Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Yard!

Oy! I'm exhausted again just from typing this post.

James took off the friday before memorial day and the tuesday after, which gave him 5 days off. We decided to use that time to tackle our yard. We had been trying for a couple of weeks to get a few quotes from contractors to get all of our landscaping done. After being stood up by every single one, we said the heck with it and decided to dive in ourselves. We were very fortunate to have many people offer their expertise and time to help us get it done. Thank you everyone! We put in 12 hour days every day.

I'm sad that I didn't get to take very many pictures of those 5 days. I was out there getting my hands dirty alongside James the entire time so I hardly ever thought about grabbing my camera.

For 2 weeks, every night that we didn't have a sporting event, James and I were busy in the backyard. The backyard and side yard had little hills. We wanted everything level. So we borrowed a rototiller (Thanks Josh & Kimmy!) and moved tons and tons and tons of dirt.

Our side yard was originally a brick patio. We removed this within the first 3 months of living here. This area needed to be filled in with dirt so that it was level with the rest of the yard.

Friday morning, we rented a sod cutter and got to work. We had no idea what to expect! Thanks Danny for helping us!

I rolled ALL that! That was hard work, but I actually enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I over did it and was hurt the rest of the weekend.

On Saturday, James' Dad and 2nd Cousin (Is that what he is to James, Mom K?) drove up to help us with cement work. Thanks Dad and Nick!

They put in a mow strip between our yard and our neighbors yard. Our neighbors came over with 5 sets of helping hands. Thanks Boones!

Once the mow strip was setting, they worked on pouring concrete behind our Pergola. We've been wanting concrete there forever! There was only a small cemented area that was covered by the roof so we couldn't put any lawn furniture out there. Now we can!

They also poured the foundation for our retaining wall.

We took a much needed break on Sunday and then jumped right in Monday morning. Since we had too much extra dirt (because of the hills) we needed to make a second tier of grass. Our entire pool area is 2 tiers so it flows very nicely. James and I painfully built the retaining wall needed for the 2nd tier. It was a rocky start, but once we got the hang of it, it was smooth sailing.

We will eventually be putting brick capstones on the top of the wall, which will match all of our other tiers. Thanks Todd and Adler for helping us level out the dirt on this tier!

Tuesday morning I woke up to James saying, "OH NO! OH NO!". He came running into our room to let me know that the sod was being delivered. There was a semi truck parked in front of our house with 16 pallets of sod. He was afraid that it was all for us. Fortunately, we only got 5 1/2 pallets (3000 sq feet).

I had to work this day, so James did most of the work with some help from the Missionaries and our neighbor Kasey. Thanks!

My "Egyptian" husband. James was smart and stayed covered so he wouldn't fry and be miserable all weekend. We were very lucky to have cool weather (it's usually scorching hot by then in Cali). We even received tons of rain the week after all the sod was laid (we generally don't get rain from about early march until mid october).

Now for the MOSTLY finished product..... (I'm including the before and after pictures. The before picture were taken the day we got the keys to the house 1 1/2 years ago. It had been sitting empty for 2 years so everything was overgrown or dead.)

Side yard before:

(This one was taken after we put in the sprinklers)


Poolside of backyard and above pool before:


Backyard before:


Pergola before:


Front yard before:


Since we did all the work ourselves, we were well under budget. We used this money and bought accessories to decorate the yard so it had a Hawaiian theme (notice the metal palm tree). We'll be buying new patio furniture for under the pergola, but we haven't found the perfect pieces yet.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shaved Ice

This may seem like a petty thing to you, but in our house, this is a HUGE deal!

I've mentioned in many posts that James LOVES shaved ice. When we were first married, there was a shaved ice shack right across the street from our apartment. Everyday when we both got home from work, we would gather a couple dollars worth of change and race across the street. Those were our "starving college student" days so we would order one small shaved ice with two straws (ahhh so romantic).

Once we moved to Bakersfield, California and moved into an apartment, we were beyond excited to find a shaved ice shack right around the corner. By this time our income had finally gone up so we were able to order our own almost everyday.

A few years later, James' job transferred us to Clovis, Ca. Our first summer here, we were extremely disappointed to find that there was NO shaved ice. We contemplated opening up our own place, but soon found that Clovis has extremely strict laws that almost prohibit shaved ice shacks.

Over the past 5 years, we have driven out of our way to get shaved ice. Whenever we go to Bakersfield, we stop numerous times at a few different places. Even when we are vacationing, we go wherever we need to to find shaved ice.

Here's James in Hawaii on our last trip.

James in 2008 in Hawaii.

So, this year for Father's Day (yes we celebrate Father's/Mother's Day!!), I decided to get James his own commercial shaved ice machine.

He was so excited when he opened it up! I decided to give it to him a week early because it was finally warming up and the box was way too big to hide.

James getting his flavors ready. His machine came with 10 flavors, cone cups, straw spoons, and leis.

Making his first shaved ice.

Pure joy!

We are so excited to enjoy some yummy shaved ice while hanging out around the pool!