When we built this house, we didn’t want a huge, concrete sidewalk in our front yard. We wanted something unique and more rustic, so we came up with a design using the bricks that were leftover. I had seen a similar design on Pinterest and helped my husband figure out how wide to make the sidewalk and what angle to lay the bricks to make the design work.
After he had everything laid out and made sure there were enough bricks, he dug out some of the dirt, leveled it, and then added sand to completely level the bricks. He also placed heavy-duty plastic edging along either side of the sidewalk to prevent the bricks from shifting from side to side.
We loved the look, and the bricks held up well until last summer. We had a tremendous amount of rain last May and then a drought the next few months. This caused the ground to shift under the bricks, and our beautiful sidewalk was ruined. Several bricks sunk in the middle about halfway down, and some bricks were raised in other places so that we were afraid someone would trip and injure themselves. We decided to replace the bricks with large flagstones.
My husband dug out all the bricks as well as the sand and dirt beneath them because the new stones were about twice as tall as the bricks. This was a lot of work, so he only removed a few sections of brick at a time so that we would still have a sidewalk even though he wasn’t finished. He removed the plastic edging too because we wanted grass to grow between the stones, and we didn’t need the edging to contain the bricks anymore.
He added sand again and made sure each stone was level and wouldn’t shift. These stones are so wide and heavy that they shouldn’t ever need to be replaced.
He placed the flagstones about four inches apart to accommodate all of the little feet that walk this path frequently. After he finishing placing all the stones, he added topsoil over the sand so that the grass would fill in between the stones.
He finished the new sidewalk on April 10th, and the grass has already grown between the flagstones. My father-in-law had already built a similar path on the other side of the driveway along their flower beds. This area receives too much shade for grass to grow well, so my father-in-law put decomposed granite between the flagstones and bordered each side with Oklahoma chopped stone.
We have been very pleased with our new sidewalk and love how it blends with the stone on the front of our house.
Yesterday I was rushing around trying to prepare for a play date at our house with another mom of four, two of which are 17 month old twins. At some point, my chest started hurting (nothing to worry about, just discomfort), so I sat down to catch my breath and posted the following on Facebook.
If you ever visit our house, please know:
1) I have twins,
2) those twins are 2 years old,
3) those twins wake up around 6:15 every morning,
4) those twins do not take a nap,
5) those twins make more messes, get into more things, destroy more things, and escape from the house more than you can imagine,
6) I also have two older children who fight constantly, and
7) we do not pay anyone to clean our house.
Please adjust your expectations accordingly.
The response to my venting has been overwhelmingly positive with so many moms responding that they feel the same way whether they have twins or boys or young children or older children. Other moms have replied that they feel the same pressure to be a perfect mom, have a spotless house, and have perfect kids, none of which is possible. I have seen this image a few times on Facebook and love it (except for the lonely part).
While I was worried yesterday about how my house looked and how little makeup I was able to throw on at the last minute, my friend who visited said she was worried about one of her girls looking scraggly and her son whining, neither of which were noticed by me. We put too much pressure on ourselves, and as it turns out, we are the only ones who notice our little insecurities, so let’s try to lighten up and give ourselves as much grace as our friends.
My husband built raised beds for a vegetable garden at two of our previous homes, so he has had practice building the frames and filling the beds, and we have learned a few things from our previous gardens. We sold our previous home two years ago in May after planting our garden. It was actually a big selling point for the wife who bought our home, but I was disappointed that I had done all the work, and they were able to reap my harvest. Oh, well. I would rather have my current home and garden anyway. We are fortunate to live just down the driveway from my husband’s parents. Their house can be seen in the background of some of these photos along with their barn.
For our current garden, we decided to build 4′ x 8′ beds to maximize the space between the side of our house and the pasture fence, so my husband bought 8-foot-long two-by-sixes and cut some in half for the 4-foot sides. He also bought 4-inch square landscaping timbers and cut them into pieces about six inches long to put in each corner. He screwed the side pieces into the landscaping timber pieces, forming a rectangle, with Big Brother’s help. He made seven of these wooden frames for our garden. This is the most we have ever had, so we’ll see how well I do at tending our garden.
My husband sprayed Round-Up on the grass and weeds first to try to prevent them from growing in our garden. Then he put down a weed barrier fabric, using nails to secure it to the ground. We placed the wooden frames on top of the fabric and filled each one with a soil mixture that he bought by the truckload. We actually put part of the fabric down, placed a wooden frame on top, and he backed up his truck all the way to that frame to fill it. Then he would unroll more fabric, and we would place the next frame and fill it. This saved us from having to use the wheel barrow to move the soil to each bed. Sissy thought she could help Daddy with spreading the dirt, but that shovel is quite a bit bigger than she is!
We also purchased a truckload of decomposed (crushed) granite to line the walkways. This keeps them from being muddy, and my husband won’t have to mow or use the weed eater in the garden. We did this in our last garden as well, and it helped prevent grass from growing in the beds. This time, my husband also put the weed barrier fabric under the walkways, so I’m hoping I won’t be constantly pulling grass out of the walkways either. He put metal edging around the garden against the fence and on the back side to keep the granite from spilling into the yard. I leveled out the space under the gate and fit the square paving stones in place, which took me at least an hour. It was a good workout though.
Below is a photo of our garden taken today. We have planted broccoli, cauliflower, onions, basil, carrots, and sugar snap peas. (Disregard that holly bush in the middle of one bed. Hubby put it there, so it would get watered this morning, but the wind blew it over. We will start on our landscaping this weekend and find a place to plant that holly bush.) I started romaine lettuce in a flat container today, and my mother-in-law started my tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in her green house a couple weeks ago. We will also plant cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkins, and butternut squash later, but we are planning to plant those towards the back of our backyard, since the vines would go everywhere and take over our vegetable garden. It’s a work in progress, but we are looking forward to having fresh vegetables this summer.
We have been in our new house just over two months now, but we have had issues with three of our interior doors. Important doors. We usually sleep with our bedroom door open, but there are times when it would be nice to be able to close it. We have had a birthday party and a jewelry party in our home already, and my pantry was open for all to see. I tend to be organized, but the first party was less than a month after we moved in, and I had just two days’ notice that there would be no door on the day of the party. Yikes!
Here’s what happened. Someone at the trim and door company mistakenly cut the holes for our handles about an inch lower in the doors than the holes were cut in the jambs, so the handles wouldn’t latch and the doors would not stay closed. Normally this wouldn’t have been a huge ordeal, but the three doors that were cut incorrectly happened to be the only three that were stain grade. We wanted those three to be stained because they are the doors you see from our entry, living, and kitchen areas, so instead of our guests seeing our beautiful stained doors at the parties, they saw our cluttered study, our master bedroom with boxes of books, and our pantry. It could have been worse. We could have been missing bathroom doors!
New doors were ordered before we moved in, but they were special order, so it took a few weeks to get them. My husband took the old doors off right before the first party, and the new doors arrived the next week. We had to wait for our painter to finish his other jobs before he could come back out to stain our new doors. After they were stained, my husband tried to install the doors himself, but the hinges on each door were off just enough to prevent him from doing so. Our builder has been out of town for two weeks and just returned yesterday. He came out today and installed the doors and handles.
I have only been using the pantry door so far, but I am loving it! You don’t realize how important doors are until you don’t have them. I think the kitchen looks so much nicer when the open pantry isn’t the first thing you notice. As the babies become increasingly mobile, it will be nice to be able to keep the study door closed. And a little privacy in the master bedroom is always a good thing.
Little Sister started wearing her DOC Band on Tuesday and has been doing well with it. We were warned that she would sweat a lot, but it hasn’t been as bad as we expected. Of course, we have been keeping her as cool as possible. We were told she would need to wear it for about seven weeks, so basically all of July and most of August. We have already noticed some improvement in her head shape. It’s amazing how quickly babies grow! We had to raise the exersaucer up a notch for Sissy because she has gotten taller, and we were afraid she would come right out of it!
All of the kids are doing well, and the older two are enjoying being so close to Grandmother and Granddad (I am too!). We are settling in to our new house and getting close to being completely unpacked. It has been a much slower process this time with the babies. Plus, we have been cleaning out as we unpack because we have too much stuff. We had a garage sale last weekend at the rent house and sold or gave away a lot of things, but we still have too much! Hubby thinks the kids and I are hoarders, so we still have some work to do. LOL!