Sunday, March 22, 2015

Insulation and drywall

Things keep on moving along, in the last two weeks we had spray foam insulation installed in the house. We actually did a sealed option where the attic becomes a semi-conditioned space and is not vented. It's a little different than the "standard" way of doing things, but there are some advantages to it and I think it will work out. 

Here is the picture of the underside of the roof after being sprayed:

So then because I had some time (not a lot, but some), my spray foam insulator told me that since I have 2x6 exterior walls, I still had room for fiberglass insulation in addition to the spray foam. When it comes to insulation, more is better! So we took a weekend and our amazing friend Jared came and helped us hang insulation.

We didn't get the whole house done before the drywall, but we got the full exposed portion of the basement, the whole west and south walls (the north wall is the garage, so was less crucial because the garage serves as a buffer), and the east wall of the master bedroom. 

I will tell you that hanging fiberglass insulation sucks. It is itchy, and cutting it is a pain in the keyster. But I'm hoping it makes our home just that much warmer.

So the next step was drywall, which is currently in process. In the category of "things I'm learning about building a house", drywall mud has to be kept warm while drying. I did find a somewhat interesting chart poking around the internet, so it means it does take a while for the mud to dry as it is colder and wetter. Luckily our humidity seems to be hovering around 50% here, and the temps haven't been terrible at night. Either way, our geothermal is going to have to go in very soon (like the end of this week). 

I didn't take many pictures of the drywall when I went to check on the house yesterday, but here is Z's room. I knew what the house would look like, and it does, but it still surprised me how different it looks with drywall in it. 

Sorry I haven't taken many pictures of the kids in the last couple of weeks, but Z has really started to reach the age where he can manipulate Duplo blocks. You can't see it in this picture, but trust me his little tongue is sticking out just slightly in concentration.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Roofing and butterfly rainbow quilt

Well the world (aka my family) is asking for more house pictures and kid pictures and whatnot, so I know I'm overdue (again) for a blog post. Here is the latest pic of our house that I took on Thursday afternoon:
The funny looking dome chimney type things are our sky tubes, which are like round skylights. It helps with leaking and some of the other issues skylights often have to make them round instead of square. So the roofing is all on, that is a steel shake shingle Metro Metal roof in Oak. It really looks like "regular" shingles, I'm happy with it. 

Here's an inside pic, we're rapidly getting to the point where the inside is more interesting than the outside as things start to happen here.
You can see the sun tube in the upper left corner (and the box in the center), there are a total of three of them. As you can kind of see, we have HVAC, plumbing, and electrical rough-ins about done. Next is spray foam insulation on this coming Thursday, and then drywall on the Wednesday after that. 

Previous pics of the house between blog posts, in chronological order:
Siding about done
Roofing about done
The octagon window on the north wall of the garage. This window has a bit of a story, it is one of the (many) windows I bought when I was an intern at Pella Corp. We've moved it, and all of the other windows, together all over the place and it's come to symbolize the whole window experience. I like it, it's quirky, and I know it's not that unusual to have an octagon window. But my framer didn't want to put it in, and the rafters didn't have the spot for it in the gable where it was supposed to be. Our siding contractor actually put it in for me because I insisted it go in. It doesn't sound like drama now, but trust me, it was. :-)

In sewing and quilting news, I ended up having to redo H's slippers because the previous ones didn't stay on her feet. These have some elastic in them, so they're working better. 
I also had a quilt retreat, so I was able to make some progress on some projects. I finished a quilt for H's bed, which is very much to her taste. 
I actually like how it turned out, it's not as garish as I might have feared. It's very 4-year-old girl, but you're only a little girl once, right?
I quilted in spirals of butterflies, which was pretty fun to quilt and I think will wear well.
I also finished a smaller art quilt, but I'm not sure if it's really done yet. Here it is in progress without binding and without some lining enhancement I added because some of the colors in the flowers bled when I soaked it to block it:
I'll post a pic when I decide it's finished as well, the blue you see in the picture washed out because it was just there to mark the design.

On a more personal note, I drove by our old house today and was surprised to see the house still standing, actually. I suspect it will soon be torn down, and all other buildings (and a lot of the trees between them) are already down.

I also received the diploma for my MBA in the mail, which feels good to be done.

The kids are doing well, both growing all the time.
H at the butterfly garden:

Z looking fabulous (note the shoes):

Z building a tower (I seem to have more pictures of Z than H this month):

Z playing with trains:

Four generation picture with Ryan's grandpa and dad (yes, it's an iPhone in Z's hand. Please don't judge me, visiting a nursing home with a two-year-old is a challenge I am happy to use modern technology to alleviate):

Ryan and I also went ballroom dancing last Friday night for a date night and had a fabulous time.
And here's what happens when the kids work their way into the picture:
So until next time, I'm glad it's getting warmer out, and good luck with your own happy chaos!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sheathing and Siding

Time flies when you're building a house (and it also crawls). Since last posted, framing and outside house sheathing are done. Here's the main floor being framed:
And the rafters going up:
 Rafters going up, but from a different angle:
And then sheathing and housewrap on:
And windows in:
Now they are working on siding, starting with the back of the house. They have the back of the house done (the East wall), were working on the south side today when we stopped by, then will do north and west.
This is primed, but not yet painted. We're putting up composite fiberboard, and it looks nice. Also, our siding guy is Nate from Executive Exteriors and I could not sing his praises loud enough. That guy is AWESOME. Creative, communicative, problem solving, everything I would want in a contractor. If I didn't already have a roofing guy I liked, I would hire him to do my roof too. Highly recommend.

In my last (very short) post, I posted a poem about wanting the tractor to work. So I snapped this picture for you from my car when I followed Ryan to the guy down the road who fixes tractors. It was very snowy and slick, and following a tractor at 10 miles an hour on slippery roads caused me to twice have to back up on a hill, wait for the tractor to clear that hill, and then take the hill at a run in order to get over it. My tires would just lose traction halfway up the hill with no momentum to carry me over, meanwhile two kids in the back are saying, "Mommy, why are we going backward? What happened? Where's Daddy?" and "Tractor! Tractor! Traaaactoooorrr!!!!" (guesses on which kid is which?). 

In sewing news I haven't done much, but I did get my sewing machine fixed. When I did, the repairman told me that I have 249 hours on my sewing machine. That's all well and good, but sewing machine motors die at about 250 hours. Sigh. So I'm likely to need a new sewing machine soon, but that will probably wait until we know what kind of house overages and whatnot we are dealing with.

I did also make H a pair of slippers, which she loves but the pattern did not actually work well. I think her feet are too big and they needed to have more structure in them.
I'll have to take a crack at another pair, I think, or modify this pattern to my satisfaction.

Kids are doing well, it was cold and snowy earlier this week but then warmed up. While we did our taxes yesterday, a lovely friend of mine watched them and they got to draw on her driveway with sidewalk chalk.
 I think it's kind of funny that kids don't really get the connotations that come with chalk outlines, instead to them they are just chalk outlines. This is also something they never really got to do at our old farm as there wasn't much of a driveway, and sidewalk chalk doesn't work on gravel. I'm not sure what kind of driveway we will end up with at the new place. 
So until next time, stay warm! Spring is still coming!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Poem: A Farmer's Dream


This morning a poem came to me while I was doing dishes, and I thought I would share it with you. Don't judge my poetry too harshly!

A Farmer's Dream

I dream of a tractor that works,
of snow that falls gently.
Of bright sunny days so grass can grow.

I dream of dirt that is soft
with life that teems through it,
and yields to the scoop of my hand.

I dream of breeze-filled Summers
and crisp Winter days,
with long Springs and Falls in-between.

But mostly, I dream,
Of a tractor that works.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Framing and Holidays

We finally have framing! Since it's winter here in Iowa (a fact lost on none of us here), things like home construction have a tendency to... stop. Because tools and people don't work well when the temperature is in the single digits. But it warmed back up and now we have progress again! In these pictures, the basement is up but I'm told we have more than that now. I just haven't been out to get more pictures. These were taken Friday.
And here we're looking at H's room,
and here's a pic taken from a spot where I'm trying to take pictures from somewhat consistently.
Before this, we had plumbing rough-in and concrete floor poured, as well as some fairly deluxe waterproofing. I don't know if we need waterproofing this deluxe, but I do know that I'd rather do it now than later!!
We also went out and put in some water lines one day, here is a pic taken from my "consistent spot" while Ryan helps hook the water line to the one in the basement before the concrete was poured.
And here are some pics of he and I digging trenches.
I spent lots of time working the mini excavator we rented.
 This is actually before we rented the mini ex when Ryan was putting some water lines in the FIRST time. Yes, I say that because we used plastic fittings the first time. Word to the wise: brass is worth the money. 
 Here's what my view looked like most of the day we put in water lines.
 Nice, straight, smooth trench. We had a funny moment when Ryan was trying to get the pipe to make the turn he's standing in below and couldn't seem to move enough dirt to get a good radius. So he looks at me and says, "I wish there was a lot less dirt right HERE" and I swear not 10 seconds later the trench collapsed in that exact spot. He didn't hit it or anything, it just decided to cut us a break. It was awesome.
 Yes, I realize it looks like I laid down in the dirt and took a picture. I'm standing on the bottom of the trench, you can see root sticking out of the trench walls beside me. So the trench was taller than I am.

I'm excited progress is being made on our house, framing is fun because it looks like so much progress so fast. 

On the crafting front, I haven't gotten much fully "done" recently. I did finish the quilt top I've been working on and reporting on, I'm just trying to figure out how I'm going to quilt it.
I didn't make much for Christmas presents this year, but I did make my brother and sister-in-law some super-awesome hipster Hama (Perler) bead cassette tape coasters.
I love how they turned out, I just went off a picture I found on Pinterest and made them slightly larger so they have a chance of fitting a glass. I backed them in felt. My brother isn't really a hipster, but he lives in northern California and is just enough of a hipster that I like to tease him about it. :-)

In family life, since my last blog post we finished moving. Man, that was a huge stress on all of us. We moved not just a house with two young children, but also a farm. And Ryan wanted to save EVERYTHING. I swear, if it was "possibly useful someday", he had to save it. At least the farm stuff is at the new farm and I don't have to move it again. Hopefully not ever. All we have at the house we're living in is a bunch of freezers. 

Here some very wonderful people helped us move the chicken pens. 
And this was the picture I took to say "goodbye" to the old house. The new owner did decide to tear it down, he found the main support beam was cracked. I have mixed feelings about that. I am glad to have it sold and be moving forward, but it was our home for almost 7 years and I did have two babies in it. I'm sure it's a better house in my memory than in reality....

Speaking of my two babies, they continue to grow (as kids do). Here Z passed out, utterly exhausted on our Picket Fence Creamery turkey delivery day. It's actually quite rare that he sleeps in our arms; on plane flights to and from California after Christmas, he never once fell asleep in our arms despite a total lack of a nap. 
He also turned 2 shortly after my last post, I found this idea for a cake on Pinterest (of course) and it was perfect. Chocolate malt balls and chocolate frosting, and I didn't need any cake decorating skills at all. Although cake decorating classes are on my bucket list.
Since we also got some snow, I took the somewhat obligatory "younger child watches older child play in the snow" picture.
Since we are in Ames over the winter, we decided to get a membership to the Reiman Gardens, which has an indoor butterfly garden along with a conservatory. Z is so far delighted by the butterflies.

H is also doing well, she is getting closer and closer to really reading. She builds words at school, and recently at home with zero supervision made this picture of a prince from a kit from her uncle from Christmas. My favorite part of this, other than the awesome word building skills, is that I think it looks like Weird Al Yankovic.
H also got to take over her Daddy's haircut time (he decided he didn't need one, so she asked for one) and completely loved salon time. The stylist even put glitter in her hair, and I think she had as much fun getting her hair done as she did opening Christmas presents.
I also attempted to foster more of a spirit of giving rather than just receiving with her over Christmas this year, so we went to a building workshop at Lowe's where H built Z a train. He adores it, and she enjoyed making it. She's not quite strong or coordinated enough yet to really do a lot of it, but she and I worked together and I think it was helpful that she made him a Christmas present. I know it's no soup kitchen volunteering, but it's a step in the right direction, I hope.
With that, I'll leave you today with a (rare) full family picture. I hope you all have a great 2015!