It was a great visit. K adored having two more willing laps to sit on and have any number of stories read to her. She was happy to show her grandparents all her toys and have them help her do her puzzles. When K feels that all's right with the world, she gets all busy and industrious, moving toys from room to room or fascinating herself with the way something works, such as a door opening and shutting. So she was very busy while her grandparents were here, always staying and playing near them, talking constantly.
But Mom and Dad didn't spend their whole time playing with their grandchild. Mom started the spring clean-up in the yard--pruning, raking out last year's dead stuff and weeding. And Dad wallpapered the living room! It looks so good. I've been wanting to redo the living room (and the dining room and the family room, kitchen, nook, bedroom and bathroom) since we bought this house and the living room is finally finished. He taught me how to wallpaper as well, so it is up to me to get the dining room done. (It's being done with the same paper as the living room.) I am so glad to finally have the know-how to start tackling the rest of the house. I have rolls of wallpaper itching to get up on the walls, and now that I know how to put them up, we can start picking out paint colors to coordinate. Our house will look like "us" instead of a time capsule from the eighties. I will post more photos soon, hopefully.
Then, B was out of school for a week for spring break. The weather was mostly beautiful and warm, and we spent nearly the whole week out working in the yard.
Actually, we had a specific goal we were working toward--redoing the front semi-circle. It had large evergreen bushes that weren't bad, very established looking and healthy, really, except for one bush that was dying a slow death after being hit by a firecracker last 4th of July.
But I've had a vision to redo this bed and fill the whole area with flowers. All winter I've been studying flower catalogues and choosing my (many) favorites. It's been quite a process: I scanned and printed out pages of flowers I thought would be good possibilities, then made a scaled map of the bed and arranged the top-choice flowers on it. Usually, I don't plan my flowerbeds much--I just buy the stuff I like or something that would I think would look good in a certain spot. But this bed is rather huge (46 ft long) and I wanted to make sure the little dainty flowers didn't get hidden behind larger bushy ones and so on. Our dream is to make this a special memorial garden.
The people that lived here before us put down black plastic tarp then a layer of rocks of various sizes around the bushes. What a pain to pull up. We spent much of the week just picking rocks. I tried to have K help, and at first she did. Then she would become more interested in picking up handfuls of dirt and needles to put in the wheelbarrow instead of rocks. B was the master rock-picker/tarp-puller (of course). He's got the "economy of motion" thing down cold. That, along with his strength and the way he attacks a job, makes him get things done in about a fourth of the time it takes me. When he gets going, I just try to stay out the way.
At the end of week we (he) pulled out the final two bushes. They were large--about 6 feet high and 9 feet wide. It was strange to see them go. Even though I've always thought those bushes were rather ugly, watching them go reminded me how it feels to move out of a home--you look around and realize that what had been daily life is now just a memory. It's strange when that particular anchor no longer exists.
Now the semi-circle is completely bare, the soil tilled and ready for plants. People point at the change as they drive by. Here are some pictures that show our progress:
Most of the pages of scanned flowers
The map. When I made it, we weren't planning on pulling the biggest bushes. Now they're gone, so I'll need to readjust the layout a bit.
B putting the final touches on the soil. His little helper really wants to try out the red rake, too.