Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More Deck Progress

Brian worked all weekend on the deck. It is looking REALLY good and we are getting really excited about the plans we ultimately have for our yard. The deck just has to get finished first (oh and we still need to get the tax credit money that we get for buying our first home!).
Here's Brian working hard to get the joist hangers nailed in.
Using a scrap board as a spacer.
The next morning, Brian and I measured what each joist should be and then he cut them all as I took the van to the dealership for new tires. Later that day, he got to nail all the joists into the hangers.
Just a few more to do!!!

Here's what it looks like as of now.

If you're wondering if I do any work, the answer would be yes! Someone has to operate the camera! :-) I do help, I just can't take pictures and be in them at the same time. I probably had the grossest job out of all of them and put down the weed block, even the pieces that Koa had convienently peed on. However, if we had to name just one person who built this deck, it would definitely be Brian. He has worked SO hard on this project! I am very proud of what he has accomplished so far and can't wait to see the finished project. I know he's ready to see it as well...and be able to enjoy the deck that he built himself.


Since having to dig the footings for the deck, we have had one DIRTY house. We've also had some dirty kids! The soil here isn't much soil...mostly sand instead. It's everywhere. The kids used to track it in anyway, but now it seems as if they are bringing in buckets-full everytime they play outside! I will be glad when the deck is finished and they can roll around in the dirt underneath it anymore!
Here's an example of what Colten looks like when he comes in from the back:
The picture was taken with my flash on, so there's some detail lost. It looked MUCH worse in person!
Here's what the floor looks like at the back door when it's time for the kids to come in.
They usually wear sandals outside, so that's why it's footprints. I don't let them run around out back without shoes right now. Our yard is just not a great place for that right now.
So, anyone want to come help clean my house? :-)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Phase 1 of 'Project Deck'

Yep, we're doing it ourselves. A deck is being built and we didn't hire someone to do it for us. Yes, we are doing it in the middle of this HOT HOT HOT summer. Yes, we are crazy. Crazy is good, right?
We looked into expanding our existing patio by getting concrete poured. It was expensive. We were also not real thrilled that it would just be this big expanse of concrete. A deck seemed cheaper and would add in a different element to the yard. We looked up decks on the internet, bought a book at Home Depot about building decks and looked at the internet some more. We found a site that would do your plans for you, based on using a pier system. No digging...sounded easy and more convienent. We printed the plans and the materials list and bought what we needed.
THEN, we thought that maybe we might need a permit. I looked up the info, called the county and found out we DID need a permit. The next day, I got our plans all together and loaded up the kids. We drove to the permit office and filled out all the paperwork. Right before we left, the clerk thought to take the plans to the inspector who was in the office to see if we would need to leave the decking off the frame to be inspected (since we were building a platform deck and there wouldn't be any room to look at all that if we put the decking on there).
Our plans wouldn't pass code. Darn. We were going to have to dig after all! We were going to need to draw up new plans. I tried the rest of the afternoon to understand decking and building this thing to code. This stressed me out. I even lost sleep over it one night...waking up multiple times from deck dreams and then not being able to go back to sleep because I was thinking about it. I told Brian to return everything and we would hire someone or just do the patio. Planning this thing to these certain specifications was too hard. Hormones, anyone? :-)
Since I refused to think about it anymore (remember, I was wanting to hire someone to do this), I calmed down and we were able to redo plans (and take 2 feet off the deck to make this part easier). Got the plans drawn up on the computer and took them to the permit office again (yes, with 2 kids in tow again!).
This time, we were approved! We dug the holes for the footings and called for the inspector to come out and inspect our holes. This was required before we could do anything else. I waited ALL day long. They were supposed to be here "anytime between 8 and 4."
I called the office and was told that our inspection had been disapproved because there were no permits and no footings dug. Obviously, they didn't come to MY house! There is another house in our neighborhood that has the same number as us. Its the same floor plan even AND is on the corner of our street and the other street. So, we've had a few people stop at that house when they were supposed to come to our house. Brian called back and they got ahold of the inspector. He was kind enough to drive all the way back out to our house, despite being almost home (40 miles from our house!). We were approved and could now move forward with our project.
Brian has done a lot of work out there. I help as much as I can, but it's hard with 2 kids. They are usually out there doing something or another and it's usually not something they are supposed to be doing! Here's a shot of the beams against the house and the outside beam waiting to be put up.
Brian taking a small breather and figuring out what to do next. We had just gotten the concrete in one of the holes to set the post.
The 2x8 is just there for a moment. It has since been attached to another 2x8 to be a double beam and has been bolted to the posts.
Taking a break with Colten...who decided that the 2x8 was a balance beam.
So cute!
I'll have more pictures posted as we get further along. We are hoping to have everything done except the decking by the end of the weekend. The inspector has to look at it all before we put the decking on and then I think he has to come back out for the final inspection with everything put together (with the step included). We have plans for some other things in the yard as well...I'll post pictures as we get all that stuff done (or are in the process of putting it in!).

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Our neighborhood is still in the process of being built. The houses next to us are in the last stages of construction and Austin decided to go watch the men that were working one day. Brian was outside doing something and came in to tell me to come look at Austin.
This is what I saw:
Apparently, construction is pretty entertaining to a 5 year old.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Play Ball

So, when you have an older brother that plays baseball, I guess you just automatically think YOU need to be playing baseball! At least, this is the case with OUR boys!
Colten has taken a HUGE interest in baseball. So much so that he fights over the tee with Austin. Good thing Austin is starting to be pitched to instead of using the tee all the time!

This is basically how it goes...he, very carefully, places the ball on the tee.

He then takes his bat and gets ready to swing. Sometimes it takes a little longer as he does this little waggle thing and winds up a couple of times, but eventually he takes his swing.

He hits the ball pretty well and seems to be hitting left handed about 90% of the time. Not sure if this is learned from Austin or if it's just more comfortable for him...I guess we'll see how it goes over the next few years.

He usually gets too big for his britches and gets ahold of his brother's bat and tries that out. It's a tad too heavy for him though and he's taken a few hits to the head. The kid's got a hard head though, so it rarely phases him!

Last night at practice, Austin took his hat off to put a helmet on (love this facial expression! Too funny!) and Colten decided that he wanted to wear something of Austin's.

He also decided to pick up someone's bat and I snapped this picture just in time! I think I have a picture of Austin wearing Nathan's hat just like this when we were in Hawaii and Nathan was playing baseball. I'll have to dig it out and post it when I have time!
Anyway, I think Daddy is pretty proud that his boys are taking after him and loving baseball! I think we'll enjoy all the years of watching them play...even through the heat of the summer (or any other weather for that matter!).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Playground Fun

After unpacking, organizing and taking care of appointments at the house, the kids and I were MORE than ready to get out of the house for some fun. I figured since we didn't know much about the area playgrounds, we would try and find some at Linden Oaks, a military housing community not far from our house.
We found this playground surrounded by trees, so it was nice and shady. It was a little run down, but the kids seemed to like it. I think the biggest problem is that was next to the community pool...a pool we can't use unless we know someone who lives there (even though I think that as long as you are military you should be able to use it, but let's not go there).
Anyway, there was a climbing wall to get up onto the decking at one part of the playground and the boys had a blast climbing it (or climbing down in Colten's case).

I'm not sure what he was cracking up at, but he thought something was pretty funny.

Colten did pretty well climbing down. Yes, I am the type of mom who lets her toddler play on equipment that isn't "rated" for his age. He has fun, I watch to make sure he doesn't get hurt and everyone is happy. :-)

Austin got a little bored with this playground, so I doubt we'll go there very often. There are a few others that I have seen that will probably be better suited for him. We just wanted to explore a little and see if we could find some hidden ones.
After playing, we went to lunch at McDonalds and then headed home for naptime/chore time. This week, Austin started having "chore time" with me during Colten's nap. He's always done things around the house when we asked and LOVES to do some chores. However, I wanted to start keeping track of this and making it a part of our schedule. He's going to be getting a weekly allowance (that we haven't really decided on!) and he's excited to be getting his own money to spend however he wants. He already has something in mind for his first week's allowance!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Heart Faces - Babies

I haven't participated in I Heart Faces in a while...I've been busy with moving and other things and just blogging for family and friends has been hard at times, much less getting involved in a photography blog!

This week, however, is a different story! This week's challenge is all about BABIES! I have been drawn to newborn photography for a while, but expecting our third baby boy has fueled this even moreso lately. So, when my friend, Laura had her baby boy soon after we moved into the area, I begged her to let me take his pictures!

I am not a professional by any means. I'm just a girl with a camera habit. :-) No classes taken, no workshops attended, but a lot of surfing the internet and stalking photographers that DO know what they are doing! Heck, I don't even have Photoshop!

So, here's the photo. It was really hard to pick because I am happy with so many of them, but I love how content and sweet he looks in this picture.


I just want to say that newborns are HARD! They may look easy because it looks like they just lay there, but I worked my butt off and was sweating a lot by the time I was done. It was fun though! Anthony is so cute and I'm glad I got to document this time for his parents. They grow so much in that first year and it's always so hard to believe they were this little at one time.

Go check out the other fun Baby-related entries at I Heart Faces (you can click HERE or on the button above).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Little Big Brother

This boy doesn't exactly understand what he is in for come September.

He'll have a little brother soon, but he's still so little himself!

I'm sure that he'll do fine...eventually!

Until September, he'll continue to enjoy the time he has as the "baby" of the family. We'll just have to figure out the rest as it happens.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Backyard Pool

As much as I would LOVE to have an inground pool in our backyard, it's just not in the budget! However, a smaller, plastic baby pool is!
We were able to fill the pool up the other day and the kids really enjoyed it! Austin was dying to go in, but I wouldn't let him until his brother woke up from a nap. I'm such a mean Mommy!
As soon as they got in, Austin started being a big brother and was trying to pour water over his little brother's head!
After being told not to, he decided he would just pour it over his brothers chest instead. A much better idea and Colten enjoyed it.
Just a cute picture that looks like they have some inside joke going on.
Mommy pulled the slide over and put that in the pool so they could have a water slide. We opted to buy the pool without a slide so there would be more room to play in, but since we already have a small slide, we have this option as well! :-) Colten's turn came up and this is what it looked like (complete with Big Brother giving him a little "encouraging" push).
pool collage smaller
Of course, Austin is a little big for this slide, but that didn't stop him!
So thankful for a cool pool on a hot day!
Daddy had a contribution to the fun as well...can you tell what it was?
And can you guess how this contribution was used???
Overall, a very good purchase. One that will provide a lot of fun this summer!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Shooting Lesson and Dip in the Pool

We went to Greensboro to visit Brian's Uncle Mike and Aunt Kay. It's only an hour and 40 minutes or so from us and it was great to be able to go and visit them! We left a little later than we wanted, but once we got there, we got to see their gorgeous house and eat a delicious lunch!
After lunch, Uncle Mike gave Austin a shooting lesson. Austin was really excited about this, but didn't think I would let him shoot it. I told him it was ok since there were adults there with him and that he needed to listen very carefully.

Uncle Mike was very patient with him.
Daddy was also there with him every step of the way. Austin's left handed in some things, so we weren't sure which way he would shoot. We'll see if things change over time as far as that goes. He got to keep one of the shells since it was his first time and he was really excited about that!
After Colten had an afternoon nap, Kay took the kids and I to their community pool while the big guys went to a shooting range.
At first, Colten was a little apprehensive about getting out into the deep water. He held onto me pretty tight as I walked around the pool. I think it was just so big to him that he wasn't sure what was going on! He quickly realized Mommy wasn't going to let him drown, so he started splashing and having fun. He let Kay take him so I could go to the restroom and then I took some pictures.

Austin went right in. He loved having the water ring to swim around the pool with (the deepest part was 5 ft). He would jump into the pool from the side and had a blast. I really need to look into some swimming lessons for him this summer...although, he says he want them...that he'll just sink. :-)
By the end of the pool time, we had Colten jumping off the side of the pool into my arms. Some of the time I would keep his head above the water and sometimes I'd let him go under a bit. He loved it no matter what and would just wipe his face off after he went under. I think we have a little fishy in this one!
We headed back to the house for a quick dinner (with a yummy dessert first) and then had to get on the road to go back home. Our doggies were shut up in our bathroom all day and we needed to get back home. It was a wonderful day and we can't wait to get back up there to spend more time with Uncle Mike and Aunt Kay!

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Bed

Austin has been wanting a bunk bed for a while now. We wanted something that he (or his brothers) would use for a while and while we had a really hard time finding just what we were looking for, we finally found something that could work!

Since he refused to sleep in his other bed (darn aliens!), we sold it and had plans to find a bunk bed for Austin. We almost bought one in Arkansas, but it was on back order and wouldn't have made it to us in time for our movers to pack it. We searched here in NC and finally found a bed that we liked and we knew would last. It's a traditional bunk bed, but we turned it into a loft by leaving one of the mattress supports off. The boys now have a good play area underneath, while Austin is happy that he's sleeping "up high."
The ladder can be moved so that Colten doesn't climb up there during the day. It's a good thing too, because it's one of his favorite places to be! He has no fear, so he's not very safe up there. I have visions of him tumbling head first off of it at some point!
Austin also got a new bedding set. He is really into the army stuff right now, so he was really happy with it. His first sleeping in the bed, he had the giant bear in the bed with him. We didn't do that the next night (or since) because he said that it was crowded up there and that it hurt to sleep because he didn't have any room to move. Our boy is used to having a full sized bed, I guess!
I know at some point, Austin will want something else. Something cooler or older. We planned for that! This bed can come apart and be two twin beds for the younger boys and then when they are both old enough for bunk beds, we'll turn it back into a bunk bed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Obstacles

With a new house comes new obstacles! Colten has figured out that he can climb up the barstools. Oh, but he doesn't stop there!!!

This is just one picture, but he does this ALL the time. Nothing is safe anymore. There are two more stools at the counter that are close to the water facet and he loves to climb up there and turn the water on and off. If he sees Austin's drink on the table, he'll climb up onto the stools at the table (even if they are pushed all the way in) and steal it.
Of course, climbing the chairs isn't the only thing. He loves the stairs. We had to put up gates at the top and bottom of the stairs to keep him safe (this was already planned, but we actually brought a baby gate for the bottom of the stairs so we didn't have to wait for the movers to bring it). When we first got here, we put up the gate and found him on the stairs anyway! We figured out that we had to turn it backwards with the clasp towards the stairs so he couldn't use it to climb.
He also loves his brother's new bunkbed. We have to put the ladder up on the bed when they are in the room playing so he doesn't scamper up the ladder and be on top of the bed. He has no fear, so I know he would take that tumble soon!
Colten is also saying a few words. He said "outside" the other day. He has been saying "uh oh" for a while now and he says "hiya" every now and then. In just the last few days, he has been calling something "baa baa." I think he's calling his pacifier that, but he won't call it "baa baa" when I show it to him. He just acts really excited when I show it to him after he's been asking for "baa baa." While he does say yes or no yet, he definitely shakes his head the correct way. His "yes" is a very dramatic head nod with a definite GRUNT. He knows what he wants, when he wants it. :-)
I have been reminded lately of how hard it is to take this age of kid out in public. He has so much energy, doesn't listen very well and is VERY loud. If we are in a place where we don't use the stroller, I regret it immediately. I am exhausted by the time we get back to the car and feel as if I have been in a wrestling match! Back when Austin was this age, I thought it couldn't get worse...well, Colten has shown me that it can and DID get worse! I love him though and he makes me laugh just as much as he makes me want to yell! LOL
Lots of new obstacles...and many more to come!
Update: Later today, he has also said the words baby, cookie and duckie. I'm interested to see if he still knows them tomorrow or if he'll continue with learning new words in the upcoming days!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


WARNING: Lots of pictures. Just sayin....
I'll start by saying that Austin LOVES baseball. He doesn't really have the focus to watch it for any length of time, but he really does love the sport. He especially loves to play. Before we moved, I looked into leagues in North Carolina. I couldn't find any that started after we moved. They all started in March/April from what I could tell. So we asked him if he wanted to join a league in Arkansas, but that he wouldn't be able to finish, or did he want to just skip this summer and try and do something else when we moved to NC. He chose to play as much as he could and we signed him up for a league in Fayetteville, AR.
After we had already started the league, I was on a site for Fort Bragg wives and someone mentioned that the Fayetteville (NC) YMCA had baseball starting in May. I looked into it and they started right after we moved there! I called, got him signed up and then we told Austin. He was SO excited!
The first practice was 6 days after we got into town. We showed up for practice and they gave them their shirts and hats and a schedule for the games. Their first game was the NEXT day! Wow! They move fast!
This is Austin on the day of his first game. He was really happy they were the green team...his favorite color is green!
Little brother makes it hard to watch the game, but he is following in his Daddy and Brother's footsteps and wanting to play too!
Watching from behind the fence.
Waiting for his turn to bat.
All ready to play...even has his batting gloves on!
Proud Daddy and little brother (aka The Rugrat!).
On deck.
In this league, they do a combination of coach pitch/t-ball. Each player gets 3 pitches from the coach. If they don't get a hit, they get a chance with the tee. The coach was pitching a little high to Austin, but at this age, they think they have to swing at everything!
First time up, he didn't get a hit from the first three pitches, but hit a great hit off the tee. I don't know when he started letting go of the bat with one of his hands, but I guess he thought it looked cool.
Colten was getting tired of watching at this point. I brought the soccer ball thinking he would play with it, but all he did with it was use it as a chair.
Austin's second time at bat, he hit one of the pitched balls! We knew he could do it, as he's been doing it for a while in the backyard. Aunt Nancy bought him a kids pitching machine, so he's been practicing. It meant a lot to him to do it in the game though!
Running from 2nd to 3rd. Brian says he looks faster than he did last year. :-)
Getting some instruction from a Dad at 3rd base.
Sliding into home...something he does almost everytime. :-)
Austin had a blast. He and Daddy have worked on some things since this game and he's really excited for his next practice and then for the next game. One of the things they've been working on has been what to do when going up to bat. Before, he would walk up there and act like he had no clue what to do. He bats left handed and he would let the coach set him up to hit right handed. He would just stand there waiting for him/her to position his legs and everything. At home, he knows exactly what to do. So, Daddy has been working with him and we're hoping he gets up there and does it himself!
All I know is that Austin has been hitting the heck out of the ball lately and his confidence is soaring! I can't wait to watch him this weekend!