Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Not Enough Ladies, Too Many Mans

Well, we got gender confirmation on baby #2!  At 18 weeks, we got a very clear sonogram picture confirming we're having another boy.  I think I was leaning towards wanting a girl, but giving Dutch a brother will be a great gift.  He needs a little playmate who can hang with him. The kid has loads of energy, typically at like 9:30 at night.  He runs, he yells, he crashes his cars, he rides his bike around the house, etc. I don't think he'd know what to do with a sister! The main benefit, of course, is the fact that we get to reuse all of Dutch's baby stuff again! Whew.  No need to obtain a whole new wardrobe or accessories catered to a girl. The new baby will inherit Dutch's nursery and all the furniture, and we'll work on furnishing a whole new room  for Dutch.  I'm having to give up my current home office setup, but such is life!

I'm not gonna lie - when I heard we were having another boy, I got a little overwhelmed. There will be 3 males in the house!  I'm severely outnumbered.  It made me think of a Flight of the Conchords song. (Make sure you have a sense of humor before you proceed with watching this.  Also, NSFW lyrics.)

My favorite lines:

"You guys are dorkin' up my vibe with all the dicks."
"Not enough ladies, too many mans."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Outdoor Living Remodel

We enjoy having a pool in our backyard, but that was the extent of our outdoor amenities. The sun beating down on our uncovered patio was brutal, so we knew we needed to provide some shade and comfortable seating.  We wanted an area for lounging before or after being in the pool and an area appropriate for outdoor dining.  This is what we had before:

It was nice for laying out, but the smaller chaise lounges weren't very comfortable, the pillows faded quickly, the heat was scorching, and it wasn't a convenient place for eating. Once we cleared all the furniture out, here's what we had:

The area was a good size, so we decided to get a pergola installed. We used Lawnmaster through Home Depot.  We liked their options and thought they were affordable.  Once we met with a rep and decided on the features, they sent us renderings for approval.  After we signed off on those, installation was scheduled. That process took about 5 weeks, in total.  They told us it would be 3-4 weeks, but whatever.  The actual installation was done in 5 hours, so that was nice.  The crew was efficient, answered all my questions and provided suggestions, and cleaned up after themselves.  I was happy with their work! Here is the finished product:

It's a 12x14 Deluxe Pergola with upgraded stripping.  That means we got more wood slats on the top, so that it would provide more shade.  I love the red stain on the wood and the end-cuts on the headers. We had them start the first header at 7'6" high instead of 7' so that we could add a fan or misters later, and it wouldn't feel too close to your head.

Now that the pergola was installed, we needed furniture!  Considering how long it took us to pick out our indoor dining furniture, I was dreading this task.  I looked at a few stores in person, and then checked out a lot of sites online.  I came across Chair King in Plano, and decided to stop by there on the way back from an appointment.  They were about to close, but I got a good feel for how many options they had and figured it would be worth a return trip on another day.  When Meezy and I found time to go the next day, I realized there was a location closer to our house. We drove there instead and discovered the store was closing that next weekend.  The inventory was quite limited, but they were offering 50% off!  Score!  We had figured we would spend a few thousand and get a small table with 6 basic chairs.  Thanks to the sale, we were able to get a huge table with 8 upgraded chairs.

The table comfortably seats 8, as shown, but this is with just one of the leaves installed.  If we have more guests, we can add the other leaf (that is stored conveniently under the table), and have room for at least 2 more.

The end chairs are upgraded swivel chairs.

    The side chairs don't swivel, but they're all sturdy with nice, decorative arms and fade-free fabric.

I'm so glad we went to the location that was about to close, because we either would've spent double on this set, or not gotten the one that we really wanted, to save money.  We put the new stuff to use immediately, with a family meal on Friday night - homemade pizzas!  I'm looking forward to more outdoor fun this summer and fall.

Project Costs:
Pergola: $3,900
Furniture: $4,200 (total also included a large serving cart, not pictured)