Thursday, April 30, 2015

{p,h,f,r} The Backyard Edition


Our backyard is looking very pretty, if I do say so myself.  There is so much coming up and blooming.  After our first real winter in several years, this spring has just been glorious. We've set out several bird feeders and created some little secret pathways for the boys and with all the flowers it feels a little magical back there.


The kids still just love the swingset, and David would like everyone to know that he has finally mastered the pumping of the legs.  Really.  Everyone.  The mailman, the boys next door, the random lady at the commissary....


And yes, those are my children frolicking on the urine-soaked mattress of despair.  I'd like to say they were playing the "jump over the dog pee" game but I'm pretty sure they weren't bothering with that.  The mattress is now residing on our back porch until the bulk trash pick up day this weekend, once again making us the classiest family in the neighborhood.


So, now that it's spring and the yard is great and we have the amazing playset to occupy them, the big boys have been spending a lot of unsupervised time in the yard--which is usually fine.  Sometimes though I check on them and find that they have clearly been up to no good.

Me:  What happened to the willow tree?
John:  Henry did it.
Henry:  No I didn't! [insert whiny shriek here] David did it!
Me:  David?
David:  Well, we were playing whomping willow so I needed to make it whomp........
Me:  Oh, well of course then that makes sense.

Don't worry, the tree has been re-staked and will hopefully survive its first (and probably not its last) Reintjes sons attack.  And also I think we're going to simmer down with the Harry Potter audio books for a while.  

I hope your Springs are shaping up to be just as pretty and your porches just as classy as ours are!  And, as always, don't forget to pop over to Like Mother, Like Daughter to see even more captured contentment.

Monday, April 27, 2015

On Not Resting On Sundays

Oh Sundays.  You should be a day of rest but sometimes, well sometimes you have children and dogs and disasters and resting just isn't in the cards.

This is what Margaret wore Sunday.  She and I didn't actually make it into mass because upon arrival at the church we realized John Michael had dumped water all over his lap and although we knew it was just water nobody else would.  By the time I drove him home to get a change of clothes and got back to the church we were only fifteen minutes late but as I pulled up I realized he had fallen asleep so I just gave up.  I didn't have it in me to try to sneak a probably-screaming-because-he'd-just-been-woken-up-toddler and a baby into mass.

I just sat in the van and listened to Harry Potter audio books while the children slept because we're holy like that.

The rest of the day was spent mostly doing yard work that should have been done on Saturday except Chris had to spend his Saturday at work.  By the time we collapsed into bed I was exhausted......and that's when Chris smelled the smell and I felt the dampness and we realized the dog had relieved himself on our bed.  Specifically my side of the bed which I'm pretty sure was out of pure spite because he managed to pull the covers down, go to the restroom exactly in my spot and then somehow push the covers back to cover up his crime.

Now, the mattress itself was probably due for replacement since it was a hand-me-down from Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Nick about eight years ago and I'm pretty sure they weren't the original owners either but we like to use things until they are completely and utterly beyond saving (see our van).  Massive amounts of dog urine soaked into the mattress definitely puts it into the "beyond saving" category.

Our king sized memory foam mattress topper and mattress are officially dead.

You know what isn't fun to do at 9:30 on a Sunday night?  Dragging said urine soaked mattress down the too small 1950's stairwell and onto the back porch--which was finally starting to look presentable but is now....not--and then dragging the queen sized mattress up from the guest room in the basement so you have somewhere to sleep.

Now, replacing the mattress is going to have it's own problems, not least of which is the fact that a new king sized mattress will probably not fit up our stairwell.  Ours only fit originally because we were able to fold it almost in half due to it's age--at least I'm assuming that's the reason and that most new mattresses don't just fold in half.  We're thinking a king sized memory foam mattress might fit.  Or we could just downgrade to a queen and use our guest bed in our room and put twin beds in the guest room since we already have one spare twin mattress.  That's probably the most cost effective option.  Or we could use two twin mattresses with a king sized memory foam topper in our room?  Feel free to share any ideas.

Also, I'm probably never going to get patio furniture.

Also, would anyone be interested in a twelve year old, crotchety, no longer housebroken dog?  I know where you can get one real cheap.

Monday, April 20, 2015

On Making the Backyard Amazing

We spent this past weekend with Grandma and Grandpa Haigh turning our backyard from a muddy mess into a children's paradise.  It all started with 10 cubic yards of mulch delivered to our driveway by a real live dump truck.

I think it's safe to say that the delivery was was the highlight of the children's day.  Do you know how much mulch is in 10 cubic yards?

I didn't either.

It's a lot of mulch.

Luckily we had lots of helpers to move it to the backyard.  And the front yard.  And the side yard.  Pretty much anywhere and everywhere you could put mulch.

Of course, as much fun as having nicely mulched flower beds is, the most popular addition to the backyard is the gigantic playset Grandma and Grandpa brought.  They hunted it down on Craigslist, dissasembled it, fixed it up and painted it and then brought it all the way down to us from Michigan and put it all back together again.  I cannot even begin to describe how amazing this thing is.  We never could have afforded something like this new and I'm pretty sure we never would have bought one used either.  As much as Chris liked the idea of me finding a playset on Craigslist, he never seemed to like the reality of actually taking one apart and reassembling it in our yard by himself :)

That makes sense though, everything's better when you have someone to help.

Especially when that someone is adorable.

It probably goes without saying that the kids love it.

I love that I now have a fenced in backyard that the boys can play contentedly in without me that doesn't involve them solely digging in the mud.  Well, play as contentedly as any child of mine ever plays anyway.  And there is still a fair bit of mud play, but it's no longer solely mud play.

Right now, they call it "the fort" but I'm sure it will be many things this summer--a fort, a clubhouse, a castle, a ship, whatever their little imaginations can dream up.

The only thing we changed was to board up the end of the tunnel section to make it safer for smaller climbers.  The big boys weren't exactly thrilled with that turn of events but they've gotten used to it.  Mostly because Chris promised some sort of weapon system mounted to that section to appease them.

I'm hoping the rock wall will lose its appeal once John Michael realized it leads to nowhere.

Grandpa and Chris had the playset up so fast we had time to tackle a bunch of other projects too like planting all the vegetables I bought on a whim at the commissary and the pansies languishing next to the house that I got for our window boxes.  Grandpa also power washed our back screened in porch and did the first coat of white spray paint on the sad yellow wicker chairs that came with the porch.

So much better, right?

I'm so excited for this warm weather and days spent mostly out of doors.   Now if I can just miraculously find a patio table and chairs in our price range (i.e. really, really, really low) then our little backyard oasis will be nearly perfect.

I'm thinking teak.

It could happen :)

I hope all your Springs are shaping up as nicely as ours is!  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

On Having a Lot of Legos


Legos.  They're kind of a big deal around here.  Probably due in no small part to the fact that Daddy will gladly sit and play with them indefinitely.

I've come around to their charm, which is good since they've completely invaded my home.  It's fun to see all of the creative things the boys make.  Even John gets in on the action although he only knows how to make one thing, which is always a flat piece with some other piece on top and occasionally a minifigure:  "a  boat mommeeee!  a boat!  look at my boat!  BOAT!"

We used to store them in a dresser organized by color but now that John is in the mix there really wasn't a prayer for that system to work anymore.  When we moved I had Chris build dividers into the trundle part of John's big boy bed so now the front three sections are full of Legos and the back section holds shoes-to-be-grown-into and winter gear.  Of course that solution only holds the loose Legos.  We also have finished and in-process creations on pretty much every flat surface of the room.  The big boys have also taken to hoarding all the *best* pieces in their own designated special spots to make sure no one else can use them even though they aren't actually currently being used..........which generally ends about as well as you would imagine.

The giant bin-o-legos has made clean up much easier, although clearly it's not foolproof since--children.  Luckily, David jumped down from the top bunk this week only to realize he'd landed directly on his own tiny instrument of torture and I think we may have finally made a breakthrough on understanding why I make such a big deal about always clearing away the Lego minefield before bedtime.  I suppose only time will tell if that particular lesson sticks.  

Here's hoping....

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter 2015

Lent came to a close this year with a definite fizzle.  After two weeks and then some with a stomach bug stealthily sneaking through the house hitting each one of us in turn, pretty much all of our sacrifices had been put on hold and copious amounts of Netflix had been watched--and very little schoolwork attempted. We definitely limped over the finish line towards Easter, chocolate croissants in hand.

But, while the last three weeks of Lent were...well, a bit of a disaster, Easter--Easter was glorious.

Holy week services attended: zero
Easter eggs dyed on Holy Saturday:  eight dozen

Sometimes you win at Lent and sometimes you spend Holy Week in a chocolate/television induced stupor.  Well, there's always next year right?

Thanks to Grandma Kazleman we did have super cute Easter outfits for the kids though--complete with new church shoes--so we weren't complete Easter failures as well..

And yes I did force the boys to wear mother-son coordinating outfits with their bow ties matching my dress.  You have to seize those moments while you can before they start to think being mother-son matchers isn't cool anymore.  Not that they ever would.

The boys got to hunt for their baskets after we got home from the 7 am mass and following forced photo shoot.  Poor Henry couldn't find his basket behind the curtains and almost lost it before he got a timely hint and Easter was saved.

Aunt Courtney provided rain boots for the big boys and a boat and hair bows for John and Margaret respectively which were all big hits.  They also got copious amounts of candy and a new book a piece and, as per usual, some new seeds to plant in the garden.

We didn't throw our annual Easter party this year--which was probably a good thing since I would not have been prepared and our yard is still....also a disaster.  We did manage to gather ourselves together after mass though and head out for a bit of a family party in Fredericksburg complete with our annual egg hunt/smash which obviously we still had to do :)

Chris cemented his title of "coolest uncle" and he and our oldest nephew Noah took the egg smashing to a whole new level.  Luckily none of my children won the game and this year my choice of giant chocolate prize bunnies didn't come back to my home to haunt me with it's over-sized chocolate deliciousness.

Some kids liked having eggs cracked on their heads more than others.....

.....I'm sure he'll grow into the fun.....

And of course, Aunt Kate offered was commandeered into taking a family picture or twenty for us.

Everyone had so much fun it almost made the two hours it took us to drive the 45 minutes home worth it :)

And now, with all of the Lenten Spring cleaning that never came to pass, I'm afraid my house can be accurately summed up in Mrs. Tittlemouse's words from one of our new Easter basket books:
"...the untidiness was something dreadful--'Never did I see such a mess--smears of honey; and moss, and thistledown--and marks of big and little dirty feet--all over my nice clean house!' "
Well, except for the part about the "nice clean house." After Easter would probably be a good time to squeeze in that Spring cleaning, maybe not after the whole Easter season but definitely at least after the Octave.....

Happy Easter to everyone, whether you managed to clean out your basements or not!  And thanks again to Aunt Kate for hosting us!
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