Turf in the Backyard: It’s not just for the Brady Bunch.

Turf.

It is the playing surface of choice for high school and youth sports. No more rained out games, field maintenance, bad bumps on the field….apart from some nasty scrapes when you fall on it, what’s not to love?

That’s why we put sprint turf in our backyard, Brady Bunch style.¬†You read that right, we have sprint turf in our backyard.

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Watching Uncle Jake train for the NFL.

Here’s the back story.

We live in an area known as the livable forest. In keeping with the name our yard has huge trees which means our backyard is shaded pretty much everywhere, all the time.

I’m not real good with horticulture but this provides a difficult scenario to grow grass in. This shade problem also makes it difficult to read and lay out during naptime in the summer.

Grass in Texas isn’t safe anyways. There are fire ants….everywhere. There’s no freedom to roll around and frolic in a grassy field because you have to be on your guard ALL the time.

So my husband starting talking about putting turf down. At first it was a joke. Then we became Costco members and I’m pretty sure their marketing scheme is to change your life in some way every time you enter the store. Sometimes these are small changes like you get new tupperware but sometimes these are huge changes like you buy a new couch or turf for your lawn. They sell turf at Costco. This further solidified this turf lawn possibility in my husband’s mind.

But he didn’t buy that turf, because that turf costs money. You see, my husband doesn’t like to spend money. I’d say it’s possibly his least favorite thing to do.

Let’s fast forward to the week before winter break. My husband was picking up a student from a local high school and right before his eyes he saw rolls of old sprint turf piled up next to a dumpster. This was it. He had access to free turf. Mind you, if our local school district was willing to throw away this turf it had to be in really poor condition.

My husband has Fridays off so he informed me he was going to pick up the turf on that Friday. He has a habit of not realizing that school is in session or that people have work on these days. Thankfully I convinced him to get the turf on Saturday instead since the headline “Local Youth Pastor Arrested While Trespassing School Grounds and Dumpster Diving for Turf” probably wasn’t going to be the best career move.

The next dilemma was transporting the turf. We have a Minivan and a Prius. His attempts at procuring a pick-up truck were unsuccessful so he chose to use the Prius. After 8 or so trips he had attained enough turf for our yard and enough small pieces of tire to make his car impossible to resell.

Installing the turf went through the following steps:

1.He watched YouTube videos on how to lay down sprint turf.

2. He killed all of the grass that wasn’t living in our backyard.

dirtland

3.He played a huge game of Tetris in our yard trying to get all of the turf pieces to fit together.

4.He waited a few weeks and talked about properly installing the turf.

5. He reminded me multiple times that he saved us $12,000 by attaining this turf. (Since there is no chance he would have ever spent that money I’m not sure this argument is valid.)

6. He recruited some friends to assist in laying down this turf.

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I helped by standing on this piece of wood.
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Serious work going on here.

7. We went on a date one night that consisted of a Middle school basketball game, dinner, and a trip to Lowe’s to get materials to lay down the turf.

8. He and his buddies installed most sections of the turf.

As ridiculous as the turf seemed it is kind of the best. We play outside all the time now. The kids don’t just play in dirt/mud anymore. Better yet, we don’t have to water our backyard if there is yet another drought this summer. It also NEVER has to get mowed.

However, if we ever try to sell our house there are going to be a lot of confused prospective buyers. At least our home would forever be etched in their minds “Oh yeah, that house with the turf?”

So if you find yourself in a grassless backyard my advice to you is to dumpster dive for turf, watch some youtube videos, and make your backyard a sports playing paradise.

 

 

**We do have dogs. The turf drains so pee doesn’t puddle and you pick up the poop then hose it down, you’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

Dog children

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I don’t understand how people have toddlers without a dog.

I should probably qualify this post before you read it. I love our dogs. They are fantastic with our children, they eat all of the food our children drop (besides Cheerios and carrots), they are cute, and quirky. But there’s something you should know…

I am the worst dog owner ever.

It wasn’t always like this. When we were a young married couple with no responsibilities besides each other and our jobs we did what every middle-class white couple with anything that resembles a yard does….we got a dog. To be honest, we were really just practicing keeping something alive. I have a really bad track record with plants (I’d call myself a black thumb); so before we could even talk about or think about bringing a real live human into the world we needed some practice with something more consequential than a beta fish. So we scoured petfinder.com and found our first love, Copa.

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Tiny Copa with well-rested Clint
We drove two hours one-way to meet her and make sure she was the one. We then picked her up three weeks later after our adoption application was approved. So in total, we drove 8 hours and spent $150 to bring our dog child home.

At first things were great. We gave her weekly baths, got her a cute collar, took her on walks, and took a ridiculous amount of pictures of her. We took her camping with us, let her sleep in the bed, and she even made the Christmas card one year.

Then after a few years of Copa staying alive with a few hiccups (snake bites, falling off the balcony of the back porch, killing a kitten in front of a young child, etc) we decided we had arrived as dog parents and it was time to graduate to tiny human parents.

In January of 2012 I woke up to a SOAKED bed at 2:00am. My due date was in late march and I had no idea of anything that involved beginnings of labor. Cue total first-time parent freak out mode. We were googling frantically and calling the emergency nurse line because we thought my water had broken. Upon talking to the OB nurse and a more adept sniff of the bed we came to find out that Copa had pissed the bed.

Copa earned a major strike against her that night.

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Scene of the crime
After Kate came on the scene (In March, not in January after the dog peed on us) I kept up with being a semi-decent dog parent. It really wasn’t until we (I) made a really bad choice and took on another dog right around the time we got pregnant with baby #2. Then things took a turn for the worse.

When you go from 1 dog to 2 dogs it somehow comes out to 4 times the amount of dog hair. I went from NEEDING to sweep/vacuum roughly twice a week to needing to every other day at a minimum. Having a crawling baby really highlights how dirty your floors are, by the way.

Sometimes as I am vacuuming up dog hair for what feels like the millionth time I daydream about how much cleaner my house would be without dogs. There, I said it.

Clint has managed to continue being an excellent dog Dad; he pets them, feeds them, takes them on a run on occasion, buys them heart worm meds, etc. However, when Clint is out of town things get real dicey for the dogs.

I forget to feed them. After a day of this (that’s real) they just start stalking me around the house until I figure it out and put food in their bowls. I have a lot of mouths to feed in this current stage of life and when push comes to shove I am going to focus my nurturing energy on the people in my house that I’m lawfully accountable for. The cops don’t come and arrest you if the dog is hungry. (They do get a lot of food that the toddlers drop)

They run away every time Kate or Cooper open the gate. I’ve just stopped being concerned about this because they always come back. *So sorry if you’ve had a panic attack after a run-in with Samba on the greenbelts, I would too if I didn’t know he was a gentle giant. I need to get the phone numbers on their tags changed to Clint’s number because when strangers call me and tell me my dog is loose I show no sense of urgency in the matter. I actually told someone once “don’t worry about it, they always come back.” I’m glad we weren’t face timing because I could hear the judgement, I didn’t need to see it.

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Samba sleeps like this all the time. He also audibly farts.
Our neighbors are dog-lovers and have given them many a treat and a ride home from the local park. There have been many instances where I didn’t even know they were missing and then Big John (neighbor) just walks up the drive with them and lets them in the back gate. They are truly the best neighbors ever and they can definitely attest to the fact that I’m the worst dog owner ever.

This was really highlighted for me the other day when a friend from church was watching Kiah for me and I mentioned I was running by the store. She asked me if I could pick up some dog treats for her. This was a new section of the pet aisle for me. I couldn’t remember the last time I even thought to buy a dog treat. So I thought I’d try this whole dog treat thing out and get a bag for my dogs while I was there. Turns out that this is such a foreign concept in our home that I’ve had to stop Cooper from eating them multiple times.

All of this to say, things change. Your priorities shift big time when you become a human parent. If you are in dog child phase, live it up (so should your dog!) because it’s going to be a long time after having kids that they get the love they want. Please know that I do love them, it’s just more of a you eat chewed up salami that a 2-year-old threw on the ground love at this current time.