Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lazy summer days, summer projects and Hillbrook Preschool

After such a busy May, our stay-at-home June was absolutely wonderful. Its what I always imagined a summer with school kids to be like. (All of our previous summers were full of renovations, moves, vacations, service trips, etc. that we've never had an entire month at home over the summer) The kids still had to do a 5 minute job and piano practice before getting their screen time, (20 min. each) and some days they were too busy playing to even bother trying to earn it. We slept in, -- which for our kids is like 7:30 -- we had friends over and we started a Summer Activity Jar, we made a list of summer projects and family fun activities to slowly work on over the summer.  

Chris got this awesome work  / overalls for his birthday from his parents. Our first project was to mow the lawn - we had to replace some beat up blades and tinker a bit to get the mower to stop making such a rattling racket.. so this took us a few weeks to take care of. Mowing the lawn also involves us gathering up all the dead branches from the yard which meant we could start burning down the big stump by our bedroom window from the tree Dan Smith cut down for us last summer. 

We also tackled the draining problem by the playground. When it rains most of our bark gets swept up with the water and goes down the drain under the playground and out to the farther parts of the yard, or gets spread out in the grass and concrete. Also when it rains really hard, even the rocks will get swept down the drain. This is what it looked like when the landscape crew  left early this year: (they did the cement work and playground/bark set up)

We got some big rocks and filled in the little rocks more, and put a wire grate thing in front of the pipe. It looks better and I'm not worried about Freddy throwing balls down the drain like he tried to do a few times. But we still have to figure out how to transition from the bark to the rocks... we're pretty sure the moving bark problem will be solved once we get gutters. 

Also, we wanted to get some parking spots set up off the side of the driveway so when people come over there's a spot to park without blocking the driveway. We didn't know how much rocks to order, but once we found out the deliver fee was the same no matter the amount delivered, we thought we should just order the max amount since we planned on putting a rock boarder all around our house. Turns out 8 yards of rocks is ALOT!!

Meanwhile, the kids have discovered a way to lay across all the swings while they're swinging. Alec thought of it and taught the others and Freddy wanted to try it too, but he's too small so we figured another solution out. 

We used our long mornings at home to play around with hair styles. So fun. 

Probably our biggest summer project was getting ready for me to start a preschool! I spent a lot of the spring trying to work out a logo with Todd, deciding on an overall business plan, researching licensure codes, and getting a website running, and online enrollment, and flyers and advertising etc.  There was also a lot of work to do to create the preschool classroom of my dreams. ;) I played with lots of different layouts trying to maximize the space and balance my needs for a classroom, with our family's needs of a playroom.  I was surprised what a big difference it made just rearranging furniture: taking out the TV and couch and setting that up in the living room, bringing down from the craft room the long little white table Chris and I made a few years ago.

The project that made the most difference in feeling ready for preschool was building the giant magnetic chalkboard! Chris is so awesome and patient with my big dreams. I'm used to my dad just fixing and building anything but Chris has little experience with handyman type stuff and is a lot more thoughtful and meticulous about creating stuff so we have to both give and take when we start a project. 

It turned out so great!! I LOVE how it looks, and its stable and safe and functional! We needed to put twice as much magnetic primer on to get magnets to really stick and so by the time we got the layers chalkboard paint the surface was bumpier that I would've wanted.  But it works!

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