Friday, August 28, 2009

Basement Update

Quick update about our basement project.

Towards the beginning of August, we finished up all the framing, and Justin had completed wiring for electricity throughout. After these two huge steps, we quickly realized how much work it would be to drywall ourselves. We got some bids and decided paying a professional would be a good investment. Likewise with insulation. So the Friday before we left for Haiti, we brought in someone to do insulation. Huge transformation! The Tuesday after we returned from Haiti, the drywallers started their handiwork. After only two days of work, our basement was encased in beautiful, purple, moisture-proof drywall. I never thought I would want the basement to be entirely purple, but right now, it's my favorite color!
Taping, mudding and sanding continue next week, and before you know it, we'll be painting!

Maybe a shade of purple.....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Homesick Already

Justin and I returned to the states on Tuesday, and I'm already homesick for Haiti. This trip was special because it was the first visit since we started sponsoring one of the girls. As soon as we walked in the gate of the orphanage, Charlene and Patricelande came up to me for hugs. That was really neat. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip.

The first bunk bed assembled!

Patricelande and Charlene.

Justin tossing Charlene on the couch.

Helping Charlene and Patricelande put on jewelry
from our sponsor gift.

Vivine covered in birthday cake frosting,
though I'm quite sure she didn't eat any of it.

We had a great time. In fact, I'd say it was better the second time. A lot of the girls remembered us, so instead of the awkward "getting to know you" period of time we experienced last visit, we had girls climbing on us within a matter of hours. It was wonderful! Plus, my Creole is getting a little bit better, so communicating is easier. We purchased an Engligh/Creole dictionary while down there, so hopefully my vocabulary will go beyond "What?", "This?" and "Share" for the next trip.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Backyard Jungle

There has been a lot going on lately...
The basement work is going great- we finished framing last weekend, we will finish up electricity and cable this week, and we already scheduled the contractors to do insulation on Friday!
Justin and I attended a friend's wedding in Kansas City over the weekend. (Alas- this meant I had to miss a shower I had been planning for weeks!)
Kevin was tested on being Happy Tails materials- and he passed!
We've rescheduled our Haiti trip and have been ironing out the details of assembling 16 bunk beds in five days with only six people.

But this post is about something much more pressing: our neighbor's backyard.

Now, before I get too far along here, I want to make it quite clear that I think these neighbors are very nice. In fact, I owe them some of our basement motivation. They invited us over to see their basement a while back, and it is rocking! They've been friendly and generally welcoming. (And I genuinely feel kind of bad naming our dog Kevin.)

When we moved in two years ago, we immediately noticed their affection for outdoor play sets and toys. When we first moved in, they had a sandbox boat, little tikes picnic table, two plastic toddler climbers, a slide, and a large trampoline.

Last summer, they had a hard time keeping up with the mowing. They both work full-time, plus they have three kids (though I think the oldest lives with her boyfriend). I would have a hard time keeping up with the grass, too. But when the grass was knee-high, it was a little ridiculous. I can remember Justin putting the weed eater on the other side of the fence in order to get the weeds creeping through the chain links.

This summer, they've been really good about mowing the lawn. Unfortunately, new toys seem to be appearing. Earlier this summer, there was a really hot day where they pulled out an inflatable pool for their youngest to play in. But it didn't get deflated and put away. We now get to look at a sandbox boat, little tikes picnic table, two plastic toddler climbers, a slide, a large trampoline and an inflatable pool.

Two weekends ago, Justin and I were working in the basement when we heard Kevin start barking like crazy. I run upstairs to find the neighbors (with some help from other strong adults) moving in a large, wooden swing set with two forts, a slide and climbing wall. By itself, this is a very classy and nice addition to a backyard. I know I would have loved to have something like this as a child. But this makes eight things in their backyard: a sandbox boat, little tikes picnic table, two plastic toddler climbers, a slide, a large trampoline, an inflatable pool and a large swing set.

We thought this was getting ridiculous. I mean, I couldn't remember the last time one of their kids actually played with the climbers, the sandbox, or picnic table. Perhaps they were planning to get rid of some of the old toys in place of this new piece of equipment? But after two weeks, it was pretty obvious the old toys weren't going anywhere. Just when I thought things couldn't get any more congested in their backyard, we came home from KC on Sunday to find a new addition: a second large trampoline. Grass is officially nonexistent in their backyard. It has gone past the point of ridiculous. I am now just utterly impressed they are able to fit all of those toys in the backyard. In fact, I was so impressed, I took a picture.

You can just barely see the tip of the slide and the inflatable pool
behind the new trampoline!

Total count: nine. A sandbox boat, little tikes picnic table, two plastic toddler climbers, a slide, an inflatable pool, a large swing set, and two trampolines. And a partridge in a pear tree.