Yard Work

So we finally put some more time and money into the yard. Slowly we are de-weeding and making some progress. A reminder of the before pictures of the front of the house.

And after pulling shrubs and weeds and getting super frustrated with tree roots everywhere, the after pictures. I would still like to fix the porch steps, path and put a fresh coat of white paint on all the trim among other things, but that is a project we don't have time to tackle this summer.

Liv helped to pick out all the flowers and plant them all.

And the before picture of our back porch:

Our ghetto fabulous version of a rock garden. No more overgrown ground cover creeping EVERYWHERE. We also needed a way to contain the dirt from making a muddy mess every time it rained, which is several times a week, it makes life with a Shepherd really dirty. This is the dogs space so we needed something that could resist pouncing and fetching and pacing! Liv planted her very own garden, it is the space on the far right of the picture. And, of course, we have already put good use to the fire pit... we do love s'mores!

A close up of Liv's garden. She is such a creative kid, after much thought and discussion she decided to plant a flower garden and a few beans which are in front of the white flowers. She made her own stepping stone and has been watering the flowers diligently.

I also decided that the "screened in" porch should be opened up because the only thing it was screening in was the spiders! This has made it a much better place to sit without the spider webs all over the screens! When we get around to painting the trim white I would also like to paint the interior of this white as well, baby steps.


4th of July weekend

Nate and I had the opportunity to go to one of my friends weddings' this weekend. It was a gorgeous ceremony and a really nice dinner reception just up the street from our house. Ain't we cute! Don't worry that I had several wardrobe problems, number one being we nearly had to cut me out of my dress due to those few extra pounds I am holding on to since wearing it last and the zipper getting stuck!

We decided to spend a few hours up at Niagara Falls, it is always such a pretty little walk with views that never get old.

One of the resorts in our area, Holiday Valley, has a sky high adventure park. It is a series of obstacle courses from "easy" to challenging up in the trees. There were 8 courses that consisted of various ladders, tight ropes and zip lines from tree to tree. We had so much fun. Both of the girls were fearless and we all came home with super tired muscles! And several days later my legs are still a little sore!

I am back in Erie this month, required to put in 60 hours of "on campus" study time for my board exam. Of course this means I am commuting from Buffalo and will probably be lucky to put in 40 hours a week... cross your fingers that I survive! In other school news for me, because I am an idiot I had to retake one of my subject exams last month and as a consequence to this academic failure they took away my vacation month. So I have been pouting for the past month about this but there is nothing else I can do but suck it up and get done with this year so I can be rid of this horrifying experience they call medical school. Looking forward to my test in Philadelphia in a few weeks to sneak in some time with Jen, Mom and Rick!!!


Is it summer yet?

Well like the rest of you we get a sick tease of delicious summer weather only to go back to rain and cooler temps. Regardless of the weather, the kids are finally finished with school for the year and summer break is happening whether Nate and I are ready for it or not! I snuck a picture of this sweet sister moment on one of our sunny days last week... I am sure Lexi will kill me for posting but oh well!

Lexi has been finished with class for a few weeks but has been busy studying for her final exams. She finished her last exam this past Tuesday and then was off to the Taylor Swift concert! Two words: spoiled rotten. Check out her FB for all her pics, she had floor seats and was almost close enough to touch her. For the next month she will be busy with friends, travel soccer and a recreational basketball league, oh and whatever boy is cute enough to interest her for the month!

I was lucky enough to get to spend the day with Liv at school on Monday for their 4th grade graduation party as well as an end of year award ceremony, she won 3rd place this year in a continental math league and was among one of the students honored... top 4 students were all girls!

Today was Liv's last day of Elementary School, next stop 5th grade at Mill Middle School! Nate and Lex went to her graduation this morning. She has been busy with party's and friends this past month and is excited for her weekend getaway at a friends cottage across the border and basketball camp next week.

The girls broke me down and talked me into more ear piercing. Liv is hoping that the 3rd time is the charm for her dang left ear to stay pierced. Cross your fingers for that to work out for us! And Lex.... oh Lex.... she has been hounding me for years to get her ears double pierced, I kept saying no and finally I caved to her UNRELENTING pressure. She did really well on her final exams and I guess she caught me in one of those weak mommy moments of wanting to reward her for all her hard work! I have to admit, she looks adorable.

I have been busy with my own exams and have level 2 of my board exams coming up next month. Looking forward to it being done and over with and coasting through my 4th year! In LESS than one year I will be finished, mark it on the calendar people: June 3, 2012!!!


Happy Easter!

Here in the Barnes house we celebrate Easter because we believe a giant rabbit brings us sweet treats in exchange for colored eggs and we get to gorge on hammies... a day devoted to chocolate and ham, what could be better?

Yesterday the girls colored there eggs. Here are Liv's creations:

Lexi refused to pose for a picture but here are her lovely eggs:

Liv woke up this morning and led the hunt for baskets, she couldn't get Lex to wake up so she went solo. She found her basket, mine, Nate's and the animals.

A couple hours later I went in to wake Lex... the teen queen was pissed off that we didn't wake her up! After a few minutes of apologies she came to join us and made Liv go search for her basket. And NOT happy about a picture.

We wrapped up the day with a yummy dinner... hope you all ate your hammies! We missed the family so much, wish you were all here to celebrate with us, love you all!

Oh, and just because this is the sweetest most snuggly animal on the planet, I had to post this picture!


One more season comes to an end

Liv played in her championship basketball game yesterday, it was a nail-biter! They had to play this man's team:

Yes my friends this guy is scary!! I think he eats puppies for breakfast and he only has two volume levels: loud and louder. When he is not yelling he is jumping up and down, grabbing his head, kicking the air, throwing back a red bull to stay hydrated and so on and so forth. I don't know how they let this guy coach RECREATION girls basketball!

Unfortunately Liv's team lost in overtime and took 2nd place. Not a bad way to end a really fun season. For a girl that has been terrified to play sports I cannot believe how much Liv improved, she could barely dribble the ball when the season started! She has the most beautiful shot now and is a beast on defense... you should see this girl go after the ball, it is just surprising every time to me because she has always been such a gentle and timid girl all these years! As we were driving home after the final game we heard some words out of Liv's mouth that we never thought we would hear..."what sport am I going to play this spring?" I guess we will see about softball?! Here is a little video of some playoff highlights.

Lexi had her basketball banquet last Sunday, it is always so much fun to see the girls all dressed up, sharing memories and honoring each other for their strengths over the season. Her coach had some awards and wonderful comments for each of them as well as sharing some great words of encouragement. Of course I didn't take the camera! True to form this busy girl took one week off to rest her sprained ankle and then decided to try out for a soccer travel team... so much for thinking we would have a relaxing spring, this girl never gives us a reprieve!!!

In other news, apparently Shepherds don't have any respect for windows... I don't know what she saw out the window but when she jumped up on the arm chair to get a better look it slid with such force that we will now be buying a new window....grrrr!!!

We are certainly looking forward to spring, we are finally warming up a little this week here in Buffalo but it is so rainy and muddy that being outside is still pretty miserable!


Happy 15th Birthday Lexi!

Another year of Lexi getting older means mine and Nate's youth is dwindling and hanging by a thread! Lexi wanted to have a late lunch with us so she could move on to more important things... hanging out with her boyfriend and friends. Of course as parents of a teen we will take what we can get and were happy to oblige her birthday wishes.
We lunched her at Cheesecake Factory.

After she came back from her hang out session we let her open her presents from us...

... she was well overdue for some new snowboard gear.

And to end the night we had a little cupcake.

Next week she is inviting her girlfriends over for a sleep over so the party will continue.