Tuesday, September 08, 2009
The new fence is in!!!
We are enjoying our new backyard. BBQ just tastes better when you have a yard to do it in. Throwing the football feels better. The dog running around just looks better.
Check out the pictures of the fence here.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
It has been interesting to follow along with the election and inauguration of our new president with Neo. He is old enough to understand and pick up on quite a bit.
So when the president called on us to commit to an event on the national day of service, I tried to find something for us to do together.
I searched on usaservice.org and found lots of events but, unfortunately, most of the events were in downtown Houston, and many weren't service events. So, I decided to host our own event in the neighborhood. We put up an event that said we would walk the neighborhood for one hour picking up trash.
Even if no one showed up, I figured that Neo needed to do this for one of his cub scout achievements anyway, so at the least, he could wear his uniform and complete that.
And in the end, the event turned out to be great. We had quite a few people show up (including quite a few who didn't live in the neighborhood) and we really picked up a lot of gunk and debris along the curbs.
Overall, the event did exactly what I wanted it to do. People outside and driving by saw the group working on the day of service. The kids saw their parents taking the presidents call to service seriously. We met new people. These are all things more important than the trash itself.
And in about an hour, we picked up quite a bit. Many hands make the work load light.
You can see all of the pictures from the event here.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Thankfully, it looks like we won't get very bad weather from TS Eduard. The storm moved slightly to the north, putting us south and west of the center.
I'm sure we'll still get quite a bit of rain today though.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
News news news... lets see if I can remember whats been going on.
Christian and I bought our first pieces of furniture. And being completely new to furniture shopping, we also spent way more money than we should have. Having said that, we did get some beautiful, well made furniture (all solid wood, no veneers, dovetailed joints, etc.) and it should last a long time. This was a bedroom set for the new master bedroom we are working on. I don't have any pictures of the room yet. We still have a few more things to do in there, so after we wrap those up and clean up the room, I will take some pictures. Christian and I really love the color we chose and the new look. It is starting to become our "sanctuary downstairs".
Neo went to the YMCA Camp Pinetree again. This time, he stayed for five days. He really enjoyed it. Pictures are here.
Mom, Emily, and Kam came to visit us last weekend and helped us get some things together in the baby room. Also, Mom helped out with cooking and cleaning, which was a huge help. Thanks guys. We really appreciate it. A couple of pictures of the boys playing are here.
Christian is doing well with the pregnancy. "Enfant" is still doing well and planning his escape.
Neo spent his 2nd to last week of summer vacation at a Karate Camp. Much of the camp was not about karate, but he did manage to get a couple of lessons in, and we think he may try some karate lessons after school this year.
Yesterday, while mowing the grass, I found that the backyard had lots of spider webs. As I was going around weed-eating, I ran across one huge web with two banana spiders in it. Some pictures of them are here, along with a video of me feeding her a worm. These spiders are actually called golden silk orb-weavers, and are very cool. Neo and I had fun catching lovebugs and throwing them into the web and watching the big spider eat them. We threw in a worm after lovebugs started getting boring. I thought the worm might be too big, but the big one attacked it immediately and started wrapping it up.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
This weekend was wonderful. After getting some much needed rest, we got up Saturday morning and had our first garage sale. We did pretty good. We got rid of many things that were taking up room and also sold a few things that I thought no one would ever buy.
We closed up the sale a little early and took off to Neo's first soccer game. Special thanks "Mr. Borland" who came along with us and gave Neo some soccer tips. Neo did well and his team almost won, but the game ended in a tie.
After the game, we got some warmer clothes and headed to the Engineering Spring Festival at JSC. Neo had fun playing with his friend Rosemary. We had BBQ, sampled some gumbo, had sno-cones, ate cookies, and listend to live music.
Today, we had another garage sale day and Neo and I made good progress on the tree house. We cut down the large branch that was in the way and chopped up all the resulting branches. After that was out of the way, we were able to finish putting up the floor joists. Now, we just need a good floor plan to figure out where things will go. Pictures are below:
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Last weekend, we got a few chores done. One of those was replacing the fluorescent light in the new pantry. I had installed one that I bought from Home Depot when Mr. Troy and I were building it, but it had a crack in it and also got way hotter than I thought a fluorescent light should. So, I went back to Home Depot and returned it, and got a better, name brand, slightly more expensive one. This one had a ballast that was WAY smaller than the other one and also promised "no hum". I installed the new one and it is much better. It doesn't hum at all, and barely gets warm (Mrs. Pam: make sure you tell Mr. Troy I replaced it... I know he was worried about it).
But the other thing we got at home depot was some wood. After climbing in the tree with Neo a couple of weekends ago, Neo and I got to talking about treehouses. I have always wanted to build one, and ya know, life is just too short. I'm sure there is probably more important things I should be doing, but this just feels right.
So, we started building. My initial plan was to design and build an ultimate tree house, but this gave way to wanting it feel more kid designed. So, we got some scrap wood along with our new wood, and I was hoping to just start placing boards one by one with Neo guiding where he wanted them and helping out.
But, once we started this, I immediately wanted to make every board sturdy and safe. And nails weren't going to cut it. So, we anchored one board into the tree with a 10" long x 1" thick carriage bolt and the other side with a huge lag bolt. This made me feel better, but it started bringing me back to a design. So, I gave in, and drew something up. Here is the floor design.
Since that first day, I have done a bit of research about tree houses and also some research about trees. We started building and are having fun so far, but it is obvious that this is going to take a while. Here are some of Neo's pictures for you to follow along with the construction:
We could have gotten more done today, but we decided to quit early since the next step is to cut down that huge branch and I want to think about that some more. Plus, it's going to be quite a bit of work.
I can't believe it... I'm going to have a .... uhh... ahem... I mean Neo... is going to have a treehouse.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
It's been a long time since the last post, and I wish I could say it was because not much has been going on, but tons of things have been going on. Every time I sit down and decide to update the website, I get focused on something else. I guess, with another one on the way, I should start getting used to this. My buddy said, "Dude, a husband and wife with one child is a well-oiled machines. A husband and wife with two kids ...".
Looking at the last post date, Jan 28th... wow. A lot a has happened since then. I'm trying to remember where we were over a month ago.
First up, room reorganization is in full swing. We decided to change the dining room into the office. That prompted a quick remodel with new paint, crown moulding, base moulding, and window blinds. Here is a link to before pictures and after pictures.
Next up was the kitchen pantry. Mrs. Pam and Mr. Troy were in town a few weekends ago and Mr. Troy and I got in that excuse for a pantry and made a REAL pantry out of it. We were able to extend the pantry under the stairs for some added space and put in plenty of shelves. We dressed it up with moulding and new tile flooring. I think it came out really well, although the funky stud arrangement caused us to go through a few redesigns. You can see before pictures and after pictures. Thank you so much Mr. Troy (and Mrs. Pam, she helped out with painting a ton!). Christian, Neo, and I all are really enjoying the new pantry.
But Mrs. Pam did way more than paint. Her and Christian went on a spring cleaning rampage, which I couldn't have been more happy with. Mrs. Pam and Christian went through her entire closet and threw out tons of things that Christian no longer wears. They also went through some boxes of clothes for both Christian and I, and some saved clothes in the hall closet and got rid of a bunch more. Yay!
And to top it all off, the girls spruced up the living room with some new curtains and Mr. Troy and I installed some new blinds. Boy does the living room look a lot better. I don't have any pictures of it, but it really does change the room. Thanks guys... thanks a million.
The next room to remodel will be the master bedroom, but we will need to get the foundation repaired before we do too much on that one. Ouch.
And that's just stuff about the house. What else is going on?
Christian is getting over the morning sickness period. She still contends with sporadic blood-sugar levels, but overall she is doing better. Neo is still very anxious and curious about what life will be like with the new baby. He and I both.
Neo is doing great. He has been doing very well at school lately. Christian and I cross our fingers to see how long this run of good behavior will last. He is a great kid.
On Mondays, Christian has school so I pick Neo up from school. Since we are on our own for food, we have turned this into a "dinner" night for us. The rules are that we go out to try out new types of food and cannot eat at the same place twice. Also, we can't do fast food, unless it is a local mom-and-pop type place. So far, we haven't tried too much, but last week we tried Italian. I told him he could get anything except spaghetti. He had a chicken dish that he seemed to like. Next week we are going to try Indian food.
Also, in my last post, I told you guys I would be posting some lists. One would be the list of things we are giving away so that you guys could take your pic. I don't have that list ready yet.
The other list is the "lookout" list of things we need. Here is the first cut of the list. If you know the whereabouts of any of these items, please email me and let me know.
Please keep an eye out for any of those things. In a couple of months we will take stock of what we have and what we are missing.
Oh, and mom got her a new laptop. Not only that, but she set it up by herself, reconfigured her home network router and DSL modem, set up a home network, enabled wireless, and connected to her wireless with her new laptop. All by herself. Good job mom. I'm proud of you. Don't be afraid to hit buttons and try things.
And lastly, we just signed up Neo for his first season of soccer at the YMCA. He really wanted to try it out. I have no idea what to tell him. I don't know the first thing about soccer. Perhaps that is best. I just tell him to kick it hard.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
A couple of weekends ago, I finally borrowed a ladder and got up on the roof to fix some facial siding that had come loose. I was able to hang slightly over the edge and nail it back in, which was good.
But this week, we had some freakish tropical storm winds come through houston which blew off two more pieces of siding, only these can't be reached from the roof, or with a small ladder. :(
So, I'm thinking about investing in an extension ladder.
Neo had his last game of the fall-ball season last weekend. Pics can be found on the gallery I made for his team.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
I had a very relaxing day yesterday. I would say "we", but Christian got in a cleaning frenzy, and Neo and I knew better than to get in her way! She got a ton done. Neo and I relaxed and played some XBOX while it was raining outside. Then we BBQ'd, watched a movie, and then went to bed.
Today, however, we got out in the yard. We cut the grass, which was pretty high. Also, we spread some granules for ants and sprayed the yard. We got quite a bit done, but I think I did a little too much, got a little too hot, smelled too much bug spray, and didn't have enough breakfast, because afterwards, I was pretty sick. I'm still recovering. Now, it is down to a bad headache and some nausea.
The best part of the weekend was the BBQ we had on Saturday. We decided to try BBQ'ing some shrimp. Christian stuffed each jumbo shrimp with some cheese and then wrapped it in bacon. We grilled those on the pit while basting it with a butter-garlic sauce. We also grilled hamburgers, hot-dogs, sausage, and corn. Christian made garlic toast and rice dressing inside. We have so much food leftover! We served the shrimp with some more butter-garlic sauce to dip in, and they were delicious.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The room is done and I am pleased with the way it turned out. Considering what it looked like before, it is a million times better. Using a few clicks in Picasa, I made a before and after shot, and also a simple little collage.
All of the before and after pics of the room can be found here. Thanks to everyone that helped, including John and Greg.
I'm sure Christian will have a post about it on her website soon. She is really happy with it... and that makes me happy :)
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
We have been hard at work on another project at home. We are painting and fixing up the upstairs master bedroom. My friend John came over this past weekend and helped us get most of the room finished. It really looks a million times better than before. We are almost done... just a bit more painting and cleanup. After that, I will have some good pictures to share with you all.
And the shuttle landed! What a great flight. Thanks to all of you for being understanding about how hectic it can get around here before a flight. The only bad news (actually good news) is that we are about to be flying every 3 or 4 months! But don't worry... that will only last till about 2010. :)
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Got the new AC installed on Friday. There were some huge storms blowing through Friday morning so that delayed the installation a bit. The guys did a pretty good job installing it I thought.
The new AC cools much better, although the guy said he couldn't get a really good charge on it because it wasn't warm enough outside. I guess that makes the freon freeze up in the bottle or something. There is supposed to be a quality guy come around in a few days to check their work, so I will ask him about it. Other than it making a weird sound when it starts, I am happy with it.
The new AC motivated us to try and seal up some of the exterior of the house, so we bought a bunch of stuff at home depot and got to work. We sealed two of the divisions in the driveway with some self-leveling sealer and some backer rod. This worked pretty good, but it took me 3 $5 bottles of sealer to do only two joints. I need to get some sand to make sure the backer rod is as high as it will go so I don't use so much sealer when I do the rest.
We also got on our hands and knees and cleaned out most of the cracks in the driveway and then filled them with a concrete crack filler. Some of the bigger ones we are going to wait to do once we get some sand.
We took some "Great Stuff" foam filler and filled up some areas around the 1st floor window frames. Then, we removed as much old caulk as we could, and put a fresh seal of caulk all the way around. This may help a little bit, but the windows are so horrible that we might not notice a difference. We really need new windows, and before we do that, we really need to fix the foundation... sigh...
We also went through quite a bit of effort to replace the threshold on the front door. After taking of the threshold, I realized we also needed to replace the board below it as it was getting rotten. I went to Home-Depot again and got a pressure treated board and replaced it. I ruined about 4 masonry drill bits trying to drill into the cement, but eventually we got it in. We put the new threshold on and then installed some door sweeps to help make a seal. With the foundation as it is, there isn't a 90 degree angle in the whole house, so it is hard to get a good seal on anything, but this has to be better than it was. This was the last thing we worked on, but we worked till almost 10:30. Needless to say, we all slept hard.
Looks like those storms that blew in also ripped down some more siding and flopped it over onto the roof. I will have to call a siding guy to come out and repair it and the previous damage from the hurricane, since I don't have a ladder that can reach it... sigh...
Oh, by the way, did I mention that the refrigerator in the kitchen is about to go out? It makes a loud banging noise when the compressor shuts off. Reading on the web suggests it is only a matter of time before the compressor fails... sigh...
In other, less depressing news, Neo had a great baseball game yesterday. He hit well, ran fast and was paying attention. Daddy was very proud. Also, we are going to attempt to go camping next weekend. We have got some supplies ready, and we are thinking about going to Huntsville State Park, but we are open to suggestions. If anyone knows of any good tent-camping places around Houston, please let me know.