First a little background: We have lived in our home for just a little over two years making this our second summer here. I love this house! I've loved it from day one and two years later I love and appreciate it even more. It's not too big, and not too small. It has the room we need to stay out of each other's space, but it is small enough for my voice to reach my children no matter where they go. It had a huge by my standards (I'm from Va Beach where a 2-car driveway is your front yard, so it is definitely not huge by Martinsville's standards lol) backyard with lots of trees that I liked, that due to sheer ignorance of someone from Va Beach I couldn't even image the what a hill and all the trees in your backyard truly mean. One day, probably next year, I'll gather all the before and after pictures and will blog about our backyard transformation, so I'll spare you the details here. The bottom line is that in May of this year, just as the school year was ending and the kids and i were going to be home most of the time, my husband and I decided to transform the backyard from the hilly mosquito-breeding wasteland into something our kids would enjoy. We gave ourselves almost 2 months for the project, with the goal of completion being July10- Tori's Birthday. Again, ignorance is bliss. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into! Again, I will save the details of this undertaking for a different post, but will just say that although we literally worked around the clock spending every waking moment in the backyard working, we did not meet our goal. We had to learn to accept defeat after defeat and even by Katelyn's Birthday (August 22) we were no where near being done. As I write this, almost a month after Katelyn's birthday and with half of the backyard still looking like a muddy construction zone while Florence the hurricane is determined to wash all our hard work away , we now realize we will probably not finish our oasis until next summer. And that's okay. It's okay because we - my husband whenever he could and Nikolas and I especially, accomplished more over the two summer months than we could imagine possible. It's okay because when a week before her Birthday when our yard was barely safe much less kid-friendly and I gave Katelyn a choice to have her birthday party at home or somewhere else, she chose home. So we did the best we could making things kid-friendly enough (Mark stayed up from 8pm (shortly after getting home from work) to 4:30 am the night before Katelyn's party on Saturday carving out kid sized steps/path so that the kids could get to the pool comfortably and without having to go near any mud) and are so grateful to all of our/Katelyn's friends who came to celebrate with us! You are so loved and you made the girls' day!