Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

As Christmas Eve approached, I found myself saddened that we had decided to not do a Christmas tree this year. Even though we managed to squeeze one into the camper the past two years – this year time was our hindrance more than space. Simply put – there is so much happening and needing to happen with the house this year, that we just didn’t have the time. The kids were fine with it … as long as the presents would still be there :)

John had to go into the prison on Christmas Eve, so the kids and I decided to make a little Christmas tree. We had been gathering “fruit” from sweet gum trees to try to make a Christmas tree from them, so that is what we did on Christmas Eve.


Here it is – the brown, pointy balls are the sweet gum tree fruit. First, we made a tree shape out of cardboard and wrapped our lights around it and taped them in place. Savannah trimmed the stems off the the gum balls. Then we used hot glue to affix the gum balls and little ornaments to the “tree”. Then we added some ribbon and little garland lights. Nothing too fancy, but it was fun.

In the process of making our little tree and looking for the trimmings, we came across 5 more little trees that I had completely forgotten about. They had the tiniest, cutest little ornaments and garland to go with them. The kids really had fun having their very own tree to decorate. I was praising the Lord for giving us way more than we asked or imagined.

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Christmas morning – we enjoyed a break from the work and opened our presents on the main floor (even though it isn’t finished yet).

The rest of the day was filled with gaming and fun. I even managed to make a ham dinner – a very simple one.


Today was a beautiful day so we decided to take a drive after church onto the wildlife management area. They have been clearing land across the way from our house, so we wondered if we could see our house from there.

Sure enough, we can and here it is.

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John discovered a Survey marker on a rock.


My current very favorite picture! My three favorite people, with our house on the far hillside. Can you see it?  

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Floors and kitchen


Bamboo floor is 2/3 installed on the main floor. They did enough to support getting the kitchen cabinets in today. We love how it looks, but the flooring is a little softer than we expected. This just means that we will have to be more careful and try not to scratch or damage it.


Shot of the island and upper cabinets. The far left is for the refrigerator, the next opening is for the oven and the little one on the far right is the microwave. Needless to say, we are VERY excited.


From the other angle – this wall portion will also have a countertop area to allow passing dishes from dining table to sink or as a serving area.

Now, we need to finalize the countertops and get them ordered. The appliances are still about 2 weeks away.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas


Isaiah 9:6  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Flooring …. and I forgot to show you the snow!


Here’s the start of the flooring. I even got to help some and boy, is it tiring! I’m really excited to see it all finished.

A couple of Saturday’s ago, we woke up to snow. We had about 1/2 an inch and it was mostly gone by noon, but it was really pretty. Here in the south, we have a very wet snow, so it sticks to all of the branches of the trees. A very short-lived winter wonderland.

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Our view with snow-covered pines.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

House and life update

First of all – MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


Life has been happening at a breakneck pace lately, it seems. We are progressing very rapidly on the house, which is really great, but can be pretty tiring, too.

(pics l-r Christmas wreath at Noccalula Falls, Savannah blowing candles, Savannah with “Samantha”, Hadden petting rabbits, kids with cute Christmas tree)

We celebrated Savannah’s 9th birthday last week. She was a real trooper and allowed Mommy to spend about 2 hours at the cabinet shop discussing details and trim. Afterwards, we ate at that cool chicken restaurant and then went to Noccalula Falls to see the Christmas lights. Then, home for presents, cake and ice cream with Daddy.

They both also participated in the Christmas program at our church which was last night.

(pics l-r my new “stair master”, kitchen cabinets, kitchen ceiling fan, one door installed, other ceiling fans)

On the home front, we are almost finished with the main level. Painting is finished (*for now) and laying out the plan for the flooring started today. Tomorrow, they plan to lay enough flooring to be able to install the kitchen. The electricians returned and installed the ceiling fans. We LOVE how the fans look.

A really big decision focus for right now has and continues to be the kitchen. We are finalizing all of the little details on the cabinetry, talking with the countertop people and purchasing the appliances. I have felt a little overwhelmed, but we decided that we didn’t need to rush the countertops after all. After 2 years without a real kitchen, a few more weeks is not that big of a deal. The cabinets are supposed to go in next week!! Appliances will be another 2 weeks or so.

Also – the final set of stairs has been completed! John was able to bring them home tonight.

Lots going on, I guess I should blog a little more often :) Hoping to show you flooring pictures tomorrow.

Stay warm!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pictures … you’re welcome :)

Last Saturday was moving day. We rented a U Haul and moved our remaining items from storage into the basement of the house. Exciting stuff! We took two trips – one of mostly furniture items, and the other of boxes. Some We Care friends (Bucher’s) and their friends stopped by and the men helped John unload the furniture load while I got my baby fix. The Bucher’s have a one-month old who is just a cutie-pie and I was working hard rocking him. Really, it was hard work :)


The kids enjoyed riding in the truck with Daddy when we returned it.

While John picked up the remaining flooring, the kids and I went for a trip to the McWane. Our membership expired at the end of November, so we got one last visit in.


Here, they are “catching coins”



OK – now for some house pictures. We have set up temporarily in the basement while we finish the rest of the house. It is wonderful! The only thing we lack is a kitchen space, but we are managing with the microwave for now.


Before moving in – the kids doing school work at the table while I painted. It is so nice to have them right there with me.

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Wall colors are tricky to photograph. I guess I’ll have to get out my nice camera and try during the daytime.


My honey, enjoying his couch … and laptop :) The wall behind him is yet to be finished – a remnant of our poured concrete walls.


Grand Central – where I am currently broadcasting from. Note: the screen is showing the current status of the OSU – U Of O game – Go BEAVS!!! Current score is 30-21, Beavs. Winners go to the Rose Bowl.


My orchid, and blue bird (aka penguin). Don’t laugh at my dust!! There’s a lot of dust around here right now.


Kitchen space – don’t you love it?


The dogs are loving being in the house, too. They were a bit concerned with all of the hubbub of the moving truck, but have settled in rather nicely now.


“Did you forget to show them something?”

Why, yes, Lilly – I did! I can’t believe I forgot - the orange room!


When I first painted it, the only word to describe it was WOW! I immediately thought that I would be needing to repaint it in the near future. However, after seeing it during the daylight, it actually looks pretty good. Bright, but it is a color that grows on us. We both like it now, so I am thrilled that I can wait a while before painting it again.


The color is called Rejuvenate – and by the way, this is our guest bedroom space … eventually.


Last, but certainly not least … aaahhhh – a real chair!!! I LOVE this chair! Notice Mercy in the background – she’s pretty comfy, too.

We are so grateful to be at this point. I am still painting – concentrating on the main level right now. Tomorrow, I should finish priming and then be able to start on the first coat.

Psalm 105:1-4

1 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
       make known among the nations what he has done.

2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
       tell of all his wonderful acts.

3 Glory in his holy name;
       let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

4 Look to the LORD and his strength;
       seek his face always.

Monday, November 30, 2009

We're In!!!

Just a quick note to tell you that we are officially IN the house! No, it is not finished - only the basement at this point. This will be our first night sleeping in the house - yippee!!

I am busily painting the next floor so that we can get flooring in and then the kitchen! So, for a little bit, we will still need to use the camper for kitchen-type activities.

Hopefully, I'll get some pictures posted soon. Thanks for checking in.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

“Another Captive Free”

As part of S.A.V.E.D (Self-Accountability & Violence Elimination Directive) at the prison where he works, John has been involved in making videos to share with the men to encourage them to stop violence. Here is one of the videos they created:

Tommy Plunkett is a man who became a Christian after becoming incarcerated. Make sure you listen to the words, they are powerful!

This song is also the title track of a cd project made at St. Clair.

image The following songs were recorded in two sessions on March 10 and 24, 2009 at the St. Clair Correctional Facility. The tunes and lyrics are original by the inmates and most are copyrighted. The participants were selected by the Chaplain and Warden based on their example of being followers of Christ while incarcerated. All have life sentences with one exception. The Alabama Department of Corrections gave permission for this project based on the proposal offered that all the profits generated would be given to the DOC and specifically to build a new Chapel for the prison at St. Clair. is the link for you to listen to the cd, download songs, or get more information.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Word Verification ...

I had to turn my word verification back on - I was getting some unwanted spam. Stupid spammers!

Well, not exactly tomorrow, but close …

So, we are learning that “tomorrow” is apparently relative. As in - “we will definitely be done with that tomorrow”. This is a few days past what I thought tomorrow was, but it’s all good.

We now have lights, heating and air, and outlets!!!!! Very exciting!!! Now, I will be painting at night after the kiddos go to bed instead of playing on the computer :)


Heating and air units.


Front entry lights installed. Note: the door is not stained yet – it is not necessary for moving in … therefore has received a pretty low priority.


Lights up the front tower.


Interior lights … ok, I guess you get the idea.


My current favorite tool. I finally had a chance to use it yesterday to prime the walls for the kitchen. I like it. The complaints online talk about what a pain it is to clean, and I kind of agree, but feel like it is worth it. I am planning on trying to be organized as I paint and do large jobs all at one time, and then just clean up once for them. If I can find the right block of time, I think that will work.


I went and picked up my Casting Crowns CD – I had preordered it (which with coupons made it free – of course, you have to buy something more to get the discount, but that is not a problem for me and Christian bookstores :).


I am THRILLED to report that Hadden is feeling substantially better today. Praise the Lord! I haven’t had to give him any Tylenol or Advil all day and he has been great. Certainly not 100%, but he is WAY better than the past week and a half. Thank you for your prayers – I appreciate them so much.


Psalm 28: 6-7 Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy.  The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Whew – what a weekend!

Even before the weekend hit, this was how Hadden looked. This was in the middle of the day and definitely not a normal posture for him. I thought it was cute that he still held onto his baseball bat.

He had not been feeling well since Monday – fever on and off and just not himself. I actually suspected swine flu, but he wasn’t having any respiratory issues, so I was just watching him closely and treating his fever. By Friday there wasn’t any improvement so I took him to the doctor on Saturday morning. After 3 hours and some tests, we found out he has mono and we just have to let it run its course. Poor little guy is pretty much miserable without Advil and Tylenol. Please pray for him to recover quickly – thank you.


John front loaded his week at work and Friday we spent the day forming up for more concrete. We made retaining walls at the sides of the house so that we could backfill and prepare for the heating and air units. The formwork brought back a LOT of memories of about a year and a little ago.

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Before and after (I just realized that these are of the different sides).

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We also poured the front porch area – that was a huge step in the right direction. No more moat!!! John worked very hard – even into the dark to get it finished.


Before (above) … John working, John working … after


Heart rock! Savannah and Aunt Teresa like them. This one is WAY to big to send, Teresa.


The fun continued on Saturday. After spending the morning at the doctor’s office with Hadden, John told me that the track skid steer was stuck. Boy, he was not kidding! This picture doesn’t really show the extent of it, but after all of the rain from Ida, there were some muddy areas. John was trying to condense and clean up the burn pile … which is really funny considering what we had to do to get the tractor out!


Here we are actually close to getting this bad boy out of the mud! It’s kind of hard to tell by the picture, but that is a fairly steep uphill slope to the right of the picture – which is where he needed to go. We pulled log after log OFF of the burn pile to use to try to keep from sinking in the mud. At one point, we were down about twice as far and stuck on a rock. At one point, the mud was up over the track completely. So at this point, we have come a LONG way.

Oh, and the thing that really helped us? MUD – but this kind was the brick and mud kind – leftover mounds from when the brick masons were here. They were sturdy enough to withstand the beating and weight and had enough grip for the track to grab.

It was frustrating, tiring, slopping, messy and somehow crazy fun and funny at the same time. We were EXTREMELY thankful to get it out just before sunset.


After – on the logpile.


Whew! Ready to get to work.


And … this was the sunset. Absolutely gorgeous!

Painting has had to be postponed, but I can report that the basement is primed and ready for color! Yippee! Ceilings first, though – uggh, I don’t like ceilings.

More news to share tomorrow … we have progress on other areas of the house …