Archive for May 2007

Too busy for my own good…

I had a big presentation due at work today so I’ve been pretty busy the past few days and let my posting slack off. Fortunately, Nancy is getting the hang of blogging and has picked up the slack. My sister likes to send out the email questionairre spam things to all her family and friends. For lack of something better to write about, I’ll just answer the questions of a recent one she sent:

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Me: My middle name is my dad’s first name
Nancy: No, not that I know of

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Me: I don’t want to say
Nancy: Probably the last time BYUFan and I got in a fight but I can’t remember when specifically

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Me: No
Nancy: No, it looks like a man’s messy handwriting

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Me: It used to be pastrami but I’m tired of that now. I’ll have to go with smoked turkey
Nancy: turkey

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Me: Yes, 5
Nancy: ditto

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Me: Probably not. I’m not very easy to get along with
Nancy: Hmmm, no. I’m pretty boring

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Me: No
Nancy: No

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Me: Yes
Nancy: Yes

Interestingly, our kids have enormous-sized tonsils. The oldest three have already had theirs removed. The younger two have big whoppers as well so they’ll probably end up getting them removed. They’re big enough that when the pediatrican, who has seen thousands of tonsils, looked at them she said “wow!”. They tonsil doctor sized them a 5+ on a scale of 1 to 5.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Me: No way
Nancy: No way

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Me: Fruity Dyno Bytes (the cheaper Malt-o-Meal version of Fruity Pebbles)
Nancy: Apple Jacks

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Me: No
Nancy: Not usually

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Me: I have good leg strength but I’ve always had weak upper-body strength
Nancy: I’m mediocre I guess

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Me: Anything with nuts, caramel, etc. in it. I don’t like plain ice cream without something in it unless it’s vanilla and then you have to eat it with something like chocolate cake.
Nancy: Cookies and cream

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Me: I don’t notice anything about dudes. With girls, uhhh, I notice various aspects of their anatomy
Nancy: Their facial expressions

15. RED OR PINK?
Me: Red
Nancy: Red

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Me: My weight – too fat
Nancy: ditto

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Me: I don’t miss anybody currently. I miss Nancy the most when I’m gone on business trips
Nancy: My mom and dad.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?
You can answer in the comments if you want…

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Me: N/A – I’m wearing my pajamas
Nancy: ditto

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Me: Baked potato bar for dinner tonight
Nancy: ditto

NOTE: What happened to 21?

22. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Me: BYU Blue
Nancy: Lavender

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Me: Nancy when she wears baby powder, freshly cooked jasmine rice, cinnamon rolls, that open-sewer smell you get whenever you go to any part of Asia (strange but true – at first I hated that smell but now it brings back so many memories. U.S. sewers just don’t smell the same as sewers in Asia)
Nancy: Flowers, forget that – don’t write flowers, write ummm, pine smells in the forest, but I hate the smell of carnations -those are the worst flowers ever because they remind me of funerals.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
Me: My friend Tracy
Nancy: BYUFan’s mom

26 FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Me: Football
Nancy: Football, whatever

27. HAIR COLOR?
Me: Brown – only a few gray strands
Nancy: Naturally brown but rapidly going gray. My hair was last dyed red but it is fading

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Me: Tried them when I was 14. Hated them. Have worn glasses ever since.
Nancy: No

30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Me: Sushi, homemade spring rolls, homemade vietnamese pork patties, pizza (I prefer “The Pie”)
Nancy: Sushi

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Me: happy endings
Nancy: happy endings

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Me: Cars – just watched it tonight with the kids
Nancy: same

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Me: white
Nancy: blue

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Me: Winter
Nancy: Summer

35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Me: Hugs
Nancy: Hugs

36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Me: Chocolate molten at Chilis
Nancy: same

37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
N/A

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
N/A

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Me: War and Peace – I’m on about page 1000 of 1400 pages. It’s a pretty good book – better than I expected
Nancy: The Secret Garden

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Me: My mouse pad is plain black
Nancy: No mousepad

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?
Me: We don’t have TV
Nancy: same

42. FAVORITE SOUND?
Me: The sound of our new waterfall, the crowd at a BYU football game
Nancy: Favorite sound? What is my favorite sound? Hmmmm – you don’t need to write everything I say. What are you writing that for? I like it when the kids say “Daddy’s home” when BYUFan gets home from work.

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Me: The Beatles
Nancy: Beatles

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Me: Malaysia or possibly Tibet – I’m not sure which one is father as the crow flies
Nancy: China

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Me: Nope
Nancy: No

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Me: Mesa, AZ
Nancy: San Jose, CA

47. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK?
N/A

More stuff

I totally forgot to get the camera out today to get some pictures. Hopefully tomorrow I won’t forget and maybe by then we will have more plants to make the yard look nicer.

I took Samuel and Diana to the pool today while the girls were at school. It was nice, we stayed in the 1′ 6″ kiddie pool the whole time. Diana spent the whole time getting in and out of the pool while Samuel loved to go under the water and act like a fish. Now that I took them the older girls are mad and demanding I take them as well. The only problem with that is that by the time they are able to swim (after school or weekends) the children in the whole neighborhood are there and it is way too crowded. It is not a very big pool, I think the developers didn’t plan well.

Tonight I went to a meeting with a couple of guys from the city who are planning a new park down the street. They came to get the input of the community of what they wanted in the park. I was amazed at the big things everyone wanted (tennis courts, volleyball court, water pop up fountain thingy for kids to play in, baseball diamond etc..). I just wanted a bigger plaground than we have now in the development so the kids don’t get bored. It is only in the preliminary planning stages and they have a couple of big things to work around in the park such as a big water tank burried underneath and a drainage ditch that has to be at the north of the park. It is interesting to see these people at work and to be in on what is going on, I just hope it turns out to be a nice place for my kids to play.

Stuff

I can’t believe the month of May is just about over. This year is going by really quick in my opinion. Today was the day we got our grass in and the day that most all the landscaping has been completed. I didn’t charge up the battery on the camera so I didn’t take any pictures today, so you will have to wait until tomorrow to see the finished landscaping. We are also planning on going to buy some more plants and flowers on Friday and spending a good chunk of the day on Saturday planting all of them. We also need to finish spreading the topsoil in the garden and then tilling the leftover mulch into the garden. So much to do yet so little time to do it all.

The neighborhood pool opened up last Friday and Emily and Anne have been bugging me every day to let them go swimming. My excuse to not take them has been that I don’t have a pool key yet, but now that I have the key I don’t have any other excuse. I just don’t know how I will be able to take five kids to the swimming pool and watch them all so no one drowns.

In preparation for Diana’s surgery in June we received an information packet from Primary Children’s Medical Center. It contains information about what to expect before and after the surgery and gives helps for preparing Diana for surgery. Diana goes the day before surgery to get all the prepwork done such as getting preadmitted, having a chest xray and other lab work. Now that we know the date and have started filling out paperwork for surgery we are definitely a little more nervous than we were before. I will be glad when everything gets done and Diana has recovered so we can put everything behind us.

Landscape Diary

The Garden

 

Today was a busy day. BYUFan and I woke up about 7:30 am and decided to do a little work outside in our garden area of the back yard. We spent the majority of our time spreading the “topsoil” onto our garden area. It was tough work because one, we had to shovel each load of topsoil into the wheel barrow and dump and spread it over a large surface. And two, we had to work in clay soil that had turned to dust. It was like walking in water or sand, and trying to move the wheel barrow in it was a pain in the you-know-where. By 10:30 am our arms were aching and we were tired and dusty so we decided to call it a day. The landscapers arrived at our house the same time we went outside and they worked until about 4:30 in the afternoon. They worked on the drip irrigation, the prep work for grass, putting the mulch over the weed barrier and doing the clean up. I guess I am more of a wussy than they are, maybe if I worked like them I could lose a little more weight than I am at present.

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We ate our lunch early at about 11:00 am and then we spent another couple of hours cleaning the house because Grandpa Kent and Grandma Connie were due to arrive at our house at about 3:00 pm. They only stayed a few minutes, but were able to see the semi completed landscaping and our new furniture in the front room. Maybe next time they come over they will have more time and can sit and and rest their feet a while longer.

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The Landscapers should be done by Tuesday. I think the yard will look much more complete once we have curbing and grass. The only things we need now are more trees, bushes, and flowers. We will probably be spending the next five to ten years completing the yard.

Landscape Diary

The landscapers put the weed barrier down in the flowerbeds today and started on the flagstone paths and patio. .

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Nancy was excited when the truck pulled up with the stone.

A few weeks ago we went down to American Stone and picked out the kind we liked – an Idaho quartzite called “buckskin” We liked the variation in colors in the quartzite- gold, orange, silver, green. (Unfortunately, the good folks at American Stone don’t appear to be web experts and thus their website is currently not displaying any pictures of the stone. Hopefully the pictures will be filled in over time)

06/13/2007 UPDATE:Just checked the link. American Stone has now got the buckskin section of their website working. Wonder if they want to use the pictures of my patio and walkways as one of their yet-to-be-added examples?

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The front walkway – you can see the black weed barrier

Stone is sold by the pound in different thicknesses and sheet sizes. The larger flagstones for the patio are milled to a 1″-2″ thickness. The smaller pavers for the walkways are thicker – 3-4″ but they are cheaper per pound because it’s a lot less difficult to make small pieces than it is to mill large pieces.

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back patio

Our flagstone patio and walkways are “dry set” meaning they aren’t set in mortar in between. We plan is to plant moss on the north shady side and creeping thyme between the cracks on the sunny areas.

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south walkway looking towards the front yard

Landscape Diary

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Today they hooked up the electricity and water to the waterfall. The pump is nice and quiet – in fact, you can’t hear it at all. It also has a low-water valve that is hooked to the sprinkler system so that the water will automatically refill itself if it gets too low. The top part of the waterfall will eventually be filled with rocks and plants.

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The stream just disappears into the ground (the rock circle at the foot of the stream) which is by design. I like the way the stream flows; however, I it flowed farther out into the rock drain area insted of just ending at the lip of the rock drain. We’ll have to play with the rock drain and see if we can extend the stream flow a bit. Also, once we get the area surrounding the waterfall and stream planted with bushes and shrubs the whole setting should start to look more natural.

PTA Carnival

The elementary school held it’s PTA Carnival tonight. The girls wanted to go quite badly. I could tell Nancy didn’t want to take them so she ask me to take them and she went with Samuel to his final T-ball game of the season. The carnival was your typical PTA fundraiser – inflatable rides, sno-cones, hot dogs, etc.

I gave each girl 20 tickets (2-4 tickets for a ride, 4 tickets for a sno-cone, 2 tickets for a soda, etc.) Anne headed straight for the rock climbing wall. She was able to make it about half way up but she was wearing sandals which hampered her efforts a bit. Afterwards she found a friend and spent the rest of the time with her friend. Emily headed off with one of her friends and I didn’t see her until the end. Caroline didn’t have a friend to hang out with so she and I were pals for the evening. Caroline loved going on the big inflatable slides. Her favorite one was a big obstacle-course type inflatable slide with a big dinosaur:

Carnival Slide

Several times kids from the school waved and said hi to her. I asked her if she wanted to go play with them but she was content to just wait in line for the slides over and over agin. She also got a blue sno-cone which ended up about 50% in her mouth and 50% on her shirt. By the end of the carnival she looked like a blue smurf with a blue face a blue-stained shirt, and a big snaggle-tooth blue grin.

In the end I’m glad I took them. I remember loving those type of cheesy carnival things when I was a kid – running around, deciding what to spend my tickets on, wishing I had more tickets, wishing I could stay there all night. Just watching Caroline enjoy herself made my day.

Landscape Diary

Even though it threatened rain throughout the day the landscapers worked hard and got a few more things done today.  They first had to change a tire on the bobcat because it was flat.  After that was fixed they started work on our waterfall in the backyard.

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I was playing with Thomas the Train with Diana up in Samuel’s room and was able to keep an eye on the work out his window.  It was fun watching them carefully place each rock just right so it formed a U-shaped design.  After the rocks were placed they made a meandering path for the waterfall and dug a hole for the pump.

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While the guys in the backyard were working on the waterfall the guys in the front were working on the sprinklers and spreading out two truckfulls of topsoil in the flower beds and where the grass is going to be.  Luckily the rain held off for most of the day and they got quite a bit done.  I can’t wait until they are done and there is no more mess and no more mud that can get tracked into the house.

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New Artwork

We made our second-ever artwork purchase when we decorated our front room (our first was our purchase of some paintings on our trip to China). Nancy and I both really liked this print when we saw it at the furniture gallery. For some reason, the print wasn’t delivered with the furniture but it finally arrived this past week.
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We really liked the rich colors in this print and how it matches with the gold sofa. Eventually we’ll add a couple of rich-colored throw pillows to the sofa and hopefully get a few more Asian pieces to complete the room. Our only concern is that we hung it too high. It looks good when you’re standing in the entry way but when you’re sitting on the couch it seems too high up. It got it’s spot on the wall because that was the only place we could put the ladder without moving the piano. Now we’re wondering whether we should have centered it on the wall. Anyone want to share their opinion on it?

Landscape Diary

Landscape4Today the landscapers put the rock wall into place. Our front yard had a bit of a slope in it so we decided to level it off with a rock wall. Some of the houses in our neighborhood have large multi-level rock walls but we didn’t need anything that fancy – just something big enough to give us a bit of a planting bed on top and make the grassy area in front not on such a slope. The guys from Ace Property Maintenance used the bobcat and to push the rocks into place. Nancy thought it looked “too level” but I’m not sure what look she was going for. I’m pleased with the way it turned out.

Landscape5South Jordan City requires that the backflow valve for the sprinkler system be above ground. The developer leaves a $1000 bond with the city and after you get your landscape in you can redeem the bond. South Jordan actually sends out an inspector to make sure the backflow valve is above ground before they let you redeem the bond. The only problem is that backflow valves are ugly. One of our neighbors has his right in the front yard and it just doesn’t look very good. Fortunately, Ace has all of our valves and valve boxes in the back and side yards.

The only problem with landscape work is the dirt and mess. Our clay soil is like fine powder when it is dry and the kids love nothing more than stomping through it and kicking up dust. A new church is being built down the street and in the afternoon the wind whips up enormous dust clouds that completely cover the neighborhood – so much that you can’t even see the houses across the street. As a consequence, our windows and outside walls are completely coated in dirt. I look forward to power-washing the house once everyone has their yard in and all the construction throughout the neighborhood is completed.
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