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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bowling Alley in the Living Room

We just worked until noon today, but we got the bowling alley laid out in the living room. At least, that's what Ethan said it looked like.

As you can see, we started laying our floor. We are using stick down planks from Menards. We had originally planned on using a glueless vinyl that resembled hardwood floor until we found these. They are quite a bit heavier and won't indent with heavy furniture like the vinyl would. Also, if you get a tear in your vinyl (which has actually happened a few places in the parsonage we are in now with the same brand of floor and it only being 4 years old), you pretty much have to live with it or replace your whole floor. With these, you can pop out the damaged one and replace it with a new one, although they come with a lifetime guarantee for residential use.

From what we have laid down so far, we are very happy with it. It looks really nice and seems like it will hold up quite well. It will be nice with the wood burning stove and with living on the farm to not have carpet. (We will have some area rugs.) They were also a great price when I bought them in February, although they now cost over 1/3 more than I paid for them with the rise in material costs.

This week we plan on continuing to lay the floor. Once it is down in the bedrooms, we will probably start moving stuff over. I'm trying to convince Ethan to just take the pack and play for Hannah, a cushion and sleeping bag for Caleb, and air mattress for us out on Monday and we can just start camping there. We'd come back in the mornings to clean up and go back out after Ethan is done with work. We can then put the kids down for bed and continue to work - and be able to sleep in our new home. After all, we do have a bathroom now! We'll see though . . .

Thursday, September 25, 2008

All I Wanted Was a Bathroom

From the start of this whole building project, I told Ethan that all I wanted before moving in was a bathroom. I didn't mind living in construction as long as there was a bathroom. I think that if I wasn't expecting and didn't have a 2 and 4 year old, the bathroom might not have been that big of a deal, but right now it is.

Although I wouldn't want to live IN the bathroom, the bathroom has all I really need to live comfortably : A place to get cleaned up, a place to "go" besides the tall grass, and I could even do dishes in there if need be. As for cooking, the kitchen didn't matter that much to me. You can do a lot with a crock pot and a grill. But the bathroom - to me, that was a must.

If you read the post from yesterday, you have seen that it looks like we might have a bit more time before we move out to the farm. Until yesterday, however, we were planning on spending our first night out there tomorrow. So . . . I present to you our bathroom.

Although the bathroom isn't 100% completed, we now have a functioning sink, tub, and toilet (along with hot water) - this farmer's wife's dream! It isn't big by any means, but it will do its job.

Hannah and Caleb were also quite excited to see things hooked up. They wanted to try out the new toilet as soon as they saw that it flushed, and they wanted to continue to try it out all day long - even when they just "didn't have any".

So now I am ready to move! When they got the final plumbing done in the bathroom today, I was ready to start moving boxes over myself. As much as I want to move right now, I do see the wisdom behind staying put a little longer until the rest of the floors are completed. It will make life a lot easier for everyone not having to shuffle furniture and boxes around, especially for Ethan who is the only one in our family who is strong enough or allowed to move things over 20 lbs.

Today all of the cracks (from the cement saw) got filled in the other rooms. Tomorrow it sounds like we will try to get the stick down tile primer on the cement. After that cures for a day we can start laying the floor. I'm hoping it won't take long!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You've Got to Be Kidding

This week has not gone well in many, many aspects. I will spare you all of the details, but for the week before needing to move in, it has not gone well.

If you have been keeping track, our closing date was set for Friday with Saturday being an extra moving day. For the last 3 weeks especially, many people have been working extremely hard to help us get ready, and Ethan and I continued to work late into the night after everyone went home, and even to bed.

We are exhausted, the kids are stretched to the limit, but we are ready to move on Friday. The house is livable, utility and post office arrangements are made, and the whole house is in towers of boxes with just the necessities out for the next few days. Many people have worked hard to get us to this point, and family members have signed up for vacation time to help us move.

And then it happened. Shortly before we had to leave the house for youth activities, the phone rang. The closing date had just been changed. Not a day. Not two days. But two weeks from now - at best. It could be longer.

So we are presented with two choices. Choice number 1: Wait to move. Choice number 2: Move anyway.

Right now, I'm not happy with either of the choices.

If we stayed here, we would be able to work on the house a bit more and get some more things polished up, the biggest one being getting the flooring laid. We had planned on just going room by room, but this way we wouldn't have to move any furniture. (Although, since we are doing stick down planks, it isn't like what you would have to do to put carpet in.) But, our whole house is packed up. My whole kitchen, all of the kids' toys, towels . . . You name it. So I would need to unpack quite a few boxes in order to stay here and then have to repack them again. Plus, there are towers of other boxes all around the house that we would have to weave through until we moved.

The last 3 weeks though, we have busted our hind ends (along with others) to get to this point where we could move. Caleb has been so sad lately with all of the chaos and not seeing Ethan much or having much quality time with me. I have been telling him the last few weeks when we are going to move, and he has been watching it on his calendar. He knew that date was when we would have more family time again, not being at different locations, and that all of his things I had packed away would be coming back out. I was also looking forward to being able to just put the kids to bed and down for naps in their own room - all set up and cozy, but then I would still be able to work on little projects on the house. It would seem kind of silly, however, to move when we could stay here and work on some of these projects without having to move furniture and unpacked boxes around. Plus, we will have another month's worth of housing allowance going to this place whether we move now or not.

So without much time to process this, here is our game plan. We aren't going to move until we have the floor laid. When the floor is down, we will reassess our situation. Hopefully we will soon learn when the new closing date is so we can pace ourselves.

I feel like we have been giving our all and running a marathon (or a 100 mile race if you are our crazy ultra running friend who blogs about it!) trying to set a personal best, practically passing out many times in the process only to get to where we think the end is and hear, "I don't know where the finish line is. In fact, I don't think this race has one marked. Also, no one was really timing you anyway. Nice run though. You want a cookie? (By the way, you also owe us another payment for the entry fee.)"

So, I apologize for my rant. In order to offset it, I'll close with some positives. We have truly been blessed with all of the hard work that has been done by MANY people to help us get to our Friday deadline. The house is looking great, and it will be closer to being completed than we would have gotten to when we do move in. I'll leave you with a picture of our cabinets going up from earlier this week. (I haven't had a chance to take one with them completely up, but they look great!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Blog'iversary Ethan!

Today my husband is celebrating his 2nd Blog'iversary! If you get a chance, drop by his site and send him a congrats. Also, feel free to leave him any comments that you want that pop into your head about this GREAT GQ chicken farmer picture! (Make sure you click and enlarge it to get the full effect!)

Kids These Days . . .

Yesterday our cabinets got hung in our house. They look great! (I'll take a picture when doors get put back on them.) With the cabinets up, and the week coming to an end quickly - when we will move in - Ethan and I decided that it was time to make a Menards run to pick up some things for the bathroom and kitchen.

We headed out just shortly before supper. This time my mom was able to watch the kids, so it was just the two of us. We went to the farm, picked up the stock trailer, and headed down the gravel road again on our way.

It wasn't even a mile later when Ethan decided that something was wrong with the trailer. When we pulled over, he soon discovered that it wasn't the trailer, but the truck. We had blown a tire. (Funny thing . . . we had the truck at the shop last week to get our two new tires on. There was a "building emergency" that popped up, so I had to pick it up before it was done to run an errand. We haven't had time to get it back, and the tire that would have been replaced is the one that blew.)

So, Ethan got the tire off and we got on the phone. After calling every tire store in the area (closed) and all of our friends and church members programed into our cell phone, we were left with two options. 1- have my mom try to dig out buried car seats, figure out how to hook them up in her van, get the kids loaded, and find us on a back country road 20 minutes away that she wasn't familiar with or 2 - wait 45 minutes for a friend from church to come and get us.

We decided option 2 would be quicker.

Since we didn't have much to do, we made the best of our time. There was a farmer baling hay down the gravel road with a baler that would shoot the square bales into the rack. So we walked down and watched him. It was actually kind of nice, minus the lost time and blown tire.

The whole time we were standing on that gravel road though, with a broken down truck not far away (and me being 8 months pregnant), we only had 1 of the many vehicles that passed by stop to ask us if we needed help.

And when the truck stopped, out jumped a young high school student with his wide smile showing off his braces. We told him that we had a ride coming, but thanked him for stopping. He smiled wider, nodded, and hopped back in his truck. Kids these days . . . there is hope!

By the way, after we got back to our house we used my mom's van to go to Des Moines. We weren't able to get everything since we didn't have the trailer, but we knocked off a good hour and a half of shopping and decision making and had a great 10:00 supper at ihop. We'll go back for the rest today when the tire is fixed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ahead of Schedule!

The last two days have been filled with progress. The plan at the beginning of the week was to texture the house today. If you noticed, however, we got to that point a couple days ago. So yesterday the house was primed. And today we just kept going!

Ethan got up first thing in the morning and went out to spray the ceiling paint on with the gentleman from our church who got the crew of workers together. I spent the morning trying to get our paint tinted.

(To make a long story "somewhat" short, we were up until 11:00 pm last night trying to get it. No luck. I went to a True Value's paint shop this morning. Their color matching machine was out. No problem. They could call the main company office with the paint names and get the formula. Great! I left my paint samples with them. Problem - less than 2 hours before we needed the paint I get a call that says they can't get the formula for 4 of our 6 colors. So I go get my color chips back and head to Wal-Mart, who has been low on paint this past week but does have a color matching machine. I buy all they have available and get it tinted just shortly before noon, when we need the paint. If it wasn't enough, I would run to the next town in the afternoon. Okay . . . so it wasn't that short of a story.)

Before I get to the painting though, I can't forget to mention the crew that worked on finishing our doors and molding the last two days. My dad headed up the operation, and 5 others worked with him. After they finished up at noon, they came out to help paint too.

Okay, so after lunch the painting crew started. I even remembered my camera this time Tim was out and got proof he really comes out! (Trust me, it's him even though you can only see his back.)

So . . . here are the colors. I debated posting them since the camera didn't capture the true color well and I'm awful at naming colors, but oh well. You'll get the idea.

Here is the bathroom/laundry room- light tannish
Here is the kitchen/dining room (left) and living room (right) - cream and dark tan
There will be a length of wide decorative molding that will run up the line with a crown molding cap a the ceiling - kind of like a pillar.
Here is Caleb and Hannah's room. Caleb wanted the house green so badly through this whole process so I told him he could have a green bedroom. It will be a farm room to make it gender neutral. I drove their toy John Deere tractors over the paint chips to find one that would go well with the John Deere Tractors. If you are on Ethan's side of the family (my dad works for John Deere), don't worry. Minneapolis Moline will be represented too, along with Farmalls (What we have). I just couldn't have greens clashing!
Here is the baby's room. (One day we will have a girls room and boys room)
And here is our room. It goes with our quilt I am almost finished making.So there you go. Those are kind of our colors. And the great thing is, the paint that I scrounged up at Wal-Mart was JUST enough! On my way over there I was praying that they would have just what we needed. If True Value wouldn't have been able to pick up those two colors though, we would have been short.

Alright, so now that I've spent WAY too much time on the computer, I'm going to bed!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ready for Paint!

It has been a little bit since I have been out to the farm to check on things. I have been busy at home packing boxes. Things are coming along great though. On Wednesday, the last coat of mud was put over the joints and nail holes in the drywall. Yesterday they sprayed a light orange peel texture on. Assuming that it will be dry, the plan is to spray the primer on this afternoon. I can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Midnight Construction Snacks

Okay, so it's not midnight, but it's close enough. (11:10).

Ethan got done at the farm around 7 pm today. They got the 2nd coat of mud on. When he got home, he unloaded 1400 lbs of pig feed off of the trailer and into the shed here at the parsonage. We were able to load up our shopping list and the kids in the truck just in time for bedtime, and away we headed to Menards.

After completely filling the trailer and our Expedition with closet doors, room doors, mud, and a variety of other things, we were able to head back home. With a quick stop at Hy-Vee for Ethan's supper (Totino's pizza) and my 8th month of pregnancy craving (mac and cheese), we were able to get home at 10:45 pm.

We now have the kids in bed, and I am enjoying my Mac 'n Cheese.

Count down - 10 days until we have to be out of the parsonage and at the farm.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Building/Moving Update

Today's building/moving accomplishments:

*50+ aquarium fish shared and out of the house = 1 sad little boy

*Lunch prepared and delivered to helpers at the farm

*More boxes packed for the move

*Ethan arrived home after 8 pm, but entire house has tape and 1st coat of mud on drywall

Saturday, September 13, 2008

No More Stuff!!

Today was a productive day. We had more help through the early afternoon, and with all of the drywall going up yesterday, we were able to start mudding and taping the walls today. We also got some more dinky work done like cleaning the floors and filling in cracks with expanding foam. (Sorry, I forgot the camera at home with all of the hustle.)

We got home around 3:00, just in time to fit some naps in. (Any later and it would have messed up bed time.) I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening packing. Which leads me to this post.

Our new house MAYBE will have an equal amount of storage in it as where we are at now. We have a basement here where we don't in our new house, but we will have above closet storage with our 10 ft ceilings. Also, the outdoor access storage area and attic can hold some overflow, but I don't want to put just anything in those areas. Where we are at is full now - and I frequently declutter and move unneeded things out. So the concern now is that with our kids being young and with a family that is still growing, there is a lot more stuff that will most likely come into the house.

When I thought about the size of families years ago and the size of houses they used to live in, it occurred to me that it isn't the size of the family that outgrows the house, it is the amount of stuff the family has. And I don't want to outgrow our house because of stuff.

So with birthdays and Christmas soon approaching (and many more years of them to come), I need your help! I am looking for gift ideas for the kids (4, 2, and on the way) that are not stuff. Here are some things that I have come up with:

*Postage stamps for the kids to send letters to grandparents (they love it when they get to help me send letters)
*Labor and/or materials for a sand box, rock box, or swing set (okay, that's outdoor stuff - but we have 40 acres that we are starting fresh with)
*Gift certificates or passes to something fun like the zoo, science center, botanical center, etc and a meal out for our family and the gift giver
*Gift certificates for a personal pan pizza or desert at Dairy Queen (the kids LOVE getting these!)
*Money, bonds, or CDs for college funding
*A pair of swim trunks or swim suit and money towards swimming lessons
*A music book and money for music lessons (this might not be for a couple years I guess)

And that's about as far as I've gotten.

With our gift giving culture and seeing other fun gifts that others get, it is hard to think of non-stuff gifts that would be fun to receive as well as open. I'm hoping that if the kids learn what getting some of these non stuff gifts means, waiting for the actual gift won't be that big of a deal. The key is to find things they will enjoy doing more than things they will enjoy having.

I hope no one hears me wrong, since we are thankful for the generosity of so many people - it's just we don't want to outgrow our house due to stuff. (A little stuff is okay, but a little stuff from a lot of people sure adds up quickly!) So if anyone has fun ideas of non-stuff gifts to put on lists, I would love to hear them!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I think it is safe to say our family is exhausted! The days start early and end late.

Today after we left the farm (most likely the drywall will be all up tomorrow), we headed to Des Moines to pick up our cabinets. Thankfully, my cousin Tim was able to drop by and help load them up, because the kids and I wouldn't have been much help. We then headed to Menards to pick up mud and other materials needed to continue working. We were home by 10:30.

Pretty much right now, Ethan's days consist of juggling his office and youth work and then building, along with making sure the animals on the farm are happy. He is home long enough to catch a short night of sleep.

My days consist of keeping the house in somewhat of an order (clean dishes to eat off of and clean clothes to wear), making and running food out to the workers at the farm, spending about an hour out there to answer questions, running errands to keep people working, and then trying to pack the house with any spare time I can find.

The kids' day consists of being lugged from place to place with Mom, possibly getting a nap, and most likely getting to bed well past their bed time. Although I feel like they are not getting the attention right now we would like to give them, we are able to have nice visits on our car rides.

Even though we are all exhausted, we are blessed with all of the wonderful help we have been getting. The countdown now is 2 weeks until we need to be out of our house and living at the farm. Thanks to all of the people who have helped us out, we will be able to rest a lot more comfortably once we get there!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Big Changes in the House

The last 2 days the guys have continued to come out and help. We now have the bedrooms almost completely drywalled - minus a few pieces in the upper closet. The bathroom and laundry room are started, along with the main living area ceiling and walls. It's really looking different and a lot more like a house!

Tuesday's Progress:

Today's Progress:

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Crew is Here!

Okay, so I accidentally deleted my pictures that I was going to upload from the past few days. That's about how good my mind is working now with everything going on.

Here are some pictures from today though. As you can see, we are tremendously blessed with friends from our church who want to help us out. And like I mentioned before, we have still to ask one person if they could come and give us a hand. Everyone that has helped out has asked us if they could help.

Today there were around 7 men that came out to hang drywall. The bedroom ceilings are done, some bedroom walls, and a little bit of the living room ceiling. Ethan joined them, and has switched his office hours to the evenings so he can be out there while they are. I also came out with lunch for the guys and to answer some questions about placement of things and what stages various wiring was in.

It is really neat to see drywall up, and it really makes it start to look like a house!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Sorry I don't have the construction picture up yet. It looks like we forgot our camera at the farm. Hopefully we'll grab it tomorrow.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Little Update and A Little TMI

I have debated about putting a little TMI (too much information) on here, and tonight I finally decided to break my conservative nature and just go for it. But first, a little update.

Today we had 3 men from the church come out in the morning and help my dad, Ethan, and myself with the building. We were able to get all of the insulation done shortly after lunch. Ethan and I cleaned up and organized the house in the afternoon, and the dry wall crew is planning on coming Monday. It is exciting to see the big changes again! (Pictures to come soon. Check back to this post tomorrow night.)

And now, for a little too much information. I will apologize in advance. :) Like I have mentioned earlier a few times, all I really wanted to move out to the farm was a bathroom. I am getting quite tired of finding a hiding spot in the tall grass. Not only does it cut at my ankles as I walk through, but the tall grasses on our farm also house MANY of these beautiful spiders, which get up to the size of a half dollar. Yes, they are pretty to look at, but it is not fun to bump into their webs. Or sit on them, like I almost did earlier this week. (Sorry about the TMI!)

So I was going to let that story pass by, until tonight. As I was getting ready for bed and crawling under the covers, Ethan stopped short and said, "Becca, don't move!" Of course I screamed and jumped out of bed! Ethan left the room and came back in with a wad of toilet paper. My suspicions were right. A spider. But it wasn't our normal black house spider. No. It was the farm's garden spider. Under the covers. Waiting for me.

Since the guys have it easier than I do and don't have to trek through tall grasses (like I have to MULTIPLE times a day with being pregnant, rain or shine - sorry for the TMI again!), I have only one guess of who it rode home on.

Like I said. All I want is a bathroom!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Barn Raising at Stoneyfield

From the beginning of this project I have told Ethan that all I really wanted before we moved into the house was a functioning bathroom. I was very willing to move into a construction zone if it meant that we would be getting our housing allowance (when the parsonage sold) and that we would finally be in the country.

Ethan had planned on taking 3 weeks of vacation that he has accumulated over the years (from not having a vacation for a LONG time) to finish the house up inside. We were set back quite a bit, however, with all of the rain this summer. Before we knew it, the summer was over, youth things were starting, and the chance for taking vacation time had passed.

When the parsonage sold we knew we had very limited time to get the house ready to move in to. Even so, there was enough time to get a functioning bathroom. I felt set and ready to go.

Well, this week someone from our church came into Ethan's office and started talking to him about the building project. He heard about our goal for moving in - a bathroom and some drywall thrown up (with electricity run too). It was a pretty realistic goal that we were both comfortable with. Our friend, however, was not so comfortable with it. He talked to Ethan awhile and then also called me up and talked to me for a good half an hour. I had to smile that one of his big concerns was not having doors up, especially in the bathroom for "noise reasons". :)

So we were extended an offer. This particular gentleman used to be a contractor and does some remodeling on the side. (From what I have heard he does an exceptional job, especially with mudding, taping, and texturing drywall.) He wanted to be given permission to line up other people from our church to help us get the house a little more livable before we move in 3 weeks from now. And what he meant by a little more livable is the drywall completed, walls painted, doors hung, and trim in place! We graciously accepted the offer, of course!

Before we knew it, we were showing a group of men around the house who have talents and skills ranging from drywalling, painting, electrical work, and just plain handy men.

My dad had already planned to come and help for a few days and arrived yesterday morning, so we have been busy getting ready for this work crew to start in full swing next week. A few of them have even been out the last two days. As you can see, we are putting insulation in the walls and ceiling now. Drywall will be soon to follow.

We have truly been blessed through this whole process. Not once have we had to beg for help, even before we decided to build. Ethan and I had been looking at properties and thinking that the only way we could get the land we wanted was to build, but we never said anything knowing we would need some help.

Not long after we figured that out, we got a call from my dad asking if we had considered just building. He mentioned he would help us get going if it was something we wanted to do. From that point on, we have been blessed with volunteers and tools and equipment being shared. And now it looks like we are going to have a good old community barn raising!

And just a note on the side. Tonight we were leaving the farm from a long day of work. Ethan wasn't sure if he locked the doors, so we turned around, stopped on the road, and Ethan ran down the lane to check the house. Caleb all of the sudden spoke up and said, "Mom, all I can hear are crickets." Quite different from where we are now. A loud street, neighbors who yell choice words across the alley at each other during the evening, a train track that runs by our house . . .

I said back to Caleb, "You're right. I think it's nice."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Construction Over the Last Week

Sorry for the lack of pictures and updates. This last week has been quite a full one for us - especially Ethan. This is the week that all of the fall activities start up at the church again. Not only is his youth group starting up this week, but he is also in the middle of moving the youth center from where we live now to the church. Along with that, this week our church started a first time weekly youth program for 3 yr olds - 5th graders that I am helping run.

Have I mentioned that we have lots of transitions this fall! Starting a new farm, building a new house, moving out of our house this month, expecting a baby in Nov, youth group starting up again, preparing a new youth center, and a new children's ministry at church. I'm probably missing something too!

Even so, we have still been moving ahead with the building. Our evenings have been a bit shorter at the farm, but we had a very productive work day on Saturday where my cousin Tim came out and helped and Ethan's mom came and entertained the kids. As of now, we are pretty much wrapping up our piddly work. I have been forgetting to take pictures when we are out there since I am so occupied with other things, but it's hard to see the changes anyway now since it's just little things here and there.

If you have been following Ethan's blog, you may have caught wind that something unexpected is going on with our building project. I plan on posting an update on that tomorrow if I can carve out some time, and hopefully I'll remember to take some pictures too when we are out there.

Other than that, packing the house is coming along well, and I have quite a few towers of things that are packed up and ready to move over in a few weeks. Make sure to check back for the building update though, and I'll try to make sure to not go so long between posts!
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