Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer Fun

School begins Wednesday for Jacob (5th) and Annie (4th) and Carrie (teaching 4th). So I thought I'd post a quick update on the family, since, as my mom continues to remind me, I haven't done since ski season shut down back in April.

This summer was just like every summer before. We spent most of our time outdoors camping and fishing and playing in the water. The kids played with the neighbor kids, Carrie took them swimming and to the playground and down to the creek, and I went to work but came home early a lot to do things with the family. We did manage to get back to Abilene to see my family and Carrie's brother's family and all the cousins. The trip to Kansas was pretty dramatic (traumatic for Annie) as one night camping in Nebraska a major storm blew in and separated our tent from the Earth with Annie still in it.

But we survived all that. So here's a few shots of the Sweatland family in typical summer action:

This is about how it goes. We spend time splashing in the water,

And then play some games, like Rummikub or Bananagrams,

At some point everyone goofs off in my tent,

Jacob goes fishing,

And then we roast marshmallows.

With school starting we'll be busy again with football and scouts and school and everything else.  Hopefully I'll have some real exciting stuff to post on the old blog here. In the meantime, we always enjoy hearing from everyone else, so give us a call or drop an email to Carrie since I can't read.

Home Improvement 101

Over the summer I've been slowly working on our fireplace. This winter past we bought a gas insert that we really enjoy, but have wanted to replace the eyesore of full-wall-length red and blonde brick that surrounded our fireplace.

Earlier this summer I started demo on the wall. I broke the bricks by hand with a 3-inch brick chisel and hammer, leaving only the center portion of the brick wall. I recommend renting a concrete saw if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. Anyway, after removing the brick I did a ton of wall repair and then began to frame the new hearth.

Leaving the bricks around the fireplace allowed me to reuse them as a surround, rather than having to reframe and cement board the new fireplace. When it came time to lay the new stonework, the old bricks worked well to support the thinset and stone paneling.

It's a nice product we put up: real stone cut and mortared together in 6" x 24" panels. At 1" thick they cut like butter with a tile saw, but took some work to hold together. Here's a shot of the finished product:

Next up is a set of homemade bookends over the new sheetrock. I've got plans for surround sound and my TV is already wall-mounted and ready to fold into the bookshelves and out of sight for all those fancy dinner parties Carrie and I like to throw.

Anyway, always looking for a set of extra hands if anyone wants to come out and lend some support! Hope all is well. I'll post some family pictures shortly...