The Right Perspective

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ethan at 9 Months (And 3 days!)

You are 9 months old!
You weigh 16 lbs. 13 oz. You've finally gained a little weight. Still, you are only in the 3rd percentile for weight. You are 27.5 inches long (24th percentile) and you wear 6-9 month clothes, though they are still quite large on you. You still wear a 0-6 month size shoe, but I think you might finally be growing a little bit.

Usually, I take you picture in the crib with the big stuffed monkeys, but you've had a rough few days recently due to teething, so I'm using some pictures from happier moments this month! You make this scrunchy smiley face ALL the time, and I love it. It is so funny. The best part is that when you make this face, you usually also start breathing hard and fast through your nose. You sort of sound like a raging bull. It's good stuff!

This month you've been very busy. You've mastered crawling. You've mastered pulling up to standing. You're working on cruising. You've got two bottom teeth and at least four more coming in on top (and they are making you one CRANKY boy!) You've decided that the bottle really isn't your mortal enemy and you've switched over to formula this month. You're eating all kinds of table foods in addition to baby foods. You love fruit puffs, pieces of bagels, pears and crackers. Really though, you've not met any food that you didn't like.

You are always on the move. You crawl across the living room, from one end to the other, getting into everything you can find.

You like to play with all of Emily's interesting toys. Apparently, her hula hoop works pretty well as a teething ring.

Not only have you learned to crawl and pull up on things, but you can climb! We are definitely not ready for that! Emily was never quite this adventurous.

One second, you were crawling, the next you were sitting up on the couch...and then, before I could get to you.....

You fell over the back of the couch and did a face plant. (The picture is blurry because I was moving to try to catch you!)

You like to stand up whenever and wherever possible. Especially if it means you can get closer to your sister. She's pretty fascinating.

You two still form a mutual admiration society. Emily adores you and you think every single thing she does is hilarious. She can make you laugh when no one else can.

You are a fun little fellow and we couldn't love you more!

Poison Ivy...or Not?

Two years ago, while cleaning out the backyard flower bed (which was completely overgrown and covered in ivy and weeds at the time), I got my first case of poison ivy. I obviously didn't know what it really looked like, or I would have avoided it! I pretty much left everything alone last year, since I was quite pregnant, but this year I (sadly) have to go back to weeding. Boo...hiss.
So I once again cleaned out the back flower bed, wearing gloves (which I do anyhow because, ewww...bugs!) and using the hoe as much as possible. However, I am still leary because I don't know for sure what got me last time.
I found this plant growing in the decorative metal bucket planters attached to the retaining wall. I think it's poison ivy....what do you think?

The above plant is the "bigger picture" of the same plant above.

Then I found this in another flower bed we were attempting to weed this weekend. It's poison ivy too, isn't it?

And more, along the side of the house.

This is the only one I'm not sure about. Is this the beginning of poison ivy? Like a baby poison ivy plant? If so, there's a TON of it in that back flower bed, shooting right up. I'm amazed I'm not covered if it is.
And lastly, if indeed all these plants are poison ivy, how do I safely get rid of it all....for good?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Finished Product

The contractor came back this morning and set to work on the railing. It was actually pretty quick work.
We now have two sets of four-foot wide steps, one set leading straight out into the yard, the other leading off to the side as before. The old steps were only three feet wide. pretty and clean and fresh. You can still smell the sawdust. Well, you can't, but I can!

It looks so much bigger to me. It's not, but with no built-in bench on the far end, it feels bigger and gives us a bit more flexibility in where we can put things. Besides, the bench wasn't comfy anyhow, so no one ever used it.

The only issue I have is the hand railing (or lack thereof). To me, it looks unfinished, like it needs a flat board on top along the way down the steps. The contractor said he would give us some time today to look at everything and then be back later this evening to discuss any concerns we might have and for final payment. I think I'm going to ask him if he can put a flat board (I'm sure that's not the technical term here) to top off the hand rail down the steps. I would think that will make it look a little more polished!

This is what I was talking about above. This is looking down the hand rail at the top of the steps. Don't you think it needs...something? And I think eventually I'll pick out four post caps for the ends of both sets of steps, but I think we can manage to install those ourselves!
All in all, I am VERY pleased to not have to worry about pool maintenance and safety and I'm very thankful to have more room for the kids to run and play. We're even thinking of putting up a swingset. Now all we need is grass....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


We're making progress on our deck.
The contractor came back today, tore off the old deck surface and started building the new deck. Ethan decided to crawl over and inspect the work....while pulling himself up.
Looking to the right.

Looking to the left.

The view from the back. There will be a new (second) set of stairs out from the sliding doors that leads out to the backyard.

And finally, just a sign that spring is finally here.

Friday, April 09, 2010

And so, after weeks of estimates (some of which we are still awaiting...), we settled on a contractor who could start right away. And so, on a very cold, rainy and occasionally snowy Thursday morning, this was the view from our living room doors.

This was the first "blow".

And this was approximately 30 minutes later.

(Sorry for the lousy picture quality. I was too chicken to stand there and obviously take pictures!)

Within about 3 hours, all that remained of the pool was some twisted steel and the sad broken pump and filter.

This is the current view, looking to the left outside our sliding doors. There used to be a built-in bench here. It's long gone!

I could not believe how quickly the deck and pool were gone. Just completely gone. It only took two men, sometimes just one, about three hours from start to finish, including loading up and hauling away the debris (except for the steel...they had to get a blow torch to cut it down some). The rest of the afternoon was used to cut the steel and bring several loads of dirt to fill in the hole.

And this is what remains. The contractor came back this morning to level and grade the dirt and fill in the ruts the heavy equipment made. He'll be back to work on remodeling the attached deck on Tuesday. It doesn't look like much right now, but our yard looks SO much bigger. And the deck will remain basically the same size, but we'll be adding a new, sturdier railing all the way around and a set of steps heading out into the yard. More pictures will be sure to come!


Big things are happening here!

Almost five full years ago, we bought our house and were quite pleased with the fact that it had a swimming pool. This pool was an aboveground pool that had been sunk inground a few feet and because of that, when you walked out of our house onto the attached deck, it was sort of like walking out to an inground pool...except not quite.

The swimming pool was a blessing that first summer, when I was many months pregnant and floating in the pool felt very nice. I used it whenever it was remotely warm enough, and Andrew might have used it five times or less that year. Then we had Emily. And life as we knew it came to a grinding halt as caring for her was a full-time job and then some. No more lounging in the pool!

The next couple of years, we enjoyed mainly looking at the pool, but rarely ever getting in it. If we used it five times a summer, I would be surprised. The lack of truly hot weather combined with the effort of getting a finicky toddler ready for swimming, in the pool and then back out approximately ten minutes later, just wasn't worth the effort.

Over the next couple of years, we tried to keep the pool looking nice. The deck was showing some serious wear and tear, since it had not been properly sealed/stained and spends almost all day facing due south in the full sun. Then we started having issues with the pump and filter...and then we had Ethan....and well, one day this winter I looked out the kitchen window, where everything was covered with feet of snow, and noticed that the pool didn't seem quite right. It somehow looked, emptier.

And it was. When all the snow had melted, we discovered a major leak in the deep end. Somehow, approximately 9,750 gallons of the 10,000 gallons of water had leaked out over the course of the winter when the pool liner just gave way. Of course, if you look closely at the picture, you'll notice that there was duct tape holding the wooden seam together behind the liner. Perhaps this wasn't the best constructed pool, huh? (It came with the house and the previous owner liked to do a lot of the work himself.)

And so, this was what we were left with. In conjunction with the fact that the deck need major cosmetic repairs and the pool would cost more to fix than remove, we decided that it was time to get rid of the pool and actually have a back yard.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Caught in the Act

Just some random pictures of the kids from this week.
Above: I went in the kitchen to fix a bottle for Ethan and when I peeked in the room, this is what I found. Ethan is addicted to multi-grain Club crackers. This is not the first time I've discovered him surrounded by crackers either.

Mr. E is teething something fierce and drooling like mad. He soaked his shirt today, and since it was nearly 80 degrees, I stripped him down. Here he is playing with his tool bench.

Okay, I have to say that based on the number of times a day that I see this face (which is his "getting ready to smile" face), I think this kid is going to be ORNERY. He scrunches up his nose and eyes and breaks into the biggest, cheesiest grin. I caught him mid-clap here. He LOVES to clap, now that he's figured it out.

I have no idea what these two were up to, but don't they just look like they were up to something?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter 2010

Our two kiddos: They dress up nice!
Emily: What a ham!

Ethan: He wasn't too sure about the grass. It was his first experience sitting outside.

Emily: Getting ready to hunt eggs.

Ethan: Can someone please get me out of this grass!