Yesterday we got back from our annual long weekend trip to StoryLand. It was a fun trip despite Evan getting sick at the restaurant and the Doc and I forgetting to pack the Pack N Play so he could have a secure place to sleep. Next time, no matter how far away from home we are, we're turning around to get that darn Pack N Play! Needless to say today was a nice day to catch up on some much needed sleep!
Weather wise, while it was a bit muggy it wasn't as hot as last year and the storms held off until we were already back at the lodge. The first storm let up just in time for us to all enjoy a delicious meal at one of our favorite places, Moat Mountain Smokehouse & Brewery. I got the slider combo and the crab cake sliders were awesome! We had to wait a bit but it was worth it for their yummy food. I highly recommend this place if you're ever in North Conway, NH.
The ride up and back was beautiful. Now that we are in Concord, we just shoot up I-93 and crossed over via RT-302. On the way back we decided to take the the Kancamagus. 302 was just as pretty and not as steep and windy and we had the added bonus of missing all the North Conway traffic. I think we'll stick with that route from now on. Below are some highlights from our day at Story Land.
The boys taking in a show upon our arrival - that is why no one is looking at the camera!
The annual family photo out front!
As good as you're going to get with three restless boys! I am just glad we did this first thing because they were TIRED and CRANKY come the end of the day!
The boys showing off their stickers from the Little Old Lady who Lives in a Shoe!
Evan's first ride! He LOVED it!
Shaun was tall enough for the big kid rides this year!
The ball room
David's favorite ride EVER! Shaun didn't love the Polar Coaster and so he didn't want to go on this one.
David and I after the rapids. Shaun road with us but he was WAY cranky at this point. I was lucky to even get him on the ride!
David had a BLAST! I think Shaun would have had more fun if he wasn't so tired and it wasn't so HOT! Evan LOVED being free to roam and enjoyed the rides he got to go on!
I am already looking forward to next year when Evan is older and I don't have to chase him around! He wants to do everything that his brothers are doing which makes my life very, VERY difficult! Ha!
It's all about the furbabies in this weeks challenge over at I Heart Faces. This is an old picture I took of my cousin and her furbaby Alaska. I love this picture! This Siberian Husky is her heart and soul and I think it really shows in this photo!
Because this was taken with an old point and shoot, I did try and clean it up a bit in LightRoom. I thought the effects really worked here to sharpen it up a bit! There are lots of great entries this week so far, so click the link and check them all out!!
Last week MIL and I finished digging up the Hostas on the other side of the front. I don't know if it was that we had a better system or what, but it was SO much easier and took us A LOT less time to dig up pretty much the same amount.
Before we started working on the digging, we took a drive over to a local nursery. I was curious what some of the trees were in my yard so we clipped a branch off and brought it with us. Turns out it is a crab apple tree. Not something that should be as close to the house as it is and I honestly don't want a bunch of fruit falling all around our front lawn, so I am probably going to cut it down. While we were there MIL pointed out this beautiful hydrangea with red and green leaves. I loved it so much that I bought it! My very first plant for the new house!
We also cut down another tree that was even closer to the house than the crab apple tree is, and transplanted a small geranium. There is still some more work to do on that side but we saw a nasty yellow jackets nest near the front walkway in the ground and we didn't feel like digging around and angering them! I made a call to a pest control company because that is the kind of thing that I am all set messing around with!
Love how open it is now!
On Saturday while the Doc mowed the lawn I took MIL's hand saw and started pruning all our trees in the front. I was a women with a saw and on a mission! Spent a good couple hours working and was very pleased with the difference!
I still have some more work I want to do but for now it's definitely much more open! But still private, if that makes any sense!
Today was transplanting day! MIL came up again and we hit up the Home Depot for some top soil and I wanted a hand saw of my very own! While we were there we saw that they had Mum's for sale, I couldn't pass them up so I grabbed two burgundy ones and I hope to get a few more (maybe white ones) for the other side of the house.
So staying away from the side with the newly treated wasp nest, we decided to work on transplanting the lilies that were all bunched up together by the front. We dug our holes filled them with some good soil and then dug up the lilies. They are now lined up neatly along the side of the house! I think it looks great, but we won't know for sure how they do until next year when they bloom again. But I think they will look great!
Moving them one by one
All neatly in a row!
The new design
The finished view, showing off my new mums!
We are almost finished with the redesign, just a few more plants to dig up and either get rid of or move and we need to plant the hydrangea. I just need to figure out exactly where I want it to go. Then in the spring the plan is to replace the smashed up walkway to something a little nicer!
The challenge this week over at I Heart Faces is beautiful eyes. I tried and tried so hard to get a nice picture of my blue eyed baby for this challenge, since we all have brown eyes in this family and yet his are sparkling blue! But he's one and well he doesn't exactly cooperate or sit still or keep his eyes open when he grins his toothy grin. The eyes become slits and while the face is adorable, it doesn't exactly show off those baby blues! So with my friends permission I am submitting this picture of her daughter I took at my sons birthday party!
I had rented the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens to practice with and see if it would be something I would want to purchase in the future. Having never used a fixed lens before (I have the kit lens and a standard zoom lens), there was definitely a learning curve. But this one really stood out and her blue eyes really sparkled. I was feeling discouraged with the lens until I did some reading and continued to practice. I wasn't really loving the pictures I was getting and was ready to write this one off. This picture is the picture that changed my opinions of the lens, and I think with some more practice and more time I'll be able to get some more stunning portraits just like this one!
On Friday I took the kids to Colby Farms in Newbury, MA with my friend and her two girls! I was very excited for this practice photo shoot! The lighting was awful (sun right in our faces, beating down on us) but it was still a fun day and I got some very cool shots. Next year we'll have to make it a point to go later in the afternoon when the sun is on the other side of the field and not in our faces! Lesson learned! If nothing else, it was a gorgeous day spent with our friends!
Playing around with photoshop - my attempt to make it look like a painting
The kids being great sports and setting up the one shot I was hoping to get from this day! Cheesy? You bet! But you have to admit that it's cute and I don't know how many years before it will no longer be "cool"! Ha!
The Sunflower field was gorgeous! We have already decided to make this an annual thing!
This part is all about Landscaping. The yard was seriously neglected once the sellers decided that they were moving 2 years ago. As I said in the last post, there is an entire section of lawn that is totally dead. Once we got the irrigation system serviced we started running it daily in hopes to revive the lawn. We are already seeing some improvements, but some areas are pretty much beyond fixing at this point and we're going to need to reseed it in the fall.
Along the driveway was some dirt where the previous owners had flowers planted all along the sides. It looked nice, but I imagine it was a lot of upkeep. Not something the Doc and I cared to do, we think it would look just as nice with grass so we decided to plant some seeds (even though they recommend doing it in the fall, we didn't want to wait). We figured we could get a jump start on it and it's already starting to grow!
The Before picture (after hours of weeding!):
Spreading the seeds:
Grass is growing!
I am pretty proud of us! This being our first real yard and all, I think we're doing a pretty good job so far! And so now this brings me to last week. MIL came up on Wednesday to help me with the overgrown Hostas on our front walkway. Not only were they out of control, but they were attracting bees. They were everywhere and personally, I just didn't want to worry about bees being everywhere anytime we used the front walkway. So we dug them up. It was hard work but it looks a million times better now. The whole front walkway has really opened up leaving the Red Maple as the focal point!
6 dug up and 6 more to go!
All the dug up Hotas in the front yard
Saw this little guy hopping around and was able to snap a picture and get the boys over to see!
The beautiful bird bath - a housewarming gift from GG:
The housewarming bench from MIL & FIL - you can't see the top since the boys are sitting on it, but it has my favorite saying on the top "Live well, Laugh often, Love much!
To help get a feel for what the yard used to look like (before the sellers decided that they didn't care anymore) here is a picture of the front exterior from the original house listing.
And this is the front before we started working:
So to sum it all up, we cut down a tree, dug up 12 hostas, weeded, and pruned the red maple. I think it looks pretty awesome so far!
Next on the agenda is to finish pulling up the hostas and then changing the placement of the other flowers so they are more spread out.