I made plans to get out and get to work on the yard as soon as we were awake, to beat the heat. The kids were reluctant to get started on the job (I had to send someone to fetch Anna when she disappeared into the house a few times), but they were good workers -- weeding, picking up sticks and branches and leaves.
Payton and I worked on the side yard together, pulling weeds from the massive rock bed. He began complaining about how dirty (un-pretty) our yard was. Payton is my boy who really takes notice and appreciates when things are nicely done, in order, and are aesthetically pleasing. He said, "Our yard in Oregon was so much nicer." I had to remind him that both of our Oregon homes started out with ugly & messy yards and that we had to put in a lot of work to make them pretty. Remember THIS?
After a few hours of weeding, blowing, sweeping, trimming, and pulling shrubs we were sitting in the gazebo when he looked around and said, "wow, it looks good out here." I asked him, Can you tell a difference? "Yep." See, that's what it takes -- from time to time we'll put in some work and it will keep looking better and better.
Payton then went on to plan all of our backyard landscaping. And boy, he has plans. It includes a treehouse with stairs that go through the wall in our house into the living room.
Here's where we are at right now. Clearing out all the shrubs from the left flower bed was the big task of the day
So far we have not planted anything in the yard. We have spent all of our time clearing out weeds and removing dead, ugly, or randomly placed shrubs. I still have a few shrubs that are on my kill list.
I have a love/hate relationship with the trees in this corner of the yard. (Note: all the trees are planted in our neighbor's yard or on the walking path behind our yard.) I love the shade they provide and I love that they are beautiful, green, mature trees. I hate the junk that they drop on our yard and pool from November to April. Right now we're doing good.
Don't you love our lounge set-up? I bought an outdoor rug and my mom treated us to lounge chairs and a side table. All I need now are some flowy white curtains (to block the late afternoon sun) and we are total resort mode!
Yes things got cleaned up. Getting the backyard "summer ready" is high on my list. And we're just about there. A full-blown re-landscaping project is also on my list, but that will have to wait. For now it's a work in progress and we are really enjoying the variety of spaces that the yard provides. Pool, trampoline, table for eating, gazebo for lounging . . .
Once the work was done, this is how the rest of the day went and I hope that we have many, many summer days just like it.
Step 1 - Slather up with sunscreen. I have a basket of sunscreen on the porch and the kids know to take care of themselves. Messages written in sunscreen are also appropriate from time to time. "I am awesome" and "I fight evil"
Step 2 - Swim! Creative uses for indoor toys is part of the pool fun.
Step 3 - Warm up on the trampoline. The pool is only 70 degrees right now. And the trampoline is hot.
Step 4 - Swim again! They like to play taxi with the lounge floaty -- they gave Scott a ride and then he returned the favor.
Step 5 - More trampoline!
Step 6 - Swim and repeat the swim/trampoline cycle until mom and dad say it is time to go inside.
We really do have a great set-up. Scott and I sit on the lounge chairs under the shade of the gazebo (with the ceiling fan blowing). Music is playing from the ipod docking station (thank you builders for placing outlets on the gazebo). I have a bag of Twizzlers that I pass out to the kids as they come by. Oh! And we finally tested out the misters above the patio. They work! It is perfect. And I'm looking forward to many, many summer days spent doing this exact same thing.
I just have to say that it warmed my heart so much to see this day unfold. The kids are re-living my childhood summers to a tee. Growing up in California we had our own pool and we literally lived in that pool. We wore our swimsuits all day long. Everyday. Prune fingers and toes is an understatement. We would lay on the hot cement to warm up our bodies. We would swim up to the edge of the pool to eat snacks and otter pops. We listened to the Beach Boys and 80's pop music through the outdoor speakers scattered in the flower beds. We had wacky diving contests, we made music videos, one year we invented the Baby Olympics . . . . we were always coming up with something creative to play in the pool. And I loved it. Like I said, it warms my heart to see my kids experiencing the same thing.
I think it's going to be a great summer.
My childhood pool - sometime in the mid-90's. My family lived in this house in Gustine from 1986 to 1999.