Tuesday, July 31, 2007

what happens when ben finds mommy's camera...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

15 things i love right now...

(For KatieJ's Blog Challenge)

  1. Sleep!
  2. Curling up with a good book
  3. Sweet little kisses from Benjamin
  4. Pepsi Lime
  5. Scrapping!
  6. Spending time with my online friends
  7. Iced Chai Tea Latte from Panera
  8. When we have "enough" money... enough to pay bills, plus enough for some fun extras
  9. Big Brother
  10. Stepping on the scale and seeing a lower number than last time!
  11. Dark chocolate
  12. Hugs from my kiddos
  13. Flowers
  14. My house
  15. Spending time with family (my parents, sister, in-laws, etc.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

gardens, before and after

I finally got around to scanning some pics I've taken of the changes we've been making in our landscaping this year. I've been meaning to post these for a couple months now, LOL! We've made relatively small changes, but they sure do make a difference in our yard.

This is the first year we've done any work in our backyard. I started by digging along the fence by the eastern gate. This area used to be all weeds and grass, plus one lonely wild rose bush and a few scraggly hostas and tiger lilies. This is how it looked when I first started digging:

This is when we were about half-finished: And this is how it looked when we were done. This pic was taken back in April ~ the garden is much fuller now. I planted a blueberry bush at the end there, plus some blue balloon flowers and several astilbe plants (different colors) which are not in this picture:
My plan is to eventually continue this garden all the way along the fence ~ that will mean a lot more digging, though!
Here is the western gate. I forgot to take a before picture, but all that was back here in the past was some dirt and a bunch of weeds. I cleared it out, added the mulch, the fern that is shown here, some lily-of-the-valley (which didn't take, unfortunately), and a bleeding heart plant. We are hoping to eventually put pavers where all that dirt is, to make a pretty walkway into the backyard:

This is George's big project, and we are all so pleased with how it turned out! The eastern side of our house used to look like this ~ yuck! (Actually, I never did get a BEFORE before pic ~ when we first moved in, there were 2 hugely overgrown bushes along here ~ you couldn't even get through this area to enter the gate!):

This spring, George started building a low stone wall along the house, for us to use as a planter. He and the kids bought me a 2nd lilac bush for Mother's Day, which you can see in the middle of the photo:
He finally finished the project last month, and it just looks awesome! The wisteria that I planted last year has now grown all the way up that lattice trellis. The flowers in the whiskey barrel (purple verbena, orange marigolds, and yellow daisies) look so pretty! And I planted some red coral bells in between the lilac bushes:
This is another project that came out great, though it might be hard to tell from the pictures. This "little" corner of land (which did not seem so little as I was digging it all out!) was another weedy area that was difficult to mow. That big rock was originally closer to the street (in that dirt spot), but over the winter, the snow plow hit it and upended it. We rolled that very heavy thing over (with help from 4 teenage boys!) so that it will not be in the way of the snow plow any more.
I just love how this garden came out ~ the rock is a favorite place to go and sit now, and the plants are all doing wonderfully there. (This pic was taken shortly after planting ~ they have all grown quite a bit since then!) We planted purple coneflowers, sage, blue festuca grass, coreopsis, and dwarf fountain grass. Our neighbors have all commented on how nice it looks:

There are a few other projects I've done, but I realized today that I hadn't taken any "after" pics yet. I did that this afternoon, so will share those when they've been developed....

Here are a couple more pics of the front of our house. When we moved in, there were big ugly bushes covering up all of the porch railing ~ I am so glad we got rid of those and turned the area into a garden instead! This pic was taken in April:
And this was taken at the end of June ~ the plants are growing like gangbusters, despite the lack of rain!:
It's all been a lot of work, but it's definitely been worth it!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

change of plans

By now, Dad, Christine, Em, and Nick are on Day 2 of their Boundary Waters adventure. (Sure hope they're not getting too much rain!) Benjamin and I are at home, though, not in Ames as planned. Mom's recovery is going well, but she wasn't feeling up to having company this week. So, instead, George and I drove the kiddos up to Minneapolis on Saturday. It was a looooong trip that included lots of back roads, because of a bad accident near Rockford, IL. We stayed at a hotel that night, and then met up with Dad and Christine on Sunday. Em and Nick went up to northern MN with them, and the rest of us headed back home.

It is definitely quieter around here with Em and Nick gone... and cleaner, too! LOL! Ben and I ran errands yesterday, and now are having a day at home today. (Though we did go out for a walk in this VERY humid weather ~ we were both glad to get back into the air conditioned house!) I'm hoping I can actually get some things done this week (including some scrapping!)... we'll see....

Monday, July 02, 2007

i AM alive...

I know some of you out there were probably wondering, LOL. Sorry I've been such a bad blogger lately. I think this summer has been even busier than the school year was....

I actually made it through the month of May walking every single day! I made it through most of June, too, though missed 3 days towards the end of the month. I had been doing really well with the weight loss for about 6 weeks there... I'm now down 23 pounds from January... but things have kinda tapered off now, and I'm trying to keep myself from becoming too discouraged and giving up.

The kids got out of school on the 4th of June... it feels like forever ago! June was jam-packed with things to do. Nick and I met my friends Jeanne, Kim, and Katie at a dairy farm in Indiana one day, and had a moo-velous time there! :o) The following week I saw the same 3 friends and several others at a scrapbooking retreat near Indianapolis ~ we had a TON of fun, and I got a bunch of scrapping done!

All 3 kids had swimming lessons for 2 weeks. Ben sure does love the water! (Though he's not too happy when Mama dunks him under! But he does keep his mouth closed!)

George and I celebrated our 39th birthdays in June. Well, we took George out for supper and I baked him his favorite chocolate chip bars. My birthday was kind of an afterthought, as usual ~ but the kids and I did meet our friends Karen and David for lunch that day, and we did get take-out from Chipotle for supper, at least. I've already decided that I'm throwing a party for myself next year, and ALL my friends are invited, so mark your calendars! It'll be the whole weekend of the 13th... hope you'll join me! :o)

Last week was VBS at our church, always a busy, crazy week, but fun, too. I helped out in the craft room as usual... and helped tie dye about 170 shirts!

Last week was also our 15th wedding anniversary. We did absolutely nothing for it, and I am still a bit grumpy about that.... George didn't even remember it ~ I had to tell him around 6pm what day it was... grrrr.....

On Saturday, George went to the optometrist and got his very first pair of glasses. We are all trying to get used to them, LOL! He's needed them for years, but never made an appointment. I finally set one up for him the week before. He is amazed by all the things that he can see now!

This coming weekend we'll be traveling to Ames, and then Em and Nick will be driving up to the Boundary Waters on Sunday with Dad and Christine for a camping and canoeing trip. I was supposed to go, as well, but Mom just had surgery on her shoulder last Friday, and won't be able to take care of Benjamin as planned, so I will be staying in Ames with the 2 of them. I'm disappointed, but there aren't really any other options. :o(

I was tagged by Pam last week, and am supposed to list 7 random facts about myself. Hmmm... here goes...

  1. I actually enjoy weeding my gardens.
  2. I have very little will power when it comes to food, LOL! If it's something I love and it's in the house... I just have to eat it. That isn't very helpful for my diet!
  3. I am hooked on reality shows, and am so excited that my very favorite one (Big Brother) starts back up this week!
  4. The color blue makes me happy!
  5. I wish that I could spend more time with my sister... I miss her! (I think that's the thing that disappoints me the most about missing out on the camping trip... I'd really been looking forward to spending the whole week with her.)
  6. I love cats and wish dh wasn't sooooo allergic to them so that I could have one.
  7. I hate mushrooms. Ick!

Random enough for you? LOL If you haven't already been tagged with this one, consider yourself tagged now! :o)

I probably won't get a chance to post any more this week (way too much to do before our trip!), and I don't know if I'll even get online next week while I'm in Ames. Hopefully I can get back in the groove the week after that, though!

Hope you all have a wonderful 4th! We will be heading into the city tomorrow for the Taste of Chicago and the fireworks, then plan to grill on Wednesday and go to the fireworks here....