andiamo: May 2017

my summer goal


This weekend marks the unofficial kick off to summer, right? And a happy Memorial Day Weekend to you all!

It's no secret around here that routines and set schedules are my love language. During the school year, during the summer, it doesn't matter. Towards the end of last summer though as I knew the days were fleeting and I would sit back and watch my children just be children... Running around with dirty feet, smelling like camp fire smoke and chlorine, and I started to wonder if maybe I was denying them some things with my rigid schedule. Obviously I do all the things in all the land with my kids during the day but then come night time I bring the hammer. The late nights my kids had last summer were very few...and most of the ones they had were when we were on vacation...
So. A goal of mine this summer is to not bring the hammer. From the end of August to the middle of June we are stuck with the school's schedule. The bed time has to be on time because no matter what, school comes the next day. Even on weekends the late nights would take a lot out of the kids and make the weekends extra difficult. Now knowing what's coming in the fall for the older two kids I want them to have a summer to remember. I don't want to be watching the clock for 7 p.m. so they can all go to bed and I can hop on the elliptical and just sit and relax and watch tv with Matt. I know that will happen some nights and it will need to happen some nights... But I just want to be more "go with the flow." I want this to be the Summer of Yes.

We have a pool now, for one thing, obviously. I want to do night swims. I want the kids to stay up and see the sunset. I want to look at the stars with them. I want to use a telescope and spot the International Space Station. I want to have fires and do s'mores and catch fireflies. I want to go out for impromptu ice cream dates with my family. I want to stay late at Hersheypark and unload sleeping kids from the van straight into their beds. I want them to go to bed where their only bath that day was the pool (except on Wednesdays because well, that's new bed night, let's not get too crazy here.). I want them to sit out on the deck and watch fireworks. I want to take them all to a drive in movie. I just want to hang out with them, with no schedule, no bedtimes, no routines, and let them be little and young and free. I want to tell them "yes" more.

Most nights. I'm sure there will be days where tempers will be shorter than they usually are and we will just be really looking forward to their bed time. But in general. I want life this summer. A sun kissed hair and dirty feet kind of summer. A Summer of Yes.

Let's see if I even make it a week! Any bets? Ha!

Anyways I hope you all have a great weekend! And hug a veteran!


the backyard reveal!


I know, the mind reels that it has taken me this long to get around to posting all of our finished backyard. But in my defense, it just wasn't completely finished until last weekend when Matt and I (yeah, I even helped a little) stained the playset. And then I wanted to wait till it was actually sort of sunny out to take these but it appears we are back in Forks for the next week or so, so overcast photos it is! I know I mentioned before, but we had quite the plan for this backyard. Oh the enormity of the plan!

Here is an aerial view of the finished back yard as seen from David's window....
What did we do, you may query? Well, I shall tell you.

Removed old fire pit.
Rebuilt fire pit on concrete slab.
Moved playset.
Seeded where playset used to be.
Seeded around birch in the back corner.
Had someone come and install the pool (wow, what a game changer that was).
Built the deck around the pool.
Built sliding barn door type gates.
Stained the deck.
Stained the playset.
Landscaped all around the pool, including moving around twelve already established bushes from before.
Installed outdoor speakers.
Installed solar lighting around base of pool.
Installed solar lighting on deck steps.
Installed hooks on either side of steps for towel drying needs.
Got locks for all deck gates/fence gates.
Planted a zillion arbor vitaes. By a zillion I mean 28.
Got all new chair cushions.
Got all new towels.
Planted all the pretty flowers.
Got palm trees (any palm tree parents out there? I need help with these, I think they got a rough windy spell when I first brought them home and they look sad to me). 

So first up is this gate. My dad actually came up with the general idea and then Matt implemented.... and I came in as Debbie the Downer with wanting it to be basically like my own Fort Knox out there. Pool safety is something that keeps me up at night...So... closed:
Open! Just look at that wide open pool viewing area:
Up close all locked up tight:
The main deck area:
The lower deck area which is all new of course:
The view ground level as one walks around the pool, including all those new trees:
The new fire pit area and play set:
My many flowers! So in love with my flowers! Some on the deck and some down in my garden and give me all the blooms please! Including my favorite rose bush that's going rogue and a hibiscus that is being shy about blooming and that dahlia! Salmon geraniums! Yaaaaaay!
Taken at night to show a bit of the lighting:
So there it is! The finished product! In a few years when those evergreens get all nice and big we will have quite the private oasis back there! It's a dream and it's awesome and we couldn't be happier with how it all turned out! Matt says that from now on he is always going to need a pool in his life. My little cabana boy; I may just agree with him.

And just for fun, the backyard as seen in October and then as seen on Sunday afternoon...
Insert enormous eye emoji here.


healthy kids running series, lititz


Organized activities for kids can be quite expensive, and as a family of five on an income of one well, we always struggle with this. Letty would be awesome at dance or David could maybe get some benefit from karate, or what have you, all to find out the price tag and go yikes, well, okay maybe next year? Who's to say that the kids would even like the camp or class we signed them up for? And then what? I mean maybe we are hindering a future Olympian here, who is to say? It's been a debate of ours for oh... six years. Anyways we all know at this point that Letty enjoys running. Not only does she enjoy it but she seems to be good at it (see here and here).

Enter the Healthy Kids Running Series. Coming to a town near us. Five weekly runs broken up by age and gender. I liked the sound of that! She even got herself a t-shirt. The first run was cancelled because of epic rains, so it ended up just being four. Two out of the four she ran in the rain, poor dear. Our spring weather has just been all over the place and I am so over it.

Boy did she run!! She was just so speedy. It was a small group, only five girls in the kindergarten and first grade group... But she still just took off like a shot each week, improving her time with every passing race. At the end of the series they added up the points given to each kid and the girl with the most points got a trophy. And as Letty won every race well, she got the trophy. Yes she won each week. Going straight to her head! Now the trophy is proudly displayed in her room right next to her other assorted running ribbons and medals. We just couldn't be prouder of her and her running game! 

And now, the series in photo form!
Next up for her? Her first 5k! I'm just hoping she can keep the sprinting to a minimum for me so I can keep up...


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