Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hairbow Mania

Cody packed all my crafting and hairbow supplies. It is taped up in a box, buried in our storage back at the old house. But after just a few weeks of living here with my folks, I couldn't stand it any more. I just HAD to go get some ribbon and clips and make something! Especially when my sister in law requested some Aggie Clips (go USU!), and then my little sister found out she's expecting a girl (a new head to bedeck!), and... well, I always get carried away.

Happy Groundhog day! Yes, this is a groundhog. See the little teeth?

And all my new bows of recent: the blue A, Big Blue the Bull (Aggie Mascot), a new Valentine's clippie, and of course the groundhogs.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The House: 26 weeks

Here we are, creeping along, building every day. I swear it's getting closer to being done, but I think this was the first week I really had one of those "I wish we weren't building" moments. Don't get me wrong--it wasn't a "I wish we had never done this," it was more, "I really miss my husband! I wish our house was DONE! Let's go out and finish this thing so we can sit in our living room and look out the front window and cook in my kitchen and watch TV from our couch!" kind of moment.

But the good news this week, is that we were all on finish work. We are in the houses now, where it is warm and the construction lights are bright and you don't have to wear thermals AND sweats AND jeans AND double socks. There are still a few projects that we have to do outside (namely, there are 3 houses that are still waiting for more stone to be delivered before that can be finished entirely, then we have some garage framing to fix, then we plaster the foundations with the finishing cement, and painting the doors), but the majority of what is left to be done is now inside work.

This week, we were trained on how to do trim around doors, baseboard, building the shelves in the closets (which we can design any way we want! aaah!), putting in window sills, and stair runners (baseboard around the stairs). We have a few people who have been trained on one or two of those things, and they'll go through and do that on each of the nine houses. That way, we can really specialize and get good at it, and it goes faster. So we are working in three houses right now, but all kind of rotating between them, and it's hectic inside as everyone is doing their own thing but sharing tools. If it sounds a little crazy it's because it is. Cody and I worked on trim and baseboard in House 2, while their homeowners did the shelves, and someone else did the window sills. Same things were going on in House 1 and 3. I suppose I'll detail this more in my house-by-house, which is right now:

House 1: Trim, Baseboard, and window sills started.
House 2: still waiting on stone for outside. Trim, baseboard, and window sills complete as far as we can go right now. There were a couple of doors that had the wrong swing on them, and so those have to be fixed, which means they obviously can't be installed or trimmed. Closet shelves designed and being built. *Also, we don't put baseboard where vinyl or laminate flooring will be, only where carpet will be. We'll finish that baseboard later.
House 3: Trim, baseboard, window sills, stair runners all done. Working on shelving.
House 4: Interior doors installed.
House 5: Waiting for stone to be delivered.
House 6 (ours!): Electrical done. Cody and I went back on Thursday to fix a few framing things. We need to have wood blocking on the ceiling in the corners so that the sheet rock will have somewhere to be screwed into. Most of the blocking was done several weeks ago, but there were a few missing spots. Also, one of our linen closets in a bathroom goes in front of a cabinet. The cabinet guys came through to do some preliminary measuring and said that the spot for the cabinet was too large, by about 3 inches. So our project supervisor told us to add a few studs to effectively thicken the linen closet wall. The more we looked at it, we thought, "hey, instead of making the wall thicker, let's increase the size of the closet!" So we got permission, made a few cuts, and moved two walls. Instead of using 6 8' studs, we used 3" of base plate and just one 8 stud, and ended up with a 3" bigger linen closet. Pretty smart, eh? I've been thinking about how this is all getting easier and easier, as we become more comfortable with the tools and the jargon and more confident in our own skills. I thought the same thing as we started using the finishing nail guns. They're cute little staplers compared to our behemoth 20 pound nailguns that we used on the subfloor, sheathing, and framing. I don't even flinch at the saws any more either. You know what? Building a house is empowering! (anyway. enough of my tangent. on to more houses...)
House 7: Sanding, sanding, sanding, sanding subcontractors. Remember how they had the wrong texture on the walls? Well, it's gone now. One more reason to ALWAYS double, triple check before doing something.
House 8: Stone finished! Tent down. Electrical done.
House 9: Waiting on more stone to be delivered, so the tent stays up for now. Electrical done.

Some exciting things are slated for this week. I won't say what they are, just in case it doesn't happen. And, to leave you all paralyzed in suspense....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Katie's accomplishment

She's been so close--standing unassisted, or walking with fingers held, or even a couple wobbly steps by herself, but it was her Sunday dress that sealed the deal. She got so sick of trying to crawl in her little outfit. It just was NOT working. She fussed about it for a while, then she just stood up and started walking around. Then she realized, "Hey, this feels pretty good! No sore knees!" Sure, she still falls over quite often, but she stands back up and gets going again.


For the record, both Katie and Annalisa walked at age 10 months and 11 days. How's that for a sisterly bond?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The House: 25 weeks

Twenty-five weeks building... seems like it should be some kind of benchmark or something. We're nearing the end of 6 full months. It feels like we've been building forever, and yet it feels like we have been building just a few days. We are definitely anxious to get the houses done, especially after this week (read on).

December and January, up to this week, have been record-breakingly dry. In December we only got .10" of precipitation, and normal is 1.5". Even now there's no snow on the ground. But this week it rained, and rained hard. We got nearly an inch of rain just in the last three days. There's actually a flood warning issued for our town right now because the ground was frozen, and then this rain, and it's pooling bad. So, on Thursday, Cody thought he would be working on rock all day and ended up helping several people in our group prevent/clean up/battle flooding in some of the basements. "House 2" had it the worst--their lot is particularly muddy, and then they have a big hole underneath a cantilever that has a window well in it too, and the window well is too short, and also a valley on their roof drops right there. All of this combined, and they had two feet (and rising) of water in the window well pressing against the window and glass. They opened the window to relieve the pressure on the glass, but then of course all the water poured into the basement. Our neighbor came to the tent where Cody was working on stone in tears, and they all put down what they were doing and ran to her house to clean up the water and try to stem the flow with tarps and walls of rocks and mud. Cody said everyone got covered in mud, but the homeowners were very grateful. These kinds of problems won't exist (or at least won't be as bad) when we have gutters on the houses and the final grade done. At any rate, after cleaning up the flooding, the gratitude poured out and they had an especially productive night because some of the little dramas we always battle were able to be put aside. So see? God does work in mysterious ways. :)

In other GREAT news, the electricians came back and did our house! Woohoo! It only took them 2 days to run all of the wiring for light fixtures and outlets and cable. I'm excited about some of the things they did; particularly, placing outlets higher on the wall wherever we marked TV's, and also putting in the reinforced light fixture outlet in the master bedroom and living room, meaning we can eventually upgrade to a ceiling fan in there. Cool stuff.

This week:
House 1: Interior doors installed.
House 2: Interior doors installed. Flood averted. ;)
House 3: Interior doors installed.
House 4: mudding and taping done.
House 5: mudding and taping done, walls textured. Stone and grout done until, you guessed it, we ran out of stone.
House 6 (ours!): electrician done.
House 7: mudding and taping done, and walls textured with wholly smooth texturing which the homeowner did NOT order and does NOT want... yeah, we'll see how that pans out. He swears he's going to make the subcontractors come back and sand it off. I had a bad feeling this would happen somewhere, because the subs admitted on house 1 that they didn't have the order list, and so far they've just been doing the texture on every house without asking. For now, this issue is to be continued... dun dun dun....
House 8: Stone on and grout started, woot woot!
House 9: Stone almost all on. Keep in mind they're the only dry stacked, so it is taking us longer to put up, but once we're done, we're done! (that is, IF they have enough stone...)

I have a poll running for which will happen first: we finish stone on all 9 houses (minus the pieces that had to be reordered) or Katie walks?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wonder Women!


I saw a picture of an apron like this on Pinterest and fell in love. My mom was so awesome to help me put it together (which is great, because I'm not very good at sewing).

Every girl needs to feel super, especially when we're up to our elbows in bread dough and soapsuds. Now, we have a fun little reminder of just how wonderful we really are. We are Wonder Women!

Cody's 31

Yep, I'm kind of behind on my blogging. Sorry.

Cody turned 31 on Monday. I had planned to take him snowshoeing and then get some lovely seafood for dinner, but we ended up getting the stomach flu on Sunday and Monday we were still recovering, so we ended up having lasagna and sourdough bread instead and played a few games at home. It was still a fun day.

Cody, we love you! I'm so grateful you are mine. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The House: 24 weeks and into 2012

We've had over a month of short build weeks, due to holidays and rock/grout shortages, but this week was a full 35 hours again. It felt so good! Well, for me at least. I think we're all getting anxious to get these houses finished--and we're definitely all sick of stone. Putting in some big hours again felt like an important step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, we saw our subcontractors for sheetrock and insulation, but still no electrician. I'm getting somewhat annoyed, because they told us (personally) that they'd have our house done before Christmas. Urg. Oh well, this is the life of construction, I suppose. Hurry up and wait.

So, here's what' going on out at our neighborhood:
House 1: No change (sheetrock, mud, tape, texture done)
House 2: Still missing some corner pieces of stone and the grout between them, but otherwise stone is and grout is done. Tent taken down and moved.
House 3: No change (see house 1)
House 4: Insulation and sheetrock done.
House 5: Insulation and sheetrock done. Stone and grout all done--except (you guessed it) we ran out. I think the tent will stay up, though, since it doesn't need to move to a new house. It can just wait until the stone arrives.
House 6 (ours!): No change. Waiting for electricians.
House 7: Insulation and sheetrock done. Stone and grout completely done (the corners it needed came in time to finish). Tent moved.
House 8: Tent set up, scratch coat on.
House 9: Tent set up, scratch coat done. This house is going to be slightly different because their stone is dry stacked: in other words, there is no grout. We're excited not to grout it because grout is not a pleasant job. But it has to be done a little differently because the stones have no spaces between them. On the other houses we've used little stones or 1/2 inch pieces of ply wood to space the rocks out. This one we'll have to be more cautious on how they're placed; but when the stone is on, we'll be done. And since this is house 9--we'll REALLY be done!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A song for 10 months

The Greatest Gug-Gug-Things
(To the tune of "My Favorite Things")

Standing and crawling and bathtime and Mommy,
Broncos with Daddy and even more Mommy,
Humidifiers with an Elephant nose,
Are things I love--as everyone knows!

Small, noisy toys that I steal from my Brother
Quality time that I spend with my Mother
Quick little naps that I take on mom's lap,
All make me happiest-happy-hap-hap
(Hey, YOU try to come up with a rhyming word for lap that means "happy!")

When I bonk my nose, or I'm just too tired,
Then I'm feeling sad.
but give me a few of my favorite things--
and then I won't feel so bad!


Mac and Cheese and blueberry puffies,
Sippies of water and no-nosie-stuffies,
Licking Gramp's glasses and pulling dad's hair--
All make me feel like I haven't a care!

Grabbing whatever mom has in her hands,
Banging the cupboard with Grandma's nice pans,
Slobber and kisses and playing peek-a-boo,
These things will make me so happy too!

Sticking my tongue out and playing stark naked
getting my toy back when Annalisa takes it,
Crawling on mom's bed with no diaper on--
Just do these great things and you'll ne'er go wrong!

When my diaper's full, or my mommy's gone,
Then I'm feeling sad--
Just let me go do all my favorite things,
And then I won't feel so bad!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Destructo baby

I may or may not have talked about "Destructo Mode" before. At any rate, here's the latest casualty:


The pieces at the top of the picture (to the right of the puzzle) were all we had left. We've been working on it for over a week. I'm guessing we only had about 50 pieces left of a 1000 piece puzzle. The crunched corner? Katie. all Katie. I'm debating whether or not we should even attempt to finish it now... I guess we have to, since now I'm afraid some pieces may be missing after Katie grabbed it. She had the biggest look of triumph on her face when it happened; she'd been attempting to sneak a piece just to chew on ever since we'd opened it. She happily ignored the pieces tumbling in her lap, as she held the one corner she'd managed to nab in between her fingers and sunk her little chompers right into it. The good news is? They're only babies once.


The bad news is, they're only babies once.

The House: 23 Weeks and rolling along

I forgot to do my weekly journal of the build last week...woops.

The holidays have been kind of hard on our whole build schedule, but I have high hopes that now that it's back to normal schedule, things will perk right up again. We've been plugging away at the stone and it's coming along, albeit slowly.

Last night Cody and I worked on insulation. Insulating wasn't supposed to be our job, but there was a hiccup in the original quote and we had to shuffle around the money and work a little bit so that we could use spray insulation on the floor joists in the basement... anyway, long story short: we now insulate the garages and part of the basements ourselves. Other than the fiberglass everywhere, it's not a bad job. You simply cut the rolls of insulation to size and gently tuck them in between the studs. We wear safety goggles, masks, gloves, and long sleeves while working with it, and we take a cold shower when we get home (hot water can melt the fiberglass and fuse it into your skin... eeesh...)--but some still got in Cody's eye and scratched it pretty badly. He went to the doctor today and was given some antibiotic eye drops to help it not get infected. So, he's pretty miserable after that, but I actually enjoyed doing the insulation. I enjoy doing the things that I can do well and quickly. And, it felt good to take a short break from the tedium that is rock.

Anyway... besides rock and insulation, we didn't do a whole lot else. The subcontractors took Christmas off, so our electrical is on hold for a while. A few more houses got insulation and the mudding and taping also got done in a couple more. On Saturday (New Year's Eve) there was a pretty hefty wind and a couple of our tents were damaged. A piece of our Code Wrap fell off, so Cody and I fixed that on Tuesday. Here's a picture of that little goodie.

While we were working on our flapping Code Wrap, though, we did see some happy thing:
(I know it's a black tarp. it's what's under the tarp that counts.) New concrete stairs on our back patio! No more two foot drop off! We were thrilled to see some concrete go in. It's been months since anything has been done, but the weather has been so nice that they were able to do some. Of course we got super excited and ran to Brent to ask him if this meant we could get the driveways done right now, but our hopes were quickly dashed as he explained to us that concrete on concrete is okay, but if you dig down an inch or two, it's still frozen solid (hm. explain the mud you can lose shoes in then...?). Oh well. Everything they can get done now still gets us closer to being entirely done.

So. Here's the house-by-house from the end of this week (January 6, 2012):

House 1: Sheetrock, taping, mud, and wall texture done. They chose to have "wholly smooth" wall texture, which is done by scraping mud across with a trowel. This was one of our options (but not one we picked for our own house). Rock, grout done, tent down and moved. Attic insulated. Back patio stairs placed.
House 2: Sheetrock, taping, mud, wholly smooth texture done, attic insulated. Tented for stone, stone all done except for a few corners that weren't delivered, grout started.
House 3: sheetrock, taping, mud done. Attic insulated. Stone and grout completed, tent off and moved (to house 7).
House 4: Insulation done, rock completed, grout all done. Garage insulated.
House 5: Insulation done. Garage insulated.
House 6 (ours!): Back patio stairs placed. Stone and grout 100% completed.
House 7: Insulation done. Garage insulated.
House 8: Plumbing started, heating started.
House 9: Plumbing and heating started... maybe completed? I'm not quite sure.

It's interesting to see the disparity right now between house 1 and house 9. House 1 has had plumbing done for months! But they'll all be done at the same time. House 1 may be getting everything super fast, but at the end they'll have to look at their completed house every day and keep building while we finish the last few houses. Which is why we're very happy we're House 6. We don't get much first, but we don't get much last either. :)

Well friends--on to another week!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Party

We went down to Southern New Year's Eve. We had a day off of building and Cody had a day off work, so we made a quick decision to run down and spend the weekend with Cody's family. It was a little hectic, but lots of fun. These kinds of opportunities are very rare for us right now, so we were excited to take advantage of it. We had a great time hanging out and chatting and just enjoying the break. Cousin Autumn taught Annalisa some of the finer points of playing dress up:And the biggest highlight was riding Dixie with Daddy.
Happy New Year, and thanks again to Mom and Dad S for inviting us to come play!