Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Paver Project

Three years later, we've got some interesting stuff going on in the backyard!

Phase One was earlier this year when we had a drip system installed so that Jonathan wouldn't have to spend hours outside in extreme heat this summer manually watering our trees and plants.

Phase Two:  PAVERS.

Our original plan was to leave the existing patio as-is with the concrete, and just use pavers to expand the hardscape.   However, we decided it would look better to have all hard surfaces done in pavers ... and we are pleased we made that decision.  So for now, the actual extension is only three feet.

Early morning:  the materials arrive.

The pavers over the cement patio were laid down very quickly.

Preparing the raise ground for the three-foot paver extension. 

Miss Scarlett enjoyed watching the action through the sliding glass door.

There are cut-outs around the three pilars for plants.

Bella chekcing out the finished project:

We are so pleased with this project!  We had a choice of nine different paver sets.  It is hard to make a decision based on a 3x3 foot sample.  Turns our, the pavers match our house perfectly.  There is the brown color, which matches our outside stucco, there is the charcoal color which matches the color of our roof tiles, and a reddish/brownish color which matches the trim on our house.  PERFECT!

Stay tuned:  in the sping we're planning for Phase 3:   additional patio extension with pavers (and maybe some grass!)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Christian Goes to "The Next Level" with Swimming

We are just so proud of Christian!  He finally satisfied the requirements to move to the next level of swimming lessons!
In order to advance, he had to fall forward into the pool from the side, and swim around his instructor (who was standing up against the wall) to get back to the wall.  He had to fall in from his instructor's right side and swim around her ... and then fall in from her left side, and swim around her.   So basically swim a half-circle in both directions.

And with that, we met our primary goal:  Christian knows what to do if he falls into the water:  swim to the edge.   Any skills learned after this are a bonus!  Our next goal is for him to learn how to swim profeciently.

Christian has now graduated from the "Goldfish" class and moves onto the "Jellyfish" class.  That means a shakeup in the schedule.  For now, we'll have to move from the 10:00am timeslot to 11:30am.  Christian will actually get the same teacher, but Scarlett's teacher will be different.   In three weeks, a Jellyfish slot will open at the 10:00am session and we can move back to that if we'd like.

Not sure what we'll do.  While his teacher, Megan, knows Christian well at this point, Jonathan observed that for the week Megan had a substitute (Zach) with a differnet teaching style, Christian did really well and was doing different things than he was for Megan.  We tried to get Zach, but he doesn't teach on Sundays. 

If we go back to the 10:00am session, Christian would be with a different instructor all together.  So, we'll see ...

Christian thought moving to the "next level" would happen today, and so he got upset when we tried to explain his move would take place next week, since he'd already had his swim class for the day.  Because five year old have no concept of time, he simply didn't understand that he'd have to wait until next week.

Here's a video of the big moment! :)

Christian's New Bike

Christian got a cool new Cars bike for his birthday and he was thrilled!  There was no learning curve ... he got on the bike and was ready to go!  And he went FAST!!  Wow!


 And then ... he fell.  It wasn't a hard fall ... he drove off the sidewalk and into the woodchips at the playground, and his bike fell.  Papa was right there to help.

Christian got an owie on his elbow ... and it was the most minuscule thing ever.

 Our thanks to Granny and Grandpa for such an awesome gift!!!

Christian's Birthday Extravaganza

Rather than having a birthday party for Christian, we decided to make it a three-day extravaganza.  The festivites started with cupcakes at school, and pizza for dinner on Friday night ... and giving Christian his much-desired Millenium Falcon:

On Saturday morning, Auntie Liz joined us and we had muffins at Paradise Bakery:

After breakfast, we headed to the Pumpkin Patch for our annual visit.  We didn't make it before Halloween and I think our new tradition will be to do it after Halloween.  There were far fewer people there this time, and it was MUCH cooler than in years past.

(More pics of both kiddos at the Pumpkin Patch coming up in another post)

We then headed to Margaritaville for lunch.  Christian was expecting to have spaghetti and meatballs, but we were disappointed to learn they were no longer on the menu.

We gave Scarlett a French fry to try ... and she liked it!

Next we headed to "Enchanted Island" in Phoenix.  It was our first time going - it is a small amusement park for younger children.  They don't let parents on most rides, citing we're too tall.  So I didn't think Christian would go on without one of us ... BUT HE DID!  He rode on a roller coaster (twice!), and airplane ride (TWICE) and a UFO ride.   And the carousel, but ... I was with him for that one.

I got this video below of his FIRST TIME ON A ROLLER COASTER!


At long last, we headed home to eat a delicious sand castle birthday cake that Auntie Liz made ... a birthday tradition.

The next day, he got his BIKE!  But that is a whole other post!  Stay tuned! :)