Saturday, July 23, 2011



This morning the girls went out in the backyard to play as soon as they rolled out of bed. They took their breakfast of Gogurt tubes and homemade popsicles out with them and played until I made them come in to start their chores.

I can't tell you how happy I am that they actually want to go in the backyard! Last summer it was rare for the back door to even get opened, even though we have a fairly nice yard. There was just nothing out there but a jungle of weeds (seriously, our yard must be mowed twice a week to look presentable)(and who has the time for that?)(besides the fact that we didn't even own a lawn mower for the first month or so of summer last year), so nobody used the yard.

This year, we made it our goal to make the backyard fun.  We were so blessed to find a house with a nice yard that was also already fenced that it seemed a huge shame not to utilize it fully.

Our first order of business was to buy deck furniture, which we did back in May, as soon as there was no longer any snow on our deck.  Immediately, when the weather was nice, we started going out on the deck to eat lunch or read.
I have to say that I love this picture of Sophia.  I took it a couple months ago.  Bria was bored and asked me what she should do.  It was a beautiful day so I said, "If I were you, I'd get a book and go outside and read on the deck."  Bria didn't think it was such a great idea, but a few minutes later I glanced out the window and saw Sophia reading Curious George on the deck and my heart melted.

So anyway, back to the yard.  The next big purchase was for Joel:  A grill.  Unfortunately, it sat unopened in its box for more than a month because we didn't have a patio back there.  Joel was worried about the grill on the wood deck (I must admit, I wouldn't have even thought about the fire hazard), so he built himself a patio out of pavers.  It was a huge project, and I was very impressed with how quickly he got it finished!
Here's the finished patio, with the grill in the place of honor.  Hey--remember Chippy? Well, he is practically our pet now.  I think he lives under our deck, and he is not really scared of us.  He has come in the back door when it's left open more than once, too.  And one time, he even made it all the way up the stairs into the playroom and the girls had to chase him back down and outside where he belongs.  But anyway, in this picture, he is eating some of my breakfast (eggs).
Happy Grilling!
And here's The Maestro grilling us dinner.  He's pretty happy about it, don't you think?  Actually, I think he was being a dork for the benefit of the camera.  But he does love his grill, no question there.

Our final purchase was a playset for the girls.  Joel had to adjudicate a flute recital at a neighboring university in a much larger city where they actually sell playsets. I went with him for the sole purpose of visiting Lowes and picking out a playset. It also sat unopened for a little while until Joel was finished grading all of the finals/papers for his summer session, and then he got to work.
He worked on it a little every day for about a week, and then a friend had to come help him when it got to be bigger than a one-man job.
Almost done!
Our house is built on a pretty steep hill, so getting it level was quite the job.  It just sat there, sans slide and swings, tempting the girls for a few days.
Swinging Along

They finally managed to get it (mostly) level.  It isn't perfect, but hopefully it will settle.  The girls love having it.  I love them to have it.

And I love going out into the yard to sit on the deck while they run and play. It's what having a backyard is all about, right?
Good Morning
Chloe eating her gogurt while she watches Sophia and Bria play "soccer" and keeps score on the chalkboard in the playset.
Bria playing bare feet!  No worries, her foot is fully healed, although she's still on antibiotics for a few more days.  Oh!  And our neighbors up the street were getting rid of their picnic table (you can see it behind her), so we have that back there, too.  It makes eating our grilled summer dinners outside that much better!
Soccer Sophia
And Sophia, in mismatched PJs (though, both are Tinkerbell themed) and a popsicle, contemplating her next soccer kick.

This is the life.
Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. You have such a great backyard!

  2. And with that, you have created the place of many an adventure and a plethora of memories to be made.

  3. Love your backyard, and I love the idea of gogurts for breakfast!! I think you have done a fabulous job!

  4. Hey, how'd you do those awesome tabs? Me likey. Show me how.
    AND, I am very jealous of you yard. I want to buy some patio furniture. Maybe when Drew is done with school...

  5. well done on the backyard! it looks great ... and fun! love your deck chair. nice, nice! well, looks like you are all set to finish out the summer with a bang! way to go!!!

  6. Great barbeque photo - the man's got his grill and the sky opens up and the rays of divinity just shine down on him because for a dad it doesn't get better than being with his girls and his grill.

  7. I remember our backyard when I was a little girl---it was a great place for kids. How fun for your girls to have something so great.

  8. That IS the life! How sweet about Sophia taking your advice to Bria. :)

    Our backyard is tiny, like, it couldn't be any smaller and still be called a yard, but there's enough room to kick a ball back and forth with a 4 and 1 year old. :) And this year I'm finally getting my hermity self OUT to play there and go for walks. It's quite lovely.

  9. I like your new header!

    We have been trying to do some improvements in our backyard. We planted three trees on Friday night. As my husband said, "It makes it more friendlier." I agree with him and am wondering why we waited so long to plant them.

  10. It looks wonderful! I don't know - I wouldn't have thought about a fire hazard either. My parents have had a charcoal grill which they've been using regularly on a wooden deck for the past thirty years. But, y'know...they're normally right there with it & the only kids around are grand kids every now and then and maybe the occasional child of a guest.

  11. Oh, I love getting a glimpse into your life. Wish we were chatting in the backyard. Those swingsets are quite the project! Hank is very handy, but it took him 8 hours a day for several days.

  12. We LOVE mismatched pjs. :) And now there is apparently some sort of legitimate trend of mismatched socks. If you don't believe me just ask my 9-13 year-olds!

  13. Ah! I love your backyard! I would want to sit out there and read and play all day long. I can't wait until we have a backyard to enjoy!

  14. That is one of my favorite parts about being a mom. Making childhood magic. Making the memories so precious and innocent and idealistic. I want a backyard haven like you have one day. Sigh. I am glad you get to enjoy your back yard!

  15. A happy family indeed! you have such lovely daughters!