Monday, July 11, 2011


I was just doing laundry and ZhenZhen (Cassie) brought me this. Saying, "Look mommy, I made spiders. I love spiders - don't you?"

I had to share.

And for the record -- yes, I do love these spiders.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

4th of July weekend

For the past two years, the girls have been using an old metal hand-me-down swing set that Sonny painted pink and purple. We had attached two baby swings to it. This worked great for when we just had Cassie and even last year with both girls. They loved the swings and it was always a great activity for Sonny to do with the girls after work when I needed a break, or when I was cooking dinner. Then my baby girls grew too much. Since the swing set isn't bolted down in any way, it's unsafe to swing too 30lb+ girls on it. If you get them going just right at opposite points in the swinging movement it's ok, but when their swinging movement matches up so they are both moving forward at the same time, the swing set would begin to tip over. Not acceptable. So it was time to look into buying the girls a 'real' swing set. By real I mean bigger, more fun, safer, more things to do, and of course lots more money.

I started pricing the large wooden outdoor activity sets and oh my, they are crazy expensive. But the girls are worth it, right? And then of course I had to research how to make them the safest. Oh my, that makes it even more costly, by alot. Yikes. According to the information I found online, these playsets need at least 6 inches of mulch around the thing and it has to be 6ft from the playset in all directions. Wow. That's a lot of mulch. But again, they are worth it, right?

We finally found a playset that we thought the girls would like, and that wouldn't totally break the bank, and would still provide years of fun for them. I found it online and needed to order it. I was too tired to mess with ordering it a few Friday nights ago so I decided to order it in the morning. The next morning Sonny was outside and the girls wanted to go out. As I was letting them out the patio door I noticed the top of the playset in the neighbor's yard next door. They have their house for sale and their girls are like 10 & 12 and don't really play with it. Such a shame - they bought it two years ago and spent 3 days putting it together. Their girls used it for about 1/2 a year and then they decided they were too old for childrens' toys. When I was their age, I'd have loved something like this. But then, we didn't have 18 million cable channels or the ability to "text" the day away with friends.

Anyway, at the moment I was looking at this playset, the woman who lives there just happened to be out cutting the grass. We asked if she wanted to sell it, and she said "No, but you can just take it." Wow -- that was a nice surprise! However, we weren't really comfortable with that. That particular model runs about $1500 at Sam's club. So I made a deal with her -- since she happens to be pregnant -- I gave her a ton of baby things so that she didn't need to buy them and I didn't need to worry about selling them in a garage sale. Deal done, win-win. Sort of.

The fact is that moving a 900lb swing set from one house to the next is no trivial matter. With our trailer, two more helpful neighbors, a whole day of sweating (did I mention it was 101 degrees here on July 2nd when we did this), and a really sore mommy and daddy, we got the playset taken down in large pieces, moved, put back together, and powerwashed in a single day. And we still had time to get 6 yards of mulch that day too. Did I mention it was hot that day? Then on Sunday we picked up 2 more yards of mulch -- for a total of 8 yards. That's a lot of mulch to keep our little girls safe. But yes, they are worth it. And we had it all done by the 3rd so that we could spend the 4th just hanging out and enjoying the new playset.

Since these pictures were taken, we've added a new 3-piece band set. A telescope and steering wheel will be delivered next week.

So I will stop rambling and get on with the pictures.