Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are you serious? The drywall is done already?

Two days later and the drywall is basically done. There a few other things they have to do to it(like sand it). I can't believe they work that fast. No wonder they can charge thousands of dollars for labor.

Matt and I went over late the day they started hanging the drywall(Tuesday). It was already dark outside, but we were dying to have a look around(by flashlight). It's actually quite spooky to me, to walk around a half built house in the pitch black darkness. We were shocked at how much they had hung that day when they didn't start until after lunch. The ceiling downstairs(garage), the ceilings upstairs, and most of the walls, were already hung. It was also a total mess all over the floors! Cut scraps of drywall and dust and mud buckets everywhere. We had to be careful where we walked. The sound of the house is also a HUGE difference. No longer do our voices echo through the whole house. No longer does the sound of feet vibrate everywhere.

Obviously, we have no pictures from that night. There are no lights and we had a mini flashlight. And no camera. So we came back the following evening before dark(also our 3 year anniversary). MAN! What a difference!

As we walked around our house that now has walls, it was so surreal to see actual walls. It is turning into a REAL house. All the drywall was hung, and all the seams and mudding were done(and still very wet as we found out. whoops). We took Lucy with us, but we made her stay outside for fear her tail would mess up the wet mud.

First the garage. Code only requires drywall(a firewall) on the ceiling to protect the living space. We'll add plywood to the walls after we move in.

Going upstairs. We'll add a weather proof outdoor siding to the stairwell(not drywall) soon.

Tada! The living room:



Bathroom(vanity side and shower side). The green walls are water resistant drywall.

Laundry closet:

Master bedroom:

Master closet:

Other half of master bedroom facing the 2nd bedroom:

2nd bedroom:

"Attic" space(accessible from 2nd bedroom):

2nd bedroom facing out:

Hallway facing back to living room:

Next up: Interior doors, door and window trim.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Insulation and Drywall Start

First, let me apologize tremendously for the terrible cell phone pictures. They make me cringe. And if Matt had had a chance to go look at the insulation himself, I wouldn't have even bothered taking any. You see, I did something unforgivable. I went to the house to have a meeting with our contractor and check on the work and I....forgot my camera!

That's a big deal for me. I take it almost everywhere, and certainly every time I go to our land. You never know if there will be something that you need to photograph. Even out in the wild. You might see some crazy plant or wild animal(there is actually a post featuring some crazy plants, but I haven't written it yet). You just never know. So I always bring it. I can't believe I forgot it this time.

They started insulation one morning and by the end of the day, it was done. Super fast!

(garage ceiling/bathroom)

Let's back up a few days.

I scheduled the inspection of our frame, rough electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. (you can see those photos in this post here) Everything passed except the frame. One minor problem. So the day the insulation crew came out, our contractor came out to make that one small repair.

(living room)

Now we're back up to speed. The insulation was done and it was time to call in the inspection for that and again for the frame. This time they both passed!


The drywall crew is scheduled to start hanging drywall TODAY and will take about a week to finish. Our contractor(more accurately called "construction manager"), Mike, and I met at the house this morning to go over the style trim I wanted and some other details(more on that later).

(2nd bedroom)

I snapped these few photos of the insulation, so I would at least have some photographic documentation.


Once the drywall is done, it will be time to install the doors and trim. Then install the cabinets, then paint. I think I got that right. Simultaneously, I can install the tile in the bathroom, have our deck rails built, and our septic system done.

We are moving right along and shelling out all kinds of money, but at least we'll get it done and get moved.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

We Are Building the Taj Mahal

Well, it kinda feels like it now. Now after seeing a family of 3 who lives in a 320 sq. ft. house. (read full post there).

That's not a typo! 320 sq ft! With a teenage son, this family downsized from a 2,500 sq ft home that they could no longer afford and built one of those "shotgun houses" people built after hurricane Katrina. They paid cash(around $20,000) and pay rent for the lot it sit on(around $120 I think) and have no other mortgage or house rent.

Hooked on Houses is a blog I frequent, written by a lady who is hooked on houses. All houses, all sizes, all styles. She doesn't blog about her own house, just real estate listings she sees, or virtual tours from the internet of tv shows. Lots of times they are celebrity homes or homes featured in movies. And even the bad and the ugly of home listing/staging photos(what not to do).

There aren't too many pictures of this 320 sq ft house, so if you are interested, I highly recommend watching the 10 min video tour to see just how a family lives in that small of a space(spoiler: their son lives in a 4 ft tall loft in the ceiling!)

I do think it's kind of crazy, but there are some inspiring ideas that make me think if they live in 320 sq ft, we can certainly live in 800! The biggest take away(which I already know but this drove home) is use your space smartly. Utilize vertical and hidden storage(don't let space go to waste!). The other take-away message is don't fill your house with "stuff". That's this family's big secret. They don't have a bunch of junk taking up room and stressing them out.

It's not for everyone, but they are doing what works for their family in the difficult economic time, and for that I applaud them. If it were me, I think I would have strangled someone by now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Puppy Update

If you're keeping up, you know almost a month ago, we adopted a dog, which we named Lucy. Lucy is adjusting very well to her new home. She has bonded to me very well. She likes Matt, but that bond is taking a little longer simply because I'm with her all day and she only sees him for a few hours at night.

I think she's house-trained now. She hasn't had an accident in 2 weeks, so we are still keeping our fingers crossed. Still keeping the rooms blocked off, still taking her out every few hours, and still locking her in the crate when we leave her at the house and at night. I don't think 2 weeks is quite enough to earn that much trust. I just don't keep an eagle eye on her anymore. Her signals for needing to go out have gotten much clearer. I think she's figured out that she needs to communicate with me when she's gotta go!

Lucy has had her first bath, first trip to the vet, and first nail clipping. Actually, she's had at least two of those before, so they were really firsts for me more than anything. Or firsts for me and her together. She is not a fan of the bath, but it went better than expected(as in I didn't get completely wet). Once she realized I wasn't going to let her jump out, she sat in the far end of the tub, which made it really hard to clean her. I call it her "practice bath". We'll be more thorough next time.

Here's where you can find us on a typical week night. I know I "shouldn't" let her on the couch, but COME ON! Look at that face!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brand Family Shoot

A while back(over spring break), I had the pleasure and challenge of taking portraits of the Brand Family(friends from church) with twin toddlers! Never have I been more thankful for "continuous shoot" mode on my camera. Anyone who's tried to take a picture of a toddler(let alone, more than one) knows they NEVER hold still.

I took over 500 pictures and got maybe 30 shots with both kids looking towards the camera. It made for a great learning experience. Their little faces and hands were all over the place. The little girl, Bekah, was trying SO hard to sit still and smile pretty. And Billy, well, boys will be boys. All in all, they were very patient during the 1 hr+ photo shoot, at a local playground.

Aside from the moving subjects, there are many things I still need to learn. First of all, my LCD display was too dark, causing me to overexpose the pictures. I've figured out how to adjust that setting. The pictures needed lots of editing to fix the exposure. We were also under large trees which cast a blue tinge on the skin tone that had to be warmed up.

Here are some of my favorites. I saved the best for last. I love their blue eyes and Bekah's precious curls!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Well that didn't last long...

This was a pull rope that had a loop piece of rope that was glued into the other end of the purple plastic. It lasted 5 minutes. At least it was only $1. She loves it more this way.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Taco Pizza

Given that Matt loves anything with cilantro(meaning mexican-ish), and we both are liking black beans more and more, I knew we had to try the taco pizza featured on The Pioneer Woman's blog the other day.

This was a super easy to make recipe. I think most pizzas are. And I cheat a little buy NOT making my own crust. I know homemade tastes much better. I KNOW. I've had both. But I don't plan far enough ahead to give it time to rise and stuff. I need the dough ready NOW because I want to eat in 30 min. So Pillsbury dough it is!

As with all tacos and pizza, you can easily change/add/subtract any ingredients to your taste. I mostly followed the recipe as is, BUT..

I didn't:
-make my own dough
-fry corn tortillas
-add hot sauce to the sour cream

I think my pizza looked even prettier. It was in a round pan, and had less lettuce/cilantro/tomatoes covering it(like you could still see some cheese showing). And I had more sour cream(it needed it, because beans aren't as moist as tomato sauce). But it's ok: I use fat free.

*A little tip about adding the sour cream:
The Pioneer Woman uses a pastry bag(which I don't have and wouldn't want to waste anyway). I used a snack sized zip-lock bag. I reinforced the corner with masking tape before adding sour cream and snipping the end off. If you don't reinforce, the seam could bust open and you'd have a pile of sour cream in the middle of your pizza. I know from experience from working with melted chocolate.

The verdict was: we loved it!

The recipe: click here

I didn't really follow a recipe. I just followed the pictures. Just don't add a whole packet of taco seasoning when you spice up the beans. That's too much! I used my own spices and added a generous shake of cumin/red pepper/garlic powder/onion powder.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our first baby!

After waiting 3 years(because we wanted to be moved into our new house first, but we got impatient) we finally got a dog!!

Matt and I knew we wanted a female German Shepherd(mix) puppy and that we would adopt a rescued dog(everyone should!). German Shepherds are very smart and naturally protective loving dogs. I used to begin my search. It's a database of ALL the animal shelters and then some who are trying to adopt out dogs and cats. You can search by breed, age, and location.

My search came up with about 20 or so dogs. Many could quickly be eliminated based on the photo, description, and location. The photo gives you a clue as to what it's mixed with if that information wasn't provided. And yes, of course, I was looking for the cutest dog I could find! Most of the shelters were just too far to drive anyway(search options are 100mi/200mi). We started with the best and closest matches.

One was 30 min from us. The other about 2 hours(and they had a whole litter of pure breads). We went to see the closest one who was a 3 month old German Shepherd mixed with an unknown smaller breed. She was only 12 lbs, which is half the weight of a pure bread shepherd of that age. She had a clean bill of health and the vet predicted her adult weight to be between 40-60lbs. That's a big range, but still much smaller than a 90 lb. shepherd.

Here are her photos from the ad:

Matt and I fell in love with this dog right away. She was very people friendly and somewhat calm for a puppy. We put in our application to adopt to beat out the other people that took the forms home to "think about it". We had to wait a few days for them to do a background check on us, then we came back to sign the adoption papers and pay.

They don't release the dogs until after they are spayed/neutered, and since it was a holiday weekend, we had to wait 5 long days before we could pick her up(right after surgery).

The first night she was still groggy from anesthesia and not herself. I could tell that she was really unsure and confused by not only how she felt but who we were and where she was going. All she did was sleep for the first 20 hrs. It didn't take her long to get to feeling better. The vet sent some pain meds home and she had her energy back the next day. She was even wanting to play with other dogs.

Matt and I tried out several names for our baby girl, and finally decided on Lucy. House training is a lot of work, but Lucy is catching on. She only has accidents if we don't take her outside regularly enough(like every hour or so). We're also crate training, at least for now. While, we both grew up with dogs, neither of us have experience with least as an adult owner. I learned that since dogs are den animals, they will naturally not mess in their crates and this helps them learn bladder control. We crate Lucy when we are not home or able to watch her, and also at night. She can go almost all night without needing to go out. She knows it's "her room" and has even started taking naps in there voluntarily! I'm so glad it's not traumatic for her when we put her in there to leave.

The crate must be just the size of the dog so they don't have room to make a "bathroom spot" in the corner. So since we don't know how big she'll get, we're borrowing a crate made for medium dogs, which fits her perfectly with a little room to grow. Also, since she's a puppy, she'll be traveling in the crate and a large crate would be really difficult to move to different rooms of the house or put in the car.

More pictures:


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