Thursday, August 18, 2016

Nearly completed pool post!

I've shared some pictures of our new pool, but since then, we've had a few things done to nearly finish the project.

Our pool guy installed a marble slab at the spot where the hot tub spills over to the pool.  This made a huge difference since now instead of just flowing flush to the ledge, there's a waterfall effect & I love the noise & ambiance it gives!


Our yard is definitely not complete but we've made a TON of headway by tackling the landscaping around the pool cage.  What a job that was!  I was exhausted with just going to the nursery & selecting plants in the sweltering sun & that was just a tiny piece of the puzzle!  I don't have a green thumb in any way shape or form & I know little to nothing about plants, other than what I like the look of.  I had an idea in my mind & it ended up being very easy to pick what & how many plants we wanted to surround the cage.  It took us two days working for many hours in the insane heat to get the job done, but it really looks great, minus the dirt beyond.

 Lord knows we don't need it right now, but we also put our fire pit back up in anticipation the the colder months that will eventually come.  Our vacation put a hitch in our work, so this weekend we're going to level out the ground with a rake & put down grass seed.  In a month or so, our yard should finally, hopefully be back to normal.  It probably cost us about $300 in landscaping, but had we done it professionally, it would've been more than $1000.  As we were pouring sweat & nearly keeling over from heat exhaustion, I wished that I had endless money with no budget!!  

Our cats have been absolutely loving the outdoor lifestyle!  We leave our slider open a crack while we're home so they can come in & out as they like.

Mike wanted to get an outdoor pet bed for the animals & so far we've only seen K.C. (above cat) in it twice!  They'd rather be lounging on the hard concrete than this nice hammock!  As you can see from the stack of rafts strewn in the corner, we need to get something to contain them.

I had this in mind from Amazon.

A bought a few inexpensive terra cotta pots from Walmart & spray painted them to add a pop of color to the patio.

We ran to Lowe's, had them cut us a board, picked out some hooks, gave it a quick splash of turquoise spay paint & Mike drilled it into the wall for a DIY towel rack.  Love it!  It was Mike's idea that the two hooks on each end be dragonflies. He's crafty like that!

In the circle above, you can see that they extended the pavers beyond the screen so that we'd have a pad to put our grill & smoker.

I still pinch myself every time I sit out here or jump in the pool... I cannot believe our dream pool has come true!
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to school!

It's very hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that today kicks off the school year!  Summer went by way too quickly. 


My big guy started second grade today!!  Cameron wasn't able to meet his teacher last week during the open house since we were in Georgia on vacation so he walked into his classroom blindly this morning.  

I took the day off today so I could get them to school without the added stress of racing to work after.  Cam was as cool as a cucumber & totally unphased by the fact he was starting school today.

Cameron's kindergarten teacher totally "got" him & his quirky, silly nature, so she suggested his current teacher, Mrs. Arguelles, feeling that she would also get him & be an awesome fit.  She seemed like a doll when we met her this morning, so I'm confident it'll be a good year!

I had a nervous stomach as we walked Cam to his class, just as I did when I was a kid on my first day of school.  He did awesome until we were saying goodbye & giving hugs, then I noticed he was trying his darndest to hold back the tears, which he succeeded.  Unfortunately, I didn't succeed so I bolted at that point because I didn't want to make it more difficult for Cam.  It's so bittersweet watching your kids grow & transition into new phases since it's only a reminder that time is passing by so quickly.  When I get impatient with their constant demands, I remind myself that I will miss these days terribly.

This will also be the first year that I'll have my usual Wednesdays off with NO CHILDREN in the house.  I started Wednesdays off when Reese was around 6 months off so as Cam started pre-K, Reese was home with me.  Now my baby girl is starting pre-K and will be gone from 9:30-12:30!  My gut instinct is to feel sad but all of my friends think I'll eventually enjoy the 3 hours of silence.  I will definitely be more productive, that's for sure!  I already got a workout in uninterrupted which was fab & I'll be heading out to get her in less than an hour.



Reese was super excited that she's finally able to bring a backpack to school!  Her transition is easy this year because she's been at this school since she was 3 months old.

She'll be in class with her best friends so there was nothing but excitement in her morning which made drop-off a breeze!

She is in a different building from where she always has been, so that made her morning even more exciting.  You could tell that she felt she was such a big kid today!

We've been on vacation for more than a week, so when she came to the playground, there was a VERY warm welcoming as this kids yelled her name & surrounded her for hugs.  So sweet.

Photo shoots are always interesting when it comes to kids... you never know what to expect!  The day I took these pictures, Cameron was completely cooperative but Reese was in a total mood.

Eventually she came around, thank goodness!

Overall, we had a really good summer, but these two are just in a long phase where they sometimes cannot be in the same room without constant fighting.  Maybe those three quiet hours on Wednesday mornings really will be blissful?! 

Hopefully this will be a smooth, successful school year!

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Recent happenings

Holy moly, things have been busy & active around here!  We've been both working hard & playing hard this summer and poof, just like that, we're a freaking week & a half from school starting!  This summer, break was cut by two weeks since they adjusted the end & start dates.  Boo!!

Mike's mom & sister came down for a much needed visit in mid-July.  The kids rarely get to see Auntie Erika so it was wonderful to watch them catch up & bond.  Cameron & Erika had a sleepover on their last night in town... so cute!

Not only was Grammy & Erika visiting, but Romie was also our house guest for the weekend!

Having guests is always fun because it puts us in tourist mode.  We hit the Thai temple in Tampa for a Thai feast on the river.. yum!

During their visit, the screen cage also got assembled!!  What a difference this makes for our pool area; it feels like a whole other extension of our house!

The kids did some whipped cream shooters!  I tried to be sneaky as I topped my Saturday morning coffee with whipped cream, but they sniffed it out like bandits!

It just so happened that Grammy & Erika's visit fell on the weekend we had planned to take a long weekend to Orlando.  Mike was contacted by Hilton to stay in a huge suite for 3 nights for only $100 if we sat in on a 90 minute time share spiel.   The room was amazing, it had a huge balcony that overlooked all the Orlando parks so we were able to watch some amazing firework shows sans crowds!

It never ceases to amaze me that we live less than an hour & a half from Disney!  I don't love going to the parks because they're so expensive & it's a million degrees outside at the moment, but I like hitting Disney Springs which we did twice while there.

Reese getting a hair wrap/braid at the pool!

We had Matt & Kelly over for a pool party the weekend before we left for Orlando & mentioned our trip.  We said, "man, I wish you guys could join us..."  They got online that afternoon & booked a room for a couple of nights!  So happy!

The kids (and adults!) have so much fun together so it worked out perfectly!

Love these kiddos!

I also recently changed my hair to a balayage/ombre look.  I may have gone a little too dark on top but I always err on the side of bold vs. bland!

This summer break we also hit the library for the first time (crazy, I know!)  The kids picked a slew of books & then probably ended up reading only one of them.  Sigh.  Summer has been busy!  It's going to be interesting getting back on track with bedtime, homework, etc!!
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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

Our pool is finally, nearly done & we're officially swimming!  It's been an exciting four week process, watching our backyard being completely transformed.

This was our yard the weekend before they started our pool (June 11th).

I had to work the day construction started, Tuesday, June 14th.  Mike was home so he sent me pictures throughout the morning but I was chomping at the bit to get home & watch what was going on.

I went into work really early the day of the pool drop to be sure I could get home in time to watch it be craned over our house, into the hole they dug in our backyard.

 The process took longer than they expected since the crane driver was afraid the pool was too heavy, so he called in a 30,000 pound weight to be sure the crane didn't tip.  Better safe than sorry; I sure would hate for a pool & crane to come crashing through our house!

As the pool swept over the top of our house, all of our neighbors gathered, sweating in the scorching heat to watch it happen.

I said to Mike last night, as we swam in the pool, that I think we're likely even more thankful for our pool since we were part of the whole process, rather than had we moved into a house with an existing pool.  Such an exciting time!

The poor guys that had to work in the horrific heat, spent the next four days, back-filling dirt around the pool to make it level & secure.  We left them handmade cards, OJ & donuts one of the mornings as a thank you for all their hard work.

As I worked out up in our bonus room, I had a great view of watching the progress happen each day.


After the dirt was leveled out & the plumbing was done, it was time for the concrete to be poured for the first stage of the pool deck.

I loved coming home from work each day to watch the progress!

We had about a one-week standstill after the concrete was poured since the paver guys were booked.  This is a very busy time of year for pool installs!!

The pavers have completely transformed the look of the patio.. I love it so much!

Even after the pavers were done, we still couldn't swim since the pool was absolutely disgusting from all the construction that had gone on in the previous weeks.  There were about three inches of dirt coating the bottom of the pool & the chemicals hadn't been put in, so swimming was not an option!  The fourth of July was torturous since we just sat on our gorgeous, new patio, sweating our tails off, just looking at our new pool! 

This past Tuesday, July 5th, Mike messaged me at work saying, "I have good & bad news about the pool, which do you want first?"  I wanted the bad news first & was so disappointed to hear that our screen enclosure wouldn't be installed for another ten days. Ugh!  Then he told me the good news, the pool was being cleaned that very day & we would be able to officially start swimming!!!!  YAY!  The pool guy was at the house when I got home from work & he said it took him over three hours to clean!  It was exactly a four week process from the day the pool install started to the day we went swimming.

As the pool was being installed, we went on Amazon & each picked a raft, so I came home that day & inflated all the rafts.  As soon as Mike had come home & we ate dinner, it was time to take our first jump!  We've been in the pool every night since then, enjoying the heck out of our new pool!  We are so thankful!!!  If you live in our area & our considering a fiberglass pool, I highly recommend our company, Hawaiian Island Pools.  Lee & his crew have been absolutely amazing to work with... so amazing that our next door neighbor met with him the weekend after our pool was dropped & bought our exact model!

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