Long, Exhausting Weekend

Thursday night Melissa and I went with some of her teacher friends to the River City Rascals game. For those who don't know, that is our local Independent Baseball League team, and their stadium is 2 miles from our house. It was really fun - it had more of a Spring Training feel to it. Oh, and the $1 beers were nice too. Turns out, Andy Van Slyke's (for you non-St. Louisans, he was a big Cardinals player in the 80s) son A.J. plays for the Rascals.
Friday night, we had a wedding. It was nice because it was at the Foundry Arts Centre, where Jason and I got married. We hadn't been back since, so it was fun to see it again. They had a really cool idea for their guestbook - they had a photo booth and you went in and got a collage of 4 pictures taken, then it printed out and the attendant attached it to a page in the guestbook, where you then signed with your message and name. It was really cool! At the end of the night, the bride and groom also get a CD of all the pictures taken throughout the night. I have a feeling there are about 40 pictures including these two cousins (the groom's daughter, Maddie and my niece, Paige), who couldn't get enough of the photo booth:
Saturday the exhausting part of the weekend started. We started laying the pavers on the patio. We were very lucky with the weather since it is typically about 100 degrees this time of year - it was only about 85, but we still all managed to get sunburns. Here's the crew & the progress from Saturday:
Sunday we made a ton of progress as well, and had an even bigger crew helping us out!Here's what we got done this weekend:
After we finish laying the last stretch of pavers, we'll have to put sand over the whole thing and rent a tamper to press them all down. Then landscaping around the sides, finishing the steps off the patio, and building steps leading down from the house. We're not out of the tunnel yet, but at least we can see the light now!

Thanks a million to all of our laborers from this weekend: Greg, Melissa, Darrin, Mert, Taylor & Steve! We really appreciate your help and could not get this done without you! Also, a big thanks to Darlene for making us all dinner - it hit the spot after a long two days of work!



Our neighborhood is up on a hill, so we're not in danger of flooding. However, the main road we take to get to our house is closed about 10 miles north of our turn because it's under water. In addition, there is a sod farm right across the main road from our subdivision (I clocked it with my car, and it's about 0.3 miles from our house) that is under water. I took some pictures to show how close it is to our house. The first picture is from the entrance to our subdivision without using the zoom at all.

This is a road right across from our subdivision:

Again, we're not at risk, but I feel terrible for all of the victims, including our neighbor sod farm.


Manual Labor

Jason and friends have had a manual labor-filled weekend. Friday night Jason, Steve & Greg rented this big walk-behind bobcat to haul the gravel and sand that were delivered Friday morning. We've decided to do a paver stone patio, so first is a layer of gravel, then sand, then the actual stones. Here are some pictures of the gravel-laying. Each of the guys took their turn operating the big powerful man tool.Apparently, the ladies weren't doing a good enough job of supervising...
Because they put us to work "tamping" the gravel down by walking on it:After a night's work, we went to Pizza Street. For anyone that hasn't been there, it's a $5 pizza buffet. The pizza is not outstanding, but oh man, are there some yummy creative flavors! Last night, we had baked potato pizza (I think they actually put mashed potatoes on it), spinach artichoke pizza, chicken wing pizza, and my favorite, cheeseburger pizza, complete with pickles, mustard & ketchup. Don't knock it 'til you try it, it was delicious!!

From there the rest of the crew went to Dave & Alyssa's house to help clear out their basement. With all the rain that we've been getting, their entire basement flooded!! They were forced to rent a POD to move all of their furniture and belongings out of the basement so they can replace the flooring, drywall, etc. That totally sucks!

I stayed home to go to bed early since I got up early to run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (Breast Cancer). It's just a 5K, but since I haven't been doing much of anything as of late, I wasn't sure I'd be able to run the whole thing. It was a little toasty out there, but I was able to do it (barely!). For those that aren't familiar, St. Louis has one of the biggest turnouts for this walk/run, which takes place throughout the US. Today we broke a St. Louis record with more than 62,000 runners & walkers. Wow! It truly is amazing, and almost everyone there is running in celebration or memory of someone. I had to stop reading the backs of people's shirts because I was getting choked up - it's amazing how many people are plagued with breast cancer.

Now, let's play Where's Annie? I took this picture from stltoday.com
While I was at the race, the men (Jason, Greg & Dave) decided to rent another power tool (do you see the theme here?). They rented an automatic tamper (not sure if that's what it's really called) that gets the gravel nice and flat. Melissa & I ran an errand and by the time we returned, they were making great progress on the sand-laying project.

Today we had a new project foreman, Maggie:
More fun with the power tools:
We're getting so close!!

Lastly, Melissa picked up my pottery for me - I think the inside is fun, but I'm not thrilled with the far-less-than-perfect stripes on the outside.


Pottery & Picnic

We've had another pretty low-key weekend. Friday night I had a girls' night - we saw this "class" in the city's course listing that was margaritas, chips & salsa and pottery painting. We thought it might be something fun & different to do, and we were right! It was really fun - this pottery place had tons of different choices of stuff you can paint: bowls, platters, coasters, drawer pulls, mirrors, mugs, you name it. You could also do glass work, which Beth did. I chose a bowl and tried my darndest to be creative (luckily the store owner has a ton of samples sitting around, so you can get ideas). I will take pictures of the finished product when I get it back next week (it has to be fired in the kiln first). Here are some action photos:
Kate even used the spinning wheel thing (think Ghost) to paint hers.
Saturday, Melissa and I took my niece Paige to the Old Tyme St. Peters Picnic. It was not as big as I expected, but they had about 10 rides or so, games and food. I think Paige had a good time - we took turns riding rides with her, and watched her when she tried (successfully!!) to dunk the alderman in the dunk booth - man, was that guy surprised!! I think she was the first one to actually dunk him after several grown men had tried to no ado.
The ride below almost made me lose my lunch, and Paige really liked it so Melissa and I were BOTH lucky enough to take a ride with her!
Today we're celebrating Father's Day at Jason's parents' house. I think after we eat the whole crew is going to go watch Jason's softball games. Fun times.
Here are some pictures of Mia just being cute at our house on Wednesday night:
Notice the closed eyes in this one - she does that if she knows you're taking her picture - little goofball!


Backfill Bliss

Well, thanks to this man and his bobcat, our patio is ready for concrete!!It took him 2.5 hours and a LOT of dirt, but it's finished! It's looking more & more like a patio!
Stay tuned...


Dave & Patio

Amanda & I went to the Dave Matthews Band concert last night with the tickets Jason bought for my birthday. It was the first ever concert at the new Busch Stadium. It was awesome! I had forgotten how much I love Dave! I mean, just look at him:They played a lot of their older stuff, which was really fun. Tim Reynolds is touring with them, which is an added bonus and they said last night that he is from St. Louis - who knew? He had a Cardinals hat on and Carter, the drummer, had on a Cardinals jersey. Love it! We had a lot of fun!

Update on the patio: last night at a post-block party gathering, a neighbor that we don't know told us that the guy who runs the homeowners' association is "just waiting" for us to pour concrete so that he can come tell us to tear it up. Apparently we're supposed to fill out a form and get "approval" from the association. The approval part is not what bothers me (though it bothers Jason - he says it's our property so they shouldn't have a say), it's the fact that the guy is just sitting there waiting for us to spend a crap load of money just so he can come and ruin it for us. Why not come tell us now, "oh, by the way, you have to get that approved..." Hopefully the approval process doesn't take long because I think the guy with the bobcat is coming tomorrow or Tuesday night to back fill with dirt and then we'll be ready for concrete!

Today's project is finishing up the gravel and drainage pipes, and putting the caps on the stairs (he still needs to cut a few blocks to finish them off):