Reading is FUNdamental

It turns out I’m not great at keeping up with a blog. Taking a break from the kids’ posts and posting more on a home-change (if not strictly an improvement) project:

Laine loves to look at books. Even though she’s still not reading yet (which is fine! She’s 3!), she really enjoys books. She’s officially finished with potty training and we have finally moved the changing station out of her room. In a perfect world, I’d have sold it by now, but we’ll get there eventually. I decided to make the little closet in her room into a reading nook just for her. We added some pink paint, rain gutter shelves, some paper lanterns with twinkle lights inside, and a squashy chair. It’s her little slice of heaven.

Here’s our starting point:

 Laine was excited at the chance to paint her own closet:

Naturally, Isaac wasn’t about to let her (or me) tackle that project alone.

I think they did an excellent job! 🙂 I may have helped a wee bit.

Showing off her new chair:

The finished product:


Enjoying her new reading nook:

One of the books we borrowed from the library is PIGS MAKE ME SNEEZE! by Mo Willems. Both of my kids have thoroughly enjoyed this book and I got a great little video of her “reading” it in her new space.


Laundry Room

As you may or may not be aware, we have finally moved on to finishing the laundry room. I painted it yellow a few weeks ago. The color is called Woodlawn Music Room. I can only imagine that the room for which this paint is named is mostly windows. LOL! It’s a bright, cheery yellow, though. I wasn’t sure I would like it until Todd gave me the idea of red cabinets.

Todd prepped the cabinets and then painted them white. I went back over the fronts with a color called Classic Red. It was just what I envisioned!

Now I just need some fun door pulls and they will be all finished!


Our yard looks SO much better! I was so excited that I literally did cartwheels in the backyard. Thankfully, no one but Isaac saw me. 🙂 

 The sod installers arrived at about 8:15 a.m. on Thursday. They were really pleased at how “accessible” our lot was. The fork truck was able to put pallets right where they were needed; even in the backyard. 

Back yard progress:

 Sprinklers make rainbows:

Front yard progress:

Tank full of water rolled across sod to insure minimal air between soil and sod:

Front yard looks good!

So does the back:

Todd has been working on the sprinkler system for a few weeks now and is busy doing some final tweaks to it this weekend. They put out a LOT of water, but we want to be sure that the soil can actually absorb all of the water it’s getting. The new grass has to be watered twice daily for at least the first week (you know, the one where Todd’s in Europe?). He’s trying to idiot-proof the sprinkler set-up so that even I will be able to operate it.

Isaac is still asking for “dirt” every time we go in the back yard. I think he’s a little disappointed that we have all of this fluffy new grass. Todd and I are elated, however, and Isaac is finding little oases of dirt in other areas of the yard now. In other news, Nana (my Mom) arrived yesterday. I will try to post some updates while Todd is out of the country, but please continue to bear with me. I know some of you would appreciate more regular updates, but it’s tricky when I need to entertain 2 kids at the same time. Especially when one of them wants to be outside all-the-live-long day. I’ll let you determine which child that is. 🙂

Last Day in the Dirt

Sod was delivered this morning. Photos on that to follow in a post later. Maybe today. Maybe next week. LOL

This was yesterday. Playing bus:

Mom sitting on one of Isaac’s trucks:

Trucks on the pool:

I was excited about this, even though it seems like a small thing. Isaac carried 3 toys. He has one in the crook of his arm. That’s the first time I’ve seen him do that. I have done it a few zillion times, so it was neat to see him learn he could do it, too.

Laine stayed inside and snoozed. She’s not much for hot weather…

My view while sitting on the truck:


Arves brought us a super-cool bubble maker gun from Malaysia. Isaac and Jackson love it.

Helping Daddy dig in the front yard.

Todd installing a sprinkler head:

The sprinkler head:

Yard Update

I know I have been remiss in posting. Here’s the yard.

The weekend we had the excavator:

Isaac helping to shovel:

Imagine you are a two-year-old boy. Define Heaven:

Todd had been running pipes to install sprinklers all day on Sunday. Our friend Brent came by that afternoon to help:

In the middle of the night on Sunday:

New weekend, new equipment. This handy machine had all sorts of attachments. Todd used a bucket and a flat metal piece to do some leveling. He and Brent shared the equipment from Memorial Day weekend through the following Saturday. Brent used a trenching attachment (so did Todd) and he used some of the drill attachments. I should have photographed the trailer. It was very well-designed to hold the dozen or so various attachments.

Sprinklers! In the back yard. You can see that the dirt is more level:

Front yard:

Side yard (by the neighbors’ house):

New section of fence:

 Isaac helping Todd build the gate:

Workers tearing up the sidewalk last Tuesday:

Pouring new sidewalk Tuesday afternoon:

Todd rented a tiller this weekend. Todd also raked up all of the debris and we dumped it into the creek bed behind the house. The trailer he rented to haul the tiller was able to dump, which was a HUGE help.

Sod is supposed to be installed on Thursday, so I will try to update then.

Digging in the Dirt

Ha! I bet you thought this post was going to be about Isaac, didn’t you? It is, but mostly it’s about Todd. 🙂 As all 3 of my readers will remember, we had a lot of work done recently to connect our house to the city sewer line. As that project was wrapping up, Todd had some pipe installed to run sprinklers. This weekend, he’s started digging up the rest of the yard to install the sprinklers. He’s rented a mini-excavator so that he can dig up around the yard to bury the pipes. He’s also going to work on leveling and grading the front yard some. It’s been a MESS since the front porch project… You really have to watch your step.

I saw Todd drive past the house yesterday with this monstrosity in tow.  He turned around in the park before backing in:

Isaac checks it out:

Pulling forward to loosen the chains:


Down the ramp!

Testing out the “toy”:

Getting the hang of it:

Isaac exploring:

More digging:

Isaac checks out the view with his Daddy:

I’ll post more progress later.  Suffice it to say that the front yard is now less grassy than it used to be.  🙂  I’ll bet our neighbors wish we’d move.  LOL

Septic/Sewer Project

In case you haven’t heard, we’re connecting to the city sewer line after discovering (in January) that our septic tank floated.  The City of Austin is a bureaucratic nightmare, but the connection has finally been made.  Now we need them to come back out to inspect again.  I am not sure how much difference it makes since we are indeed attached and the septic tank is collapsed…

It’s been an exciting ride.  The first day of excavation led to a busted city water main…twice.  Our entire street was without water during dinner time.  Our neighbors were not pleased.

About 5 minutes before the pipe was hit (last Tuesday):

Lake Meadowheath:

Master Plumber, Eric, explaining that the City had come out and marked the pipe that morning.  4′ from where the pipe was ACTUALLY located:

Isaac supervising the trenching in our back yard (Burl is our contractor and is operating the excavator):

Floated septic tank – you can see that there was only about 2 inches of dirt over the one side:

Trench from our back porch and out through the gate:

Trench across the front, side yard:

Collapsing the septic tank (yesterday):

Nursery Paint

How to drive your husband crazy, in just a few easy steps…

1.  Choose to paint stripes on textured walls
2.  Ask for suggestions on how best to make sure the stripes are straight (we snapped chalk lines).
3.  Ask for suggestions on how to make the lines as crisp as possible (he Googled and got a great answer for this one).
4.  Repeatedly ask him to check to see if you’ve missed any touch-ups.

LOTS of tape:

A little less tape:

The finished product:

Grandma, you are off the hook! 🙂 I finished all of the touch-up this week.

No, the House Isn’t Finished…

…but we are getting ever closer.  🙂

According to John, our general contractor, they will be done tomorrow (Monday).  I have told him that he must be finished by Tuesday, which would mark 9 weeks since the start of the project.  He seems to have taken it to heart…  The crew actually came and worked on Saturday, which is something they have been reluctant to do thus far.

Here are some progress photos.

Blue ceilings:

Some upstairs shutters, stained posts, rails about to be installed:

Trim-work around the edge of the deck before installing the rails:

Our water heater is back up!  HOORAY!!!  Once you’ve had an instant water heater, you wonder why you ever used a hot water tank…

New shutters!

Front of house with shutters:

Crooked, but you get the idea…  Railings going up!  What a sigh of relief.


Staining the deck:

View from the driveway:

Front view of house:

Stonework Completed

The stone crew returned in full force on Friday and stayed until nearly 8:00 last night finishing things up.  I am impressed by both the quality of their work and their dedication to doing the job well.  I am VERY impressed.

This was before noon, the crew was working on the columns in the center of the porch:

 And on the other side:

Plastic to protect the cedar posts:

Looking down the porch toward the end of the day:

John, our general contractor, measuring to determine where the railings will go.  They are to be installed on Monday.

Front of the house toward the end of the day Monday:

This is one of the pictures that impresses me most.  When the original porch was pulled down, there was no stone work behind it.  The crew filled in the missing stone.  Can you tell where they did it?  I can’t and I even went up and stood directly in front of the wall!