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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Excited to Become a Family of FOUR!

As most everybody knows, we will be welcoming our 2nd child into our family next April!  We are thrilled to become a family of four, and I know Charlie will be a great big brother! 

We had a fun time telling our family with these photos: 

These last few weeks have been a little tough- with the exhaustion & morning sickness in full swing.  It's not easy being a full-time working mom of a toddler & experiencing the joys of the 1st trimester!  BUT... I gladly accept the challenges because it just means that another perfect, healthy gift from God is on its way.  A couple more weeks and I'll be in 2nd trimester bliss!  Trey has been a HUGE help to me letting me rest and entertaining Charlie at times, as well as taking over in fixing dinners. 

Many thanks to everyone for praying for a healthy baby! 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

From Disaster to Delightful

Hold on to your horses because here comes dear ol' dads first blog post!
What better to write about for my inaugural post than a subject I have been thinking about for a long time.

Ever since we bought our house in Houston almost five years ago, we have been saying that we were going to redo the back patio because the back patio was less than desirable as it was a ugly conglomeration of bricks, concrete, and rock garden.

Here is a picture of the back yard from five years ago. The best part about it is the petrified rock in the foreground. This picture actually looks better than what we had just before the project as the dogs had five years of "design" or should I say "demo" work.

Becki and I initially got quotes intending just to get it done and just "CTC" Cut the Check... but we could not bite off the quotes we were getting back for what we wanted.

I began to research what material to use and began to layout what exactly I wanted in a great free program called "Google SketchUp"

Here is a model of what I wanted to do. It, along with a detailed spreadsheet, proved to be invaluable in the planning of the quantities of material. Altogether, it would be about 300 square feet of pavers.

About two months ago we made a joint executive decision that it was now or never, so I sprang into action.
I busted out the plans, bought some hand tools, placed an order for pavers and cubic yards of Sand and Gravel, and purchased other items from Home Depot like cement and drains.
Weekend 1: Demolition

Weekend 2: Excavation

Yeah it rained the weekend I was digging out the dirt for the 8-inch cement sand base, but that didn't stop me!

Weekday 1 : Ordering the material
I called up the local Pavestone rep and got a pretty good deal on the Antique Buff Tumbled Ventian Stone. One of the few perks of being a civil engineer is that you are in contact with reps for material. I also made a few trips to homedepot and ordered sand and gravel to be delivered from a local yard.
Weekend 3: Delivery and Laydown

After much hard work, this is where the fun part starts as I began to finally see some results:

After 3 weekends we had a great patio in place.

Weekend 4: Drainage System
It rains quite a bit in Houston so I installed a 140' french drain tying into the street gutter.

Weekend 5- forward. Enjoy!

We also got some new furniture to compliment the new patio. 

Much work, but with planning turned out very successful!