Monday, July 09, 2007

Before/After and Snake Update

Finally we have a yard! After several months of playing on our driveway and realizing that most kids in public housing have more greenspace than our child we decided we HAD to do something so she had a place to play outside. When we bought this house 3 years ago it was a plus that we had a really big wooded lot with basically only a small yard area. Our needs have dramatically changed since then so we had to improve the yard to fit our growing family. The side area you see above has always been an unusable overgrown mess that we have basically ingnored. It was the only way to expand our yard and so we had a retaining wall built and sod put down and there you have it . . . we have a yard! We still have a lot of finishing work to do ourselves as far as mulching and doing some planting (you can see a picture of the yard boy planting my hydrangeas) but the basic canvas is there. We can't wait to play out there and get a little picnic table so we can eat lunch outside too! We were a little nervous about laying sod during the worst drough in almost 20 years but about 10 minutes after they laid the sod it starting raining and it poured all day on Saturday and we got a good soaking again today! Free water is a big deal when you start talking about watering as much as we need to the next few weeks so we were really excited.
Ok, everyone wants to know about the snake so I should update you on that saga. It ends happily for us and not so happily for the giant snake. It was about a month ago, we were getting Claire ready for bed when I heard someone knocking at the door. I went to see who it was and found my neighbor standing there barefoot, in his swimming trunks, goggles on his head, holding a dustpan and broom - I opened the door and he said "I found your snake!". I figured by the way he was dressed that the snake was in his pool but it turns out that his girlfriend pulled up to the house and found the snake laying across his front steps. The snake slid into a drainage pipe where he was hiding. We all went out there and the men attempted to get the snake out of the pipe and into a garbage bag by running a hose into the pipe. Our neighbor really didn't want to kill the snake - he wanted to take it to the creek or something. Since it was on his property I couldn't really argue although I told Rhett to go get the ax and have it handy. The garbage bag idea obviously didn't work (I could have told them that) so they tried to get the snake into a big garbage can. They managed to do that but as soon as the snake got into the can it literally stood up (all 6.5 feet) and started coming out of the can. By this time it was getting angry and trying to slither away so FINALLY they chopped the snake's head off and it was dead. So that is how the snake story ends. Hopefully, I won't have anymore snake stories in the future to share.

Happy 4th!

We spent a really relaxing 4th of July up in North Carolina at "Shirley Ridge" - Rhett's parents place near Bryson City. Rhett and I got to sleep a lot and Claire got to play with her grandparents a lot so we were all happy!
The second picture is of our PICU playgroup - Addie, Claire, Sydney and Emily Anne. I worked with all of their moms in the PICU (we are all in various stages of retirement at this point!). We all had babies within a year of each other and they were all girls. Two of us are expecting boys now which is fun and perfect for playgroup!
We had some 18 month pictures taken of Claire. I have decided to accept the fact the my daughter does not like having her picture taken. There, I've said it. I've been in denial for a while but I really just need to accept it and move on. Something happens to my laughing, giggling, happy child when a photographer shows up with a camera - usually tears are involved but mostly blank stares and no smiles. I tried so very hard to make these come out great. We even went to the botanical gardens the day before and "practiced" taking our shoes off (she loves wearing shoes, hates being barefoot and does not like walking in the grass with or without shoes). Of course I had my heart set on pictures of her barefoot walking through the gardens in a flowing white gown so I tried my best to prepare her but it didn't really work. Of course the fact that was June in Alabama and approximately 94 degrees didn't work in our favor. At some point Claire saw her beloved Bunny that I had tucked away in her bag in case of an emergency and that was basically the beginning of the end. As soon as she saw Bunny she wanted her paci (they kind of "go" together for her) and a fierce battle ensued between the two of us in the middle of the botanical gardens. I knew that if I was paying the sitting fee then I was going to win that battle and Bunny was going back in her bag and she was going to go frolick in the garden. That being said the photographer did manage to get some really great shots although our slideshow is not as stellar as some of the other ones I've seen that she's done. Here is a link to the slideshow: Next time I think I'll have her come to the house so at least Claire will be on her own turf and maybe she will smile!
18 months is the best age! The difference between 12 months and 18 months is staggering. It really is where they go from being a baby to a full fledged toddler or big girl as we say around here. It's like I blinked my eyes and Claire is eating with a fork, remembering everyone's name, saying big words like blueberry, delicious and peekaboo. She says "bless you" when you sneeze and is learning her shapes (her favorite - "oval"). She helps me do everything from emptying the dishwasher, putting on my makeup and mopping the floor. She gives the best kisses and hugs in the world - they absolutely make her Daddy melt into a puddle on the floor. She still sings all the time and sometimes at the end of a song she says "Amen!" and starts clapping. It's so cute. As much fun as it is to see her grow up it makes me sad that she is growing up so fast too. I guess that it is good timing with Ford on his way so we can start all over watching a little blob come home from the hospital and grow into an amazing little person.