Set in Stone

The village has been redoing our alley. The entrance to our garage (along with many of the others’ down the alley) was damaged in the process, and today a crew came to finish the repairs with fresh cement. Brandon noticed the work being done, and was excited about heading out with the kids to put their hand prints in it. They were so into it!

Hand Prints in Fresh Cement

We plan to be in this house for a long time. How cute would it be to see their little hand prints on our property as they grow older? We went out as a family. The kids pressed their hands in, I scratched ‘2013’ in, and we used a cute stamp for their initials. Then the cement worker, who was down the alley a few houses, came by to smooth it all over again when we went inside to wash the kids’ hands.

Unsentimental jerk.

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  • Wanda
    September 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    That stinks…it would have been a great idea. Maybe you can make a garden stone and put your kid’s hand prints on it instead? I know it’s not the same, but it will be just as meaningful for all of you :)

  • Elizabeth Peremans
    September 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm


  • Jessica @ Sunday Loves
    September 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Did you put them right back? :)

  • Emily
    September 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    If it is any consolation, we recently redid the heater in our 100 year old house and my neighbor decided to call the city. When they came out to inspect the plumbing, they found $5,000 worth of plumbing problems that our home inspector failed to notice when we bought the house 6 months ago. So, hurrah for jerks in the neighborhood all around. Oh, and did I mention I’m also in my 3rd trimester? Added bonus.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Ouch. Nice neighbor, calling on you for *gasp* fixing your heat.

  • Vanessa
    September 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I’m going to be a party-pooper and say, I understand the worker “fixing” it. Aside from the possibility thatnthey didn’t know it was the owners who did it (could have been anyone, or a tenant for example) there are safety concerns such as the risk of tripping over it.. then someone sues the city for “shoddy” work… such is the world we live in.

    I love the idea of one of those house stones with your last name on it, and all your hand-prints on it. I’ve also seen people do stepping stones (mosaic/painted etc) with hand-prints and names.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      It was on our property, not the alley itself, but I’m sure the worker just saw it as doing his job. I think we will do some sort of hand print project instead.

  • mandy
    September 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Just wow.

  • Alana
    September 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Awe MAN! Grumble.

  • Jen
    September 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Actually in my town, if you do that on what is considered “public property” such as a sidewalk or anything the taxes paid for, you can get in trouble for defacing it.

    Yeah, my town isn’t sentimental either.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      It’s right in back of our garage, but yes, it was funded by taxes.

  • Roseanna
    September 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    If he or they come off as unsentimental? You come off as entitled.

    • Kathryn
      September 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      It wasn’t on public property. It was on her property, damaged by the village when repairing public property. That doesn’t seem entitled, it wasn’t the public sidewalk in front of her house, it was concrete she would normally be responsible for installing.

    • Ashly
      September 30, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      You come off as an asshole.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      It’s OK if someone doesn’t like me. I didn’t like the comment, but we can leave it at that.

  • Laura @ Rather Square
    September 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Aw, that’s too bad. Maybe you can make a little freestanding backyard cement/stone handprint block or slab instead. Those little hands are so cute!

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Definitely. I was surprised by how sad I was to see it smoothed over, even though it was something we had only decided to do this morning. We need some little hand prints preserved!

      • powwlita
        September 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm

        my dad is really sentimental like that, so whenever there is cement, he finds whoever is around to put a hand print in – adults or kids. When my dad put up a wall, he had all of us sign our names and made hand prints for out little cousins. So if that wall ever comes down – there’s going to be a little surprise for the demo person.

  • Amy @ Paint Wine Repeat
    September 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    What a lovely idea! It’s your thought that counts… and people have been kind to suggest projects to keep the sentiment. Hope you blog about what you do instead!
    On the other hand, I’ll never understand mean comments, they darken my day.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Mine too, but I am glad for the paver/stone suggestions.

  • cher
    September 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    This is tradition! I love seeing names in cement from long ago…it’s like almost getting to know them. I’m certain it wasn’t any more of a hazard than the crumbling cement all around it. And unless it was HIS cement, he was just being mean, no excuses!

  • Jessica
    September 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Well, that sucks. Something I always intend to do (but never do–I should start) is make a salt dough ornament of the kids’ handprints each year. Cement might be better in case the salt dough breaks, or maybe paint on a canvas that can be added to. You have the picture to commemorate it, at least!

  • Dianna
    September 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    What a bummer! That would have been the coolest thing ever…. That’s what you’re supposed to do with wet cement!

  • Olivia
    September 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    That’s wack! If it’s on your property it’s yours, IMO. Not your fault your driveway was damaged by their work.

  • Nikki
    September 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    This happened to us several months ago too… in our driveway. The city dug up our driveway to repair some broken pipes underneath that lay parallel to the street. It was a huge inconvenience for us, but we were super nice to the workers and then when they were finished we did our handprints and the year in the wet concrete (in our own driveway, mind you). Twice they came by and brushed it off and twice we redid it. The last guy to come by explained that it was code or something, but I guess he took pity on us, because he left it there. It’s hard to imagine why this is such a big deal though… I think it’s sweet.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      I think it’s sweet too. I’m glad you got to keep yours.

  • liz
    September 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    At our old house we had our sidewalk repaired. I kept waiting and waiting for the guys to leave so we could sneak out and put our handprints/initials with the kids. When he finally was leaving he said, “I would use a nail or a pencil to do the initials, and make sure you press really hard with the handprints.” So surprisingly nice and sweet of him. I took a photo of it before we moved. hopefully you’ll get another opportunity…

  • oh really?
    September 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    more than likely, there’s an easement between your garage and the alley. it’s not technically your land. being frustrated about not being allowed to write in oak park ‘paid for…’ cement makes you sound obnoxious. rules apply to everyone, and to assume your family can do as they please, sends you into ‘special snowflake’ territory.

    sorry, nicole. this time, you’re in the wrong.

    • amanda
      September 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Dude, what’s with the rude comments?

      Imagine a kid all excited by this–really, spend five seconds thinking about a toddler getting to put his/her hands in cement and thinking it will be there forever. Then imagine how upset that toddler is when it’s gone.

      Why be a jerk? Even if you don’t agree? I don’t understand.

    • LeeAnn
      September 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Gee, oh really, you sound like a lot of fun to be around. Could that stick be any further up your bum?

    • Jenn
      October 1, 2013 at 9:24 am

      “special snowflake”, hmmm… wonder where you came over from?
      Nicole, I think it was sweet and contrary to the opinions of a very few it doesn’t make you entitled to be sad that this didn’t work out. I haven’t noticed you pitching a fit, just lamenting the fact that they erased what would have been an awesome little memory.

  • Nicole
    September 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    We lived in Denver & had a parking pad… Not so much a pad as strips of concrete. There was a tiny set of footprints that said “Robert 1948”. I loved it…. And always wondered what happened to Robert who is old enough to be my dad :)

    I love the idea of stepping stones!

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Aw, I love stuff like that too! The year is always the best part.

  • Ash
    September 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    You should frame the pic above – it’s got a good story to go with it when people come to your house :) As for the mean comments – a very wise, well known singer (in Ireland at least) told me once “never let the b$%tards grind you down!” – makes me smile every time :)

  • mary
    September 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    when i was in first grade, we made handprint hangings with this little poem (minus the christmas part):

    it amazes me how small my hands were!

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 11:04 pm

      My grandma Rose had that printed out, framed, and hung up! When I was little, I left some very visible hand prints right on the living room wall, and she never washed them off. They reminded her of me.

      • Laurie
        October 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

        Aww! I love your grandma Rose! That is about the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard!

  • Melissa de la Fuente
    September 30, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Oh, poo! The same thing happened to us recently and the guy was acting like we had vandalized something. I thought it was just a GIVEN, when fresh cement was laid, that someone was going to make their mark on it. Isn’t it a national pastime? :) Bummer.

  • Kelly
    September 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm


    When was kid, I left my handprint in the neighbor’s new driveway. I was grounded from watching Happy Days and the shame of walking past my rogue handprint year after year on the way to school just about did me in.

    I did a great project with my kids, I got square canvas and used left over paint from our house and made handprint pictures. I got the idea from They turned out great and are at the upstairs landing.

    We made them 7 years ago, and the pictures are so sweet and the kids hands are so tiny.

  • Katie
    September 30, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    I’m a public defender in Cook County and last week i got a new felony case assigned to me. It’s a felony criminal damage to property case where the defendant wrote his name and a heart and his girlfriend’s name in wet cement. I am not even kidding. So he was a sentimental jerk, but I’m glad you’re all not in custody!

  • Erin
    September 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    What?? Oh how sad! Good grief!

    Glad you all got a picture, though! I hope you are able to do a similar project soon with them.

  • Josephine
    September 30, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    What a shame! But at least you had the presence of mind to take a photo!

  • spare me
    September 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Why not just spraypaint it on the side of your house?
    Sorry I was bored enough to come here tonight. I smelled entitled brat when I was here before. My mistake.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm

      I know. I really am the worst, trying to do something sweet with my kids right in back of our house. Thanks for setting me straight!

    • Katie
      October 1, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Spare me–I feel certain you will not realize it for yourself, so I will point it out for you. Your comment actually shows that you are the “entitled brat,” accepting only decisions that meet your approval.

  • Kathy
    September 30, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    We built a little shed attached to our house years ago and put our handprints in the doorway. It is so neat to look back to when the kids were so little and see how much they have grown. We also included our two dogs’ pawprints, which was fun. Both of them have since passed away so it is a really great little reminder of them.
    I love your new home and really wish you all the best in it.

    (I am so dismayed by the horrible comments being left. Glad to see they are in the minority though)

  • Katie
    October 1, 2013 at 4:10 am

    This is such a beautiful idea. Can’t wait to do this at my home.

  • Anna
    October 1, 2013 at 5:13 am

    What a meanie! My cousin wrote her initials outside her house about 15 years ago. My dad, who worked for local authorities got some letterhead and wrote her a letter to say she was in trouble and had to get it removed. As a joke :) her initials are still there!

  • taylor
    October 1, 2013 at 5:50 am

    The curb over the storm drain in front of our house was repaired by the town right after we bought the house, when my older daughter was 3. She sat and watched the demolition and concrete being poured throughout the 3-day project, and the workers came and knocked on the door when they were finished to ask her if she wanted to leave her handprint in it. She happily made her tiny print and they helped her write her initials. We live in a small town and I am sure, judging from some of the comments here, that locale makes a big difference. We want our children to grow up with a sense of belonging, a sense of place- small gestures build that feeling, and I don’t think that’s about entitlement.

  • amyks
    October 1, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Bummer about the hand prints, but even a bigger bummer about the rude comments! You are very gracious for leaving the comments even though your kids weren’t able to leave their hand prints.

  • Terri
    October 1, 2013 at 7:14 am

    I think that it was a great idea, I have two small children and think that preserving anything about them is precious. They grow up soooo fast. I wanted to tell you that I love your blog and feel that if people don’t have anything nice to say, they shouldn’t say anything at all. I think a patio or garden stone in your backyard with their imprints is a great idea. Can’t wait to see all the things you do with your lovely new house and family.

  • Katie
    October 1, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Oh man, I cannot believe the anger that some people carry, ready to unleash it at any second. There is nothing entitled about this sentimental gesture! I applaud your decision to publish these negative comments, as they do open a good discussion about when to follow the rules and when it seems okay to break them (like, on your property and not creating a safety issue, for example). But, man, the wrath some of these commenters show; that is so disappointing and hurtful. I hope that you do not let them bother you and that you are buoyed by your kinder readers who are interested in having a conversation with you.

  • elizabeth
    October 1, 2013 at 8:37 am

    While I cant for the life of me understand the vitrol in the comments towards you regarding the sweet handprints, I have to say I was surprised that you called someone a jerk. He WAS doing his job and perhaps he was tearing up with nostalgia thinking about his own kids…..maybe his is an unbearable person. I think its best to not assume anything about the who and why….

  • SamW
    October 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

    That stinks. We put our initials in a patched sidewalk at my parents house when we were kids and I still get a kick out of seeing it when I visit.

  • Erin
    October 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I hope you went out and put all those sweet hand-prints right back. It IS your property.

  • Erin
    October 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

    What a bummer that it was wiped away, but lovely that you were able to capture it in photo to remember!

  • Audrie
    October 1, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I know that in the town I live in, it’d be wiped away as soon as I turned my back — I mean you get a fine if you leave your garbage cans outside for more than 24 hrs so I have no doubt they’d take issue with handprints in concrete. I love seeing handprints, names and dates in concrete… I’d always wanted to do that as a kid, and then with my future kids. We do have a walkway in our backyard that’ll need repair in a few years… when we have that done, I’ll make sure we have something concrete to preserve memories in :)

    • Leslie
      October 1, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      I’m a fan of it too. I’m such a geek we would love looking at the dates on the sidewalks. There used to be some old slabs near the high school from 1919. I would wonder if Ernest Hemingway walked on those same sidewalks. Yes, I’m a nerd girl.

  • Laurie
    October 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Goodness! Who would have thought such a simple story would get such reactions from people! I’ve never understood the energy to comment negatively.

    You dear, are adorable. It was a sweet idea.

    I like the paver idea. I’ve seen those in gardens and they are darling. Your kids will love seeing how small their hands once were!

  • Teresa
    October 1, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I’m sorry he had to do erase your childrens’ beautiful prints. Being that my family runs a concrete contracting business, sometimes our customers nit pick on things like that and will actually make us come out and remove and replace what they call “imperfections” or choose not to pay for the work done because it was improperly finished. It very likely was nothing personal and he was just trying to stay ahead of the game to not have to incur any additional costs. :(
    I really love some of the other suggestions from your readers, stepping stones, door frames, etc. We had one specific door frame in my house growing up that tracked our height. Loved seeing it as an adult. :)

  • Leslie
    October 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Just another idea for stepping stones, someone already suggested your children’s handprints, but you could also gather leaves from trees in your garden too. They make pretty impressions too and are a nice reminder of your garden when you moved in your home. I think places like Michaels or Hobby Lobby sell kits.

  • elizabeth
    October 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Shees! Sounds like some of your readers need to get out from behind their computers and go for a jog. You know, get those endorphins going? Maybe then they’d be happy enough to keep themselves from spreading their poison unnecessarily. Don’t waste a single second letting downers bother you.

  • Sarah
    October 1, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I love that our new-to-us house has the names of the previous owners’ kids in cement in the back patio. I always wanted to do that as a kid. They also recorded their sons’ heights in the door frame of one of the rooms, and I’m so sad that I’ll be painting over it soon to prep my daughter’s nursery! My parents did that too, and had to paint over it when we moved. I wish it had been done on a poster or something to take with us instead in that case, but I love the forever-ness of names and dates and handprints in cement.

  • Laurie
    October 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I find this discussion so funny that all these cute, sweet imprints are being smoothed over, and yet on the sidewalk in front of our next-door neighbour’s house, someone imprinted the word b!tch and that’s still there… I’d much rather hand-prints.

  • Heather
    October 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    In the nearby neighborhood where I run, someone wrote “Hello from 2804” written in the concrete where the sidewalk joins the street. It makes me smile, and I always send the inhabitants of 2804 a mental hello as I run past their house. Too bad didn’t get to keep your handprints, and I’m glad you’ve gotten some good suggestions for how to recreate that fun moment with your kids.

  • linsey
    October 3, 2013 at 12:19 am

    It’s interesting all the comments this innocent little post provoked! It is kind of harsh to call the guy a jerk- maybe he had some kind of OCD going on and simply couldn’t stand to see HIS work “defaced.” Who knows?? Anyway I think that a framed photo would be cool and make for a fun family memory- a kind of lemonade from lemons thing.