Tuesday, April 23, 2013

slightly better outdoors

Front door is painted.  Awhile back I discovered oil-rubbed bronze spraypaint and finally bought some last weekend.  I've now ORBed the door handle, the wreath hanger, and the flag pole.  It's been an ORBing frenzy over here.  I think I may be getting somewhere with the curb appeal thing. 

So tell me, does the door look obviously blue?  Or would you just think the house looks nicer but not be able to put your finger on why?  (Before (which used to be the After) and the new After)

Yeah, it looks blue.  I hope no one turns me in.

Monday, April 15, 2013

the great outdoors

It used to be the meh outdoors.  If you recall, the front yard started like this:

I must apologize again for the crappy before pictures.  Anyway, the front beds contained FOUR sago palms.  These are not my favorite plants.  Not even my favorite palms.  I in no way felt like they belonged in the front yard of our house.  We also had a wall of oleander.  I don't mind them but I don't appreciate them being planted right in front of my dining room windows.  Lordy, people.  Do me a favor.  If you decide to plant something in the ground?  Read the tag that comes with it.  Plants are like puppies--they get bigger.  Anyway, we also had a mishmash of three different kinds of hardscape (none that I like) and a TON of this crazy groundcover (see front left of the photo above).  And some poorly placed shrubs.

So I enlisted the help of nice people who found my ads on Craigslist.  They came and dug out about 90% of the groundcover I hated.  I gave it to them for free.  Same thing with the palms.  They were so big that they had to be pulled out of the ground with a suburban.  It was awesome to watch.  It was more awesome that all this labor was done by folks who gladly took away things I hated.  Win-win.

Then we removed most of the hardscape.  I need to figure out what I want to replace it with and I also want a new outdoor light and am going to paint the front door (please don't tell my HOA) and would love window boxes on the second floor windows and am going to remove the beds around the trees so that there's just grass and will move what turned out to be day lilies to a different area and...  Obviously this is a work in progress but we've made SO MUCH PROGRESS!

Ahem.  Here's the current "after."

I did nothing to the brick.  It looks like such a different color in this picture but it's more accurate than the "before."  I know, I keep getting side-tracked.  You'll also notice our new windows.  I think they make the house look better since they have wider frames and blend less with the rest of the house.  And we got a different style half-circle window above the door that I love.  And, of course, there's the requisite American flag.

I kept what I could live with but had to move a lot of stuff around.  I did a lot of browsing around in the neighborhood to see what I liked about folks' front yard.  It came down to liking repeated elements (plantings), front beds that carried around to the side of the house (we're working on that), and some degree of symmetry.  I also wanted low-maintenance, flowers,interest for every season, and an area for annuals since I do enjoy periodic yardwork.  We both wanted trees.  He's kind of blendy (the uplight is pointed at him) but we got this little guy, a Dwarf Japanese Maple.

His foliage really goes well with the color of the house but he'll also be a fancy orange in the fall.  In the background is our peach tree.  She has beautiful blooms in the spring that are a darker pink than peach trees usually have.  We also plan to have a more mature tree installed on the left side of the yard.

I also planted knock-out roses, white azaleas, society garlic, dusty miller, pentas, and verbena.  Everything is a shade of pink, purple, or white.  I planted another camellia on the left side of the sidewalk (blooms in winter) and will eventually match the one on the right.  The plantings around the camellias are symmetrical as well. 

And the front of the beds (next to the sidewalk) are for my annuals.  We finished mulching everything this weekend.  I also hung up a little bird feeder in front of my office window and added a pot to the front porch.  It's coming along.  Feels a little bit more like me now.  Feels a little bit more like we actually live here.

Monday, April 01, 2013

eighth month

My goodness this was a busy month, Buns!  Yesterday especially.  We took so many pictures and had so many wardrobe changes.  But more on that later.

You have gotten so big!  I think you're around 20 pounds now.  Still a good 10 pounds lighter than your sister (which makes a world of difference) but you're so squirmy that you're hard to hold sometimes.  You still love being held, though.  You're in 9-month clothes.  We had to buy some the other day since Mama was still trying to squeeze you into some 3-6 month stuff.

You've gotten better at eating solids and have 3 meals a day.  You've tried yogurt now and had meat once (chicken).  We've tried to give you finger foods (peas, puffs, bread) a few times and it's hit-n-miss.  You have managed to squeak out 2 teeth, though!  I swear, they've looked ready to pop through for months now.  You're still on the bottle.  Mama wants to try to get you started on a sippy cup.  Still a lover of the paci.

I guess the biggest excitement this month developmental-wise is that we bit the bullet and pushed through with sleep training.  We moved you into your room (finally!) and you sleep through the night maybe 1/3 to half the time.  Sometimes you just need your paci in the middle of the night and it's a pretty quick endeavor.  Sometimes you're hungry but that's happening less and less.  You do wake up too early for my taste, however.  Somewhere between 5:00 and 6:00 most mornings.  You have a bottle, though, and are often back to sleep until about 7 or 7:30.  If only we could push that feeding out till then.  And if we're talking dream world, I'd also like it if you went to bed a little earlier than 9.  But that's just me.

You sit like a champ.  Still don't like tummy time so you quickly roll yourself over to your back.  You've learned to go from sitting to lying on your stomach but not the other way around.  You scoot some while lying on your back sometimes. One of our neighbors said her daughter crawled for about a day and then walked.  Perhaps that will be you.  You do like standing (assisted).  While you're taking your time with this movement thing, that doesn't mean you're still.  So many pictures have blurry parts these days.

You chatter but still nothing that sounds like a word.  Lots of squeals and giggling.  Still tons of smiles. It makes people around you so happy.  You love people, playing with toys, being outside, the exersaucer, being tickled.  I think you still prefer me but you're liking Daddy more lately (not that you disliked him but this morning you cried when he walked away and I was right there--that's never happened).

Let's see.  Mama went out-of-town for work for two nights.  One of those you and your sister spent with your grandparents.  That was a first.  Mama and Daddy have made plans to leave y'all both for a few nights in May.  Hopefully that will go well, too.

This month you celebrated your first St. Patrick's Day. You looked so cute.  We went out to eat (Mexican food--I don't know) with your grandparents and auntie.  We took obligatory bluebonnet pictures.  You were so compliant!  Yesterday was your first Easter.  It's funny that both you and your sister had monthiversaries on Easter your first year.  (She turned 3 months old that year.)  We were able to spend a lot of time with both sides of the family.  You looked very dashing.  I always thought little girls would be more fun to dress up (and they are fun) but I've been having a good time with you, too.  Already have plans for your Easter outfit for next year.

And, finally, we went to Opening Day last night.  It was your first baseball game (out of the womb).  I can't believe it was your sister's THIRD Opening Day.  I love that we started this tradition before I even met your Daddy and that we've continued it, now with many more people.  Time goes by so quickly.  Buns, there will be times in your life where you can't wait for the future and times where you long for the past.  You just have to try to live in the moment and enjoy it all.  People will try to impart that knowledge on you but it won't make sense until you're ready for it to (that happens a lot).  So that's what Mama's doing.  Trying to enjoy the moment.  There are many good ones.