Monday, May 26, 2014

Backyardigans: Part 21 (More Mulch)

Our backyard makeover is nearing completion!
Today Tal and I got two scoops of mulch for $28 from the landscape landfill:

One side of Savannah's play area was overrun by weeds... we covered it with some landscape fabric (for weed control):

Then, Tal and I spent 1.5 hours dumping and spreading mulch
 to make the area more attractive:

We also spread mulch in the area where Tal removed 6 bushes a couple weeks ago... well as around the deck... 

...and behind the play area:

In order to complete our backyard project, we still need to spread another 
1-2 truckloads of mulch, as well trim the bushes and trees around our house. 
We hope to be done in 1-2 weeks!

 Before starting our 2014 backyard makeover, Tal and I saved $3,000. 
Here's a breakdown of our expenses so far:

$1,600  Playset
   $400  Plastic Playground Border
   $100  Landscape Fabric and Stakes
     $98  Mulch (6 truckloads)
     $70  Sod Cutter Rental
     $30  Dump
   $446  Sod, Compost, and Delivery
   $160  Rain Barrels

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Backyardigans: Part 20 (Mulch)

Our backyard saga continues! 
About two weeks ago, Tal removed 6 bushes from the corner of our deck:

On May 19, Tal and Savannah got a truckload of mulch:

They shoveled the mulch into the wheelbarrows...

...while I dumped and spread it around our deck in the back yard:

Savannah got in trouble at school, so we put her to work. 
Savannah spent about 20 minutes helping Tal shovel the mulch into the wheelbarrows. 

Savannah was a good worker, 
but after awhile she sat down and said, "I need a break!" LOL!

Name Game

Gender Reveal
On May 19, Tal and I found out that we're having a baby girl...Hadley Victoria! We're so excited that another girl will be joining our family in October!

Prior to the ultrasound, Savannah had been begging for a baby brother, while Tal was hoping for a baby girl. In fact, a couple days before the ultrasound, Tal was praying with Savannah at bedtime and said, "Dear Lord, if it's not too late, please give us another girl just like Savannah." It was so cute!

During the ultrasound, the technician revealed Hadley's gender so quietly and casually that Tal and I almost missed it it. She said, "Here's the baby's arm, leg, and you're having a girl." I nudged Tal and said, "Did you hear that? We're having a girl!" Tal said, "Cool!" and told Savannah, "Did you hear that, kiddo? You're going to have a baby sister." Savannah started crying...she wanted a baby brother!

Hadley's Name
Hadley's name is a combination of Tal's first and middle name (Harold Talmadge). From the beginning, Tal and I thought it would be special to name our son or daughter after Tal since Savannah shares my middle name (Elaine). If we were having a boy, Tal and I would have named him Harold Talmadge IV and called him "Drew" since he would have been the 4th generation or "quaDRUple."

Tal and I got the idea for Hadley's name when we considered "Tad" as a boy's nickname for Talmadge. In the end, we decided to combine the "H" in Harold and the "-ad" in Talmadge to form "Had" or Hadley for a girl's name. In addition to its special meaning, we also like the name Hadley because it's easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and fairly unique. Tal and I chose the name the middle name Victoria because we felt it sounded a bit sophisticated and went well with our last name.

Name Game
Overall, Tal and I prefer classic names...nothing that sounds made-up or too trendy. We kept the following "guidelines" in mind when choosing baby names:
  • We prefer names that are easy to spell and easy to pronounce.
  • We prefer traditional spellings (which is why we chose Savannah instead of Savanna and Hadley instead of Hadleigh).
  • We avoid names that that end in "-son" (like Madison) since our last name ends in "-son."
  • We avoid super popular first Hadley won't have five other girls in her class with the same name. The name Hadley was #111 in 2013 on the Social Security website

Here are some other baby names that Tal and I considered for first and/or middle names:

Girl Names
  • Hallie (a combination of the "H" in Harold and "-al" in Tal)
  • Riley (Riley was #45 in 2013. We crossed off this name after Tal's cousin named her daughter Riley in April.)
  • Kaitlin (There's no universal spelling for Kaitlin--Caitlin, Katelyn, Kaitlyn, etc--and we were concerned that everyone would misspell our daughter's name.)
  • Alexis
  • Claire
  • Natalie
  • Kylie
  • Ashlyn
  • Sierra
  • Sasha
  • Brooke (for a middle name)
Boy Names
Nicknames for Harold:
  • Harry
  • Hal
  • Hank
  • Rollie
  • Ollie
Nicknames for Talmadge:
  • Tad
Nicknames for IV:
  • Chip
  • Quad
  • Ford
  • Trevor

Monday, May 19, 2014

It's a Girl!

Meet our baby girl...Hadley Victoria! 
We are so in love and can't wait to meet her in mid-October!

Celebration Week

It's been a wonderful week of celebration with Mother's Day and our wedding anniversary
 on May 11, my birthday on May 18, and our baby's gender reveal today. 
Our family is truly blessed! 

My birthday lunch at Johnny Carino's Italian Restaurant

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gender Ultrasound

Our gender ultraound is on Monday afternoon...if the baby cooperates. We are sooooo excited to find out if we'll be adding a boy or girl to our family in October!

Backyardigans: Part 19 (Removing Bushes)

This week Tal spent several hours removing 
6 hateful bushes (and their roots) from the corner of our deck:

The bushes were sharp, prickly, and not child-friendly (or adult-friendly) at all:

Five weeks ago, Tal and I laid sod in our backyard, and here's how it looks today. 
Over the next couple weeks, we're going to put down landscape fabric and 
mulch around the bushes that surround the sod and deck.
Our backyard makeover should (hopefully) be complete within a few weeks!

Backyardigans: Part 18 (Rain Barrels)

Today Tal and I installed two rain in our front yard and one in our back yard:

We'd been having problems with water from our downspout washing
 away the mulch in our flower bed: 

Now the rain water will flow into the barrel instead of into our flower bed.
Plus, we can save money by hooking up our hose to the spigot on the barrel 
and using the rain water to water our shrubs:

We bought the light-weight 50-gallon brown rain barrels
 from Home Depot for $80 each:

The rain barrel blends in nicely with our house and landscaping:

In fact, you can hardly see the rain barrel from the street:

In our backyard, we installed the rain barrel under our master bedroom window  
to prevent the rain from washing away the mulch in Savannah's play area: 

Next weekend, Tal and I plan to get a truckload of mulch 
and spread it in our front yard and back yard (for weed control)!

 Before starting our 2014 backyard makeover, Tal and I saved $3,000. 
Here's a breakdown of our expenses so far:

$1,600  Playset
   $400  Plastic Playground Border
     $60  Landscape Fabric and Stakes
     $56  Mulch (4 truckloads)
     $70  Sod Cutter Rental
     $30  Dump
   $446  Sod, Compost, and Delivery
     160 Rain Barrels

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What the Heck?!

Look what I discovered in our living room when I came home from school:

Yep, the curtain anchor detached from the wall, 
which is puzzling because neither the curtain rods nor the curtains are heavy:

Tal will fix everything this weekend!

2014 Swimsuit Model

Savannah has been BEGGING me to buy a bikini for her. Well, I compromised and bought her a tankini.
Savannah will tell you that her swimsuit is two pieces, but it covers her tummy (so it's more modest).  Savannah loved showing off her new swimsuit! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Pit

To celebrate Mother's Day and our wedding anniversary, 
our family had lunch at The Pit on May 11:

The Pit is one of our favorite restaurants, 
but we only eat there 1-2 times a year on special occasions. 

The place was packed for Mother's Day, 
but we had reservations and got a table right away:

The Pit is famous for Eastern NC BBQ and other Southern favorites. 
We ate chopped BBQ, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, 
black-eyed peas, creamed corn, and biscuits with molasses:

Our server surprised us with some complimentary banana pudding 
for dessert  because it was our anniversary.
What a wonderful surprise!

Savannah blew out the candle:

Eating lunch at The Pit made Mother's Day 
and our wedding anniversary extra special!

Monday, May 12, 2014


On Sunday, on our way to Salter Path, 
Savannah kept saying she was working on her "homework" in the back seat:

Savannah practiced writing her letters and 
doing letter sound activities in her workbook:

Eventually, all that homework wore out Savannah, 
and she fell asleep:

7 years!

May 11 was a double blessing! 
Not only was it Mother's Day, but Tal and I also celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary! 

I'm thankful that Tal and I have a happy and loving marriage. We get along really well and make a great team. We treat each other with kindness and respect, and we tell one another daily how much we love and appreciate each other. Tal and I look forward to celebrating many more years together!

Here's the thoughtful card that Tal gave me for our anniversary: