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 …

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fit "full" Tuesday ...

I'll admit - today was a really tough day. Building a house can be very stressful at times. Today was a culmination of a lot of little things making a BIG thing and I had to seriously fight off a fit of frustration.

The gutters that were supposed to be on yesterday ... aren't. So, all of the rain that we are getting from Ida feels like it is pouring in our house. I know that is an exaggeration, but that is what it feels like. It is worse off than last week before they put the soffit on - now the water has a place to run back on. So, I spent a good part of the day wringing out towels to try to manage the water. Uggghhh!

The HVAC guy that has not returned multiple calls from John. Finally returned my call when I asked his secretary if we needed to find someone else to finish his job. They are supposed to be coming back Monday to finish.

Painting - delayed because of all of the rain. This is very hard for me - setbacks stink. Major setbacks stink majorly.

We received notification that a registered offender will be moving in nearby soon. Seriously bothers me. I know he needs to live somewhere. I know that as God gives us second (and many more) chances, that we should give others second chances, too. I know that, but I still don't like it - for the sake of my children.

Our garbage can that holds the recyclable metals blew over ... twice. Cans were blowing everywhere while I got soaked trying to chase them down, get them contained and secure the big can to the tree so it wouldn't blow over yet again. I'm sure without all of the other mishaps of the day, I would have found it rather funny - imagining how I might have looked.

Hadden is sick. Nothing too bad, but he is running a fever. John doesn't feel well either.

Except for the wringing out of towels, there was no opportunity to exercise. Those of you who know me well know this is bad news for my attitude.

So, I think it is just time for bed. Ready for a new day tomorrow. The rain is supposed to be finished soon.

Lamentations 3:21-23 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Oh, how I needed this good reminder tonight!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Some recent house pictures …

Jeff returned last week and finished up the stone work around the basement level. We love it! He also brought scaffolding that belongs to the family (John’s Dad was a home builder), so we will be able to use that to paint the interior.


Here he is on the home stretch (pun intended :). Yes – the sky can really be that blue sometimes! I didn’t enhance the photo at all. We also had a fun time watching the World Series in the evenings.

Also, notice the soffit is on near the roof line. We are waiting for the gutters still. We are also swapping out these nice double doors in the middle of the back (and front at the kids rooms) because they leak in the rain. We are switching to sliding doors everywhere – except for the basement level where we need a wider entryway. Eventually, the back deck will provide a cover for it, so leaking won’t be an issue.

All in all, the doors are a nice change. Even though it is a lot of extra work to swap them out, the new doors allow more light in, have screens, and are all vinyl. Lesson learned.


Shot of finished side.


Close-up of the stone work. This was the final wall. Yippee!


Here is a shot up the stairway tower. I LOVE the look of the stairs (again, these are not the final treads). This does not show the basement steps or the steps to the lookout. The lookout stairs are in progress. We will have railings soon, too. With the drywall on, you can actually see the stairs detail better.

Finally – painting!!! I love to paint. In talking to people, it seems that there are two types – those that love to paint and those that hate it. Doesn’t seem to be too many in between. We did go ahead and get a quote to have it painted … $17,000!!! That did NOT include the paint!

Kind of a no-brainer. I love to paint. $17,000 is a LOT of money. I told John that now I know what I’m worth ;)

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Because everyone has been wanting pictures, the smarty-pants in me just couldn’t resist! Here’s before primer … and after primer. :) I am almost finished priming the basement and will start the first coat on the ceilings. We are concentrating on the basement in order to move in! Yes, that is our goal!

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Probably the main reason I love painting so much is the chance to listen to worship music non-stop. Savannah suggested it might not be too good of an idea to dance while I’m on the ladder, though. I am currently listening to Selah: You Deliver Me; Todd Agnew: Need; Jeremy Camp: Speaking Louder than Before. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them! I have also preordered Casting Crowns newest release, but I can’t get it until the 17th.

Hope all is well at your end! Thanks for reading.