House Remodel Update {#2}

In just about three weeks we’ll have owned our shabby little 1860 farmhouse for a year. It’s hard to believe a whole year has come and gone and here we are still working away on this project. We still have a long way to go but it’s nice looking back and reminding ourselves of how far we’ve come over the last year.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

Henry David Thoreau


DSC_0129{Where we started}

3-23-14-edit{Where we are}

It took us most of last summer just to get all the permits and approvals we needed to move forward with our plans. Then it took a month or so to empty the place of trash and get it ready for construction. We also had to take down the garage/addition area because it was sitting directly on the ground without a foundation and was caving in.

plans{Darren sketching out plans over the summer}


cleaning out

wheel barrow cleaningYou know you have some serious work to do when your house needs to be cleaned with a wheelbarrow and shovel.

By last September we were finally ready to really start building and my brother and his family drove all the way from Louisiana to help us raise the roof. We wanted a full second story and more windows so that’s why we decided to do something crazy like raise the roof :]


After that we had a foundation dug and poured for the addition and the remaining fall and early winter months were spent framing up the interior of the house and adding the garage and new construction.

men pouring forms

bobcat foundation

front framing

kel framing

after framing

Progress was slow over the winter because we had an especially cold, snowy season. But now that the temperatures are starting to improve and the snow is almost gone, we’ve been able to get rolling again. Over the last few weeks the guys have put in most of the windows, added the front porch, and roofed the porch and addition so the outside is “all buttoned up” as Darren says :]


Next up is plumbing—happening this week hopefully. Then we have the siding, electrical, insulation, sheet rock, flooring, installation of the bathrooms and kitchen, and lots of lots of painting. Oh and the garage floor needs to be poured, and we’ll need trim and doors, and the back porch needs to be added, and there’s work needing to be done in the basement, and the chimney needs to be built, and…and…and…and there’s still a lot of work to do :] But at least it feels good to be moving again and seeing the place taking shape.

Right now I’m most excited about getting the siding on because it will look so much nicer and more complete when it has some clothes on :] Some grass wouldn’t hurt either but I think we’re going to have to deal with the muddy mess until next year when all the work is done and we’re able to reseed the yard. Patience, patience.

I’m still hoping against hope that we’re able to move in by August or September but we’ll just have to wait and see how things come along. Also, what the heck were we thinking building a house and a baby at the same time? That takes a special kind of crazy. I’m not looking forward to packing and moving with a newborn but c’est la vie…besides, these pictures I took around the yard last year always remind me why it will all be worth it in the end 8D

DSC_0820Some guy with a backhoe tried very hard to take this bush down on me. He kept saying the yard could be landscaped so much better without it but I crossed my arms and stood in the yard while he wheeled around tearing down every other green thing he could find and made sure he didn’t touch this bush. It’s not wise to mess with a pregnant lady even if you’re the one driving the backhoe ;]

DSC_0740I’m not tackling a garden this summer with everything else going on but I can’t wait until next spring when we are living here and I’m able to walk through my own yard and garden growing flowers and vegetables.

DSC_1053Relaxing under my favorite tree

tall flowers

DSC_0131Welcome home. This will be our view.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Moments in Time

I spent Labor Day weekend up in Maine with Darren’s family. My brother and sister-in-law, their two little boys, and Darren and I decided to go for a walk through the woods and pastures. The hot sun was showing off its power for the last days of summer but as soon as we ducked into the woods under the canopy of trees, the heat broke and the cool Maine air gave us hope of fall coming soon enough.

I love the woods.

I felt like Lucy stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia—welcomed by a whole world of sights and sounds just beyond us as we live our lives among cities and highways. How can the woods be so quiet even as they bubble over with the sound of bird’s song, crickets, streams, and the rustle of leaves? How can they smell so good? The sod mingles with the moss, wild flowers, and evergreens filling the air with a sweet, earthy aroma. The light filters through the leaves and everything feels soft and hushed, calm and quiet.

It makes me happy :]

We walked the muddy path hopping around to avoid puddles, crossed the broken little bridge over the stream, balanced along a fallen tree, and popped out of the woods into the open pasture drenched in sunshine. I told my sister-in-law that between the shadowy woods and pasture covered in wild flowers, I felt like we were in Twilight together…only we’re not vampires and we’re not in love…because that would be weird.

We all trekked across the pasture together through the knee-high prairie grass and milk weed. The boys took off in search of blueberries. The sun was hot and I didn’t feel like trekking anymore. Maya and I sat in the grass talking.

I sat there thinking that I would probably remember this simple moment forever.

It was just an ordinary day. Just a walk in the woods. But it was all so magical. The blue mountain peaks sticking up behind the trees. The smell of evergreens. The grass up over our heads as we sat talking. The yellow wild flowers drenched in the yellow sunshine as far as we could see.

It was ordinary and extraordinary all at once.

Maya and I noticed we had settled right next to a big fat yellow and black garden spider and we were very pleased with our bravery for sitting there beside him, letting him listen in on our conversation, without panicking or running for our lives…that’s what I usually do around spiders…panic. kill. run for life.

The boys came back without any berries and I was a little sad they didn’t take longer; I was enjoying that moment…sitting in the grass over my head, talking with Maya and taking in the magic of the wild Maine mountain side.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said to “Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” I think he was on to something, that Emerson.

{Darren is always getting into trouble with the littles…I love him for that}

{The End}