Saturday, December 10, 2005

We're Building a Home!

Hmmm. I guess I'm not the best at this bloggin' thing, am I? So much is going on in my life right now it's hard to stay on top of it all. Last month, we made an offer on a great building lot and life's been a whirlwind ever since. Between trying to finalize house plans, meeting with builders, worrying about every last detail, and trying to get our own house ready for sale, life's been even more busy than usual. Luckily, we finished 90% of our Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving, so we don't have holiday pressures, too.

On Tuesday, we got our two 40-year-old bathrooms ripped out, and we hope to get those finished before Christmas. Luckily, unlike the last 10 million projects on our house, we are hiring someone ELSE to do most of the work this time. Also lucky is that our home has a seldom-used third bathroom in the basement that is getting a lot of use for the next few weeks. =)

On Friday we got preliminary plans from our architect, and I am SO thrilled about them. We'll need a few minor changes, but otherwise, this project is moving along. It's always been a dream of mine to build our own home, and I've loved thinking about every little detail and eventuality. Though we have an architect, he is drawing up custom plans according to the ones I drew in a home designer program I got for Christmas last year. It is so neat to see my concepts become reality. We're planning on this being our last move, so I want everything to be just right. I go from totally excited to worried that I'll mess something up and put the laundry room in the wrong spot. We're also planning on having quite a large family so we've tried to plan in some unfinished space we can finish off as we grow. The other fun thing about this project is to see DH & I work together so well. They say building a home can really strain a marriage, but so far, it's just been a lot of fun. We've done so much with remodeling old homes and DH is a cabinet-builder, so we know quite a bit about materials and the choices we'll be making along the way, and surprisingly, we agree on most everything. Of course, there are some things that he feels more strongly about (like the size of his shop and our storage areas) and some that I do (like where I want the stovetop in the kitchen) and we defer to each other pretty well in that.

We're still trying to decide on a builder, though we've got a lot of good possibilities. The one builder we're leaning towards is a craftsman that does a lot of the home himself. He loves doing framing and finish work and some cement work, and it shows in his hands. When you shake his hand, it's like holding sandpaper, and very rough sandpaper at that. It's easy to trust a man with hands like that, and because he does a lot of the sub-contracting work himself, he charges a lot less for a general contractor's fee. We're going to be checking his references and things this week, but I really hope they check out because from what we've seen of his work, he is a true craftsman.

The kids are growing up. We had a ward (what our church calls its congregation) Christmas Party tonight, and Lillian played "Once There Was a Snowman" on her violin. She did a good job and gave the cutest little bow at the end, and everyone complimented her on it. I was impressed with her, but a little surprised when people told me how talented she was. I guess because I listen to her practice every day, I notice the small flaws; where her rhythm is off or when she plays two strings for a moment and forget how hard an instrument the violin is to master, especially for a 6-year-old girl. And she is really improving this year. Plus she enjoys it and told me tonight she can't wait until she's good enough to take piano lessons, too (I've told her she needs to master the violin before adding the piano). She said when she starts piano that she'll practice violin before school and piano afterward. She really loves playing. She chose herself to play tonight and chose the song herself, too.

Joey is loving preschool and life in general. They had a field trip on Thursday to the mall to visit Santa and I went along to help. Unfortunately, I forgot how hard it can be to keep a certain set of 17-month-olds contained, so I'm afraid I wasn't much help to the preschool teacher. Sarah & Allison love to run off in different directions. Lucky Michael & Joey are so well-behaved or I would have been totally frazzled.

Allison has become a blanket gal, insisting on carrying one around the house with her everywhere. She hasn't chosen a favorite one yet, but she does seem to enjoy the quilts the best (smart girl, as they are all made by mom or grandma). She is so cute with nodding or shaking her head about everything when you ask her questions.

Sarah has become a snuggly little girl. She loves to give zurburts and be chased and is getting a little annoyed at having to sit still in her carseat. When she's upset, she sure can WAIL.

Michael is growing a lot lately and is getting tired more often because of it. He told me he didn't want to go to preschool anymore; he'd rather stay home and nap. So we had November be his last month, and he seems to be enjoying the quiet time at home while Joey's gone and his sisters nap.


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