Week 1 progress

Things changed so much in a week! We started this week with a giant concrete hole in the ground and ended the week with most of the framing in the basement, sub-floor down upstairs and the framing started on the main floor. It was like Christmas every evening we got to go out and see what Lyndl and his team had done.

It was fun Friday to go out and see my laundry room, pantry, Lily’s bedroom and main floor bathroom framed. I can’t wait to see where we are at the end of week 2!

We did make a couple of changes ‘on the fly’ this week after we saw what it would look like laid out and with some of the walls up. For example, in the basement we switched the walls the closets will be on in the bedrooms. Upstairs we bumped a wall over and moved Lily’s closet to make a little more room for the half-bath in the laundry.

It was bitterly cold towards the end of this week and I can’t count how many times I prayed and thanked God for our builders and also prayed they’d stay well and warm during this cold week. I don’t know how they did it, but I’m grateful they did.

We meet this week with the designer at our lumber yard to finalize a plan for the kitchen design. I had designed it somewhere else, but we’d like to support local businesses if possible. It looks beautiful and I can’t wait to see it in real life!

What an exciting week it was for us!


It was cold, rainy and gray today…a typical winter day in Kansas. I wasn’t sure how much our builder would get done today, I know I WOULDN’T want to be working outside in this weather.

Just as I was about to walk away from my desk for the day I got an email from our builder asking us to go take a look and make sure everything looked good because they were going to start framing the main floor tomorrow. What!?!

As soon as Kerry got home from work we headed out to our site. As we walked around to look at the markings for the main floor and imagining how it will all look finished it was so surreal. We walked from room to room and looked out the ‘some-day’ windows, placed furniture and walked the ‘would-be’ halls.

Thankfully our builder is super flexible because we decided on the fly we wanted to make one “tiny” change to a wall placement. I’m not sure anything could be any more low-stress than building a house with Lyndl!

Here are some pictures from today:

Our hallway coming in from the garage is just to the left side of this picture.
Standing in my planned office.

We had the privilege to watch our friend’s boys today for a bit. We just love having them over to play and they fall in with the rest of the crowd! Today the kids played Legos, built with blocks and picked locks. 🙂

Here we go!

After our basement was poured, it was a long month of December while we waited for the concrete to cure. It was fun to go out and sit on the west side of the basement to watch the sunset a few of the nice evenings. We also found may have used the big giant dirt piles as a back-stop for target practice once or twice.

This week the progress has really felt like things were moving along! We’ve gone from the basement, to seal plates and marking off doorways and walls, to seeing the basement take shape and begin to be framed.

Monday evening

We didn’t make it out on Tuesday, but I was thankful my mother in law sent a picture of the first frames going up in the basement.


Unfortunately I had to take one of the boys to ortho so wasn’t able to go out in the afternoon on Wednesday, but Kerry drove out to sneak a peek after work. Looking at the pictures he sent brought tears to my eyes. It’s getting so real and so exciting. The floor joists are in and most of the basement is framed!

We also got a little more rock on the driveway today. The weather has been wet enough and since we’re building a house in the middle of a field, it gets a little muddy. I can hardly wait to see what happens tomorrow!

We Have Power!

Thursday brought electricity to our future home on the hill! Kerry’s cousin Scott sent us a couple pictures of the bucket trucks in the morning. The install guys called me to verify pole placement. I was so nervous to tell them yes…that’s right where it should be…it’s so permanent.

We went out Thursday evening to check the poles out and watch the sunset from our new basement. I’m sure Kerry gets tired of driving me out there, but it’s been so fun to go out almost every evening and watch the sun go down from our ‘someday’ deck.

They also made the relief cuts in the basement this on Thursday before the weather turned cold. I sat in the corner of our future guest room and watched the sun disappear slowly behind the clouds. We also got word this week that we have been ‘officially’ added to the docket for rural water and they’ll start working up our estimate this week.

The Ground Level

It’s amazing how much has been accomplished in the last 10 days! I’d imagine our builder and his crew sleep well at night, I know I would.

We’ve been blessed with beautiful weather the last few days…perfect weather for pouring more concrete. I’ve wondered a couple times if Kerry wished he could be out there helping pour these last two days. He poured concrete when we were in high-school and first married (I get to wear some of his profits as my wedding band) and always enjoyed it.

This week the last window well, retaining walls for the walk out basement were formed and poured. We’ve also seen the beginnings of plumbing for the basement bathroom and mechanical room.

Yesterday (Tuesday) they poured the garage floor and laid the support mats for the basement floor.

It was fun to get a message from Scott, Kerry’s cousin, today that there was a concrete pumper truck up on the hill. We knew we were getting a floor today! It was fun to stand at the top, look down and imagine the layout of the rooms downstairs. The kids thought the echos when they yelled were pretty impressive.

Picking up Rocks

When we first started planning our new home site, I had dreams of using some of the top soil for raised garden beds in our new backyard. I figured “well…they’ve been farming it for years, there are a few rocks, but surely there is good dirt under there”.

As we saw the piles take shape, it became very apparent I would NOT be using that dirt for raised beds in my backyard. I found myself wishing I would have paid more attention in science class and to rock types. There were lots of rocks and pseudo-rocks that crumble or peel away when you grab them.

We spent part of this last weekend picking up rocks saving them back for landscaping. There were some really pretty red colored ones but when you’d pick them up they would just break to pieces. Yet others would hold tight. So we decided if the rocks survived a roll down the hill, they would get loaded in the back of the truck and put against the fence to save for later.

I also spent some time with Kerry and Don looking at some old barn wood that I may ask them to put in the new house. Hello Pinterest!

We can see walls

It was a miserable day yesterday. Cold, rainy and in general a gray winter day. So we didn’t venture out to see the progress on the house.

It snowed last night and was pretty chilly again today, but we couldn’t resist taking a trip to the hill to see what our brave builders accomplished in the yuck. I don’t know how they can work out there and not be completely chilled to the bone at the end of the day.

We were excited to see the forms off the basement walls and coated with rubberized stuff. The footings for the window wells, garage and retaining wall were poured today.

We were blessed with yet another beautiful sunset while we were up on the hill this evening.

Skipping ahead

There is lots to fill in between closing and today. I’ll write those posts later…because God opened big doors for us. From building permits to getting electricity and water. But I’m skipping ahead to right now because we have a basement!

My mother-in-law sent these to me around noon on the first day.

They started digging the basement on Monday November 30. My mother-in-law sent me a few pictures around lunchtime. It was so exciting to know they were up on our hill digging.

We could hardly wait to go out after Kerry got home from work and see what they’d done. Imagine our surprise when the whole basement was done and footings were poured!

It so cold up there, but we got a picture of us ‘standing’ in our basement living room. The boys had lots of fun scrambling up the hills of dirt. They almost looked like mountains from the road.

For years the rocky ground was farmed by Kerry’s family. Now seeing all that dirt and rock piled up I gained even more of an appreciation for the struggle it was to harvest a crop from the ground.

I plan to have the big boys gather some of the larger limestone rocks from the piles and save them back. I’ll use them for landscaping and flower beds. I’m sure we will have to move them more than once. My good friend Annette has shared with me her boys’ love of moving rocks so I look forward to sharing the tradition. 🙂

We went out again Tuesday and the walls were poured. It feels surreal and so very exciting. I may have teared up a little watching it all get started. We were blessed with an incredible sunset again and I look forward to watching it set from my deck for years to come.

Pack it up and say goodbye

The night before closing was a little bittersweet. We’d been working so hard to get everything packed up and clean that whole week. That evening found us trapping chickens (we left some behind), wrestling a treadmill up the basement steps and taking the last few loads to the storage units.

We finally loaded our last trailer around 8:30 or so. In the 6 years we lived there we’d added 3 children and countless memories. I walked through each room checking for stragglers and remembering our time there.

I stopped in the hall office and looked at the walls and turquoise door. I remembered how grateful I was to be hired full time at ATI and have a ‘need’ for a home office. We painted it Thanksgiving weekend before I started full time and I smiled at how much we praised God for the blessing of that job…and how we continue to do so.

I walked in Lily’s room and saw the red footprints on the carpet by the closet door. Before she was born that room was our schoolroom. One afternoon some little boys found their way into my supply closet, opened the red paint and painted the wall. A little brother walked right through the paint on the closet floor and into the bedroom. There were still 3-4 Theo sized foot prints outside the door.

I stood in our master bedroom and thought of the tears we cried and joys we shared there. How we’d hugged each other tight after Kerry’s cancer diagnosis standing in the doorway. I thought of the 3 babies (Gideon, Theo and Lily) born in that room and smiled at the beautiful memories of their first cries echoing on those walls. I can still see the sun streaming in the windows as I labored with each one, hearing our midwives sitting at the desk talking.

I walked through our basement and chuckled at the thought of sucking water up with the shop vac when I was 7 months pregnant and it rained for days. Aunt Lucy and Uncle Chilsen outside helping drill holes in the sump pump barrels in the window wells two weeks after we’d moved in. I was grateful for the restoration of the basement and new carpet that took place a couple years ago after the ‘back up’ incident just before Christmas.

Our laundry room was always full and busy…my day wasn’t complete until the washing machine ran at least twice.

I stood the longest in the kitchen and living room. The heart of our home. I smiled as I thought of the first time we met our dear friends the Wallace’s. They came for dinner and stayed until bedtime. I remembered the joys of gathering our crew around the table and sharing our highs and lows of the day. I grinned and sighed, thinking we’d never again get a text from our neighbor Martha “Do you guys need some pickles/green beans/cucumbers?” Or “We need a judge…come get some of this meat and tell us which one you like best”. We had the best neighbors. 🙂

And the school lessons…I taught some of my boys to read their first words in that kitchen.

As I switched off each light, I thanked God for the blessings He’d given and prayed for the new family who would live here. We took our last laps around the yard and pond and thanked God for the memories around the fire pit and kayaking in the pond (ask Kerry about the killer tadpoles sometime).

We drove out of the driveway at peace and grateful for all the life we’d lived there. We headed west and on to a new chapter up on the hill, thankful for the doors God had opened to make our dreams become reality.

30 days goes fast

We signed the offer and planned for a closing date on October 9. One month away.

We spent evenings and weekends packing and sorting things in the house and shed. We got things ready for inspection and the boys spent one really disgusting weekend clearing out cattails from the lagoon. (I’m sure they’d love to tell you about it).

Every step of the way we’d pray that doors would open if this is what God wanted for us. Every time we thought there would be a roadblock or a delay, God worked out the little details to keep things moving along.

We also prayed for the family buying our home. We loved our neighbors and where we lived. We prayed that the new family would be a good fit and would enjoy raising their family there as much as we had. I was so thankful I got to meet them when they came for the home inspection. I told Kerry that evening “They’re just the people who need to live here”.

The home inspection revealed a couple of things that needed to be fixed and we were worried with a tight timeline they wouldn’t all get done. The electrician was replacing an old breaker-box two days before closing.

Speaking of closing….because the real estate market was absolutely nuts they were having a hard time getting closings to happen in less than 6-8 weeks. In fact, we signed an extension on our contract pushing the closing date out to the 22nd of October. That helped take a little pressure off packing wise. Kerry and I both had taken off the first week of October to pack and move. Thankfully, we didn’t cancel those ‘vacation days’ because 2 days before our original closing date of October 9 our realtor called and said “Are you guys okay to close on the 9th, the bank thinks they can get everything lined up to go?”

What?!? I mean yes…we could be ready and that was always kind of our end goal, but talk about turning up the heat a little.

The challenge for us this time is that we were trying to decide what we needed now and what could go in storage for 6 months until we were in our new home. We were very thankful my mom owns storage units and she had two empty. One unit is our “6 months/New house” unit and the other became our “we’ll need this soon” unit. Since we didn’t yet have possession of our rental until the week we were off we couldn’t move things from one house to the other.

There were lots of moving parts but thankfully, as with most things I had a system for moving. It’s a little time consuming at the front end, but it has paid off big time when I’ve had to send the guys on treasure hunt for something we needed. Plus…I let the little guys help make the labels so we learned colors, shapes and numbers and counted it as school. Woot!

Every bin got two cards. The big one for a label and the little one to write down the contents of the bin.
Contents cards
Categories were separated by shape and color. These were grouped by rooms they came out of (since I wasn’t sure where they were going in the new place yet)
Contents cards were filed in my Index Card box. Now when I’m looking for something, I go to it’s previous location and find the contents card with that item. Then I can send Kerry on the hunt for a specific color, number and shape. Easy Peasy!
School time at the table helping make labels. Such cute helpers!