A Tree Grows in Our Basement…

One of our big projects this summer has been rearranging and organizing the downstairs with the ultimate goal being that we’ll use it more often. Right now it’s mostly used by the cats and our office(s) are down there.  Our big TV and big comfy couch are also down there, but we haven’t been using either of those things. Admittedly it’s kind of nice to just fall asleep in bed while watching a movie and not have to make the climb upstairs, but I know the cats miss us hanging out more often.  We don’t sleep well when they’re allowed upstairs, so that is the biggest reason for their banishment.

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Enter a new cat tree for them.  It hasn’t completely stopped Uzi from destroying our nice couch, but that combined with tape seems to have helped a tad.  Sigh. I guess I can’t get too mad at him since I know he doesn’t like being banished, so the couch ruination is partially my fault. One day I’ll have nice things… one day.

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I’d like to say they’ve been utilizing this tree every day, but they haven’t.  I’d put it in front of a window, but there isn’t really a good window to put it in front of.  They’ve actually been spending the most time in my office because they have a nice bed in there to sleep on (for now). Come October, the bed will be moving upstairs into Enzo’s room.  Not like the cats don’t have a dozen comfy places to sleep.

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One of the major drawbacks to having hard floors downstairs is how much colder it is.  If we decide to stay longer than one more winter we’d like to pull those up and put in carpeting.  As it stands we have a rolling space heater and bought one of those fireplace heaters as well, which actually works really well.  Maybe this winter we’ll spend more time with the kiddos… if I can find some more rugs so little tootsies don’t freeze.  In the meantime, I should probably make it more of a cat haven since they’re the ones who spend their days down there.  And maybe I’ll invest in one of those robotic vacuums for cat hair because good grief they shed like crazy.

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Landscaping Schtuff

One of our late summer projects (we have quite a few going on) is our landscaping. We have so many plans, and yet so little time to accomplish it, it seems.  For starters, we had several large shrubs/bushes in front of the house that we wanted to get rid of. They were kind of overgrown, and several our house inspector told us were planted too close to the house foundation.

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Then you had this random straggly looking thing with some equally random chives.

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So, Josh started cutting them all down, and is now slowly removing as much of the roots as possible as our plan is to plant some less invasive things like lavender and bulbs.  The other issue is all of those rocks.  We want to replace those with mulch to surround our new prettier plants (once those get planted).  We plan on getting rid of the weeds growing up all around the back door and laying the rocks from the front along the edging.  Josh already removed some equally huge shrubs that were the home to hundreds of spiders and that regularly threatened to overgrow the door.

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Those super attractive ill-fitting curtains have also since been replaced.  😉

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It’s a slow process, especially since we’ve had to spend some time cleaning out the garage and rearranging the downstairs. With cooler weather approaching, the plan is to spend more time outside getting that done so that way it’s ready for bulb planting. Thankfully we have a gift card from Home Depot from when we bought all of the inside paint, so we’re going to buy a weed whacker and should probably get a wheelbarrow as well unless we can find someone to borrow one from.  Rocks are heavy.

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We may keep the chives there… I haven’t quite decided yet what to do in this area.  At least I’ve got time to decide. Our poor neighbors will just have to bear with us while we slowly get it all done.

Sidewalk Chalk & Landscaping

We’ve been tearing up some of the landscaping in our front yard, so it’s been a good reason to get the kiddos outside now that the sun hasn’t been blistering hot. I’m making a note that our next house has to have an entrance that doesn’t have full afternoon sun, or at the very least it has to have some kind of porch or overhang so that you don’t have to wear a glove to open the front door.

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Anyhoo. We’ve just always been more play on the deck types because the deck is right off the kitchen and provides an enclosed area where we don’t have to keep a close eye on the toddler. However, since we’re trying to move a ton of rocks from the front landscaping to replace with mulch, it’s a slow process (mostly for Josh), but it was a nice day so I took the kids outside to watch him and to play with sidewalk chalk.

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Enzo obviously loves sidewalk chalk, and Phoebe would love to just stick it in her mouth… like my shoe. Whoops. (Don’t worry, I immediately moved my foot when I realized she was really going to go to town if I let her).

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She also insisted on tasting the driveway as well.

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Thankfully Enzo is past the stage of putting everything in his mouth so coloring with crayons and chalk is a lot more fun. He had me write their names and draw different shapes, which is thankfully all he asked for because that’s really the extent of my drawing capabilities.

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Now that we’ve finally reached that time of year where the air is going to start feeling more and more like Fall, we should probably take advantage of these nice weekends we have left.  At the very least we have to get all of the shrubs with invasive roots pulled and areas prepped for bulb planting (which I’ve never done, so let’s hope that goes better than the rest of my failed gardening this year).

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Enjoying the deck.

Weather in Minnesota this year has been… interesting.  Winter seemed to drag, and we’ve been getting so much rain.  I haven’t taken any pictures of the flooding, but we’ve definitely had to take several detours so far.  It’s hard to complain about having too much water when other parts of the country are going through droughts… it’s really too bad we couldn’t just share. Aside from rain, we have had some really nice days, and we’re making good use of our deck considering playing in the yard hasn’t been much of an option because of the amount of mosquitoes. I think we’re going to have to call someone and just have the yard sprayed because it’s getting kind of ridiculous.

(Before plants)

(Before plants)

Anyhoo, we have been able to take advantage of the deck, and are really glad we decided to get a larger table and umbrella for the space. Enzo still has plenty of room to run around, and it’s nice to have the option to eat outside.  At the very least, having the umbrella means we can easily sit with Phoebe so that she can watch her brother splash around in his water table and not have to worry about putting sunscreen on her. Since she’s sitting up so well, we can probably see about just putting a blanket outside for her too.  Our old deck didn’t have a lot of room, but we had a little tent that we’d put Enzo in if we were out on the grass.  Granted, when we tried that with Phoebe earlier in the year, a TON of gnats got inside anyway.  Definitely thinking about spraying.

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Daddy’s Little Helper

We recently bought a cheap love seat (from IKEA, of course) for our upstairs living room… more like play room, and this weekend Josh and Enzo put it together.

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As hard as this age can sometimes be, I do also love it because Enzo gets so excited about so many new things, and he definitely wanted to help his daddy put together the new couch.

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Granted, you still have to watch him fairly close because for some reason every new thing has to go into his mouth, like bolts, washers, etc.  And even when he spits it out and makes yuck face… he’ll still put it back in.  Toddlers.

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Even though Josh could have finished much more quickly on his own, he was very patient and let Enzo help him put bolts in the holes and since we’ve been working with Enzo on “Please” and “Thank You” a bit, when Josh began putting together Baby Girl’s crib later on in the day, he would hand each bolt/screw to Josh and say, “Tank Ooo.”  Pretty much the cutest thing ever.

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Perhaps we should get this kid a play tool set or something since he’s been eyeballing the real ones all week, and has thrown a tantrum or two when denied the hammer or measuring tape.  With the walls painted, we’ve been trying to get things in order around the house now – I think I’ve hit the nesting stage or something because I haven’t been this productive in… well, it’s been a while. We won’t dwell on just how long. 😉

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