A little more space

Our house is small. I like that about it. When my in-laws are arriving in a few hours and I've been so busy preparing for a conference that I haven't done any cleaning all week, I can spend an hour with two little helpers, dusting and sweeping, then send them outside with daddy for another hour to do the real work and voila - clean house!

But a little extra space is nice too. Craig mentioned repairing and repainting our deck a few weeks ago. Before that was done, we rarely went out there at all. But it's right off our living room and is nicely shaded until naptime and I knew I could reclaim it if I put a little effort in.

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Post paint, pre-baby gate and "makeover"

The baby gates Craig built where a huge help. It basically turned the whole thing into a giant playpen. But we needed a place to sit. Fall is a great time to buy patio furniture but I still wanted to spend as little as possible so instead of buying a bench like I was thinking about, I just stole two two of our patio table chairs from out back. We still have 4 back there and that is plenty for 90% of what we do out there and we can always carry these back if we have a sudden need for 6 seats. The cushions were a bit old though. The grey on grey was not a great look but more importantly, the waterproofing is mostly gone. Its' fine in the afternoon in the sun but in the dewey mornings I kept ending up with wet pants. Not fun. So I got new cushions from Home Depot ($24 for the set during fall clearance!)

Craig took one of our stumps from out back, scraped it clean and now we have a little table. It would be good for drinks - in the evenings when the kids are asleep since Lucy loves to climb on it and Jonah steals any drink you put down in his vicinity. I've seen tutorials for finishing stumps with sanding and poly and even accent paint on top. We didn't do that. We did put a few flat caster things on the bottom so it wouldn't mold the deck but that's it. This stump is one of a several that has been in our backyard for the kids to play with so its pretty beat up but it works.

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Then we got a little help from our neighbors. Neighbor J's mom is the queen of thrift store shopping and had recently found a water table. Neighbor J didn't end up wanting it so they passed it along to us.

 And our other neighbor gave Craig a small rubbermaid cabinet they didn't want anymore. He was planning on using it for storage in our shed but I batted my eyelashes and Lucy said please and that was all it took for some toy storage. Friendly neighbors are very nice to have around.
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Lucy, Jonah and spent an afternoon washing up our finds and arranging things.

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Lucy actually went a bit crazy and started washing anything and everything.

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The best after shots I could get with my littles in tow. Never mind Lucy, she's pretending to be a dog amd Jonah's onesie is unbuttoned because it always is. 

I'd still like to get a kid's picnic table. Lucy loves eating outside and I think it would be nice to do more of our playdoughing outside. And if I can find a cheap outdoor rug it might be good for when they want to play with items small enough to fit through the cracks. Right now we are employing the "don't worry, daddy will get it later" method which amazingly enough, prevents tantrums by the kids - but not by Craig who hast to crawl down there in the dark and get dirty looking for that pencil that Lucy "loves."

 But even without that, it's already getting a lot of use. Since our time out here is limited, I can do my bible study here in the mornings in (partial) peace. Lucy now knows that mommy is busy at first and if she keeps Jonah occupied for me then I will play with them afterwards. We also like to go out here in the evenings. We tidy up before getting ready for bed and if they don't dawdle and we have time after jammies are on and teeth have been brushed, they can play. Of course, I don't want them to untidy what we just did so coming out here ensures they stay clean while keeping the house clean as well.

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