Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 32 - Exterior Framing of House COMPLETE!!

Well, except the garage.  Yes, yesterday we finished putting up the final walls to complete the framing of the exterior of the second floor which also completed all the exterior walls of the house.  I spent all afternoon framing the rakehead wall at the center of the house.  Mr.W had all the lines snapped on the floor and explained all the 27 1/2 degree cuts I would need to make and then I went at it.  Since the wall has a vaulted ceiling and has 2 windows in it, it takes a bit more time to put together.  Towards the end of it, Mr.W helped out as there was a bunch of math to figure out. 

But we finished the wall and put it up!

Mr.W has now snapped about 1/2 the lines for the interior walls, which we can start on Monday, if we want.  Today we are going away for a baseball tournament and knowing that all the exterior walls are complete, I should be able to enjoy the day without thinking I need to be working.

Jason spent a bit of time adding fill to the inside of the garage grade beam and then he was working on levelling out a large pad at the back of the house.  Since our roof has 8/12 and 12/12 pitches, we are making the roof on the ground and craning it up in sections.  With the pitches we have and with the house being so tall, it is safer to work on the ground rather than in the air.  Jay was preparing the area for that.  With these hot temperatures, it is completely dry and easy to move around.  Now even if we get rain, hopefully the pad stays fairly dry (or at least dries quickly).

A complete and total gift was my mom showing up with a fantastic lunch for us.  I was lamenting the night before that I had no idea what to make for lunch and then she sends an email asking if she can bring food.  What a blessing!  What a treat!  And there is even leftover rhubarb cake to bring along for lunch today!  Mom, thanks for thinking of us and going to all that work for us!  It made my day!

Yesterday was also Mr.B's last day working for us.  The intent was to work until just before school started again in late August but the hard work and high temperatures was really getting to him.  It is just not his thing and his body isn't adjusting well.  It really is hard physical work.  Mr.W said yesterday you don't need hot yoga, pilates or even zoomba when you are framing in the heat. It is hot and tiring work so you really have to have the desire to do it.  Since it is our house, we have the passion and that is what fuels us.  Mr.W also keeps reminding us that this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Jay and I talked about it and, for now, we think we are just running at a bit of a faster pace than others might.  But we have for years.  We aren't feeling stressed about the building at all.  We just need to ensure we get enough rest and enough food and we are fine!  So, we will miss having those extra hands helping out but I am sure we will continue fine without him.

So here is the exterior of the house, showing all sides.

Front of house faces south.  Second floor openings from left: bedroom window, lounge window, bedroom window, door to office (which will be over the garage)

West side of house.  Second floor opening: bedroom

Back of house faces north.  Second floor openings from left: master bath, master bedroom (x2), bedroom

East side of house.  Second floor opening far right: master bath

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 30 & 31 - We've Been Framed

Day 30

Mistakes happen.  They always have and they always will.  YOU will make mistakes.  I will make mistakes.  Even MR.W makes mistakes  (I know, that is shocking!).  The question is not "What if there is a mistake?", the question is "How will I react to a mistake?".  We have the option of flipping out and getting mad and yelling at people and acting like a child not getting their way OR we have grace and tell them it is okay.  They are mortal.  You are mortal.  Mistakes happen.  We try to fix the mistakes or live in spite of them.  Seeing as we are newbies at this construction thing, we make our fair share of mistakes.

Today was just such a day.  The morning started with the concrete truck arriving and filling up the grade beam forms.  Apparently the pour went rather smoothly.

Then Mr.W started the guys out with framing the longest wall in the house - a mammoth 60' 6 1/2" all in one span.  It included 4 window openings.  Then just as I was arriving, Mr.W was off to his other work after leaving instructions with Jay.  When I arrived, the guys had it framed out and were ready to nail down the OSB.  I hopped in and helped out, attaching the top plate and OSB.  Once that wall was sheeted, we stood it up.  It is no easy task standing up a sixty foot wall on the second floor of a building.  But, we are now practically experts at using the wall jacks so we had those ready to go in minutes (all without arguing!).  Jay and Mr.B manned the jacks while Mr.E (a teenage friend hanging out with us for a bit this summer) and I guided the outside edges of the wall.  With not too much difficulty we got that wall standing.  I was quite proud of us for being able to get it up even without Mr.W.  After that wall was framed, we moved on to other exterior walls.  Those walls were left lying down for the night.

After we had that long wall standing, Jay noticed the distance between our two bedroom windows seemed really small.  Ideally, our queen bed should fit between the windows but this space was only big enough for a double.  Maybe.  So, Jay measured and discovered that the spacing was, indeed, wrong and now we had already stood up the wall.  How were we to fix that? 

Just as I left to pick up the kids from Grandma's house, where they had spent the day in the air-conditioning recuperating from the sunburns they got the previous 2 days playing in the pool (I now have waterproof sunscreen for them that I did not have before), Mr.W arrived back on site to check out our work.  Turns out, we made a huge error in attaching the top plate.  Our overlaps were not nearly long enough which caused us a few "issues" when we were standing up the wall and could cause stability issues if we left it.  He is so trained in his work it only took him about .6 seconds to see it.  We never saw it at all.  It was one of those instructions Mr.W gave Jay but he just forgot.  It isn't that big a deal to fix but it was certainly an important mistake.

I felt terrible today.  I was almost physically ill.  And it was all my fault.  This morning I forgot to eat breakfast.  I know, big mistake.  Bigger mistake was not eating lunch.  That was unintentional.  See, we have a fridge on the property and there was a pasta dish in that fridge that I was intending on eating.  When I pulled it out at lunch, the dish had gone bad (it wasn't that old, just a really bad fridge.).  So, on a very hot day working super hard I was undernourished and probably dehydrated.  I felt sick and like I was going to pass out.  I was glad to go home.  I learned a valuable lesson about taking care of my body when working so hard.  I cannot expect it to perform well if I don't fuel it.  And drink lots more water.  A LOT more water!

Day 31

Oh, the grace that is offered when mistakes are made is sweet, indeed.  No, we did not fix the top plate issue just yet but it is not that huge a deal to fix.  We may just wait a little longer to tackle it as there are a lot of interior walls that need to be anchored to the exterior wall and the top plates would have to be adjusted to allow for that anyway.  As for the window situation, turns out it was a measuring error when Mr.W was laying out the bottom plate.  So, he quickly fixed it, moving one window over and now it looks just as it should.  I am so thankful for Mr.W - for his smile, his ability to admit when he makes a mistake and his grace for us when we make ours.

Today, I felt fantastic.  I slept well.  I ate well.  I drank water.  And it wasn't so hot!  There was quite a strong wind today but given the fact that the house is inside a shelter belt, the strong wind was a cool breeze.  Mr.W said if we were building out in the open, we would have shut down for the day due to the strong winds.  As it was, we kept right on framing.  We were able to get almost all the exterior walls completed.  We stood up some and left some lying down as the wind played a bit of a factor in standing those up.  Hopefully the wind tomorrow is lighter, if there is any, and we can finish the second floor exterior walls.

Mr.E, our teenage friend, took off all the forms from the garage grade beam.  That was a hard job but he plugged away at it, working diligently.  He is a great kid!

Surprisingly, the kids were only in the pool for a little bit today.  Since today is Thursday, we bring along a little DVD player and they can watch a movie, which they did.  They also had fun playing on the main floor of the house since we are no longer working down there.

However, some of the supplies are still there and my sweet little Ari found the construction adhesive.  Imagine this, if you will.  A paraffin hand treatment where you dip your hands in melted wax.  Your fingers and hands are coated in this smooth and creamy wax.  Now imagine it is construction adhesive.  Strong, brown, sticky glue.  ALL.OVER.HER.HANDS.  Coating every finger and both sides of her palms.  Thick and gooey.  Her fingers were sticking to each other.  I did not take a photo.  That stuff is horrible to take off once it dries so I immediately took her to the bathroom to wash it off, or at least keep it from drying.  Comes off much easier that way.  Now, it still takes a lot of work.  This is not a water-based product that just washes off.   You sort of peel it off in really small sections.  Takes forever.  But I can promise you she will never play with the glue again!  (Just so you are not worried, there are no power tools plugged in anywhere where the kids are playing.  They are quite safe.  And if we are concerned for their safety, we scoot them to a safer place right away!  They are more prone to hurt themselves on the dirt hills than in the house by us.).

Tonight is one of those nights when we would love to go back to the house and work but we know we should rest.  So, the kids will go to bed and so will we.  After all, the house won't build itself!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 29 - Stairs Complete & Grade Beam Ready for Concrete

I'm tired.  It is any wonder, working long days and staying up until after midnight blogging and then reading?  I really need to get to bed earlier tonight because tomorrow - yes, I say tomorrow - we will start on those upstairs walls!  That will be hot and tiring but so fun!  It will change the shape of the house.  If everything goes as planned, those exterior walls should be done by the end of this week!  Yippee!

Today I made the second part of the stairs.  It is the shorter run that goes from the midpoint landing to the top.  Once again, Mr.W drew out the stringers for me and I did all the cutting.  I also cut the rest of the treads and risers.  This whole set went together much quicker, thanks to Mr.W's help (and the fact that it is half the length).  He knew I wanted to get it as finished as possible before I had to take Pepe to his ortho appointment so he glued each piece and held it in place while I screwed it down.  When I was gone, Mr.W finished assembling it and secured it in place on the staircase.  We now have a complete (and level) set of stairs that go up to the second floor.

The guys continued to work on the forms for the garage grade beam.  This is one job Jay did NOT enjoy.  Lots of little details and lots of work and no fun at all - but he said the end result of having a garage is worth it.  The inspector came and insisted on a couple minor changes so now that those are done, it is ready for concrete tomorrow morning.  I am proud of Jay for working so hard and diligently on something he didn't enjoy.  I never heard him complain and even saw him smile occasionally.  I know that working with the guys he does certainly helps to make the not-fun jobs more bearable!

Once again, the kids played in the pool all afternoon.  I bought special sunscreen today just for them - 60 SPF waterproof stuff since Ari looks like she is wearing a red bathing suit even when she isn't - just a little bit too much sun!  They all had trouble sleeping last night due to the sunburns.  Today they had to wear shirts in the pool to reduce the sun exposure.  Tomorrow we will ensure they are wearing sunscreen.

I will try to get more "in-process" photos but my photographer is busy swimming and doesn't want to stop for pictures!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 28 - Stairs & Grade Beam Prep

Do you ever feel like the Lord is trying to tell you something and so He tells you over and over, just to make sure you got it?  I think that happened to both Jay and I today.  Yesterday at church I heard a song I hadn't heard before (as far as I know).  It is called "10 000 Reasons" by Matt Redman.  It is a beautiful song and if you haven't heard it, just google it and listen.  I really enjoyed listening to it yesterday and the tune was in my head on and off throughout the rest of the day.  Well, what do you think was the very first thing I heard upon waking this morning?  That exact song!  So, today it was stuck in my head all day.  And this time I knew the words to the chorus (still working on the verses).  So, as the song says, I blessed the Lord throughout the day.  Praising Him.  Rejoicing over Him.  Just being ever so aware of His presence.  What a fantastic way to go through your day.  Also yesterday we heard a message where the speaker talked about how when God opens a door, it requires no effort on our part to open that door.  God opens doors that we cannot.  Sometimes it makes us stand back in amazement at the things happening in our life only because the Lord made them happen.  Jay and I have continually been amazed at what the Lord has done for us in regards to this house building journey.  We continually say this is all the Lord's doing.  Today this scripture jumped out at Jay during his reading so he printed it off and it is now hanging right in front of the saw at the new house: Deuteronomy 8:17 & 18 "You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today."  What a fantastic reminder to us that all this comes from His hands.  We did not make it happen.  It is all the Lord.  We hope we continue to honor Him as we build this home and live in a covenant relationship with Him.

I love Mondays.  It always brings about a new week full of fun things to do at the house.  Well, okay, admittedly not everything is fun.  There are about a bazillion million details that make up a house and some of them are just plain boring.  But they need to be done anyway.  Today was not a boring day for me.  I had the privilege of making the staircase to the second floor.  Well, I made most of it.  It is an "L" shaped staircase and I made the longer first part before it turns after the landing.  Mr.W figured out all the math for me and told me how to cut both stringers and all the risers and treads.  That is what I did for the rest of the afternoon and then started putting it all together.

Let me tell you, cutting the stringers with a circular saw was a forearm workout like I have never had before.  I was cutting the 2x12's at a little higher than waist height and by the time I was getting close to the end, my forearm and hand hurt so badly after each cut that I had to take a little "shake-the-hand-to-get-some-feeling-back" break.  But I am no suck so I kept at it until it was done!  The risers and treads were much easier!

Mr.W kinda floated between me and the stairs and the guys working on the garage grade beam.  He explains how everything works and shows us each step and then we do it.  The guys had to pound in stakes and level the stakes and add 2x4's and plywood and sand and Styrofoam and rebar and a bunch of other things to make the grade beam (which is the outside edge of the garage - similar to the footing of a house) of the garage. 

They worked hard out in the sun and I worked hard in the shade of the house!  The kids worked hard at swimming ALLLLLLLLL afternoon.  Apparently that $20 investment in the pool was a good one!

At the end of the day, the guys are about 1/2 done the work for the grade beam and I almost completed my staircase.  I went back after supper to finish up but eventually it got too dark to continue working.  I am thinking we will have to round up those long strings of lights we own so that I can determine when I am done and not have to quit when it gets dark.  Ah, well, it was time to come home anyway.  Tomorrow is another day, right?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 27 - Final Interior Walls on Main Floor, Joist Skirting & Keyway Prep

Did you miss me yesterday?  I warned you I may be late or non-existent in keeping you updated and I was right.  I actually went straight from the site to my niece's house to take her grad photos, raced home to shower and then off the church for her grad program.  She is one lovely young lady and it was so fun to see her beaming in her photos (I am sure the cute boy helped!).

First of all, we stood up the walls I framed yesterday.  We have not attached the top plates just because there were a few things we were not sure how to deal with.  Those plates can be attached tomorrow when: A) we have Mr.W's expertise to tell us how to do it right and
B) we have more 2x6's, of which we are out.

Door to the left is J's bathroom, door to the right is the laundry room.
However, we did secure the walls enough for the weekend so they should still be standing tomorrow!  Now you can see the final framing for our main floor, the laundry room and the "farm" bathroom, which in turn finishes off the walls for the mudroom.

Jay's bathroom (or the "farm" bathroom) so he can leave all the farm dirt and clothes here and come kiss me smelling lovely!  I have a sensitive nose!

Laundry room (yes, I get an entire room just for laundry - and it even has a window!!)

Mudroom (besides the kitchen, probably the most important room in the house - organization here creates peace and calm everywhere!).  The door to the right comes from the garage - on the left is the bathroom/laundry room.  This area is one step (8") lower than the rest of the main floor to help keep dirt from sliding along the floor into the rest of the house.  It will help reduce the dirt but not eliminate it.

Yesterday we did a couple of important prep things for tomorrow's work.  We will be starting on the second floor exterior walls and in order to do that, we attached the OSB to the outsides of the second floor joists.  It was a fairly quick and simple job to do thanks to Mr.B who cut all the pieces the correct width on Friday.  I held them in place while Jay nailed them in and around the house we went.  It was easier to do it from the second floor leaning over the edge slightly than to stand on a ladder so that is what we did.  Got a little suntanning done at the same time!

We also hope to start on the garage footing tomorrow so in order to do that, the Styrofoam had to be cut away from the concrete on the side of the house where the garage attaches.  Yes, all that Styrofoam that we took such care to line up so nicely was cut and chiseled away.  By removing it, we can tie the concrete from the garage directly into the concrete of the house. 

Jason also took some time, using a little garden tractor and blade, to level out the fill around the garage piles a bit.  Hopefully it is all good enough to start working on the garage tomorrow.

I also set up our little 8' round pool for the kids on Saturday.  The water was frigidly cold then but having sat in the sun all weekend should have warmed it up to a likeable temperature tomorrow.  Should give them many hours of enjoyment (or at least a few minutes!).

I am really looking forward to tomorrow to start framing on the second storey and to the end of this week to see how far we get.  I know the house will look completely different on Friday than it does right now!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 26 - A Little of This & That

Some days there isn't much to look at after we have spent the day at the house working.  Yesterday was one of those days.  Jason was busy adding in fill around the garage piles so they can start working on the grade beam on Monday.  Remember I said I was going to show you photos of the piles with the welded on pieces?  Well, these are the pieces that go on the garage piles, tying the piles into the concrete.

These are the pieces that go on the deck piles, allowing a beam to sit on the top of the piles.

As I said, Jason was adding clay around each of the garage piles to raise the level as it is currently a bit too low.  He did that for a lot of the day.

Mr.B was busy cutting all the headers and the trimmers for the second-storey windows.  If all goes according to plan, we should start framing those walls Monday.

I spent the afternoon framing the last 2 interior walls on the main floor - the walls for the laundry room and Jason's bathroom.  Once again, I had a helper for a while.  We had to remove the interior bracing first and he was quite happy to help remove the nails.

Sometimes we get a little too consumed with house-building and don't take enough time to play with the kids.  Yesterday we stopped at lunch and mid-afternoon to play some badminton with the 3 older kids.  I am trying to find things for them to do at the country to keep them entertained.  Pepe found this badminton/volleyball set here in the garage that we had bought a while ago so we brought it along and set it up.  They/we have had fun playing with it.  Right now we are in the process of shocking the well to kill the little bacteria in it that can make stomachs upset if you drink the water - once that is done, we will set up the pool there for them as well.  That way, they have lots to do when we are working hard.  And just in time for the hot and sunny week coming up.

Then, yesterday afternoon, the 2 littlest girls went to Nana & Papa's place (my parents) for a sleepover and the 3 older kids went to Grandma & Grandpa's place (Jay's parents) for a sleepover so Jay and I went on a date!  We got home too late to write a blog update so I apologize to those of you waiting with baited breath for the latest account of our house-building adventure!  Tonight might be a late one as well as we have my niece's graduation party to attend and may get home late but I promise, you will survive!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 25 - Piles for Garage and Decks

During this wonderfully sunny day, we were able to finish all the sheeting on the second storey floor.  Despite the small area left to finish, it took a bit of time since it was an area that required a fair number of cuts to the plywood to get the sizes right.  But, we finished it off before the day was done and I even swept the entire second floor clean.  We are ready to start building walls on Monday when the supplies arrive.

The most exciting part of today was watching the steel piles for the garage and front and back decks being driven into the ground.  There is a couple of options for piles under a garage or deck - you can do large concrete piles or steel piles.  We decided to go with the steel piles.  It was an interesting but simple process to watch. 

Under the decks, they pushed in 16' long steel piles that were 3 1/2" in diameter.  They are held in place simply by the force of gravity and friction.  They are pushed in with a track hoe in a short order of time.    Using a laser level, they ensure each pile is pushed in to the exact correct depth and then, depending on if it was going to be under the garage or under the decks, there were different parts welded on the top. Under the garage, they pushed in 32' piles to ensure it will hold the weight of the garage and the second storey above it. (I will add photos of the finished piles tomorrow since the photos I took today didn't end up on the camera card due to some malfunction.)  It only took them a couple of hours to do all 20 piles and now we are ready to build our garage.

As usual, the kids watched every move the guys made.

The one gentleman even suggested we have a picture taken on the track hoe.  Mom and the kids, he said.  So mom and the kids did.

It was so great to have the sun shining all day and we look forward to all the sunshine tomorrow and for the next several days.  Mostly I look forward to all the work we will accomplish tomorrow!  On this journey, every day is an adventure!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 24 - Sheeting Second- Storey Floor

When I start to think about it for any length of time, I find it weird that I am building a house.  I mean, I am a stay-at-home mom of 5 kids who has absolutely no construction training or experience.  Oh, sure, I love power tools and I love to build things.  But building a house?   A fairly large house?  Really?  Who am I kidding?  I am sure every tradesman that shows up to either deliver supplies or pump concrete or crane supplies is secretly laughing at the woman in the pink tool belt who hangs around the house pretending to work.  That is, until they see me actually AT work.  Then they come to realize I know what I am doing - at least most of the time.  Really, what they think doesn't really matter.  First of all, I am extremely proud of myself at the amount of time and energy and skills I have contributed to the job.  We are where we are at because I have been there as much as I have.  Secondly, my hubby is extremely proud of me and acknowledges the "manpower" I have provided.  Thirdly, Mr.W is so encouraging and makes me feel like I am part of the team and a valuable asset.  I think I may have surprised him at what I have been able to do.  So, yes, I may be a stay-at-home mom of 5 kids but I am building a house.  No matter how weird that may be!

Once again, it rained all morning.  Jay and Mr.B were able to get a few more pieces of sheeting up before the rain forced them into the basement to do some work down there.  Since it continued to rain, Mr.B got sent home at lunch.  After lunch, the rain stopped so Jay and I got to work and continued to lay down sheeting for the remainder of the afternoon.  It was cloudy most of the day but not cold so it was quite comfortable temperature-wise.  And since the kids spent the afternoon at Grandma & Grandpa's house, we were uninterrupted (well, at least not by the kids.  The interrupting phone calls, on the other hand, were epic today!).  We were able to get most of the sheeting done, with a little left to finish over the dining room, entrance and school room.

When Jay and I work together without anyone else with us, it always gets a little interesting.  Sometimes we have different opinions on how to do things and neither one of us is afraid to express those opinions.  If we run into a snag and we are by ourselves, we need to figure it out ourselves.  That can get heated or entertaining or comical, depending on how you look at it.  If we run into a snag and we are with Mr.W, he tells us how to fix it and away we go.  Despite the snags and the opinions, we love to work together.  We love to spend the time together.  We jest and tease a lot.  We laugh at each other and with each other.  Jay smiles much more now than before (or perhaps I am just around to see that smile more).  We spend many hours together and, no, they are not always magical or romantic but they are good.  We love coming home together and we love going back to work the next day.  I always look forward to seeing him when I arrive on site.  Though we hit some bumps along the way, I think this house-building process will be good for our relationship.  I can see the benefits already!  Mostly, I am extremely proud of Jay and of what we have been able to accomplish, together!

Finally, I learned a new thing today.  Construction adhesive is a vital part of the sheeting process.  It is the glue part of the "glued and screwed" floor.  Well, construction adhesive comes in large cardboard tubes.  I am sure you know what happens to cardboard when it gets wet.  Turns out that when construction adhesive tubes get wet, they pretty much fall apart.  There is no way you will be able to squeeze the glue out the nozzle.  Instead, glue comes out the sides or any other place the cardboard has disintegrated.  So, Jay spent some time "painting" on the glue and I hand squeezed a tube!  The rest of the containers have dried fairly well and have now been duct-taped to help provide extra stability.  We will see how that works tomorrow.  In the meantime, I have to figure out how to remove the dried-on construction adhesive that is decorating my hands.   I am sure I have some Goo-Gone around here somewhere . . .

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 23 - Second Floor Joists Complete & Sheeting Started

The final couple of interior walls were put on hold in favor of lots of bracing on the walls to prepare for the addition of the second floor joists.  When I arrived mid-morning (it always seems I arrive after the "party" has started!) the guys had already hoisted up about 10 joists to ensure there was a place for the plywood to rest once the crane arrived.  Just after lunch in the early afternoon, the crane arrived again and hoisted up another, shorter steel beam, the rest of the second floor joists and the whole lift of plywood.  We most certainly do not want to be hauling those items up the ladders to where we are needing them.  Since the crane was there anyway, we made him do all the heavy lifting.  Saves us a tonne of time and energy.  Once those joists were up, the guys were quick to spread them out and attach them where marked.  Jay actually stayed up in the joists from just after lunch until about 7 pm, when he came down to come home for supper!  Needless to say, he was glad to be back on the ground.  It gets a little tense working on joists all afternoon, being extra careful about your every move to ensure you are safe! 

I felt considerably unproductive today since I stayed on the main floor for the most part and either cut joists or rim boards and handed them up to the guys.  Even the kids got into the mood and helped carry shorter joists.  I also made a quick trip out to pick up additional supplies.  I did a lot of standing around and watching the guys working but it was important to have someone available to run and get this or that item.  I was that person - better known as the gofer!  The guys worked long and hard and were able to get all the joists for the second floor installed in one day!  That is a good feat for an unseasoned crew of workers!  But, this is the second time around so we are trying to improve on our performance!  Mr.W was around all day so that may have also helped on the productivity.  He made sure everything ended up where it needed to be and did all the more technical parts, like the stair opening.  He also took the time to mark out the locations for the garage piles and the front and back deck piles.  Originally our plan had no back deck but we now decided to add one that is about 18' x 12' which would be surrounded by a ground level patio.

In the living room looking towards the kitchen
After a late supper, we went back out and started sheeting the second floor.  Once again we worked until it was dark so we were forced to come home.

In the entrance looking towards the kitchen
A lot of people ask what the kids do when we are working.  They play.  They help.  They play.  They yell at each other.  They get mad at each other.  They tattle.  They scrape their knee.  They eat lunch.  They play.  They get mad at each other.  They tattle.  They scrape their knee.  And on and on and on.  When we go back after supper, we bring along a movie and the portable DVD player and allow them to watch a video.  They deserve it after a long day of playing (and yelling and getting mad at each other).  They are fantastic kids and we love how they have become such a part of the process.  They love to run into the various rooms and look forward to the framing of the upstairs so they can go into their own rooms!  Even though there is a lot of tattling and hurting each other and yelling, there is a lot of playing and having fun, too!  We are so blessed to have them in our lives and enjoy making this house-building journey together.
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