the sprinkler line busting underneath our river rocks during Charlie's party - yeah - that was too bad for our guests that walked in that moat!!!).  There is enough space for people to sit and eat and then to sit and chat in the 4 chairs.  Our house is a great position because the sun is blocked from the house on the eating party of the patio at about 4:30PM...and then we have an umbrella for the seating area side too!!  We talked about putting on a roof and having a covered patio, but that was a MAJOR expense that we weren't ready for...but maybe someday, right??

For now, we are absolutely loving it and so glad we also upgraded the stone on the retaining wall because it looks amazing!!!!!

Keeping on making our house our home!!!!!!!  And looking forward to some cool fall nights out here with our fire pit as well!

Thanks to all that helped with this project!  It was frustrating because we rarely hire people to do things and when they take way longer than expected- it's super annoying but my dad helped out so much to get everything done in time for Charlie's party!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Birthday week menu time!

Another week, and another Sunday to the store with Charlie after church and cutting up some fruits and veggies and prepping for the week.  Sorry if you get sick of these, but it's nice to have this as a weekly post for me!  I'm going to link up again with Colleen from Meet the Sullivan's

~ Monday ~

Mexican Monday!
Threw some spicy frozen chicken I had made a while back in the crock pot, Jimmy shredded it up and then I made some chicken quesadillas.  Pair them with plain green yogurt versus sour cream and you have yourself a healthy-ish dish!
Black beans (Maddie's FAVORITE!)

~ Tuesday ~

Mama's night out!!  Dinner with a girlfriend and a movie.

BWW - our favorite!!!


Tortellini with pasta sauce - quick and easy and YUMMY!  Maddie loves this stuff (wait, what doesn't she love to eat!?)


Actually heading to Hy-Vee Freezer night.  Need to figure out the logistics of this night, but will likely have sandwiches for my crew to eat.  


I turn 30!!!!!!!  So I'm not cooking.  Sorry family!


Pizza night?  I mean, it's birthday WEEK right, so that means I don't have to cook for at least 2 nights, right?!?!

I haven't been good about work out AT ALL.  So next week, maybe?  I am going to kick off a 21 day fix accountability group that pairs working out with doing a devotional and I'm pretty excited.  The devotional is called "The Husband Project".  


I've been thinking a lot about turning another year older on Friday and what I want to focus on this next year as I enter in a new decade.  Oh 30!  And focusing on myself to make sure I am the best mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend is something that I need to make a priority - so hopefully this combo will kick off my next year just right!!

Happy Bachelor in Paradise Monday!