Hoo boy is it HOT! 92 and humid Friday night, and we had work to do outside no matter what!  Fortunately our work was in the backyard where it’s mostly shaded over at 3:00, so it wasn’t too bad.  Our typical Friday night kicks off with enjoying a beer, but this time we chugged a couple bottles of water instead!

The evening project: Pouring sand onto the patio and sweeping it into the pavers.

Last weekend, Jim pressure washed the patio, taking it from this:


to this:


And after sweeping fresh sand into the cracks, now we have this:


Ta da!

We still need to do another sweeping (or two) to ensure the gaps are completely filled.  This whole process (pressure washing the pavers, removing the mud/moss/sand, resanding the pavers) really brings our patio back to the fresh appearance it had when we first installed it in 2007!  I suppose serious maintenance like this every 6 years isn’t THAT bad, even though it does blow a couple weekends of otherwise free-time.

Saturday we were up at 7, I made coffee and breakfast (omelets for Jim and I, French toast for the girls, Trevor wasn’t home), then went outside just after 9am to start our two major weekend projects: reorganizing the shed and installing shelves and fixing the play structure.   We only had 1.5 hours to work in the morning since the kids had Parkour, but in that short amount of time we unloaded the shed, put together a new shelving unit, cut a sheet of plywood to make a shelf across the back of the shed, reinforced the short wood shelf, and then called it quits until we could resume later.

Here’s what the shed looked like before we got started:



And that was after I took 3 bikes out!

Stay tuned for the outcome.

The Parkour class had A LOT of kids…. I don’t know that we’ll do a noon Saturday class again.  It was a great lesson, though- the primary focus was teaching the kids how to get up walls.  First using a slanted wall to teach the kids to ‘attack’ the wall by running at it, jumping onto it as high as possible and taking another step up for even more height. This wall was probably 10′ or 12′ high?  They weren’t expected to reach the top, just get as high as they can with just ‘stepping’ up it.  The slant makes it easier and not so intimidating, too!

The next lesson was using a slanted vault to teach the kids to ‘attack’ it as well, with the ultimate goal of getting over it without needing to step on the top.  Oh, and you have to do it hands free.  Only 2 people in the class (adult/teen) could do that, the rest of the group could usually land on top of it.

Finally, the instructor had the kids climb the straight walls, teaching them how to pull themselves up.  The key here is once you have your elbows up on the edge, keep your toes ‘in’ the wall and pull your body up (think push-up style) so that you end with straight arms / locked elbows, then put your foot up (not your knees) and step up.

I wasn’t able to video much because of how crowded the class was and how far away some of the lesson was, but here’s a short video clip that shows these techniques.


This class was a great confidence booster for both kids.

On our way home we hit several garage sales.  It was hot and they were horrible garage sales (just a bunch of junk or clothes, nothing good at all), except I did get a new-looking-barely-used infant bouncer in great condition- for just 3-bucks!  Laundered and batteries replaced and now it’s ready for the new baby that will be starting here in 4 weeks!


Except that the baby is a boy- hope the parents don’t mind a PINK bouncer!

We didn’t make it home until 3:00. We were all super hot, tired and hungry!  We drank lots of water before Parkour, at Parkour, and while garage sale-ing, and had more water when we got home.  We had tons of stuff to do still, and planned to work late into the night to get it done in the cooler temps and shade.  We had leftovers for our 3:15 lunch, then took a 45-minute nap!  All of us.  Thank goodness for AC!  Our house was cool enough that we even used blankets for our nap!

Up an at ’em again at 4:15!  The kids went to the pool (it’s mostly shaded over by that point, too) and Jim and I went back to our projects.

First up was cutting the rest of the shelves for the storage shed, and then my job was to put everything back.


Side by side:


Of course we still need to put the bikes back in!

Jim’s job was to take apart the bottom section of the play structure to reinforce it with pressure treated wood.  We had noticed that a couple of the posts were developing rot (there’s 6 points plus a solid base so it’s not like it was compromising the overall safety of the playstructure, but it would eventually if they all developed rot!).  Anyway, I helped Jim with the play structure- cutting each post a couple inches shorter for a cleaner base, then adding reinforcements and a new base wrap.


We still need to put the walls up.  That can be an evening project later this week.

For several years now I’ve wished we could move the play structure over about 2 feet, closer to the neighbor’s fence, because the end that has the swings is just dead space and really doesn’t need to be 4-5′ wide.  It would be fine if there was just a couple feet of walking space.  Moving the playstructure would be impossible, though, because it’s staked DEEP into the ground.  And HEAVY.  But since the stakes were up and the bottom boards were off (making it lighter- ha ha) I thought I’d see if we could move it over a couple feet.  We did it!  Trevor and Riley were home by then (it was probably 8:00) and they each grabbed a post from the swing set end and Jim and I lifted the tower onto some 2×6’s and then pushed the tower so that it slid across the boards- easy peasy!

See the original stake hole?


I measured it- we moved it 20 inches!  Who woulda thunk?  Yippee!

We didn’t stop working until 9:45pm, when we came in and made roast beef sandwiches for dinner- eating those at 10pm.  Showers then bed.

Sunday we were up around 7:30, I made stuffed French toast for breakfast (French Toast filled with cream cheese and raspberries):


We read the paper (ads) then Jim and I headed out for errands.  Primary purpose was to get a rack of ribs for dinner, the secondary purpose was to look at a couple sofas that were on sale.  Cheap sofas.  Our front room sofa was originally from a garage sale and although it was in great shape, it holds a lot of dust.  We’ve cleaned it and cleaned it and after a recent bout of colds and teething babies, I’ve decided fabric couches should not be allowed in childcare.  We wanted to get something leather (or leather-like) because that cleans MUCH easier.   a real leather sofa would be a huge expense risk (pokes, rips, etc.), so likely we would have to settle for something ‘fake’.

Anyway, after looking at several inexpensive sofas, we ended up really liking the sofa that was advertised at Big Lots….the others seemed too fragile and very prone to rips and tears.


Getting it home would be a challenge, though.  Too big for the truck since it has a canopy on it.  But, since it’s slightly less than 8-feet, it would fit in our utility trailer!  And the utility trailer just happened to be empty and usable!  We decided we’d go back later in the evening and pick it up.

We were back home around 11, Jim prepped the ribs then we both headed out to tackle a list of “small” projects.  Ha ha ha.

Small project list consisted of: Pruning the 5 hanging baskets, removing the fencing surrounding the laceleaf that Nikita ate (it’s growing!), cutting back the spent lilies, putting solar lights around the yard (they were being stored in the shed- a brand new box!), spraying round-up and weeding, taking the fountain apart in the front yard and resetting the base, more sweeping sand, and cleaning up from the projects on Saturday.

All of these “little” tasks took hours and hours because it was so hot we had to keep stopping and taking breaks, or waiting for that area to shade over.  I think it was 96-degrees.  Yowza.  Twice I became overheated and got shaky and had to stop.  I probably drank about 140 ounces of water, too!  It was simply too hot.

The entire time we were working- the girls were playing with a giant slip-n-slide….running the water for a solid 2.5 hours.


I’m expecting a huge water bill.

At 6pm we came inside to clean up and be done for the day…it was too hot outside to do anything.  We certainly weren’t going to finish the play structure.  And we couldn’t finish the fountain until we can get the ground to dry out around it a bit more and we can evaluate the water flow.   So now our front entry focal point looks like this:


Ugly.  Under construction.

It was still 92 outside (in the shade!) and 76 inside the house with the AC running full-time (I do keep it at 76), and the ribs were just about done cooking, when the power went out.  Crud.  I ended up leaving to go pick up the sofa (we’ve learned that if I take Jim with me to get large items, they expect him to help load that big item, but if I go alone, they tend to find more workers to load and I can just stand there!  Jim can stay home and do something productive).  So the girls and I headed to Big Lots towing our utility trailer behind us- it fit PERFECT (we are so glad we had the idea to extend the trailer from a 6-foot to an 8-foot!) but back at home we had to wait for the power to come back on before we were willing to leave our front door open long enough to haul that bad boy in.  Anticipated power return wasn’t until 8:45pm.  We ate dinner (it was about 7:45 by then) and then I went out to feed the dogs and water the plants and do some random clean up (like raking the flattened grass back upright).

The house was 78-degrees inside in just that 2 hour span (ewwww), and we were super excited with the power kicked back on at 8:30!

We brought the sofa in and called it a night!  It’s quite a bit taller and beefier than the old one, which is now listed on Craigslist.  Hopefully someone comes and gets it soon!  In the meantime, the new couch is the “reading couch” and you can only sit on it if you are reading (whatever works as motivation, right?)!