Monday, March 25, 2013

The New Green

On Friday we had a huge step forward in our yard adventures - we got our new grass!

We decided to install artificial grass in our teeny tiny back yard. Keeping that little patch of real grass alive and well was so tough with the shady spots and blazing Arizona summer. We had a lawn mower that took up about a quarter of the total space we were mowing. 

Here's our before picture, although it's after we'd stopped trying with our grass and after we'd started taking out the brick barrier. 

So we thought about the pluses and minuses to installing artificial turf and couldn't say no. 

After getting a few quotes, keeping some samples and walking barefoot on little patches of the green in our living room, we decided on a company. Last week some guys came and installed the curbing around our little yard and along our property line. 

Then, on Friday, the grass arrived!

The company came to install it while we were at work, so we got an awesome reveal when we got home! And guys, I am so in love.

(This isn't an official "after" photo yet - we're still working on getting plants in and getting rock down.)

We had my family over on Saturday evening to help out and enjoy some time together and we ended up outside, welcoming the new turf to the family.

It was such a nice feeling, sitting outside in the wonderful weather, watching the kids run around with a football, knowing that our yard is slowly coming together.

I feel like I can picture our kids playing soccer out there. I feel like I could picture us backyard camping there one night.

At one point, we took a break from book-reading to have a dance party and really break in the new grass.

I love looking out our glass doors and seeing how green it is back there. It's been so long since our yard looked like much of anything. Now I look so forward to any time we'll get to spend out there!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


This weekend has been huge for our yard renovation! Things are finally coming together, with the exception of the discs in my back, which I think are coming apart. (Pain humor! So fun.)

(No seriously, I'm so sore right now.)

But for now let me show you the life and death of an awesome DIY-er item: a Bagster.

We knew we had a lot of stuff we needed to get rid of in our yard. Plants we didn't want, other yard debris, irrigation tubing and other random things. All of that adds up in weight really quickly and we don't have a dumpster anywhere near our home. So we bought our own...sort of.

You buy a Bagster at any home store, we got ours at Home Depot. I think it was $25.
(Not my photo. SOURCE)

Then you unwrap and unfold it until it looks like a sad, misshapen blob.

And fill. Fill with whatever your heart desires. Mostly. There are some things they won't take, like flammable items or appliances, but they take construction debris, wood, yard waste and even soil.

This was our Bagster after ONE DAY'S WORK:

That day was also very busy. Sayonara, aloe plants.

This was our Bagster on Monday morning:

From here you can see plants, general garbage, a ton of debris (mostly needles from mesquite trees, some gravel and soil mixed in), PVC pipes and irrigation tubing. 

Then you call the Bagster people and they send a truck over to pick it up. The fee to pick up was $99.

 (Also not my photo. SOURCE.)

You don't even need to be there when they pick it up - we weren't, and we were greeted by a clear driveway when we got home from work on Tuesday. 

I'm so excited with how things are coming together!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gift Hiding Fail

The other day I bought some birthday gifts for June and quickly hid them in my closet before she was on to me. 

Later in the day, not even a full day later, she found it. 

I was hanging out in the kitchen when I see her toddle out from my bedroom holding the big book with all of the buttons that make different noises.

"Well where did you hide it?" Michael asked.

"Behind my hamper in the closet."

"As someone who had done his fair share of searching for hidden presents in his lifetime, I'll tell you that the key is always to go UP in closet hiding spots," he said.

So the bad news was that she found it, but the good news was that she loved it? I planned on taking it away and re-hiding it as soon as she lost interest but that...didn't happen.  I eventually had to take her out on an outing just to get her to abandon the book. Even then, she sort of caught me re-hiding it in the process.

So that present might not be quite the surprise come April 5, but at least we know there will be one gift she loves.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wedding Date Night

I'm sick and home from work, which sucks in general, but I suppose it does allow me to write a post or two.

On Saturday Michael and I had my absolute favorite type of date night - a wedding date night! Our good friends Eric and Gillean got married and we just had an awesome night celebrating with them. 

We didn't get a picture with the bride and groom, but we did get a picture with the bride and a picture with the groom...

We danced ourselves crazy that night. Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that I am a nut for wedding dancing and on Saturday I got my fill. The shoes came off and the sunglasses came on.

Have you seen the millions of Harlem Shake videos out there? At one point these random masks and sunglasses and hats were produced and the Harlem Shake song came on and we all danced like crazy was so fun.

Not my first piece:

And let me say, I had quite a bit of competition for Michael's attention that night. Every time I'd leave his side, I'd come back to find another woman in the over-forty crowd trying to steal him away. 

Which I found hilarious, contrary to what these pictures would suggest.

Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs.!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Latest Mother's Day Celebration of All Time

For last year's Mother's Day, JP and I told my mom that we would take her to the Brush Bar. Time went by, schedules got busy, Michael and I went for a date night and things just didn't align for taking mom.

This Thursday - almost a full year after that Mother's Day, we finally took her to the Brush Bar!

We had a great time, even though these pictures might not illustrate that:

 We painted "Camelback at Sunset" which was a challenge but really pretty.

We each  loved how they turned out!

Mom, I hope you had a great late LATE Mother's Day!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Last Bit of the Bay

This'll be my last post about San Francisco, I promise, but I can't not post some of these pictures. 

The afternoon after we hung out near the Golden Gate Bridge, we headed back into town by way of Lombard Street. This is the really famous street that is super wind-y and switches back and forth like crazy. I guess you can't really tell from my pictures, but it was really cool. I can't believe that people actually live there - imagine the traffic every day!

After that we went to Ghirardelli Square and got some of the good stuff. June took advantage of the photo-op to dive into the ice cream sundae. Don't really blame her.

The next morning we went back downtown by way of the Bart, their subway system. June was sort of thrilled/terrified and kept talking about how the "choo choo train loud."

We hung around the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace, ate some food and sampled a lot of the goods.

June missed out on whether the choo choo train was loud on the way home since she passed out in her stroller.

(Can you tell that it was chilly?)

So this happened:

It's incredible the lengths we parents will go to to keep our kids asleep.

p.s. June woke up as soon as we got to the top of the stairs.

p.p.s. Of course.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Little White Hat

In June, 2011, when our little June the Bug was only a couple of months old, we drove up to my parents' house to take her on her first swim. On the way up there we realized that we didn't have a hat for her tiny bald head. Being paranoid first-time parents, we pulled into Target and I ran into the store to buy one. I searched and found one big display of sun safety items. I grabbed the smallest white hat I could find. 

It swallowed her up. 

I'm sure it helped protect her fair skin, but we had to constantly adjust, fold and tilt to keep her covered. 

It was so sweet. I remember it seeming like she would never fit into that huge hat.

When I was uploading pictures of our trip to San Francisco, I noticed the hat. I remember fastening it under June's chin at the Golden Gate Bridge and thinking that it was a snug fit, that we'd soon need to get a new one. The white fabric barely covered her big ol' noggin.

Funny that a small, inexpensive piece of white fabric bought last-minute in a Fountain Hills Target can make me get all emotional about my little girl growing up. Outgrowing things. Moving on.

Soon the hat will go in my tubs of baby clothes I'm keeping in case we have another girl down the road. But maybe even after that I'll hold on to this silly hat to remember when it wore her, then she wore it, then she grew up to wear other hats, more dramatic hats, more whimsical hats. 

Please let her want to wear whimsical hats. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Golfy Birthday

It was my birthday yesterday but the whole weekend was a celebration. The family decided to have one birthday extravaganza to celebrate JP's day in February, mine yesterday and Kai's tomorrow. 

On Saturday afternoon, my parents, brother and I went golfing while Michael stayed home with the Junebug. We played the Sunridge Canyon course, which is so so beautiful. 

That night, Michael had arranged for a group of friends to meet us for dinner in Old Town. It was supposed to be a surprise, but after the week I'd had, I needed some motivation to not just sink into the couch with sweatpants on. I'm so glad I made it out! I got to catch up with some of my favorite people and left feeling very thankful and loved.

Unfortunately I didn't get a group picture, and only have this one, which Nicola took during one of the funniest renditions of "Happy Birthday" I've heard in some time:

The next day, once Kai had joined us, we played some miniature golf as a family. June was running around with her little putter and her yellow ball and having a good time. She kept leaning over and placing her ball in the hole once she saw us celebrating our own successful putts.

After that was dinner at Ah-So, a restaurant where they cook the food in front of you on one of those huge grills. I have to say that June was no as impressed as she was when we went a year ago. She was afraid of the man who was cooking for us and cried every fire of any kind was used (our table or not).  This might have been the only smile we got out of her, cheesy as it is:

No specialty cupcake stores (my request) were open or nearby, so we went to Freddy's for some frozen custard. It was nice sitting outside in an enclosed patio where the kids could run around and dance. The rest of us enjoyed our desserts and did one last rendition of "Happy Birthday to JPJulieandKai!"